Jay Bragg is a graduate of Stephen F. Austin State University’s Arthur Temple College of Forestry where he earned his Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science. Upon graduation, Jay worked in the Hill County as a soil conservation technician and later became the Non-point Source Grant Coordinator for the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board.
In 2004, Jay accepted a position at the Brazos River Authority as their Regional Environmental Planner responsible for administering grant projects and watershed initiatives in the Central and Lower Brazos River basin. He also served as the Authority’s Permit and Regulations Coordinator and represented the Authority on a number of regional and state-wide stakeholder groups and steering committees.
In his current capacity at Texas Farm Bureau, Jay serves as a liaison between farmers and ranchers and state and federal agencies. His responsibilities include educating agency staff on farm and ranch practices, assessing the possible impacts of proposed rules and regulations, and communicating those impacts back to both Farm Bureau members and agency staff on matters related to air quality, water quality, and water planning, as well as a host of other issues ranging from food safety to farm labor.
Jay has 14 years of experience working with rural Texans to find solutions to a wide array of issues concerning water and conservation. In 2013, Jay was appointed to the Texas Water Development Board’s Water Conservation Advisory Council and is currently chair of that body’s agricultural workgroup.
Jay is a native of Dawson, TX (population 800) and currently lives in Waco with his wife Ariel and three children.
At the Texas Legislature, Elizabeth Fazio (“Liz”) provides strategic planning for the development of the state's natural resources and water rights. Liz possesses an expansive skill set and record of accomplishment leading the formulation and execution of public policy, as well as demonstrating financial and legal expertise to drive sustainable change in the preservation and conservation of water resources. More recently, she played an instrumental leadership role in the creation and passage of House Bill 4 and Proposition 6 to finance over $27B in water development projects over the next 50 years.
Prior to serving as committee director, she pursued opportunities in the private sector, serving as a corporate tax advisor for KPMG, LLP specializing in international tax procedures and a legal associate with a leading real estate and corporate law firm in Denver, Colorado. In these roles, Liz participated in several multi-million dollar and multi-national transactional projects.
Liz holds both her LL.M. in Taxation and her J.D. from University of Denver Sturm College of Law. She is a dual-degree graduate of The University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Arts in Government and a Bachelor of Science in Communications.
Tim Finley has been with Dow Chemical for 23 years and is a corporate expert in water management, treatment technologies, and water uses application utilized at Dow's many facilities around the globe. He has led water envelop studies and optimize efforts at Dow's major manufacturing site and provides design oversight for water application that supports Dow's business and growth projects including megaprojects in Texas and Saudi Arabia.
For the past 12 years, Finley has led technical aspects of water rights, water scouring strategy, and water conservation efforts at Dow's largest site in Freeport, Texas, which was recognized in 2013 by TCEQ with an Environmental Excellence Award for its water conservation efforts. He received a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and a master’s degree in environmental engineering from the University of Michigan in 1988.
Benny D. Freeman, Ph.D.
Richard B. Curran Centennial Chair in Engineering, Cockrell School of Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin
Opportunities for New Industrial Waters: Upgrading Technologies
Benny Freeman is the Richard B. Curran Centennial Chair in Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Freeman’s research is in polymer science and engineering and, more specifically, in mass transport of small molecules in solid polymers. His research group focuses on structure/property correlation development for desalination and gas separation membrane materials, such as new materials for water/ion separation, hydrogen separation, natural gas purification, and carbon capture. His group also studies reactive barrier packaging materials and new materials for improving fouling resistance and permeation performance of liquid separation membranes.
His research is described in more than 350 publications and 18 patents/patent applications. He has co-edited five books on these topics. He has won a number of awards, including the Joe J. King Professional Engineering Achievement Award from The University of Texas (2013), AIChE Clarence (Larry) G. Gerhold Award (2013), Society of Plastics Engineers International Award (2013), Roy W. Tess Award in Coatings from the PMSE Division of ACS (2012), the ACS Award in Applied Polymer Science (2009), AIChE Institute Award for Excellence in Industrial Gases Technology (2008), and the Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program Project of the Year (2001). He is a Fellow of the AAAS, AIChE, ACS, and the PMSE and IECR Divisions of ACS. He is a co-founder of Advanced Hydro, Inc. (http://www.advancedhydro.net/).
