San Diego County Water authority headquarters in Kearny Mesa. Courtesy of the authority

Gary Bousquet has been appointed director of engineering for the San Diego County Water Authority as the agency begins the development of a major energy storage project intended to provide substantial long-term benefits for the region, it was announced Thursday.

Bousquet fills the position vacated by the retirement of Jerry Reed, whose 26-year career with the water authority included the past six years as engineering department director.

“Jerry Reed’s hard work and dedicated service has made a profound impact on the San Diego region, which benefits every day from the projects that he helped develop and lead over the past three decades,” said Water Authority General Manager Sandra L. Kerl. “Thankfully, the engineering department will remain in good hands. Gary Bousquet’s dedication to innovation and excellence will continue to enhance the San Diego region’s natural resources for decades to come.”

With the promotion of Bousquet — a 30-year civil engineering professional — Engineering Manager Neena Kuzmich was promoted to deputy director of engineering. Kuzmich is a professional civil engineer with more than 20 years of experience, including the past eight years leading complex engineering projects at the water authority. The water authority is a regional wholesale water agency that provides about 80% of the water used in San Diego County.

Bousquet joined the authority in 1999 following a career in the private sector designing and performing construction management of water and wastewater treatment projects. During the past 22 years, Bousquet managed design and construction of capital improvement program projects including the San Vicente Tunnel, San Vicente Pump Station and the Lake Hodges Hydroelectric Facility.

For the past several years, he served as deputy director of engineering, leading the agency’s CIP Design and Energy Projects Group, Engineering Administration Services Group, and the Water Authority’s Innovation Program. Bousquet graduated with a bachelor’s of science in civil engineering from Northeastern University and is a registered civil engineer in California.

The authority’s engineering department is responsible for the design and construction of regional water facilities, overseeing energy related projects, managing real-estate interests, patrolling and managing 168 miles of right-of-way property and providing survey services.

For the past several years, Bousquet and Kuzmich have led the water authority’s efforts to develop a major renewable energy project proposed jointly with San Diego. The San Vicente Energy Storage Facility received $18 million in the state budget signed in July by Gov. Gavin Newsom, enough to advance the project through initial design, environmental reviews and the federal licensing process.

The San Vicente energy project is a pumped energy storage project, intended to be a major asset to help avoid rolling blackouts through on-demand energy production while helping to meet state climate goals.

–City News Service

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