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BAHEP presents Quasar Award to San Jacinto College Chancellor Dr. Brenda Hellyer
1/24/2020

 
 
   Shown left to right: Robert McAfoos, president, Barrios Technology and 2020 BAHEP board chair;
Todd Caliva, CEO, HCA Houston Healthcare Clear Lake and 2019 BAHEP board chair; Brenda Hellyer, Ed.D.,
chancellor, San Jacinto Colllege District; and Bob Mitchell, president, Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership
(Photo by David Postman, Genesis Photographers)
 
 
 
The Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership honored one of the region’s most highly respected, accomplished, and gracious citizens on Friday evening, Jan. 24, 2020, when the organization presented its renowned Quasar Award to Dr. Brenda Hellyer, chancellor, San Jacinto College, an institution with 42,000 students and four primary campuses. 
 
Bob Mitchell, BAHEP president, began the evening’s festivities by welcoming the overflowing audience of more than 600 attendees and commenting on the work of BAHEP saying, "Good, strong relationships take years to build, and it is through good, strong relationships with our membership, elected leaders, and leaders in business and industry that BAHEP has been able to accomplish so much … over 43 years! As dynamics change and opportunities emerge, we are quick to form new relationships that will make a positive difference in the lives of those we serve.”
 
Mitchell spoke of current initiatives that are central to the path forward for Houston and NASA Johnson Space Center saying, "Houston is where the institutional knowledge, the technical expertise, and the program management skills are all located – each of which is so necessary for U.S. human lunar and Mars exploration to succeed. 
 
"I have highlighted NASA, but please know that aerospace is just one of the important industry clusters that BAHEP supports in this region.  Industries like aviation and the great work that occurs at the Houston Airport System, healthcare, specialty chemical, maritime, logistics, retail, and recreation and tourism are ALL so important in their own right and each serves to beneficially diversify our economic base.” 
 
He then shifted his speech to praise for Dr. Brenda Hellyer commenting, "Tonight’s honoree is a shining example of excellence that the Quasar Award exemplifies. It is our honor tonight to be presenting the Quasar Award to an individual of Brenda’s caliber who, above all, remains humble about her incredible accomplishments and gives well-deserved credit to her colleagues.  She has taken San Jacinto College into the 21st century with the addition of programs that are essential to building and maintaining the skilled workforce that is fundamental to the economic well being of the region.  Her long-term vision for the College and consideration of the needs of her students and the community have made such a positive impact and will continue to do so far into the future. Dr. Brenda Hellyer, thank you for your commitment to the region, to its people and industries, to BAHEP, and for your friendship and being with us tonight.”  
 
Outgoing BAHEP chair speaks of lessons learned
Following Mitchell’s remarks, a special musical performance by Shari Wilkins preceded the invocation given by Bay Area Houston Attorney Dick Gregg, Jr. Subsequent to a delicious dinner prepared and served by the staff of South Shore Harbour Resort and Conference Center, Todd Caliva, CEO, HCA Houston Healthcare Clear Lake and 2019 BAHEP board chair,took the podium and remarked, "As a CEO in the healthcare industry, I appreciate the value of continuous learning – there are new medical procedures, medical breakthroughs, medical regulations, and medical devices rocketing toward us daily.  These days CEO really stands for Chief Education Officer. There are times when I think that if I stop to smell the roses, I will miss a new sinus procedure. 
 
"For the past two years – and more specifically – in the past year, I have learned more about the issues, the trends, our industries, the BAHEP membership, and the communities we serve than I ever imagined.”
 
Caliva then shared three of the many lessons he has learned on his BAHEP journey. He said, "These three lessons, applied to our region, are the paradox of growth, the challenge of change, and the impact of technology … my journey as your chairman has been rewarding, humbling, enlightening, and uplifting.” 
 
Before announcing a special video tribute to Dr. Hellyer that was created by Space City Films, Caliva spoke of her leadership saying, "You have heard or can read about Brenda’s accomplishments – her successes as a leader at San Jac and across Texas and her national success as exemplified by the Aspen Institute’s recognition of San Jac again! That means that the College is in the top 1% of all the nation’s community colleges. Like that E.F. Hutton ad, when Brenda Hellyer talks, people listen.  
 
