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Conrad retires from Austin Water

Thursday, August 13, 2015 by Elizabeth Pagano

On Thursday, the city honored Willie Conrad with a Distinguished Service award on the occasion of his retirement from the Austin Water utility. Conrad has served as the division manager for Austin Water’s Wildland Conservation division and secretary of the Balcones Canyonlands Conservation Planning Organization Coordinating Committee for the past 16 years. AW Assistant Director Daryl Slusher pointed out that the praise of Conrad ran well past the allotted one-page proclamation, and thanked him for building the Balcones Canyonlands Conservation Plan management program from scratch. “He always kept in mind his charge to protect endangered species to carry out the federal permit,” said Slusher, who read a list of “Whereas” clauses – left off of the official proclamation – that celebrated Conrad’s status as a “folk hero to some, known for his cowboy hat, boots, trademark mustache and ability and strength to say ‘no’ when the situation merited it,” among other qualities. AW Director Greg Meszaros also joined in on praising Conrad, saying, “I was afraid at first, because I had the Marlboro man working for me.” That quickly changed for Meszaros, who said that some of his fondest memories involved Conrad and that he would miss him dearly. For his part, Conrad kept his remarks short, saying that he was humbled by the honor and blessed to have worked in the department that he did.

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