ULI Austin - Virtual City Chat (in lieu of Marketplace)


Wednesday, June 10th, 2020
4:00pm - 5:30pm CDT


This year's Marketplace was rescheduled for June 10, 2020,then was altered to an extended and virtual version of City Chat portion of the event.
We made the socially responsible decision and changed the 2020 Marketplace to a virtual event.   In place of Marketplace, we hosted a virtual extended version of the City Chat portion of Marketplace. City officials provided information on what projects are still planned, what projects have been suspended, any new projects they could announce and any long term goals and initiatives.

The “City Chat” panel highlighted economic development priorities in Travis, Williamson and Hays Counties. Panelists provided a brief overview of business opportunities each county is trying to attract and where growth opportunities lie.  
A recording of this webinar will be available on Knowledge Finder for members to access in the coming weeks.
Panel 1 
Dripping Springs
Ginger Faught
Deputy City Administrator,
City of Dripping Springs
Diana Blank-Torres
Director of Economic Development,
City of Kyle
Scott Dunlop
Assistant Development Services Director,
City of Manor
Panel 2 
Cedar Park
Katherine Caffrey
Assistant City Manager,
City of Cedar Park
Michaela Dollar
Director of Economic Development,
City of Georgetown
Trey Fletcher, AICP
Assistant City Manager,
City of Pflugerville
Panel 3 
J. Rodney Gonzales
Assistant City Manager,
City of Austin
Round Rock
Nichole Vance
Director of Business Attraction,
Economic Development,
Round Rock Chamber of Commerce
San Marcos 
Scott Hardwick
Economic & Business Development Manager,
City of San Marcos
Jeffrey Casinger, PGAL



Katherine Caffrey

Assistant City Manager, City of Cedar Park

Katherine Woerner Caffrey has served the City of Cedar Park as Assistant City Manager since 2015. In this position, she oversees the City's departments of Finance, Development Services and Information Services, as well as Community Affairs. Prior to her role as Assistant City Manager, Caffrey served as the City's Director of Community Affairs from 2012 to 2015, overseeing the City's Media & Communications Office, Emergency Management Division, the Cedar Park Public Library, Legislative Affairs, and Resource Efficiency Division, as well as other issues of community interest. Caffrey previously served as the City's Utilities Program Manager from 2010 to 2011 and the Assistant to the City Manager from 2007 to 2010. Prior to joining the City of Cedar Park, she worked for the City of Little Rock, Arkansas as the Management Analyst 2005 to 2007. Caffrey holds a Master of Public Administration from the University of Kansas and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Hendrix College. She belongs to the International City Management Association and the Texas City Management Association, and is Co-Chair for the Regional Growth Council of the Austin chapter of the Urban Land Institute, and serves as Treasurer for the Texas chapter of Women Leading Government. Additionally she is a 2018 Mc Bee Fellow with the Austin Area Research Organization (AARO).


Michaela Dollar

Director Economic Development, City of Georgetown

Michaela is the Economic Development Director for the City of Georgetown, Texas, one of the top ten fastest-growing cities in the United States for the last five years in a row. She manages the City’s economic development program which encompasses business retention, workforce development, downtown development, and a targeted marketing and recruitment strategy. Before joining Georgetown in 2016, Michaela held positions in economic development for the Round Rock Economic Development Partnership, the City of Dallas, the Cedar Hill (TX) Economic Development Corporation, and the Bay County (FL) Economic Development Alliance. In those roles she gained experience in business recruitment, marketing, business retention, tourism marketing, and prospect management. She has worked on projects totaling over 3,500 new jobs and over $1.2 billion in capital investment with companies including Holt Caterpillar and Kalahari Resorts. Michaela currently serves as the president of the Williamson County Economic Development Partnership and the Vice President of the Foreign Trade Zone of Central Texas. She holds a Master’s degree from the University of Texas at Arlington and a Bachelor of Science from Florida State University. Michaela has been honored with silver and bronze excellence in economic development awards from the International Economic Development Council, the Focus on Excellence Award for Best City Employee from the Focus Daily News, and a Stellar Award for Marketing in e-Media from the Florida Economic Development Council.


