Women in Water | Jane Clary

March 8, 2024
In honor of Women's History Month, Jane Clary, vice president and principal scientist at Wright Water Engineers, discusses her career path, goals and more.

March is Women’s History Month, and specifically, March 8 is International Women’s Day. To celebrate, Stormwater Solutions reached out to women in the water industry to reflect on their career paths, discuss critical issues facing the industry and share advice.  

In this Q&A, meet Jane Clary, vice president/principal scientist at Wright Water Engineers. 

SWS: Why did you follow a career in water?  

Jane Clary: Good question! I was a Phi Beta Kappa Economics graduate from Vanderbilt University and to my parents’ chagrin decided to take a ski bum year waitressing in Vail, Colorado, after I graduated. Gap years were not in vogue in 1989, but it was a formative year as I ended up working as a commercial whitewater raft guide on the Eagle and Colorado rivers then attending University of Colorado for a master's degree in environmental science.  In retrospect, this love of water and the natural environment began with many happy family canoe trips as a girl on the Homochitto River in south Mississippi. My first job after graduate school was at Wright Water Engineers, where I have worked for 31 years. 

SWS: What is the best part of your current role? 

Clary: Diversity of work and working with watershed groups on challenging water quality issues.  I have had the privilege of working with the Big Dry Creek Watershed Association near Denver for more than 25 years and the Cherry Creek Basin Water Quality Authority for the past two years.  

SWS: What is the most important issue facing the industry and how can we address it?

Clary: While there are many technical challenges in the water resources realm, I would say that that one of the biggest challenges is polarization on issues and inflexible regulation, loss of pragmatic discussions and holistic perspective, which can limit creative solutions that would otherwise provide the greatest benefits.  

SWS: What advice can you give to other women in the industry?  

Clary: Be tough, but do not become hardened. For those who are working mothers or squeezed in the “bookends” of caring for aging parents and children, make the time to take care of your health. 

SWS: What piece of media (books, T.V. shows, movies, podcasts, etc.) has had the greatest impact on you in the past year?  

Clary: Since I have reached the “over 55” mark, I have been inspired by movies such as “Nyad,” which is related to determination, and various articles related to contributing to society in a the most meaningful way that I can. 

About the Author

Katie Johns

Katie Johns, editor-in-chief of Storm Water Solutions and Water Quality Products, graduated from the University of Missouri in 2016 with a Bachelor of Journalism and a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish. Johns joined the Storm Water Solutions team in September 2019. Johns also helps plan the annual StormCon conference and co-hosts the Talking Under Water podcast. Prior to entering the B2B industry, she worked as a newspaper reporter and editor in Sarasota, Florida, and a magazine assistant editor in the Chicago suburbs. She can be reached at [email protected].