Wayne Halbert has been the general manager of Harlingen Irrigation District and Adams Gardens Irrigation District since 1989. He and his wife, Vivia, were married 39 years and have three children: Deana Everett, Stephen Halbert, and Kevin Halbert. He is past president of the Texas Water Conservation Association, legislative director of the Texas Irrigation Council, president of the Rio Grande Valley Water District Manager's Association, governor’s appointee of the Rio Grande Regional Water Authority, chairman of the Rio Grande Watermaster Advisory Committee, member of the Southmost Soil and Water Conservation Board, and member of the Texas Institute of Applied Environmental Research Advisory Board. He farms 600 acres of sugarcane, grains and cotton in the Rangerville area. Wayne enjoys traveling, especially treks to the back country in Mexico.
Mr. Hoffman received Bachelor of Science in Engineering and master’s degree in Engineering from The University of Texas at Austin. He has over 45 years of experience in matters related to water use and water conservation. He is the former Assistant Director of Planning for the Texas Water Development Board and is author of a number of publications, papers, and chapters in books on water conservation.
Former activities of interest include:
- Vice-chair of the CEE Commercial Kitchens project which develops equipment parameters for the EPA Energy Star program
- Member of the US Green Building Council’s LEED programs related to water
- Trustee for the American Water Works Association and vice chair for the Water Conservation Division
Current activities of interest include:
- Member of the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) Green Technology Committee
- Member of the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) 191 Committee for water conservation
- Member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Industrial Water Conservation taskforce
- Member of the Texas Water Conservation Advisory Council to the Texas Legislature
Bob Holt has 35 years of experience in developing sustainable integrated water treatment solutions for multiple industries including power, upstream and downstream hydrocarbon processing, chemical processing, biotech, semiconductor, food processing, and mining.
Holt joined the GE Water team with the acquisition of Zenon Environmental in June 2006. Bob received a B.S. in Environmental Engineering from University of California, Irvine in 1979 and an Executive MBA from St. Mary’s College of Moraga, CA in 1986. He currently serves on the ASME/Water Environmental Federation Best Practices Committee for the Reuse of Municipal Wastewater in the Electric Utilities Industry. He lives in the San Francisco East Bay with his wife, Laura, where they raised their three daughters.
Laura Huffman, as state director for The Nature Conservancy of Texas, heads a team of more than 80 scientists, conservation experts, and support staff. Their work affects every corner of the Lone Star State, from the Davis Mountains in West Texas, the borderlands of the Rio Grande, the East Texas Piney Woods, and the coastal marshes of the Gulf of Mexico. During her tenure at the Conservancy, the organization has expanded its Barton Creek Habitat Preserve and purchased more than 38,000 acres in and around the Edward’s Aquifer, ensuring the protection of Barton Springs Pool, Austin’s favorite watering hole. Huffman’s leadership has helped secure valuable habitat for the endangered golden-cheeked warbler, safeguarded water quality at the Hill Country’s iconic Hamilton Pool, and extended publicly accessible lands on the banks of the Pedernales River, just west of the city. She is one of the Conservancy's most trusted national voices and speaks regularly on an array of topics, including freshwater protection, the Gulf of Mexico, conservation easements, and current pressing environmental issues.
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 earned a master’s degree in public affairs from The University of Texas at Austin and a bachelor’s degree in political science with a minor in history from Texas A&M University. She makes her home in Austin, with husband Kent and their four children.
Dr. Carey W. King performs interdisciplinary research related to how energy systems interact within the economy and environment as well as how our policy and social systems can make decisions and tradeoffs among these often competing factors. The past performance of our energy systems is no guarantee of future returns, yet we must understand the development of past energy systems. Carey’s research goals center on rigorous interpretations of the past to determine the most probable future energy pathways.
Todd Langford received a Bachelor of Science degree from Ithaca College, Ithaca, NY. He has been in the water treatment industry since 1995, with GE Water & Process Technologies from 2003-2012 and then rejoined in 2013 to focus on business development for water issues surrounding the unconventional O&G market.
Dr. Bradfield Lyon is a climate scientist at the International Research Institute (IRI) where he has worked since 1999. His research has focused on climate variations on time scales ranging from sub-seasonal to multi-decadal to long-term climate change. He is particularly interested in drought, its physical causes, seasonal prediction and impacts. His work has focused on a number of geographic locations around the globe including the U.S., Eastern and Southern Africa, and the Philippines where the IRI has been engaged in a number of multidisciplinary, climate risk management projects. He was an invited reviewer for the recent Assessment of Climate Change in the Southwest United States, a contribution to the National Climate Assessment. He is a lecturer in Columbia University's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Master's Degree Program in Climate and Society, co-teaching a core course on the dynamics of climate variability and change. He holds a B.S. in meteorology from the University of Lowell and a Ph.D. in meteorology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Stephan Maas, Ph.D.
