Meet the Team
Navigating your transition from military service to the civilian world of work can be a daunting process. The water and wastewater industry values your skills, experience and proven track record. In partnership with regional water agencies, potential employers, vendors and industry associations, our hands-on teaching spaces and updated curriculum prepare you for a great paying job with excellent benefits, and state and national certifications as well. Our Military Career Day is designed to bring you up to speed on the opportunities, career pathways and next steps you may take toward a fulfilling water career.
The professionals participating in this event offer a important information, insight and connection to an industry brimming with opportunity.
Interim President, Cuyamaca College
Board of Directors
Helix Water District
United States Navy Rear Admiral (Ret.)
President & CEO, SDMAC
Warriors2WaterWorks Campaign Coordinator, Cuyamaca College
California-Nevada Section AWWA
Otay Water District
Director of Water Resources
San Diego County Water Authority
Project Manager and Physical Security Officer, Riverside Public Utilities
Water Treatment Operator
Olivenhain Municipal Water District
Principal Information Technology Specialist (Threat Analyst)
Special Projects Manager
San Diego County Water Authority
Human Resources Manager
Helix Water District
Rainbow Municipal Water District
President/National Executive Director of National Veterans Transition Services, Inc.
Assistant Professor in Water Technology
Program Coordinator, Water Technology Program at Palomar College
Regional Coordinator, Military
and VA Relations, San Diego
Partial Bios for Warrior 2 WaterWorks Career Day
Jessica Robinson, PhD, Interim President, Cuyamaca College
Newly appointed as Interim President of Cuyamaca College, Dr. Robinson brings important perspective to the position, as a first-generation Latina college student and Cuyamaca alumna. She earned an associate degree in general education at Cuyamaca, before transferring to San Diego State. Dr. Robinson’s experience as a student at Cuyamaca made a profound impact on her life, starting her on a path to educational and professional success. She went on to complete bachelor’s and master’s degrees at SDSU. She later returned to earn a doctorate in educational leadership and post-secondary education. Dr. Robinson completed the prestigious Aspen Institute’s Rising Presidents Fellowship and the Community College League of California’s Aspiring CEO Program.. Dr. Robinson will continue to move the college forward in several areas, including equity-minded teaching and learning, social justice, student success, innovation and excellence. She will also oversee the effort to seek state approval of a BA program in WaterWorks Management.
Mark Gracyk, Board of Directors, Helix Water District
Most of my life has been one of service to my family, community and others from enlisting in the United States Army after high school, to today, serving as board president at the Helix Water District. I have given selflessly for many years. In between those two bookends, I have served on a parish council and in other offices, coached for the American Youth Soccer Organization and club soccer and as a Boy Scouts of America troop leader. One of my most rewarding terms was serving for eight years on the Lemon Grove School Board Proposition W Oversight Committee. I started just as a concerned taxpayer and eventually rose to chairman. The committee provided financial oversight while the school district built a new library and renovated classroom.
Mark W. Balmert, United States Navy Rear Admiral
Admiral Mark Balmert participated in the Navy Reserve Officer Training program (NROTC) at the University of Notre Dame, and graduated in 1977 with a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering. He earned a Master of Science in financial management from the Naval Postgraduate School in 1985. He is a 1989 graduate of the Armed Forces Staff College. Shore assignments include Naval Plans Officer at Headquarters, United Nations Command and Combined Forces Command in Seoul, Korea; Surface Commander Assignments Branch Head in Millington, Tenn.; Chief of Staff for Commander Naval Surface Force U.S. Pacific Fleet; Director, Operations Division, Office of Budget in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Financial Management/ Comptroller) and Director, Operations Division, Fiscal Management Division in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations. Balmert was nominated for promotion to the rank of rear admiral (lower half) in April 2004. He retired from the U.S. Navy in 2008. Admiral Balmert currently serves as the President and CEO of the San Diego Military Advisory Council (SDMAC), which fosters positive working relationships between the business, governmental, educational, and military communities in our region."
Don Jones, Warriors2WaterWorks Campaign Coordinator – Cuyamaca College
Don is a native San Diegan who began his water industry career working as a Lake Aide with the City of San Diego Water Utilities Department in 1965. During the next 11 years, he worked in a wide variety of field operations assignments. In 1976, Don was selected to become the first Safety and Training Coordinator for the City Water Department. During the 19+ years he held that position, the safety and training programs he and his staff developed became highly regarded programs of this nature within the water industry. Don left the City of San Diego in 1995 to become the Safety and Risk Manager for the Vista Irrigation District. During his tenure at VID, Don was also heavily involved in the District’s employee development and organizational change efforts. Over a period of nearly 10 years, the District was able to transform its organizational culture into a shared decision-making organization which valued input and ownership at all levels. Theses changes made VID into an award-winning agency and one of the most desirable public sector employers in the region. Don retired from the water industry in late 2007 following a 42+ year career in the field.
