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Newsmakers: Texas Wesleyan names dean of new health professions school

🕐 8 min read


American Airlines recently made several appointments within its marketing team. Kurt Stache moved to senior vice president-marketing and loyalty, Bridget Blaise-Shamai was promoted to vice president-loyalty, Vasu Raja moved to vice president-network planning, and Joe Mohan was hired as vice president-alliances and partnerships.

Stache, who most recently was senior vice president of alliances and partnerships, will oversee the airline’s marketing strategy and implementation and will direct the company’s customer relations management and loyalty programs. Stache previously was based in London as vice president-international, with responsibilities for company business in the Atlantic and Pacific regions. He has also been vice president-global sales, president-AAdvantage marketing programs and managing director-international revenue management.

Blaise-Shamai will take over as president of the AAdvantage program and will also be responsible for the airline’s customer relationship management initiatives, AAdvantage customer service, and all travel and retail mileage partnerships and business solutions. Blaise-Shamai has spent more than 20 years with the airline, most recently as managing director-customer loyalty and insight. Previously, she held positions including managing director-distribution systems and director-AAdvantage partner marketing.

Raja will be responsible for planning American’s worldwide route network as well as developing the airline’s long-term network strategy. He most recently was vice president-pricing and yield management. Raja joined American in 2004 and has worked in sales, corporate planning and revenue management. Raja succeeds Chuck Schubert, who has been named vice president-operations and crew performance.

Mohan will be responsible for managing the airline’s global alliances, international planning activities and interline product distribution. In addition, he will oversee American’s joint business agreement activities with British Airways, Iberia and Japan Airlines. Mohan has more than 15 years of experience in the aviation industry. Most recently, he was CEO of VivaLatinamerica and led the expansion of the Viva brand through new airline launches throughout Latin America. He started his airline career in 1996 with Continental Airlines and spent 10 years there in management positions across strategic planning, revenue management and sales. He eventually became the chief commercial officer for Copa Airlines in Panama.

Banking & Finance

UMB Private Wealth Management hired Bradford Hutchins as a senior vice president and private banking client manager in its Fort Worth location. Hutchins has nearly 20 years of experience in the financial services industry. Previously he worked at Merrill Lynch/Bank of America for 17 years. He was most recently was a vice president and banking adviser in Fort Worth, spending seven years working with clients to deliver personalized banking services with an emphasis on lending and liquidity solutions.

Boards & Organizations

Tom Dennis, vice president for ExperiPro, is taking on a second term as president of the Dallas-Fort Worth Chapter of the American Marketing Association (AMA). Dennis previously was president of the AMA’s local chapter in 2010-2011 and received the 2012 AMA National Volunteer of the Year Award. He will serve as president of the local chapter until June 2017.

Gov. Greg Abbott appointed Dr. Mark Bronson as a member and presiding officer of the Texas Board of Chiropractic Examiners for a term to expire on Feb. 1, 2021. Bronson is a Fort Worth chiropractor and owner of the Bronson Clinic Inc. He is a member of the Texas Chiropractic Association, American Chiropractic Association and Texas Council of Chiropractic Orthopedists. He is a volunteer for the Boy Scouts of America and a former volunteer for the Rotary Club of Western Fort Worth. Bronson received a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Texas at Austin, a doctor of chiropractic degree from Texas Chiropractic College and a certification in chiropractic orthopedics from Parker University.


Mark R. Westfall is the new vice president of engineering at Barron-Stark-Swift Consulting Engineers LP. Westfall brings more than 30 years of experience in civil and environmental engineering to the Barron Companies. Before joining Barron-Stark-Swift he founded Resonance Development Services, managed the real estate development and environmental engineering groups for AECOM’s Fort Worth office, and oversaw land development operations for Centex Destination Properties’ Central Division.

Golf Equipment

Scott White has been named president and CEO of Ben Hogan Golf Equipment Co., succeeding Terry Koehler. Koehler will focus on continued product innovation and serve as special counsel to White and the board. Koehler will continue as board member. White joined the Ben Hogan team in March. His 25-year career in the golf equipment industry included stints at Callaway Golf, TaylorMade Golf and True Temper, but his career started at Spalding Sports during the period it owned the Ben Hogan brand.

Honors & Awards

Carl Lee, general manager of Irving Red Lobster, was one of 32 GMs from the more than 700 Red Lobster restaurants in North America to receive the company’s highest honor, the Lighthouse Club Award. Lee, who has been with Red Lobster for 21 years, is well-known for his leadership of his team.

First American Payment Systems LP won the Association of TeleServices International’s Call Center Award of Distinction for the fourth year in a row. This award highlights the company’s dedication to its merchants and giving them an exceptional customer experience.

