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Leadership Update

On board

Bobby Singh Bobby Singh joins HFC  

Longtime community liaison and Houston businessman Bobby V.P. Singh has been appointed to the board of directors of Houston First Corporation.

Mayor Sylvester Turner nominated Singh to the post and City Council confirmed the appointment on November 9. Singh succeeds Cecil C. “C.C.” Conner Jr., whose term on the board expired.

Singh is a founding principal of Isani Consultants, a Houston-based firm that offers services related to civil engineering design, construction management and inspection. Isani has successfully completed numerous public and private sector projects.

An active member of Houston’s Sikh community, Singh has served as a liaison between the Sikh and other Indian/Asian communities. He has worked with the Houston Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation in community outreach programs and was regional director of the Sikh American Legal Defense Fund.

He is also a founding board member of the Fire Fighters Foundation of Houston, a non-profit organization that provides non-governmental funding to Houston’s fire fighters.

Singh served on Mayor Turner’s executive transition team and  Mayor Lee P. Brown’s advisory board for international affairs and development (1998-2004).

Singh’s appointment went into effect November 9 and he was present at the HFC board meeting the following day. His term expires December 31, 2017.


Enterprise Development
Partnerships & Events

No update this month.

Avenida Houston Shop/Visitors Center

No update this month.


No update this month.

Avenida Development

No update this month.


Cultural Facilities
Sales and Marketing

The following shows were booked since the last report:

Houston Ballet: The Nutcracker  – November 15-December 28, Wortham Center
Houston Grand Opera: It’s A Wonderful Life  – November 14-December 19, Wortham Center
Baylor College of Medicine: Fundraiser for Anna Deavere Smith – January 17, Wortham Center

Knitting Factory Presents: Under the Streetlamp – February 18, Wortham Center
LJ Productions: Odin Dupeyron – February 19, Wortham Center
Tex US Too, Inc: Dad’s Day 5K Run/Walk – June 17, Wortham Center

Tickets for the following shows have gone on sale since the last report:

Houston Cinema Arts Festival – November 10-16, multiple locations
Latin Christmas – December 7, Wortham Center
Anna Deavere Smith – January 17, Wortham Center
Under the Streetlamp  – February 18, Wortham Center

Theater District Parking

To improve customer service, Theater District Parking is now offering 35 short-term parking spaces -- 20 on the second level by the Wortham Center entrance and 15 on the first level by the Jones Hall entrance. These spots have a three-hour maximum.

Sunset Coffee Building

Advertising to generate event leads for Sunset Coffee Building began in October and has been a successful campaign to date.

Miller Outdoor Theatre

Miller wrapped up its 2016 season on November 12 with the production of iLuminate.  The MOT crew has once again received compliments from its presenters.  Pollynna Theater Company said “…I cannot tell you what a joy it was to work with your staff…As a company that has been in many, many different spaces with different productions in the past, I can assure you that the professionalism of your crew is the exception to the rule.”

Jones Hall

Jones Hall hosted 19 events in October.  Attendance for the month totaled 31,164. One of the big shows was Society for the Performing Arts' season opener on October 7 with legendary singer Smokey Robinson. In addition, the Jones Hall 50th Anniversary Gala on October 22 was a tremendous success

Jones Plaza hosted seven events with attendance totaling 1,945.

Wortham Theater Center 

Wortham Center hosted hosted 30 events and a total of 22,784 Patrons in October.

A special advance screening of “Trafficked”, a feature film about global human trafficking, was arranged by Mayor Turner’s Anti-Human Trafficking office.  Along with Mayor Turner, actors Patrick Duffy and Ann Archer attended the screening in Cullen Theater.

Society for the Performing Arts presented David Sedaris, as part of its 50th anniversary season, an event which was very well attended. 

Houston Grand Opera celebrated the opening night for its 62nd season with a gala on October 21.  The evening began with The Elixir of Love, followed by a black-tie dinner on Ray C. Fish Plaza.

The Associated Builders and Contractors held its annual ABC Excellence in Construction Awards Ceremony in the Grand Foyer for the fifth year in a row.

