State of the Association

As we celebrate TAMIO’s 50th anniversary this year, this milestone reminds us of how far we’ve come together. From our humble beginnings to becoming a cornerstone for municipal communicators, it’s been quite the journey. Now, as we turn our gaze to the year ahead, let’s take a moment to reflect on the whirlwind of 2023. From exciting breakthroughs to unforeseen challenges, it’s shaped us in ways we couldn’t have imagined. So, sit back, and let’s rewind to review the highlights and lessons learned from the past year in TAMIO.

Association Management

During our last Constitutional election, TAMIO’s members approved a $40 increase in the annual membership fee, to $125 annually. That change started in 2023, raising additional revenue to ensure we can maintain our current level and quality of programming, while also covering operating expenses. TAMIO ended the fiscal year with $138,965 in assets.

Our membership has seen significant growth this decade. Since 2020, TAMIO has grown 33% from 387 members to today’s current total of 518. In 2023 alone, we increased membership by 10%.

In June, we had an unexpected vacancy on the TAMIO Executive Board. Vice President for Communications LeaAnn Peterson accepted a position with The Woodlands Township, a locality that doesn’t meet the TAMIO Constitutional requirements for board participation. Josh Lee, Director of Communications and the TAMIO Region 8 Director, was appointed to fill the remainder of LeaAnn’s term. Brian Ligon was then appointed to fill the Region 8 director position.

Region 1 – Melinda Brown, Plainview
Region 2 – Victor Reta, Socorro
Region 3 – Rachel Reynolds, Keller
Region 4 – Isaac Vasquez, Irving
Region 5 – Jarrod Wise, Lakeway
Region 6 – Richard Yeakley, Longview
Region 7 – Xochitl Mora, McAllen
Region 8 – Brian Ligon, Mont Belvieu

At our annual conference last June, we announced the winners of the TAMIO Regional Director elections. This was our first time to hold elections with our newly configured region system that expanded to eight regions in 2022. Each of these positions run through June 2025. Please join me in congratulating our regional directors and thanking them for their contributions to our organization!

2023 Conference

TAMIO’s 2023 annual Conference held in Arlington was truly unforgettable, and featured a lineup of events that left a lasting impact on attendees. One standout moment was the electrifying night at the ballpark, where conference-goers had the opportunity to network with colleagues while watching the Texas Rangers in action. Little did we know at the time, we were witnessing the future World Series Champions in action.

Additionally, the conference was enriched by powerful keynote speeches, including one from civil rights icon Ms. Opal Lee, whose inspiring words resonated deeply with all in attendance. Alongside Ms. Opal, other notable speakers captivated audiences with their wisdom, leaving attendees feeling motivated and empowered long after the conference concluded.

The 396 people in attendance at the conference made 2023 the most-attended conference in our organization’s history!

A few other conference highlights included:

  • Approximately 35-40% of participants were first-time conference attendees, as we saw in 2021 and 2022
  • Fifteen concurrent sessions comprised of 40 TAMIO members who shared their insights, experiences and skills
  • Two preconference sessions, including a tour of AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys.
  • Five keynote speakers
  • The first TAMIO Family Feud, TAMIO After Hours Trivia and TAMIO After Hours Karaoke. All three were big hits and will be returning, when possible, at future conferences


In 2023, we continued with our “learning throughout the year” philosophy and held eight webinars on timely, informative topics, added to the TAMIO Thoughts blog posts, expanded regional programming, distributed three quarterly newsletters, and increased our TAMIO Facebook page engagement, which now has 488 followers, a 54% increase from 2021.

We also updated our TAMIO Teammates program to add Small Shops as a new interest area. The Development & Education Committee recruited a few new Teammates as well.

Social Media – Allison Strupeck, Meredith Haynes, and Rell Holt-Rugley
Video – Brian Groves and Jose Esqueda
Small Shop – Kara McKinney, Frances La Rue, and Daniel Seguin
Marketing/Graphic Design – Ann Beck, Anndrea Harris and Kelli Lewis
Website – Abby Aldrich and Kristen Waggener
Media Relations – Steve Stoler and Ashley Strevel

Finally, 14 TAMIO members graduated from TCU’s Certified Communicator Program in 2023, including: Heather Bates (Temple), Martha Eighme (Angleton), Saul Garza (Garland), Rose Hoffman (Willow Park), Shelly Klein (Hurst), Amanda McNew (Grapevine), Megan Nelson (Canyon), Jeff Newpher (Granbury), Christine Pollok (Cibolo), Paige Ruedy (University Park), Holly Russell (Highland Park), Rhonda Simpson (FEMA Region 6 Dallas), Tenisha Turner (Princeton), and Lee Woodward (La Porte). Congrats to the Cohort 10 graduates and to all TAMIO members who have completed the program.


