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2018 Annual Conference Speakers
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Harvey One Year Later - Lessons Learned

Moderator
Ross Ramsey

Executive Editor, The Texas Tribune

Ross Ramsey is executive editor and co-founder of The Texas Tribune. Before joining the Tribune, Ross was editor and co-owner of Texas Weekly for 15 years. He did a 28-month stint in government as associate deputy comptroller for policy and director of communications with the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. Before that, he reported for the Houston Chronicle from its Austin bureau and for the Dallas Times Herald, first on the business desk in Dallas and later as its Austin bureau chief, and worked as a Dallas-based freelance business writer, writing for regional and national magazines and newspapers. Ross got his start in journalism in broadcasting, covering news for radio stations in Denton and Dallas.

Panelists
Art Acevedo

Chief of Police, City of Houston

Art Acevedo was sworn-in as Chief of the Houston Police Department (HPD) on November 30, 2016.

Chief Acevedo leads a department of 5,200 sworn law enforcement officers and 1,200 civilian support personnel with an annual general fund budget of $825 million in the fourth largest city in the United States.

Chief Acevedo believes good communication is vital for a successful community and steadily works to strengthen the bond between the community and its police department. A proponent of community policing, Chief Acevedo refers to the proven practice as “Relational Policing,” an opportunity to forge a relationship with each citizen an officer comes in contact with.

The first Hispanic to lead the HPD, Acevedo brings a unique understanding to the concerns of the diverse communities in the City of Houston. Born in Cuba, he was 4 years old when he migrated to the United States with his family in 1968. Acevedo grew up in California and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Administration from the University of La Verne in California. Acevedo began his law enforcement career in 1986 as field patrol officer in East Los Angeles with the California Highway Patrol. He rose through the ranks and was named Chief of the California Highway Patrol in 2005. Acevedo most recently served nine years as Chief of the Austin Police Department.

Chief Acevedo holds various leadership positions with the Major Cities Chiefs Association and the International Association of Chiefs of Police. He is married to Tanya Born Acevedo and is the father of Melissa, Matthew and Jake.

Carter Smith

Executive Director, Texas Parks and Wildlife

Carter Smith serves as the executive director of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), a position he has held since January 2008.

A native of central Texas, Smith developed his passion for wildlife and the out of doors at a young age while roaming his family’s farm and ranch land interests in Gonzales, Williamson, and Edwards Counties. He has a wildlife management degree from Texas Tech and a master’s degree in conservation biology from Yale University. He began his professional career in 1992 as a management intern at TPWD, assisting in the Private Lands and Public Hunting programs. As a biologist, he has worked on a variety of research projects ranging from studying moose in the boreal forests of Saskatchewan to mule deer and pronghorn antelope in far west Texas to waterfowl in the Laguna Madre of Texas and Tamaulipas, Mexico.

At Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, he is responsible for overseeing an agency of 3,100 professionals in 11 different divisions, including Wildlife, Law Enforcement, State Parks, Coastal Fisheries, and Inland Fisheries. Smith has been particularly active in the realms of private lands stewardship, coastal issues relating to the state’s involvement with the Deepwater Horizon incident, children in nature initiatives, invasive species issues, expanded outreach to the state’s urban populace, and most recently acquisition of new state park and wildlife management areas and the state’s response to the chronic wasting disease situation in captive cervid facilities.

Carter and his wife, Stacy, and their son, Ryland, reside in Austin.

Billy Hamilton

Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer, Texas A&M University System

As Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer, Hamilton is responsible for the development, implementation and coordination of The Texas A&M University System Offices operations, plans, goals, programs, policies, and services with special attention to the management of financial operations. He has direct oversight for all A&M System departments, including the vice chancellors, chief business development officer and chief financial officers.

Abstract

Abstract coming soon.

The Leader's Mindset and the Truth About IT Solutions

Kirsten Cox photoKristin Cox

Executive Director, Governor's Office of Management and Budget, Utah

Kristen Cox is the executive director of the Utah Governor’s Office of Management and Budget (GOMB). The mission of GOMB is to create more value for every tax dollar invested. Under Kris’ leadership, Utah improved government performance by more than 27 percent by January 2017, exceeding the 25 percent goal set by the Governor. The work to improve government is never over, and the focus has now shifted to targeted improvements at specific state agencies. Prior to her time at GOMB, Kris served as the executive director of the Department of Workforce Services (DWS). Kris led the DWS effort to save taxpayers nearly $30 million dollars while simultaneously improving quality for customers. This occurred during a time of significant caseload growth due to the 2008 economic recession. Kris has also worked as the Secretary of the Maryland Department of Disabilities, was appointed to a position with the Department of Education by President George W. Bush and held numerous positions with the National Federation of the Blind. She ran as the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor of Maryland during the 2006 general election. Kris received her Bachelor of Science in Educational Psychology from Brigham Young University. Kris is an avid reader and loves the outdoors, especially hiking Utah’s mountains and trails. Kris’ greatest outdoor adventures have been skydiving, paragliding, skiing, and hiking the Grand Canyon rim to rim.

