Volume 20, Issue 3 - January 21, 2022
By Mary Scott Nabers, CEO of Strategic Partnerships Inc.
Before the labor shortage and supply chain problems began — even before the pandemic that fueled them started — automation was a buzzword for planners and public officials. Now, automation may be the public sector’s best bet for dealing with stifling setbacks to the global supply chain.

The term, automation, refers to any system that uses sensors and controls to complete a particular action without human involvement and, conversely, without human error. Automation is a trend that is significantly impacting most aspects of the economy and especially the government marketplace.

In California, diverse automation needs will yield numerous opportunities for companies providing automation offerings. California’s state assembly recently approved one-time funding of $500,000 to evaluate the impact of automation on employment and the environment. The project will help state officials evaluate the benefits of a widescale shift to automation at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Findings from the study will then be released toward the end of July 2023, and plans related to additional automation services will be announced.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) released a work plan that includes $403 million for the Trinity River Vision/Central City flood control project in Fort Worth. The funding will allow the Army Corps to complete final design of all project components and construct a bypass channel.

USACE’s funding and project implementation will address Fort Worth’s flood risks that are a result of a rapidly growing population that has tripled in size since the current levee system was built in 1960.

Once complete, the 1.5-mile bypass will deliver flood protection, environmental cleanup of the Trinity River corridor, and recreation for more than 3,000 acres of Tarrant County land.

The new isle, dubbed Panther Island, is the product of a multi-agency collaboration between the Tarrant Regional Water District, USACE, the city of Fort Worth, and Tarrant County. It started in 2004 and expanded in 2009.
As part of its new partnership with Baylor University on the Riverfront District, the city of Waco issued a request for information (RFI) from teams interested in developing a full-service hotel.

The city and university agreed to build a $185 million Paul and Alejandra Foster Pavilion multi-purpose facility as part of the development.

Waco city officials desire a nationally branded or soft branded concept for a full-service hotel with a minimum of 160 rooms located on a prominent site adjacent to the future Foster Pavilion. The hotel will wrap a 435-space parking garage and architecturally complement the Foster Pavilion.

The city will require the hotel developer to deliver the hotel in a manner that does not impede Waco’s ability to deliver 600 parking spaces by June 1, 2024.

Possible development incentives could come from new markets tax credits, an opportunity zone, hotel occupancy tax grants, and the Waco Tourism Public Improvement District (WTPID).

RFI submissions are due by 2 p.m. March 4.
Montgomery ISD (MISD) trustees are evaluating nearly $327 million in proposed capital projects for a possible May 7 election.

A community task force is recommending three propositions to meet the district’s needs for facility comparability, safety and security, and growth.

Proposition A would authorize $312.99 million for new school construction and improvements, land acquisition, and transportation. Among the projects considered for this proposition are construction of a $61.6 million centralized Career and Technical Education Center, Elementary School No. 7 for an estimated $43 million, a $21.31 million district Agriculture Science Center, and the second phase of the Lake Creek High School expansion for $27.88 million.

Proposition B would provide $8.51 million for expansion of the MISD Athletic Complex. If approved, the district would make necessary compliance renovations as well as expansion and comparability improvements.

Proposition C would fund the purchase of technology devices totaling $5.4 million, including cybersecurity efforts.

February 18 is the deadline for the school board to call a May bond election.
Steven Ogle 
Deputy Director & General Counsel 
Sunset Advisory Commission 
Public career and education highlights: I received my Bachelor of Arts in philosophy in 2001 from The University of Texas at Austin, and my law degree from Baylor University in 2005 and soon made my way to the Sunset Advisory Commission in 2007, inspired by a former professor’s admiration for the commission’s work. I’ve worked on more than two dozen reviews, including the reviews of the Railroad Commission, Public Utilities Commission, Department of Motor Vehicles, and Pharmacy Board, as well as the Substantive Recodification of Texas Health Related Statutes during the 84th Legislative Session. Additionally, as general counsel, and now as the deputy director, I help contribute to each review and overall agency operations.  

