AALP Class 17 arrived at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, and were greeted by Dr. Jim Mazurkiewicz, the leadership program director and professor of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. Jim is also the director of Texas Agricultural Lifetime Leadership (TALL). Jim gave the group at brief history of Texas, and outlined the importance of agriculture to the Texas economy. Jim noted that Texas is the second largest agricultural state, with cattle being the largest commodity -- 90% of farmers have 100 cows or less. Texas is home to over 11 million head of cattle. Jim spoke of dairy farmers moving from California to Texas due to ever-increasing regulations and costs, “Texas is wide open for business," says Jim. Another memorable quote from Jim was, “leadership is about building bridges and making contacts and leaving the world a better place than we found it."
Following lunch we got back on the bus for a tour of Houston. The tour was given by Keith, who was very funny. It was an interesting view of Houston that we would not have seen on our own. The highlight of the ride was the water wall in downtown Houston. It is actually a water cooling system that was architecturally beautiful. Houston is the 4th largest city in America. Houston does not have any zoning rules. Keith showed us how that makes for some very interesting neighbourhoods. One of the homes we saw was made out of beer cans!
The day ended with dinner at the Aquarium Restaurant where we were able to dine under the sea surrounded by magnificent marine life. We all over ate and left feeling very satisfied. This was a great start to our Texas Adventure, y’all.