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Leadership & Executive Team
General Manager, Maureen A. Stapleton
Deputy General Manager, Sandra L. Kerl
Sandra Kerl joined the Water Authority as its Deputy General Manager in November 2009. Kerl has over 25 years of progressively responsible experience in all aspects of municipal management. She served as City Manager of La Mesa, California and has broad experience with city management, extensive knowledge of organizational issues, and a pragmatic understanding of capital project management and delivery. Throughout her professional career she has been active in the International County Management Association, and has served as chair of the San Diego City/County Managers Association and San Diego Regional Training Center. Kerl received her Bachelor of Political Science from California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo and her Master of Business Administration from the University of Redlands.
Assistant General Manager, Dennis A. Cushman
Dennis Cushman is assistant general manager of the San Diego County Water Authority, a wholesale public agency that provides water to 3.3 million residents and supports a $222 billion regional economy. He leads the Water Authority’s externally focused water policy initiatives and programs designed to diversify and improve the reliability of the region’s water supply. He oversees the Water Authority’s imported supplies from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, including supplies imported from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay-Delta and Colorado River. He directs the agency’s legislative advocacy programs in Sacramento, California, and Washington, D.C., and oversees the agency’s Public Outreach and Conservation Department.
General Counsel, Mark J. Hattam
Mark J. Hattam is the General Counsel of the San Diego County Water Authority, a role he assumed March 2016. As General Counsel, Hattam is the chief legal officer of the Water Authority. Hattam had been a partner in the San Diego office of Allen Matkins Leck Gamble Mallory & Natsis. His practice consisted of litigation in state and federal courts regarding water rights, commercial disputes, real property, insurance, environmental regulations and other issues, including administrative hearing practice. He has represented major institutional and public-sector clients in complex civil litigation, including water transfers and water rates. In 2015, Hattam served as outside counsel for the Water Authority, successfully defending the agency against a claim that it failed to account for the environmental impacts of its long-term water supply plan. Hattam also represented the Imperial Irrigation District as trial counsel in 2013, securing validation of all environmental compliance components of the historic 2003 Colorado River Quantification Settlement Agreement, a cornerstone of the Water Authority’s long-term water supply diversification strategy. As General Counsel, Hattam will advise the Water Authority’s Board and executive staff on a range of legal matters, including the agency’s litigation over the legality of rates set by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.
Administrative Services Director, Matt Brown
Matt Brown is responsible for managing a variety of comprehensive Water Authority-wide programs including information systems, geographical information systems, purchasing and warehousing, safety and risk management, human resources, and the development and delivery of centralized administrative support. This includes records management systems, building services, and assistance and support to the Board of Directors. He earned a Master of Arts in Geography and a Masters of Business Administration from San Diego State University. Brown joined the Water Authority in 2000 and was named director of Administrative Services in July 2014.
Colorado River Program Director, Dan Denham
Dan Denham is responsible for the implementation of Water Authority projects in the Lower Colorado River Basin and the Republic of Mexico. This primarily involves the implementation of a 200,000 acre-foot per year conserved water transfer with the Imperial Irrigation District and a 80,000 acre-foot per year conservation agreement related to the concrete-lining of the All American and Coachella Canals. These projects are managed alongside the Water Authority’s long-term financial planning and resource diversification goals and a comprehensive public outreach program in the Imperial Valley. Before joining the Water Authority in 2006 Denham served in various capacities at the city of San Diego including finance rates and bonds manager of the Metropolitan Wastewater Department, capital improvements program coordinator in the Financial Management Department, and as a public affairs representative in Mayor Susan Golding’s Office. Denham holds undergraduate degrees in Public Administration and Economics, and a graduate degree in Public Administration all from San Diego State University.
