TSA partnerships flourish in Houston

Thursday, August 5, 2021
Group photo

TSA’s effort to promote security partnerships across our nation’s surface transportation systems took another big step forward during a trip to Houston. 

Mel Carraway, the agency’s Region 4 security director for Surface Operations, and members of his team traveled to the fourth largest city in the U.S. to recognize TSA’s surface transportation and emergency management partners that support, inform and assist the Houston region during disasters.

Carraway and his team met with leaders of Houston TranStar and Metropolitan Transit Authority (METRO) of Harris County. Carraway said TranStar provides immediate action during emergencies and along with representatives from the city, Harris County, METRO and the Texas Department of Transportation, keeps citizens informed and roadways safe and clear.

Houston terminal photo
Greater Houston Transportation and Emergency Management Center (Photo by Georgia Latas)

Carraway felt it was a very important visit for TSA and Greater Houston.

“This past year, the Southwest has experienced enormous variations of weather temperatures, COVID-19 increases, pipeline issues from cyberattacks, and explosions devastating homes, businesses and infrastructure,” said Carraway. “Our visit was to show our commitment to support the communities and residents from DHS/TSA.”

His team’s visit was a great opportunity to collaborate and was well received.

“City leaders were enthusiastic over our visit,” Carraway said. “And they committed to further participating in vulnerability training, cyber and tabletop exercises by all emergency management partners.”

Just how enthusiastic were TSA’s Houston partners?

TranStar posted this comment on its LinkedIn page: “It was an honor to have Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Regional Director Mel Carraway and his team join our executive director, Dinah Massie, Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County President & CEO Tom Lambert and METRO PD’s Chief Vera Bumpers for a special tour of Houston TranStar this afternoon. Thank you for stopping by!”

Program Analysts photo
From left, TSA Program Analysts J. Alexander Bagley and Jose Gutierrez, William P. Hobby Airport Supervisor-TSI Bruce Mcclarydavis, and Regional Surface Inspector Jeremy Towne (Photo by Georgia Latas)

The visit included a tour of the Greater Houston Transportation and Emergency Management Center, which Carraway said demonstrated the strength of TSA partnerships. Carraway and his team also met with William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) TSA leadership and had a roundtable with agency surface transportation security inspectors (TSIs) from the region to thank them and recognize their accomplishments.

Carraway said the team effort at HOU comes from labor omnia vincit, a Latin phrase meaning “Work conquers all.” He recognized TSIs’ outstanding support of the region from training, engagements and security during challenges such as the pandemic, extreme weather, hazardous material explosions and train derailments.

“Aviation will always be the focus when TSA is mentioned in conversation; we can never change that perception,” Carraway assessed. “However, what I hope is that included in that conversation will be a recognition that this country functions mostly due to the efforts of workers moving products, supplies and services on railways, roadways, waterways and pipelines.

“Commerce is not solely dependent on airlines, rather, the ingenuity of those who protect our supply chain and natural and manmade resources to support the U.S. Thus, continual recognition of the importance of the interconnectedness of people, products and communication makes us not only a viable country, but a thriving, growing and successful nation.”

When asked what his biggest takeaway was from his visit, Carraway replied, “Sincere demonstration of a shared mission and responsibility to service and professionalism to our communities.”