West Des Moines Water Works
Delivering reliably safe and refreshing water.
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Board of Trustees


Governed by an independent, five-member board of trustees, West Des Moines Water Works operates autonomously, while cooperating and collaborating with the City of West Des Moines and other governmental entities. Water Works trustees are appointed by the mayor and confirmed by the city council. Water Works trustees serve six-year terms and are chosen for their ability to balance interests and needs of our customers and the overall fiscal health of the utility. The board meets once a month and its meetings are open to the public in compliance with Iowa's sunshine laws.

Karen Novak Swalwell, Chair
Ms. Swalwell serves as chair of the WDMWW board of trustees. She joined the board January 1, 2006, and her latest term expires on December 31, 2017. She represents WDMWW on the Central Iowa Regional Drinking Water Commission, an organization composed of water utilities and interests from across the Des Moines metro area. Ms. Swalwell graduated from the University of Iowa, working part-time for Francis & Associates while in college. Upon graduation, Karen worked for an office supply company before returning to Francis & Associates as a consultant in 1987. She is a graduate of the West Des Moines Leadership Academy and serves on the board of Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino.


Scott M. Brennan, Trustee
Mr. Brennan serves on the community relations and operations committees for the WDMWW board of trustees. He was appointed to the board on February 1, 2013, to a term that expires on December 31, 2021. Mr. Brennan is a senior shareholder of the Davis Brown Law Firm. A member of the litigation division, he has a general practice in, but not limited to, litigation matters concerning construction litigation, business litigation, administrative matters and insurance defense, including personal injury, dram shop, and damage to property. Scott serves as vice president of the firm's board of directors. He recently served as chair of the Iowa Democratic Party. 


Jody E. Smith,
Trustee
Following over forty years of Iowa local government experience Mr. Smith joined the board of WDMWW on July 1, 2016, and his term expires on December 31, 2022. He serves as chair of community relations committee for WDMWW and is also a member of the finance and audit committee. A native of Palo Alto County, Mr. Smith graduated from Buena Vista University in Storm Lake with a double major of History and Politico-Economic Systems. Before his 25 plus years serving in various City of West Des Moines management positions he served as City Clerk-Treasurer in Clinton, Iowa and as Mayor of Ayrshire, Iowa. Mr. Smith has a history of volunteering time and leadership with church, community, and service clubs as well as similar activities with a number of local government committees and entities. He is a longstanding Director and Chair of the Iowa Communities Assurance Pool (ICAP) which provides property and casualty coverages to over seven hundred fifty local governments in Iowa. Mr. Smith is a Legion of Honor member of Kiwanis International and was inducted into the Iowa League of Cities Hall of Fame in 2001.

Brian P. Rickert, Trustee
Mr. Rickert serves as the chair of the personnel and compensation committee of the WDMWW board and is a member of the operations committees. Professionally, he is a member of BrownWinick and has a primary focus on litigation of matters for public and private businesses, and individuals in a variety of areas including agribusiness, construction, energy, environmental, and real estate, among others.  He is involved in cases not only in Iowa, but all over the Midwest, serving as lead counsel in numerous matters where the amount in controversy involves seven and eight figures. He is a graduate of Leadership Iowa, the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute and the West Des Moines Leadership Academy. He is a member of the Blank Park Zoo's Board of Directors, serves as a Trustee on the Board of the West Des Moines Water Works, and serves on the Board of Directors of the Taxpayers Association of Central Iowa. He is also active in political circles in Iowa and is active in many Iowa campaigns.

Gretchen Tegeler, Trustee
Ms. Tegeler joined the board of WDMWW on January 1, 2013, and her term expires on December 31, 2018. She serves as chair of the finance and audit committee for the WDMWW board and is a member of the planning committee. A Des Moines native, Ms. Tegeler graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in political science and master's degree in Urban and Regional Planning. She was director of the Iowa Department of Management, the Governor’s planning, policy, and budgeting office, for eight years, and also served as Gov. Branstad’s chief of staff. Before accepting the president's position for the Taxpayers Association she was vice president for Iowa with the American Cancer Society. Ms. Tegeler serves on the Iowa School Budget Review Committee and the Board of Directors of EMC Insurance Group, Inc., where she chairs the audit committee.