Board of Trustees
Ronald Thompson General Manager
Ronald Thompson is the general manager for the Washington County Water Conservancy District. In this capacity, he oversees all operational and financial activities performed by the district and its employees. Prior to joining the district in 1983, Thompson served as an attorney for Washington County and in private practice. He’s a current member of the Utah State Bar and serves in various capacities on the following boards: Utah Water Finance Agency, Colorado River Water Users Association, National Water Resources Association, Utah Water Development Commission, St. George Washington Canal Company and St. George Valley Irrigation Company. Past board appointments include president of the Utah Water Users Association, president of the Colorado River Water Users Association, second vice president and chairman of the Resolutions Committee for the National Water Resource Association, vice-chairman of the Utah Water Finance Agency and member of the Statewide Association of Prosecutors, Utah Association of Counties, State of Utah Drinking Water and the Utah Association of Special Districts. He was also the former Utah representative for the National Water Resources Endangered Species Task Force. Thompson received his bachelor’s degree in accounting from Brigham Young University and his law degree from the University of Utah.
Barbara Hjelle Associate General Manager and Counsel
Barbara Hjelle currently serves as the associate general manager and counsel of the Washington County Water Conservancy District, overseeing in-house legal work, records management, customer service and providing general assistance to the general manager. She joined the district in 2000 with more than 30 years legal experience. She’s currently serving as the chair of the National Water Resources Association Policy Development Committee and is a member or past member of the State and Institutional Trust Lands Advisory Board, Southern Utah Bar Association, Utah State Bar Association, American Bar Association, Association of Trial Lawyers of America and the American Association of University Women. Hjelle received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biology from the University of New Mexico and her juris doctorate, where she graduated cum laude, from the University of New Mexico School of Law.
Corey Cram Associate General Manager
Corey Cram is the associate general manager for the Washington County Water Conservancy District. He manages the operations at the district’s reservoirs, hydropower plants, pipelines and wells and oversees dam safety, watershed, endangered species protection and other environmental initiatives. Prior to joining the district in 2004, Cram was a hydrogeologist and watershed manager for the State of Pennsylvania. He has a bachelor’s degree from Southern Utah University in physical science and geology, a master’s degree in hydrogeology from Pennsylvania State University and master’s degree in business administration from the University of Phoenix. He is a licensed professional geologist.
Roberta McMullin Secretary/Treasurer, Office Manager and Administrative Assistant
Roberta McMullin has worked for the Washington County Water Conservancy District since 1981. Her current responsibilities include serving as the secretary/treasurer of the board of trustees, office manager and administrative assistant to the general manager, Ron Thompson. She also serves as the secretary for the Policy and Development Committee of the National Water Resources Association. Prior to joining the district, McMullin served as a secretary for the Washington County Attorney’s office. She has a bachelor’s degree in organizational communication from Dixie State University.
Karry Rathje Public Information Manager
Karry Rathje is the public information manager for Washington County Water Conservancy District. In this position, she manages all communication, education, branding and outreach activities with the media, elected officials and general public. Rathje has more than a decade of experience in the communications industry. Prior to joining the district in 2013, she managed several accounts representing the development, higher education and non-profit industries for a Las Vegas-based public relations and government affairs agency. In 2013, Rathje was appointed to serve as the Utah representative on the Colorado River Water Users Association Public Affairs Committee. She has a bachelor’s degree in communications with a special emphasis in public relations from Brigham Young University.
Chuck Carney Engineering Manager
Chuck Carney joined the Washington County Water Conservancy District in 1985 and currently serves as the district’s engineering manager. His responsibilities include reviewing, inspecting, revising and monitoring all construction activity to ensure it’s built to standards and meets district needs. Carney has a level four certified water distribution rating and a level two certified water treatment rating from the State of Utah.
Hank Childers Operations Manager
Hank Childers joined Washington County Water Conservancy District in 2005 with nearly 20 years industry experience. In his current position as the operations manager, he oversees the daily procedures of raw and treated pipeline systems including capturing, storing and treating water. Previously, Childers was the superintendent of the water treatment plant for the City of St. George, Utah. He’s an active member of the American Water Works Association, Utah Rural Water Association and Utah Water Works Alliance. He has a level four certified water distribution rating and a level four certified water treatment rating from the State of Utah.
Doug Wilson New Project Development & Information Systems Manager
Doug Wilson works closely with developers, contractors, engineers and other government agencies to manage development as the Washington County Water Conservancy District’s special projects coordinator, a position he’s had since 2004. His portfolio features multi-million dollar projects including reservoirs, diversions, pipelines and water tanks. Prior to joining the district, Wilson served as city manager and mayor of La Verkin, Utah and as a system administrator for Iron County, Utah. He has a master’s degree in business management from Colorado Technical University and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Southern Utah University. Wilson also has graduate level certificates in project, change and business management and is a graduate of Leadership Dixie.
Julie Gillins Water Conservation Manager
Julie Gillins has been with the Washington County Water Conservancy District since 1995 and currently serves as the district’s water conservation manager. In this capacity, she collaborates with other agencies to implement conservation programs and special events throughout the county. Gillins has a master’s degree in professional communication from Southern Utah University and a bachelor’s degree in communication from Dixie State University. She currently serves as the vice-chair of the Utah Water Conservation Forum Board and is on the communications and member service council for American Water Works Association, Intermountain Section. Gillins is also a certified landscape irrigation auditor.
Brie Thompson Chemical Engineer/Water Treatment Operator
Brie Thompson is the Chemical Engineer/Water Treatment Operator for Washington County Water Conservancy District. She oversees chemicals and chemical processes used in water treatment, data analysis and research projects, ensures compliance with water quality regulations and monitors and optimizes water quality. Her research includes water source management, drought vulnerability, water loss audits, energy efficiency studies and more. Thompson joined the district in 2006 and currently has nearly a decade of experience. She’s a licensed professional engineer and certified grade IV water treatment operator in the State of Utah and a member of the American Water Works Association, Utah Water Quality Alliance and Rural Water Association. She has a master’s in business administration from Southern Utah University and a bachelor’s of science in chemical engineering from the University of Utah.
Tina Esplin Legal/Administrative Assistant
Tina Esplin is this legal/administrative assistant for Washington County Water Conservancy District. In this capacity, she manages the administration of water rights, wastewater and legal work as directed by counsel, general manager and/or associate general managers. Prior to joining the district in 2006, she worked for law firms in Salt Lake City and St. George. She has an associate degree from Utah Valley University and is certified in Utah’s water rights and regulations through Rural Water Association of Utah.