Janet has nearly two decades of experience leading public relations, issues management and stakeholder engagement working for municipal water and wastewater utilities. She has a deep understanding of water issues and has managed communications related to supplies, treatment, delivery, regulations, water quality, rates, environmental protection, conservation and reuse, water rights, land acquisition, permitting, construction, and system failures.
- Project management
- Strategic planning, counsel and messaging
- Stakeholder outreach and engagement
- Water project and operations communications, branding, messaging
- Environmental communications/risk communications
- Issues management and crisis communications
- Communications for elected officials, community leaders, property owners and utility customers
- Media relations and training
- Print and online information tools
- Social media strategy/implementation
Janet directed strategic communications as the project owner representative supporting the implementation (permitting to construction) of two major regional water supply projects – the $850-million Southern Delivery System (SDS) project (Colorado Springs Utilities) and the $1.6-billion Bois d’Arc Lake project (NTMWD). Both were multi-year, multi-county projects that had to overcome intense scrutiny and adversity from elected officials, regulators, community leaders, property owners, and the media regarding the purpose and need, environmental and construction impacts, land acquisition, and associated investments/rate increases. Additionally, she planned and managed stakeholder outreach and engagement for the successful permitting of the $460-million Sister Grove Regional Water Resource Recovery Facility for the NTMWD, achieving the permit years earlier than projected which saved millions of dollars.
Janet has guided utility communications for water quality issues related to treatment processes, lead service lines and PFAs. In 2018, during NTMWD’s routine annual system maintenance and month-long change in its disinfectant, local activists engaged national celebrity Erin Brockovich to help amplify their concerns about the treatment chemicals used. Working with Sigler Communications’ support, Janet and the team developed information and tools to diffuse these concerns and help regional communities better understand the treatment and water quality testing processes.
Additionally, Janet has supported smaller utilities as a consultant to plan and develop communications and messaging to address new EPA health advisories on PFAS and for new regulatory requirements for identifying and replacing lead service lines. Janet served as lead on the Sigler team in developing a communications plan and messaging for the City of Greeley Colorado’s lead service line inspections and replacement program. Greeley Water is conducting initial inspections on 1,900 older properties and replacing service lines where necessary. The firm crafted a campaign slogan (Lead Protection Starts with Inspection), advised on the customer survey, developed messaging and content for fact sheets, FAQs, maps, infographics, news releases, and website information, and community outreach strategy.
As an employee and consultant for multiple water utilities, Janet has managed and developed communications in response and preparation for various crises. At Colorado Springs Utilities, she managed communications related to employee injuries, water main breaks, wastewater spills, service outages, winter storms, and wildfires. At NTMWD, she guided public and stakeholder information during a major water pipeline break that flooded 13 homes, an ammonia leak at the water treatment plant, chemical and wastewater spills, and an employee death. As a consultant, she has advised and developed plans and messaging for utility clients to help them be more prepared for potential crises, including boil water notice advisories, chemical spills, system/pipeline failures, drought response, natural disasters and employee or contractor significant injuries on the job. Clients include Opelika Utilities (Opelika, AL), Upper Trinity Regional Water District (Lewisville, TX) and Liberty City WSC (Gladewater, TX). Janet has completed FEMA Advanced Public Information Officer training and several courses under the National Incident Management System (NIMS).
Education and Affiliations
Janet holds a B.A. in Journalism from Texas State University, San Marcos, TX. She has received a number of recognitions over her career.
- Member American Water Works Association (AWWA)
- Member Texas AWWA
- Member Georgia Association of Water Professionals
- Featured case study in AWWA’s Risk Communication Guide for Water Utilities, 2019
- Recipient of five Texas AWWA Communications Awards for NTMWD, 2017
- Recipient of AWWA Public Communications Award for SDS/Colorado Springs Utilities, 2014