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Real estate manager remembers call that changed his life

2015 May 14
by HISD Communications
Gary Hansel today...

Gary Hansel today…

Gary Hansel had only been with HISD about three years in 1988 when he got the phone call that would change his life.

“I was just sitting there one day and I got a phone call from (former Superintendent of Schools) Dr. Joan Raymond,” said Hansel, who now serves as the real estate manager of the Bond Fund program. “She said, ‘Mr. Hansel, I need you to meet me in my office at 2 o’clock.’ And I thought, ‘Uh-oh. What’s this about?’ When I got there, she said, ‘Are you aware that we just passed a new bond program? Well, it calls for us to build 12 new schools on 12 new sites, so I need to find those sites and get ‘em bought, and you’re gonna do that for me.’”

Before that, noted Hansel, “I’d never bought anything but my house. But basically, if it’s been bought, sold, or leased by HISD since 1989, I’ve done it.”

...and in 1992, with Barbara Bush, when Bush ES opened.

…and in 1992, with Barbara Bush, when Bush ES opened.

Over the years, that has translated into hundreds of millions of dollars in acquisitions, but Hansel still describes those first 12 campuses—Benavides, Bush, Carrillo, Gallegos, Garcia, Herrera, Lyons, Clemente Martinez, and Raul Martinez Elementary; Stevenson Middle; and Chávez and Westside High schools— as some of his most gratifying transactions on behalf of the district.

“Whether it be expansions or new acquisitions, I’ve touched more than half of our schools in one way or another,” he said. “But it was very rewarding to watch the new schools go up. I attended all the construction sites and followed those projects through until the kids walked in the door. I still have a picture of me with Barbara Bush when that campus opened.”

Hansel officially marked his 30th anniversary with the district on May 15, but a few other employees are also marking theirs this month (May 3–16). See if you know anyone on this list:

30 years

  • Ernest Barajas, roofer, Construction & Facility Services
  • Farley Fox, electrician, Construction & Facility Services
  • Aretha Franks, attendant, Nutrition Services
  • Reginald Johnson, campus police officer, Bellaire High School

5 years

  • Keith Williams, associate teacher
Check back in future editions of eNews for more Milestones. Leave a comment below if you’d like to congratulate any of the above employees.
One Response leave one →
  1. Priscilla Martinez permalink
    May 22, 2015

    Congratulations Gary! This is a really interesting fact to know how you became the realtor for the bond projects in HISD! Congrats on your 30th anniversary!

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