Leo Dion is a Senior Rural Development Specialist with RCAP’s Great Lakes partner, the Great Lakes Community Action Partnership (GLCAP), and has been employed with them for roughly six-and-a-half years.
Prior to working at GLCAP, Leo was in the community and economic development sphere for about 15 years, including a Peace Corps stint in Turkmenistan. His most recent position before coming to GLCAP was working as a CEO for an economic development corporation for a five-county region. He mostly worked on the business side of things, piecing together business finance for companies trying to expand, relocate, or purchase and develop properties. During his time as a CEO, he had a member on his executive board who worked in the local water and sewer authority, where he was introduced to the water/wastewater industry.
Fast-forwarding to the present day, Leo explains “the opportunity to provide some great technical assistance to oftentimes, struggling communities”, is a part of the job that resonates heavily with him. He’s been working with a system that has transformed from being reliant on private wells that serve residential areas to a type one system, serving multiple dwelling units. Leo describes the new system as a large, housing unit that provides services for troubled youth that has on-site counseling and other services for orphaned children.
Leo has a vision for how he’d like to see things unfold in Michigan, which centers around a holistic approach to technical, managerial and financial assistance to these systems, directly mirroring RCAP’s future visions. Thank you, Leo, for all of the hard work and dedication you’ve shown to improve the quality of life, starting at the tap.
Below you’ll find our interview in full, including his time in Turkmenistan, his work on the system transition, and his future aspirations!