Janis Schmees Burke
Chief Executive Officer
In 2006, Janis Schmees Burke, CEO of the Harris County – Houston Sports Authority became the third chief executive and first woman to hold the position since the inception of the organization in 1997.
In addition to overseeing the billion dollars of bond debt service for Houston’s premiere, professional sports stadiums, under her leadership, Houston has been awarded major sporting events to include: several Olympic Trials, numerous National Championships, Junior Olympics, and most recently the 2015 World Weightlifting Championships. Schmees has been recognized by Conference USA and Rice University for her outstanding contributions and achievements as a woman in the Houston sports industry and named “Woman on the Move” by the Texas Executive Women’s Association.
Schmees began her career working in various hotel chains in the Detroit, Michigan area, eventually serving as a Director for the Detroit Metro Conventions and Visitors Bureau. While there she assisted in establishing the Detroit Metro Sports Commission, and was a founding board member of the Motor City Bowl game.
She later assumed the role as CEO and President of Hershey-Harrisburg Convention and Visitors Bureau, where she became a registered lobbyist and played a key role in advocating tourism throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, as well as educating legislators in Washington, D.C. on the driving force and positive economic impact that the sports and hospitality industry creates in the United States.
Burke was also recruited to serve for two years as the Acting Executive Director at the San Antonio Convention and Visitors Bureau, just before arriving to Houston. Tourism is the second largest industry in the Alamo City and captures over 23 million visitors each year.