~Safety & Risk Manager
Vista Irrigation District,
Don is a native San Diegan who began his water industry career working
as a Lake
Aide with the City of San
Diego Water Utilities Department in July of 1965.
During the next 11 years, he worked as a Laborer, Utility Worker,
Pump Station Operator, Assistant Reservoir Keeper, Construction Foreman,
and Senior Utility Supervisor. In
1976, Don was selected to become the first Safety and Training
Coordinator for the City Water Department.
During the 19+ years he held that position, the employee training
and development programs he and his staff designed became among the most
highly regarded programs of this nature within the water industry.
Don left the City of San Diego
in 1995 to become the Safety Manager for the Vista Irrigation District.
In addition to handling safety & risk management issues, Don was
also heavily involved in the District’s employee development and
organizational change efforts.
Over a period of nearly 10 years, the District was able to transform its
organizational culture from being a very conservatively managed,
top-down agency into a shared decision-making organization which values
input and ownership at all levels.
Theses changes made Vista Irrigation District into an
award-winning agency and one of the most desirable public sector
employers in our region. Don
retired from Vista Irrigation District in late 2007 following a 42+ year
career in the water industry.
Since early 2008, Don has worked as the water industry specialist on
several grant projects to upgrade and expand the Water and Wastewater
Technology Programs at Cuyamaca and
the California College system
These grants target the water industry’s need to hire and train
the next generation of technicians and professionals for the region.
Don holds an AS degree in Supervision from Grossmont College, a
Bachelor’s degree in Public Administration from San Diego State
University, and a Master’s of Human Resources and Organization
Development from the University of San Francisco.
He holds a Lifetime Community College Teaching Credential, and
has been involved in teaching and working with local Community Colleges
for nearly 30 years, including the past 6 years at
He currently teaches several courses in the Water and Wastewater
Technology Program at Cuyamaca, and has been involved in the
Water/Wastewater program for more than 35 years.