| AWWA Water Champion – Alexis Woodrow, Denver Water
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AWWA Water Champion – Alexis Woodrow, Denver Water

Alexis Woodrow, manager of Denver Water’s Lead Reduction Program in Colorado, has more than 11 years of project management experience.

Education/Certifications: B.A., Environmental Studies and Geography, University of Colorado-Boulder; M.S., Engineering in Geographic Information Systems, and Master of Public Administration, University of Colorado-Denver; Project Management Professional (PMP, 2015)

AWWA Water Champion, Alexis Woodrow, Denver WaterCareer summary: I’ve worked for Denver Water since 2007 in various roles, including water resource planner, process improvement facilitator and community relations specialist. Since 2016, I’ve helped Denver Water better provide safe drinking water by addressing sources of lead in tap water. In 2020, I became manager of the Lead Reduction Program and am responsible for Denver Water meeting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) lead regulatory requirements.

How and why did you get involved in the water sector? I’ve always been passionate about all things water, but most especially protecting water as a natural resource. Growing up in Colorado, I learned that it is not only fundamental to all life and the prosperity of communities, but it is also a precious and rare commodity. Plus, I like to drink it, and working in the water sector has humbled me to all the incredible people and technologies that make that possible.

What led to your focus on lead reduction? I more or less stumbled into involvement with the issue of lead in drinking water. My prior work at Denver Water had provided opportunities to see how other sections and operations functioned, and how to best connect the resources to treat water, test taps for lead, replace lead service lines, provide filters, and educate the public on how to best protect themselves. When Denver Water took on scaling-up its lead service line replacement plan, I jumped at the opportunity to work with a team to build and launch the program.

Describe your experience at a White House summit. I was honored to be Denver Water’s representative at a 2023 White House Summit on Accelerating Lead Pipe Replacement to discuss our program with more than 100 people from state and local government, water utilities, labor unions, water industry associations, environmental organizations and the private sector.

I presented on a panel about the importance of partnering with community groups to develop education and support for the program. I also described the major elements of Denver Water’s program and the jobs it has created, including replacement work, landscape restoration and community outreach.

How does Denver Water build consumer trust? The outreach that Denver Water does -- not just with the Lead Reduction Program but with many other utility programs and initiatives -- is truly remarkable. We engage with our customers, stakeholders, colleagues, and community partners every day to build trust and understanding. The organization sees it a vital step to develop better solutions for current and future challenges.

What makes up a successful lead service line removal program? It is important to have excellent treatment operations, a well-organized replacement plan, good communications with your customers, and excellent data management. But overall, it all comes down to the people. Denver Water’s success is rooted in our internal professionals, as well as our contractors, vendors and partners who are out there every day working with our customers to ensure their water is safe to drink.

What have you gained from your AWWA involvement? AWWA has some really great webinars and learning events. I’ve met some wonderful people at conferences, and they offer a great opportunity to connect with top experts in the field.

Describe your family and personal interests. I live in Denver with my husband, son and two adorable, moderately well-behaved dogs. I enjoy swimming, hiking, spending time at our mountain cabin and traveling to beautiful places.

What would surprise people to know about you? I am a very average knitter.

Note: More information about preparing for EPA’s lead regulations are available in AWWA’s Lead Communications Guide and Toolkit, and on AWWA’s Lead Communications and Lead resource pages.