Comal County Conservation Alliance gratefully acknowledges the participation and support of its esteemed Advisory Board whose members provide insight, experience, partnership, connections, professional skills, moral and institutional support, and many other things that strengthen CCCA as an organization. These Advisors add depth, breadth, and continuity to CCCA, not to mention heightened credibility and visibility for our growing nonprofit. We could not be more grateful for their willingness to join us a members of the CCCA Advisory Board.
Kathleen Tobin Krueger was born in San Antonio, the 7th of 8 children of Peggy and Don Tobin.
Moving to their family ranch in Bandera County when she was 11, she grew up riding horseback, swimming in the Medina River, driving a tractor, fishing, clearing brush, helping with the sheep and cattle – living an idyllic Texas Hill Country life. Founded in 1947, the Tobin Ranch remains an active, working ranch beloved by the family.
After graduation from Bandera High School, Kathleen received a degree in English and Journalism from Texas A&M University and soon entered the world of local, state, and national politics.
First serving as Legislative Assistant in the Washington office of East Texas Congressman Sam B. Hall, she then returned to Texas and was Public Relations Director for Gill Savings
Association in San Antonio before marrying former U.S. Congressman/U.S. Senator/U.S. Ambassador Bob Krueger.
Having lived in 4 different countries on 3 different continents, Kathleen has a global perspective and “finds the world and everyone in it fascinating.”
In New Braunfels, from 2005-2011, she served as a city council member, including 2 years as mayor pro tem. Since 2012, she has worked as the Director of Development & Public Relations at Hope Hospice.
Kathleen is a board member of the Hill Country Alliance, the Dr. MLK, Jr. Association, and the Edwards Aquifer Authority.
Her greatest joy in life, however, is being a mother to her three children, Mariana, Sarah, and Christian.
With a Bachelor’s Degree from Rice University and a Juris Doctor degree, Garry Merritt brings to the table a unique combination of business development savvy, real estate law expertise, government service, and longstanding commitment to conservation of Texas’ natural resources.
A former rural County Judge, County Attorney and corporate counsel, Garry’s legal expertise includes business and real estate transactions, water rights, business development, private securities offerings, acquisition of venture capital, and contract negotiations.
Board Certified in Farm and Ranch Real Estate Law, Garry is Life Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation and a member of the State Bar College. Holding a law degree from the University of Texas School of Law, Garry returned to the Texas Hill Country to practice law in his rural hometown of Leakey, after working as a corporate attorney with Campbell & Riggs in Houston and Team Counsel for the Houston Rockets.
Currently serving as Chief Executive Officer of the Great Springs Project, Garry is leading the effort to build a greenway of contiguous protected lands between Austin and San Antonio, connecting four of Texas’ Great Springs: Barton Springs, San Marcos Springs, Comal Springs, and San Antonio Springs.
An avid river guide, Garry cares deeply about our beautiful Hill Country and preserving it for generations to come.
Nancy Pappas leads the efforts of the Headwaters at the Comal, a non-profit organization, located in New Braunfels, Texas. The non-profit is guiding a grand metamorphosis, the transformation of a 16-acre industrial New Braunfels Utility site into a restored native ecosystem and premier education center inspiring hearts and minds on the importance of conservation to community. The project is a legacy for the community and an opportunity to protect and conserve the most significant spring system in the American Southwest.
Ms. Pappas has recently joined the Go Green Initiative Board of Directors, a national organization advancing environmental health, safety and sustainability at school. She is a Texas Water Leaders Graduate and a champion for regional One Water efforts, and an elected member of the Comal Appraisal District Board.
Prior to the Headwaters project, Ms. Pappas was the owner of a non-profit consulting group working for organizations focused primarily on creating healthier communities. In that capacity, she was on the inaugural governing board for Resolute Health Hospital. She is the immediate past president of the Comal Trails Alliance, an effort working to connect communities through active transportation networks.
Nancy is proud to have served on the Comal Independent School District Board of Trustees from 2012-2014, is a lifetime Texas PTA member, and served in many capacities for PTA including Comal Council President. She also served as Treasurer of the Comal Education Foundation. In all these capacities, she recognized and advocated for protecting the environment and the importance of connecting people to nature for better health and improved quality of life. She is a graduate of Emory University with B.A. in Economics.
