By Tom Kleckner
Tom Foreman, executive director of the Gulf Coast Power Association, announced his retirement from the organization Friday, effective in December.
Just the third executive director in GCPA’s 35 years, Foreman has helped guide the organization as it has expanded its regional presence and developed a program geared toward women. The organization has added events in recent years in Louisiana, Arkansas and Mexico, and held its fourth emPOWERing Women’s leadership conference in January.
“With six grandkids scattered across the U.S., it is time to prioritize life,” Foreman told RTO Insider. “I need the time to enjoy them, and they me, while we can. Definitely a hard decision, but I know it is the right one.”
In announcing a series of breakfast seminars in Mexico City, Foreman pointed out last year that the organization is focused on the Gulf Coast.
“The last I checked,” Foreman said, “Mexico is on the Gulf too.”
Robert Downing, a Greenberg Traurig attorney deeply involved in the Mexican market, cited GCPA’s seminars and conferences south of the border as having “encouraged the exchange of knowledge and business contacts between Mexico and Texas.”
“Tom took the initiative to establish strong relationships with power industry professionals involved in Mexico’s historic energy reform,” he said. “These efforts formed the basis for continuing dialogue between industry experts from both the U.S. and Mexico.”
Foreman has been active in the GCPA since its founding in 1983. He joined the organization’s board of directors in 1996, becoming president in 2011 and then being named the executive director in 2013.
“The GCPA board and Advisory Board are deeply grateful to Tom for his exceptional leadership and management, demonstrated by the organization’s accomplishments during his tenure,” Clark Hill Strasburger’s Mark Walker, board president, wrote in an email to the membership.
Katie Coleman, a partner with Thompson & Knight and the board’s treasurer, said Foreman’s announcement was not “entirely unexpected.” Upon taking the leadership position, he told the board he planned to work for five to seven years.
“Tom is going to be hard to replace,” Coleman said. “As a former board member, he has been key in maintaining institutional knowledge. His skill in keeping everyone organized and on schedule has been important to GCPA’s growth.”
The organization has added 13 corporate members during Foreman’s tenure, increasing that number to 132. GCPA claims more than 300 individual members.
“He embodies the core principles of GCPA with his passion to promote healthy and sustainable competitive markets by providing GCPA members with top quality programs, events and business development opportunities,” Walker said. “He has also built a solid professional team at GCPA that shares his enthusiasm and is key to its many successes.”
Walker credited Foreman for the GCPA’s recent growth, citing a doubling of annual scholarships provided to college and trade school students seeking careers in the industry and the development of the GCPA emPOWERing Foundation, which supports women, students, young professionals and leaders in the industry.
Foreman has helped organize and host as many as six major annual conferences and dozens of smaller events that provide education and network opportunities to 4,200 attendees each year, Walker said.
A Houston native, Foreman holds a master’s in engineering and a bachelor’s in electrical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. He has worked for Gulf States Utilities, the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) and as a consultant to rural electric cooperatives and municipalities. He retired from LCRA in 2012.