NEW LEADERSHIP DELIVERING RESULTS FOR OUR COMMUNITY
I retired in 2013, after the split with TSC and before the merge into UTRGV.
So why didn't I move? Brownsville is a nice place to live, and I believe it has the ingredients for greatness. It is already becoming a music and art destination. Rents are low and spaces are available. See all those small local Events Centers? Some will be the night clubs, recording studios, film studios and art studios/galleries of the future.
How can I help? How am I helping? How did I help? How did I grow?
Lower Rio Grande Valley Development Council (LRGVDC), Professional Advisory Review Panel (PARP), 1998 – 2007
I was a member of PARP which reviewed grant proposals to the federal government that required community approval such as clinics, Community Block Grants, I joined after presenting my first grant proposal there. Housing for poor or elderly, libraries and so on. PARP approved everything and I got a monthly lesson on the needs of the Rio Grande Valley. The Governer disbanded the PARP system in 2007.
Camille Lightner Theater 2003 – 2015
When my son landed a part in Gypsy, I took him to the first rehearsal and was asked to try out for Pop. It was good. Instead of being my son's chauffeur, we were actors going to rehearsal. After Gypsy, I was in Arsenic and Old Lace, 2005, I Remember Mama, 2006, Dracula, 2008, Then I was invited to join the set building crew, learned a lot of carpentry and enjoyed the backstage work until 2016. Also acted in The Crucible, 2012, Gypsy (again, same part), 2013, The Producers, 2014, and The Wedding Singer, 2015.
Community Development Corporation of Brownsville (now CDCB), Board of Directors, 2014 – 2018
Learned how low-income people can acquire good financial habits and become home owners. I was on the Board as CDCB was transitioning from an organization that built affordable housing and worked to help find purchasing resources to an organization that educates people on financial responsibility, money management, and credit, so they can afford to live happily in the house they struggled to obtain.
VITA Tax Preparation Volunteer, through United Way, 2014 – Present
Providing free tax services to residents who would sadly pay well over $100 for a very simple return (and some who would pay much more for a little more complicated return.) I learned that some people get by on very little reported income and that bus drivers earn poverty wages.
Stop the Tollway/Friends of the West Rail Trail, Steering Committee, 2008 – 2012 / 2012 – Present
Transforming an improperly conceived idea that would have damaged a neighborhood to a healthy plan for a hike and bike trail that will enhance the whole city. I learned about meeting with local government entities and organizing petition drives and community interest.
Chair of the Engineering Department 2008 - 2013
The engineering program at UTB was Engineering Physics, however, an engineering degree does not lead to graduate school, or to a Professional Engineer License, or many great jobs without ABET accreditation, the gold standard.
Getting ABET accreditation for a good and going program required hiring a consultant for a year, selecting a faculty committee with course releases to spend the time, or Harry Potter. It was an important goal and I was chair of a department with not enough resources but an interested faculty team..
Except for class prep, I spent all my time working on this task, helping twenty or so faculty in six departments produce ABET-format "bios" and course syllabi, while also writing descriptions of our labs, equipment, and other university resources to produce an almost 200 page document for ABET.
I became chair in August 2008. We had our ABET evaluation team site visit in November 2009. A two year provisional accreditation was awarded in spring 2010, requiring another few months of work. In spring, 2011 we were awarded the balance of a full six year accreditation cycle.
In 2008 there were only 95 students in the major, requiring a massive recruitment effort. In the 2012-13 academic year there were around 340 Engineering majors and 30 to 40 graduated.
Engineering Technology and Engineering Faculty 1997 - 2008
Very soon on the job, I learned that Engineering Technology students were not being advised to succeed. Students were being advised to "get your basics out of the way first." Department faculty disagreed, Engineering Technology required students to get calculus digested first. So the department developed a system where each student had a faculty advisor, resulting in graduation times of 4 to 6 years.
Graduates are working everywhere, locally teaching high school math in Brownsville, engineering at BPUB, working in City of Brownsville Engineering, filling many positions at Keppel Amfels at the port. Others are at engineering firms in Houston, Austin, Tulsa, and elsewhere.
My family and I moved to Brownsville in 1997. I had a faculty appointment at UTB to help educate a pool of Engineering Technologists and Technicians because it was believed that such a pool would attract tech businesses.
I learned two things. Educated people with employable skills don't wait around in a pool for a company to move to Brownsville to find them. They find jobs elsewhere. Second, Keppel Amfels, a tech company at the Port of Brownsville was very happy to hire Engineering Technologists and Technicians from my new department and all the welders and drafters the Industrial Technology Department could produce.
The Engineering Technology Department became the Engineering Department in 2005, and the Engineers found work at KeppelAmfels, PUB, and a few other companies locally and many in Houston, Austin, Tulsa, and the rest of the country. Some became math and science teachers and stayed local.
Pool of Engineering Technologists, Technicians, Drafters, and welders waiting for industry to settle in town.