Annalisa Peace holds an MS in Urban Administration from Trinity University and has over thirty years’ experience working with government and non-profit organizations in a variety of capacities, including as a San Antonio City Council Aide, Public Information Officer for the City of San Antonio’s Office of Cultural Affairs, Executive Director of Youth Orchestras of San Antonio, and Director of Development of the Carver Community Cultural Center.
She has been instrumental in organizing citizens’ campaigns and has served on many governmental advisory boards, including as co-chair of the Kelly Air Force Base Restoration Advisory Board, the City of San Antonio Open Space Advisory Board, the City Task Force that drafted San Antonio's water quality rules, the Southern Edwards Plateau Habitat for Stormwater Planning, and the City of New Braunfels Master Plan Committee for Water and Natural Resources.
Since 2004, Annalissa has been the Executive Director of the Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance, which unites 54 organizations throughout a 21-county region in Central and South Texas behind a plan to protect the Edwards and Trinity aquifers, their contributing watersheds, and the Texas Hill Country. She currently serves on the board of the City of San Antonio’s Water and Natural Resources Stakeholder Group for the Climate Action Plan, the Environmental Advisory Committee of the San Antonio River Authority, the Steering Committee of the Texas Hill Country Conservation Network, UTSA Urban Planning Advisory Committee, Our Lady of the Lake University Political Science Advisory Council, and participates in many other efforts to maintain the environmental integrity of our region. Conservation Plan, the Edwards Aquifer Recovery Implementation Program, and the City of New Braunfels Technical Committee.
Katherine Romans is the executive director of the Hill Country Alliance, a regional nonprofit working to protect the long-term character of the Texas Hill Country. Katherine’s focus at HCA has been on formalizing program areas, growing the organization, and enshrining HCA’s collaborative work with partners across the region through a collective impact model.
Katherine brings a decade of nonprofit and legislative experience to the Hill Country Alliance. She worked on national and international wildlife issues as a legislative aide for the Committee on Natural Resources within the U.S. House of Representatives. She has designed and implemented community forestry, green storm water infrastructure, and land conservation programs for local and regional nonprofit organizations.
Katherine holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia and a Master of Environmental Management from Yale’s School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. She currently serves on the board of the Hill Country Land Trust and is the chair of the Texas Hill Country Conservation Network, a collaboration of more than 75 nonprofit, academic, and public agencies working to scale conservation impact in Central Texas through collaboration.
Dr. Andrew Sansom is one of Texas’ leading conservationists. He is a former Executive Director of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and Executive Director of the Texas Nature Conservancy. For his commitment to the management and protection of natural resources, he is a recipient of the Chevron Conservation Award, The Chuck Yeager Award from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, The Pugsley Medal from the National Park Foundation, the Seton Award from the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Nature Conservancy. Andrew is a Distinguished Alumnus of Austin College and Texas Tech University.
Under his leadership at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Andrew spearheaded a number of significant programs, including:
His published works have appeared in Texas Monthly, The Texas Observer, Houston City Magazine, Politics Today, Texas Highways, Texas Parks and Wildlife and Texas Town and City. He is the author of eight books, Texas Lost, Texas Past, Scout the Christmas Dog, Water In Texas and Southern Plains Bison, Resurrection of the Lost Texas Herd, After Ike, Of Texas Rivers and Texas Art and Seasons of Selah.
Andrew Sansom now serves as Professor of Practice in Geography and is founder of The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment at Texas State University.
As State Director for The Nature Conservancy in Texas, Suzanne Scott establishes conservation strategy and public policy leadership to protect the state’s cherished landscapes and support ecology, economy, public health, and equity. Working closely with a talented and diverse staff, she oversees the execution of landscape-scale conservation efforts, freshwater protection initiatives, and critical marine protection measures in the Gulf of Mexico, as well as the development of sound science and policy solutions to address climate change.
