Register Now

Aug 20, 2015


Samara_Barend_headshotSamara Barend

Senior VP and PPP Strategic Development Director for North America & Director, AECOM Capital

Sam Barend serves a dual role in AECOM as both Senior Vice President and PPP Strategic Development Director for North America and as a Director in AECOM Capital. In these roles, she provides leadership in AECOM’s PPP work across all business lines, including energy, water, transportation, and buildings and facilities. In addition, she identifies and develops PPP project investments and is responsible for helping create the strongest private sector consortium to bid on them. Sam also supports project bids after teaming has been established through the entire procurement process.
Sam also provides considerable assistance to states in the development of PPP policy frameworks, potential projects, and legislation. She recently served as Deputy Project Manager for the PPP study commissioned by the Washington State Joint Transportation Committee to investigate the suitability of PPP delivery to major transportation projects.
Prior to her position at AECOM, Ms. Barend served as Executive Director of the New York State Commission on Asset Maximization. The SAM Commission, was charged with exploring public-private opportunities in New York State. The Commission released a final report which identified 26 specific public-private opportunities and proposed a transparent process for undertaking those ventures.


Chris_Connealy_headshotChris Connealy

Texas State Fire Marshal

Chris Connealy was appointed as the Texas State Fire Marshal on June 18, 2012. He previously served as fire chief of the Cedar Park Fire Department from 2004 to 2012. Chris has been in the fire service 37 years. He initially served 26 years with the Houston Fire Department and retired January 2004. He promoted through the ranks to fire chief. Connealy served as HFD’s Accreditation Manager while an assistant chief and the department became the largest accredited fire department in the world in 2001. 

He has associate, bachelor, and master degrees. Chris completed the Harvard University State and Local Executive program in 2003. He is accredited as a Chief Fire Officer and is a National Fire Academy EFO graduate. Chris was named a 2014 Public Official of the Year by Governing Magazine and was a Dallas Morning News 2013 Texan of the Year Finalist. He was appointed by Governor Perry and served as presiding officer on the Texas Commission on Fire Protection, served on the Texas Fire Chiefs Association executive board, and received various additional awards during his career in the fire service. He is the first fire chief in the United States to have lead two cities (Houston and Cedar Park) to an ISO Class 1 rating.  Chris serves as an adjunct instructor for TEEX. He loves his profession and serving others.


Sarah_Eckhardt_headshotThe Honorable Sarah Eckhardt

Travis County Judge

Sarah Eckhardt began service as Travis County’s first female county judge on January 1, 2015. Judge Eckhardt presides over a Commissioners Court she previously served as Precinct 2 Commissioner for 6 ½ years.
With deep roots in Austin and Travis County, Judge Eckhardt has dedicated herself to making life better for Travis County families for more than 15 years.
In the County Attorney’s office, she secured protective orders for family violence victims and defended the community’s interests against polluters.
As a Travis County Commissioner, she championed Central Texas values on nearly every issue to come before the Commissioners Court.
Judge Eckhardt is dedicated to serving the people of Travis County and ensuring that our community is efficient, green, healthy, just and mobile.
Judge Eckhardt serves on the CAMPO Transportation Policy Board. She will renew efforts to expand upon her successes as a County Commissioner by advocating for an affordable network of sidewalks, bike lanes, buses and rail, as well as roads. The Judge serves on the CAPCOG Executive Committee, which crafts regional solutions for its 10-county service area.


Tommy_Gonzalez_headshotTommy Gonzalez

City Manager, El Paso, Texas

Tommy Gonzalez is the City Manager of El Paso, a position to which he was appointed in June 2014.
Mr. Gonzalez is a results-oriented, strategic leader with more than two decades of management experience in the public and private sectors. He has extensive experience performance excellence initiatives and serves as an expert resource on transformational change within organizations.
Previously, Mr. Gonzalez served as the City Manager for Irving, Texas, which received both the Texas Award for Performance Excellence and the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. Under his leadership, Irving adopted Lean Six Sigma to identify systems and process improvements that ultimately saved the city more than $44 million and 50,000 hours in productivity.
Mr. Gonzalez has had a distinguished military career, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army after 22 years of service.
He holds a Masters of Public Administration from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas and a Bachelor of Science from Eastern New Mexico University in Portales, New Mexico.


