Conference Speakers

Judy Adams

Judy AdamsArea Manager for Brownsville Public Utilities Board

Judy Adams is the area manager for Brownsville Public Utilities Board. She oversees water and wastewater treatment, including the Southmost Regional Water Authority, a 10 MGD brackish groundwater reverse osmosis (RO) membrane facility with microfiltration pretreatment. She Participated in the Lower Rio Grande Regional Seawater Desalination Pilot Study completed in 2008. Adams has a master's degree in business administration from the University of Texas - Pan American and a bachelor’s degree from Texas Lutheran University. She is a registered environmental manager and holds a Class A operator license in water and wastewater in Texas.

Jon Albright

Jon AlbrightHydrologist at Freese and Nichols, Inc.

Jon Albright is an associate and hydrologist/project manager in Freese and Nichols' Fort Worth office with over 23 years of experience in water resource planning, water availability modeling, and water rights permitting. He has provided water supply analysis support to regions A, B, C, E, F, G, H, I, and J. He also has participated in the development of water availability models of the Brazos, Trinity, Neches, and San Jacinto-Brazos river basins.

Darwin Archer

Darwin ArcherCity Manager for the City of Cisco

Darwin Archer is the city manager for the City of Cisco. Darwin has been in municipal government since 2004 and has been the city manager for Cisco since December 2015. He holds a Class B water distribution license and a Class C wastewater license. Darwin sits on the Natural Resources Advisory Board for the West Central Texas Council of Governments as well as several local boards.

Kip Averitt

Kip AverittPrincipal of Averitt and Associates, Inc.

Senator Kip Averitt was elected to the Texas Senate in April 2002 and served as chairman of the Senate Committee on Natural Resources. During the 80th Session, Averitt crafted and passed Senate Bill 3, a powerful tool in his ongoing efforts to ensure a clean, adequate, and affordable water supply for future generations of Texans. He has served on several other committees and held various legislative responsibilities, and is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Texas Nature Conservancy. Previously, Senator Averitt served 9.5 years in the Texas House of Representatives. He earned a BBA and MBA in economics and finance from Baylor University and is a certified public accountant and consultant. Averitt is the Principal of the Goldwater Project.

Carole Baker

Carole BakerPresident and CEO of the Texas Water Foundation

Carole Baker was the director of intergovernmental relations at the Harris Galveston Subsidence District (HGSD) for 21 years, serving as their legislative liaison to the Texas Legislature's Senate and House Natural Resources committees. Her accomplishments have yielded water conservation legislation that is now included in the state water planning efforts. She is the chair emeritus of the Board for the Alliance for Water Efficiency (AWE), a national non-profit organization working to enhance the more efficient use of water. Additionally, Baker is currently the president and CEO of the Texas Water Foundation, whose mission is to maintain and enhance the quality of life for all Texans by mobilizing Texans to recognize the vital role water plays in protecting human health, supporting economic growth, and safeguarding natural resources.

Jessica Baker

Jessica Baker, P.E.President of Texas Floodplain Management Association

Jessica Baker serves as the president of the Texas Floodplain Management Association (TFMA), a non-profit professional association focused on reducing flood risks in Texas. Baker is passionate about the education of community officials, media, and citizens and works to provide outreach and training to ensure all communities understand the risks associated with flooding. Her career began at Halff Associates in Austin as a water resources engineer focused on floodplain management and flood reduction projects. She now serves as a vice president at Halff's headquarters in Richardson. She has a BS in civil engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and is a licensed Professional Engineer, a Certified Floodplain Manager, and obtained the Project Management Professional certification.

John Baldwin

John BaldwinChief Financial Officer for the Coastal Water Authority

John Baldwin was appointed to the position of chief financial officer for the Coastal Water Authority in 1998. Prior to this appointment he spent 21 years with the City of Houston Public Works Department, the last six years as deputy director for Resource Management. Baldwin has undergraduate degrees from Texas A&M - Commerce and the University of Houston, along with an MBA from the University of Houston.

Marlo Wielista Berg

Marlo Wielista BergEngineer, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality

Marlo Wanielista Berg holds a Bachelor of Civil Engineer from Georgia Tech and a Master of Science in Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. After working in both industry and consulting, she transferred to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) in 2004. There she reviewed membrane designs and worked on other innovative water treatment technologies. In 2008 she was handed a little project that become the Colorado River Municipal Water District Raw Water Production Facility at Big Spring--Texas's first direct potable reuse (DPR) project. Since that fateful day she has working on all the DPR projects (except one) in Texas, and often wonders how her life would have been different if she had been out that day in 2008.

