News from the Bush School

Bush School Grad Bobby Janecka Appointed as New TCEQ Commissioner

October 25, 2019

Bobby Janecka

Bobby Janecka

Governor Greg Abbott has appointed Bobby Janecka, Class of 2009, to fill the third and final commissioner seat for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). Janecka joins Chairman Jon Niermann and Commissioner Emily Lindley as the appointed leaders of the TCEQ. Prior to this appointment, Janecka served as a policy advisor to Governor Abbott since 2018.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is the environmental agency for the state and employs some 2,800 employees located in the central office in Austin as well as in sixteen regional offices around Texas.

Janecka received a bachelor of arts in historical studies and literary studies from the University of Texas at Dallas and a master’s degree in international affairs from Texas A&M University’s Bush School of Government and Public Service. He credits his Bush School education and experience for his success in state government.

“The excellent faculty and academic environment were certainly important,” Janecka said, also citing the friendships made at the School, the good working relationships, and the continuing connections with fellow students and faculty.  The fact that he married a fellow Bush School student, and met his friend, mentor—and now TCEQ Executive Director, Toby Baker, Class of 2003, were significant events that occurred later but as a direct result of his two years at the School. Baker served as a member of the Commission for six years prior to being named executive director.

Janecka’s career in Austin demonstrates what he calls the “marooning” of state government, with more and more Bush School graduates working for legislators and policy institutions as well as state agencies. “There is a lot of informal networking among Bush School grads with so many of us now working in Austin,” Janecka said.

With his extensive knowledge of nuclear waste policy, Janecka currently serves as Texas’ representative with the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Prior to joining the governor’s office, Janecka had worked for the TCEQ for more than five years, most recently as a section manager in the agency’s Radioactive Materials Division. He has also previously served as legislative aide for two state representatives and was a legislative analyst at the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.

Bush School faculty have had a significant impact on Janecka’s career. When he was applying for a position on Governor Abbot’s staff, the interview included making a presentation on a key policy recommendation. “I reached out to Dr. Joanna Lahey, who was tremendously helpful, offering valuable advice on literature to be reviewed, and I’m sure her input was one reason I got the job,” he said. He also credits Sally Dee Wade for teaching him communications skills and says he was influenced by professors Jasen Castillo, Larry Napper, and Jim Olson. “I still keep in touch with Bush School professors and look to them for guidance and advice,” Janecka said.

Dean Mark Welsh noted that having two Bush School graduates in key policy positions speaks well for the School and their own commitment to public service. “We are always pleased to see our graduates developing and implementing policy that affects our state and nation. We congratulate Bobby on his success and wish him well in this key position,” said Welsh.

“I am very excited to return to the TCEQ as one of its commissioners,” Janecka said. “I am honored to have been selected by Governor Abbott for this role, and I look forward to serving the great people of Texas.”