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People: John Horn to lead North Central Texas Council of Governments

John Horn to lead North Central Texas Council of Governments

Hunt County Judge John Horn was named the 49th president of the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG.) He will lead the executive board, succeeding Kathryn Wilemon, Arlington mayor pro tem, who will serve as past president. Horn also is a co-representative for Rockwall and Hunt counties on the Regional Transportation Council.

Plano Mayor Pro Tem Lissa Smith is the new vice president, and Tom Lombard, North Richland Hills council member, is the new secretary/treasurer.

Smith was one of eight new members elected to the executive board. The others are: Fort Worth Council Member Kelly Allen Gray, Denton County Commissioner Bobbie Mitchell, Wise County Judge J. D. Clark, Arlington Council Member Michael Glaspie, Denton Mayor Chris Watts, Mesquite Council Member Bruce Archer and Burleson Council Member Dan McClendon. Rep. Jeff Leach (R-Plano) is the ex officio member.

Members rotating off the board were Benbrook Council Member Larry Marshall, former Dallas Council Member Vonciel Jones Hill, former Fort Worth Council Member Danny Scarth and NCTCOG Past President Steve Terrell, mayor of Allen.

Advertising, Marketing & Public Relations

Lauren Coleman has joined GCG Marketing as art director and Claire Dunn as account executive. Coleman previously was art director at Launch Agency in Dallas. Her art direction has received several awards, including two ADDYs from the American Advertising Federation-Dallas. Prior to joining GCG, Dunn worked at Pavlov Advertising for three years, advancing from intern to account executive. She also completed internships at Warner Bros. Pictures and PostAds Group Inc.

Architecture & Engineering

Ascension Group Architects promoted Casey Carlton and David Watkins to associate principals and Jeff Sudman to associate. Carlton, who joined Ascension Group nine years ago, was a project manager responsible for the design, production and construction administration of a range of project types and sizes. Watkins joined Ascension Group seven years ago, is experienced in construction management and developed more than eight replacement hospitals. He is a registered accessibility specialist in Texas. Sudman joined Ascension Group 13 years ago. His experience includes project management, space planning and programming, design development coordination and construction document development, and construction administration. Sudman has been in the industry since 1992; he worked his way up from CAD draftsman to project manager and then to associate.

Banking & Finance

Thomas R. Gonnella joined the Fort Worth Employees’ Retirement Fund as general counsel and Mary Beth Lane joined as pension system administration analyst on the benefits team. Previously, Gonnella was an associate at Pannone Lopes Devereaux & West LLC, where he practiced in the firm’s general litigation and municipal infrastructure groups in Rhode Island and New York. Lane worked for the city of Fort Worth for more than 25 years. She retired from the code compliance department, and during her city career worked as a human resources information services specialist, senior information technology operations specialist and in various positions in transportation and public works and the water department.

Drew Madsen has been named audit partner of the Fort Worth office of Sutton Frost Cary LLP, where he has been an associate for nine years. Madsen is a member of the AICPA, Texas Society of CPAs and the Fort Worth Chapter of the Texas Society of CPAs.

Boards & Organizations

Sarah Fagin Cutrona, chief counsel and executive vice president of compliance for Elevate, has been selected to serve on the State Regulatory Registry Industry Advisory Council, a subsidiary of the Conference of State Bank Supervisors.

Casey Tounget of Coldwell Banker Commercial Alliance DFW has been named president of the Young Leaders Council of the Greater Fort Worth Real Estate Council for a two-year term. Tounget is a member of the GFWREC’s education committee and a board member for Communities in Schools Tarrant County and TCU Young Alumni. He is a graduate of Leading Edge 2014 and active in SteerFW, VisionFW, Society of Commercial Realtors and the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce.