Rajendra Bhattarai

Rajendra BhattaraiEnvironmental and Regulatory Services Division Manager at Austin Water Utility

Raj Bhattarai has 36 years of experience in water quality management. He manages Austin Water's Environmental and Regulatory Services Division. He was the 2007–2008 president of the Water Environment Association of Texas (WEAT) and president of the Texas Association of Clean Water Agencies in 2001, 2013, and 2014. He is a board member of the National Association of Clean Water Agencies. Bhattarai received the Gascoigne Medal and the Bedell Award from the Water Environment Federation, and the Mahlie Award from WEAT for "significant contributions to the art and science of wastewater treatment and water pollution control." He is a Distinguished Alumnus of the Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering Department of UT Austin. He has more than 130 presentations and publications.

Fred Blumberg

Fred BlumbergProject Manager for Arcadis, U.S., Inc.

Fred M. Blumberg is a water resources consultant with Arcadis-U.S. His current projects include water resources planning and feasibility, aquifer storage and recovery (ASR), watershed planning and management and source water protection, dam safety, reclaimed water, and municipal and industrial water supply. Prior to joining Arcadis, Blumberg retired after 33 years of service with the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority. When he retired, he had been the deputy general manager and chief operating officer of GBRA for 13 years. In that capacity he led all of the Authority's water resources and water rights activities, the operating divisions, and the engineering and construction management departments. Blumberg earned his BS and MA degrees from Texas A&M University.

Bob Brandes

Bob Brandes, Ph.D.Owner of Robert J. Brandes Consulting

Dr. Brandes has been engaged in consulting engineering practice in Texas for over 40 years, specializing in water resources and related engineering and environmental disciplines. For much of this time, he has been involved in water availability modeling as part of water supply investigations and water rights permitting. Pursuant to SB1, his firm developed the first WAM for the Sulphur Basin in the late 1990s, as well as other WAMs for the Colorado and Rio Grande basins. He currently serves as co-chair of TWCA's Surface Water Committee.

Angel Bustamante

Angel BustamanteWater Systems Division Manager at El Paso Water

Angel Bustamante graduated from the University of Southern California in 1999 with a BS degree in environmental Engineering. He has worked in water-wastewater consulting in Orange County, California, and has been with El Paso Water since 2006. He is currently the water systems division manager in operations for El Paso Water. Bustamante is a registered professional engineer in the states of Texas and California and is a licensed operator with a Class B surface water operator license from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

Leroy Chiao

Leroy Chiao, Ph.D.International Space Station Commander

Former NASA astronaut Dr. Leroy Chiao has been called "a pioneer in the frontier of commercial space flight." The wide-eyed child of Chinese immigrants, Chiao was inspired by the Apollo 11 Moon landing to launch his own journey to the stars and never looked back. His accomplishments include four missions into space, including three Space Shuttle flights, walking in space six times, and commanding the International Space Station for a 6.5-month mission. On stage, Chiao shares his experiences as they relate to water use and reuse in space, international business, operational leadership, teamwork, and the future of innovative technology.

Gabe Collins

Gabriel CollinsBaker Botts Fellow in Energy & Environmental Regulatory Affairs at the Baker Institute for Public Policy

Gabriel Collins is a Permian Basin native and the Baker Botts fellow in Energy & Environmental Regulatory Affairs at the Baker Institute Center for Energy Studies. He was previously a private sector commodity analyst and an associate attorney at Baker Hostetler, LLP, and is the co-founder of the widely regarded China SignPost™ (洞察中国) analysis portal. His research focuses on water resource governance, upstream oil and gas, gasoline and distillate markets, and unconventional water issues. Collins received his BA from Princeton University and a JD from the University of Michigan Law School. He is licensed to practice law in Texas.

Mary Ann Dickinson

Mary Ann DickinsonPresident and CEO of the Alliance for Water Efficiency

Mary Ann Dickinson is the president and CEO of the Alliance for Water Efficiency, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the efficient and sustainable use of water in the U.S. and Canada. Dickinson has over 40 years of experience in water resources and water efficiency. A graduate of the University of Connecticut, she currently serves as chair of the Efficient Urban Water Management Specialist Group for the International Water Association and was past chair of the American Water Works Association National Water Conservation Division. She has presented numerous papers on water conservation internationally and across the U.S. and Canada.

Richard Donat

Richard DonatExecutive Management Analyst at San Antonio Water System

Richard Donat is an integral part of the team developing the new brackish groundwater supply for the city of San Antonio. He began working at San Antonio Water System (SAWS) in 2010 during the feasibility phase of the project and has had the opportunity to see the project through construction. Donat's main roles on the project included geological investigations, project controls (costs and schedules), and outreach. Once the project is completed, he will move into a management analyst role at SAWS for the construction and engineering departments where he will utilize his passion for management science. He has a bachelor’s degree in geology from the University of Arkansas, an MS in geology from the University of Tennessee, and an MBA from the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Greg Ellis

Gregory EllisAttorney at Law at GM Ellis Law Firm P.C.

