nctcog logo

50 Years "Of, By, and For Local Governments"

image description
The need for an agency to perform regional planning was first documented in 1965, in studies by the Dallas County League of Municipalities and the Greater Fort Worth Council of Governments. In only three months, these two organizations drafted bylaws and met with representatives from Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Johnson, Parker, Tarrant, and Wise counties in preparation for the creation of NCTCOG on January 20, 1966.

Names, faces, and areas have changed in 50 years, but NCTCOG proudly continues as "an organization of, by, and for local governments."

Here you will find an interactive timeline that chronicles some of the milestones NCTCOG and the region have experienced over the past 50 years.


Each month we will feature a different department of COG.

Celebrating COG's History

A message from the current and past presidents.

Regional Police Academy

Founded in 1968, the Regional Police Academy (RPA) was born out of a need for member local governments to train law enforcement personnel. Having a regional academy was deemed more efficient and promoted consistent instruction across the region.

Licensed as an academy by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officers Standards and Education, dedication ceremonies were held on March 20, 1968, and the first class of police recruits began their 10-weeks training on March 25, 1968, in a small office on 107th Street in Arlington, at what was believed to be the first regional academy in the country. The academy had space for three small classrooms and offices, but not much else. Today, located at Centerpoint One on Six Flags Drive in Arlington, the RPA contains well-equipped and spacious classrooms with locker facilities, a physical training room, four classrooms and one large utility room. There is also plenty of outdoor space for recruit physical training and practical exercises.

Jim Kline 1974     1st Graduating Class
Left Image: RPA Director Jim Kline presenting a completion certificate in 1974. Right Image: First Graduating Class, March 20, 1968.

Bill Pitstick, NCTCOG's first executive director, hired James S. Kline, former coordinator of police training at the University of Kansas, to serve as the first manager of the academy. Today, Richard Zavala, manages the RPA.

In both the early years and today, the academy offers two types of courses:

  • Basic Course in Applied Police Science, required for all aspiring police officers before becoming a licensed peace officer; and
  • Advanced Courses for existing officers, to satisfy the state's requirement that each licensed peace officer take 40 hours of continuing training every two years.
1974 Graduating Class
Ken Clarida, current RPA staff graduated in class of June 1974 (seated 4th from left)

Graduation ceremonies for the first Basic Course were held on May 29, 1968. More than 300 officers attended the two basic and 11 advanced courses held that first year. In 1972, the academy began offering four basic programs and 32 advanced courses. By then, 502 new officers had graduated, and 2,301 tenured officers had attended advanced programs.

Today, the academy holds at least five basic courses annually, lasting 22 weeks with an average enrollment of 30 recruits. In addition, more than 100 advanced law enforcement courses are offered each year, with more than 1,500 tenured officers attending those sessions.

Since the beginning of the academy, more than 96,573 officers and students have attended advanced training programs at the RPA, and over 8,939 new officers have completed the basic program. The academy graduated its 233rd session on December 11, 2015.

Previous graduates of the academy, who have become Chiefs of Police, include Larry Zacharias, the University of Texas at Dallas (1977); Kim Lemaux, The University of Texas at Arlington (1983); and Wade Goolsby, Waxahachie (1982). In addition, NCTCOG Police Academy Supervisor, Patricia Hollingsworth (1974) and NCTCOG Police Training Coordinator, Ken Clarida (1974) are RPA graduates. Hollingsworth was appointed in 2007, by then-Governor Rick Perry, to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement. The Commission sets the standards that all licensed police officers in Texas must meet. In 2014, she was elected by the other appointed members of the commission to serve as the Assistant Presiding Officer for the commission.

1974 Graduating Class
Patt Hollingsworth, current RPA staff graduated in class of December 1974 (Top row 2nd from right)

Moving into the next 50 years, the NCTCOG-Regional Police Academy must draw from the Presidents' Task Force Report on 21st Century Policing "to help build police forces in the region to deal with the complexities of the 21st Century". Some of the emerging issues that will need to be addressed are international terrorism, evolving technologies, rising immigration, ever changing laws, and a growing mental health crisis. The Regional Police Academy stands ready to provide the necessary training courses that will work towards accomplishing the President's goals.

Your Region in Action Vol. 1 No.2, December 1967



Criminal Justice Program

In 1968, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and Justice invited NCTCOG to undertake a pilot program design for comprehensive law enforcement planning, resulting in the Criminal Justice Program being one of NCTCOG's first regional planning functions. Soon after the program's inception, Fred Keithley was hired as the Director of Criminal Justice, enjoying over 40 years at NCTCOG and retiring as Director of Community Services.