What I like best about my public service is: I’m fortunate in this position to be able to hear from the public, identify real problems for the state, help craft solutions, and see a direct benefit to the state. For example, during the review of the Pharmacy Board, we were able to collaborate with stakeholders, including license holders and affected families, and work with dedicated legislators to improve the state’s approach to combating the opioid epidemic. I still see direct results of that work today.

The best advice I’ve received is: Go back to the basics. This is a favorite piece of advice I like to pass on. As professionals we all get to the point where we feel very comfortable doing our jobs and don’t hesitate to dive right in. As we gain tenure, it’s expected that we rely on experience and past knowledge to guide our work. But in doing so, sometimes we miss critical first steps that could save a ton of time and heartache. An example I frequently see is discussing how to deal with the impacts of a law without checking to see what statute actually says.

My favorite way to de-stress is: Spending time with my son, Gabriel, and my daughter, Isabella. Our quality time recharges my spirit, and it reminds me that my work will have a lasting impact.

People might be surprised to know that I: Have a collection of lightsabers that I am particularly proud of. I’m also especially proud of the fact that I taught my daughter her ABC’s through using Star Wars characters. A is for Anakin… Beyond being a nerd, I am also an avid fitness fan and have enjoyed powerlifting for many years, and I enjoy modifying and driving my Mustang on the weekends. 

One thing I wished more people knew about the Sunset Advisory Commission is: Sunset is a rare opportunity for the legislature, the agency, and stakeholders to take a granular look at the agency’s operations. We have an incredible staff of dedicated professionals hoping to work with agency staff and stakeholders to come up with recommendations to improve the functions of each agency in a meaningful way. Beyond the biennial budget process, which also serves an important oversight role, Sunset is often the only opportunity to make substantial changes to an agency’s statute and operations. It’s also a crucial moment for public involvement in state government, and we always appreciate input from individuals who will be directly impacted by any changes.
The University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) will host an optional pre-submittal conference at 1:30 p.m. CST January 26 for a design-build project to construct a new residence hall.

Maverick Hall will be about 150,000 square feet and house a mixture of single and double occupancy rooms, grouped as suites. The building is intended to be five to six stories.

Common area amenities shall include a classroom, study rooms, laundry facilities, large and small gathering spaces, and community kitchens. Additionally, exterior green space that serves both Maverick Hall and the existing West Hall will be included.

The new building will provide more housing options for students on campus and will be between West Hall and UTA Boulevard on West Campus.

UTA’s on-campus population has steadily approached 50,000 students, with over 60,000 globally enrolled. More than 10,000 students are currently living on or adjacent to campus. On campus housing includes seven apartment complexes and four residence halls.

Work on the Maverick Hall schematic design is set to begin in June. Construction is expected to start in January 2023 with completion scheduled for July 2024.
A city of Cedar Park bond advisory task force recommended transportation, parks and recreation, and public safety capital projects that could comprise a bond election in May.

Task force members started with approximately $200 million worth of high-need projects and narrowed this to a little more than $125 million in projects in late November 2021. The proposed projects were presented at a hybrid in-person and virtual open house in early December.

The final recommendation is for a bond package in the range of $158.8 million to $162 million. Projected costs include program management, phasing, and soft costs such as engineering fees and right-of-way, as well as inflation and cost escalation.

Thirteen transportation projects totaling $69 million could include building an innovative high-capacity intersection at Whitestone Boulevard and 183A for an estimated $12.9 million.

Some of the other transportation projects under consideration are Anderson Mill Road Phase 2 for $11.4 million and neighborhood road resurfacing for $9.9 million.

More than $32 million in parks and recreation projects could go before voters in May, highlighted by funding a $16.4 million phase of Lakeline Park improvements and a $7.1 million expansion of Veterans Park Pool.

The task force also recommended a proposed $23.8 million public safety training facility for inclusion in the bond package.

February 18 is the deadline for cities to place bond propositions on the May 7 ballot.
City staff updated El Paso councilmembers on January 18 on the progress of several public safety capital projects that were part of the successful $413 million bond election in 2019.

According to the city’s procurement forecast, it will schedule design-build solicitations for summer 2022 to build a $90.6 million police department headquarters and a $29.6 million fire department headquarters.

