President's Message

Greetings Texas PRIMA Family!

What a great experience we had at the Texas PRIMA 33rd Annual Conference and Expo in Frisco. We saw record attendance with 760 attendees, of which 192 were first-time attendees to include 28 scholarship recipients. I hope everyone enjoyed the many education and networking opportunities. How about our opening and closing keynote speakers? Former NASA Astronaut Mike Mullane gave us a powerful message of safety and leadership, and what a moving story of survival we got to hear from Mercedes Ramirez-Johnson.

The education sessions this year included a great lineup of speakers and panels who provided industry best practices, market updates, testimonials, and excellent education and networking opportunities. This year, there was a specific focus on occupational safety and health programs, and we look to build on this in the future. A great benefit of many of this year’s education sessions was TDI adjuster/agent continuing education credits; but we were also able to provide SHRM, HRCI and Certified Case Manager continuing education credits, adding more value for many certified professionals who belong to Texas PRIMA.

We want to say a special thank you to Texas PRIMA’s loyal sponsors and exhibitors. The exhibit hall was sold out, with more than 102 vendors. Forty vendors joined us this year for their first experience, and we look forward to continuing to grow that support. We have two new Platinum sponsors, two new Diamond sponsors, two new Gold sponsors, and 12 new Silver sponsors, yielding a 23 percent increase in sales. I hope our membership appreciated the variety of products and services in the exhibit hall, specifically new safety products and services targeted at the request of members.

Congratulations to our award winners, most notably Tina Paquet, Risk Professional of the Year, for this achievement and a career worthy of recognition for her roles at the City of Houston and Texas PRIMA. Congratulations also to Rising Star Mandy Riske, who is joining the Texas PRIMA board in 2023. To all program achievement award winners: City of McAllen, City of San Antonio, City of San Marcos, Lewisville ISD, and Northside ISD, congratulations on your successful programs.

In addition to a really incredible conference, I am reflecting on Texas PRIMA’s many accomplishments, as well as some challenges this year. In June, Texas hosted the National PRIMA Conference, and Texas PRIMA provided a pre-conference event, the Real San Antonio Tour. The Social Media committee saw a 68 percent increase in LinkedIn participation, now boasting more than 1,000 followers. I hope you all will look for opportunities to serve on the various committees Texas PRIMA offers. Those committees make our Chapter the best it can be. 

This year, the board focused efforts on increasing membership and education. The Education Committee successfully launched the Risk Management 101 Series, and we hope to continue offering those opportunities as well as great webinars and coffee talks. The Membership Committee reached out to many partners, including our risk pool, Gamma Iota Sigma along and University Risk Management program partners, ASSP – Public Sector Practice Specialty, and the Municipal Safety group. We were successful in growing our membership, but I know some members have yet to experience all the benefits of Texas PRIMA membership. I would encourage each of you to share what Texas PRIMA has done for you in your careers and organizations.

I want to say a special thanks to the Texas PRIMA Board. We welcomed three new board members and replaced three board members, including two officers. I want to recognize Lesley Ward and Norma Martinez for stepping up to accept the vacant officer roles to serve as this year’s President-Elect and Secretary positions. Their commitment and dedication along with willingness to serve will provide long-term stability to the Texas PRIMA Board, and I look forward to their continued leadership. Lastly, I would like to recognize Treasurer Cindy Conyers for her years of service and leadership on the Texas PRIMA board. We wish you all the best in your upcoming retirement and thank you for your contributions to Texas PRIMA.

Thank you, Texas PRIMA! It has been my honor and privilege to serve as your President this year. I look forward to what is in store for the future of this organization and our members. We are looking forward to seeing you all next year in Galveston!

Robert Warren
Texas PRIMA President

Trouble Sleeping…What’s the Risk to Your Health? 

The National Sleep Foundation recommends working-age adults get seven to nine hours of sleep a night. Older adults need seven to eight hours. According to a study published in the journal PLOS Medicine, researchers looked for links between sleep duration, mortality, and chronic diseases in people age 50 to 70 and beyond. Compared with participants who slept up to seven hours a night, people who slept five hours or less a night at age 50 were 40% more likely to be diagnosed with multiple chronic diseases and had a 25% increased risk of mortality in the 25-year follow-up period.

Do you sleep less than seven hours each night? That could increase your risk of chronic disease. Maybe it’s your environment. Is the room quiet, dark and at a comfortable temperature? Good sleep hygiene can contribute to a good night’s sleep. Exposure to light during the day and increasing your physical activity such as walking, running and exercise will also help. Large meals before bedtime will make sleep more difficult, and electronic devices in the sleep area make it hard to fall asleep and stay asleep.

