Martin L. Adams, General Manager and Chief Engineer of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), is dedicated to delivering essential utility services to the residents of Los Angeles. As Chair of the San Fernando Community Health Center (SFCHC) Board of Directors, he also is deeply committed to providing quality, compassionate healthcare to the entire community.
Marty has over 38 years of experience at LADWP, starting in 1984 as an entry-level engineer in the Water System and eventually leading that organization as Senior Assistant General Manager. Following a three-year tenure as LADWP’s Chief Operating Officer, he was appointed to his current position in July 2019. He is responsible for an organization of more than 11,000 employees delivering water and power to the 4 million residents of Los Angeles.
Marty finds overseeing the nation’s largest publicly-owned utility both challenging and rewarding, but said his experiences at SFCHC have impacted his life at an entirely different and more personal level.
“San Fernando Community Health Center has provided me a much more close-up view of humanity, the needs of the community and the important role healthcare plays in improving peoples’ lives. I have developed a stronger sense of empathy and understanding, and a greater appreciation for the providers who serve our patients. It is meaningful to play even a small role in responding to the real healthcare needs of others, especially those who have limited means and those with nowhere to call home.”
In 2013, Marty was appointed Chair of SFCHC’s inaugural Board of Directors when the Center pivoted to primary care as a non-profit, free-standing 501(c)3 corporation. Under his continued leadership, SFCHC achieved federally-qualified health center status a year later and has expanded services and facilities to meet the needs of the community, with an emphasis on the most vulnerable and underserved.
“It took many years to build our patient numbers, mature and grow from a fledgling organization to where we are now,” Marty said. “We expanded our scope and size at an intentional and thoughtful pace. I am enriched by the expertise and experience of our Board members, especially those with healthcare backgrounds, who have made us stronger as an organization. To me, our most important job is to serve and support everyone on the ground working to meet the healthcare needs of the community.”
In the year ahead, Marty said an ongoing goal is to identify and fill any gaps in community healthcare, as well as to provide for continued smart and steady growth. Some of SFCHC’s top priorities include prenatal and family care, behavioral health services, and treatment for conditions such as obesity and diabetes.
Expressing enthusiasm about the future opening of a satellite facility in Van Nuys, Marty also emphasized the Board’s commitment to meeting the challenge of retaining doctors, nurses and other providers in today’s competitive environment.
“The Center is a place where healthcare professionals can treat patients in an environment with a hometown feel,” he said. “The people on our team are friendly, have a strong desire to serve and are grateful to work in a community that is underserved by limited access to healthcare.”
On a personal level, Marty hopes to integrate the knowledge he has acquired through working as a civil engineer and completing a wide range of home do-it-yourself projects with future SFCHC infrastructure projects, such as storm water collection. He added that his experience as both a father and grandfather has influenced his involvement with health issues facing children and their parents, such as vaccinations and childhood diseases.
Marty received his Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. He holds leadership roles in numerous water and power industry associations, and also served for nine years on the Burbank Water and Power Board of Directors.
A native of the greater Los Angeles area, Marty resides with his wife in Burbank. He has two children and two grandchildren, and looks forward to the birth of another grandchild this year.