A 1988 graduate of the University of Texas School of Law, Gregory M. Ellis has concentrated his practice on Texas groundwater law. He served five years as in-house general counsel for the Harris-Galveston Subsidence District, followed by seven years as the first general manager of the Edwards Aquifer Authority. Ellis started a solo practice representing groundwater conservation districts and subsidence districts in 2004.

Harry Evans

Harry EvansSenior Research Fellow at the University of Texas at Austin

Harry Evans joined the Austin Fire Department in 1985. With over 29 years in the fire service, Chief Evans served in every rank and worked in nearly every division of the department and was certified in a diverse range of special operations disciplines. He was also a member of Texas Task Force 1 Urban Search and Rescue Team and the Capital Area Incident Management Team. In 2009 Chief Evans was appointed to the rank of Assistant Chief and also was named Chief of Staff, serving in that capacity until his retirement in January 2015. Evans is now a senior research fellow in the Center for Research on Water Resources at the University of Texas at Austin.

Don Ferguson

Don FergusonCity Administrator for the City of Wimberley

Don Ferguson is currently the city administrator of the City of Wimberley. With almost 20 years in city management, Ferguson has held positions in New Braunfels, Rollingwood, and Wimberley. He has been involved in the response and recovery efforts for five federally declared disasters, all of which were flash floods. He is a graduate of the University of Texas at Arlington. He is married to Stephanie Ferguson, his wife of 26 years, and they have one son, Christopher, who is a sophomore at Texas A&M University in College Station.

Samuel Franco

Samuel FrancoDirector of the Center for Alternative Finance and Procurement

Samuel Franco has a dual role at the Texas Facilities Commission. He serves as the director of the Center for Alternative Finance and Procurement and for the Commission's Public Private Partnership program. Franco oversees the strategy, planning, and delivery of a portfolio of major projects for the Commission as well as serves in a strategic leadership and advisory role for public entities with regard to the procurement, financing, and commercial support of projects that are well suited for alternative delivery type models.

Lynette Frnka

Lynette FrnkaManager at New Ulm Water Supply Corporation

Lynette Frnka was raised in New Ulm and attended school in the Columbus Independent School District until 1959. She and her husband moved to Houston, where she gained experience through various positions including working in correspondence for an insurance agency, as a secretary at an engineering firm, and for Uncle Ben's Rice. She also owned a florist shop. In 1978 she and her family returned to New Ulm, where she worked as an electrician for the next 20 years. Frnka began working for New Ulm Water Supply Corporation in July 2007, and through her efforts and those of the present board of directors, pulled the corporation up by its bootstraps and helped steer it back to productivity.

Glenn Hegar

Glenn HegarTexas Comptroller of Public Accounts

Elected in November 2014, Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar serves as Texas' treasurer, check writer, tax collector, procurement officer, and revenue estimator. Hegar is a sixth-generation Texan, who grew up farming land that has been in his family since the mid-1800s. Before becoming Comptroller, he served in the Texas House of Representatives and the Texas Senate and also served as chair of the Sunset Advisory Commission, which works to eliminate inefficiency in government agencies. Hegar earned a BA from Texas A&M before earning an MA and law degree from St. Mary's University. At the University of Arkansas, he earned a master of laws degree. Hegar and his wife, Dara, have three young children, Julia, Jonah, and Claire.

Billy Howe

Billy HoweAssociate Director for Government Affairs at Texas Farm Bureau

Billy Howe is the associate director of government affairs for Texas Farm Bureau. He began his career with Texas Farm Bureau in September 1999. Before coming to Texas Farm Bureau, he worked in the Texas House of Representatives for six years. In total, he has over 20 years of legislative experience.
Howe assists in coordinating political activities and advocating on priority issues at the federal and state level. He also has the individual responsibility of advocating on water issues in Austin for Texas Farm Bureau. Howe grew up in the farming community of Itasca on the Blackland Prairie of North Central Texas. He spent two years at Hill College in Hillsboro and then earned his bachelor's degree in political science from Louisiana State University.

Laura Huffman

Laura HuffmanTexas State Director at The Nature Conservancy

Laura Huffman is Texas state director for The Nature Conservancy, a global organization that partners with businesses, governments, multilateral institutions, indigenous communities, and others to protect ecologically important lands and waters. She is also founding director of the Conservancy’s Urban Strategies in North America Program. A native of Austin, Huffman has a long and distinguished record of public service. She served as deputy city manager for the city of San Marcos from 1994 to 2002 and assistant city manager for the city of Austin from 2002 to 2008, spearheading important watershed protection and economic development initiatives for both cities. She currently serves as Board Chair for the Texas League of Conservation Voters and as an ECO Advisory Board member for South by Southwest.

