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Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) celebrated Women’s History Month with a special event held at the Barbara J. McGowan Main Office Building in Chicago. The program honored four outstanding women who have made significant contributions to their respective fields and communities.

Dr. Hernandez addresses audience at Women's History Month Celebration
Dr. Claudia Hernandez gives her keynote remarks at the MWRD’s Women’s History Month program on March 27.

"We are proud to celebrate Women’s History Month by honoring these remarkable women who have made significant contributions to their fields and communities," said MWRD Vice President Patricia Theresa Flynn. "Their achievements exemplify the power of perseverance, determination, and excellence. We hope their stories inspire others to break barriers and strive for greatness."

Dr. Claudia Hernandez, associate professor of dermatology and attending physician at Rush University Medical Center and the incoming president of the Chicago Dermatological Society, served as the keynote speaker. Dr. Hernandez’s groundbreaking work in dermatology and commitment to community health has earned her national recognition, making her an inspiration to aspiring medical professionals and a hero to her patients.

“I would like to repeat important healthy skin messages from the American Academy of Dermatology,” said Dr Hernandez. “All skin tones can get skin cancer. Yet skin cancer is one of the most preventable cancers so remember to protect yourself from harmful ultraviolet radiation from the sun or artificial sources such as tanning beds.”

The MWRD also recognized three remarkable women from the sectors of medicine, labor unions, and construction and engineering for their leadership.

  • Dolla Dawson, MBA, chief operating officer and president of business operations at Milhouse Engineering & Construction, Inc. Ms. Dawson’s leadership and dedication have propelled her company to new heights, setting a precedent for excellence in the engineering and construction industry.
  • Andrea Kluger, deputy chief of staff and government at the Chicago Federation of Labor. Ms. Kluger's tireless advocacy for workers' rights and her strategic leadership have been instrumental in shaping labor policies and ensuring fair treatment for workers across Chicago.
  • Dr. Heather Prendergast, physician-scientist at the University of Illinois Hospital and Health Scientists Center. Dr. Prendergast’s groundbreaking research in healthcare and her commitment to advancing medical knowledge have led to significant advancements in patient care and treatment.

“At the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, the contributions of women stand as a testament to their steadfast commitment to excellence and service,” said President Kari K. Steele. “We are fortunate to have 450 women working at the District. In an industry traditionally dominated by men, women have risen to leadership positions bringing fresh perspectives and innovative solutions to the table. Thank you to all of the honorees for their unwavering service to improve the quality of life for all.”

The event highlighted the importance of recognizing and celebrating the achievements of women, not only during Women’s History Month but throughout the year. By honoring these trailblazers, the MWRD aims to inspire future generations of women to pursue their passions and make a positive impact in their communities.

View the event

Vice President Flynn presents award to Dr. Hernandez
Dr. Claudia Hernandez, the Women’s History Month keynote speaker, receives her trophy and resolution from MWRD Vice President Patricia Theresa Flynn.
Commissioner Brown presents award to Dr. Prendergast
Commissioner Yumeka Brown presents a trophy and award to Dr. Heather Prendergast, a physcian-scientist.
Commissioner Spyropoulos presents award to Andrea Kluger
Andrea Kluger, Deputy Chief of Staff and Government Affairs for the Chicago Federation of Labor, received a trophy and resolution from MWRD Commissioner Mariyana Spyropoulos.
Commissioner Brady-Davis presents award to Dolla Dawson
Dolla Dawson, Chief Operating Officer and President of Business Operations at Milhouse Engineering & Construction, holds her award as MWRD Commissioner Precious Brady-Davis presents her with a resolution.
Women's History Month Honorees 2024
(L-R): Andrea Kluger, Dolla Dawson, Dr. Claudia Hernandez and Dr. Heather Prendergast prepare to give remarks during the MWRD’s Women’s History Month program.



Press Release
Awards and Announcements

Established in 1889, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) is an award-winning, special purpose government agency responsible for wastewater treatment and stormwater management in Cook County, Illinois.


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