1. How does your previous experience with the Greater Beaumont Chamber of Commerce inform your approach in the Hobby area?
I worked for the Beaumont Chamber of Commerce for almost 3 years. I learned a lot about retail business and how to engage stakeholders. Retail development is one of the targeted industries in the Hobby District’s strategic plan, so I expect to lean heavily on that aspect of my previous experience. I also spent time working for the Greenspoint District, focusing on infrastructure development. As the Hobby Area District sets its sights on the improvement of streets, public transportation and Sims Bayou trails, I hope to borrow from initiatives that have been implemented successfully elsewhere.
2. What do you most look forward to in your position with the Hobby Area District? Are there any particular goals you hope to accomplish?
Robust business retention and expansion (BRE) programs are my bread and butter. I believe strongly in BRE programs like our Hobby to Opportunity (H2O) initiative, and have helped develop one in every community I’ve worked in. One unique asset that I’m excited to develop in the Hobby area is a large tract of land that is bordered by a rail line. It presents so many possibilities!
3. How does the work of the District complement the work of other entities in the community, such as the City of Houston, TXDot, the Greater Houston Partnership, etc.?
When it comes to economic development, the more people cooperating, the better. We work hard to to create partnerships with entities like those named, HGAC, local chambers of commerce, Houston First, and others. We want all the input we can get. Economic development is like a puzzle—all of the pieces connect to form the big picture.
4. What do you find invigorating about working with the Hobby Area District? What gets you out of bed in the morning?
I enjoy being able to have a direct impact on the quality of life in the community. It’s also exciting to join a fairly new district (in terms of having a full-time staff). I enjoy being involved from Day One and building programs from the ground up. I was honored to serve previously as the first executive director for the Greens Bayou Corridor Coalition and I welcome this new challenge with the Hobby District.
5. Which upcoming project are you most excited about?
I really cannot overstate the potential of our Hobby to Opportunity (H2O) program. There is a lot of room to build a robust BRE program, and a lot of interest from community stakeholders who want to be involved. I look forward to getting to know our local businesses and identifying areas where we can step in and facilitate economic growth. Bellfort Station, a result of the Livable Centers Study, is a truly transformative project for the area and is progressing quickly through stages of planning and development.
6. What do you want people to know about the Hobby Area District?
We are doing big things in the Hobby area, and growth in this region is great for the entire city of Houston. We’ve got Sims Bayou, which was one of the only waterways in Houston that didn’t overflow its banks during Hurricane Harvey. The Houston Botanic Garden is coming soon, and we have a thriving local restaurant scene and industrial sector. The Hobby area is not just a place to pass through, it’s a place to live, work and have fun!