Volume 20, Issue 26 - Friday, July 1, 2022
By Mary Scott Nabers, CEO of Strategic Partnerships Inc.
Throughout the country, health-care facilities are receiving an abundance of attention, and large construction, renovation, and expansion projects are being announced weekly.

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission is partnering with The University of Texas Southwestern Dallas to oversee development of a new state hospital in North Texas. When completed, the new facility will serve as a psychiatric hospital and expand the state’s health-care capacity by 200 beds. Initial estimates place construction costs at approximately $283 million, but inflation and supply chain issues could drive the cost higher. The goal is to have the new hospital operational by 2025.

Officials representing the El Paso County Hospital District plan to issue $400 million in bonds that will not require voter approval. The bond funds will be used for improvements at the University Medical Center of El Paso. This initiative will include several phases, including expansions of the hospital’s emergency room, cancer center, children’s inpatient department, operating space, and ambulatory surgery services. The bond issuance also will fund construction of a separate neighborhood health clinic in central El Paso. Preliminary plans for that project include 50 exam rooms for primary care and an urgent care center. The facility will provide services to El Paso’s Central and Mission Valley areas.

Harris County commissioners will identify flagship projects in the next few weeks leading up to a potential order in mid-August for a proposed $1 billion bond package in November.

The Commissioners Court in December 2021 requested that the county administrator investigate possible bond elections in 2022 to fund capital improvements.

At a June 28 Commissioners Court meeting, the county engineer provided a high-level overview of a preliminary bond package that would provide $700 million for road-related projects, including $300 million in general road bonds, $200 million for neighborhood street drainage projects, $100 million to rehabilitate roads, $50 for Vision Zero initiatives, and $50 million for multi-modal transit.

Of Harris County’s 6,600 total road miles, 588 miles are in poor to failed condition and 260 miles have congested conditions, according to a 2020 county assessment. The county has identified $675 million to repair roads in poor or fair condition. Overall, engineers estimate $1 billion is needed to reconstruct county roads in failed to very poor condition.

Funding for drainage projects would reduce flooding risk for about 20,000 people and approximately 4,000 structures. Additional bonding authority would allow the program to continue and keep resources mobilized.

If voters approve $50 million as part of this proposed bond package, the county, which experiences an average of 430 traffic-related fatalities per year, would apply the funds toward reducing accidents on a network of 150 miles designated as high-injury.

Another $50 million would go to multi-modal transit improvements designed to increase the percentage of county residents with access to safe walking, safe bicycling, and existing mass transit in addition to bringing sidewalks and ramps into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Parks and trails projects could comprise a significant portion of the proposed package with $200 million in funding. Project opportunities include floodable parks, inclusive parks for people with disabilities, trail projects to increase connectivity, and public-private partnerships.

Commissioners also will consider $100 million for public safety facilities and technology improvements. Example projects include a water training facility, additional courtrooms, improved technology and data systems for court management and crime prevention, and backup generators and other resilience improvements for county facilities.

In its next two meetings, the court could set a date for a special meeting between August 12 and August 22 to consider a bond order.
Kerrville councilmembers on June 28 approved a design-build delivery method for construction of the city’s new public safety facility.

Voters authorized $45 million in May for a 69,000-square-foot building.

The new facility will 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.

Kerrville soon will hire an owner’s representative before issuing a request for qualifications (RFQ). After forming a shortlist of contractors from the RFQ, the city plans to release a request for proposals inviting only those firms to submit bids.

City officials anticipate it will be at least three months before starting the design phase.
Kati Taylor has joined the Strategic Partnerships team as chief of staff, a new position for the company. Kati is a professional project manager (PMP) with experience in higher education, nonprofit fundraising, software development, and legal research.

Most recently, she served as operational and strategic planner for a capital management firm. Kati also has worked as a program manager, librarian, and archivist at The University of Texas at Austin (UT-Austin). Prior to her tenure at the university, Kati served as associate manager of planned giving at the New York Public Library.

