By Cassie McClure
Published in Las Cruces Sun-News 3.13.22
Las Cruces Deputy Director Environmental Services and Technical Support Carl Clark graduated from Duke University’s Water Innovation Leadership Development (WILD) executive education program. After the yearlong program, Clark will bring new approaches to new water and wastewater management, sharing what he learned from experts in the industry.
WILD, launched in 2021, introduces mid-career water and wastewater managers to new approaches and resources for dealing with some of the most pressing issues facing the water services sector today, from funding shortfalls and aging infrastructure to climate impacts and uncertain population trends.
WILD Fellows take part in six online sessions and two intensive three-day workshops at Duke’s campus in Durham, N.C. Industry experts and leading researchers facilitate the sessions and workshops and provide coaching to Fellows, but there’s also a big emphasis on peer-to-peer learning, said Martin Doyle, professor of river systems science and policy at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment, who serves as faculty lead on WILD.
“The idea is to help emerging leaders build a network of peers they can brainstorm with and seek advice from, even long after the program ends,” Doyle said.
“Learning what others in other areas of the country did to manage their resources can be applied in Las Cruces,” said Clark. “The growth of Las Cruces, in population and physical infrastructure, is something that will challenge LCU to provide the same quality services that our customers expect. This cohort program provided a much-needed network of professionals in the industry where we can collaborate ideas and experiences to help solve issues that we are all experiencing. The WILD program gave us a framework of how we might anticipate the needs of our city that have been successfully managed in others.”
This year’s 16 graduating Fellows represented a wide range of utility sizes, from those serving communities as small as 10,000 people to utilities serving several million.
All graduates completed solo capstone projects that showcased how they used their new skills and knowledge in a current work or professional project or to help advance their individual career goals. Clark’s capstone “Primer for Carbon Reduction” shared the need for all utility providers to consider conservation and renewable energy to help reduce carbon emittance as a response to climate change.
LCU Director Delilah Walsh commends Clark for pursuing professional development and hopes it sets an example for others. Walsh said, “Professional development is key to staying up to date in our fields and to best be ready to grow alongside Las Cruces.”
LCU – Your Utility Connection. Customer Central can be reached at 575-541-2111 from 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. LCU provides clean, safe, and reliable services to Las Cruces residents and businesses. Learn more at: las-cruces.org/180/Utilities
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PHOTO 1: Duke University’s Water Innovation Leadership Development Fellows, including LCU’s Deputy Director Environmental Services and Technical Support Carl Clark.