The program's primary function remains today:  to identify needs and establish a framework for comprehensive justice-related planning in North Central Texas. In the beginning, HUD funding supplemented the program. However, in 1968 the Office of Criminal Justice Planning, now called the Criminal Justice Division (CJD), within the Texas Governor's Office became the primary funder via an agreement with NCTCOG to facilitate the distribution of law enforcement-related funding by identifying regional justice-related priorities, providing technical assistance and prioritizing grant applications for the Office of the Governor.

Initially, the program facilitated grant funds primarily for local law enforcement entities. Although there have been several grant-funding sources that have come and gone since the inception of the program, four core funding categories remain today:

In the 1970s, the federal Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) was created, broadening the scope of the program to include regional youth-related delinquency prevention initiatives.

The establishment of the federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) in the 1980s brought another dimension to the program – overseeing the grant process for entities providing services for victims of domestic violence, child, abuse, sexual assault and other violent crimes.

The federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was passed in the mid-1990s, and the CJD assigned facilitation of this grant program to the COG. These funds are set aside for justice system projects providing direct services to victims as well as education and training to professionals serving these victims.

Last, the 421 State Planning Fund is a biennial appropriation by the Texas Legislature that funds a variety of justice-related projects.

In the 1990s, at the direction of the CJD, the program began a formalized strategic planning initiative.  Communities in the region were assisted with identifying justice-related needs so gaps in services, existing programs, new initiatives, and funding opportunities could be identified, addressed and resources increased.

Serving at the pleasure of the Executive Board, the first Criminal Justice Policy Development Committee was created in 1969, with NCTCOG's first President, Arlington Mayor Tom Vandergriff, serving as committee chair. Now at 50 members strong, the committee remains dedicated to developing policies and procedures contributing to Criminal Justice funds disbursement within the region in a manner that is both equitable and responsive to the region's needs.

Over the decades, the program has seen significant growth in both the number of grant applications reviewed and prioritized and in dollars allocated to our region. It's not uncommon for the program's advisory committee to score and rank over 150 applications annually. For the most recent fiscal year, total funds allocated to the region by the Criminal Justice Division surpassed $14 million.


Administration Department

The Administration Department was formed in the early years of the agency's existence and consisted of only a Director, Robert Weaver, who was hired in 1968.  The department provides administrative services for the functional departments within the agency in the areas of Financial Management, Grant Administration, Budgeting, Administration of Purchasing, Human Resources, Insurance, Retirement System, Records Management, Internal Risk and Compliance Audit function, Office Space and the operation of the Print Shop.

Accounting – In the early 1980s, NCTCOG transitioned from a punch card-driven accounting system to a more interactive financial system. Later, in 1995, a fully automated financial system was put in place that included the most up-to-date technology capabilities. In 2014, the financial system was updated and redeployed to allow the agency to meet current and future business needs. With these technological advancements and the growth within the department, staff has been able to utilize the functionality of the financial system in a more robust way. Streamlining processes for effectiveness and efficiency has been the motivating factor over the past several years. The majority of streamlining processes came through the use of automation. Gone are the challenges from the days of manually filling out timesheets and expense reports and digging through filing cabinets for Accounts Payable supporting documentation.

And it is good-bye to the dozen or so spreadsheets used to produce one financial report.  All of these challenges were resolved through maximizing resources and utilizing automation.

Annually, an independent financial audit is performed.  As a result of that audit, several reports are issued, including the Comprehensive Annual Fiscal Reports (CAFR).   The CAFR is submitted to the Government Finance Officers Association for its Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting.  This certificate is the highest form of recognition in governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by the agency and its management.  This award has been presented to the Department each year since 1990.

punch card
Administration Department in 1986
Agency Administration in 1986

Budget/Finance –Budgets were initially prepared using a manual typewriter, which was eventually replaced when the Xerox Selectric typewriter came along and improved the process.  Then, in the late 1980s, computers allowed the process to become much more automated and greatly improved.

Prior to the automation of the banking and investing industries, all types of transactions were manual (paper checks for payments, trips to the bank for deposits, manual forms for transfer and investing transactions, etc.).  Now, these activities are more seamless. With automatic deposits made directly from the office and payments through electronic transfers and wires, investing and financial transactions are fully automated as well.  Where staff once had to wait until mailed bank statements were received to know the cash status, this information is now readily available online, enabling staff to proactively manage the agency's fiscal resources.

Human Resources – Prior to the late 1980s, NCTCOG did not have a Human Resource staff.  With the needs of a growing agency; however, a Human Resources Manager was hired.  Today, Human Resources is a full-service operation consisting of five staff -  Chief HR Officer, HR Manager, HR Generalist, Recruiter and HR Analyst.

Gone are the days of advertising in the newspapers and the manual completion of applications. Today,  the agency utilizes software that includes recruiting, on-boarding and performance management.  Applications are now completed and submitted online for open positions.  In addition, staff can select their benefits, update personal information, and complete performance appraisals all online.

