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Each month, Get to Know… will feature two members of UT System Administration’s talented and diverse staff as they offer insights into their lives in and out of the office. Each new edition will be published here.
Associate Vice Chancellor for Governmental Relations (Health Related)
Office of Government Relations
What are your primary job responsibilities?
I help support our health-related institutions, medical schools and related UT System operations both in the Office of Governmental Relations — where I interact with the Texas Legislature, executive branch and agencies — and in the Office of Health Affairs — where I assist with policies and programs, such as participating in the development of the UT Center at Laredo.
What do you most enjoy about your job?
People and purpose! It's a true privilege to have the opportunity to work with so many extremely talented, interesting and multifaceted colleagues all brought together to further a critical mission that I believe in passionately.
What is your proudest work moment?
Working with the legislature, for good or ill, provides seemingly countless opportunities to notch wins on behalf of the System and our institutions. And every piece of legislation passed, or special appropriation delivered, is a success. But I'm probably most proud of our collective efforts to revamp the UT Center at Laredo, starting in 2021, working with lawmakers to amend the enabling statute and secure increased funding to transform it into a multi-institution center which is now offering 10 academic programs from five of our institutions, with more in the works!
What advice would you give someone who is new to UT System?
Get to know, learn and understand the many offices, their talented staffs, and the activities and programs they undertake. The immense breadth and depth of UT System's operations is pretty staggering and can even be a bit daunting. I've found the more I learn how System operates in individual areas increases my understanding of the enterprise as a whole and makes me more effective in my roles. Plus, it's just pretty darn cool how much we all do here and the impact it has on the students, institutions and our state as a whole.
What is a book or movie that has inspired you – and why?
Office Space — just kidding! For a book, The Tao of Pooh. It's an "explain like I'm 5 years old" primer on Taoism, a philosophy that resonates with me and guides a lot of my approach to life. It's a great starting point. For a movie, The Royal Tenenbaums. Besides being beautifully crafted and infectiously quotable, I find it a great illustration of finding the universal joy in life amid the flawed and imperfect. A wonderful reminder to be gracious to others and accepting of their — and especially our own — faults and idiosyncrasies.
What do you do to disconnect or de-stress?
I'm a lifelong lover of learning, and consequently have approximately 1 million different hobbies and interests. I'm also a father of two boys (ages 4 and 2), so I also have 1 million unfinished projects I'll get around to in about 16 years. But, I run as my primary form of exercise, which, as an introvert, also provides some much-needed but much-in-short-supply alone time to ponder and recharge. For full-on guilty-pleasure zoning-out, I can accidentally kill a couple hours playing grand strategy video games.
Who is currently playing on your Spotify playlist?
It's truly all over the map. I usually just put my "liked" list on shuffle. It's up to 720 songs, but a handful of my most recent adds to that list, in reverse chronological order, include Una Manana (Caramelo Haze), Flashing Lights (Kanye, even though he's insane), Never My Love (The Association), H.O.V.A. (Jay-Z), Psychos (Jenny Lewis), Younger Now (Miley Cyrus), Nobody But Me (The Human Beinz), and Diosa (Renee Goust).