Meet Denver Water's executive leadership team.
Alan Salazar, who became Denver Water CEO/Manager in August 2023, was born in Leadville, Colorado, and is a fifth-generation Coloradoan. His family traces its roots to the historic San Luis Valley and throughout the West Slope. He grew up in the Denver metro area and is a graduate of the University of Colorado Boulder, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in history and political science. He has a law degree from the University of Colorado School of Law, where he studied water law, mining law, natural resources law and public lands issues, secured distinction as a published member of the University of Colorado Law Review and was awarded the Phillip A. Danielson Scholarship for “outstanding promise of public service.”
Salazar has a storied career involving decades of public service in Colorado. As chief strategy officer for former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (currently a U.S. senator for Colorado), Salazar oversaw policy, legislative and communications staff for the governor’s office and was involved in overseeing energy and natural resources policy, including the creation of the first Colorado Water Plan, released in 2015 and updated in 2023, which serves as the state’s framework for solutions to the Colorado’s water challenges.
He also served as chief of staff to U.S. Rep. (and later U.S. Sen.) Mark Udall. Prior to that, Salazar served as deputy chief of staff and policy director for Colorado Gov. Roy Romer and state issues director for U.S. Sen. Tim Wirth. He started his career on the Colorado staff for U.S. Sen. Gary Hart. In all, Salazar participated in 15 legislative sessions through his work with Gov. Hickenlooper and Gov. Romer.
Prior to joining Denver Water, Salazar served as chief of staff for former Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock, starting in November 2016. There, he oversaw operations for 24 city agencies. In his six years with the city, Salazar had daily responsibility for municipal services, as well as strategic direction for the mayor’s policy agenda. He also co-chaired Denver’s COVID Long-Term Recovery Committee. He has been intimately involved with Denver’s growth, density, infrastructure and resource planning.
A past member of the History Colorado Board, Salazar has been active in other civic efforts over many years, including service on the Equality Colorado Board of Directors, as a public interest trustee for the Federal Home Loan Bank Board of Topeka, and the Vision Hispanica Leadership program. Along with other community activists, he helped found the Colorado Hispanic Agenda — a leadership initiative for the Latino community in the late 1980s — and is a graduate of the Colorado Outward Bound leadership school. He currently is a trustee for the Denver Art Museum and the Denver Center for Performing Arts.
The CEO/Manager is the chief executive officer for Denver Water, secretary to the Board of Water Commissioners and custodian of all records. The CEO/Manager also carries out all other duties and responsibilities as assigned by the board as it fulfills its charter obligations.
The CEO/Manager executes the policies and decisions of the Board and reviews and recommends to the Board changes in rules and regulations with respect to all matters appropriate for its action.
In addition, the CEO/Manager gives overall direction to employees and oversees the work necessary to provide an adequate supply of water to the residents of the City and County of Denver, and areas economically and socially integrated with the city with whom Denver Water has a water service contract.
The CEO/Manager represents the Board in ongoing relationships with all levels of government, community organizations and the public served, and recommends to the Board a rate structure and other income producing procedures that will assure adequate revenues to meet operating and maintenance costs, finance of ongoing capital improvement programs, and the principal and interest payments on long-term debts.
Five division chiefs, the general counsel, the chief internal auditor and the chief of staff report directly to the CEO/Manager.
Chief Administrative Officer
- Worked for American Water and predecessor Northern Illinois Water Corporation, an investor-owned utility, from 1993 to 1999. Served as a project engineer and production superintendent.
- Joined Denver Water in 2000 as assistant supervisor of Marston Treatment Plant. Later worked as manager of the Recycled Water Treatment Plant.
- Named director of Operations and Maintenance in 2004.
- Served as deputy manager of Organizational Improvement 2011 — 2016.
- Member of American Water Works Association
- Received a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Illinois.
- Earned a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Colorado.
- Was a lecturer for the University of Colorado’s Water Utility Management curriculum and co-authored a companion textbook titled The Effective Water Professional, published by the Water Environment Federation in 2015.
- Good is licensed as a Colorado Class A Drinking Water Operator.
Administrative Services allows Denver Water to deliver services internally efficiently and effectively and to our customers. The division oversees facilities management: sustainability, environmental compliance, security and recreation. It also oversees organizational functions including purchasing and contracting, records and document administration, safety, emergency management, risk management, information technology, the employee clinic, and the print shop and mailroom.
