Water for Texas 2019 Conference
Dennis Bonnen Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives The Honorable Dennis Bonnen was elected as Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives on January 8, 2019. Speaker Bonnen has served in the Texas House of Representatives for over 20 years, representing southern Brazoria County and the entirety of Matagorda County. Prior to his election as Speaker, Bonnen served as Speaker Pro Tempore since 2013. He has previously served as Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, as a member of the House Culture, Recreation & Tourism Committee, Chairman of the Sunset Advisory Committee and the House Special Purpose Districts Committee, Vice Chairman of the Joint Committee of Oversight of Higher Education Governance, Excellence and Transparency; and as a member of the Natural Resources Committee. Speaker Bonnen resides with his wife, Kim, and their two sons in Lake Jackson, Texas. In addition to his legislative duties, he is the CEO and Chairman of the Board of Heritage Bank.
George Hawkins Founder and President of Moonshot LLC; Executive in Residence at XPV Water Partners; Chair of Isle, Inc. George Hawkins launched his leadership and innovation-focused consulting business, Moonshot LLC, after stepping down as CEO and general manager of DC Water, where he served for 11 years, including several as a board member. During his tenure, he became well known across the water sector for transforming DC Water into an innovative, customer-driven enterprise, while tripling its investment in clean water. George retains an advisory role with DC Water and its non-profit, Blue Drop. He is an executive in residence for XPV Water Partners, the only private equity firm that focuses exclusively on supporting new and innovative water technologies. He also serves as chairman of Isle, Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of Isle Utilities, Inc., and is on the board of directors of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation. Previously, George was director of the District of Columbia Department of the Environment, served as executive director of several non-profit organizations, and held senior positions with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and law firm Ropes & Gray. He holds degrees from Princeton University and Harvard Law School and has taught environmental law and policy for the Princeton Environmental Institute since 1999.
Roy Spence Co-founder and Chairman of GSD&M; Co-founder and CEO of The Purpose Institute Roy Spence is co-founder and chairman of GSD&M, a leading marketing communications and advertising company. Under Roy's leadership, his agency has helped grow some of the world's most successful brands, including Don't Mess with Texas, Southwest Airlines, Walmart, and more. He is also co-founder and CEO of The Purpose Institute, a consulting firm that helps people and organizations discover and live their purpose. Roy is a Gallup Senior Adviser and works with their teams on global strategy and on the mission and purpose of the most important companies and institutions in the world. He is Gallup's expert on purpose and a champion of Clifton's Strengths Movement. He is a best-selling author and member of the board of directors of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Foundation. Roy is a Distinguished Alumnus of the University of Texas at Austin, a University of Texas McCombs School of Business Hall of Fame inductee, and an American Advertising Federation Hall of Fame inductee.
Roian Atwood Director of Sustainability for Wrangler As the director of sustainability for Wrangler, Roian Atwood leads brand sustainability strategy, engages suppliers globally to drive greater social and environmental performance, and works cross functionally with product development and marketing to create more sustainable products and share brand relevant stories. With 15 years' experience in footwear and apparel sustainability, Roian has a track record of managing a diverse set of projects and leading teams into an action-oriented, results driven approach to corporate sustainability. His undergraduate work was in complex systems with Naropa University, and he holds a master's of environmental management from the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University.
Jorge A. Arroyo, P.E. Engineer VII - Alternative Water Supplies at Freese & Nichols, Inc. Jorge Arroyo is a civil engineer specializing in alternative water supplies, water planning, and public project procurement. Most recent projects include seawater desalination planning and procurement in Corpus Christi and a feasibility study of energy-efficient alternatives for brackish groundwater desalination for the North Alamo Water Supply Corporation in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. From 2002 until 2013, he led the Texas Water Development Board efforts on seawater and brackish groundwater desalination, aquifer storage and recovery, and reuse research and demonstration projects.
Kip Averitt Owner of Averitt & Associates Senator Kip Averitt is a certified public accountant and president of Averitt and Associates, a full-service public affairs consulting firm. He previously served in the Texas House of Representatives for nearly 10 years and the Texas Senate for eight. Senator Averitt is the former chairman of the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and served on the Senate Business and Commerce, Finance, and Higher Education committees. He is also co-founder and CEO of Goldwater, a platform that syncs water consumption, conservation, reporting, and planning with constituent water utilities. He serves on the boards of H2O Texas, Texas Nature Conservancy, and CLEAN AIR Force of Central Texas.
J. E. "Buster" Brown Legislative Consultant at The Browns Consulting Senator J. E. "Buster" Brown served in the Texas Senate from 1981 until 2002 and was chair of the Senate Natural Resources Committee. Senator Brown authored Senate bills 1 and 2, which established the Water Plan for Texas that included drought management, conservation, groundwater districts, regional planning, water marketing, and conjunctive use of surface and groundwater. Senator Brown also served as vice-chair of Senate Finance, chairman of Sunset Commission, chair of the Energy Council, and chair of the Texas Senate Republican Caucus; he is a longtime member of the Western States Water Council and a graduate of the University of Texas School of Law.
Stacy Chesney Director of Public Affairs at Denver Water Stacy Chesney is the director of public affairs for Denver Water, the water utility serving 1.4 million people in Denver and the surrounding suburbs. She leads the communications, media, marketing, and community outreach strategies for the organization and oversees Denver Water's news site, TAP. Prior to Denver Water, she was the communications director for the Colorado and Denver Bar Associations. She holds a graduate certificate in public relations and marketing from the University of Denver and a bachelor of science degree in communications from Northwestern University.
Mindy Conyers, Ph.D. State Flood Assessment Coordinator at the Texas Water Development Board Dr. Mindy Conyers is the state flood assessment coordinator at the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB). She has worked in the TWDB's Water Science & Conservation Office for more than six years in the Conservation & Innovative Water Technologies and Surface Water departments. Dr. Conyers earned her Ph.D. in environmental geography from Texas State University with research focused on geomorphic processes at a watershed scale. She conducted thesis research for her master of applied geography degree in resource and environmental studies on channel dynamics and flood modeling of Hill Country streams, and she holds a bachelor of science degree in physical geography from the University of North Texas.
