LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The courtyard at Metropolitan Water District’s headquarters building in downtown Los Angeles was formally named today in honor of John V. “Jack” Foley, an admired Orange County water leader who served two separate terms as the agency’s chairman of the board of directors.
Colleagues, friends and family gathered this morning in a poignant and fitting tribute to honor and recognize Foley’s achievements and legacy, as Metropolitan unveiled a bronze plaque dedicating the Col. John V. “Jack” Foley Courtyard. Foley, the 17th board chairman in Metropolitan’s 86-year history and retired U.S. Army colonel, passed away last March.
“I know Jack would be deeply honored to have this beautiful courtyard at Metropolitan’s headquarters named after him,” said his wife, Mary Jane Foley.
“Jack truly believed in the mission of Metropolitan. One of his greatest joys was serving as your chairman and helping to ensure a reliable water supply for Southern California. He admired his many fellow directors and had the greatest respect for the staff and this institution,” she added.
Metropolitan General Manager Jeffrey Kightlinger called Foley “a throwback to the leaders of past generations.”
“He embodied equal doses of intellect, character, vision, humility, integrity and a fair sprinkling of humor,” Kightlinger said. “Jack was inspirational and charming. As a testament to his leadership, we miss him more as a man than as a leader.”
Metropolitan Chairman Randy Record, who followed Foley as the district’s board leader, said he regarded Foley as his gauge for how to lead an organization.
“I can only hope to echo the respect he showed for his fellow directors and the agency he represented and the tremendous integrity he displayed,” Record said. “Jack’s wonderful sense of humor also was part of almost everything he did, which I believe was essential in his many accomplishments.”
Foley was serving his second term as Metropolitan’s chairman at the time of his death. He previously presided as chairman from December 1993 through 1998. One of the longest tenured Metropolitan directors, he represented the Municipal Water District of Orange County since August 1989.
He was first elected chairman following the 1987-92 drought, which in 1991 initiated shortages and rationing throughout the Southland for the first time in district history. Under Foley’s leadership following that drought, Metropolitan’s board initiated a public process that culminated with the 1996 adoption of Metropolitan’s Integrated Resources Plan, a model long-term water strategy that expanded the district supply portfolio beyond water imports, to embrace conservation, recycling, increased storage, groundwater cleanup and other local resources.
The investment in storage was highlighted in 1995, during Foley’s first term as chairman, when the district began construction of Diamond Valley Lake in southwest Riverside County, the largest reservoir in Southern California. The importance of storage was evident in Foley’s second turn as chairman. Despite current unprecedented drought conditions, Metropolitan is meeting all regional imported water demands in 2014 by tapping its stored reserves.
Foley retired as general manager of the Moulton Niguel Water District, serving all or part of five cities in south Orange County, in 2008. He previously served as general manager of the Aliso Water Management Agency, from 1976 to 1979.
During his Metropolitan tenure, Foley represented the district on the Colorado River Board of California. He was a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers. He also was past president of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Society of American Military Engineers.
A U.S. Army veteran of two wars, Foley’s last military assignment was as district engineer in five southwestern states for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers until his retirement in 1976. Earlier, he commanded a company during the Korean War and a battalion in Thailand during the Vietnam conflict. He also served in the office of the chief of staff and as chief of public affairs for the Army chief of engineers in Washington, D.C.
The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is a cooperative of 26 cities and water agencies serving nearly 19 million people in six counties. The district imports water from the Colorado River and Northern California to supplement local supplies, and helps its members to develop increased water conservation, recycling, storage and other resource-management programs.