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TRWA is committed to providing professional and quality support to our members and the communities they serve. See the department descriptions below for our primary support areas. If our expert staff can be of assistance to you, please contact them. 

Main Phone: (512) 472-8591


Click here for a complete list of staff direct extensions! 

Training Phone: (512) 428-5754





 Communications  Professional Development and Training
 Legal and Legislative Services
 Technical Assistance  Member Services
 Environmental Services
 Finance  Business Development 


Lara Zent—Executive Director and General Counsel


As our Executive Director, Lara oversees the day-to-day operations of the Association and provides program oversight for all of the below areas. Lara is also the lead lobbyist for TRWA, and provides legal counsel to the TRWA Board of Directors and to the Association. 


Communications Department

Our Communications Department is responsible for TRWA’s digital presence, including our website and social media, as well our print promotions and publications, such as our magazine, membership directory, salary and rate reports, utility management certification guides, etc. Contact us if you have questions about the magazine, advertising, posting to the job board, are interested in receiving a particular publication, or would like to learn more about our Awards of Excellence program.

Allison Kaminsky — Deputy Executive Director

Extension #107


Kelsey Copeland — Communications Specialist

Extension #115

Professional Development and Training Department

Our Professional Development and Training Department provides Texas Commission on Environmental Quality-approved water and wastewater operator and customer service inspection courses in both a classroom and online format. This department also coordinates with the Member Services Department to plan our six annual conferences. Contact us if you are interested in hosting a class, have questions about an existing class or have certification or licensure questions. 


Celia Eaves — Professional Development and Training Director

Extension #134


Thomas Acker, Jr. — Instructor


Michael Beadnell — Instructor


Bruce Pearson — Instructor


Ariane Walker — Training Support Specialist

Extension #111



Legal and Legislative Services Department

Members may contact our Legal and Legislative Services Department for answers to questions on a variety of legal issues, including CCNs, elections, board governance, easements, tariffs and service policies, rate cases, regulatory issues and employment-related matters.


The department, along with our Executive Director, also provides advocacy services, meeting regularly with legislative offices and regulators on issues important to our members. We draft bills, testify at legislative hearings and review and provide input on proposed rule changes and other matters at TCEQ, PUC, TWDB and the Comptroller’s office. We also track relevant regulatory and legal cases and file amicus briefs when warranted. 

Trent Hightower - Assistant General Counsel

Extension #106

Paralegal — Vacant 

Click Here to Apply! 


Technical Assistance Department 

Our Technical Assistance Department is home to our United States Department of Agriculture-Rural Development (USDA-RD) Water & Wastewater Training and Circuit Rider Programs, Energy Efficiency Program, and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Training Programs. Through these programs, we provide onsite training and technical assistance to water and wastewater systems’ boards, councils, employees and consultants regarding technical operations questions and regulatory agency requirements.  We also provide training on managerial and financial issues (rates, service fees, and planning); and conduct energy efficiency assessments.

Larry Bell —Technical Assistance Director


William White — Assistant Technical Assistance Director


Nathan Cantrell — Wastewater Technician


Alex Eaves — Wastewater Technician


Paul King — Circuit Rider


Charles Perkins — Energy Efficiency Circuit Rider


James Smith — Circuit Rider



Member Services Department 

Our Member Services Department plans our six annual conferences and assists prospective and current members with all things membership-related. Contact us with questions about joining TRWA, membership benefits and dues. We can also help you register for our conferences, log in to the TRWA website, make a change in your system’s contact information, and enroll in the Rural Water Emergency Assistance Cooperative. 

Meeting and Event Planner - Vacant 

Click Here to Apply! 

Amanda Ashcraft — Office Manager 

Extension #100


Environmental Services Department

Funded through contracts with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Public Utilities Commission and USDA–RD, our Environmental Services Department provides assistance to water and wastewater systems needing help to solve financial, managerial and technical operational problems, providing guidance on regulatory compliance requirements, including the latest on the Revised Total Coliform Rule, Nitrification Action Plans, and Lead and Copper. We can also assist with consolidation assessments and developing a Source Water Protection Plan.

Jason Knobloch — Environmental Services Director

Extension #137


Ross Brookbank — Assistant Environmental Services Director

Extension #132


Refugio Rodriguez, Jr. — FMT Assistance Specialist


Quentin Turner  — FMT Assistance Specialist


Scott Willeford  — FMT Assistance Specialist



Gilbert Ybarbo  — FMT Assistance Specialist

Deborah McMullan — Sourcewater Protection Specialist


Angela Harris — Project Support Specialist

Extension #131


Melody Bennett — Project Support Specialist

Extension #130



Finance Department 


The TRWA Finance Department is responsible for all accounting functions of the Association. Members may contact us with any questions concerning invoices or payments.

Janice Gibbs — Finance Director

Extension #102


Pam Cantrell — Accounting Support Specialist

Extension #139


Texas Rural Water Foundation Staff


The Texas Rural Water Foundation (TRWF) is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organization established as a supporting organization of the Texas Rural Water Association. TRWF strives for a well-respected and sustainable water and wastewater industry that has the support, workforce and resources necessary to serve their communities. Foundation programs include the Veteran Employment Program (VEP), student and professional scholarships, and the Rural Water Workforce Initiative Contact us or visit the Foundation page to learn more. 

TRWF Support Staff Includes:

Lara Zent—Executive Director and General Counsel

Allison Kaminsky — Deputy Executive Director

Amanda Ashcraft — Office Manager 

Kelsey Copeland —Communications Specialist 



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