Mayor Lori Blong describes Sharla Hotchkiss as someone who “embodies generosity of spirit and helpfulness to those around her”. A lifetime community volunteer, Hotchkiss has filled her 50-plus years as an engaged Midlander with service on numerous local and state boards.
A consistent leader in the community, Hotchkiss served on Midland City Council for six years after dedicating nine years to the city’s Planning & Zoning Commission. She was the governor’s appointee to the Texas Workforce Investment Council, serving as vice chair for eight years. She also co-chaired the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s Pollution Prevention Oversight Committee.
Hotchkiss served on the boards for Keep Midland Beautiful, Keep Texas Beautiful, and George W. Bush Childhood Home. She is a past president of the Midland Junior League and was a member of the Midland Reporter-Telegram’s Community Editorial Board. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Midland Downtown Park Conservancy.
In 2011, Hotchkiss was the recipient of the Keep America Beautiful Lady Bird Johnson Award for outstanding female volunteer in the nation. She was honored by President George W. Bush in 2008 with the President’s Call to Service Award for her work with Keep Midland Beautiful and Keep Texas Beautiful.
Driven by her love for her community and can-do spirit, Hotchkiss focused on improving the quality of life for Midlanders in both her career and volunteer activities. As the executive director of Keep Midland Beautiful from 1986 to 1991, Hotchkiss partnered with more than 143 community organization and 120 schools and businesses to instill a sense of pride in the city and foster accountability for taking care of the environment.
As an elected official, Hotchkiss was instrumental in creating the Tall City Tomorrow comprehensive plan in 2016 that continues to guide Midland’s growth. The nearly 200-page plan outlines a detailed vision of planned growth in housing and neighborhoods, future commercial development, parks and green spaces, transportation, community quality and character, downtown development, infrastructure, and quality of life. Tall City Tomorrow concludes with a plan to ensure it remains a useful roadmap for future generations of Midland leaders. In addition to the months of work collaborating with colleagues and community members to complete the Tall City Tomorrow plan, Hotchkiss engaged in significant discussions and negotiations that shaped the future of the Tall City.
During her tenure on City Council, she worked on projects such as the $100 million bond in 2017 for roads, water and wastewater infrastructure the public-private wastewater partnership between the city and Pioneer Natural Resources; the new City of Midland animal shelter; and renovations of Dennis the Menace Park. A Champion for downtown revitalization, Hotchkiss contributed to the development of Bush Convention Center and Centennial Park. She also worked to diversify the local economy with the approval of the spaceport license for Midland International Air and Spaceport.
When Sharla and Bart Hotchkiss moved to Midland in 1971, she brought with her a steadfast dedication to giving back to the community. Her talent, perseverance, and decades of service have helped shape the Tall City into a community that takes care of its spaces, its resources, and its people.