Our Board of Directors

The Dialogue’s Board is composed of between 15 and 25 individuals who live in most of New Mexico’s 16 water planning regions, and who bring many perspectives on water issues to bear on our work. Our current Board members are listed below. 

In parenthesis is the year each member joined the Board. Short bio-sketches are available for some members.

John Brown – Corrales (2007)

John served as the Dialogue’s executive director from 2002 to 2006, and has been a Board member since then. He is now a semi-retired public policy consultant. His career has focused on understanding how policy gets made, its results, and how people can change it. He has worked in policy organizations for the federal government, the Navajo Nation, the State of New Mexico, Sandoval County, and (as a consultant) for several Indian tribes and organizations. He taught about the policy process as an instructor at the University of New Mexico in Public Administration and the Political Science Department.    In the mid 1990s, as a consultant to a Philippines environmental NGO and later for the New Mexico Acequia Association, he became interested in how institutions – rules, norms, and shared strategies that people use to structure their interactions – work to maintain policy stability and shape policy change around social-ecological systems (SES) and issues. In 2000-01, as a visiting scholar at Indiana University’s Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, he studied with Elinor Ostrom and began writing about these themes in relation to water planning and policy in New Mexico. He has been active in the MRG Water Assembly since 1999.

Austin Hanson – Vice President 2023 – Current – Albuquerque (2023)

Sharon Hausam – Laguna Pueblo (2015)

Sharon Hausam was the New Mexico Water Dialogue’s first Executive Director, from 1999 to 2001, and returned as a member of the board in 2015. She was the Planning Program Manager for the Pueblo of Laguna, worked for the Pueblo of Sandia, Northwest New Mexico Council of Governments, and as a consultant, giving her over 20 years of experience in planning. Sharon has been involved in regional and local water planning since 1996, when she helped write and facilitate public input for the Northwest New Mexico Regional Water Plan. She participated in the 2003 state water planning process and in the 2015-2017 regional water planning processes in the Middle Rio Grande and Northwest regions as an employee of tribal governments. Sharon’s primary interests are tribal involvement and public participation in planning. She is the author of “Maybe, maybe not: Native American participation in regional water planning,” a chapter in the edited book Reclaiming Indigenous Planning. Her doctoral dissertation (University of Wisconsin-Madison) research studied Native American and non-Native involvement in collaborative planning processes. She also has a Master of Environmental Studies degree from Yale University and a Bachelor of Science degree with a double major in biology and art from the State University of New York. Sharon teaches “Planning on Native American Lands” and “Indigenous Environmental Planning” at the University of New Mexico in the Community and Regional Planning Program, and “Tribal Environmental Management” online certificate courses through Northern Arizona University’s Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals. She is affiliated with the Indigenous Design + Planning Institute. Sharon lives in Albuquerque’s Near North Valley, gardens, and irrigates off the Los Griegos Acequia.

Jimmy Hodges – Farmington (2023)

Wade Holdeman – Fort Sumner (2019)

Jason John – Yah ta Hey (2008)

Jason was president of the board of directors from 2013 to 2021.

John Leeper – Socorro (2016)

Dr Leeper joined WSP USA Environment & Infrastructure Inc. (WSP) as a Senior Project Manager in 2012. He received his PhD in Civil Engineering from Colorado State University. Among a variety of projects at WSP Dr. Leeper provides technical support to the Santa Clara Pueblo in the Abbott Rio Santa Cruz General Stream Adjudication and provides water rights and water development technical assistance to the Navajo Department of Justice, Navajo Tribal Utility Authority, and Navajo Department of Water Resources.

While working for the Navajo Nation he was a Branch manager and supervised more than twenty fulltime water resources professionals. He represented the Navajo Nation for the San Juan River Settlements in New Mexico and in Utah. He served on the Navajo Gallup Water Supply Project and the Animas-La Plata Project Construction Coordination Committees. He directed the Navajo Nation’s participation in the State of New Mexico Regional Water Plans for the San Juan Region (Region 2) and Northwest New Mexico Region (Region 6). He contributed to environmental, appraisal level, value planning, and value engineering studies including: the Navajo Gallup Water Supply Project Final Environmental Impact Statement, the Black Mesa Environmental Impact Statement, the Draft Desert Rock Power Plant Environmental Impact Statement, the Page LeChee Water Supply Project Environmental Assessment, the Ganado Irrigation Project, Red Lake Irrigation Project and the Many Farms Irrigation Project Environmental

Prior to working for the Navajo Nation, he provided technical assistance to the Office of the Tribal Water Engineer of the Shoshone and Arapaho Tribes in Fort Washakie, Wyoming. This assistance included, among other activities, surface and groundwater permitting, dam safety monitoring of Washakie Dam, implementing cost-share programs and evaluation irrigation rehabilitation alternatives. Supervised portions of the Assessment and Plan for the Rehabilitation of the Wind River Irrigation Project and the Wind River Basin Wide Study which evaluated the available water supply, and future water demands in the Wind River Basin. While a graduate student at Colorado State University he was a Peace Corps trainer for the African Food System Initiative in Lesotho and in the Untied States. Training topics included watershed restoration and public drinking water supply. He was a Teaching Assistant for irrigation short courses for foreign water resource professionals. And as a Peace Corps Volunteer and Trainer in Nepal he surveyed, designed, and supervised the construction of suspension bridges in rural Nepal. He was also a technical trainer in the Community Water Supply and Rural Suspension Bridge Program.

