Board of Directors

2021 Officers & Board Members

Chairman of the Board 

Heath Melton- Bridgeland-Howard Hughes Corp.

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.

“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.”

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.

Vice Chairman of the Board

Marlene Gafrick- MetroNational
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.
“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.


Carolyn Dorros- Wolff Companies
Carolyn Wolff Dorros joined Wolff Companies in 2006 and is currently Executive Vice President. She works on the oversight and management of the company’s financial asset portfolios as well as strategic planning, marketing and communications.Ms. Dorros graduated cum laude from Dartmouth College in 1997 and holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, where she earned honors in her second year. She has served as President of the Harvard Business School Club of Houston and as Chair of her class’s 10-year reunion.Prior to joining Wolff Companies, Ms. Dorros was the Administrative Director of Neurosciences at Stanford Medical Center, where she also served as Director of Business Development. She also worked at Medsite, Inc., as a Product Manager and as APM/CSC Healthcare as a Research Associate.Ms. Dorros serves as Chair of the Advisory Council of Breakthrough Houston and on the Boards of St. John’s School, the Buffalo Bayou Partnership and New Hope Housing as well as the Leadership Cabinet of Texas Children’s Hospital and President’s Leadership Council of Houston Methodist Hospital. She is also on the Board of the Wolff Family Foundation.Ms. Dorros and her husband, Chris, have a daughter and a son.


Jim Boone- Allen Boone Humphries Robinson, LLP.
Mr. Boone’s practice focuses on urban development, including representing as general counsel and bond counsel a great number of special districts that construct and provide water, sewer, and drainage infrastructure for new land development projects.   Mr. Boone works with both private companies and public entities on construction, financing, and operational water, sewer, and drainage matters. He assists a broad range of developers on many complex, master planned community projects located in the greater Houston area, including the City of Houston, Pearland, League City, Alvin, Manvel, Richmond, Rosenberg, Texas City, Iowa Colony, and Katy, and has worked in the greater Austin area, including Bastrop, Bee Cave, Lakeway, Round Rock, and Cedar Park. Mr. Boone also is extensively involved in business development for the Firm and engaged in management of the Firm as Managing Partner.
Education and Professional Background. The University of Texas (B.A., highest honors, 1972); Phi Beta Kappa; University of Edinburg, Scotland (postgraduate studies, 1972- 1973); The University of Texas School of Law (J.D., 1977); Texas Law Review; City of Austin, Community Development Department, 1973-1974. Member of: State Bar of Texas, Houston Bar Association, American Bar Association, National Association of Bond Lawyers.

At Large Executive Board

Rob Bamford-The Johnson Development Co.

Bamford joined the Johnson Development Corporation in 2012 as the Vice President and General Manager of Cross Creek Ranch. The community has won multiple awards including WHA’s QPD Award. Previously, Bamford managed the 1,250-acre master planned community, Grand Lakes, by Trendmaker Homes. Bamford has played a key role in WHA by serving on the Executive Committee as Treasurer and leading our Quality Planned Development (QPD) Committee as Chair in 2017 and now again in 2019.

Mark Kilkenny- Twinwood

Kilkenny recently joined Twinwood, L.P. as Vice President of Develpoment. He was previously Executive Vice President of Development and Government Affairs at Mischer Investments, Chair of the City of Houston Planning Commission, Chair of the Texas Alliance for Responsible Growth, Environment, and Transportation (TARGET), President of the Utility District Advisory Corporation (UDAC), and past-Chair of the West Houston Association. He currently serves on WHA’s Executive Committee.

Lee Lennard- BGE, Inc.

Mr. Lennard has more than 25 years of civil consulting engineering experience. He is actively involved in professional and civic organizations and currently serves as Immediate Past President of the American Council of Engineering Companies – Houston. Mr. Lennard is also Past President of the Society of Military Engineers – Houston/Galveston Post and serves on the Board of the Houston Engineering and Scientific Society.  Mr. Lennard earned his civil engineering degree from Texas A&M University.

