Leadership

J. Kevin Ward, General Manager
In his role as the chief executive officer, Ward oversees the largest river authority in Texas and the largest wholesale provider of wastewater treatment services in the state. With the support of eight staff groups and more than 500 employees, Ward drives the implementation of board policy for the operation and development of four water treatment facilities, five wastewater treatment facilities and one recreation project, plus water sales from four reservoirs – all serving more than 50 wholesale customers which include cities, municipalities and districts throughout the 18,000-square-mile Trinity River basin. Ward manages an annual budget of more than $300 million and the Authority’s assets in excess of $2.2 billion.  Ward previously served as executive administrator of the Texas Water Development Board from May 2002 to February 2011 and in various other capacities at that state agency from 1987 to 2002.

Ward is active in several organizations. He currently serves as chair of the Region C Regional Water Planning Group and is a member of the Region H Water Planning Group, the Trinity and San Jacinto River Basins and Galveston Bay Basin and Bay Area Stakeholder Committee, and the Tarrant Regional Water District Customer Advisory Committee. He serves as a board and executive committee member of the North Texas Commission and on the Texas Water Conservation Association’s executive committee and as chair of the Association’s River Authority Panel. 

He is the President of the National Water Resources Association. He also serves as chair of the Association’s Corps of Engineers Task Force. Additionally, he is the public member of the American Academy of Water Resources Engineers Board of Trustees and a visiting member of the Texas A&M  University Lehrer Chair Advisory Council. He recently became a member of the American Society of Engineers Industry Leaders Council.  Ward also served two terms on the board of directors for the National Waterways Conference, an organization representing national interests related to water supply and waterways transportation.

Ward was honored in 2011 with the Water Environment Association of Texas  Outstanding Public Official Award, and in 2012 with TWCA’s President’s Award. 

Matt S. Jalbert, Executive Manager, Northern Region
Matthew Jalbert has been with the Trinity River Authority (TRA) since January 2015. In 2006, he received his Bachelor’s Degree from Texas A&M University in Civil Engineering. He received his Masters of Engineering in Civil Engineering in 2012 at the University of Texas at Arlington. He worked with three engineering firms prior to 2015. He worked in the position as the Engineering Manager at TRA’s Central Regional Wastewater System. In April 2019, he moved in to the Planning, Design and Construction Administration group for TRA, where he served as the Manager, Engineering Services. In April 2022, he was appointed the Executive Manager, Northern Region. He holds his professional engineering license in the state of Texas as well as a TCEQ Class B Wastewater Operator license. He is actively involved with the Water Environment Association of Texas and is currently serving as the President for 2022-2023.

Glenn C. Clingenpeel, Executive Manager, Technical Services and Basin Planning
Clingenpeel received Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees in biology from the University of Texas, a Master of Science in environmental sciences from the University of North Texas and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Texas at Arlington. He also possesses an associate degree in French and attended the Sorbonne University in Paris, France. Clingenpeel is a member of the Golden Key National Honor, Tri Beta Biology Honor and Beta Gamma Sigma Business Honor societies and was recognized in 2006 as an MBA All-Star by the Dallas Business Journal. He joined the Trinity River Authority in April of 1998 as the Clean Rivers Program coordinator and was promoted to the position of manager of special studies and assessments in 2000. In December of 2005 he was promoted to the position of executive assistant to the general manager. In February of 2014, Clingenpeel was promoted to the position of senior manager, planning and environmental management before being promoted to his current position. He regularly presents on water quality and quantity issues and serves in leadership positions on several local, state and federal committees including the Region 3 Regional Flood Planning Group, the North Central Texas Council of Governments’ Water Resources Council, the TWCA Endangered Species Committee, and the Galveston Bay Council. Clingenpeel is a longtime board member of the Allied Federal Credit Union where he serves in a voluntary capacity as Chairman of the Board.

Taylor L. Huynh, Executive Manager, Administrative Services
Huynh received a Bachelor of Science degree in management of information systems from the University of Texas at Arlington. Prior to joining the Trinity River Authority, Huynh served as case liaison, serving the Texas Rehabilitation Commission and as investment partner of an employment agency serving Tarrant and Dallas counties. She began working for TRA in January 2000 as personnel services manager and advanced to human resources manager in 2013 serving as human resources business partner and as project manager for information technology initiatives managing multiple enterprise software implementations and systems integration. She was promoted to her current position in December 2018.

She has held leadership positions as executive committee member of the United Way of Tarrant County Impact Council for funding and grants, Parent Teacher Association and Uplift Education volunteer. She is an active supporter of United Way and local partner agencies and serves as campaign manager for TRA’s annual fundraising events.

Huynh is an active member of the national Society of Human Resource Management, the Fort Worth Human Resources Management Association and a member of the International Association of HR Information Management. Huynh is a certified senior professional in human resources.

Christine J. Epps, Chief Financial Officer
Epps received Bachelor of Business Administration and Master of Science in Accounting degrees (Summa Cum Laude) from Texas Tech University in 2007. Upon graduation, Epps joined Big Four accounting firm Deloitte’s audit and assurance practice, where she gained five years of progressive audit experience with a focus on governmental organizations such as school districts, cities, special districts and transportation authorities. She became a Certified Public Accountant of the State of Texas in 2009.