E-Mist Innovations was named a Top Innovation of the Year by (ICT). ICT is dedicated to infection control and prevention and publishes peer-reviewed research articles and perspective pieces focused on the topics of infection control and prevention. ICT selected E-Mist based on innovation and breakthrough technology.

Several Baylor Scott & White Health hospitals earned a Mother-Friendly Worksite designation from the Texas Department of State Health Services, meaning employees are provided the time, space and support to maintain breastfeeding after returning to work. Facilities with the designation include: Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas, Baylor Scott & White All Saints Medical Center-Fort Worth, Baylor Scott & White Medical Centers in Carrollton, College Station, Frisco, Garland, Grapevine, Irving, McKinney, Plano, Waxahachie and White Rock, and

Baylor Jack and Jane Hamilton Heart Vascular Hospital.


Attorneys Scott Beckmen and Stephen A. Crystal formed Beckmen Crystal Law to focus solely on eSports and iGaming. Crystal has been directly involved in all aspects of the casino and gaming technology industry for more than 20 years, as president/CEO of public and private gaming companies as well as an attorney representing clients before state regulatory agencies. Beckmen is founder/managing partner of Beckmen Law PC, headquartered in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, co-founder of Orange Energy Corp. and founder of Quiris Capital Advisors LLC. The areas of their collective expertise include: formation of entities, labor/employment, drafting and negotiating sponsorship agreements, player appearance contracts, media/advertising/promotions, licensing and distribution, litigation and dispute resolution, business and charitable entity formation, brand management, and intellectual property. The firm will office in Dallas-Fort Worth, Las Vegas and Washington, D.C.

Nonprofit Organizations

Big Brothers Big Sisters Lone Star named Melanie Hanna president of its greater Tarrant County market. Prior to consulting for various organizations, Hanna was executive director of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. She also was the development and constituents relations officer at Brite Divinity School at Texas Christian University. She also previously worked as a development officer at TCU. She came to TCU from March of Dimes, where she was the senior event coordinator. Hanna is an active member of the Junior League of Fort Worth, Alpha Delta Pi and Tanglewood Elementary PTA.

Teach For America appointed Cary Wright as the executive director of the Dallas-Fort Worth region. Wright played an instrumental role in developing the region’s financial and structural operations over the past four years, most recently as the interim executive director and chief of staff. Wright joined Teach For America in 2009 as a fifth-grade teacher in Belzoni, Mississippi. He has been a part of the organization’s Dallas-Fort Worth team since 2012. During his tenure, TFA-DFW has more than doubled in size and impact with a network of 1,200 leaders working in and out of the classroom to create long-term change for kids.

Real Estate

Marsha Krueger joined Holt Lunsford Commercial as senior vice president of management services in the Fort Worth office. Her responsibilities will include oversight of the day-to-day management operations for the Fort Worth-Las Colinas team. Krueger has more than 27 years of commercial property management experience. Previously she worked for Stream Realty as senior property manager. Prior to Stream, she worked for Klabzuba Realty for 12 years, serving as asset manager of its portfolio. She also spent 12 years with Central Partners as vice president of property management.

Send newsmakers to Betty Dillard at

Texas Wesleyan University is realigning its current health care professional programs to create a new School of Health Professions, which is set to open this fall.

The new school paves the way for the development of a nurse practitioner program, which the university hopes to launch by fall 2017.

To head the new school, Wesleyan has recruited Heidi Taylor, founding dean and nursing educator at West Texas A&M University’s College of Nursing and Health Sciences.

In addition to overseeing Wesleyan’s graduate nurse anesthesia program and graduate counseling program, Taylor will lead the university’s initiative in developing new health care professional programs such as the nurse practitioner degree.

Taylor has more than 26 years of experience in higher education. At West Texas A&M, she was also division head for nursing and founding associate vice president of learning outcomes. She is a board-certified nurse coach and holistic nurse.

The new school is part of Texas Wesleyan’s 2020 Vision to grow its academic offerings and help fill a gap in the shortage of nurse practitioners in Texas, according to Allen Henderson, senior vice president and provost.

“President [Frederick G.] Slabach and I met with CEOs from hospitals across North Texas to find out where they see a shortage in health care professionals,” Henderson said. “The resounding answer was ‘nurse practitioners’ because over the next 10 years, nurse practitioners are expected to start playing a major role in primary-care delivery.”

Texas Wesleyan’s nurse anesthesia program is the largest in the United States and the counseling program, with more than 120 students, serves more than 1,500 clients from Tarrant County each year.

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