John S. Moody, Sr. (Immediate Past Chairman)- Parkside Capital

John Moody began his career as a founder of Wood, Campbell, Moody & Gibbs (1973-84) of Houston, TX. He was managing partner for several years. The firm was a full service commercial law firm with 35 attorneys in 1984. Mr. Moody was President of the Moody Corporation, a Houston based land-development Company which served as the master developer for four projects encompassing 2,500 acres and over 1,500 developed lots from 1984 – 1987. Next, Mr. Moody was President of Paine Webber Properties (1987-91), the real estate principal group of Paine Webber, Inc. In this capacity he was responsible for the asset management of over $3 billion of assets and the structuring, marketing, and sale of new funds to the Paine Webber retail network. He served as President and CEO of Cornerstone Properties, Inc. in 1991 as NYSE traded REIT that grew from $500 million to $4.5 billion of trophy office assets and was sold to Equity Office Properties in June 2000. The IPO investors in Cornerstone achieved an IRR in excess of 20%. Mr. Moody left Cornerstone Properties in 2000 and became president of Marsh & McLennan Realty Advisors from 2001-2004, an entity which provided global real estate services to Marsh & McLennan. He then went on to become president and CEO of HRO Asset Management (2004-05), a real estate advisory firm which acted as exclusive U.S. advisor to Commerzebank’s real estate unit (CGI). HRO Asset Management purchased $850 million of assets for CGI, which have been liquidated at an IRR in excess of 30%. Presently, he is the organizer and sponsor of Parkside Capital Land Fund (2006-Present). Mr. Moody is a graduate of Stanford University (BS) and the University of Texas (JD).

2021 Board of Directors

Peter Barnhart- Caldwell Companies

As Development Partner at Caldwell Companies, Peter Barnhart brings a very successful history of acquiring, developing and selling large residential and commercial development projects. Peter’s financial, construction and marketing skills combined with a unique blend of experience in commercial and community development, allows Caldwell Companies to plan and create environments where people like to live, work and play.

With Caldwell Companies, Barnhart plays an integral role in identifying, acquiring and developing land tracts for future master planned communities as well as well as commercial projects. Peter is also the key team member to handle the negotiations related to the acquisition of prospective properties.

Peter’s 20 years of real estate experience includes six years with RealtiCorp Commercial Investment Fund in Greenville, SC. Beginning as Director of Sales and Marketing and moving up to Regional Partner, where he handled complex land development transactions in seven different states and involving more than 4000 acres of land. Peter also has experience with Byzance, Inc. and Plantation Homes.

Raised in Houston, Peter earned his bachelor’s degree in Construction Science and his master’s degree in Land and Real Estate Development – both from Texas A&M University. He is a past president of the Houston Real Estate Council, board member of the Greater Houston Builders Association, member of the Urban Land Institute, member of the Real Estate Development Association Professional Advisory Board, and an Adjunct Professor to the college of Architecture at Texas A&M.

Outside of work, Peter likes golfing, fishing, hunting, flying and many other outdoor activities. Residing in Northwest Houston, Peter and his wife Debra enjoy spending time with their daughters, Jordan and Grace.

Todd Burrer - Texas Municipal Utility Districts

Todd Burrer, Vice President, Texas MUDs is responsible for overseeing all of Inframark’s operating services activities in our Texas MUDs Region and has overall responsibility for all financial, operating and compliance activities. He is the leader of the senior level management team charged with managing day-to-day operations that includes 343 employees, 160 utility districts and 128 water and wastewater facilities.

Burrer has a BME degree from Texas Christian University and he has 19 years of management experience in the area of customer service and billing within the water and wastewater industry. Todd is very active within the community and is a member of numerous community associations.

Randy Corson- Mischer Investments

Mr. Corson has been with MISCHER for 27 years.  Randy is a third generation member of the Mischer family.  He started his career at Mischer managing the operations of Lajitas Resort.

In 2000, Mr. Corson moved to the Land Development Division.  He managed the RiverPark West development, as well as being the Marketing Director for MISCHER.  Currently, he is working on the Cypress Creek Lakes commercial land opportunities.

Apart form the various real estate partnerships within Mischer, he has partnered with Cheryl Perry (Boe Creative Service) on a digital website company, Crescere Digital (CRE-SARAH).

Mr. Corson received his Bachelor of Science from the University of Houston, Conrad N. Hilton School of Hotel and Restaurant Management.

He has been a member of various real estate organizations:  GHBA Developers Council, Association of Water Board Directors, and the West Houston Association.

Mr. Corson is married and has two boys.  When not working, he enjoys time at the family ranch in central Texas, as well as the great outdoors in White Fish, Montana.

Rainer Ficken - Newland Communities

Rainer Ficken provides operational and senior leadership for the Houston Division of Newland. His responsibilities include oversight of land acquisitions, envisioning, planning, budgeting, and development operations, builder relationships and selections, lot contract development and lot closings, commercial contracts and sales, financial planning, and achievement of business plan objectives as well as managerial duties for the Houston team.