She joined the Trinity River Authority in 2012 as Financial Reporting Manager. Epps was promoted to Controller in 2016 and to Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer of the Board in 2022. She is a member of the Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and is also a member of the Government Finance Officers Association.

Gary N. Oradat, P.E., Executive Manager, Planning, Design and Construction Administration
Oradat earned a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Texas A&M University in 1975. His career spans 40 years in the public and private sectors. Prior to joining the Trinity River Authority, he held various positions with the city of Houston Department of Public Works and Engineering, including city engineer and deputy director for the Engineering, Construction and Real Estate Division and the Public Utilities Division. After 23 years, he retired from the city in 2004 and joined the Coastal Water Authority, as chief engineer and went on to be named executive director. Upon leaving CWA in 2011, he founded Oradat & Associates, P.C. and most recently was the water utilities practice lead with Halff Associates. He joined the Trinity River Authority in 2019 to lead the newly developed Planning, Design and Construction Administration team. 

Oradat’s professional involvement includes being a past chairman with The American Society for Testing and Materials plastic piping systems committee. He is an active member of several subcommittees including, sewer, trenchless technology and reinforced plastic piping systems. He is also a chairman and a past board member with the Gulf Coast Trenchless Association. He is currently a member of the American Public Works Association and the Society of American Military Engineers. Oradat is a registered professional engineer in Texas and Louisiana.

In 2022, Oradat was named Underground Construction Technology Association’s Most Valuable Professional. He was recognized with the MVP award at a special luncheon and awards ceremony. The award, presented annually, recognizes individuals whose selfless contributions pave the way for advancement of the underground infrastructure industry.

Douglas L. Short, Chief Information Officer
Short was hired as the Trinity River Authority’s first chief information officer in 2014 and leads all aspects of information technology and information security for TRA. Prior to working at TRA, Short served in the United States Air Force, enlisting as a Law Enforcement Specialist in 1986 and subsequently was commissioned as a cyberspace operations officer. His career highlights include deployed command, command of two squadrons and standup of the Air Force Cyber Schoolhouse. He retired in 2014 at the rank of lieutenant colonel.

Among his educational accomplishments, he has completed a Bachelor of Science in computer science and a Master of Arts in computer resource and information management; he attended the Air Command and Staff College, Joint and Combined Warfighting School and the Air War College. Additionally, he graduated from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Chief Information Security Officer Academy, is a certified information security manager and certified government chief information officer. Short has spoken at several national and local conferences on cybersecurity, chairs the Texas American Water Works Association Resiliency and Cybersecurity Committee, and sits on the Texas Cybersecurity Council and the Regional Advisory Board for NPower, a nonprofit assisting veterans transitioning into the civilian information technology field.

Jimmie R. Sims, Executive Manager, Southern Region
Sims received a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering Technology from Texas A&M University. He began working for the Trinity River Authority in May 1973 at the Devers Canal System and became project manager for Lake Livingston Recreation Facilities in 1977. In October 1983 he became project manager for the Lake Livingston Utility Services Project and advanced to division manager of the Water Services Division in May 1985. He was promoted to assistant regional manager, Southern Region, in December 1988 and advanced to his current position in March 1996. 

Sims is a past member of the board of directors of the Huntsville-Walker County Chamber of Commerce where he was named “Director of the Year” in 2006. He has also served as chairman of the Huntsville Planning and Zoning Commission and is an active member of the American Water Works Association and the Texas Water Conservation Association. He has served on the board of directors of the Huntsville Boys Baseball Association and has been an active supporter of Huntsville area youth baseball programs

Howard S. Slobodin, Secretary, Board of Directors and General Counsel
Slobodin received a Bachelor of Arts (Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa) from the University of Oregon and a Doctor of Jurisprudence (with honors) from the University of Texas School of Law. He joined the Authority in April 2008. Previously, he practiced environmental and water law in both the public and private sectors. His practice began as an Assistant Attorney General with the Texas Attorney General’s Office. In private practice, he represented public and private entities in disputes related to groundwater and surface water. Slobodin has litigated matters with regard to surface water ratemaking and the compensability of regulatory takings of groundwater in Texas, and participated in contract negotiations for two of the largest surface water sales in recent Texas history. He is a fellow of the Texas Center for Public Policy Dispute Resolution.

He is actively engaged in policymaking related to water, and supports the legislative activities of both the Trinity River Authority and of the Texas Water Conservation Association as the Chairman of its Water Laws Committee, in which capacity he has served since 2017. In 2019, Mr. Slobodin received the President’s Award from the Association for his contributions. He also participates in the Texas regional water and flood planning processes.

Slobodin has served as an Adjunct Professor at the Texas A&M School of Law since 2018.  He has also frequently guest lectured at other law schools on topics related to Texas water law and policy.  He has contributed to the last three editions of the State Bar of Texas Essentials of Texas Water Resources treatise, and co-authored “Old Water Becoming New Again: Reuse of Treated Wastewater Effluent in Texas,” 4 TEX. A&M J. PROP. L. 237.