Chief of Staff
Chief of Staff
- Joined Denver Water as manager of Customer Care in 2008.
- Served as director of the Customer Relations division from 2011 to 2016, when the division merged with Public Affairs.
- Group manager of Molson Coors Brewing Company’s consumer affairs department, where she oversaw all North American contact center operations, 2001-2008.
- Manager of the advisor and investor services contact center for OppenheimerFunds, 1996-2001.
- Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from the University of Colorado.
The chief of staff reports directly to the CEO and has the full authority to lead, direct and resolve day-to-day operational and organizational issues. The chief of staff oversees the successful implementation of key strategic initiatives and is responsible for monitoring and ensuring the attainment of organizational goals.
The chief of staff also oversees the Office of People and Strategy which aligns work and projects to organizational strategy, provides a standardized support mechanism to efficiently complete work and projects, creates a framework and practice for organizational change management, develops our people to ensure they are equipped to lead us into the future and provides a governing mechanism to ensure sustainment of past and future organizational changes, through our people and processes.
In addition, the chief of staff recommends related policy changes for Board approval, represents Denver Water in water and community associations, and acts as a backup in the absence of the CEO/Manager when required.
Reporting to the chief of staff are the following sections: Human Resources; Learning and Organizational Development; Continuous Process Improvement; and Public Affairs.
Robert J. Mahoney
Chief Engineering Officer
- Joined Denver Water as director of Engineering in 2006.
- Worked as vice president/managing engineer, Brown & Caldwell, 2000 to 2006.
- Worked as engineer and principal engineer, Boyle Engineering Corporation, Denver, 1983 to 2000.
- Is a registered professional engineer with the state of Colorado.
- Earned a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering, South Dakota State University, Brookings, 1982.
- Earned a Master of Business Administration degree, Regis University, 1991.
- Received a Certificate in Executive Leadership, Regis University, 2007.
- Earned Dual Master of Science degree in Project Delivery and Organizational Leadership, Regis University, 2008.
- Earned Project Management Professional Certification (PMI) in 2011.
Engineering is responsible for the design, construction and related engineering aspects of physical additions or improvements to the water system. It provides surveying and mapping services, engineering functions, contract administration support, as-built drawings, land acquisition services and GIS database administration for system assets, among other duties. Engineering is composed of seven sections: Survey, Programs and Projects, Construction Management, Distribution and Property Management, Asset Recording, Administration, and Technical Support Services.
Chief of Finance
- Joined Denver Water as the chief of Finance in 2010.
- Worked for Ernst & Young, Arcadis, and Carollo Engineers providing financial planning and rate services to public utilities nationwide.
- Vice president of rates and regulatory matters for Comcast/AT&T Broadband from 1995-2003.
- Worked for Denver Water as a senior analyst from 1993 to 1995.
- Earned a bachelor’s degree in finance and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Denver, Daniels College of Business.
- Appointed by EPA to Environmental Financial Advisory Board
- Appointed by Mayor Michael Hancock to serve on the Denver Urban Renewal Authority Board of Directors.
- Foundation Chair of Colorado Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Finance manages financial resources and acts as the disbursing authority for the CEO/Manager. The division is responsible for creating long-range financial plans, controlling and disbursing funds, and for planning, developing and administrating water rates, among other duties. Finance functions include Accounting, Financial Planning and Performance, Rate Administration, Treasury Operations, Customer Care, and Enterprise Project Management.
Chief Internal Auditor
- Joined Denver Water as Chief Internal Auditor in August 2019.
- Served in a similar capacity at Cloud Peak Energy, a mining company based in Broomfield with operations in Wyoming and Montana, from 2011 to 2019.
- Served as Director of Global Sarbanes-Oxley compliance at First Data Corp., a global electronic transaction processor based in Greenwood Village, from 2006 to 2010.
- Held a variety of leadership roles in finance and accounting with General Electric Co. from 1996 to 2006 in several U.S. locations.
- Started his career in external auditing with KPMG Peat Marwick, a large public accounting firm, performing financial statements attestation services in Princeton, New Jersey, and Brussels, Belgium.
