The general manager of the Canadian River Municipal Water Authority was recently named the recipient of a special award from the Panhandle Regional Planning Commission.
Kent Satterwhite, who serves as the general manager of CRMWA, received the PRPC’s Regional Service Award at the organization’s annual meeting and banquet, which was held on Thursday, Sept. 29, 2011, in the Amarillo Civic Center Heritage Room.
The Regional Service Award is intended to publicly recognize and say thanks to an individual for their efforts that have contributed to the advancement, growth, and development of the 26-county Texas Panhandle region.
More than 200 area local elected officials were in attendance at the banquet. Swisher County Judge Harold Keeter presented Satterwhite the award and informed the audience of his accomplishments.
Keeter began his comments by saying that Satterwhite grew up in the City of Panhandle and graduated from Panhandle High School. He began his career in the private sector with several stops in the Bryan-College Station and Houston areas focusing on the excavation, construction, and materials engineering industries.
In 1989, he received a Bachelor of Science degree from Texas A&M University in civil engineering with an emphasis on water resources. He then came back to the Texas Panhandle to accept the assist to the general manager’s position at CRMWA.
“As you all know, the Water Authority provides water to more than half a million people in 11 Texas Panhandle and South Plains cities including Amarillo and Lubbock,” Judge Keeter said. “The Water Authority, headquartered at Sanford Dam, was created by the Texas Legislature and delivers water via a 370-mile aqueduct system.”
Satterwhite quickly moved up the ranks of CRMWA and was named Assistant General Manager in 1992 and Deputy General Manager in 2000. In December of 2001, he was appointed to his current position as CRMWA’s General Manager.
In addition to ongoing responsibilities in supervising the operations of the Authority, as General Manager he directed the planning, design, and construction of the $85 million John C. Williams Wellfield in the northeastern Texas Panhandle. Satterwhite also led the agency in the design and implementation of a $10 million salinity control project along the Canadian River.
“Our honoree is viewed as one of the region’s preeminent water experts. As such, he is often involved with the U.S. Congress and the Texas Legislature on water issues and is called upon to negotiate and interact with a variety of federal, state, and local water agencies. He has led more than 125 contract negotiations worth $180 million for the purchase of 25 million acre feet of groundwater rights,” Judge Keeter said.
Satterwhite serves as a member of both the Panhandle and South Plains Water Planning Groups, on the board of directors of the Texas Water Conservation Association, as a Texas delegate for the National Water Resources Association, as a member of the American Water Works Association and on the board of directors for the Hutchinson County Junior Livestock Association.
“Under our honoree’s leadership, in what was truly a landmark decision for our region, CRMWA announced this past June the purchase of 211,000 surface acres of water rights or nearly four trillion gallons of water from T. Boone Pickens’ Mesa Water Group – a project which will ensure adequate water for CRMWA member cities for decades to come,” Judge Keeter said.
Keeter said he was pleased to present the 2011 PRPC Regional Service Award to Satterwhite.
Satterwhite’s wife Lynne and daughters Nicole and Claire were in attendance at the banquet, along with his mother Ella Satterwhite and granddaughter Ella. Also attending were family members Scott and Glea Kennedy and close family friend Megan Bybee.