Volume 2, Issue 31December 1, 2010
State spending on college construction continues

Mary Scott NabersPublic spending is being curtailed throughout the country...but not on college campuses. Interestingly enough, spending on college construction tends to rise in both good and bad times and to fall when state spending and budgets are fairly stable. A recent study from the University of Illinois suggests that one reason is because higher education construction usually is financed through debt and the projects are not dependent upon taxpayer funding.


Funding for college operations will definitely be down in 2011 but the study concludes that college and university funding will not fall by the same degree as other public entities.



Loans to enhance electric service
Funding available for housing rehab
Upcoming education opportunities
Other upcoming opportunities
Where are they now?
Opportunity of the week
Calendar of events
Strategic Partnerships, Inc. provides opportunity identification for all 50 states. Click here for more information.
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Millions in loans will enhance electric service in rural areas


Reliable, affordable service goal of funding for 50 entities in 31 states

Electric UpgradesConstruction and repair of more than 15,000 miles of distribution and transmission lines and a more than $310 million investment in renewable energy will result from guaranteed loans administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The money will be awarded to 50 rural utilities and cooperatives in 31 states. More than 183,000 rural electric cooperative customers will benefit from the projects funded.


"Reliable" and "affordable" are the key words in making electric power available to homes and businesses in rural America, according to USDA officials. They note that affordable rates and reliable service will have a positive economic effect on the areas served by the loans. The loan total - $2.9 billion - will be used for replacing electric transmission and distribution lines and generating equipment. The funds also will address energy conservation and renewable energy projects.


Some of the projects to benefit from the loans include:

  • A more than $53 million loan to the LaPlata Electric Association, Inc. in Colorado and New Mexico will be used to build 386 miles of new distribution line, make improvements to 38 miles of distribution line and to make other system improvements to a system that will serve nearly 3,000 new and existing customers;
  • A $180 million loan will go to the Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative serving Virginia and West Virginia to serve more than 53,000 new and existing customers by more than 2,800 miles of new distribution line, improvements to 11 miles of distribution line and other system improvements;
  • A loan of $405 million to the Basin Electric Power Cooperative that serves customers in North Dakota, Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, South Dakota and Wyoming to finance the Deer Creek Station Energy Facility projects, a natural gas-fired, combined-cycle generating plant;
  • A loan of $88 million to Cloverland Electric Cooperative in Michigan to build 860 miles of new distribution line, make improvements to 55 miles of distribution line and other system improvements; and
  • More than $267 million to the South Mississippi Electric Power Assn. to add two new combustion turbines and install new heat recovery steam generators to existing steam units.

For a complete list of the rural utilities that were selected for funding, click here and look under "Recent Reports."


Applications being sought for loans for housing rehab


More than $14 million to be made available to nonprofits, public entities for re-loan

Dallas TonsagerNonprofits and qualifying public entities are being encouraged by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to apply for loans to rehabilitate multi-family housing in rural areas of the country. The funding - a total of $14 million - is being made available through USDA's Rural Development Preservation Revolving Loan Fund.

Citing the "critical role" rural communities in America play in the national economy, Agriculture Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager (pictured) said the loans are being provided to give Americans "access to safe, affordable, decent housing" and to "finance repairs to multi-family rental properties to make it easier for the people who work in rural America to live there, too."

The funds will benefit housing for low- and very low-income rural residents. The funds will go to the nonprofits and the public entities and be re-loaned to organizations with existing qualified rural development loans. Loans will be for 30 years at 1 percent interest. The maximum loan is $2.125 million. Applications will be accepted through Jan. 10, 2011. For more information, click here.


