Faces and Places – Fred Griffin honored at BAHEP Gala

By Mary Alys Cherry

Quasar Award winner Fred Griffin shows the trophy to his wife, Betsy.

Few have played a more significant role in the development of the Clear Lake area than Fred Griffin – this year’s Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership Quasar Award winner.

So it was no surprise when South Shore Harbour Resort’s Crystal Ballroom was filled to nearly overflowing that the crowd of 600 saluted him with a standing ovation at the annual Quasar Banquet.

Early in his career he helped Friendswood Development Co. with the purchase, planning and development of the planned community it named Clear Lake City. Today, after having a hand in the construction of many buildings around the area, he is taking Nassau Bay to a whole new level as his company, Griffin Partners, builds Nassau Bay Town Square, where aging and empty office buildings once stood.

And, what a crowd it was — elected officials from all over the area, and many of our best known business and education executives.

BAHEP Chairman Richard Allen, right, welcomes Johnson Space Center Director Ellen Ochoa and her husband, Coe Miles, and Lockheed Martin Vice President Rick Hieb to Quasar Banquet.

New Johnson Space Center Director Eileen Ochoa and her husband, Coe Miles, headed a crowd that included State Sen. Larry Taylor and State Reps. John Davis and Dr. Greg Bonnen and their wives, Kerri, Jayne and Kim; Galveston County Judge Mark Henry and Commissioners Ryan Dennard and Ken Clark and wives, Melissa and Sherry; and Harris County Commissioner Jack Morman and his wife, Andi.

Along with UH-Clear Lake President Bill Staples, San Jacinto College Chancellor Brenda Hellyer, retired UHCL President Glenn Goerke, Clear Creek ISD and Friendswood Superintendents Greg Smith and Trish Hanks and their spouses; Constable Phil Sandlin, Harris County Tax Assessor Mike Sullivan and Judge Holly Williamson.

Three Bay Area legislators and their wives were in the Quasar Banquet crowd – from left, Rep. John Davis and his wife, Jayne; Rep. Greg Bonnen and wife, Kim; and Sen. Larry Taylor and his wife, Kerri.

Plus Mayors Glenn Royal of Seabrook, Mark Denman of Nassau Bay, Floyd Myers of Webster, Tim Paulissen of League City, Julie Masters of Dickinson, Kevin Holland of Friendswood, Vic Pierson of Jamaica Beach and Louis Rigby of La Porte and Mayors Pro-tem Andy Mann of League City, Ron Swofford of Nassau Bay, Laura Davis of Seabrook and Jim Hill of Friendswood – and their spouses.

City councilors joining them in congratulating Fred and his wife, Betsy, included Carl Joiner of Kemah; Todd Kinsey, Geri Bentley and Dennis OKeeffe of League City; Jonathan Amdur, Brad Bailey, David Braun, Sandra Mossman and Bob Warters of Nassau Bay; Alexandra Dietrich, Natalie Dolan, Mel Donehue and Bill Jones of Webster; Mike Giangrosso, Gary Johnson, Thom Kolepski and Robert Lowrenta of Seabrook; Dave Martin, Andrew Burks, Jerry Davis and Melissa Noriega of Houston; Jay Martin of La Porte; and Dr. William King III and Mary Dunbaugh of Dickinson – many accompanied by their wives.

BAHEP President Bob Mitchell, left, greets Galveston County Judge Mark Henry.

The evening began with an hour-long reception where BAHEP President Bob Mitchell and his wife, Brenda, new Chairman Steven Jones and his wife, Yvette, and outgoing Chairman Richard Allen and his wife, Lori, welcomed Fay Dudney, whose husband, the late Dr. Ned Dudney, helped found BAHEP; Clear Lake Chamber President Cindy Harreld and Chairman Mike Furin; attorneys Joe Barlow, Robert Jones, Dick Gregg Jr. and Dick Gregg III; bankers Tom Watson, Paul Maaz and Mike Huss; BayTran President Barbara Koslov and Chairman Karen Coglianese and Norman Frede Chevrolet GM Joan McKinney.

Aerospace faces included JSC Director of Mission Operations Paul Hill, Boeing GM John Elbon, Barrios Technology President Sandra Johnson, GB Tech owners Gale and Jean Burkett and their son and daughter-in-law, Ivan and Beanne Burkett; Jacobs Engineering GM Lon Miller, Mei Technologies GM David Cazes, Oceaneering GM Mike Bloomfield, and Lockheed VPs Cleon Lacefield and Rick Hieb and NASA’s Brian Freedman and his bride, Erica, and John Shannon.

Long-time Webster Councilman Mel Donehue and his wife, Connie, await the start of the Quasar Banquet.

One of the most popular couples of the night was Jim Reinhartsen, who was president of BAHEP for 15 years, and his wife, Lee. Many who hadn’t seen them in four years or more since they moved north of Houston after he retired were happy to see them back in Bay Area Houston if only for an evening.

Several in the crowd had close ties to the honoree – Griffin Partners Co-Chairman Drew Lewis and his wife, Sandy; former Nassau Bay Mayor Don Matter and his wife, Sherry;  plus,  a foursome from the Martin Fein Interests that built the Voyager Apartment Complex, the Town Square’s first occupant – Executive VP Timm Wooten, Crystal Jackson, Frank Vargas and Monica Fife.

Making your way through the crowded lobby, you might bumped into Banquet Chairman Marcus Havican and his wife, Marie; Robin and Joe Mayer, Gwen Griffin and Al Saylor, Jeff and Mengo Carr, T.J Aulds, Yvette and John Shannon, John and Shari Wilkins, Donny and Shari Sweeney, Mark and Tracy Kubena, Carol and Bob Robinson, Marcy and Jack Fryday, Jim and Jane Sweeney, Emmeline Dodd and  Gene Hollier and Janet and Randy Brown. 

JSC General Consul Bernie Roan and his wife, Debbie, pick out their table as they arrive at South Shore Harbour Resort for the Quasar Banquet.

And, Frans and Diane Gillebaard, Larry and Monica Millican, Kira Blackwell, Sue and Jack Garman, Harriet Lukee, Joyce Abbey, Holly and Mike Kincaid, Mary Proudy, Pat Patton, Pamela Archer and Simon Urbanic, Trey and Suzanne Frede Bonner, Patty Kane, Billy and Marilyn Burt, Walt and Mary Jane Clinton, Dee Scott, Jan and Brian Duffy, Jim and Lynda Guidry, Rachel and Carlos Villagomez, Bo and Donna Rogers, Moraq and Wayne Sabo, Mark and Karen Keesler and Beverly and Dennis Peterson.

Coasting around . . . .

DR. DAVID GORDON and his wife, Lauri, and a host of friends had a great time celebrating his birthday at the Gordons’ Bay Oaks home in Clear Lake Dec. 21 and the fact the world did not end as predicted . . . .   Jerry and Peggy Clause got in a little celebrating, too, as dozens of long-time friends and family joined them Jan. 5 at the Galveston Country Club for their 50th wedding anniversary….

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