Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Announces New Executive-Level Staff Leadership
Today, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo announced the appointment of seven executive-level staff members, as part of the organization’s goal of positioning the Rodeo for long-term growth and future success.
After a thorough external evaluation of the Rodeo’s internal structure, and as a result of the Rodeo’s significant growth, this new structure includes: Chief Entertainment and Customer Experience Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Mission Officer, Chief Show Operations Officer, Chief Strategic Planning Officer, Chief Technology Officer, and Chief Volunteer and HR Officer. Five of these positions are new to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo organization and each of these executive-level staff members will report directly to Joel Cowley, Rodeo president and CEO.
“By any measure — attendance, volunteer service, number of entries or funds committed to education — the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo has experienced incredible growth in recent years,” said Joel Cowley, Rodeo president and CEO. “As such, we are extremely excited about our future, as well as the potential for these talented individuals to further improve the experience of our many stakeholders and more effectively fulfill our mission of promoting agriculture, supporting education, and showcasing Western heritage.”
Chief Entertainment and Customer Experience Officer – David Brady
David Brady brings a wealth of sports and entertainment experience to his new role as chief entertainment and customer experience officer. He will be responsible for managing all aspects of customer experience, including rodeo competitions and concerts, grounds and stadium presentations, and marketing and public relations. Additionally, Brady will oversee retail functions, including ticketing, merchandise and the Rodeo Uncorked! Wine Show events. Previously, Brady served as president and chief strategic officer of Brady Strategic Partnerships. Prior to Brady Strategic Partnerships, he was the executive vice president and chief marketing officer for the Houston Dynamo, Houston Dash, Dynamo Charities and BBVA Stadium. He also served as chief marketing officer and vice president of development at the Houston Zoo. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Sam Houston State University and serves on numerous boards, including the Sam Houston State University Alumni Association, the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra and the Lake Houston YMCA, among others.
Chief Financial Officer – Jennifer Hazelton
Jennifer Hazelton has served as chief financial officer of the Rodeo since 2004. She is responsible for overseeing all accounting and finance operations of the organization. Prior to joining the Rodeo, she served as the chief financial officer for GSA Management, managing technical support and compliance for real estate and venture capital funds. She also spent five years at MBNA America as an assistant vice president. Hazelton started her career at Arthur Andersen and is a certified public accountant. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Richmond and is an active volunteer and/or board member of several organizations, including Neuhaus Education Center, Small Steps Nurturing Center and the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation. She also serves on the board of the National Scholarship Providers Association and was Houston Business Journal’s 2013 CFO of the Year: Nonprofit.
Chief Mission Officer – Chris Boleman
In his new role as chief mission officer, Chris Boleman will oversee all activities related to the mission of the Rodeo, including the livestock shows, horse shows, auctions, educational exhibits, sponsorships and educational programs. Boleman joined the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo in 2017 as the executive director of Agricultural Competitions and Exhibits. Prior to joining the Rodeo staff, he served as the State Leader for Texas 4-H from 2008 to 2017, where he was responsible for leading the Texas 4-H Youth Development Program with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. Boleman holds a bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degree from Texas A&M University, and has received leadership education certificates from Harvard University and The University of Texas. He has also authored more than 100 research and educational manuscripts.
Chief Show Operations Officer – Mike DeMarco
Mike DeMarco joined the Rodeo in 1990 as an assistant manager in the Operations Department and was named executive director of operations in 2004. In his new role as chief show operations officer, DeMarco will manage all aspects of Rodeo operations, event planning, buildings and grounds, and safety and security. He attended the University at Buffalo and Rice University Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business for administration. DeMarco is a life member of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and the Montgomery County Fair Association. He is also a lifetime director of the Pasadena Livestock Show and Rodeo and is a member of the International Association of Fairs and Expositions, the International Association of Venue Managers and the Main Street Coalition Executive Board.
Chief Strategic Planning Officer – Peter McStravick
In his new role as chief strategic planning officer, Peter McStravick will be responsible for the execution of short-term and long-term strategy for the Rodeo. He will oversee major capital projects and strategic initiatives across the organization, developing planning processes that incorporate financial analysis while communicating assumptions, risks and key success factors. Previously, he served as chief development officer at the Houston First Corporation. As a member of the executive leadership team, McStravick was responsible for developing and implementing strategic projects and business opportunities. Under his leadership, his team spearheaded the transformation of the George R. Brown Convention Center and Avenida de las Americas into Avenida Houston. He was also responsible for developing, building and operating the first hotel at the convention center. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston and is involved in several volunteer organizations, including the Houston Arts Alliance and Houston Botanic Garden.
Chief Technology Officer – Andy Sloan
Andy Sloan joined the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo in 2000, serving as chief information officer. In his role as chief technology officer, he is responsible for the design, development and operation of all the computer systems used by the Rodeo during the Rodeo season and on a day-to-day basis. He has more than 35 years of experience in information technology. Sloan came to the Rodeo from Landata Systems where he served as director of technical services and later as president. He also worked as a system engineer at Brown & Root and as a software developer at Enterprise Products Company. Sloan grew up in the Houston area and holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Texas A&M University.
Chief Volunteer and HR Officer – Melinda Guerra-Reeves
As chief volunteer and HR officer, Melinda Guerra-Reeves will be responsible for maintaining a positive and collaborative environment at the Rodeo. She will oversee the Rodeo’s 120-plus staff and 35,000 volunteers, managing the hiring, training, professional development and performance evaluation processes. Guerra-Reeves will also oversee all internal communications across Rodeo staff and volunteers. Prior to joining the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, she served as an executive vice president at Direct Energy and Centrica. As an EVP she was the Global Head of Organization Effectiveness and led Strategic HR Business Partnering for the Commercial Business Division. Guerra-Reeves was responsible for leading a global team of HR partners, providing strategic consultation and developing talent capabilities, as well as leading global internal communications and culture transformation. She holds a bachelor’s degree from The University of Texas at Austin, has received multiple HR certifications and serves on numerous boards, including LiftFund and the Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council.
The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo™ promotes agriculture by hosting an annual, family-friendly experience that educates and entertains the public, supports Texas youth, showcases Western heritage and provides year-round educational support within the community. Since its beginning in 1932, the Rodeo has committed more than $475 million to the youth of Texas. For more information, visit rodeohouston.com and connect with #RODEOHOUSTON online via Facebook, Twitter, a and YouTube for all of the latest news. The 2020 Rodeo is scheduled for March 3 – 22.