Purchasing – When goods and services were needed in the early years, bids were obtained by calling vendors and describing the product needed.  There was no voice mail or email available at COG as late as 1992. So, when phone lines were busy or a person was not available, the process of obtaining bids was longer and more difficult than it is today.   Depending on the nature of the bids and the cost, bids can be obtained relatively easy by email notification to vendors.  Quotes for items not requiring special notification can be obtained promptly by email or by going to the vendor's website.  And, work is currently underway to migrate to an automated purchasing solution to replace the manual process being used today. Filling out an electronic requisition online, creating purchase orders, receiving the goods and services, receiving an invoice, and making a payment and filing the documents will be substantially automated.

Risk and Compliance – With the ever increasing regulatory environment, it's imperative that the agency understands and manages its risk.  In order to mitigate risk, a team of audit professionals was hired to form the Risk and Compliance group within Administration in 2004.  This team works with the various departments to determine where the high risks areas are; ensure programs are in compliance with the various guidelines, regulations and laws; and assist others in minimizing specific risks associated with the various programs.

Budget: FY1967 – NCTCOG received $234,000 from the Federal Government and $22,000 from the State. The approved budget was $277,000.
FY2016 – NCTCOG received $16 million from Federal grants and $148 million from the State. The approved budget is currently $192 million.
Facilities: 1967 – 5.000 square feet
2016 – 150,000 square feet
Charles Cason
Charles Cason

Staff History
1966 – 3 personnel
2016 – 352 personnel

Number of Grants
1966 – 6
2016 – 270

Administration Directors:
Robert Weaver, Director of Information & Administration
1970-1972 Dale Morgan Monte Mercer
Monte Mercer
1973 (No Director) Jim Starr/Bill Pitstick oversaw Administration Department
1974-1981 Harrison Reed
1982-1998 Charles Cason
1998-2000 Nell Lange
2000-2002 Lewis McLain
2002-Current Monte Mercer

NCTCOG Administration Department in 2016
Administration Department 2016

Budget and Staff by Decades

Year Budget
1966 $277 3 0
1970 $2,128 40 2
1980 $11,699 115 10
1990 $15,510 97 8
2000 $32,179 175 14
2010 $199,355 326 38
2016 $192,117 352 39

Environment & Development Department

The Environment & Development (E&D) department of NCTCOG has evolved throughout the years, but its roots and many of the programs that continue today can be traced back to the early years of the agency. The department guides and promotes collaboration among entities to progressively address common issues and challenges facing them due to our region's rapid growth and urbanization in the following areas.

Click an item on the graphic to view the history of that program below.

Click an item on the graphic to view the history of that program.

Environment and Development Department in 2016
Environment & Development Department in 2016 (Not pictured: Nalani Jay)

Transportation Department

Transportation Department has seen many changes over nearly 50 years

The NCTCOG transportation Department began in 1969, with two employees. Although its role has evolved and its size grown over the past 47 years, its commitment to the region has remained steadfast.

In the early days, the emphasis was on energy, necessitated in part by the energy crisis of the 1970s. Later, with the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, air quality became a significant area of emphasis, which remains true today. Ten Dallas-Fort worth area counties Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Johnson, Kaufman, Parker, Rockwall Tarrant and Wise do not meet the federal government's standard for air quality. Because the Dallas-Fort Worth area is in nonattainment for ozone, transportation improvements must be made without negatively impacting air quality.

Transportation's Directors
The Transportation Department has had just three directors: (from left): Michael Morris (current director), John Roark, and Gordon Shunk.

North Texas has added about 4.5 million people since 1970, necessitating a transportation system that serves more than just personal vehicles. Dallas Area Rapid Transit's 90-plus mile light rail system is the largest in the nation, and the region's commuter rail system continues to develop, connecting more and more people to their destinations. NCTCOG and its transportation partners are working to make it easier for residents who choose active transportation to move around the region via the expanding network of bicycle and pedestrian trails.

Mobility 2040, the region's long-range transportation plan, calls for the expenditure of $118.9 billion through 2040 to meet the transportation needs of a population expected to grow to 10.7 million.

Mobility 2040 identifies transportation solutions that offer the region's residents with travel choices. Providing a variety of transportation options now and into the future is essential to creating a high quality of life in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Mobility 2040 is the product of a comprehensive, cooperative, and continuous planning effort. Mobility 2040 was adopted by the Regional Transportation Council in March 2016.

In 1974, NCTCOG completed its first long-range transportation plan, which called for about $3 billion to be spent through 1990. The planning area was just two full counties Dallas and Tarrant and today has grown to 12. The current planning area of more than 9,400 square miles is one of the nation's largest and is roughly the size of Maryland.