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Upcoming education opportunities


Bond issue being planned for school district in Washington
Steve McKenna

A $46.4 million bond issue will be facing voters in the Cascade (Washington) school district in February. The bond issue will be a pared down version of one previously proposed that carried a price tag of between $63 million and $72 million. This issue will include a new high school and remodeling of other facilities. A new elementary school project that was part of the original proposal has been left off the February ballot. Cascade Superintendent Steve McKenna (pictured) said there was a "fair amount of support with the concept of keeping two schools small in their current location and current design."  The pared down version of the bond will include a new high school, a performing arts auditorium and improvements to the elementary schools, Icicle River Middle School, Discovery alternative school and sports facilities. 


Failed bond vote in Michigan district coming back up to voters in February
A special election has been called by the Saline (Michigan) Board of Education as school officials try once again to pass a bond election that will provide for $22 million in school improvements. The bond issue for a similar package in August failed. While the package is similar to the one that failed in August, the main difference is the dollar amount has been lowered from $25 million to $22 million.  


First in series of five bond packages aims at modernization, security of schools

Modernization and expansion are the goal of a $69.6 million bond election being put before voters in the Central Valley (Washington) School District in February. The bond issue is one of five that make up the district's new 25-year Capital Facilities Plan. Among the projects that would benefit from the bond: modernization and expansion of the Evergreen Middle School, Opportunity Elementary and Chester Elementary; modernization at the Ponderosa and Greenacres elementaries; building a new elementary school at Mission and Long; and providing for a district-wide parent emergency notification system and installation of access-control and security camera systems at all schools.


Mississippi universities building fast to keep up with student enrollment
Dan JonesOfficials of both the University of Mississippi and Mississippi State University (MSU) are having a hard time finding enough beds for a burgeoning student population. As a result, state officials have approved both universities moving forward with multi-million-dollar residence halls. "We Mark Keenumwant to be sure we have enough campus housing available," Ole Miss Chancellor Dan Jones (right) said. MSU President Mark Keenum (left) echoed his sentiments. "We clearly have a need," he said. The state's College Board has approved MSU's next residence hall project is the $23.6 million Arbor Hall, which will be using almost the same plans as were used on the new 350-bed residence hall built on campus recently. The facility is expected to be open by the fall 2012 semester and will have approximately 388 beds. At Mississippi State, some 300 students seeking housing this fall were denied because there were not enough rooms. This in spite of the university having built five dorms since 2005. MSU recently opened a 250-bed residence hall. All of the new dormitory rooms there feature card-key access, larger rooms and private baths. Both universities set records with the number or freshmen enrolled this fall.


New York school district passes bond; prepares for upgrades, repairs
Following recent passage of two propositions, officials of the Malverne (New York) Union Free School District are preparing for upgrades and repairs at several of the district's schools. The $14.1 million educational and facilities bond will provide for upgrades and repairs at the Downing Primary and Davison Avenue Intermediary schools. Those repairs will account for $9.9 million of the proposition one funds. Proposition two funds of $4.2 million will be used for repairs at the high school athletic facilities and locker rooms.

Iowa school district to put $16.1 million bond issue before voters in December
The North Polk (Iowa) Community School District will float a bond issue in Dec. 7, the proceeds of which would be used for facility funding. The $16.1 million bond issue would build a new school for grades 9-12 near the existing junior and senior high site. The remainder of the funds for the $24 million project would come from the one-cent sales tax receipts.


UC Berkeley pledges campus funds toward $96 million art museum
UC Berkeley has pledged to throw $20 million in campus funds into the pot to help build a new $96 million art museum. The current 40-year-old UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive was declared seismically unsound and a proposal to retrofit the building at a cost of $70 million seemed particularly high. Instead, officials opted to build a new facility on university land in the downtown Berkeley area. The economy was blamed when fundraisers fell short of their $100 million goal and the decision was made instead to refurbish the old UC printing plant into a museum.


New Jersey school district planning to take $32.5 million proposal to voters
A $32.5 million school bond issue will be put before voters in the Woodbridge (New Jersey) School District in December. The bond issue would replace roofs on 22 of the district's schools and install energy-producing and energy-efficient solar panels on 21 other schools.


