Volume 17, Issue 44 - Friday, November 15, 2019 Optional Link
UTSA building cybersecurity center
Preliminary design of the National Security Collaboration Center
The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) is harnessing the synergy of cybersecurity and high technology with government partnerships into a new National Security Collaboration Center (NSCC).

University officials are seeking private partners to design, build, operate, and maintain the estimated 80,000-square-foot facility at its downtown campus. 

The NSCC will be co-located in its new home with UTSA's School of Data Science, adjacent to a new building for the university's College of Business.

A request for proposals is imminent, university officials said. Construction of the NSCC facility is expected to begin in 2020, with an anticipated opening in 2022.

UTSA's goal is to develop a scalable, modular facility that furthers the center's goal to advance research, education, and workforce development in the areas of cybersecurity, data analytics, and cloud computing. University leaders envision a space where the NSCC can create a collaborative environment that engages government, industry, and academia to focus on issues surrounding cybersecurity.

The NSCC already is operating in a bridge facility on the university's Main Campus with embedded private sector, military, state, and federal partners. More than 30 partners have signed up to co-locate in the new center once it opens.

On November 11, UTSA released the final draft of its master plan that projects an increase in student enrollment from about 32,000 now to an estimated 45,000 in the next decade. The document also calls for the addition of 5.3 million gross square feet of new space to its campuses.

Highlights of the plan include the creation of a signature open space called the Via Verde to be located in the center of its Main Campus. The plan also features plans to establish a Southeastern Gateway mixed-use district for students that facilitates public-private partnerships. UTSA will work to create a campus loop road and to better utilize Park West Campus for athletic and recreation facilities.
METRO moves on $3.5B bond projects
METRO President Carrin Patman
Houston's transit authority, METRO, has begun fulfilling the mandate by voters to improve service and reduce congestion.

The $7.5 billion METRONext plan, which is highlighted by enhanced bus service and faster airport connections, was boosted by a November 5 election authorizing the sale of up to $3.5 billion bonds.

The plan also includes 290 miles of BOOST or enhanced bus service plus accessibility and usability improvements for the disabled and seniors, 21 new or improved suburban Park & Rides and transit centers as well as 110 miles of a Regional Express Network with two-way high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes.

METRO staff will develop a strategy and the board of directors will set priorities. Projects, such as new METRORapid service on the Inner Katy Corridor, will be top priority because funding is already secured. System-wide accessibility improvements to bus stops and sidewalks are underway.
Transit authority, Fort Worth team to develop 3 options for new master plan
TEXRail train
Trinity Metro and the city of Fort Worth have developed three transit scenarios as part of their new Transit Moves Fort Worth 20-year transit master plan.

All three scenarios feature expansion of commuter-rail service.

Incremental improvements shape the first scenario that calls for more frequent trips on the Trinity Railway Express and TEXRail commuter lines as well as an extension of the TEXRail south line one more stop.

The second option would require more funding to increase the frequency of trips on commuter-rail lines and extend TEXRail to Tarleton State University.

The final scenario promotes the development of a light-rail service in corridors where the agencies experience the highest bus ridership.

Additional services supported in the master plan are bus lines, park-and-ride facilities, pedestrian-based improvements, scooter- and bike-share programs, ride-share partnerships, and microtransit options.

After assessing public feedback on the master plan, Trinity Metro and Fort Worth officials will analyze potential impact and costs and form recommendations for board and council consideration.
Port of Galveston eyes developments
Port of Galveston map
A new draft master plan for the Port of Galveston Wharves forecasts net revenues in excess of $40 million by 2028 and more than $80 million if the plan's projects are realized.

Port officials worked for more than a year with consultants on the 20-year plan that they released November 6.

In the plan, they project a strong cruise business that would generate revenues to subsidize the port's cargo trade that also is expected to grow. Estimates are that Galveston could serve up to 2.7 million cruise passengers on almost 500 ships annually by 2038.

A fourth cruise terminal would be needed by 2030 to meet such demand, according to the master plan.

Cruise revenues could help fund a substantial redesign of the port's west end that would add up to 60 acres for cargo operations.

