Governor Abbott Reappoints Meaux and Scott to the Gulf Coast Authority Board of Directors

AUSTIN – Governor Greg Abbott has reappointed Lamont Meaux and Kevin Scott to the Gulf Coast Authority for terms set to expire on August 31, 2022. The Gulf Coast Authority has the authority to provide water systems and control water pollution and waste disposal within the district. In addition, they shall conduct studies and research on the control of water pollution and waste disposal within the district.

Lamont Meaux of Stowell is the owner and president of Seabreeze Culvert, Seabreeze Chemical and Seabreeze Farm. He is a member of the Winnie-Stowell Chamber of Commerce, Texas Society of Professional Engineers, Texas Farm Bureau, and General Land Office Regional Advisory Board. He is a past member of the American Rice Growers Association, American Soybean Association, American Rice Growers Exchange, and Texas Rice Festival. He is also a member of the East Chambers Agriculture Historical Society, Texas A&M University Association of Former Students, and the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets Association, and a member and past muster chairman of the Beaumont A&M Club. Meaux served in the U.S. Army and received a Bachelor of Science from Texas A&M University.

Kevin Scott of Santa Fe is co-owner and funeral director of Scott Funeral Home in Alvin. He previously served as a teacher, coach, and vice-principal for Santa Fe ISD. He is a former member of the Santa Fe High School Football and Baseball Booster Clubs. In addition, he is a former member of the Texas State Teachers Association and Texas High School Coaches Association. Scott received a Bachelor of Science from Stephen F. Austin State University and a Master of Science in Educational Management from the University of Houston at Clear Lake.

These appointments are subject to Senate confirmation.

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If you have any questions regarding this announcement, please contact the Governor’s Press Office at (512) 463-1826.

GCA Facilities Recognized by NACWA for Continued Operational Excellence in 2020

Four Gulf Coast Authority (GCA) waste treatment facilities were recognized this year (2020) by the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) with Peak Performance Awards:

  • Blackhawk Municipal Wastewater Treatment Facility – Gold;
  • Forty Acre Industrial Wastewater Treatment Facility – Gold;
  • Odessa Municipal and Industrial Wastewater Treatment Facility – Gold; and
  • Washburn Tunnel Industrial Wastewater Treatment Facility – Silver.

This is the fifteenth consecutive year for GCA facilities to be honored by NACWA (with awards being received as far back as 1990 from AMSA, NACWA’s predecessor organization) for excellence in operational performance and permit compliance.
“Our facilities provide essential services for our communities, industry, and the environment,” said Liz Fazio Hale, GCA General Manage/CEO. “In a year with pandemic challenges, GCA is proud to be nationally recognized for its reliability and commitment to protecting the waters of the state of Texas.”

Peak Performance Awards are provided to outstanding clean water utilities that have demonstrated operational excellence with no more than five permit violations in a calendar year for Silver, and, for our Gold Award winners, zero violations.
For nearly 50 years, NACWA has been the nation’s recognized leader in advancing sustainable and responsible policy initiatives that help shape a strong and sustainable clean water future. NACWA seeks to fulfill this mission through its national recognition/awards program, its clean water advocacy and communications, and its peer-to-peer utility network to share best practices from coast-to-coast.

GCA is a governmental entity created by the Texas legislature in 1969 with the broad charge to protect the waters of the State of Texas. GCA has the authority to own and operate regional industrial and municipal wastewater treatment facilities, water systems, and solid waste facilities statewide, as well as the ability to provide bond financing services. For more information, please visit www.gcatx.org.

Media Contact:
Keith Hardcastle, Public Information Officer
(281) 488-4115 | khardcastle@gcatx.org

Fazio Hale Takes Helm as GCA General Manager/CEO

Elizabeth Fazio Hale today assumed the role of General Manager/Chief Executive Officer of the Gulf Coast Authority (GCA), a water and wastewater management authority in Texas. For GCA, having recently celebrated its 50th Anniversary, Fazio Hale takes the top leadership role at a time when essential workers are more critical than ever.

“With her broad background in the legal and financial aspects of water and wastewater management, Elizabeth is uniquely qualified to lead GCA into its next 50 years,” said Franklin D.R. Jones, Jr., Chairman of the GCA Board of Directors. “We’re confident that her expertise, combined with her boundless energy, keen intellect, and strategic insights, will far advance our mission to protect the waters of the state of Texas.”

