Kishia L. Powell was appointed Commissioner of the City of Atlanta’s Department of Watershed Management by Mayor Kasim Reed in June 2016. She possesses more than 19 years of experience in sustainable infrastructure management and utility operations. As Commissioner, she is responsible for oversight of the Department’s $546M annual operating budget, a five-year capital improvement plan of $1.2B including the Water Supply Program and the Clean Water Atlanta consent decree program. Since her appointment she has worked to set the strategic direction of Watershed Management with a focus on improving service delivery to DWM’s 1.8M customers, workforce development and infrastructure investment. Prior to joining the City of Atlanta, Commissioner Powell served as the Public Works Director for the City of Jackson, Mississippi where she was responsible for developing 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 in October 2015. Most notably, Powell developed revenue recovery strategies for the water and sewer enterprise and developed a plan to tackle water theft resulting in the elimination of more than 1,700 illegal water connections.
Commissioner Powell has held a number of leadership positions in cities across the United States including Gary, Indiana; Richmond, Virginia and Baltimore, Maryland. She also served as lead engineer on a major wastewater infrastructure program in London, England. Previously, she served as Bureau Head for the City of Baltimore’s regional water and wastewater utility. Powell holds a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering from Morgan State University.