Emerging Leader: Kim Hackett, Silicon Valley Clean Water

Roni Gehlke, Emerging Leaders, Members in the News, Women in Water

Despite her 21 years of experience, a steady pace up the proverbial ladder, a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering from UCLA, and a master of science in civil and environmental engineering from UC Berkeley, this emerging leader is not through learning and is back in school working to a obtain a master’s degree in public administration.

Currently, the Authority Engineer at Silicon Valley Clean Water (SVCW), Kim Hackett’s position requires managing the in-plant Capital Improvement Projects as well as those for the entire District. That includes 11 Regional Environmental Sewer Conveyance Upgrade (RESCU) projects with a budget of nearly $1 billion.

“Most of my career has been in project management,” Hackett said. “This last couple of years, I’ve been broadening my workload in day-to-day operation, dividing my time into various departments. I decided I needed to return to school to broaden my skill set.”

Hackett joined the agency in March 2010 as a Senior Engineer within the Engineering Division. She started her career at SVCW as a project manager on Capital Improvement Program projects. By January 2013, she applied for and was promoted to SVCW’s Engineering Director.

In 2018, Hackett was asked to take on the position of Authority Engineer without even applying for the job. She now manages the Technical Services Department made up of three divisions: Engineering (including implementation of the nearly $1 Billion Capital Improvement Program), Environmental Services, and the Laboratory. As Authority Engineer, Hackett also works closely with the Chief Financial Officer, Chief Operations Officer, and SVCW Manager and regularly interacts with SVCW’s governing commission, other governmental agency staff, and members of the public.“

Kim has moved through SVCW’s ranks of leadership quickly, from a front-line staff member to a senior manager in the span of eight years,” said SVCW’s General Manager, Teresa Herrera. “Her trajectory is steep, and she has successfully navigated each new leadership position.”

“People that Kim leads know that their input is heard and considered and are comfortable bringing forth ideas and challenges,” Herrera said.

“The positive impact of this on an organization cannot be stressed strongly enough. An organization thrives on trust and respect, and Kim engenders both.”