Abstract

Breakthrough results are possible for any organization—it simply takes the right mindset and focus. Kris’ presentation will explore the limitless opportunities for success when goals and targets are set high, when there is a belief that hidden capacity exists and when limited time and attention is focused on the right problem to solve. Oftentimes, organizations focus improvement efforts on an IT solution. It is easy to be lured in by the bells and whistles of technology and automation, but do huge investments in IT really add business value? Kris will demonstrate that if a few basic questions can't be answered about a proposed IT solution, the project will likely fail.

Leadership Lessons Learned From Human Spaceflight

Susan Helms photoSusan Helms

Lieutenant General, USAF, Ret. - Retired Astronaut, Flight Test Engineer and Military Officer

After receiving her B.S. in Aeronautical Engineering from the US Air Force Academy (’80), Helms served in a number of technical assignments, including as an exchange officer with the Canadian Forces at CFB Cold Lake, Alberta. She also received her M.S in Aero/Astro from Stanford University (’85) and graduated from the USAF Test Pilot School as a Flight Test Engineer (‘88A) Prior to her selection for NASA, Helms had flown in more than 30 US and Canadian aircraft. While at NASA (1990-2002), Helms flew on 5 space missions, including a 5+ month stay on the International Space Station in 2001. After her career at NASA, Helms returned to the US Air Force (USAF) where she took a Division Chief position at Headquarters for USAF Space Command in Colorado Springs, CO. She also served as the Vice Commander of the 45th Space Wing at Patrick Air Force Base and Deputy Director of Operations for Air Education and Training Command at Randolph Air Force Base. As a General Officer, Helms has served as the Commander of the 45th Space Wing, Director of Plans and Policy for US Strategic Command, and was dual-hatted as Commander, 14th Air Force (Air Forces Strategic), Air Force Space Command and Commander, Joint Functional Component Command for Space, US Strategic Command, both at Vandenberg AFB, CA.

Abstract

Abstract coming soon.

Title Coming Soon

Kirk Kirksey photoKirk Kirksey

Vice President, Information Resources

Kirk A. Kirksey, Vice President for Information Resources, created the Information Resources Department at UT Southwestern Medical Center by merging five existing University computing operations. He currently oversees a budget of $56 million and 350 employees. Mr. Kirksey has been instrumental in the design and implementation of UT Southwestern’s clinical and financial information systems, the design of its data communications infrastructure, and the design and consolidation of the University’s internet functions. Prior to joining UT Southwestern, he held positions with Perot Systems Corporation, the Dallas-based Rubicon Minerals Corporation, and the King Faisal Hospital and Research Center in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Mr. Kirksey, who holds a master's degree from the University of Texas at Arlington, is a nationally recognized expert in information technology and currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of Texas at Dallas' Alliance for Medical Management Education.

Abstract

Abstract coming soon.

Top Lessons Learned Researching And Co-Authoring The DevOps Handbook

Gene Kim photoGene Kim

CTO, DevOps Researcher and Author

Gene Kim is a multiple award winning CTO, and DevOps researcher and author. He has been researching high-performing technology organizations since 1999. He was founder and CTO of Tripwire, which commercialized the open source software he wrote in 1992 with Dr. Gene Spafford at Purdue University. He is the co-author of The DevOps Handbook, The Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win, as well as The Visible Ops Handbook and The Security Visible Ops Handbook.

Gene’s area of passion is helping companies build super-tribes where Development, IT Operations, Product and Project Management, and Information Security simultaneously maximize throughput of features from “code complete” to “in production,” without causing chaos and disruption to the IT environment. He’s helped some of the largest Internet properties, such as Microsoft, Yahoo!, and AOL. He loves finding and fixing bottlenecks which impede and frustrate the entire organization, enabling management from each tribe to achieve the greater organizational goals.

Abstract

Holy cow, I learned so much since The Phoenix Project came out in 2013. In this talk, I will share my top learnings while co-authoring The DevOps Handbook with Jez Humble, Patrick Debois, and John Willis. I’ll talk about the latest findings from the State of DevOps Report, the true importance of deployment lead times, how DevOps truly transforms the lives of Dev and Ops and Infosec, what I learned about Conway’s Law, and how DevOps is a subset of dynamic learning organizations, of which Toyota is the most famous. This project was one of the most fun and rewarding adventures of my life, and I want to share some of my biggest a-ha moments!

