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Meet the woman in charge of prepping Houston for Super Bowl LI

The countdown is on, and the spotlight is already ours.

Sallie Sargent

When Sallie Sargent applied to take charge of Houston’s preparations for next year’s Super Bowl, she faced a rather daunting audition: find 11 major sponsors to finish a $25 million fundraising project.

“I told Sallie she had six months,” said Ric Campo, the chairman of the Houston Super Bowl Host Committee. Find the sponsors, he said, and “I would consider her application.”

Sargent signed the sponsors, raised the money, met her deadline and was given the reins to guiding the city’s third Super Bowl.

“I felt like jumping up and down,” she said. “But I kept my composure and went back to work.”

That was nearly two years ago. Now, with the NFL’s 51st Super Bowl coming to town in 52 weeks, Sargent’s job – her official title is president and CEO – is to ensure that America’s largest, highest-profile single-day sports event makes what she calls her “adopted home” come across to the world as the proverbial city on a hill, flat as a table though it may be.

“I’m an optimist by nature,” said Sargent, 56.

It’s a pretty standard puff piece, in which one comes away with an admiration of Ms. Sargent’s energy and focus. The main thing I learned was that she has already secured all of the funding from the various entities that pledged their financial support to the Host Committee, which is a pretty big deal for them given the current economic climate. Anyway, I don’t have a larger point to make, just passing along a reminder that the next Super Bowl will be here, and we should expect to see a steady stream of stories about How The Preparations Are Going and What Sort Of New Things We Should Expect in the interim. The Press has more.

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