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Newsmakers: Ohio rider/trainer to lead cutting horse association

Chuck Smith has been hired as the new executive director for the National Cutting Horse Association.

Smith says he wants to appeal to the many facets of the organization’s membership.

There are the amateur and non-professional competitors who mainly compete on weekends. There are the professional trainer/riders who compete in the Triple Crown shows in Fort Worth – the December Futurity, the April Super Stakes and the July Summer Spectacular.

There are the trainers who teach the horses to hold cattle at bay. They also tutor non-pros and amateurs. There is the show production staff. And the list goes on.

Smith is on a mission to make sure every part of the sport is heard.

Smith, 68, replaces Jim Bret Campbell, who served as the NCHA’s leader from June 2013 through August 2016.

“I want to create balance so we don’t get too heavy in one spot,” Smith said. ”We need the new people coming in and they need to feel like they’re welcome and they’re advancing regardless of how meager their progress is. We need to have the top trainers and the top competitors having something to aspire to.

“We also have to remember that the majority of the people who get into this sport are doing it for fun. If you make it too hard and expensive and it starts taking the fun out of it, they’re going to do something else.”

Smith knows whereof he speaks. He’s been a cutting horse trainer/rider for more than three decades. He owns a training facility in the Columbus, Ohio, area where he’s has a longtime history of working with amateur riders.

“As much as I love the Triple Crown events or the limited aged events that we have here [each year at Fort Worth’s Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum], it’s very hard to travel to that far [from Ohio] on a continual basis,” he said. “So, in order to make a viable living there, you have to show in local weekend competition and focus on the amateur competitors.

“Being a trainer of amateur competitors is a lucrative business, but it forces you to be a teacher of people as well as a trainer of horses. That’s a very complex thing for trainers to do. I’ve had to learn to do that the hard way in the last 30 years.”

In addition to being a trainer, Smith has produced about 40 limited aged events over the years. Limited aged events are shows such as the Futurity that showcase younger horses ages 3 through 6.

“I can relate to show staff about our show production,” he said. “I also can relate to membership staff about what it means to reach and retain new members.”

Smith also has been serving as the NCHA’s president, a one-year term that will end in June.

After that, Smith will continue as executive director indefinitely. He temporarily has put his career as a horse trainer on hold. He is working at the association’s corporate offices in Fort Worth.

Asked what NCHA members are looking for from its leadership, Smith said: “They want to feel like competition is fair and it is economical as possible. This is never going to be a cheap sport. But we can try to make it where the economics are more favorable. We need to try to recognize individuals’ accomplishments. I feel like in the past, that the accomplishments were too high and that’s why people in the game gave up too quickly, because it took too long for them to be recognized.” – Brett Hoffman

Amon Carter Museum

names advancement director

The Amon Carter Museum of American Art has appointed Libby Tilley – photo = as the head of museum advancement. She will help guide the museum’s annual fundraising strategy, including the cultivation, solicitation and stewardship of donors. Tilley also will oversee the membership manager and the corporate relations and events manager.

Tilley has two decades of experience in public relations, marketing, event planning and fundraising. Most recently she was development director for Susan G. Komen in Austin. She also worked in development and external affairs for The Contemporary Austin and Artpace San Antonio and in public relations with Clear Channel Exhibitions and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.

“Libby is a key addition to the Amon Carter,” said Guy C. Vanderpool, director of development and communications, in a news release. “She has extensive experience in fundraising and corporate relations, and she will have an important role in broadening the museum’s financial support.”

Tilley holds a bachelor’s degree in art history from H. Sophie Newcomb Memorial College in New Orleans and a graduate degree in fine and decorative arts and design from Sotheby’s Institute of Art

BANKING AND FINANCE

Rebekah Reeder has been promoted to assurance partner in the Fort Worth office of Weaver and Jim Jones has joined the firm’s Houston office as a partner in tax and strategic business services. Reeder joined Weaver in 2005 and has more than 11 years of experience overseeing audits for investment management and hedge funds, private equity and venture capital funds, broker-dealers, financial institutions, and manufacturing and distribution companies. She is an active member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants, the Texas Hedge Fund Association and Texas Wall Street Women. She graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Hardin-Simmons University.

Josh Swanson has been named senior vice president, investment banking for UMB Bank in Texas. He will be responsible for working with community banking clients regarding interest rate risk and their fixed income portfolios. Previously he worked at The Baker Group. Swanson graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

BOARDS AND ORGANIZATIONS

Caroline S. Samis, a wealth strategist associate with Northern Trust, has joined the Union Gospel Mission of Tarrant County board of directors.

Samis is a graduate of Southern Methodist University. She is a former staffer on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., and more recently was a development fundraising officer at her alma mater, All Saints’ Episcopal School of Fort Worth. She serves on the SMU Fort Worth Alumni Chapter Leadership Committee, the All Saints’ Episcopal School Capital Campaign Cabinet, the Rivertree Academy “Dinner Under the Stars” Committee, the Union Gospel Mission Young Professionals Committee, the Kimbell Art Museum Red Party Committee, and the Cliburn 180s.

COMMUNICATIONS

Jonathan Silverberg has been promoted to senior designer at Cooksey Communications, a North Texas-based strategic communications firm. He joined the firm in February 2015 as a graphic designer after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in visual communications from the University of Texas in Arlington.

Send newsmakers to Robert Francis at rfrancis@bizpress.net.

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