~Cuyamaca College IRDC
Water Grant Specialist
~Safety & Risk Manager
Vista Irrigation District, Retired
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 overall. 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 Cuyamaca College. 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.