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. 

Vanessa Puig-Williams, President

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.

Ted Flato, Vice President

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.

Ben Eldredge, Secretary

Kendall County

Ben is the Director of Land Stewardship & Civic Engagement at the Cibolo Nature Center & Farm in Boerne, Texas. He is also 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.

Connie Barron, Treasurer

Blanco County

Connie has spent her life in the health care industry including a decade in public policy as a lobbyist for Texas physicians. Former owner of a women’s health and fitness business in Austin, she now lives in Blanco, TX. Connie joined the Hill Country Alliance Board in 2019.

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.

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.  Kathleen now makes her home on the Guadalupe River in Comal County with her husband, former U.S. Senator and Ambassador Bob Krueger, and their three children. She recently joined the staff of Hope Hospice in New Braunfels. Kathleen has been on the HCA board since 2011.

Michelle Whitwell Pokorny

Bexar County

Michelle is a native Texan and Aggie who recently returned “home”. Born and raised on her family’s La Salle County cattle ranch near Cotulla, Texas, 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.

Pete Dwyer

Travis County

Owner and president of Dwyer Realty Companies, Pete has focused on innovative real estate development in Central Texas for more than 30 years. His projects have won numerous regional awards and he is often a featured speaker at ULI, NAHB, RECA and other notable industry events. He joined the HCA board in 2014.

Vanessa Escobar

Travis County

Vanessa is the General Manager at Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District where she coordinates the regulatory program and supports the development and implementation of groundwater management policies.

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.

Jeff Harkinson

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.

Ira Yates – Board Member Emeritus

Travis County

Ira was raised on the Circle C Ranch, a cattle and goat ranch southwest of Austin which is now developed. He has experienced Austin’s urban expansion and its consequences firsthand. He serves on the board the Bamberger Preserve Foundation and the Pecos River Resolution Corporation. Ira is a founding member of the HCA Board.

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.