Rainer has over 25 years of combined experience in land development consulting, community planning, and development. During his career at Newland, he has developed and led the operations of various master-planned communities within the Austin and Houston area. Before joining Newland, Rainer managed development teams at nationally-recognized land development firms. Rainer has provided development guidance and obtained development approvals for thousands of residential lots along with office, commercial and mixed-use developments during his career within various jurisdictions.

In addition to his extensive development experience, Rainer’s training and educational experience provided him the distinction of becoming a Certified Planner (National accreditation), which is instrumental at Newland to ensure that the communities are successfully developed to Newland’s core vision.

Rainer is an active member of the Urban Land Institute and serves on the Master Plan Communities Local Member Council (MPC LMC). Rainer is also an active member of the Home Builders Association (HBA) and the American Planning Association (APA). Rainer is involved with numerous boards, committees, and advisory commissions within professional associations and throughout multiple city, county and state agencies within Texas.

David Hightower- Midway Companies

David W. Hightower serves as executive vice president, development, at Midway. Prior to joining Midway, David was executive vice president and chief development officer with Wolff Companies, a Houston-based investment and land development firm, where he was involved in ownership, development, and/or management of more than 6,000 acres of commercial, residential and agricultural land investments and development. He had primary responsibility for marketing, sales, project planning and development for the firm’s real estate assets and new investment acquisitions. He also was responsible for more than $100 million of municipal infrastructure improvements, as well as regulatory and government-related activities.

Prior to joining Wolff Companies, Mr. Hightower was a practicing civil engineer, consulting on municipal engineering projects for public and private-sector clients.

A founding member and director of the Harris County Improvement District #4, (The Energy Corridor Management District), David has served in leadership positions in the West Houston Association, the
Urban Land Institute, the Greater Houston Partnership’s Real Estate Advisory Committee, and the Houston Real Estate Council, as well as numerous industry and civic organizations. He is a life member of the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo and past Vice President of Leadership Houston Association.

David earned his B.S. in civil engineering from Texas A&M University, and his MBA from the University of Houston.

Zach Hodges- Houston Community College

Dr. Zachary Hodges has been president of Houston Community College System’s Northwest College for 20 years. In early July he started a new position as the acting Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs for the HCC system. That position is the chief academic officer for the system and serves as the director of all instructional programs, both academic and workforce. Hodges is also charged with the task of developing new programs and improving those that exist to best meet the needs of local communities and industry.

Dr. Zachary Hodges, was named the 2013 Entrepreneurial President of the Year by the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE).

In 2007, Dr. Hodges partnered with Newspring, a faith-based organization aimed at the economic development of the Spring Branch area of Houston, to launch the area’s first business plan competition with prize money awards.

Taking progressive steps by testing small projects and building successes that fueled support for the next phase of growth in entrepreneurship, Dr. Hodges made another first step in developing HCC’s Center for Entrepreneurship in 2009 by committing start-up funding to hire a director for the Center. Continuing success and commitment to both programs, the college also won and spearheaded the HCC Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program in 2011, which offers Greater Houston small business owners access to a practical business and management education.

Brandon Kerr- ConocoPhillips

Brandon Kerr, manager, Facilities Engineering for ConocoPhillips, has joined The Energy Corridor District’s Board of Directors, bringing with him multifaceted expertise in global corporate real estate strategy, transactions, compliance and legal matters.

For the international energy company, Kerr oversees real estate strategy and compliance for a portfolio in excess of 10 million square feet.

As a generalist corporate attorney, he also brings a broad range of experience to The District’s board, including expertise in real estate law, corporate real estate transactions and strategy, tax planning and corporate policy compliance, along with project management.

At ConocoPhillips, Kerr provides functional leadership to the global Facilities Engineering function within the company’s Real Estate and Facilities Services Organization. There, he manages the execution of building projects; management of global facilities’ engineering policies, compliance, business controls and processes; and management of an annual capital spend in excess of $50 million.

Ed Knight- Harrison Interests

Mr. Edwin H. Knight manages Harrison Interests, Ltd., a privately held Texas limited partnership whose lines of business are oil and gas exploration and production, real estate and cattle ranching. He has managed Harrison Interests, Ltd. for fourteen years and holds a Bachelors Degree from Louisiana State University and is a CPA. He serves as a Director of North American Technologies Group Inc. Harrison Interests has recently changed their name to DJH Ranching LP.

