Kishia L. Powell serves as Commissioner of the Department of Watershed Management for the City of Atlanta, Georgia. With expertise in sustainable water infrastructure management she has leveraged 19 years of experience in both the public and private sectors to successfully serve municipalities across the United States and London, England.
She previously served as Director of Public Works for the City of Jackson, Mississippi where she led the effort to develop a comprehensive capital improvement program and get a 20-year infrastructure improvement program underway using a municipal special option sales tax including efforts to restore city streets under an initiative called Operation Orange Cone and assisting in the process to secure $16.5M in TIGER grant funds under an initiative she conceived called “Greening the Gateways”. Additionally she provided oversight for implementation of wastewater Consent Decree program requirements and the City’s $90M water infrastructure improvement program.
As Commissioner of Atlanta’s DWM, she is leading efforts to ramp up a five-year capital program estimated at over $1B including the $300M Water Supply Program which will expand the City of Atlanta’s water reserves from less than a week to 30 days or more. The 1,400 person DWM team she leads manages the sanitary sewer system improvements under an extended consent decree, oversees major investments in the RM Clayton wastewater reclamation facility, and implements a water distribution system asset management program, in addition to executing measures under the City’s Green Infrastructure Action Plan.
Her career in the water industry spans 19 years in both the public and private sector where she developed expertise in program management, operation and maintenance and asset management. In 2008, she was appointed Bureau Head of Water and Wastewater for the City of Baltimore to lead a 1,900 person agency with an annual operating budget of $300M and a six-year CIP of $2.2B serving 1.8M customers. Based upon her work in Baltimore she was named the 2010 Maryland Water Environment Federation’s Water Hero. She is a member of the Water Environment Federation, American Water Works Association and the National forum for Black Public Administrators. She also currently serves on the Board of the National Association of Clean Water Agencies. As a licensed professional engineer in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia, Commissioner Powell holds a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering from Morgan State University’s Clarence M. Mitchell, Jr. School of Engineering.