Margaret Washko is accustomed to assisting in the managing of utilities in an expansive area.
Now, she’ll help oversee utilities in a smaller, yet rapidly-expanding city.
Last week, Lebanon Mayor Rick Bell announced that Washko will serve as the Lebanon Utilities Director.
“It is a privilege to join the city of Lebanon during this dynamic time of growth,” Washko said. “The customers of the city trust us to provide them with some of the most vital and valuable resources to our community, which is clean drinking water, natural gas, solid waste disposal, and wastewater collection and treatment. I am honored to join the knowledgeable staff at the city of Lebanon utilities to steer a positive impact for our customers and the environment.”
The position is newly-formed for the purpose of helping manage utilities due to the city’s steady growth.
“The city of Lebanon is growing, and, while we are making efforts to manage that growth, it will continue into the foreseeable future,” Bell said in a press release. “With that in mind, I asked the city council to create the new position of utilities director to oversee a vital part of our services to Lebanon citizens.”
Lebanon Commissioner of Public Works Jeff Baines has been previously responsible for managing the city’s utilities.
“He was handling them very well given the magnitude,” Washko said.
Baines will continue to oversee engineering and planning, in addition to other responsibilities.
“Jeff Baines has done a tremendous job managing that role, along with many others,” Bell said. “I believe that we have reached a point in our population where we need to split those duties. These departments will continue to expand, and these jobs will expand with them.”
Washko will oversee the gas, sanitation, wastewater and water departments.
Each of those departments have managers or supervisors.
Washko, 59, is a registered professional chemical engineer.
Washko oversaw the design and construction of the $116-million Elis Creek Water Recycling Facility in Petaluma, California. She also headed five water and four wastewater plants, 628 miles of sanitary sewer collection pipeline, 1,200 miles of water distribution pipeline and four reservoirs for the El Dorado Irrigation District in Placerville, California, while serving as the district’s director of operations.
Prior to relocating to Middle Tennessee, Washko — who obtained master’s degrees from both Tennessee Tech University and Virginia Tech University — most recently worked for United South and Eastern Tribes and served more than 60 water and wastewater systems throughout the eastern United States.
“I’ve been working for the United South and Eastern Tribes, supporting their utilities from Maine to Texas to Florida for tribal nations,” Washko said. “I’ve been developing capital improvement plans for infrastructure. I’ve been helping to troubleshoot operations, those type of things.
“The tribes are smaller. It’s just supporting them with regulatory issues and regulatory compliance.”
Washko’s first day as the utilities director was Monday.
“I’m blessed to serve the city of Lebanon and to be back in Tennessee,” Washko said. “I’m really looking forward it. Never have I have I ever the opportunity to work with a leadership team to develop a new department. I’m very excited to listen and learn from the team and serve the city of Lebanon, not just for today but for generations to come.”