Providing reliable water supplies for ALL of Southern California, photo by Ibar Salazar
A weekly newsletter by and for Metropolitan employees
March 26, 2018
Canadian Roadshow
If you were at HQ last week, you probably noticed a Canadian flag hanging in the rotunda.
It was our way of welcoming more than 35 Canadian officials and business leaders for a week-long ‘road show’ to meet with Southern California water and energy agencies and gain a first-hand understanding of the opportunities and challenges of doing business here.
“Metropolitan has a long history of working with trade officials and business groups from across the state, the nation and the world,” said Met program manager Wigs Mendoza who helps lead many of Met's business outreach and innovation activities.

"For the second year in a row, the Canadian government has brought a delegation to Southern California to learn about the innovative work of agencies here to promote efficiency, conservation, and sustainability in water and power programs.”

The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service, together with Metropolitan and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, organized the program to build partnerships and showcase Canadian water and power technologies.

Highlights included:

  • Visits to Orange County Water & Sanitation Districts, Southern California Edison, Inland Empire Utilities Agency, Eastern Municipal Water District and LADWP.

  • Opportunities for Canadian companies to meet with California water and power district officials.

  • Networking & Business-to-Business opportunities to discover new water and power technologies and learn more about Southern California's greentech industries.
Water Front and Center
Last Thursday was World Water Day and a lot was happening in the water world. A statewide survey by the Public Policy Institute of California showed more people are thinking about water.

  • More than half (53%) said the supply of water in their region is a big concern.

  • Two out of three likely voters support bonds for water infrastructure.

  • And 55% of So Cal residents support a Delta tunnels project.

Also that day, Met sponsored the California Water Policy Conference. MWD Special Projects Manager Meena Westford co-chairs the event which featured a diverse group of students, researchers, policy experts, community groups and environmentalists tackling today's biggest water challenges. The workshop titles also reflected a creative approach including:

  • Oh my Aching Bones, Broken Pipes and Busted Spillways

  • Conversations with Curious Graduate Students

  • Water and Weed: Now that it’s Legal

The conference was launched 27 years ago by the late Dorothy Green, a water quality activist and founder of Heal the Bay. “Dorothy inspired me to look at water issues in a holistic way,” says Meena, “balancing sound water management with great respect for the environment and our communities.”

The speakers included Met’s Asst. General Manager and Chief Operating Officer Deven Upadhyay, DWR Director Karla Nemeth and Western water expert John Fleck, director of the University of New Mexico Water Resources program. (You can follow him @jfleck on Twitter.)

All in all, it was a day to celebrate what those of us at Met recognize every day: water matters.
Role/Roller Model
“If nothing says you can’t, then I’m going to try and do it,” a life motto of Gina Chavez, Metropoitan’s only female Operations and Maintenance Tech
IV Pump Plant Mechanic. 

Breaking boundaries has brought Gina from an apprenticeship position at Met six years ago to her current job at Eagle Mountain with responsibilities to repair and maintain the pump plant equipment, and assist with operational duties. Gina was the first female mechanical graduate from the apprenticeship program. No stranger to Metropolitan, she grew up at Gene Camp, the daughter of Francisco Chavez who worked for Met for 40 years and retired last year.

“I jumped at the opportunity to apprentice because I had a young family to support,” Gina said. The mother of seven children (five girls and two boys ages 2-16) said, "I want to show them you don’t have to choose a career or a family; women can do both,” she said. “My kids have grown to be very independent and don't think there’s a limitation to what they can do because of their gender.”

Gina had three of her children during her time at Metropolitan, working up to the last day of her pregnancy. She said she appreciated the support of her coworkers who “always made me feel like being pregnant didn’t mean I was broken.” 

As if this doesn’t show enough enviable grit, Gina is on a full contact roller derby team, the Coachella Valley Derby Girls. She is number 137 in the photo below.

Shout out to Diego Diaz for the heads up about Gina.
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