Volume 19, Issue 36 - September 3, 2021
By Mary Scott Nabers, CEO of Strategic Partnerships, Inc.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced in August that $766 million in grant funding is available to airports for improvement projects. But, there’s much more. Funding is flowing to airports from numerous sources, and the types of projects ready for launch are extremely diverse.

Of high interest to the federal government are purchases of zero-emission vehicles, electrifying equipment, pre-conditioned air units to service aircraft, and electric shuttle buses. Examples follow.

Kansas
Manhattan city commissioners will expand a runway at the Manhattan Regional Airport to accommodate larger aircraft takeoffs. Airport officials plan to solicit construction bids early in 2022, and the estimated cost of this project is $51.1 million. A federal grant of $350,000 has been obtained to jump-start the project.

The Texas Transportation Commission unanimously approved the $74.4 billion 2022 Unified Transportation Program (UTP) on August 31 that includes the paused $7.9 billion North Houston Highway Improvement Project (NHHIP) for Interstate 45.

City of Houston and Harris County leaders voiced opposition to the project over concerns on its environmental impact and disproportionate effect on communities of color. In response, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) requested that the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) cease most of its planning efforts including solicitations and final design activities.

TxDOT plans include adding four managed express lanes on I-45 from downtown Houston to Beltway 8 North and rerouting I-45 to run parallel with Interstate 10 to the north of downtown and parallel to U.S. Highway 59 on the east side of downtown.

As a planning and programming tool, the UTP guides the development of transportation projects across the state by authorizing TxDOT and local partnering agencies to prepare projects for construction based on a potential future cash flow scenario.

Other projects included in the 2022 UTP are:
  • U.S. 380 upgrade to freeway in Collin County. 
  • Interstate 35 Northeast Expansion (South Segment) in San Antonio. 
  • Loop 360 at 2222 intersection in Austin. 
  • I-35 Denton County connections. 
  • U.S. 281 upgrade in the Rio Grande Valley. 
  • U.S. 87 at Lubbock Outer Loop. 
  • U.S. 69 widening in Southeast Texas. 
  • U.S. 59 upgrade to freeway in East Texas. 
  • U.S. 83 widening in the Concho Valley region. 
  • I-30 Canyon project in downtown Dallas. 
  • U.S. 80 widening in Dallas County. 
  • I-35 widening in Cooke County. 
  • State Highway 6 widening in Bryan-College Station. 
  • I-20 widening in Abilene. 

Leading up to the meeting, TxDOT sought comments on the potential removal of funding for the NHHIP. More than 5,500 commenters supported maintaining project funding as proposed while 2,555 supported removing the project and funding from the UTP. Eighty-six respondents favored maintaining funding but not retaining the project as proposed.

Before the vote, Commissioner Bruce Bugg said he believed the project should remain in the UTP, but he gave the city of Houston a 90-day deadline to work with the FHWA to show support for the project prior to the commission’s December 9 meeting.

Bugg alluded to Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner’s support for the project, which appears to have been expressed with the mayor’s signature on a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that the city sent to TxDOT prior to the commission meeting.

The MOU calls for TxDOT to carry out commitments to address housing and community cohesion, drainage and flood mitigation, reduction of the NHHIP footprint during detailed design, transit impacts, connectivity, and park space and urban design.

Turner’s support for the NHHIP is conditional upon Bugg’s signature of the MOU, according to the mayor’s director of communications. TxDOT officials confirmed receipt of the MOU, which the department was reviewing as of September 3.
The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) released a request for information (RFI) seeking input on managed health care services for the STAR Kids program.

HHSC is exploring options for providing Medicaid benefits to children enrolled in the STAR Kids program under an accountable care organization (ACO) or another value-based alternative payment model.

The agency will use the information from RFI responses and guidance provided by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services regarding the Advancing Care for Exceptional Kids Act of 2019, in a report due to the Texas Legislature in December 2022.

In addition, data collected from this RFI will assist HHSC in the development and implementation of an ACE Kids pilot program.

RFI responses are due by 10 a.m. September 27.
Cleveland ISD trustees called a $150 million bond election for November 2 that would fund the construction of a second high school.

The 310,00-square-foot high school would have a capacity of 2,500 to 2,700 students.

Plans call for building the campus in the southern area of the district with the possibility of expansion as the school’s enrollment grows.

Proposed campus features include competition and practice gyms, a subvarsity field for football and band practice, theater arts area, and space for career and technical education instruction.

