Meet the Transformative Water Leadership Cohort: Adam Cummings

Posted on May 6, 2022

Adam Cummings

Meet the Transformative Water Leadership Cohort! We’re profiling the local government leaders who were accepted into this cohort to build resilient organizations that are unafraid to try new things, reform and improve business processes, and encourage empathy throughout the organization.

Adam CummingsAdam Cummings

Town of Ontario, NY

Superintendent of Water Utilities

Connect: LinkedIn

How would you explain your job to someone you just met?

My job entails creating clean drinking water and cleaning wastewater to keep the environmental clean and healthy. Since it is usually viewed as a gross industry, I explain that the job security is extremely stable and that we are able to regenerate so many resources (i.e., water, heat energy, phosphorus/nitrogen for fertilizers, kinetic energy).

What is something you think is cool that most people think is boring?

Review the Annual Water Quality Reports for communities that we vacation and read the different treatment technologies that are used throughout the country.

What was your path to local government work?

I began as a consulting engineer who eventually found my motivation to want to be an industry leader that wanted to see projects go all the way from concept to completion and then to the enhancement stage. Many times that is not possible in the consulting realm.

Where does your to-do list live?

On my iPhone and in my head. It is constantly changing.

What’s a local government topic or trend that you think more people should know about?

Water and sewer rates. So many think that they have been paying for it for 30 years and it should be free eventually. That’s not how utilities that are consumed will ever work. You pay for what you use and we need to do a better job explaining that and showing the different ways we keep the costs and rates down.

What was the first music purchase you made? What format was it (e.g. tape, CD, download…)?

It was a tape. Guns and Roses – Appetite for Destruction.

What question should we have asked you? What is the answer?

What will the future utility look like? Incinerating and reuse toilets run on solar arrays for residential and commercial. Resource recovery facilities for Industrial and similar facilities.

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