The city also anticipates advertising for design-build services this summer for a joint public safety training academy to be co-located with the fire department headquarters and a fire vehicle maintenance and logistics center to service fire department fleet vehicles and house supplies for fire stations throughout the community.

El Paso police will contribute $19.9 million to the academy, and the fire department will fund $29.6 million for its portion of the academy plus the logistics center.

Some of the academy’s amenities will include fire training props, an indoor shooting range, swift water rescue pool, classrooms/auditorium, fitness gym, a simulation room, and a police tactical training facility. The facility also will feature a mock courtroom and an emergency vehicle training area.

The academy’s design and construction are scheduled for November 2022 through June 2025. El Paso also is planning a $24.6 million regional command center. Design work is expected to begin this spring with construction to be completed in spring 2024.
Bastrop councilmembers signed a letter of intent between the nonprofit Emile Multicultural Center/Recreation Complex and Bastrop ISD to form a partnership toward acquiring, constructing, and operating a recreation center at the site of the Emile School that served the black community from 1892 to 1969.

Pending Bastrop ISD’s approval, the parties intend to utilize the center and to make the facility available to citizens of the Bastrop region for use in sports, active recreation, civic gatherings and meetings, arts and crafts, and educational activities that celebrate the rich multicultural, ethnics and racial diversity of the region.

The proposed center would include a large multipurpose gymnasium, classrooms, and a museum that would serve as a place to bring all generations together in order to preserve and showcase the history of the former Emile High School.

City officials intend to oversee construction of the estimated $15 million project and manage the facility including daily operations, maintenance, repairs, and activity programming.

Bastrop plans to call an election in 2023 seeking voter approval for the issuance of bonds to help fund improvements by the city that are necessary to address drainage and traffic flow and safety issues.
Design work is progressing on the proposed widening of Cromwell-Marine Creek Road as the city of Fort Worth prepares the $23 million project for its May 2022 bond election.

Cromwell-Marine Creek Road is projected to carry 45,480 vehicles per day, so widening the two-lane road is needed. To help plan for future growth along this roadway, the new median will be built wide enough to leave room for two additional travel lanes. This will make the construction process easier when the road needs to be widened to its final six-lane configuration in the future.

The city will widen the roadway and add a median to control access and to allow for turn lanes at intersections, increasing roadway capacity and reducing travel time. This project will also repair the poor pavement condition.

Intersection capacity improvements and traffic signals are planned at Boat Club Road, Huffines Boulevard, and Bowman Roberts Road. Roundabout modifications are planned at the intersection of Marine Creek Parkway to improve traffic flow and capacity.

This project began as intersection improvements in the form of roundabouts at Bowman Roberts Road and Huffines Boulevard with associated infrastructure and rehabilitation of existing travel lanes with the 2018 City of Fort Worth Bond Program. However, increasing transportation needs in this corridor required a higher-capacity improvement with more lanes than originally planned.

 If approved, this project is scheduled to begin construction in the fall of 2023. The city plans to solicit a construction manager at risk to serve as project manager.
Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD will host a non-mandatory pre-proposal meeting at 1:30 p.m. January 26 for multiple packages related to the construction of two new elementary schools. Each school project will be bid separately.

The district is planning to build an estimated $45.16 million second- through fifth-grade campus at the site of the current maintenance building, which will be demolished. The two-story building will be 133,575 square feet.

An estimated $30 million pre-K through first-grade school will be built on the site of Austin Elementary School, which also will be demolished. The new school will be 86,670 square feet.

Construction of both schools, which are components of the district’s 2021 bond election, is anticipated to take 15 to 16 months and be substantially complete by summer 2023.
The city of DeSoto will soon enter the design phase for a new recreation and indoor aquatic center at Curtistene S. McCowan Park.

Anticipated size of the facility will be between 70,000 to 80,000 total building square feet with a project budget of $47 million to $53 million.

City officials are expressing a desire for a center that is adequately sized and configured to facilitate the wellness, fitness, and morale of the community and the staff personnel.

The center’s goal is to provide functional, efficient, and inviting spaces for physical fitness, aquatics, mental health, and overall wellness.

