Board of Directors

2018 Officers & Board Members

Chairman of the Board

Heath Melton
Hughes Corp.

Vice Chairman of the Board

Marlene Gafrick



Carolyn Dorros

Wolff Companies


Jim Boone
Allen Boone Humphries Robinson, LLP.

At Large Executive Board

Rob Bamford
The Johnson Development Co.

Mark Kilkenny


Lee Lennard
BGE, Inc.

John S. Moody, Sr. 

Immediate Past Chairman
Parkside Capital

2018 Board of Directors

Peter Barnhart

As Development Partner at Caldwell Companies, Peter Barnhart brings a very successful history of acquiring, developing and selling large residential and commercial development projects. Peter’s financial, construction and marketing skills combined with a unique blend of experience in commercial and community development, allows Caldwell Companies to plan and create environments where people like to live, work and play.

With Caldwell Companies, Barnhart plays an integral role in identifying, acquiring and developing land tracts for future master planned communities as well as well as commercial projects. Peter is also the key team member to handle the negotiations related to the acquisition of prospective properties.

Peter’s 20 years of real estate experience includes six years with RealtiCorp Commercial Investment Fund in Greenville, SC. Beginning as Director of Sales and Marketing and moving up to Regional Partner, where he handled complex land development transactions in seven different states and involving more than 4000 acres of land. Peter also has experience with Byzance, Inc. and Plantation Homes.

Raised in Houston, Peter earned his bachelor’s degree in Construction Science and his master’s degree in Land and Real Estate Development – both from Texas A&M University. He is a past president of the Houston Real Estate Council, board member of the Greater Houston Builders Association, member of the Urban Land Institute, member of the Real Estate Development Association Professional Advisory Board, and an Adjunct Professor to the college of Architecture at Texas A&M.

Outside of work, Peter likes golfing, fishing, hunting, flying and many other outdoor activities. Residing in Northwest Houston, Peter and his wife Debra enjoy spending time with their daughters, Jordan and Grace.

Caldwell Companies

Alan Bauer

Alan Bauer, a 25-year veteran of Houston’s real estate development industry, is Senior Vice President and Division Manager for the Houston division of Newland Communities, which developed Katy’s 7,600-acre Cinco Ranch community along with three other Houston area projects.

Before joining Newland, Bauer was vice president of land for the Houston division of Pulte Homes, and prior to that he has director of development for KB Home in Houston. He has also worked for General Homes Corp. and Amvest Properties in Houston.

A licensed professional engineer, Bauer is a graduate of the University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio.

Newland Communities

Randy Corson

Mr. Corson has been with MISCHER for 27 years.  Randy is a third generation member of the Mischer family.  He started his career at Mischer managing the operations of Lajitas Resort.

In 2000, Mr. Corson moved to the Land Development Division.  He managed the RiverPark West development, as well as being the Marketing Director for MISCHER.  Currently, he is working on the Cypress Creek Lakes commercial land opportunities.

Apart form the various real estate partnerships within Mischer, he has partnered with Cheryl Perry (Boe Creative Service) on a digital website company, Crescere Digital (CRE-SARAH).

Mr. Corson received his Bachelor of Science from the University of Houston, Conrad N. Hilton School of Hotel and Restaurant Management.

He has been a member of various real estate organizations:  GHBA Developers Council, Association of Water Board Directors, and the West Houston Association.

Mr. Corson is married and has two boys.  When not working, he enjoys time at the family ranch in central Texas, as well as the great outdoors in White Fish, Montana.

Mischer Investments

David Hightower

David W. Hightower serves as executive vice president, development, at Midway. Prior to joining Midway, David was executive vice president and chief development officer with Wolff Companies, a Houston-based investment and land development firm, where he was involved in ownership, development, and/or management of more than 6,000 acres of commercial, residential and agricultural land investments and development. He had primary responsibility for marketing, sales, project planning and development for the firm’s real estate assets and new investment acquisitions. He also was responsible for more than $100 million of municipal infrastructure improvements, as well as regulatory and government-related activities.

Prior to joining Wolff Companies, Mr. Hightower was a practicing civil engineer, consulting on municipal engineering projects for public and private-sector clients.

