Andrew Gere pictured above
May 12, 2022
In honor of the Academy of Distinguished Engineers’ Class of 2021, the School of Engineering hosted an induction ceremony for the esteemed cohort in the Student Union Ballroom on May 12th. Previously, this event had been postponed in light of rising COVID-19 cases.
There are ten inductees in the Academy Class of 2021, each fostering rich backgrounds and expertise. Among the Academy Class of 2021, most notably, is Andrew Gere (’92), a UConn Civil Engineering alumnus.
In reflection of his undergraduate years, Gere recalls the way that college shaped his life:
“The civil engineering coursework at UConn was really tough—there were times when I wasn’t sure that I had what it took to get through it. What that did though, was teach me to be a problem solver, and I learned how to solve problems as part of a team. That experience has been invaluable throughout my career, and I’m thankful for it.”
Fresh out of college, Gere started his professional career as a Sanitary Engineer in the Division of Drinking Water at California Department of Health Services.
A couple of years later, he transitioned over to San Jose Water Company (SJW) where he continued to work hard and pave his way in the field.
Fast-forward 30 years of industry experience later, Gere has exemplified engineering excellence and leadership throughout his career—as demonstrated by his steady, professional trajectory upwards. Since 2016, he has been the President and Chief Operating Officer of SJW.
For context, SJW manages one of the most technically sophisticated urban water systems in the country—its scale alone reaches over one million people in the greater San Jose metropolitan area.
Despite how far apart San Jose and Storrs are, the connection is stronger than one might imagine. Back in 2019, SJW completed a merger with Connecticut Water (CW). Throughout this period, Gere not only testified before the CT Public Utility Regulatory Authority for the approval process but also collaborated with counterparts at CW on various strategies, including helping them contrive water loss control measures in place at San Jose.
Andrew Gere with Dean Kazerounian
In addition, Gere’s contributions at SJW extend nationwide, implementing state-of-the-art technologies for water loss monitoring and conservation (e.g. acoustic monitoring devices on pipe systems that "hear" leaks when they happen) while also pioneering environmental stewardship initiatives.
One initiative is the SJW Climate Change Policy which diversifies their energy portfolio, moving to electric vehicles among other conservation measures.
Gere’s impressive handle of his technical and leadership skills led to his 2020 election as Chairman of the National Association of Water Companies' (NAWC) Board of Directors.
Comprising this board, 20 of the top water industry executives from NAWC member companies "share best practices and leverage their strengths to benefit the communities they serve" (Source: NAWC). Among these members, they decide upon a Chairman each year to coordinate a strategic plan with the NAWC’s President and CEO.
To summarize his leadership style, many regard Gere as a resilient individual and a great speaker who can easily connect with listeners through his authenticity.
From left to right: Gere's daughter, Jillian, Dr. Marisa Chrysochoou, Andrew Gere, and his wife, Nancy
Considering Gere’s set of accomplishments and innovative mindset, the department is thrilled with his induction and the stellar example he sets for both students and alumni.
“I’m very humbled to be recognized by UConn Engineering in this way. It has given me a chance to reflect on my career, and it’s very satisfying to think about how my work in water has made a real difference in people’s lives.”
At the induction ceremony, Gere was accompanied by his wife, Nancy, and daughter, Jillian, who is also pursuing her education at UConn in Environmental Studies.
To learn more about the Academy of Distinguished Engineers’ Class of 2021, read here!