Council approves resolution for bonds for school construction in Virginia
The Falls Church (Virginia) City Council recently approved a resolution authorizing the city to seek $5.95 million in Quality School Construction Bonds to be used for the renovation and expansion of Thomas Jefferson Elementary School. The funds would allow for the addition of 12 classrooms, elimination of trailers being used for classrooms and expansion of the cafeteria.


Portland schools seeking approval of $548 million bond issue to renovate schools
Carole SmithThe Portland (Oregon) Public Schools are planning a $548 million bond issue in May that would renovate eight schools and upgrade 75 more, according to Superintendent Carole Smith (pictured). Two of every three dollars from the bond issue would go to eight schools - Jefferson, Cleveland and Roosevelt high schools, Laurelhurst, Faubion and Rigler K-8 schools, Markham Elementary and Marysville School. Those schools would maintain their historic exteriors, but be modernized elsewhere with restructured classrooms and meeting areas, technology upgrades and updated classrooms for every high school. Safety improvements would also be made and schools would be made to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Other projects would be covering play areas at elementary schools, providing new science labs for middle school grades and updating high school classrooms.


Funding approved for feasibility study for Massachusetts school building project
Following action during a town meeting, funding was approved for a feasibility study for a building project at Penn Brook School in Massachusetts. Those attending and voting saw photos of the current aging building that has an aging roof that will soon need to be replaced, inadequate electrical systems, limited space and an exterior that needs work. Officials will now work toward getting the feasibility study started and then hire a project manager and solicit bids from architects. The study will likely take about 12-18 months. The town would then have to take up the funding issues for a construction project.


Architectural firm hired to design Penn State's new ice arena
Penn State University has hired an architect to design the university's new ice arena. The arena to be built will support the men's and women's ice hockey and figure skating teams. The architects will design a 200,000-square-foot multipurpose ice arena that will cost $75 million and will be located on the University Park campus. 


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Delaware officials lay out plans for repairing leaks in 85-mile aqueduct
Cas HollowayThe Delaware Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has announced plans to repair leaks in the 85-mile Delaware Aqueduct, which carries half of the city's drinking water - more than 500 million gallons per day - to more than 8 million residents of New York City and 1 million nearby county residents. DEP will build a three-mile bypass tunnel around a portion of the aqueduct that is leaking and repair part of the leaking structure from inside the existing tunnel. The bypass tunnel project is expected to break ground in 2013 and be completed in 2019. The project is expected to cost $1.2 billion and water projects to supplement the city water supply during that period will cost approximately $900 million. "Ensuring the integrity of New York City's vital infrastructure is fundamental to our long-term growth and prosperity," said Environmental Protection Commissioner Cas Holloway (pictured). DEP already has committed $300 million toward determining the scope and location of the leaks, designing a solution and beginning preliminary work on the project.


Bids for variety of products, services in El Paso area
A number of bid opportunities are now available in the El Paso area. Among them are: 

  • Janitorial services for the Upper Rio Grande Workforce Development Board;
  • Audio-visual equipment for the El Paso Independent School District;
  • Construction of an addition to an elementary school in the El Paso ISD;
  • District-wide trash removal services for the El Paso Community College District;
  • RFQ for qualifications for professional environmental services through the El Paso ISD;
  • Child care services for the El Paso ISD;
  • Charter bus services for the Ysleta ISD;
  • Construction of a new overpass structure and ramps in El Paso County through the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT);
  • Janitorial-ground maintenance in Hudspeth County through TxDOT; Rehabilitation - overlay, sidewalks, ADA ramps in Culberson County through TxDOT;
  • Improvements to Fine Arts Costume Shop at The University of Texas at El Paso;
  • New 12-passenger van and one SUV for The University of Texas at El Paso;
  • Custodial services from service-disabled, veteran-owned small businesses for U.S. Army Reserve Command in El Paso.  

