| Mills-Wright making history as first woman Standards Council chair
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Mills-Wright making history as first woman Standards Council chair

In a first for women water professionals -- and fitting news during March’s celebration of Women’s History Month -- the American Water Works Association’s (AWWA) Standards Council announced its selection of Sally U. Mills-Wright as incoming chair.

Sally Mills-WrightShe is the first woman to chair the Standards Council since it was established more than a century ago and chaired by George Warren Fuller. Since its beginning in 1920, the Council has grown from five to 24 members, with nearly 1,600 volunteer subject matter experts serving on 72 committees. 

Mills-Wright (pictured left) currently serves as vice-chair of the Council and is assistant director of the City of Dallas, Texas, Water Utilities Department. She was elected as incoming chair at a March 4 Standards Council meeting and will begin her term this June at the close of AWWA’s Annual Conference and Exposition (ACE21 All Virtual).

“I am grateful to the members of the Standards Council for their faith and confidence in me to serve in this capacity and consider it an honor and a privilege,” she said. “In all honesty, it had not occurred to me that I would be the first woman to serve in this position and I’m incredibly thankful for this opportunity to continue in my service to the water industry.”

Named as AWWA Volunteer of the Year in 2018, Mills-Wright has long been an active volunteer and officer at the local, Section and Association levels, including the Standards Council, Young Professionals and Board of Directors.

A native-born Texan, she previously worked as manager of water treatment operations for the City of Arlington, Texas. She received a bachelor’s degree in environmental science from Willamette University in Salem, Ore., and a master’s degree in public administration, natural resources policy and administration from Portland State University in Oregon.

“Over the past 20-plus years of volunteer service to AWWA, I have been blessed with an incredibly supportive network of water professionals whose faith in my ability has given me the confidence to pursue growth opportunities both professionally and within AWWA,” Mills-Wright said. “Their belief in me has led me to my current role and I am excited at the work that lies ahead.”