NHA History

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Our History


The North Houston Association (NHA) celebrated its 38th anniversary in 2020; numerous accomplishments have emerged throughout its three decades of history within the region it represents — north Harris County and Montgomery County.

In 1981, the Woodlands Development Corporation (George Mitchell) and Friendswood Development Company (John Turner) began exploring options to create a north Harris County and south Montgomery County improvement association. Jack Linville, President of Parkway Investments (founding president of the West Houston Association) and Allan Brown (a real estate research consultant) were brought in to consult with The Woodlands and Friendswood about forming a cooperative group.

In 1982, the North Houston Association was formed with 22 initial members. Doug Leonhard, The Woodlands; Tom Wussow, Friendswood Development; Linville; and Brown were the newly appointed board, with Leonhard as the first chairman. William B. Thorne II had recently retired as president of North Harris Montgomery Community College District (known today as Lone Star College) and was named as the association’s first executive director.

In 1984, with the creation of the Harris County Toll Road Authority (HCTRA), Thorne left NHA to become HCTRAs first director. Wussow became the second NHA chairman, and Ed Emmett became the second executive director. He served in this position until he left to Austin to begin the Texas Association to Improve Transportation Distribution all the while serving as Texas State Representative from 1979-1987. He was then tapped by President George H. W. Bush to become commissioner of the Interstate Commerce Commission in 1989. Emmett then went on to serve as Harris County Judge from 2007 to 2019. Following Emmett, John Craddock, legislative assistant to U.S. Senator John Tower, was hired to become NHA’s third executive director. Craddock left the association to attend medical school and is currently one of the area’s top ENT surgeons.

NHA’s founding companies shared a commitment to provide quality growth and regional development through cooperation by utilizing the combination of their years of experience and expertise in various areas. For this reason, the association continues to be true to its goals — advancing issues associated with transportation, the environment, and monitoring development trends to improve and enhance the business climate and quality of life within the region.

From 2003 to 2016, Paula Lenz, as executive director, grew the membership to over 100 diversified companies. NHA continued to be recognized for its strong leadership, service excellence, and for providing strong support on regional issues. NHA has been an advocate for water legislation, the Greens Bayou Corridor Coalition, and the expansion of the Grand Parkway, Houston’s third outer loop. NHA has created strategic relationships with elected officials and other non-profit and government agencies. NHA has a powerful and respected voice that influences solutions.

Written/Researched by: Vesta Rea-Gaubert

Key Projects in NHA’s History

Greens Road Overpass

 Ribbon Cutting

Grand Parkway Opening

Segments F-1, F-2, & G

Developers Call Tollway City's Next Loop 610

Article feat. NHA involvement in 610