Dr. Bridget Guerrero
Associate Professor of Agricultural Business and Economics
West Texas A&M University
We welcome our 2022-2023 President, Dr. Bridget Guerrero, Associate Professor of Agricultural Business and Economics at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, TX. She received a Bachelor of Science in Agribusiness in 2002 and a Master of Business Administration in 2003 from West Texas A&M University. She earned her doctoral degree in Agricultural and Applied Economics from Texas Tech University in 2010. Bridget’s research interests include socioeconomic modeling, water policy, production agriculture, and renewable energy. She has worked extensively with the Ogallala Aquifer Program to develop a series of Extension publications to help communicate the regional economic contribution of different agricultural-related sectors as well as their water use. She has also incorporated her research into the classroom to help the next generation think about water use in the agricultural production process. As well as her involvement in Universities Council on Water Resources, Dr. Guerrero is a member of the Southern Agricultural Economics Association, Western Agricultural Economics Association, North American Regional Science Council, and Mid-Continent Regional Science Association.
As a graduate student, Bridget was introduced to the UCOWR community early. “My first exposure to UCOWR was before I was even in research,” she says. “I was in an MBA program and worked for Texas A&M AgriLife. I helped my boss, Dr. Steve Amosson, prepare a presentation he was bringing to the conference that year… both my mentors, Drs. Steve Amosson and Jeff Johnson, were very involved [in UCOWR], and loved going to the meetings.” Bridget’s own first conference attendance was in Seattle in 2010, as a fresh Ph.D. graduate. She has continued attending conferences regularly ever since, most years bringing her family along to enjoy some vacation time. What keeps drawing her back? “The people and the topics. Going back is like a mini reunion, seeing what people are doing now. And it is very family friendly.”
She values the unique role UCOWR plays among professional organizations. Bridget explains, “UCOWR is special, it helps professionals to hear from other people having different problems, but related to the same big topic, water. We can get siloed…the problems of drought and application in agriculture are the biggest problems for me. But you go to a [UCOWR] conference and you can learn about chemistry, how they use reverse osmosis, and the different technologies that people are employing to clean water. The breadth of information you get related to water is huge… UCOWR presenters can relate to pretty much anybody, and the research tends to be applied, which I like. I don’t know of any organization that provides that [breadth], especially around such an important topic as water…There are so many things people can learn by attending. And it’s fun!”
Dr. Guerrero deeply appreciates the opportunity to serve as UCOWR President and has formulated two goals she wants to focus on during her term. First, she says, “I want to help engage delegates more. I recognize there are probably delegates across the U.S. who don’t know what UCOWR is, or how they can contribute.” While recognizing the complexity of this ongoing challenge, she says, “I feel confident that working together with the Board and membership we can get there.”
The second goal Bridget has in mind involves digital resources for members. “The organization does really well with webinars, especially with Covid [examples include the ongoing Virtual Roundtable discussions held throughout 2020-2021]. It’s been a nice feature to have, that online sharing of knowledge. But it would be great to get some of that knowledge back to university students and others who may not be able to attend a conference.” She envisions developing a kind of curriculum library of short videos from experienced UCOWR researchers, extension specialists and others, sharing highlights of their work. “We have the ability to share more with the technology we have available…and it could be a good incentive for delegates – material to access for their courses. They could grab a video from the UCOWR archive to share with their class.”
When reflecting on how UCOWR can help address water resources challenges faced across the U.S. and the world, Bridget emphasizes the exchange of knowledge across regions and disciplines that the organization promotes. “We are seeing such variable weather, climate is changing. People in different areas are having problems they hadn’t had before, but we can learn better from each other. So, if Kansas is now planting cotton as a crop, we [in Texas] can help them to learn what all the problems associated with cotton are. Or if it’s implementing water policies – the drier it gets, the more we pull down our aquifers, the more water is going to be regulated. Whoever is first to undergo regulation is going to be an example for others to follow,” Bridget remarks. “UCOWR is a place we can share information and get exposure to different challenges across the nation that we may be facing later on.” She adds, “I am so glad and honored to serve as President! I’m excited about where this year will take us.” Dr. Guerrero’s energy and dedication have been a valuable addition to the UCOWR community and the Board of Directors, and we are looking forward to her leadership over the coming year!