December 2021

President's Message

Challenges occur every day in our lives. Whether challenges occur at work or in our personal lives, they affect us. This year at conference we heard about some challenges that people have gone through. Whether it was one of our keynote speakers, in the Exhibit Hall, classroom, or over a beverage at night, we all heard stories about the challenges that we face. As I have tried to write this article for the last week, I have been faced with challenge after challenge. As we face our challenges, remember that in 2021 we learned that in a circus there are many different people who are in many different roles. Together we perform the chaos of our role to produce a beautiful presentation for others. One of my favorite moments of this year’s conference was as Richard Height was drawing his pictures. The pictures at first looked chaotic with no plan in place. As the drawing proceeded, the end result was absolutely beautiful.

This year’s conference we did something we have never done before. We had both in person and virtual attendees. We had a total of 640 people register this year for conference, the highest ever. Approximately 76% of these attendees were in-person. For everyone that registered for conference, as a reminder you have access to the conference information and virtual sessions. That’s right, you can login in via (enter the members only area and you'll see Conference 2021 in the top navigation bar) and access the conference, relive our keynote speakers, and catch up on sessions that you may have missed.

This year we also gave the first ever “President’s Award” at Texas PRIMA. This award highlight’s an individual’s accomplishments that has benefited the Association and gone above and beyond in service to the organization over the last year. This inaugural award went to Immediate Past President, Lesley Ward. Without her leadership during 2020, Texas PRIMA may not continue to exist today. She led the Association to make some courageous moves in order to sustain the future of the Association. Texas PRIMA has been honored to have Lesley Ward serve on the Board of Directors and serve Risk Management in the State of Texas.

As I look back on 2021, there has been a lot that occurred. Personally, I was hit with lots of personal and professional challenges. The circus atmosphere was alive and well. Attending the 2021 Conference was one of many highlights in my year. I was thrilled to see so many new faces and reacquaint with old friends and family that we have missed. Moody Gardens was a wonderful host as always, and this coming year we should have an incredible conference at the Embassy Suites in Frisco, Texas. Robert Warren will be taking the reigns as the Texas PRIMA 2022 President. Rest assured that Texas PRIMA has never been stronger, and I am looking forward to serving under Robert’s strong leadership. If I do not talk to you before the end of the year, have a Merry Christmas, Joyous Kwanza, Happy Hannukah, Happy Holidays, and a fantastic New Year!

Jason Hardy, President

Nancy Mckenzie Risk Manager, City of Arlington
Melissa Ledesma City of Sugar Land

Award Recipients Honored at Annual Conference

The 2021 Texas PRIMA Conference was a true circus! We were able to return to an in-person event, while juggling virtual presentations and exhibits for those joining at home. We met old and new friends and recounted the past year’s experiences. During the 2021 Awards Luncheon, we celebrated and heard from a few of our colleagues whose experiences earned recognition in 2021.

Risk Professional of the Year

Nancy McKenzie, Risk Manager, City of Arlington

Nancy McKenzie has served with the City of Arlington since 2013. As Risk Manager she is responsible for all risk management services on behalf of the city and manages a team of three, which includes a Risk Specialist, Safety Specialist, and HR Assistant.

Nancy has a broad understanding of the risk and insurance industry, gaining experience throughout her career in various roles for public and private entities. Since joining the City of Arlington in 2013, she has coordinated over-site of the city’s third-party administrator and adjusting staff, managing auto, liability, subrogation, and workers’ compensation claims. Her team manages City safety programs and administers the City’s drug & alcohol program. She also consults with other City departments on risk related issues to include exposures, loss prevention, contracts, and event permits. Nancy holds Texas All Lines Adjuster and Risk Manager licenses, the Associate in Risk Management for Public Entity (ARM-P) designation and has been a member of Texas PRIMA since 2010.


