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Newsmakers 6-20-16

🕐 7 min read

Advertising, Marketing & Public Relations

Balcom Agency promoted Kyle Suva – to senior interactive developer. Suva has five years of web development experience and will serve as lead programmer for all client web projects. Suva joined Balcom in 2014 as interactive developer, building websites for such clients as Dairy MAX, USMD Health System and Sinclair Oil.

Boards & Organizations

First Financial Bank appointed eight local business leaders to the advisory board for its new Fort Worth location. They are: Larry Anfin, — grandson of John McMillian, who co-founded Coors Distributing Co. of Fort Worth and worked for Coors for 48 years as president and CEO before selling the company in March 2014; Smith A. Brownlie III, certified public accountant and personal financial specialist, co-founder of Brownlie & Braden LLC and president of Cotton Creek Investments LLC; Mary Lee Cruz, founding partner of E Source Inc. and a founding and active partner in Magnus Procurement and Logistic Solutions Inc.; Murray Edwards, senior partner at Cape & Son and a member of First Financial Bankshares’ board of directors since 2006; Stephen Kimmel, chief financial officer at Cook Children’s Health Care System; Matt Morris, president of Gus Bates Insurance and Investments; Paul Poston, president of Wellington Insurance Group; and George Robertson, chairman and CEO of E-Mist Innovations Inc. and founder and former executive chairman of National Hospice MedEquip of Fort Worth.

Legend Bank appointed Jeff Brooks, regional president, executive vice president, as an advisory director to the bank’s board. Brooks is responsible for the Fort Worth, Whitesboro, Sherman and Bonham market areas. He has more than 23 years of experience in the banking industry and has been with Legend Bank for 10 years. He has been a member of the bank’s executive management committee for five years. Brooks recently graduated from the Texas Bankers Association Management Development Program.

Recent graduates of United Way of Tarrant County’s Blueprint for Board Service class are: Alix Allison, Cantey Hanger LLP; Elizabeth Blake, RIDE TV; Cindy Boyd, CQB strategies; Kelli Conway, Gunn & Hook; Delle Drinks-Williams, Paradigm Services; Randall Gentry, University of Texas at Arlington; Cortney Gumbleton, Jordan Elizabeth Harris Foundation; Leslie Hughes, United Way of Tarrant County; Lawrence “Larry” Jordan, Estrada Hinojosa & Co. Inc.; Rebekah Lopez, Big Brothers Big Sisters; Lorena Loucel, Lockheed Martin; Loraine Pittenger, Lyness Construction; Yolanda Roberts, Healthways/Blue Zones Project; and C. Stanley Ugoji, AT&T.

Health Care

New hires at Avanti Senior Living at Flower Mound are Vicki Lee King, Sheila Ricketts and Renee Rachels. With more than 20 years of experience in health care services, King has been named executive director. Previously, she was executive director, residence director, marketing director and community relations director for senior living communities in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. King is certified as an assisted living administrator and has her Alzheimer’s education certification. Ricketts has more than 21 years of experience in health care services, sales and marketing, and was named community relations director. Previously Ricketts had sales and marketing positions with companies specializing in senior living, hospice, memory care communities and other health care-related companies. Rachels has more than 12 years of senior living experience and was named family and resident advocate. Avanti Senior Living at Flower Mound is under construction and expected to open this fall.

Honors & Awards

Ratu Tuuhetoka, lead operations specialist for Alliance Aviation Services at Fort Worth Alliance Airport, is the 2016 recipient of the Safety 1st Award from the National Air Transportation Association. He has been with Alliance Aviation Services for two years and helps train staff about the safety procedures related to aircraft towing, marshalling, fueling and inclement weather. Previously, Tuuhetoka served five years in the U.S. Navy as an aviation boatswain’s mate. He participated in four deployments while assigned to the USS Abraham Lincoln and the USS John C. Stennis.

Donna Noto has been named a 2016 10 Best in Texas for Client Satisfaction by the American Institute of Real Estate Professionals.

Matlock Place Health & Rehabilitation Center in Arlington earned national honors for demonstrating its commitment to improving the quality of care for seniors and persons with disabilities. The American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living awarded Matlock Place the 2016 Bronze Commitment to Quality Award.

The Fort Worth chapter of the Entrepreneurs Organization (EO Fort Worth) received the Learning Award for Best Community Impact Event of 2015-2016 for its Random Acts of Kindness event in December 2015. EO Fort Worth was selected from 167 applicants in various categories and recognized at the Global Leadership Conference on May 13 in Bangkok, Thailand. The random acts performed during the event included paying for strangers’ meals, volunteering at a homeless shelter for a day, visiting residents at a nursing home and donating baby supplies to new mothers at John Peter Smith Hospital.


Steve Litke joined Blaies & Hightower LLP as a partner. Litke represents clients on business and corporate transactional matters, including mergers and acquisitions, securities laws, corporate governance, and licensing and technology transactions. Previously he was general counsel of a privately held education/technology company based in Fort Worth for five years. Prior to that, Litke was a partner with a large Texas-based law firm, where he advised clients on corporate transactional matters for nearly 13 years. He began his legal career as a staff attorney with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Send newsmakers to Betty Dillard at

Arizona educator selected

as TCC chancellor finalist

Eugene V. Giovannini, founding president of Maricopa Corporate College in Scottsdale, Arizona, is the sole finalist for chancellor of the Tarrant County College District.

TCC trustees selected Giovannini at a special meeting on June 9 after a nationwide search.

Giovannini would become the fifth person to lead the 50-year-old community college, the 12th largest college in the nation, after the 21-day waiting period required by law.

He would succeed the late Erma Johnson Hadley, who died in October 2015.

Giovannini has served the Maricopa County Community College District since 2002, including 11 years as president of Gateway Community College in Phoenix. He also has served as a chief academic and student affairs officer. He began his community college career in 1983 at Virginia’s Eastern Shore Community College, where he was an instructor for two years. Later he became chairman of office technologies at Broome Community College in New York.

In 2014, Giovannini was appointed to the board of the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship, for which he now serves as chairman. He continues to teach finance and policy development at the graduate level.

Giovannini earned his doctorate in community college education from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and his bachelor’s degree in business education and master’s degree in education from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania.

Tarleton names founding dean

for health, human services college

Vimala Pillari has been selected the founding dean of Tarleton State University’s College of Health Sciences and Human Services.

Pillari will begin her duties Aug. 1, pending approval by the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents.

With its main campus in Stephenville, Tarleton has been a part of the Texas A&M system since 1917.

Set to open this fall, Tarleton’s new college will house the Department of Nursing and the Department of Medical Laboratory Sciences and Public Health, located in Fort Worth’s Medical District. Programs will be offered in Fort Worth, Waco and Midlothian as well as at the Stephenville campus and via Tarleton’s online Global Campus.

Pillari currently is dean of the Whitney M. Young Jr. School of Social Work at Clark Atlanta University in Georgia, where she has served since 2008. At Clark Atlanta, she helped to establish a dual degree program in social work and public health, a new clinical doctorate and a research center focused on multicultural families and children.

An experienced researcher and writer, Pillari founded the School of Social Work at Newman University in Kansas and the Graduate School of Social Work at Dominican University in Illinois. She is active with the National Council on Social Work Education, co-chairing its annual conference in Atlanta. She has worked with international groups from India and Qatar.

Pillari earned her bachelor’s degree in home science/economics, child psychology and sociology and her master’s degree in social work, with a specialization in families and children, from Madras University in India. She received her doctorate in social welfare from Columbia University in New York.

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