If sleeping a couple more hours a night could reduce your risk of diabetes,  heart disease and other chronic illnesses, it would be worth it to catch a few more winks each night. Sweet dreams!

National Safety Council

Creating a Cybersecurity Culture

Employees are an organization’s first line of defense against cybercriminals. For this reason, they are also commonly targeted. In fact, the vast majority (88%) of data breaches are caused by employee mistakes, according to Stanford University. Unfortunately for organizations, a single mistake can result in costly losses, reputational damage and lost or stolen data.

In order to keep your organization safe from cybercriminals, cybersecurity must become an integral part of company culture— something that is valued and upheld by every member of the organization. Cybersecurity should be top of mind for every
employee when choosing whether to click a link, open an email or download documents from the web.

Read this article for tips for improving employee engagement and creating a cybersecurity culture that will help protect your organization against cybercriminals.

More information on protecting your entity can be found in this article on 10 Essential Cybersecurity Controls.


Tribute to Out-Going President Robert Warren

Texas PRIMA is fortunate to have been under Robert’s leadership this year and we are proud to add his name to the roll of thirty plus years of great Texas PRIMA Presidents. Early on this year, Robert essentially proclaimed…”Texas PRIMA, we have a problem…” we need to grow our membership and expand our outreach into another galaxy. Right away, he challenged all board members to invite new members to join our mission and through his leadership we welcomed 192 first-time attendees to our annual conference last month in Frisco. In addition, Robert played a huge part in expanding our sponsor and exhibitor following, with more than 20 being new to Texas PRIMA. His drive to get Texas PRIMA recognized in the social media world is unmatched and his creative ways of marketing have proven successful this year.

Robert’s bold style of leadership, his openness to new ideas, and his passion and energy for making Texas PRIMA the best it can be are all things to admire about him.  While his term as President is coming to a close, Robert will remain on the board in the capacity of immediate past president and we look forward to his continued support of Texas PRIMA. 

Astronaut Allan Shepard once said after his many accomplishments in the space industry, ”I must admit, maybe I am a piece of history after all.” Under Robert’s leadership this year, we saw record-setting attendance at the annual conference, expanded into new and innovative risk management spaces, and set our sights on the moon- so, much like Allan Shepard, Robert is a piece of Texas PRIMA History and we are thankful for his service. 


Tina Paquet

Risk Manager, City of Houston

Tina is the Risk Manager and Assistant Director for the City of Houston, Administration & Regulatory Affairs Department. She joined municipal government at the City of Houston 35 years ago, following a professional insurance career that began in insurance claims at Kemper Insurance and corporate risk management at United Energy Resources.

During her tenure, Tina established the City of Houston’s property and casualty commercial insurance program and developed the city’s professional insurance broker services contract. In addition to her many responsibilities, Tina manages the city’s $11B property insurance program for more than 3,400 insured locations.

She is responsible for post disaster insurance recoveries and successfully settled the City of Houston’s insurance claims for four FEMA declared natural disasters; Tropical Storm Allison, Hurricane Ike, the Memorial Day Flood and Hurricane Harvey. These claim settlements ranged from $5M for the Memorial Day Flood to the full property insurance policy limit of $102.7M for Hurricane Harvey.

Tina was recognized by Insurance Business America as the Leading Risk Manager for 2018.

She has been a long-time member of Texas Chapter PRIMA since it’s inception in 1989. She was fortunate to attend the first chapter conference in McAllen, TX in 1990. She served on the Board of Directors from 1998 to 2005 and during that time, was honored to serve as the chapter president twice. In 2004, Tina received the Texas PRIMA Chapter Service Award. She is a member of National PRIMA and is also affiliated with the Houston Claims Association. Tina is a licensed Multi-Line Insurance Adjuster in the State of Texas.


Mandy Riske
Risk Management Program Coordinator, City of San Marcos

Mandy Riske began her career with the City of San Marcos in 2015 as the HR Risk & Leave Coordinator and has steadily worked her way to her current role as the Risk Management Program Coordinator. In her role, she coordinates the workers’ compensation and return to work program, liability and auto claims administration, FMLA administration, safety education and awareness, Safety Coach program and AED management program.

