Convention and Visitors Bureau Update

Valero Alamo Bowl

On December 30, 2013 the University of Oregon played the University of Texas at the 21st Annual Valero Alamo Bowl.  Our thanks to Valero for their long term sponsorship of this annual event. The overnight rating on ESPN for this year’s Valero Alamo Bowl had 7.6 Million viewers which was the second highest rating for any non-BCS bowl on ESPN.  Alamo Bowl officials estimate direct visitor spending is to be more than $23 million.  The Alamo Bowl drew a standing-room-only crowd of 65,918 fans, the second-largest attendance in the game’s history.

The CVB promoted the 2013 Valero Alamo Bowl through, promotion in the CVB’s e-newsletter to our opt-in database of more than 400,000 consumers, monthly airport videos  and social-media support on Facebook and Twitter, as well as inclusion in printed guides.

In addition, once the teams were announced, the CVB deployed custom digital advertising and e-mail messaging to more than 1 million sports enthusiasts in the teams’ markets.  The CVB also reached out to media in Oregon, resulting in several features on San Antonio, including a spread on the River Walk in The Oregonian and a photo slideshow about San Antonio in the Eugene Register-Guard.
As Mayor and Council requested, we maximized our Valero Alamo Bowl sponsorship elements, including:  four 30-second TV spots, a 90-second halftime feature, panoramic shots of San Antonio on ESPN’s game broadcast, four 30-second radio spots on ESPN’s national game broadcast, a full-page ad in the game program and a full-page ad in the Fan Guide.

US Army All-American Bowl

The U.S. Army All-American Bowl is the nation’s premier high school football game, featuring the best 90 players in a classic East vs. West match-up every January in San Antonio’s Alamodome and broadcast live on NBC.  The 14th annual game was held on Saturday, January 4th and the All-American Bowl announced a crowd of 40,017 and we also realized 10,000 room nights.  The game generated more than 8,500 total media stories and more than 4 billion total impressions across all media platforms.

The CVB supported this past weekend’s US Army All American Bowl with inclusion on as a featured event, promotion in the CVB’s e-newsletter to our opt in database of more than 400,000 consumers plus social media support on Facebook and Twitter.

Additionally, we maximized our USAAB-sponsorship elements that included two 30-second TV spots, six 30-second radio spots on National Satellite Broadcast of the Bowl, a print ad in the Game Day Program Guide and a USAAB e-newsletter.

Upcoming Significant Meetings

American Farm Bureau:  Jan 12 – 15, 2014 with estimated economic impact of $5.4 million.  AFB is the nation’s largest general farm organization representing more than 6 million American families.  An estimated 5,000 attendees (farmers/ranchers) will gather in San Antonio during the annual meeting to discuss agricultural and rural issues.

Pennwell’s Annual DistribuTECH Conference & Exhibition:  Jan 28-30, 2014 with estimated economic impact of $5.8 million.  An estimated 6,500 attendees will gather in San Antonio in late January for this event

DistribuTECH is the utility industry’s leading annual transmission and distribution event, covering automation and control systems, energy efficiency, renewable energy integration, and water utility technology

National Association of Corrosion Engineers (NACE) International:  March 9 – 13, 2014 with estimated economic impact of $7.7 million.  More than 5,800 professionals in engineering and corrosion from around the world will convene in San Antonio for the 69th Annual Conference.  NACE serves nearly 30,000 members in 116 countries and is recognized globally as the premier authority for corrosion control solutions.

The Convention and Visitors Bureau and Convention Sports Facilities departments work jointly to bring in approximately 590 group meetings each year in addition to 140-150 event days for special events and/or large sporting event.  Our thanks to both departments for their commitment to producing great events at the Alamodome.  We look forward to continued success in Making San Antonio a destination for local, national & international guests.

Organizational Changes

Over the past eight years, I have looked for ways to make our organization more efficient and effective and reduce administrative overhead. In continuing this effort, effective January 2, I am reorganizing a number of departments to improve efforts in transportation planning, downtown development, and redevelopment of adjacent neighborhoods.  The consolidations will further streamline our operations and enhance our service delivery, resulting in a net reduction of one executive position.

The first consolidation is Capital Improvements Management Services (CIMS) and Public Works into the Transportation & Capital Improvements Department.  This consolidation will create an organizational structure with a heightened focus on street transportation.  It elevates Transportation Planning to a major City focus while becoming more proactive and strategic.  The combined department will unite transportation efforts across the City for improved coordination with external entities such as VIA, MPO, TxDOT, Bexar County and the Alamo Regional Mobility Authority.  I have asked Mike Frisbie to serve as Director for the merged department. Mike has been with the City for more than six years serving as the CIMS Director and City Engineer and leading major initiatives for the City including the 2007 and 2012 Bond Programs.    I would like to thank Anthony Chukwudole for his service as the Interim Public Works Director since August.  He has demonstrated strong leadership over that time and will continue to provide that leadership as the Assistant Director over the Street Maintenance & Traffic Division.

