The Harris County Housing Authority (HCHA) has elected a new person to lead the way, after recently announcing that experienced Houston businessman and real estate professional Gerald W. Womack has been elected as Chairman of the Board of Commissioners.
Womack was appointed to the Board in March 2012 by the late Harris County Commissioner, El Franco Lee and was recently reappointed by Rodney Ellis, new Precinct 1 County Commissioner. He replaces Kerry Wright, who announced at the March 2017 Board meeting that he would be stepping down, but would continue to serve on the board.
“I’m very excited,” said Womack. “I’m really charged up to work with the Authority and the staff at this capacity to make sure that all Harris County residents have access to the variety of services that we provide. This is a very trying time for housing in general and so I’m happy to be working with my fellow Commissioners, to be able to continue to carry out the mission of HCHA and take us to even higher heights.”
Wright, who stepped down from his role after serving his fourth year as Chairman of the Board, said it has been an honor to lead the Authority. Appointed on August 15, 2012 by Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, Wright was actively involved in breaking ground on the Retreat at Westlock development, helping HCHA achieve a balanced budget, supporting HCHA’s efforts to reduce operating expenses, and assisting with turnaround efforts for a formerly-troubled housing agency. Wright decided to step down from the role to dedicate more time to his business, but is looking forward to supporting the efforts of the Board’s new leadership.
Horace Allison, HCHA’s Chief Executive Officer, thanked outgoing Chairman Wright for his strong guidance and involvement over the past five years.
“We appreciate [Wright’s] passion and knowledgeable, hands-on leadership which has successfully guided us through many storms and has brought us to a place of calmness where we once faced critical challenges within,” Allison said. “Our Commissioners work very well together. Womack and Gonzalez are excellent choices for passing the torch and leading the way as we continue to further our mission during these trying times.”
HCHA also recently announced the appointment of Roberto Gonzalez to serve as Vice Chairman of the Board of Commissioners to replace Womack. Womack and Gonzalez will continue to serve on the Board, along with Commissioner Wright, Commissioner Joe Ellis, and Commissioner Joe Villarreal. Newly-elected Vice Chairman Gonzalez was appointed to the Board in May 2013 by Harris County Commissioner, Jack Morman.
Gonzalez is the Executive Vice President of Employment and Training Centers, Inc., a staffing company he co-owns with his wife, Irma Diaz-Gonzalez along with having other business interests. Gonzalez is a 39-year veteran of federal, state and locally funded government programs which includes his work as an Employment and Training Planner for the Houston Galveston-Area Council of Governments and a Research and Project Officer for the U.S. Department of Labor.
In addition to serving as the Board Chair of HCHA, Womack is also the President and CEO of Womack Development & Investment (WDI), a full-service commercial and residential real estate brokerage firm that has been in the Greater Houston area since it was founded in 1985. He is a native Houstonian, and attended the Jesse H. Jones School of Business at Texas Southern University, before making the decision to begin selling real estate full-time.
Womack has a long history of entrepreneurship in real estate development, sales, leasing and construction, since beginning his stellar career at the young age of 16, and continues to serve the Greater Houston and surrounding areas through his commercial and residential brokerage firm, with a dedication to improving the quality of life for inner-city neighborhood residents by focusing on community development, revitalization, and economic development.
In 1978, at the age of 21, he ran for the Texas State Legislature. In 2002, he ran for City Council. Since that time, he has been actively involved within the political spectrum of the community by serving on the transition teams for both U. S. Representative Sheila Jackson Lee and former Mayor Lee P. Brown. He has worked in many local political campaigns and serves as Campaign Manager for Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee.
Womack is a member of Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner’s Transition Team and currently serves on the boards of HoustonFirst, Mental Health and Mental Retardation, and is a member of the Houston Association of Realtors. He is also the immediate past president of the Houston Black Real Estate Association. Womack has also received the honors of being named a 2014 D-MARS Top 50 Black Professionals & Entrepreneurs, a 2013 Texas Southern University Legends & Leaders Business Trendsetter, and a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
A formal ceremony for the Board’s new appointments will take place at the next Board meeting on May 17, 2017.