Cleveland ISD is the fastest-growing district in Texas and one of the fastest growing in the country. Enrollment at Cleveland High School exceeds the building’s 1,762-student capacity with 2,730 students in 2021 projected to rise to 6,181 in 2027 without the construction of a new high school.
Devin Padavil
Superintendent
Taylor ISD
Public career highlights: I have been blessed to serve as a middle school principal, high school principal, open a brand new high school as principal, assistant superintendent, and now Superintendent. I received my masters and doctorate from The University of Texas at Austin. Most importantly, I was an underperforming student that barely graduated high school and was able to turn things around due to the power of caring educators. I am proud to repay the debt through my work.

What I like best about my public service is: I believe that serving and helping others is the purpose of life. I find a great sense of fulfillment in helping other people overcome challenges and meet their goals. When my tenure is over, I hope people can say they were better off because of my influence. I hope to say the district I serve was able to thrive because of my leadership and service to the community.

The best advice I’ve received is: That it takes a strong inner fortress to lead. Leaders are the most criticized individuals on a team. It takes a resilient belief in ourselves and our purpose in order to thrive. It also takes a network of individuals that support those beliefs.

My favorite way to de-stress is: I am honestly not very good at this. It is in my nature to work until I run dry. However, I have learned that people follow the leader. If I don't learn to take care of myself, the people I serve won't take care of themselves. So, I am intentional about detaching from work on the weekends and making myself go home at a decent time in the evenings. I also feel energized when I can spend time lifting the spirits of kids or teachers.

People might be surprised to know that I: Came from a difficult upbringing and struggled academically. Yet, everyday I am thankful for the adversity I have faced. Without it, I would not have become the man I am today.

One thing I wished more people knew about Taylor ISD is: Taylor, Texas is a special place because of the people. This is an incredibly diverse student body with a wide range of interests. Most importantly, this is a community that cares for each other and wants to see the city thrive. The foundation we are building as a school district will help launch the future of the city because we know we will give the parents of our community a quality education for their kids.
The Dallas-Fort Worth High-Speed Transportation Connections Study is entering its second phase with a route parallel to Interstate 30 gaining traction for its direct, least-disruptive qualities.

High-speed rail and hyperloop are the transportation modes under consideration for connecting the downtowns of Dallas and Fort Worth with a stop in Arlington. The study’s final recommendation is expected to provide connections with local transportation systems and link to future high-speed services.

The characteristics of each technology will impact height obstructions or restrictions along the proposed corridor. Once the alignment is refined for each technology, the location and configuration of the mid-point station in Arlington will likewise be refined.

Stations function differently for both technologies, requiring different footprints, configurations, and orientations to the track. While high-speed rail station platforms must align parallel and adjacent to main line tracks, hyperloop tubes carry pods off the main line for docking at a station that may be located outside the high-speed transportation guideway.

Further comparison is given to the electrification system as it can affect the vertical clearance required throughout the corridor for each technology. High-speed rail technology uses overhead wiring infrastructure for electrification. These components are incorporated inside the tube structure for hyperloop, reducing overhead conflicts that could restrict the vertical alignment of the corridor.

In addition to route and mode analysis, the second phase will involve a federal environmental approval process along with conceptional and preliminary engineering, financial analysis, and planning for project management.
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) will host a pre-submittal conference at 3 p.m. September 7 for architectural and engineering services as it enters the design phase for a $49.5 million Cancer and Surgery Center.

UTRGV has acquired property in McAllen that will serve as a multidisciplinary campus for expansion of the university’s education, research, and clinical missions and the UTRGV School of Medicine.

To further serve the student, discovery, and patient care needs in the Rio Grande Valley and beyond, Phase 1 development of this property is set to increase access to underserved clinical services in the Rio Grande Valley with establishment of the UT Health RGV Cancer and Surgery Center.

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center will serve as an adviser in the development of the building program’s cancer center that will provide access to underserved specialties and clinical services in medical, radiation and surgical oncology, as well as clinical research across these areas.

Alongside the 100,000-square-foot cancer center, the site also will include a surgery and imaging center, with outpatient surgery and imaging spaces to support continuity of care.

Construction is expected to begin in spring 2022 with completion in spring 2024.
The city of Waco will host a virtual pre-proposal meeting at 10 a.m. September 10 in advance of contracting a consultant to develop a 10-year strategic economic development plan.

Elements of the plan must address recruitment, retention and expansion, small business development, talent development and attraction, equity, entrepreneurship, head of household job creation, development of the innovation economy, and placemaking strategies.

Other plan deliverables include a downtown economic development strategy with an analysis of downtown real estate opportunities, a central city economic development strategy, and strategic action plan to achieve results. The plan also shall address potential attraction strategies for foreign direct investment.

