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Water Services Announces Significant Utility-Focused Re-Structuring

Posted on October 29, 2012

(Kansas City, Mo.) — Today Kansas City’s Water Services Department announced a significant organizational re-structuring designed to transform Water Services into a professional, customer-focused utility. The new organizational structure creates an Executive Leadership Team specifically built to improve customer service, implement performance –based budgeting, and carry out the important work that is performed by the three distinct utilities that operate within Water Services: the Water, Wastewater, and Stormwater Utilities.

The Customer Service, Finance/Performance Management, and Engineering/Contracting functions will be led by Kathleen Whalen, Sean Hennessy, and Andy Shively, respectively. And, recruitment for newly-created Water, Wastewater, and Stormwater Utility Officer Positions will begin immediately. In addition to the Utility Officer appointments, James Mellem has been named Deputy Director for Water Services.

“Water Services will greatly benefit from the dedicated role and expertise of the members of the new Executive Leadership Team as we embark upon important efforts such as the 5-year Capital Improvement Plan and 25-year Overflow Control Program, implement a new and measurable performance management plan, and work to dramatically improve customer service while meeting the challenges of environmental stewardship,” said Terry Leeds, the Director of Water Services.

“The City will benefit from this new organizational structure, which better reflects the important work that is carried out by Water Services’ Water, Wastewater, and Stormwater Utilities,” said Troy Schulte, the City Manager of Kansas City. “A strong Executive Leadership Team, focused on the critical components and long term success of the organization, will better enable Water Services to carry out vital infrastructure improvements and provide excellent customer service in a fiscally-responsible manner.”

Kathleen Whalen will serve as the newly-created Customer Service Officer for Water Services. Ms. Whalen will manage the customer service activities for Water Services’ three utilities, which includes customer relationships for approximately 175,000 residential and commercial accounts, and Water Services’ billing and call center operations. Ms. Whalen received a Bachelor’s Degree in General Studies from East Texas State University and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Kansas State University. Ms. Whalen has served the City for over 20 years – previously performing various roles at the Aviation Department, ranging from Internal Auditor to the Manager of Bus Operations and working as an Auditor in the City Auditor’s Office. She joined Water Services earlier this year to assist in the assessment and re-engineering of key business processes and operations.

Sean Hennessy will serve as the Chief Financial Officer for Water Services. Mr. Hennessy will oversee all financial planning, budgeting, and accounting activities for Water Services’ three utilities. He will manage the development of the annual operational budget and the rate model for the utilities, and will develop the organizational performance model and track Water Services’ progress among key performance metrics. Mr. Hennessy received a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from the University of Dayton and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Missouri – Kansas City. Mr. Hennessy began his career with the City in 1993, and during his tenure he has held various positions – serving in the Auditor’s Office as an Auditor for the City, and in Water Services as an Internal Department Auditor, Interim Manager of Consumer Services, Rate Administrator, and Manager of Financial Operations.

Andy Shively will serve as the newly-created Engineering Officer for Water Services. Mr. Shively will lead all capital improvement projects for Water Services’ Water and Wastewater Utilities, oversee the development of short and long term capital improvement plans, and will manage Water Services’ Contract Management functions. Mr. Shively received a Bachelor’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Missouri – Columbia. Mr. Shively began his service with the City in 1993, working for Public Works and Parks and Recreation before joining Water Services. He has worked his way through the ranks of Water Services’ engineering job family, holding positions such as Construction and Survey Section Head, Collections Systems Section Head, and Distribution System Section Head, before most recently serving as the Systems Engineering Division Head.

James Mellem will serve as the Deputy Director for Water Services. He will assist and support the Director in leading and overseeing the operational efficiency of Water Services, and, for an interim period until the Utility Officers positions are filled, Jim will continue to manage the Divisions he currently oversees. He received a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of North Dakota and a Master’s Degree in Environmental Health Engineering from the University of Kansas. Mr. Mellem began his career with Water Services in 2000, and during his tenure with Water Services, he has served as Assistant Director and Manager of Engineering Services as well as the Water Operations and System Maintenance Divisions. Mr. Mellem also has over 25 years of experience with his former employer, Burns & McDonnell, where he served in roles ranging from Project Manager to Division Manager.

For more information, please contact Kip Peterson, Communications Manager for the Water Services Department, at 816.513.0280 or

Attached: Water Services Executive Leadership Team organizational chart.


KC Water maintains and operates water treatment and distribution systems, stormwater management systems, and wastewater collection and treatment systems for residential and business customers in Kansas City and for wholesale customers in the Kansas City area. KC Water is primarily funded by fees charged to customers based on their use or impacts on the three utility systems.

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