A needs assessment determined that the center would likely require at least two bodies of water, including one pool with lap lanes for competition and training and a recreation pool for fun and programming.

The city also would consider “dry side” recreation and programming amenities, multi-purpose areas, walking track, and a fitness area.

The building will be designed for a minimum 50-year life span using a construction manager at risk (CMAR) delivery method.
The Texas Military Preparedness Commission awarded a new round of $15.3 million in grants to assist military communities across the state that may be impacted by any future Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) rounds.

Funds from the Defense Economic Adjustment Assistance Grant (DEAAG) program will be invested in infrastructure projects.

Additional funding will go to initiatives to increase the military value of these installations in Texas and protect jobs in those communities.

Entities set to receive FY2022-2023 DEAAG reimbursements are:
  • City of San Antonio – $5 million for infrastructure and force protection measures at Joint Base San Antonio. 
  • City of Temple – $5 million for a microgrid at Robert Gray Army Air Field supporting Fort Hood. 
  • City of Fort Worth – $1.9 million for renovations to the Military Family Advocacy Resource Center at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base (NAS JRB) Fort Worth. The city of Fort Worth is contributing another $1.2 million to the project that will be the new home to NAS JRB to the new center, the Navy College Campus office, the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, and the Navy Region Legal Services Center. 
  • Val Verde County – $1.41 million for renovations to the T-1A Flight Line Building at Laughlin Air Force Base. 
  • Val Verde County – $864,874 for Aerospace Physiology Building renovation at Laughlin Air Force Base. 
  • City of Corpus Christi – $800,000 for the purchase of a clear zone easement supporting Naval Air Station Corpus Christi. 
  • City of Abilene – $375,000 for 5G and fiber expansion at Dyess Air Force Base. 

The Texas Military Preparedness Commission in the Office of the Governor advises the Governor and the Legislature on defense and military issues.
The city of Austin selected Veronica Briseño as an assistant city manager and Adrienne Sturrup as the city’s director of Austin Public Health. She succeeded former Assistant City Manager Nuria Rivera-Vandermyde who left to become city manager of Boulder, Colorado.
Briseño has held several positions with progressive responsibilities at the city. Her most recent roles have been chief economic recovery officer, economic development director, and interim president/chief executive officer of Austin Economic Development Corporation.
Sturrup had been serving as Austin’s interim public health director. Before that, she was assistant director and a program manager at Austin Public Health.
Bridge City councilmembers appointed Brent Walker as the new city manager, effective February 1. He will succeed City Manager Jerry Jones who is retiring.

Walker previously served as assistant city manager and headed finance for the city of Dalhart.
Dr. Christopher Frost brings more than 40 years of experience in higher education to the Strategic Partnerships Inc. (SPI) Team.

Chris held leadership positions at St. Joseph’s College in New York where he served as senior vice president and vice president of academic affairs. In that position, he initiated student success programs and new academic programs, created an online campus, led strategic planning and accreditation processes, and secured major governmental grants to support programs and facilities. In 2017, he joined St. Mary’s University and served as the “founding” dean by transitioning the School of Humanities and Social Sciences into a college.

Earlier in his career, Chris was professor of psychology and director of the University Honors Program at Texas State University where he acquired and secured funding for an honors building, secured a program endowment and externally funded scholarships, and envisioned and developed a series of year-long conversations, lectures, and events, dubbed the “Common Experience.”

Additionally, Chris served as a professor and associate dean of undergraduate studies at San Diego State University. In that position, he spearheaded student success initiatives that earned national acclaim and assisted in the university’s first capital campaign.

Chris also brings extensive international experience to the table, having been a Fulbright Scholar in Romania, international lecturer in Morocco, and Study Abroad Founder-Director in several countries including Mexico and Tanzania.

Throughout his academic career, Chris also served as a professional consultant and maintained membership in numerous professional societies, including the Society for College and University Planning, the Association of American Colleges and Universities, the American Psychological Association, the International Council of Psychologists, and the Fulbright Association where he served as western regional representative.

Chris first attended the U.S. Naval Academy, later completing his undergraduate degree at Baylor University. He holds both a Master of Arts and a doctoral degree from Boston University.
Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) selected Deanna "Dee" Leggett as its new executive vice president of growth and regional development.

