President & Executive Staff

Meet the President

BRENDA BAZAN
President & Chief Executive Officer

As Houston First's president and CEO, Brenda Bazan is responsible for providing strategic leadership for the company by working with the Board and other management to establish long-range goals, strategies, plans and policies.  

She previously served as the chief financial officer, overseeing accounting, budget, human resources, internal audit and procurement. She has also worked on citywide endeavors such as property insurance, energy procurement and management, and debt-related issues in her role as deputy director of Convention & Entertainment Facilities and director of finance and accounting in the Controller's Office. She began her career with the city of Houston in 1993.

She received a degree in accounting from Western Kentucky University and is a Certified Public Accountant.

Meet the Executive Team

MIKE WATERMAN
Chief Sales & Marketing Officer

Mike Waterman, a hospitality veteran with more than 26 years in the industry, became executive chief sales and marketing officer of Houston First Corp. and president of the Greater Houston Convention and Visitor Bureau in May 2015. 

Waterman joined HFC from Marriott International, where he served as vice president of sales for the Southwest region overseeing 100 properties, including a grouping of Marriott hotels in Los Angeles' convention district known as L.A. Live. 

Waterman has held a series of executive positions with Marriott International over the last 14 years and has been promoted five times during that period. Prior to that, he held director positions with Marriott affiliated properties from Chicago to Baltimore since 1993.

ROBERT JACKSON
Chief Policy Officer

Rob Jackson develops political and community-related strategies for Houston First. He serves as the corporation's primary liaison with federal, state and local elected officials and governmental agencies. He is also responsible for helping to implement the corporation’s annual legislative agenda.

Previously, he served as chief of staff for Houston City Council Member C.O. Bradford. He retired as a lieutenant from the Houston Police Department after 25 years of service.

He is a U.S. Army veteran and earned a law degree from the University of Houston Law Center.

FRANK F. WILSON
Chief Financial Officer

Frank Wilson was promoted to chief financial officer in February 2018, after joining Houston First Corporation in November 2016 as Senior Vice President of Finance and Administration. He is responsible for the Finance, Accounting, Audit, Procurement and Human Resource departments. Wilson also serves as investment officer for the local government corporation that promotes Houston as a world-class destination and manages city-owned real estate.   

Before moving to Houston, the Oklahoma City native spent 20 years in the “Windy City” as chief financial officer for the City of Chicago’s Department of Police. While there, he managed a $1.3 billion budget and led its Finance Division. This division included budgeting & accounting, purchasing, payroll & timekeeping and a small IT group. His extensive experience in finance also includes eight years spent in the investment banking industry. He began his career in commercial banking, where he worked closely with the bank’s chief economist. 

Wilson earned his BA degree in Economics from Morehouse College, and an MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management with an international management concentration. He previously held Series 7 (general securities representative) and Series 63 (Uniform Securities State Law) licenses. 

LISA HARGROVE
General Counsel

Lisa Hargrove has been Houston First’s chief lawyer since 2012. She joined the city’s Convention & Entertainment Facilities Department in 2007 and helped lay the groundwork to establish Houston First.

She began her career at Houston Lighting & Power Co., joining the city’s Legal Department in 1992. She played a key role in high-profile projects such as the Hobby Center, the Downtown Aquarium site and the Hilton Americas-Houston hotel.

She is a graduate of the University of Texas and earned a law degree from South Texas School of Law.

PETER MCSTRAVICK
Chief Development Officer

Peter McStravick manages the development and implementation of entrepreneurial and business development opportunities (new and existing) for the corporation.

Previously, he was Houston First's point person in implementing corporation strategy at the Hilton Americas-Houston.

He was responsible for all aspects of the Houston Convention Center Hotel Corporation's operations, from 2001 to 2011, and was deputy director of the Convention & Entertainment Facilities Department, deputy city controller for public finance, and an assistant director in the city's Finance and Administration Department.

He received a degree in finance from the University of Houston.

LUTHER VILLAGOMEZ
Chief Operating Officer - Convention Center and Houston First Theaters

Luther Villagomez has been associated with the city's convention center since it opened in 1987. He has directed day-to-day operations at the George R. Brown since 1990 and was promoted to COO when Houston First was formed in 2011.

He has been involved in many major events at the GRB, from its construction in the mid-1980s to the completion of a $165 million expansion project that virtually doubled its size in 2003. He oversaw operations of the GRB which served as a shelter in 2005 for many displaced by Hurricane Katrina.