Jerry Cotter, P.E. Chief of Water Resources for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jerry Cotter is the chief of the Water Resources Branch for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Fort Worth District. He previously served as chief of the Water Management Section. Jerry is also the senior leader for national teams within USACE engaged in developing new and innovative tools to support the USACE water resources and water management missions. He began his career with the USACE in 1980 as a hydraulic engineer. During his career, Jerry has worked on many studies, as well as infrastructure projects for municipal, county, and federal governments across Texas and in Florida including dam designs, drainage systems, water and wastewater systems, and roadways.
John Dupnik, P.G. Deputy Executive Administrator of Water Science & Conservation at the Texas Water Development Board John Dupnik joined the Texas Water Development Board in February 2018. He previously served as the general manager of the Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District, where he was employed since 2005. He also has eight years of experience in state government, including tenure with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation. John holds a bachelor's degree in environmental studies from Texas State University and a master's degree from the Jackson School of Geosciences at the University of Texas at Austin, where his research and thesis focused on Texas groundwater management. He is a Texas licensed professional geoscientist.
Tom Entsminger Manager of Program Administration at the Texas Water Development Board As the Texas Water Development Board's state programs coordinator, Tom Entsminger plays a wide-ranging role in administering several TWDB financing programs. Prior to joining the TWDB, he spent several years with the Community Development Block Grant Program at the Texas Department of Agriculture, specializing in drought relief and colonia assistance programs. Before moving to Austin, Tom served as a grant writer for the County of El Paso, helping County offices secure resources for infrastructure, renewable energy, criminal court programs, and children's mental health services. He holds a bachelor's degree in philosophy from the University of Texas at El Paso.
Angie Flores Manager at Raftelis Angie Flores has worked in the water and wastewater utility industry for more than 25 years. Over this time, she has completed various cost of service and rate studies, financial planning models, and impact fee studies, which began during her 12 years at the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA). Since becoming a consultant in 2013, she has completed these studies for cities such as San Marcos, Abilene, Copperas Cove, Round Rock, and Georgetown. Prior to working at LCRA, Angie worked at the Texas Water Development Board for nine years.
Yvonne Forrest Deputy Director for City of Houston Yvonne Forrest is responsible for the operation and maintenance of the City of Houston's regional water and wastewater utility systems. She also oversees the infrastructure planning, regulatory compliance, and business services. Yvonne represents the City of Houston on AWWA Water Utility Council and acts as a liaison to other City of Houston departments, customers, regulating agencies, and elected officials. Prior to her career in public service, she spent 15 years as an engineer in the private sector developing processes to ensure compliance with environmental regulations, permits, and corporate standards. She holds a bachelor of science in chemical engineering from the University of South Carolina.
Woody Frossard Environmental Services Director at Tarrant Regional Water District In 1987, Woody Frossard became the environmental services director at Tarrant Regional Water District, whose major customers include the Trinity River Authority of Texas and the cities of Fort Worth, Arlington, and Mansfield. He is responsible for all environmental functions of the District, including water quality, waste control, watershed management, oil and gas pollution, and emergency response. He is also a liaison with the federal and state agencies responsible for implementation of all environmental laws and regulations. In addition, Woody is the project manager for the District on the Trinity River Vision – Central City Project.
Jessica Garza City Manager for the City of Alpine Jessica Garza is the city manager for the City of Alpine, Texas, and has nearly 20 years working for small cities in far west Texas. During this time, she has worked with various types of public infrastructure systems and service providers. Over the years she has worked with USDA, the TWDB, BECC/NADB, and other partners to fund improvements and new services in both water and wastewater in the cities she served. She has a bachelor's degree in political science/history from the University of Texas at El Paso and a master's in public administration from the University of San Francisco.
James M. Griffin, Ph.D. Senior Professor of Economics and Public Policy at the George Bush School, Texas A&M Besides teaching micro-economic theory and energy policy courses at the Bush School, Dr. James M. Griffin was the founding director of the Mosbacher Institute for Trade, Economics and Public Policy and still leads its Energy in a Global Economy program. He holds the Bob Bullock Chair in Public Policy and Finance and is a director in the Berkeley Research Group, a boutique economic consulting house. His research interests span a variety of public policy areas—currently groundwater and surface water regulation in Texas. Dr. Griffin holds a bachelor's in mathematics and economics from Southern Methodist University and a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Pennsylvania.
Robert Gulley, Ph.D. Director of Economic Growth and Endangered Species Management at the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts Robert Gulley is the director of the Economic Growth and Endangered Species Management Division of the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. Previously, he was the executive director of the Habitat Conservation Program at the Edwards Aquifer Authority and the program manager for the Edwards Aquifer Recovery Implementation Program. Dr. Gulley has over 25 years' experience as an environmental attorney, including seven years as a senior trial attorney at the Department of Justice and five years as director of the Environmental Legal Division and as vice president for environmental affairs at the Coastal Corporation. He has a bachelor's degree and juris doctor degree from the University of Texas and a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota.
Karen Guz Conservation Director at San Antonio Water System Karen leads a San Antonio conservation team that saves over one billion gallons of water each year through education, incentives, and reasonable regulation. Outside of San Antonio Water System (SAWS), Karen serves on several state and national committees. She is currently the presiding officer and municipal representative on the TWDB Water Conservation Advisory Council. Karen has a bachelor of science degree from the University of Michigan and a master of public administration from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
Billy Hamilton Deputy Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer of The Texas A&M University System Billy Hamilton is deputy chancellor and chief financial officer of The Texas A&M University System. Prior to his current position, Billy was a consultant in tax, fiscal policy, and related issues. His previous positions include deputy comptroller of public accounts of Texas, to which he was appointed by Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn, and deputy comptroller. He also served on special assignment as co-executive director of the California Performance Review for Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Prior to joining the Comptroller in 1991, Hamilton was director of state and local services for the Policy Economics Group of KPMG Peat Marwick in Washington, D.C.
