Justin Ehrenwerth

President and CEO

Justin R. Ehrenwerth serves as President and CEO of The Water Institute of the Gulf. Founded in 2011, the Institute is a not-for-profit, independent applied research and technical services institution with a mission to help coastal and deltaic communities thoughtfully prepare for an uncertain future. Through an integrated and inter-disciplinary approach, our work helps to create more resilient communities, thriving economies, and a healthy environment.

Prior to joining the Institute, Ehrenwerth served as the inaugural Executive Director of the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (Council). The Council was created in the aftermath of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill and is comprised of the Governors of five Gulf Coast States and Secretaries from six Federal agencies. The Council is responsible for using billions of dollars in civil and administrative penalties to restore the ecosystem and revitalize the economy of the Gulf Coast. Ehrenwerth successfully established the Council as a new independent federal agency and oversaw all aspects of its programmatic, technical and operational activities. 

Ehrenwerth previously served as Chief of Staff to the U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce where he assisted the Secretary and Deputy Secretary in overseeing issues of management, policy and strategic planning for the Department. 

Earlier, Ehrenwerth served as Assistant Counsel to the President where he took the lead on Deepwater Horizon litigation for the White House working with the Department of Justice. He also served as a member of the Oversight and Litigation group representing the White House in Congressional investigations and advising Federal agencies on oversight matters. 

Ehrenwerth has held leadership positions on a number of national and statewide political campaigns and has been active in the non-profit sector. He served as a Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Teaching Fellow as well as a Coro Fellow in Public Affairs.  He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Coro Center for Civic Leadership and Touro Synagogue. 

Ehrenwerth is a summa cum laude graduate of Colby College, holds an MA in philosophy, politics and economics from the University of Oxford and a JD from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. He and his wife, Dana Dupré, have one son.