The group making the decisions has also gone through many changes. The Regional Transportation Policy Advisory Committee of 154 members oversaw transportation planning for the Dallas-Fort Worth area in the early days, first meeting in Texas Stadium. Today, NCTCOG is responsible for transportation and air quality planning for 12 counties, and the Regional Transportation Council has 44 seats. The department, which employs more than 140 people, recently commemorated NCTCOG's 50th anniversary with a photo in the current home of the Dallas Cowboys, AT&T Stadium.

RTC in 2016
The Regional Transportation Council is the transportation policymaking body for the 12-county Dallas-Fort Worth area. As the region has grown, so has the RTC, which currently includes 44 members.

Transportation Department in 2016
Much has changed since the Transportation Department was formed in 1969 with just two employees. Currently, more than 140 people work for the department. Here is a recent staff photo taken at AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys.

The region's multimodal system has been built and refined over many years, thanks to the planning efforts of the RTC and NCTCOG staff and close coordination with transportation partners throughout the region. With the help of the long-range transportation plan and other efforts, the system will continue evolving to meet the needs of a changing region.

The RTC oversees the metropolitan transportation planning process, developing projects, policies, plans, programs, performance goals and partnerships to address the needs of the Dallas-Fort Worth region. The RTC consists primarily of local elected officials and representatives from the region's transportation providers. It is supported by committees and advisory groups that lend their expertise to the many challenges the MPO faces as it plans for a region of more than 10 million people.

Growth of the metropolitan planning area

The planning area for which NCTCOG is responsible has changed dramatically since 1974 when it consisted of two full counties – Dallas and Tarrant – and portions of others. Today, NCTCOG is responsible for transportation and air quality planning for 12 counties. Growth and development led to several expansions, both large and small, beginning in 1983.

Over the years, population and employment moved away from the Dallas and Fort Worth central business districts, requiring the planning area to expand. As growth took hold in all directions, and commuting patterns changed, the planning area was adjusted to meet residents' needs.

Map of the Metropolitan Planing Area
The planning area for which NCTCOG is responsible has undergone several expansions since the Transportation Department was designated as the metropolitan planning organization in 1974. Today, it stands at 12 counties.

Further expansion in 1991 included parts of Collin, Ellis, Johnson, Kaufman and Parker counties, and the remainder of Rockwall County. In 1992, the rest of Collin and Denton counties were added. In 2003, small portions of Parker and Wise counties were brought in, making the planning area nine counties. With the most recent expansion, in 2009, the planning area grew from nine counties to 12, when Hood, Hunt and Wise counties were added. The metropolitan planning area is now more than 9,400 square miles, making it one of the largest in the country, covering an area about the size of Maryland. And the planning area will continue to evolve along with the region.

Opening of Freeways and lines in the NCTCOG Area

911 Department

Celebrating Together
50 Years & 25 Years

Passage of HB 911 in 1987 requested Texas' regional planning councils (COGs) to undertake 9-1-1 planning and implementation activities on behalf of their local governments. After two years of planning, coordinating system design, and general preparation, implementation of Enhanced 9-1-1 began June 1991.

As the North Central Texas Council of Governments celebrates 50 years, June 2016 marks 25 years of 9-1-1 service in the region. In total, thirteen countywide and five municipal systems, which include 43 Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs), were turned up during the period June 1991 through January 1992.  They include:

Public Safety Answering Points

Collin County
Allen Police Department
Collin County Sheriff's Office
Frisco Police Department
McKinney Police Department
Murphy Police Department
Prosper Police Department

Kaufman County
Forney Police Department
Kaufman County Sheriff's Office
Kaufman Police Department
Terrell Police Department

Dallas County 
Balch Springs Police Department
Cockrell Hill Police Department
Sachse Police Department
Seagoville Police Department
Wilmer Police Department

Navarro County
Corsicana Police Department
Navarro County Sheriff's Office

Erath County
Dublin Police Department
Erath County Sheriff's Office
Stephenville Police Department

Palo Pinto County
Mineral Wells Police Department
Palo Pinto County Sheriff's Office

Ellis County
Ellis County Sheriff's Office
Northern Ellis Emergency Dispatch Center (to include Red Oak Police Department)
Waxahachie Police Department

Parker County
Parker County Sheriff's Office
Springtown Police Department
Weatherford Police Department

Hood County
Hood County Sheriff's Office

Rockwall County
Rockwall County Sheriff's Office
Rockwall Police Department

Hunt County
Commerce Police Department
Greenville Police Department
Hunt County Sheriff's Office

Somervell County
Somervell County Sheriff's Office

Johnson County
Cleburne Police Department
Johnson County Sheriff's Office
Johnson County ESD
Keene Police Department

Wise County
Bridgeport Police Department
Decatur Police Department
Wise County Sheriff's Office


911 Department in 2016
911 Department Staff





General Assembly

The annual General Assembly of the North Central Texas Council of Governments was held Friday, June 17, 2016 at the Hurst Conference Center. This annual meeting brings together local elected officials and government professionals from across the region; legislators representing North Central Texas; NCTCOG's past presidents, board members, and committee members; state and federal agency representatives; and other special guests.

