Hats Off

John Guess IV has been accepted into Leadership Houston, Class XXXIV. Guess is a senior finance and portfolio analyst with the City of Houston Controller’s Office.


Leadership Houston was formed in 1982 to bring together leaders from different communities to increase dialogue and foster collaboration on projects that improve the quality of life for Houstonians.


Participants come from the from business and non-profit sectors. Leadership Houston’s alumni include Mayor Annise Parker and Controller Ronald C. Green.

Houston Firefighters Captain Brad Hawthorne and Engineer Operator Dwayne Wyble have been selected as “2014 Firehouse Heroism Award” Honorees from “Firehouse Magazine” for their heroic actions in March of last year.

Fire Chief Terry Garrison presented the awards to the crew of Tower 18 on July 2, 2015. Firefighters Luis Bernal and Luis Gonzalez also received recognition from Firehouse Magazine for their efforts during the incident.

More about the incident: On March 25, 2014, Ladder 18 responded to a fire in the area of West Dallas and Montrose. As the crew of Ladder 18 began their operations, there was a small amount of smoke coming from the building, however within seconds the smoke turned rapidly moving fire. While putting the ladder to the roof, they spotted someone emerge on a 5th floor balcony.

Captain Hawthorne was on the tip of the ladder and viewed the roof. Engineer Operator Wyble moved the ladder in the direction of the victim with the Captain and the other two firefighters still on the ladder. They had to move fast because of the rapid spread of the fire.

The fire was venting through the door as the trapped person grabbed the ledge of the patio and swung himself down to the 4th floor patio. The adder reached the 4th floor and the Captain made his way to the very tip of the ladder as the trapped construction worker climbed onto the ladder.

Once the rescued person was with the Captain, Wyble quickly moved the ladder to away from the building due to the extreme heat. Within seconds and while still moving the ladder away from the building, the roof and 5th floor had a catastrophic collapse sending burning debris on to the 4th floor the building.

The collapse nearly missed the Captain and victim, landing within a few feet of the rear of the ladder truck. The Captain and construction worker were able to safely exit the ladder once they reached a safe distance from the building. It was a mere 4 minutes from the start of the aerial operations to the collapse.

New North AmericanHuman  Resources Director Omar Reid delivered the commencement address to the graduating
class of North American University. 

His message to graduates was:

1. The harder you are on yourself when no one is looking, the easier life is on you when everyone is looking.

2. There is a big difference between talent and desire.

3. Success is where opportunity meets preparation.

The City of Houston Municipal Court Department is home to this year's court Clerk of the Year for Texas.


MCD's Clerk of Court Charlotte Booker was named this year's recipient of the award by the Texas Municipal Clerks Association. She will receive the honor in recognition for her excellent work with the Houston MCD at the TMCA annual meeting in August. 

Houston Airport System's Rhonda Arnold is not just making a difference in aviation locally, she is making an impact on the industry nationally.


Arnold, HAS director of community relations, has been actively involved with the Airport Minority Advisory Council, a national aviation nonprofit organization that promotes minority participation in aviation. Her work and devotion to that cause was recognized at the 2015 Airport Minority Advisory Council meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in June.


At the AMAC meeting, Arnold was presented with the AMAC Chairman's Award. The award honors a change agent from inside or outside the organization who has helped AMAC transform itself and improve its effectiveness by focusing on such matters as organizational effectiveness, improvement, and development.


AMAC is the only national, non-profit trade association dedicated to promoting the full participation of minority-owned, women-owned and disadvantaged business enterprises in airport contracting and the inclusion of minorities and women in employment. The organization works to eliminate the barriers to minority and women participation in the airport industry and to capitalize on the opportunities available in the industry.

HPL received the 2015 Families Learning Innovation Showcase Award from the National Center for Families Learning during its recent Families Learning Summit 2015, "Two Generations: One Goal."

HPL was recognized for its Toyota Family Learning Program. The program is based on the library’s innovative approach in leading the next generation of families learning together. HPL’s innovation is Families United Now at the Houston Public Library — A F.U.N. Plan with Purpose! 

The F.U.N. plan serves as a tool to encourage learning, foster family traditions, instill family values and promote activities such as reading at the library, playing video games, hiking at the park, or planting a community garden. It is a simple yet powerful instrument to transform the way families engage, connect and learn.

Houston Public Library Director Rhea Brown Lawson was honored recently as one of several exceptional women leaders in the Houston area at Delta Sigma Theta Sorority's 88th anniversary celebration, Incorporated Heritage and Archives of Houston Alumnae Chapter “Celebrating Women of Service and Community Leadership for Leadership for 88 Years.”

As HPL director, Lawson heads the largest public library in Texas. Under her leadership, HPL has been recognized as one of the nation’s leading public libraries. She has lead innovative programs, services, and building projects. Lawson is also currently on the Urban Libraries Council Executive Board, the advisory boards of the Heritage Society, the Texas State Library, the University of North Texas School of Information, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Library and Information Science. She is also an adjunct professor at the University of North Texas in the College of Information/Department of Library and Information Science.

