1933-2009

Jack Pfister was a fourth generation Arizonan who graduated from University of Arizona law school. He joined Salt River Project in 1970 and served as its General Manager from 1976 until he retired in 1991.

Jack Pfister: The power of collaboration

(The story below is built around a recorded interview)

Jack Pfister was an engineer, a lawyer and an executive, but above all, he was one of Arizona’s true water leaders.

After graduating from law school, the Arizona native went to work for Jennings, Strauss, Salmon and Trask, the law firm representing Salt River Project (SRP), which thrust him full-force into Arizona water issues. In the 1960s, he had a front row seat to the efforts to obtain federal authorization for construction of Central Arizona Project.

“Salt River Project and Arizona Public Service Company were aware that in order for Arizona to continue to grow, particularly the greater metropolitan Phoenix area, it needed a stable water supply,” Pfister said. “We knew it was a vital component to support the future of Arizona and it’s proved to be the case.”

Pfister joined SRP in 1970 and his involvement in Arizona water issues intensified, including work on the Navajo Generating Station, the Arizona Groundwater Management Act of 1980, Orme Dam, environmental impact of CAP, and more. In 1976 he was named General Manager of SRP, a position he held until his retirement in 1991.

When reflecting back on his collaborative work between SRP and CAP, Pfister cites the approval of the CAP-SRP Interconnect as being the accomplishment of which he is most proud.

“It took a lot of cajoling and a lot of hand holding to finally get the SRP Board to agree to interconnect the two water systems,” said Pfister. “As it turns out, that’s been a very important decision and very helpful to Salt River Project. During the drought, SRP took lots of CAP water into its system.”

Read Jack Pfister's Oral History Transcript
Listen to Jack Pfister's Interview