The master plan also outlined possible residential, retail, office, and hotel components, but some trustees were wary of combining housing with port activity.
Plans also call for improvements to the port's infrastructure, such as an estimated $59 million in pier repairs. More than $25 million of that would upgrade Pier 10 to serve larger cruise ships.

Port trustees are set to review the master plan at their November 19 meeting and vote on it at a special or regular meeting in December. By the end of 2020, the plan is scheduled to incorporate a study on port growth and traffic impact on Galveston Island.
Moody Foundation donations spur new development at UT, SMU
Courtesy of The University of Texas at Austin
The Moody Foundation, a charitable based in Galveston, gave hundreds of millions of dollars over the weekend to support two Texas universities.

On November 9, The University of Texas at Austin (UT) announced it would name its new basketball and events center the Moody Center after the foundation awarded it a $130 million grant to support its athletics programs.

The 10,000-seat Moody Center is expected to open in 2022 to replace the Frank C. Erwin Jr. Center, which will be razed to clear space for construction of the Dell Medical School expansion.

UT regents approved $38.5 million on November 13 to realign Red River Street to allow for construction of the new Moody Center. The road project is expected to be complete by July 2021.

Southern Methodist University (SMU) received a $100 million gift from the foundation on November 12 to fund the Moody School of Graduate and Advanced Studies and construct a new building, Moody Hall. It is the largest gift in SMU's history.

Moody Hall will serve as headquarters for the Moody School and facilitate faculty and student interaction that generates interdisciplinary research.

The school will contain all post-graduate degree programs of the Dedman College of Science and Humanities, the Simmons School of Education and Human Development, the Lyle School of Engineering, and the Meadows School of the Arts.
SMU also plans to use the donation to create a research innovation incubator for technology-related graduate programs.
Strategic Partnerships salutes Texas' Lone Stars
John Zerwas, Executive Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs, The University of Texas (UT) Office of Health Affairs

Dr. John Zerwas
Career highlights and education: The privilege to complete medical school and become a board certified physician in anesthesiology is my first highlight. Helping people through their surgical care was another. Beyond that, my involvement in other organizations ultimately led me to become president of the American Society of Anesthesiologists in 2013. My time as a physician executive with Memorial Hermann Healthcare System provided me with a great perspective on the challenges of the hospital industry. Thirteen years of service as a state representative in the Texas House was a phenomenal experience that allowed me to impact major policies on a wide array of issues, most notably health and education.

What I like best about my public service: The people I've had the privilege to work for and with are undoubtedly the most rewarding aspect about public service. Whether they are a constituent, fellow elected official, or one of the many hard working staff, my relationships with these individuals stand out as a highlight.

The best advice I have received for my current job: Listen first and learn. And remember, our first and foremost objective in this role is to help make The University of Texas' health-related institutions the best in the nation.

Advice you would give a new hire in your office: Listen and learn, and never hesitate to ask questions and ask for help. Our success in achieving our mission and vision is vested in our ability to function as a team.
If I ever had the opportunity to leave work early, I could probably be found: Spending time with my wife and our extended family of six children and eight grandchildren. And though they are located in various parts of the state and country, technology allows us to "drop in" at a moment's notice!

People would be surprised to know that I: Began my working life at age 15 as the night time manager of the local Der Wienerschnitzel in Houston! Many life lessons learned in that job!

One thing I wish more people knew about the UT Office of Health Affairs: The incredible passion and servant leadership every member of this team exhibits and strives for daily. And what a privilege it is for me to serve with each of them under the Board of Regents' and Chancellor James Milliken's extraordinary leadership.
Houston, Beaumont transportation projects secure federal BUILD grants
Shepherd and Dunham roadway schematic
Two Texas infrastructure projects secured grant funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) as part of the agency's $900 million Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) program.

USDOT awarded Houston's Shepard and Durham Major Investment Project the maximum BUILD grant of $25 million for its $50 million project. The Memorial Heights Redevelopment Authority will improve two major roadways and six connecting streets. The project also will add new turning and bike lanes, accessible sidewalks, and ramps as well as upgrade storm water management infrastructure, water supply, and wastewater lines.