Stimulus funds to pay for new roof on Centre County, Pennsylvania, facility
Rich RogersRich RogersCentre County, Pennsylvania, officials will use a $1.373 million loan to re-roof the Centre Crest Nursing Home. The funding, part of the federal stimulus package, will be paid back over 11 years at a rate of 3.79 percent interest. Commissioner Rich Rogers (pictured) said the county only had until the end of the year to commit the funds to a project. The county will only have to pay back approximately $300,000 of the $547,000 interest. The funds will put a new roof on the county-owned nursing home and part of the roof will be rebuilt with a slant to help protect against future leaks. The project also will include heating, ventilation and air conditioning work and some minor repairs inside the building. Bids for the new roof are expected to go out in January with construction expected by next spring.


Bid opportunities available in New Mexico
A number of bid opportunities exist for service and products in New Mexico. Among them are:

  • Telehandlers for New Mexico Tech;
  • Dining services management for New Mexico State University; and
  • Janitorial supplies for Dona Ana County. 

Illinois lawmakers considering expanding gambling in state
Although previous efforts to expand gambling in Illinois have pretty much fallen by the wayside, lawmakers facing a massive state budget deficit say they are now ready to talk seriously about the issue. Plans are being floated that would add five new casinos - one in Chicago and four others elsewhere in the state. Existing casinos would be allowed to expand and a half dozen horse racing tracks would be allowed to install slot machines under the proposal. Officials say the proposal, if passed, could lead to an additional $1 billion in revenue for the state, which is facing a $15 billion budget deficit.


New York medical center planning $150 million campus expansion
Medical CenterThe Erie County (New York) Medical Center has unveiled plans for a $150 million expansion on its 65-acre campus. The plans include a $27 million kidney transplant and dialysis facility, a $105 million 390-bed nursing home to replace an inefficient skilled nursing facility in Alden, expansion and renovation of orthopedic services, including a center to treat women's bone health, renovation of the adolescent psychiatric clinic and construction of a more than 300-vehicle parking ramp. Eight mostly vacant buildings have been demolished to make room for the additions. The new facilities will be linked to the main hospital. Construction of the nursing home and transplant/dialysis buildings are expected to start soon with a 2012 and late 2011 completion date, respectively. Last year, Erie County and the medical center, a public benefit corporation, began putting plans in motion when the county's subsidy offer for the hospital was accepted.


Massachusetts housing authority gets funds to upgrade heating systems
Federal stimulus funds totaling more than $259,000 have been awarded to the Manfield (Massachusetts) Housing Authority as part of a $5 billion U.S. Department of Energy's home weatherization projects that are part of the stimulus bill. Massachusetts garnered $25 million of that amount for public housing projects. The funding will replace old, inefficient heating systems with state-of-the-art units.


Louisiana Bond Commission approves millions for regional projects
The University of Louisiana at Monroe (ULM) is one of the recipients of millions of dollars in financing approved recently by the Louisiana Bond Commission. The university will use its funding for extensive renovations to its Chemistry and Natural Science Building as well as for road upgrades. The project includes renovating the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system and replacing chemical fume ventilation hoods and duct work. The Commission approved a $1.5 million cash line and a $2.4 million noncash line of credit for the $3.9 million ULM project. An engineering firm will be hired to prepare technical drawings and specifications.

Some of the other recipients of bonding authority include:

  • $1.1 million cash line of credit for Monroe for the $30 million Kansas-Garrett Connector and Interstate 20 Interchange Improvement project and the $26 million Kansas Lane Connector project;
  • $95,000 for the East Columbia Water District, East Columbia Water System Improvements, Planning and Construction, Caldwell Parish;
  • $1.4 million for the Office of Juvenile Justice, Bank Springs Group Home, Planning and Construction, Caldwell Parish;
  • $45,000 for Franklin Parish, Union Church Road Improvements, Planning and Construction, Franklin Parish;
  • $320,000 for City of Winnsboro, Winnsboro Industrial Park Street Reconstruction, Planning and Construction, Franklin Parish;
  • $120,000 for City of Quitman, Repair of Wastewater Treatment Facility, Jackson Parish;
  • $75,000 for U.S. 80 to Louisiana 616 Safety Improvements on U.S. 15 between U.S. 80 and Louisiana 616. Planning and Construction, Ouachita Parish; and a number of other planning and construction and repair projects.