Erin_Hutchins_headshotErin Hutchins

General Manager and Director of Portal Operations,

Erin Hutchins is a General Manager and Director of Portal Operations for, the award-winning official website of the State of Texas. She manages the ongoing operations of the portal including outreach, marketing, program management, and application development. Over her 16 year career in eGovernment, Ms. Hutchins has also worked for three other enterprise eGovernment organizations –,, and – in positions including Project Manager, Director of Operations, and General Manager.


Wayne_Klotz_headshotD. Wayne Klotz , P.E., D. WRE, F. ASCE

President, Klotz Associates

Mr. Klotz is president of Klotz Associates, Inc., a full service civil engineering firm based in Houston. His 34-year career began with a B.S. in civil engineering from Texas A&M University in 1974 and a Master of Science in civil engineering from the University of Houston in 1976. He is a licensed professional engineer in Texas and Louisiana.

Mr. Klotz serves on the Board of Directors of the Harris-Galveston Coastal Subsidence District. He also has served as officer for ASCE, HCEC, CEC-T Harris County Flood Control Task Force, the C Club, and the University of Houston and the Texas A&M Civil Engineering Advisory Boards. He launched the Klotz Associates Endowed Scholarship in Civil Engineering at both universities.

Among Mr. Klotz's awards are the ASCE National 2005 Edmund Friedman Professional Recognition Award and the 2004 Texas A&M Distinguished Graduate of the Department of Civil Engineering. He has also received the Texas Section and Houston Branch ASCE Awards of Honor. The American Water Works Association awarded him a Life Membership for his more than 30 years of dedication to AWWA and the water profession. This year he received an Honorary Professor award from the Ricardo Palma University in Lima, Peru.


Tim_Lomax_headshotTim Lomax, Ph.D., P.E.

Regents Fellow, Texas A&M Transportation Institute

Dr. Lomax has been involved in urban mobility research for more than 35 years. He leads a team of researchers and communications specialists who produce reports and plans to describe mobility solutions to a wide range of audiences. He is a three-time graduate of Texas A&M University and the recipient of the Theodore M. Matson Memorial Award for outstanding contributions in the field of traffic engineering. He has presented recommendations on congestion strategies and performance measure issues to the US Congress, state legislatures, and a variety of transportation, business, civic and media groups. He and his wife Jeannine have one son, Geoff, a Business and Economics graduate of Hendrix (AR) College. Geoff was a pitcher for the Hendrix Warriors and went pro in Accounting in 2012.


Kathy_Nesbitt_headshotKathy Nesbitt

Vice President, Employee and Information Services, University of Colorado; former Director of Personnel and Executive
Director of the Department of Personnel & Administration, State of Colorado

Kathy Nesbitt joined the University of Colorado in January 2015 as vice president for employee and information services. She is responsible for a wide range of services, including payroll for CU employees, employment policy, compliance education, leadership and organizational development, benefits design, information security and enterprise technology systems, and employee data management and metrics. She is also responsible for the CU health plans offered through the University of Colorado Health and Welfare Trust.
Nesbitt came to CU after serving Gov. John Hickenlooper as director of personnel for the state of Colorado and executive director of the Department of Personnel & Administration since January 2011. In that role, she was responsible for the efficient and effective management of five divisions: Human Resources; Central Services, including the fleet, printing operations, mail delivery and document scanning; Finance and Procurement; the State Controller’s Office; and Administrative Courts. She oversaw statewide programs, including the State Architect’s Office, State Archives and the Colorado State Employee Assistance Program.


Annise_Parker_headshotThe Honorable Annise Parker

Mayor, City of Houston, Texas

Mayor Parker is Houston’s 61st mayor and one of only two women to hold the City’s highest elected office. As the City's chief executive officer, she is responsible for all aspects of the general management of the City and for enforcement of all laws and ordinances.
Parker has spent many years in service to the people of Houston, with six years as a City Council member and six years as City Controller. She is the only person in Houston history to hold the offices of council member, controller and mayor.
The mayor’s tenure includes passage and implementation of Rebuild Houston, a pay-as-you-go comprehensive street and drainage improvement program that will provide jobs for Houstonians for years to come; voter approval of a $410 million public improvement bond program; creation of an independent organization to oversee the City’s crime lab operations; a unique sobering center for public intoxication cases; adoption of a long-term financial plan that ensures the stability of the City’s water department and reorganization of City departments to achieve cost savings and more efficient operations. She created a new City department focused on the needs of neighborhoods and the Office of Business Opportunity to help minority and women-owned small business enterprises compete for City contracts.


