Turlock Irrigation District Chief Dam Safety Engineer Peggy Harding is gaining national attention as a female trailblazer in an industry dominated by men, evident by her recent “Women With Hydro Vision” award from the PennWell Hydro Group.
PennWell Hydro Group publishes industry information on hydropower related content with the mission of furthering expertise in the hydroelectricity industry and this year marked the group’s inaugural “Women with Hydro Vision” award. Developed in order to recognize the contributions that women have made to the industry, recipients are nominated by their peers in a variety of categories and Harding was recognized for her contributions to Dam Safety.
“Hydropower is such a male-driven industry, from engineers and CEOs to technicians and researchers,” said Bethany Duarte, associate editor of a Hydro Group publication. “What these women have accomplished in their careers is simply astounding. They are gifts to the industry.”
Harding has a 30 plus year career in the industry. Prior to her position at TID, she worked as a civil engineer, east branch chief, and regional engineer for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission where she was responsible for the safety and security of approximately 400 dams in the Midwest. Harding possesses extensive knowledge on not only the details of the hydropower industry, but also on career development noting that creating and developing relationships is integral to success.
“Most of us have had mentors and it would be safe to say that we wouldn’t have succeeded without the support of them and most of the people coming after us in the industry will need mentors as well,” said Harding.
On Monday, Harding was recognized for her efforts at the HydroVision International Conference in Nashville, Tennessee where she expressed a few tokens of industry wisdom, particularly emphasizing the importance of not only finding leaders to learn from but being a mentor to new industry professionals as well.
“Even though it was an event for women, I tried to close my presentation for all young people,” said Harding, noting that the luncheon was also attended by many young adults currently performing fellowships in the industry. “Young men and women are very important to this industry and while it’s important for those in the industry like me to remember those who helped us along the way, it is also important for us to pay it forward and mentor new individuals pursuing the profession.”