It’s been a very busy three weeks since I started at the San Antonio River Authority (River Authority)! I would like to thank the River Authority Board, staff, and the community for making me immediately feel welcome.
I come to the River Authority from New Orleans, where I was the Chief Administrative Officer of the Flood Protection Authority – East (FPA). The River Authority’s mission of being committed to keeping the region safe from flooding is near and dear to me, since in New Orleans, the FPA’s mission was to protect the region from hurricanes and Mississippi River flooding. I oversaw a 192-mile flood defense system composed of levees, floodwalls, floodgates, and pumping stations and worked closely with the leadership of 3 Parishes (Counties), partner state agencies, and the U.S. Corps of Engineers to keep the region dry. Water surrounds New Orleans, and since much of the region is under sea level (my house was at elevation -4.0’), the FPA also dealt with rain – a series of pump stations and drainage canals keep the city dry.
The levee system also served a secondary purpose for recreation. Along Lake Ponchartrain and the Mississippi River, hundreds of people daily used our maintenance paths to walk, bike, and get closer to water.
I lived in New Orleans since 2006, and while much of my work was on hurricane protection projects, I also worked on coastal and ecosystem restoration projects. Due to numerous factors, including subsidence, sea level rise, and coastal erosion, the coastline of Louisiana is slowly disappearing. The State spends millions of dollars a year on restoring marshlands, creating barrier islands, and reinforcing shorelines to keep the Gulf of Mexico at bay and I was fortunate enough to work on a number of these projects.
It’s great to be back in Texas again! I received my undergraduate degree in Civil Engineering from Rice University and was stationed at Fort Hood for three years during my eleven years of active-duty Army service. I’m a lifelong fisherman, and Stillhouse Hollow Lake near Fort Hood was where I caught my biggest largemouth bass (10 lbs.), so I have many fond memories of Texas.
I look forward to getting to know San Antonio and the region more in the upcoming months as well as ensuring the great work of the River Authority continues!