Before earning a Bachelor of Arts in English from St. Edward’s University and a Master of Science in information studies from UT-Austin, Kati served in the U.S. Navy.

As chief of staff, Kati will provide executive assistance to the CEO and COO and play a leadership role in overseeing various initiatives and programs for the company.
Travis County Healthcare District, doing business as Central Health, invites vendors interested in providing password manager software to attend a virtual pre-proposal conference at 10 a.m. July 11.

Central Health seeks a password manager tool that will allow its users to securely store and generate highly complex passwords.

The Central Health Enterprise requires licenses for its employees that have numerous and varied user credentials that, if compromised, pose a risk to the cybersecurity of its environment.

Full-time employee count will require a minimum of 1,500 licenses, and the district requires additional flexibility to add 500 additional licenses at periodic intervals to include temporary contractors as well as withdraw licenses when necessary.

In addition to user needs, Central Health Joint Technology requires a tool that allows visibility into user engagement in safe password practices to enable its governance of password manager usage.

Its highest priority is to acquire a tool that improves password practices including a decrease in duplicative passwords, generation of highly complex passwords, and security of shared and individual user credentials.
Anne Temple Peters 
Executive Director
Texas Ethics Commission
Public career highlights and education: After getting a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Texas A&M University and a Juris Doctor from The University of Texas School of Law, I worked for the Texas Legislative Council. In addition to drafting bills and providing other legal services for the legislature, I enjoyed being involved in the Council’s new attorney training program and speaking publicly on topics ranging from drafting plain-language voter propositions to the ongoing statutory revision project. My work on campaign finance, elections, and lobby law legislation led me to the Texas Ethics Commission, where I’ve been since 2019.

What I like best about public service is: Working with others toward a common goal. It’s easier to work together if you know what you’re working toward, and each public servant has a mission to fulfill. The mission of the Texas Ethics Commission is to promote public confidence in government, and that mission drives us.

The best advice I’ve received is: From my first boss — I was answering the phones at a pizza delivery restaurant, and he told me to smile when I’m speaking on the phone. It’s simple advice, but I’ve used it nearly every day since.

My favorite way to de-stress is: To go for a swim. Unless it’s cold, in which case I prefer to bake something.

People might be surprised to know that I: Have a huge collection of nail polish. I love painting designs on my fingernails. I usually remove the “nail art” for work and wear something professional during the week.

One thing I wish more people knew about the Texas Ethics Commission is: That we have staff dedicated to answering questions. Whether you’re a member of the public looking for more information or someone who needs help filing a report, you’re encouraged to contact us for assistance.
Mary Scott Nabers, president and CEO of Strategic Partnerships, will be a keynote speaker at the North Texas Commission’s second annual North Texas Infrastructure Summit on July 28 at the Hurst Conference Center.

This full-day summit will feature speakers and panelists discussing critical infrastructure and how it impacts business in North Texas. Topics will include broadband expansion, electric reliability, regional water supply, sustainability, the use of public-private partnerships (P3s), and more.

Mary will give the afternoon keynote addressing economic development and P3s at 2:30 p.m.

Register for the event here.
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) will host an optional pre-bid conference at 9 a.m. July 13 for the construction of a water treatment plant at the Jim Ferguson Unit in Midway.

For security and public safety reasons, TDCJ will conduct only one site visit, so bidders are encouraged to attend.

This project consists of constructing a new plant to provide drinking water. The new facility will treat ground water from existing and future wells to remove hydrogen sulfide through aeration and provide disinfection.

A chemical and control building to house the electrical/control room and chemical feed equipment is included in the project scope.

This project includes a backup diesel generator, electric power supply, transformer and switchgear, high-service pumps, transfer pumps, and the construction of two 150,000-gallon steel tanks.

