Ex-LCRA manager thrives at nonprofit

Becky Motal

becky-motal-photo*750xx1793-2390-60-0When Becky Motal announced her retirement as general manager of the Lower Colorado River Authority effective at the end of last year, most anybody who knew her likely had the same thought: This will never last. Sure enough, in February she was named president and chairman of the Association of Women in Energy, a relatively new nonprofit that aims to connect and unite women in the industry. And she’s got a consulting business. Some retirement.

“I’ve truly found a great interest in this from others in the industry” said Motal, who worked in a variety of capacities at the LCRA for more than 25 years. “It’s fun to be involved in the industry from a different perspective. So I’m staying really, really busy.”

Motal, 64, says her organization has about 500 active members, but “the potential is huge if we get the word out about the value we can create for our membership.”

All employees of companies that sponsor the association are automatically members. Roughly a dozen companies are sponsors; the group also has individual members that work for other entities. A key component of the nonprofit is to foster and encourage networking and information-sharing. Think of it, in part, as a sort of Facebook for female energy professionals. The organization was founded in 2010.

Anybody in the top job at the River Authority is bound to be criticized, and Motal got her share, including when the agency floated the idea of lowering Lake Austin’s level 2 to 4 feet to catch rainwater during this cursed drought. Homeowners said such a move would destroy their property values. So what does she miss?

“I really miss the policy discussions because there’s so much going on in the state relating to water and energy,” she said. “It’s real hard to make it rain. (Current General Manager) Phil Wilson has a tough job.”

CONTACT PATRICK BEACH AT 512-445-3603.

PBEACH@STATESMAN.COM

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