Sugar Land - Missouri City Edition | October 2020

PEOPLE Odis Jones Missouri City’s eighth city manager F or Odis Jones, who was hired as Missouri City’s eighth city manager in July, public service BY CLAIRE SHOOP

PRIOR EXPERIENCE City manager Hutto, 2016-19 CEO, Public Lighting Authority Detroit, 2013-16 Executive director of economic and community development Cincinnati, 2012-14 Director of real estate and economic development, New Jersey Development Authority New Jersey, 2008-12 Interim city administrator Keokuk, Iowa, 2007-08 President and CEO, Columbus Urban Growth Columbus, Ohio, 2004-06 Interim city manager Centralia, Illinois, 2004 City manager Obetz, Ohio, 2000-04 Special projects manager Battle Creek, Michigan, 1998-2000

housing to the city, and recruited Time Warner Cable’s Midwest corporate oces. But he said one of his proudest accomplishments came during his time as the CEO of the Public Lighting Authority in Detroit. Jones held this role during Detroit’s bankruptcy proceedings and worked to restructure how the city handled its streetlights and electrical system. “I think [the lighting projects] gave the public the sense that they can believe in government again after bankruptcy,” he said. “The lights are very visible, so when they saw that the streetlights were on and working ... it gave them a sense of hope that our government can do positive stu.” Most recently, Jones served as the city manager in Hutto, a city located 22 miles northeast of Austin. In Hutto, Jones helped the City Council open the city up for business by redoing the zoning code and economic redevel- opment policy. These changes led to housing developments, mixed-use developments and new companies coming to the city, he said. “A lot of things came together and just, boom, exploded the town,” Jones said. “But at the heart of all that was a community participatory process, where the community got an opportunity to reimagine its future and how it wanted to proceed.” Jones and the city of Hutto reached a separation agreement in November, and at the time, Jones said he was looking for a city that embraces diversity and growth. “There’s a real opportunity to lead

has always been in his blood. Jones grew up in Detroit, where his mother was a community activist and his brother went on to be a police ocer. “As a young man I grew up under- standing the value of contributing back to the community,” Jones said. “That was ingrained in me at a very young age, and I wanted to make sure that I put my heart and attention into working as hard as I can to help communities prosper.” Jones attended college at Central Michigan University on a football scholarship, where he studied sociol- ogy. He went on to receive a Master of Public Administration fromWestern Michigan University. Jones began his career in city gov- ernment as a special projects manager for the city of Battle Creek, Michigan, before becoming the city manager of Obetz, Ohio. He said his time in Obetz launched him to Columbus, Ohio, where he led development for the city. After that, Jones worked as the economic development director for the New Jersey Economic Devel- opment Authority and the executive director of economic and community development in Cincinnati. In each of the places Jones has worked, he left a legacy of economic growth, he said. In Obetz, Jones helped recruit companies to the city and positioned it as an industrial hub. In Columbus, he led the development of the Center City area, which attracted industrial parks and aordable

Jones is the eighth citymanager. (Photos courtesyMissouri City)

Mayor Yolanda Ford swears in City Manager Odis Jones on July 31.

SOURCES: ODIS JONES, CITY OF MISSOURI CITY COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

The Art and Science of Dentistry Dr. Varghese John A divided Missouri City City Council voted to oer Jones the city manager position July 7, and Jones stepped into growth and lean forward into the future of Missouri City, and that’s what excited me about diversity here,” he said. In his rst fewmonths as city manager, Jones said he has been working with the mayor, City Council and residents to better understand the future they see for the city. “My mother said when I was a kid, I’ve never met a stranger in my life,” Jones said. “My plan is to take the next 120 days or so to go on a listening tour and understand the concerns and desires and opportunities of the residents.”

the role July 20. Jones said moving forward he plans to work with the full council to accomplish goals they can agree on. “We’ve got to focus on the issues that are on hand, and the issues that we’ve got on hand are things that everybody agrees with on this coun- cil,” Jones said. “One issue is they’re unied around making sure that the COVID[-19] response from the city is eective. My council is unied around making sure that economic develop- ment and growth takes shape in this community. My council is unied in making sure that we have an eective customer service-driven organization. So, those are the things that I’m going to focus on.”

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SUGAR LAND  MISSOURI CITY EDITION • OCTOBER 2020

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