Suzanne has dedicated a significant portion of her life to protecting and restoring the environment, connecting communities with the natural resources around them, and spearheading on-the-ground projects that support social, environmental, and economic values. Prior to joining TNC in November 2020, Suzanne spent more than two decades with the San Antonio River Authority and was appointed its General Manager in 2007. There, she steadfastly elevated the agency’s crucial role and impact and implemented more than $600 million in highly visible projects, including work on the Museum Reach and Mission Reach of the San Antonio River Improvements Project and San Pedro Creek Culture Park. She also guided the development of successful programs to improve flood protection, water quality, habitat, nature-based recreation, and access to the river and its tributaries. A regional leader on water, Suzanne chaired the South Central Texas Regional Water Planning Group and the Guadalupe and San Antonio Rivers Bay and Basin Area Stakeholder Group. Most recently, she was chosen to lead the Interregional Planning Council, created by the Texas Water Development Board.
She obtained her undergraduate degree from Texas Tech University and a Master of Science in Urban Administration from Trinity University. A true San Antonian at heart, Suzanne was raised near the San Antonio River and, in her spare time, can be found exploring rivers and national parks, reading about American history and spending time with her husband Parker and daughter Genevieve.
Les Shepard spent much of his career at Sandia National Laboratories developing technology solutions that address our 21st century energy, water, and security challenges in regions of high strategic importance to the United States.
More recently, he founded NEXAS: Energy – Water SOULutions to pursue his passion for providing safe, resilient water, and energy systems to communities of need in the U. S. and elsewhere, while contributing to a technology innovation ecosystem invested in building a more sustainable world through partnerships.
Dianne Hannusch Wassenich retired from her 34 years with the San Marcos River Foundation (SMRF) in 2019. She began there as a volunteer when the organization formed in 1985, and later was elected as a board member. In 2002, she began working for the SMRF board as their first staff person and has contributed to SMRF’s advocacy efforts and protection of the river and its watershed and estuaries. She and the SMRF board focused their work on land conservation in the last eight years before her retirement, protecting several tracts of land on the recharge zone of the San Marcos Springs. SMRF became a land trust and carries this work on today, with more land conservation efforts to protect the springs.
Born in Smithville, Dianne grew up near the Texas Coast, in Newgulf, a small sulfur mining town. Dianne began her undergraduate studies at Rice University, and earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Houston in 1972. She lived and worked for several years in the Frank Church Wilderness of No Return in Idaho on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River.
After moving to San Marcos in 1980, Dianne found the San Marcos springs to be the perfect place to settle. She met and married Tom Wassenich, who started Grins Restaurant in 1976, which is well known to generations of Texas State University students in San Marcos. They lived on the San Marcos River for almost 20 years, prompting their involvement in river issues.
In her 17 years working as Executive Director for SMRF, Dianne has served on many stakeholder committees representing the river locally, regionally, and statewide. She is now on the Board of the Great Springs Project, which works to conserve land and create a spring-to-spring trail, from the Alamo to the Austin. She also currently serves as the public representative on the Region L Water Planning Board, and as vice-chair of the Bay/Basin Stakeholder Advisory Committee, set up by the Legislature to work on setting adequate flows in the Guadalupe/San Antonio/Nueces/Mission River basins and the associated bays. She also served for 12 years on the initial Steering Committee of the Edwards Aquifer Habitat Conservation Plan, 16 years on the Plum Creek Watershed Program, and five years on the Upper San Marcos Watershed Initiative.
Jeff Weigel is the Director of Legacy Giving for The Nature Conservancy in Texas, a position he has held since September 2020. He has worked for The Nature Conservancy for 37 years on projects and programs in Minnesota, Texas, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.
A native of Minnesota who grew up in Wisconsin, Jeff has devoted his career to the conservation of wildlife and natural habitats in ecosystems across the hemisphere in the United States and Latin America, including grasslands, forests, deserts, freshwater, and marine environments.
He began his conservation career as a field biologist in Minnesota, has spent more than thirty years working in Texas, and worked for a decade focused on Mexico and Central America.
In his current position he works on fundraising via planned gifts and outright giving with individual, institutional, and corporate donors. He also supports project and partner development across Texas.
Jeff is the founding President of the Friends of Friederich Wilderness Park in San Antonio and is past Chair and current trustee of the Texas Land Trust Council, a consortium of thirty-three Texas land trusts.
Jeff holds a Master of Science degree in Range Management from Texas Tech University and a B.A. in Biology from St. Cloud State (Minnesota).
He lives in San Antonio with his wife, Mary Candee and has three grown children – Matthew, Robert, and Kathleen.