The Port of Beaumont will receive $18 million for its $101.25 million Multimodal Corridor Expansion and Improvement Project.

Fiscal Year 2019 BUILD Transportation grants are for investments in surface transportation infrastructure and have been awarded on a competitive basis to projects with a significant impact in their local or regional communities. BUILD funding supports roads, bridges, transit, rail, ports, or intermodal transportation.

The program selection criteria encompassed safety, economic competitiveness, quality of life, state of good repair, environmental sustainability, innovation, and partnerships with a broad range of stakeholders.
San Marcos to buy land for sportsplex
San Marcos sportsplex layout
San Marcos councilmembers unanimously approved a purchase and sale agreement for 30 acres to be the site of a new multi-use sports complex.

The city will purchase the land for $19.88 million and lease it to an operator to host national tournaments and other events on its eight baseball fields.

A new hotel and conference center that caters to sports tourism are part of the city's master plan for the site, according to city staff.

The purchase price will be funded by bonds and repaid through hotel occupancy tax revenues.
UT regents approve funds for health, engineering buildings in Tyler, El Paso
Rendering of new UT Health Science Center facility
The University of Texas (UT) System board of regents on November 14 approved $165 million total for new facilities at the system's Health Science Center at Tyler, UT Tyler, and UT El Paso (UTEP).

Regents appropriated $95 million in funding for the construction of two new buildings at the UT Health Science Center at Tyler and UT Tyler to stimulate high-quality health education and health care.

Of the $95 million, $60 million will go toward a graduate medical education and resident teaching facility at UT Health Science Center at Tyler and $30 million will be allocated to an advanced nursing and health sciences complex at UT Tyler. The nursing complex will include teaching facilities, collaborative study space and a large simulation hospital focused on caring for patients with acute and chronic diseases.

UTEP will be the site of a new $70 million center for advanced manufacturing and aerospace. The new facility will house growing research and teaching programs in additive manufacturing. The funding also will improve UTEP's test facilities for rocket engines and drones.
Flower Mound planning new park
Rendering of Peters Colony Memorial Park
Flower Mound Town Council approved a conceptual master plan for Peters Colony Memorial Park on November 4.

Features of the 3.3-acre passive park under consideration include a celebration law for events, a 30-inch high water fountain or feature, pavilion, and a natural trail.

Town officials said the project is on schedule for design to begin this year and finish in 2020. Construction will begin in 2020 and conclude in early 2022.

Once the construction documents are ready and funding is available, the town will put out a request for bids (RFB) for construction.

Project costs are to be determined. The town will fund the park improvements with 4B economic development sales tax revenue.

Port Neches-Groves ISD to issue RFQ for architect to design 4 new schools
Port Neches Elementary School
Port Neches-Groves ISD (PGISD) is set to issue a request for qualifications (RFQ) for an architect to design and plan four school campuses after the success of its $130 million bond election on November 5.

The district plans to build two new third- through fifth-grade campuses and two pre-K through second-grade schools. Officials said they plan to hire an architect at the school board meeting in January 2020 and begin construction on the 3-5 campuses by late 2020. Under the district's timeline, all four campuses would be under construction by 2022.

All of PGISD's elementary schools were built in the 1950s and early 1960s and are over capacity. In the coming months, the district will demolish its Port Neches and Van Buren elementary schools.
The city of Melissa is evaluating its utility billing options after its current vendor abruptly announced its closure.

The vendor had signed long-term agreements with the city for generation and distribution of utility bills, utility service payment collection, and other utility billing and accounting services.

In an announcement on November 15, city officials said residents would see no appreciable difference in their services such as utility billing cycles, payment processes, or other daily business.

Melissa administrators said they are in the process of making arrangements to secure uninterrupted continuation of service. In the interim, customers will be making their utility payments using their customary methods.
DART board OKs road repair projects
The Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) board approved $9.62 million to fund 13 street repair projects.

