People in canoes - July 2015 Banner for C & E Newsletter       
July 2015
In This Issue
Brent Swanson Joins H-GALDC as Operations Manager
Learn About Commercial Food Waste Collection
PNA Subcommittee to Meet July 13
Workshop Set for Solid Waste Management Grants
Focus On - Economic Development Digest
Disaster Debris Clearance and Removal Contracts Save Time
H-GAC to Release Latest Growth Forecast Estimates
Pedestrian-Bicyclist Counters Available
H-GAC Booth at Dog Show to Focus on Fun, Education About Pet Waste
H-GAC Sets Solid Waste Management Procurement Workshop
Save the Date: Revitalization Roundtable October 1
Gulf Coast Resin Boom to be Topic at Next Brown Bag Lunch Series Program
Camera-Sharing Program to Help Combat Illegal Dumping
Advanced Metering Infrastructure Trainings Set This Summer
Keep Texas Beautiful Conference Set for June 15-17
Texas Downtown Association to Honor Downtown Projects with Annual President's Awards
Nominations Open for National Flood Insurance Program Community Rating System Awards
Save the Date for the Third Annual Houston Tomorrow Catalyst Awards October 7
Houston Continues Work on Bike Plan
Gulf-Houston Regional Conservation Plan Documents Now Available
Save the Date for Compost Council Summit and Training, October 7-9
Sponsorship/Exhibitor Opportunities Still Available for CATEE Conference
FHWA Releases Federal Design Guide for Protected Bike Lanes
Green Technical Assistance May Be Available for Communities
News from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Funding Opportunities
Community and Environmental Planning
News and Notes
Quick Links
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Meeting Information
To visit the H-GAC website for a list of all upcoming meetings click here.

To get a list of other environmentally related meetings and events in our region click here.

Disability SignIn compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, H-GAC will provide for reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities attending H-GAC functions. Requests should be received 24 hours prior to the function. Call the meeting organizer to make arrangements.

As part of our commitment to Going Green, Green WorldH-GAC's Community and Environmental Planning Department encourages meeting attendees to bring their own mug or cup to all meetings.
Banner Photo

Volunteers paddle out to pick up trash at Armand Bayou during the 2015 River, Lakes, Bays, N' Bayous Trash Bash®. Want in on the fun? The next Trash Bash waterway clean-up event will be Saturday, April 2, 2016.


Would you like for us to consider featuring your municipality, program or regional photo on the C&E Planning Update banner? Just forward your picture, along with some information about the subject and the photographer, and you might see it in a future month's newsletter. 


Forward your picture and information to Andrea Tantillo.

Brent Swanson Joins H-GALDC as Operations Manager

Brent Swanson

Brent Swanson joins the Houston-Galveston Area Local Development Corporation's (H-GALDC) Small Business Administration (SBA) 504 lending division as Operations Manager.

Mr. Swanson has more than 25 years of banking experience with over 10 years focused on SBA 504 lending work for a Certified Development Company (CDC). He most recently served in business development and underwriting capacities for the nation's second largest CDC in the states of Florida and Georgia, and as the Executive Director of a start-up CDC in Atlanta, Georgia. He has held various commercial lending positions with PNC Bank, SunTrust Bank, BB&T, and SouthTrust Bank in the mid-Atlantic and Southeastern regions of the country.

H-GALDC is a CDC created in the early 1980s by H-GAC to promote economic development and job creation throughout the 13-county region and is licensed in Texas as an SBA 504 CDC.

The SBA 504 Loan Program uses both bank and SBA loans to finance up to 90 percent of a project (50 percent bank loans, 40 percent from the SBA), which means a borrower may only need a 10 percent down payment (cash or project equity). The program is designed to help for-profit businesses either buy or build owner-occupied real estate and/or purchase capital equipment with a useful life of 10 years or more. Projects typically range from $500,000 to $10 million.

For more information, contact Brent Swanson at 832-681-2557.

Learn About Commercial Food Waste Collection

Commercial Food Waste Collection Workshop Food waste is one of the largest components of the waste stream in the United States. Only an estimated 5 percent of food waste that can be diverted from the landfills is actually being diverted.


