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Advisory Committee

John Beard, Jr.

John Beard, Jr. is the founder and CEO of the Port Arthur Community Action Network (PA-CAN), serving as an advocate focusing on environmental issues, social justice and community development in Port Arthur, Texas. Mr. Beard retired from ExxonMobil Corp. with over 38 years of service in the areas of petrochemical production, maintenance services and emergency management. Mr. Beard is a former City Councilman and Mayor Pro Tem. During his twelve years on city council, he helped guide the city’s recovery from Hurricanes Rita, Ike, Gilbert, Humberto, and most recently Harvey and Imelda. He has spent the past 17 years as a liaison to the city and community, helping educate about flood risks and the causes of disparate impacts. Mr. Beard has presented evidence and root cause analysis of recent floods, focusing on the aspect of past flooding events, and their correlation to the drainage systems failures. Additionally, he has participated in discussions and forums with elected officials, FEMA and the Texas GLO on policy issues, programs to address flood prevention and recovery, which have been critical to his efforts regarding funding equity for vulnerable populations, economically disadvantaged and LMI persons. He is an active member of the Texas Water Development Board’s Regional Flood Planning Group for Region 5, a member of the board of directors of Big Thicket Association and chair of the City of Port Arthur’s Zoning Board of Adjustments.

Jose Beceiro

Jose Beceiro serves as the Senior Director of Global Energy 2.0 for the Greater Houston Partnership. He joined the Partnership in April 2020 with 15 years of experience in business and project development, with a majority of his work centered in the energy and cleantech sectors. Mr. Beceiro most recently served as the Director of Corporate Relations for Energy and Technology at the University of Texas at Austin, where he managed a portfolio of external industry partners representing the leading corporations in the energy, cleantech, automotive, and high-tech sectors. Previously, he was the Director of Clean Energy Economic Development at the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Beceiro holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from The University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Arts in Energy and Earth Resources from the Jackson School of Geosciences at The University of Texas at Austin. He has served as the Founding Board President of the Center for Austin’s Future and the ATXelerator, as well as Board Chair for CleanTX. Mr. Beceiro is also a Founding Board Member of Pecan Street, Inc., the nation’s most advanced smart grid research consortium initiative. He is a recent winner of the Austin Under 40 Award for Energy, Cleantech, and Environmental Services.

James Coleman

James Coleman is an Associate Professor at Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law. He received a J.D. and B.A. in biology from Harvard University. After law school he practiced energy and appellate law at Sidley Austin in Washington, D.C. Before SMU, he taught at the University of Calgary’s law school and business school. He also served the provincial government as part of the Alberta Royalty Review expert panel, which reformed and modernized management of Alberta’s vast oil and gas resources. Professor Coleman’s scholarship explores how global energy companies respond to competing pressures from investors and regulators in multiple jurisdictions. Professor Coleman teaches Oil & Gas Law, Energy Law, International Petroleum Transactions & Energy Development, and Energy Transport and Trade. He publishes the Energy Law Professor blog and can be found on Twitter @EnergyLawProf.

Tricia Cortez

For the past 11 years, Tricia Cortez has served as Rio Grande International Study Center’s executive director where she oversees the mission and day-to-day operations of Laredo’s leading environmental nonprofit. Under her tenure, RGISC has become a highly active change agent within the community. She has helped develop RGISC’s new strategic focus on water security, river restoration, climate impacts, and community engagement. Through coalition building and grassroots mobilization, Ms. Cortez has tackled environmental justice issues that threaten fragile and threatened ecosystems, and marginalized South Texas communities. She has led advocacy campaigns on single use plastics, ethylene oxide, wetland preservation, and the border wall. She conducts monthly river monitoring for the Texas Clean Rivers Program and has conceptualized what are now signature RGISC events, such as: Laredo Birding Festival, Loving Laredo Hikes, Loving Laredo Paddles and others. A mom of two, Tricia holds a Bachelor's degree from Princeton University in public policy with a minor in Mandarin Chinese.