Jeff Hughes

Jeff HughesDirector of the Environmental Finance Center at the University of North Carolina

Jeff Hughes is a faculty member and the director of the Environmental Finance Center at the University of North Carolina. He provides research, educational programs, and advising services to local governments, private companies, utilities, and state and federal agencies. He has extensive experience as a researcher, policy analyst, consultant, and practitioner. His current research focus areas include alternative project delivery models, capital finance, and rate setting. His work in Texas includes advising utilities on new business models and serving as author of a water price setting guide. Hughes is a member of the American Water Works Association and the Council of Infrastructure Financing Authorities. He serves on the Finance Committee for the Water Research Foundation and the EPA Environmental Financial Advisory Board.

Jace Houston

Jace Houston General Manager for the San Jacinto River Authority

Jace Houston currently serves as general manager for the San Jacinto River Authority, a public agency created by the legislature in 1937 for the purpose of developing, conserving, and protecting the water resources of the San Jacinto River basin. Prior, he served as general counsel for the Harris-Galveston Subsidence District, which regulates groundwater withdrawals in Harris and Galveston counties in order to control subsidence. Past positions include staff attorney and policy analyst at the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission and General Counsel for the Land and Resource Management Committee for State Representative Robert Saunders. Houston received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering from the University of Texas at Austin.

Richard Hyde

Richard Hyde, P.E.Executive Director for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality

Richard A. Hyde, P.E., became executive director for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) in January 2014. Prior, he served as the deputy executive director since May 2012. Hyde's past positions include deputy director of the Office of Compliance and Enforcement, deputy director of the Office of Permitting and Registration, and director of the Air Permits Division. He joined the TCEQ in 1992 and worked as a permit engineer, team leader, and manager in the Air Permits Division before becoming director. He also has experience in the private sector as an environmental consultant. Hyde is a licensed professional engineer and holds a bachelor of science in agricultural engineering from Texas A&M University and bachelor of science and master of education degrees from Texas State University.

Mikel Irizar

Mikel IrizarCEO of Hydromodel Host

Mikel Irizar is the CEO for Hydromodel Host, the global leader in groundwater management solutions providing the first comprehensive and cloud-based groundwater resources management platform designed for planners, managers, aquifer users, and technical staff delivering real-time visibility and accurate predictability. Irizar has extensive experience introducing new technology to transform traditional industries such as the elections industry. He has more than 20 years of global experience in executive roles for large technology companies like Symantec and Silicon Graphics, as well as successful start-ups like NTRglobal, SofcloudIT, and Scytl. He holds a BS in business administration and an MBA from San Jose State University.

Tanner Johnson

Tanner JohnsonDirector of the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation

Tanner A. Johnson has worked for more than a decade on coastal conservation and restoration policy at the federal, state, and local levels. After earning his law degree, Tanner developed a focus on coastal issues as legislative director to U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu and aide to Governor Kathleen Blanco. His work in these positions contributed to the adoption of Louisiana’s 2007 coastal master plan. In the wake of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, Johnson helped author and lead the staff level negotiation of The RESTORE Act, which dedicates 80 percent of civil and administrative Clean Water Act penalties to Gulf Coast restoration. In 2013, he was appointed by Governor Bobby Jindal to the Governor’s Advisory Commission for Coastal Protection, Restoration, and Conservation.

Rick Kellison

Rick KellisonProject Director for Texas Alliance for Water Conservation

Rick Kellison attended Lockney High School and received his BS degree in animal business and MS degree in ruminant nutrition from Texas Tech University. He owns Silver Creek Farms, a registered cow/calf operation near Lockney. Kellison has served as the project director for the Texas Alliance for Water Conservation Program in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources (CASNR) at Texas Tech University since 2005. He previously owned and operated Kellison Fertilizer and Spraying from 1978 to 1998 selling to Wilbur-Ellis and acting as their branch manager from 1998 to 2005. His awards include the 2016 Outstanding Service to Agriculture Award of Merit from Gamma Sigma Delta at Texas Tech, the 2016 CASNR Research Staff Award, and the 2016 Texas Tech Chancellor’s Staff Award of Excellence.

Keith P. Kindle

Keith P. Kindle, P.E.Chief Operating Officer of Enprotec/Hibbs & Todd Inc.

