Water Resources promotes female superintendent

Water Resources promotes first female superintendent
Posted on 06/28/2019
Amanda James

The city of Rocky Mount's Water Resources Department has promoted its first female to serve as superintendent. Amanda James, a 21-year employee of the city of Rocky Mount, began her new role as Water Quality Services superintendent the week of June 17.

In her previous position as laboratory supervisor at the Tar River Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility, James realized how bringing people with different backgrounds together could make for better service in the department.

“Women provide a different perspective and having diversity at all levels of management in the Water Resources industry as a whole benefits everyone,” said James.

No stranger to hard work, the wife and mother of two earned her Master of Public Administration degree Dec. 2018, maintaining a 4.0 grade point average throughout the program.

“I’m someone who likes being challenged,” said James. “I want to serve Rocky Mount to the best of my abilities, and this is one way for me to do that.”

While she knows the term trailblazer applies, she admits that the people she met along the way who encouraged her to grow are a part of her success.

“I had confidence boosters from many people along the way who saw something in me,” she said.

As someone who has been helped by others, James feels the need to repay their generosity by helping those who come behind her, especially other women.

“I want them to see that anything is possible,” explained James. “If you are willing to put in the work, you can achieve your dream.”

This step in her continuing dream is one her director says is much deserved.

“I am very proud to appoint Amanda to the role of superintendent,” said Water Resources Director Brenton Bent. “Based on her commitment to the division and to the organization as a whole, her tenure and knowledge of processes in both Water and Wastewater, now is her time. She earned it.”

In addition to her institutional knowledge and drive, James holds a plethora of operator certifications including in the laboratory, water, wastewater, pretreatment and land applications.

Overseeing a division that includes four senior lab analysts, two compliance coordinators and a compliance administrator, James will continue to administer the lab she has faithfully managed. Furthermore, the pretreatment of water, adherence to compliance requirements and other duties have also been placed under her supervision.

When she learned she would lead the division, James said she was nervous at first.

“I was a lab tech for one year and have been lab supervisor for the last 20 years, and basically stepping out of that comfort zone, there’s a sense of nervousness that comes along with that,” she said. “But I also know I have prepared myself for this and I can achieve whatever I put my mind to.”

James also understands that she cannot do it alone and values the input of those she works with and for.

“I’m always willing to learn from others so I can better do my job,” she explained. “This challenge excites me, and I am ready to move forward.”

Bent sees James as the right person to take the division to a whole new level.

“It is anticipated that Water Quality Services will play a larger role in providing process optimization for our treatment plants. This would include more consistency to operational practices, facilitating knowledge transfer, troubleshooting support and much more,” said Bent. “Amanda is the person who can help make those things happen.”