Chief Operating Officer - Wastewater Operations

  • Great Lakes Water Authority
  • Detroit, Michigan
  • Apr 24, 2018
Full Time Water and Wastewater Treatment Executive
  • Negotiable/DOQ: Yes
  • Phone: 313-964-9555
  • Apply By: Jul 23, 2018


It’s an exciting time to be at the Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA)! GLWA employs hundreds of technical and administrative staff, all working to ensure effective wastewater treatment and to provide our award-winning drinking water to more than 80 wholesale customers in Michigan.


We are looking for a Chief Operating Officer to work under the administrative direction of the GLWA Executive Management and exercises supervisory responsibility for wastewater operational units. The Chief Operating Officer (COO) provides strategic direction, assures compliance with regulatory agencies, plans, coordinates, and supervises the operations and activities of the wastewater operational units within the Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA); benchmark and monitors performance, develops and implements policies and procedures, administers the budget, organizes tasks and sets priorities that involve a high level of independent, judgment, initiative and discretion.   The COO serves as a liaison between the GLWA and the customer communities we serve. 


Job Description



  • Provide support to the GLWA Executive Management on matters as directed; participate in a variety of internal and external meetings as required; ensure processes, policies and practices are interpreted and applied consistently and effectively; ensure accountability and compliance with all current and applicable state and federal laws, GLWA policies and procedures, rules and regulations
  • Coordinate and lead the development of the annual budget for assigned units; track projects, CIP; manage annual budgets according to the GLWA fiscal operational goals and key metrics; monitor expenditures and perform periodic cost and productivity analysis; and provide recommendations on GLWA capital expenditures and budgetary reallocations
  • Promote and practice engagement of customers and staff; coordinate and maintain good relationships with regulatory agencies and customer communities
  • Plan, develop, and implement strategic decisions to meet organizational objectives; institute measurements and reporting systems to gauge ongoing performance, oversee all administrative activities of assigned units, ensuring that work processes are maximized for efficiency
  • Instill a high level of customer service values in administrative and operational functions throughout the wastewater service areas
  • Ensure delivery of quality services through knowledge, innovation, customer response tracking, and fiscal responsibility; partner with individuals, community groups, institutions, and agencies to identity opportunities for improvement through administrative remedies
  • Develop business planning models to integrate administrative and support services across the operational service units; provide executive management oversight for the management of assets and processes that reliably produce high quality products and services innovate through cost effective and integrated programs within areas of responsibility; interface and collaborate with executive management team to reduce redundancy and ensure coordination of services
  • Oversee staff assigned to day-to-day administrative and supportive services for the operational units and ensure performance standards are clear, realistic, and consistently met; measure, monitor and assure the performance of assigned units within the operation; plan, direct, coordinate, and review the work of assigned staff, vendors, and contractors; manage workflow and prioritization of projects; coordinate schedules, projects and programs; provide constructive/corrective feedback and/or redirection; review and evaluate performance for compliance with GLWA policies and local, state, and federal regulations

Job Requirements





  • General and executive principles, laws, and regulations; GLWA structure, organization, and direction; managing multiple organizational components including wastewater operations
  • Generally accepted water and wastewater treatment, distribution, maintenance and repair operations methods, standards and performance benchmark
  • Fiscal responsibility and contract monitoring in regards to the Capital Improvement Program
  • Effective conflict management and resolution principles, styles, and strategies between individuals and groups; negotiation and persuasion techniques to garner support of project initiatives and goals
  • Federal and State regulatory agencies, legislative and regulatory requirements, compliance parameters, codes and standards for water and wastewater utilities; legal documentation requirements: public and community relations principles and practices;
  • Customer service, quality management, and process improvement standards, procedures, and principles
  • Concepts, methodologies, and tools pertaining to the organizing, tracking, and reporting aspects of project management



