DeBra was terrified. This was her first AWBD Conference. After walking into the exhibit hall, feeling overwhelmed and out of place, DeBra went back to her hotel room. Her husband did not understand. DeBra is an outgoing, confident person. What could be so scary?
Four years later, DeBra Edwards walked up to the lectern, welcomed a room full of new AWBD members to a special breakfast, and introduced herself as AWBD’s first Ambassador.
AWBD prides itself on being a welcoming organization for all its members. Most AWBD members have been going to conference for years. Many of us had directors, consultants, and friends that showed us the ropes. When Debra suggested to AWBD’s Membership Committee that the organization offer new members some ways to feel more welcome, Mem-bership Committee Chair Rick Ellis listened up.
After DeBra joined, AWBD started a new members breakfast and introduced a “pink ribbon” for new members, to make sure that AWBD’s new members felt welcome. While the breakfast and ribbon were a good start, Debra and Rick felt like they could and should do more. DeBra suggested pairing new directors with experienced mentors.
Rick is Vice President at the Katy Area Chamber of Commerce, so making members feel welcome is part of his job description. Rick had just help established AWBD’s Membership and Outreach Committee, chaired by Wendy Duncan, President of Willow Fork Drainage District and a communications consultant, who also works to make people feel welcome. DeBra, Rick, and Wendy worked with AWBD staff to develop an AWBD Ambassadors program—a titled borrowed from the Katy Chamber—to make sure that everyone who attends AWBD Conference walks in knowing someone who will help show them the ropes—not just at AWBD, but in their roles at . And not just any someone, but someone who knows and cares about AWBD and districts.
Led by Wendy and DeBra, AWBD has a great first class of Ambassadors:
- Ms. Sabrina Alaquinez, Fort Bend Co MUD 218
- Mr. Brandyn Cottingham, Fort Bend Co MUD 24
- Ms. Wendy Duncan, Touchstone District Services
- Ms. DeBra Edwards, Harris Co MUD 501
- Mr. Craig Kalkomey, LJA Engineering, Inc.
- Ms. Brenda Landin, TNG Utility Corporation
- Ms. Jennifer Smith-Hicks, Accurate Meter & Supply
- Mr. Harry Thompson, Allen Boone Humphries Robinson LLP
If you would like to join the ranks of AWBD’s Ambassador Program, or a new member seeking an Ambassador, please email Irma Valdez. We are accepting applications.
What do Caldwell Companies, the Heritage Homeowner’s Association and Harris County MUD 501 all have in common? They are presently working together to bring about one of Towne Lake’s newest residential development projects which will be located along the south shoreline of Towne Lake, adjacent to the Heritage, Towne Lake’s prestigious over 55 active adult community. This development will eventually result in ninety-two new homes being added to the Heritage. But there’s an interesting back story on how this all came about.
So, what makes this project unique from others within Towne Lake? First of all this particular tract of land was originally owned by Lone Star College, but after several years of discussion and negotiations Caldwell Companies purchased it in 2019. Acquiring this valuable piece of property on the lake was a win for Caldwell Companies.
But what about the other entities involved in this project? Under Lone Star’s ownership MUD 501 received no tax revenue for the property. Once Caldwell Companies fully develops the property, MUD 501 (which will build, own and maintain the water, sewer and drainage facilities) will receive a new stream of tax revenue that should help to reduce the tax rate for all MUD 501 tax payers over the long term. A win for MUD 501 and its taxpayers.
After the property was acquired, Caldwell Companies began a discussion with the Heritage community to annex this property into its boundaries. Caldwell Companies felt residential land use harmonious with the Heritage was the best use of the land. This was not a simple exercise as any type of annexation requires approval from a vote of Heritage residents. There were many questions presented by Heritage residents to both Caldwell Companies representatives and the Heritage HOA board, and after several community wide meetings the residential vote passed decisively and the annexation was approved. These new homes will be good for the Heritage for several reasons, including the addition of a new set of neighbors and additional HOA fees that can be used by the Heritage for improvements or HOA fee reductions. A win for Heritage residents.
The land plan for the property has been submitted for approval from Harris County and the City of Houston, streets have been named and infrastructure construction activities should begin soon with new home construction following in the first quarter of 2021. This is a win-win-win for all of the entities involved, and a great example of how focused leadership and teamwork can help continue making Towne Lake the premier residential community in Cypress, Texas.
MUD 501 Director, DeBra Edwards, participated in Career Day at Watkins Middle School on February 4, 2020.
MUD 501 Director, DeBra Edwards, attended the AWBD Winter Conference in Dallas on January 18, 2020. Frank Billingsley, the KPRC meteorologist, was the keynote speaker at the luncheon.