Illinois city approves borrowing funds for variety of major infrastructure projects
Ryan McCradyOfficials with the city of Decatur, Illinois, have approved borrowing $41.6 million to cover the costs of a number of major infrastructure projects in the city. Among the spending will be $18.2 million for water projects. Of that amount, $5 million will be used to increase the water supply, $2 million is set aside for dam repairs and $11.2 million will go toward dredging. Downtown projects, too, will benefit from the sale of bonds. Projects include $1.2 million for improvements to Central Park and the Transfer House, $2.8 million for garage and parking lot maintenance and $8.7 million for downtown streetscape improvements. City Manager Ryan McCrady (pictured) said the bond sale is to be structured so there is no property tax increase. He also noted that it is a good time for bond sales because of the city's high bond rating and because of low interest rates for the bonds.


$1.6 billion pipeline will carry water from East Texas to Dallas-Fort Worth area
The most expensive project in the history of the Tarrant Regional Water District will provide for the moving of water from East Texas to the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Officials recently approved a financing agreement with the city of Dallas. The agreement will allow work to continue on a nearly 150-mile, $1.6 billion pipeline. Five contractors already have done engineering work on 95 miles of the line.


Funding committed to new air traffic control tower project slated for O'Hare
Richard DaleyThe modernization project that includes design and construction of a new South Air Traffic Control Tower at Chicago's O'Hare Airport got a boost recently from a funding commitment from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The project has received close to $800 million in modernization funds, more than any other airport reconstruction project in history. "The building of a South Air Traffic Control tower is essential for the continued modernization of O'Hare which increases our ability to compete in the global economy," said Mayor Richard M. Daley (pictured). The FAA has committed $3.4 million for the design of the new facility, continuing the O'Hare Modernization Program's nationally recognized program for "green" design and construction.


Renovations to Minnesota Union Depot will begin after $35M grant received
Union Station in Saint Paul, Minnesota, will soon undergo major renovations following receipt of a $35 million stimulus grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The funds will pay for renovation of the multimodal transit hub in downtown Saint Paul and will restore tracks, driveways and sidewalks. The price tag for the project is $237.5 million and includes not only the transit facility renovation, but also co-locating Amtrak, intercity bus carriers, local bus, light rail service, taxis and bicycles.


Arkansas hospital given approval for financing to make technology upgrades
Phil GilmoreUpgrades to computer software and hardware for the Ashley County (Arkansas) Medical Center are among the projects for which funding was approved recently by the Ashley County Quorum Court. The medical center will now seek up to $1.7 million in new financing through tax-free bonds. Hospital administrator Phil Gilmore (pictured) said because the federal government is requiring hospitals to implement electronic health and medical records, the bond proceeds can be used to help pay for such a system. Additionally, the hospital hopes to be able to purchase rather than lease some of its pharmacy equipment.


Florida county plans $9 million in fleet updates of vehicles, heavy equipment
Palm Beach County will spend close to $9 million over the next year for vehicles from automobiles to heavy equipment to lawn mowers. Officials hope to purchase more than 200 vehicles, most of which will be replacement vehicles. That does not include police and fire department vehicles. Even with these purchases, only 5 percent of the fleet of more than 2,100 vehicles is affected. Among the proposed purchases are a seven-passenger minivan, nine 65-passenger school buses, five bucket trucks, a one-ton pickup truck, three hybrid sport utility vehicles and a road grader. 


Where are they now?

