Volume 20, Issue 4 - Friday, January 28, 2022
By Mary Scott Nabers, CEO of Strategic Partnerships Inc.
Light Detection And Ranging (LiDAR) technology is becoming a common component in our daily lives even though the term remains unfamiliar to many people.

LiDAR uses a beam of airborne laser light to map out ranges in 3-D. These images are integral to construction, engineering, and geographical information systems industries. LiDAR technology is especially useful for many services performed by government agencies as well.

Within California, projects oriented around the two main categories of LiDAR technology— topographic and bathymetric — are on the launch pad for 2022. Bathymetric technology beams light through water to map underwater terrain. It offers high value and distinct advantages for any project related to water-related infrastructure. The California Water Data Consortium recently announced a LiDAR pilot program to coordinate how the data is collected and used within the state. The Consortium will host a project workshop during the first quarter of 2022 to iron out plans for acquiring new LiDAR technology and identifying potential public and private partners.

Northside ISD trustees voted unanimously on January 25 to call a school construction bond referendum for almost $1 billion on the May 7 ballot.

Most of the $992 million in funds requested would go toward improving existing schools with only one new elementary school in the proposal. More than half of the district’s schools are over 20 years old, with the oldest nearly 70 years old.

Among the largest projects proposed for the bond package are a new $45 million elementary school in Alamo Ranch, a $56 million update to Clark High School’s fine arts facilities, and a $24.8 million upgrade to Hobby Middle School magnet facilities.

Classroom, gymnasium, and cafeteria replacements are proposed for several campuses, including Colonies North Elementary School. District libraries would get an $8 million facelift, and $6.8 million would go toward physical education sensory play areas.

In addition to addressing aging schools and infrastructure, other highlights of the bond include enhancing career and technical education (CTE) programs and improving technology, safety, and security across the district.
Justin Crawford, senior consultant at Strategic Partnerships Inc. (SPI), brings an abundance of experience in successfully managing collaborative initiatives between public and private sector firms. His background and the time spent in these endeavors honed a unique set of skills, allowing him to provide valuable insight to clients of SPI.

Justin provided civic outreach support for a large financial services firm for many years. In that role he was responsible for directing the civic engagement program for Texas, Arizona, Louisiana, Colorado, and Oklahoma. He facilitated meetings between internal market executives and local, state, and federal officials.

He also was responsible for all networking activities that involved community organizations, elected officials, non-profits, and stakeholders at all jurisdictional levels. His experience in a large public relations/governmental affairs company early in his career prepared him well and allowed him to develop the unique skills that are required for successful collaborative initiatives between public and private sector entities.

Justin also worked for a leading business advisory firm where he worked with Fortune companies in multiple industries. His position there included providing assistance with crisis management, global media intelligence, government relations, constituency reporting, and analytics. His industry agnostic expertise has played a crucial role in his success.

Prior to joining the SPI Team, Justin launched the first membership-based service and repair company of high-end European vehicles in the United States. His entrepreneurial bent and his tenure as a business owner helped him develop a profound commitment to helping companies of all types grow their business revenues.

Justin holds a master’s degree in political science and bachelor’s degree in mass communications and advertising from Texas State University.
Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and the city of Austin Small Minority Business Resources Department will host a virtual session on an upcoming contracting opportunity.

The online event is scheduled from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. February 10 in advance of opening the solicitation in early March for the Airport Program Management Support Consultants (PMSC) Services contract that will support the Airport Expansion and Development Program (AEDP).

Programs under the AEDP will increase airport capacity by optimizing the Barbara Jordan Terminal and enabling the airport’s future expansion with utility and airfield infrastructure.

Engineering design is needed for the airfield infrastructure, utilities, and drainage in the south airport area. A design request for qualifications (RFQ) is scheduled for release January 31, and the airport plans to release an RFQ for a construction manager at risk in March/April 2022. The project is anticipated to start in summer 2022.

Other AEDP improvements entail building a new central utility plant and electrical substation and removing existing structures to prepare for construction activities. The airport also will prepare a midfield concourse with more than 10 new gates and taxiways.
Institutional construction spending in the U.S. is projected to rebound by 4.4 percent in 2022 and 6 percent in 2023, according to a new report by the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

With a 5 percent decline in construction spending on buildings last year, only retail and other commercial, industrial, and health-care facilities managed spending increases.