Several past plans and regional economic development plans, policies, and strategies exist. These plans and policies shall be reviewed for continuity with the new strategic plan as determined by the team. This will include a significant review of the past economic development plans and their action steps, including those which have been completed, advanced, or unachieved.

The 10-Year Economic Development Strategic Plan is intended to provide a targeted economic development strategy that focuses and commits the city’s policymakers, employees, and resources.
New Braunfels Public Library officials presented a long-term master plan to the City Council that recommended an estimated $35 million expansion to 33,000 square feet.

The plan projected the facility’s capacity and site needs for future bond program planning.

According to the master plan, the new space will allow the library to:

  • Expand the meeting from seating 80 to seating 200 at a lecture style program. 
  • Expand the children’s and teen area to include more collections, a dedicated story room, and a family place area. 
  • Lower the adult collection shelving from 90 inches tall to 66 inches tall. 
  • Increase adult seating including tables with power, an enclosed quiet reading room, and increased “garden” seating with a view of the site amenities. 
  • Increased study and conference room capacity. 
  • Improve the efficiency and functionality of the staff work areas. 

Short-term plans call for a reconfiguration of the current library space to provide a more efficient use for current programs and needs.

The library identified the teen area as one of the first components of the space reconfiguration. Other components will be addressed as funding becomes available through the city, the New Braunfels Public Library Foundation, or the library’s various trust funds.
The Port of Corpus Christi Authority and the Texas General Land Office (GLO) will co-develop a carbon dioxide storage solution in the Coastal Bend in support of national decarbonization targets.

Such a solution would involve infrastructure to transport and permanently store carbon dioxide captured by various industrial target sources in the greater Port of Corpus Christi area.

The GLO has taken steps toward decarbonization by issuing a request for proposals from entities interested in constructing carbon storage infrastructure on GLO lands in Jefferson County.

Port of Corpus Christi boasts a high density of industrial carbon dioxide target sources and an extensive network of existing pipeline infrastructure.

In addition, the authority owns a full transect of land from its customers’ fence lines out to GLO waters in the Gulf of Mexico.
The Build America Bureau in the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has provided up to $605.33 million in financial assistance for two segments of the Grand Parkway project.

Grand Parkway Transportation Corporation planners will apply the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) funding to segments H and I of the outer ring tollway construction project in Houston that began in the 1960s.

This portion of the project includes 43.6 miles of new highway construction, toll installation and configuration, and toll equipment upgrades along the existing 8.7-mile four-lane corridor of the toll lane facility.

Once complete, the proposed circumferential tollway will stretch 184 miles.
Texas Tech University System (TTUS) is pre-qualifying for professional services for 2022 to 2025 to establish a master list of vendors.

Some of the vendor services TTUS will consider for pre-qualification include:
  • Architectural design. 
  • Architectural programming such as feasibility studies. 
  • Building Information Modeling. 
  • Civil engineering. 
  • Code compliance/review. 
  • Construction management agent. 
  • Cost estimating services. 
  • Electronic safety and security design. 

Other services that will help form TTUS’ pre-qualification list are:
  • Energy consulting/modeling. 
  • Environmental analysis testing consulting. 
  • Facility assessment. 
  • Geotechnical engineering. 
  • Landscape architectural design. 
  • Strategic planning. 
  • Surveying services. 
  • Technology/audio visual.  

The pre-qualification is effective January 5, 2022, to January 4, 2025. Submissions are due by 3 p.m. October 13.
Reaffirming Austin’s designation of the African American Cultural Heritage District, the Austin City Council on August 2 directed staff to draft a plan to solicit proposals for the development of the 1100 block of East 11th Street.

Austin's city manager will work with the city’s Urban Renewal Agency on a solicitation for detailed plans and cost estimates for a multi-story mixed-use development.

The Kenny Dorham Museum, 1100 East 11th Street, will anchor the project. The facility will house a mini-archival collection dedicated to the life and music of Kenny Dorham and serve as home to an active research project/educational site for the study and collection of materials documenting black music history of Austin and the cultural history of Central East Austin and the district.

Other uses that may be incorporated into the development are:
  • Outdoor performance space/amphitheater and green space. 
  • Indoor performance space, with a cafe and/or pub. 
  • Audio/video recording studio. 
  • Rehearsal space. 
  • Classroom, meeting room, and conference space. 
  • Small studio rooms for practice, lessons, and art-making. 
  • Shared work/office space for nonprofit arts organizations 
  • Art gallery. 
  • Street-level retail. 
  • Residential units, with significant emphasis on affordable housing and units reserved for working creatives. 

