Women in Water Series: Susan “Sue” A. Mosburg

Susan “Sue” A. Mosburg is the Executive Director of the California-Nevada Section of the American Water Works Association.  Mosburg has served in several roles with CA-NV AWWA including a long-time volunteer where her leadership roles included Chair of the California Water Loss Control Collaborative, Association Director on the AWWA Governing Board, and CA-NV AWWA Section Chair.

Prior to becoming the Executive Director, Mosburg was the Program Manager at Sweetwater Authority in Chula Vista, where she was responsible for water use efficiency, employee development, school education, and risk management programs.

A public servant for more than 35 years, Sue began her career in the Water/Wastewater Industry in the City of San Diego’s Water Department, cleaning boats and assisting fishermen. And, after 30+ years in the industry, she is still helping people catch their dreams. Ask Sue what the best thing about this industry is and she’ll probably answer, “the variety!” According to Sue, the career possibilities are endless.

Sue earned a B.S. in Business Management from the University of Phoenix and an A.A. in Speech Communication from Grossmont College. Mosburg is a California State certified Water Treatment Operator, Water Distribution Operator, CA-NV AWWA certified Water Use Efficiency Practitioner and Water Audit Validator.

CWND: What inspired you to start a career in water?

Mosburg:Like many others nearing the end of their high school years, as I looked past graduation I struggled to decide if college or career was best for me.  I knew however that a summer job would be required either way.  I responded to a job posting on the career center bulletin board for ‘lake aide’ which ended in a job offer with the City of San Diego’s water department working part time at one of the impounding reservoirs assisting the lake ranger.  I checked fishing licenses, cleaned boats and picked up a lot of trash.  That summer job turned into full time employment and after a few years in water I had come to love the water industry and the variety of career options it offered.  My career path has shifted over the years, initially indoors to join the Water Department’s Safety and Training program. After receiving my bachelor’s degree several years later, I transitioned into administrative leadership and management and positions.”

CWND: What do you find most challenging in your role as the Executive Director of the California-Nevada Section of the American Water Works Association?

Mosburg: Having just started as ED in January I’m not sure I have yet discovered the full range of challenges I’ll see in the months and years ahead.  The Section has been serving AWWA members in our region for 100 years – I’m excited that the Section will be celebrating its centennial anniversary at the Happiest Place on Earth April 6-9, 2020.  For the past 100 years water systems have changed, and so has the technology used.   Like the members we serve, our data management tools and computer support systems haven’t always kept up, challenging the Section to efficiently and effectively conduct business and serve our members.  I’m looking forward to working with staff and volunteers to streamline workflow and upgrade the Section’s technology. Last year, Section staff worked with volunteers and a consulting firm to identify business operation pain points and technology challenges. The Governing Board has allocated funds to begin a technology improvement project. I look forward to this project and the opportunities it will bring to leverage technology to better serve our members.”

CWND: What do you consider the most rewarding aspect of your position?

Mosburg: “Helping others.  For most of my career, I have had jobs that allowed me to help others achieve success.  As ED for CA-NV AWWA, I get to do this on a larger stage.  What better reward than to help others achieve their goals.”

CWND: What advice would you give to young ladies who might be considering a career in water?

Mosburg: “It’s ok to be a bit uncomfortable, to be unsure if you are fully prepared for what lies ahead, or to be the unique person in the room.  As a child I was shy and reserved, fearful of making mistakes and looking crazy — I missed out on a lot of fun and many once-in-a-lifetime opportunities as a result. I’ve learned that the greatest feeling of accomplishment often comes when I do things at the edge of my comfort zone. Sure, you might make mistakes, look a bit foolish, and feel uncomfortable – but with each setback comes the opportunity to learn and grow.  It’s also helpful to find a buddy.  We all need support, that helping hand, project partner or sounding board.  Surround yourself with positive supporters who can help you navigate new waters and celebrate success.  I encourage anyone that’s never attended to join us during our conference events to better learn and network with other professionals as the CA-NV Section hosts its Spring conference and our Annual Fall conference each year.”

This year AWWA will celebrate 100 years.  The upcoming 2020 AWWA, California-Nevada Section’s (AWWA-CNS) Spring Conference focuses on 100 Years: Serving Members from the Roaring Twenties into the Millennium… and Beyond! The conference will be held at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim Monday through Thursday, April 6-9. More information about the conference can be found here.

CWND’s Women in Water looks at some of the most influential women in the industry. If you have a suggestion for someone to feature, please contact us at [email protected]

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