You may have noticed that some of communications have a new look. In 2023, TAMIO entered a partnership with Granicus, who’s providing our organization access to the company’s GovDelivery and EngagementHQ tools. GovDelivery has already been implemented as our e-newsletter solution, providing an improved look, better organization branding, greater efficiencies for our regional directors and a more cohesive look for organization-wide and region-specific communication.

We also created a new standing committee in 2023 to focus on communications. The Vice President for Communications leads this group, and it focuses on membership outreach/engagement, consistent communication efforts and TAMIO’s social media presence.

We have also started a new TAMIO LinkedIn page that will allow the organization to better market itself and TAMIO activities to a wider audience. If you haven’t already, please follow our page.


With 554 submissions, the TAMI Awards program set a record in 2023. At our annual awards banquet in Arlington, the organization celebrated 173 TAMI Award winners for their inspiring work in graphic and website design, event planning, media relations, project management, video production, marketing and photography.

We also added six new categories to the TAMI Awards in 2023: Best Social Media Post, Best Overall City Website, Best Use of Shortform Video, Best Issue Specific Website, DEI Outreach/Campaign, and Crisis Communication. These categories will all return in 2024. Finally, for the second year, we presented awards for our best small shops, with the City of Murphy taking home the top honor last year.

Also in 2023, TAMIO bestowed its highest honor, the Cheryl A. Soward Communicator of Distinction Award, to Amy Sprinkles. Amy, who retired in the summer of last year after leading the Grand Prairie communications team for more than 30 years, created what is believed to be one of the first municipal marketing departments in the Lone Star State.  She started in 1992 as a one-person shop, and three decades later left a 14-person team and $3 million budget. She is truly a pioneer in our profession. Congrats to our friend Amy Sprinkles!

The Future

Looking to the future, the TAMIO Board is focused on how we can continue our positive momentum and evolve to meet the needs of our members, including:

  • The 2024 TAMI Awards officially opened last month and close on March 17. Please note, we are not changing any of our categories from 2023.
  • The TAMIO annual conference will be in San Antonio in June 2024. Program highlights will include the return of Restaurant Romp, keynote speeches by former San Antonio Mayor and HUD Secretary Julian Castro and Texas Country Reporter J.B. Saucedo, the return of our small shop track, and concurrent sessions on topics ranging from AI to Canva to branding (to name a few). Members will also be able to choose between three interactive pre-conference sessions.
  • Our conference will come back to the DFW Metroplex in 2025 as Fort Worth will host us at the newly renovated Sheraton Fort Worth Downtown Hotel. Stay tuned for more details.
  • During the annual conference, the Development and Education Committee will release TAMIO’s Knowledge Domains. These domains provide structure for TAMIO education events, help individuals plan for career advancement, and assist individuals in auditing their organization’s communications and marketing efforts. We’ll be sending out more details about this project soon.
  • The TAMIO One-on-One Mentoring program returns in 2024 with its second cohort. We have 11 new mentor/mentee pairings.
  • Finally, in 2024 we will hold elections for the TAMIO Executive Board (President-Elect, Vice President for Development and Education, Vice President for Awards and Vice President for Communications). A call for nominations went out earlier this year. Look for more information about voting in the coming weeks.

How can you get involved?

We have several opportunities to get more involved with the organization. In addition to our mentoring program and the upcoming conference, you can join one of our standing committees (Communications, Awards and Development & Education), volunteer to be a judge with the TAMI Awards, or become a TAMIO Teammate. If you’re interested in serving, please reach out to me ( or any board member.

Finally, to learn more about TAMIO and what’s new, be sure to follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook or check out the news page, which is loaded with all our most recent content.

As we conclude our reflection on the State of the Association for 2023, let’s carry forward the spirit of innovation and collaboration that defines TAMIO. On behalf of the TAMIO Board of Directors, it is an honor to serve this organization. Thank you for being part of the TAMIO community and for your unwavering support. Here’s to the journey ahead!

Jay Warren, CPC
TAMIO President