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Portland Water Bureau

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Water Bureau Careers Showcased at Women in Trades Fair

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

Shawna Gawthorne

Shawna worked as a seasonal employee in 1997 for the Bureau of Maintenance. She has a commercial driver’s license and worked for Portland Parks as a seasonal worker in 1998. Then she became a Maintenance Worker on Mt. Tabor. She applied for the Utility Worker II position at the Water Bureau and was hired in 1999. She was a Utility Worker II for six years, working in the field and on a service truck. She was also upgraded to driving six- and 12-yard dump trucks, and operating backhoes. In 2003, Shawna applied to become a Construction Equipment Operator and currently holds that position. She joined the Water Bureau tapping team in 2007 and became an American Water Works Association (AWWA) National Champion in 2008 for the Portland Water Bureau.

Catherine Willison

Catherine applied to become a Utility Worker Apprentice in 2005 and is now a Utility Worker II. She has a commercial driver’s license with upgrades to drive six- and 12-yard dump trucks.

Syngen Coe

Syngen was hired at the Water Bureau in 2007 as an Apprentice Utility Worker. She was a Utility Worker II and is now an Automotive Equipment Operator, operating six- and 12-yard dump trucks. Syngen has a commercial driver’s license. She also volunteers for summer programs and activities at the Water Bureau.


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