The Fleet Management Department was honored by the 100 Best Fleet organization as one of the best fleets in the nation. The winners were announced at the National Association of Fleet Administrator Institute and Expo on April 16 in Orlando, Fla. The event is the largest fleet show in the U.S. WeiYao Chang, assistant director in the Fleet Management Department, accepted the award on behalf of the city, as the 26th best fleet in the nation.

For the third year in a row, the Houston Airport System’s Air Service Development team was recognized in the regional heat of the Routes Americas Marketing Awards.

George Bush Intercontinental earned Highly Commended status in the “Over 20 Million Passengers” category at the 2015 award ceremony in Denver. Bush was named the top performing airport in that category in 2013 and 2014.

“It is truly satisfying to see the Air Service Development team recognized, once again, for all of the hard work put into developing the amazing air service growth we’ve seen at Bush Intercontinental, as well as Hobby Airport, over the past few years,” said Molly Waits, Houston Airport System director of Air Service Development. “That dedication continues to pay off, and there is even more good news in store for 2015.”

The growth of HAS airport traffic continues upward. Read about the 2014 record-breaking numbers.

Check out all the details about the HAS' accomplishments at the Routes Americas Marketing Awards.

Houston Police Officer Marco Java has been commended for his work keeping school zones safe.

Resident Lynda Hughes contacted the city to thank Java for his attention to a complaint about a school zone safety issue. "My concern was and is for the safety of the children in this community as they travel  to and from school daily," Hughes wrote.

Good work, Officer Java.

A pair of Houston police officers received a commendation from Mayor Annise Parker for helping an out-of-town couple make the best of a bad situation.

The Baltimore couple had traveled to Houston, as they do annually to visit a relative. This year they were involved in a traffic accident. Though they described the accident as minor, they said HPD officers Matthew C. Watts and Laronica Scales were a major help.

Carl A. Roth wrote a letter to the Mayor's Office commending Watts and Scales, both of the Southwest Station. He cited the officers for the "professionalism and courtesy they showed to my wife and to me in conjunction with that accident."

"Houston can and should be proud to have individuals of such caliber serving its public and ably representing the city to its visitors," Roth wrote.

Mayor Parker then followed up with a letter to the officers to ensure they knew their conduct, competency, courtesy and the way they went about their jobs was appreciated.

The Municipal Courts Department's outstanding customer service made a big believer out of one Washington County, Texas, resident.

When Angela T. Knauss had to contact the MCD for court business, she was so impressed by the professionalism and courtesy displayed by everyone who helped her, she wrote to Mayor Annise Parker's office in praise of MCD Administrative Supervisor Katherine Liberto and her staff.

"When one encounters an exceptionally helpful individual, especially in government, I think that person should be acknowledged," Knauss wrote. "I recently had contact with Municipal Courts Department personnel and was pleased by the helpfulness. … I would also give credit to Ms. Liberto for setting the tone for the office. Usually actions from below are a reflection of the supervisor in charge."

Knauss' comments to the Mayor's Office about her experience warranted a mayoral letter of commendation to Liberto for her commitment to the Municipal Courts Department and for how she and her staff represented the city and department.

A simple invitation to city events can lead some Houston residents to get a glimpse of what some employees do to make city operations work and how much they love working for the city.

Kenneth Hall wrote to express his gratitude for city employees, some of whom he has worked with over the years in his role in marketing and business operations with KBR. Most recently, he and his family attended the Thanksgiving parade at the invitation of Debbi Elliott-Griffith and Susan Bono of the Mayor's Office and had a great time. Hall wrote that he has worked with both before and that he has "not ceased to be impressed. … I have always found them both to be so positive and engaging and truly wonderful spokespersons for this great city." 

He also noted that July 4 celebrations he has attended are similarly enjoyable experiences and valued by Houstonians, citing the good works of Susan Christian and others.

Hall expressed his compliments to city staff "that truly reflects the warmth that Houstonians most certainly should convey to one another and to others. It is always an enjoyable experience to deal with folks who are professional and personable, terms not mutually exclusive."

Thursday, 29 January 2015 14:24

HPC-PWE employees help with records search

A resident on a document search never expected as much of an assist as she received from a trio of employees at the Houston Permitting Center. But when Lane Llewellyn asked for help, she was impressed by what she received.

Llewellyn recently wrote a letter complimenting Hugo Mora, Belinda Garcia and Cassandra Vrana, all with HPC-PWE, for their initiative and willingness to help.

Llewellyn needed to locate documents, including any permits, plans or maps of three townhouses built in Montrose around the late '70s. Mora first helped her with a computer search. Then Vrana helped her, before Garcia also got involved. Llewellyn wrote that she appreciated the employees' diligence and helpfulness as they "checked and double checked all records and still smiled at me!" 

"Wow, I am so impressed," Llewellyn wrote. "They all did a great job. …  My compliments to all three of these hard working city employees."

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