Katy economic development leader, El Campo business owner join PRAB

Two newcomers to a board providing guidance to the University of Houston-Victoria bring a combined 63 years of business experience, training and leadership.

Lance LaCour of Katy and Jack Swanson of El Campo will serve three-year terms on the President’s Regional Advisory Board starting in the fall. They were approved by the board at its June 7 meeting.

Vic Morgan

“I look forward to working with Mr. LaCour and Mr. Swanson, and having them share information about their community’s educational needs,” UHV President Vic Morgan said. “Their advice and guidance will be important as we continue to develop our future plans in Victoria, Katy and our service region.”

PRAB is UHV’s external advisory board. Its mission is to strengthen and advance UHV and its academic programs, provide counsel on strategic directions and encourage external giving to the university. PRAB members also play an important role as UHV ambassadors to their communities and the region. There are 17 voting members on the 2016-2017 advisory board.

Swanson is a UHV alumnus and the owner of Water/Wastewater Training and Consulting in El Campo. He teaches courses to operators seeking a license in water or wastewater. Swanson also is an adjunct instructor for the Texas Engineering Extension Service.

From 1991 to 2001, Swanson served as assistant director of utilities for the City of Victoria. He has worked for 38 years in the water/wastewater industry and has been an approved instructor for more than 25 years. He earned a Master of Business Administration in 2000 from UHV. His wife, Becky, earned bachelor’s and master’s education degrees in 1996 and 1998 from UHV.

Jack Swanson

Swanson said he is looking forward to working with PRAB on developing strategies that positively impact area residents.

“Wharton is a diverse county that needs a university providing the education and training that gives graduates the necessary abilities to fulfill the needs of our businesses,” Swanson said. “I hope to be able to offer ideas that lead to a flourishing workforce in Wharton County and other areas of the Coastal Bend.”

LaCour is the president and CEO of the Katy Area Economic Development Council. He is responsible for an economic development office that encompasses about 181 square miles in three counties and parts of three cities. In his 25-year career, LaCour has assisted in the creation of more than 20,000 jobs and $2.8 billion in capital investment.

Lance LaCour

This fall, UHV will consolidate its teaching centers to one location in Katy. Grandway West Building 2, 2002 W. Grand Parkway N., will serve as a temporary location for about three years until a permanent UH System teaching center is constructed nearby. UHV will offer upper-level undergraduate and graduate classes, and have faculty and staff offices on the third floor of Grandway West.

LaCour previously served from 2006 to 2009 on the PRAB board. He said he re-joined the board to help contribute to UHV’s success in the Katy area.

“UHV has a great reputation for its business programs and in being a strong supporter of workforce and higher education initiatives that help maintain and grow our outstanding talent pool in the Katy area,” he said.

John Shutt of Edna will serve as PRAB chair for the second consecutive year. Victoria resident Sally Aman will be vice chair in 2016-2017.

Besides Shutt and Aman, the other continuing voting members of the 2016-2017 PRAB are Bret Baldwin, Arturo Calvo, Daniel Cano, Lane Keller, Margery Engel Loeb, Omar Rachid, Mike Rivet, Terry Robinson, Debra Williams and Keith Williams, all of Victoria; Debra Baros of Cuero, Gene Moreno of Goliad, and Amy Schwartz of Hallettsville.

June’s meeting was the final one for three PRAB members: Janet Leatherwood of Sugar Land, Lou Anne Kellman of El Campo and Kathy Oehlke of Kenedy.

Nonvoting PRAB members are Roger Welder, a Victoria resident and member of the UH System Board of Regents, and former regents and Victoria residents Dorothy Alcorn, Morgan Dunn O’Connor and Kay Kerr Walker.

Ex-officio members are Beatriz Espinoza, president of Coastal Bend College; David Hinds, president of Victoria College; Zachary Hodges, president of Houston Community College Northwest; Betty McCrohan, president of Wharton County Junior College; Robert Jaklich, superintendent of the Victoria Independent School District; and Patty Shafer, executive director of the Region III Education Service Center.

The next PRAB meeting will be Sept. 13.

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.

Jeremy Shapiro