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Black Water

Our Team


Jose Ortega


With over 10 years of academic and professional experience, Jose Ortega is certified in Finance & Entrepreneurship by Harvard Business School (HBX) and has pioneered groundbreaking projects in the oil and gas industry all over the world.

Mr. Ortega cut his teeth working for Schlumberger in Argentina. Since then he has worked across three different countries consulting and innovating in the well completions space. After playing an integral role in several projects overseas, he returned home to West Texas to spearhead unconventional exploration projects with ConocoPhillips. Mr. Ortega oversaw many of their operations working as a Completions Consultant and Engineer. During this time he also served as Chief Operating Officer for Midland Basin Partners. Along with his expertise comes a heart for children’s education. Mr. Ortega volunteers at local schools in West Texas, advocating independence and higher education for underprivileged children.

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Stephen Cortes, JD


After a career in government affairs, Stephen Cortes, J.D., has spent the last 10 years dedicated to finding new and innovative ways to help push water forward in Texas.


He has developed broad relationships with public works directors, city managers, water planning groups, water authorities, and engineering firms throughout the state.


Together with longtime Fmr. State Senator and Senate Natural Resources Chairman Kip Averitt, Cortes co-founded Goldwater, a water data analytics technology company with a focus on conservation. Goldwater's software-as-a-service platform for state water agencies and wholesale water providers syncs consumption, conservation activity savings, reporting, planning, and communication with an unlimited number of constituent water utilities to achieve stakeholder buy-in and implement conservation activities that reduce demand.


Previously at Averitt & Associates, Cortes's team completed the first-of-its-kind Statewide Water Conservation Quantification Project for the Texas Water Development Board.


Averitt & Associates team members developed methodologies and estimated savings for state-specific conservation activities, measured and quantified more than 545 individual conservation activities, and produced 170 individual utility reports, 15 regional water planning group reports, and a comprehensive statewide report.

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John Michael Barron, II


John Michael is a seasoned engineering consultant and entrepreneur who uses his industrial expertise, business acumen, and diverse background to spearhead head EMOD’s business development efforts. He received his Bachelor of Science from the University of Texas at Austin in 2010 and launched into the field of Petroleum & Geosystem Engineering. During the next several years he accrued a robust professional portfolio and developed cross functional skillsets while contributing at Weatherford International and ConocoPhillips as an engineer and ultimately project supervisor. Some notable contributions include process optimization, budget slashing, design and technology innovation and vendor evaluation. These experiences set the foundation for his entrepreneurial dealings at Maestro Provisions, LLC where he has contributed as a consultant in energy and water management as well a project superintendent for multiple Permian Basin operators, one of which received a valuation of $950MM. Additionally, he has a vested interest the artistic, cultural, and fashion industry, as a Founder and Seed Investor of Seventh Studios Co.  which provides an innovative compliment to his technical skillset. 


Juan Rivero


Industrial Engineer from the Universidad Iberoamericana with 10 years of experience in water and waste management. He owned and operated a large waste facility for 5 years, founder of Ibyma, and has participated in water-saving projects with F&B, Metal Mechanics, Automotive, Solvents and Paints, Shopping Centers, Oil, companies


Pablo Rión 


Mechatronics Engineer from ITESM and MBA from Duke University in the United States. Worked for GE for 7 years as a power generation technology specialist and as a renewable energy project developer. He has experience with Venture Capital funding.

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