Keeping Houston's performance venues running with class takes constant attention from a lot of people. We depend on contractors for landscaping, food service, maintenance, security and other services. To show our appreciation for contractors' work and celebrate the partnerships, the department held a thank you event in Wortham on October 28. Food was served by management and some lucky contractors even got 30 seconds in a money machine booth to grab as many dollars as they could.

Wortham contractors

Vivian Montejano (Wortham), Nicole Young (Miller), Mario Ariza (COO-Theaters), Sheila Turkiewicz (Operations Director-Theaters) , Debra Justice (Jones Hall) and Amy Tang (Wortham).

Talento Bilingue de Houston

Talento Bilingue held its annual Houston Organization of Latino Artists “A Night In Hollywood” Gala.  Mayor Turner and Counci Member Cisneros attended and made various presentations to local artists.

The City of Houston is partnering with Alley Theatre for the first-ever Latino Theater Festival.  Javier Perez, executive director of TBH, is one of the project’s partner representatives.

Talento Bilingue was included in the HUE Mural Festival 2016.  Under the leadership of local artist GONZO247, artists from across Mexico drew exciting and colorful murals on the exterior walls of the building.  Houston First is the title sponsor the festival.


Convention Facilities
George R. Brown Convention Center

The George R. Brown hosted four major conventions last month with attendance of 65,206. These big shows were Prospanica, Grace Hopper Celebration and International Quilt Market & Festival.   

The number of non-convention events taking place at the GRB during the month was 13, attracting a total attendance of 17,859. A few of these events were the Houston Consular Ball, Texas Contemporary Art Fair, OilComm 2016 and TTIA Texas Travel Summit.

Event and Guest Services conducted nine site visits during the month in addition to managing each of the convention and non-convention events.  Grace Hopper Celebration and Quilts stood out as particularly well-run events.

Parking continues to be an important business sector  at the GRB. Convention District Parking utilized 57,316 parking spaces in the last month for events, shows and meetings -- Avenida Central Garage:  14,946; Avenida South Garage: 18,790; Avenida North Garage: 11,421, and Tundra Garage:  12,159.

Additionally, TASA, TTIA, NASPP and Grace Hopper all utilized the south transit center for event drop-off and pick-up. The North Transit Center was used for Quilts, Grace Hopper and some valet events. 

Construction Status


HFC's Christine West, artist Ed Wilson, Sara Kellner of Houston Arts Alliance and lighting designer Christina Gianelli.

Soaring In The Clouds, an artwork commissioned for the interior of the George R. Brown, was dedicated on November 10. The 67-foot mobile of bird and cloud forms is suspended from the ceiling and dramatically lit with changing LED theater lights. More than 200 individual forms, each molded and shaped by hand using a pneumatic press, hang from cables on the ceiling and move with the airflow in the building. Last spring, Houston Arts Alliance awarded Houston artist Ed Wilson $830,000 to produce a large-scale work of art as part of the convention center’s major renovation.




The citywide team generated over 206,000 possible room nights for conferences utilizing one of our major convention facilities. The non-citywide team added over 107,000 tentative room nights for conventions for future years while the international team generated over 26,000 possible room nights for future years.

Additionally, members of the sales team attended the IMEX America tradeshow as well the Connect Faith conference to promote Houston as a premier convention and meeting locations. Both of these events featured meeting executives from around the state and country that plan significant meetings in the corporate, association and specialty markets.

Client Services

The Client Services team conducted eight planning site visits in October for upcoming conventions including: Adventist-Laymen’s Services & Industries (8/2017); Texas High School Coaches Association (7/2017); Houston Dental Association (3/2017); Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority – 68th Boule (7/2018); FIRST Championship (2017-2021); FIRST Championship (4/2017); Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (6/2018); and, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority – 2017 AKA Committee Meeting (9/2017).

The team also participated in four promotional attendance events:  ANCC National Magnet Conference; International Facilities Management Association; Texas Municipal League and Society of Exploration Geophysicists.

Event Services

The Events Services team assisted with eight events in October: Gragg Park Grand Opening (10/12); Texas Travel Industry Association (10/12); Project Tours (10/17); IMEX America (10/18-20); HUE Mural Festival Completion Celebration (10/22); Project Tours (10/24); Project Tours (10/25); and HFC/CVB Partnership Tower Open House (10/26).