At this year's General Assembly we celebrated the 50th anniversay of NCTCOG with a special presentation.

The North Central Texas Council of Governments celebrated 50 years of regional cooperation in June by highlighting the past and present. The 50 past presidents were recognized during the annual General Assembly, as were the leaders of today.

NCTCOG presents three awards annually in recognition of the contributions of individuals and governments to make the region more livable. The following were recognized:

  • William J. Pitstick Award: Granbury Mayor Pro Tem Mickey Parson.
  • Linda Keithley Award: Opal Mauldin-Robertson, Lancaster city manager.
  • Regional Cooperation Award: Town of Addison and cities of Coppell, Carrollton and Farmers Branch

Additionally, the new Executive Board officers were elected, with Plano Mayor Pro Tem Lissa Smith taking over as president for the next year. North Richland Hills Councilmember Tom Lombard is the new vice president, and Waxahachie Mayor Kevin Strength is secretary-treasurer. Read more

Dr. Steve Murdock, former state demographer, also discussed the Texas of the future with those in attendance.



Workforce Development Department

Workforce Development logo

Workforce Solutions Celebrates 20 Years of Helping Job Seekers

The major purpose of employment and training policy is to improve the operation of labor markets by improving the competitive position of individuals facing barriers to employment.  Some of these barriers include lack of job skills, deficiencies in basic education, lack of job market information, physical, social and psychological disabilities, and the inability to obtain supportive services such as counseling, child care and transportation.  Government expenditures on employment and training programs to upgrade worker skills are an investment in human capital as they have been shown to improve an individual's ability to compete in the labor market and earn more income.

North Texas has made the investment in job training, and it is paying dividends. July 2016 marks the 20th anniversary of the North Central Texas Workforce Development Board.  The Workforce Development Board, known as Workforce Solutions for North Central Texas, has helped thousands of job seekers and employers since its inception.

The Beginning
In 1993, Texas led the nation by creating a workforce development system that sought improve service delivery through local control and coordination of services from different programs.  On May 23, 1996, Governor George W. Bush certified the North Central Texas Workforce Development Area (WDA) and on July 25, 1996, the Chief Elected Officials of the 14 county WDA signed a partnership agreement forming the North Central Texas Workforce Development Board.

NCTCOG was selected to be the Board's fiscal agent, grant recipient and administrative agent, and the organization that oversees the workforce development programs became known as Workforce Solutions for North Central Texas.

Assisting North Texas
NCTCOG, on behalf of the North Central Texas Workforce Development Board, administers $67.2 million in federal funds and supports over 35 NCTCOG staff. In 2015 Workforce Solutions served 97,000 job seekers, 8,781 employers, and provided child care to an average of 5,230 children per day.

Workforce Development by the Numbers

Today, the Board oversees the planning, oversight, policy guidance and service delivery design in 11 Workforce Centers located across 14 counties (Collin, Denton, Ellis, Erath, Hood, Hunt, Johnson, Kaufman, Navarro, Palo Pinto, Parker, Rockwall, Somervell, and Wise) and one Mobile Workforce Unit deployed across the region as needed. Dallas and Tarrant counties are not the North Central Texas region because they are managed by a separate workforce board. 

Celebrating Success
To commemorate the 20th anniversary of Workforce Solutions of North central Texas and the 50th anniversary of NCTCOG, a celebration will be held July 26, 2016, recognizing this vital partnership and reaffirming their joint commitment to advancing business-driven talent development strategies into the next 50 years.

Workforce Development Centers by the numbers


Research and Information Services

RIS Connecting People Through Demographics, Technology

The North Central Texas Council of Governments' Regional Data Center became a department in 1989 with seven employees.  Previously a division of the Regional Services Department, it was formed under the leadership of Bob O'Neal.  In 1993, the name was changed to Research & Information Services (RIS).  The function of the department has traditionally been demographic research, but with the explosive growth of technology over the years its responsibilities have expanded to include support for a regional Geographic Information System (GIS) and cooperative purchase program, 30-plus websites, and more than 165 terabytes of electronic data.  RIS also manages NCTCOG's local and wide-area computer network, which serves over 675 employees and contractors on more than 2,000 devices at 25 locations.  The department has grown to 28 employees and has been under the leadership of Director and Chief Information Officer Tim Barbee since 2006.

