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Key aide to top Colorado Democrats for more than 30 years will replace  outgoing Jim Lochhead but position is only interim 


Alan Salazar has been chosen to replace Jim Lochhead as chief executive and manager of Denver Water beginning Aug. 7. The position will be interim for the next year as Denver Water’s directors consider long-term strategic needs for the organization.

“Alan’s expertise in natural resources, commitment to public service and empathetic leadership style make him the perfect candidate to lead Denver Water’s critical community mission and the path set in Denver Water’s renewed Strategic Plan,” said Craig Jones, president of the Denver Board of Water Commissioners. “He embodies all of Denver Water’s values and will help us to build upon our outstanding achievements to support the Denver metropolitan area and Colorado to meet the challenges ahead.”

Salazar has more than 30 years of experience in the public sector, working in both the legislative and executive branches of federal, state, and local governments.

“I am deeply committed to the mission of excellence in public service that Denver Water is known for,” said Salazar. “And I am grateful for the opportunity to bring my experience in public life to contribute to this venerable institution, serve Denver Water’s customers and be a thoughtful steward of resources so many Coloradans rely upon.”

As CEO/Manager for Denver Water, Salazar will oversee the 10-year, $2.3 billion system investment plan, execute the policies and decisions of the board and oversee the work necessary to provide water to 1.5 million people across the Denver metro area. Salazar will represent Denver Water through many ongoing relationships with all levels of government, community organizations and stakeholders across the West – especially tied to the ongoing Colorado River Basin water crisis.

“I’ve had the privilege of working with Alan for more than 30 years in various roles over our careers, and I’ve always admired his integrity, his deep policy knowledge and his commitment to public service, which has positioned him as one of the great leaders in this state,” said Lochhead, who has led Denver Water for more than a decade. “He brings respect for and knowledge of Denver Water, its people and history, as well as an appreciation of the role of Denver Water in Colorado and the West, as we face the challenges of growth and climate change.”

Salazar is currently chief of staff for the city of Denver, managing all appointees, including cabinet and department executives across 26 city agencies, covering more than 11,000 employees with a $3 billion annual city budget.

Before his time with the city, Salazar served as chief strategy officer for Gov. John Hickenlooper, chief of staff for U.S. Rep. Mark Udall and deputy chief of staff for Gov. Roy Romer. He has a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Colorado and a law degree from the University of Colorado School of Law.

In its announcement, Denver Water cited Salazar’s experience has been deeply rooted in public policy and his reputation for bringing together diverse interests to resolve a wide variety of issues. In his current role at the city of Denver, he has been a partner with Denver Water on many major projects, including support for the Lead Reduction Program, expansion of Gross Reservoir, and the High Line Canal collaboration.

Allen Best
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