The existing water treatment plant facilities shall be demolished upon completion of the new system.
Victoria County will apply for a federal Hazard Mitigation Grant to help establish an emergency operations center (EOC) at the regional airport.

The Victoria Regional Emergency Operations Safe Room Project is estimated to cost $7.6 million. The grant would provide 90 percent of the cost, or $6.9 million. The county would be responsible for the remaining 10 percent of the funds.

Several state agencies will use the EOC, including the Texas Division of Emergency Management, Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Task Force 1/ Search and Rescue Teams, U.S. Coast Guard, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Texas A&M Forest Service, and Texas Department of Transportation.

These agencies will use the facility as a staging area for life-safety responses and recovery operations before, during, and after a hurricane. The facility also would serve as a training, exercise, and emergency operations setting.
The city of Pflugerville and contractors will launch the first phase of the multigenerational recreation center planned as part of Pflugerville’s downtown expansion. As part of this phase, participants will examine the best uses of the site for input on public-private partnership (P3) possibilities.

This phase also will determine the project concept, including facility size, estimation of the total project cost, project schedule, and program of the new multigenerational recreation center.

Consideration of a 120,000-square-foot recreation center, with programming yet to be decided, as well as phasing considerations including a 50-meter indoor pool, will be provided during this phase. A conceptual master plan for renovating the city’s existing recreation center is included.

Phase one must be completed by November to prepare for the next stage in the project.
The Community Action Corporation of South Texas (CACOST) has announced a rebid of its solicitation for cloud-based data center services with a new deadline of 11:59 p.m. July 15.

CACOST is seeking proposals from qualified providers for the implementation and management of a cloud-based data center infrastructure that will be used throughout all agency locations.

The desired solution must:
  • Be managed as one solution. 
  • Have a fully hosted private cloud infrastructure. 
  • Have multiple data centers for security and accessibility measures. 
  • Use a cloud migration tool to assess the best course of action for data and application migration. 
  • Be able to properly configure identity and access management to cloud data. 
  • Provide options for rightsizing to ensure maximum utilization and cost savings throughout the term of the contract. 
  • Be able to integrate with Meraki SD-WAN. 
College Station Independent School District (ISD) trustees approved the use of a construction manager at risk (CMAR) to build the district’s new agricultural science facility.

At their June 28 meeting, the board voted for the CMAR delivery method based on the merits of a guaranteed maximum price for the project and familiarity with the process from the district’s previous bond programs. The CTE Center was part of the $78.12 million bond package that voters passed in November 2021.

The estimated $6.2 million agricultural science building will be located at a site to be determined as part of a future and more comprehensive districtwide Career and Technology Education (CTE) complex.

As part of the first phase of the complex, the “Ag Barn” will house student animal projects, support areas, a practice arena, and classroom space.

Design work is already underway with input from district administrators. The project is scheduled for completion by winter 2023.
A University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) steering committee released a draft report featuring three possible scenarios for the future of the Institute of Texan Cultures (ITC).

The report includes three feasible scenarios to advise UTSA leadership on the future of the ITC: relocate the center from the Texas Pavilion and Hemisfair district; relocate it from the Texas Pavilion and remain in the Hemisfair district; or remain at its current location in the Texas Pavilion.

A local firm is spearheading the redevelopment of the Hemisfair Park Area, a master-planned project focused on transforming the center city. One of three UTSA task forces considered how the ITC contributes to the vision of Hemisfair and the ongoing revitalization of downtown.

Ultimately, input gleaned from community meetings and a survey that concludes July 12 will impact the roadmap UTSA leadership draws to navigate the ITC’s future.
Strategic Partnerships Inc. (SPI) consultant Victor Garza amassed an abundance of experience from his career spanning numerous industry sectors. He began in economic development and real estate, but he has also served in local government and worked with nonprofits. Victor also is well acquainted with public-private partnerships, and in addition to all this, he has had a career as an attorney.

