This is part 4 of 5 articles highlighting women who work at the
Brazos River Authority as we celebrate Women’s History Month.
Since 1987, the United States has recognized March as “Women’s History Month,” which has become a time to honor and celebrate women’s achievements, struggles and contributions to history, culture and society. With everything that has occurred in the past year, it’s helpful to focus on uplifting and empowering stories of those who put in the hard work every day. And Melissa Anthony is one of the many women who are part of the driving workforce that make up the Brazos River Authority.
When she’s not chasing after her children or feeding and taking care of the animals on her family farm, Anthony can be found at her computer, managing the Brazos River Authority’s money and playing an integral part of the organization’s Finance and Administration department. Like tending to her family and farm, serving as the Brazos River Authority’s Cash and Debt Manager requires commitment and consideration.
“A lot of times, my job title can make the position sound simple, but it requires a lot of attention,” Anthony said. “From checking the bank accounts to make sure there is enough cash to cover expenditures to tracking and forecasting revenue and expenditures to determine when and how long to invest. There is a lot to keep track of, especially with all the projects that the BRA has going on.”
Prior to working at the BRA, Anthony gained experience through school and other job positions. She attended St. Edward’s University in Austin on a volleyball scholarship and studied accounting. At first, like many college students, she wasn’t always sure about what she wanted to pursue after she graduated from school.
“When I went to college, I really didn’t know what I wanted to study,” Anthony said. “I knew that I had always been good at math and math-related courses in high school, so I went with accounting since I knew that working with numbers was my strong suit.”
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree from St. Edward’s, Anthony made the trip north to Dallas in 1992 to start her professional career at a company called Refrigerated Transport Inc. She received her certified public accountant license in 1996 and worked her way up from settlement clerk to the controller. Anthony contributes much of her work success to her former boss Jerry Biediger, who encouraged her to seek her CPA license and recommended her for the controller position.
Anthony worked at Refrigerated Transport for 10 years before deciding to move back home to the Waco area, where she was born and raised, to be closer to her friends and family. One day, Anthony was reading the Waco Tribune and saw a job for a grant’s accountant at the Brazos River Authority.
Anthony said that after seeing the job posting in the paper, she remembered her dad had a friend who worked at the BRA and asked him what it was like working at the organization.
“I talked to him to get an idea of what it was like working here,” Anthony said. “He said it was a great place to work, so I applied and got the position.”
Anthony accepted the BRA position in 2002 and worked as a grant/capital accountant for six years. Antony said she was looking to advance her responsibilities within the Finance and Administration department when the former Cash and Investment Manager Bill Trussell decided to retire.
“I had a lot of experience already when I came to the BRA, so I was looking to move up,” Anthony said. “After I had been here long enough to understand how things worked at the BRA, it was the first position that became available that I could see myself transitioning into.”
Trussell and Anthony worked together to make her transition to the new role as seamless as possible. After working as a grant accountant for six years, Anthony became the BRA’s Cash and Debt Manager in 2008 and has served in the position ever since.
For Anthony, an average day at work includes monitoring the bank accounts to ensure that there is enough cash flow, tracking which investments are maturing, finding new investments and managing the BRA debt.
“During my time here, I have learned a lot about how my work ties into the mission of the BRA and how important our efforts are,” Anthony said. “It can be easy to take water for granted, but when you see how much work the BRA puts into protecting this limited resource, it gave me a new perspective.”
After nearly 20 years with the BRA, Anthony said that her favorite part about working here is that her coworkers feel like a second family. Everyone that Anthony works with daily gets along well and complements each other’s talents. If someone needs input or assistance, they are not afraid to ask, and others are willing to step in and extend a helping hand.
“I genuinely enjoy the people I work with,” Anthony said.
As for her own family, Anthony’s parents and sisters have served as her role models. And with all the extra time at home this past year, Anthony got to spend more time with her family at her farm in West, Texas. Their favorite family pastime is playing cards, especially the game Hand and Foot. When Sunday rolls around, Anthony’s mother usually cooks lunch for everyone, and they’ll spend the afternoon playing cards together before the work week starts again.
Anthony also devotes a lot of her free time to taking care of the multitude of animals on her farm. From cows, chickens, geese, dogs, cats, fish, a horse, a duck and even a miniature donkey, keeping things in order at the farm is like a second job. She also takes care of her two children, who are still in school. When she’s not running her farm, she still loves to spend time outdoors with them.
“I just love spending time outside,” Anthony said. “When we have a chance to leave the farm for a little bit, I really enjoy going to new places. But with the farm, I can’t be gone for too long.”