Department News
Thursday, 18 June 2015 14:35

Fleet Management has new driver

Victor Ayres has performed numerous jobs during his 20-plus years with the City of Houston. Add Fleet Management Department director to the list.


Mayor Annise Parker named Ayres to the director's post in early June.


Ayres' background includes 13 years with the Finance Department and General Services Department, leading Fleet Management, Energy Management and Environmental Conservation Teams. He culminated those assignments as the city’s fleet manager from 2006 to 2008, where he led and developed comprehensive citywide plans and programs which addressed fleet funding levels, vehicle replacement schedules and fleet information management systems.


Before his current appointment and confirmation, Ayres served as the deputy director in the Solid Waste Department over operations since 2008.


“This is still a relatively young department with many opportunities to excel. I am looking forward to working with our talented and innovative staff to ensure that our customer departments are able to meet the citizen’s needs and expectations when it comes to service delivery from the city,” Ayres said.


Ayres holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Memphis and a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Houston.


The City of Houston Fleet Management Department was created July 1, 2011, by consolidating all fleet operations in the city into one central department. The department has more than 350 employees and 25 maintenance facilities across Houston to provide fleet services to 22 city departments with a combined municipal fleet total of approximately 12,000 units.


The department is responsible for asset management, maintenance and repairs, fueling services, vehicle acquisition and disposition, equipment specifications, alternative fuel vehicle planning, and implementation and the citywide shared motor pool program, FleetShare.


With the continued support of the City of Houston Aviation System, the Houston Aviation Club continues to flourish. The club hosted its third HASannual Scholarship and Awards Banquet on May 7 at the historical Hotel ICON in downtown Houston.

The Houston Aviation Club has students from Carnegie Vanguard and Ross Sterling High Schools. Toward the end of the school year, the students completed a drone project that focused on innovation and teamwork. Prizes for first, second and third place were awarded. The students flew the drones near Ellington Airport.

A total of $6,000 in scholarships and five internships were awarded. The Houston Aviation Club continues to be a valuable asset to the community.

Members of the Houston Aviation Club at the third annual Scholarship and Awards Banquet.


Visit the Houston Aviation Club website for more information.


Rhonda award

HAS Director of Community Relations and Business Relations Rhonda Arnold was named by the Houston Chapter of  Women in TransportationInternational as their 2015 “Woman of the Year.” Arnold, center, was awarded for her work to advance women in transportation through programs and other contributions. Above from left are Meredith Alberto of Women in Transportation; Jarrett Simmons, HAS assistant director of planning, development and construction; Arnold; Jeanne Julien of WTS; and Lisa Garner, P.E., WTS Houston's 2015 Young Engineer of the Year.

With nearly 6,000 members, WTS is an international organization dedicated to building the future of transportation through the global advancement of women.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015 11:24

HPL welcomes new staff members

The Houston Public Library welcomes new staff members. They are Merriann Bidgood, Caitlin Cody, Michelle Middleton, Erika Thompson, Gabrielle Coats, Valentin Jaimes, Daven Bell, Irene Resnick, Jennifer Unruh, Stephanie Moreno, and Vanessa Gempis. HPL also welcome back Helen Jackson and Mary Hammond. Congratulations on well-deserved promotions for Robert Bliss, Bradford Dobos, Mikaela Selley, Ghulam Markhiani, Celeste Diaz,Trosha Pickrom and Douglas Deitrich. And best wishes and a happy retirement to Laura Cardenas and Ethel Holcombe.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015 11:14

HCDD Announces New Resource and Data Center

HCDD announces new Housing Resource and Data Center. It offers access to housing, community and economic information related to HCDD and City of Houston’s region and national stats.  Stakeholders may access data; housing and economic market studies; growth and development forecasts; and housing opportunities.  Special features include interactive Mapping, My City Mapping.  Visit for more information.

Many Houston-area youth will graduate from more than high school this spring. Some will also graduate from one of several COH Department of Neighborhoods youth programs.

DON offers these programs to help young people develop important values and skills such as responsibility, accountability, networking, communication, teamwork, and problems solving.