The second consolidation will move the Downtown Operations Department under the Center City Development Office (CCDO).  This will allow a closer tie of Downtown events, parking, maintenance and leases to the development of Downtown San Antonio. Lori Houston will continue oversight of CCDO.  Lori started her career with the City in 2002.  Jim Mery will serve as the Deputy Director over the Downtown Operations division.  I would like to thank Jim for his work as the Interim Director of Downtown Operations.  His work and leadership has been instrumental in improving Downtown through the Riverwalk Capital Improvement projects and Downtown Tuesday.

In addition to the above changes, I have appointed Melody Woosley as Director of the Human Services Department. Melody has been with the City of San Antonio for 15 years, beginning as a Management Analyst with the Human Services Department in 1998. For the past five years, Melody has served as an important leader of the department including serving as the Interim Director since December 2012. During her time with the City she has supported and led critical City Human Services functions such as Head Start, Child Care Services, Family Assistance Centers, Café College, Homeless Initiatives and Senior Services. Melody has a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from Southern Methodist University.

I also have asked Mike Etienne to serve as the primary City staff member over the EastPoint Program, a $60 million redevelopment effort on the East Side, including the PROMISE & CHOICE Federal Initiatives, as well as overseeing City lease functions, Edwards Aquifer Protection Program and Property Disposition.

With the consolidations, changes were made to the departments the Executive Leadership Team members oversee.  Peter Zanoni will oversee the Transportation & Capital Improvements Department and the EastPoint Program.  Carlos Contreras will continue to oversee the Center City Development Office.

Animal Care Services Update

Animal Care Services staff is launching a new program that will allow employees within ACS to experience and assess the duties of a veterinary technician. The employees will work in the clinic 1 day per week as a vet tech for a 10-week period.

During this time, they will experience first-hand the job duties and responsibilities of a vet tech in a shelter clinic environment. Staff will learn to vaccinate pets, administer medications, assist in treatments, and prep for surgeries.

This is a voluntary program for those wishing to participate. ACS employees who participate will also learn how to recognize symptoms of disease or improve their existing knowledge of disease symptoms, which will aid in maintaining a healthier shelter population.

Later this month, ACS will formally open the new multi-use pet center at Brackenridge on Friday, October 25, with a press conference and open house.  These facilities will assist with the ACS strategic plan ensuing the adoption of over 3,000 additional pets and the spay and neuter of over 4,000 pets.

In an addition Petsmart Charities has awarded a grant to animal care services. The $50,000 will be used to provide additional surgeries, community outreach expenses and other services, including medical supplies and veterinary services. The grant funding will be included within the FY 2014 budget for enhanced enforcement and spay/neuter activities.

Public Works Update

In fiscal year 2007 the City Council approved the initial five-year rolling Infrastructure Management Program (IMP) for targeted neighborhood street, sidewalk and drainage improvements.  Our FY 2014 IMP that was recently adopted as part of the budget totals $54 million and includes over 1,160 infrastructure projects.

The Benefit of the IMP that residents have realized includes certainty in our work schedule; transparency with our public on what we are scheduled to complete over a five year period; and, coordination with other utilities in our planned infrastructure investments

The Department of Public Works is launching a new community outreach initiative this month to better educate the community on the detail of the scope of work included within the recently adopted IMP.

10 informational sessions are currently scheduled in each one of the City Council Districts with the respective Neighborhood Association Presidents and/or Board members.  After engaging with neighborhood leaders, the Public Works Department will work with the Council Districts to arrange additional opportunities for broader public participation.

The intent of the sessions is to inform the residents on the core services Public Works provides to the streets, traffic signals, sidewalks and traffic signs, drainage infrastructure, alley maintenance and other maintenance items.

In addition to the informational sessions, Public Works is also: providing new and timely program information on the department’s website and, creating signs to be posted at all IMP and the capital project sites.    The signs will include brief project and point-of-contact information to inform the public and provide them a phone number to call if they have questions or concerns.

Communications and Public Affairs Update

Public Technology, Inc. a nonprofit technology organization of the National League of Cities, will announce that San Antonio is designated a Citizen-Engaged Community for 2013-2015.

Public Technology, Inc. challenges local government to achieve high standards in citizen participation, seamless service delivery and democratic accountability.

The designation focuses on best practices and standards in three key areas for call centers:

  • Citizen Participation Processes
  • Integrated Communication Channels
  • Technology reporting of Performance measures

This year, the City implemented the following 311 improvements which resulted in the award designation:

  • 311 Call Center Performance measures posted on the website and updated monthly
  • Open 311 system with mapping of all service requests
  • Mobile app for top service requests.

Other large cities awarded the designation this year include:

  • New York, New York
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • San Francisco, California
  • City and County of Denver
  • City of Charlotte North Carolina
  • Colorado, Miami-Dade County, Florida
  • Orange County, Florida
  • Sacramento, California

The announcement will be made at the PTI 2013 Technology Leadership Conference, October 13-15 in Philadelphia.  Look for the logo on our website later this month to promote this designation.

