Mayor and City Council
(May 2010 – Present)
Jason Bienski is a fourth-generation, life-long resident of Brazos County. Mayor Bienski graduated from Bryan High School, Texas A&M University and the Economic Development Institute from the University of Oklahoma. Mayor Bienski is also a graduate of Leadership Brazos. Mayor Bienski is a Real Estate investor and Realtor with BCR Realty of Bryan/College Station.
Mayor Bienski was first elected to the Bryan City Council in May 2005 and served as Bryan’s Mayor Pro Tem for three years prior to being elected Mayor in May 2010. Mayor Bienski was Re-elected Mayor in November 2013.
Mayor Bienski has served on dozens of boards including the St. Joseph Foundation, the American Heart Association, Briarcrest Country Club Board of Directors, President of the Affordable Caring, Inc. Board of Directors , President of the Economic Development Foundation, President of Bryan Commerce and Development, The Research Valley Partnership Board of Directors, City of Bryan/BISD Committee, Past Chair of the Brazos Valley Council of Governments Board of Directors, the Metropolitan Planning Organization, B/CS Intergovernmental Affairs Committee, B/CS Chamber of Commerce member, Past President of the Bryan Business Council, Past Chair for the Bryan Housing Authority, the Bryan Community Development Committee, and dozens of local, state, and national organizations and committees.
Mayor Bienski has been married to Tasha for 19 years and they have 2 daughters, Becca age 11, and Bryn age 9. Mayor Bienski is a life-long member of St. Joseph Catholic Church and serves on several church-related organizations as well.
Single Member District 1
(Nov. 2013 – Present)
Newly re-elected District 1 Bryan City Councilmember Al (Alfonso) Saenz is a third generation resident of Brazos County. His mother, Maria Ybarra Saenz, was born in Wheelock, Texas in 1918, and was baptized at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Bryan. Al is the youngest child of Ambrose (Bocho) Cruz Saenz and Maria. He is the younger brother of Adolph, Alice, Arthur, Andrew, Alberto, and Adeline Ybarra Saenz.
Other than being greatly influenced by his parents, Al was also positively influenced by his uncle and aunt, Pete L. and Frances Ybarra Rodriguez, during visits to their home for huevos rancheros after Mass at Santa Teresa Catholic Church, just two blocks from home. Also seated around the breakfast table would be future Councilmembers Gregory Rodriguez and Joe Marin, as well as many other local Hispanic leaders and role models. One of the most thrilling moments in Al’s life was when his padrino de bautismo (baptismal godfather) and his father A.C. took Al at five years old to see President John F. Kennedy in Houston.
Councilmember Saenz graduated from Bryan High School in 1978. A strong team player, Al enjoyed participating in team sports like football under Coach Merrill Green and track under Coach Thomas. He especially enjoyed baseball, where as a junior Al became a high school All American and First Team All District member, playing second base under Coach Randy Allen. He especially enjoyed tough competitions, and wanted the ball to come to him when the game was on the line.
Councilmember Saenz very much looks forward with great enthusiasm, excitement, and optimism to bringing his hometown of Bryan forward. He is looking forward to working with newly elected and youngest Councilmember in recent history Rafael Pena III, and also with re-elected Mayor Bienski, along with Councilmembers Owens, Southerland, Hughes, and Konderla. Al hopes the City Council can work together to raise the quality of life for the residents of Districts 1 and 2, but also to raise the standard of living for all the citizens who live within our city limit signs.
Rafael Peña III
Single Member District 2
(Dec. 2013 – Present)
Rafael Peña is a third generation, lifelong Bryan resident and local business owner of a maintenance repair company. He is a 2010 graduate of Bryan High School and currently studies at Blinn College. He plans to attend Texas A&M University to study Electrical Engineering.
Before representing Bryan’s single member district 2, Rafael served as a Freshman representative in the Blinn Student Government Association. He chaired the “Shattered Dreams” program at Bryan High in 2010 and also founded the Largesse Club in 2009 which raised funds for the Brazos Valley Food Bank and awarded seniors self- earned scholarships.
Peña continues to work hard studying the issues in his communities and providing a new vision for his district making all of Bryan a great place to live.
Single Member District 3
(Nov. 2012 – Present)
Greg Owens, City Councilmember Single Member District Three, was elected to the Council in November 2012. Mr. Owens is an award winning business owner and holds a degree in Business Management from Texas A&M University. He served on the City’s Building and Standards Commission and as Chair of the Zoning Board of Adjustment.
Mr. Owens has served as a guest lecturer at A&M’s Mays Business School and has a strong record of philanthropic support of many organizations such as the Junior League, the Children’s Museum and the Bryan Breakfast Lions Club. He is a member of the Bryan-College Station Chamber of Commerce.
He and his lovely wife, Julie, have four children. They are members of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Bryan.
Single Member District 4
(Nov. 2014 – Present)
Bryan has been home to Mike Southerland and his family since 1984. Before entering the service, he was a resident of Louisiana. A 22-year Army veteran, Mike retired from active duty as a Corps of Engineers Lieutenant Colonel in May 1989. While in Vietnam – Feb. 1969 to Feb. 1970 – he logged more than 900 combat hours as a helicopter pilot, and later served in many leadership positions, one of which was in a military community located in Germany.
