Born in Arkansas, Chris has called Denton home since age 1. The third of four brothers, he was reared mostly by his mother. Chris attended Newton Rayzor Elementary and Strickland Junior High School and was graduated from Denton High School in 1979.
To help the family with living expenses and pay for college expenses, Chris worked at the Sonic Drive-in on University Drive throughout high school and college, except for a short stint at the McDonald’s down the road.
In 1983, Chris was graduated cum laude from then-North Texas State University with a Bachelor of Science degree, with a major in computer science and minor in business economics. He then worked for seven years as a computer programmer and analyst at Computer Language Research in Carrollton. During this time, Chris began investing in real estate.
Career changes and challenges
In 1989, Chris left computer programming to make real estate his full-time occupation. He established a real estate investment company and began building, buying and rehabilitating single- and multifamily properties. At the same time, he developed a mentoring program to help individuals learn how to build and manage real estate investment portfolios.
In 1992, Chris completed his Master of Education degree in counseling and student services at the University of North Texas.
In 1997, he enrolled in Texas Wesleyan University School of Law, now Texas A&M University School of Law. Chris had long wanted to attend law school, but was unable to do so upon graduation in 1983, due to economic constraints. Completing law school allowed him to achieve an important personal goal while expanding his skill set.
Negotiation teams coach
During his second year of law school, Chris was chosen for the school’s American Bar Association (ABA) student negotiation team; his team qualified for the ABA national competition. After graduation in 2000, Chris continued to coach negotiation teams as a volunteer.
Eleven years later, Chris was invited to become an adjunct professor at Texas Wesleyan University School of Law and, today, he continues to coach the school’s student negotiation teams on contract. Under his guidance during the last 10 years, student negotiating teams have advanced to the national competition seven times and won two national championships, in 2011 and 2013.
Representing children for CASA
In 1998, Chris began serving as a volunteer for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Denton County. In this capacity, he advocated for children from broken homes and made recommendations to the court about custody and other crucial matters. He soon was appointed to the CASA Board of Directors, where he served from 1999 to 2005, including one term as President.
In 2000, at the age of 40, Chris completed his law degree, passed the bar exam, and was licensed by the State of Texas. Chris hung out his own shingle, specializing in real estate law, including consumer law and property tax issues.
City Council member
Believing he could provide the leadership needed to resolve the property maintenance issue that surfaced in 2006, Chris filed to run for the Denton City Council District 4 seat in 2007 and was re-elected in 2009 and 2011.
In 2014, Chris ran for mayor and was elected with 62% of the vote. He ran without opposition in 2016 and is now running for his third term as mayor.
While a district Council member, Chris chaired two Council committees, the Committee on Property Maintenance and the Audit Finance Committee. In addition, he served on the Council Hotel Occupancy Tax Committee, Mobility Committee and Committee on the Environment. He also served as a Council representative on the Convention & Visitor’s Bureau Advisory Committee, a division of the Denton Chamber of Commerce.
Texas Municipal Power Agency appointments
Denton, Bryan, Garland and Greenville, member cities of the Texas Municipal Power Agency (TMPA), collectively own a power production facility in Grimes County, together with electric transmission assets. In 2009, the Denton City Council appointed Chris to represent the City on the TMPA board; he was reappointed in 2011 and 2013.
Chris quickly assumed leadership roles, first as Secretary, then as Vice-President. He was elected board President in 2012 and 2013.
- Denton Kiwanis Club
- Health Services of North Texas, board member
- United Way Bank On Denton, committee member
- Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Denton County (7 years); Board Member of the Year, 2000