Since early 2008, Don has written and worked on several grants totaling nearly $3 million dollars to upgrade and expand the Water and Wastewater Technology Programs at Cuyamaca and Palomar Colleges. These grants focus on recruiting and training the next generation of technicians and professionals for the region. Cuyamaca College recently completed a $900K National Science Foundation grant which helped transform our Water and Wastewater Technology program into the Center for Water Studies. The state of the art facilities, faculty, and curricula of the CWS have led to the Center being regarded as the flagship Water and Wastewater Technology Program of the California Community College system and as one of the top programs of its kind nationwide.
Don holds an A.S. degree in Supervision from Grossmont College, a Bachelor’s degree in Public Administration from San Diego State University, and a Master’s of Human Resources and Organization Development from the University of San Francisco. He holds a Lifetime Community College Teaching Credential, and has been involved in teaching and working with local Community Colleges for more than 45 years, including the past 18 years at Cuyamaca College.
Sue Mosburg, Executive Director, California-Nevada Section AWWA
Sue Mosburg is the Executive Director of the California-Nevada Section of the American Water Works Association, the largest nonprofit education and science-centered association dedicated to leading, educating and serving the water industry and our communities. Prior to assuming this position in early 2020, she was a long-time AWWA volunteer in which her leadership roles included Association Director on the AWWA Governing Board, and CA-NV AWWA Section Chair. A public servant for over 40 years, her program management experience spans risk management, water use efficiency, public outreach, system operations and employee development. Sue is an inspiration to the water industry with her can-do energy and collaborative style. Sue holds an A.A. degree in Speech Communications from Grossmont College and a B.S. in Business Management. Sue served as an adjunct instructor and on the Executive Steering Committee for the Water and Wastewater Technology programs at Mesa and Cuyamaca Colleges. She is a California State certified Water Treatment Operator, Water Distribution Operator, CA-NV AWWA certified Water Use Efficiency Practitioner, and a Water Audit Validator.
Kelley Gage, Director of Water Resources, San Diego County Water Authority
Kelley Gage has been with the Water Authority for more than 16 years, working in the fields of water supply planning, environmental planning, and water and regulatory policy. She started with the agency in 2001, then rejoined the Water Authority in her current
position in 2018. Gage also has worked for Eastern Municipal Water District, Olivenhain Municipal Water District, and the State of Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. She has a bachelor’s degree in geology and environmental science from Michigan State University.
Karleen Harp, Human Resources Manager, Rainbow Municipal Water District
Karleen Harp has served as Human Resources Manager for Rainbow Municipal Water District since 2016. Over the past 20 years, Ms. Harp has worked in various human resources roles in the private and public sectors. She has reviewed thousands of resumes and hired hundreds of employees from the most entry-level to the executive level. Before joining Rainbow MWD, Ms. Harp owned a resume writing and career services business where she helped job seekers make the next step forward in their careers.
Anne Solano, Human Resources Manager, Helix Water District
Anne Solano has served as Human Resources Manager for Helix Water District since November 2018. She began her career with Helix as a Human Resources Analyst heading the district’s recruitment efforts in January 2005. She now oversees all facets of human resources, including leading a team of 3 full-time staff. Prior to joining Helix, Anne worked in the private sector as a recruiter for The San Diego Union-Tribune and Hyatt Corporation. She has been involved in all stages of the recruitment process throughout her near-30 year career.
Jacob Shiba, Assistant Professor in Water Technology, Program Coordinator, Palomar College's Water Technology Program
Jacob Shiba holds a California D3 Water Distribution Operator Certification and T3 Treatment Certification for Drinking Water Operators, in addition to a Masters Degree in Environmental Sciences from University of California, Riverside. For the past three years, he has served as the lead instructor and Program Coordinator for the Water Technology Program at Palomar College. He also serves on the Regional Water Agency's Workforce Development Work Group. His commitment to leaving behind a better world for his own children and future generations led him to choose a career in water, and continues to be a guiding principal for all of his life’s choices.
