Superintendent Karen Dettmer
Karen Dettmer, P.E. is the superintendent of the Milwaukee Water Works. She was appointed by Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and approved by the City of Milwaukee Common Council early in 2019.
The superintendent oversees all operations of the utility and over 300 professionals in the plants, distribution, business, engineering, and water quality sections. The utility is the largest public water utility in Wisconsin and provides safe and abundant drinking water to over 860,000 people in 16 communities in Milwaukee, Ozaukee, and Waukesha Counties.
Karen previously served as Public Works Coordination Manager for the City of Milwaukee, overseeing public works permitting and managing public works aspects of special projects. Most notable among them were the Lakefront Gateway and the Milwaukee Bucks Arena Development, now home of the Fiserv Forum and an entertainment district. In the DPW role, she served as liaison to Business Improvement Districts and other city departments.
A licensed Professional Engineer in the State of Wisconsin, Karen serves on the Menomonee Valley Partners Board, on the Near West Side Partners Board, and is a member of the Wisconsin Brownfields Study Group.
On a historical note, Karen is the 12th superintendent of the Milwaukee water utility since the position of superintendent was created in 1912 to take over water works activities from the city engineer.