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Newsmakers: Fort Worth Chamber elevates six employees

Fort Worth Chamber elevates six employees

Five staffers with the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce have been promoted to vice presidents and one to manager.

Lydia Hall, vice president of programs and events, oversees business development programs, including the Small Business Council, Area Councils, Women Influencing Business and Vision Fort Worth. She began at the chamber in 2000.

Andra Bennett House, vice president of communications, joined the staff in 2001 and oversees strategies and tactics in media relations, member and marketing communications, publication production and sales, website management and social media.

Cynthia Miller, vice president of workforce development and education, joined the chamber in 2001 and directs programs including GO Centers, Job Links Excelerator and Distinguished Employers of Fort Worth Teens.

Melonye Whitson, vice president of economic development, markets Fort Worth as the location of choice for businesses. Hired in 2005, she oversees the Local Business Retention and Certificate of Origin programs.

Matt Geske, vice president of governmental affairs, was hired in 2012. He oversees local, state and federal public policy advocacy and coordinates the chamber’s government affairs committees.

Monta Noe, marketing manager, coordinates the Chamber Travel program, fulfills weekly door prizes for members, assists in sponsor relations and handles special projects for both internal and external customers. She joined the staff in 2009.

Advertising, Marketing & Public Relations

2e Creative Inc., a full-service creative agency based in St. Louis, Mo., will expand to Dallas-Fort Worth to launch a new strategic public relations and corporate communications service. Lane Borrello, who previously worked in strategic communications at Alcon and Caris Life Sciences, will lead the service as director of public relations and communications strategy.

Banking & Finance

Worthington National Bank added Ray Wise as the new financial services representative for the Arlington branch. Wise brings 12 years of experience in the banking industry. He worked as a commercial and consumer loan assistant in addition to teller supervisor and new accounts assistant prior to joining Worthington.

Construction & Engineering

New hires at Westwood Contractors Inc. include Thomas Menchaca as an assistant estimator, Justin Steblay as a project superintendent, Kelly Martinez as a senior project manager and Felicia Johnson as an accounts payable clerk. Also, Jessica Bynum has been promoted to accounting manager. Menchaca recently completed an internship with Westwood and will graduate from Tarrant County College this summer. Steblay has more than 17 years of experience in projects such as multi-family residential, educational facilities, gas stations and car washes. Prior to joining Westwood, he had been a superintendent for various firms since 1998. Martinez has more than 15 years of experience in commercial construction, including grocery big box retailers such as Walmart, Whole Foods Market, Publix Super Markets and Sprouts Farmers Market. Other notable projects include work at AT&T Stadium and the Library of Congress. Johnson has more than 20 years of experience in accounts payable and administrative services. Bynum joined Westwood in 2010 in accounts payable and worked her way up to AP supervisor.


Paige Smith joined the University of North Texas System as associate vice chancellor for budget and will provide leadership and strategic planning in system-wide budgeting and resource management.

She is certified as both a public accountant and an internal auditor and has more than 24 years of accounting, auditing and grant management experience in Texas public higher education. Her most recent experience has been with Karon N. Murff, CPA, LLC working as a senior manager in the corporate taxation area.

Texas Christian University hired Michelle Clark as assistant vice chancellor, communications. Most recently she was an account director and regional director for Global Prairie Marketing. Since 2004, she has been an adjunct professor in TCU’s Bob Schieffer College of Communication.

Honors & Awards

Sharon S. Millians, partner at Kelly Hart & Hallman LLP, received the 2015 Law Day Professionalism Award from the Tarrant County Bar Association. Millians was honored as the bar member who best “exemplifies, by conduct and character, professional traits that others seek to emulate.” A member of Kelly Hart’s Executive Committee since 1998, she represents clients in transactions in real estate ownership, real estate-based financing and development of real estate products, including office, hotel, resort, retail, ranch land, industrial and multi-family uses. She was elected to the American College of Real Estate Lawyers and is a Sustaining Life Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation and a Life Fellow of the Tarrant County Bar Association. She is a member of the Texas Wesleyan University Board of Trustees and the Texas Christian University AddRan College of Liberal Arts Board of Visitors. She is past chairman of the Fellows of the Texas Bar Foundation and past chairman of the Women’s Center of Tarrant County Inc.

Jennifer Henderson, president and founder of marketing agency J.O., has been accepted into Goldman Sachs’ $20 million 10,000 Small Businesses program, an initiative to help create jobs and economic growth in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The program will give J.O. access to business education developed by Babson College, support services and capital.

Kristy Libotte Keener, graphic design coordinator for the North Central Texas Council of Governments, won platinum and gold awards from the International Hermes Creative Awards competition for graphic design. Her awards were for NCTCOG’s transportation and workforce annual reports.

Anthony Dinsay, laboratory supervisor at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Alliance since 2012, earned a special recognition award at the Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council Foundation’s Annual Employee of the Year Luncheon. His project won a national award and $10,000 grant, the Premier AEIX Risk Management Award. The project helped eliminate delays and decrease specimen rejections in submissions of phenylketonuria tests for newborn babies to the Texas Department of Health. He will be honored during Premier’s Breakthrough Conference in Washington, D.C., June 23-26.

George Fassett, president and CEO of computer management company THUMBTECHS, received the Spirit of Hope Award at this year’s Open Doors to Hope event in support of Samaritan House.


Chris Piekarski, general manager and vice president of PM McKinney Investments LLC, dba Buffalo West, is now a business partner and owner in the company along with Paul McKinney. Piekarski took over as general manager in August 2013.


Guidepoint Systems appointed Ken Wiesner as vice president of business strategy development. Wiesner has more than 15 years of experience in the automotive connectivity field. He joins Guidepoint after two years as an executive member of Leadstick Inc. Prior to that he was CEO of Aircept and later CEO of Enfotrace.

ECi Software Solutions named Amy Brown as director of strategic services for the office products division. Brown has more than 20 years of office products experience, most recently as director of sales for ECi Acsellerate. Previous she spent 15 years as the sales director for a large dealer in Ohio.


The Fort Worth Transportation Authority (The T) appointed Kathy Bridwell assistant vice president of procurement, Garry Brandenburg as director of safety and Peter Nelson – as director of training. Bridwell comes to The T from the procurement department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. Previously, she was the purchasing manager for Tarrant County College District.

Brandenburg will coordinate all of The T’s safety programs, including safety for regular bus, Mobility-impaired Transportation Service, maintenance and administrative functions, and accident and injury loss prevention. He has more than 25 years of experience in safety and risk management, including Garland Independent School District Transportation and Ben E. Keith Foods.

Nelson will oversee and consolidate the agency’s training programs and help create a more sharply customer-focused organization. He comes to The T from executive level training positions at major companies, most recently as vice president of training and leadership development at Leslie’s Poolmart Inc. He also led training initiatives for Southwest Airlines, including redesigning its new employee training and orientation program. He was an instructor for Southwest Airlines and American Airlines.

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