Rising to the Occasion

multi-utility equity workshop team of 10 people
OJ McFoy, General Manager, Buffalo (NY) Sewer Authority; Sharise Horne, Chief of Equity & Community Partnerships, Louisville (KY) Metropolitan Sewer District; Colette Pichon Battle, Partner, Vision & Initiatives, Taproot Earth; Andy Kricun, Managing Director, Moonshot Missions; Victoria Johnson, Global Equity Director, HDR; Jamie Eichenberger, Associate Vice President, HDR; Tony Parrott, Executive Director, Louisville (KY) Metropolitan Sewer District; Kishia Powell, General Manager WSSC Water (MD), Letitia Carpenter, Senior Program Manager, US Water Alliance, Walt Walker, Vice President & Equity Practice Leader, Greeley and Hansen

Pursuing Equity and Justice

Agencies have a unique opportunity to achieve broader outcomes by serving as anchor institutions to spur economic development, repair environmental injustices and stimulate community wealth building in historically underserved communities. Utility leaders across the U.S. are raising their voices and working with federal, state and municipal leaders to form intentional partnerships with community-based organizations, minority- and women-owned businesses and the private sector to create more equitable outcomes in the communities they serve. 

In the article "Rising to the Occasion," (requires login or subscription to read) featured in Water Environment & Technology magazine’s “2023 State of the Sector” issue, HDR’s Victoria Johnson and Louisville (Kentucky) and Jefferson County Metropolitan Sewer District Executive Director Tony Parrott share perspectives from five utilities in partnership with community organizations and industry associations committed to working collectively to achieve an equitable water future. 

As the U.S. economy continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, the water sector can fulfill a critical role in the communities it serves. Doing the work requires intentional, innovative and multidisciplined approaches across sectors with the common goal of reducing barriers and improving outcomes through a variety of approaches, including:

  • Equity in Procurement & Contracting 
  • Community Benefits & Community Partnerships
  • Workforce Development & Job Creation
  • Rates & Affordability
  • Equitable Capital Improvement Planning

As we work together to meet the needs of the communities we serve, outcomes-driven strategies and approaches are key to creating a more equitable and resilient world.

About the Author

Victoria Johnson, HDR
Victoria Johnson

Victoria is a global equity director. In this role, she leads an established equity practice, providing advisory services to infrastructure leaders to shape and integrate equity and justice priorities for federal, state and local agencies. She works closely with our leadership across multiple markets and geographies to shape and steward our external equity strategy and goals for broader benefits to communities.