Youth this spring participated in several DON youth programs including the Mayor’s Youth Council, the United Minds Youth Leadership Council, the Ladies Choice girl groups and the Young Fathers program will turn their tassels as graduates of the class of 2015.

Many of these students have been participants of these programs during all four of their high school years. DON youth programs provide opportunities for young people to develop important values and skills such as responsibility, accountability, networking, communication, teamwork, and problems solving. They participate in service learning and community outreach projects, group activities, workshops and instructional classes.

Mayor Annise Parker presented the second annual Mayor’s Art Scholarship Competition Awards totaling $3,750 to six local high school students April 15.

   Mayor Art

The art scholarship contest fosters collaboration among Houston area high school fine arts departments and recognizes excellence in student art. This year's contest focused on the life and culture of Houston-area neighborhoods.

The awards were sponsored by the Department of Neighborhoods Mayor’s Office of Education Initiatives, the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs, and Houston Arts Partners. The presentation kicked off an exhibit of art entries submitted by more than 50 students, which is on view in the City Hall Annex through May 8.

2015 Mayor’s Art Scholarship Recipients

12th Grade winners

First place ($1,000) — Hee Won Cho, Connected Society, Memorial HS, Spring Branch ISD; second place ($750) — Jacqueline Villarreal, Blended, Sam Rayburn HS, Pasadena ISD; third place ($500) — Raina Baggerly, Midnight Snack, Sam Rayburn HS, Pasadena ISD.

11th Grade Winners

First place ($500) — Victor Mendoza, Portrait of the Dead, Cy-Lakes HS, Cypress-Fairbanks ISD; second place ($500) — Han Wen Zhang, Amalgam, Clements HS, Fort Bend ISD; third place  ($500) — Mikhaela Sarmiento, Spaghetti, Cypress Ranch HS, Cy-Fair ISD.

For more information about the Mayor’s Art Scholarship, visit

Kevia Stroder's colleagues with the city's Parking Management Division have known for quite a while how good she is at her job. But word is getting around the entire state now.Parking Stroder

The Texas Parking and Transportation Association made sure of that when it recognized Stroder as its 2015 Employee of the Year. The association made the presentation at its annual conference recently in Corpus Christi.

Stroder is a compliance supervisor. Parking Management Assistant Director Maria Irshad said Stroder has consistently strived and succeeded in meeting performance goals and is a valuable asset to the division.

"Kevia has served the community in ways not shown by data on a spreadsheet," Irshad said. "Congratulations, Kevia. Keep shining. You are an excellent teammate and I’m proud to call you my colleague and friend."

Saturday, 25 April 2015 15:39

Paying for parking pays off


The $500 giftcard presentation included (left to right) ARA's Melonie Curry and Paul Dugas, Parkmobile's Tina Dyer, winner Aaron Lipman, ARA's Maria Irshad,  Jerry Keeth and Rami Arafat.


People like to complain about paying to park. But recently, city of Houston Parking Management and its vendor, Parkmobile, made it worthwhile for Aaron Lipman and Amy Higgins. They both used Visa Checkout (Visa's version of Paypal) in the pay-by-phone app. During November and December they and other parkers who used Visa Checkout received one hour of free parking and were entered into a sweepstakes with a chance to win one of two $500 Visa gift cards. Lipman and Higgins each scored a card when they were randomly selected after the promtion ended.

Parkmobile and Parking Management employees were on hand to present Lipman with his card. Higgins, unable to attend, received her card in the mail.  


Saturday, 25 April 2015 15:11

HAS flying high with CMC accomplishments

Houston Airport System employees gave generously during the city's 2014 charity fundraising drive, the Combined Municipal Campaign. And recently their efforts were recognized at the CMC recognition ceremony with two awards.

HAS was praised for having the highest increase of employees participation and highest percentage of employees who committed to donating 1 percent or more of their salary.

HAS employee participation jumped from 46 percent in 2013 to a sky-high 100 percent in 2014. Total donations increased by $14,067.

CMC committee revved up participation through its nine themed events, including the Breast Cancer Ice Cream Social on Oct. 7 that benefited the Susan G. Komen charity.

