| AWWA Member Spotlight – Reid Campbell, Halifax Water, Nova Scotia
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AWWA Member Spotlight – Reid Campbell, Halifax Water, Nova Scotia

Reid CampbellThis week’s AWWA Member Spotlight highlights Reid Campbell, director of engineering and technology services with Halifax Water, the water, wastewater and stormwater utility for Halifax, Nova Scotia. He also is a member of AWWA’s International Council. His department is responsible for asset management, capital project planning and delivery, information technology, geographic information systems and process control. 

Education/career summary: Bachelor of Engineering, Technical University of Nova Scotia (now part of Dalhousie University); Master of Engineering, University of Toronto; registered professional engineer in the province of Nova Scotia. Beginning in 1988, spent 10 years in consulting engineering in Ontario and Nova Scotia. Joined Halifax Water in 1998 and served as planning engineer, manager of plant operations and director of water services before starting my current position in 2021. 

How did you get involved in the water sector? In 1988 my wife, Eleanor, and I moved to Toronto where she had been offered a job. I was hired by Rod Holme to work in the water supply group of Proctor & Redfern (P&R), now part of AECOM. Rod was very involved in AWWA and served as AWWA president in 1998. His example and encouragement led to my joining AWWA and volunteering with the Ontario Section. In addition to Rod, I was mentored by many talented water sector leaders at P&R.

What is something that has contributed to your successful water career? I have been blessed to work for and with dozens of very smart people in the water sector. In addition to my P&R mentors, these include many former and current Halifax Water colleagues including General Managers Carl Yates, and Cathie O’Toole. Along the way I learned from how each person conducted themself and approached their work and incorporated these lessons into how I approach my job.

Reid and Eleanor Campbell in Marina de Camerotta, ItalyWhat advice do you have for emerging water leaders? I have two bits of advice. The first is to become involved in AWWA, whether through a committee or presenting a paper at a section conference. The more you put in, the more you get back from other members you get to know across North America and beyond who you can go to for advice or help with a problem. This inevitably leads to more opportunities for involvement. The second is to be open to opportunities within your organization, even those you may not have considered to be your preferred career path. Utilities are becoming very complex organizations and a broad view of how your organization works is very helpful. (Pictured right, Reid and Eleanor in Marina de Camerotta, Italy.)

What achievement at Halifax Water are you most proud of? Our lead service line replacement program. It started when our research partnership with Dalhousie University discovered that partial replacements were increasing risk to our customers. Through staff persistence and AWWA resources, we stopped doing partial replacements and began subsidizing private replacements. In 2021, we began paying the full cost to replace both the public and private portion of lead service lines. It took a lot of teamwork and persistence by staff and gaining approvals from both our board and regulator. We now have a lead service line removal program that follows industry best practice and protects the health of our customers.

What is a current challenge you’re managing? Helping my department deliver its growing capital program. Halifax is a fast-growing city with development pressures. Like many communities, we are experiencing supply chain issues, a tight labor market and high customer expectations. Fortunately, I have an enthusiastic team and a great deal of support from our leadership team, my colleagues and our board.

What is your greatest hope for the water sector in 2050? I’m interested that Water 2050 is taking a longer term view than we have historically and that we are inviting insights from experts outside the water sector. My hope from doing this is that AWWA will become an even more outward-looking organization that can tackle some of the biggest problems facing the sector. If that happens, the water sector should have an even more positive outlook, be more confident about tackling some major problems that we may have simply influenced in the past and become even more trusted and resilient.

How have you benefited from your AWWA involvement? I have benefited tremendously from my involvement with AWWA. Personally, I have made many cherished friendships with other water sector leaders across Canada and the United States. Professionally, being involved in AWWA has been a tremendous benefit, especially at the Association level. For example, my time on the Water Utility Council coincided with the Flint, Michigan, water crisis and AWWA’s response to it. Being part of those discussions and understanding how the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Health Canada were responding, as well as the research AWWA was doing, were a big impetus to the work we ultimately did in Halifax on lead service lines. I have numerous examples like this over my time as an AWWA member.

The Campbells with their grandchildrenPlease describe your family and/or hobbies and interests. I have been married to Eleanor for almost 35 years. She is an industrial engineer and retired from information technology management at the Nova Scotia Health Authority in 2020. We have two adult sons. David, a C.P.A, is married to Rebecca and they have three children, Juliana, 5, Winston, 3, and Elizabeth, four months. Daniel, an industrial engineer, is in his final year of law school and recently became engaged to Samantha. My hobbies include amateur home renovation work, pickleball, and being a Toronto Raptors fan. We love to spend time at our summer property on a lake about 90 minutes from Halifax, where we enjoy entertaining our children, grandchildren and friends. (Pictured right, Reid and Eleanor with grandchildren.)
What is something surprising about you? This past summer, Eleanor and I were thrilled to be asked by friends to sail with them for two weeks along the southwest coast of Italy from Rome to Sicily. It was a new and tremendous experience to travel from town to town on the ocean, to tour famous locales and out-of-the-way small Italian towns.