In its quest to solidify its reputation as a national leader in applied research on water, Fresno State has appointed Thomas C. Esqueda as its first associate vice president in Water and Sustainability. Esqueda is a native of the Central Valley.

“Thomas Esqueda brings a wealth of water experience in private industries, local and state government and higher education,” said Fresno State Provost Lynnette Zelezny. “A high-energy leader, he is eager to champion our quest to be ‘the Water University.’”

Partnering with industry and government agencies, Fresno State incorporates new technologies—satellite, infrared and computer—into its applied water research. Faculty, students and staff study water quality, conservation, delivery systems, supply development, recycling and drought-tolerant crops. The campus houses the Center for Irrigation Technology (CIT), the International Center for Water Technology (ICWT) and the Water and Energy Technology (WET) Center. The University also is a partner in Blue Tech Valley – an ambitious initiative to create a Silicon Valley-like hub of water research and development.

“Fresno State is at the heart of the most important agricultural region in the nation, and is committed to positively addressing water and agricultural issues,” said President Joseph I. Castro. “The challenges that we’re facing in those areas are increasingly formidable, and it is more important than ever that we align our academic resources with the needs of California’s Central Valley.”

Under the general supervision of the provost, Esqueda will lead the University’s efforts in developing, institutionalizing and strengthening water and sustainability programs across the campus and in the community. In addition, he will assist in coordinating established academic, research and outreach activities that address critical agricultural, urban and environmental water and sustainability issues in the Central Valley.

The AVP will also provide leadership for building and enhancing strategic partnerships with stakeholders including federal, state and local agencies; various groups within the water industry; and business leaders, community groups and regional organizations dedicated to promoting environmental sustainability.

Esqueda currently serves as the director of Public Utilities for the City of Fresno, where he leads a team of 580 employees to provide water, wastewater, solid-waste and utility-billing services for 525,000 residents inside and outside the city’s municipal-corporate limits.

“Throughout my 29-year career, I have worked with communities around the country to solve water challenges, and this opportunity to combine my experience with the commitment and passion of the Fresno State community is an ideal match,” said Esqueda.

During his 29-year professional career, Esqueda managed water-related programs and projects for four of the largest consulting firms in the United States including Black & Veatch, CH2MHILL, Camp, Dresser & McKee, and Brown and Caldwell. His public-sector experience also includes four years as the director of Environmental Services for Wake County Government in Raleigh, North Carolina, and two terms as a commissioner for the State of North Carolina Sediment Control Commission.

Esqueda was born in Sanger, CA; raised in South San Francisco; and graduated from San José State University with a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering and a minor in humanities.