Water District General Manager Announces Retirement

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Santa Clara Valley Water District General Manager Stan Williams today announced his retirement from the district, effective Jan. 31, 2008

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In the past ten years alone, he has helped secure over half a billion dollars from the federal government towards flood protection, environmental, and water projects that have protected our businesses, roads, and homes and ensured that the Valley’s economic engine would keep running.

Santa Clara Valley Water District General Manager Stan Williams today announced his retirement from the district, effective Jan. 31, 2008.

“It’s been an honor and a privilege to serve as the Santa Clara Valley Water District’s CEO and general manager for the past 13 years. I look forward to a period of reflection and rejuvenation as I spend time with my family and explore other opportunities of interest,” said Williams.

In a letter to the district board announcing his retirement, Williams identified some key accomplishments by the district under his leadership, including:

  • Providing flood protection to more than 80,000 parcels on 15 creeks.
  • Increasing water conservation in the county to 40,000 acre-feet per year, so that Santa Clara County residents use less water today than in 1986 -- despite population growth.
  • Partnering with communities to open 36 miles of trails along district creeks and streams and implementing more than 300 acres of environmental enhancement sites in the county.
  • Upgrading the safety and efficiency of the water district’s three drinking water treatment plants, including the introduction of ozone treatment for more healthful water, as part of a $253 million capital improvement project.

“Stan has successfully guided the district through times which included some of the most significant challenges that we have faced during our 77-year history,” said Board Chair Tony Estremera.

“It was through his leadership that we have established a management philosophy and vision of ‘Getting Cleaner, Greener, Leaner…Together’ -- an approach designed to make excellent performance and environmentally conscious practices a way of life at the district,” Director Estremera added.

Williams is well known in the industry for his leadership in creating progressive agency management and water policies, and for his forward thinking and environmentally responsible approach to engineering projects.

Richard Roos-Collins, Legal Services Director of the Natural Heritage Institute said, “Under Stan’s leadership, the District has become much more effective in environmental stewardship. Stan helped the district make tremendous progress in protecting and restoring local watersheds for water supply, fisheries, recreation and other beneficial uses.”

Williams is also recognized for his collaborative, problem-solving style with employees, community groups, and other municipal agencies. Commenting on Williams’ approach, San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed said, “Under Stan’s leadership the District has become a much more collaborative agency and he has identified solutions that benefit our local residents and businesses.”

In addition to the projects noted above, Williams provided the district lead on two other significant accomplishments:

  • Two California Awards to the district for Performance Excellence (the California version of the Malcolm Baldrige-based performance program);
  • A negotiated settlement to environmental disputes that had threatened to stop the Guadalupe River Flood Protection and River Park Project in downtown San Jose. Completed in 2004, this $350 million project was noted by the San Jose Mercury News as a “great example of how government can get it right.”
  • Williams also helped launch the Bay Area Water Agencies Coalition (BAWAC), which includes nine major water agencies that meet to coordinate and share best practices on water supply and quality. As chair of the group, he led the process for developing an integrated regional water management plan for the San Francisco Bay Area.

Pat Dando, CEO of the San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce, lauded Williams’ fiscal vision. “Stan is a true leader in ensuring that Silicon Valley’s infrastructure was well funded,” she said. “In the past ten years alone, he has helped secure over half a billion dollars from the federal government towards flood protection, environmental, and water projects that have protected our businesses, roads, and homes and ensured that the Valley’s economic engine would keep running.”

Williams has served on the Board of Directors of the Silicon Valley United Way and the Silicon Valley Pollution Prevention Center. His current community service includes the Board of Directors for the San Jose/Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Board of Directors for the San Jose Conservation Corps and Charter School.

Williams has spent more than three decades establishing and meeting the highest standards in public service. The district’s Board of Directors recruited Williams in 1990 to serve as an Assistant General Manager before appointing him as General Manager in 1994. Previous to his position at the water district, Williams created and oversaw the Stormwater Management Department for the City of Tulsa, Oklahoma, after serving at the federal level in Washington, D.C. and the state level in Oklahoma. He also served with the Army in Vietnam during 1969-1970.

A resident of San Jose, Williams received his Juris Doctorate from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., He also holds a master’s degree in regional and city planning and a bachelor's degree in political science, both from the University of Oklahoma.

The Santa Clara Valley Water District manages wholesale drinking water resources and provides stewardship for the county's watersheds, including 10 reservoirs, hundreds of miles of streams and groundwater basins. The water district also provides flood protection throughout Santa Clara County.    

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