Heather Harward Founder and Consultant at Heather Harward Consulting, LLC Heather Harward currently represents the interests of various clients through Heather Harward Consulting, LLC, including the Texas Water Supply Partners (TWSP). The TWSP is a group of like-minded entities who share a commitment to advancing and influencing policy related to the development of water supplies throughout the state. Heather is the former founder and executive director of the H2O4TEXAS Coalition, a partnership of water providers and water customers committed to securing implementation of the state water plan. Prior to H2O4TEXAS, she served as chief of staff for former State Senator Kip Averitt. She has a bachelor's in communication from the University of Texas at Austin and a master's in communication from Texas State University.
Sam Marie Hermitte Assistant Deputy Executive Administrator of Water Science & Conservation at the Texas Water Development Board Sam Marie Hermitte's areas of responsibility at the Texas Water Development Board include strategic planning, legislative analysis and implementation, drought policy and project coordination, technical writing and review, water data, and special initiatives such as the development of TexasFlood.org, a flood preparedness and response website. As the agency's representative to the Texas Drought Preparedness Council and the Emergency Drinking Water Task Force, Sam is regularly engaged with drought-focused efforts throughout the state. She holds a bachelor's degree in public policy analysis from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a master's degree in public affairs with a portfolio in integrated watershed studies from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin.
Chris Higgins Senior Hydrologist at Brazos River Authority Chris Higgins joined the Brazos River Authority (BRA) as a water resources planner in 2006. He was promoted to the position of senior hydrologist in 2010; in this role he oversees the BRA's daily water supply operations. Chris has 14 years of experience in water resources. Prior to joining the BRA, he served three years in the Army and five years in the Army National Guard while attending school. After, he worked for the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board as a water resources planner. He received a bachelor of science degree in hydrology and water resources from Tarleton State University. He lives in Waco with his wife, Jennifer, and their two kids.
John Higley Chief Executive Officer of EQO Prior to forming EQO, John Higley worked on cancer diagnostic platforms at Thermo Fisher Scientific and led the experimental therapeutics department as the senior director of R&D at Molecular Templates. In this role, he was responsible for developing the company's IP through the preclinical phase, as well as expanding the potential applications of the drug platform through bioengineering initiatives. John founded EQO following the successful development of EQO's flagship detection platform. His experience in biopharmaceutical and diagnostic development is currently being put to good use transforming the field of environmental biology with molecular solutions.
John B. Hofmann Executive Vice President of Water at LCRA John Hofmann oversees LCRA's water, river, irrigation, dam and hydroelectric operations, water surface management, water resource planning, conservation, water quality protection, water customer services, and environmental laboratory services. Prior to joining LCRA, John was a regional manager for the Brazos River Authority, where he was responsible for lake and dam operations, water and wastewater treatment, and project development. He also served as the Authority's manager of government and customer relations. He previously served as Gov. Rick Perry's liaison to the Texas House of Representatives and worked at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
John Honore Natural Hazards Analyst at Texas Division of Emergency Management As a natural hazards analyst, John is the Texas Department of Emergency Management's subject matter expert for all meteorological threats to the state. He holds a bachelor of science degree in meteorology from Florida State University.
Michael Irlbeck Director of Business Development for EPCOR Michael Irlbeck is the business director for EPCOR, one of the largest water utility companies in the Southwest and an emerging leader in the P3 space. Before joining EPCOR, Michael served seven years with Abengoa, where he was responsible for building the company's American P3 business. Michael was the commercial architect of the Vista Ridge Project contracted by the San Antonio Water System in 2014, which is the largest P3 water project in the nation. Prior to Abengoa, Michael served two years with NRS Consulting Engineers and 16 years with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.
Kathleen Jackson Board Member for the Texas Water Development Board Kathleen Jackson was appointed to the Texas Water Development Board by Governor Rick Perry in March 2014 and reappointed by Governor Greg Abbott in March 2017. Kathleen has a diverse background representing agricultural, environmental, industrial, and wholesale-supply interests, which includes developing and implementing water management strategies for Southeast Texas. As a registered professional engineer, Kathleen served as public affairs manager for one of the world's largest petroleum and petrochemical producers. She was also involved in production agriculture with her late husband. She is a past member of the Lower Neches Valley Authority Board of Directors and the Texas Water Conservation Association. She received a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from North Carolina State University.
Marvin "Marty" Jones Attorney at Sprouse Shrader Smith Marvin (Marty) W. Jones is a member of Sprouse Shrader Smith PLLC, whose practice areas include complex commercial litigation, power and utilities, and natural resources. He focuses on litigation in a wide range of areas, including litigation against public utilities and products liability, oil and gas, fiduciary, groundwater law, and insurance defense. He also has substantial experience in matters relating to groundwater rights, including representing clients before groundwater districts, the Texas Water Development Board, and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. He is board certified in civil trial law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and is a fellow of the Texas Bar College.
Tracy O. King State Representative, District 80 Tracy O. King graduated from Carrizo Springs High School, attended Southwest Texas Junior College, Sul Ross State University, and Texas A&M University, where he earned a bachelor of science in agricultural engineering. Representative King was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1994. He is the chairman of the House Agriculture and Livestock Committee and a member of the Natural Resources Committee. He also serves as a member of the Edwards Aquifer Legislative Oversight Committee and the Energy Council. During his tenure in the Texas House of Representatives, he has served on committees including Appropriations, Environmental Regulation, Land and Resource Management, and more. Representative King is married to the former Cheryl Baker of Hondo, and they are the proud parents of two children.
