Metropolitan's Apprenticeship Program is for mechanical and electrical technicians. It provides journey-level skills training using a combination of structured on-the-job experiences as well as related lectures and labs.
Adel Hagekhalil is the general manager and chief executive officer for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the largest wholesale drinking water supplier in the country that provides water to 26-member public agencies, serving 19 million people.
As general manager, Hagekhalil is responsible for leading Metropolitan’s operations and long-term planning to provide safe, reliable drinking water to Southern California. He oversees Metropolitan’s $1.9 billion annual budget, 1,800 employees, and an extensive system of conveyance, storage, treatment, and delivery infrastructure.
Under Hagekhalil, the agency is entering a new era of sustainability and resiliency in the face of climate change and other threats to the region’s water reliability. He is committed to a “One Water” vision that incorporates every source of water, including imported and groundwater supplies, reuse, conservation, stormwater and wastewater. And he is focused on empowering Metropolitan’s workforce, promoting diversity, equity and inclusion and fostering innovation and partnerships so that Metropolitan can better serve its Southern California communities.
Hagekhalil is a registered civil engineer and national board-certified environmental engineer, having earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering from the University of Houston in Texas.
Before joining Metropolitan, he was the executive director and general manager of the City of Los Angeles Bureau of Street Services. There, he worked to integrate climate adaptation, equity and green infrastructure into the largest municipal street system in the nation.
Hagekhalil has more than three decades of experience in water, climate and environmental issues, and infrastructure management, including as assistant general manager of the Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation, where he oversaw the city’s wastewater collection system, stormwater and watershed protection program, water quality compliance, advance planning and facilities. He also helped develop the city’s 2040 One Water LA Plan.
Hagekhalil is a member of the American Public Works Association as well as the Water Environment Federation, which recognized him in 2019 as a WEF Fellow for his contributions to and impact in the global water environment. In 2021, he received the Edward J. Cleary Award for his public service in the conduct of environmental protection programs from the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists. He also served for more than a decade as a board member on the National Association of Clean Water Agencies, including a term as president.
Hagekhalil and his wife, Lubna, reside in Fullerton. They have three adult children.
Marcia Scully is general counsel for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. She is responsible for providing legal representation to Metropolitan on construction matters, managing outside counsel and coordinating representation of Metropolitan in significant litigation matters. She previously provided assistance in employment and Colorado River resource matters.
Scully joined Metropolitan in 1995 after a decade of private law practice, during which she represented clients on redevelopment plan adoptions, land use as well as environmental and municipal law matters, including negotiation and documentation of retail, industrial, hotel and housing developments. From 1981 to 1985, she was assistant city attorney for the city of Inglewood, where she served as counsel to the planning commission and handled all civil matters with an emphasis on redevelopment, land use, construction, employment and disability issues.
In addition to providing pro bono legal services, she served as president of the University of Michigan's Alumnae Club of Los Angeles. She is a recipient of the 1996 State Bar of California, District 7 President's Pro Bono Service Award, and the Southern California Association of Non-Profit Housing Advocate of the Year Award. She is also a member of the League of Women Voters for Whittier and served two terms on the Whittier Planning Commission, including three years as chair.
Scully earned a bachelor's degree in liberal arts from the University of Michigan, a master's degree in urban planning from Wayne State University and a law degree from Loyola Law School.
Scott Suzuki is the general auditor for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. His responsibilities include providing independent, objective assurance and consulting services to improve risk management, control, and governance.
Prior to joining Metropolitan, Suzuki served as Orange County’s assistant director/acting director of internal audit since 2018. He got his start in the auditing field in 1995 as internal auditor for HomeBase, Inc. followed by auditor positions at Deloitte and the California State University system, before joining Orange County as a principal/senior internal auditor in 2002. In 2006, Suzuki became an internal audit/compliance manager for Santa Ana-based John Wayne Airport before transferring to Orange County’s auditor-controller division in 2014 as an accounting manager. In 2016, he was promoted to director/assistant director of internal audit at the auditor-controller’s office before moving to his most recent role as assistant director/acting director.
Suzuki received his bachelor’s degree in business economics from the University of California, Los Angeles. He holds a CPA license and CIA, CISA, and CFE designations.
Abel Salinas is the ethics officer for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. He is responsible for developing and implementing Metropolitan's ethics policies and procedures, and fostering an ethical culture among Metropolitan directors, managers and staff.
