Denver Water: Chips Barry to retire this spring

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Here’s the release from Denver Water:

Denver Water Manager Hamlet “Chips” Barry today announced his plans to retire later this spring.

“Making the decision to retire sounds easy from a distance, but it is more difficult than you might expect, especially from a great job, at a very highly respected place like Denver Water,” said Barry. “After nearly 20 years as general manager of Denver Water, I have decided to retire.”

“Chips has been discussing this with the Board for some months now,” said Penfield Tate, president of the Denver Board of Water Commissioners. “We are beginning a search process for his successor.”

“Chips’ contributions to Denver Water and our broader community are too numerous to list,” said Tate. “All of us have learned and benefited from his leadership, his integrity, his humor and his focused dedication to the mission of Denver Water. It is an honor to have worked with him and to now undertake the important effort to find an equally talented and capable successor.”

Barry is a Denver native who attended Denver Public Schools, graduating from George Washington High School in 1962. He graduated cum laude from Yale College in 1966 and earned a law degree from Columbia University Law School in 1969. Prior to his current position, he was the executive director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources for Gov. Roy Romer from 1987 to 1990. He was named manager of Denver Water in January 1991.

During his tenure at Denver Water, the utility implemented a conservation program that is nationally and internationally recognized as a model of success, built a recycled water distribution system, invested millions of dollars in improvements at its treatment facilities, monitored recovery from several devastating wildfires in Denver Water’s watershed and led the work to recover from one of the worst droughts in the city’s history. The 1997 Integrated Resource Plan, which details Denver Water’s long-term water supply plan, was adopted under Barry. He also has been very active in regional cooperative efforts to open up new relations and continual dialogues among water providers throughout Colorado, and in national efforts dealing with global climate change, water infrastructure funding and regulations concerning transfer of water from one basin to another.

Denver Water’s Board has hired Carolyn McCormick of Peak HR Consulting, LLC to help conduct a national search for the next leader of Denver Water. The Board’s goal is to identify highly talented leaders who are interested in the position. A selection is expected later this spring.

Update: More coverage from The Denver Post (Bruce Finley):

Since 1991, Barry, 65, has led Denver Water through dealings with other water suppliers, efforts to improve delivery systems, a major drought and negotiations to divert water from the Western Slope. During his tenure, the utility implemented a conservation program, built a recycled-water distribution system and invested millions of dollars in treatment facilities for its 1.3 million customers. “Part of his legacy is his wit, sense of humor,” said Penfield Tate, president of the Denver Board of Water Commissioners. “His style and his easygoing manner really helped set the groundwork for a number of cooperative ventures between Denver and its suburban neighbors and Denver and the Western Slope.”

More Denver Water coverage here.

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