Kevin Kluge Director of Conservation and Innovative Water Technologies at the Texas Water Development Board Kevin supervises the Texas Water Development Board's programs on municipal and agricultural conservation, brackish groundwater mapping, and alternative water strategies, including desalination, reuse, aquifer storage and recovery, and rainwater harvesting. He has been with the TWDB since 1999, working with water use estimates and projections, as well as with the regional water planning groups. He holds a master of science in natural resource economics from the University of Maine.
Mark Kuettel Global Director of Environmental Operations and Technology Center for Dow Chemical Mark has 30 years of experience with Dow Chemical and for the past seven years has provided oversight for water technologies across the Texas Operations portfolio. During this time, Dow has sustained operations through several droughts as well as multiple historic flood events. Mark is a champion for improving the water supply reliability and achieving Dow's sustainability goals. He has supported many conservation projects as well as the design and construction of a world scale clarified water plant. Mark has a chemical engineering degree from the Colorado School of Mines.
Peter M. Lake Chairman of the Texas Water Development Board Peter Lake has served as a Board member of the Texas Water Development Board since December 2015. Governor Greg Abbott designated him Chairman in February 2018. Chairman Lake has held a variety of financial roles across a number of industries. Previously, he acted as director of research and head of automated trading at Gambit Trading, a member firm of the Chicago Board of Trade and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. He also served as director of business development for Lake Ronel Oil Company and as director of special operations for VantageCap Partners. He holds a bachelor of arts in public policy with a specialization in economics from the University of Chicago and a master's of business administration from Stanford University's Graduate School of Business.
Kris Lander, P.E. Development and Operations Hydrologist at NOAA National Weather Service - West Gulf River Forecast Center Kris Lander is the development and operations hydrologist at the National Weather Service (NWS) - West Gulf River Forecast Center (WGRFC) in Fort Worth, Texas. In this role, Kris serves as the technical director of the WGRFC's flood forecasting operations for river systems throughout Texas and the Rio Grande region. Kris previously served as a technical program manager at the NWS Central Region Headquarters, where he focused on the development of research to operations projects for the NWS hydrology program and development of the NWS flood inundation mapping program. He holds a master's degree in agricultural engineering and a bachelor's degree in biological and agricultural engineering.
Juan Landivar-Bowles, Ph.D. Center Director of Texas A&M AgriLife, Research Dr. Juan Landivar-Bowles became the center director at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Corpus Christi in 2008. Research areas include development of cropping systems and management strategies for dryland and irrigated production; elucidation of mode of action and use of growth regulators; and development of a crop weather station network, simulation models, expert systems, and management tools for crop production. Dr. Landivar leads a multidisciplinary team of scientists involved in the development of an unnamed aircraft systems-based platform for agriculture research and precision management. He holds a bachelor's degree in crop science, a master's degree in plant genetics, and a doctorate in crop physiology from Mississippi State University.
Cindy Loeffler Water Resources Branch Chief for Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Cindy Loeffler received her bachelor's degree in engineering from Colorado State University in 1984. After working with the Instream Flow Group at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for several years, Cindy joined the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's Resource Protection Division as a coastal hydrologist in 1987. In 2001, Cindy was named the water resources branch chief. Her duties now include managing the water quality and water quantity programs and coordinating the agency's response to water resource issues affecting fish and wildlife.
Robert Mace, Ph.D. Chief Water Policy Officer at The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment Dr. Robert Mace is an associate director and the chief water policy officer at The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment and a professor of practice in the department of geography at Texas State University. He has more than 30 years of experience in hydrology, hydrogeology, stakeholder processes, and water policy, mostly in Texas. Dr. Mace has a bachelor of science degree in geophysics and a master of science degree in hydrology from the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology and a Ph.D. in hydrogeology from The University of Texas at Austin.
Corrie MacLaggan Managing Editor, Texas Tribune Corrie MacLaggan is the Texas Tribune's managing editor. Previously, the Austin native worked as a national correspondent for Reuters, writing and editing stories about Texas and nearby states and overseeing a network of freelance writers. Before joining Reuters, she covered Texas government and politics for the Austin American-Statesman, writing about everything from gubernatorial races to food stamp application backlogs. She has also worked in Mexico City, where she wrote for publications including the Miami Herald's Mexico edition and the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Her first reporting job was at the El Paso Times. Corrie is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Peter MacLaggan, P.E. Senior Vice President of Poseidon Water LLC Peter MacLaggan has over 20 years of experience in water resources planning and management, including development of several large-scale seawater desalination projects in California. Prior to joining Poseidon, he served as executive director of the California Water Reuse Association, director of water resources at the San Diego County Water Authority, and as an independent water resources consultant. He holds a bachelor's of science in civil engineering from San Diego State University and a juris doctor from the University of San Diego School of Law. He is a registered civil engineer and a member of the California State Bar.
Ian MacLeod Vice President of Marketing for Master Meter, Inc. Ian MacLeod is the vice president of marketing for Master Meter, a leading smart water technology innovator. Ian began his career on Wall Street as a trader and later starred as an on-air personality for Japanese television. He now leads Master Meter's marketing team after having served in territory management and product marketing for other manufacturers. Ian sits on industry committees, presents internationally, and consults for Wall Street analysts. In 2018, he founded WaterTechPR.com. Ian is a graduate of the University of Southern California and holds a special diploma from Waseda University in Japan.
William McKenzie Editorial Director for the George W. Bush Institute William McKenzie is editorial director for the George W. Bush Institute, where he also serves as editor of The Catalyst: A Journal of Ideas from the Bush Institute. Before joining the Bush Institute, the Fort Worth native served 22 years as an editorial columnist for the Dallas Morning News. He has won a Pulitzer Prize and commentary awards from the Education Writers Association, the American Academy of Religion, and the Texas Headliners Foundation, among other organizations. He still contributes columns and essays for the Morning News and The Weekly Standard. He has also served as a Pulitzer Prize juror. He holds a master's degree in political science and lives in Dallas with his wife and their twin children.