Katherine Culbert

Katherine Culbert is the co-founder and CEO of K and K Process, a Houston-based consulting firm that assists oil and gas companies in improving process, personnel, and pipeline safety and reducing environmental impacts. Ms. Culbert has focused her career on the OSHA process safety management regulation and the DOT’s and Railroad Commission’s pipeline safety regulations. She has worked with numerous operating firms managing large safety and engineering projects. She is a licensed Professional Engineer, a Six Sigma Green Belt, and a certified Project Management Professional. Ms. Culbert is a member of the Society of Professional Women in Petroleum, a committee chair in the Women’s Energy Network, and a member of the League of Women Voters of Houston Rising Stars program where she is focused on Environmental Justice issues.

Ty Edwards

Ty Edwards is a 7th generation Texan that was born and raised on a small farm/ranch just west of Fort Stockton, Pecos County. Has been General Manager of the Middle Pecos Groundwater Conservation District since 2015. Currently, he is a member of Texas Alliance of Groundwater Districts and serves on their Legislative Committee. Previously, he spent 10 years working at Spring Branch Water Well Service installing and servicing all types of water wells throughout Texas and New Mexico. He and his wife have 3 children. Mr. Edwards is a son of the Republic of Texas and his family was one of the first 200 settlers in the State of Texas.

Marisa Perales

Marisa Perales is a partner in Perales, Allmon & Ice, P.C., a small environmental law firm that advocates against polluters and in favor of the public's interest throughout Texas. The firm addresses various environmental issues that arise in Texas, including municipal, hazardous, and radioactive waste storage and disposal; water quality and air pollution; endangered species protection; and incompatible land uses. Ms. Perales also serves on the board of Clean Water Action and as board president of Texas Campaign for the Environment Fund. Believing that environmental advocacy must lead with equity and justice, Ms. Perales was a founding member of the Undoing Racism Austin coalition and is currently a member of Communities of Color United for Racial Justice (CCU), a grassroots coalition of people of color organizations and individuals working for racial equity and social justice.

Karl R. Rábago

Karl R. Rábago operates Rábago Energy LLC, an energy consultancy based in Denver, Colorado. Mr. Rábago recently led the Pace Energy and Climate Center at the Pace University Elisabeth Haub School of Law in White Plains, New York, where he also taught energy law. He has 30 years of experience in energy and climate policy and markets and is recognized as an innovator in utility regulatory issues relating to clean and distributed energy services and technologies. Mr. Rábago is a frequent author on electricity industry issues and has provided testimony as an expert witness in more than 100 electric and gas utility regulatory proceedings. He serves as Chair of the Board of the Center for Resource Solutions, a San Francisco based non-governmental organization that manages the Green-e Certification program for green power products, and on the Board of Solar United Neighbors. He has been a Commissioner on the Texas Public Utility Commission; a Deputy Assistant Secretary at the US Department of Energy; Vice President of Distributed Energy Services at Austin Energy; Director of Regulatory Affairs for the AES Corporation and AES Wind; Managing Director & Principal of the Rocky Mountain Institute; and Energy Program Manager for the Environmental Defense Fund. He earned a J.D. from the University of Texas, and holds Master of Law degrees in environmental law and military law from Pace Law School and the US Army Judge Advocate General’s School.

Sr. Elizabeth Riebschlaeger

Sr. Elizabeth Riebschlaeger is a Sister of Charity of the Incarnate Word of San Antonio, TX. Her professional experience is in education, and most recently served in Adult Faith Formation in the Trans-Pecos and Gulf Coast Regions of Texas. As a co-owner of mineral rights in the Eagle Ford Shale, she has been engaged in following shale developments from West Texas to the Gulf Coast, with special focus on their environmental and public health impacts. She serves as a volunteer advocate for citizens and their concerns as their lives, properties and health are being impacted by shale development.

David Todd

David Todd is a conservationist with interests in geography, oral history, sustainable agriculture and ecological restoration. Mr. Todd has worked as a rancher, attorney and conservation historian. His family traces back to the first oil strikes and refinery development in Texas, and continues to be involved in petroleum production and transport. He supports Commission Shift's effort to promote transparent and accountable regulation of the industry that will protect communities and natural resources.
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