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AUSTIN — The Lower Colorado River Authority board of directors voted unanimously Dec. 18 to hire Phil Wilson, executive director of the Texas Department of Transportation, as the organization’s 11th general manager.

Wilson will begin work at LCRA on Feb. 1.

He will replace Rebecca S. Motal, who is retiring Dec. 31, ending a 27-year career with LCRA. Deputy General Manager Ross Phillips will serve as interim general manager.

Wilson comes to the LCRA from the Texas Department of Transportation, where he has served as executive director since October 2011. At TxDOT, Wilson oversaw 12,000 employees and a $10 billion budget. Before that, Wilson worked as senior vice president of public affairs for Luminant, Texas’ largest competitive power generation company. In 2007, Gov. Rick Perry appointed Wilson as secretary of state. He also served as chair of the Governor’s Competitiveness Council and a member of the Texas Border Security Council.

“I am excited about being selected to lead LCRA,” Wilson said. “I look forward to working with our customers, communities and the Legislature as we work to address our region’s water and power challenges. LCRA has a rich history of being a strong contributor to Texas economic strength, and I look forward to continuing in that tradition.”

LCRA board chairman Tim Timmerman praised Wilson’s experience in the energy sector.

“I see Phil Wilson as a problem solver,” Timmerman said. “Phil is an excellent choice for our general manager. He has operated one of the state’s larger public agencies. He has deep experience in two of our main lines of business: generation and transmission of electricity.

“He steps into this job at a critical time,” Timmerman added. “Our region faces serious challenges as this drought continues. LCRA plays an important role in developing new water supplies as we manage current supplies for more than a million people. LCRA also provides a reliable source of electricity, which is vital to our growing region. We believe Phil Wilson’s knowledge and leadership skills are exactly what we need to work through these challenges.”

As LCRA’s general manager and chief executive officer, Wilson will carry out LCRA board policy, manage LCRA’s relationships with its customers and stakeholders, appoint and direct executive staff, and oversee projects and operations that support LCRA’s public service mission.

Wilson also will oversee construction of a new off-channel reservoir in Wharton County, LCRA’s first new water supply reservoir in decades. It is part of the board’s direction to add 100,000 acre-feet of new water supply by 2017.