A founding member and director of the Harris County Improvement District #4, (The Energy Corridor Management District), David has served in leadership positions in the West Houston Association, the
Urban Land Institute, the Greater Houston Partnership’s Real Estate Advisory Committee, and the Houston Real Estate Council, as well as numerous industry and civic organizations. He is a life member of the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo and past Vice President of Leadership Houston Association.

David earned his B.S. in civil engineering from Texas A&M University, and his MBA from the University of Houston.

Midway Companies

Zach Hodges

Dr. Zachary Hodges has been president of Houston Community College System’s Northwest College for 20 years. In early July he started a new position as the acting Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs for the HCC system. That position is the chief academic officer for the system and serves as the director of all instructional programs, both academic and workforce. Hodges is also charged with the task of developing new programs and improving those that exist to best meet the needs of local communities and industry.

Dr. Zachary Hodges, was named the 2013 Entrepreneurial President of the Year by the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE).

In 2007, Dr. Hodges partnered with Newspring, a faith-based organization aimed at the economic development of the Spring Branch area of Houston, to launch the area’s first business plan competition with prize money awards.

Taking progressive steps by testing small projects and building successes that fueled support for the next phase of growth in entrepreneurship, Dr. Hodges made another first step in developing HCC’s Center for Entrepreneurship in 2009 by committing start-up funding to hire a director for the Center. Continuing success and commitment to both programs, the college also won and spearheaded the HCC Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program in 2011, which offers Greater Houston small business owners access to a practical business and management education.

Houston Community College

Bob Jones

Bob Jones formed Jones Engineering Solutions, LLC, after serving as president, CEO and founding partner of Jones & Carter, Inc., a 350-employee, Texas-owned, civil engineering company, for many years. His expertise includes municipal, land development and transportation infrastructure; master planning; political coordination; finance and cost evaluation; program development and management; and regulatory assistance. He works with local, state and national entities to enhance transportation and transportation funding.

Jones is president-elect of the Texas Council of Engineering Companies and serves on the boards of the North Houston Association and West Houston Association. He is a former commissioner of the Texas Building and Procurement Commission and a member of the Texas A&M University Dwight Look College of Engineering Advisory Council.

Jones Engineering Solutions

Brandon Kerr

Brandon Kerr, manager, Facilities Engineering for ConocoPhillips, has joined The Energy Corridor District’s Board of Directors, bringing with him multifaceted expertise in global corporate real estate strategy, transactions, compliance and legal matters.

For the international energy company, Kerr oversees real estate strategy and compliance for a portfolio in excess of 10 million square feet.

As a generalist corporate attorney, he also brings a broad range of experience to The District’s board, including expertise in real estate law, corporate real estate transactions and strategy, tax planning and corporate policy compliance, along with project management.

At ConocoPhillips, Kerr provides functional leadership to the global Facilities Engineering function within the company’s Real Estate and Facilities Services Organization. There, he manages the execution of building projects; management of global facilities’ engineering policies, compliance, business controls and processes; and management of an annual capital spend in excess of $50 million.


Ed Knight

Mr. Edwin H. Knight manages Harrison Interests, Ltd., a privately held Texas limited partnership whose lines of business are oil and gas exploration and production, real estate and cattle ranching. He has managed Harrison Interests, Ltd. for fourteen years and holds a Bachelors Degree from Louisiana State University and is a CPA. He serves as a Director of North American Technologies Group Inc. Harrison Interests has recently changed their name to DJH Ranching LP.

Harrison Interests

Kyle Lippman

Kyle Lippman brings 20 years of legal real estate knowledge and experience to NewQuest Properties. As a partner, he is responsible for coordinating legal affairs, and participates in all aspects of new projects including land acquisition, creating structure of ownership/development entities, solving development issues, negotiating tenant leases, and negotiating construction and permanent financing for projects.

Prior to NewQuest Properties, Kyle joined Quest Properties in 2001 as Senior Partner focusing on all legal aspects of the firm’s real estate transactions. Before joining Quest Properties, Kyle spent nine years at the Houston law firm of Nathan, Sommers, Lippman, Jacobs & Gorman as a Partner, and prior to that worked in the Houston office of the Dallas based law firm of Winstead, Sechrest & Minick under the sametitle.

Kyle received his Bachelor’s of Business Administration degree from Southern Methodist University in 1977, specializing in Real Estate Finance, and received his J.D. degree from the University of Texas Law School in 1980.