DFW maps website circa 1995.The first population estimates publication for the NCTCOG region, in 1974, actually predate the department.  At the time, RIS estimated the population of the 16-county region to be just over 2.8 million (slightly more than the population of Dallas County today).  Population estimates have been produced annually since, and the population of the region is estimated to be over 7 million today.  RIS' demographic research program also includes development monitoring, employment estimates, land use, demographic forecasting and GIS data. At one time, it served as a local affiliate for the Census Bureau.  Demographic research serves as the foundation for a variety of collaborative projects both inside and outside the agency, including transportation and environmental planning, workforce development, emergency management, and economic development.

Through the years, RIS' function has become increasingly technology-oriented both inside and outside the agency.  In 1993, RIS began offering email to the agency, and in 1994 the agency got access to the Internet for browsing.  The first website was launched in 1995.  In 2001, RIS combined its demographic research and GIS capabilities, offering the first interactive radius summaries of 2000 Census data via the agency's website.

In 1999, the department offered its first cooperative purchase of aerial imagery for the region, and has continued to do so every other year.  Images are available for viewing, printing, and purchase via NCTCOG's interactive mapping site,, the latest version of which was launched in 2010.  This project has set the standard for large regionally shared data purchases, allowing considerable cost savings through group participation.

Over the past 27 years, RIS has collaborated on technology- and GIS-related projects with the National Weather Service, Dallas County Elections, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Texas Natural Resources Information System, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the OneStar Foundation, and numerous cities and counties throughout the NCTCOG region. In the 2000s, six cable TV shows about the Tornado Damage Risk Assessment Study performed by RIS appeared on the National Geographic, Discovery, History and Weather channels. The department has won awards from ESRI, the Center for Digital Government, and the National Conference on Citizenship.

RIS department in 2016
RIS Department Staff

Research & Information Services Highlights:

  • 1989: GIS implemented at NCTCOG.
  • 1993: First CD writer and CD creation.
  • 1993-1994: Windows implemented on PCs. 
  • 1993: Email implemented.
  • 1994: Agency gets access to internet for browsing.
  • 1995: Agency web site launched.
  • 1999: First cooperative aerial purchase.
  • 2000s: Six cable TV shows are created about the Tornado Damage Risk Assessment Study performed by RIS.  They appeared on the National Geographic, Discovery, History, and Weather channels.  
  • 2004: First on-line credit card transaction completed.
  • 2005: Current web site launched on October 31.
  • 2010: Current version of launched.
  • 2014: Regional Data Center website ( launched .

Aerial imagery sales and online commerce:

  • Total on-line credit card transactions: $2.54 Million
  • Average on-line credit card transactions per year: 1,200 (2004-present)
  • GIS data tiles sold on-line: 47,000  (2004-2016)
  • 10.6 million interactive tiles selected as users searched  through the mapping interface (Before adding to purchase carts)


  • Bob O'Neal – First director when Regional Data Center became a department in 1989
  • John Hunt – Interim director, June 2003-October 2004
  • Richard Price – Director, October 2004-April 2006
  • Tim Barbee – Director since May 1, 2006

Explore this interactive map where you can view past and present aerial imagery to see how the region has changed.
DFW airport historic arerial photo


Emergency Preparedness

Key to Helping the Region Through Disasters

The North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) established the Emergency Preparedness (EP) Department in 2002 after regional elected officials expressed interest in a coordinated, regional effort to address natural disaster and terrorism prevention programs. Their interest, brought on as a direct result of the September 11, 2001, terror attacks, helped establish the department with a mission to support regional governments and address issues focused on mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery of natural or manmade disasters. The vision of these elected officials, the NCTCOG Executive Board and agency leadership helped ensure the EP Department established a collaborative and coordinated effort throughout the 16-county region, while considering both rural and urban jurisdictions.

The Emergency Preparedness Planning Council (EPPC), established in 2002, and the Regional Emergency Preparedness Advisory Committee (REPAC), established soon after, were both created to provide policy direction and oversight of the department's programs, funding and initiatives.

Since its inception, the department has supported major natural-disaster planning and coordination with Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, Hurricane Ike in 2008, regional wildfires in 2011, and the Garland terror attack in May 2015. Most recently, EP staff supported regional stakeholders and state officials during the aftermath of the December 26, 2015, tornado outbreak across North Texas. The National Weather Service (NWS) confirmed 12 tornadoes during the event.

