HCA Board of Directors

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The Hill Country Alliance relies on a core group of expert volunteers to guide our work and inform our mission. Our Board of Directors is a prime example of the breadth of expertise that we rely on. They are landowners, community leaders, business owners, elected officials, experts in their fields and champions for the Hill Country.

The HCA Board of Directors bring passion, knowledge, and direction to everything HCA does as an organization. We strive to represent the full diversity of the Hill Country with our board and are particularly interested in adding board members that come from the rural portions of our region or who represent a traditionally underserved community. Interested in joining our board? Email info@hillcountryalliance.org for details and to apply.

Michelle Whitwell Pokorny, President

Bexar and Kendall County

Michelle originally hails from La Salle County and a family ranch near Cotulla, where the Nueces flows after a good rain. She grew up appreciating the importance of water, the value of community, the resiliency of our Texas habitat and the wonder of a sky full of stars. She enjoys a soon-to-be-conserved place on the Guadalupe near Comfort as well as a home on the San Antonio River. Michelle joined the HCA board in December 2019.

Ben Eldredge, Vice President

Kendall County

Ben is the Executive Director of Cibolo Conservancy Land Trust and current board director at Cow Creek Groundwater Conservation District. Prior to this role, he served as Vice-President of Conservation at Cibolo Center for Conservation, leading environmental policy and planning initiatives in Kendall County and beyond. He is also a former ranch manager and a founder of the local advocacy group Inspire Boerne, assisting concerned citizens with advocacy campaigns in the Boerne region. After working in conjunction with HCA over the years, he officially joined HCA’s board in 2019.

Jeff Harkinson, Treasurer

Blanco County

Jeff Harkinson is President of Harkinson Investment Corporation, a Dallas-based commercial real estate investment firm. Previously, he worked ten years in city management as an assistant in Dallas and Mesquite, Texas and later as a Director with the North Central Texas Council of Governments, the regional planning agency for the 16-county North Central Texas area. Jeff joined the HCA Board in 2020.

Roel Lopez, Ph.D., Secretary

Bexar County

Dr. Roel Lopez is Director of the Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute and Department Head for the Department of Rangeland, Wildlife, and Fisheries Management at Texas A&M University. He has over 25 years of natural resource and land management experience with academia, federal and state agencies, and private industry. His research focuses on endangered and fragmented wildlife populations, sustainability of military lands, and rural land trends and demographics.

Judge Bella Rubio

Real County

Judge Rubio is a fourth-generation resident, born and raised in Real County. In 1996, she was elected to the position of County and District Clerk of Real County. During her tenure as Clerk, she served on several State-wide committees until retirement in 2016. In 2015, she was selected “Clerk of the Year” for the State of Texas by her Clerk colleagues. In 2018, she was honored and humbled to be elected as Real County’s first Hispanic and female judge.

Ted Flato

Bexar County

Ted is a founding partner of Lake|Flato, an architecture firm based on the desire to build in partnership with the land. He was born and raised in Corpus Christi, having received his BS in Architecture from Stanford University. Ted has garnered a reputation for crafting straight- forward, regional designs that leverage each unique site to connect people to the natural environment.

Rebeca Gibson

Bandera County

In November 2022, Rebeca Gibson was elected Mayor of Bandera during her fourth consecutive term on the Bandera City Council. Gibson works as a realtor with Hunt Real Estate, federal navigator for CentroMed, and project manager for Vaccinate Bandera. She received her BA from University of Houston and currently serves on the Board of Directors for both the Bandera County River Authority & Groundwater District and Hill Country Alliance. She joined the HCA board in 2020.

Vanessa Puig-Williams

Travis County

Vanessa Puig-Williams is an attorney and the Director of the Texas Water Program at the Environmental Defense Fund. She also serves as a board member of the Wimberley Valley Watershed Association. She joined the HCA board in 2017.

Kathleen Tobin Krueger

Comal County

Kathleen, former Mayor Pro-tem of New Braunfels, grew up on the Bandera County ranch her parents founded in 1947. The Tobin Ranch remains a working ranch managed by Kathleen & her very large family. She lives on the Guadalupe River in Comal County, represents District 8 on the board of the Edwards Aquifer Authority in San Antonio, is a founding board member of the New Braunfels Dr. MLK, Jr. Association, and is Director of Public Relations & Development for United Way of Comal County. Kathleen has been on the HCA board since 2011.

Dr. Leo Tynan, M.D.

Gillespie County

Community physician at the Fredericksburg Clinic, Dr. Tynan is an avid naturalist. He loves the outdoors, especially hiking and birding, and in particular, falconry. In addition to his professional commitments, Dr. Tynan serves on the Board of Last Chance Forever, a rehabilitation facility for birds of prey. Leo joined HCA’s board in 2010.

Julie Lewey

Uvalde County

Julie Lewey is a 7th-generation Texan and lifelong river steward. She grew up on the banks of the Nueces River under the tutelage of a renowned conservation leader. She’s privileged to carry on the family legacy and efforts to protect and preserve Texas’ rivers. She joined the HCA Board in 2022.

Bill Neiman

Kimble County

Bill is the founder and president of Native American Seed. Bill also serves as the president of Clear View Alliance in an effort to advocate for the need of extreme care in the placement of high voltage transmission lines being built across the western Hill Country region. Bill has been a member of the HCA board since 2010.

Former Board Members

These Hill Country champions shaped the Hill Country Alliance into the organization we are today. Looking for one of our past board members? Click the above photo or link to see an archive of our former board members.

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