Fazio Hale has served in numerous leadership roles on water and wastewater planning and management in Texas, most recently as the Assistant General Manager of GCA. As the youngest CEO appointed to the position and only GCA’s sixth general manager, Fazio Hale understands the high level of expectations for leading an organization deeply rooted in tradition and a commitment to the protection of the environment while supporting its local communities and industry. Fazio Hale joined GCA in May 2019 and, after a year of outstanding performance, she was unanimously approved by the Board of Directors in June 2020 to replace retiring Lori Traweek as General Manager/CEO.

“GCA has long been a leader in recognizing the value of combining environmental sustainability with economic development,” said Fazio Hale. “In today’s world, the importance of innovation in water management has only grown more vital. In order to advance our mission in these changing times, we must be intentional in our understanding of the new challenges that lie ahead, including the impacts to our employees and an uncertain regulatory future.”

Fazio Hale has a combined 20 years of legal, financial, legislative, and executive leadership with singular achievements such as contributing to the advancement and funding of the Texas State Water Plan – a goal more than 15 years in the making.

“As I step into my new role at GCA, I see many correlations to previous experience collaborating with experts in the environmental and industrial fields,” she said. “I look forward to working with our board and staff to continue GCA’s stellar reputation for reliability, innovation and teamwork set by the leaders that came before me.”

Fazio Hale serves as the vice president for the Gulf Coast Industrial Development Authority; treasurer for the Texas Conservation Fund; a member of the board of directors for the Texas Water Foundation; a member of the board of directors for the Texas Water Conservation Association; a member of the board of directors for the TWCA – Risk Management Fund; a member of the Galveston Bay Council; member of the Economic Alliance – Houston Port Region’s legislative committee; and member of the Economic Development Alliance for Brazoria County.

Gulf Coast Authority (www.gcatx.org) was created by the Texas Legislature in 1969 to protect the waters of the state of Texas through environmentally sound, economically feasible and technologically advanced wastewater and water management practices. GCA provides regional industrial and municipal wastewater treatment services, solid waste management, industrial water services, and financial services – all with the goal to protect the environment, preserve water resources, and promote industrial development for a strong economy.

TWDB Appoints First Regional Flood Planning Group Members; GCA’s Scott Harris Selected To Serve Trinity Region

AUSTIN, OCTOBER 1, 2020 – The board of directors of the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) appointed its first members to serve on 15 regional flood planning groups (RFPGs), selecting Scott Harris, Chief Operating Officer of Gulf Coast Authority, to represent water authorities in the Trinity River region. Over 600 nominations were received by the TWDB Executive Administrator for the initial voting membership of the RFPGs.

“GCA is proud to participate in the flood planning process to help water utilities plan for and mitigate risks associated with flood damage,” said Scott Harris. “With many of our facilities located along the coast, I am thankful to the state of Texas for prioritizing these planning efforts and to the Texas Water Development Board for quickly implementing the process.”

In 2019, the Texas Legislature established a framework for regional flood planning across the state of Texas. Senate Bill 8 (86th Texas Legislature) required the TWDB to establish flood planning regions, appoint initial members of those regions, provide technical and financial assistance, adopt guidance principals, and create rules for a cyclical five-year flood planning process. The first regional flood plans will be due no later than January 10, 2023.

Gulf Coast Authority (www.gcatx.org) was created by the Texas Legislature in 1969 to protect the waters of the state of Texas through environmentally sound, economically feasible and technologically advanced wastewater and water management practices. GCA provides regional industrial and municipal wastewater treatment services, solid waste management, industrial water services and financial services – all with the goal to protect the environment, preserve water resources and promote industrial development for a strong economy.

Gulf Coast Authority Names Fazio Hale General Manager/CEO, Traweek Retires After 27 Years

The board of directors of Gulf Coast Authority has appointed Elizabeth Fazio Hale to succeed Lori Traweek as general manager and chief executive officer, effective Nov. 16. Fazio Hale joined GCA last year as assistant general manager, bringing an extensive background in legal, legislative and financial matters related to water and wastewater management. Traweek will be retiring after 27 years with the organization.

“GCA has benefited from the fast-paced, yet deliberate, leadership of Lori,” said Board Chairman Frank Jones. “Her executive service caps a work record that covers nearly three decades of environmental and economic development leadership along the Gulf Coast and in West Texas. GCA is better today because of her strategic capabilities, including the recruitment of her successor, Liz Fazio Hale. On behalf of the entire board and the Authority, I wish Lori a fulfilling retirement and congratulate Liz on her promotion.”