Jose Martinez, General Manager, Otay Water District, USN Veteran
Recognizing the demand for an increased talented pool of individuals in the water industry combined with the work and skills that military veterans have demonstrated during their military careers, Jose Martinez, military veteran, and general manager of the Otay Water District, initiated an opportunity to create a path for veterans, transitioning to civilian employment, to receive credit for their military experience and education toward certifications in the water industry. As a result of the AB 1588, Jose was selected to serve on the Drinking Water Operator Certificate Program Advisory Committee to assist the state in defining the process to implement the law. Jose has more than 19 years of progressive management and leadership experience in private and public organizations within the highly regulated utility industry. As a military veteran, Jose also has contributed his United States Navy education and experience to the water industry including Otay. He served as a Nuclear Submarine Officer, managing preventive and corrective operations and maintenance of complex systems including water quality and water treatment. Jose has a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering with a focus in nuclear energy conversion from the U.S. Naval Academy and holds a minor degree in Spanish.
Freddy Armijo, Project Manager and Physical Security Officer, Riverside Public Utilities
Freddy Armijo enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1995 with the MOS of 1371 Combat Engineer. He deployed twice to Iraq and twice to Afghanistan. His last duty station was I MEF G4 as Engineer Chief. Freddy retired as a Master Sergeant in Feb 2019 after 23 years. Hired by the Riverside Public Utilities in Oct 2018 as a Project Manager for the Water Division. Freddy currently serves as the Chairperson of the California Nevada Section of the American Water Works Association's Veterans Engagement and Transition
Cameron Adams, Water Treatment Operator, Olivenhain Municipal Water District
Born and raised in the central valley of California, Cameron Adams enlisted at 18 years old and served six years in the U.S Coast Guard as a Coast Guard Corpsman. After completing military service, he began taking water courses through Palomar College, which led to landing an internship with the San Diego County Water Authority, and eventually landing a full time position with Olivenhain Municipal Water District, where he is now a Water Treatment Operator.
Marc A. Glenn, Principal Information Technology Specialist (Threat Analyst)
Marc Glenn has been a cybersecurity professional for over twenty-three years, and has helped create cyber-security programs for the Department of Defense. He is a retired Army veteran with a career beginning in 1989 where he worked as a Bradley Fighting Vehicle systems engineer, telecommunications specialist, and trainer. Marc has numerous certifications and has helped create and mature cyber programs for the Department of Defense, US Department of Homeland Security, NSA, US CERT, ACERT, SANS Institute, Comp TIA, NATO, Joint Task Force Domestic Support Counterdrug, the Ministry of Defense for Macedonia and Ukraine, the California Highway Patrol, the State of California ISO, the California Employment Development Department, the State of California’s Cybersecurity Integration Center and most recently, metropolitan Water District of Southern California in Los Angeles California.
Gretchen Spaniol, Special Projects Manager, San Diego County Water Authority
Gretchen Spaniol has been at the San Diego County Water Authority and is currently the Special Projects Manager in the Human Resources Department focused on personnel, labor relations, and regional workforce efforts. With over 18 years of experience in local government, Gretchen has previously worked at the City of Del Mar and the City of Vista, with “catch-all duties” that covered anything from capital projects and telecommunications to labor negotiations. She has her bachelor’s degree in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University and master’s degree in Public Administration from New York University. She currently lives in San Diego with her husband and two young daughters.
Maurice Wilson, President/National Executive Director of National Veterans Transition Services, Inc.
Maurice Wilson is the co-founder and President/National Executive Director of National Veterans Transition Services, Inc. and a retired Master Chief petty Officer of the United States Navy. He along with retired Rear Admiral Ronne Froman co-founded NVTSI/REBOOT in January 2010. Troubled with the high unemployment, homelessness, high drug abuse and other issues associated with military-to-civilian reintegration, Wilson designed REBOOT, a three-week behavior-based military-to-civilian transition program designed to help returning service members/veterans/spouses successfully reintegrate back into civilian life after years of military service. Admiral Froman serves as Chair/CEO of NVTSI/REBOOT.
Jeremiah Irvin, Regional Coordinator, Military & VA Relations, San Diego
Jeremiah Irvin is a Regional Coordinator, Military & VA Relations, at National University, serving servicemembers, veterans, and their families in the greater San Diego region. He is an Army veteran with over 10 years of service in both the active and reserve components. Jeremiah joined National University’s military outreach team in 2017 and remains an active member in San Diego’s military and veteran communities.
Prior to joining National University, Jeremiah supported numerous organizations as a Department of Defense contractor, including platform design at the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR), as well as public relations and community engagement for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR). He holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from University of Phoenix and a Master of Arts in Strategic Communications from National University. Jeremiah manages outreach in the greater San Diego region and conducts outreach throughout California.