For this reason, H-GAC funded a study to see how commercial food waste diversion could be increased using a collaborative approach with the private sector.


H-GAC will present the results of this study at the Commercial Food Waste Collection Workshop on Wednesday, July 8, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the H-GAC Conference Room B, Second Floor.


In addition to a presentation of the study's findings, H-GAC will facilitate a question and answer session with a panel of compost processing companies and collection companies. Two food waste generators (Whole Foods Market and a convention center hotel) will also present.


There is no cost for this event. Light breakfast and lunch will be provided to attendees who RSVP to by Thursday, July 2.


For more information, contact Erin Livingston at 832-681-2525.  

PNA Subcommittee to Meet July 13

Go Native - 2014 Parks Award WinnerThe Parks and Natural Areas (PNA) Subcommittee of the H-GAC Natural Resources Advisory Committee will meet Monday, July 13, at 1:30 p.m. at H-GAC Conference Room B, Second Floor.


Justin Bower, Senior Environmental Planner at H-GAC, will discuss a current Greenprint effort by the Trust for Public Land and water quality efforts in Lake Conroe and West Fork of the San Jacinto River.


Eric Leshinsky, Senior Associate Designer with Asakura Robinson, will present design team plans that integrate conservation with urbanism for the Grand Central Park mixed-use development project near Conroe.


Jennifer Lorenz, Executive Director for the Bayou Land Conservancy (BLC), will discuss preservation and ecological benefits of Camp Strake.


For more information, contact Mary Martha Gaiennie at 713-993-2468.

Workshop Set for Solid Waste Management Grants

Solid Waste Management Opportunities for Local GovernmentsH-GAC plans to release the next Solid Waste Management Grant Program application in the fall. To prepare for this grant release, H-GAC is hosting a Solid Waste Management Grant Application Workshop on Thursday, July 16, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at H-GAC Conference Room B, Second Floor.

Participants will learn how to conduct a self assessment to identify needs and the qualities of a good application. A past grantee will share information on the preparation that goes into developing a project idea and application and what to expect during the implementation phase.

Attendance at the workshop is not required to participate in the application process; however, anyone considering submitting an application is encouraged to attend.


For more information, contact Erin Livingston at 832-681-2525.

FocusOnFocus On -  Economic Development Digest 

  Focus on Economic Development Digest           

H-GAC has relaunched the Economic Development Digest.  This quarterly e-mail newsletter by the Gulf Coast Economic Development District (GCEDD) provides a snapshot of current economic development trends along with relevant economic forecasts and data for the H-GAC region.

Each edition of the newsletter will include economic development news, as presented to the GCEDD during their quarterly meeting, a spotlight on a community or business loan project, an overview of the Regional Growth Forecast, and economic data trends for the 13-county H-GAC region.

Economic Development Digest 

The May edition highlighted H-GAC's Bringing Back Main Street downtown revitalization program, the economic impact of the Port of Houston, and the City of Liberty's new fire truck (made possible through the  Government Loan Fund loan). The Digest also provides information on economic trends in the region, including real estate and employment data.

To learn more, contact Joshua Owens at 832-681-2613 or join the mailing list.   

Disaster Debris Clearance and Removal Contracts Save Time, Money

IKE Recognizing the need for communities to perform efficient and timely cleanup of debris generated by natural disasters, H-GAC has developed the Disaster Debris Clearance and Removal Services Program. By having debris hauler contracts in place prior to events, cleanup can be quicker and less costly.

Procuring reputable and experienced firms can be challenging. H-GAC has already handled many of the procurement issues for local governments. The Disaster Debris Clearance and Removal Services Program offers access to a pool of the most qualified debris removal contractors, saves time and money associated with the procurement process, and helps maximize eligible FEMA reimbursement.

To learn how to participate in the program, contact Cheryl Mergo at 713-993-4520.

As a reminder, hurricane evacuation maps, including zip zone evacuation, surge zone, and evacuation routes, can be found on the H-GAC website.

H-GAC to Release Latest Growth Forecast Estimates

GIS Globes

H-GAC will release its 2015 second quarter regional growth forecast estimates in mid-July. The 2015 Q2 release will include population and employment data down to the Transportation Analysis Zone (TAZ) and Census Tract level. The data, including maps and tables, will be available for download.