Connie Maxwell – Las Cruces (2022)

Patrick McCarthy – Santa Fe (2019)

Patrick McCarthy is the Water Policy Officer at the Thornburg Foundation. Trained as a scientist, he has worked for the last twenty years at the intersection of ecological science, water governance, and community capacity-building. Before joining Thornburg, Patrick worked for 30 years as a conservation scientist and planner for The Nature Conservancy in the Southwest U.S. and in southern Africa on evidence-based solutions for water resources policy, planning, and management. He holds a master’s degree in ecology and a bachelor’s degree in anthropology/zoology and has been awarded fellowships by the Switzer Foundation and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Denise Rumley – Albuquerque (2020)

After many years in the landscape industry as a Designer and Project Manager, Denise began her career with Albuquerque Bernalillo Water Utility Authority in 2011, gaining unparalleled experience in Water Waste Compliance. Currently working as the Water Conservation Supervisor, Denise strives to build and maintain strong relationships with industry professionals through the unique educational opportunities offered by the Water Authority. As an Albuquerque native, Denise loves to take frequent RV trips and explore New Mexico with her family.

Jeffrey Samson – President 2022-current,  Albuquerque (2017)                                                  

Sherice Snell –  Farmington (2023)                                                  

Sherice is the Project Planner, Grant Writer, and Social Media Specialist for the San Juan Water Commission. Sherice spent 15 years working for San Juan County, NM in the GIS Department, working her way to GIS Manager before joining the San Juan Water Commission. In her tenure at San Juan County, Sherice led the GIS Department to a Special Achievement in GIS Award from ESRI in 2019. She also created the Clean Up San Juan Public Lands cleanup app and program that received a NACo Achievement Award from the National Association of Counties in 2020. Sherice joined the Water Commission in August of 2023 where she is excited to engage in water issues that affect San Juan County and the State of New Mexico. A native New Mexican from Blanco, New Mexico, Sherice currently resides in Blanco on her family’s multigenerational farm with her husband Cody, their two children, and her parents

Stacy Timmons –Socorro (2017)

Stacy Timmons is the Aquifer Mapping Program manager at the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources at New Mexico Tech, in Socorro. Working with the Aquifer Mapping Program, she has been involved with several large-scale, long-term hydrogeologic studies focused on geologic influences on recharge, groundwater movement and occurrence.  This program aims to combine geologic, hydrologic, geochemical and geophysical information to develop regional conceptual models to describe groundwater flow within aquifers in New Mexico. This work serves the state of New Mexico by providing publicly available reports and data that can be applied to decision-making and water resource planning. 

Bob Wessely – Las Vegas (2011)

Bob has supported the New Mexico Water Dialogue’s Annual Statewide Meetings for nearly twenty years.  He has been a member of the Board since 2011. He has worked with and led the Water Assembly, now Water Advocates, for twenty-five years.  The work included technical evaluation, extensive outreach; public meetings, agency briefings, and working with the legislature on the 2004 MRG Regional Water Plan.  The Assembly has worked with the state on subsequent updates and conducted annual conferences on water issues.  In Bob’s previous 30-year career he co-founded and served as Technical Director of SciSo, Inc., an Albuquerque software system engineering and management consulting firm, supporting diverse industries nationwide. Although Bob holds a PhD in Theoretical, Solid-State Physics, at heart he is a systems engineer who enjoys the challenge of finding solutions for those problems important to NM and its communities, but especially water.

Avery Young – Secretary 2022-current – Santa Fe (2021)

After receiving her master’s degree in Water Resources Management from the University of New Mexico in 2017, she began working for the Water Resources Research Institute and joined New Mexico Environment Department in the Ground Water Quality Bureau in 2018. At NMED, Avery began her regulatory work reviewing and drafting groundwater protection discharge permits for a wide variety of facilities around New Mexico. In her current role as the Major Domestic Waste Team Lead for the Pollution Prevention Section, she oversees a team responsible for discharge permits for major domestic wastewater facilities across the State. The Pollution Prevention Section regulates the majority of the domestic and industrial wastewater treatment plants in New Mexico, including any type of discharges that have the potential to impact the groundwater resources of New Mexico. Avery joined the board of the Water Dialogue in 2020 and became the Secretary in 2021. In her spare time, she enjoys skiing, rafting, hiking, and going to the movies.

Kate Zeigler – Albuquerque (2017)

Dr. Kate Zeigler is owner and senior geologist at Zeigler Geologic Consulting, LLC, a small woman-owned business located in Albuquerque. Born in Montana and raised in Texas, she came to New Mexico in 1999 to continue her studies of geology. She earned her Bachelors from Rice University and her M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico. Once finished with school, Kate went on to become a consulting geologist and found her calling in using her skillset to provide information about groundwater resources to agricultural producers and rural communities. In addition, she serves on the executive boards of the New Mexico Water Dialogue, El Llano Estacado RC&D Council, the New Mexico Geological Society Foundation, and the New Mexico Chapter of the American Institute of Professional Geologists.

Katie Zemlick – Santa Fe (2023)