Among the project highlights are efforts to design and construct quiet zones on DART rail lines, install sidewalk zones on DART bus routes, design and construct traffic signal priority, and complete streets projects such as improved bus stops, pedestrian crossings, and bus lanes.

City of Dallas staff will oversee procurement, construction, supervision, inspection, and any amendments to the plans necessary to complete them.

Per a Street Repair Policy, DART may cooperate with service area cities to accomplish needed repairs.
Calendar of Events
Public officials to convene for P3 Government Conference
December 3-4 / Washington, D.C.
Join more than 850 public representatives, design-build leaders, and P3 experts at the P3 Government Conference for two days of transportation, water, energy, and social infrastructure project delivery.

The conference is scheduled from December 3-4 at the Marriott Marquis Washington, D.C.

The P3 Government Conference invites local, state, and federal project representatives evaluating upgrades and new developments for two days of P3 education and networking.

This year's program provides the essential tools and know-how to successfully plan, deliver, and operate P3 projects of all sizes.

Please visit the conference website and register today!
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By Mary Scott Nabers, CEO of Strategic Partnerships, Inc.

Technology has altered our lives. It consumes us as individuals and impacts almost everything in the world around us on a daily basis.

Emails, texts, instant news, apps of every kind, GPS, Google searches, and Siri are part of everyday life. Technology also has become a critical component of government, infrastructure, security, health care, and education. Without sensors, cameras, software, cloud storage, data analysis, network security, and citizen-friendly apps it would be almost impossible for public officials to provide the services we receive.

It's difficult to imagine a world without technology. Public officials are racing to embrace it in numerous ways. Visionary city officials know that industry is attracted to tech-savvy regions, so they are opening technology incubators, supporting emerging technology hubs, and working with universities and community colleges to encourage more technology training.

The city of San Francisco will open an Office of Emerging Technology early in 2020. Las Vegas has already opened an 11,000-square-foot innovation incubator in the heart of downtown. Houston has announced the spring 2020 opening of what will be called the Downtown Launch Pad. Austin's Capital Factory, known as the eco center for emerging technology in Central Texas, is now boosting economic development efforts more than could have ever been imagined a decade ago.

Senate paves way for Wolf to lead Homeland Security
Chad Wolf
The U.S. Senate confirmed Chad Wolf, originally from Plano, Texas, as the under secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on November 13.

President Trump nominated Wolf to the position in February 2019 and announced his intent on November 1 to nominate him as acting secretary of Homeland Security. Former Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan resigned from the position in October.

Wolf began his career in government as a staff member for Texas Sens. Phil Gramm and Kay Bailey Hutchison. He later aided in the creation of the Transportation Security Administration where he became chief of staff in 2017. In 2018, Wolf joined DHS as its chief of staff.
Port Arthur picks Burton as its new city manager
Ron Burton
The city of Port Arthur entered into contract negotiations with Ron Burton on November 13 to be its first permanent city manager in two years.

Burton is currently serving as interim city manager. He previously held positions with the city as director of development services and assistant director of planning.

He succeeds several interim city managers who took over after Brian McDougal resigned as city manager in November 2017.

Peaster ISD taps Johnson as finalist for superintendent
Lance Johnson
Peaster ISD board members named Lance Johnson as the district's lone finalist for superintendent on November 7.

Johnson recently announced he would be leaving his position as superintendent for Randolph Field ISD near San Antonio. He previously served as superintendent for Warren and Evant ISDs.

He will succeed interim Peaster ISD Superintendent Rod Townsend.
Weatherford taps new city manager
James Hotopp
Weatherford councilmembers appointed James Hotopp as the new city manager on November 12.

He will succeed City Manager Sharon Hayes who announced her retirement in August.

Hotopp is Weatherford's current deputy city manager. He previously served as the city's assistant city manager, director of planning and development, and director of water/wastewater and engineering.
Sealy selects Knoll as city secretary
Brooke Knoll
Sealy City Council promoted Brooke Knoll as the city's new city secretary on November 13. 

Knoll previously was Sealy's deputy city secretary.

