Trade & Transportation

Saturday, 8:30 AM – An 83rd Legislative Session Preview

Drew Darby

State Representative, R-San Angelo; Vice Chairman, House Transportation Committee

State Rep. Drew Darby, R-San Angelo, has served District 72 in the Texas House since 2006. Darby is serving his third term on the House Appropriations Committee, chairing the subcommittee on Natural Resources, Business and Economic Development and Regulatory. Darby also serves as vice chairman of the House Transportation Committee.

Robert Nichols

State Senator, R-Jacksonville; Vice-Chair, Senate Intergovernmental Relations Committee

Elected to the Texas Senate in 2006, Robert Nichols represents 19 counties in East Texas. Nichols serves as vice chairman of the Intergovernmental Relations Committee and sits on the Transportation and Homeland Security, Health and Human Services, Nominations and Natural Resources committees. In 2010 he was selected by his colleagues to serve as chairman of the Senate Republican Caucus.

Larry Phillips

State Representative, R-Sherman; Chairman, House Transportation Committee

State Rep. Larry Phillips, R-Sherman, was elected to represent Fannin and Grayson Counties in House District 62 in 2003. Phillips is chairman of the House Transportation Committee and serves on the House committees on Redistricting, General Investigating and Ethics, and Border and International Affairs. He has previously served as vice chairman of the Transportation Committee and has served on the Culture, Recreation and Tourism Committee.

Kirk Watson

State Senator, D-Austin; Vice-Chair, Senate Transportation & Homeland Security Committee

State Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, represents District 14. He is a partner with the law firm Brown McCarroll, L.L.P and a former mayor of Austin. He is also a former chairman of both the Texas Advisory Board for Environmental Defense and the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce.

Saturday, 9:45 AM – One on One with Gordon Bethune

Gordon Bethune

Former CEO, Continental Airlines

Gordon Bethune earned worldwide acclaim at Continental Airlines for leading one of the most dramatic corporate turnarounds in United States history. Bethune began his career with Boeing in 1988, where he served as vice president and general manager of the customer services division. He retired from his post at Continental Airlines in 2004.

Saturday, 11:00 AM – The Future of Trade

Hope Andrade

Secretary of State

Esperanza “Hope” Andrade is Texas’ 107th secretary of state and one of six state officials who form the executive department of the state of Texas. Andrade, an entrepreneur and leader in the San Antonio business community for more than three decades, serves as Texas’ chief elections officer, chief international protocol officer and border commerce coordinator for Gov. Rick Perry.

Nelson Balido

President, Border Trade Alliance; Commissioner, Texas Commission on the Arts

Nelson Balido was named Border Trade Alliance president in 2010. Balido previously served in the private sector division of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, where he earned the Secretary’s Award for Excellence. Balido also served on the Homeland Security Advisory Council, where he earned the department’s Outstanding Public Service Medal.

Gene Garza

Director of Field Operations, Department Of Homeland Security/ U.S. Customs and Border Protection Laredo

Gene Garza is the director of field operations for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection office of Laredo. Previously in his role as port director of the Laredo port of entry, Garza oversaw the largest inland port in the United States, managing more than 800 employees, four international bridges, one airport and a railroad bridge.

Esther Rodriguez Silva

Project Manager, Latin American Initiatives, Global Supply Chain Laboratory, Texas A&M University

Dr. Rodriguez Silva collaborates with the Global Supply Chain Laboratory in the Industrial Distribution Program at Texas A&M University, where she conducts applied research and industry projects in the area of regional development, including the T-MEX Consortium and the Bringing Manufacturing Home initiative.

Saturday, 1:15 PM – Paying for Roads: The Great Debate

John Carona

State Senator, R-Dallas; Chair, Senate Business & Commerce Committee

First elected to the Legislature in 1990, John Carona, R-Dallas, is now in his fifth term in the Texas Senate. Carona serves as chairman of the Senate Business and Commerce Committee, and as a member of the Senate Select Committee on Redistricting and the Senate Criminal Justice, Education and Jurisprudence committees.

Deirdre Delisi

Former Chairwoman, Texas Transportation Commission

Deirdre Delisi is the former chair of the Texas Transportation Commission, which oversees the statewide activities of the Texas Department of Transportation. Delisi has more than 16 years experience in government policy. She served as chief of staff and deputy chief of staff to Gov. Perry, and served as his special assistant when he was lieutenant governor.

Mike Heiligenstein

Executive Director, Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority

Mike Heiligenstein has been the executive director of the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority since its inception in 2003. Heiligenstein has also served as an appointed member of Austin the Area Mass Transit Committee and as a founding member of Austin-San Antonio Corridor Council, serving as vice-chair for two terms under Mayor Henry Cisneros of San Antonio.

Joe Pickett

State Representative, D-El Paso; Chair, House Defense & Veterans' Affairs Committee

State Rep. Joe Pickett, D-El Paso, is a real estate broker and educator first elected to represent House District 79 in 1994. He currently serves as chairman of the House Transportation Committee and is a member of the House Defense and Veterans Affairs and Redistricting committees, the House Research Organization and the Mexican American Legislative Caucus.

Saturday, 2:30 PM – Is Light Rail the Answer?

Mike Martinez

Austin City Councilman; Capital Metro Board Member

Before taking office in 2006, Austin City Councilman Mike Martinez served as a firefighter for 13 years. In 2003 he was elected president of the Austin Firefighters Association, where he led a successful public campaign to secure collective bargaining rights for Austin firefighters. Martinez also serves on the board of Capital Metro as chairman.

Jesse D. Oliver

Deputy Executive Director, DART; Former State Representative, D-Dallas

Jesse Oliver is the deputy executive director of Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART). A former Texas legislator and judge, Oliver co-sponsored the legislation that created DART. He was later appointed by the city of Dallas to the DART board and served for 10 years as a member and chairman.

John Sedlak

Manager of Rail Passenger Research, Texas A&M Transportation Institute

John Sedlak is the manager of Rail Passenger Research at Texas Transportation Institute and is currently working on a Texas Department of Transportation project to help determine the role, development and implementation of high speed and intercity passenger rail in Texas. John served at METRO for 29 years, where he was responsible for the development of METRO’s first light rail line, 100+ mile High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) Lane system and an expansive system of Park & Ride lots and Transit Centers.

Additional panelist to be announced soon.

Saturday, 3:45 PM – One on One with Phil Wilson

Phil Wilson

Executive Director, Texas Department of Transportation

Phil Wilson is executive director of the Texas Department of Transportation. Before joining TxDOT in 2011, Wilson served as senior vice president of public affairs and as a corporate officer for Luminant, Texas’ largest electric generation company. In 2007, Gov. Rick Perry appointed Wilson as Texas’ 106th secretary of state. In that position, he served as the chief elections officer and chief international protocol officer for Texas.