Originally published Ciara Rouege (KHOU) on April 17, 2020.
HOUSTON — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott unveiled his plan to reopen the state Friday, including a establishing a statewide strike force of more than 40 medical experts, educators, business and political leaders.
Establishing the advisory team was just one of three executive orders the governor has issued.
The Strike Force to Open Texas is an elite group is tasked with finding safe and effective ways to slowly reopen the state, the governor said.
Abbott has appointed James Huffines to lead the advisory strike force, and Mike Toomey to serve as chief operating officer.
The governor announced Dr. John Hellerstedt, the Texas Department of State Health Services, as the force’s chief medical officer. He’ll be supported by three chief medial advisers including:
- Dr. John Zerwas, the executive vice-chancellor for Health Affairs at the University of Texas System.
- Mark McClellan, former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner and U.S. Medicaid and Medicare Administrator.
- Dr. Parker Hudson, the assistant professor of Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases at Dell Medical School and program director for the Internal Medicine Residency.
Abbott said the medical team will further develop the state’s plan for testing and tracking COVID-19 cases.
In addition to medical experts, the governor’s office lists 39 members on the task force’s special advisory council. Tilman Fertitta, Kendra Scott, Jim ‘Mattress Mack’ Ingvale are among the most recognizable names.
Here’s the full list of members:
- 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
The strike force is broken into four key work groups including economic revitalization, health care, education and fiscal accountability and federal liaison.
These individuals will be guiding the governor as he continues to roll out new directives in the upcoming months.
“By coming together, we can get Texans back to work, practice safe standards that will prevent the spread of COVID-19, and we can overcome this pandemic,” Abbott said.