 Are you a government official who has moved into a new position or to a new agency? Did you recently retire? Were you recently named to an executive-level position at a state-supported college, university or community college? Have you secured a new job as superintendent of a public school? If so, we'd like to hear from you - and so would your friends and colleagues - for our "Where Are They Now" column. Just drop us a line at and let us know about your previous job and where you are now. This week we feature John Nixon.


John NixonJohn Nixon, budget director for Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, is leaving that post to become budget director for Michigan Governor-elect Rick Snyder. Nixon became executive director of the Utah Governor's Office of Planning and Budget in 2006 under then-Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr., where he was hailed for helping the state become one of the best managed in the country. The 38-year-old Nixon currently serves as president of the National Association of State Budget Officers and from 2001 to 2006 was chief financial officer and deputy director of the Utah Department of Workforce Services. He also has been a CFO of a private sector firm and worked in the financial services industry. Nixon holds a bachelor's degree in corporate finance from Brigham Young University and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Utah.


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Opportunity of the week...
A construction contract is expected to go out to bid early next year for a $40 million project to renovate and expand a New Hampshire middle school. One existing building will be renovated to include sixth grade programs, tech education, music, administration and specialty classes. Another addition will house a new gym, kitchen and central boiler plant while a new band, chorus and student commons area will be added to another section.  Want to know more? Contact Reagan Weil at 512-531-3900 or

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George GretsasAdam HollingsworthSteven AntonakesFormer Fort Lauderdale City Manager George Gretsas (top left) has been chosen as the new city manager for the city of Homestead, Florida, in south Miami-Dade County. Jacksonville Mayor John Peyton's chief of staff, Adam Hollingsworth (top middle), will stay in Tallahassee, but this time as the point person on Gov.-elect Rick Scott's transition team, continuing his leave of absence from the city. Massachusetts Commissioner of Banks Steven L. Antonakes (top right) has been chosen to head the Bank Supervision Group at the new federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and David J. Cotney, the chief operating officer of the Division of Banks, will be Acting Commissioner of the Division of Banks. Santa Clara, New Mexico, Police Chief Paul Jasso has resigned, after serving the department since 2005. The Vidor (Texas) City Council has chosen Sgt. David Shows to succeed Eric Foerster as chief of police. Terry Mazany (upper middle left), a former public school administrator and head of Chicago community trust that ensured millions of dollars went to the Raymond CrossKent SharplesTerry MazanyChicago public schools, will succeed retiring schools chief Ron Huberman. Daytona State College in Daytona Beach will be looking for a new interim president following the resignation of President Kent Sharples (upper middle center). Morrisville (New York) State College President Raymond Cross (upper middle right), who has served the college for the last 13 years, has announced his resignation to become chancellor of University of Wisconsin College and University of Wisconsin Extension, effective in February 2011. Karen Jumonville, interim director of the City of Tallahassee's Growth Management Department since August when she replaced retiring director Bob Herman, has been named director of the department. Tyler (Texas) Fire Chief Neal Franklin, who has more than 23 years of service to the city, will retire next month to accept a position as director of EMS business development with a local hospital system. Atlantic Public Schools Superintendent Beverly Hall (lower middle right) has announced she will end her 11-year career with the school system in David ChicoineDavid GetchesBeverly HallJune of next year after rising through the ranks in the public schools in Newark, New Jersey, and New York City. The University of Colorado at Boulder will soon be looking for a new law school dean after current Dean David Getches (lower middle center), who has been associated with the law school since 1979, announced he will give up the dean's post, but remain a member of the law school faculty. David Chicoine (lower middle left), president of South Dakota State University, has been named to the Avera McKennan Hospital and University Health System's governing board of directors. Fremont (Nebraska) City Administrator Bob Hartwig will leave the position he has held for four years there to accept the position of director of finance in Erie, Colorado. West Palm Beach, Florida, city spokesman Peter Robbins has accepted a job with Florida Power and Light in the communications department of its nuclear division, effective Dec. 1. Clearlake, California, Police Chief Allan McClain has been chosen to serve as acting city administrator Andrea LindellRalph HexterSandra_Spagnolifollowing the resignation of Administrator Dale Neiman.  Andrea Lindell (bottom right), dean of the College of Nursing at the University of Cincinnati for 20 years and boasting a career in nursing that spans 46 years, has announced she will retire at the end of December. Ralph Hexter (bottom center), president of Hampshire College and former dean at the University of California, is returning to California to become UC Davis' provost and executive vice chancellor, effective Jan. 1, 2011. Benicia, California, Police Chief Sandra Spangoli (bottom left) has been selected the first female police chief for the city of San Leandro, replacing retiring Chief Ian Willis on Jan. 10, 2011. The California State University has named three finalists for president of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo - Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (New York) Provost and Chief Academic Officer Robert Palazzo, University of Virginia Vice President for Research and professor of biomedical engineering, Thomas C. Skalak and Jeffrey D. Armstrong, dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and professor of animal science at Michigan State University. Williamstown, Kentucky's City Administrative Officer for the last 15 years, Doug Beckham, has been appointed city administrator for the City of Edgewood. Kerrville (Texas) Police Chief John M. Young, Jr., who previously spent 20 years with the Dallas Police Department, has been elected president of the Texas Police Chief's Association. 