More information is available online.

Pedestrian-Bicyclist Counters Available

Walking in a cross walk H-GAC promotes walking and bicycling by helping determine the demand for pedestrian-bicyclist facilities. H-GAC has three temporary pedestrian-bicyclist counters available for use by local governments to count the number of people using sidewalks and/or trails, giving implementing entities and H-GAC a better understanding of the demand and use of these facilities.


For more information about borrowing the counters, contact Andrew Pompei at 832-681-2598.

H-GAC Booth at Dog Show to Focus on Fun, Education About Pet Waste

Houston World Series of Dog Shows logo Pet waste is one source of bacteria in area waterways that we can easily reduce by picking up after our dogs. The H-GAC water resources team will promote this message and offer some fun prizes for participants at the  2015 Houston World Series of Dog Shows, July 15-19, at NRG Center.


This event draws more than 40,000 attendees annually and presents a great opportunity to discuss the impact of pet waste on water quality. The booth, sponsored by H-GAC and Harris County, will include interactive games for participants, educational materials and an opportunity for guests to take the Pet Waste Pollutes pledge.


To learn more about H-GAC's booth, contact Kathy Janhsen at 713-993-2423.

H-GAC Sets Solid Waste Management Procurement Workshop

Large blue recycling bin

H-GAC will host a Solid Waste Management Program Procurement Workshop on Wednesday, August 19, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at H-GAC Conference Room B, Second Floor.


Topics include the following:

  • Key steps and issues to address during the procurement process;
  • General contract provisions;
  • Collection contract provisions;
  • Solid waste disposal and recycling processing provisions; and
  • Key financial terms.

For more information, contact Erin Livingston at 832-681-2525.

Save the Date: Revitalization Roundtable October 1

Bringing Back Main Street Logo Mark your calendars for H-GAC's first Bringing Back Main Street: Revitalization Roundtable on Thursday, October 1, from 10 a.m. to noon at the Tomball Community Center, 211 Market Street, Tomball.

Participants will learn about different types of tourism common in small cities and rural areas throughout Texas.


For more information, contact Andrew Pompei at 832-681-2598.

Gulf Coast Resin Boom to be Topic at Next Brown Bag Lunch Series Program


H-GAC's next Brown Bag Lunch Series program, The Coming Resin Boom to the Gulf Coast, will be Monday, July 20, from noon to 1 p.m. in the H-GAC Conference Room B, Second Floor.

Gary Furneaux, Supply Chain Optimization Manager (Polymers) with ExxonMobil Chemical Company, will discuss how the "resin boom" will affect freight transportation in the region. His presentation will also cover the following topics:

  • A review of the Gulf Coast chemical/plastics growth;
  • Identification of logistics challenges expected with significant export growth; and
  • Potential industry solutions to export challenges.
Bring your lunch and enjoy this free event. For more information or to submit an abstract for a future presentation, contact Rosalind Hebert at 713-993-2471.

Camera-Sharing Program Helps to Combat Illegal Dumping

CameraTo help track and reduce illegal dumping, H-GAC offers surveillance cameras and accompanying accessories through a sharing program. The cameras can capture clear videos day or night, including license plates of cars traveling up to 50 mph.


Participation in the program is for local governments within the 13-county H-GAC region and involves specific agreements, including a commitment to use the cameras for solid waste purposes 100 percent of the time and report results to H-GAC.


To allow easier access to local governments, ownership of the cameras has been transferred to Fort Bend, Galveston, and Walker counties. To access the cameras, borrow them from one of those three counties. 


For more information, contact Erin Livingston at 832-681-2525.

Advanced Metering Infrastructure Trainings Set This Summer

Advanced Metering Infrastructure GraphicThe Texas A&M Institute of Water Resources is hosting 10 free Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) trainings across the state, including one in Conroe on Friday, July 17.


At this free workshop, participants can learn about AMI and how these technologies can empower water utilities and users.


The following topics will be discussed: 

  • AMI system components
  • Transmitting options
  • Network topology
  • Line of sight communications
  • Compare and contrast AMI systems for water-only utilities
  • Health and privacy concerns
  • Business case for AMI systems
  • Installing an AMI system
  • Lessons learned

The workshop is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Lunch will be provided for attendees who register by Friday, July 3. Space is limited to 45 participants at each workshop.