Corporate Culture

Corporate Culture assisted with the HUE Mural Festival Tour (10/20) and the Halloween Candy Drive and Trivia Contest (10/31).

General Counsel

General Counsel issued an RFP for an economic impact consultant (11/2) and an RFQ for a new attraction market analysis and feasibility study  (due 11/17).

Raenesha Jackson passed the state bar exam and is now the newest attorney practicing in the General Counsel office.


• The Tourism team participated in the Wine & Food Festival in Mexico City where it was joined by two local chefs: Justin Turner from Bernie’ Burger Bus and Annie Rupani from Cacao & Cardamom.  The Hola Houston campaign was heavily promoted and more than 1,000 potential visitors were able to sample  Houston’s rich gastronomy and learn about our city.

• The Spanish-language website welcomed 44,109 sessions in October, an 11.05% increase over last year. The top three pages on the site are Events, Homepage and NASA Space Center.

• China is another fast-growing market for Houston. Thanks to a partnership with Brand USA, Visit Houston now has a page on the Go USA China Website. This site is accessible to Chinese travelers, travel professionals and tour operators with useful travel information for our city at

 • Visit Houston hosted the 31st Annual Texas Travel Industry Association Summit at the George R. Brown Convention Center from October 9-11.  The event attracted more than 400 Texas travel professionals and provided a terrific opportunity to showcase the improvements and developments in downtown Houston, which were reinforced by Mayor Sylvester Turner’s welcoming remarks.  

•  Houston and Beyond team represented Visit Houston at the groundbreaking ceremony of the new San Felipe de Austin State Historic Site Museum, adjacent to the Stephen F. Austin State Park near Sealy.  When completed, the $12 million museum and welcome center will showcase the original site of Austin’s township in Texas.

 • The international PR team hosted a group of media from Mexico invited by Southwest Airlines and another group was invited from Canada, in addition to a TV crew filming a special Houston program for Mexico and a German golf magazine writer.

International media value for October: $1,251,839; International audience: 8,093,252.


New GHCVB members added in October were Galveston Historical Foundation, Exhibit Network, Red Roof Plus Houston - Energy Corridor, AAmbassador Limousine & Transportation Inc, Courtyard by Marriott - Houston/Medical Center, Cuchara Restaurant, A La Carte Events & Catering LLC, Sealy Convention and Visitors Bureau, LifeHTX, Digi-Color LP, VCI Artists, HPI - The Visual Solutions Company, Washington on the Brazos State Park Association, Law Offices of Ned Barnett and Mezlan.

Corporate Affairs

In October, HFC participated in the following community investment events: Temple Sinai Brotherhood Presentation; Houston Minority Supplier Development Council Luncheon & Expo; Houston Hispanic Chamber Elected Officials Reception; Talento Bilingüe de Houston Gala; Greater Houston Partnership State of the Senate Luncheon; Central Houston Annual Luncheon; Italian Festival; Houston Museum of African American Culture Gala; Consular Ball; Hotel Lodging Association of Greater Houston Luncheon; Remote Houston; Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Business Seminar Presentation; Society for Marketing Professionals Services Gala; Houston First recognized as “Client of the Year” Greater Houston Black Chamber Pinnacle Awards; Jones Hall 50th Anniversary Ball; Association for the Advancement of Mexican Americans Tacos y Tacones Gala; Greater Houston Partnership Regional Delegation Dinner; Scenic Houston Dinner; Greater Houston  Partnership Cybersecurity Breakfast; Crimes Stoppers Annual Gala; National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Gala; Super Bowl LI Kick Off Reception; Touch Down Houston Lead to Read – Initiative Houston Super LI Host Committee; 12th Annual Hospitality on Parade Gala; Terry Beutler  recognized “In Memoriam” for her invaluable service to the lodging industry in Houston; Ted Bowen recognized as the “Allied Partner” award winner and Greater Houston Partnership Lieutenant  Governor Luncheon.

Public Affairs

No update this month.  