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Higher education government relations conference slated in December
The 2010 Higher Education Government Relations Conference is slated for Wednesday through Friday, Dec. 1-3, at the Four Seasons Hotel in Austin, Texas. The conference will provide policy and practice insight on delivering results and building public support for higher education through a focus on partnerships, productivity and public engagement. Among the topics for the conference are: Advancing the Productivity Agenda, Effective Community and Legislative Relations, Third-Party Advocacy Strategies, Navigating State Lobbying Laws, Strategic Messaging, Washington Update and 2010 Election Review and Implications. Speaker for the opening general session on Wednesday will be Dr. Francisco Cigarroa, chancellor of The University of Texas System. Dr. Raymund Peredes, Texas commissioner of higher education, will speak at the Thursday morning session along with Keith Yehle, director of federal relations for the University of Kansas. To view the complete agenda and to view other speakers and their topics, click here. To register, click here. The conference is a partnership of the associations: the American Association of Community Colleges, American Association of State Colleges and Universities, Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.

TxDOT announces three Small Business Briefing conferences 
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) Business Outreach and Program (BOP) Services has announced three upcoming FY 2011 Small Business Briefing conferences. A  Nov. 10 conference is set this year in Beaumont, an April 20, 2011, conference is slated in Fort Worth and a July 20, 2011, conference is planned for San Antonio. The conference goal is to provide small and minority-owned business communities an opportunity to learn more about contracting opportunities with TxDOT.  Information will be available to help them do business with the agency and the State of Texas.  The sessions not only allow small businesses to be introduced to TxDOT and other state agencies, but also allow them to learn more about the economic development opportunities in their regions.  It also gives agencies a chance to show the myriad of prospects available for small and minority businesses in the state. For more information and to register, click here or call 1.866.480.2519, Option 2.

TxDOT Business Outreach & Program Services hosts webinars 
In fiscal year 2010, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) Business Outreach & Program (BOP) Services implemented a series of webinars offering technical business development opportunities to small, minority and women businesses in the field of construction and professional services in the state of Texas. The webinar series topics ranged from how to become a pre-qualified bidder on TxDOT contracts, TxDOT Plans Online, How to Market Your Business To Prime Contractors, Construction Industry Bonding and much more. Each session's goal was to provide valuable information to contractors, suppliers and small businesses on how to do business with TxDOT, how to increase business capacity and improve opportunities to bid and obtain contracts with TxDOT. The final 2010 webinars concluded in August, but the 2011 fiscal year webinar series planning is under way and will be announced later in the 2010 calendar year. Each free webinar is limited and registration slots are on a first-come-first-serve basis. More information on each webinar can be found here. Questions should be forwarded to or call 1.866.480.2518, Option 2 for more information.

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