Additionally, councilmembers instructed the city manager to determine strategies for implementing various supportive and place-making actions for the district.

The council’s actions formally recognize areas that have a concentration of existing landmarks, historical and cultural assets, and the legacy of the African American residential, commercial, and cultural core in Austin.
Kimberly Murray brings 25 years of experience and knowledge gained from working in municipal and state government to her consulting role with Strategic Partnerships, Inc. (SPI).
In her career, she served as a town manager, director of economic development, and director of development services. Kimberly held positions of responsibility in the areas of economic development, planning, redevelopment, transportation, community services, and public sector administration.

She spent more than 15 years working to accomplish strategic goals and build engaged, high-performing teams. Kimberly devoted her time in government striving to help transform the culture to a servant-oriented customer focused environment. She has a “big-picture,” strategic mindset and gifted critical thinking skills.

Kimberly also has strong communication and negotiation skills. She managed recruiting and retaining corporate businesses and represented municipal issues at the state legislative level to support local government initiatives. She is a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) and maintains an active membership in the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) where she has served on the Education and Certification Committee since 2018. She also is an active member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP).

Kimberly holds a Master of Arts in urban and regional planning from the University of Florida.
The city of Bandera appointed David Jordan as its new city administrator on August 24.

Jordan most recently served as assistant city manager and director of public safety for the city of La Marque. Prior to that, he served on the Leon Valley City Council and in the U.S. Air Force for 25 years.
The city of Buda selected Bianca Redmon as its new director of finance, effective September 20.

Most recently, Redmon served as chief financial officer (CFO) for the Brushy Creek Municipal Utility District in Round Rock. Before that, she was CFO for the city of Balch Springs.
The city of Houston named Kenneth Allen as its director of its Parks and Recreation Department. Allen had been serving as interim director since December 2020.

Before that, he was the parks department’s assistant director of recreation and wellness.
The city of Edinburg named Jaime Ayala as its new police chief.

Ayala served 32 years with the Arlington Police Department, most recently as assistant police chief. Before starting as a patrol officer, he was a volunteer reserve officer and dispatcher with the department.

He is expected to join the Edinburg Police Department in October.
Strategic Partnerships, Inc. (SPI) clients will benefit from consultant J. Gary Hendricks’ understanding of government and the many years he spent in governmental operations.

He is a consultive leader with a history of achievement in a broad range of areas, including college leadership, legislative relations, accounting and finance, information technology, organization development, strategic planning, and business intelligence in a state government agency.

During his career, Gary served as a higher education accreditation liaison and gained approval for multiple colleges to merge. In other public sector roles, he initiated and led strategic planning processes and supervised information technology, accounting/finance, and business intelligence teams. Additionally, he spent time in the private sector and gained additional consulting management experience with a major public accounting firm.

Gary holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Cincinnati, a Master of Business Administration from the University of Dayton, and an Ed.D. in educational administration from Baylor University.
Gov. Greg Abbott announced these appointments and reappointments from August 27-September 2:

1836 Project Advisory Committee 
Carolina Castillo Crimm - Huntsville
Don Frazier - Kerrville
Kevin Roberts - Liberty Hill
U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy – 2021 Small Business Profile Texas

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:

  • Texas Department of State Health Services – Associate Commissioner for Consumer Protection

  • Texas Department of State Health Services – Program Specialist IV 

  • Texas Department of State Health Services – Research Specialist V

  • Texas Health and Human Services Commission – Manager V (HHS Provider Finance M/C Admin)

  • Texas Education Agency – Financial Auditor III

  • Texas Secretary of State – Systems Analyst IV

  • Texas Department of Information Resources – Program Specialist III (Client Support Specialist)

  • Texas Water Development Board – Flood Grant Financial Analyst (Grant Specialist III)

  • Texas Water Development Board – Human Resources Team Lead

  • Texas Water Development Board – Senior Water Resources Engineer

  • Texas Water Development Board – Scientific Programmer (Programmer II-III)

  • Office of the Texas Governor – Accountant III

  • Office of the Texas Governor – Legislative Assistant (Program Specialist III)

  • Office of the Texas Governor – Writer

  • Texas Department of Motor Vehicles – Revenue Manager

  • Texas Department of Motor Vehicles – Accounts Receivable Accountant V

  • Texas Department of Motor Vehicles – Revenue Accountant V

  • Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts – Area Manager, Contract Development

  • Texas Department of Transportation – Beaumont District Engineer
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