An illustrious 31-year career with the City of Las Cruces will soon come to a close as Las Cruces Utilities Director Jorge A. Garcia will retire on September 1, 2020.
“The City utility has been a great place to work, a great place to learn, a great place to develop and implement ideas,” Garcia said. “The result is the ability to provide great service to our customers.”
More often known as “Doctor Garcia,” he earned a doctorate degree in Civil Engineering from Utah State University, in Logan, Utah, in 1989. Garcia also has a Master of Science degree in Civil Engineering and a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural & Irrigation Engineering from Utah State University. Dr. Garcia is also a Certified Government Performance Manager and a licensed professional engineer in New Mexico and Colorado.
Garcia has been the City of Las Cruces Utilities Director since 2001. From 1996 to 2001, he was the Chief Utilities Engineer for the City, and began his career in city government in 1989 as a design engineer in the Utilities Department. From 1990 to 2001, Dr. Garcia was a part-time instructor at New Mexico State University, teaching classes in Civil Engineering and Engineering Technology departments.
From 1984 to 1989, Dr. Garcia was a research engineer for the International Irrigation Center at Utah State University. During his time there, he provided training and technical assistance in irrigation engineering in the Southwest, as well as short assignments in El Salvador, Morocco and Brazil.
Dr. Garcia’s tenure with the City utility has included numerous accomplishments. As a design engineer and Chief Engineer, projects he was directly involved with included: the establishment of 10 City water wells and associated pump stations; installation of the first computer based Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition System; the implementation of North Zone 1, North Zone 2 and South Zone 1 water pressure zones on the City’s East Mesa, which included the installations of pipelines and water tanks; an Equalization basin project and plant upgrades at the Jacob Hands Wastewater Treatment Plant; establishment of the East Mesa Water Reclamation Facility and purple pipe distribution system, the West Mesa wastewater treatment plant; construction of the West Mesa Industrial Park electric distribution system, substation and transmission system – when the City had a small electric utility; and establishment of a high pressure natural gas pipeline loop.
During Dr. Garcia’s time as Utilities Director, the Board of Commissioners of Las Cruces Utilities (LCU) was established; processes to set utility rates were implemented; the Griggs-Walnut water treatment facility was opened; the City acquired Jornada Water Co. and its associated water rights; an Advanced Metering Infrastructure performance contract with Johnson Controls – Phase 1 began; a Wastewater Energy performance Contract with Johnson Controls – Phase 2 was initiated; the City and LCU continued extensive involvement in the Texas vs. New Mexico and Colorado water lawsuit; and there was extensive involvement in the Consent Decree settlement with U.S. Department of Justice, Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. National Guard regarding the Griggs-Walnut Superfund Project.