Registration details and a list of all workshop locations and dates are available online.


For more information, contact Allen Berthold at 979-845-2028.

Applications Sought for Annual Mayor's Proud Partner Awards

Keep Houston Beautiful-Proud Partner Logo Keep Houston Beautiful is now accepting award applications for the 2015 Mayor's Proud Partner Awards. The award application is available online, and entries are due by Monday, July 27.


Examples of eligible entries include beautification and landscaping installations, neighborhood cleanups, environmental education programs, volunteer park improvements, waste minimization efforts, litter prevention programs, and similar service projects.


Texas Downtown Association to Honor Projects with Annual President's Awards

Texas Downtown Association Logo The Texas Downtown Association is seeking nominations for the 2015 President's Awards, recognizing outstanding projects and people who contribute to downtowns across the state.  


Entries categories are as follows:

  • Design Awards
    • Best Commercial Interior
    • Best Renovation/Rehabilitation
    • Best Restoration
    • Best New Construction
    • Best Public Improvement
  • Achievement Awards
    • Best Marketing Program
    • Best Promotional Event
    • Best Downtown Partner
    • Downtowner of the Year
    • Award for Professional Excellence
All nominations must be submitted online by Friday, July 17.

Nominations Open  for National Flood Insurance Program Community Rating System Awards 

National Flood Insurance Program-Community Rating System logo The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is seeking applications for the National Flood Insurance Program Community Rating System (NFIP/CRS) Award for Excellence. This award recognizes individuals who have provided leadership in raising awareness about the dangers of flooding, implementing floodplain management programs that reduce flood damage, and promoting the purchase of flood insurance through the CRS and the NFIP.


Nomination forms are available online. The deadline for nominations is Friday, July 31.

Save the Date for the Third Annual Houston Tomorrow Catalyst Awards October 7

Brain on blue background representing Houston Tomorrow Catalyst Awards Houston Tomorrow will hold its third annual Catalyst Awards Wednesday, October 7, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at CenterPoint Energy Plaza, 1111 Louisiana Street, Houston. The awards recognize and honor those whose ideas and actions change and improve the quality of Houstonians' lives.

Houston Tomorrow intends to search out, encourage, and work with people to create positive change that will help achieve the vision of Houston being home to the healthiest, happiest, most prosperous people in America. As in previous years, the 2015 awards recognize  individuals in the following categories:

  • Emeritus - A person or people who were or have been a recognized force for change;
  • Excellence - A long-term champion of quality of life who is now a recognized provocateur;
  • Engaged - A thought leader who has a clear change agenda; and
  • Evolving - New on the scene and shaking things up.
Tickets for the event will be available online soon. For more information about the Catalyst Awards, contact Houston Tomorrow at 713-523-5757 or e-mail Jordan Pettigrew.

Houston Continues Work on Bike Plan

Houston Bike Plan Logo The Houston Bike Plan is a 12-month planning effort to update the City's Comprehensive Bikeway Plan originally adopted in 1993. The Houston region has made great strides in improving people's ability to bike to more destinations. New trails are being built along bayous, new protected bikeways have been installed, and more people are riding all over the city.


The Houston Bike Plan will build on these efforts to help make Houston a safer, healthier, more bike-friendly city.

Visit for details on upcoming events and to participate online through a survey, mapping activity, and discussion forum. 

Gulf-Houston Regional Conservation Plan Documents Now Available

Gulf-Houston Regional Conservation Plan Ecological Map The Gulf-Houston Regional Conservation Plan (Gulf-Houston Plan) project documents are now available. The Gulf-Houston Plan is a long-term collaborative effort of environmental, business, and governmental entities to create an ecosystem continuity and connectivity plan for the 8-county Houston region.

The Gulf-Houston Plan will

  • Increase funding opportunities for Gulf-Houston Plan projects and leverage conservation/recreation dollars from multiple sources;
  • Enhance and protect the natural benefits of the region;
  • Provide flood mitigation and hurricane-preparedness solutions;
  • Serve as a vehicle for other regional environmental collaborations and initiatives;
  • Demonstrate multiple green infrastructure benefits to serve the region's growing population;
  • Rapidly increase ecotourism;
  • Attract businesses and employees seeking natural amenities and high quality of life; and
  • Significantly boost economic development.

