Some Keynote Speaker Suggestions for NSC 2018

Looking ahead to the 2018 Congress, who might be a good choice for the big-name speaker in Houston?

INDIANAPOLIS -- Houston has world-class medical care and museums, infuriating traffic snarls, and its metropolitan area is home to a host of major oil and gas companies. Texas' largest city, it also is recovering from the area's worst natural disaster since the 1900 Galveston hurricane killed thousands.

The 2017 National Safety Council Congress & Expo here adopted a "Racing to Zero" theme and featured auto racing star Kyle Petty as the Opening Session keynote speaker, fitting choices for the city that hosts the Indianapolis 500 race every Memorial Day weekend. Looking ahead to the 2018 Congress, who might be a good choice for the big-name speaker in Houston?

An astronaut, current or former, could be a good choice. One of Houston's claims to fame is the Johnson Space Center, the control center for NASA's manned space missions to the moon.

John Sharp, chancellor of the Texas A&M University System, also would be a smart choice. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Sept. 7 announced the formation of the Governor's Commission to Rebuild Texas, headed by Sharp, to oversee the response and relief effort in the state following Hurricane Harvey. The commission also is involved in the rebuilding process, focusing on restoring roads, bridges, schools, and government buildings in impacted communities. "Although the storm is over, the recovery process is just beginning, and it will require a Texas sized response," Abbott explained. "This new commission, led by Chancellor Sharp, will ensure victims get everything they need, and seamlessly provide resources to these devastated communities. Texas will not rest until this process is complete, and I thank Chancellor Sharp for his leadership on this commission."

Or the council could ask Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner or Fire Chief Samuel Peña to speak about the city's emergency response efforts during the hurricane and recovery work afterward.

Finally, a Houstonian with a big heart -- Jim McIngvale, known as "Mattress Mack" to locals -- is a possibility. Not only did he open his two Gallery Furniture stores to house Harvey victims, but he continues to help the community, offering free cleaning supplies at one of the stores this week.

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