Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority (WAPA) Executive Director Lawrence J. Kupfer announced on June 1 the appointments of WAPA’s chief financial officer and human resources director, filling two vacancies on the company’s senior management team.
Debra E. Gottlieb has been appointed CFO, and Sabrina King Leonce will serve as director of human resources. Both will begin their tenure this month.
“Ms. Gottlieb brings extensive finance and budget administration experience to the CFO position at a time when WAPA is facing difficult financial times in the aftermath of the 2017 hurricanes. Gottlieb’s far-reaching experience in government finances will be called on to steer WAPA through this challenging period,” Kupfer said.
“Our new CFO will also be tasked with developing the financing mechanisms needed to track federal funding being afforded WAPA for mitigation and restoration projects,” said the executive director.
Gottlieb was most recently the executive director of the V.I. Board of Education and, prior to that, deputy commissioner for fiscal and administrative services at the V.I. Department of Education. She served as Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director for eight years beginning in 2007. She holds a master’s degree in public administration and a bachelor’s degree in history. Her professional career includes eight years of service at the V.I. Legislature, two of them as director of administration within the Post Audit Division.
Leonce comes to WAPA with over 10 years of experience leading corporate and field human resource operations, with specific focus on employee relations, labor law, change management, conflict management, training and employee development.
“Ms. King Leonce has served as director of human resources at The Westin St. John Resort and Villas, a position she has held since 2012. Prior to that, she held key leadership positions in the resort’s HR department,” Kupfer said.
King Leonce holds a Master of Science degree in human resource management and a Bachelor of Arts degree in behavioral science. She has also worked with major corporations on the U.S. mainland.
“I look to her leadership to modernize many of our HR functions, and she will play a key role in developing programs aimed at advancing training and opportunity for our employees,” he said.
Kupfer, on behalf of the men and women of WAPA, welcomed Debra Gottlieb and Sabrina King Leonce to WAPA and thanked them for their willingness to serve at a critical time in WAPA’s history.
“I expect that these outstanding leaders will put their experiences to work for WAPA, its employees and customers. I welcome them both to our family.”