Edward R. Wallace - President
Mr. Wallace currently serves as President and CEO of Undine LLC, a company he founded to consolidate water and wastewater systems in the United States. Until its sale in March of 2015, Mr. Wallace served as President and CEO of Ni America, the utility company he founded and directed the day-to-day operations of eight companies in Texas, South Carolina, and Florida. Mr. Wallace was responsible for the company’s growth, from a startup venture with no assets, to a successful utility company with almost 45,000 customers. During that time, Mr. Wallace demonstrated outstanding capabilities for utility acquisitions and profit management and developed a positive reputation with regulators, based upon bringing problem utilities into regulatory compliance at reasonable costs to customers.
In 1996, he founded AquaSource, and led a team of individuals responsible for completing over 130 transactions in just over two years for clients involved in the water/wastewater industry and the propane gas industry. Through his leadership, the business grew from 16 employees with no revenue to over 1,100 employees and almost $200 million in revenue.
From 1991 until 1995, Mr. Wallace was an investment banker structuring transactions for both private and public companies in the leasing and utility industries. During those years, Mr. Wallace was either a partner of or employed as a Director by CS First Boston.
Mr. Wallace had an eight-year career with Cooper & Lybrand where he became a Partner. He also served two years at the Financial Accounting Standards Board working on projects in the leasing and utility industry. Mr. Wallace graduated, cum laude, from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting and has been the principal speaker for numerous accounting related presentations.
Carey A. Thomas – Sr. VP Acquisition Integration
Mrs. Thomas currently serves as Sr. Vice President for Undine. She previously served as Sr. Vice President of Human Resources and Administration for Ni America. Mrs. Thomas was responsible for the day-to-day management of administrative and personnel related functions, such as benefits and payroll, as well as all the Corporate and Subsidiaries Business Insurance, as well as Corporate Governance. Mrs. Thomas also worked on special projects, she lead the implementation of a new billing system, new billing and call center and oversaw the Management of the billing process for more than 40,000 Customers. She also played a key role in the acquisition process; from the due diligence phase to producing, directing and organizing the definitive documents process, while working with in-house attorneys, which included refinancing with Bank of America, the Senior Lending facility. Mrs. Thomas was the Vice President of Administration for AquaSource, and one of 16 original investors in this start-up water and wastewater company. Mrs. Thomas was directly responsible for Administration, Human Resources, Facilities, IT, and Public Relations. She led a team of individuals that integrated over 1,300 employees from the more than 130 acquisitions in less than three years, while responsible for designing, building and furnishing a new 68,000 square foot office building to consolidate offices and gain economies of scale. Prior to beginning AquaSource in 1996, Mrs. Thomas was a Partner with Ed Wallace in Florin Financial Services; a privately owned investment banking firm specializing in tax enhanced financing structures. Mrs. Thomas attended Houston Community College and The University of South Alabama. Mrs. Thomas is currently continuing her major in Business and Human Resource Leadership. Mrs. Thomas is active in the local chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and has participated in the annual bike race from Houston to Austin to raise money and awareness for MS. She enjoys biking, traveling, snow skiing, and is taking pleasure in raising her six year old daughter.
Andy Thomas – Sr. VP Capital Projects
Mr. Thomas is currently Sr. Vice President of Operations and Capital Improvements for Undine. He served as the Sr. Vice President of Operations and Capital Improvements for Ni America where he was responsible for the Management of the Contract Operations and Capital Improvements overseeing all eight of Ni America’s water and wastewater utilities. He is involved in the acquisition process and oversees the operations due diligence, and at times works closely with third parties, such as Engineering and Environmental Firms. Being cost conscious, Mr. Thomas prides himself in coordinating regulatory parties and corresponding requirements within the budgetary constraints of each project.
Mr. Thomas previously owned Bengal Supply, a sheet metal supply company serving the Greater Houston area. He started Bengal Supply in 2006 with a Gross Annual Revenue of $70K and sold the business in 2009 with at Gross Annual Revenue of $4M. Prior to 2002, as one of the 16 original investors, Mr. Thomas was Vice President of Capital Projects and Due Diligence for AquaSource, a start-up water and wastewater company that acquired approximately 130 companies in less than three years. At AquaSource he was responsible for initial operations due diligence, assessing capital needs, and managing improvements for over 3,000 water and wastewater utility systems, with an annual capital budget of $40 million. Before joining AquaSource, Mr. Thomas was the Assistant Plant Manager for Philips Services Corp Angleton, Texas rail car cleaning and water treatment facility. Mr. Thomas attended Houston Community College and obtained an Associate’s degree in Fire Protection Technology, working in conjunction with the Texas A&M Fire School. Mr. Thomas is currently majoring in Construction Engineering. Mr. Thomas is the Division Chairman for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, a non-profit organization benefiting youth and supporting education, which has granted $330M in scholarships since it began. Mr. Thomas is a member of the American Water Works Association, Texas Rural Water Association, Florida Rural Water Association and the South Carolina Rural Water Association.
