Suzanne B. Scott
Suzanne Scott is the General Manager of the San Antonio River Authority (SARA), the first non-engineer to head the agency and the first female to head a Texas water authority.
Scott was appointed General Manager of SARA in September 2007. As the chief executive officer of SARA, she is responsible to an elected Board of Directors, directs SARA’s programs andprojects and manages the agency’s annual budget. Scott oversees and works with a talented staff including engineers, scientists, environmental managers, field crews and a host of other professionals to extend SARA’s environmental leadership, stewardship and expertise and to broaden appreciation for the San Antonio River and its ecosystem.
Scott began her career with SARA in May of 2000. She established the agency’s first intergovernmental and public information office to increase SARA’s presence in the community and enhance its partnerships with local, state and federal governments. Under Scott’s leadership, SARA has advanced its mission to inspire actions for healthy creeks and rivers within the San Antonio River Watershed by working closely with a multitude of governmental partners, citizen stakeholders and private sector contributors.
She has led the agency’s efforts to plan, develop and secure funding for the $384 million San Antonio River Improvements Project in Bexar County to enhance access to andrestore 13 miles of the San Antonio River. The project has added miles of hike, bike and paddling trails to the river while restoring the environment and creating more appreciation and valuefor this treasured natural resource. The completion of the river’s restoration in October 2013 coincided with the official nomination for the inscription of the San Antonio Historic Missions as an UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Scott is equally proud of the lasting improvements SARA has made in the health and appreciation of the San Antonio River through its nationally-accredited water quality laboratory; the creation of nature parks and paddling trails throughout the agency’s four-county district; the development and implementation of flood mitigation projects and water quality improvements to promote sustainability throughout the San Antonio River Basin.
In the early 2000s, the agency was discussing improvements in flood control with the city and county, which led to a more comprehensive approach to the problem and the creation of the Bexar Regional Watershed Management Program, a collaborative partnership of 24 regional governments. Scott largely spearheaded that process.
Scott obtained her bachelor’s degree in advertising & public relations at Texas Tech University and holds a Master of Urban Administration from Trinity University. She is a third-generation public servant and also serves on the board of the Green Spaces Alliance, Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce and the Bexar County Arts and Cultural Fund.
ASSISTANT GENERAL MANAGER
Stephen T. Graham, P.E.
Stephen T. Graham has been with the San Antonio River Authority (SARA) since 1991 and assumed the duties of Assistant General Managerin June 2006. As Assistant General Manager, Graham directs the administration and business of the operational and technical departments within SARA, including Watershed Engineering, Watershed Operations, Utilities, Environmental Sciences, Real Estate and Parks with a total of approximately 180 employees in these areas. He is responsible for furtheringSARA’s missionthrough the operation and development of water and wastewater treatment facilities, environmental protection, promotion of low impact development and water quality in the San Antonio River Basin. Graham is also responsible for the advancement of flood control, engineering and project management to meet the needs of the district.He assists the General Manager and serves as liaison with local, state and federal elected and appointed officials and agencies on matters of interest to the Authority.
Graham has28 years of professional engineering experience.Five of those are in design and construction of transportation and highways, and23 are in water resource management, engineering, construction and operations.He is passionate about intergovernmental cooperation and collaboration at the federal, state, and local government level for more efficient, effective and innovative public service.
In the area of water resource engineering, Graham’s experience has included planning, design, modeling, project management and construction on many projects of all scales. His experience at SARA prior to his current position includes Director of Watershed Management Division, and Manager of Engineering Programs and Projects. Prior to SARA, Graham worked as a civil and structural design engineer at the Texas Department of Highways and Public Transportation (now TxDOT).
Graham has a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering from Texas A&M University and is a member of Chi Epsilon Engineering Honor Society. He is active in the Texas Water Conservation Association (TWCA), the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the Association of State Dam Safety Officials (ASDSO), the Texas Floodplain Management Association, and he serves on the Boards ofSt. Jude’s Ranch for Children, the San Antonio Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the National Association of Flood & Stormwater Management Agencies (NAFSMA) and formerly on the Engineering Advisory Council at theUniversity of Texas at San Antonio (2006-2013).
