Public Sector/Education CFO: Adam Motherwell, Beaver Water District

Public Sector/Education CFO: Adam Motherwell, Beaver Water District
Adam Motherwell, CFO / Beaver Water District / Lowell

Neither life on the road nor life in the big city appealed to Adam Motherwell.

After graduating from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville in 1978, Motherwell worked as a corporate auditor for Prudential Insurance in Houston and the Southland Corp. in Dallas. One weekend, he drove to Fayetteville to watch a football game and he knew he needed to come back home.

“I was traveling 100% of the time, which was fun for a while,” said Motherwell, 66. “We would go out for three-week audits, come in and do our expense report and go back out. My preference is having time and space, and northwest Arkansas was perfect for that.”

Motherwell, a graduate of Berryville High School, returned to Arkansas in 1989 to work for the state Legislative Audit. That led to a job as internal auditor at his alma mater in 1992 and he later became the CFO of the university’s Fulbright College of Arts & Sciences. 

In 2014 he accepted the job of CFO of the Beaver Water District, which provides water to more than 350,000 customers.

“I thought I would retire at the university, which I did technically, but I went on to this last rodeo at the Beaver Water District,” Motherwell said. “I tell people that higher ed is the top of the pyramid, and water is at the base. You don’t get any more basic than water.”

Motherwell said his responsibilities are managing the district’s debt and reserves while setting rates for the four cities that are its main customers: Fayetteville, Springdale, Rogers and Bentonville. The Beaver Water District has a planned $110 million expansion project that is scheduled to be completed by 2026.

“The mission is very important,” Motherwell said. “Northwest Arkansas is growing so quickly that all of our capital projects are being moved closer in time frame. We have a western expansion project that is in the design phase.”

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