HOUSTON – Vivian Montejano, whose long career in facility management began nearly 30 years ago as an administrative assistant to former Houston Mayor Kathryn J. Whitmire, has been named general manager of Wortham Theater Center.
For Montejano, the appointment means a move across the street in Houston’s Theater District. Previously, she was manager of Wortham’s sister facility, Jones Hall for the Performing Arts, since 1991.
Dawn Ullrich, president and CEO of Houston First Corporation, which manages both Wortham and Jones, said Montejano is uniquely qualified for the promotion to the larger facility.
"Vivian is passionate about Houston and cares deeply about our arts venues," Ullrich said. "She has seen it all over the past 23 years, and I know she will provide the same steady, experienced hand on the helm at Wortham Center as she has at Jones Hall."
Passionate, indeed. Few Houstonians are bigger cheerleaders for their hometown than Montejano, a homegrown native who graduated from Austin High School. After working on the Whitmire campaigns in the early 1980s, she was hired to Whitmire’s staff in 1985. In 1986, Montejano was the first female event coordinator hired by the Civic Center Department. After working events at the all-now-defunct Music Hall, Sam Houston Coliseum and Albert Thomas Convention Center for a year, she moved to the newly built George R. Brown Convention Center.
After four years at the GRB, she was named manager of Jones Hall in 1991.
"I tell everyone that my college education was on the job at Houston’s convention center and theater facilities," Montejano said. "I learned a lot on the job, and everyone has always been very kind and supportive of me through the years."
Montejano is excited about new challenges at this point in her career.
"I look forward to managing the logistics that come with having two theaters and the Grand Foyer at Wortham Center," she said. "And I am committed to doing a good job for Houston Ballet and Houston Grand Opera and our other clients.
"I fell in love with the George R. Brown when I started there in ’87 and then I fell in love with Jones Hall, and I am sure I will fall in love with Wortham Center, too," she added.
Any reflection of her nearly quarter-century at Jones Hall would include the rebuilding after flooding spawned by Tropical Storm Allison in 2001. The entire area of Jones Hall below street grade was ruined, and the rebuilding process took exactly one year to complete.
"We were traveling for a while there, officing in the box office, traps level and various other locations in Jones Hall," she recalls.
She also thinks back fondly on the many great Broadway shows that ran at Jones Hall along with working with three maestros with Houston Symphony over the years.
In addition, Randy Toler, a 25-year veteran of facility management, was named assistant general manager of Wortham Theater Center. Previously, Toler was assistant manager at Jones Hall for the Performing Arts, reporting to Montejano.