As a former practicing lawyer, Kyle is a member of the American Bar Association, the State Bar of Texas and the Houston Bar Association. In addition, he is an active member of the International Council of Shopping Centers, as well as past President and member of the Board of Directors for Lakeside Country Club.

New Quest

Sara Montenegro

Sara Montenegro is the Assistant Vice President of Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus. Montenegro joined Texas Children’s Hospital team in 2009 and led a variety of sub-specialty medical services as well as being Director of Pediatrics before transitioning to Assistant Vice President. She has recently joined WHA’s Education & Workforce Committee for 2018 and graciously hosts our committee meetings/working groups at the Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus.

Texas Children’s Hospital

Dan Naef

Mr. Naef’s distinguished career includes the development of over 17,000 acres of award winning, masterfully-planned communities in Nevada and Texas. He is responsible for all aspects of the company’s operations. Currently, he is a member of the Urban Land Institute, Katy Economic Development Authority and the West Houston Association.

A graduate of California State University, Chico, Mr. Naef earned his Certified Public Accountant designation in 1989. 

Rise Communities LLC is a preeminent developer and manager of creative, masterfully-planned, large-scale communities. Formed in 2011, the executive team includes all the senior professionals previously associated with American Nevada Company’s Master Plan Community Development Division. These executives include the former President and CEO of American Nevada Company as well as the Community Development Division President, Vice President, and other key executives and employees. During their tenure with American Nevada Company, which collectively includes over 50 years of service, the executive team was responsible for all aspects of the development and construction of several award-winning communities totaling over 14,000 acres and now home to over 100,000 residents. These communities include Green Valley, Green Valley Ranch, Seven Hills and Aliante.

Rise Developments

Dick Phillips

Dick Phillips is responsible for the management of operations at both UHS system teaching centers (at Sugar Land and Cinco Ranch).

“The UH System is dedicated to delivering higher education that complements and further enhances the growing recognition of Sugar Land, and Fort Bend County in general, as one of the nation’s best places to live and work. As our Sugar Land and Cinco Ranch operations continue to expand, I’m pleased to be afforded the opportunity to help strategically guide that growth in cooperation and unison with the visionary leaders of Fort Bend County and the surrounding region,” said Phillips.

Phillips had been serving as associate vice president for university advancement at UHS Sugar Land since 2005. In this new role, Phillips will be responsible for coordinating academic program delivery, planning new academic programs, facilities planning and construction, governmental relations, marketing and all general administrative matters at the two teaching centers. He will continue to oversee development operations at the UH-Victoria campus as well.

University of Houston

Craig Rhodes

Craig Rhodes is the Regional Manager, Economic Development at CenterPoint Energy. Rhodes started at CenterPoint Energy in 2014. Before CenterPoint, Rhodes worked at the Greater Houston Partnership for 7 years, the last four focused on economic development. Rhodes has been involved with WHA as a member of the Regional Mobility Committee.

Centerpoint Energy

Jim Russ

Jim Russ is the Chief Executive Officer at EHRA Engineering. He oversees the Construction Phase Services, Mapping and Surveying Services, Business Development and Marketing Services for the company as well as being the Senior Construction Project Manager.  Russ has been Chair of WHA’s Sustainable Infrastructure Committee, which created the Sustainability Stars Award,  and serving as an Ex Officio Board Member.

A proud Aggie and fourth generation Principal, Jim Russ is one of the hardest working people you will ever meet. Growing up in this business, Jim discovered early on he had a liking for building things. It was the satisfaction he received knowing he was instrumental in building something for others to enjoy. As Principal, Jim oversees the Construction Phase Services, Surveying and Mapping Services, Business Development and Marketing Services. He understands the importance of producing quality products with honesty and integrity; something he has committed himself to do on a daily basis.Jim enjoys spending time with family and friends, and giving back to his community. His greatest passion in life is making sure others are well accommodated for and well taken care of. He is a proud supporter of Texas A&M University, and would hands down win their “Biggest Fan Award” should they have one. Gig ‘Em!


Advisory Board

Fred Caldwell

Caldwell Companies

Bradley Freels

Midway Companies

Jim Jard


Jay Neal

University of Houston

Ted Nelson

Newland Communities

David Ramsey

NewQuest Properties

Ex Officio Members of the Board of Directors

Jack Miller
R.G. Miller Engineer

Chris Patterson