The AIA Consensus Construction Forecast polled several construction analysts and financial institutions and advisers who estimated a 5.4 percent overall increase in construction this year and 6.1 percent in 2023.

Amusement and recreation construction projects led the forecast with an anticipated 7.7 percent jump in 2022, followed by a 6 percent rise in 2023.

Health-related construction projects are expected to maintain a steady increase of more than 6 percent in both 2022 and 2023.

Education construction will see a 3.5 increase this year, according to the panel, but the category will benefit from a 6.1 percent increase in 2023.

Only the hotel, religious, and public safety sectors are expected to continue to decline this year. By 2023, all the major commercial, industrial, and institutional categories are projected to see reasonably healthy gains or better.
Bill Sproull
Chairman
Governor's Broadband Development Council
Public career highlights and education: I’ve had a wonderful 40-year career in local, state, and national economic development with an emphasis on technology and public policy. I’ve worked in cities large and small like Dallas, McKinney, and Richardson in Texas. Former Gov. Rick Perry previously appointed me to the board of the Texas Emerging Technology Fund, on which I served for six years and was chair from 2010-2011. My positions as the CEO of a local chamber of commerce and a regional technology business association in Texas have made me acutely aware of trends and opportunities in broadband and many other technologies here in the Lone Star state.

What I like best about my public service is: Getting to see the results of my service in terms of job creation, capital investments, new tax base, and enhancement of the quality of life for the communities, region, and state that I serve. I can literally see the results.

The best advice I’ve received is: The harder you work, the luckier you get.

My favorite ways to de-stress are: Watch a really great TV series, play golf, cook, travel on vacation, and be with my family.

People might be surprised to know that I: Learned to speak passing French when I grew up in Belgium for a time while my father served in NATO there.

One thing I wish more people knew about the Governor's Broadband Development Council is: How we were able to come together as a group virtually during the pandemic, get to know each other without ever having been able to meet in person, still get our work done, and lay the groundwork for House Bill 5 that created the state’s first broadband office, first broadband plan, and program.
Friendswood ISD is set to release two school construction projects for bidding in February and March that voters approved as part of the district’s $127 million bond election in 2020.

The district is planning $53.37 million in improvements to Friendswood High School that will include a new auditorium and competition gym. Bidding is set to open on February 2, followed by a pre-bid conference on February 10. Renovations are set to begin this April and conclude by December 2023.

A new Cline Elementary School will be built for $44.6 million in the West Ranch subdivision. Bidding is anticipated to begin in March with construction commencing soon afterward. Substantial completion is scheduled for summer 2023.
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) will host a non-mandatory pre-proposal conference at 10 a.m. February 7 as it prepares to contract for statewide water resource documentation and permitting services.

TxDOT’s Environmental Affairs Division will require these services as the agency develops transportation facilities under federal and state statutes.

The state will award multiple indefinite deliverable contracts. Services will be purchased with state funds and performed under work authorizations issued by the Environmental Affairs Division.

Services may be required for projects statewide and will be performed on a cost reimbursement basis limited to a cap established in each work authorization.

Maximum amount payable will be $350,000.
The Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR) soon will partner with a Texas public university to establish the pilot Regional Security Operations Center (RSOC) to provide cybersecurity support to local governments.

Created under SB 475, the objective for RSOC is to provide for “boots on the ground” support close to local governments that need assistance with major cybersecurity incidents, as well as network security infrastructure that local governments can use.

After collecting expressions of interest from universities, DIR will select one of them as a partner in operating the RSOC and provide security services and incident response to eligible regional entities. Additionally, the RSOC will also provide university students with hands-on experience to strengthen the cybersecurity workforce.

University responses are due February 28, and finalist interviews and partner selection are expected in April or May.

SB 475 allows DIR to establish additional RSOCs if the department determines the first center successfully provides eligible entities with the contracted services. DIR envisions eventually expanding to multiple RSOCs located at universities in each of the Comptroller of Public Accounts’ 12 economic regions across Texas.
At the Kerrville City Council meeting in February, councilmembers will likely consider a general bond issuance to finance a new public safety facility.

