In Spotlights

Manon Fisher – Resource Recovery Specialist

Manon Fisher is the Resource Recovery Specialist for the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, Wastewater Enterprise where she has worked for over five years coordinating multi-disciplinary teams to accomplish complex environmental projects associated with biosolids, water, bio-gas, and nutrient recovery.  She is responsible for managing and ensuring the effectiveness of resource recovery programs that establish and strengthen interdepartmental and interagency collaboration . Manon holds a Bachelor of Science from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in Environmental Management and a Master of Business Administration from Presidio Graduate School.

What is the educational and career path that led to your current career?

I grew up in San Francisco and moved to San Luis Obispo to pursue my Bachelor of Science in Environmental Management and a minor in City and Regional Planning. By the end of my studies I knew that I wanted to return to San Francisco to apply what I had learned to an urban environment but wasn’t certain where to start. Over two summers during college I interned with a smaller public works department and enjoyed the direct impact that working for a municipality offered. After graduating I interned with the San Francisco Department of the Environment where I learned about a year-long fellowship with the City of San Francisco (San Francisco Fellows). I applied to the fellowship and was accepted for FY 13-14, during which time I was placed with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC). Following the fellowship, I took on a permanent position with the SFPUC within the Wastewater Enterprise. After roughly two years with the SFPUC I decided to pursue my MBA in Sustainable Management, while working full time. Pairing an MBA with my environmental experience helped me understand environmental and social challenges in a more holistic manner and gave me direct skills that I now use to inform broader utility planning and policy that directly impacts our communities and environment.

How did you become interested in environmental work? 

I come from a large immigrant family that takes extreme measure to not waste anything – food, clothes, construction materials, or time. With both parents in the trades, we always had some project going on at home, and it was always a family affair. I then took an AP Environmental Science class in high school that helped me see the world in a new way. I already had a strong ethic of conservation ingrained in me, but this class helped me further understand the overarching environmental and societal principals that made that ethic important. It was that class that convinced me to apply to Cal Poly to study Environmental Management. Now, as a professional working in the water and wastewater utility sector, I still feel that strong connection to conservation, and minimizing our impact on the environment but have since developed the tools and skills to transition my thinking to how can we do more good, rather than simply less harm.

Discuss any mentors that have helped or inspired you to reach your aspirations.

I have had the opportunity to work with excellent people throughout my career, and continue to be impressed by the caliber of thought leaders and public servants I get to engage with every day. Over the past five and a half years I’ve had the privilege to work with Karri Ving, the Business Services Division Manager for the Wastewater Enterprise.  Karri oversees strategic planning, resource recovery, workforce development, financial and asset management, and organizational development initiatives across our enterprise, and truly exemplifies what it means to be a public servant. Not only is Karri is incredibly effective in her role, she also manages to advance every task she takes on with positivity and compassion for each of her colleagues. Working with her has not only developed me professionally, but has helped me better understand how to approach challenges and opportunities in my personal life. Working alongside such a strong mentor has been the most motivating part of my job, and I hope that I can one day offer the same mentorship to other women growing within this industry.

Want to connect with Manon? You can connect with her on LinkedIn here.

Leave a Comment