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2018 Executive Communicator of the Year

Harris County Judge ed emmett

At the 2018 Bronze Quill Awards Gala, IABC Houston honored Harris County Judge Ed Emmett as Executive Communicator of the Year. This prestigious award was given to Judge Emmett in recognition of his leadership in several times of crisis -- particularly last summer’s Hurricane Harvey -- and for his impassioned advocacy in the recovery and rebuilding phases following the storm’s disastrous path across the Houston region.

Throughout the course of Hurricane Ike in September 2008 and then Hurricane Harvey last year, he exemplified the commitment to serve as the voice of calm and reason in times of crisis. Pledging to provide accurate, up-to-date information, Judge Emmett and his staff conducted regular news conferences and briefed local, national and international journalists from a broad range of newspaper, radio, Internet and television outlets.

Judge Emmett has often stated, “emergency preparedness starts with being informed.” Under his leadership and a focus on learning from experience, Harris County’s Office of Emergency Management transformed the organization and its processes. This included a remake of the County’s Joint Information Center (JIC), which enabled the County to relay potentially life-saving information from the judge and other area officials, including first responders, to the public in a consistent manner. The County’s JIC system was expanded to enable several critical capabilities, including fielding telephone and social media requests, to the proper officials in the runup to and during a disaster.

Judge Emmett also worked with area officials to make tough decisions like the call to shelter in place to avoid potentially deadly traffic jams by millions of the region’s residents who were unsure whether to evacuate from the storm’s path. In the weeks and months after Hurricanes Ike and Harvey, he concentrated on recovery and rebuild programs including collaborating with volunteer organizations to help those affected.

“It is all about neighbor helping neighbor,” said Judge Emmett. “Volunteers immediately came together during the search and rescue efforts, and now they are stepping up to help rebuild their communities.”

“Judge Emmett has become the face of preparation and recovery in our area,” noted John Harris, president of IABC Houston. “As the type of executive who thoroughly appreciates the importance of communications, he was able to coordinate preparations ahead of the hurricanes and the recovery phase afterward.

“Engaging local, state and federal agencies, as well as the business community and area nonprofits to protect the public and help those in need was a monumental task, which Judge Emmett took upon himself to do. That’s one of the many reasons we’re honoring him with our Executive Communicator of the Year award,” Harris said.

“I greatly appreciate IABC Houston for honoring me with this award,” said Judge Emmett. “Emergency response presents numerous challenges, but none more important than communicating quickly and clearly to the public what is happening and how they can best protect themselves and their neighbors. This award rightly belongs to the hundreds of people who work so hard to protect the public in times of disaster.”

Judge Emmett holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Rice University, and a Master of Public Affairs from the University of Texas at Austin. He has served as Harris County Judge since 2007 and is the presiding officer of the Harris County Commissioners Court. By Texas law, Judge Emmett is also director of the Harris County Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management.

View the official press release here.

IABC Houston Executive Communicator of the Year Award
IABC Houston annually recognizes the achievements of an area executive whose outstanding professional performance significantly contributes to the Houston communication profession by initiating, directing, supporting or sustaining outstanding and effective communications programs. Through this recognition, IABC Houston honors a leader who understands and actively supports good communication practices in the nominee’s company, institution or organization. A qualifying nominee must:

  • Be an active senior executive (communication and public relations professionals are ineligible),

  • Demonstrate a solid understanding and support of communication practices within the nominee’s organization, and

  • Exemplify the highest ethical and professional standards in fulfilling the nominee’s responsibilities.

Previous recipients

The winners of this annual award are recognized each year at the IABC Houston Bronze Quill awards gala. We are grateful to them, their employees and colleagues for all they do for Houston business communicators. We salute the following distinguished role models.

Past Winners

2017- Joel Cowley, President & CEO, Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo
2016 - Jim McIngvale, Owner, Gallery Furniture
2015 -  Carolyn Sanders, Former VP of HR and Public Affairs, Total Petrochemicals and Refining USA
2014 – Angela Blanchard, President and CEO, Neighborhood Centers Inc.
2013 – Joy Horak-Brown, Executive Director, New Hope Housing, Inc.
2012 – Dr. Renu Khator, PhD, President of the University of Houston and Chancellor of the University of Houston System
2011 – James L Gallogly, Chief Executive Officer, LyondellBasell Industries
2010 – Bob Hale, President & CEO, Houston Association of REALTORS® 2010 – Greg Garland, President & CEO (former), Chevron Phillips Chemical
2009 – John C. Sheptor, President & CEO (former), Imperial Sugar Company
2008 – Dr. Giuseppe Colasurdo, President of the The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and former Dean of the UTHSC - Houston Medical School
2007 – John D. Hofmeister, President (former) of Shell Oil Company
2006 – J. William "Bill" Boyar, Chairman (former) of BoyarMiller, Attorneys at Law 
2005 – Clark Baker, President and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Houston
2004 – John D. Stobo, M.D., President (former), the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston
2003 – Jacqueline S. Martin, President (former), United Way of the Texas Gulf Coast
2002 – Steve Miller, CEO (retired), Shell Oil Company
2001 – Kirbyjon Caldwell, Senior Pastor of Windsor Village United Methodist Church

IABC Houston Legacy Award

2013 - Fred J. Korge
2014 - Downs Matthews