Marketing and Communications

In October, the network of websites generated 467,000 visits. Media value was $966,000 with an audience of 86 million nationally.

Several stories ran as a result of public relations pitches and activity including leisure pieces in Forbes, Travel Channel, USA Today, Fodors, Conde Nast Traveler, Thrillist, CityLab, NPR Texas Standard and Jet Setter

Additionally,  the team hosted several media groups for various events including:

An outdoor-themed media group attended by six reporters representing publications including The New York Times, Travel + Leisure, USA Today, Town & Country and Paste Magazine. The media visit revolved around Houston’s green spaces, renovated parks and outdoor adventure and activities.

The team represented Houston at the State of Texas Media Mission in New York. This was an opportunity to share messaging with a number of publications in collaboration with other Texas destinations. Visit Houston met with over 30 media representatives over the two days representing publications including Successful Meetings, Family Circle, Orbitz, Skift, WSJ, US News & World Report, W Magazine, Sherman’s Travel and more. The team discussed with media story ideas around Super Bowl preparation, Avenida Houston, Hobby Airport’s expansion, B-Cycle expansion, Emancipation Park, White Oak Music Hall, MFAH/Menil expansions and more.

The Hue Mural Fest received tremendous attention this year from a number of outlets including PaperCity, Houstonia, the Chronicle (twice), KHOU, KTRK, Houston Press, ArtsHound and Houston Public Media

Lastly, the team conducted eight interviews promoting Houston and hosted, in addition to the groups mentioned above, six individual journalists who visited Houston from publications including, Newsweek, Haute Living, Men’s Journal, Thrillist and  USA Today.

Film Commission

In October, the Houston Film Commission was engaged in 33 film and video projects encompassing 105 filming days. The economic impact for the month was $3,591,000.

Television projects included The Killing Fields, Project Impossible, For My Man: Season 3, Vanity Fair Confidential, Skin Tight, The Vet Life, The Book of John, The Little Couple 2.0, Cracking the Case, Bring It, Breakthrough and One Strange Rock.

Commercial filming projects included Walmart, Dick's Sporting Goods, Kroger, Mattress Firm, Adidas and Frank’s International.

The Film Commission presented First Thursdays at Brazil short film series and local film industry networking event; sponsored “Film Texas” filmmakers luncheon during the Dallas Video Festival; presented the Houston Film Commission’s Texas Filmmakers Showcase during the Dallas Video Festival; sponsored “Film Texas” BBQ reception during the Austin Film Festival; sponsored, in conjunction with the Office of the Mayor, the screening of feature film Trafficked, and sponsored the Houston Indian Film Festival.

Regional Product Development

Freeway Corridor Enhancements – As part of efforts to enhance and better maintain our region’s freeway corridors, a meeting of stakeholders is scheduled to discuss implementation strategies for the “Airport Corridors.”

I-69 Corridor Segment along George R. Brown – We are in the design phase of enhancing a bridge fence crossing over I-69 from Tuam to Leeland by weaving colorful strips of high-density vinyl into the existing chain link fences. The strips will be pre-printed with color on both sides and will be based on images pixelated per TxDOT’s safety guidelines to avoid being a distraction to the traffic on I-69. Images will be selected from Geoff Winnigham’s latest project, “In the eyes of Our Children: Houston, an American City.” All images will be based on the children’s photography completed as part of Winnigham’s project.  These visual enhancement installations on the bridge fences will provide an example of a low-cost, creative method to enhance the freeway corridor environment.

Jones Plaza – Following completion of the Theater District Master Plan we have kicked off an architectural programming exercise to determine the vision, architectural elements and target budget for the re-design project for Jones Plaza. We continue to have individual meetings with approximately 25 stakeholders to obtain their thoughts on elements to consider in the programming and re-envisioning of the plaza.

Finance & Administration

For the full financial management and accountability report for October, click here.

Information Technology

IT  implemented a mobile device upgrade to all employees with an HFC-issued cell phone. The issuance of new phones began October 26.  

IT is working with Finance in preparing for the CY17 budget upload.  IT is procuring new software to assist in auditing of active directory, SQL server and databases. IT is also in the process of securing bids for security assessments.