About Us

Lara Cottingham

With 12 years of communications and public policy experience, Lara is the Deputy Assistant Director for ARA, specializing in Sustainability and Strategic Customer Initiatives. In addition to leading our Sustainability team, Lara is the public face of ARA in the media as well as before City Council, industry stakeholders, and customers.

Prior to joining the City of Houston, Lara was a member of Hill+Knowlton Strategies’ Houston office, providing strategic counsel in sustainability and social responsibility issues for a broad range of clients across the energy sector. Lara worked in Washington, DC and served as Communications Director for the Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, Vice Chairman of the House Transportation Committee, and Vice Chairman of the Sustainable Energy and Environment Caucus, as well as for congressional campaigns in Colorado, West Virginia, and Texas. She also produced a web-based reality show for CNN and served as a Government & Marketing Consultant for SXSW Interactive in Austin.

Lara attended the University of Texas in Austin where she graduated magna cum laude with degrees in History, Ancient History & Classical Civilizations, and Government. In 2013, she earned an MBA in Energy Finance and Public Affairs from the University of Texas at Austin’s McCombs School of Business, where she co-founded the UT Energy Savings Fund.

Larissa Williams

Larissa WilliamsPrior to joining ARA, Larissa worked for the Mississippi State government for four years overseeing staff and programs related to energy management, providing technical and financial assistance to business and governmental entities. She also worked at Atmos Energy for twelve years in the areas of sales, marketing and business development.

In her role as Energy Manager, Larissa is responsible for oversight the municipal energy benchmarking portfolio as well as our annual greenhouse gas reporting and community-wide emissions inventory.

Larissa is a native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She attended Southern University and A&M College, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, and Belhaven University, where she earned a Master of Business Administration.