Rising Star

Melissa Ledesma, Safety & Risk Coordinator, City of Sugar Land

Melissa Ledesma began her career in risk management at the City of Sugar Land as the Safety and Risk Coordinator in 2018. She received her bachelor’s degree in Occupational Safety & Health from Columbia Southern University and previously worked as a Safety Compliance Manager in the private sector.

Melissa manages the City of Sugar Land’s Safety Program, Workers’ Compensation Program, and Drug & Alcohol Testing Program. She has been instrumental in revamping the City of Sugar Land’s CPR and AED program, reducing accidents in the city’s fleet, and creating the City of Sugar Land’s first Commercial Driver’s License training program. Melissa is the chair, or member of, numerous safety and wellness committees within the city.  Melissa serves as the chair, or is a member of, numerous safety and wellness committees within the city.


Risk Program Achievement Awards

Katy ISD: "Mitigating COVID-19"

City of Arlington: "Recovering Damage to City Infrastructure Due to Contractor Activity"


Chapter Service Award
James E. Huckaby: Executive Director – Operations/Risk Management, Mesquite ISD

Brent Holman, Awards Committee Chair


Educational Committee Update

Texas PRIMA offered a wide array of educational opportunities for members in 2021. Members were offered webinars ranging in topics from COVID-19 to Cyber Risk which can be found by logging into the members only community at and and clicking on the RESOURCES link.  This past September Tarrant County was gracious enough to offer a venue for us to host a Regional Risk Management Seminar. For many of us this was the first in person event that we attended, and it was really wonderful to reconnect in person. As we look ahead to 2022, the education committee is looking for volunteers to serve and help provide webinars, networking events, and live seminars for our members. Please email: [email protected] if you are interested in serving on the 2022 Education Committee.


Meet A New Texas PRIMA Member!

We sat down with Leticia “Lettie” Ramirez, Director of Benefits at Northside ISD, and asked her a few questions to learn more about why she joined Texas PRIMA and what she hopes to gain as a member after attending her first ever PRIMA conference.

How did you get started in Risk Management and Insurance? Tell us a bit about your career thus far. What have you learned along the way?

I started with insurance and all that comes with it when I became the Director of Benefits for Northside ISD in April of 2020.  Prior to being named the director, I held several positions within NISD.  I was initially hired in 2001 as a Social Worker for an elementary school.  Inspired by teaching, I became a special education teacher and taught for 7 years.  I then became a vice principal and then I was promoted to principal.  I lead an elementary school for five years when I decided to expand my work experience and moved over to Human Resources.   In Human Resources, I had the opportunity to learn and work in three different departments within HR, which helped me to learn so much.   I initially started in Employee Relations where we conducted investigations.  I then became the District’s Grievance Officer until I was appointed as the Benefits Director in April 2020. 

What is your role within your organization? How long have you been in this position?

My role within my organization is multifaceted.  I am responsible for Benefits and all that it encompasses! I want to ensure our employees are getting reasonable and affordable products and have a thorough understanding of what they purchased. We service 14,000 full time employees from across our District. Of course, starting my new position as the Benefits Director about the same time COVID-19 hit, was very challenging. My department was responsible for all things related to COVID-19, including reimbursing employees who are out due to COVID, contact tracing, notifying supervisors when their employees would be returning, along with working with payroll to ensure employees received pay based on the requirements of FFCRA.  I currently supervise a team of six.  Five of the six are Benefit Specialist, who process Leaves of Absences, retirements, enrollment of benefits (Open Enrollment), life events, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and an annual recognition ceremony of retirees.  My sixth team member is the Health and Financial Wellness Coordinator who promotes both these two very important aspects of life so our employees can have a well-rounded resource through my department.  We also have a UHC on-site representative who is available to all NISD employees. And I can’t forget the RFP/RFQ’s that I am responsible for in the benefits department.  These have definitely been a learning experience!

Describe your history with Texas PRIMA. How long have you been involved? If you are new, what prompted you to join Texas PRIMA?

I recently joined Texas PRIMA as of 2021, at the suggestion of my mentor Debby Glass, who was Texas PRIMA’s Risk Professional of the Year 2020 and a current Board member. Debby explained that by joining, I would receive great networking opportunities and education as it relates to benefits and risk management.