Traweek joined the Authority in 1992 as regulatory compliance coordinator and then served in several management positions, most notably as chief operating officer for 17 years. She was promoted to chief executive office/general manager in 2017. Previous to GCA, she was involved in the management of several biomonitoring laboratories in both Louisiana and Texas, including regional manager for Bioaquatic Testing immediately prior to joining GCA. Traweek studied marine biology at Louisiana State University and, after moving to Lafayette, graduated from the University of Southwestern Louisiana with a Bachelor of Science in Aquatic and Fisheries Management.

“GCA is such an amazing organization and I am so proud to have been part of it and its mission to protect the waters of Texas,” said Traweek. “While I am looking forward to retirement, I will miss the work, our customers, our communities, and, most of all, my GCA family.”

She will continue her commitment of service as board chair of the Galveston Bay Foundation and as a member of the board of directors of Texas Water Trade.

Fazio Hale will be leading GCA into its next 50 years of wastewater and water management. “I love to tell the GCA story to those who are seeking success stories about public-private partnerships in Texas,” said Fazio Hale. “As general manager for the Authority, I will seek to honor the 50 years of excellent history in our organization, respect the experience of our accomplished staff, and live up to the faith that the Board has placed in me to carry on a highly respectable reputation for providing services to protect and support our natural resources.”

Prior to joining GCA Fazio Hale served as the executive director/CEO of Riverbend Water Resources District in New Boston, Texas, and managed the regional water and wastewater operations for 12 municipalities, three counties and an industrial park in Northeast Texas. Previously, she spent more than 10 years at the Texas House of Representatives, including as director of natural resources and in roles with several other committees. In the private sector, Fazio Hale practiced law and was a tax consultant at KPMG, LLM in Denver. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Government and Bachelor of Science in Communications from The University of Texas at Austin, as well as a Juris Doctor and legal master’s degrees from the University of Denver. She serves as a member of the board of directors for the Texas Water Foundation; secretary for the Gulf Coast Industrial Development Authority; treasurer for the Texas Conservation Fund; member of the Galveston Bay Council; member of the Economic Alliance – Houston Port Region’s legislative committee; and member of the Economic Development Alliance for Brazoria County.

Gulf Coast Authority (www.gcatx.org) was created by the Texas Legislature in 1969 to protect the waters of the state of Texas through environmentally sound, economically feasible, and technologically advanced wastewater and water management practices. GCA provides regional industrial and municipal wastewater treatment services, solid waste management, industrial water services, and financial services – all with the goal to protect the environment, preserve water resources and promote industrial development for a strong economy.

TWCA’s RISK MANAGEMENT FUND PRESENTS SAFETY AWARD TO GCA

At its mid-October Fall 2019 conference in San Antonio, the Texas Water Conservation Association’ Risk Management Fund (RMF) presented with an RMF Safety Award to (left to right) GCA Chairman Frank Jones, Assistant General Manager Liz Fazio Hale, General Manager Lori Traweek, and Chief Operating Officer Scott Harris. GCA was recognized specifically with an Outstanding Safety Record in Liability Award for working safely and minimizing liability.

“The best recognition comes from one’s peers, who truly understand our business and what is entailed in running a safe workplace,” said General Manager Lori Traweek. “We are honored to have been selected for this award, as safety is a non-negotiable value at GCA.”

GCA’s Brianna Morales Elected Secretary of TACWA

Blackhawk Facility Manager Brianna Morales was elected Secretary of the Texas Association of Clean Water Agencies (TACWA) on January 31. She will serve in that capacity for two years before transitioning to the role of Vice President.

Morales entered the wastewater industry as an operator with GCA 12 years ago and is currently the Facility Manager of the Blackhawk Facility. She holds a BS in Environmental Management from the University of Houston Clear Lake, an MS in Industrial Management from the University of Texas in Tyler, and a TCEQ Class A Wastewater Operator License. Morales currently serves as the Texas Water Utilities Association Liaison for The Water Environment Association of Texas (WEAT).

TACWA’s national group, the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), is a nationally recognized leader in environmental policy and a sought-after technical resource on water quality and ecosystem protection issues. NACWA was established in 1970 by a group of individuals representing 22 large municipal sewerage agencies. They came together to secure federal funding for municipal wastewater treatment and discuss emerging national interest in improving the quality of the nation’s waters. Based on the shared goal of effectively representing the interests and priorities of publicly-owned treatment works (POTWs), they formed what is now known as NACWA.