Kyle Lippman- New Quest

Kyle Lippman brings 20 years of legal real estate knowledge and experience to NewQuest Properties. As a partner, he is responsible for coordinating legal affairs, and participates in all aspects of new projects including land acquisition, creating structure of ownership/development entities, solving development issues, negotiating tenant leases, and negotiating construction and permanent financing for projects.

Prior to NewQuest Properties, Kyle joined Quest Properties in 2001 as Senior Partner focusing on all legal aspects of the firm’s real estate transactions. Before joining Quest Properties, Kyle spent nine years at the Houston law firm of Nathan, Sommers, Lippman, Jacobs & Gorman as a Partner, and prior to that worked in the Houston office of the Dallas based law firm of Winstead, Sechrest & Minick under the sametitle.

Kyle received his Bachelor’s of Business Administration degree from Southern Methodist University in 1977, specializing in Real Estate Finance, and received his J.D. degree from the University of Texas Law School in 1980.

As a former practicing lawyer, Kyle is a member of the American Bar Association, the State Bar of Texas and the Houston Bar Association. In addition, he is an active member of the International Council of Shopping Centers, as well as past President and member of the Board of Directors for Lakeside Country Club.

Jack Miller- R.G. Miller Engineer

Jack Miller, managing principal of R. G. Miller Engineers, specializes in the design and completion of master planned communities, as well as the complete development of unimproved land into residential and commercial property. He has more than 35 years of professional civil engineering experience in planning and design, construction management, project management, coordination of master-planned land development projects, utility district projects, roadway facilities, public utilities and major capital improvement projects.

Mr. Miller is a member of the Board of Directors and Past President of the American Council of Engineering Companies-Houston and a member of the American Council of Engineering Companies-Texas, the American Society of Civil Engineering, and the Houston Engineering and Scientific Society, where he serves on the Board of Directors. He is also an Ex-Officio board member of the West Houston Association, where he chairs the Water Resources Committee. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Texas A&M University.

Dan Naef- Rise Developments

Mr. Naef’s distinguished career includes the development of over 17,000 acres of award winning, masterfully-planned communities in Nevada and Texas. He is responsible for all aspects of the company’s operations. Currently, he is a member of the Urban Land Institute, Katy Economic Development Authority and the West Houston Association.

A graduate of California State University, Chico, Mr. Naef earned his Certified Public Accountant designation in 1989. 

Rise Communities LLC is a preeminent developer and manager of creative, masterfully-planned, large-scale communities. Formed in 2011, the executive team includes all the senior professionals previously associated with American Nevada Company’s Master Plan Community Development Division. These executives include the former President and CEO of American Nevada Company as well as the Community Development Division President, Vice President, and other key executives and employees. During their tenure with American Nevada Company, which collectively includes over 50 years of service, the executive team was responsible for all aspects of the development and construction of several award-winning communities totaling over 14,000 acres and now home to over 100,000 residents. These communities include Green Valley, Green Valley Ranch, Seven Hills and Aliante.

Dick Phillips- University of Houston

Dick Phillips is responsible for the management of operations at both UHS system teaching centers (at Sugar Land and Cinco Ranch).

“The UH System is dedicated to delivering higher education that complements and further enhances the growing recognition of Sugar Land, and Fort Bend County in general, as one of the nation’s best places to live and work. As our Sugar Land and Cinco Ranch operations continue to expand, I’m pleased to be afforded the opportunity to help strategically guide that growth in cooperation and unison with the visionary leaders of Fort Bend County and the surrounding region,” said Phillips.

Phillips had been serving as associate vice president for university advancement at UHS Sugar Land since 2005. In this new role, Phillips will be responsible for coordinating academic program delivery, planning new academic programs, facilities planning and construction, governmental relations, marketing and all general administrative matters at the two teaching centers. He will continue to oversee development operations at the UH-Victoria campus as well.

Collins Pier- Trendmaker Homes


Craig Rhodes- Centerpoint Energy

Craig Rhodes is the Regional Manager, Economic Development at CenterPoint Energy. Rhodes started at CenterPoint Energy in 2014. Before CenterPoint, Rhodes worked at the Greater Houston Partnership for 7 years, the last four focused on economic development. Rhodes has been involved with WHA as a member of the Regional Mobility Committee.

