I’ve learned over my years that time and commitment are two key ingredients for success — for individuals and organizations. As for the park board of trustees, the nine members have demonstrated those qualities and have allowed the organization to accomplish great things.

Among the nine trustees serving on the board is chairman Spencer Priest. Priest was elected to the position with a unanimous vote of the board in 2019. He has served on the park board since 2016.

Priest, who is general manager at the Doubletree Hotel in Galveston, brings a wealth of tourism industry knowledge, having worked at properties in places like Kauai, Hawaii; Newport, Rhode Island; and San Diego and Palm Springs, California.

“During my tenure as a park board trustee, I’ve contributed my time and expertise to many projects and initiatives,” Priest said. “One that I’m most proud of was helping to complete the interlocal agreement with the city of Galveston. After months of discussions and compromises on both sides, the resulting agreement has increased efficiency and helped delineate our areas of responsibilities based on our separate missions.”

All of the trustees are volunteers and contribute significant amounts of time to the park board — preparing for meetings, serving on subcommittees and engaging in discussions to make informed decisions. Many of these decisions involve sizable spends.

“The park board trustees are charged with decisions to use visitor-generated funds for a wide array of projects like beach building, hosting fireworks during the Fourth of July and purchasing equipment for our beach cleaning and beach patrol teams,” Priest said.

“We take these decisions seriously. I’m glad to work with a board and staff that take great care to make the most prudent use of these funds,” he said. “Many times, they’re able to leverage these funds and garner significant investments from partners in the forms of grants and contributions to make these dollars go much further.”

The park board of trustees came into being more than 50 years ago. Created by a special act of the Texas Legislature, and spearheaded by the late senator and BOI Babe Schwartz, the volunteer board is charged with promoting and managing tourism on the island.

“I’ve worked with many board members and chairpersons over my 10 years at the park board,” park board CEO Kelly de Schaun said. “I appreciate Spencer’s insight and direction. Because he’s a Galveston resident, he arrives at his decision-making in a way that balances what’s best for the community and what’s best for the island’s tourism industry.”

Park board meetings are typically held at 1:30 p.m. on the fourth Tuesdays of the month at 601 23rd St. and can be viewed via livestream at www.galvestonparkboard.org.

Mary Beth Bassett is the public relations director for the Galveston Island Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Park Board of Trustees.


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