Over the past 11 years, Kathie Reyer has held five different roles with the city of Shenandoah: assistant director of the Convention & Visitors Bureau, public information officer, city secretary, interim city administrator and as of June 1, city administrator.
No stranger to the Greater Houston area, Reyer was born and raised in Memorial City by her parents, alongside her twin sister and a younger sister. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in interdisciplinary studies and political science, which she earned from the University of Houston, as well as a Master of Art degree in strategic communications that she earned from Johns Hopkins University.
In 1990, the same year she married her husband and gave birth to her only daughter, Reyer moved to The Woodlands where she worked at The Woodlands Corporation—known today as The Woodlands Development Company—for seven years.
Since her tenure with The Woodlands Development Company, Reyer has also worked for the Town Center Improvement District; Lamkin Design Group, a software company; and Haliburton Co. before being recruited to work for the city of Shenandoah in 2007.
“When I first started, the natatorium and stadium were under construction,” Reyer said. “All that was in Silverwood was a model home, and there was no Tuscany Woods or Malaga Forest … so I’ve seen a huge surge of residential development. I’ve also seen some commercial growth—we’ve had a lot of hospitals come in on Vision Park [Boulevard], and we’ve added a few hotels. It’s been a pretty interesting time.”
As Shenandoah’s city administrator, Reyer said she is responsible for developing and executing organizational and strategic plans, managing major projects, supervising and directing department heads, performing detailed financial analysis and preparing the annual city budget. As city administrator, Reyer said she is the only city staff member who answers directly to the council.
“Kathie is a great city administrator—she is extremely competent and qualified,” Mayor Ritch Wheeler said. “Beyond that, Kathie is a great person. She is involved with the community and really cares about our residents. She is a true leader with the city staff and has made Shenandoah a great place to work. I think we are lucky to have her, and she represents the best of what Shenandoah stands for.”
Since starting her new position four months ago, Reyer said the staff and the council’s biggest accomplishment has been completing the budget process for fiscal year 2018-19.
“I think every member of this team brings value and contributes to our success,” she said. “I see accomplishments all the time, and I think our most recent one is the budget that we just accomplished. It went better than I could have hoped for. Everybody made some sacrifices for the greater good and prioritized projects for the benefit of the city.”
In addition to the growth the city has experienced over the past decade, Reyer said city staff and the council are working to prepare for anticipated future growth, with mixed-use developments, such as MetroPark Square and Centro, underway east of I-45.
“Getting David Memorial [Drive] through [to Hwy. 242] is a goal of ours,” Reyer said. “It will alleviate a lot of the traffic because it will provide an alternate north-south to the I-45 service road. Everybody in this area will benefit in some way.”
In addition to improving mobility, Reyer said the city has also applied for grant funds from the Texas Division of Emergency Management’s hazard mitigation program for the city’s east side detention pond.
“I think part of me just thrives on challenge,” Reyer said. “Doing something new and feeling a little insecure doesn’t scare me. I’m not afraid to take on something new and work.”
In her spare time, Reyer serves as a coach for The Warriors of The Woodlands, a local delegation of Special Olympics that includes about 100 athletes of all ages who have intellectual disabilities. Having served with the organization since she was in her twenties, Reyer said the organization holds a special place in her heart.
“My twin sister is disabled—she had a brain injury at birth so she’s faced it her whole life,” Reyer said. “So when we were kids … I saw how underserved that community is. There’s a lot more that can be done.”
Reyer said she is certified to coach five sports with Special Olympics: swimming, bocce, bowling, track and tennis. The teams practice on a weekly basis during the season and attend events regularly.
“We’re so fortunate in this area because it’s very affluent and a lot of what people worry over is inconvenience,” Reyer said. “In the special needs community—that’s when you have true difficulty and true challenges, and yet they’re extremely courageous. I see amazing things. I see people go from a wheelchair to a walker to walking without it. I see people swim for the first time … it just makes you realize what’s important.”