Professor of Agricultural Microclimatology with a joint appointment with Texas A&M AgriLife Research, Texas Tech University
Agricultural Water Use: Regional Opportunities and Challenges - Advanced Irrigation Technologies
Dr. Stephan Mass is responsible for teaching graduate-level courses involving microclimatology, crop modeling, and remote sensing for 14 years. He also conducts research under a joint appointment with the Texas A&M AgriLife Research Center at Lubbock and as a visiting scientist at the USDA-ARS Plant Stress Laboratory at Lubbock, where he specializes in the interactions of crop plants with their environment. Dr. Maas received tenure in February of 2004.
Dr. Maas was born in 1950 in Temple, TX. He received B.S. and M.S. degrees in meteorology from Texas A&M University at College Station, TX, in 1973 and 1975, respectively. Following graduation, he worked at the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station in Temple, TX. There he developed and tested models for wheat and grain sorghum. He subsequently spent two years (1980–1981) in a joint TAES-USDA appointment with National Agricultural Statistics Service in Washington, DC. He returned to graduate school in 1982 and received his Ph.D. in agronomy from Texas A&M in 1985.
Dr. Maas was a member of the USDA-ARS Remote Sensing Research Unit in Weslaco, Texas, from 1984–1993. At Weslaco, Dr. Maas was involved in numerous studies involving remote sensing of crop growth and condition and pioneered the development and testing of a methodology for incorporating remotely sensed information into plant growth simulation models. From 1993–2000, Dr. Maas was a member of the USDA-ARS Western Integrated Cropping Systems Research Unit in Shafter, CA, where he was responsible for research into environmental effects on crop growth, crop simulation modeling, and agricultural applications of remote sensing.
John Meyer is a certified Professional Geoscientist in Texas and received B.S. and M.S. degrees in geology from the University of Wyoming in Laramie. John has over 28 years of professional experience including the Geological Survey of Wyoming industrial mineral program; the Research Planning Institute Texas regional stratigraphic analysis; the Railroad Commission of Texas Surface Mining Division coal and uranium permits; and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality groundwater nonpoint source and Public Drinking Water source water assessment. John currently works at the Texas Water Development Board, Innovative Water Technologies, focusing on Texas brackish groundwater resources.
Ari M. Michelsen, Ph.D.
Regents Fellow, Professor and Center Director, Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at El Paso, The Texas A&M University System
Water Availability: Panel - Economics of Water
Dr. Ari Michelsen’s research focus is on Integrated Water Resources Management, water resources valuation, conservation, markets, and policy analysis. Recent studies include evaluating water use and value in hydraulic fracturing, the effectiveness of agricultural and residential water conservation programs, water markets and prices, endangered species water acquisition programs, water quality regulatory impacts, and decision support systems for river basin resource management and water policy analysis in the U.S., China, and Chile. He has authored or co-authored over 140 publications and technical reports, serves on the board of directors and is past president of the Universities Council on Water Resources, and is past president of the American Water Resources Association. He serves on the National Water Census Advisory Committee, Paso del Norte Watershed Council Executive Committee, Rio Grande Salinity Coalition, and Journal of Natural Resources Policy Research Editorial Board, and he served as 6th World Water Forum IWRM Thematic Priority chair and US-China Water for Mega Cities Technical Program co-chair.
Jean-Philippe Nicot, Ph.D.
Research Scientist, Bureau of Economic Geology, Jackson School of Geosciences, The University of Texas at Austin
Industrial Water Needs and Opportunities: Panel – Sector Based Use and Conservation
Dr. J.P. Nicot is a research scientist with the Bureau of Economic Geology, a research unit of The University of Texas at Austin. He has been working on environmental issues for more two decades after almost a decade working as a precious and base metals exploration geologist. Dr. Nicot’s current interests center on water resources, both in terms of quality and quantity, with regional aquifer studies, brackish groundwater investigations, and analyses of natural contamination. His recent research efforts include the intersection with water resources of a host of issues such as hydraulic fracturing, carbon storage, and nuclear waste disposal. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Geological Engineering from France and a Master of Arts in Geological Sciences and a Doctorate in Civil Engineering, both from The University of Texas at Austin.
Sheila Olmstead is Associate Professor of Public Affairs at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin, and a Nonresident Fellow at Resources for the Future (RFF) in Washington, D.C. Before joining UT Austin in 2013, Olmstead was a fellow (2010-2013) and senior Fellow (2013) at RFF, as well as associate professor (2007-2010) and assistant professor (2002-2007) of Environmental Economics at the Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, where she was the recipient of three teaching awards. Olmstead is an environmental economist whose current research projects examine the environmental externalities associated with shale gas development in the United States, regulatory avoidance under the U.S. Safe Drinking Water Act, the influence of federal fire suppression policy on land development in the American West, and free-riding in dam placement and water withdrawals in transboundary river basins. She has worked extensively on the economics of water resource management, focusing on water demand estimation, water conservation policy, and access to drinking water services among low-income communities. Climate and energy policy are additional topics of her research, especially with regard to the application of market-based environmental policy instruments.