Prior to joining Metropolitan, Salinas was a special agent in charge in the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Inspector General. Based in the agency's Los Angeles regional office, he led investigative personnel in multi-state offices, developed policy and investigated government employees, public officials, contractors, educational institutions, businesses, and non-profit organizations for any federal and state law violations, including ethical concerns. Before joining that agency, he served for three years in the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
Salinas holds a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from the University of Texas – Pan American and a master's degree in policy management from Georgetown University.
Deven Upadhyay is the executive officer and assistant general manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. He is responsible for managing the operational business functions of the district, which include system operations, engineering, planning and water resources management. Among his primary duties is to implement the Chief Executive Officer's business plan and initiatives as well as to oversee the application and operational practice of the board's policies and directives.
Upadhyay began his career with Metropolitan in 1995 as a resource specialist in the Planning and Resources Division. In 2005 he left Metropolitan to work for the Municipal Water District of Orange County on water policy issues. In 2008, he returned to Metropolitan as the budget and financial planning section manager before becoming group manager for Water Resources Management in 2010.
An avid tennis player and a devoted Angel's baseball fan, Upadhyay earned a bachelor's degree in economics from California State University, Fullerton and a master's degree in public administration from the University of La Verne.
Shane Chapman is the assistant general manager and chief administrative officer of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. He is responsible for the strategic direction and management of Metropolitan’s critical administrative functions. His primary responsibilities include oversight of human resources, information technology, real property, environmental planning, administrative services, board administration and security management.
Prior to rejoining Metropolitan in January 2018, Chapman was general manager of the Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District from October 2010 to August 2017. Here he oversaw the completion of a major expansion of a direct reuse recycled water system, as well as the design, permitting and development of an indirect reuse recycled water project and an award-winning conservation outreach strategy. Chapman maintained effective relationships with the Main San Gabriel Basin Watermaster, retail water providers, the Regional Water Quality Control Board, Los Angeles County Department of Public Works, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and local, state and federal elected officials.
Chapman previously held various management roles in his preceding 20 years at Metropolitan including assistant group manager of operations, revenue rates and budget manager, and water resources program manager where he participated in long-term planning and resource management initiatives on both the State Water Project and Colorado River.
A graduate of Claremont McKenna College with a bachelor’s degree in economics, Chapman also holds a master’s degree of Public Administration from the University of Southern California.
Katano Kasaine is the assistant general manager and chief financial officer of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. She is responsible for directing Metropolitan's financial activities, including accounting and financial reporting, debt issuance and management, financial planning and strategy, managing Metropolitan's investment portfolio, budget administration, financial analysis, financial systems management, and developing rates and charges. In addition, she is responsible for risk management and business continuity activities.
Before joining Metropolitan in August 2019, Kasaine worked for the City of Oakland for 25 years, holding various leadership positions, including the city's finance director/treasurer. In that position, she managed all aspects of the city's finance functions, including a $3.2 billion budget, a $1.1 billion debt portfolio, and investments and cash operations of more than $1.7 billion. Her other key executive management roles for the city included interim chief information officer, where she implemented an update of the city's human resources, payroll, and budgeting system, and director of human resources, where she represented the city in key labor negotiations.
Kasaine has a bachelor's degree in business administration from Dominican University of California and a master's degree in public health from Loma Linda University.
Dee Zinke is the assistant general manager and external affairs officer at the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, and is responsible for the agency's communications, outreach, education and legislative matters.
Zinke joined Metropolitan in 2009 as manager of the legislative services section with a wealth of experience in the fields of government and public affairs, and communications.
Before coming to Metropolitan, Zinke was the manager of governmental and legislative affairs at the Calleguas Municipal Water District for nearly 10 years, where she received recognition for her significant contributions to the Association of California Water Agencies, the Ventura County Special Districts Association and the Association of Water Agencies of Ventura County. During her tenure at Calleguas, Dee chaired the Ventura County Watersheds Coalition and was appointed by then-Secretary of Resources Mike Chrisman to the State Watershed Advisory Committee, a post she still holds today.
Prior to her public service, she worked in the private sector as the executive officer and senior legislative advocate for the Building Industry Association of Greater Los Angeles and Ventura Counties and Director of Communications for E-Systems, a Washington, D.C. based contractor specializing in communication, surveillance and navigation systems.
Zinke holds a bachelor's degree in communication and psychology from Virginia Tech University.
Heather C. Beatty is an assistant general counsel for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. She provides legal representation to Metropolitan on litigation, finance, ethics, technology, governance, external affairs, labor/employment, and operational matters. She oversees litigation, finance, and technology work of the legal department, and assists the general counsel in managing the department.
