Mayor Whitmire to Appoint Jay Zeidman as Chairman of Houston First Corporation


Mayor Whitmire to Appoint Jay Zeidman as Chairman of Houston First Corporation

Houston venture capitalist has served on the organization’s board since 2017

HOUSTON – Houston Mayor John Whitmire today announced that he is appointing venture capital executive Jay Zeidman as Board Chairman of Houston First Corporation, pending City Council approval.

Zeidman has served on the board of Houston First (HFC), the City’s destination marketing organization, since 2017. He most recently served as Vice Chair of the organization’s Finance Committee and played an instrumental role in helping HFC secure the 2028 Republican National Convention.Zeidman succeeds outgoing Chairman David Mincberg, who served in the role since 2016.

“I’m pleased to appoint Jay to this important post with one of our city’s leading organizations,” said Mayor Whitmire. “Houston First has consistently shown its capacity to do big things and positively promote Houston around the world. Under the able leadership of CEO Michael Heckman and the management team, and with guidance from Jay and the board, I’m confident in the organization’s ability to continue to grow our region’s hospitality and tourism industry. I also look forward to HFC executing a game-changing plan of using SB 1057 to reimagine the George R. Brown Convention Center and the surrounding district.”

Zeidman is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Altitude Ventures, a healthcare focused investment firm. In addition to Houston First, he serves on the nonprofit boards of the Texas Holocaust, Genocide, and Antisemitism Commission, UT Health Houston Development Board, and the Emancipation Park Conservancy. Zeidman was previously the Director of Business Development for U.S. Capital Advisors and served as an aide to President George W. Bush at the White House. He received his undergraduate degree in Economics and Political Science from Texas Christian University, where he also served as Student Body President, and his MBA from the Jesse Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University.

“I am truly grateful to Mayor Whitmire and would be honored to serve in the role as Chair of the Board of Houston First. Through my service on the board the past seven years, I have seen first-hand just how important this organization is to our amazing city,” Zeidman said. “I have long been impressed with the incredible management team and people at Houston First, and look forward to supporting the Mayor, our outstanding CEO Michael Heckman, and the entire team in order to execute a bold vision for the future.”

Houston First is a local government corporation charged with promoting Houston as a destination for tourism and conventions in the U.S. and around the world as well as building and enhancing Houston’s brand and image. The organization is also responsible for managing a portfolio of City-owned assets including the George R. Brown Convention Center, several major performing arts venues and green spaces and parking facilities. HFC also owns and operates the 1,200-room Hilton Americas-Houston, the city’s largest hotel.

Houston First has led the post-pandemic recovery of the travel and hospitality sector in the metro region. The organization’s convention sales team booked 419 meetings for future years in the first nine months of 2023, up from just 321 meetings in the same period in 2022. Key major events booked in recent months include the international energy conference Gastech that will bring 14,000 attendees to Houston this September and the 2028 Republican National Convention that’s anticipated to bring 50,000 delegates and attendees. With HFC’s help, the Houston hotel market achieved a new revenue record in 2023.

David Mincberg, who helped lead Houston First through a critical period over nearly eight years as Chairman, submitted his resignation to Mayor Whitmire on January 1, 2024, and became effective on Jan. 2, 2024.

The Mayor thanked Mincberg for his service to the organization and to Houston.