Coming: Dusty Thiele to take oath of office Friday

By George Slaughter, News Editor
Posted 5/12/22

Mayor-Elect Dusty Thiele tells a story about a golf ball to illustrate the importance of seeing things from different perspectives.

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Coming: Dusty Thiele to take oath of office Friday


Mayor-Elect Dusty Thiele tells a story about a golf ball to illustrate the importance of seeing things from different perspectives.

Thiele, who takes office Friday night at City Hall, said he got the story from one of his mayoral predecessors, Skip Conner. According to the story, a man has a golf ball in his hand. The ball has on one side the manufacturer’s logo. The man holds up the ball before some friends, making sure that the logo faces him.

Thiele said the man asked his friends, do they see anything? No, they answer. He turns the ball around so the others can see the logo. He asked again, do they see anything now? Yes, they answer.

Taking different viewpoints into account is important, Thiele said. As an insurance agent, Thiele said he’s used to making decisions on his own for his business. But in his civic service, he worked with others to make the right decisions for the community.

Thiele shared the story, and his perspectives as he prepares to assume the mayoralty, at a May 5 Katy Area Chamber of Commerce meeting at the Courtyard by Marriott, 25402 Katy Mills Pkwy.

Thiele was unopposed in his bid for mayor. He succeeds incumbent Mayor Bill Hastings, who is retiring after one term in office. Thiele served both as a Ward A and Ward B city council member, in both cases finishing unexpired terms of his predecessors. He has also served on various city boards and commissions.

Thiele grew up in Pleasanton, near San Antonio. When he went to Baylor University, he decided he did not want to live in Houston. He had relatives who lived in Galena Park, Channelview, and Denver Harbor, all east of Houston. He said he did not like the smell of those places, though he was told the smell was of money thanks to the Texas oil industry.

Ultimately, Thiele moved to Houston and joined the oil industry. He got into the insurance business, and in one day he and his wife were driving around Katy. This was long before Houston’s growth reached the Katy area.

“I saw they had big lots with trees,” Thiele said. He and his family liked what they saw, and moved to Katy in 1991. Their daughters are Katy High School graduates, Thiele said, and he joked that he gave Katy Tigers football coach Gary Joseph some pointers at a recent awards banquet. The crowd laughed when Thiele said Joseph appeared to appreciate the suggestions.

As mayor, Thiele said drainage and public safety would be priorities.

“There’s not much we’re going to do to protect everyone (in case of another tropical storm) but we’re working on it,” Thiele said, adding that drainage had to be at the forefront of any development projects the city considers.

“When you get 3-4 inches of rain, people start looking at the ditches,” Thiele said. “We have to mitigate that.”

On public safety, Thiele said some people moved to Katy in part because of the first responders. But as area cities grow, competition for first responders becomes intense. Thiele said the city is conducting a salary survey, after which city leaders would come up with recommendations on how best to move forward.

“The city is working on that,” Thiele said. “I think one of the main things is, we can’t always be training officers, we need to be retaining officers. You can’t replace experience.”

Managing development has long been an issue in Katy. Thiele was asked how Katy could maintain its small-town charm in light of the inevitable development.

“It’s tough,” Thiele said. “Houston already has moved out here.”

Thiele said Katy has a certain charm that people can see at various events that bring people downtown, such as the Party on the Plaza, staged across the street from City Hall.

“There’s grass out there,” Thiele said “There’s a stage we have. It’s really nice. It brings people to our downtown area.”

Another downtown attraction Thiele discussed was the Katy Rice Festival, held each October. When the city took over festival sponsorship in 2018, Thiele said, the festival had lost some of its small-town charm. Today, Thiele said, the festival focus has returned to craft vendors, which has given the festival more of a small-town feel for which it had been known.

City parks are also being renovated or developed. Thiele said basketball courts at area parks have recently been refinished and new trails are being developed. The city is revising its parks plan as part of a larger comprehensive plan for the city’s long-term management.

City of Katy, mayor


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