"Here is the Brenda Hellyer I know in four words:  vision, leadership, charisma, integrity. When she enters the room, everyone feels her presence. That’s charisma. Brenda is a person I consider a friend and someone who has impacted many of you in this room tonight. In fact, she has impacted our entire region and the world of community colleges. It is my great honor to recognize Dr. Brenda Hellyer, chancellor, San Jacinto College.” 
 
Following the moving video tribute, as well as a video tribute by Sen. John Cornyn, the Quasar Award was presented to Dr. Hellyer by Bob Mitchell, Todd Caliva, and Robert McAfoos, president of Barrios Technology and 2020 BAHEP board chair. A surprise presentation was made by Texas Congressman Brian Babin, DDS, who gave Dr. Hellyer a Congressional Testimony Award. The award detailed the significance of BAHEP’s Quasar Award and Dr. Hellyer’s many accomplishments which were significant to her selection for the honor. 
 
 
Shown left to right: Bob Mitchell, BAHEP president; Brenda Hellyer, Ed.D.,
chancellor, San Jacinto College District; Congressman Brian Babin, DDS (TX-36)
(Photo by David Postman, Genesis Photographers)
 
 
Hellyer gives credit to San Jacinto College community
Dr. Hellyer then walked to the podium and spoke to a very attentive audience saying, "I am truly honored to receive a recognition such as the Quasar Award from such a tremendous organization. BAHEP has a long history of serving Clear Lake and the surrounding areas. BAHEP has a reputation of being a leader and is highly regarded at the national, state, and local levels. Representing aerospace, aviation, maritime, and so many other issues, BAHEP leads changes and decisions that make our region and community better. Because I know the caliber of the people and volunteers that make up this organization, I am truly humbled at being selected for this award.  
 
"While the Quasar plaque has my name on it, this award is really for the San Jacinto College community. The work at San Jacinto College is accomplished by an amazing team. The success of San Jacinto College is due to a strong and visionary Board of Trustees. They set the strategic goals for the College, and they are big goals that have every employee, nearly 2,500 of us, focused on one thing – our 42,000 students!   
 
"From the administration that plans and budgets to meet those goals, to the faculty in the classroom helping students broaden their minds, to staff who organize and maintain our facilities, keep our IT systems running, recruit and help students through the enrollment process, and market the College — all are focused on the student and all come together to comprise an incredible team!”   
 
Dr. Hellyer expressed her appreciation for the love and support of her family, to the Board of Trustees, and to the elected officials saying, "Thank you for your willingness to work with San Jacinto College and for taking our calls, meeting with us, and for helping to set policy that will ultimately help students reach their educational goals.” 
 
She ended her speech with the following, "I thank all of you for being here this evening. I am blessed to call you my friends and colleagues. I will close with a quick quote from one of my favorite authors, Dr. Seuss. ‘Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.’ Thank you all for being a part of this wonderful memory.” A well-deserved standing ovation honored a very appreciative Dr. Hellyer as she returned to her seat at the honoree table.  
 
Incoming BAHEP chair shares vision for 2020
Incoming BAHEP Board Chair Robert "Robbie” McAfoos closed out the evening by speaking of his vision for the upcoming year. He said, "You know, each year the incoming chairman thanks all the folks at BAHEP – and rightly so – for what they do.  But, tonight, I will be sharing the closely held secret to BAHEP’s success. 
 
"That secret is … the members. All of you here tonight, are the ones that participate in this incredible web of collaboration which is guided and facilitated by Bob and his team. It really isn’t a secret. Bob tells us often that the membership is key to BAHEP’s success. He and his team are supported by many members who are community leaders in their own right, resulting in the direction, recommended actions, and decisions that Bob and his team carry out. BAHEP’s committees are the heart, soul, and brains of our success story. My agenda for the coming year will be to simply encourage our committees, to listen, to help in any way I can, and to champion your best ideas.” 
 
McAfoos then spoke of the committees, their chairs, and their strong agendas for the upcoming year. He closed out the evening saying, "2020 in a nutshell? All of the above, plus all of the proposals and business development, plus all of the information and communications with all of you, plus all the unexpected surprises every year seems to bring. Together we will meet these opportunities with the same resolve, creativity, positivity, and passion that make BAHEP such an extraordinary resource. 
 
"I look forward to working with you. I look forward to the excitement that progress brings. I look forward to making you proud to be a BAHEP member. Thank you all for being a part of this great adventure in this unique community.” 
 
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