Keith P. Kindle, P.E., serves as the Chief Operating Officer for Enprotec/Hibbs & Todd Inc. He is a licensed professional engineer in the State of Texas and has been a consulting engineer for the past 26 years. He has been involved in over $1 billion in financing for public infrastructure projects from the Texas Water Development Board’s State Revolving Funds, Economically Distressed Areas Program, Development Fund and Rural Water Assistance Fund. He also has experience with funding from the North American Development Bank, Border Environment Cooperation Commission, Texas Department of Agriculture and the U.S.D.A. Rural Assistance Programs. He has testified before both the Texas Legislature and U.S. Congress on funding programs for public infrastructure projects. He earned two degrees from Texas A&M University.

Tracy King

Tracy O. KingState 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 and is currently serving his tenth term. 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.

Billy Kniffen

Billy KniffenWater Resource Associate at Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service

Billy Kniffen is a water resource associate in the Biological and Agriculture Engineer Department with the Texas A&M (TAMU) AgriLife Extension Service. He has served as a water resource specialist and county agent for TAMU for 30 years. He is the past vice president for the American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association (ARCSA) and co-authored the training manual Rainwater Harvesting: System Planning. He received degrees from Abilene Christian University and Tarleton State University. He and his wife, Mary, live in Menard, Texas, in a home solely dependent on rainwater.

Lyle Larson

Lyle LarsonState Representative,
District 122

Representative Lyle Larson, a lifelong resident of the San Antonio area, began his political career in 1991 as San Antonio City Councilman for District 10, which was followed by two terms as Bexar County Commissioner, Precinct 3. In 2010, he was elected State Representative for District 122 and re-elected in 2012 and 2014. Representative Larson serves on the House Natural Resources Committee; the Culture, Recreation, and Tourism Committee; the General Investigating and Ethics Committee; the Calendars Committee; and as the Chairman of the Texas Republican Representative Campaign Committee. He holds a BBA from Texas A&M University.

Tim Loftus, Ph.D.

Tim Loftus, Ph.D.Professor of Practice in Geography and Meadows Endowed Chair in Water Conservation at Texas State University

Dr. Tim Loftus is a water resource planner having earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in forestry and doctorate in geography from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Dr. Loftus served as a faculty member at Eastern Kentucky University, director of the Water Quality Laboratory at Heidelberg College in Tiffin, Ohio, and spent ten years with the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning where he managed Clean Water Act funded projects and led planning and implementation support for Water 2050: Northeastern Illinois Regional Water Supply/Demand Plan. He is currently professor of practice in geography and Meadows Endowed Chair in Water Conservation at Texas State University in San Marcos.

Eddie Lucio

Eddie Lucio IIIState Representative,
District 27

Representative Eddie Lucio III was born and raised in Brownsville, where he is an attorney with the Lucio III Group, PLLC, practicing in the areas of water law, general business law, and contract law. In 2006, Representative Lucio was elected to the Texas House of Representatives, District 38, and re-elected in 2008, 2010, 2012, and 2014. Representative Lucio currently serves as Vice Chairman of the Calendars Committee and is a senior member of the Natural Resources Committee and the Land and Resource Management Committee. He holds a BBA from the University of Texas at Austin and a doctorate of jurisprudence from the University of Texas School of Law. Representative Lucio and his wife, Jaime Barrera Lucio, have two children, Olivia Rose and Eduardo Andres "Luc" Lucio III.

Erick Macha

Erick MachaDirector at FirstSouthwest, a Division of Hilltop Securities, Inc.

Erick Macha joined First Southwest in 2005 as an analyst. Specializing in public finance, he provides refunding analysis, debt structuring, cash flow models, credit analysis, and continuing disclosure for cities, counties, utilities, school districts, economic development districts, and water supply corporations. Macha works with numerous cities and entities throughout the state and has been involved in the structuring and sale of more than 500 transactions for over $10 billion of fixed and variable rate municipal bonds. He holds a BBA from Texas Christian University.

Roberto Macias

Roberto MaciasManager of Production & Treatment Operations at San Antonio Water System

Roberto Macias is a plant manager with the San Antonio Water System (SAWS) at the H2Oaks/Aquifer Storage & Recovery Facility. He has over 33 years of experience working in the water and wastewater arenas. He has worked with all types of treatment process ranging from Trickling Filters to Reverse Osmosis. Macias has worked all over Texas and even ventured into Mexico during a brief stint in the private sector. He is a member of the AWWA and WEF and studied at U.T.S.A. He is a TCEQ Class A wastewater treatment operator and a TCEQ Class B water treatment operator.

Dr. David Maidment

David Maidment, Ph.D.Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin

Dr. David R. Maidment is the Hussein M. Alharthy Centennial Chair in Civil Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, where he has been on the faculty since 1981. In 2016, he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering "for development of geographic information systems applied to hydrologic processes."

