2021 Frank McBee Jr. Fellows Announced

AARO Admin AARO News

The Austin Area Research Organization (AARO) announced the 2021 Class of Frank McBee Jr. Fellows. The Fellowship is designed to seed Central Texas with leaders who think regionally and act systemically, considering the interdependency of issues and serving as stewards for the greater common good. This group of highly accomplished community leaders will spend a year with the AARO membership, 115+ regional civic entrepreneurs, working on a variety of public policy issues to improve the long-term economic and social quality of life for all Central Texans. 2021 Class Frank McBee Jr. Fellows A.J. Bingham Founder and CEO – The Bingham Group, LLC Eric Bustos Manager of Government Relations – Capital Metro Ramiro Diaz Senior Software Engineer – Under Armour Kate Garza Director of Advocacy and External Affairs – Ascension Texas Nhat Ho Vice President – Civilitude Engineers & Planners Karen Magid Director of Sustainability and STEM – Huston Tillotson University Shuronda Robinson President/CEO – Adisa Communications Sharon Vigil Chief Operations and Equity Officer – Communities In Schools of Central Texas Deirdre Walsh Director of Global Marketing and Communications – Silicon …

AARO Supports Proposition A: An Investment in Transit-at-Scale through Project Connect

Christie Bradow AARO News

The Austin Area Research Organization (AARO) urges voters to approve the City of Austin’s Proposition A to support implementation of the 2020 Project Connect System Plan. Central Texas will continue to be an attractive place to live, work, play and visit in the post-pandemic world. The regional population is projected to reach 4.7 million people by 2045, traversing the region in ways we can only imagine. While an increasing number of these people will be able to work from home, the vast majority will need to leave home for work or school. Ride sharing services, buses in managed lanes and planning for proximity between jobs and housing can all help, but the sheer volume of people moving into, and communting daily through, the region requires transit-at-scale — an integrated system of rail and high capacity bus lines — to make our transportation system work. The 2020 Project Connect System Plan (Project Connect) represents a wise investment in transit-at-scale. It is a well-crafted system with layers of service types appropriate to current and anticipated ridership density in each corridor. It establishes …

AARO’s March Toward Racial Transformation

AARO Admin AARO News, Social Equity News

An Open Letter from the Austin Area Research OrganizationAARO’s March Toward Racial Transformation The Austin Area Research Organization (AARO) stands with the Black community –– and all communities of color –– to demand justice, and pledges to more effectively engage in the ongoing dismantling of institutional racism and systemic inequities throughout Central Texas. We commit to use our time, energy, finances, skills and influence to embed the principles of racial justice and social equity into each of our priority policy areas of education, health care, social equity, transportation and water and throughout our spheres of influence. Our country is in a painful and fragile time. For hundreds of years, Black, Hispanic, Asian and Indigenous peoples, have negotiated, talked, complained, yelled, marched, rebelled, and advocated against racism, police brutality and other systemic issues. And yet, for too long, too many of those in power or with authority have failed to effectively address or even acknowledge these traumas. The recent killings of George Floyd in Minnesota, Ahmaud Arbery and Rayshard Brooks in Georgia, Breonna Taylor in Kentucky, and Michael Ramos, Javier Ambler …

Meet the 2018 class of McBee Fellows

AARO Admin AARO News

Mr. Jeremiah Bentley VP, Marketing & Customer Engagement – Texas Mutual Insurance Company Ms. Katherine Caffrey Assistant City Manager City of Cedar Park Ms. Merrill Davis Managing Director, Austin Hill+Knowlton Strategies Mr. Michael Doss Executive Vice President Independent Bank Group Ms. Michelle Harper President and CEO United Way of Hays and Caldwell Counties Rev. Daryl Horton Assistant Pastor/Youth Pastor Mt. Zion Baptist Church Mr. Wayne Knox Chief of Staff & Clerk Huston-Tillotson University Ms. Rebecca Pastner Chief Metrics and Impact Officer St. David’s Foundation Mr. Gabriel Rojas Principal, Urban Planning Rojas Planning Ms. Leslie Sweet Director of Public Affairs H-E-B The McBee Fellowship Program is a rigorous, 13 month program for civic leadership development.  The program offers exceptional Central Texas leaders first-hand, practical experience working with regional civic entrepreneurs on a variety of public policy issues that impact the long-term economic and social well-being of Central Texas. AARO is pleased to know and work with the 2018 class.    