In January, the city’s Public Safety Facility Bond Committee recommended the council move forward with a $45 million bond election to fund the construction of a 69,000-square-foot facility.

The new building would house the Kerrville Police Department, the city fire department administration, and the municipal court in addition to the emergency operations center and the information technology department.

Committee members said the one-story facility would meet the city’s needs for at least the next 15 years. As proposed, the facility would require 7 acres of land.
Designs are underway for major road reconstruction and improvement projects in Mesquite.

Planners have reached 60 percent design completion for the reconstruction of U.S. Highway 80 from Town East Boulevard to Belt Line Road.

Work includes reconstruction of the interchange with Interstate 635 and improvements on I-635 between Town Centre Drive and U.S. 80. The project will reconstruct and widen the freeway and improve all interchanges with intersecting city streets including Gus Thomasson Road, Galloway Road, and Belt Line Road.

TxDOT’s consultant is currently designing the Mesquite section of the project, which is approximately 80 percent complete, and plans for utility coordination were provided to the city in March 2021. Mesquite’s consultant is reviewing the plans for potential utility conflicts, and the city will make necessary adjustments by early 2023. TxDOT’s land acquisition agent is completing property acquisition.

The city also submitted paving and drainage plans for the Faithon P. Lucas Boulevard improvement project to Dallas County during a call for projects, which the county approved for $12.86 million.

Per the Dallas County Major Capital Improvement Program, the county will participate in 50 percent of the improvements with a $6.43 million match.

The county completed a plan design in 2015 that would widen the existing two-lane asphalt roadway to a four-lane divided concrete section. An alignment study of the preliminary design plan will determine which aspects of the 2015 plan need to be updated.

A revised submittal to the 30 percent conceptual design is expected soon, and the final design contract will be sent to the City Council in February so construction can start in conjunction with the Solterra development.
Austin Community College (ACC) is encouraging vendors to participate in a non-mandatory pre-proposal conference at 1:30 p.m. February 7 as it plans to replace two online systems for its police department.

ACC is seeking a more robust Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) and Records Management System (RMS) solution that will provide scalability, performance, and continued assurance of availability that will address both operational and compliance needs consistently, accurately, and effectively.

The selected vendor must have Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) approved certification, and the solution should have the ability to share data with other law enforcement agencies and criminal justice systems.

In addition to the CAD and RMS, the services and scope of work must include professional implementation, user training, and annual maintenance and support.

The anticipated contract start date is May 1.
The vision for the future Anna Community Library is taking shape during preliminary discussions and public meetings overseen by a library task force.

Voters approved a $22 million bond election in May 2021 for the design and construction of a library with multipurpose recreation, meeting, and classroom space. The new building will be located on the northeast corner of the municipal campus complex on State Highway 5/North Powell Parkway.

Earlier in January, the city’s library task force started discovery tours of libraries to see various amenities, recent renovations, layouts, technology, services, and programs offered by regional cities. The task force will tour additional facilities in the coming weeks, including in Austin and New Braunfels, before hosting a series of virtual and hybrid public input meetings in February.

City officials estimated a project timeline of 12 months for design and 12 to 18 months of construction.
The Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC) will host a pre-proposal conference at 9:30 a.m. February 10 for a livable centers study in Clute.

H-GAC is seeking consulting services to conduct a study and develop a plan to further the goals of the Livable Centers program in the city of Clute, the sponsor organization.

As this project will require a range of research, public engagement, transportation, and planning expertise, H-GAC will allow a team of specialized firms to develop a plan that addresses the application of the Livable Centers program goals in the specified study area.

The overall goal of the study is to create a Livable Centers plan for the study area that will define new, context-sensitive standards for the city of Clute that foster multi-modal access and connectivity, a mix of land uses, a diversity of housing options, and a sense of place.

Walkability, connection within and between nodes of community activity, and built environment strategies are desired in order to support local economic development and employment.

Work on the study is scheduled to begin in July and to be completed within 10 months of the start date or completed contract.
Two constitutional amendments on the ballot for May 7 are aimed at reducing the impact of property taxes assessed on the elderly and disabled.

In its second special session, the 87th Legislature proposed a constitutional amendment (Proposition 1) authorizing the Legislature to reduce a limitation on the total amount of property taxes that may be imposed for general elementary and secondary public school purposes on the residence homestead of a person who is elderly or disabled.

