For Black History Month, the AFRO presents a series of articles highlighting important community heroes. This week we sit with Carla Reid, CEO and general manager of the Washington Suburban Sanitation Commission. She is the first Black woman to hold the position.
Carla A. Reid, with more than 30 years’ experience in the field, takes the lead as the first Black woman general manager and CEO of the Washington Suburban Sanitation Commission. Since being appointed in January, Reid has hired the commission’s first deputy general manager of strategic partnership, whose goals are to build company moral and forge better working relationships between departments.
“The people part of what I do is so critical in every way,” Reid told the AFRO. “If the people that work for me are properly trained and happy, then they’re able to do a great job at making customers happy as well and provide better contributions to the organization.”
During the blizzard that hit the metropolitan area in late January, many commission employees were not allowed to go home. The large amounts of snow required around the clock monitoring of water levels to ensure that pipes did not burst.
“This was my biggest challenge yet. For five days straight my team and I lived at the office during the storm,” she said. “We couldn’t go home, we had to watch the meters and the water levels. We had to make sure our pipes were okay and ensure the people were safe.”
Within the coming year, Reid and her team plan to take the company to the next level of excellence by improving customer service, building and maintaining relationships with stakeholders, elected officials and business partners by producing quality products, and increasing reliability. To ensure this goes smoothly, the commission’s office now takes part in frequent “Lakeside chats” or meetings adopted from Presidents Roosevelt’s, “Fireside chats” to discuss company morale, statistics, programming and performance.
“My vision for WSSC is to become a world class utility,” Reid said. “When people think of a great utility company, I want them to think of WSSC and the way that we perform that separates us from other utilities.”
Reid served as the commission’s deputy general manager from 2005 to 2006, director of Montgomery County’s permitting services department from 2007 to 2011 and deputy chief administrative officer in Prince George’s County.
To read all the articles in the AFRO’s Black History Month series go to afro.com/section/hallowed-ground