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Portland Water Bureau

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Water Bureau Careers Showcased at Women in Trades Career Fair

By Lindsay Wochnick

During the month of May we will feature the stories of some of the talented and dedicated women in trades at the Portland Water Bureau. 

Many of these women volunteer for the annual Women in Trades Career Fair, produced by Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc. on May 14. This interactive fair encourages middle and high school girls and women to explore the possibility of a future career in the trades.

For more than 13 years, women from the Portland Water Bureau have been a key part of this unique event with the goal of promoting and supporting the advancement and employment of women in the trades.

“The Portland Water Bureau is a great place to work and build a career. I am proud that we have steady participation in the Women in Trades Career Fair, which strengthens our future workforce,” said Michael Stuhr, Water Bureau Administrator.

Thank you to the professional and talented women in the Water Bureau who have dedicated their career to the trades.

Get to Know the Portland Water Bureau Tradeswomen

Nicki Villebrun-Nelson

Nicki was a Seasonal Worker for the Water Bureau for seven years. She already had a commercial driver’s license and had been a Utility Worker II since 1996. Nicki worked in the field on a service truck for years before becoming a Mower Operator in our Grounds Department.

Jasmine Varela

Jasmine is a lifelong coach. She volunteers as a volleyball coach and a coach for the Water Bureau. She donates her time at summer youth programs sponsored by the Water Bureau. She teaches CPR classes and is CPR certified. She also teaches about our water system to students at Clackamas Community College and other school groups she visits.

Jasmine was hired as an Apprentice Utility Worker II in 2004. After six months, she applied for the Meter Tech 1 and became Backflow Assembly Certified. She is now working as an Operating Engineer. Jasmine joined the Water tapping team in 2007 and became an American Water Works Association (AWWA) National Champion in 2008 for the Portland Water Bureau.

Lindsay Birkenfield

Lindsay used to work at a machine shop. She is currently a Utility Worker II, training to operate loaders and backhoes. She was hired in July 2012 and has her commercial driver’s license with an upgrade to drive dump trucks and be a Construction Equipment Operator. She heard about the Water Bureau’s apprentice program from the Women in Trades Career Fair.

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Spam Prevention In the Pacific Northwest, what state is Portland in?