Joliet utilities director receives CMAP visionary award

Allison Swisher recognized for leadership in Lake Michigan water project

The Chicago Metropolitan Agency on Planning has given one of its first Visionary Leaders awards to Joliet Director of Public Utilities Allison Swisher for her leadership on the Lake Michigan water project.

Swisher has been utilities director since 2018 as Joliet has moved ahead with a search for an alternative water source that led to a decision in January to build a pipeline to connect with the city of Chicago for Lake Michigan water. Joliet plans to have Lake Michigan water by 2030 when the city’s deep wells are believed to no longer have the capacity to meet peak demands.

CMAP Executive Director Erin Aleman presented the award at a Joliet City Council meeting last week.

Aleman said Swisher’s leadership on the water project exemplified the purpose of the award to recognize “work to lead with excellence, foster collaboration and drive innovation.”

Aleman described the Lake Michigan water project as “as probably one of the most complex projects the city could undertake.”

Swisher commended the mayor and City Council saying, “It’s really only with the vision and support of all of you that were able to move forward with this project.”

CMAP is a regional planning agency for seven counties, including Will, in the Chicago metropolitan area.

The agency announced the award in October commending Swisher for her leadership in the search for a regional solution for a declining water supply. Joliet is working with neighboring communities to develop a regional commission to share in the future supply of Lake Michigan water.

The award presented to Swisher was one of five Regional Excellence Awards issued by by CMAP.