In October 2021, Kris Larson took the helm as President & CEO of the Downtown District and its affiliated organizations Central Houston, Inc. and Downtown Redevelopment Authority.
A native of Raleigh, North Carolina, Larson has a background in urban management, planning and economic development. He's come to Texas after serving as president and CEO of The Hollywood Partnership, one of the largest business improvement districts in the Los Angeles region, where he led the organization’s first strategic plan in its 22-year history. Prior to his time in LA, he was the president and CEO of the Downtown Raleigh Alliance and before that of Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. where he led both tax increment finance and self-assessment districts.
Larson is a board member of the International Downtown Association (IDA) and a member of American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP). IDA has awarded four Pinnacle Awards, their highest honor, to his projects in the fields of leadership, planning, advocacy and marketing, and in 2021 he was named one of Los Angeles’ Impact Makers to Watch. He has a master’s degree in Public Administration from NC State University and was a Daniel Rose Fellow through the Rose Center for Public Leadership, a collaboration between the Urban Land Institute and the National League of Cities.
Allen Douglas is the executive director of the Downtown Redevelopment Authority (DRA), in addition he performs the duties of general counsel for the organization and its related entities Central Houston and the Downtown District.
Prior to joining the DRA, Allen practiced law for more than 20 years, beginning his career as a law clerk at Ahmad, Zavitsanos, Anaipakos, Alavi & Mensing P.C. in Houston. He worked for the United States Court of Appeals — Sixth Circuit and the United States District Court – Northern District of Ohio in Cleveland, OH. Most recently he was an associate attorney at Littler Mendelson, P.C. and assistant county attorney with the Harris County Attorney’s office where he focused on appellate labor, employment and civil rights cases. Allen has also served as vice-chair of the Midtown Management District’s board of directors since June 2015, as well as chair of the organization’s Urban Planning Committee.
Allen graduated from Whitman College with degrees in History (BA) and Economics (BA), from Cornell Law School, cum laude, and from Rutgers University Graduate School with an MA in American Cultural and Legal History. He lives in Midtown with his wife, Caroline Goeser, and their two dogs Calvin and Hobbes, and cat Billie.
Algenita is a native Houstonian, lawyer and former member of the city Planning Commission under six Mayors. She received her undergraduate degree from Howard University School of Business and JD from Howard’s Law School. Her professional career includes tax attorney with Shell Oil, followed by General Counsel for Port of Houston Authority for 10 years, then Texas Commerce Bank as Senior Vice President and Community Affairs Officer of JPMorgan Chase for 16 years and Executive Director of Houston Habitat for Humanity for seven years.
Algenita recently retired from her position of Visiting Professor at Texas Southern University Schools of Business, Public Administration and Law which she held in addition to her role at Central Houston. Volunteer roles include Founding President of the Houston Downtown Management Corporation (now District), Chair of the Greater Houston Women’s Foundation, Board Chair of Tax Zone 9, Vice Chair of Zone 7, Chair of two boards that constructed garages and dormitories of TSU, Chair of Houston Area Urban League and Past President, National Bar Association and Houston Lawyers Association among others.
Lonnie Hoogeboom joined the Downtown District in March 2010 and serves as Director of Planning & Design. Lonnie is involved in a broad range of urban projects, directly with Downtown’s public space and indirectly with private development sites. Past capital projects under his direction include the renovation of Market Square Park and Dallas Street Improvements. Current capital projects include the Main Street Improvements, Shopping District Streetscape Improvements, Vehicular Wayfinding Signage Refurbishment, and Pedestrian Wayfinding Improvements. Lonnie manages the Downtown Living Initiative, a residential development incentive program, with 3,600 units currently under construction or recently completed and another 1,900 units in development. Recent planning projects include the Mixed-use Retail Core Study, the Downtown / EaDo Livable Centers Study, and the Southern Downtown Public Realm Plan. Current planning projects include ThinkBike (part of the City’s Houston Bike Plan), Warehouse District Public Realm Plan, and the North Houston Highway Improvement Project.