Beatty joined Metropolitan in 2008 after 15 years in private law practice, where she specialized in complex litigation and labor/employment law. She was a partner at a major international law firm, representing private and public sector clients, including Metropolitan. She has successfully litigated cases, including class actions in state and federal trial and appellate courts, water, energy, unfair competition, antitrust, breach of fiduciary duty, technology, and public law claims, and in all areas of labor/employment law. She has obtained summary judgment dismissals of numerous cases. She also served as labor/employment law advisor to clients and has presented extensively on various legal topics throughout her career. She served in her firm's management, including as a hiring partner and litigation supervising partner, and was named a Super Lawyers Rising Star in multiple years.
Beatty earned a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of California, Berkeley, and a law degree from Loyola Law School.
Henry Torres is an assistant general counsel for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. He handles legal matters concerning labor and employment, including civil litigation, administrative claims and employee relations. He is an accomplished litigator who has represented public agencies for his entire career. Torres has handled hundreds of sensitive and complex labor and employment matters, many of which have been litigated in state and federal courts. He has achieved successful results for his clients in hearings, arbitrations, trials and appeals as well as through his legal advice.
While focusing on labor matters, he also provides legal representation to Metropolitan and advice to management on a wide variety of other issues including ethics, security, technology, personal injury claims/lawsuits, emergency response and contract disputes. Torres also assists the general counsel in managing the department.
Torres joined Metropolitan in 1994 after 13 years at the state Attorney General’s office, where he specialized in complex administrative, civil and criminal litigation. He assisted in managing the Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud, where he oversaw complex investigations and prosecuted white-collar offenses in the state criminal courts. He also spent several years in the civil rights enforcement section, which enforced federal and state laws and identified violations for the Attorney General. There, he successfully represented state agencies before the trial and appellate courts, including the California Supreme Court. He also litigated cases representing state officials and departments before the trial and appellate courts, including complex class action and mandate matters carrying significant and state-wide fiscal impacts.
Torres is active in his community, and currently sits on the human resources commission for the city of West Covina.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from California State University, Fullerton, and a law degree from Loyola Law School.
Chief of Bay-Delta Resources/Group Manager, Bay-Delta Initiatives
Nina Hawk is Bay-Delta Initiatives group manager /chief of Bay-Delta resources for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. In this role, she is responsible for managing the development and implementation of Metropolitan’s Bay-Delta strategy, including the Bay-Delta Initiatives Program.
Hawk joined Metropolitan in 2020 as the Bay-Delta Initiatives policy manager to provide strategic oversight on Bay-Delta programs and projects, including Metropolitan’s Bay-Delta Science Program. She also has represented Metropolitan’s interests on issues such as the Delta Conveyance program, voluntary agreements, Sites Reservoir, and major statewide/Bay-Delta policy forums.
Prior to Metropolitan, Hawk served as the chief operating officer of Valley Water’s Water Utility Enterprise where she managed activities ranging from imported water delivery to surface and groundwater storage, recycling/purification, and water conservation/efficiency programs.
Hawk earned her bachelor’s degree in civil and environmental engineering and her master’s degree in public administration from San Jose State University.
Bill Hasencamp is the manager of Colorado River resources for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, where he develops and manages water supply programs to augment Metropolitan's Colorado River supplies.
He has been with Metropolitan since 2001, and during that time has negotiated transfer agreements with irrigations districts, exchange agreements with municipal agencies, and funded new water supply projects which have more than doubled Metropolitan's Colorado River water supplies since 2003.
In 2007, Hasencamp negotiated and worked with other states to develop the Intentionally Created Surplus Program, which allows Metropolitan to store up to 1.5 million acre-feet of conserved water in Lake Mead at no cost. He is one of California's representatives to the Colorado River Salinity Control Forum, which implements projects to reduce the salinity concentration of Colorado River water at Metropolitan's intake.
Prior to joining Metropolitan, Hasencamp was the Operations Planning Manager for Contra Costa Water District in Northern California. In that position, he oversaw the operations for CCWD's new intake and reservoir to provide better water quality for his agency. Prior to that, he was an environmental programs manager at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, where he oversaw the development of environmental restoration programs in the Mono Lake Basin.
His hobbies include long distance bicycle touring, which led him on a three-month bicycle ride across the United States.
Chief Engineer/Group Manager, Engineering Services Group
John Bednarski is the chief engineer and group manager of Engineering Services for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. He is responsible for all of Metropolitan’s engineering activities, including management of the Capital Investment Plan; facility planning; construction management and inspection; project management; and infrastructure monitoring.
