PEOPLE Monique Sharp President and general manager, The Woodlands Township
BY VANESSA HOLT
After 30 years of working with The Woodlands Township, both in its present form and its preceding form as a group of community associations, Monique Sharp assumed the role of general manager and president for the special-purpose district in February after Je Jones left the position Jan. 3. Sharp began her career with the township when she moved to the area in 1992 and took a position as senior accountant. Before her promotion this year, she served as assistant general manager of nance and administration for the township. Answers have been edited for length and clarity.
WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO WORK FOR THE TOWNSHIP INITIALLY? After taking business courses in high school, I decided to pursue a degree in accounting at The University of Texas at Austin. When my husband and I decided to move to The Woodlands in 1992, I started looking for a job here and saw that the Community Associations of The Woodlands ... was hiring a senior accountant position. I thought it would be really rewarding to work for the community my family would be living in, so I applied for the job. As my career progressed with the township, I became interested in and responsible for matters beyond those related to nance and have very much enjoyed being involved in the many aspects of providing services to residents, businesses and visitors in The Woodlands. WHAT HAVE THEMOST SIGNIFICANT CHANGES TO THE COMMUNITY BEEN IN THAT TIME?WHAT HAS STAYED THE SAME? When I rst started working in The Woodlands, very little of the Town Center area had been devel- oped. There was no mall, no Market Street, no Hughes Landing. Only the villages of Grogans Mill and Panther Creek were established, and the Village of Cochran’s Crossing was under construction. So, in a word, “growth” has been the most signif- icant change. Residential growth, commercial growth, population growth, growth in the tax base and growth in the types and levels of services provided. WHAT HAVE YOUHEARD FROMRESIDENTS AS CHIEF CONCERNS THIS YEAR? The economy is weighing on many residents’ minds. Residents want to be assured the township will
continue to provide desired services and amenities in a cost-eective manner. To gauge residents’ level of satisfaction with services and to assess their priorities, the board of directors has authorized a commu- nity survey to be conducted this year. WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE ROLE AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE PRESIDENT AND GENERALMANAGER? HOW IS THIS DIFFERENT FROMYOUR PREVIOUS ROLE? One of the primary roles of the president and general manager is to manage resources and work with township sta to achieve the vision and strategic goals of the board of directors. This includes developing processes that foster cost-eective service delivery, careful oversight of nances, eective communications, skilled project management, timely resolution of matters impacting constituents and outstanding customer service. The president also has a strong duty to employees to ensure they have adequate resources and information to perform their jobs and to provide a work environment that encourages trust, respect and success. While my previous position as assistant general manager also entailed many of these same respon- sibilities, my new role encompasses the entire township organization. WHATWILL THEWOODLANDS TOWNSHIP NEED TO BE CONSCIOUS OF AMID CURRENT ECONOMIC CHALLENGES, SUCHAS INFLATION? The [Woodlands] Township board of directors has done a great job of anticipating and planning for economic challenges that could impact the budget. The township uses conservative budget methods and maintains appropriate reserve balances in accordance with best
practices established by the national government nance organizations and international credit agencies. By building this type of scally respon- sible exibility into the budget and ve-year business plan, the township can adapt to economic and market changes, such as the ones currently being experienced, without nega- tively impacting services. WITH THEWOODLANDS APPROACHING BUILDOUT FOR SINGLEFAMILY HOMES, HOWWILL THAT AFFECT FUTURE PROJECTIONS INAREAS, SUCHAS TAX REVENUE? The pace of growth for single-fam- ily homes in The Woodlands has been declining for the past several years as that segment of the commu- nity reaches build-out. That reality is already factored into the township’s nancial projections. However, com- mercial development is still planned and will continue to add to the prop- erty tax base. Additionally, sales and use tax revenues are projected to increase, primarily due to growth in the region and continued growth in internet retail transactions. Finally, the successful eorts of Visit The Woodlands are helping to expand the township’s hotel tax base. WHAT KINDOF COLLABORATIONS CAN THE WOODLANDS UNDERTAKE IN THE COMING YEARSWITH OTHER AREA ENTITIES? The township board of directors held its rst strategic planning session in February of this year and will be conducting others in the coming months to identify key initiatives and plan projects that benet the community. Details will be communicated as those deci- sions are made.
A ROLEWITH RESPONSIBILITY
In addition to coordinating and managing the township board of directors’ communication, capital projects and covenant administration, the general manager and president oversees township services and programs, including law enforcement, parks and transportation. The president and general manager also:
Directs the development and administration of the annual operating budget; Oversees the capital improvements budget; Represents The Woodlands Township at local, state and
federal levels; Participates in community activities; Leads economic
development initiatives; Conducts short-term and long-range planning; and Serves as a director on the Visit The Woodlands board.
SOURCE: THE WOODLANDS TOWNSHIP COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER
IS THERE ANYTHING YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE ABOUT YOUR FAMILY OR PERSONAL INTERESTS? I am so fortunate that my parents, three daughters and four grandchildren all live in The Woodlands area. We spend a lot of time together as a family, which makes me very happy. I am also honored to serve on the board of directors for Mosaics of Mercy, a wonderful organization here in Montgomery County that helps families navigate mental health and addiction recovery.
THE WOODLANDS EDITION • MAY 2022
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