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Public Official of the Year

The University of Houston Master of Public Administration (MPA) Program annually honors the outstanding public elected official who has truly provided positive influence on the ideals of public service in the greater Houston metropolitan area. Criteria for selection include the following:

  • Outstanding performance in a challenging work situation;
  • Demonstrated commitment to ethics and ethical decision making;
  • Places welfare of citizenry above personal, professional, and political motives;
  • Demonstrated public service values and influence;
  • Addressed problems beyond his/her jurisdictional boundaries; and/or
  • Maintains harmonious and supportive relationships across jurisdictional boundaries.

2018

Group image of Officials

Held on March 2, the 7th Annual Public Official of the Year luncheon honored four public officials from the Houston Metropolitan area who have demonstrated the ideals of public service. This year's honorees were Bellaire City Manager Paul A. Hofmann, Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis, Fort Bend County Judge Robert Hebert and Allen Owen, mayor of Missouri City. The keynote address was delivered by Bob Eury, CEO of Central Houston. The event was generously underwritten by the late Peter Brown, former Director of Houston Tomorrow.

2017

Group image of winners

Held on March 3, the 6th Annual Public Official of the Year luncheon honored two elected officials and two appointed officials from the Houston Metropolitan area who have demonstrated the ideals of public service. This year's honorees were Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, Spring Valley Village Mayor Tom Ramsey, City of Houston Director of Administration & Regulatory Affairs Tina Paez, and City of Richmond City Manager Terri Vela. The keynote address was delivered by City of Houston Controller Chris Brown. The event was generously underwritten by former Houston Councilmember Peter Brown and current director of Houston Tomorrow.

2016

Public Official of the Year Winner, Captain Brian Penoyer

Captain-Penoyer-award-acceptance.png

“The American public and communities demand and deserve nothing less than our best effort to protect them. There’s an amazing array of jurisdictions, authorities, and capabilities spread throughout the Federal, State, County, Municipal, and Private Sectors,” said Captain Penoyer. “To make sure we’re all pulling towards the same objective, achieving the Unity of Effort in military parlance—we have to achieve shared understanding of the situation, and deep understanding of one another’s priorities and needs. No one of use can protect the coast line, these ports, and these communities alone.”

- Capt Penoyer

2015

Fransisco Sanchez, Jr.

For the fourth consecutive year, elected officials, public servants, and other practitioners gathered to honor the work of public administrators in the Houston area at the University of Houston.  From the keynote speaker, Greater Houston Partnership CEO Bob Harvey, to the finalists, collaboration across jurisdictions with government, business and industry to solve problems was a resounding theme.

Mr. Sanchez, a University of Houston alum, and Public Information Officer for Harris County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, was awarded the Public Official of the Year award due in part to his work with the Regional Joint Information Center—the one-of-a-kind national model that serves our region as one-stop shop for emergency public information to ensure that the public has the right information at the time they need.  “It is especially meaningful to receive the Public Official of the Year award from my alma mater.  Masters programs that train present and future public servants to problem solve and collaborate effectively are necessary to the success of our region.” Learn more

MEET THE 2015 FINALISTS

2014

Mario Diaz, director of the City of Houston Department of Aviation and a leading authority on the future of commercial aviation, was named the 2014 Public Official of the Year by the UH Master of Public Administration Program.

At a recent luncheon, Diaz was honored for his overall management of the Houston Airport System’s three aviation facilities – George Bush Intercontinental Airport, William P. Hobby Airport, and Ellington Airport – and its more than 1,300 employees. read more

UH MPA program announces Public Official of the Year - The Daily Cougar

2013

Public Official of the Yeaar Michael Coats

At a February 22 luncheon, Coats was honored for capping off his long career in public service with the difficult task of guiding Johnson Space Center astronauts and staff through the transition away from manned space flight.

He was named the Public Official of the Year by the Master of Public Administration Program. read more

 

Public Official of the Year 2013 finalists

Four finalists have been selected for the Houston’s metro area public official of the year -- City of Houston city attorney David M. Feldman, NASA Center Director Michael Coats, Fort Bend County Emergency Management Coordinator J eff Braun, and Missouri City assistant city manager Scott Elmer. The winner will be announced at the awards luncheon 11:30 AM, Friday, February 22, 2013, at the Rockwell Pavilion on UH Campus. Contact James Thurmond for more information.

2012

First Master of Public Administration luncheon honors public service

MPA - First Annual Public Award Luncheon - Speaker

Public Official of the Year is Daniel W. Krueger, head of Houston’s Public Works

What is the proper role of government in citizens’ daily lives?

It’s a question debated frequently these days in the run up to the 2012 Presidential Election. The various answers getting the most media attention, however, rarely include responses emphasizing practicality.

Read more