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Wellington Utilities Director Shannon LaRocque Enjoys Life Living And Working In The Village By Callie Sharkey

After two years on the job, Wellington Utilities Director Shannon LaRocque has settled into her role and found that there truly is no place like home. Living in Palm Beach think I took a week off. I County since the early 1970s, worked for them more than LaRocque has always felt like 12 years,” LaRocque said. “I a Florida native and has nevthought I’d be there forever, er wanted to be anywhere but after my second child, it else. was very challenging. A cli“I went to elementary ent was the utility director school, middle school, high for the Town of Jupiter and school and what was then said, ‘Why don’t you come Palm Beach Junior College. work for me?’ So, I did, and I I left to go to the University was the assistant utility direcof South Florida, and then tor there for five years.” I came back. My whole proBeing part of a cuttingfessional career has been edge utility gave LaRocque in Palm Beach County,” the opportunity to be at the LaRocque said. forefront of new technology. Being a home-town girl Jupiter was one of the first did nothing to slow down utilities on the east coast of LaRocque from pursuing Utilities Director Shannon LaRocque with Assistant Village Manager Jim Barnes. the United States to implebig dreams though. She had ment reverse osmosis treatdrive to return home to Palm Beach wanted to be an engineer since middle County. ments, so she built a strong background school and made that her passion early “It was great. I had a lot of fun, guy in membrane treatment. on in life. After being entrenched in the water friends. They were always very encour“I was always interested in engi- aging, even professionally,” LaRocque treatment industry for 17 years, former neering and wanted to actually design said. “There were times I thought I had Palm Beach County Administrator Bob bridges when I was in middle school,” to work a little harder to get noticed or Weisman approached LaRocque about LaRocque recalled. “I had a wonderful recognized, but I only got a lot of en- a job running the county’s initiative to math teacher. His name was Mr. Reese. couragement, and all my mentors were build a campus for the Scripps Research I was very good at math, so I asked him, men.” Institute. After a heavy round of soul‘What can I do with math as a career?’ LaRocque’s career began through searching, she shifted direction, and He suggested that I can be an engineer. internships in the Tampa area, but over over a 12-year span with the county, she I never forgot that. I attribute a lot of my spring break of her senior year, she worked her way up to assistant county career to Mr. Reese.” scheduled interviews every day, deter- administrator with direct oversight of Her career as a successful civil engi- mined to come back home. the Palm Beach County Water Utilities neer began immediately after graduat“My second interview was with a com- Department. ing in 1988, with LaRocque being one pany by the name of Kimley-Horn, and “I was always very driven and always of very few women in her field of choice I fell in love with the firm. I got a job looking for new challenges and what at the time. Even without female men- offer the next day and went to work im- was going to be next, but it has been tors, there was nothing tempering her mediately after graduating. I don’t even an extremely rewarding career,” said 108

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Wellington The Magazine March 2019  

March 2019 | ON THE COVER Top dressage rider Kasey Perry-Glass, profiled in this issue. Photo ©TIEC | Stars Align For Adequan Global Dressa...

Wellington The Magazine March 2019  

March 2019 | ON THE COVER Top dressage rider Kasey Perry-Glass, profiled in this issue. Photo ©TIEC | Stars Align For Adequan Global Dressa...