Engineering Director, Jerry Reed
Jerry Reed is responsible for the design and construction of new regional water facilities in the Capital Improvement Program (CIP); rehabilitation or replacing facilities identified as part of the Asset Management Program; managing major emergency facility repairs; and providing overall CIP programmatic monitoring and controls. Reed also manages the Water Authority’s real-estate interests by including the acquisition, disposal, and lease of real property; patrolling and managing 168 miles of right of way; and providing survey services. Reed is a Registered Civil Engineer in the State of California and joined the Water Authority in 1995.
Finance Director, Lisa Marie Harris
Lisa Marie Harris directs the department responsible for accounting, financial reporting, budgeting, cash and treasury management, debt management and administration, capital financing, investor and credit rating agency relations, and rate setting and administration. Harris joined the Water Authority in May 2014 and has more than 23 years of financial experience in both the public and private sector, including working at the County of San Diego as chief deputy treasurer, the State Treasurer's Office as executive director of the California Debt and Investment Advisory Commission, the city and County of San Francisco, San Francisco International Airport as the Assistant Deputy Airport Director for Budget and Finance, and most recently for Siebert Brandford Shank & Co., LLC, an investment banking firm, as senior vice president. Harris received her Bachelor's degree in Economics from University at California, Berkeley and her Master’s degree in Public Policy from the University of Michigan.
Metropolitan Water District Program Director, Amy Chen
Amy Chen manages the Water Authority’s Metropolitan Water District Program, responsible in supporting the Water Authority Board officers and MWD delegates in developing and implementing strategies to achieve the Water Authority’s long-term supply reliability goal. Her group works closely with various Water Authority departments, linking MWD programs and policies to the Water Authority’s management strategies and operations. She also works closely with MWD board members and member agency managers in advocating the Water Authority’s positions relative to MWD programs and activities. Chen is a California registered professional engineer with more than 20 years experience in water resources engineering and planning. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees both from University of Southern California in civil engineering. Chen joined the Water Authority in 1996 to lead the Water Authority’s Los Angeles office managing liaison relationship with the MWD board and member agencies, and she was named MWD program chief in February 2008.
Operations and Maintenance Director, Jim Fisher
Jim Fisher serves as the director of operations and maintenance at the San Diego County Water Authority, the regional water agency that provides about 80 percent of all the water used in San Diego County. Fisher joined the Water Authority in 2012. Fisher directs the department responsible for all aspects of water delivery including dispatch, water quality, storage, security, emergency response, fl eet operations, and energy generation. He is also responsible for the development and implementation of comprehensive strategies and programs for the operation, maintenance, and repair of the Water Authority’s large and complex aqueduct system and facilities. Fisher has more than 24 years of experience in the design, construction, operation and maintenance of water systems. Fisher holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from San Diego State University. He is a registered civil engineer in the state of California. In addition, Fisher is a certified grade 5 water treatment plant operator and grade 5 water distribution operator in the state of California. Fisher is an active member of the American Water Works Association and the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Public Outreach and Conservation Director, Jason Foster
Jason Foster serves as the director of the Public Outreach and Conservation Department. He supervises the Water Authority’s conservation programs and outreach efforts, including community outreach on construction projects, the agency’s small-business contracting opportunities program (SCOOP), media relations, education programs, and regional communications related to conservation and water supply issues. Prior to coming to the Water Authority in December 2006, Foster served as the media relations manager for San Diego State University and also worked in the San Diego region as a public affairs consultant.
Water Resources Director, Bob Yamada
Bob Yamada is the Director of Water Resources for the San Diego County Water Authority. His responsibilities include leading the water supply planning, drought response, Integrated Regional Water Management planning, facility planning, and environmental and regulatory compliance activities for the Water Authority. Yamada led the negotiation of the technical aspects of the Water Purchase Agreement for the Carlsbad Desalination Project and currently oversees Water Purchase Agreement compliance for the design, construction and commissioning of the desalination plant.
Yamada has been with the Water Authority since 1992. Prior to that, he worked as a civil engineering consultant for eight years. He holds bachelors and masters degrees in civil engineering from San Diego State University, and is a registered civil engineer in California. He also is a Board member and a past president of the American Membrane Technology Association (AMTA).