Andrew DeGraca: Carrying Forward 100 Years of San Francisco Legacy and Leadership

In 1920, Woodrow Wilson was in the White House, Prohibition closed bars across the country, and the 19th Amendment guaranteed women the right to vote. The Roaring Twenties were just getting started. 

In San Francisco, George A. Elliott, chief engineer of the Spring Valley Water Company, helped establish and become the first board chair of the new California-Nevada Section (CA-NV) of the American Water Works Association (AWWA) in April 1920. With a mission to support water professionals who provide safe and reliable water, the Section has successfully lead, educated and served the drinking water community for the past 99 years. The George A. Elliott Memorial Award is the highest CA-NV award, created in 1949 to recognize outstanding volunteer service to the Section. 

Andrew DeGraca, SFPUC Water Quality Division Manager.

On October 22, 2019, the gavel and title of CA-NV Section board chair were passed to Andrew DeGraca, SFPUC Water Quality Division Manager. DeGraca is a licensed professional chemical engineer and graduate of the University of California at Berkeley. He has worked for the SFPUC since 1986. DeGraca enjoys working with SFPUC staff, stakeholders and national and international professional associations, collaborating together to solve problems. On a personal note, he hopes to plan a family trip to Europe and spend time with his daughter, who is studying biomedical engineering at the University of California at Davis.  

Andrew DeGraca (center) presenting an award to Teresa Penunuri, LAC Chair (left). Photo courtesy: American Water Association, California-Nevada website.

With the Section’s upcoming 100 anniversary in April 2020, DeGraca will carry on San Francisco’s legacy and leadership and hopes to accomplish several major goals during his term as board chair. DeGraca plans to hire a new executive director and ensure a smooth transition, establish a Water Utility Council that will more effectively respond to the increasing pace of legislation and regulation in California, and improve Section effectiveness by implementing management best practices.

“I am proud to add to San Francisco’s leadership legacy, especially at this historic time, and hope to leave the Section positioned to better serve our members well into the future,” said DeGraca. 

Spring Valley Water Company Portraits, Executives and Staff Members, Unidentified 4×5 Glass Plates, G.A.Elliott. April 1, 1917.