- Hometown: Austin, Texas; however, I was born and raised, and we raised our children in Huntsville, Texas.
- Role: Executive director of the Texas Legislative Budget Board
- Years of legislative service: Three, after 28 years in the executive branch
“I continue to be inspired by the people I have the opportunity to lead. They are so smart and dedicated to their task of providing timely and accurate information to state decision-makers.”
Why did you choose to work for the Legislature?
I was blessed to work for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for over 28 years, with some of the state’s greatest leaders and mission-focused staff. With promotions in the organization came increased responsibilities, and as the agency’s chief financial officer for nearly 12 years, I had the opportunity to work directly with state legislators, their staff and staff from several legislative agencies, including the Legislative Budget Board. Staff in these offices had always blown me away with their commitment, professionalism and amazing analytical and presentation skills. Years of building trusted relationships with these offices led to a brief phone call informally gauging my interest in possibly taking on a new challenge—and my sweet wife of 30 years agreed on the potential move. So, in early 2020, after a comprehensive interview with the lieutenant governor and House speaker, I accepted the role as the state’s executive director of the Legislative Budget Board.
What skill or talent are you most proud of?
Both as the TDCJ chief financial officer and now as the LBB executive director, there are two important skills that I have learned and continue to improve: 1) build authentic relationships with others within your circles of influence; and 2) develop strong leaders within your organization. My commitment when selected for this position was to build a strong bench of leaders to choose from before retiring. This remains my focus daily. On a personal note, I enjoy getting into a garden when time allows, and my children and their friends—all older now—would say that I can spin a great story for campfires, hayrides, Sunday school and birthdays.
What’s the best advice you were ever given?
Among the many experiences and sayings from my mentor and previous supervisor that I continue to rely on and strive to instill in others, there are two that clearly stand out: “It’s always better to be overprepared and underutilized than the other way around” and “Two things I cannot tolerate are ignorance and indifference.” Both are strong reminders of the importance of our work.
Who or what inspires you?
I draw significant inspiration from my faith and my savior. My favorite Bible verse, which anyone around me has likely heard numerous times, is from Colossians 3:23: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord not for man.” Additionally, I am inspired by my wife every day and her ability to face everything head on, with joy, from raising our boys, to battling and overcoming cancer, to succeeding in her career choices. At my office, I continue to be inspired by the people I have the opportunity to lead. They are so smart and dedicated to their task of providing timely and accurate information to state decision-makers. They absolutely make this job so worth it.
What’s one thing you love about your state?
In Texas, we like to be the best at whatever we do. Now that’s not to say that we are always the best, but we absolutely strive to be the best. I don’t mean for that to sound braggy; it’s just in our nature, I guess. You see it in our history, our land and the people that live here. A great place to visit, but an even better place to raise a family and call home.
What are you currently reading/listening to/watching?
I am about halfway through a book recently given to me by a friend and former boss titled “Forged in Crisis: The Power of Courageous Leadership in Turbulent Times,” by Nancy Koehn. It contains five historical stories of noteworthy individuals and how they led through the crises they were faced with. The book provides outstanding lessons for all leaders.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity. Use the email icon above to suggest a staffer for the “Staff Snapshots” series.