Rodney Gonzales

Assistant City Manager, City of Austin

Rodney Gonzales is the Assistant City Manager for the City of Austin’s Economic Opportunity & Affordability strategic outcome areas. He has 23 years of experience in key leadership positions in local government, 13 of which are with the City of Austin. He holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration and a Bachelor’s degree from Texas State University (TSU). He is recognized as a Certified Public Manager from TSU, and he was a graduate level guest lecturer on the topic of public administration for several years at TSU. As the former Director for the City of Austin’s Development Services Department, Rodney led key reforms at DSD aimed at achieving greater delivery of service through implementing new technology, creating efficiencies in processes, and increasing employee training and resources. Rodney’s focus on workplace environment concerns and alignment of vision, actions, and guiding principles are intentional with a goal of developing a sustainable culture of excellent customer service. As the former Deputy Director of the City of Austin’s Economic Development Department, Rodney led major economic development and redevelopment projects resulting in significant job creation, retention and downtown revitalization. He spearheaded the City’s hosting of the inaugural 2012 and 2013 U.S. Formula One Grands Prix, which included not only city-wide preparation but also included regional, state, and federal agency involvement. Rodney has held the position of Director of Finance for the cities of Luling and San Marcos, two smaller communities in the Austin region. In those cities, he led a diverse mix of areas with a key focus on financial management and leading the annual budget process. In 2013, Mayor Lee Leffingwell selected Rodney to participate with the Mayor, Council Member Chris Riley, and local developer Terry Mitchell as a Fellow for the Urban Land Institute Rose Center for Public Leadership. In 2017, Rodney helped to establish the Stonewall Equality Employee Network (SEEN), which is the first organization-wide employee resource group for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer employees and allies (LGBTQ+). Rodney currently serves as a SEEN Board Member. Rodney also mentors City employees through the City’s Executive Academy. In his spare time, Rodney enjoys woodworking, which is a skill taught by his father, exercising, and bike riding.


Scott Hardwick

Economic & Business Development Manager , City of Kyle

Scott Hardwick is the Economic and Business Development Manager for the City of San Marcos. He has over 22 years of experience in both public and private sector economic development. Scott leads the efforts of the City’s Economic Development Department focusing on the key areas of business attraction, business retention and expansion, downtown redevelopment, small business and entrepreneurship, and workforce development. Prior to joining the City of San Marcos in 2019, Scott spent five years as a Senior Business Advisor with the University of Texas San Antonio’s Small Business Development Center. In his capacity as a Senior Business Advisor, Scott assisted small business owners and entrepreneurs on a range of topics including; business startup, strategic planning, financial analysis, business plan writing, access to capital, importing/exporting, government contracting, research, and marketing. He also developed and instructed multiple business-related workshops for the small business community. Scott previously held positions with Ernst & Young, DuCharme, McMillen & Associates, and MAXIMUS, spending 15 years focused on securing state and local tax relief for clients. He assisted Fortune 500 companies in implementing development cost and tax savings strategies for their investments throughout the United States, engaging primarily in the negotiation of economic development incentives. Scott’s career began with the Economic Development Department for Butler County, Ohio. He focused on the facilitation of inbound investment to the county from both international and domestic companies. Additionally, he managed the business retention and expansion and Enterprise Zone programs for the County. Scott holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Miami University in Oxford, OH. He is certified as an Economic Development Finance Professional by the National Development Council and is a member of International Economic Development Council.


