Houston is currently a Lecturer of Chemistry at the University of Houston – Downtown. He started teaching in 2010 with the Lone Star College system, teaching general chemistry, environmental science, and organic chemistry. He has taken the training for the accelerated learning certificate. He uses both conventional learning techniques, as well as accelerated learning and inverted classes in his teaching.
Houston worked for Shell Oil for over 28 years, and retired from Shell. Houston’s last position at shell was Manager Graduate Recruitment & University Relations for Shell Oil, a position which allowed him to re-kindle his love of working with college students. For his first 19 years at Shell, Dr. Brown was a polymer chemist for Shell Chemicals, working from the Westhollow Technology Center. He was a subject matter expert in the field of polymer fiber spinning. The first 12 years were spent in polypropylene fiber spinning and textile technology, including licensing of the Shell / Union Carbide Unipol PP process with licensees around the world. His second major R&D assignment dealt with poly(trimethylene terephthalate), a polyester fiber for use in carpets, apparel, and other textiles. His work with fiber spinning spanned 6 continents, over 100 talks related to fiber spinning, 7 US patents (with many more applications), and many published papers and talks.
Fascinated by the changing face of computer technology, he then switched his career to the field of IT within Shell, responsible for technology scanning and architecture. Houston's change of career to information technology allowed him to bring a new perspective to the field. He believed the IT field still needed to be simplified, reducing the number of unused bells and whistles, dramatically increasing reliability and stability. Furthermore, end users needed to be educated by clarifying the technology and relating it to simple, understandable analogies. Houston is enamored with new technology, and believes in scanning other disciplines to bring "old ideas" to other fields where they have not yet been exploited. He also coordinated benchmarking (exchanging data on how well the IT environment is working) with other companies. Two successful assignments were on virtualization of computers, and collaboration technology.
In addition to other duties, he was part of the campus recruiting effort at Shell, focusing on MSU, MIT, Texas A&M, and University of Houston. He was campus manager for MSU. This work led to his interest in graduate recruitment, and to his position in human resources. He enjoys giving talks to large and small groups of people, on a variety of subjects from ethics and resumes, to chemistry and alternate energy sources.
He relaxes by refereeing soccer games at youth, high school, and “big kid” levels. He particularly enjoys the high school level competition, and serves as the president-elect for the Texas Association of Sports Officials, Soccer division. He has been married for 40 years, and has 3 children, and 2 grandchildren.