The West Houston Association Board of Directors has all new leadership in 2019. Heath Melton, Vice President of Master Planned Communities for The Howard Hughes Corporation® (HHC), was unanimously confirmed as Chair of the West Houston Association on December 18th. Starting January 1, 2019, Melton will succeed John Moody, Sr., CEO of Parkside Capital, at the helm of the 40 year-old private planning organization. Serving alongside Melton as Vice Chairman will be Marlene Gafrick, the Director of Planning at MetroNational.
“We are excited that Heath will continue to grow one of the most effective advocacy organizations in Houston,” said Moody. “He represents a new generation of leadership that understands the how, why, and what’s next in terms of growth.”
The West Houston Association promotes “quality growth” in a 1,000 square-mile area in the western portion of Harris County and eastern portions of Fort Bend and Waller Counties. Quality growth focuses on long-term investments in infrastructure, education, and planning that create sustainable, accessible communities. Recently, the West Houston Association led efforts to support the Harris County Flood Control bond and to create a University of Houston Katy Campus. They were also strong supporters of Houston Community College’s relocation of its Katy Campus to one block away from the U of H Katy Campus.
Heath Melton joined Howard Hughes Corporation in 2015 as Vice President of Master Planned Communities, Residential, and is responsible for residential development for the award-winning master planned communities of The Woodlands, Bridgeland and The Woodlands Hills.
Prior to joining HHC, Heath was a General Manager for Travisso working for Taylor Morrison, Austin Division. He also worked for Sueba and KB Home in the Houston market. Heath is a West Point Graduate and served in the US Army as a Field Artillery Officer for five years where he deployed to Kosovo and Operation Iraqi Freedom. His notable awards and decorations include a Bronze Star, Army Commendation Medal with Valor Device and Air Assault Qualification.
Melton joined the West Houston Association Board in 2016 and was selected to serve on the Executive Committee in 2017. He became the Vice Chair in 2018. “I am honored to lead the West Houston Association as we keep working to make our region more sustainable, resilient and a better place to live, work, and bring up a family,” said Melton.
Fresh out of college, Gafrick moved from Missouri to Texas to join the City of Houston’s Planning and Development Department as an associate planner. She then climbed the ranks to Director in 2005 and after 33 years with the City, retired in 2013 to become the Director of Planning for MetroNational. Gafrick has served as the Chairwoman to the West Houston Association Regional Mobility Committee for 2 years and was Co-Chair to the West Houston 2060 Plan, published last September.
“Marlene brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Board from her years of public service with the City of Houston and her planning expertise continuing at MetroNational. Marlene’s involvement in public infrastructure planning and written public policy will afford the Association to continue to properly influence officials and other area leaders in the mission to maintain quality growth” says Mark Kilkenny, Vice President of Development at Twinwood, L.P. and former Chairman of the Board 2006-2008.
Gafrick is a Past President of the Houston Real Estate Council and is First Vice Chair of Scenic Houston. While with the city, Gafrick was instrumental in getting a substantial update to the parking ordinance completed and Chapter 42 amended expanding the designated Urban Area. As Co-Chair of the West Houston 2060 Plan, Gafrick brought a planner’s forward-thinking perspective to the table and helped insure the vision of quality and sustainable growth would be carried throughout the document. The 2060 plan was just recognized with the Our Great Region Award in Diligence by Houston-Galveston Area Council (HGAC).
“West Houston really looks at the 2060 plan as something implementable. It’s not a plan that we are going to put on the shelf. West Houston Association sees it as a tool or a guide document that we start writing support letters for projects or might influence policies with counties and/or cities and even through Houston-Galveston Area Council,” says Gafrick.
The West Houston Association is honored to announce our new leadership on the Board of Directors and looks forward to the continued leadership in quality growth.