Preserving the real places and the real stories of Texas.

Real Places 2019: You’ve Been Here How Long?

How The Texas Treasure Business Award Helps Businesses

Breakout 1D

Day/Time: Thursday, January 17, 9:30–10:45 a.m.
Location: Capitol Salon BC, 3rd Floor
Speakers: The Honorable Leticia Van de Putte, RPh, former Texas State Senator and Chay Rees Runnels, Stephen F. Austin State University/Rees Jewelry

Former state senator and author of the legislation establishing the Texas Historical Commission’s Texas Treasure Business Award, Leticia Van de Putte will present the legislative intent of the award and how she and other legislators have used it to recognize historic businesses in their districts. Chay Rees Runnels will share how one business navigated the award process from the nomination to the presentation event and beyond. Discussion will include what the award means for business owners and how to incorporate it into ongoing heritage tourism promotions.


Leticia Van de Putte, a practicing pharmacist since 1980, served in the Texas Legislature for over two decades, representing a large portion of San Antonio and Bexar County. She has been recognized and honored with over 200 awards and citations for her work on behalf of small business, veterans, families, quality education, healthcare, and economic development. Van de Putte was named one of the "Top Ten Legislators" by Texas Monthly and is the subject of the book, Latina Legislator: Leticia Van de Putte and the Road to Leadership. She has held numerous positions on boards, commissions, and foundations, and is especially recognized for her work battling human trafficking. She is currently president of Andrade-Van de Putte and Associates, a bipartisan consulting firm she co-founded with former Texas Secretary of State, Hope Andrade. Van de Putte was an honors graduate of the University of Texas College of Pharmacy and was a Kellogg Fellow at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.


Nacogdoches native Chay Rees Runnels joined the Hospitality Administration faculty of Stephen F. Austin State University in 2005, where she serves as coordinator of the Hospitality Administration Program. Her areas of interest include travel and tourism, convention and meeting planning, and customer service. She has a doctoral degree in Forestry with an emphasis on Resource Interpretation from Stephen F. Austin State University. Her master’s degree in Historic Preservation and bachelor’s degree in American Studies are from the University of Texas at Austin. Runnels previously served as coordinator of the Texas Forest Trail Region and director of the Hinsdale County Museum in Lake City, Colorado. She also previously worked with Preservation Texas, the Elisabet Ney Museum, and the Daughters of the Republic of Texas Museum, and she continues to work with historic sites and preservation programs in East Texas.