Cathy B. Bailey is Director of Greater Cincinnati Water Works, a utility that serves high quality drinking water to over 1.1 million residents in the Greater Cincinnati region and employs 600 professionals. Greater Cincinnati Water Works has an annual operating budget of $80 million and has invested $487 million in capital improvements in the last 10 years, with a key focus each year on replacing 1% of water mains in the system. The utility is known for innovation and creativity in the water utility industry, and received a platinum award for utility excellence in 2011 from the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies.
In 1992, Ms. Bailey transitioned from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to Greater Cincinnati Water Works as a chemist in the water quality and treatment division, working in the granular activated carbon facility. Ms. Bailey’s early days also involved working on special projects such as the lead and copper rule implementation team and executing new IT solutions within the laboratories and the division. Significant roles in the organization over the years have allowed Ms. Bailey to establish key IT service desk solutions, develop and implement multiple strategic business plans, establish performance metrics for work units, lead the water district research and development efforts, and streamline operations within the utilities during the joint utility era.
Ms. Bailey was named Director in September, 2015 and is the first female director of the water utility. In her short span as Director, she quickly led the utility out of the joint utility structure back into an independent water utility. She has implemented a robust lead testing and outreach program that helps residents, city facilities, schools, daycares and other key groups fully understand their water quality within their facilities.
She successfully led the way to City Council approval of a 15-year enhanced lead program to remove the remaining lead service lines in the water system. She also worked with City leaders to re-establish the appropriate capital program to properly maintain the water utility infrastructure, resulting in a newly established, $500 million 6-year capital plan. In addition to this, in an unprecedented vote for the City of Cincinnati, Ms. Bailey worked to restructure the debt, amend the budget and presented and received approval for multi-year rate increases (5 years) by City Council.
Ms. Bailey remains passionate about strategic planning, performance metrics and data analytics. She continues to serve as a national and local speaker on water issues, particularly strategic planning, employee engagement, optimizing operations and recently on lead issues and solutions in Cincinnati.
Ms. Bailey has a Bachelor of Science in chemistry from the University of Cincinnati. She lives in the City of Cincinnati with her husband, has two adult children, and is active in the public school system, her church and other organizations in the community.