Shelby Duplessis, PE
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1. Tell us a bit about yourself. What made you run for the Central Arizona Water Conservation District?
I am a single mom of two amazing young adult children. I have spent the last seven years working at the Empire Group of Companies as the president of land development but have been in the industry for more than 25 years. I am a professionally licensed civil engineer in the state of Arizona, and I’ve spent much of my career in project management for public and private developments throughout the state. I work closely with all stakeholders to collaborate on the planning and development of new communities solving intricate complex challenges. Most residents are aware that Arizona’s water supply is the main topic that is prompting growing concerns. As a resident and businessperson working in development, I thought it was important to learn more about what was going on and that’s what inspired me to get involved and run. Our CAP water is essential to Arizona’s economy and quality of life. I want to be at the table and bring my knowledge and experience to help develop solutions and create a plan for building a sustainable future. As a board member, I will utilize my knowledge and willingness to listen, learn and collaborate. I recognize how important it is to work with all stakeholders (farmers, municipalities, developers, and community leaders) to create plans that not only work for everyone but also address the challenges of drought.
2. The federal government has implemented a cut on the supply from the Colorado River. What is your plan to increase the water supply to Central Arizona?
I want to invest responsibly in an affordable and sustainable water future. My plan is to look at continuing to diversify our water sources and add to our already robust portfolio. I understand the processes and infrastructure required to move water around as needed and create redundancy plans. I also want to work with the farming/agricultural community to research and implement better infrastructure practices such as the “N Drip” system, which significantly reduces water waste. I would like to help farmers to grow crops rather than pay them not to farm. The N Drip system is a win/win for all as it helps us conserve our water and allows us to be fiscally responsible too. It is the job of CAP to plan for the future by thoughtfully using current funding so that it generates returns on investment for taxpayers. I will utilize my experience to collaborate with legislators and other stakeholders to create a network of conservation and invest in augmentation tools that we can count on to keep water available, reliable, and affordable.
3. There is a commitment of six years to serve on this board, and it is an uncompensated position. How much time are you able to allocate per month to this position?
I am committed to allocate as much time as needed. I have a flexible schedule and can make myself available as needed for the board and committee meetings, in addition to reading all of the pertinent information and data provided ahead of time in order to be fully prepared and engaged for each meeting. I am very organized and feel there is nothing more important than this challenge facing our great state of Arizona.
4. This position deals with contracts, bonds creation and implementation, and levying taxes. What are your credentials that will allow you to take on this duty?
My background as a civil engineer and experience designing infrastructure are extremely valuable on this board. I have worked through Capital Improvement Programs (CIPs) with municipalities, created Community Facilities Districts (CFDs) with development teams, completed and sealed engineer estimates on every project over my 25-year career, and produced and managed hundreds of project proformas, budgets and contracts in the millions of dollars for each development project individually. I will utilize my engineering and construction expertise while reviewing and approving contracts as needed and adding a value engineer approach to minimize the costs as much as possible. As a state and county, we need to examine the various needs within our communities and work together to ensure that we are doing the best job we can managing our water sources and usage.
5. Please feel free to add any additional information you would like voters to know about your candidacy.
I believe through education and challenging our citizens to reduce their water usage we can truly make a difference. As individuals we can adopt simple habits like not running our water while brushing our teeth, shortening our time in the shower, replacing plants with more drought tolerant plants, there are ways we can all make a difference. Similar to what we do with other electricity we could look at offering rebates or incentives for lower water usage. I believe people are more motivated to make changes when they are rewarded. Anything we can do to help conserve is good – my focus is looking at where we can make the biggest impact.