MWD Elects Lois Fong-Sakai as Board Secretary
November 11, 2022
San Diego County delegate joins MWD leadership team January 1
San Diegan and registered civil engineer Lois Fong-Sakai has been elected secretary of the Board of Directors of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the Los Angeles-based water wholesaler that serves nearly 19 million people in six counties.
Fong-Sakai, who represents the City of San Diego on the San Diego County Water Authority’s Board of Directors, is the first Asian-American to serve as an officer of the MWD board.
“It’s a great honor to serve not only San Diego County, but all of Southern California,” said Fong-Sakai. “Extreme drought conditions create significant challenges that will be best addressed through collaboration and cooperation across the region.”
Fong-Sakai’s relatives were Chinese Americans and Japanese Americans who came to the United States in the 1850s and embraced the importance of voting and civil discourse – elements of democracy that Fong-Sakai is passionate about in her new role. “As secretary, I will seek to allow all voices and opinions to be heard respectfully, including those of minority positions,” she said. “Open and inclusive discussions will make Metropolitan stronger and benefit everyone in Southern California.”
Fong-Sakai has been a Water Authority Board member since April 2015 and is one of four delegates representing the San Diego County Water Authority on the Metropolitan board. Metropolitan is governed by a 38-member Board of Directors, representing each of the district’s 26 member agencies.
“In speaking with MWD’s incoming Chairman Adán Ortega, he has informed me that he is considering expanding the role of the Board Secretary to include Parliamentary Procedure. As a member of the National Association of Parliamentarians for about 35 years, I’m hopeful that I can help with running more efficient meetings. Parliamentary Procedure is not a lot of stuffy rules about how meetings should be run. It allows all voices and opinions to be heard respectfully, including those of the minority positions. With open and inclusive discussions and debate, we, as an organization can only be stronger,” Fong-Sakai said.
In addition to her expertise in parliamentary procedure, Fong-Sakai brings to her new role on the Metropolitan board more than three decades of experience in water planning and policy. Her background includes work as a project manager and engineer for major water projects for the West Basin and Central Basin water districts, and the industrial wastewater treatment plant at San Francisco International Airport.
A member of the American Water Works Association’s Water for People charitable organization, Fong-Sakai helps raise funds to plan, design and build sustainable water systems in nine developing countries. Fong-Sakai is also past president and a current member of the Society of Women Engineers, California Water Environment Association, and the Asian Business Association. For the past 25 years, she has volunteered with the foster organization Promises2Kids, and was named San Diego County’s 2020 Volunteer of the Year.
Fong-Sakai is the Chief Financial Officer at Jade Coast Software, Inc., a business she owns with her husband Willie. She is a professional photographer, a member of Professional Photographers of San Diego County, and Coordinator of the International Exhibition of Photography at the annual San Diego County Fair. She earned both her master’s degree in civil and environmental engineering and bachelor’s degree in chemistry from University of California, Berkeley.
For more information about the Water Authority Board of Directors go to: www.sdcwa.org/about-us/board-of-directors/.