DIRECTOR of OPERATIONS
John Chisholm is the Director of Operations for the San Antonio River Authority (SARA) and leads the activities of the Utilities, Watershed-Park Operations and Facilities departments. He is a graduate of Tarleton State University in Stephenville Texas.Chisholm has been with SARA since 2008.
Prior to joining SARA,he worked for the Brown County Water Improvement District, the Lower Colorado River Authority and the Acton Municipal Utility District with more than 30 years of wide-ranging utility and operational experience.
Chisholm currently is a representative to the Edwards Aquifer Protection Program Conservation Advisory Board and is a long-serving board member of the Texas Water Conservation Association. He previouslyserved on the Senate Bill 1 Region G Water Planning Group, and has served in leadership positions of Rotary Clubs and Scout groups. He was also an elected Board Member of a Municipal Utility District.
Chisholm is married and isthe proud father of three. He volunteers in many of their activities and organizations.
Allison Elder is the Director of Legal Services for the San Antonio River Authority. In this capacity she manages the legal needs of SARA and serves on the executive team.
Her career has focused on private land conservation and historic preservation. Prior to joining SARA, Elder was the Vice-President and General Counsel of the Texas Agricultural Land Trust, a statewide private land conservation organization. She has also served as a Senior Attorney at the law firm of Braun & Gresham, and as Executive Director of the Bexar Land Trust.Elder currently serves on the Texas Land Trust Council and the Board of Directors of Los Compadres, and has been a long-timemember of the Board of Directors for the San Antonio Conservation Society.
She has a finance degree and a law degree from the University of Texas at Austin.Elder and her husband Steve have been married for 26 years and have four children.
DIRECTOR of HUMAN RESOURCES
Bruce Knott, MHR
Bruce Knott has been with the San Antonio River Authority since 2011 and serves as the Director of Human Resources. In this capacity,he directs the administration and business of all human capital and safety programs within the River Authority with approximately 260 employees. Knott is responsible for furthering SARA’smission through the operation and development of programs such as employee relations, compensation management, leadership and employee development, organizational design and development, group medical and dental benefits, health and safety, workers compensation, employment law, performance management and occupational efficiencies.He assists the General Manager with building and maintaining a strong culture that promotes and encourages employee development and a passion for public service.
Knott has29 years of professional human resources experience at the local, state and federal level. Prior to his position with the River Authority,he served as the Director of Human Resources for the City of Pascagoula, Mississippi, where he directed the Human Capital, Information Technology and Public Relations Departments.Prior to that position, Knott held a variety of Human Resources positions with the United States Air Force, where he retired after serving with dignity and honor for20 years.He has also taught for several colleges and universities.Knott is passionate about employee growth and development and efficient, effective, and innovative public service.
Knott holds master’s degrees in business administration and human resources management, and Bachelor of Science degrees in education and occupational education. He holds an Occupational Instructor Certificate and is a certified practitioner of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), DiSC Personality Assessment Tool, Strong Interest Inventory, Conflict Dynamics Profile and Alternative Dispute Resolution.He is active in the local and national chapters of the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) and the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD).Knott currently serves on the Texas Water Conservation Association Risk Management Fund board and has previously served on boards for the United Way, Air Force Association, Boys and Girls Clubs and Rotary Clubs.
DIRECTOR of TECHNICAL SERVICES
Steven J. Raabe, P.E.
Steven Raabe is Director of Technical Services for the San Antonio River Authority (SARA) and is responsible for the Watershed Engineering, Real Estate and Environmental Science departments. Raabe has been with SARA since 1992. He received a Bachelor of Science in agricultural engineering from Texas A&M University in 1979, a Master of Engineering in agricultural engineering from Texas A&M University in 1980 and is a Licensed Professional Engineer in the State of Texas.
Raabe directed the San Antonio River Authority’s participation in the Texas Instream Flow Program and provided technical and policy guidance for SARA in the Texas Environmental Flow process. He currently serves as chair of the Edwards Aquifer Habitat Conservation Plan Stakeholder Committee.Raabe served on the Steering Committee and chaired the Recharge Facility Feasibility subcommittee for the Edwards Aquifer Recovery Implementation program, which was a collaborative, consensus-based stakeholder process in Texas where many stakeholders worked to develop a plan to protect the federally-listed species potentially affected by the management of the Edwards Aquifer and other activities. Raabe has served since 1998 as the Administrator for the Senate Bill 1 South Central Texas (Region L) Water Planning Group that is charged with developing a 50-year water resource plan for21 counties in south central Texas.