Save the Date for Compost Council Summit and Training, October 7-9

STAR Logo Save the date for the Texas Compost Council Summit & Training October 7-9. This year, the event moves to a new location, the Holiday Inn Conference Center, 1434 Centre Place Drive, Denton, with field activities and demonstrations at the City of Denton Solid Waste and Recycling Department.


This annual training workshop is for industrial composters and is hosted by the State of Texas Alliance for Recycling (STAR) Texas Compost Council.


Sponsorship/Exhibitor Opportunities Still Available for CATEE Conference

CATEE Banner - 2015

Clean Air Through Energy Efficiency (CATEE) is continuing to accept applications for sponsors and exhibitors for the 2015 conference scheduled for December 1-3 at the Hotel Galvez & Spa in Galveston.


CATEE 2015 is a premier educational conference and energy-related business expo aimed at local governments, business and civic leaders, and the development community. Its purpose is to facilitate implementation of energy efficiency in the built environment by sharing effective policies, new technologies, best practices, and local successes. 


Sponsors and exhibitors have promotional opportunities to present information and products to an anticipated audience of more than 200 attendees and a business expo with an expected participation of approximately 20 exhibitors.


For more information about available sponsorship and exhibitor opportunities, contact Tammy Persky at 979-458-3437.

FHWA Releases Federal Design Guide for Protected Bike Lanes

FWHA Bike Lane Guide cover The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) recently released the Separated Bike Lane Planning and Design Guide after two years of research into the use of protected bike lanes in communities across the United States.


The guide provides a menu of design options and highlights planning considerations and best practices for installing protected bike lanes. This can serve as an important and authoritative guide for engineers tasked to approve road designs.


Green Technical Assistance May Be Available for Communities

Global Green USA logo Does your community want greener, more equitable, and more vibrant neighborhoods? Is your community interested in increasing resilience in the face of extreme weather events? Are there significant projects on the horizon that your community wants to make sustainable?

Global Green is now accepting applications for no-cost technical assistance that can help communities achieve these goals. The assistance uses Global Green's sustainable neighborhood assessment tool, based on the LEED for Neighborhood Development standard, a nationally recognized method for creating neighborhoods that are walkable, bikeable, resource-efficient, and equitable. This free assistance is being provided under a grant to Global Green from EPA's Office of Sustainable Communities' Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities Program.


Eligible applicants are local and tribal governments. The deadline for applications is Friday, July 17.


News from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

EPA logoEPA's Fourth Water Quality Modeling Webinar: 'Nooksack River QUAL2Kw Temperature Model and Climate Change Scenarios'
EPA's Water Quality Modeling Workgroup announces the fourth in a series of six webinars on water quality modeling. All six webinars focus on helping water quality professionals better understand modeling and how models can be used to solve the problems facing water quality regulators. The fourth webinar, Nooksack River QUAL2Kw Temperature Model and Climate Change Scenarios, is Wednesday, July 22, at noon.  This webinar will describe a real world example of setup and implementation of a QUAL2K temperature model with climate scenarios. Participants will gain an understanding of the specific tasks needed to build the QUAL2Kw temperature model and steps to setup climate scenarios for it. Presenters will also discuss temperature model theory, data needs, and various considerations related to climate change scenario projections. Registration is required. Learn more about the first three webinars.


EPA Campus RainWorks Challenge Registration Begins September 1
EPA is calling for entries in its fourth annual Campus RainWorks Challenge, a green infrastructure design competition for undergraduate and graduate students. Student teams, working with a faculty advisor, will submit design boards, a project narrative, and a letter of support for a green infrastructure project on their campuses. This year, student teams will be encouraged to incorporate climate resiliency into their stormwater management designs. Registration opens Tuesday, September 1, and ends Wednesday, September 30. Registrants must submit their entries by Friday, December 18, and winners will be announced on April 22, 2016. First-place teams will earn $2,000 to divide evenly among students, and a faculty prize of $3,000 to support green infrastructure research or training.


