The Calaveras County Water District Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Michael Minkler has been hired as the new general manager of the District. The Board unanimously approved his contract on Wednesday January 9, and his first day on the job will be February 19.
In November, CCWD’s general manager of four years, Dave Eggerton, took a new job as the Executive Director of the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA). Since Eggerton’s departure, the CCWD Board named Jeffrey Meyer as interim general manager.
“The Board is grateful to Jeff for his excellent work as interim general manager,” said CCWD Board President, Russ Thomas. “The District hasn’t skipped a beat during the transition period.”
In November and December, the Board reviewed numerous applications for the permanent general manager position and conducted final interviews in mid-December.
“I believe that close observers of CCWD’s recent history will acknowledge that the District saw significant improvements in the efficiency and performance of the organization under the leadership of Dave Eggerton,” Thomas said. “It was gratifying to see the public’s positive perception of those improvements. The Board was searching for someone who would continue building on the strong foundation left by Dave.
We were extremely fortunate to choose from a capable pool of candidates,” Thomas continued. “After careful consideration, we’re certain that Michael Minkler is the right person for the job. He is a talented manager and team player who is equally comfortable in a suit and tie or boots and blue jeans. I feel very good about the possibility of him being with us for a good long while.”
Minkler lives in Arnold with his wife and two children and has served as the general manager of the Utica Water and Power Authority (UWPA) since 2015.
“I care deeply about Calaveras County, and I hope to have a positive influence on the County’s future as general manager of CCWD,” Minkler said. “I look forward to being in a position where I can help our County succeed by protecting and utilizing our water rights and being a good steward of our natural resources and the District’s infrastructure.”
Minkler was raised in the foothill town of Oakhurst, which is two hours southeast of Calaveras at the south terminus of Highway 49. As a stand-out soccer player at Yosemite High School, he went on to play college soccer at Diablo Valley College in Concord. In 1997, he joined the United States Coast Guard and was stationed in Southern California, Michigan and Massachusetts during his four-year enlistment. At the conclusion of his service, Minkler enrolled at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, earning a bachelor’s degree in International Studies at the and a master’s in International Environmental Policy.
In 2006 he enrolled at U.C. Davis Law School and earned his Juris Doctor. After passing the California Bar Examination in 2009, Minkler moved to Sacramento and worked for various law firms and as a sole practitioner. He focused on land use and California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and was assistant general counsel for several public agencies. Minkler and his wife Nancy, who is also a lawyer, decided to move to Arnold in 2013 and open their own practice – Park Minkler Attorneys at Law. Their firm was soon hired as legal counsel for the Blue Lake Springs Mutual Water Company in Arnold and the Utica Water and Power Authority (UWPA), which operates two hydropower generation plants and provides raw water to the Union Public Utility District, the city of Angels Camp and to irrigation customers in the area. In November 2015, Minkler was hired by UWPA as general manager.
“The staff at UWPA are some of the most dedicated and capable employees I’ve ever come across,” Minkler said. “I have learned a lot from them and they are like family. It’s very hard for me to leave UWPA.”
Outside of work, Minkler enjoys spending time with his family and being outdoors. He puts those interests to use to help his community as an active member of the Calaveras County Search and Rescue Team.
“I enjoy skiing, white water rafting, kiteboarding, backpacking and many other outdoor pursuits,” Minkler said, adding he used to spend a lot more time doing these activities. “Now it’s just kids,” he said with a laugh, referring to his sons – 3-year-old, Eliot, and 9-month-old, Julian.
Looking forward, Minkler is eager to assume the role as CCWD general manager, emphasizing he strongly believes in a team mentality in order to provide the best possible service to customers.
“The safety and well-being of staff will always be my first consideration,” Minkler said. “That’s followed closely by providing safe, quality services to our customers in the communities we serve. I will make sure we are doing everything we can to be efficient and exploring ways to generate non-rate revenue to keep expenses as low as possible.”
Minkler said he will also focus on preserving and protecting water rights, capital improvement projects, implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), exploring hydropower opportunities and building trust with other stakeholders throughout the County.
“Under Dave Eggerton’s leadership, CCWD made tremendous progress in rebuilding relationships with other local water agencies,” Minkler said. “I intend to advance that collaborative approach because it enables us in the water industry to better serve our communities.”
“I am a firm believer in listening and learning before drawing conclusions,” Minkler said. “I look forward to heading out into the field to meet the staff and getting to know our customers. This is an incredible opportunity for me, and I’m grateful to the Board for their confidence in me.”
Thomas said he is confident Minkler will be an excellent fit for CCWD.
“I am pleased that Michael lives locally, is a dedicated family man and has a vested interest in Calaveras County,” Thomas said. “CCWD has worked with UWPA over the past few years, and Michael has proven himself to be an effective leader, diligent in his duties and a skilled communicator.”