Keynote Speaker

Judge Ronnie McDonald

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Ronnie McDonald served as Bastrop County Judge from 1998-2012 during a time in which the population of the county doubled. He was elected at age 27, becoming one of the youngest to ever serve as a County Judge in the State of Texas and the first African American to be elected county wide in Bastrop County. He oversaw a $31 million county budget and managed emergencies of flood and fire, including the largest fire in Texas history working across party lines to save lives and promote recovery. Prior to being elected, Judge McDonald served in the state comptroller’s office as Assistant Executive Director for Family Pathfinders. After retiring from the judgeship, he was government relations and education liaison for the firm McCreary, Veselka, Bragg and Allen in Round Rock.


Most recently, McDonald served as Executive Director for Strategic Partnerships and Community Relations at Texas A & M University, working with the directors of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and the Texas A&M Forest Service to provide direction on strategic priorities and focus. He served as the primary contact point for other partners by providing updates on a variety of joint interests such as natural disasters, providing AgriLife agency support to rural communities and grant/partnership opportunities. Currently, Ronnie serves as a lead pastor at BOLD Church in Bastrop, Texas, and partner at Ruach Group Communications where he travels the nation training religious community leaders and helping communities map and manage assets for strong economies and strategic growth. Ronnie graduated from Texas A&M in 1993 with a bachelor’s in political science and business. He has been married to his wife, Ty Mills McDonald, for over 23 years and the couple has three children.