What does Texas PRIMA mean to you? How has it benefited you? Or, if new, what do you expect to gain from or give to Texas PRIMA?

Although I do not work directly in the risk management department, there are many processes which overlap with the Benefits department.  By being a member of Texas PRIMA, I have a better understanding of the importance of these two departments working together. I also gained knowledge by attending several of the classes at the recent conference.  Another takeaway for me is learning the vocabulary and verbiage. After working as a leader on campuses, where we had our own acronyms, I am learning that benefits and risk management also uses terminology that can be unfamiliar to someone if they have not worked in this area for a public entity.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in Risk Management and Insurance?

The biggest challenge I faced with starting in this department in April of 2020 was the inability to delve into my role as the Benefit’s director since COVID had taken priority.  COVID consumed my department, on top of everything my team is responsible for.  Due to the recent decrease of cases of COVID, I’ve now beginning to learn my job and I would say my most recent challenge is learning the process of insurance and what it means for the entire District.  I’ve blessed to have a strong team who are very familiar with our practices within NISD when servicing our employees.

What is the best advice you have received related to Texas PRIMA or Risk Management and Insurance as a whole?

The best advice I received in regards to Risk Management and Insurance is to understand the ability to change someone’s life when helping employees with their benefits. 

Do you have a favorite quote you would like to share? If so, what is it?

I actually have two favorite quotes:

1.      If standing up for yourself burns a bridge, I have matches.  We ride at dawn.  

2.      My life is my message.  – Mahatma Gandhi

Would you share a little bit about yourself and interests outside of Texas PRIMA/Risk Management and Insurance?

Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my family, exercising and dancing.  

Anything else you’d like to share?

I appreciate how friendly and family-like Texas PRIMA felt at the conference.  I felt as if I didn’t make friends but instead saw family I had not seen in a long time.  Everyone was very kind, warm and welcoming.  Thank you for making me feel like I was a part of the Texas PRIMA family!


Members on the Move

Congratulations to Pina Iuffredo on her move from City of San Marcos to City of Seguin's new HR and Risk Administrator.

Congratulations to Derek Dominguez on his promotiom to the Director of Benefits and Risk Management for Midland Independent School District.

Annual Conference Scholarship Program

What an awesome 2021 Annual Conference under the big top at the beautiful Moody Gardens Hotel and Convention Center in Galveston.  Because we are the ringmasters of risk, this year's conference included a virtual option due to the ever related safety concerns related to COVID.  This was my first year to serve as the Chair for Conference Scholarships and it has been an honor even though I was unable to attend the conference in person this year at the last minute. We had 21 applications submitted and awarded 2 virtual and 19 in person scholarships. We started the conference Sunday afternoon with a private reception in the President’s Suite honoring our recipients and scholarship sponsors. I can’t thank our generous sponsors enough.  A heartfelt thank you goes out to AETNA, Commercial Risk Services, Delta Dental Insurance Company, Injury Management Organization, Inc., McGriff, Seibels & Williams of Texas, Trident Public Risk Solutions, Tristar Risk Management, United Healthcare and York Risk Services.

I proudly introduce our 2021 Texas PRIMA Conference Scholarship Recipients:   

Debra Belitz, Hays County
Richelle Brasher, City of Pasadena
David Casillas, Texas Center for Infectious Disease/DSHS
Maria Chavez, Webb County
Hilda Delgado, City of South Padre Island
Sylvia Diaz, Bexar County
Gilbert Flores, San Jacinto River Authority
Michelle Fry, Trinity River Authority
Chad Hierholzer, City of Kerrville
Daphne Holmes, City of Grand Prairie
Jose Lemus, City of El Campo Public Works
Elliot Lester, Tarrant County
Tony Luton Ph.D., Denton County
Gabrielle Mattern, City of Bryan
Christina Mendez, Northside Independent School District
Courtney Peal, City of Sugar Land
Lori Remington, City of Bellaire
Phillip Smith, Public/City Government
Susie Streb, City of Lake Worth
Yolanda Sumlin, City of Beaumont
Lisa Thompson, Lubbock ISD      

Kristiana Spencer, Scholarship Chair

CONGRATULATIONS 2022 Texas PRIMA Board of Directors!