Gretchen Miller, Ph.D., P.E. Associate Professor at Texas A&M University, Department of Civil Engineering Dr. Gretchen Miller is an associate professor of water resources engineering in the Zachry Department of Civil Engineering at Texas A&M University, where she teaches fluid dynamics and groundwater engineering. She holds degrees in environmental and geological engineering from the University of Missouri at Rolla and the University of California at Berkeley. Dr. Miller's research aims to improve methods of artificial groundwater recharge and currently focuses on modeling multi-well aquifer storage and recovery systems, stormwater infiltration wells, and other related techniques.
Anne Monine Assistant Vice President of Environment, Health & Safety at Cargill Anne Monine is Cargill's environmental thought leader and leads the corporate effort to develop and implement Cargill's Environmental Compliance & Regulatory Management Strategy. Anne is a chemical engineer with 30 years of experience in every aspect of environmental, health, and safety. She has worked environmental issues for government entities (The United Nations, U.S. House of Representatives, and more), industry (The Dow Chemical Company and Koch Industries, Inc.), and has actively participated on many trade associations and non-governmental organizations (The Nature Conservancy, Sustainability Roundtable, and more).
Christina Montoya-Halter Communications and Marketing Manager at El Paso Water Christina Montoya-Halter has 18 years of media, communications, and marketing experience. She is currently the communications and marketing manager for El Paso Water, overseeing all media relations, public relations, and outreach activities for the utility. Previously, she was an award-winning television news anchor and reporter in El Paso at the local NBC and ABC affiliates. Christina graduated with a bachelor of arts from the University of Southern California. She serves as the outreach chair for WateReuse Texas and previously served on the AWWA Public Affairs Council. Her work in communications and public outreach has been awarded at local, state, and national levels.
Stephanie J. Moore, P.G. Senior Hydrologist at Daniel B. Stephens & Associates Stephanie J. Moore is a hydrologist and professional geoscientist with 20 years of experience, including eight years with the U.S. Geological Survey. She's spent most of her career working in groundwater/surface water interaction, vadose zone hydrology, and stormwater. She has extensive experience with managed aquifer recharge (MAR), having designed and led the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority's MAR program for six years and worked on MAR studies throughout the southwest. She has authored more than 15 peer-reviewed publications and served on the board of directors for the American Groundwater Trust.
Michael Murphy Director of Water Innovation at the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center Michael Murphy is the director of water innovation at the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC), a quasi-public economic development agency in Boston. Michael is responsible for formulating and delivering on the vision and strategy of the Water Innovation Program. Prior to joining MassCEC in 2013, Michael held several positions at the World Bank over five years covering water supply and sanitation for Latin America. Roles prior to the World Bank include tenures at Pacific Institute, the Global Environment Facility, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the United States Business Council for Sustainable Development, and the United States Peace Corps.
Poncho Nevárez State Representative, District 74 Alfonso "Poncho" Nevárez has represented House District 74 since 2013. His top priorities in the legislature are funding comprehensive public education, advocating for border infrastructure, and groundwater. In 2013, he was humbled to be named Freshman of the Year by his colleagues in the House Democratic Caucus. In 2017, he was appointed to serve on the Texas Sunset Commission. Rep. Nevárez has over 18 years of trial experience and has a successful law practice out of Eagle Pass specializing in personal injury litigation. He holds a bachelor of arts degree in government and a law degree from St. Mary’s School of Law. Rep. Nevárez and his wife, Rossy Guadarrama de Nevárez, are the proud parents of three children, Renata Maria, Rominna Maria, and Alfonso Hernan (Ponchito).
Victor Murphy Southern Region Climate Service Program Manager for NOAA/National Weather Service Dr. Victor Murphy has served as the National Weather Service (NWS) southern region climate service program manager since 2002. Located in Fort Worth, the NWS Southern Region includes 33 weather forecast offices and four river forecast centers. Dr. Murphy oversees the daily ingest and publication of climate data from the volunteer COOP network and more official sources. He also oversees the issuance of routine daily and monthly climate products, which includes calculations of temperatures and precipitation. He received a bachelor's degree in meteorology and a jurisprudence degree from the University of Houston.
Jillian North Water Conservation Specialist for the City of Fort Worth Jillian North is a Water Conservation Specialist for the City of Fort Worth and a licensed irrigator. Prior to this role, she worked as an assistant manager for the Upper Trinity Groundwater Conservation District, where she managed science education programs through a mobile education exhibit in a four-county area, as well as public outreach and communications for the District. She has been involved in water conservation since 2009 when she held an internship with Streams & Valleys, a non-profit in Fort Worth that focuses on the transformation of the Trinity River. She earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Oklahoma and is pursuing a master's degree in environmental management and policy from Johns Hopkins University, as well as a professional certification in GIS.
Tommy O'Brien, P.E. Director of Water Resource Planning for City of Abilene Tommy O'Brien has been engaged in the water and wastewater field for over 40 years. As the City of Abilene's director of water resource planning, his primary responsibility is to secure future water supplies for Abilene and its regional customers. Tommy recently completed the management of the City of Abilene's million capital improvements program for additional water supplies in response to the recent drought, which included an indirect reuse project. He is a voting member of the Brazos G Regional Water Planning Group and serves on the Brazos River and Associated Bay and Estuary System Basin and Bay Area Stakeholders Committee. He earned a bachelor's degree from Baylor University and a master's in civil engineering from Texas Tech University.
Rich Oppel Editor-in-Chief of Texas Monthly Rich is editor-in-chief of Texas Monthly. He previously was editor of four newspapers: Tallahassee Democrat, Charlotte Observer (which won three Pulitzers during his tenure), Charlotte News, and Austin American-Statesman. He also was a Washington bureau chief, a university vice president, and a senior vice president of a global PR firm. Rich also was president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors and chair of the Pulitzer Prize Board. He and his wife Carol have two children. Shelby is a former columnist and son Rich Jr. is The New York Times' domestic terrorism correspondent.
