Luana Buckner

Term Expires December 2022

Luana Buckner has likened her history with the EAA to “a tall Texas tale.” Elected to the inaugural board of directors in 1996, the Medina County resident was originally a party in a lawsuit that challenged the creation of the EAA. When the Texas Supreme Court ruled the EAA Act was constitutional, “my motto became ‘If you can’t beat’em, join’em,’” she said.

Buckner grew up in a ranching family in Zavala County. Her parents bred registered Black Brangus cattle. As a teenager, she was asked to help brand livestock and administer medication.

After graduating from nearby Uvalde High School, Buckner attended Southwest Texas Junior College. As a reporter, then editor for the Castroville News Bulletin, Buckner wrote extensively about water-related issues, including the Applewhite Reservoir, a controversial project on the Medina River first rejected by voters in 1991.

In 1992, Buckner became the first general manager of the Medina County Groundwater Conservation District and the first woman general manager of a conservation district in Texas. She retired from the position in 2012.

After the initial two-year EAA board term, Buckner was re-elected for five consecutive four-year terms beginning in 1998. Her current term expires in 2022. As chair, Buckner presides over the board’s Executive Committee.

“I think some people thought I would just be representing the irrigators and the rural communities, and I think they’ve seen that I can see the big picture,” she said.

A real estate investor and a consultant in groundwater issues and natural resource management, Buckner currently lives outside of Castroville.

Benjamin Youngblood III

Term Expires December 2020

An independent business attorney practicing corporate, real estate and oil and gas law, Ben Youngblood cut his teeth working on water issues serving on San Antonio Water System committees.

During his time with the city-owned utility, “I started looking at the bigger picture,” he said. “And that’s the EAA.”

Youngblood was appointed to the board in 2008. He was elected to the position in November of the same year and re-elected twice. His current term expires in 2020.

“I’ve always thought that water is the defining issue for the future of the region and I want to be a part of ensuring that the water remains clean and useful for the citizens of San Antonio,” he said.

A San Antonio resident since the late 1960s, Youngblood spent his early life on the move. His father was in the Air Force, so Youngblood “grew up all over.” By the time he graduated from Churchill High School in San Antonio, he had attended 18 schools. In his teens, Youngblood fell in love with sailing, and learned the sport on Woodlawn Lake. Later, he taught sailing at the Lake Canyon Yacht Club. Youngblood also has taught youth programs in fresh water ecology and astronomy.

Youngblood carries the special distinction of being both an Aggie and a Longhorn. He graduated magna cum laude with a degree in economics from Texas A&M University and earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Texas at Austin.

Mr. Youngblood serves on the boards of directors of: Mission Pharmacal Company (a multi-national pharmaceutical manufacturer); Edwin M. Jones Oil Company (a diversified independent oil & gas producer); and Airport Galleria Land Company (a commercial real estate development company). Mr. Youngblood has current and past service on a variety of civic, non-profit, and charitable boards, including the San Antonio Ethics Review Board (Vice-Chair), San Antonio Planning Commission Technical Advisory Committee, San Antonio Water System Citizen’s Advisory Panel (Vice-Chair), San Antonio Water System Rate Structure Committee, San Antonio Water Policy Group, San Antonio City Council Redistricting Commission, Northside Neighborhoods for Organized Development (NNOD) (Past President), Northside ISD Bond Committee, and the Down Syndrome Association. He has taught youth programs in Astronomy, Freshwater Ecology, and Sailing.

Ron Ellis

Term Expires December 2022

A retired Air Force Colonel and former district director for a global aerospace and defense technology company, Ron Ellis has a long history of service and an extensive background in administration, long range planning and finance management.

He was appointed to fill an unexpired term on the EAA board in 2007. Ellis was elected to the post in 2008 and re-elected in 2010 and 2014. His current term expires in 2022. As board treasurer and chairman of the Finance/Administrative Committee Ellis enjoys crunching numbers.

“I find it very interesting and I’ll stay on as long as this old body keeps me going,” he said.

The son of a motorcycle policeman and a homemaker, Ellis grew up in Baltimore. After graduating from the University of Maryland, he joined the Air Force. Ellis served 29 years before retiring in 1988. He then worked for the Northrup Grumman Corporation for eleven years.

He received numerous commendations, including the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit and the Distinguished Flying Cross, to name a few. He also is a member of the Air Force Association, Ducks Unlimited, and is a National Officer in the Order of Daedalian.

In addition to a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland, Ellis has a master’s degree from George Washington University.

Enrique Valdivia

Term Expires December 2022

A practicing attorney, Enrique Valdivia has a long track record of environmental activism surrounding water issues.

First elected to the EAA board in 2006, he was a founding member of San Antonio non-profits Aquifer Guardians in Urban Areas and the Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance. He was also involved in a grassroots effort to block a proposed PGA Village development and has led other challenges to development over the aquifer.

A Midwest native, Valdivia grew up playing soccer in Madison, Wisconsin. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy from Carleton College in 1980. He went on to earn a juris doctorate degree from the University of Wisconsin. Shortly after graduating, Valdivia moved to Texas to work in immigration law for a non-profit based in Harlingen. He began working for Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid in 1985.

“My practice over the years took on more and more environmental cases,” Valdivia said. “It was something that I started seeing more of a need for, so I pursued that and built it up to where it’s mainly what I do now at Legal Aid.”

He has lived in San Antonio since the mid-1990s. He serves on the boards of the Sierra Club Alamo Group and Texas Fund for Economic & Environmental Education. Re-elected to the EAA board in 2010 and 2014, his current term expires in 2022.