A Kern County nonprofit is looking for a new executive director to help educate the public about its most precious resource — water.
Beth Brookhart Pandol is retiring after leading the Water Association of Kern County for the past 10 years.
She said the executive director doesn’t have to know a ton about water, but it helps.
Pandol stepped into the job after having worked at the Kern County Water Agency and with more than 20 years experience as an agricultural journalist.
“I’ve been honored to be part of a group that’s been working to educate the public for so long and that continues to fight the battle for water supply in Kern County,” Pandol said. “And this board of directors is wonderful to work for. You don’t get any more top of the game than people working in water in Kern County.”
The Water Association has been a part of Kern’s fabric since 1958 working to let residents know where their water comes from, the role it plays in the local economy and how water supply challenges affect business and growth here.
One of the signature events Pandol spearheaded during her time as executive director is the annual Water Summit, held every March.
The summit, started in 2016, has grown over the years to become a major draw for water managers, environmental groups and business leaders throughout the valley and California.
Speakers and panelists include some of the biggest players in California water.
“Our job is to spark discussion and debate,” said Water Association President Gene Lundquist, who also sits on the Kern County Water Agency Board of Directors. “And I really think we’ve done that, especially with the water summit.”
He also mentioned the bi-monthly luncheon meetings Pandol organized for Water Association members and the general public.
“Those have become really lively events and we were getting people interested in water who didn’t typically get involved – the oil industry, financial industry, service industries,” Lundquist said. “It’s interesting. You get to hear all viewpoints, not just those of farmers and water managers.”
He described the executive director position as mainly dedicated to organizing those and other events, such as monthly board meetings and the annual meeting dinner. The executive director also occasionally speaks to the press and service groups about “water 101.”
“I think it’s a fun job,” Lundquist said. “And it’s part time so so it leaves time for a person who doesn’t want to spend every minute working.”
He said the association has received about a half dozen resumes so far.