Duane Johnston emcees the virtual Summer Creek BizCom. Photos by Tom Broad

Despite the turbulence caused by COVID-19, Houston Airport System wants passengers to be comfortable and confident. Summer Creek High School’s principal feels the turbulence, too, as students return to class. And a major industrial company located at Generation Park has COVID-19 solutions for companies and organizations who want to eliminate the turbulence their customers and staff often feel.

That is a quick summary of topics covered Sept. 10 at the Lake Houston Chamber’s Summer Creek BizCom, held virtually for almost a hundred computer viewers.

“Air travel dropped 95% in March,” Steve Hennigan told BizCom viewers. Hennigan is chief of operations for Houston Airport System. “We’re now down 64%, so travelers are returning.”

Hennigan said in good times, the three airports contribute more than $36 billion to Houston’s economy. He outlined the system’s response to COVID-19 and passenger concerns about safety saying, “ … Our mission is to provide a level of confidence to our employees, passengers, partners and stakeholders, doing everything to make them comfortable.”

He outlined enhanced terminal cleaning using robot cleaners, social distancing signage, promotion of face coverings, reducing congestion, and reducing the number of touchpoints of people and services.

The precautions the airport system has taken can be viewed online at fly2houston.com/flysafe.

“Just like Houston Airport System, we’re feeling turbulence, too, but we’re going to get through it,” said Summer Creek Principal Brent McDonald as he segued into his online presentation. “We’re going in the right direction.”

In the four years he has been principal, McDonald said the number of students has increased by 900 to 3,000 students, emphasizing that the school is not overcrowded.

“Band, cheer, football, tennis, they’re all coming back,” he emphasized. “We’re going back to normalcy. We need that.”

McDonald outlined the number of building projects completed or underway due to the successful 2018 bond package, including a criminal justice courtroom, robotics lab, a third gym, an enhanced weight area, and a golf simulation room, to name just a few.

Dr. Roger Brown outlined additional construction in the Summer Creek area funded by the 2018 bond package and showed renderings and photos of Centennial Elementary School in Lakewood Pines, which is already open. Elementary School 30 in Fall Creek, which is under construction, will be ready for students in August 2021, and Middle School 10 next to Ridge Creek is in design and will open in 2022.

Superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Fagen said the bond bid and construction environment has been “ … very favorable. Our projects are on time and under budget.”

When Rice University was looking for a solution to safely keeping students on campus who had tested positive for COVID-19, they looked for guidance from Apache Industrial Services, an international company with corporate offices at Generation Park.

“We make spaces safer,” said Steward Records, vice president of Apache’s SafeSpace Initiatives. “It took our in-house engineering team three weeks when Rice asked us to design a space to allow students who had tested positive to stay safely on campus.”

In addition to Rice, Apache has worked with the New York City Library and Ohio schools, for example, to “ … make spaces safer,” Records said. Apache has 250 employees developing products and services to help companies and organizations and their employees work safely, and another 200 corporate employees all at their Generation Park site. The company employs 5,000 people at 20 different locations in the United States and Canada.

The next Summer Creek BizCom is Thursday, Dec. 10. There is no charge, but you must register at lakehouston.org.

Tom Broad
Author: Tom BroadEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Columnist
Besides being a proud graduate of The University of Nebraska-Lincoln and, therefore, a Cornhusker, I am retired from Memorial Hermann. I am a correspondent and columnist for Lake Houston's hometown paper, The Tribune, as well as a director of the Lake Houston Redevelopment Corporation, a member of the board of the Humble Area Assistance Ministries, and Volunteer Extraordinaire for the Lake Houston Area Chamber.

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