Chris Maxwell-Gaines

Chris Maxwell-Gaines, P.E.Owner of Innovative Water Solutions LLC

Chris Maxwell-Gaines is a professional engineer and owner of Innovative Water Solutions LLC (IWS). IWS is a design/build water conservation firm that focuses on water conservation systems such as rainwater collection, graywater reuse, and efficient irrigation and landscape systems for residential and commercial projects. To date, IWS has installed over 6,000,000 gallons of rainwater storage capacity across the state of Texas.

Ellen McDonald

Ellen McDonald, Ph.D.Water Resources Practice Leader at Alan Plummer Associates, Inc.

Dr. Ellen McDonald is a principal at Alan Plummer Associates where she leads the water resources group. She holds a BS degree in civil engineering from Bucknell University and a MS and PhD in water resources engineering from Stanford University. McDonald has more than 25 years of experience in the areas of water resources planning, water reuse, water quality modeling and water and wastewater system modeling and planning. Through her work at Alan Plummer Associates, she has assisted a number of cities and water districts in the planning, development and implementation of water reuse projects, relating to both direct and indirect reuse. Nationally recognized as an expert in water reuse, McDonald is the immediate past president of WateReuse Texas and is a member of the WEAT and TWCA water reuse committees.

Tom McLemore

Tom McLemoreGeneral Manager for Harlingen Irrigation District and Adams Gardens Irrigation District

Tom McLemore became the general manager for Harlingen Irrigation District (HID) and Adams Gardens Irrigation District in January 2016. The districts serve approximately 45,000 acres of farmland and provide raw municipal water to the City of Harlingen and surrounding communities. Prior, he was HID's project manager, which entailed managing all conservation projects and overseeing the maintenance and repair of the District’s water delivery system. A major part of his job included the Texas Project for Ag Water Efficiency (AWE), which focused on the maximization of on-farm surface water use efficiency by integration of on-farm application and district delivery systems. McLemore was trained in electronics and computer systems in the U.S. Navy; upon completion of his military service, he farmed land in Texas for 25 years.

Luke Metzger

Luke MetzgerDirector of Environment Texas

Luke Metzger is the founding Director of Environment Texas, a statewide, citizen-funded advocate for clean air, clean water, and open spaces. The San Antonio Current called Mr. Metzger "long one of the most energetic and dedicated defenders of environmental issues in the state." He is the author or co-author of several reports, including Keeping Water in Our Rivers: Strategies for Conserving Limited Water Supplies. His essay, "Polluting the Brazos, Sullying the Soul of Texas," was chosen for publication in the college writing textbook, The Longwood Guide to Writing. He has been named one of the "Top Lobbyists for Causes" by Capitol Inside, received the President's Award from the Texas Recreation and Parks Society for his work to protect Texas parks, and was chosen for the inaugural class of Next Generation Fellows by the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law at UT Austin.

Jeff Mosher

Jeff MosherChief Research Officer at Water Environment & Reuse Foundation

In 2016, Jeff Mosher joined the Water Environment and Reuse Foundation (WE&RF), a nonprofit research organization located in Alexandria, Virginia, as their chief research officer. He is responsible for guiding WE&RF’s research program, which addresses applied research in wastewater, water reuse, resource recovery, and water resources. Prior, he was the executive director for 11 years at the National Water Research Institute, a nonprofit located in California. He works on issues in water supply and water resources, including water reuse with an emphasis on indirect and direct potable reuse. He has led a number of independent advisory panel efforts for agencies addressing the implementation of water supply projects and policies. He holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the College of William and Mary and a master of science degree in environmental engineering from George Washington University.

Weston Neiman

Weston NeimanProject Manager at Native American Seed

Weston Nieman began working full time with Native American Seed after graduating from New Mexico State University in 2009 and completing an MBA at Texas Tech University. He has boundless energy and a knack for bringing a spirit of playfulness and teamwork to otherwise routine jobs. Recently, Nieman qualified Native American Seed to win the statewide Rain Catcher Award by leading up the design and implementation of two large rainwater catchment systems on the farm. Since then, he has installed several residential and commercial rainwater harvesting projects.

Mark Null

J. Mark NullHydrologist-in-Charge of the National Weather Service West Gulf River Forecast Center

J. Mark Null serves as the hydrologist-in-charge of the National Weather Service (NWS) West Gulf River Forecast Center (WGRFC) in Fort Worth, Texas. He is responsible for helping to ensure citizens in Texas and New Mexico receive accurate and reliable river forecast products and services. His responsibilities include providing NWS weather forecast offices and core partners and stakeholders with timely river forecast information and decision support services so they can make informed decisions to save lives and protect property. The WGRFC's area covers more than 402,000 square miles of land in the U.S. and northern Mexico and over 15 major river basins. Null earned his BS degree from the University of Texas at Austin and MS degrees in meteorology and oceanography from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California.

