Robb Bourland is a person who enjoys giving back. It’s why he decided to inquire about the vacant West Valley Water District board position vacated by Rialto Councilman Rafael Trujillo six months ago.
He answered the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors’ call to fill the seat at the request of the West Valley Water District Board of Directors when they were unable to fill the seat.
“The residents were aware of the issues happening on the water board,” Bourland said. “And they said, ‘Hey, you know they can use someone with some business expertise?’ And I said yes.”
Bourland looks to take his passion in helping others and his professional utility experience to serve constituents of the water district for two more years.
“I’ve been able to bring some business rigor into their usual day-to-day business,” explained Bourland.
That entails meeting with the 82-plus employees of the district and finding ways to get returns on investments and produce project plans.
“There are candidates that are saying, ‘we could do this and that,’” said Bourland. “My philosophy is that I know business really well.”
Bourland ran the business applications for Southern California Edison, dealing with nuclear and geothermal energy, as well as with the utility giants’ field and customer services for about 35 years.
“I understand utilities really well,” he said.
Bourland is concerned with the aging infrastructure of the system. He’s aiming to help West Valley understand the need to reserve funds for the replacement of old underground pipes and poles to mitigate potential safety and service concerns.
“My mantra for [the future generations] is to ensure they have safe, clean, and reliable water,” Bourland expressed. “I help optimize businesses and utilities.”
Bourland also believes the district could improve its technology to help optimize customer service. In addition, he hopes the utility service provider will alleviate resident concerns with increasing rates.
“You do that by making the business run the best it can,” said Bourland. “I want the absolute lowest rates. But we have to take a look at what comprises the rates, the cost of obtaining the water, clean the water, deliver the water, and reduce the costs of those operations. The more we could lower those costs, the more we could lower the rates.”
San Bernardino County Supervisors Josie Gonzales and Janice Rutherford both expressed their support for Bourland.
“Mr. Bourland has done an excellent job as a member of the West Valley Water District Board of Directors,” Gonzales and Rutherford said in a joint statement. “Director Bourland has set a new management tone for the District and is committed to making sure the District provides you with reliable water service at a fair and affordable rate.”
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