CA Water Week: Water Leaders Discuss Ideas for Increasing Diversity

Career Stories

The California water sector is rapidly hiring. How do we reflect California’s diversity at all levels of our workforce and foster a more inclusive environment with our co-workers?

Watch the panel of water leaders discuss workforce development programs, new DEI efforts and what can hold back diversity efforts and the champions we need to move these efforts forward.

The webinar took place on October 7, 2021 as part of a series celebrating water professionals during California Water Professionals Appreciation Week. The even was supported by: ACWA, CASA, CA-NV AWWA, CWEA and BAYWORK.

DEI Resources Mentioned During the Webinar

Mentioned by Secretary Crowfoot

Mentioned by President Hall

Mentioned by Mr. Callender

Mentioned by Ms. Lopez

Mentioned by Mr. Martinez

Resources assembled by the webinar organizers

Resources listed by attendees in the chat

Water Career Resources

Water Associations

About Our Panelists

Felicia James is Chair of the CA-NV AWWA Inclusion and Diversity Committee and an Associate Vice President at Carollo Engineers, Inc. She has enjoyed working in support of water and wastewater infrastructure from both the consulting and public agency perspective. After working in Texas, D.C., Maryland, and abroad she is glad to be back in her home state of California.

Rick Callender is the Chief Executive Officer of Valley Water. Appointed CEO by the Board in 2020, Mr. Callender oversees an integrated water resources system that includes the supply of clean, safe water; flood protection; and environmental stewardship of waterways for Santa Clara County’s 1.9 million residents. Since 2020 Rick has served as President of the California/Hawaii State Conferences of the NAACP. He served as president of the San Jose-Silicon Valley NAACP 2000-2008.

Joone Lopez is the General Manager of the Moulton Niguel Water District, which provides water, wastewater and recycled water services to six cities in South Orange County. Before joining Moulton Niguel, she served as the General Manager of Calaveras County Water District located in Northern California. Joone’s prior experience includes working for Apple Valley Ranchos Water Company as its Assistant General Manager and serving as the Deputy General Manager of Central Basin Municipal Water District.

Jose Martinez is the General Manager of the Otay Water District. He has served in the utility industry for more than 18 years in private and public sectors, managing multimillion-dollar engineering and construction projects. Jose is a U.S. Navy veteran where he served as a Nuclear Submarine Officer. Jose has a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy.

Prior to leading the Natural Resources Agency, Secretary Wade Crowfoot served as chief executive officer of the Water Foundation, a nonprofit philanthropy that builds shared water solutions across the American West. Before that Crowfoot served in Governor Jerry Brown’s Administration as deputy cabinet secretary and senior advisor to the Governor. He also previously served as West Coast regional director for the Environmental Defense Fund and a senior environmental advisor to then-San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom.

IEUA President Jasmin Hall also serves as President of the California Association of Sanitation Agencies (CASA); Chair of the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority Commission; President of the Chino Basin Regional Financing Authority; Director of the Inland Empire Regional Composting Authority. Director Hall also serves as a representative to the Association of California Water Agencies. President Hall initiated the process that earned Inland Empire Utilities Agency the Special District Leadership Foundation’s District Transparency Certificate of Excellence.