Storm over ATT Stadium    Crews prepare to install a CASA radar at Discovery Park at the University of North Texas.
Storm clouds and rainbow over AT&T Stadium in Arlington. (Left)       Crews prepare to install a CASA radar at Discovery Park at the University of North Texas. (Right)

Efforts to help address and mitigate severe weather outbreaks throughout Dallas-Fort Worth led the region to implement the only national testbed of advanced weather radar technology, the Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere (CASA). Programs such as this and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)-funded North Central Texas Safe Room Rebate Program, which helps provide residents with opportunities to install tornado shelters in their homes, have helped save countless lives throughout North Texas. EP has made a significant difference in the lives of North Texans, despite being only about 13 years old.

The department's mission statement – "Enhancing lasting partnerships and proactive emergency preparedness initiatives through advocacy, communication, and collaboration" – guides its staff in the pursuit of a population that is prepared for both manmade and natural disasters today and in the future.

Storm over ATT Stadium    Crews prepare to install a CASA radar at Discovery Park at the University of North Texas.
Regional officials attend a large-scale-exercise planning meeting at NCTCOG. (Left)       
Chad Weldon, City of Denton, employs a bomb robot during the large-scale, regional Urban Shield exercise in 2013. (Right)

Since its inception, the Emergency Preparedness Department has supported planning and coordination efforts for the recovery of both natural and manmade disasters. Events EP staff has supported include:

  • Hurricanes Katrina and Rita (2005)
  • Hurricane Ike (2008)
  • Regional wildfires (2011)
  • Garland terrorist attack (2015)
  • Regional tornado outbreak (December 2015)


Area Agency on Aging

Area Agency on Aging Has Been Meeting Older Residents' Needs for Over 40 Years

For more than 40 years, the North Central Texas Area Agency on Aging has been a resource for older residents in need of information, advocacy, and access to community-based services. Created by a 1973 amendment to the Older Americans Act of 1965, NCTCOG's Aging program has evolved over the years, while staying true to its original focus of helping local communities plan for aging residents' needs.

Shortly after its establishment in 1974, Aging was allocated funding for provision of direct services and nutrition services in particular, including congregate meals served at multipurpose senior centers and home-delivered meals. Aging's nutrition programs have the broadest reach and highest visibility, providing over 650,000 meals per year to older residents in the 14-county service area surrounding but not including Dallas and Tarrant counties, which maintain their own programs.

Aging's interest extends far beyond nutritious meals. Its current mission is to provide older adults and their family caregivers access to a comprehensive network of health and social services that promote independent living. It does so by offering information, referral, and assistance; demand-response transportation; benefits counseling; care coordination; caregiver support coordination; caregiver respite; caregiver education and training; long-term care ombudsman; nursing home relocation; and preventive health programs including fall prevention, chronic disease self-management, diabetes self-management, and medication reconciliation services.

These programs serve:

  • Residents 60 and over, their family caregivers of all ages;
  • Grandparents who are at least 55 and have primary custody of grandchildren under 18; and
  • Parents at least 55 who are caring for adult children with severe disabilities.

Although eligibility is determined by age, and not income, the North Central Texas Council of Governments gives priority to older adults who have greatest economic need, greatest social need, functional impairment, and are at greatest risk of premature nursing home placement. All services are provided without charge to eligible residents. Additionally, Aging has applied for and received special grants that allow it to serve people under the age of 60.

Since 2007, it has been funded to operate an Aging and Disability Resource Center, which helps people of all ages and with all types of disabilities, access long-term services that promote independent living. Aging was part of Community Services before becoming a separate department in 2014. It has a small, dedicated staff of approximately 20. Staff efforts are bolstered by more than 100 volunteers who support its benefits counseling, long-term care ombudsman, and health prevention programs. Similarly, Aging benefits from the work of its local contractors, including the county committees on aging that administer its nutrition and transportation programs.

During the next several years, the Aging program will be challenged with revenue streams that are flat and a dramatic growth in the number of North Texans needing services. It will continue to target older adults who are at the greatest risk of premature nursing-home placement and to provide services that effectively maximize health and independence.

Aging department in 2016
Aging Department Staff


NCTCOG Department Highlight Webinar

Have you ever wondered how to join a committee? Have you wanted to learn more about current NCTCOG activities, initiatives, and programs? Have you wanted to become more involved in an interesting NCTCOG project that impacts your community?

Hear about programs and activities from the following departments: Administration, Regional 9-1-1, Aging, Emergency Preparedness, Environment & Development, Research & Information Services, and Transportation.

 Download PowerPoint Presentation

NCTCOG Department Highlight Webinar

Executive Director's Office and Public Affairs Department

2016 Executive Director's Office and Public Affairs Department

On January 20, 1966, at a noon meeting of all governments in the then 10-county state designated North Central Texas region, a motion was made and passed adopting bylaws for the North Central Texas Council of Governments, and area-wide planning for this region began. Tom Vandergriff, Mayor of the City of Arlington was elected as the first president of NCTCOG.

