Meet Heather Aviles
Water Resources Analyst for Santa Rosa Water
11 years with the City of Santa Rosa
Meet Heather Aviles, an 11-year veteran of Santa Rosa Water with expertise in helping our community find ways to use their water more efficiently. As a sustainability representative, Heather is an integral member of the eight-person Water-use Efficiency team. Her work is often highly technical and involves working with large quantities of data to identify trends in water use. A project she is currently working on includes migrating massive amounts of customer data into a new software system. This work will ultimately improve Santa Rosa Water’s ability to assist customers with accessing water-saving programs, rebates, and free tools. Prior to joining the Water-use Efficiency team, Heather was part of the city’s water billing team and worked as a customer service representative and meter technician. Her experience there provided useful insight for the tools she is creating now to help customer service representatives better assist water customers. She is also busy creating a new residential water audit tool for her current team. This new tool will be used by water-use efficiency technicians to collect customer data and provide customized reports for customers interested in achieving water savings. When Heather is not at her desk, she enjoys providing expert advice to customers about water savings at community outreach events and is responsible for planning the City’s annual WaterSmart Expo. Heather’s journey to Santa Rosa Water included attending Sonoma State University where she studied economics and environmental sciences. While attending Sonoma State, she earned her degree and the opportunity to intern with Santa Rosa’s Water Use Efficiency team. After her positive experience as an intern, she knew that local government and the water industry were a great fit for her. After a decade Heather still loves her job. She gets to help support the community, protect the environment, and work with some “really amazing” people. Feeling supported by her coworkers has made working for the city special. The help and encouragement she received along the way gave her the confidence to successfully move into more challenging positions. Heather is truly grateful for all the people that have mentored her, encouraged her to take on new roles, and helped her build new skills to achieve her career goals. It is often assumed that people in her profession are male, but in fact, a majority of her team are women. Heather takes considerable pride in proving that women in this field are just as good at their job as the men. Her advice to women interested in a career in water is to “Go for it”! There is a lot of potential growth in the water industry and water-use efficiency. In California and across the west, states are facing more frequent, intense, and longer droughts. A lot of the training Heather received was on-the-job, so she says to not let the qualifications scare you away. She also highly recommends that students apply for internships in the potential career field they are interested in during college. This way you can get experience and network with other professionals. When Heather is not at work, she fills her cup by spending time with her husband and two young daughters. Heather loves to be outdoors, so you will find her, and the family riding bikes, exploring the different parks, or discovering a beach at the coast.