She succeeds City Secretary Dayl Cooksey who retired in October.
UTPB picks Patton to direct business development center
Tyler Patton
The University of Texas Permian Basin (UTPB) named Tyler Patton as director of the campus' Small Business Development Center (SBDC) on November 13.

Patton, who most recently was a business consultant with the SBDC, possesses more than 20 years of experience working with small businesses in the region. He previously was a newspaper publisher in Graham and a regional director for the Better Business Bureau.

The Small Business Development Center is a government agency with a mission to help small businesses succeed.
Marlin appoints McCall as city's police chief
Lawrence McCall
The city of Marlin selected Lawrence McCall as its new chief of police on November 13.

McCall currently serves as a deputy with the Dallas County Constable Precinct No. 1 office. He previously was an assistant commander-lieutenant with the Dallas County Sheriff's Department Task Force and a Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) police officer.

He succeeds former Police Chief Nathan Sodek.

Gov. Greg Abbott has announced these appointments/reappointments from November 8-14:

Durga Agrawal - Houston, University of Houston (UH) System Board of Regents

Alonzo Cantu - McAllen, UH System Board of Regents

John McCall - Crockett, UH System Board of Regents

Jed Alton Brown - Laredo, Webb County-City of Laredo Regional Mobility Authority presiding officer

Cliff Todd - Long Branch, Sabine River Authority Board of Directors

Jeff Mundy - Austin, Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Commission

Jay Hodge - Paris, Sulphur River Regional Mobility Authority presiding officer

Clifton Bickerstaff - Amarillo, Board for Lease of Texas Parks and Wildlife Lands (reappointed)

Missy Medary - Corpus Christi, Fifth Administrative Judicial Region presiding judge (reappointed)

Molly Francis - Dallas, Texas Board of Criminal Justice

Faith Johnson - Dallas, Texas Board of Criminal Justice

Sichan Siv - San Antonio, Texas Board of Criminal Justice

Stephen Ponder - Belton, Texas Diabetes Council

Christine Wicke - McKinney, Texas Diabetes Council

Jason Ryan - Houston, Texas Diabetes Council
Texas Department of Information Resources - 2020-2024 State Strategic Plan

State Bar of Texas - Annual Report 2018-2019

Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency-Department of State - Guide to Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience

U.S. Government Accountability Office - Emergency Transportation Relief

U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics - National Transportation Atlas Database
Dozens of public-sector jobs are available. Click here to view all job openings and guidelines for job submissions to SPI. New jobs added this week:

Office of the Texas Governor - Community Relations Specialist - Central Texas Region (Program Specialist IV)

Office of the Texas Governor - Project Development Coordinator (Program Specialist V)

Office of the Texas Governor - Administrative Assistant II (part-time)

Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts - Taxpayer Compliance Officer I (5 openings)

Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) - Accounting Specialist I

TxDOT - Auditor IV or V - Compliance Division

TxDOT - Bridge Inspection Quality Assurance Engineer

TxDOT - Construction Recordkeeper II, III or IV

TxDOT - Contract Specialist IV, V or VI - Austin District

TxDOT - Design Technician III

TxDOT - Environmental Specialist III, IV. or V - Austin

TxDOT - Land Surveyor III or IV

TxDOT - Aircraft Pilot

Texas State Securities Board - Administrative Assistant I

Texas State Securities Board - Attorney I

Texas State Securities Board - Financial Examiner

Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs - Real Estate Document Specialist - Revised

Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs - Senior Financial Analyst - Revised

Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts - CPA - Taxpayer Compliance Officer I (Austin Call Center)
View our Texas Government Insider and Government Contracting Pipeline newsletter archives

Texas Government Insider is a free weekly newsletter detailing important happenings throughout the state and summarizing current political issues relevant to individuals interested in government.   
Publisher: Mary Scott Nabers
Editor: Devin Monk 
TGI is published by Strategic Partnerships, Inc. (SPI), a research and consulting firm. Founded in Texas in 1995 by former government executives and public sector experts, SPI has developed a national reputation as the premier marketing partner dedicated to helping companies secure contracts in the $1.5 trillion state and local government marketplace.   
To learn more about SPI services, click here or contact our sales department at 512-531-3900. 
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