Newsmakers – March 31, 2014

Aviation Harry A. Mitchel has been promoted to chief operating officer at Executive Airshare, a regional fractional aircraft ownership company. Mitchel joined Executive AirShare as vice president of operations in 2013. As COO, he oversees all aspects of company operations including flight operations, maintenance, scheduling and managed aircraft. Mitchel’s 30 years in aviation include serving as vice president of operations with Colgan Air in Memphis, Tenn.; general manager of Funair Corp. in Miami; director of aviation for Magic Carpet Airlines (the aviation department of the NBA’s Orlando Magic); lead pilot for Las Vegas-based Vision Air; and director of Pinnacle Airlines’ Corporate Education Center in Memphis. He has more than 6,000 hours of experience as an ATP pilot in global operations.

Banking & Finance Independent insurance firm Higginbotham hired Robert C. White Jr. to expand the life insurance department at its Fort Worth office. White comes to Higginbotham from Sundance Solutions LLC, an automotive financer, and Sundance Lending LLC, a debt collector, in Fort Worth, where he was partner concurrently since 2009. From 1997 to 2007, White owned Marketing Group LTC, which had more than 200 contracted agents selling long-term care insurance to individuals and companies in multiple states. He sold the business to a private equity firm. Janet Allen has been promoted to senior vice president/residential sales at Republic Title of Texas. Allen will lead the residential sales and business development efforts of the company as well as oversee customer relations and sales for all Republic Title of Texas residential branch locations.

Boards & Organizations Matthew Rose, executive chairman of BNSF Railway Co., has been elected to the board of Fluor Corp. effective April 30. Rose, who joined Burlington Northern in 1993, is a director on several boards, including AT&T, the Association of American Railroads, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Patrick J. Maher, a partner and head of the Labor & Employment Group at Shannon, Gracey, Ratliff & Miller LLP, has been elected to a three-year term as a section representative to the board of the State Bar of Texas. Maher has served as chairman of the Council of Section Chairs for the last two years. He previously was chairman of the State Bar’s Labor and Employment Law Section and the first chairman of the Tarrant County Bar Association’s Labor and Employment Law Section. He is board-certified in labor and employment law and is a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Law. Mabrie Jackson, the president and CEO of the North Texas Commission, and Heather Reynolds, the president and CEO at Catholic Charities Fort Worth, joined the Sustainable Energy Advisory Board at Energy Future Holdings. Terry D. Benton, assistant director of water utilities for Arlington, has been designated a Public Works Leadership Fellow by the American Public Works Association. Benton will mentor public works professionals enrolled in the Donald C. Stone Center for Leadership Excellence. Benton has been part of public works operations for 32 years, having worked in water, sewer, drainage, transportation and financial areas. Cynthia Blankenship, vice chairman and COO of Bank of the West in Grapevine, has been named chairman of the consolidated holding committee for the Independent Community Bankers of America. New on the board at the Day Resource Center for the Homeless are Marianne Auld, a partner at Kelly, Hart & Hallman LLP; Larry McPhail, a founding Day Resource Center board member; Raley Taliaferro, owner of Bear Land Services; and Erin Verrett, director of business development at Vaquero Ventures. The slate of returning board members include Chairman Bonnie Siddons, Vice Chairman Steve Christian, Treasurer Robert Hampton, Secretary Mary Sumner and members the Rev. Dara Austin, Flora Brewer, Brent Comstock, Donna Laminack, Pam Ramsey and Ernest (Rocky) Rothfelder.

Chambers of Commerce Greg Fox is the new director of the Northwest Tarrant Chamber of Commerce. Fox has been a member of the chamber through Starplex Cinemas since 2010. He recently took on a new venture as owner/publisher of the The Northwest Sun online news outlet. Fox is also an alumnus of Leadership Northwest.

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Engineering & Construction Yates Construction hired Jake Sigler as the new business development manager for its North Texas Division in Fort Worth. Paul J. Padilla has been elected as a shareholder at MULTATECH. Padilla joined the company in 2011 and has 31 years of experience in civil engineering and project management.

Health Care The LaSalle Group Inc., which builds, manages and owns 35 Autumn Leaves memory care communities nationwide, appointed Joseph E. Jasmon as its first chief operating officer. Jasmon will provide operational leadership to The LaSalle Group and its four divisions: Winfield Design LLC, MWW Development LLC, Lake Superior Contracting LP and Constant Care Family Management. Jasmon joins The LaSalle Group from American Healthcare Management Group, where he was managing partner and chief implementation officer. Prior to that, he was executive vice president/COO for Renown Health System and executive vice president/COO at Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center, both located in Reno, Nev. His more than 25 years of experience in operational improvement and optimization of resources also includes leadership roles with Caritas Christi Healthcare System, Memorial Health System and Quorum Health Resources.

Honors & Awards On the heels of her retirement after 36 years of service, Sharon Mull received the Shelby Distinguished Service Award, LegacyTexas Bank’s employee of the year award named after bank Chairman Pat Shelby. Mull retired as an executive lending assistant in the commercial loan department. Ed Roberts and Wanda Williams were inducted into the American Paint Horse Association’s Hall of Fame. Roberts served as APHA’s executive secretary for nearly 27 years. He retired in 2001 but remains active with the association. Williams joined APHA in 1963; in 1975, she became Roberts’ administrative assistant. She was named Honorary APHA Past President in 1999. Property Rehab Services of Fort Worth has been awarded “Best Of Houzz” by Houzz, the platform for home remodeling and design. The family-owned remodeling and building firm was chosen by the more than 16 million monthly users that make up the Houzz community.

Law Jeremy R. Pruett has been promoted to shareholder at Bourland, Wall & Wenzel PC. His practice focuses primarily on business planning, business transactions and real estate law. He was admitted to the State Bar of Texas in 2004.

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Moving & Storage Jeff Singleton has been promoted to area district vice president for U-Haul Co.’s District 5 in North Texas. Most recently, Singleton was U-Haul’s marketing president of East Bay (San Francisco). He also served as a program manager for San Francisco, field computer specialist and field relief manager of East Sacramento and marketing company president of U-Haul of West Sacramento, Calif.

Nonprofit Organizations Diane Wolfe joined the Day Resource Center for the Homeless staff as communications and development director. She has 20 years of experience in communications for numerous area nonprofits and special events.

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Blum law firm honored The Community Foundation of North Texas has named The Blum Firm as the 2014 recipient of the Professional Advisor of the Year Award. Lisa Jamieson, the 2013 recipient, presented the award during the foundation’s annual luncheon on March 11. Founded in 1980 by Marvin Blum, The Blum Firm now has more than 30 professionals on staff with offices in Fort Worth and Dallas. The foundation typically presents the award to an individual, but this year it decided that The Blum Firm as a whole deserved the honor due to the quality of its work and commitment to the community. “The Blum Firm has been a long-standing supporter of the Community Foundation; all of their lawyers have utilized the foundation in some way or another in order to help their clients accomplish their charitable goals. We couldn’t pick just one person at the firm – the entire organization supports what we do,” said Community Foundation Chairman Phil McCrury.