He has owned and operated two insurance agencies in Bryan for 20 years – from 1990 to 2010.
Mike has donated his time and energies to the Bryan Rotary Club and Habitat for Humanity as president. He has been a volunteer for Elder Aid, the Boys & Girls Club of the Brazos Valley, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, The Brazos Valley Council on Alcohol and Substance Abuse, and the American Red Cross. As a director of the Bryan Development Foundation, he helped with Blinn College consolidation and furthered plans for a state prison development in Bryan.
He has been on the board of Keep Brazos Beautiful. He chaired the traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall exhibited at the Bush Library and created and chaired an annual veteran’s parade in Downtown Bryan. He has been Bryan Rotary President and Treasurer, and President and Treasurer of the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 937.
Mike has been elected to three terms on the Bryan City Council. In 2006, Mike was instrumental in lobbying for creation of an ordinance further restricting the number of unrelated adults in a single-family dwelling located in a single-family residential neighborhood. Since his election to the council, he has served on many council appointed committees. Over the three terms he has presented over 80 items of council legislation. He has written four City Charter Amendments and all four have been passed and instituted.
Mike holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science with honors from the University of Southern Mississippi. Mike has done some graduate course work at Texas A&M University. Mike and Tana, a retired schoolteacher, have been married for 48 years. They have three children and five grandchildren. Their son Ty and his family reside in Corpus Christi; Mick and his family reside in College Station; and the youngest son Matt and his wife reside in the Dallas area.
“Tana and I love Bryan and are proud to serve.”
Single Member District 5
(Nov. 2015 – Present)
Ben Hardeman “wasn’t born in Texas but I got here as soon as I could.” He was not yet a year old when his parents arrived in Bryan and his father took a teaching position at Texas A&M College.
Ben started his company, OrnaMetal Castings, in the backyard of his parent’s home two years before graduating from Texas A&M. Thirty-two years later, in 1999, Ben sold his company, then called OMC Industries, intending to retire. Six months later, he purchased a Model T parts business called Texas T Parts and went into business again for another 13 years, designing and manufacturing accessory parts that were sold to Model T enthusiasts around the world.
Ben has served two separate times on the Bryan City Council in the past, between 1984-1991 and 2003-2009. He was instrumental in passing the original non-smoking ordinance, implementing zoning to protect our neighborhoods, and expanding the Fire Department to include trained emergency medical technicians staffing City of Bryan ambulances.
In the years since Ben was last on the Bryan City Council, he chaired or served on several committees that contribute to economic development, downtown Bryan revitalization and historic renovation and, in 2013, Ben was selected Citizen of the Year by the Bryan/College Station Chamber of Commerce.
Most publicly, he served five years as the Chairman of the Downtown Bryan Association (DBA) and still leads the Queen Committee, the project to save the historic Queen Theatre. The DBA purchased the dilapidated Queen Theatre in June of 2010 and, in 18 months, oversaw the restoration of the original 1939 façade. Ben and the DBA officially turned on the lights during the Texas Reds Festival in 2011, much to the delight of festival goers and long time Bryan residents.
Ben’s hobbies include restoring and driving Model T Fords and continuing to aid in the interior restoration of the Queen Theatre. He and his wife Nancy, have three daughters and three grandchildren.
At Large, Place 6
(Nov. 2015 – Present)
Buppy Simank has called Bryan his home for almost 4 decades. He is a graduate of Bryan High School, played football for the Bryan Vikings, and continues to follow Bryan Football today. Buppy attended Blinn College in Bryan while working with the restaurant and catering company that he now owns.
At the age of 21, Buppy had the opportunity to purchase the catering company that he had bussed tables in at the age of 15. 25 years later, Buppy’s Catering is known for great food and service across the Brazos Valley.
Buppy is married to Jennifer Yerrington Simank, and they have one daughter, Brittany. Shortly after Buppy and Jennifer were married, Buppy’s life was placed in the hands of Bryan First Responders as they responded to render aid to Buppy crushed by a trailer in front of his house. If not for the speedy and skilled work of Bryan First Responders and skilled Trauma Specialists at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Buppy would not be here today. Buppy and his family are eternally grateful for all that Bryan First Responders do daily throughout our community, and in their time of need.
Charitable Service and Awards
- Boys and Girls Club Brazos Valley — Board of Directors & Executive Board: 1995-2005
Hospice Brazos Valley — Active Supporter
Brazos County 4H — Active Supporter
The Salvation Army of the Brazos Valley — Active Supporter
Down Syndrome Association of the Brazos Valley — Active Supporter
Bryan Independent School District — Active Supporter
Boys and Girls Club Brazos Valley — “Man and Youth of the Year” 2014
BCS Convention & Visitors Bureau — “Outstanding Service Provider” 2011
Brazos County Crimestoppers — Board of Directors: 1997-2004