On July 19, Golden State Water Company (GSWC) hosted a retirement party for Emma Maxey, honoring her 40 years of exemplary service at GSWC and countless contributions to promoting supplier diversity in the water industry. More than 100 individuals attended the party to pay tribute to Emma, who has been called the “godmother for supplier diversity in California.”

Having started her career in June 1979 at Southern California Water Company, which later became GSWC, Emma admitted, “When I joined Southern California Water, I knew nothing about water except that it came out of a faucet! But what I did know is that there was a wide range of job opportunities available at the corporate office. It’s why I’ve stayed with the company this long.”

Emma worked her way up from processing blueprints and documents to assisting the utility’s sanitary engineer and later becoming GSWC’s New Business Administrator and New Business Manager. She ended her career as GSWC’s Supplier Diversity Manager and served as Chair of the California Water Association’s Utility Supplier Diversity Program for five years. During her career, Emma studied to become a draftsperson and a certified water distribution operator.

In April 2019, Emma received Diversity Professional Magazine’s “Women of Excellence Legacy Award” and was featured on the front cover of the digital magazine’s 2019 summer edition. The edition also included a two-part tribute to Emma beginning on page 58: “A Driving Force Behind Supplier Diversity Brings a 40-Year Career to a Close” and “Faith, Family, & Fortitude – Emma Maxey Overcomes Challenges in Her Career and Life.”

Looking back at her career, Emma noted, “Supplier diversity has been the most rewarding position of my working career because I feel as though I’ve done something special and made a real difference. I’m going to miss that feeling, and I’m going to miss many of the people I’ve had the chance to work with. It’s hard saying goodbye.”

“You can’t say supplier diversity without mentioning Emma’s name.”
~ Lauren R. James, Communications Manager, Suburban Water Systems

 “The legislation we now have regarding supplier diversity and the processes guiding it are, in no small part, due to [Emma’s] influence. She lives inclusivity.”
~ Tim McLaughlin, Manager, Supplier Diversity and Community Involvement, San Jose Water Company

“She’s like a movie star! You can’t go anywhere without everyone knowing Emma. It shows how much she’s respected, not just by those of us in the supplier diversity world, but by suppliers, corporations, and community organizations.”
~ Jeanette Diaz, Supplier Diversity Program Coordinator, San Gabriel Valley Water Company

“Emma’s been at the forefront of supplier diversity for a long time, and her efforts helped build the function of supplier diversity as it’s practiced today by water utilities. Anyone who’s worked with her knows that supplier diversity is not a job for Emma, it’s a passion.”
~ Danny Rodriquez, Building Services Supervisor and Chair, Supplier Diversity Program, Liberty Utilities

Emma with her son, Paul Roberson, whom she considers her greatest achievement.

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