TPW Commission

Work Session, October 5, 2022


TPW Commission Meetings


October 5, 2022



CHAIRMAN APLIN: Good morning, everyone. Thank you. Welcome, to the Special Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission Meeting, October 5th, 2022.

I'm going to do a roll call. Then we're going to make a few statements. Then we're going to retire back to Executive Session, have conversations with the Commission, the full Commission, and then we will come back. So this will be a little bit unusual. We're going to go straight away and then come back promptly, I presume.

I'm going to start with roll call. Aplin present.








CHAIRMAN APLIN: Thank you. I've spoken within Commissioner Bell. He cannot be here, but will be available by phone to conference in with us if needed.

This meeting is called to order October 5th at 10:03 a.m.

Before proceeding with any business, I believe Mr. Carter Smith has a statement he'd like to make.

MR. SMITH: I do. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Commissioners. For the record, a public notice of this meeting containing all items on the proposed agenda has been filed in the Office of the Secretary of State as required by Chapter 551 Government Code referred to as the Open Meetings Act. I'd like for this fact to be noted in the official record of the meeting.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

CHAIRMAN APLIN: Thank you, Carter.

As a reminder, Commissioners, please announce your name before you speak and speak slowly for the court reporter.

At this time, I'm going to announce that pursuant to the requirements of Chapter 551 Government Code referred to as the Open Meeting Act, an Executive Session will be held at this time for the purpose of deliberating the appointment, employment, and duties of the Executive Director under Government Code 551.074 of the Texas Open Meeting Act.

I'd like to inform everyone in the audience that you're more than welcome to stay for the remainder of the meeting. We'll be back as soon as we can and then hopefully be able to conduct business there.

So at this time, we'll recess for Executive Session at 10:05 a.m. Thank you.

(Recess taken for Executive Session)

CHAIRMAN APLIN: Okay, everyone. Welcome. Thank you for hanging around. Appreciate you staying.

At this point, I'm going to reconvene the Commission Meeting on October 5th, 2022, at 11:22 a.m.

Before we begin, I'd would like to roll call. Aplin present.








CHAIRMAN APLIN: Thank you. We have been in conversations with Commissioner Bell as well on conference. So he has been involved. He just could not be here today.

So we are now returning from Executive Session where we discussed appointment, employment, and duties of the Executive Director, Government Code 551.074. We will now proceed to Action Item No. 3.

Action Item No. 3 is the Reassignment of Executive Director Carter Smith. Ms. Patty David, hello. How are you?

MS. DAVID: Good morning.

CHAIRMAN APLIN: Please make your presentation.

MS. DAVID: Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Commissioners, for the record, my name is Patty David. I serve as HR Director here at Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

In order to ensure a smooth transition and assist the new Executive Director in acclimating to the role, the Department requests Commission approval to reassign Carter Smith to the role of Deputy Director effective November 14th, 2022. The position will be in the Executive Office, report directly to the new Executive Director, and receive an annual salary of $200,643. Duties will include, but not be limited to, assisting the new Executive Director with establishing relationships with stakeholders; advising on the Department's organization, staff, policies, procedures; and advising on key issues facing the Department, as well as legislative priorities for the upcoming Texas 88th Legislative Session.

Unless you have questions, staff recommends the Commission adopt the resolution included as Exhibit A. I'll take any questions you may have.

CHAIRMAN APLIN: Thank you, Patty.

Anyone have any questions/comments for Patty? Everyone understand the process? We can't have two acting Executive Directors at the same time; so that's the process, the procedure. Everybody understand?

Then I'm going to ask if there's any Commissioners that would like to speak about this particular subject. If not, I'll move into a motion. Anybody want to speak?

Then I'll accept a motion and a second from a Commissioner for the reassignment of Executive Director Carter Smith.




CHAIRMAN APLIN: Scott second. All those in favor signify by saying aye.

(Chorus of ayes)

CHAIRMAN APLIN: Any opposed? Hearing none, thank you. Motion carries.

Selection of -- Action Item No. 4, Selection of a new Executive Director. I would now like to make an announcement that we have had significant involvement, work, activity towards finding a new Executive Director for this wonderful Commission. We've been working on this for months, ever since our beloved Executive Director Carter announced that he was ready to retire after 15 years. So that's a whole other subject. We're going to all have to kind of deal with that and miss Carter in our own way, but it's time to move on.

