Terri Vela

Charm, Community, & Character: Building a Better Richmond

Terri Vela, City Manager at City of Richmond Texas, joins the pod to discuss the coordination behind the scenes of Richmond’s charming city. From infrastructure to events, development to volunteering, no single day looks the same for Terri as she and her team work to build a better and more beautiful Richmond. Talking points include coordinating events like the arts festival and farmers market, strategic partnerships between government and nonprofit groups, and Terri’s future hopes for growth and construction in downtown Richmond.  

Timecoded Guide: 

[00:00] Podcast begins 

[03:12] Terri’s financial background & the importance of fiscally sound cities 

[08:32] A day in the life of Richmond’s City Manager  

[13:21] Strategic growth & important infrastructure in Richmond  

[19:20] Reflecting on Terri’s 20 years of work with the city  

[23:54] Events, festivals, & markets happening in Fort Bend  

[32:02] Board & volunteer opportunities for everyday Richmond citizens 

[40:54] Dreams for the next 20 years of Richmond & a potential new City Hall 

What does a day in the life look like for a City Manager?  

Working alongside numerous department heads in city government, including friend of the show Jerry Jones, Terri spends many of her days having collaborative discussions and important meetings with committees, boards, and local groups. The scope of her work focuses primarily on development and zoning, allowing Richmond to thrive in the present and forge a path of success for the future. From farmers’ markets to neighborhoods, tree protection to wi-fi, Terri helps the citizens of Richmond have an amazing place to call home.  

“All of the city’s Department Heads are great ambassadors. My job looks really easy because we have great people. That’s what makes the community great, people working together, making the community the best it can be. It’s great working with them because they make my job easier and make the work light. I appreciate all of their efforts.” 

In the 20 years you’ve worked for the City of Richmond, what are you most proud of? 

Between her previous role as a Finance Director and her current work as a City Manager, Terri has worked for Richmond for 2 decades and has seen so much growth. Terri is especially proud of the infrastructure of Richmond, and how responsible the city has been about their growth and development. Richmond has grown in her time working for the city, and Terri believes more growth may be on the horizon thanks to the amazing work she’s been able to do collaborating with others and creating a strong community.  

“I’m very proud of the amount of infrastructure we’ve worked on. You’re only as good as the infrastructure that you can provide the next developer. It’s about making sure you’re ready for growth, but doing it in a responsible manner, so that you’re not getting ahead of it and you’re able to react in an appropriate amount of time.” 

What are you dreaming about for the next 20 years for Richmond?  

While growth in Richmond is sure to continue, Terri is looking towards a future with positive change for Richmond’s neighborhoods and for new construction that will help the city government as well. Something on the hopeful horizon for Terri is the construction of a new city hall, which she explains is needed for the city to continue to be a thriving, connected community. A new city hall would allow for more collaboration and opportunities for government employees and the citizens they aim to help with their work every day.  

“Being more open to ideas of different types of development, whether it’s a subdivision that’s traditionally master-planned or something like Indigo, I think we have a little something for everyone. It’s neat that we’re expanding our horizon on what a traditional neighborhood may look like. Making sure we’re staying in touch with those new concepts is really important.” 


Check out Terri Vela on LinkedIn 

Additional resources: RichmondTX.gov, City of Richmond’s Facebook, Richmond’s Instagram 

Born in the Bend is sponsored by Develop Richmond, and is produced and mixed by the team at Speakerbox Media 

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