Mandy is an excellent communicator and is known for being someone who can be counted on to get to the root of issues and offering up real solutions. She is innovative and always looking for a way to improve a project or practice. Mandy keeps employee safety at the forefront. She conducts regular safety trainings and if there is a request or need for a training, Mandy will always develop content or find a resource to provide it. There are even times that Mandy will visit worksites to get a better understanding of physical elements City employees work in, as well as assess if there is a safety concern that needs to be addressed or mitigated. She has built a rapport with employees, so they know she is there as an advocate for them.

Mandy holds an ADA Coordinator certification, American Heart Association CPR & First Aid Trainer certification, and has completed ARM 400 & ARM 401, and is currently in the process of completing the ARM 402 curriculum, with the hopes of receiving her Associate in Risk Management before the end of the year.

City of McAllen
Safety Heroes Campaign: An All-Inclusive Approach To Safety

The City of McAllen’s main goal is to promote safety throughout the workplace and to ensure all employees make it home safely every day. The city restructured the safety program to add numerous essential components that would serve to decrease incidents and provide a cost savings, benefiting all employees and maximizing organizational success. The McAllen Safety Heroes Campaign that was developed features an all-inclusive approach that includes redirection and recognition. The Safety Heroes Campaign has had a very positive outcome for the City of McAllen, including a 27 percent decrease in workers’ compensation claims, a 26 percent decrease in all property and casualty claims, and a cost savings of over $200,000 annually. These cost savings have allowed the City of McAllen to invest back into the safety program for employees such as more trainings and purchasing improved safety gear.

Indeed, the Safety Heroes Campaign has made safety heroes of each employee in the City of McAllen. From DWS 74 job descriptions for every position and mandatory training on safety policies and procedures for new employees, the City of McAllen ensures employees are prepared for how to do their jobs safely. Another important component of The Safety Heroes Campaign involves the 85 assigned safety officers throughout the City of McAllen, that lead their departments in all things safety! The officers participate in a monthly panel, where they discuss department injuries, accidents, root causes, & prevention and pivot approaches to reducing incidents. A critical aspect of safety is training. The City of McAllen’s Risk Management Department hosts personalized safety training by department. This personalized safety training resonates better with employees and their takeaways become more relatable.

Safety meeting attendance rates have increased with the training approach, with a 90 percent participation of citywide employees. Because of the Safety Heroes Campaign, the fleet motor vehicle administration insurance rates have dropped by 25 percent since the implementation of the driver’s certification program. Recognizing exemplary acts of safety is also important, so throughout the year, departments nominate one employee has been exemplary in safety. The Risk Management Department then hosts a city-wide celebration and ceremony that honors employees where one is selected as the recipient of the Safety Leadership Award.

For more information, please check out this video.

City of San Antonio
Office of Risk Management Safety Buy-In Video Competition

Safety professionals understand that the true measure of safety begins with buy-in from both its top level management and employees. The City of San Antonio’s Office of Risk Management continued its efforts to foster that buy-in by sponsoring an employee safety video competition concerning two factors that many industries struggle with: Distracted Driving and Slips, Trips, and Falls. The winning video was submitted by the team from the Convention Center. View the winning video.
View all video submissions.

City of San Marcos
Scan Here! Making Risk Management More Accessible

City of San Marcos employees know they can reach out to Risk Management any time of day or night, weekday or weekend, regarding risk management-related issues. We set the goal of increasing accessibility to create a more efficient process for not only our team, but also for our employees and we created a Risk QR code!

In December 2021, the team rolled out an all-inclusive safety manual. We decided the manual would be strictly electronic so changes can be made as processes and practices change; the online manual can be found on the Risk Management page of the City’s employee portal.

A lot of time, effort and collaboration went into the manual, so we wanted to make its release known and accessible to all employees. In January, a “Kick Off the New Year with Safety on Your Mind” promotion baskets that included New Year’s celebration goodies and candy, as well as a flyer with the Risk QR code front and center were delivered to every department across the City and an email that contained the flier went out to all City staff the same day the baskets were delivered.

The Risk QR code on the flyers and in the email directed employees to the Risk Management page on the City’s employee portal, where employees would see the icon to access the online safety manual. In February, we updated our “If you’re in an accident” cards to include the Risk QR code. These cards are located in all City vehicles and employees are trained from day one on the job to be familiar with where the card is so they can be prepared should they get into an accident.

In the past, employees have called post-accident to get a blank copy of an accident form, causing a slight delay in the form making it to the risk management office. With the Risk QR code right at their fingertips, they can simply scan it and fill out the form on their phone or tablet.

