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Newsmakers: Granger to lead subcommittee on military spending

In a move that strengthens Fort Worth as a defense industry bulwark, U.S. Rep. Kay Granger – photo – (R-Fort Worth) has been named chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee’s Defense Subcommittee for the 115th Congress. This subcommittee oversees more than half of Appropriations Committee funding, giving her a key role in funding defense projects such as Lockheed Martin’s F-35 program that has come under attack for its costs from then-President-elect Donald Trump.

“I am honored to be asked to serve as chairwoman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee,” Granger said. “Much of my work in Congress has focused on national security and foreign policy. So I am ready to go to work on Day One. The challenges facing our nation are serious. Terrorism remains a global threat and our military has been reduced during the Obama years. To be safe, we must be strong. I will work with my colleagues to rebuild America’s military. Now is the time to invest in our military and ensure it is stronger than ever.”

Granger is no stranger to the subcommittee, having served as vice chairwoman during the last congressional session. She replaces Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-New Jersey), who was named chairman of the entire Appropriations Committee late last year.

In her first term in Congress from 1997-1999, Granger served on the House Armed Services and Budget committees. In 1999, she was appointed to the Appropriations Committee. While on that committee she served as vice chairman of its Military Construction Subcommittee and most recently as chairman of its State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee In 2001 in the aftermath of 9-11, she was named to the newly created Homeland Security Subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee.

As a result of her work in national security and foreign policy, Granger has received numerous national security awards over the years, including:

the Navy Distinguished Public Service Award awarded by the Secretary of the Navy; the Decoration for Distinguished Civilian Service awarded by the Secretary of the Army; the Semper Fidelis Award presented by the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation; the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition Award presented by the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition; the Henry M. “Scoop” Jackson Distinguished Service Award presented by the Jewish Institute of National Security Affairs. She was chosen by then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to receive the first Global War on Terrorism coin.


Amy Scott Sorley has been named a principal at Halbach Dietz Architects. She has 29 years of interior design experience and will use it to grow the interior design side of the business. She is a registered interior designer and a member of the American Society of Interior Designers. She graduated from Texas Tech University with a bachelor’s degree in interior design.

Jeff VanCuren has been named a principal at Halbach Dietz Architects. He has 26 years of project management experience, serving such wide-ranging clients as Game On Arena Sports, D.R. Horton, Texas Elementary School of Fine Arts, Holt Caterpillar and the Dallas Zoo. He head the design team for the buildings that comprise the Fort Worth Zoo’s $100 million “Wilder Vision” campaign. VanCuren graduated from Clemson University with a bachelor’s degree in architecture


Neil Barrow has joined Whitley Penn as business development director and will be based in the firm’s Fort Worth office. Barrow will collaborate with partners to design unique business development roadmaps for Whitley Penn’s current and prospective clients. He earned a bachelor’s degree in health administration from Texas A&M University. He is on the executive committee of the Ronald McDonald House of Fort Worth and the marketing and communications committee of The Parenting Center.

Daniel Boarder, Kimberly DeWoody, Lupe Garcia and Brian Mitchell have been named new partners at Whitley Penn.

Lee Johnson of Lee Johnson Capital Management has retired after a 46-year career as a registered investment adviser. Andy Heinz, previously vice president and chief investment officer, has purchased the business.


Ellen McEwen has joined the Northeast Tarrant Chamber as full-time membership director. McEwen was most recently the director of membership and sales for Diamond Oaks Country Club and a member of the Northeast Tarrant Chamber.

Tom Martens has been promoted to creative director of the Fort Worth Convention & Visitors Bureau. Martens is responsible for managing the Fort Worth brand, including advertising, video and all print and online materials. He previously was art director and joined the bureau in 2012.

Jessica Christopherson earned film commissioner certification from the Association of Film Commissioners International. Christopherson is marketing director for the Fort Worth Convention & Visitors Bureau and film commissioner for the Fort Worth Film Commission.

The Tarrant County Association for the Blind dba Lighthouse for the Blind of Fort Worth has named a new chairman to the board of directors. She is Dr. Jennifer Deakins, – clinic director at the Community Eye Clinic. Two new board members are Jeff Moten and Blake Billings.. Moten is a 1986 Texas Christian University graduate and works in the banking and financial industry. Billings is also a TCU graduate and a 2012 graduate from the Southern Methodist University School of Law. He is an associate attorney with Harris, Finley & Bogle PC.


Fort Worth banker Charlie Powell, president of the Fort Worth region for Ciera Bank, is now chairman of JPS Health Network’s governing board of managers, taking the reins from the Rev. Ralph Emerson. The chairmanship changes hands every two years. Dr. Charles Webber, a Fort Worth surgeon, is the new vice chairman. The 11-person board is appointed by Tarrant County Commissioners to provide leadership and set strategic direction for the tax-supported health care network.


American Airlines won the 2017 Airline of the Year award given by Air Transport World. ATW editors selected American Airlines from a field of more than 100 global competitors. The award will be presented as the top honor at the 43nd annual ATW Airline Industry Achievement Awards on March 28 at the J.W. Marriott Essex House in New York.

“It was another phenomenal year for American Airlines, and all the credit goes to our team,” said American’s Chairman and CEO Doug Parker. “Our 120,000 team members completed several crucial integration milestones, launched 67 new routes, took delivery of 115 new aircraft, and much more – all while running a solid operation and taking great care of our customers. While we still have much to accomplish, we’re incredibly proud of the work these men and women are doing every day to restore American as the greatest airline in the world.”

Steve Germany,-a Bank of Texas investment sales officer based in Fort Worth, clinched the No. 3 spot in the annual top 100 U.S. bank advisers list compiled by Bank Investment Consultant magazine. Bank of Texas is a subsidiary of BOK Financial. Retail investment services are performed under the brand name BOK Financial Securities Inc.

“There is a lot of competition nationally to make the Bank Investment Consultant Top 100 Adviser List each year,” said Mark Nurdin, CEO for Bank of Texas’ Fort Worth region. “This recognition is a well-deserved honor for Steve both for his accomplishments and his client service.”

Eric Lombardi is in his second year as head of school at Fort Worth Country Day, has been named a recipient of a Lamplighter School Spirit Award. He is a 1973 Lamplighter School graduate. Lombardi grew up in Dallas, where he attended The Lamplighter School and St. Mark’s School. He graduated cum laude from Dartmouth College with a degree in history (1985) and earned a master’s degree in liberal studies from Duke University (1991) and a master’s in education from Columbia University (2013). Before joining Country Day, he was head of middle school at St. John’s School in Houston for 16 years.

Ryan E. Scharar was selected as a 2016 Rising Star by the Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants (TSCPA). Scharar, an attorney and certified public accountant, is a director for the Texas Young Lawyers Association and is the Tax Institute Committee chairman for the Fort Worth Chapter of the TSCPA. He advises small businesses and individuals on a variety of business transactional and tax planning/compliance matters.

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