President’s Desk: May 2023

Howdy WHA Members! 

What great weather we had this past weekend as we rolled into May. Hopefully you used it to warm up for our Topgolf tournament later this month! While some of you are out there driving golf balls, others have been working to drive legislation. One of the looming asks for WHA and Houston Stronger is funding for the Flood Infrastructure Fund. Right now, the House and Senate are working on reconciling the budget and we are advocating for more dollars to help with flood resiliency. In my role as Chair of Houston Stronger, I recently met with the Greater Houston Partnership’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to discuss flood infrastructure funding at the state level. There are many other issues this session to be aware of, especially regarding ETJ and state vs local control. If you are interested in being more involved on these issues attend our Government Affairs Committee meetings or feel free to reach out to me with questions.  

Speaking of government affairs, On April 12th, the committee hosted a Federal Issues Luncheon with Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher (TX-7). The discussion centered around the critical issues of flood resiliency, infrastructure, and the expansive growth across the greater West Houston region. Specific aspects included the significance of the pending RISEE Act for flood resiliency projects, as well as existing infrastructure funding opportunities from both the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Inflation Reduction Act. Special thanks to Alia Vinson (ABHR) for moderating the event!  

On April 11th the Sustainable Infrastructure committee met with representatives from the Houston Zoo to learn about their sustainability initiatives and how their innovations might be applied to residential and commercial development. On April 17th our Regional Mobility committee met with staff from Harris County Precinct 4 as a follow up to our Tri-County Commissioner’s forum held in March to learn about transportation related priorities. Then on April 19th we held our quarterly committee leadership roundtable where the chairs and vice chairs of our committees came together to share information on their committee’s work and identify opportunities for collaboration. If you are looking to get more involved, there are a handful of committee meetings coming up. The Government Affairs Committee will be meeting on May 8th, the Sustainable Infrastructure Committee on May 9th, the Quality Planned Development Committee and the Water Resources Committee are both meeting on May 18th.

Also coming up in our 3rd Annual Rising Leaders Topgolf Tournament. Join in on the TopGun themed event on May 25th and show off your  team’s spirit with your team name, costumes, or bay decorations! The event is almost sold out as of May 1st with only a few teams and sponsorship opportunities still available. The tournament is hosted by Rising Leaders Class 7, so be on the lookout for them at the event. Thank you to all our sponsors and in particular our Maverick sponsor, Unitas Construction.  

The next cohort of WHA Rising Leaders kicked off on April 28th with our biggest class yet! The group was hosted at Houston Community College’s Katy Campus, an area that is roughly at the geographic epicenter of the Greater West Houston region. It was inspiring to hear them share their goals for their time in the program and involvement with the association over the years to come. Thank you to Marlene Gafrick (MetroNational), Brian Gates (Minto Communities), Sanjay Bapat (ABHR), Christopher Browne (EHRA), Steve Spillette (CDS), Susan Thompson (HCC) and Dick Phillips (UH), for sharing your WHA stories and providing your insights to the Rising Leaders! If you missed out on joining this year’s cohort, feel free to reach out and we can put you on the waiting list for 2024.  

Thank you for your support of the West Houston Association and working to improve quality of life for the 2,000,000+ people who live, work, and play across the region!