Detroit Water Department appoints first inclusion director

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News

Detroit — The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department announced Thursday its public affairs director, Tiffany Jones, has been appointed as the department's first opportunity and inclusion director. 

Director Gary Brown chose Jones to serve the role effective this month, the city announced in a press release. In her new role, Jones will develop and execute a work plan for the department to support Mayor Mike Duggan’s citywide initiative to create inclusive opportunities for Detroiters and minorities.

She will work on outreach focusing on opportunities for minority and Detroit-based contractors to comply with Duggan's executive order that requires at least 51% of the hours performed on city contracts of more than $3 million to be done by Detroit residents.

Tiffany Jones

Aside from creating strategies and initiatives to promote employee diversity, she will implement a strategy to support expanding the Lead Service Line Replacement Program, which replaces 5,000 pipes each year, the city said.

“This is a critical time in our history to engage minority and Detroit-based contractors in DWSD’s projects with more work coming down the pipeline,” Brown said in the release. “With Tiffany’s background in public relations, her capacity to engage audiences, her depth of knowledge on DWSD operations, and her commitment to diversity and inclusion, she is the optimal choice to lead the organization to vastly improve opportunity and inclusion.”

Jones previously served as DWSD's public affairs director since February 2018. She has more than 20 years of public relations experience and at DWSD, she led the launch of its first advertising campaign. For the past two years, she has managed and moderated DWSD’s annual construction contractor workshops.

“We are in a historic time, with federal funds for infrastructure coming our way, to be intentional about creating opportunity for minorities and Detroiters," said Jones, 42. "By arming them with the tools and resources to competitively bid on and be awarded contracts so they too will be a part of the city’s revitalization."

Her salary is $128,000, the city said.

The department is undergoing a $500 million Capital Improvement Program to upgrade the city's aging water and sewer infrastructure. The program will accelerate in the coming years and with additional funding from the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act, there will be more opportunities for minority and local contractors to have a footprint, Brown said.

Bryan Peckinpaugh, previously the department's deputy director of public affairs, has been promoted to public affairs director.

Jones earned a master’s degree in public relations from Ball State University and a bachelor’s degree in communications from North Carolina A&T State University. She is also a graduate of the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Leadership Detroit Class XXXVII.

Twitter: @SarahRahal_