Its implementation would reflect any statutory reduction in the maximum compressed rate of the maintenance and operations taxes imposed for those purposes on the person’s homestead from the preceding tax year.

In its third special session, the Legislature proposed a constitutional amendment increasing the amount of the residence homestead exemption from property taxes for public school purposes from $25,000 to $40,000.

Texans will have the opportunity to approve the two amendments with a majority vote.
Texas Speaker of the House Dade Phelan promoted Enrique Marquez as chief of staff, following the departure of Julia Rathgeber.

Marquez had been serving as Phelan’s communications director. Before that, he was a principal at a public affairs firm and chief program and services officer at the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.
The University of Texas (UT) System named Jonathan Pruitt as the system’s new executive vice chancellor for business affairs. 

Pruitt is currently the chief operating officer for the University of North Carolina (UNC) System. He joined the UNC System in 2006 and has held senior positions in finance, operations, and business. He also served as vice chancellor for finance and operations at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Lewisville ISD trustees on January 25 selected Dr. Lori Rapp as the lone finalist to be the district’s superintendent of schools. If approved, she would take over from Interim Superintendent Gary Patterson, who filled the position when Dr. Kevin Rogers retired. 

Rapp most recently served as the district’s deputy superintendent. Before that, she was chief learning and teaching officer, executive director of learning design and support, director of pre-K-12 curriculum, and classroom teacher. 
The city of Laredo named Samuel Keith Selman as interim city manager on January 24. He will succeed former City Manager Robert Eads who resigned. 

Selman is currently retired from the city of Corpus Christi where he served as assistant city manager in 2019 and interim city manager in 2020. He worked for the city of Laredo as the director of planning and the Metropolitan Planning Organization, among other positions. Before relocating to Corpus Christi, he also served as city manager for the city of Clyde. 
David Willard, former city manager of Longview, started his tenure as interim city manager for Marshall. 

Willard previously served as Hutchinson county judge, Borger city manager, Odessa assistant city manager, and interim city manager of Ennis and Dayton. 
The city of Clifton named Chris Blanton as its new police chief on January 21. He will succeed former Police Chief Mark Leger who accepted a position as an investigator with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. 

Blanton most recently served as a police officer with Clifton Police Department. 
Gov. Greg Abbott announced these appointments and reappointments from January 21-28:

Texas Forensic
Science Commission 
(reappointed)
Jeffrey Barnard - Dallas
Michael Coble - Fort Worth
Mark Daniel - Fort Worth
Sarah Kerrigan - The Woodlands
Jarvis Parsons - Bryan

State Independent Living Council 
Heisha Freeman - Dallas
Michael Garrett - Missouri City
David Lunt - Haslet
Janet McSorley - Austin
Joseph Rogers - Amarillo (reappointed)
Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas – Texas Economic Indicators

North American Council for Freight Efficiency – Run on Less: Electric Report
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:

  • Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) – Program Manager for Product Development Research

  • Texas Department of Information Resources – General Counsel IV

  • Texas Department of Information Resources – Purchaser III

  • Texas Department of Information Resources – Programmer VI

  • Texas Department of Information Resources – Systems Administrator VI

  • Texas Department of Information Resources – Program Specialist VI

  • Texas Department of Information Resources – IT Business Analyst IV

  • Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs – Senior Financial Analyst

  • Texas Department of Transportation – Deputy District Engineer

  • Texas Department of Transportation – Design Engineer Supervisor I or II (Transportation Engineer Supervisor I/II)

  • Office of the Texas Governor – Sexual Assault Survivors Task Force (SASTF) Associate Administrator (Program Specialist V)

  • Office of the Texas Governor – Advertising Project Coordinator (Marketing Specialist IV)

  • Texas Health and Human Services Commission – Medicaid/CHIP Services – Contract Administration and Provider Monitoring (CAPM) Unit

  • Texas Water Development Board – Assistant Deputy Executive Administrator (Director IV)

  • Texas Water Development Board – Budget Director (Director II)

  • Texas Water Development Board – Training and Organizational Development Specialist (Training and Development Specialist V)

  • Texas Water Development Board – Outlays Reviewer (Program Specialist II)
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