Bednarski joined Metropolitan as an associate engineer in 1991 after working at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power for 10 years. His early work at Metropolitan focused on treatment plant expansions and the Oxidation Retrofit Program. He later headed both the program management unit and the infrastructure reliability section in Engineering Services. In the latter role, Bednarski was responsible for Metropolitan’s construction management efforts as well as infrastructure assessments, survey and mapping/GIS activities. He also oversaw the completion of the $1.2 billion Inland Feeder project. Most recently, he has led Metropolitan’s support for the conceptual design of the Delta Conveyance Project and managed the development of the Regional Recycled Water Program and the Advanced Water Purification Center demonstration plant.
Bednarski is a registered civil engineer in California and earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Claremont McKenna College. He also holds a master's degrees in public administration and environmental engineering from the University of Southern California.
Sue Sims is group manager of External Affairs for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. She is responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of the group, including the Legislative Services Section, Media Services Section, Conservation and Community Services Section, Customer Services Unit, and External Affairs’ Business Management Team.
Before coming to Metropolitan, Sims served as the executive officer for the California Water Commission. In her capacity as executive officer, she reported directly to the governor-appointed board and managed all aspects of the commission’s policy, program, and administrative activities.
Prior to the commission, Sims was the chief deputy director of the California Department of Water Resources and helped manage California’s statewide policies and programs related to water management, environmental and infrastructure issues, strategic planning, and communications. She also served as the department’s public affairs director.
Earlier in her career, Sims worked at the Department of Toxic Substances Control and Integrated Waste Management Board at the California Environmental Protection Agency. She also was the chief speechwriter and deputy cabinet secretary for then-Gov. Deukmejian, and was a White House intern during the Reagan administration.
Sims holds a bachelor's degree from the University of California, Los Angeles and a public administration management certificate from California State University, Sacramento.
Debra Gill is the interim group manager of Human Resources for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. She is responsible for directing Metropolitan’s human resources activities; developing and implementing human resources strategic plan and programs; and ensuring all activities are in compliance with applicable laws, regulations, policies and procedures.
Prior to joining Metropolitan in March 2023, Gill worked for over 22 years with the city of Pleasanton serving as the city’s Human Resources Manager then as the director of human resources and labor Relations. She previously served as a member of a number of professional organizations, most recently as president on the board of the California Public Employers Labor Relations Association.
Gill earned her master’s degree in public administration and her bachelor’s degree in liberal studies and business administration from California State University, East Bay.
Adam Benson is the group manager of finance for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. He is responsible for directing Metropolitan’s financial activities, including accounting and financial reporting; debt issuance and management; planning and strategy; risk management; management of Metropolitan’s investment portfolio; budget administration; financial analysis; financial systems; development of rate and charges; and business continuity.
Prior to joining Metropolitan in April 2023, Benson was the budget administrator and finance director/treasurer with the city of Oakland, where he oversaw the city’s multi-billion dollar operating and capital budget and directed all activities of the finance department, including treasury, revenue, controller and budget. He has 20 years of experience in both the public and private sectors, providing strategic financial, budgetary and workforce consulting services.
Benson earned his master’s degree in public administration from the University of Pennsylvania and his bachelor’s degree in political science from George Washington University. Benson is also a Certified Employee Benefits Specialist through the International Foundation of Employee Benefits Plan.
Brad Coffey is the group manager of Water Resource Management for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. In this role, he is responsible for planning and managing Metropolitan's imported and local water resource programs, advancing water-use efficiency and providing supply and demand forecasts for the region.
Coffey joined Metropolitan in 1990 as an assistant engineer. In a variety of increasingly responsible positions, he developed process design criteria for the district's $1.2 billion ozone retrofit program, investigated perchlorate contamination on the Colorado River, and managed Metropolitan's five water treatment plants. Most recently, Coffey served as assistant group manager for Water System Operations, where he helped manage more than 900 employees who import, treat, and deliver water throughout Southern California.
A registered professional engineer in California, Coffey earned degrees in mechanical and environmental engineering from Virginia Tech University. He also holds a master's degree in public administration from the University of Southern California. Coffey has authored or co-authored more than 80 publications and conference presentations.
Chief of Operations/Group Manager (Interim), Water System Operations
Mickey Chaudhuri is the interim chief of operations and group manager of Water System Operations for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. He is responsible for operating and maintaining Metropolitan's Colorado River Aqueduct, distribution system and treatment facilities; planning and scheduling water deliveries and power operations; ensuring compliance with safety, water quality and environmental regulations; providing in-house manufacturing, construction and maintenance engineering services; and responding to emergencies. Chaudhuri also oversees operational activities associated with the Pure Water Southern California recycling program.
