A former city of Port Townsend engineer has been hired as the new water superintendent for the Jefferson County Public Utility District, overseeing all water and sewer staff and operations.
Samantha Harper spent 12 years with the city of Port Townsend, where she worked on engineering projects including water distribution, stormwater management, roads, sidewalks and facility construction.
According to Harper, at the city, her work was mainly on the “capital and development side,” whereas at the PUD, her role is set to include more operations work, which is one of the things that attracted her to the job.
As water superintendent, Harper is slated to manage a staff of seven, and to oversee the PUD’s nine group “A” public water systems, plus multiple community drain fields, which serve more than 5,000 customers across Jefferson County.
Harper has also signed on to supply and review much of the engineering work needed to expand and maintain those systems, since she’s licensed as a Professional Engineer (PE), and having a PE at the head of the water department was critical for PUD General Manager Kevin Streett.
“We’ve been outsourcing the engineering on the water side for the last couple of years,” Streett said. “But we needed someone in-house. I worked with Samantha for years when she was at the city. She was the right person for this job, and I am excited to see where she’ll take it.”
Before joining the city of Port Townsend in 2007, Harper worked for the Stockton East Water District, a public utility in California.
Although she’s currently licensed as a civil engineer, Harper has a degree in mechanical engineering from San Francisco State University, as does her husband, whom she met in school.
Harper and her husband moved from California to Washington state when he was hired by FKC, Co. Ltd, an industrial manufacturing company in Port Angeles.
Harper commuted from Port Angeles to Port Townsend during her first seven years at the city, but relocated to Jefferson County five years ago.
Harper and her husband have two boys, both of whom are attending Salish Coast Elementary, and the family is very involved in local team sports; Harper coaches basketball and her husband coaches baseball.
“I like being a part of a small community,” Harper said about life in Jefferson County. “And I like working where my boys go to school.”
Harper added she was excited for the new challenge and the promotion of joining the PUD.
“I love learning new things and meeting new people,” Harper said. “I like to help people, and that’s what I hope to do here at the PUD.”