San Antonio Fire Department

The San Antonio Fire Department has partnered with the United State Army South-side Battalion to combine recruiting efforts. Starting in Mid-October this partnership will create a career pathway for military personal exiting their military career.

Currently the average enlistment lasts only 4 to 5 years; this program would connect with candidates to provide information about the department and the need for qualified candidates with their skills and values.  Currently the Battalion consists of over 80% minority enrollment and has the potential to connect with the San Antonio Fire Department goal of increasing the number of minority candidates.

The department has a 4 step approach for recruiting those within the military, as well as those contemplating a career within the military.

  • SAFD in conjunction with the military will work together recruiting at high schools.  They will work together to make presentations to high school seniors on the opportunities within SAFD and the military.  They will also set up recruiting tables at the high school with information on the department.
  • SAFD will also create a connection with those military individuals waiting for their orders.  SAFD can provide information on opportunities as a Fire fighter, which will allow SAFD to create a connection with the military individuals throughout their career.
  • That connection will create a mentorship that will exist throughout their career in the military.  SAFD will maintain constant contact with them to keep SAFD in the forefront of their minds.  This will create a long term engagement with SAFD, as well as a communication link for the soldier.
  • Once their career has been completed in the military, SAFD will help plan an exit strategy and provide them with information on starting a career with SAFD.

San Antonio Fire Department looks forward to working with the United States Army in the near future, as well as working with potential recruits for the San Antonio Fire Department.

2013 Employee Survey

The results of the 2013 City Employee Survey are in.  11,117 surveys disseminated to all full-time, part-time, temporary and grant-funded employees in both English and Spanish.  The overall response rate was excellent, with 8,044 completed surveys; a 72.0% return rate. Over the last 4 surveys, we have steadily increased our response rate with employees providing important feedback.

Based on the overall results of the survey, the City of San Antonio is definitely moving in the right direction with regard to the City’s efforts to meet the needs of its employees.  We have a very committed workforce and employees are proud to work for the City of San Antonio. Overall satisfaction among employees has increased to 87% in 2013 from 85% in 2011.

A high percentage of employees are using communications tools that have been developed by the City, and many of these tools appear to be having a positive impact on employee perceptions of the City:

  • City news releases
  • TVSA Programs
  • City Annual Report
  • Department newsletters
  • Employee newsletter – eConnections

While we have made positive strides in many areas we also have opportunities to improve our rewards and recognition programming and improve the work satisfaction levels among our skilled and craft employees and continue to provide quality of professional development opportunities to employees

During the month of September, employees will be provided with the overall survey results in both English and Spanish by means of department meetings, the City’s Employee newsletter, All-COSA emails and the COSA Web (intranet).  Departments will analyze and review the 2013 survey results and identify progress made in areas identified for improvement in 2014.

Market Street Closure

Market Street was closed to traffic at Bowie Street beginning on Saturday, September 14. The closure will last approximately 11 months. All vehicles will turn left onto Bowie Street, which will be converted to one-way to allow more turn and through lanes. Business access will not be affected. To learn more or see the detour routes online, visit

Sister Cities International Conference

The Sister Cities International conference was held in San Antonio July 11-13.  More than 600 delegates from 30 countries attended the conference.  By comparison, Jacksonville, Florida drew 180 delegates in 2012, so there was a 320% increase for the San Antonio conference.

Our International Relations Office coordinated the visits of nine official delegations, including delegations from six of our existing sister cities: Monterrey and Guadalajara, Mexico; Gwangju, South Korea; Kumamoto, Japan; and Chennai, India, and Wuxi, China.

A total of five mayors led these delegations, marking the first time in San Antonio history that multiple sister city mayors have been here at the same time. Mayor Castro and many members of our City Council played a very prominent role, hosting numerous events and meeting with each visiting mayor independently.

The City and its community partners hosted events to celebrate the 25th anniversary of our relationship with Kumamoto and the 60th anniversary of our relationship with Monterrey.  In fact, we were sister cities with Monterrey three years before the Sister Cities organization was created by President Eisenhower in 1956.

Using the multiplier that the Convention and Visitors Bureau uses to measure the economic impact of visitors, the conference generated more than $500,000 for the local community.

2013 Kickoff Luncheon to Benefit United Way

The community is invited to join the City of San Antonio staff on Friday, Aug. 16, 2013 at the Alamodome from 11:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. for the 2013 City of San Antonio Charitable Campaign Kick-Off Luncheon.  The event will feature the City of San Antonio’s Executive Team serving the meal to City employees and guests.

The lunch plate costs only $10 and includes: pasta and meatballs, salad, breadstick, your choice of water/tea, and a cookie. Proceeds from the Luncheon will benefit the 2013 City of San Antonio United Way Charitable Campaign.

Tickets are now on sale and available at Payment can be made by credit card online. Free parking is available in Alamodome Lot A.

In 2012, the City raised more than $1 million for the Charitable Campaign overall. According to the Nonprofit Times, last year San Antonio ranked as number one in best performing cities in America for United Way giving. City employees exemplify this top ranking with the support of the San Antonio community.