Jim Russ - EHRA

Jim Russ is the Chief Executive Officer at EHRA Engineering. He oversees the Construction Phase Services, Mapping and Surveying Services, Business Development and Marketing Services for the company as well as being the Senior Construction Project Manager.  Russ has been Chair of WHA’s Sustainable Infrastructure Committee, which created the Sustainability Stars Award,  and serving as an Ex Officio Board Member.

A proud Aggie and fourth generation Principal, Jim Russ is one of the hardest working people you will ever meet. Growing up in this business, Jim discovered early on he had a liking for building things. It was the satisfaction he received knowing he was instrumental in building something for others to enjoy. As Principal, Jim oversees the Construction Phase Services, Surveying and Mapping Services, Business Development and Marketing Services. He understands the importance of producing quality products with honesty and integrity; something he has committed himself to do on a daily basis.Jim enjoys spending time with family and friends, and giving back to his community. His greatest passion in life is making sure others are well accommodated for and well taken care of. He is a proud supporter of Texas A&M University, and would hands down win their “Biggest Fan Award” should they have one. Gig ‘Em!

Matt Timmons- Texas Children's Hospital

Matt Timmons is the Assistant Vice President at Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus. He graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in health education and from the University of Houston – Clear Lake with dual master’s degrees in Healthcare Administration and Business Administration. Since joining Texas Children’s Hospital in 2001, Matt has enjoyed progressive leadership roles in multiple areas including Pediatric Intensive Care, Ambulatory Services, Clinical Business Operations and most recently as director of Cardiology at Texas Children’s Heart Center. Matt is a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives.

Emeritus Directors

Fred Caldwell- Caldwell Companies

Fred began his career with The Originals Group in 1983 and joined Southern Realty Corporation in 1985, becoming President in 1988. Fred was the founding partner of Caldwell Nyberg Interests in 1990, which was later renamed as Caldwell Companies. Today, the firm serves as a holding company for a family of related companies that invest in, develop, broker and manage residential and commercial real estate interests and participates in private equity investments.

The subsidiary companies, along with related partnerships, own, develop, manage and market the following: office, industrial, retail and land properties, residential communities and business parks. Caldwell Community Development master planned communities include Towne Lake, Rock Creek, Willowcreek Ranch, Great Oaks and Spring Creek Ranch. Caldwell Commercial Development projects have included Remington Square, Round Up Business Park, Greens Crossing Business Park, and buildings in the Research Park at TAMU in College Station. Through its service related entities, Caldwell Brokerage Company and Caldwell Management Company, the firm brokers and manages third party and related party office, industrial, land, retail and medical properties.

Fred serves on the Board of Directors and was past Chairman of the Cy-Fair Educational Foundation, is a former member of the 12th Man Foundation Executive Board, is a Lowry Mays College & Graduate School of Business Development Board Member, is on the Board of Directors and was past Chairman for the Lonestar College System District Foundation, and is an Elder with Terra Verde Community Church.

Fred is a graduate of Texas A&M University and holds both a Master of Science in Finance and a Bachelor of Science in Accounting. Fred was a three year letterman on the Texas A&M football team.

Fred and his wife, Susan, have been married for 30 years and have two children: Amanda and Lindsey. The Caldwell’s reside in Northwest Houston.

Bradley Freels- Midway Companies

Bradley Freels joined Midway in May 1983 and opened its Houston Office at that time. He became a partner in 1990 and currently serves as the Chairman. Brad is the sole shareholder of Midway Holdings, LP., the holding company for an integrated group of real estate and investment related companies that operate under the name Midway. Brad is a member of Midway’s leadership team and investment committee.

Under his leadership, Midway has prospered and become one of the most active developer/investment owners in the greater Houston area. Midway has developed and acquired more than 44 million square feet of office, industrial, hospitality, multifamily, medical and retail properties throughout the US and Northern Mexico, and more than 4,500 acres of business and residential communities in more than a dozen cities.

Brad and Claudia, his wife of 32 years, have three adult children; Clayton, Kevin and Carly that they consider the true blessing of their union.

Brad received both his BBA and MBA from Texas A&M University. He is involved with numerous national and local business, educational, Christian and charitable organizations.

Jim Jard- MetroNational


Bob Jones - Jones Engineering Solutions

Bob Jones formed Jones Engineering Solutions, LLC, after serving as president, CEO and founding partner of Jones & Carter, Inc., a 350-employee, Texas-owned, civil engineering company, for many years. His expertise includes municipal, land development and transportation infrastructure; master planning; political coordination; finance and cost evaluation; program development and management; and regulatory assistance. He works with local, state and national entities to enhance transportation and transportation funding.