Leggett comes to the agency from an engineering firm where she served as the vice president of the south-central region and director of zero-emissions technology. Before joining that firm, she also was chief operations officer at an engineering and consulting, as well as the southwest region vice president of transit contracting and region vice president of an Ohio-based transportation company.
The city of Lufkin named Eddie Aguilar as its city engineer. He is set to take over from Kevin Gee who was promoted to assistant city manager in November 2021.

Aguilar has more than 13 years of experience in municipal engineering with a Fort Worth-area firm. He also worked as a consultant advising on public infrastructure.
Strategic Partnerships Inc. clients will benefit significantly from Dr. Jacqueline Dansby’s expertise in education management practices and abilities.

Jacqueline served in several leadership positions at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, including as executive director, director, associate director, and assistant director of the university’s Upward Bound pre-college programs. In this role, she authored, supervised, and managed several consistently successful grant proposals funded by the U.S. Department of Education in excess of $700,000 annually. Additionally, she presided as chair of the President’s Task Force on Diversity Initiatives and academic affairs, search, and personnel advisory committees among others at St. Mary’s University and was an instructor and adjunct faculty in the university’s sociology, psychology, and criminal justice departments.

During her career, she also served as an adjunct faculty member in the psychology departments at St. Phillip’s and Palo Alto Colleges. In those positions, Jacqueline is a president, past president, and former board member of several organizations including Lambda Beta Chapter, Delta Kappa Gamma Society for Key Women Educators, San Antonio Women’s Hall of Fame, SA 100, and Council for Opportunity in Education in Washington, D.C.

Presenter of numerous keynote addresses and professional workshops, Jacqueline has been featured in Women of Distinction Magazine and Strathmore’s Who’s Who Worldwide where she was recognized as a Woman of Excellence. She was inducted into Leadership America and Leadership Texas and was a recipient of the Marianist Heritage Award and the Alice Franzke Feminist Award from St. Mary’s University.

Jacqueline earned her doctoral degree in educational administration at Texas A&M University and Master of Arts in higher education administration, educational psychology, counseling and guidance, and curriculum and instruction from The University of Texas at San Antonio. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics and chemistry from the University of the Incarnate Word College in San Antonio.
The city of Victoria selected Danielle Williams as its new economic development director, effective later in January.

Williams most recently served as the city’s Main Street Program executive director. Before that, she was Victoria’s assistant director of parks and recreation.
Rivercrest ISD trustees named Tiffany Mabe as the lone finalist for superintendent on January 19. If approved, she will succeed Stanley Jessee who is retiring. 

Mabe currently serves as the district’s director of finance and state and federal programs as well as its testing coordinator. Previously, she was director of state and federal programs for the Region 8 Education Service Center. 
Gov. Greg Abbott announced these appointments and reappointments from January 7-20:

Texas Council for
Developmental Disabilities 
Deborah Carlisle - San Antonio 
Kyle Cox - College Station 
Angela Panzica - Houston 
Jaime Thomas - Abilene 
Amanda Miles - Alvin 
Scott McAvoy - Cedar Park (reappointed) 
Randell Resneder - Lubbock (reappointed) 

Permanent School Fund Corporation Board of Directors 
Todd Williams - Dallas 
Brad Wright - Houston 

Specialty Courts Advisory Council 
Elizabeth Rainey - Midland 
Leslie Robnett - Fort Worth 
Diane Bull - Boerne 
Brent Carr - Fort Worth (reappointed) 
Rebecca DePew - Holland (reappointed) 
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 – Grant Manager (Grant Specialist II)

  • Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs – Homeownership Assistance Fund (HAF) Senior Program Administrator

  • Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs – Compliance Monitor

  • Texas Water Development Board – Financial Analyst I

  • Texas Water Development Board – Help Desk Support

  • Texas Department of Transportation – Transportation Specialist II, III, or IV – Design Division

  • Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts – Tax Auditor Internships

  • Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts – Property Tax Assistance Intern

  • Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts – Law Clerk Internships

  • Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts – Internal Audit Intern

  • Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts – Data Analytics Intern 
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