Lonnie graduated from the Rice School of Architecture, receiving Bachelor of Arts (1991), Bachelor of Architecture (1994) and Master of Architecture (1996). He became a registered architect in 2001.
For the past 20 years, Brett DeBord has worked for and with the Downtown District. Brett began his relationship with the District in 2000 through Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam as a Project Engineer assigned to the COH/District’s Cotswold Project which was a major streetscape improvement and utility project in the Historic District of Downtown. In 2008, Brett joined the District full time and continued his management of downtown construction projects such as Market Square Par, Shopping District Streetscape Improvements, Main Street Improvements, and Allen Parkway Improvements. In 2016, Brett became the Director of Operations and Capital Projects for the District and manages all aspects of operations and capital projects. Currently, Brett is overseeing the following projects: Bagby Street Improvements and Southern Downtown Park.
Brett is a 1999 graduate of Lamar University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Civil Engineering and resides in The Woodlands, Texas with his wife Heather and daughters Madisyn and Presleigh.
Robert Pieroni, Director of Economic Development for Central Houston Inc., is responsible for the creation and implementation of strategies to accelerate the growth of Houston’s innovation ecosystem, and proactively advance Houston’s iconic Downtown as the premier global destination for corporate headquarters.
Robert’s day to day overseeing and operational responsibilities including strategies for business attraction, retention and expansion, budgeting, business development, research, collaboration with community partners, development of downtown’s innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem. Most notable, his vision to create a 17,000 SF innovation hub. The inspiration behind the Downtown Launchpad is to integrate specific ecosystem elements in a distinct space developing one the most inclusive innovation hubs in the world. The project is anchored by nationally recognized startup accelerators MassChallenge, gener8tor, and globally recognized incubator Impact Hub. The unique group of partners enables startups and entrepreneurs to move seamlessly through the stages of startup production, all in one space. The project is quickly emerging as a powerful engine for economic growth and vitality, generating jobs and higher wages for all Houstonians.
Previously, Robert led Economic Development initiatives for organizations in California and Texas to include the City of Sugar Land, Texas and Merced County, California. He holds a Master of Public Administration & Policy from California Lutheran University, earned his Bachelor of Science in Sociology with Criminal Justice Emphasis on Law from Abilene Christian University, and graduated from the University of Oklahoma Economic Development Institute
Jana Gunter, a lifelong Texan, and a member of the Houston community for nearly four decades joined the Downtown District and its affiliated organizations Central Houston, Inc. and Downtown Redevelopment Authority in November of 2021 as Director of Finance. Her responsibilities include the areas of finance, human resources, and IT.
A Certified Public Accountant, Jana brings more than 35 years of business experience which includes both for profit and not-for-profit experience.
Jana holds a BBA in Accounting from Texas Tech University where she was also a member of the first violins of the Texas Tech Symphony. Jana is a member of Leadership Houston Class XVII and served as class chair for Class XX. Volunteer activities include serving as the 2017 President of Houston Aggie Moms and attending and volunteering for the Houston Citizens Police Academy.
Jana has two sons Garrett and Grant who are both recent graduates of Texas A&M University and a beagle named Grace and a cat named Frankie.
Starting in January of 2016, Keith has worked as the Quality Control manager for the Houston Downtown Management District. Responsible for reviewing the work of contractors that provide service for litter removal, fountain maintenance, irrigation maintenance, park maintenance, and landscaping. He also reports safety and environmental hazards to responsible parties to ensure that streets and sidewalks are safe for the public.
Prior to joining the Downtown District, Keith was the Project Manager for ABM, the contractor that provided the litter removal and cleaning services for the streets and curbsides of Downtown Houston.
Keith holds a BBA in Business Management from the University of Houston and resides in Cypress with his wife Sara and sons Cameron, Wyatt, and Sean.