Legislative Panel Discussion

Moderator
Ross Ramsey

Executive Editor, The Texas Tribune

Ross Ramsey is executive editor and co-founder of The Texas Tribune. Before joining the Tribune, Ross was editor and co-owner of Texas Weekly for 15 years. He did a 28-month stint in government as associate deputy comptroller for policy and director of communications with the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. Before that, he reported for the Houston Chronicle from its Austin bureau and for the Dallas Times Herald, first on the business desk in Dallas and later as its Austin bureau chief, and worked as a Dallas-based freelance business writer, writing for regional and national magazines and newspapers. Ross got his start in journalism in broadcasting, covering news for radio stations in Denton and Dallas.

Panelists
Giovanni Capriglione

Texas House of Representatives, District 98

Giovanni has been married to his wife Elisa for 16 years, and has three children attending Carroll ISD schools. After receiving his BS in Physics, he pursued his MBA in Finance from Santa Clara University. After school, Giovanni went on to work for a DFW based venture capital/private equity firm. Giovanni is now the owner and president of his own small business, Texas Adventure Capital LLC, which provides business services to various investment fund managers and business owners. His focus is investing in Texas-based small businesses. Previously, Giovanni held various positions at computer engineering companies specializing in semiconductor design and Internet products, and was senior vice president at an investment firm where he managed the loan and equity portfolios of various American businesses. Giovanni was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 2012 and is serving his third term representing District 98 which encompasses all or part of Grapevine, Colleyville, Southlake, Keller, Westlake, North Fort Worth, and Haslet. He currently serves on the following committees: Appropriations, of which he is the chair of the subcommittee for Budget Transparency & Reform, General Investigating and Ethics, vice chair of Government Transparency & Operation, and the Local & Consent Calendars Committee. He is a member of the House Innovation & Technology Caucus, House Veterans Caucus, House Travel & Tourism Caucus, and the interim Public School Finance work group, where he has become a champion for public education, focusing on equitable funding for "Robin Hood" districts.

César J. Blanco

Texas House of Representatives, District 76

Representative César J. Blanco represents District 76 in El Paso. This is his second term as Chairman of the Texas House Border Caucus and his first term as Whip for the Texas House Democratic Caucus. He was appointed Vice-Chairman of the Defense & Veterans' Affairs Committee and also serves on the Land & Resource Management Committee. Rep. Blanco followed a long family tradition of serving his country in the U.S. Navy. After serving in the Navy, Rep. Blanco earned his degree at UTEP with the help of the G.I. Bill. Rep. Blanco is currently the Vice President of the Latino Development Program and is the former Political Director for Latino Victory Project. Rep. Blanco was also the Arizona State Director for President Obama's 2012 Reelection Campaign and has also served as the Chief of Staff for several U.S. Congressman in Washington D.C. Rep. Blanco is a member of the American Legion, and the American G.I. Forum Paso Del Norte Chapter. He serves on the Executive Committee of the El Paso Metropolitan Planning Organization is a former board member of Big Brothers Big Sisters of El Paso, an honorary board member of the Medical Center of the Americas Foundation in El Paso, and serves on the Executive Committee of the El Paso Metropolitan Planning Organization. Rep. Blanco advocates for our community's economic security through increased opportunities in workforce development and education. He also supports increasing access to health care and fighting for Veterans rights and benefits.

Abstract

Abstract coming soon.

Title Coming Soon

Ben Welch photoBen D. Welch

Executive Director of Halliburton Programs; Clinical Professor, Department of Management

Ben D. Welch serves as Executive Director of Halliburton Programs for the Center for Executive Development (CED) and Clinical Professor for the Department of Management in the Mays Business School at Texas A&M University. Ben also served as Assistant Dean for Executive Education for the CED for many years. The CED is a top quality designer and provider of creative and innovative executive education and management programs.

Ben received his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Dayton, his Master of Science in Human Resource Management from Houston Baptist University, and his Ph.D. in Educational Curriculum & Instruction from Texas A&M University.

He joined the Texas A&M University Center for Teaching Excellence in 1988 and served as their Associate Director before assuming his faculty appointment with the Department of Management, which he has held since 1990. He served as the Undergraduate Administrative Coordinator for the Department of Management from 1990-1994. In 1994, he assumed the Directorship of the Mays College of Business Honors & Fellows Programs, which are the top two premier undergraduate programs within the College. He served in this capacity until 1998 when he joined the Division of Student Affairs as the Director of Student Activities for Texas A&M University. In this role he provided leadership to a progressive department that was responsible for over 750 recognized student organizations, the Student Organization Finance Center, Vocal Music, and Student Government. Ben has made hundreds of presentations to groups at Texas A&M University and has represented A&M as Muster Speaker in Baytown, East Tennessee, Texas A&M University at Galveston, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, and Oklahoma City.

Abstract

Abstract coming soon.

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