Municipal Water Leader
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Volume 2 Issue 3 March 2016 Water Leaders on the Frontiers of Knowledge Management

The great management and leadership guru of the late 20th century, Peter Drucker, once said, “A manager is responsible for the application and performance of knowledge.” He also noted, “Knowledge has to be improved, challenged, and increased constantly, or it vanishes.”

The March issue of Municipal Water Leader profiles water leaders who bring to life Drucker’s vision of the effective knowledge executive. They illustrate that excellence in water leadership depends on knowledge and in the improvements they must make to keep knowledge living, vibrant, and effective.

Our cover story profiles Mr. Tom Kula, general manager of the North Texas Municipal Water District. Tom oversees a water organization serving 1.6 million north Texans whose numbers are expected to double in the next 50 years. He learned leadership as a general officer in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and commanded its Southwestern Division in Dallas. He integrates knowledge from multiple disciplines and meets challenges on a regional scale. The North Texas Municipal Water District is a knowledge organization that is bringing leadership to one of the fastestgrowing regions in the country. The district’s Lower Bois d’Arc Creek Reservoir project is nearing construction, and readers will be able to understand the challenges of such an undertaking.

Our Business Leaders profiles all exemplify the realities of knowledge management as applied to water. Mr. Dave LeCureux, operating president of HDR’s water practice, provides keen insights into integrated water resources management and how this idea relates to resilience in water resources management. He applies these concepts to flood risk management and comments on the lessons of Hurricane Katrina.

We interview three leaders of water engineering at the helm of Freese and Nichols, Inc. Mr. Brian Coltharp was recently named president of Freese and Nichols. Mr. Coltharp spoke with us about integrated project delivery and Freese and Nichols’s vision for sustainability. Both ideas are rooted in integrating knowledge to solve problems. Freese and Nichols is meeting the future with a solid commitment to holistic solutions that meet community needs by balancing economic and environmental values. Mr. Thomas Haster, leader of Freese and Nichols’s water practice, shared with us the power of master planning of water and sewer systems. He also provided a fascinating example of how the latest technology is giving a sewer system new and effective means to meet challenges of aging infrastructure. We also interview Mr. Ron Lemons, new account director of Freese and Nichols’s water practice. Mr. Lemons is an expert on large dams and is the U.S. chair of the International Committee on Large Dams. Mr. Lemons provides insight on how climate change will affect our water resources future and how adaptive management will be essential to dealing with those challenges. His story is another lesson about integrating knowledge and, not surprisingly, leads us back to integrated water resources management.

This issue also provides readers an account of an exciting development in water leadership and collaboration in the Guadalupe–Blanco River basin. Mr. Jim Blackburn of The Aransas Project and Mr. Bill West and Mr. Todd Votteler of the Guadalupe–Blanco River Authority share their work to form a collaboration based on the value of water that promises to rethink water management in the basin for the benefit of the ecology, including the endangered whooping crane, as well as for economic development. Mr. Blackburn and Mr. West recently signed an agreement that should serve as an example for contemporary water management all across the nation. Once again, knowledge management is an essential ingredient.

In our Agency Focus, Mr. Tab Brown, chief of planning and policy at U.S. Army Corps of Engineers headquarters, tells readers about chief of engineers reports and how they will fit into the authorization of Corps projects in the expected enactment of a Water Resources Development Act of 2016. He also provides perspectives on the Corps SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Risk Informed, Timely) planning process. We also provide an update on the status of these chiefs reports.

We believe you will enjoy this issue and our champions of knowledge management. Water leadership is a cutting-edge, knowledge-based profession, where integration of multiple disciplines, purposes, and values is critical to success. Success belongs to those who know how to bring this knowledge to bear on solving community water problems, and bring the people of the community together at the same time. Our March issue showcases water leaders with these skills.

Kris Polly is editor-in-chief of Municipal Water Leader and Irrigation Leader magazines. He is also president of Water Strategies LLC, a government relations, marketing, and publishing company he began in February 2009 for the purpose of representing and guiding water, power, and agricultural entities in their dealings with Congress, the Bureau of Reclamation, and other federal government agencies. He may be contacted at Kris.Polly@wateretrategies.com