Recently, Risk Management business cards were created to have the risk management team’s contact information, but it also includes the Risk QR code that directs employees straight to the risk management page on the City’s employee portal. In addition to the accident form mentioned above, employees can find other forms and safety resources on this page, such as injury report forms, heat safety education, driver safety education, clearinghouse registration information, etc. These business cards have been distributed to all current City employees and are
handed out at each new employee orientation.

The implementation of a Risk QR code created accessibility to the Risk Management team and resources. It has also helped to bring awareness about our team and the services and opportunities our team offers to City employees.

Lewisville ISD
Elementary Rover Patrols and Blue Plate Lunches

Lewisville ISD partners with surrounding police agencies including Highland Village,
Flower Mound, Lewisville, Carrollton, The Colony, and Frisco to provide safe learning environments for students and staff.

Throughout the summer, district leadership and local law enforcement met to discuss the protocols and possible improvements to the safety procedures in place for Lewisville ISD. Lewisville ISD began utilizing extra duty police officers through inter-local agreements to increase police presence in and around all elementary campuses and highlight community partnerships between Lewisville ISD and the police departments, while not impacting staff levels of on-duty officers. Lewisville ISD also continues our Blue Plate Lunch, where police officers eat free at campuses and the schools have additional police on site outside of our assigned School Resource Officers.

The District continues to find ways for students and staff to communicate and develop relationships with police officers, and the Blue Plate Lunch is also a way to show appreciation to police departments for what they do and increase police visibility across our campuses.

Also new for 2022-23: an increased police presence on all campuses. The implementation of the Elementary Rover Patrol Program, where our law  enforcement partners provide uniformed officers in marked vehicles to monitor
elementary campuses. Weekly perimeter checks of all exterior doors by district and campus administration. The addition of a tip line for elementary families to report suspicious activity. (Remember, if you see something, say something!) The emphasis by all district staff on the importance of reporting suspicious behavior instead of spreading rumors on social media. Extensive training by law enforcement partners on Lewisville ISD campuses, giving our police the knowledge and tools they need to respond to real emergencies. Strict procedures for all individuals using the
doorbell system at the entrance of all Lewisville ISD facilities. Reminder: Don’t follow in the door behind someone, and don’t allow someone to follow you through the door.

Northside ISD
Ergo, Evac, Crosswalk: No Training Left Behind!

Many school districts in Texas provide required safety training centered around compliance such as Hazard Communication, Bloodborne Pathogens, Personal Protective Equipment, and other related topics. Additional recommended training that is student-focused and employee driven sometimes gets lost, forgotten, or left on the back-burner until an incident happens.

At Northside ISD, we decided that no training gets left behind! This includes ergonomic assessments, Evacu-Trac, and crosswalk safety. Northside ISD’s Board Safety Policy states: “The Board of Trustees, Superintendent, and administration of the District are committed to providing a safe and healthy work environment for all employees, students, and others who may work in or visit our schools and facilities.” Furthermore, it states, “it is the position of the District that quality job performance and accident prevention shall co-exist and be merged to create an atmosphere of efficiency, productivity, and safety.”

In order to achieve these operational safety standards and outcomes, the Risk Management Department has strengthened its injury prevention and training program to include elements of worker ergonomics, Evacu-Trac training, and campus crosswalk safety. These program elements were identified as areas for improvement after a thorough analysis of incident trends, investigation findings, and customer requests were conducted.

Ergonomics, the “science of work”, evaluates the relationship between the human worker and their environment. At Northside, individual ergonomic assessments are conducted to increase efficiency, productivity, and safety for the worker. The number of reported repetitive motion injury claims requiring a DWC-74 evaluation steadily decreased by 86% from 2017 to 2022 (present). Overall, the District experienced a 15% reduction of workers’ compensation claims for employees holding clerical positions from 2021-2022.

From worker ergonomics to emergency evacuation, Risk Management has continually developed its Evacu-Trac training program to meet District needs. An Evacu-Trac is a device used to evacuate a student or individual with mobility disabilities down the stairs in the event of an emergency. Campuses with an Evacu-Trac device conduct training annually with designated special education and teaching staff. Staff is encouraged to practice using the device during their monthly fire drills to maintain competence and confidence throughout the year in the event they have to use it in a real-life scenario. The training consists of watching the manufacturer’s instructional video and participating in hands-on training conducted by Risk Management.