- Graduated from the University of Louvain-La-Neuve, Belgium, with a bachelor’s degree in business administration.
- Holds certifications with the Institute of Internal Auditors as a Certified Internal Auditor and with ISACA as a Certified Information Systems Auditor. Earlier in his career was also licensed as a Certified Public Accountant.
The Internal Audit Activity reports directly to the Board of Commissioners and administratively to the CEO/Manager. This structure allows Internal Audit to provide independent and objective assurance and consulting services to Denver Water, as indicated in the Internal Audit Charter. Internal Audit conducts audit engagements that review and evaluate whether appropriate risk management, governance and internal control procedures are in place and functioning. Owing to its unique position in the organization, Internal Audit provides advice and recommendations to improve internal controls but is not permitted to make operational or policy decisions.
Each year, Internal Audit works closely with the Board of Commissioners and Denver Water’s management to develop an internal audit plan, which follows a structured audit planning process. These engagements are scheduled and executed throughout the year, following the internal audit process.
Learn more about Denver Water's internal audit planning and processes:
Office of General Counsel
- Joined Denver Water in 2018 as general counsel.
- Worked as lead environmental lawyer for the City and County of Denver until 2016 when she became an assistant director within the City Attorney’s Office.
- Worked as an associate at Arnold & Porter, LLP, an international law firm, where she specialized in environmental law and complex litigation.
- Graduated from the Yale Law School in 2003.
- Earned a bachelor’s degree from Claremont McKenna College.
The Office of General Counsel provides legal counsel and advice and handles all legal representation for Denver Water, acting through its Board, CEO/Manager and employees.
The Office works closely and proactively with employees and managers at all levels of Denver Water, and has a direct reporting responsibility to the CEO/Manager and the Board. Several areas of legal practice are involved in providing legal counsel to Denver Water, including water rights, contracts, civil rights, tort claims, real estate, natural resources, and municipal, employment, construction, environmental and regulatory law. The Office represents Denver Water in litigation, administrative and regulatory hearings, and internal appeal hearings.
Operations and Maintenance
Chief of Operations and Maintenance
- Joined Denver Water in 2009 as assistant chief of Engineering.
- Named chief of Operations and Maintenance in 2011.
- Has 27 years of experience in the municipal water and wastewater industries in roles as utility owner, consultant and construction contractor.
- Received a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Colorado State University.
- Received a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Colorado at Denver.
- Is a registered professional engineer in the state of Colorado.
Operations and Maintenance is responsible for operating and maintaining the physical and natural assets used to deliver water to Denver Water customers. These assets include rivers, canals, reservoirs, dams, tunnels, pipelines, valves, hydropower, tanks, pump stations and treatment plants. Operations and Maintenance establishes and implements criteria for the proper operation of all assets to the satisfaction of outside regulating agencies and Denver Water customers. It is composed of six sections: Source of Supply, Water Quality and Treatment, Water Distribution, Support Services, Business Operations, and Customer Service Field . Support Services provides fleet services, warehouse and trade shop functions, including mechanical, electrical, plumbing, welding, carpentry and grounds maintenance to Denver Water.
Water Resource Strategy
Water Resource Strategy
- Joined Denver Water as manager of Water Resource Planning in 2017.
- Named chief of Water Resource Strategy in 2021.
- Worked as Director of Engineering at South Metro Water Supply Authority from 2013 to 2017.
- Worked as Engineer and Water Resources Planning Manager at Aurora Water from 2004 to 2013.
- Worked at Nolte & Associates and Calibre Engineering designing drinking water, stormwater, and sanitary sewer infrastructure.
- Is a registered professional engineer with the state of Colorado.
- Earned a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering with a water resources emphasis from Michigan Technological University.
Water Resource Strategy is responsible to ensure a secure water future for the people we serve now and in the future. It does long-range water supply planning, plans for climate change, protects watershed health, undertakes environmental permitting, forecasts for demand planning, examines water efficiency and recycling, supports our water rights, undertakes water hydrology modeling, and directs the collection and management of water in our source of supply system. The team also is critical in building partnerships with other Front Range utilities, the West Slope, and state and federal agencies. Water Resource Strategy is composed of six sections: Demand Planning and Efficiency, Environmental Planning, Raw Water Supply, Water Rights, Water Resource Analysis, and Water Resource Planning.