A little background, we've appointed an Executive search committee that came, that was a combination of Commissioners: Commissioner Galo, Commissioner Bell, Commissioner Hildebrand, myself. We've interviewed many people. Many, many fine candidates. And during the process, we came up with a clear and precise decision on what's the right direction for Texas Parks and Wildlife in the form of Executive Director. So I feel very confident in making the recommendation to this Commission, which we will vote on shortly, give people in the audience an opportunity to speak, and then -- and then we'll take a vote on it and see where it is.

So the named candidate for Executive Director at Texas Parks and Wildlife beginning this year, 2022 in November, is -- comes from the Executive Director of the Harte Institute in Corpus Christi, David Yoskowitz.

And I hope -- David, are you here?


MR. YOSKOWITZ: I'm still here.

CHAIRMAN APLIN: So, good. Thank you. You know, it's not done until it's done and so I'm glad to know you haven't bolted and ran. It took us a long time to get here, which is zero indication of the support of this Commission, I can tell everyone here. We just had a lot of items to discuss.

So for those of you that don't know David, David's Executive Director of the Harte Institute. Pam and Will Harte are here. I want to thank you for being here. Thank you for your support for everything that you do for this state and for the Institute and for the opportunity for us to move your Executive Director to Executive Director of Texas Parks and Wildlife. So I want to thank y'all.

David's a scientist. He's a PhD. He lives in Corpus. He works on all items that come through the Harte Institute. He loves the outdoors, the environment. He's a hunter, a fisherman. His wife is here with him I see. They have one son that's, I believe, a senior in high school. And so just phenomenal background. He want to school and graduated and got his PhD from Texas Tech. And so I tried my best to find an Aggie for this job. But at the end of the day, a Red Raider rose to the position. So I just can't tell you how excited I am and this Commission is about this recommendation.

And so there are a few people that I believe have requested to speak before the Commission. This is a big deal. We haven't done this in 15 years. And so obviously if there's anyone in the audience that hasn't put their name up to speak, they're more than welcome. And then after we go through this, then -- then I'm going to put it before the Commission to make a formal vote and then I'm going to invite David to come up and visit with all of us.

So I have Pat Murray with CCA. Pat. After Pat, Meredith Walker. Then Greg Stunz.

Hello, Pat.

MR. PATRICK MURRAY: Hello. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to tell you what an honor it is to be even a tiny part of this process today. It's important and I want to start by complimenting you, Mr. Mr. Chairman, Vice-Chairman, and all the Commissioners for this very thorough, meticulous process you've been through. Obviously it's been a lot. And I also want to compliment you on the outcome it's yielded.

I am an unabashed big fan of Dr. Yoskowitz. I've had the privilege to work with him for years. I've been on the Harte Research Institute Advisory Board for a number of years, served as Vice-chairman. I've also worked with him on an international nonprofit called Indifly and interestingly, was on the search committee that hired him as Executive Director at HRI. So obviously we share a similar taste in executive directors. And as sorry as I am to see him leave HRI, I am all the more hundred times over excited to see him go to Parks and Wildlife.

And I know you all know and all the public will know his many traits, but I want to highlight a couple of them. Beyond his obvious intellect, his ability to articulate, I think there's a key characteristic that Dr. Yoskowitz has that's critical for this job and it's that he is a tireless listener. He's a lifelong learner. And I think those skills show a depth of leadership that's probably never been more critical than now.

In doing conservation work for 25 years now for a Coastal Conservation Association, I can honestly say I think the issues both on the terrestrial and aquatic side are as complex as I've ever seen and it's going to take listeners and learners to reach across lines to listen to very diverse opinions and very passionate user groups to reach results that benefit the natural resources, the state, the constituency and I am confident David is the man to do that. I couldn't be for confident of that.

So with that, I want to again compliment you, Chairman Aplin, and everybody who was involved in the process. Clearly you did your work and I think the State, all of us as constituents get to benefit from that. So, thank you.

CHAIRMAN APLIN: Pat, thank you. You're a great conservationist and thank you for everything you said.

MR. PATRICK MURRAY: I appreciate it.

MS. CLARK: Chairman?


MS. CLARK: We're having some technical difficulties. Can you hang on just a second, please?


MS. CLARK: Sorry about that, sir. We're good to go.


Okay. Meredith. Meredith Walker. There she is. Good morning, Meredith. How are you?