Michael Ouimet Manager of Critical Information Systems Section, Headquarters Group, at the Texas Division of Emergency Management Michael (Mike) Ouimet is the manager for the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) Critical Information Systems Section, Headquarters Group, in Austin. TDEM is a division of the Texas Department of Public Safety. Mike oversees TDEM's geospatial information system, crisis management information system administration, advanced audio-visual systems, and technology support for the Texas State Operations Center. Mike has over two decades of experience in the application and use of technology for emergency management operations.
Brooke T. Paup Board Member for the Texas Water Development Board Brooke Paup was appointed to the Texas Water Development Board by Governor Greg Abbott in February 2018. Prior to her appointment to the Board, Brooke served as the director of legislative affairs for the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts for four years. She is formerly the deputy division chief of intergovernmental relations and former special assistant for policy and research for the Office of the Attorney General, where she worked on legislative issues, special litigation, and public finance. Brooke has 12 years of state government experience. She earned a bachelor of arts from Texas A&M University and a juris doctorate from Texas Tech School of Law. She is a member of the State Bar of Texas.
Craig Pedersen Senior Vice President for Enviro Water Minerals Company Craig Pedersen is the senior vice president for Enviro Water Minerals, a technology company providing desalination-based innovative solutions to challenging water treatment issues for public and private sector organizations. He is the former executive administrator of the Texas Water Development Board and former vice president and regional water leader for URS, now AECOM.
Charles Perry State Senator, District 28 Charles Perry is a life-long West Texan and a practicing CPA from Lubbock. He was first elected to the Texas Senate in 2014 after serving two terms in the Texas House of Representatives. Senator Perry currently chairs the Senate Committee on Water and Rural Affairs and is the vice chair for the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. He serves on the Senate Finance Committee, Transportation Committee, and Criminal Justice Committee, and is the co-chair of the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas (SWIFT) Advisory Committee. He earned his B.B.A. in accounting and management information systems from Texas Tech University. He has been married to his wife, Jacklyn, for over 34 years and together they have a daughter, Jordan, and a son, Matthew. Senator Perry is also the proud grandfather to three grandchildren.
Walter "Buzz" Pishkur Director of Water Utilities at City of Arlington Walter "Buzz" Pishkur has 33 years of executive management experience. He became the director of water utilities for the City of Arlington in 2012 and is responsible for the overall operation of a municipal water and wastewater system serving 400,000 customers. Previous positions include director of business development for the United Water Company, president and chief executive officer of Forum Health, and 16 years as president of Aqua Ohio, Inc. Buzz is a graduate of The Ohio State University School of Business and earned his executive MBA degree from the University of Illinois. Buzz is an American Water Works Association Silver Water Drop recipient and a two-time past chair of the Ohio Chapter of the National Association of Water Companies.
Russ Poppe, P.E., Executive Director for Harris County Flood Control District Russell "Russ" Poppe is the executive director for the Harris County Flood Control District in Houston, Texas. Under his direction, the District carries out its mission to devise countywide flood damage reduction plans, implement those plans, and maintain the infrastructure. After graduating from Texas A&M University in 1999 with a civil engineering degree, Russ practiced engineering in the private industry before joining the Harris County Architecture and Engineering Department in September 2005. Since then, Russ has held various leadership positions and his tenure in the public service sector includes a collective project portfolio that exceeds $1 billion in value on very diverse projects.
Asher Price Staff Reporter for Austin American-Statesman Asher Price covers energy, the environment, and politics for the American-Statesman, the daily newspaper in Austin. He has written extensively about the competition from all quarters for water, especially in Central Texas. He has co-authored a book about the backstory of how Texas came to lead the nation in wind power and is at work on a book about Earl Campbell, race, and football. Asher is a 2019 Journalism Fellow at the University of Texas at Austin's Energy Institute.
Robert R. Puente President and Chief Executive Officer of San Antonio Water System Representative Robert R. Puente, president and CEO of San Antonio Water System (SAWS) since May 2008, leads one of the nation's largest utilities delivering water and wastewater services to over 1.8 million consumers. Since taking the helm at SAWS, Representative Puente has led the entity through many historic financial and operational successes, including its highest bond rating. Prior to SAWS, he served in the Texas House of Representatives from 1991–2008 and was chairman of the Natural Resources Committee. In the legislature, he authored and led the charge in passing several historic bills related to water that continue to serve as model legislation throughout the U.S.
Michael Reedy Vice President at Freese and Nichols, Inc. Mike Reedy is a principal and vice president in the Houston office of Freese and Nichols, Inc., where he leads the water resources planning business for the company. He has worked in the field of water resources for 30 years and is currently responsible for the oversight and direction of major projects relating to water availability and supply planning, regional facilities planning, hydrologic and hydraulic studies, wastewater facilities planning, and water and stormwater infrastructure planning and design throughout Texas. Mike has served as the lead consultant to the Region H Regional Water Planning Group for 20 years and has provided leadership and oversight in developing the Region H Regional Water Plan.
Patrick Rios Mayor of the City of Rockport Patrick Rios was elected to the Rockport City Council in 2013 and served as mayor pro tem until May 2018, when he was sworn in as mayor of Rockport. He sits, backs up, or serves as liaison on various boards and committees, including the Rockport-Fulton Chamber of Commerce, the City of Rockport Environmental Water Quality Committee, Rockport YMCA Development Committee, Aransas Pathways, the Coastal Bend Council of Governments, the Aransas County Resiliency Committee, and the Texas Municipal League Board of Directors. Patrick is designated as a certified municipal official by the Texas Municipal League and is also a certified Texas master naturalist. He is a retired health care executive.
