Opening Session

James D. Couch was appointed City Manager of the City of Oklahoma City on Nov. 9, 2000. In the position he serves as the Chief Administrative Officer of the City responsible for the management and day-to-day operation of City government. Oklahoma City is a full-service City with nearly 4,600 employees and a total budget of $1.1 billion.

Mr. Couch serves on the following City-related boards and agencies: Oklahoma City Airport Trust, Oklahoma City Water Utilities Trust, Oklahoma City Zoological Trust and the Central Oklahoma Transportation and Parking Authority. Also, Mr. Couch serves as General Manager of the Oklahoma City Metropolitan Area Schools Trust, which oversees a half-billion dollar construction program, and as General Manager of the Oklahoma City Riverfront Redevelopment Authority and Oklahoma City Economic Development Trust.

Mr. Couch serves on the Downtown Oklahoma City (DOKC) Board of Directors, Allied Arts, Oklahoma Fair Board, the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and is an ex officio member of the Oklahoma Health Center Foundation. In 2007, he was elected to the Oklahoma Hall of Fame for City and Town Officials. He currently serves as president of the Oklahoma Municipal League.

Mr. Couch led efforts to ensure Oklahoma City’s long-term access to dependable water sources by securing rights to Canton Lake and Sardis Lake. He also negotiated two agreements with NBA franchises, the temporary relocation of the New Orleans Hornets and permanent relocation of the Thunder, to put Oklahoma City on the international sports stage.

Before his appointment as City Manager, Mr. Couch served as Assistant City Manager/MAPS Director for 2 ½ years and Water/Wastewater Utilities Director for 11 years. In those capacities he served as the General Manager of both the Oklahoma City Water Utilities Trust and the McGee Creek Authority and was responsible for the Water/Wastewater Utilities budget of $100 million annually, as well as the $390 million Metropolitan Area Projects capital construction program.

Previously, Mr. Couch held positions as the Assistant City Manager for the City of Edmond, Oklahoma; Public Works Director for the City of Casper, Wy.; and, Office Director for Buell, Winter, Mousel and Associates, Consulting Engineers – Omaha, Neb.; Sioux City, Iowa; and Casper, Wy. He received a Bachelor of Science – Civil Engineering from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and is a Licensed Professional Engineer in the state of Oklahoma. He received an honorary doctorate in Public Administration from Oklahoma City University in 2016. He and his wife, Cathy, are the parents of two adult sons, Jacob and Joey.

Ray Baral is the Assistant Manager of Water Treatment at the Metropolitan District Commission, in Hartford, CT where he has been employed since 2002. Ray has been an active member of the Connecticut Section of AWWA (CTAWWA) since joining in 1994.

Ray has served in a variety of capacities on the local level. From 2008-2014, Ray served on the CTAWWA Board of Directors, (Chair 2012-2013). He is a past Education Co-Chair, and a member of the Education/Program, ATCAVE and WTP Operations & Maintenance Committees. As a leader within the water industry, Ray has been a driving force in the development of the Water Quality and Treatment Symposium.

Ray received the Operator’s Meritorious Service Award in 2000 and the Connecticut Department of Public Health Educator of the Year Award in 2015. He holds a BA in Public Administration from Southern New Hampshire University and an Associates in Science degree from Charter Oak State College.