Tom Pankratz

Tom PankratzConsultant and Editor of Water Desalination Report

Tom Pankratz is a Houston-based independent consultant and the editor of Global Water Intelligence's weekly Water Desalination Report. Formerly a vice president of CH2M Hill and a director with USFilter/Veolia Water, he has served as an expert advisor on some of the world's largest and most technically advanced desalination projects. He has also been appointed to serve on committees by the National Academy of Sciences, World Health Organization, Middle East Desal Research Center, and Australia's Nation Center of Excellence in Desalination.

Dan Patrick

Dan PatrickLieutenant Governor of Texas

Dan Patrick has been called a bold, determined, and principles-first leader who consistently articulates the views and values of the conservative majority in Texas. Patrick was elected lieutenant governor of Texas in 2014, winning the general election by almost 20 points. He is committed to reducing taxes, limiting government spending, border security, protecting life, the family, the Second Amendment, and education reforms that will assure that every Texan has the opportunity to prosper and the Lone Star State will continue to lead the nation in job creation and business expansion. Patrick is a successful small businessman and radio host. He and his wife Jan have been married 41 years; they have two children and four grandchildren.

Charles Perry

Charles PerryState Senator, District 28

Charles Perry is a life-long West Texan and a practicing CPA from Lubbock. He was first elected to Texas Senate in 2014 after serving two terms in the Texas House of Representatives. Senator Perry currently chairs the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Water, and Rural Affairs and is the co-chair of the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas (SWIFT) Advisory Committee. He earned his BBA in accounting and management information systems from Texas Tech University. He has been married to his wife, Jacklyn for over 33 years and together they have a daughter, Jordan, and a son, Matthew.

Mike Powell

Mike PowellOf Counsel to Locke Lord LLP

Mike Powell is an experienced trial and appellate lawyer. His undergraduate degree is from Davidson College, and he holds MA and JD degrees from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers and is board certified in civil appellate law. He has been involved with groundwater issues for a number of years.

David Pyne

David PynePresident of ASR Systems LLC

David Pyne is the President of ASR Systems LLC and has pioneered the science and technology of ASR nationwide during the past 40 years. He has contributed to the development of all three existing ASR wellfields in Texas and several of those currently in development. He is the sole author of a book titled, Aquifer Storage Recovery: A Guide to Groundwater Recharge Through Wells.

Scott Reinert

Scott ReinertWater Resources Manager for El Paso Water Utilities

Scott Reinert is the water resources manager for El Paso Water Utilities. He has held the position of project manager for water supply projects including desalination, aquifer recharge, ground water modeling, and municipal water supply wells. He is the vice chairman for the Multi State Salinity Coalition and Far West Texas Regional Water Planning Group.

Jesus Reyes

Jesus ReyesGeneral Manager of El Paso County Water Improvement District No. 1

Jesus A. Reyes has served as the general manager for the El Paso County Water Improvement District #1 (EPCWID #1) for 13 years. Reyes has always been involved in the community, including serving on the EPCWID #1 Board of Directors, the El Paso County Parks Board, El Paso Airport Board, Alivane Board of Directors, and the Storm Water Committee. He is currently the chairman for the Far West Texas Water Planning Group and was the former president of the Texas Irrigation Council. He has also been instrumental in managing several political campaigns. Reyes was raised in a small farming community in Canutillo, Texas. He attended the University of Texas at El Paso and has been married to Martha Serna for 38 years; they have four children and nine grandchildren.

Dr. Caroline Russell

Caroline Russell, Ph.D.Principal Technologist, Carollo Engineers

Dr. Russell, the Water Innovation lead for Carollo Engineers, has more than 17 years of experience in the drinking water field, focusing on topics ranging from treatment process and distribution system optimization to planning for future regulations. Recently, she helped direct the planning phase of the El Paso Water Utilities direct potable reuse (DPR) project, including pilot testing the proposed treatment train to demonstrate performance and develop design criteria. Her previous experience working for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and the U.S. EPA has provided her with a strong regulatory background.

