McGeorge School of Law

McGeorge MPA Graduate Johnston Accepted into Celebrated Water Leaders Program

July 28, 2020

Ian "Bailey" Johnston

Ian "Bailey" Johnston

In an era of climate change that has aggravated and accentuated divisions over water usage and storage, one of McGeorge's recent Master of Public Administration graduates is well on his way to making his mark in the critical field of water resources management.

Ian "Bailey" Johnston, a water resources engineer for a prominent national architecture-engineering company, has been selected to the 2020 Water Leaders Class, the Water Education Foundation’s highly competitive and respected career development program.

Graduates of the one-year program include leading California water law attorneys, water district executives, association directors, university faculty members, farm owners, agricultural labor leaders, and environmental consultants. Professor Jennifer Harder, a former partner at Downey Brand LLP who teaches Water Resources Law and Environmental Practice at McGeorge, is a graduate of the Water Leaders program.

"Acceptance into the program was one of my goals since late 2018," Johnston says. "With my engineering background, McGeorge MPA and now this program, I feel I am set up to help tackle some of the big challenges we face. There isn't one policy, technical, or social fix. It will require all three, and more. I hope to act as an interpreter between technical and political realms."

Johnston boasts an impressive, hands-on resume to confront climate challenges. After growing up in a small northern California town, he earned a BS in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Portland State University. He was hired by HDR Inc., a 100 year-old firm that has been involved in many of the most significant engineering projects in the country.

"I was ready for an adventure so I moved to Anchorage, Alaska," he says. " I immediately got involved with water resources-related work. Mining, fishing, and micro-hydroelectric projects thrust me into the middle of water usage controversies. In June 2017, my wife and I moved to Oroville where I had the opportunity to work on the Oroville Dam reconstruction. In early 2018, we moved to Sacramento where HDR's northern California offices are located."

An MPA had been in the back of Johnston's mind for years. Although his professional career had taken him into dam safety sphere of engineering, he realized his personal interests continued to remain with broader water resources planning.

"I looked into a couple of online MPA programs, but then found McGeorge. I knew pretty quickly that it would be a good fit for me with an excellent faculty that knows the California water and environmental law landscape."

"I will admit, even starting the program I was unsure how the MPA degree would fit into my life," he adds. "Now that I have completed the program, I know it was a great decision, and I am grateful for my experience."

The McGeorge School of Law offers the Master of Public Administration (MPA) and Master of Public Policy (MPP) degrees to both full-time students and working professionals. These degrees join knowledge of the law, policy, management, and leadership. Our graduates effectively put their skills into action to excel and advance in their careers.