WaterSense Hits One Trillion Gallons in Water Savings
From WaterSense's launch in 2006 through 2014, EPA and its partners helped consumers save 1.1 trillion gallons of water and $21.7 billion in energy and water bills using WaterSense-labeled products. That's more than the amount of water used by households in Texas in one year. Energy reductions  using WaterSense products could power 13.3 million homes for one year and have prevented more than 54 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. More than 1,600 water utilities, organizations, manufacturers, retailers, distributors, builders and irrigation professionals certified through WaterSense programs have joined with EPA to promote WaterSense-labeled products, programs and new homes. Nearly 15,000 different models of toilets, faucets, showerheads, flushing urinals, weather-based irrigation controllers, and pre-rinse spray valves have been independently certified for performance and efficiency to earn the WaterSense label.

fundingFunding Opportunities

Environmental Investigator

Houston-Galveston Clean Marine Project

H-GAC is seeking applications from regional marine vessel owners for the purchase and deployment of clean diesel or alternative fuel tug, tow, or push boats. The engines must operate within the HGB non-attainment area, and applicants are expected to provide two years of data collection and reporting. Applications must include CARB- or EPA-certified engines.The deadline for submissions is Monday, July 20, 2015.


Houston-Galveston Clean Non Road Construction

H-GAC is seeking applications from regional construction equipment owners for the purchase and deployment of clean diesel or alternative fuel heavy-duty construction equipment. The equipment must operate within the HGB non-attainment area, and applicants are expected to provide two years of data collection and reporting. Applications must include CARB- or EPA-certified equipment. The deadline for submissions is Monday, July 20, 2015.


Department of Agriculture 2015 Community Enhancement Fund

The Texas Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for the 2015 Community Enhancement Fund. This new funding opportunity will assist communities in achieving the goals of the Texas Community Development Block Grant Program by developing enhancements that address public health, community centers, workforce development/education, public safety, and/or renewable energy (as part of a public facility). Applications are due Thursday, August 6, 2015.


TCEQ Light-Duty Purchase or Lease Incentive Program

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) is offering up to $7.7 million in incentives toward the purchase or lease of eligible new vehicles powered by compressed natural gas (CNG), liquefied petroleum gas (propane), or electric drives. Visit the Texas Emissions Reduction Plan (TERP) website for more information, including deadlines.

Advocacy Advance Rapid Response Grants

Advocacy Advance Rapid Response Grants help state and local organizations take advantage of unexpected opportunities to win, increase, or preserve funding for biking and walking. Detailed guidelines, criteria, and application requirements are available online. Rapid Response Grant applications will be accepted on a rolling basis throughout the year.

All content, including links to other websites, is for informational purposes only. Users of this content are responsible for checking its accuracy, currency, and suitability.


If you know of a funding opportunity, forward it to Andrea Tantillo.

Community and Environmental Planning

Loan Programs 

H-GAC's Community and Environmental Planning Department currently manages two business loan programs--------the Small Business Administration 504 Loan Program and the Economic Development Administration Business Loan Fund.


HGALDCThe SBA 504 Loan Program provides long-term business expansion financing for real estate, construction and equipment purchases.Gulf Coast Economic Developmetn District Logo 


The EDA Business Loan Fund assists small businesses in the Houston-Galveston region.

Anyone interested in applying for a loan or getting more information should contact


Mapping Applications and GIS Data

GIS GlobesIf you are looking for maps, mapping applications, or GIS data related to the H-GAC Community and Environmental Planning Department, visit to see the latest information, including Census, Regional Forecast, and more. Map Book provides maps in several formats for printing. Mobile applications are available.



find us on facebookH-GAC has a Facebook page where information about current and upcoming events is posted. Please visit and like H-GAC's page. While you're there, visit other H-GAC pages on Facebook, such as Recycling, Trash Bash, Bacteria Implementation Group (BIG), and Cedar Bayou Watershed Partnership.



Twitter LogoFind the latest information about activities around the region at H-GAC's Twitter Feed @hgaccog. H-GAC's water resources department program also offers Twitter updates on water quality issues in the region, including fish consumption advisories @HGACwater.

News and Notes

Andrea Tantillo, Communications Specialist
Houston-Galveston Area Council
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