Andrew Sansom

Andrew Sansom, Ph.D.Executive Director of the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment

Dr. Andrew Sansom is one of Texas' leading conservationists. As the executive director of the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment at Texas State University, he and his team administer the most extensive freshwater research and environmental education program in Texas and supervise the training and coordination of more than 1,000 volunteer water monitors in rivers and streams. He is a former executive director of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and executive director of the Texas Nature Conservancy. At the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Dr. Sansom spearheaded several significant programs, including the creation of consensus water planning in Texas among the three principal water-related agencies-Texas Parks and Wildlife, the TWDB, and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

Russell Schreiber

Russell Schreiber, P.E.Director of Public Works for the City of Wichita Falls

Schreiber is a licensed professional engineer and has worked in both the private and public sector. He has been the public works director for the City of Wichita Falls since 2008. In this role he oversees and manages all divisions under the Public Works Department, which include Water, Wastewater, Solid Waste, Streets, Drainage, Stormwater, and Engineering. He is responsible for the management of a $47 million annual operating budget and the $50 million capital improvement program for the City. In 2007 he was inducted into the Texas Tech Engineering Academy and in 2015 was recognized as the Public Works Leader of the Year by the Texas Public Works Association. He is a member of several professional organizations, including American Society of Civil Engineers; American Water Works Association; Water Environment Association of Texas; and Water Environment Federation.

Rodolfo Segura, Jr

Rodolfo Segura, JrBond Counsel at McCall, Parkhurst & Horton L.L.P.

Rudy Segura is a municipal bond attorney at the Dallas office of McCall, Parkhurst & Horton L.L.P. He has served as the primary bond attorney on several hundred financings for a wide variety of borrowers, including cities, counties, school districts, water districts, river authorities, hospital districts, junior college districts, transportation authorities, and state agencies, including over 30 municipal debt issues sold to the Texas Water Development Board.

Evan Smith

Evan SmithCEO and Co-founder of the Texas Tribune

Evan Smith is the CEO and co-founder of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan digital news organization recently called "one of the nonprofit news sector's runaway success stories." The Tribune's deep coverage of Texas politics and public policy can be found at its website,, in newspapers, 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 eight national Edward R. Murrow Awards from the Radio Television Digital News Association and six awards from the Online News Association. Previously Evan spent nearly 18 years at Texas Monthly, including eight years as editor and a year as president and editor-in-chief.

Roy Spence

Roy SpenceCo-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. He is also co-founder and CEO of the Purpose Institute, a consulting firm that helps people and organizations discover and live their purpose. 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. Spence is also a Gallup Senior Adviser and expert on Purpose, as well as a marketing and communications advisor of the National Advisory Council for the Trust for the National Mall. He is a member of multiple boards of directors and a best-selling author. Spence is a Distinguished Alumnus of the University of Texas at Austin, and he and his wife Mary have three children, Courtney, Ashley, and Shay.

David Townsend, P.E.

David Townsend, P.E.Facilities Engineering Manager at the Fort Worth Water Department

David Townsend holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Texas at Arlington and an MBA in engineering management from the University of Dallas. He is a registered professional engineer and has worked for the Fort Worth Water Department for over 37 years. Townsend began as an engineer at the Village Creek Construction Office. His many positions have included development engineer; head of the Development Review Section; construction engineer; project manager for the North Holly Water Treatment Plant Improvements Project; and facilities engineer, among others. As a manager of the Facilities Section, he currently oversees the Village Creek Water Reclamation Facility Peak Flow Management Project, one of first Construction Manager at Risk projects to use State Revolving Fund funding.

Steve Walthour

Steve Walthour, P.G.General Manager of the North Plains Groundwater Conservation District

Steve Walthour is the general manager of the North Plains Groundwater Conservation District that spans all or part of eight counties in the Texas Panhandle. He leads a district that is recognized nationally and by the state as a leader in innovative agricultural water conservation education programs. Walthour currently serves on multiple advisory committees, planning committees, and boards that advance water conservation. He has over 30 years of experience including regional subsurface geology, hydrogeology, groundwater resource evaluation, groundwater regulation effects analyses, groundwater conservation, and regulatory compliance. He is a registered professional geoscientist and holds masters and bachelors of science degrees from the University of Arkansas. Walthour is a Rotarian.

Jennifer Walker

Jennifer WalkerWater Resources Program Manager for the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club

Jennifer Walker is the water resources program manager for the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club where she works primarily on the Texas Living Waters Project. She focuses on statewide water policy issues with an emphasis on state and regional water planning, water conservation, and bay and estuary protection issues. Walker has experience with utility financial model best practices, conservation-based ratemaking, as well as experience addressing the legal, political, and social complexities with groundwater and surface water management. She strives to work collaboratively and approach resource management challenges with a solution oriented perspective. She has a BS in ecology, evolution and conservation biology from the University of Texas at Austin.

Peter Yolles

Peter YollesFounder of WaterSmart Software

Peter Yolles is the founder of WaterSmart Software. His career focus is driving the sustainable use of water resources. Yolles believes that WaterSmart will transform the relationship between water utilities and their customers to educate, inform, and encourage the efficient use of water. He held previous roles with The Nature Conservancy, Western Water Company, GE Capital, and the Pacific Institute. He earned his MBA and master's in water science, management, and policy from Yale. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife and two children.