Now accepting 2020 McBee Fellowship applications

AARO Admin AARO News

Austin Area Research Organization (AARO) is accepting applications for the 2020 Class of Frank McBee Jr. Fellows. Completed applications are due by noon CDT on Thursday, August 13, 2019. Information and application available – click here.

Meet the 2017 class of McBee Fellows

AARO Admin AARO News

Ms. Shilpa Bakre Communications Strategist – Office of the President The University of Texas at Austin Mr. Wes Breyfogle Chief Executive Officer ScanData Systems, Inc. Mr. Christian Fletcher Executive Director Marble Falls Economic Development Corporation Dr. Hannah Gourgey Consultant Mr. Clint Harp Chief of Staff Lower Colorado River Authority Ms. Debbie Johnson Principal Successful Giving Mr. Rudolph Metayer Attorney Chamberlain McHaney Mr. James A. Nortey II Associate Attorney Duggins Wren Mann & Romero LLP Mr. Llyas Salahud-din Director of Major Gifts LifeWorks Mr. Juan Tornoe Partner & Chief Marketing Officer Cultural Strategies, Inc.   The McBee Fellowship Program is a rigorous, 13 month program for civic leadership development.  The program offers exceptional Central Texas leaders first-hand, practical experience working with regional civic entrepreneurs on a variety of public policy issues that impact the long-term economic and social well-being of Central Texas. AARO is pleased to know and work with the 2017 class. Left to Right, Back row: (1) Wes Brefogle (2) James Nortey (3) Debbie Johnson (4) Shilpa Baker (5) Rudy Metayer (6) Juan Tornoe Front row (1) Hannah Gourgey …

Vote YES on Transportation Bonds

AARO Admin AARO News, Transportation News

By CLARKE HEIDRICK and CARL RICHIE When transportation works, our lives work. We can get to work on time, get our kids to school safely and enjoy all this region has to offer. We can cheer the Longhorns on to victory; squeeze in a few laps at Barton Spring pool on the way to work; eat some of the best barbecue in Texas; and get to class on time at Texas State with less stress in our lives. When congestion strikes, when our kids can’t get to school safely, and when bikes and cars compete for right of way, we all lose and we start our days under stress and in a bad mood. Austin’s $720-million transportation bond proposal is a solid step toward addressing the mobility needs of the city and contains a good balance of regional mobility projects, corridor mobility projects and local projects like sidewalk, bicycle and urban trail improvements. The proposed improvements are designed to relieve congestion and increase flow on major corridors, build pedestrian infrastructure and create safe routes to school, and improve some of …

AARO McBee Alumni Reunion

AARO Admin AARO News

On Tuesday, September 20TH, AARO’s 2016 McBee Fellows hosted a gathering of former McBees at the Google Fiber Space. The event served as this year’s Fellows’ project and provided an opportunity for past Fellows to connect with current AARO members and each other. Approximately 60 guests enjoyed opening comments from President Carl Richie, lively round table discussions led by committee chairs and closing comments from Incoming President Elizabeth Christian. Guests left with a better sense of AARO’s current efforts in the region and many committees gained new perspectives on current projects.

AARO welcomes 2016 class of McBee Fellows

AARO Admin AARO News

Ms. Stacy Armijo, Ms. Michelle Earley, Mr. Gerardo Interiano, Ms. Camille Jobe, Ms. Lindsey Leaverton, Mr. Mark Madrid, Ms. Kristin Marcum, Mr. Mike Odom, Ms. Tracy LaQuey Parker, and Ms. Sarah Richards.