Olmstead’s research has been published in leading journals such as the Journal of Economic Perspectives, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Journal of Business and Economic Statistics, Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Journal of Urban Economics, and Water Resources Research. With Nathaniel Keohane, she is the author of the 2007 book Markets and the Environment. Her work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of the Interior, World Bank, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Olmstead is a member of the Board of Directors of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, and a member of the Advisory Board of the International Water Resource Economics Consortium. She holds a Ph.D. from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government (2002), a Masters in Public Affairs from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, UT Austin (1996), and a B.A. from the University of Virginia (1992).
Keith Phillips joined the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas in January 1984. His areas of concentration include regional economics and economic forecasting. Phillips has published numerous articles on economic topics in Dallas Fed publications and academic journals. Research Papers in Economics, which tracks publications in economics, ranks Phillips in the top five percent of economists across the world in terms of the number of distinct publications. He is a contributing member of the Western Blue Chip Economic Forecasting Group, where he has been the most accurate out of eight Texas forecasters for nine out of the past sixteen years.
In August 1996, Phillips was transferred to the San Antonio branch in an effort to improve the regional economic coverage of the Dallas office and to better serve the needs of the South Texas community. Phillips teaches courses in managerial economics and quantitative analysis in the Executive MBA program at The University of Texas at San Antonio. He obtained his Ph.D. in economics from Southern Methodist University and holds a B.A. and M.A. in Economics and a Bachelor of Journalism degree in News/Editorial from the University of Missouri at Columbia.
Carlos Rubinstein was appointed chairman of the Texas Water Development Board by Governor Rick Perry on September 1, 2013.
Rubinstein served as a commissioner of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) from 2009–2013. He is the Texas representative to the Western States Water Council; the Border Governors' Conference Sustainable Development worktable; the Governmental Advisory Committee, which advises the EPA Administrator on environmental concerns regarding NAFTA, the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation; and the Commission for Environmental Cooperation.
Rubinstein is a former member of the Texas Environmental Flows Advisory Group and of the Good Neighbor Environmental Board, an independent federal advisory committee that assists the president and Congress on environmental infrastructure needs along the U.S. border with Mexico. He has also served as deputy executive director of TCEQ and as Rio Grande Watermaster. He is the past Texas representative to the Border Governors' Conference Water worktable and a former city manager for the City of Brownsville. Rubinstein received a bachelor's degree in biology from Pan American University.
Charles West, Ph.D.
Thornton Distinguished Chair of Plant and Soil Science, Interim Director CASNR Water Center, Texas Alliance for Water, Texas Tech University
Agricultural Water Use: Regional Opportunities and Challenges - High Plains
Dr. Chuck West is the interim director of the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources Water Center and the Thornton Distinguished Chair of Plant & Soil Science at Texas Tech University, directing the research and coordinating the overall TeCSIS-TAWC program (Texas Coalition for Sustainable Integrated Systems Research and the Texas Alliance for Water Conservation). He received his B.S. and M.S. from the University of Minnesota, St. Paul, and received his Ph.D. in Crop Production/Physiology in 1981 from Iowa State University. Dr. West is a fellow of the Crop Science Society of America (CSSA) and the American Society of Agronomy (ASA). He received the Researcher of the Year Award in 1991 and again in 2003 from the Arkansas Association of Cooperative Extension Specialists, a Merit Award in 1993 from the American Forage and Grassland Council, an Outstanding Service Award in 1995 from the Arkansas Forage and Grassland Council, Teaching Award of Merit in 2004 from Gamma Sigma Delta- University of Arkansas Chapter, received the Fulbright Research Scholarship in 2005 from the Franco-American Commission for Educational Exchange, and the John W. White Team Award in 2012 from the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture for "Developing and Revising the Arkansas Phosphorus Index.” Dr. West's Society participation includes the American Society of Agronomy, American Forage and Grassland Council, Crop Science Society of America, Gamma Sigma Delta Honor Society of Agriculture, Phi Beta Delta Society of International Scholars and Sigma Xi.
Future research will concentrate on quantifying the water use of forage crops and pastures as affected by grazing management in an effort to integrate forages into row-crop systems as a way to reduce the use of irrigation water while sustaining profitability in our agricultural systems.