| AWWA Board selects new officials; Heather Collins next president-elect
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AWWA Board selects new officials; Heather Collins next president-elect

Heather CollinsHeather Collins, a 32-year member of the American Water Works Association (AWWA) and the assistant chief of operations with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California in Los Angeles, is AWWA’s next president-elect.

“I was excited,” she said of hearing her name announced during the January 13 AWWA board election. “It's something I've been envisioning for myself and my goals. It was just an honor to hear my name and have the opportunity to be in this volunteer leadership position.”

Collins’ term as president-elect begins this June at the conclusion of AWWA’s Annual Conference and Exposition (ACE24). Her term as president begins in June 2025 following that of current President-elect Cheryl Porter, who is chief operating officer of water and field services at Great Lakes Water Authority in Detroit. Porter’s term as president begins following ACE24 in Anaheim, California, when she’ll be handed the gavel by current AWWA President Pat Kerr.
Collins currently sits on AWWA’s Board of Directors and is a member of the Water Utility Council. She previously served as an AWWA vice president and a member of the Technical and Educational Council. She has been an active member of the California/Nevada section since joining in 1992. 

She holds a master’s degree in civil engineering from Loyola Marymount University and a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from California State Polytechnic University in Pomona.

Newly elected officials for AWWA Board of DirectorsIn addition to advancing Association initiatives like Water 2050 and the 2030 Strategic Plan, Collins plans to focus her efforts on strengthening public trust, connecting with untapped stakeholders within and outside the water sector, and helping younger professionals realize how diverse and fulfilling a water sector career can be.

“I really want to focus on building that public trust,” Collins said. “I think there's greater space in the collective to have a unified or uniform voice together to raise this. It's a really interesting time with water in the media and in the public. Everyone is starting to pay more attention to water and think about water in so many ways.”

The AWWA Board also selected a treasurer, three vice presidents and a director-at-large. They will begin their terms in June after the conclusion of ACE24. (Pictured above from left, incoming AWWA officials Heather Collins, president-elect; Rebecca Venot, vice president; Andrea Odegard-Begay, director-at-large; Carol Walczyk and Ken Kawahara, vice presidents; Reid Campbell, treasurer.)

Reid Campbell, newly elected treasurer, is director of engineering & technology services in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he has served since 1998. He has been an active member of the Atlantic Canada Section since 1989.

The three vice presidents elected by the AWWA Board are:

  • Ken Kawahara, president and chief executive officer at Akinaka and Associates in Honolulu. He has been actively involved in the Hawaii Section since joining in 1992.
  • Rebecca Venot, senior civil engineer at CRW Engineering Group in Anchorage, Alaska. She has been actively involved in the Alaska Section and joined AWWA in 2007.
  • Carol Walczyk, vice president, process efficiency analytics at Veolia North America in Paramus, New Jersey. She has been actively involved in the New Jersey Section since joining in 1989.

The Board selected Andrea Odegard-Begay as director-at-large. Odegard-Begay is a senior associate at Hazen and Sawyer in Goodyear, Arizona, where she has worked since 2021. She has been actively involved in the Arizona Section since joining in 2000.