The Santa Margarita Water District Board of Directors on Friday selected Dr. Betty Olson to serve as President for 2015. Dr. Olson has been a SMWD Director since 1994 and has served as President four times before.
Dr. Olson receives the gavel from Director Saundra Jacobs, a director since 1996 who was reelected in November. Newly elected Orange County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett administered the oath of office for Jacobs on Friday as freshman Assemblyman Bill Brough looked on. Bartlett and Brough represent South Orange County.
The Board presidency is the second honor for Dr. Olson recently. Earlier this month, Gov. Jerry Brown appointed Dr. Olson to the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board, a position that requires legislative approval. The state’s nine regional boards are semi-autonomous, setting local standards, issuing waste-discharge requirements, determining compliance with those requirements and taking appropriate enforcement actions.
Dr. Olson is a full professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering in the Henri Samueli School of Engineering at the University of California, Irvine. Additionally, Dr. Olson was the founding Director of the Urban Water Research Center at UCI and serves as an Associate Director for the Center. Her areas of specialization include environmental microbiology, water and wastewater microbiology.
She is also a member of the Orange County Water Association and the Association of California Water Agencies. Before joining SMWD, she was a director of the Irvine Ranch Water District for eight years.
Dr. Olson earned Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Science degrees in environmental health science from the University of California, Berkeley.
Charley Wilson, a Director since 2000, was appointed Vice President of the Board.