Adán Ortega, Jr. took the helm of Metropolitan Water District’s Board of Directors as the 20th chair and first Latino to lead the board in the district’s 95-year history.
In addition to his installation, Ortega welcomed three new directors who took their seats to represent the Calleguas, Central Basin and Eastern municipal water districts on the 38-member board.
Ortega, who has represented the city of San Fernando on the board since March 2021, took his oath of office in a boardroom filled with family, elected officials, community leaders, mentors and friends.
“Metropolitan has the ultimate responsibility for Southern California – to secure the one resource needed more than anything else to sustain our lives and communities,” Ortega said. “Together with my colleagues and our communities, I’m ready to continue our work addressing how we will meet the needs of future generations in the face of climate change, while ensuring the safety, well-being and dignity of the workforce that helps ensure there is always water coming out of our taps.”
Ortega, principal of Ortega Strategies group, a public and government relations firm based in Fullerton, previously served as Metropolitan’s vice president of external affairs from 1999 to 2005. Before representing the city of San Fernando, he served as the city of Fullerton’s representative from February 2019 to February 2021.
Ortega welcomed three new directors who will help make policy decisions to guide Metropolitan’s future.
Longtime Metropolitan government affairs representative Jacque McMillan succeeds Steve Blois, who represented Calleguas Municipal Water District on the 38-member board since January 2014. Water industry veteran Jeff Armstrong succeeds former Metropolitan board Chair Randy A. Record, Eastern Municipal Water District’s representative for nearly 20 years until his recent retirement. And current Central Basin Board President Arturo Chacon, who was sworn in before the Metropolitan board’s December meeting, follows five-year director Phillip Hawkins, who passed away in November 2022.
McMillan recently retired from Metropolitan after 31 years, most recently as a principal government and regional affairs representative. She worked extensively with businesses, community leaders and elected officials to build relationships, promote Metropolitan’s interests on legislative matters and build community awareness of Metropolitan’s work.
Prior to joining Metropolitan in 1991, McMillan worked for three petroleum companies managing 15 oil field projects in California and acquiring oil, gas and coal rights in other states. She represents Division 5 on Calleguas’ board, which includes the southwest portion of the service area. She holds a master’s degree in business from California State University, Northridge as well as a bachelor’s degree in petroleum land management, with a minor in marketing from the University of Houston.
Armstrong currently serves on Eastern’s board of directors, representing the Menifee and Perris area. He worked for the Rancho California Water District for 32 years, including serving as general manager from 2015 until his retirement in December 2020. Prior to his role as general manager, he served as chief financial officer, treasurer and controller.
Armstrong is a longtime resident of Riverside County, where he and his wife have raised six children and has been involved in the community as a coach for Murrieta Youth Soccer and Youth Basketball League. He holds a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Redlands and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from California State University, Long Beach.
Chacon has served on Central Basin’s board since 2007, representing the cities of Bell, Commerce, Cudahy, Huntington Park, Maywood, Walnut Park, Monterey Park, Vernon and unincorporated areas of East Los Angeles. He is the founder and president of Chacon Water Advisory, a company that educates Southern Californians on water-efficient landscaping. Chacon previously served as a commissioner of parks and recreation and city planning for the city of Commerce.
Chacon also is a member of the of the Water Conservation Garden and Friends of Clean Water, two non-profit organizations focused on promoting water-awareness and conservation.