American National Bank of Texas appointed Kenneth Allen, Ross Buhrdorf and Mark Bunting to its advisory board. Allen most recently was vice president, finance and chief financial officer at Texas Industries. He previously served on the board of Senior Source of Dallas and currently is a director of Consumer Credit Counseling Services of Dallas and Empire District Electric Co. Since 2005, Buhrdorf has been chief technical officer of HomeAway. He currently serves on the board of Austin Habitat for Humanity. Bunting was most recently the chief strategy and development officer at Apollo Education after serving as CEO of TechMedia Capital. He is a visiting lecturer in high-tech marketing and advertising at the University of Texas.

New members of BBVA Compass’ Fort Worth advisory board are: Glenn Davidson, founder of Pinpoint Investments + Advisors; Mary Russell, managing director of the personal insurance department for Higginbotham; and Elton M. Hyder, president and CEO of EMH Corp. Davidson was previously the president and CEO of A.E. Petsche Co. Inc. Hyder previously was president of three real estate corporations, managed two estates and represented owners in oil and gas interests in five states. He recently finished a three-year term as a board member at the Federal Reserve Bank in Dallas.

Health Care

Dr. Sunbal Zafar, a gastroenterologist, has joined USMD Affiliated Services and will practice at USMD’s Arlington South Specialty Clinic. Zafar attended medical school at Jinnah Sindh Medical University, formerly Sindh Medical College. She completed her residency in internal medicine at Case Western Reserve University and completed two fellowships, one in geriatric medicine at University Hospitals of Cleveland and one in gastroenterology at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, where she was an assistant professor.

Honors & Awards

Clayton Reed, lead pastor of Southlake Baptist Church, was named Southlake Citizen of the Year by the Southlake Chamber of Commerce. Frost Bank was named Corporate Business of the Year; SPARK (Students and Parents Against Risks to our Kids) was honored as Civic Group of the Year; Wildwood Grill won Small Business of the Year; and Sarah Friske was named Volunteer of the Year.

Winners of Alliance for Children’s 2015 Team Excellence Awards are: Julie Lovett, volunteer; Shawn Washington, CARE Team partner; Melinda Westmoreland, district attorney’s office; Mike McCormack, Fort Worth Police Department; Ashley Rader, Child Protective Services; and Emily Millican, therapist, Alliance for Children.

Aryn Pittaway, a driver for FedEx Express based in Fort Worth, captured his third Step Van state title at the 2015 Texas State Truck Driving Championship. Pittaway will compete at the American Trucking Association’s 2015 National Truck Driving Championships, known as the “Super Bowl of Safety,” Aug. 11-15 in St. Louis.

Real Estate

Gloria Larson is the newest member of the Champions DFW Commercial Real Estate LLC team, serving as a sales and leasing associate. Prior to joining Champions, she was a Realtor at Keller Williams Realty.

Send newsmakers to Betty Dillard at

Keep Haltom City Beautiful sets world record

A huge sculpture made from 18,000 cardboard boxes has earned Keep Haltom City Beautiful a Guinness World Record title for the largest such structure ever built.

The sculpture, a replica of the original Birdville County courthouse from 1855, was built by volunteers on America and Texas Recycles Day, Nov. 15, 2014. Beautification board members from Keep Haltom City Beautiful, an affiliate of Keep Texas Beautiful, learned about building a cardboard box structure from the 2014 Keep Texas Beautiful Conference. They teamed up with the Northeast Environmental Team to break the world record.

Volunteers spent over 487 hours on the project on Recycles Day, including local high school students, community members, elected city officials, businesspeople, board members and city employees.

The sculpture was sketched by Don Tipps with design plan by architect Daniel Williams. The Hills Center in North Richland Hills donated the workspace for the sculpture, and the boxes and packing tape were donated by local retailer Harris Packaging and local residents.

The Keep Haltom City Beautiful initiative supports programs related to litter prevention and cleanup, recycling, watershed protection, beautification, code enforcement education and the arts. The KHCB board members are appointed by the city council.

The Northeast Environmental Team is a group of representatives from Haltom City, North Richland Hills, Richland Hills and Watauga whose purpose is to educate residents on environmental issues.

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