Prior to joining SARA in 1992,he worked for12 years in consulting engineering for several firms in the areas of water resources, flood control and water and wastewater infrastructure.
Raabe grew up in the small farming community of Three Oaks in Wilson County, Texas on land that his great-grandfather purchased from the historic Dewees ranch in 1901. He is a 1975 graduate of Poth High School. He has been conducting historical research on the Dewees Ranch and south central Texas formore than 30years.
Steven Schauer began his tenure at the San Antonio River Authority (SARA) in January 2007 as the Manager of External Communications. In July 2017, Schauer was promoted to Director of Government and Public Affairs where he oversees the Intergovernmental & Community Relations (IGCR) Department which is responsible for intergovernmental, community and media relations as well as education programs for SARA. Major responsibilities of this position include developing and implementing the strategic direction for SARA’s communication and outreach activities, acting as the agency’s spokesman, coordinating the agency’s state and federal legislative agendas and directing the educational outreach programs.
Additionally, Schauer has served as the Executive Producer and Co-writer of SARA’s award winning 75th anniversary documentary film about the San Antonio River and Executive Producer and Director of SARA’s award winning documentary film about the Mission Reach Ecosystem Restoration and Recreation Project. He is currently serving as the Executive Producer, Writer, Director and Videographer of a film about paddling the San Antonio River from San Antonio to Seadrift.
Schauer also manages SARA’s national and international relations. SARA’s reputation as a leader in watershed solutions is growing both domestically and internationally. As a result, the agency regularly hosts domestic and foreign visitors who are interested in water quality issues and the San Antonio River Improvements Project. At the invitation of the World Bank, Schauer traveled to New Delhi, India to present information about the San Antonio River Watershed at the 2010 Joint Workshop of the Ministry of Environment & Forest and the World Bank titled Global Experiences in River Clean-Up and Basin Management – Relevance for the Ganga. Schauer has also presented about the San Antonio River Improvements Project at the 2012 River Rally in Portland, Oregon and the 2012 World River Forum in Deagu, South Korea. He was a Keynote Speaker at the 2012 World Canals Conference & World Canal Cities Expo in Yangzhou, China. In 2015, Schauer was once again a Keynote Speaker, this time at the Mizbering World Conference in Osaka, Japan. Recently, Schauer traveled to Australia in 2017 to represent SARA at the International RiverFoundation’s annual conference where the San Antonio River was a finalist for the International Riverprize.
Before his employment with SARA, Schauer worked at the largest public relations firm in San Antonio, KGB Texas Public Relations and Marketing. Prior to that, Schauer worked as the Communications Director for San Antonio Mayor Ed Garza, and as a Budget Analyst for Texas Governor Rick Perry.
Schauer has a Master of Public Affairs degree from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin (2001) and a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science from Incarnate Word in San Antonio (1994).
In 2009, the San Antonio Business Journal recognized Schauer as a recipient of the prestigious 40 Under Forty Award. Under Schauer’s leadership, SARA’s IGCR Department has received over 50 professional awards and recognitions for the high quality communication products produced for the agency.
Schauer is married to Ashley Gerie Schauer, a talented local artist. Together, they take care of their three cats, dog and 13 fish. When they are not at home, they enjoy hiking, paddling and traveling, both domestically and abroad.
Rick Trefzer and his staff are responsible for providing many of the services needed by other River Authority departments – accounting and finance, payroll, operating and capital budget development and monitoring, grants coordination, purchasing and information technology including geographic information systems (GIS).
Prior to joining the River Authority, Trefzer spent six years with Texas A&M University-San Antonio where he held several positions that included the Acting Chief Financial Officer and the Chief Technology Officer.
WATERSHED ENGINEERING MANAGER
Patrice Melancon, P.E., CFM
ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES MANAGER
Melissa Bryant, P.E., PMP, CFMr
ACCOUNTING & BUDGET SERVICES MANAGER
INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY MANAGER
WATERSHED AND PARK OPERATIONS MANAGER
REAL ESTATE MANAGER
ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE (click picture to enlarge)