Prior to joining Metropolitan as an engineer in 2006, Chaudhuri worked over eight years with the Los Angeles County Flood Control District in various engineering and management roles and began his professional career in the environmental consulting field.
Chaudhuri previously held various management roles at Metropolitan including assistant chief of operations, operations planning unit manager and water quality engineering compliance team manager.
A registered civil engineer in California, Chaudhuri earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and a master’s degree from the University of California, Los Angeles in civil engineering, with an emphasis in environmental and water resources engineering.
Charles Eckstrom is the group manager of Information Technology for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. Eckstrom is responsible for the strategic direction and day-to-day management of Metropolitan’s information technology operations and organization.
Prior to joining Metropolitan, Eckstrom was the assistant chief information officer and interim CIO for Orange County, where he was responsible for the technology vision and the day-to-day information technology operations serving approximately 3.1 million citizens in the sixth largest county in the United States. He was named the “2017 Innovator of the Year” by the Association of California Cities, and under his leadership, the Orange County Information Technology team was awarded the “Best in Category Achievement Award for County Administration and Management” by the National Association of Counties.
Eckstrom previously held IT executive positions at Toshiba America Medical Systems, United Health Group, and Deloitte Consulting. He received a master's degree in business administration from the University of Southern California and a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Jonaura Wisdom is the equal employment opportunity officer for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. She is responsible for implementing changes that build and reaffirm a workplace culture of inclusion, respect, safety and accountability. In her role, Wisdom is developing a strategic and organizational plan to establish a new EEO Office and investigator unit, while developing and maintaining its operational policies and programs and training programs. Wisdom also oversees EEO investigations, ensuring they are conducted in a timely, impartial and independent manner.
Wisdom joined Metropolitan in April 2022 after previously serving at the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority as chief civil rights officer. Prior to that role, she held positions as the agency’s director of EEO and civil rights and interim chief ethics officer and chief civil rights and inclusion officer.
Prior to her tenure at Metro, she led the EEO programs at Florida International University in Miami and at Miami-Dade County Public Schools.
Wisdom holds a bachelor’s degree in criminology and public relations and a master’s degree in education from the University of Miami.
Liz Crosson is the chief sustainability, resilience and innovation officer for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. She is responsible for developing a district-wide sustainability and resiliency strategy that includes efforts to reduce Metropolitan’s carbon footprint and adapt to immediate climate change impacts. Crosson develops and pursues strategies, programs and policies to advance environmental outcomes that address energy use, conservation, pollution, environmental justice, and climate resilience. She also drives initiatives to foster innovation.
Crosson joined Metropolitan in March 2022 after serving as an advisor to the Los Angeles County Chief Sustainability Office and the county’s 88 cities on pressing sustainability and climate issues. She also served as Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s director of infrastructure and was the mayor’s chief policy liaison to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and the five bureaus under the city’s Department of Public Works. She also previously served as the city’s deputy chief sustainability officer and the mayor’s first appointed water policy advisor.
From 2010-2015, Crosson was the executive director of Los Angeles Waterkeeper, a nonprofit organization that protects and restores waterways throughout Los Angeles County through Clean Water Act enforcement, advocacy, restoration and community action.
Crosson earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental science, policy and management from the University of California-Berkeley; a master’s degree in biology from Southern Oregon University; and a juris doctorate from Lewis & Clark Law School, where she graduated with honors, with a certificate in environmental law.
Liji Thomas is the chief diversity, equity, and inclusion officer for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. She is responsible for creating new policies and driving reforms to existing policies and practices that foster and institutionalize a culture of equity and inclusion at Metropolitan. She directs strategies aimed at attracting diverse candidates who enhance the workplace culture and uses a diversity, equity and inclusion lens to address disparities in Metropolitan’s contracting and economic development operations. In addition, Thomas leads Metropolitan’s approach to effectively engage underserved communities and direct community engagement programs.
Thomas joined Metropolitan in May 2022 after previously serving as senior vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion at Beautycounter, a clean beauty and skincare company. Prior to that role, she served as the head of diversity and inclusion at Southern California Edison. Thomas built an award-winning DEI function at Southwest Airlines and, prior to DEI work, served in a variety of roles across audit, compliance, risk management and business strategy functions. Thomas also serves as a DE&I course facilitator at Cornell University. In her free time, she contributes to a variety of charitable and civic causes.
Thomas earned a bachelor's degree from Vanderbilt University and a master’s of business administration with a focus in finance, a master’s degree in accounting and a master’s degree in information technology management and consulting. She holds CPA, CIA, CRMA and SHRM-CP designations and is a former Jesuit Volunteer as well as a graduate of Leadership Dallas.