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Spring Breakfast Keynote Speaker Kishia L. Powell, a Dynamic Force In the Water Industry

WSSC Water
Kishia L. Powell, General Manager and CEO, WSSC Water

Baltimore born, raised, and educated, Kishia L. Powell is a dynamic force in the water industry as a Global Water Leader with 25 years of experience in both the public and private sectors across the U.S. and London, England. She joined WSSC Water as General Manager and CEO in January 2023 to lead a team of more than 1600 water professionals to manage the nation’s 8th largest water utility and a combined annual budget of $1.6 billion. She serves on the board of the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (formerly as President representing over 400 clean water agencies across the country), she was appointed by Mayor Brandon Scott to serve on the Baltimore Water Governance Task Force, the Morgan State University School of Engineering Executive Council, the Montgomery County Chamber Board and was appointed to serve on the GSA Green Building Advisory Council. In May 2023, the Maryland Society of Professional Engineers honored Kishia with the Industry Icon Award.


Prior to WSSC Water, she served as Chief Operating Officer for DC Water where she garnered the distinction of being among the Top 10 COOs across all sectors.  While at DC Water Kishia had the honor of testifying before both houses of Congress in support of water sector funding and the Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act which has become known as the Bi-partisan Infrastructure Law with historic levels of federal funding for water. In September 2023 she was invited to return to the Senate Environment and Public Work Committee to provide testimony on the BIL implementation and progress. 


Before DC Water, Kishia was the City of Atlanta's Commissioner of Watershed Management, overseeing $644 million in annual operating expenditures and a five-year capital improvement plan of $1.26 billion. She also provided executive oversight for the Water Supply Program to secure Atlanta's water future, which reached a significant milestone in April 2020 when water from the Chattahoochee River started filling the Bellwood Quarry. Focusing on financial resilience, improved service delivery and infrastructure investment, Kishia also helped create a workforce development program by partnering with the City of Atlanta's Department of Corrections to reduce recidivism by hiring prerelease non-violent offenders as watershed trainees. In 2017, the department earned recognition in the inaugural class of Leading Utilities of the World during the Global Water Summit in Madrid, Spain.


Kishia previously served as the City of Jackson, Mississippi's Public Works Director. In this role, she developed a programmatic strategy and master plan for Jackson's Municipal Special Sales Tax-funded infrastructure improvements program, including the "Greening the Gateways" initiative, which led to the City's award of a $16.5 million TIGER Grant. Her previous experience includes serving as Bureau Head of Water and Wastewater for the City of Baltimore. She was named the 2010 Maryland Water Environment Federation's Water Hero.


A licensed Professional Engineer in the District of Columbia, Virginia and Maryland, Kishia holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Morgan State University’s Clarence M. Mitchell, Jr. School of Engineering.

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