2021 Officers & Board Members
Chairman of the Board
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 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.
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
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.
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.
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 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
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, Vice President, Texas MUDs is responsible for overseeing all of Inframark’s operating services activities in the 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 c.600 employees, 250 utility districts and 305 water and wastewater facilities.
Burrer has a BME degree from Texas Christian University and he has 23 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.
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 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 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.
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.
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!
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 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, 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.
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.
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.
Joe B. Allen, Allen, Boone, Humphries, Robinson LLP
Fred Caldwell, Caldwell Companies
Bradley Freels, Midway Companies
Peter Houghton, Rooted Development
Larry Johnson, Johnson Development
Jim Jard, MetroNational
Bob Jones, Jones Engineering Solutions
Walt Mischer, Jr., Mischer Investments
Ted Nelson, Newland Communities
David Ramsey, NewQuest Properties
David Wolff, Wolff Companies
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