From emergency response to the campus crosswalk, student and employee safety is a critical component of the campus traffic management plan. This past school year ‘21- ‘22, there were 3 injuries reported that took place in the crosswalk. This school year ‘22- ‘23, NISD PD and Risk Management provided crossing guard and campus-specific safety training to increase personal safety awareness and reduce injuries (slips/trips/falls). Campus-specific safety training included watching a crossing guard video, hands-on cone setup, crosswalk maintenance (clearing out debris and mud from environmental conditions), wearing safety vests, using illuminated STOP paddles, wearing proper footwear, preparing for the weather, and staying vigilant. To date, no further employee-related incidents have been reported.

Brent Holman, ARM

Each year National PRIMA honors members of state chapters for their hard work, commitment and service. Brent Holman was nominated by the Texas PRIMA board for his member engagement and leadership efforts during 2021 and was selected by National PRIMA to receive the Chapter Service Award and was recognized at National PRIMA’s 2022 Annual Conference in San Antonio.  In 2021 Brent was the chair of our website and social media committee where he was able to systematically manage the promotion of Texas PRIMA through the mainstream communication channels for risk management professionals. He also authored a marketing analysis of Texas PRIMA as part of his own continuing education that included valuable insight and research into how Texas PRIMA could maximize our impact. Texas PRIMA implemented in 2021 a member engagement report that measures members engagement by attending chapter sponsored events, active participation in our member’s only portal, and activity related to member email communication. Brent Holman  had the highest member engagement score for all of Texas PRIMA for 2021.

Members on the Move

Congratulate Brent Holman, ARM for starting a new position as Business Development Underwriter, Workers' Compensation Insurance at ICW Group.

Congratulations Belinda Raindl for starting a new position as  Senior Director for Center Insights at Action Behavior Centers.

Congratulate Donna James-Spruce, ARM, on her new position as Executive-in-Residence for Risk Management , Greehey School of Business at St. Mary's University.

Texas PRIMA Annual Conference Scholarship Program
Congratulations to our scholarship winners!

Ryan Anderson, Tom Green County
Erica Balli, City of Harlingen
Kaitlynn Burress, City of Carrollton
Whitney Casey, City of Murphy
Nicole Castellanos, Austin Police Dept
Luis Contreras, San Antonio State Hospital
Cailin Cronin, City of New Braunfels
Curt Fernandez, Arlington Independent School District
Brooke Gamache, County of Bexar
Bailey Gleaves, City of Red Oak
Arnette Griffin, City of Dallas
Caleb Hammock, San Jacinto River Authority
Kristen Hancock, Jefferson County Risk Management
Irene Kasujja, City of Ennis

Adam Lanter, City of Lake Worth
Joshua Martin, City of Sugar Land
Melissa McDougall, City of Waxahachie
Heather Moorhead, City of Euless
Melanie Munoz, Hays County
Kelly Murphy, Trinity River Authority
Mayra Reyna, Northside Independent School District
Ed Rodriguez, City of Irving
Patrick Stewart, Austin Police Department
Lacye Stewart, City of Arlington
Michael Stires, City of Bryan
Kelly Strange, City of Fort Worth
Michael Tentrup, City of Groves
Natalie Vargas, TX Health and Human Service Commission

Apply To Serve on  National PRIMA's Board of Directors

Each year, National PRIMA selects government members to serve on its board of directors. This is an opportunity for you to make a meaningful contribution to the public risk management profession by assuming a leadership role at the national level!

The benefits of serving on the National PRIMA board are many:

  • A significant role in advancing your profession
  • An opportunity to enhance the value of PRIMA to the risk management community
  • The chance to exchange ideas and perspectives with other volunteer leaders

Any designated voting representative who is directly employed by the entity he or she represents is eligible to serve as a National PRIMA board member.  Download the Application for Complete Details!

Sponsor Highlight

Marsh McLennan Agency (MMA) provides business insurance, employee health & benefits, retirement, and private client insurance solutions to organizations and individuals seeking limitless possibilities. With more than 9,000 colleagues and 170 offices across the United States and Canada, MMA combines the personalized service model of a local consultant with the global resources and expertise of the world's leading professional services firm, Marsh McLennan (NYSE: MMC). MMA generates more than $2 billion in annualized revenue, making it one of the largest brokerage operations in North America.

KelseyCare Health Plans understands the healthcare needs of employers and employees; that's why we offer plan options that benefit both. Our coordinated, accountable care model leverages Kelsey-Seybold Clinics to deliver preventive care and disease management. With access to major carriers, such as Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, Humana, and United Healthcare, and a growing healthcare network in the Houston area, KelseyCare has uncovered a proven method that delivers significant savings on total medical costs. This unique approach allows us to create better outcomes for companies and a better overall experience for every member we see.