Cheryl Porter

Cheryl Porter

Chief Operating Officer – Water & Field Services

Cheryl Porter is the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the Great Lakes Water Authority’s Water and Field Services Area where she oversees five water treatment facilities and water transmission to the Authority’s Member Partner communities, ensuiring GLWA’s water consistently meets and exceeds all quality standards and regulations.

The water sector’s largest and oldest professional organization, American Water Works Association (AWWA), selected Ms. Porter as the first African-American person and first woman of color to be their next president-elect. Her term as president begins in June 2024.  Ms. Porter has been active at both the national AWWA and with the Michigan Section, serving as the Michigan Section Trustee and Director at Large while also lending her expertise to the Government Affairs Council and Finance Committees.

Ms. Porter provides leadership that’s grounded in experience and manages engineers, field staff and administrative and technical support personnel. Her broad knowledge base in the water service sector began at DWSD as a Junior Chemist, where her dedication yielded eventual advancement to Water Production and Operations Manager. As COO of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD), she was part of the team that helped establish GLWA in 2016.

Ms. Porter earned her BS degree from the University of Michigan, an MBA with a concentration in Human Resources Management from Madonna University and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Detroit Mercy’s School of Law. Ms. Porter maintains State of Michigan operator certifications for both Water Distribution (S-3) and Complete Treatment (F-1). Under her direction, GLWA’s Water Works Park received the “2019 Directors Award for Water Treatment” from the Partnership for Safe Water (PSW) and the highly prestigious President’s Award in the year 2020. GLWA’s Southwest Water Treatment Plant received the President’s Award in 2023.