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Houston First Achieves GBAC STARTM Facility Accreditation for Convention and Theater Facilities


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HOUSTON (February 10, 2021) – Houston First Corporation (HFC) is pleased to announce all of the convention and theater facilities it manages have earned accreditation from the Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC) STARTM Facility Accreditation Program—the industry gold standard of safe facilities. This achievement includes the George R. Brown Convention Center, Wortham Theater Center, Jones Hall of Performing Arts, Miller Outdoor Theatre and Partnership Tower.  

The STARTM Program, developed by GBAC- a division of ISSA, the worldwide cleaning industry association- is the cleaning industry’s only outbreak prevention, response, and recovery accreditation. To meet the program’s rigorous requirements, venues must establish and maintain detailed protocols and procedures on cleaning, disinfection and prevention of infectious diseases like COVID-19. 

Having this third-party validation ensures HFC’s facilities are compliant with the GBAC STARTM Program's 20 core elements and have proven systems in place to deliver clean and healthy environments that are safe for business.

“It is crucial, as an organization, in these uncertain times to bring a sense of assurance to our employees, clients, and guests. We want them to know that we are taking deliberate action to protect them and keep people in our venues healthy,” said Michael Heckman, Acting President & CEO, Houston First Corporation. “I am especially proud of the Houston First team that worked not only to get the convention center certified, but every venue that we manage for the City of Houston— a testament to the skill and commitment of our team to take care of our customers and guests.” 

In order to achieve GBAC STARTM accreditation, HFC developed a comprehensive program utilizing specific guidance criteria that includes: 

Establish and maintain robust protocols for infectious disease prevention program to control or minimize risks associated with diseases like the novel coronavirus. 

Provide proper cleaning protocols, disinfection techniques, and work practices to combat biohazards.

Retain highly informed cleaning professionals, trained for outbreak and infectious disease preparation and response.

“This third-party accreditation program is designed to provide an additional layer of protection and trust to ensure that our facilities are in a safe, sanitary, and healthy condition for visitors and residents,” said John Gonzalez, Senior Vice President of Operations and General Manager, Houston First Corporation.

In addition to the GBAC STARTM accreditation, HFC had already taken several significant steps to ensure the health and safety of its guests, including:


Introduction of Houston Clean Initiative: A citywide task force committed to enhanced health precautions designed to mitigate virus spread.

New Virtual Studio: Providing more flexibility and connectivity for hybrid functions, this studio so far has been used by six events bringing $200K in revenue.

New Integrated Viral Protection: In early September 2020, Houston’s George R. Brown became the first convention center in the nation to implement Medistar Corp’s new biodefense air filtration system proven to eliminate a number of airborne contaminants, including COVID-19.


For more on what Houston First is doing to make health and safety our highest priority go here.  

Learn more about GBAC STAR accreditation.


About Houston First

Houston First is the official destination management organization for the city of Houston. In addition, Houston First owns the Hilton Americas-Houston hotel, manages the George R. Brown Convention Center along with 10 city-owned properties and developed the Avenida Houston entertainment district. 



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