Jones is president-elect of the Texas Council of Engineering Companies and serves on the boards of the North Houston Association and West Houston Association. He is a former commissioner of the Texas Building and Procurement Commission and a member of the Texas A&M University Dwight Look College of Engineering Advisory Council.

Jay Neal- University of Houston

BS in Hotel and Restaurant Management, MHM, University of Houston; Ph.D. in Food Microbiology, Texas A&M University.

Expertise & Research Interests:

  • Food Microbiology
  • Food Safety Training
  • Food Service Systems
  • Post-harvest Treatments for Food Products
  • Sensory Evaluation

Career Highlights:

Recently completed a Ph.D. in food microbiology at Texas A&M University; more than 15 years of industry experience in the food & beverage sector, including working as general manager and catering director for 10 years with Becks Prime Restaurants in Houston, serving as sous chef at Samuel T’s Restaurant in Chicago and working as dining room manager at Gaido’s Seafood Restaurant in Galveston; member of International Association of Food Protection, Institute of Food Technologists, and Research Chefs Association; recipient of the Donald Greenaway Award for Teaching Excellence.


Ted Nelson- Newland Communities

“Newland is about an idea of building better places. The true outcome is 50 years from now, not five years from today. I’m most proud of seeing families thriving well into the future, you know you’ve touched literally thousands and thousands of lives, and that we’ve made those lives better, by building a more sustainable community.” — Ted Nelson

Ted Nelson, with more than 40 years of master-planned community experience, heads the operation of Newland’s development and acquisition activities through hands-on leadership and tactical oversight. He is a member of the Executive and Investment Committees which set company policy, provide strategic direction of existing developments, and analyze acquisition opportunities.

Ted joined Newland through its acquisition of the Terrabrook portfolio in 2003 and has held multiple positions of leadership over the past 15 years. At Terrabrook, he was responsible for assets in Houston, Austin, and Dallas. Prior to Terrabrook, Ted served in several capacities for American General Land Development, a predecessor to Terrabrook, and began his career with the Woodlands Development Corporation.

Ted graduated from the University of Texas with a Bachelor of Business Administration in insurance and did postgraduate study in accounting at the University of Houston. While serving on the adjunct faculty at North Harris County College, he taught several courses in real estate related subjects. Ted is a member of the Urban Land Institute and participates at both the local and national level. As a member of the West Houston Association, he previously served as its Chairman and continues on as a member of its Executive Committee. Ted was awarded the Association’s “Impact Award” for leadership in quality, sustainable development, including spearheading the Association’s “2050 Plan.” A member of the Greater Houston Builders Association, he is an integral part of its “Build PAC” leadership committee. Ted enjoyed the unique privilege of participating in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s “Future of Suburbia” program as an industry representative. Ted was appointed to the board of the Texas Real Estate Advisory Committee by the governor of the State of Texas in 2013 and continues in that capacity today.

Ted proudly served his nation as a member of the US Army.


David Ramsey- NewQuest Properties

Dave Ramsey specializes in the acquisition and disposition of large residential and mixed use properties. With more than 32 years of experience in the real estate industry, Dave has been involved in transactions totaling more than 11,000 acres of property. Dave is consistently listed among the “Heavy Hitters in Commercial Real Estate” in the Houston Business Journal. He graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with B.S. degrees in Real Estate and Marketing. Dave is a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) and is a licensed real estate broker in the state of Texas.

Ex Officio Members of the Board of Directors

Tim Buscha – IDS Engineering Group

Christina Cole – Schwartz, Page & Harding, L.L.P.

Jim Webb – The Goodman Corporation

Alia Vinson – Allen Boone Humphries Robinson LLP

Jon Polly – Radcliffe Bobbitt Adams Polley PLLC

William Papadopoulos – Delta Troy Interests, LTD

Mark Gehringer – Bridgeland, The Howard Hughes Corp.

Andy Palermo – EHRA Engineering

Tricia Brasseaux – Bridgeland, The Howard Hughes Corp.

Howard Cohen – Schwartz, Page & Harding, L.L.P.

Paul Locke – CenterPoint Energy

Amber Burton Alfred – HAR

Advisory Board

Andrea French, Transportation Advisory Group

Deborah January-Beavers, Houston Wilderness

Richard Johnson, Rice University

Mary Anne Piacentini, Katy Prairie Conservancy

Dietrich von Biedenfeld, University of Houston – Downtown