Office of Business Opportunity
OBO Leadership and Managerial Team
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Marsha E. Murray, Esq., was recently appointed by Mayor Sylvester Turner to serve as the Interim Director for the City of Houston’s Office of Business Opportunity (OBO) Department. Prior to assuming her current role, Marsha served as the Chief Administrative Officer for the City’s Legal Department, as well as the Deputy Director for OBO. As Chief Administrative Officer for the Legal Department, she was responsible for strategically managing its operational and administrative needs to enhance its delivery of quality legal services. As Deputy Director in OBO, Marsha was integral to the organization’s growth and evolution having led comprehensive operational changes and policy updates in the department. Recognizing a need in Houston’s small business community, Marsha spearheaded the expansion of OBO’s services to include facilitating the provision of free legal assistance and guidance on doing business globally. Marsha’s commitment to public service spans almost two decades. Prior to joining the City of Houston, Marsha served as legal counsel to New York City’s government for 10 years. She has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science and Spanish from Colgate University and a Law Degree from Villanova University School of Law.
Lalla V. Morris, Esq. is the Assistant Director of the Office of Business Opportunity. Lalla directly oversees the following areas in the Office of Business Opportunity, with an indirect oversight of all other areas in the Department: Contract Compliance Division and Certification and Hire Houston First Division. Prior to joining the City of Houston, Lalla served as the Director of Operations and Legal Counsel at Families Empowered where she led the organizations support areas of finance, human resources, information technology, data management, in addition to supporting expansion and community engagement efforts. She previously worked as a Senior Associate of Institutional Sales and Client Service at Neuberger Berman and Lehman Brothers Asset Management in New York, NY, where she marketed managed investment funds across asset classes to institutional public and Taft-Hartley pension plans. Lalla has a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from Howard University, a Juris Doctor and Graduate Diploma in Comparative Law from Louisiana State University, and a Nonprofit Finance Certificate from Rice University.
Jason A. McLemore was appointed the Deputy Assistant Director of the Office of Business Opportunity for the Houston Airport System in November 2012. His responsibilities include facilitating and promoting the utilization of certified disadvantaged minority, women and small businesses in Houston Airport System’s professional services, construction, purchasing and concession contracts. Prior to joining the Houston Airport System, he spent six years as the Executive Director of the Greater Southeast Management District. He has served as a member of the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s (METRO) Community Advisory Board, where he represented the businesses and residents in his District regarding the design and implementation of the Federal Transit Administration funded light rail alignment. He was chosen by the Center for Houston’s Future to be part of the inaugural class of “Leadership Next”, he is also a member of Leadership Houston Class of XXXII.
Timothy Warren is the Division Manager for the Office of Business Opportunity Certification and Hire Houston First Division. Prior to joining the City of Houston in 2006, he worked for the City of Austin for over 12 years serving in several management positions within the City’s MWBE and DBE/ACDBE programs. He also spent several years working in the private sector as a Senior Manager and other management and supervisory positions with MCI, Inc. prior to the company’s merger with Verizon Communications in 2006.
Johnnie Burns is the Contract Compliance Division Manager for the Office of Business Opportunity. Prior to Johnnie coming to the City of Houston he was the APEX Grant Employment Coordinator for the Minnesota Department of Labor and industry, where he was responsible for determining if there were barriers in recruitment and retention in the construction industry. Johnnie started his public service in 1992 as an emergency hire receptionist at the Minnesota Department of Transportation after graduating from the Hubert H. Humphrey Job Corps Center. Johnnie quickly begin to rise in the small business/Disadvantaged Business area. He later became a Transportation Program Specialist conducting DBE certifications at MnDOT. He left Mn/DOT in 2006 to become the Title VI Coordinator at the Missouri Department of Transportation and then later Certification Manager at the Arizona Department of Transportation. Johnnie also served at the Assistant Director in charge of Contract Compliance at the City of Minneapolis, where he led one of the most ambitious and successful compliance efforts during the economic downturn starting in 2008. In 2014 Johnnie became Director of Labor Standards and Apprenticeship for the State of Minnesota. Johnnie holds a BA in Criminal Justice from Metropolitan State University.
Ky D. Willson is a Senior Staff Analyst and the Title VI Coordinator in the Office of Business Opportunity. Ky has the primary responsibility for coordinating the administration of the City of Houston Program, Plan and Assurances regarding Title VI, and its related statutes. She ensures the City of Houston makes good faith efforts to prevent the impact of its programs from resulting in inadvertent discrimination to low income and minority populations. Prior to joining the City of Houston, Ky spent over 20 years serving in both public and private education. As an educator, she strategically prepared students for the world of work while dismantling boundaries to minority student achievement. As an administrator, she managed the recruitment of diverse populations and financial assistance programs in addition to leading initiatives to secure equitable learning environments for staff, students and community partners. Ky has conducted trainings and created community education programs within schools and community organizations and facilitated compliance reviews with local and national certifying organizations. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Houston.
Patsy Jackson serves as the Chief Financial Officer for the Office of Business Opportunity. She has over 35 years of experience with the City of Houston. During her tenure, she has performed varied supervisory, organizational, and project management functions, as well as complex administrative duties.
Her current duties include budget development, planning, projections, forecasting, and monitoring expenditures.
Katrina Williams joined the City of Houston through the Mayoral Volunteer Initiative Program (VIP) in 2005 and has since worked for several departments including ARA, City Council, and Finance prior to joining the Office of Business Opportunity (OBO). She currently serves as a Staff Analyst for the Office of Business Opportunity. In her role she leads the Reporting and Analytics team which produces OBO’s MWSBE Awards Reports and Hire Houston First Progress Reports. She also facilitates the optimization of the department’s contract management database. Katrina has a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Texas Southern University and is pursuing a Master’s of Science in Statistical Analysis and Data Programming from Texas A&M University.