The Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC) Announces New Leadership Team
The transition to new executive leadership is complete at the Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC), a nonprofit sustainability research hub providing independent analysis on energy, air, and water issues. In June 2016, Lisa A. Gonzalez, an expert on the management of water, coastal resources, and ecological communities, was appointed as HARC’s President and CEO while in December, after an extensive search, Mustapha Beydoun, a specialist in air quality, vehicle emissions, and urban planning was selected for the position of HARC Vice President and Chief Operating Officer.
Gonzalez, who served as HARC’s Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for four years before assuming the primary leadership role, succeeds Jim Lester who will continue his service as a member of the HARC Board of Directors. Gonzalez brings to the position a background in nonprofit and research operations management, stakeholder engagement, and a passion for the role that science plays in the development of sustainable communities.
“As Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, I was proud to work with Jim, our staff and our Board to lead HARC through a number of achievements, including implementation of a five-year strategic plan, reorganization of administrative operations, enhancements to our technology infrastructure, and the launch of a new brand, communications strategy and speakers series. I am excited to build on that work as we seek to expand our air, energy, and water research programs and strengthen HARC’s standing as a sustainability thought leader.”
A long-time milestone for the organization was attained in 2016 with the May groundbreaking of a new, LEED Platinum, green-design headquarters facility. HARC’s visionary founder, the late George P. Mitchell, had long desired the organization to operate in a facility that better represented its sustainability mission. The achievement of the new building, slated for completion in March 2017, can be attributed to a shared vision that spans the 35 year life of the organization and speaks to HARC’s goal to be a leader in the areas of sustainability research and practice.
Todd Mitchell, past HARC President and current Chairman of the Board of Directors said, “I couldn’t be happier about HARC’s future and the team that will lead us going forward. The new building has been a dream shared by the board and staff since we first dared to speak about the possibility over a decade ago. And it’s appropriate as we move into our new headquarters that Lisa Gonzalez will assume the role of President. I have worked with Lisa since 2003, and I know well the respect that she has earned among her co-workers, with HARC’s board, and in the scientific community. I look forward to working with Lisa and Mustapha to build on HARC’s work in sustainability science.”
Mustapha Beydoun brings a broad range of nonprofit research, academic, development, and industry experience to his new position as Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of HARC. Beydoun worked for Abu Dhabi Ports from 2008 to 2016 on the Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (Kizad) development; a mega-scale industrial development that covers an area of over 160 square miles and serves as a critical component of Abu Dhabi’s economic diversification strategy.
Beydoun led Kizad’s environmental, health and safety, security, and regulations and compliance initiatives. Beydoun merges his public-private business experience working abroad with his prior research at HARC from 2006 to 2008. During that initial tenure, he managed air quality, transportation, clean energy, and energy efficiency research projects. Before initially joining HARC, Beydoun served as a faculty member of the Urban Planning & Environmental Policy Program at Texas Southern University and the Graduate Program in Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Iowa.
“I am very optimistic about the road ahead of us and thrilled to be rejoining the HARC family at this exciting time. HARC is truly a unique and special place,” said Dr. Beydoun. “I look forward to working with Lisa, HARC’s Board, researchers and administrative team, along with our diverse stakeholders and partners to further realize our critical vision and mission. Together we can work towards building a sustainable future that helps people thrive and nature flourish.”
HARC’s research promotes sustainability strategies that balance social, economic, and environmental needs.
In discussing the new leadership’s vision for HARC, Gonzalez says, “There is real opportunity for HARC to have a positive impact on complex issues that reach across all of our research programs. I look forward to working with Mustapha, the tremendous HARC staff, and our Board of Directors to take HARC’s work to the next level. Our mission is crucial for a future where quality of life, economic vitality and environmental health are combined goals for the Houston region and our state.”