Elizabeth Fazio Hale Joins Gulf Coast Authority

GCA is pleased to announce that Elizabeth Fazio Hale has joined GCA’s leadership team as Assistant General Manager. Prior to joining GCA, Liz served as the Executive Director/CEO of the Riverbend Water Resources District, a water and wastewater treatment district serving 12 cities, three counties, and industry, located in New Boston, Texas, where she served since 2015. Prior to Riverbend, she was the Director of Natural Resources for the Texas House of Representatives where she formulated groundbreaking legislation creating a water infrastructure bank, the $2 Billion State Water Implementation Fund of Texas (SWIFT) and State Water Implementation Revenue Fund of Texas (SWIRFT) that helps communities develop and optimize future water supplies at cost-effective rates. Liz is an attorney, having earned her law degree and legal master’s in taxation from the University of Denver and having received a B.A. in Government and a B.S. in Communications from the University of Texas at Austin.

GCA celebrates 50 years of protecting Texas’ waters

HOUSTON — Fifty years ago, prompted by deteriorating water quality in the Houston Ship Channel and Galveston Bay, the Texas Legislature established the Gulf Coast Authority (GCA) to protect the waters of the State of Texas through regional wastewater treatment and waste disposal solutions. The organization was empowered to own and operate wastewater treatment and other waste management facilities. GCA is also authorized to issue bonds for qualified projects and has issued over $3 billion in such bonds statewide since its inception.
Today, GCA operates four industrial and one municipal wastewater treatment facilities, an industrial landfill, a central laboratory, and two trucked-in waste disposal facilities. In 2013, Gov. Rick Perry signed legislation expanding GCA’s role to enable it to build, own and operate other types of water systems to help provide solutions to potable water shortages across the state.
For more information, visit www.gcatx.org or call (281) 488-4115.

GCA Facilities Receive Prestigious NACWA Awards for Stellar Compliance

In 2017 for the second year in a row, the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) recognized all five Gulf Coast Authority (GCA) wastewater treatment facilities, which earned a combination of Platinum, Gold, and Silver Peak Performance Awards, for consistently outstanding permit compliance. The Platinum7 Award represents seven consecutive years of 100-percent compliance, while Gold Awards represent one calendar year with no permit violations and Silver Awards celebrate facilities for having no more than five violations within a calendar year.

GCA’s 40-Acre Facility was awarded a Platinum7 Peak Performance Award in recognition of seven years of exemplary National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit compliance.

GCA’s Bayport, Washburn Tunnel, and Blackhawk Facilities were awarded Gold Peak Performance Awards, in recognition of their collective stellar permit compliance.

GCA’s Odessa South Facility received a Silver Peak Performance Award in recognition of its collective and consistent permit compliance last year.

All five of these GCA wastewater treatment facilities were also awarded Peak Performance Awards in 2016. This outstanding accomplishment signifies GCA’s and NACWA members’ commitment to environmental protection and represents the diligence and hard work of each agency’s employees.

“GCA is honored to be a part of this level of excellence in environmental protection, for which all NACWA members strive,” said Lori Traweek, general manager of GCA.

In addition to the NACWA awards, GCA’s Washburn Tunnel Facility was recognized by the Water Environment Association of Texas with the Industrial Wastewater Treatment Plant of the Year Award. This award is based on compliance and safety performance during a two-year period and was recently presented to GCA at the annual Water Environmental Association of Texas meeting in San Antonio. The award was given to GCA because of its consistent and outstanding performance of daily activities that go beyond the call of duty. GCA Washburn Tunnel Facility Manager Phyllis Frank, GCA COO Scott Harris, GCA Chairman of the Board Frank Jones, and GCA Board Member Mark Schultz accepted the award.

Since its inception, GCA’s primary focus has been regional industrial wastewater treatment that serves the petrochemical industry. GCA currently operates several regional facilities — like its Bayport facility — that serve primarily chemical companies and two municipalities. The Washburn Tunnel Facility, located on the Houston Ship Channel, serves both refineries and chemical companies in addition to other facilities.

“We collaborate with industry and municipalities to provide the highest level of wastewater treatment, industrial water supply, financial and other waste management services,” Traweek said.

For more information, visit www.gcatx.org or call (281) 488-4115.