Tarrant Regional Water District,Trinity River Vision Authority
Sandy Newby wears two hats, as chief financial officer of the Tarrant Regional Water District and the Trinity River Vision Authority, but that’s just the beginning.
Since joining the water district 21 years ago, Newby has overseen budgeting, purchasing and financial reporting for the North Texas raw water supplier. As those duties expanded to include Trinity River Vision budget oversight, so did her creative vision.
“You have to be able to understand how to send money into different funds and help everyone achieve their project goals,” Newby said.
The longtime financial planner honed those skills on the job. She attained such acumen while serving as auditor for Arthur Andersen LLP in Houston before going to work as accounts manager for Old American Stores in Denison and eventually joining the Tarrant Regional Water District.
Though spreadsheets and budgeting are integral to both private and public organizations, Newby said other characteristics provide sharp contrasts.
“I think it’s having the community in mind in what you’re bringing as opposed to just the bottom line and having that as your focus,” Newby said.
As CFO, Newby oversees an organization that saw a 57.3 percent increase in assets between fiscal years 2009 and 2012, rising from $1 billion to $1.6 billion. The number of district employees rose 33 percent in that time, from 191 to 254. But monitoring the payroll and overall budgetary factors was just the beginning.
Newby also plays a key role in planning the Integrated Pipeline Project between the district and the city of Dallas. When complete, the $2 billion raw water delivery system will serve much of North Texas. For the project, Newby oversees the issuance of $150 million in bonds for the district and $132 million in bonds on behalf of Dallas Water Utilities.
Newby said her greatest challenge is juggling aspects of the pipeline project and Trinity River Vision, which is developing riverfront acreage north of downtown Fort Worth for flood control, infrastructure upgrades, economic development opportunities and recreational development, including access to trails and riverfront.
“Everyone has different timelines. I would say the coordination of the different governments trying to work together to make these projects happen” is a top challenge, Newby said.
Handling several tasks comes naturally for a woman steeped in numbers at an early age.
“I always liked numbers,” said Newby, whose father was an accountant who moved his family frequently.
Despite a demanding schedule, Newby said she gains satisfaction from a job integral to Fort Worth.
“It’s making a different in this community. These projects are going to make a big difference. The Trinity River Vision is going to remake the city of Fort Worth, I think,” Newby said.
Newby, 49, and her husband, Brian, an attorney, live in Fort Worth and have two grown children: Jake Swinnea, 23, and Samantha, 21, both students at Texas A&M University.
What is the best piece of financial advice you’ve ever received?If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
What books/publications do you read to stay ahead in your industry?I read The Bond Buyerand get a lot of emails and information from my broker.
Who would you say is your hero/someone you look up to, and why?I don’t have any.