Charles E. Leibold, CPA - Chief Accounting Officer
Mr. Leibold currently serves as the Chief Accounting Officer for Undine. Prior to joining Undine, Mr. Leibold was a Consultant for Ni America in the accounting group. Previously to joining Ni America, Mr. Leibold served as Managing Director for Sperco LLC from 2010-2014 where he directed the consulting in telecommunications and information technology services. Since the Company’s inception, he lead the planning and development of the finance function, legal and human resource matters and established financial and administrative objectives, internal controls, policies, programs and practices, as well as responsible for all financial and tax reporting. From 2006-2014 he was with Bluegate Corporation where he was Chief Financial Officer appointed to treasurer and secretary. He lead the strategic planning and development of the finance function, legal and human resource matters and established company-wide financial and administrative objectives, internal controls, policies, programs and practices and served as a member of the Board of Directors. Before joining Bluegate, Mr. Leibold served as Director for Acquisition Partners, Inc.; he was responsible for managing transitional and due diligence matters relating to acquisitions. In 1998, Mr. Leibold joined AquaSource, Inc.’s M&A division. Prior to that, he managed his own consulting firm specializing in matters relating to reorganization, accounting, finance, M&A, divestitures, and income taxes. Mr. Leibold joined Aim Group, Inc. as a Vice President of Finance and Treasurer following a ten-year career with Deloitte, Haskins and Sells. At AIM, Mr. Leibold was responsible for the long-range financial matters and the establishment of company-wide financial objectives. Mr. Leibold graduated from Pace University with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting, and recently served on the Board of Directors of a Catholic High School.
Mike Ashfield - Sr. VP Acquisitions
Mr. Ashfield currently serves as Sr. VP Acquisitions for Undine LLC, a company formed to acquire and operate water and wastewater investor-owned utilities. Mr. Ashfield is responsible for seller/buyer transaction coordination inclusive of deal negotiation, due diligence, administration of the definitive documents from due diligence through closing, and filing of the necessary regulatory applications. Additionally, he facilitates administration of various third party contractual matters and other company related needs.
Undine represents the third water and wastewater utility company Mr. Ashfield has helped build through an M&A program; the first was AquaSource, through the M&A arm of Acquisition Partner’s Inc., from 1998 to 2001; the second was through Ni America from 2007 through 2015.
Mr. Ashfield’s career commenced in June 1989 with Coopers & Lybrand in Houston, where he earned his CPA, and reached Senior Manager prior to leaving in December 1997. In between API and Ni America, Mr. Ashfield provided consulting and accounting services, inclusive of serving as CFO to Neutral Posture, an ergonomic chair manufacturer in Bryan, Texas.
Mr. Ashfield resides in College Station and has served in various capacities within the community; such as Finance Chair for the Brazos Valley Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Chairman on the City’s Planning and Zoning Commission, and various roles and positions at his church. Mr. Ashfield graduated from Texas A&M University (class of ’88) with a BBA in Accounting and Marketing. He is married to Carol Barrett, helped her raise four children, and is fortunate to now have a daughter-in-law and son-in-law along with one grandbaby girl.
Rick Melcher - Manager of Public Relations
Rick Melcher served as Manager of Public Relations for Ni America since 2007. He was responsible for communications between the company and its various stakeholders, including customers, utility regulators, legislators and the media. As company spokesperson, he dealt with issues involving rate cases, utility acquisitions, Company presentations, crisis management and on-going customer education relating to utility matters. Mr. Melcher previously served in a similar capacity as Public Relations Manager and spokesperson for AquaSource Utilities from 1997 to 2001, when the utility grew to approximately 400,000 customers across 17 states.
Before working at AquaSource, Melcher was employed at Southwestern Bell Telephone as a Business Office Supervisor where he was responsible for sales, service and customer service training. He is a graduate of Texas A&M University, with a BBA in Finance and Marketing.
Jeffrey O. Goebel - Manager of Business Development
Mr. Goebel serves as the Manager of Business Development for Undine and is responsible for the identification of existing water and wastewater systems and new developments that may be potential acquisitions. In addition to his initial due diligence on those systems identified, he handles all of the submittals of TPDES permits, CCNs and STMs to the TCEQ and PUC regulatory entities. Prior to joining Undine, Mr. Goebel was the Manager of Business Development for Quadvest LP, a privately owned water and sewer utility company located in Magnolia, Texas. At Quadvest, Mr. Goebel performed similar duties sited above at Undine, as well as, handled all developer relations and managed the Construction and Engineering on all new developments. Previously, Mr. Goebel was the Project Manager for AquaSource and was responsible for, among other duties, new developer relations and the compliance with environmental regulations and permits for all operations in Texas.
Mr. Goebel is a board member of Harris County MUD #415 and former Vice President of Independent Water and Sewer Companies of Texas.