MS. MEREDITH WALKER: Good morning. Thanks so much for having me today. I'm Meredith Walker. I'm the Executive Director at the Texas Business Hall of Fame. I've known David Yoskowitz for over a decade. I've worked with him as a colleague for six years as Executive Director at the Harte Research Support Foundation and the HRI Foundation. I also currently serve as a fellow board member on the organization Indifly that Pat Murray mentioned, a fly fishing nonprofit that is a global -- has a global ecotourism bent.

I have so many good things to say about David. I want to be brief. I'll reference what I do right now, which is I run an organization that recognizes the most transformational business leaders in this state and the gift of my role is seeing what really defines an excellent leader and when people ask me the common threads of our hall of fame members, there's three things that always come to mind.

First, all of them show up and David always shows up. In fact, he just said he was here today. No, I'm just kidding. But I know that anyone in his professional circle or friend group would tell you he's someone who can be counted on because he believes in relationships and people and that solutions are based in people and I think that's key to his leadership style.

The second thing is I would say a great leader is relatable. In working with David, we raised money and promoted the mission of the Gulf of Mexico -- sorry -- promoted a Gulf of Mexico conservation mission. Sorry, I'm a little nervous. And I could put him in front of any stakeholder group, regardless of their economic or political position, and he was comfortable in any environment and could adapt quickly and speak with them in a very thoughtful, Intentional way.

The last thing I would say is that -- I'm losing my train of thought on my third item -- is that -- relatable, shows up -- sorry, David. I promised not to embarrass you and this is why I should have brought by --

CHAIRMAN APLIN: How about communication skills?

MS. MEREDITH WALKER: He has great communication skills and he's got a great sense of humor. No. He is someone who can -- can -- can bridge gaps and in this day and age, there's nothing more important, particularly in this space. So I cannot say enough good things about David, and I'm really sorry I embarrassed him today; but thank you so much.

CHAIRMAN APLIN: Thank you, Meredith.

Dr. Greg Stunz. Good morning, Greg.

DR. GREG STUNZ: Good morning, Commissioners. Good morning, Chairman Aplin. Thank you for giving me a few minutes to speak. I know many of you. Those that I don't, I'm Greg Stunz with the Harte Research Institute. I'm the Endowed Chair for Fisheries and Ocean Health and I direct the Sport Fish Center and in addition, I'm a professor of marine biology and a Texas A&M regents professor.

I'm pleased to provide enthusiastic endorsement for David for the Executive Director. In short, he would have highest recommendation without reservation and I know he's ideally suited to take on this Executive Director position.

For some background, David and I go back over 20 years, starting as young assistant professors together. We joined the Institute about the same time. So I've really watched his career develop. Through his leadership at the Institute, we've really developed into a premier, leading research institution and he's done just a great job. I don't have anything but high regards for David.

In addition to being a professional colleague, David's a passionate outdoorsman of all things outdoors. We spend a lot of time personally fishing and hunting from inches of water to several fathoms. We hunt ducks on our coastal marshes, hike mountain ranges in West Texas, and he's a true, passionate conservationist as it comes to our natural resources. And I'm sure as you have seen through his achievements and his record, he's got a demonstrated, you know, excellence and commitment to natural resource management and I predict through his background, particularly a natural resource economist and socioeconomics and really putting a value on our natural resources, that background is going to be a tremendous asset to your work and to the Agency.

But I have to give you sort of just an interesting example. David and I sort of have a standing joke of where in the world would you think that an economist would be training PhD marine biology students and, in fact, that's exactly what David does. He fills this very unique niche of bridging the social sciences and the biological science as it relates to resource management and that's really, in my opinion, you know, what the Agency needs and he's going to be great functioning in that arena.

And so, of course, you know, David leaving the Institute, you know, he's going to be very sorely missed. His leadership and talents, you know, are great and so that's going to have some big shoes to fill. But certainly we all understand the magnitude of this position and in the end, I think we all want what's best for our natural resources. We're really all one big team trying to achieve common goals and David's perfectly suited for that position.

So in summary, you know, he's an outstanding leader, a teacher, and colleague as you heard others before me and I completely agree with that. But in general, he's an outstanding person and I have confidence he's going to successfully work with you and the Agency to lead to bigger and better things. Thank you.

CHAIRMAN APLIN: Thank you, Greg. Thank you very much.

Anyone else in the audience would like to address the Commission?

I want to recognize a friend of ours and past Executive Director of Texas Parks and Wildlife that made the effort to come here, my dear friend Andy Sampson.

Andy, can you wave?

(Round of applause)

CHAIRMAN APLIN: What an incredible Texan Andy is and he's from Lake Jackson as well, so he and I have that in common.