Joe Ripple Floodplain Director for Brazoria County Joe is a retired superintendent for Brazosport I.S.D. After a short try at retirement, he joined Brazoria County as floodplain director five years ago. Three of those years saw historic flooding that caused millions of dollars in damage and displaced well over 18,000 families. Throughout the devastation, however, no lives were lost. These experiences helped Joe gain knowledge and establish best practices for future events. He has a master's degree in administration from Stephen F. Austin State University.
Allan Ritter President of Ritter Lumber Representative Allan Ritter of Nederland was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1998 and served for 16 years. As chairman of the Natural Resources Committee, he authored House Bill 4 during the 83rd Legislative Session, which established the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas (SWIFT) to advance implementation of the state water plan and restructured the Texas Water Development Board. He also served as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee. Representative Ritter retired from the Texas House in 2014.
Janet Rummel Public Relations & Communications Officer at North Texas Municipal Water District Janet Rummel is originally from the Houston area and has a bachelor's degree in communications from Texas State University. She has over 15 years of experience in public relations for water utilities. Prior to joining the team at the North Texas Municipal Water District in 2015, she worked for Colorado Springs Utilities' corporate communications and led the public involvement on an $800 million regional water project. Her teams have been recognized with a public communication award from the American Water Works Association in 2015 and five Texas AWWA Watermark communications awards in 2018.
Andrew Sansom, Ph.D. Executive Director of The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment Andrew Sansom is one of Texas' leading conservationists. He is executive director of The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment at Texas State University and former CEO of the Texas Nature Conservancy and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. He is the recipient of numerous awards and the author of eight books.
Sarah Rountree Schlessinger Executive Director of Texas Alliance of Groundwater Districts Sarah Rountree Schlessinger joined Texas Alliance of Groundwater Districts as their executive director in 2015. She currently serves as an appointed member of the Water Conservation Advisory Council and as an alternate member for the Texas Groundwater Protection Committee. She previously worked at the Bandera County River Authority & Groundwater District as their intergovernmental relations coordinator and has experience with international non-profits with interest in water policy. Sarah holds a master of science in water science, policy and management from the University of Oxford.
Mark Shafer, Ph.D. Director of the Southern Climate Impacts Planning Program Mark Shafer established and is the University of Oklahoma lead for the Southern Climate Impacts Planning Program, a NOAA RISA team for the south central U.S. His research interests focus on natural hazards planning and managing societal response to extreme events and climate change. He was a coordinating lead author for the 3rd National Climate Assessment Great Plains Chapter (2014). Mark holds a Ph.D. in political science and a master of science in meteorology from the University of Oklahoma and a bachelor of science in atmospheric sciences from the University of Illinois-Urbana.
Keith Sides State Irrigation Engineer for U.S. Department of Agriculture - Natural Resources Conservation Service Keith Sides is the state irrigation engineer for U.S. Department of Agriculture - Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS). He moved into that position in November 2015 after starting at NRCS as a field engineer in October 2009. Keith previously held several positions in the irrigation industry, including as a salesman and designer for a local irrigation supply company before going on to work for a national manufacturer and then again as a designer for a local SDI installation company. He holds a bachelor of science degree in agricultural engineering from Texas Tech University.
Brian Sledge Managing Partner at SledgeLaw Group, PLLC Brian Sledge is an attorney and governmental relations consultant with the SledgeLaw Group in Austin, where his practice focuses primarily on legislative, water, and local government matters. Prior to entering private practice in 1999, Brian was director of research at the Texas Water Development Board. Prior to that, he served in numerous positions as an attorney for the Texas Legislature, including general counsel of the House Committee on Natural Resources and the Senate-House Joint Committee on Water Resources Development and Management. Brian is a member of the State Bar of Texas, a registered lobbyist with the Texas Ethics Commission, and serves on the board of directors of the Texas Water Conservation Association.
Evan Smith CEO and Co-founder of The Texas Tribune Evan Smith is the CEO and co-founder of The Texas Tribune, a pioneering nonprofit, nonpartisan digital news organization whose deep coverage of Texas politics and public policy can be found at its website, texastribune.org, in newspapers, and on TV and radio stations across the state, and in the print and online editions of the Washington Post. Since its launch in 2009, the Tribune has won international acclaim and numerous honors, including a Peabody Award, 13 national Edward R. Murrow Awards from the Radio Television Digital News Association, and three general excellence awards from the Online News Association. Evan is also the host of "Overheard with Evan Smith," a weekly half-hour interview program that airs on PBS stations around the country. Previously he spent nearly 18 years at Texas Monthly, including eight years as the magazine's editor and a year as its president and editor-in-chief.
Kharley Bagley Smith Director at Hays County Office of Emergency Services Kharley Bagley Smith has served as the director of emergency services for two years and as the emergency management coordinator for six, but in total has over 18 years of experience with emergency services in Hays County. After obtaining a degree from Texas State University in public administration, Kharley furthered her training in homeland security, bioterriorism, incident command, and emergency management. Kharley is responsible for hazard mitigation planning, emergency operations, and response to and recovery from large scale emergencies throughout the county. She saw the county through three historic, federally declared flooding events and has taken an active role in the development of the Hays County Flood Warning System.
Aubrey A. Spear, P.E. Director of Water Utilities for City of Lubbock As an engineering and business consultant for more than 20 years, Aubrey Spear assisted numerous private and public entities to optimize their water and wastewater operations and reduce their environmental liabilities. During that time, he also provided operational and marketing leadership to several companies. In 2007, he transitioned into the public sector as the director of water utilities for the City of Lubbock, where he actively leads the City's water and wastewater utilities operations. Aubrey also serves as chairman of the Region O Water Planning Group, is an appointee to the state's Water Conservation Advisory Council, and serves as the liaison between the City of Lubbock and numerous water boards and agencies.
Will Tynan Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Lotic Labs, Inc. Will Tynan is CEO and co-founder of Lotic Labs, a technology platform powering watershed investment and climate risk mitigation. He previously worked as a management consultant at Refinery Leadership Partners, a boutique international firm serving industrial clients. Will led engagements across the Americas, including with a large-scale Chilean water resource project. He launched several new offerings during his tenure and also headed U.S. operations. Will serves as an independent advisor for early stage technology firms. He has a master of business administration from Harvard Business School and a bachelor's from Carleton College.