For the past 23 years, Scott Finke has worked in Operations for the Houston Downtown Management District. He started as a quality control manager reporting issues that negatively affect the downtown experience of employees and visitors of downtown. Currently he manages day to day operations including the Street Team Program, the District’s Curbside Trash Program. and assists will the formulation of the Operations budget. Scott also interfaces with the City of Houston 311 System and the Metropolitan Transit Authority to continue to improve conditions of the streets and sidewalks within the District.
Scott holds a BBA in Management from Texas A&M University and resides in Spring with his two children, Adam and Meredith.
James Kennedy joined the Downtown District in 2013 to serve as the Operations Manager of the Public Safety Guide program . Currently, James is responsible for oversight of public safety and emergency coordination initiatives within the Downtown District. Additionally, James works with homeless service providers to provide outreach to those individuals in need of social services. Prior to joining the Downtown District, James worked in retail management.
James holds a B.B.A. in Management from Texas Southern University, and a Master’s in General Business from the University of Phoenix.
Dusty McCartney joined the Downtown Management District in December 2019 as the Construction Manager. He is responsible for the construction project schedule and project budget, maintaining daily project inspection documentation, maintenance improvements which include irrigation, sidewalk and wayfinding signs throughout the downtown area. He is currently working on the Bagby Street Improvement Project, Landscape Infill Project and about to start the Southern Downtown Project.
Prior to joining the Downtown District, Dusty started his career as a journeyman plumber, then moved into Oil and Gas as an engineering technician and eventually, became a project manager for various services within Oil & Gas.
Dusty currently resides in Spring, TX with his wife Amanda and three children, Katie, Easton, and Hunter.
Shelby Roth joined the Downtown District in October 2019 to serve as the Marketing Manager. She brings 8+ years experience working in marketing, public relations and social media. She is responsible for creating content for the Downtown Houston website and social media platforms, managing marketing efforts for Downtown District events and cultivating relationships with existing and new businesses, organizations and stakeholders.
Prior to joining the Downtown District, Shelby worked as the Marketing Director for the Baylor Alumni Association, and the Communications Director for Four Columns Marketing, both in Waco, Texas. Her portfolio includes work within a variety of industries including restaurant/retail, community/government and fundraising. She is known to have never met a stranger, and enjoys connecting with others in her sphere.
Shelby holds a Bachelors of Arts in Journalism, Public Relations and New Media, and a Minor in Political Science from Baylor University. She’s a proud Houston transplant and lives with her husband, Cameron, and their dog-child, Simba, just north of Downtown.
Kim Scates joined Central Houston in April 2020 to lead member engagement and recruitment efforts for the organization. She is responsible for membership marketing, communication and events. Prior to joining Central Houston Kim spent most of her career as a regional sales executive for Comcast Corporation, where she worked closely with advertising agencies and clients to provide branding and advertising strategy expertise. Kim is the founder of the Libra Project, a nonprofit program designed to engage college student leaders in dialogue and experiential learning around issues of identity, equity and inclusion. Kim holds a Bachelor of Science in Advertising/Public Relations with Minors in Marketing and Women’s studies from TCU. She is a native Houstonian and lives near downtown with her husband and their dogs.
Jacque joined the Downtown District in June 2019 and serves as the Planning and Design Coordinator. She supports the Downtown Redevelopment Authority and the Houston Downtown Management District’s capital projects’ efforts through the preparation and execution of visual communications.
Prior to joining the Downtown district, Jacque worked as a project manager for Humble Sign Co. overseeing their national accounts with Saltgrass Steakhouse and H&E Equipment Services, as well as the conversion to digital drive-thru menu boards for McDonald’s across the greater Houston area.
Jacque holds a Bachelor of Environmental Design degree from Texas A&M University and a M.S. in Construction Management from the University of Houston.
Christal joined Central Houston in December of 2019 as the front desk receptionist. She graduated from Texas A&M University in 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. Christal is a proud mentor of Big Brothers Big Sisters in the Greater Houston area, and mom to her dog Zula.