For those of you that don't know, we're about to have a hundred-year celebration of Texas Parks and Wildlife and so Andy has done this book and he's kind enough to give me a copy of the "Art of the Texas State Park Centennial." So encourage everybody -- this is a big deal and it's special and -- and so everybody here is just very proud to be part of this Agency and what we can do to make an impact for the future and the next hundred years and our resources and our state parks.

So, Commissioners, does anybody have any questions/comments that they'd like to discuss before I ask for a motion?

I want to say that Commissioner Bell has listened in. I've talked to him. He is 100 percent in favor of David being -- recommendation for this vote. So I just wanted to let you know Commissioner Bell has been intimately involved in the entire process and he's 100 percent in.

So at this moment, I'd like to accept a motion.

COMMISSIONER HILDEBRAND: Chairman, may I say something real quick? Just very quickly. I was on the search committee. There were so many qualified candidates. Ultimately David was, from our perspective, the clear choice and I couldn't be more excited about David coming on. And what I love about him is this bridging between kind of -- as the Dr. just said -- biological and social services, the impact of conservation to the people of Texas and how it affects them and I just think that is such a thoughtful way to look at conservation. So I'm really excited about that.

And then secondly, we'll have plenty of time to applaud Carter; but from my perspective, Carter has done some outstanding things at this organization over the 15 years he's been here and he's taken it from, you know, Point A to Point B. He's crawled up that ladder and he's been hugely successful. And I think that David is going to take what he has created and then expand upon that.

And so I'm really excited about you coming on board, David. So thank you. Thank you.

VICE-CHAIRMAN SCOTT: Vice-Chairman Scott. At this time, it is my honor to make the motion and that my biggest learning curve here is going to be saying your last name properly, David. I've gotten -- after 11 year -- 11 plus years, I've gotten used to Smith. But, no, seriously it is my honor to make the motion that we nominate and that we approve David as our next Chairman -- or excuse me, our next Executive Director.

CHAIRMAN APLIN: Thank you, Vice-Chairman. Do I have a second?


CHAIRMAN APLIN: Abell second. Any discussion?

COMMISSIONER FOSTER: I notice he didn't put the last name in the motion.

CHAIRMAN APLIN: Well, for -- I think we all know who it is; but for clarity, David Yoskowitz from the Harte Institute who's on the second row right behind Robin. I have a motion and a second and I am so anxious to take this vote and so excited about the future.

Commissioners, all those in favor signify by saying aye.

(Chorus of ayes)

CHAIRMAN APLIN: Any opposed? Absolutely not. Hearing none, the motion carries.

David, please come up and just say hi and anything you have on your mind; but welcome and we're glad to have you.

DR. YOSKOWITZ: Thank you. I did prepare some notes today. I'm going to keep it short to about 30 minutes, if that's okay. Just for the record, I'm David Yoskowitz, the next Executive Director of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

Chairman Aplin, Vice-Chairman Scott, Commissioners Foster, Hildebrand, Abell, Galo, Patton, Rowling, I am honored and extremely excited to be your next Executive Director, to be the Department's next Executive Director. As was shared by some of my friends and colleagues and others before, you know, this Department has meant so much to me personally as an outdoorsman and professionally. You know, the last decade and a half, I've committed myself to making the Gulf of Mexico -- the entire Gulf of Mexico, U.S., Mexico, and Cuba and its people -- better off for the future and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department mission is near and dear to my heart and continue on that work.

Yeah, the focus is going to be larger. It's going to be different; but thank you, Pat, for saying the words that you did. I mean, I am a lifelong learner and I plan to roll up my sleeves and get to work; but now I have the privilege to work alongside some of the most talented women and men throughout this Agency who dedicate themselves day in and day out to protect our natural and cultural resources and ensure that the outdoor legacies that we enjoy here in Texas continue on and to be part of that means a great deal to me.

I do want to say thank you to Dorothy and Susan who have made this process, while at a frenetic pace, easy and manageable, keeping the trains, planes, and automobiles on time. So I do want to recognize you and thank you very much for that.

But there are some people I would like to talk about for a moment. I don't believe I would be here today but for these people. A number of them that are in the room and that you mentioned, Chairman, just a moment ago. But first and foremost is my family. My wife Caroline Walker is here. Our son Max, who's a senior in high school, had to stay behind and study and continue practice for a district meet coming up in just a couple of weeks. He's already asking for an internship at the Department, so. But this process has involved them and it's been very -- they've been very encouraging throughout the process and we made this decision as a family and I've been very frank with all of you that that was incredibly important to me that the only way for me to be successful in this job is to have the family behind me.