  • Utilize sound legal and employment law knowledge in implementing and interpreting GLWA policies, rules, regulations, and state and federal laws to govern the workforce; provide advice and policy interpretation and ensure administrative policies and procedures are in compliance with collective bargaining agreement’s federal and state laws, and governing regulations
  • Organize training and communications to improve compliance skill levels and increase cultural awareness where necessary; improve organizational performance by identifying current and potential issues as well as evaluating and implementing solutions
  • Identify administrative trends and issues and apply to the GLWA’s needs; building relationships within and outside of the GLWA; work with and review work of contractors
  • Plan, analyze, organize and coordinate activities and establish priorities; ensure timely completion of projects through effective project management, administration, and delegation authority
  • Present ideas and concepts verbally (including public speaking) and in writing: and respond to inquiries in effective, clear, and concise verbal and written communications
  • Conduct independent, original research based on sound analysis and develop effective and economical responses to resolve specific issues through creative problem-solving and decision-making
  • Operate specialized hardware devices or software programs related to the GLWA
  • Use computers and software such as Microsoft Office
  • Use advanced technology
  • Contribute to leadership planning



  • Analyze, develop, and deploy consistently efficient operational policies and procedures throughout the units of responsibility.
  • Develop, implement and evaluate process improvement initiatives; prepare cost projections and monitor/control budgetary compliance.
  • Leverage significant experience and skills as an organizational leader to create and foster teamwork; meet deadlines and multi-task several projects simultaneously; analyze complex problems, and define and implement solutions.
  • Provide leadership, vision, and direction to employees; promote and maintain the highest personal and professional integrity; handle sensitive areas of group operations and information; maintain discretion and protect the organization’s values by keeping information confidential.
  • Acquire additional training and knowledge of contemporary methodologies, principles and best practices in operational units.
  • Evaluate situations having multiple (and sometimes conflicting) elements/considerations; and make judgments and decisions that are creative, yet guided by regulatory parameters, and management principles; organize, analyze, and evaluate tangible and intangible data soundly and impersonally.
  • Understand, interpret, and apply rules, standards, contract provisions, or procedures and persuade others to accept or adopt recommendations, while remaining service-oriented and professional
  • Train, supervise, and evaluate assigned staff and their work; interact with people of different social, economic, and ethnic backgrounds; motivate and unite staff through effective team building skills; implement and maintain positive employee relations
  • Effectively utilize appropriate security and safety equipment and procedures
  • Communicate effectively, both verbally and in writing
  • Understand and follow verbal and written instructions
  • Establish and maintain effective working relationships with others
  • Communicate frequently with team members and other units across the Organization about process, equipment or potential problems
  • Develop proficiency in unit specific operations and software
  • Direct team activities or to work as a team member


  • Bachelor’s degree in a science discipline, Public or Business Administration, or related field.
  • A minimum of five (5) years of experience managing executive and/or professional staff, water or wastewater operations, or equivalent combination of education and experience
  • Master’s degree or additional experience in operating areas

Special Instructions

Please mention you found this employment opportunity on the job board.

All qualified candidates are strongly encouraged to apply by May 30, 2018  (first review, open until filled). To apply online, go to  “About Us” and “Career Opportunities” create an account and follow the directions provided. Resumes and cover letters will only be accepted electronically.


Stephanie Stevenson

735 Randolph Street.

Detroit, MI 48226-2818


Additional Information



The Employees of GLWA....

  • Work and accept responsibility to search for, create and execute new and innovative approaches to improve the performance of GLWA’s services and objectives
  • Assist external and internal customers to serve their needs and take responsibility for continuously improving customer service
  • Foster meaningful interaction among people through the exchange of information to produce understanding
  • Continuously develop and use effective strategies and interpersonal styles to engage and guide others towards the accomplishment of identified objectives and goals in the best interest of the Organization and community
  • Consistently work toward the common good of the organization and encourage others to do the same
  • Conduct themselves at all times in a professionally appropriate and respectful manner in accordance with the GLWA Common Behaviors
  • Apply the proper safety/security practices according to established protocols, guidelines and policies

GLWA offers competitive pay, opportunity for advancement, on the job training, ongoing professional development, tuition assistance and a career in a sector that safeguards public health, supports and strengthen communities, and protects the environment. To learn more about our mission go to One Water

We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our company. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, or disability status.