Omar_Reid_headshotOmar C. Reid

Human Resources Director, City of Houston, Texas

Omar C. Reid is the Human Resources Director for the City of Houston and is responsible for financial and administrative activities of the department. Director Reid has initiated several major initiatives that have significantly improved the services provided to the city’s workforce. With a strategic focus on process improvement and enhanced client services, Mr. Reid has:

  • Centralized HR operations
  • Moved from a fully-insured to self-insured health benefits program
  • Implemented a nationally acclaimed Health Assessment and Wellness initiative
  • Re-Instituted the Leadership Institute Program (LIP)… just to name a few

Mr. Reid earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from University of Houston – Downtown and his MBA from Texas Southern University. The City of Houston has received many awards as a result of Mr. Reid and his team. Listed among his accomplishments, Mr. Reid is a published author of The Traffic of Life: Characteristics of Effective Leadership. He has a ‘people come first’ personal philosophy. He and his wife Janice have a daughter, Briana, who follows the examples of hard work in education and sports that is exhibited by both her parents.


Milton Rister

Executive Director, Railroad Commission of Texas

Milton Rister was appointed Executive Director of the Railroad Commission of Texas, October 1, 2012. Rister came to the Commission from the Office of the Governor where he served as Director for Administration from 2010 to 2012. Previously, Rister served as Executive of Director for the Texas Legislative Council and as senior advisor to the Lt. Governor of Texas.
Rister has extensive experience and expertise in executive management throughout Texas state government. Among his areas of expertise; the recruitment, development and retention of highly successful executive leadership teams deeply committed to excellence in public service.
For more information, view Milton’s LinkedIn profile at:


Mike_Salvino_headshotMike Salvino

Group Chief Executive, Accenture Operations

In this role, Mike oversees Accenture’s business that provides Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) services as well as Infrastructure and Cloud services. He leads an 88,000 strong global team of both consulting and outsourcing professionals focused on delivering business value and driving productivity improvements for clients. In addition, Mike serves as a member of Accenture’s Global Management Committee and represents Accenture on the Board of Avanade.
Under Mike’s leadership, Accenture has received many accolades and has consistently been recognized by industry analysts and influencers as a market leader in operations. In 2014, Mike was inducted into the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals (IAOP) Outsourcing Hall of Fame.
In the early part of his career, Mike also held senior leadership positions at a number of start-up and publicly traded companies such as the HR BPO pioneer Exult, where he was President of Americas region and subsequently at Hewitt, where he was the Global Sales and Accounts Co-Leader for their HR Outsourcing Group.
Mike holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering from Marietta College, Ohio where he graduated cum laude and now serves as a member of the Board.


Susan_Smith_headshotSusan Smith

Executive Director, TML MultiState Intergovernmental Employee Benefits Pool (IEBP)

Susan Smith joined the TML MultiState Intergovernmental Employee Benefits Pool (IEBP) in 1995 and developed the Pool’s Provider Network bringing managed care options to our Members. The Pool restructured into a team environment in 1996 where Susan served as Central Team Manager. In 1997, Susan assumed the position of Director of Member Services over all three teams. In this position, she managed the teams operations, maintained the Provider Network and directed the marketing effort for the organization. In September 2000, Susan was appointed as the Executive Director.
Susan has been on both sides of health care developing provider networks as well as hospital administration. Her multifaceted expertise in the healthcare industry includes being a Hospital Administrator and Executive Director of three Houston based hospitals. Prior to joining the Pool, Susan was Chief Executive Officer at Integrated Management Services, Inc. where she developed a Houston-based provider network that contracted with a management service organization for infrastructure management. As Executive Director of Baywood Hospital she was responsible for hospital expansion as well as acquiring accreditation for a private school.