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 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.
Zach Renstrom Deputy General Manager
Zach Renstrom is the deputy general manager for the Washington County Water Conservancy District. In this capacity, he oversees all operational and financial activities for the district and its employees. Prior to joining the district in 2019, Renstrom served as a Washington County Commissioner and worked as an attorney for Lincoln, Gustafson & Cercos. Renstrom was also a principal owner at a local engineering firm. He is a licensed professional and structural engineer in Utah with more than 20 years of experience; and a member of the Utah and Nevada state bars with more than 15 years of experience. His background gives him insight into the complexities of water treatment and engineering systems, as well as the legal realm of government, contracts, water law and legislation. He has served on the following boards: Washington County Flood Control Authority, American Public Works Association, Dixie Transportation Executive Council, Utah Department of Transportation, Utah Office of Tourism Development and the Tuacahn Center for the Arts. Renstrom is a graduate of the University of Utah and Washburn Law School.
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, Project Development
Corey Cram is the associate general manager of project development for the Washington County Water Conservancy District. He manages current projects from the preliminary planning phase to construction and operation. 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.
Brie Thompson Associate General Manager, Field Operations
Brie Thompson is the associate general manager of field operations for Washington County Water Conservancy District. In this capacity, she manages the operations at the district’s water treatment plant, reservoirs, hydropower plants, pipelines, dams and wells. Thompson joined the district in 2006. 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.
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 Communications Director
Karry Rathje is the communications director for Washington County Water Conservancy District. In this position, she manages all outreach activities with the media, elected officials and general public. Rathje has nearly two decades of industry experience. Prior to joining the district in 2013, she worked for a Las Vegas-based public relations and government affairs agency. Rathje serves as the Utah representative on the Colorado River Water Users Association Public Affairs Committee and is a member of the St. George Chamber of Commerce Community Masterminds Committee. She has a bachelor’s degree in communications with a special emphasis in public relations from Brigham Young University.
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.
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.