Local environmental engineer to serve as next Tacoma Public Utility Board member

Public Utility Board 7Today John O’Loughlin, a local environmental chemist and engineer, will attend his first meeting as the newest member of the Tacoma Public Utility Board.

A lifelong resident of Tacoma, O’Loughlin has decades of experience in utility operations. He worked for 31 years in the wastewater, surface water and solid waste utilities in Tacoma, where he retired in 2019 as the assistant director of the Environmental Services Department. A student of the history and evolution of the utilities in Tacoma, O’Loughlin hopes to bring the same strong leadership that he feels has benefited our community in the past and is keenly interested in the affordability and sustainability of the water, power and rail operations that are the purview of the Public Utility Board.

“Having raised my children in Tacoma and now seeing my grandchildren growing up in this community, I have even more of a personal stake in ensuring the future financial and environmental health of the utilities,” said O’Loughlin. “Since the water and power utilities were first purchased by the people of Tacoma in 1893, Tacoma has courageously led the way in local public ownership, and 129 years later, we are still reaping the benefits.”

O’Loughlin currently serves on the TAPCO Credit Union Supervisory Committee and has been engaged in the Tacoma community through service on various boards in the past. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from the University of Washington, a professional engineering license from the State of Washington, and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Washington, Tacoma.

The board position came available as a result of board member Joe Bushnell’s election to Tacoma’s City Council. Mark Patterson is now serving as Chair, Christine Cooley as vice chair, Carlos M. Watson as secretary, and Holland Cohen is also a member.

The Public Utility Board is a five-person governing body for Tacoma Public Utilities, which consists of Tacoma Power, Tacoma Water, and Tacoma Rail. Tacoma Public Utilities serves 200,000 customers in the Tacoma-Pierce County area.

Board members are appointed by the mayor and confirmed by Tacoma’s City Council. Members serve a five-year term without pay. The Board meets on the second and fourth Wednesday of the month. Members of the public can attend meetings virtually and should check TPU’s website and social media for times and Zoom information. Meetings are also broadcast live and livestreamed by TV Tacoma. Written comments submitted to the Public Utility Board at utilityboard@cityoftacoma.org will be provided to the Board before the meeting if the comments are received by 2:00 p.m.

For more about the Public Utility Board, visit: MyTPU.org/Board.

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