Few people are looking forward to Lake Ralph Hall’s completion more than Ed Motley. After all, he has been working on it for 22 years.
“My work on the project goes back to the beginning,” Motley shared. “Right before 2000, I was working for Upper Trinity Regional Water District (UTRWD) as a consultant, helping them plan for future water supply. One day, a fellow water resources consultant invited me to meet with representatives from the City of Ladonia including Leon Hurse, the Mayor of Ladonia at the time, and Bob Bledsoe. They wanted to build a lake near their town, primarily for economic development purposes. Their idea fit well with UTRWD’s need, so I brought that idea back for consideration, and we did a couple studies to find a lake configuration that worked best. UTRWD and Ladonia have been partnering ever since on Lake Ralph Hall.”
While he has worn many different hats over nearly three decades of working with and for UTRWD, Motley’s current role is Lake Ralph Hall Program Manager. At first, this meant that he led the charge to get the lake permitted and helped choose and write the contracts for each project component. Now, his job includes supervising the contractors as they design and build the project to make sure everything is finished as intended.
“There are hundreds of little pieces that all have to get done, and I lead a team of staff and contractors to make sure that none of those pieces get missed,” said Motley.
Attention to detail is critical. “Everything to me is important, from the smallest detail. Without all the pieces, it doesn’t work,” Motley pointed out. “That to me is rewarding. The lug nuts are as important as the engine.”
Current “lug nuts” include specifics for designing the pipeline to carry water from the lake, and the lake’s headquarters and other facilities. Planning also continues for clearing the dam area, building roads and bridges and putting in boat ramps for public lake access.
Patience and persistence have been qualities that Motley and his team have had plenty of time to practice on a project already two+ decades in the making. “There will be some great days with good news and others with less good news, and on those you have to pick yourself up and move forward,” he shared. “What is rewarding is that a lot of these pieces we’ve talked about for 20 years are coming together now.”
Over the years, Motley has collaborated extensively with federal, state and consultant agencies. “We met regularly to develop a plan that met federal and state regulations while fulfilling UTRWD’s needs for a reliable water supply and Ladonia’s desire for a Lake,” Motley said. There was a lot of give and take, but in the end, they came together on solutions that met everybody’s needs.
“It’s a critical water supply for the people of Denton County and Collin Counties,” Motley explained. “It also fulfills the vision of Leon Hurse and former Congressman Ralph Hall; It will be a big economic boost for the whole area. I’d like to see it not just be another lake, but one that has its own unique atmosphere. It needs to bring people who want to relax and enjoy the water and the scenery.”
For now, the work continues to make Lake Ralph Hall all that it can be.
“It’s particularly rewarding to see something that you’ve invested 20 years of your life coming together,” said Motley. “And it will be even more so when it starts filling with water.”