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SAWS - Senior Vice President/Chief Operating Officer

Location:  San Antonio Water System (SAWS) - San Antonio, TX Download:  SAWS - Sr. VP/COO brochure

About San Antonio Water System (SAWS)

San Antonio Water System (SAWS) is a public utility owned by the City of San Antonio. Our organization’s mission is to deliver sustainable, affordable water services to the 1.9 million people in our community.  At SAWS, we are leaders in delivering responsible water services for life and upholding our values of Excellence, Integrity, Respect, and Safety. 

SAWS is governed by the San Antonio Water System Board of Trustees. The board consists of the Mayor and six members appointed by the City Council. SAWS also operates under the direction of a highly qualified and diverse Executive Management Team. Our President/CEO for the last 14 years, Mr. Robert Puente, previously served in the legislature for 18 years and wrote many of the state water laws currently in place. Our veteran leadership team is focused on quality service delivery through major areas of improvement and growth, operational efficiencies, work culture, and the well-being of our customers and community. This management stability, well established vision, and senior level expertise provides quality planning and leadership for San Antonio. Together, with the President/CEO, the leadership team consists of three Senior Vice Presidents and eight Vice Presidents. 

SAWS is more than an industry-leading utility; it’s also a great place to work. Since 2011, we’ve been ranked among San Antonio’s Top Workplaces eight times - earning high marks for employee pay and benefits, company values and leadership, training and career progression, and overall working environment.

The Position

Under general direction of the President/CEO, the Senior Vice President/Chief Operating Officer provides strategic and tactical oversight for the development of system-wide policies and strategies, which maintain operational integrity, align with current and future business objectives, and support the mission of San Antonio Water System. The position directs and leads a team charged with executing business strategies in Production & Treatment Operations, System Engineering, Distribution & Collections, and Emergency Services. The Senior Vice President/ Chief Operating Officer serves as a member of the Executive Management Team and regularly liaisons with internal and external stakeholders on the President/CEO’s behalf. 

Duties and Functions

  •           Directs, monitors, and evaluates SAWS' operational and safety performance, and recommends and implements corrective measures in order to sustain the operational integrity of SAWS.
  •            Advises the President/CEO on all matters related to the operational management of the utility
  •           Promotes and encourages teamwork and cooperative efforts internal and external to SAWS, including outside agencies and the community.
  •          Develops and updates emergency management plans and acts as the incident commander for major water emergency events in SAWS service areas.
  •           Ensures the preparation and maintenance of regulatory records and reports in accordance with applicable laws, ordinances, resolutions, policies, and regulations.
  •           Participates in the development of executive level conceptual planning and ensures overall integration of the plan by applying executive level business management principles and practices.
  •           Leads the development of short-range and long-range strategies and plans for assigned departments.
  •           Oversees development of strategic plans, which ensure effective operation and maintenance of SAWS water and wastewater systems, consistent production and delivery of quality potable water, and performance of wastewater collection and treatment systems.
  •           Oversees the application of the principles and practices relating to water, wastewater, and reuse water infrastructure planning, development, environmental and regulatory requirements, operations, and maintenance.
  •           Oversees development of capital improvement program needs of the organization, which are aligned with current business objectives.
  •           Monitors potential legislative and regulatory changes and oversees the implementation of business plans aimed at maintaining regulatory compliance for utility operations.
  •           Oversees the development and management of multiple, large and complex budgets to ensure efficient and effective operations, protection of public assets, and interests of SAWS rate payers. Implements asset management programs.
  •           Develops and delivers business proposals and recommendations to constituents, the Board of Trustees, and City Council.
  •           Represents SAWS in meetings with representatives of governmental and regulatory agencies, private firms, and industry groups.
  •           Forecasts, allocates, and monitors the human, physical, and financial resources for assigned groups.
  •           Leads, selects, and develops, a team of professionals charged with executing business strategy and maintaining operational integrity.
  •           Trains and mentors employees and facilitates interdepartmental teamwork.
  •           Promotes and rewards high performance and respects and promotes diversity.
  •           Leads the development, analysis, and implementation of policy and strategy, including identifying key strategic initiatives, business planning efforts, and policies and procedures.
  •           Influences events in order to optimize organizational resources and achieve utility goals.
  •           Applies executive level business management principles and practices.
  •           Develops and implements measures to analyze and improve organizational efficiencies.
  •           Performs other duties as assigned.

Education and Experience

Qualified candidates must have a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, Public Administration, Finance, Science, Engineering, or related field from an institution accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency. Candidates with a master’s degree are preferred.  Candidates must have ten years of increasingly responsible professional experience related to large water and wastewater  utilities, with senior executive level experience in financial, technical, and management aspects of large water utilities. Successful candidates should have experience with utility emergency planning, demonstrated success in workplace safety initiatives, and experience in planning, optimizing, and implementing complex utility field services. Candidates must have a valid Texas Class "C" Driver's License. 

The Ideal Candidate

The ideal candidate should have a track record of success through collaboration, a strong knowledge of local, state, and federal water and wastewater operations and regulations, engineering principles and practices relating to water, wastewater, and reuse water infrastructure and construction, and possess financial knowledge to include fiscal planning, budget management, and capital improvement projects. The ideal candidate will have knowledge of water, particularly groundwater, as it relates to the arid southwest portions of the United States.  

The ideal candidate needs to be an organized, decisive leader with the ability to pick up concepts quickly and set priorities. This individual should be politically savvy with the ability to establish strong connections, foster teamwork, and build effective relationships with the President/CEO, internal staff, and external stakeholders including SAWS’ Board of Trustees, elected officials, policy makers, community leaders, contractors, consultants, and industry peers and vendors. 

The ideal candidate should have strong interpersonal and listening skills, be responsive to input, and capable of providing effective and timely feedback. The candidate should demonstrate calm and confident leadership and provide positive guidance under extreme conditions and during emergency events. The individual should be capable of mentoring and leading staff, and effectively communicating with all levels within the organization. The ideal candidate is expected to create an environment where people feel valued for their capabilities and commitment to the mission of SAWS. Advanced presentation and written/oral communication skills are imperative, with effective communication and strong collaboration and team building skills essential to this individual’s success. 


SAWS is offering a competitive salary commensurate with experience. We offer generous health and retirement benefits including annual and personal leave, a deferred compensation plan, relocation/moving expenses, and participation in the Texas Municipal Retirement System and a SAWS defined contribution retirement plan. 

How to Apply

Applicants should forward a cover letter and resume to:
Reference: SAWSCOO 

Affion Public
PO Box 794
Hershey, PA 17033

**The deadline to receive resumes is September 01, 2022** 

SAWS is an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer.

Posted: 08/04/2022