Victor’s career provided opportunities to work throughout Texas, but a large part of his time was spent in the central and southern areas of the state. Previously, he served as executive director for the Refugio County Community Development Foundation and later worked with the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service as the adjunct program specialist of economic development. He served the city of New Braunfels as the economic development manager and held the title of director of business retention and expansion for the Greater San Marcos Partnership.

Victor is a certified economic developer through the International Economic Development Council and a licensed attorney in the state of Texas. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from The University of Texas at San Antonio and a Juris Doctor from the Syracuse University College of Law.
Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar announced the creation of the Government Affairs and Programs Division on June 29 and the appointment of Nikki Cobb as its first director.

Cobb has led the Comptroller’s legislative efforts as director of Legislative Affairs since joining the office in May 2018. Previously, she served for 10 years in various capacities in the Texas House of Representatives.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner appointed Will Jones as interim finance director and Jedediah Greenfield as interim chief procurement officer.

Jones will replace Tantri Erlinawati-Emo who is leaving municipal government for a role in the nonprofit sector. Greenfield will maintain the interim role as the administration conducts a search to replace outgoing CPO Jerry Adams who plans to retire in July.
Jones is a finance leader with 18 years of experience in budget management, process improvement, financial analysis, and long-range forecasting. He has served the city of Houston since 2004, most recently as deputy director for the Financial Planning and Analysis Division.
Greenfield has served the city since 2006, most recently as assistant director of procurement and warehouse services for Houston Public Works. He also has worked in the city’s Fleet Management Division and the Mayor’s Office.
The city of Decatur selected Nate Mara as its new city manager. He will succeed City Manager Brett Shannon who is retiring after 37 years with the city.

Mara currently serves as the city’s fire chief. Previously, he was deputy fire chief, training officer, and captain with the Decatur Fire Department.
Medina Valley Independent School District (ISD) trustees named Scott Caloss the lone finalist to be the district’s next superintendent. If approved for the position, he would take over from current Superintendent Kenneth Rohrbach who plans to retire this year.

Caloss is the current superintendent of Wills Point ISD. Before that, he was superintendent of Poth ISD.
The city of University Park named Shanna Sims-Bradish as assistant city manager, effective July 5.

Sims-Bradish has served as an assistant city manager with the city of Richardson since 2012. Her public service includes similar roles with the cities of Farmers Branch and Carrollton as well as the town of Addison.
The city of Sherman selected Jason Jeffcoat as its new chief of police. He succeeded former Police Chief Zachary Flores who became the city’s executive director of public safety in April.

Jeffcoat previously served as assistant police chief, lieutenant, sergeant, and corporal for the Sherman Police Department.
The Texas Public Purchasers Association (TxPPA), the largest association of purchasing leaders and decision makers in Texas, will gather for the 2022 Summer Momentum Conference and Exposition from July 11-14 in Galveston.

“Cruising into the Depths of Procurement” will cover various purchasing topics such as:
  • Sustainability. 
  • Negotiation in the New Age. 
  • Statewide HUB Program. 
  • Leasing pros and cons. 

Keynote speakers include Craig Passey and Ron Holifield.

TxPPA’s annual conference also will provide many opportunities for networking and vendor interaction. The association’s membership is comprised of small to very large municipalities, counties, K-12, universities, state agencies, and community colleges.

Gov. Greg Abbott announced these appointments and reappointments from June 24-30:

Finance Commission of Texas 
Bob Borochoff - Houston (reappointed)
Phillip Holt - Bonham (reappointed)
Deborah Scanlon - Missouri City (reappointed)
Marty Green - Dallas

Economic Incentive
Oversight Board 
Dan West - Houston

Texas Commission of Licensing And Regulation 
Lori High - Spicewood
Rick Figueroa - Brenham (reappointed)

State Board of Veterinary
Medical Examiners 
Steven Golla - New Braunfels

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

Board for Lease of
Texas Department of
Criminal Justice Lands 
Erin Lunceford - Houston (reappointed)
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