I will say -- I don't know where Mischelle is. I will say showing my son a couple of episodes of Texas Parks and Wildlife before we actually broke this to him helped -- helped with that. So thank you for that.

Also as you've mentioned, Chairman, at Harte and the Harte family -- Will, Chris, Julie, and Biddy -- and the original advisory board that thought up the Institute and what it could be at Texas A&M University Corpus Christi more than 20 years ago -- so not a long time, but long enough to make a significant impact -- that vision was revolutionary. You know, they knew that the only meaningful way to address our most pressing conservation issues was to do it in a holistic manner. To bring the natural sciences, the social sciences, the policy sciences all together in the same place working with stakeholders to develop lasting solutions that were implementable. Right? That were not pie in the sky, but that you could actually get done. And that is in my DNA and that's the way I approach things.

And significantly also is the work of this Commission and the Commissions before it and the incredible job that Executive Director Carter Smith has done over the last 15 years. I don't believe that I would be in this place -- and you alluded to this -- without the work that you've done, Carter, and the team here, to be considered for this position given my background and I hope to continue to amplify that impact that all of you have created.

I know there will be challenges in the transition. May be better to frame them as opportunities. Not the least of which will be going from one syllable Smith to three syllable Yoskowitz. But Carter and I have had a lot of conversation over the last couple of weeks and we both look forward to working with each other over the next couple of months and beyond. It's like Hotel California. You can check out, but you can never leave.

But along with that, I look forward to a lot that's happening in the near term. We have a Legislative Session coming up. We have the hundredth anniversary of our State Parks, and we need to continue to expand the outdoor recreational opportunities for all Texans today and tomorrow.

In closing, I would like to thank you, the Commission, for this opportunity to work with the best conservation and stewardship agency in the country. Bar none. The insight that you've all shared with me over the last couple of weeks when I've been able to meet with you and your willingness to work with me to make sure that not only I am successful here, but the Department continues to be successful, means a lot for me and bodes well that we will continue to make a difference in conservation of our natural resources for those that live in Texas.

I look forward to serving the Department and the State of Texas. Thank you very much.

CHAIRMAN APLIN: Thank you, David.

(Round of applause)

CHAIRMAN APLIN: Exciting day for this state, for Texas Parks and Wildlife. Thank you all. We're so excited about the future, the opportunities that are given us, and quite frankly, the opportunities to serve on this Commission. There's not a Commissioner here that doesn't appreciate this opportunity, that doesn't -- as you mentioned earlier, Meredith -- show up, relatable, communicate. I mean, everybody in this Commission does that. This is an example. It's a special called meeting with a lot of busy people, and you see the room's full. So it's been wonderful. It's a great opportunity.

I would be remiss if I didn't recognize Dorothy Drummer and Susan Houston with Dorothy Drummer and Associates. She did an incredible job in this search. And so thank you so much for this process and whew, I'm relieved. As my fifth grade schoolteacher used to say, Mrs. Bankston, my cup runneth over. And so anyway, thanks everyone for coming. Thank you for the opportunity.

David, we look forward to the future and thank you all.

At this -- Mr. Smith, this Commission has completed its business. I declare us adjourned at 11:52 a.m.

MR. SMITH: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

(Special Commission Meeting Adjourns)

In official recognition of the adoption of

this resolution in a lawfully called public meeting of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission, we hereby affix our signatures this _____ day of ______________, ________.


Arch "Beaver" Aplin, III, Chairman


Dick Scott, Vice-Chairman


James E. Abell, Member


Oliver J. Bell, Member


Paul Foster, Member


Anna B. Galo, Member


Jeffery D. Hildebrand, Member


Robert L. "Bobby" Patton, Jr., Member


Travis B. Rowling, Member



I, Paige S. Watts, Certified Shorthand

Reporter in and for the State of Texas, do hereby certify that the above-mentioned matter occurred as hereinbefore set out.

I FURTHER CERTIFY THAT the proceedings of such

were reported by me or under my supervision, later reduced to typewritten form under my supervision and control and that the foregoing pages are a full, true, and correct transcription of the original notes.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my

hand and seal this Turn in date _____ day of ________________, ________.


Paige S. Watts, CSR

CSR No.: 8311

Expiration: January 31, 2023

TPW Commission Meetings