Interview with Phil Ford
General Manager/Chief Operating Officer for the Brazos River Authority
Phil Ford has served as the general manager/chief operating officer for the Brazos River Authority for the past ten years. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Management from Arlington State University and a master’s degree in Counseling and Human Development from Troy State University. He retired from the United States Air Force with the rank of Lieutenant General after 34 years of servic
What do you love about your career in the water industry?
So much of our future and the future needs of our communities depend on the planning and actions taken now within the water industry – for both the quality of water and the quantity as well.
It wasn’t until I took my current position with the Brazos River Authority that I began to understand both the intricacies of the water industry and the importance of water to our future. The industry is constantly shifting. From the changes in technology, to the growth of knowledge in water availability modeling and the needs of our environment, the water industry presents an ever-changing and difficult challenge for our basin, our state, and our nation.
What are some of the benefits of working in the water industry?
The water industry is extremely diverse. There are positions that vary from maintenance, construction and underwater welding to hydrologic and mechanical engineering to environmental laboratory analysis and information technology. Virtually every form of training in the military provides a background for some corresponding area of the water industry. Moreover, there are a great number of areas within the water industry that lack qualified applicants. As a result, job availability and security for those willing to continue or expand their training in these technical areas is assured.
What skills and training from your military career have you transferred into your current career?
Because this industry requires a varied set of knowledge and skills, teamwork is the highest priority. Leadership training with the ability and willingness to work as part of a larger body is essential.
Why should veterans consider working in the water sector?
Our future, not just in Texas, but in many areas of our nation and world is contingent on the availability of clean, usable water. This is not just a planning process or a technological feat. It is the implementation of skills and training by a team of experts from numerous fields.
Unfortunately, most people consider water as something that flows freely from their faucet. How it gets there safely, cleanly, and in the proper amount is a difficult task. Quite literally, the human body can’t live without water. But water also provides the components necessary to put food on our tables, generate electricity, operate industry, and supply the items we find most basic to our current way of life.
Our veterans worked to protect our way of life by defending our country. Choosing a second career in the water industry allows them to continue to do so by being involved in ensuring our basic needs will continue to be met. A very transferable skill – truly a win-win situation.