Jack Thomas is the Director of Inclusive Procurements for the Department of Economic Equity and Opportunity. Prior to his current position, Jack was the Director of Disadvantaged Business Enterprises and Community Development for the Jackson Municipal Airport Authority, a position he held on two different occasions totaling more than 10 years. Before Jack joined the staff in Jackson, he was the Assistant Vice President, Business Diversity Development at the Nashville Airport, Chief Diversity Officer for St. Louis County Government and Assistant Airport Director for the City of St. Louis Airport Authority, retiring after 30 years of service to the City and the St. Louis business community. During his tenure with the City of St. Louis, Jack was the Director of the City’s M/WBE Program from 1996-1999 and Director of the City’s M/W/DBE Programs from 2001-2008.
Ernesto "Ernie" Hernandez is the Assistant Director of Worker and Community Protections for the Department of Economic Equity and Opportunity. Ernie ensures compliance for Davis Bacon and Related Acts (DBRA), Section 3 Program provisions, and Texas Prevailing Wage Rate for federally and locally funded construction projects. Ernie holds a Master of Public Administration (MPA) from St. Mary’s University.
Ernie has more than 13 years of experience in housing and community development that he has garnered by working both for municipal governments and HUD technical assistance providers. Over the years, Ernie’s had the opportunity to work with over 20 municipal governments providing technical assistance and capacity building of nonprofits and units of government that implement programs and projects that advance economic mobility in low- and moderate-income communities. Prior experiences include several positions at Harris County Community Services Department managing compliance of programs and projects for the Grants Management Division and most recently the Disaster Recovery Contract Compliance and Support group.
Derek Holmes is the Assistant Director of Vendor Diversity for the Department of Economic Equity and Opportunity. Derek is responsible for developing, implementing, and overseeing the M/WBE Program for Harris County.
Most recently Derek held multiple contract compliance roles at the City of Houston’s Office of Business Opportunity, where he most notably helped author the 2021 OBO Policies and Procedures, created a small business capacity building program, and created on-demand training videos for City Departments.
Derek received his Bachelor of Science in Public Management from Florida A&M University and his MBA from Texas Southern University. He has also earned multiple certifications at the Wharton School of Business and Morgan State University. Derek enjoys volunteering in the community and has served on several boards and nonprofit committees.