“This is the one time a year that you get to pick your own charities,” said Melissa Saxton, Ellington Airport management analyst IV and HAS CMC co-chair. “Whatever it is you desire, this is your opportunity to donate. You can donate money or participate in the events as a form of donating.”

Find out more about the CMC.

The Houston Airport System posted recording-setting passenger traffic numbers in 2014, according to a year-end traffic report.

More than 53.1 million passengers filtered through Houston airports last year — a 4.5 percent increase that eclipsed the previous record of 50.9 million passengers in 2013.

“This is an exciting time for the city and for the Houston Airport System,” Mayor Annise Parker said. “The development we see all around Houston is mirrored by the steady growth at our airports — the kind of numbers that befit the fastest-growing major city in the United States. We’ve been remarkably successful in attracting new international air service to Houston and are moving forward with investments and projects that will ensure that growth continues.”

Both Bush Intercontinental Airport and Hobby Airport saw their total passenger traffic jump. Bush set record highs in both combined passenger totals — more than 41.2 million in both domestic and international passengers, a 3.6 percent increase — and in the number of international passengers — more than 9.8 million, a 9.2 percent increase from 2013’s 8.9 million. The airport also saw a 2 percent increase in domestic passengers, up to more than 31.4 million.

Not to be outdone, Hobby Airport saw more than 11.9 million passengers, a 7.5 percent increase over the previous-record 11.1 million of 2013. The growing numbers are nothing new. Demand for travel from Hobby Airport has increased steadily over the past decade, growing by more than 34 percent over the past 10 years.

Read more details and get more figures about the airports' record year.

Steven Guillory recently joined Human Resources as its division manager of safety.

 SAFETY guy DSC 0023 72

He now leads 10 safety supervisors who identify and eliminate workplace dangers through hazard analysis, safety training, investigation, trend analysis, inspections and evaluations.

More than half of Guillory’s 15 years of professional safety experience has been with the city. He started at the Houston Airport System as a safety representative and then in Public Works and Engineering as its safety supervisor.   

In HR, Guillory is responsible for developing and managing the city’s comprehensive health and safety program.

Houston’s southeast area, also known as the Old Spanish Trail(OST)/South Union community, will receive a major economic boost with the construction of mix-use housing. The Village at Palm Center will include 154 apartments and 68 townhomes located at the former abandoned old flee market located at the corner of Griggs and Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Community leaders joined by local officials and stakeholders for the demolition of the King’s Best Market building and parking lot.  200 units are reserved for affordable housing to low and moderate residents. The affordability is for no less than 10-years. 

This project will be located next to METRO’s light rail to include a 14,500 square feet of retail space. Amenities include green space, 4,000 square-foot community center, fitness center, on-site daycare facility, parking garage and 24 hour security.   The project is funded with $15 million of Community Development Block Grant dollars.  The final cost of project is projected to be $41 million. 



Thursday, 26 February 2015 10:36

For $20, city employees can adopt a pet at BARC

Houston's BARC animal shelter has established a discounted rate of $20 for city employees to adopt a pet.

 BARC dog

The rate is effective immediately and includes spay/neuter surgery, a microchip with lifetime registration, a one-year pet license, and all age-appropriate vaccinations. City employees interested in adopting a dog, cat, kitten or puppy may visit BARC's website at and go to the Adopt a Pet page for details and requirements.

 BARC is located at 3200 Carr Street in Houston. It is open from noon to 5:30 p.m. daily except Mondays and Thursdays.

For the latest news and information on what's going on at the shelter, go to the BARC blog at



Volaris Airlines will add nonstop service between Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport and Guadalajara, Mexico, beginning in March. The route is part of Volaris' efforts to expand its network of flights connecting Mexico and the U.S.

Volaris has begun selling tickets. The flights will originate from Guadalajara International Airport three days a week. Flights are available for booking starting at an inaugural fare of $114, with the buy-ahead approach and Volaris’ pay-per-service plan — “Tú Decides” — that allows travelers to specifically select those services they need for their trip.

For more information about Volaris, please visit For more information about Houston Airports, visit

Page 11 of 11