Hunt graduates from leadership academy
Houston County Courier
By Lynda Jones
Houston County Judge Lonnie Hunt was among 13 county judges and commissioners who graduated Aug. 19 from the Commissioners Court Leadership Academy sponsored by the V.G. Young Institute of County Government. Rick Avery, director of the V.G. Young Institute, recognized the graduates for their commitment to advancing their leadership skills. “These individuals are to be commended for the time and effort they spent to enhance their leadership abilities,” said Avery. “I believe the lessons they take away from the Academy will directly benefit those they serve,” Avery said. The graduation ceremony concluded a two-day session for the academy members in College Station. During their stay, the class members met with leadership specialists and toured the Texas Engineering Extension Service’s Brayton Fire Training Field and Disaster City. They also received a briefing at the Texas Forest Service’s State Operations Center. The Commissioners Court Leadership Academy is a two-year program consisting of four multi-day sessions. These sessions are held in various locations in Texas and Washington D.C., and give commissioners court members a chance to increase their knowledge of county govern-ment, develop communications skills and improve their ability to serve in a leadership position. “This Leadership Academy has been an awesome experience,” Hunt stated. When asked about one thing he learned, Hunt said, “Oh! Tons of Stuff!” “We covered a lot of ground over the last two years. I have already started using the things I’ve learned and the new contacts I have made to help me become a more effective leader for Houston County.” For example, he said, the class learned about how different things make different people “tick” and how to bring different people together to get things done.” When the class spent a week in Washington, Hunt said, he established a lot of contacts both within and outside the government. He cited the National Association of Counties as a very helpful resource because it is in Washington all the time. Additionally, visiting the state emergency operations center was very interesting, Hunt said, because he was able to meet face-to-face people with whom Houston County had talked to during Hurricane Ike. Other activities included team building and conflict resolution. Hunt said he was the only one there “from our neck of the woods.” He felt the course was was more beneficial than a large group because with only 13 “students” the group could do more hands-on activities. Hunt said he enjoyed getting to know the other participants who came from all over the state. The V.G. Young Institute of County Government is a part of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service and The Texas A&M University System. Located in College Station, the Institute works to meet the educational needs of county officials and the public by anticipating, identifying and addressing the challenges and opportunities faced by Texas county government. Applications for the next class will be available this fall. To find out more information about the Commissioners Court Leadership Academy or other V.G. Young Institute of County Government programs, visit http://vgyi.tamu.edu. Hunt is in Austin this week for the Texas Association of Counties. He said Houston County will receive a Best Practices award for its summer block grant program. Hunt also said the association sent a crew here during the summer to make a video of the program and he was looking forward to seeing it. Additionally, he will be attending a workshop about the state task force on indigent defense.