Originally published on April 17, 2020 on KCBD.
LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) – Governor Greg Abbott held a news conference on April 17, 2020 where he issued three new Executive Orders to begin the process of reopening the state of Texas while revising hospital capacity and certain social distancing guidelines.
Within these orders, the Governor has established the Strike Force to Open Texas—”a team of nationally recognized medical experts and private and public leaders who will advise the Governor on safely and strategically reopening the state of Texas.” The list of 39 business leaders include a few Lubbockites, including former mayor and current business owner and developer Marc McDougal.
The following information is from the Governor’s Office news release.
James Huffines will lead the advisory strike force and Mike Toomey will serve as Chief Operating Officer. Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, Attorney General Ken Paxton, and Comptroller Glenn Hegar will serve as consulting members.
In addition, Governor Abbott has appointed Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Commissioner John Hellerstedt, MD, as Chief Medical Officer of the strike force. Dr. Hellerstedt will be supported by three Chief Medical Advisors:
- John Zerwas, MD, Executive Vice-Chancellor for Health Affairs at the University of Texas System
- Mark McClellan, MD, PhD, Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner and U.S. Medicaid and Medicare Administrator
- Parker Hudson, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases at Dell Medical School and program director for the Internal Medicine Residency
These health experts will develop a medical architecture to comprehensively test and trace COVID-19 that will enable Texans to gradually and safely begin the process of returning to work and other activities.
The medical team will work alongside a Special Advisory Council who will share innovative ideas to help businesses strategically reopen while containing the spread of COVID-19. The council consists of 39 business leaders representing the state’s regions and industries. The advisory council will collaborate with working groups to devise strategies, statewide standards, and appropriate time frames to reopen the Lone Star State while prioritizing the health and safety of all Texans.
The strike force will immediately begin providing input on potential additional openings of activities and services in Texas consistent with guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Governor will announce a revised plan for the state based on these initial recommendations on April 27.
The High Plains Water District announced that Lamb County agricultural producer Brad Heffington of Littlefield is among 39 Texas business leaders appointed as members of Governor Greg Abbott’s Strike Force to Open Texas. He is owner of Heffington Farms, Inc. and Triple T Irrigation, Inc. Heffington currently serves as Precinct Two District Director and Vice-President of the High Plains Underground Water Conservation District Board of Directors. In addition, he is a past president of Plains Cotton Growers, Inc. and a past board member of Cotton Incorporated. Heffington received his Bachelors of Business Administration from Texas Tech University. He and his wife, Kim, have three sons and two granddaughters.
Special Advisory Council members include:
- Arcilia Acosta: President and CEO, CARCON Industries & Construction
- Paul Andrews, Jr.: Founder and CEO, TTI Inc.
- Mark Bivins: Rancher, partner in Corsino Cattle Company
- Kathy Britton: CEO and Owner, Perry Homes
- Brad Brookshire: Chairman and CEO, Brookshire Grocery Co.
- J. Bruce Bugg, Jr.: Chairman, Texas Transportation Commission
- Alonzo Cantu: President & CEO of Cantu Construction
- Bobby Cox: Owner and operator, Bobby Cox Companies, Inc.
- Adriana Cruz: Executive Director, Economic Development & Tourism Division, Office of the Governor
- Michael Dell: Chairman and CEO, Dell Technologies
- Scott Dueser: Chairman, President & CEO, First Financial Bank
- Don Evans: Chairman of the President George W. Bush Foundation, Chairman of Permian Strategic Partnership
- Tilman Fertitta: Chairman, CEO, and sole owner, Landry’s, Inc.
- Richard Fisher: Senior Advisor, Barclays and Former President & CEO, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas
- Rick Francis: Chairman of the Board, WestStar Bank Holding Company, Inc.
- Printice Gary: Founding Partner/Principal and CEO, Carleton Companies
- Brad Heffington: Owner of Heffington Farms, Inc. and Triple T Irrigation, Inc.
- Jeffery D. Hildebrand: Executive Chairman and Founder, Hilcorp Energy Company
- Nancy Kinder: President & CEO, Kinder Foundation
- Tom Luce: Founder and Chairman, Texas 2036
- Marc McDougal: CEO, McDougal Companies
- Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale: Owner, Gallery Furniture
- Drayton McLane: Chairman, McLane Group
- Elaine Mendoza: Founder, President & CEO of Conceptual MindWorks, Inc
- Balous Miller: Owner, Bill Miller Bar-B-Q Restaurants
- Carla Moran: Ramar Communications
- Dennis Nixon: CEO and Chairman of International Bank of Commerce
- David Oliveira: Partner at Roerig, Oliveira & Fisher, L.L.P.
- Ross Perot, Jr.: Chairman, The Perot Group
- Kevin D. Roberts, Ph.D.: Executive Director, Texas Public Policy Foundation
- Robert B. Rowling: Owner and Chairman, TRT Holdings, Inc.
- Kendra Scott: Founder and CEO, Kendra Scott
- Robert F. Smith: Founder, Chairman & CEO, Vista Equity Partners
- Sam L. Susser: Chairman of BancAffiliated, Inc.
- Massey Villarreal: CEO and President, Precision Task Group, Inc.
- Kirk Watson: Founding Dean of the University of Houston Hobby School of Public Affairs
- Marc Watts: President, The Friedkin Group
- Graham Weston: Former Chairman of Rackspace Hosting Inc.
- Sanjiv Yajnik: President of the Financial Services Division, Capital One
For more information about the Governor’s Strike Force to Open Texas, visit the strike force webpage.