Trey Fletcher

Assistant City Manager - Development Services, City of Pflugerville

Trey Fletcher has over 20 years of experience in local government in Louisiana and Texas, and was appointed to serve as Pflugerville’s Planning Director in 2006, then as an Assistant City Manager in 2011. In this role, he is responsible for the city’s Development Services Center, Engineering and Finance departments as well as the Pflugerville Public Library among other initiatives. Prior to Pflugerville, Fletcher held a variety of planning positions with the cities of Lake Charles, Louisiana and College Station, Texas as well as with Wilbur Smith Associates in Houston. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners, and is a credential manager by the International City/County Management Association. Trey has BS in Geography from Texas A&M University, and in 2017 graduated from the University of Oklahoma’s Economic Development Institute.


Nichole Vance

Director of Business Attraction, Round Rock Chamber of Commerce

Nichole is the director of business attraction leading Round Rock’s economic development business recruitment efforts. She is in charge of planning, directing and overseeing business development efforts for the city. Nichole has over ten years of marketing, communications, and sales experience; focusing the past five years recruiting and attracting talented companies to Texas. While at the Round Rock Chamber, she has worked with companies like Premier Research Labs, ICU Medical, Samsung, Dell, and others to establish or grow a presence in Round Rock. Prior to coming to the City of Round Rock Nichole served as the director of marketing for Allen Economic Development Corporation and was the manager of sales and marketing for Dallas County Community College District; focusing on workforce professional development. Nichole is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati, holding an MBA in marketing management and a Bachelor of Science degree in Cultural Anthropology. She is a member of Opportunity Austin, Texas Healthcare and Bioscience Institute, Texas Economic Development Council, and the International Economic Development Council. In addition to Nichole’s current role, she teaches marketing courses for Ohio Christian University, as well as volunteers her time to help veteran based companies, such as VETSEMR, with their marketing efforts. Previously, Nichole served on the United Way of Collin County and Allen Community Outreach Boards of Directors. Vance has been honored by the International Economic Development Council with three Gold and one Bronze Excellence in Economic Development Awards. IEDC's Excellence in Economic Development Awards program recognizes the world's best economic development programs and partnerships, marketing materials, and influential leaders in economic development.


Diana Torres

Director of Economic Development, City of Kyle

Diana Torres has been the Director of Economic Development for the City of Kyle since the creation of the Department in October 2005. During that time, the City of Kyle has become a very successful, leader in economic development. During the time Diana has been at the helm of the Economic Development Department, Kyle has welcomed an exceptional amount of commercial activity, including the two nearly 1 million sq. ft. of new speculative industrial facilities within a mile in two projects. These projects will be home to quality companies offering meaningful jobs to the community such as Smile Direct Club. Under the direction of Torres, Kyle has also become a medical hub for state-of-the-art healthcare in Hays County. Seton Medical Center Hays hospital opened its doors in 2009 and has brought with it a wave of medical facilities totaling over 1 million sq. ft. and providing over 2,300 medical related jobs. Prior to her time in Kyle, Torres was the Director of Economic Development for the City of Cuero (2000-2005). She graduated with honors from the University of the Incarnate Word with a BA in Psychology, is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma Economic Development Institute and holds a certification as an Economic Development Finance Professional as well as Economic Development Master Practitioner.


Ginger Faught

Deputy City Administrator, City of Dripping Springs

Ginger Faught is the Deputy City Administrator for the City of Dripping Springs. Faught has helped the city for more than twenty years, helping guide and manage the community’s growth and helping developers navigate the development process. In her role, she oversees growth and development for the City and the Extraterritorial Jurisdiction. She guides growth through the Planning Department as well as The Building and Inspections Department. She also oversees the City’s Public Works and Development, including the City’s Wastewater Plant operations and reuse plans, which includes its expansion and the City’s goal of 100% beneficial use. She also directs another critical growth element of the City: its traffic engineering and planning, overseeing the community’s traffic priorities and master plan. Faught works jointly with various City Commissions and Committees, including the Utilities Commission, the Planning & Zoning Commission and the Transportation Committee. Faught has been with the City of Dripping Springs since 2000. She is a graduate from the University of Texas.

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