The Nominations and Elections Committee Chair is pleased to announce the addition of two new Directors-At-Large to the 2022 slate of officers for the Texas PRIMA chapter. Elections were conducted in October and the newly elected board members were announced during the membership meeting at our 2021 Conference. The new board terms begin January 1, 2022. Five nominations were submitted and the membership was asked to vote for the two positions. Congratulations to the new Directors-at-Large who are joining the Texas PRIMA Board of Directors in 2022:

Bridget Chustz-Morrison, Fort Bend ISD

Bridget is the Director of Risk Management at Fort Bend ISD. Bridget manages the workers’ compensation program and fund for the district, as well as the return-to-work program. She conducts and communicates ongoing loss history analysis and develops loss control programs for workers’ compensation, auto accidents and property loss.  She oversees the district’s safety programs and trainings, coordinate district insurance finance and reimbursement programs. She conducts risk analyses as needed for projects being considered at campuses and central office. Bridget also evaluates vendor safety plans for construction bid procurement process and evaluates vendor insurance for bid procurement process. Bridget has also served as President of Gulf Coast TASBO Affiliate and Chair of the TASBO Safety & Risk Committee.

Kaltrina Minick, City of Beaumont

Kaltrina is the Personnel Manager/Workers’ Compensation Coordinator for the City of Beaumont. Kaltrina oversees the Workers’ Compensation and Safety Program for the City. Kaltrina obtained her Workers’ Compensation adjusters license in 2017 and very recently obtained her all-lines adjusters license. Constantly reviewing the programs for improvement and handling catastrophic claims. Also investigates all fleet accidents and making recommendations for disciplinary actions. Furthermore, oversees the drug and alcohol testing program, including the quarterly random drug and alcohol screenings. Kaltrina obtained her Workers’ Compensation adjusters license and in just a few weeks she will have her all-lines adjuster license.

The 2021 Texas PRIMA Board

PRESIDENT: Jason Hardy, City of Irving

PRESIDENT-ELECT: Robert Warren, Trinity River Authority

SECRETARY: Belinda Raindl, San Jacinto River Authority

TREASURER: Cindy Conyers, City of San Marcos

IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT: Lesley Ward, City of Bryan  

PAST PRESIDENT: Norma Martinez, City of Sugar Land

DIRECTORS: James Alvarez, Travis County; Brent Holman, University of Texas System; Kristiana Spencer, City of Kyle and Debby Glass, Northside ISD


James Alvarez and Debby Glass thank you for your service and dedication to Texas PRIMA, you will be missed dearly, but we know you are a phone call away.  After serving seven years on the Board, 2021 will be my last year. I will miss my past, current and new Board friends, but this is not a goodbye.

Welcome Bridget and Kaltrina to the 2022 Texas PRIMA Board of Directors!

Norma Martinez, Nominations & Elections Committee Chair

Tribute to Out-Going President, Jason Hardy

Jason led Texas PRIMA as our Ringmaster and proved that the show must go on as we came back with a bang from COVID-19 and not being able to meet in person in 2020. Jason’s leadership, based on his faith guided the board boldly into 2021, and wow what a conference we had this year.

To quote John C. Maxwell, “Change is inevitable... growth is optional.” While Mr. Maxwell is referring to personal growth to adapt to change, Jason challenged the board this year to look at our own growth and our ability to adapt to change so we can continue to grow as a successful organization.

Thank you, Jason, from all of the board for your leadership, staying true to yourself and for all the guidance and redirection you demonstrated through your leadership this year.  

Robert Warren, President Elect

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Contact Info:


P.O. Box 92373, Austin, TX 78709


[email protected]