Academy of Distinguished Alumni

Harlan Kelly, Jr.

Harlan L. Kelly, Jr. B.S., P.E.

Inducted to the Academy of Distinguished Alumni on

Harlan Kelly received his B.S. degree (1986) in Civil Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. From 1984 until 2003, he was employed by the City and County of San Francisco Department of Public Works, starting as a student trainee, and culminating in his appointment to City Engineer in 1996. In 2003, he joined the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), as Assistant General Manager, Infrastructure, then, in 2012, he became General Manager, a position he held until 2020.

As General Manager of the SFPUC, Mr. Kelly managed the third largest municipal utility in California, and the Hetch Hetchy Regional Water System.  SFPUC is responsible for providing: retail drinking water and wastewater services to the residents, businesses, and institutions of San Francisco; wholesale water to three Bay Area counties; and green hydroelectric and solar power to San Francisco’s municipal departments.  He oversaw $10 billion in capital programs, including the $6.9 billion Sewer System Improvement Program, and the $4.6 billion Water System Improvement Program. For over three decades, he epitomized the “exemplary public servant" of the City and County of San Francisco.

Mr. Kelly’s writing and insights are featured in The Value of Water: A Compendium of Essays by Smart CEOs.  He is on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Clean Water Agencies, and is active with the National Society of Black Engineers.  He has been recognized for his accomplishments including the 2015 Silver SPUR Award for Excellence in Public Service; 2012 Good Government Award for Managerial Excellence; and a 2012 Heroes and Hearts Award for Community Service - SF General Hospital Foundation. He is also recipient of the Public Works Leader of the Year Award from the American Public Works Association (APWA) and the Eminent Engineer Award from Tau Beta Pi (national engineering honor society).  He also co-founded the youth internship program Project Pull, which has been in continuous operation since 1995.

Over the years, Mr. Kelly has participated in and facilitated opportunities for students from Berkeley and other schools to shadow alumni and professionals in San Francisco government.  He has also organized and conducted engineer recruitment drives on the Berkeley campus for the City and County of San Francisco.