Deborah Vacs Renwick Environmental Engineer at U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Deborah Vacs Renwick is an environmental engineer at the U.S. EPA Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water in Washington, D.C., where she focuses on microbial contaminant and disinfection byproduct issues. Prior to the EPA she worked as an engineer at Alameda County Water District in Fremont, California, and as a volunteer in the U.S. Peace Corps water, sanitation and hygiene program in Peru. She earned a bachelor of science degree from Brown University and a master of engineering degree from MIT, where her research focused on water quality issues in drinking water distribution systems.
Angie Sanchez Virnoche Principal at FCS GROUP Angie Sanchez Virnoche is an FCS GROUP principal with 25 years of financial and rate design experience in water and utility infrastructure that includes developing multi-year financial plans for proactive utility management, crafting and optimizing capital funding to meet infrastructure needs, establishing fiscal policies for long-term sustainability, rate structure modernization and prioritization to align with utility objectives, and stakeholder engagement. Angie serves on AWWA's National Rates and Charges Subcommittee and is a contributor to the AWWA M1 Manual on Principles of Water Rates, Fees and Charges. In 2017, she was appointed to the EPA Environmental Finance Advisory Board.
Richard Wade Deputy Executive Administrator of Texas Natural Resources Information System at the Texas Water Development Board Richard Wade provides direction and management for all Texas Natural Resources Information System (TNRIS) activities and programs and serves as the Geographic Information Officer for Texas. He has 30 years of experience in Geographic Information System (GIS) technology and computer mapping. Wade started his career as an intern with TNRIS in 1986 and helped establish one of the first statewide GIS programs at the TWDB. He later went into the private sector and cofounded the Windrose Data Corporation, which provided GIS data and services to environmental and energy firms across the country. He returned to the TWDB in 2005. Wade holds a bachelor's degree in computer science from Texas State University.
Jeff Walker Executive Administrator of the Texas Water Development Board Jeff Walker was named Executive Administrator of the TWDB in May 2016. He has served in various positions at the TWDB for more than 25 years, including as an agricultural conservation specialist, a financial analyst, a non-point source coordinator, director of project development, and most recently as deputy executive administrator of Water Supply and Infrastructure. Jeff holds a master of business administration from Texas State University and a bachelor of science in agricultural economics from Texas A&M University.
Jennifer Walker Senior Program Manager of Water Programs at the National Wildlife Federation Jennifer Walker is the senior program manager for water programs at the National Wildlife Federation. Jennifer has 15 years' experience working on water policy and resources management in Texas with an emphasis on water planning, conservation, and bay and estuary protection. She strives to work collaboratively and approach resource management challenges with a solutions-oriented perspective. Jennifer is a member of the Region K Water Planning Group and serves on the board of directors of the Alliance for Water Efficiency and the Colorado River Alliance. She has a bachelor's in ecology, evolution, and conservation biology from The University of Texas at Austin.
Anthony Wilson Public Information Officer for City of San Angelo Anthony Wilson has served as the public information officer for the City of San Angelo for six years. He has 11 years of municipal experience and spent 20 years as a print journalist. He is a certified public communicator and a certified public manager. He is pursuing an MPA from UT-Tyler.
Greg Wukasch External Relations Manager for San Antonio Water System Greg Wukasch has worked in the San Antonio Water System (SAWS) External Affairs Department since 1998. He began as an education coordinator and is now the external relations manager. Greg considers himself more of a story teller, putting together water stories for citizens across the city he loves. When not talking water, this self-professed water nerd also enjoys talking strategic planning and corporate culture. Greg previously worked as an environmental educator with Aquarena Center in San Marcos, Texas, as a corporate training development coordinator for the Six Flags Company, and as an adjunct professor at St. Phillips College in San Antonio for 14 years. He is married and has three children and two grandchildren.
Mark Yamauchi Sustainability Manager at Toyota Motor North America Mark Yamauchi leads the efforts to incorporate sustainability into all aspects of the Toyota enterprise and heads up strategic initiatives crossing inter- and intradepartmental organizations that focus on sustainability and operational efficiencies. Mark currently leads the TriGen fuel cell program at Toyota's Long Beach, California, port facility. This program will result in the first 100 percent on-site-generated renewably powered facility globally and will provide renewable hydrogen fuel for Toyota's Portal Class 8 Heavy Duty trucks and imported fuel cell electric vehicles. With over 25 years of experience in real estate and facilities and a LEED accredited professional certification since 2002, he has provided advice on sustainability to numerous organizations.
Stephanie Zavala Chief Executive Officer of Rogue Water Stephanie Zavala is CEO and co-founder of Rogue Water. Prior to founding Rogue, Stephanie worked in water utilities for ten years in education and communication. Her work earned awards from the EPA, the Texas Water Development Board, TAWWA, and the Texas Association of Municipal Information Officers. She is also the creator and co-host of the Water in Real Life podcast that provides the water industry with resources related to communication, innovation, and professional development. Stephanie has a bachelor's in entrepreneurial management and marketing and a master's in environmental science from Texas Christian University. She is also a certified public communicator through TCU's School of Strategic Communication.
Jessica Zuba Deputy Executive Administrator of Water Supply and Infrastructure at the Texas Water Development Board Jessica Zuba joined the Texas Water Development Board in July 2001. She was named the Deputy Executive Administrator of Water Supply and Infrastructure in May 2016. Prior to this role, she served as the director of Regional Water Planning and Development, which entailed managing six multi-disciplined regional teams that implement water and wastewater projects across the state. Her past positions at the TWDB also include team manager for the northeast region of the state and financial analyst. Jessica received a bachelor's degree in business administration with the distinction of magna cum laude from St. Edward's University.