For the first seven months of its existence, NCTCOG remained unstaffed while it searched for an Executive Director to lead the agency. The NCTCOG Board of Directors had approved staffing to consist of an Executive Director, Secretary, Administrative Assistant and Illustrator-draftsman.

William "Bill" Pitstick, NCTCOG's first Executive Director, began his career at COG on October 17, 1966. At the time of his recruitment, he was serving as City Manager of the City of Lubbock and was a former city manager in Arlington and Kerville. His experiences as City Manager, along with his engineering background, were a perfect complement for regional planning.

Pitstick, KeithlyShortly after his arrival at NCTCOG, Mr. Pitstick asked the Board to approve a change in the original staffing allocations to include a Director of Urban Planning and Director of Urban Affairs, which they approved, and by February, 1967, NCTCOG had a staff that consisted of Dan Petty, Director of Urban Affairs, Bob Wegner, Director of Regional Planning and Linda Pharr (Keithley), Administrative Secretary.

Led by the NCTCOG Executive Board as the policy-making body for the activities of NCTCOG, for 26 years Mr. Pitstick managed the day-to-day activities of a professional staff ranging in size from three in 1966-67 to 135 in 1978, to 70 in 1982, and 97 in 1991.  He retired from NCTCOG at the end of November 1992.  During his tenure, the region expanded from the original 10 counties to the 16 that exists today.

Mr. Pitstick (Left) and Mr. Eastland (Right) Throughout its 50 year history, NCTCOG has had just two Executive Directors – Bill Pitstick from 1966 – 1992, and current Executive Director, Mike Eastland, who started on December 1, 1992.  Fifty years since NCTCOG's start, Mr. Eastland leads a staff of approximately 340.

Mike's public management career spans over 40 years of service in Texas and includes: Assistant to the City Manager in Wichita Falls, Deputy General Manager of the Gulf Coast Waste Disposal Authority in Houston, Assistant City Manager in Richardson, City Manager of Killeen, Deputy City Manager in Waco, and prior to joining NCTCOG, he was City Manager of Carrollton for 8 ½ years.

Today, Mike Eastland and the 18-member Executive Board (17 locally elected officials with voting privileges, and one non-voting state legislator) lead the way in setting the tone for an agency that values the provision of excellent service to its member governments and the 7+ million citizens they serve, and fostering highly cooperative relationships with regional, state and federal partner agencies.  The Executive Board and the leaders of NCTCOG's 237 member governments recognize that as the region's population continues to grow and as city boundary lines blur, it becomes ever more important to have well-crafted and forward looking regional plans to guide and provide for sound development and economic opportunity.  There is also a recognition that cooperative and coordinated service delivery among member governments can result in cost savings without sacrificing service quality.

In addition to providing direct support to the Executive Board, through the Executive Director's Office, and public and staff assistance through the Public Affairs Department, this department supports the following activities:

  • North Texas City Management Association (NTCMA).  NCTCOG has been secretariat/treasurer for NTCMA since 1980, providing staff support for dues, membership, meeting notices, and all other activities.  NTCMA provides an opportunity for city managers and their assistants to join together for professional development, as well as to share ideas, successes and common problems in the public management profession, to relate innovative approaches for delivery of municipal programs and to explore cooperative approaches to service delivery.
  • City Managers Advisory Committee.  Since 1981, this committee has provided for an informal screening process on prospective NCTCOG programs and services, and allows city managers an opportunity to discuss common issues, problems and successes. 
  • Urban Management Assistants of North Texas (UMANT).  The Executive Director's office has provided secretariat and treasury support to UMANT since 1984, maintaining membership records and activities and receiving and depositing their membership dues.
  • Staffs the NCTCOG Clean Air Steering Committee and represents the region on air quality matters with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Environmental Protection Agency, and with the Texas Clean Air Working Group.
  • Speaks to educational, civic or professional organizations throughout the year on current regional issues and to promote regionalism.
  • Facilitates the development of special projects and surveys to benefit the membership through the conservation of public resources and cooperative arrangements.
  • Oversees the agency's major planning functions of Transportation, Water Quality, Solid Waste, Air Quality, 9-1-1, Workforce Development, Aging Services and Criminal Justice.
  • Provides a wide variety of external services on behalf of the agency, including preparation and dissemination of news releases, major mailings to member governments, an annual regional directory, management of the central reception area and information and referral.

The agency coordinates closely with its 237 member governments.  As NCTCOG focuses on the future, it will continue to examine innovative ways to serve its member governments.  Names, faces and areas may have changed over its 50 year history, but NCTCOG continues as "an organization of, by, and for local governments."



 North Central Texas Council of Governments | 616 Six Flags Drive P.O. Box 5888 Arlington, TX 76005-5888
 Main Operator: (817) 640-3300 | Fax: (817) 640-7806