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SJRA 16 Years of Accomplishment: A Tribute to Jace Houston

SJRA 16 Years of Accomplishment: A Tribute to Jace Houston

16 Years of Accomplishment: A Tribute to Jace Houston

Since July 16, 2007, Jace A. Houston has been the friendly face in front of the camera, the scholar behind numerous educational materials, and the man who helped the San Jacinto River Authority (SJRA) become one of the most well-known and respected entities in the State of Texas.  Jace was hired by his predecessor, Reed Eichelberger, to serve as the Deputy General Manager of Administration to oversee the growing administrative responsibilities of SJRA.  Reed once said that it was his greatest and smartest decision to hire Jace, and we couldn’t agree more. 

Five years later, on October 11, 2012, after Reed’s retirement from SJRA, the Board of Directors appointed Jace to the position of General Manager in recognition of his leadership, integrity, selflessness, and commitment to the vision, mission, and principles of SJRA.  Jace stated, in a Dock Line article that same year, that:

“SJRA is responsible for assuring Montgomery County has the resources to sustain the incredible growth we’ve experienced in the past decade.” 

What we believe is left out of that statement is that Jace was the right person to lead SJRA during such tremendous growth…of course Jace is too modest to say that about himself.  Not many could have stepped into such large shoes, that were once filled by water legends like Jim Adams and Reed Eichelberger, with veracity, humility, and grace.  But Jace did just that.     

Perhaps it was Jace’s background that helped ease the transition into such a high-profile leadership role.  Jace studied civil and environmental engineering and holds a law degree from the University of Texas. He served as the general counsel for the Harris-Galveston Subsidence District, the agency responsible for regulating groundwater in Harris and Galveston counties.  He also served as staff attorney and policy analyst at the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission, worked for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, and held the position of staffer for Texas State Representative Robert Saunders.  Or perhaps it was his time as a high school and college basketball referee that provided him with the most invaluable assets and helped him the most.  Personally, we believe it was Jace’s faith, charismatic personality, and tall stature that provided just enough extra to prepare him for the years to come. 

During his tenure, Jace has done an excellent job in leading SJRA and has always had the best interests of the people SJRA serves in mind.  He is a true professional, an excellent leader, an effective communicator, and a loyal public servant.  Jace once said that:

“We try to take a customer service approach to dealing with the public.”

And that has been his motto for the sixteen years he has worked for SJRA.   

Massive successes have occurred because of Jace’s management of SJRA for over a decade.  He has led the charge in demonstrating leadership and innovation in water resource management, launched several new operational Divisions, oversaw the largest single public works construction project of its time in Montgomery County, served during the record-breaking drought of 2011 and flood of record in 2017, and guided through very controversial and legal challenges…and that is just to name a few.     

Jace wrote in the SJRA 75th Anniversary Brochure:

“Despite the enormous successes outlined above, SJRA still has significant contributions to make and an important leadership role to play in the future of water resource management for this region and for the state. The achievements of SJRA are not an indication that we have arrived at our destination – they are evidence that we have laid a solid foundation for and have earned a position of leadership in planning for the water future of this region.”

Jace is responsible for and part of that solid foundation.  He has filled the shoes that were filled before him quite well and we are sure that his predecessors are looking down upon him with the utmost pride.  Jace-we will miss you and your leadership.  Your shoes will be incredibly difficult to fill. 

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