Newsmakers: Moore named president at PlainsCapital Bank in downtown Fort Worth

Keeton Moore


PlainsCapital Bank recently announced that Keeton Moore  has been promoted to president of its downtown Fort Worth branch at 801 Houston St.

“Keeton’s promotion to president is well-deserved,” said Fort Worth Region Chairman Mark Warren. “His innovative thinking and passion for serving the individuals and businesses of Fort Worth have been clear since he joined PlainsCapital almost two decades ago. His leadership will allow PlainsCapital to continue pursuing our statewide banking initiatives while growing our footprint in the Fort Worth market.”

Moore’s new leadership role is among several recent promotions at PlainsCapital’s downtown Fort Worth location, including Brad Quirk to vice president and Cory Way to assistant vice president.

The American Institute of CPAs Standing Ovation Recognition Program has selected Arielle Schmeck,  CPA/ABV, a Senior Manager in the Consulting Services division at JTaylor, as one of its 22 outstanding young CPAs for 2020. She was honored in the area of Valuations. She is a graduate of Texas Christian University with a bachelor of business administration and a masters of accountancy. Before joining JTaylor, she worked at Ernst & Young in the audit practice, focusing on the oil and gas industry.

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The Texas Rangers and Comerica Bank have named Fort Worth’s District Barbershop as the Grand Prize winner of the Rally Back with the Rangers contest. The contest is designed to support women-owned and minority-owned small businesses in the Dallas-Fort Worth Area.

District Barbershop, owned by Edward and Amy Ramirez, has three locations, one of which opened this year.

“Winning Rally Back with the Rangers is an extraordinary opportunity to share our vision of service and community by providing exposure and opportunities for longevity on a level that we couldn’t have on our own,” District Barbershop Co-Owner Amy Ramirez said in a TNewexas Rangers news release.

Select entries were invited to pitch their business in-person at Texas Live! in front of Rangers’ executives, Comerica Bank Middle Market Group Manager and Texas Women’s Business Resource Group Chair Margareth Fanini Aviles, and former Rangers’ pitcher Darren Oliver.

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Robinson LaRue Consulting Co LLC and Precious Petals were also honored as runner-up finalists. Both businesses were honored with recognition in a @Rangers social post, and also received four tickets to a 2021 Rangers game at Globe Life Field.


Stockyards Heritage Development Co. and Hotel Drover have hired Grant Morgan as executive chef and Brian Richards as executive director of food and beverage for the upcoming Marriott Autograph Collection hotel.


Kelly Hart & Hallman has announced the addition of Austin Franklin to Kelly Hart’s Fort Worth office. Franklin joins the firm as an associate in the Litigation section. His practice focuses on representing corporate  and individual clients in a wide  variety of litigation in state  and federal courts involving commercial disputes, breach of contract actions, and employment matters.

Franklin recently served as a law clerk to the Honorable Mark T. Pittman and the Honorable Terry R. Means at the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas.

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Prior to joining Kelly Hart, Franklin served on active duty in the United States Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps representing the Army, military personnel, federal government employees, and federal agents.

The Blum Firm P.C. has announced that R. Keith Morris III  has joined the firm as a partner. Morris is a leading probate and guardianship litigation attorney, practicing across Texas including in Houston, Dallas/Fort Worth, Corpus Christi and San Antonio.

Morris earned his doctorate of jurisprudence from the University of Houston Law Center in 2001 and his bachelor of arts in political science from Texas A&M University in 1997.

Wick Phillips has added Liz Feldman and Ian Hatch as associates in the law firm’s Fort Worth office. Feldman brings several years of experience in commercial litigation, labor and employment, and products liability matters. Hatch served as a law clerk for a United States District Court judge and interned with the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary, the United States House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means, the Governor of Arizona, and the Arizona Solicitor General’s office.

Jim Whitton, a shareholder in the law firm of Brackett & Ellis P.C., was elected chair of the Texas Association of School Boards’ Council of School Attorneys at the council’s annual meeting on Oct. 16.

The CSA provides a statewide forum on practical legal problems faced by local public schools and their attorneys. The CSA works to promote closer relationships among school attorneys and offers them continuing education programs and other assistance.


With a song in their hearts, a rose in their hands and a winning spirit, a new Fort Worth charity – The Big Good – brings together Grammy Award-winning recording artist Leon Bridges, television host Chris Harrison and TCU Football Coach Gary Patterson.

The three first teamed up in May for a virtual fundraising event hosted by The Gary Patterson Foundation that event raised more than $100,000 for The Boys and Girls Club of Greater Tarrant County and the First Tee of Fort Worth.

The success of this collaboration inspired the concept  of The Big Good.

The effort launched Nov. 14, expecting to provide 60,000 meals to families in need within the North Texas community. The foundations have purchased food and supplies and will be assembling meal boxes to provide Thanksgiving dinners throughout the Metroplex.

“The inception of the Big Good and the strong partnerships with other community do-gooders enables us to give back in bigger ways than ever before. This year, we will provide nearly double the amount of meals than the previous year,” Patterson said in a news release.

The Big Good will continue the community efforts year-round with several uniquely curated fundraising events. Encouraging every member of the community to get involved, these experiences will raise significant support for the charity beneficiaries.

“It is important that we engage our community in this effort,” Bridges said. “We have to work together with the local business leaders and artists who make North Texas the vibrant and exciting place it is, and just have a great time doing a tremendous amount of GOOD for others.”

The fundraising efforts of The Big Good will benefit organizations that are focused on kids and families.

During its fourth-quarter round of giving, the Sundt Foundation awarded $12,000 in grants to six nonprofits in the Metroplex.

“We are fortunate to be able to give back to those in need,” said Elizabeth Harvey, the Sundt Foundation’s North Texas board member. “This is true now more so than ever, with nonprofits working hard to continue providing services in their communities. It is vital to the Sundt Foundation we help make this possible.”

Fourth-quarter grants, each receiving equal contributions of $2,000, include:

– Lena Pope provides therapeutic interventions and mental health services for children, youth and families with low incomes.

– Helping Restore Ability provides attendant care for long term disabled children and adults.

– The Community Enrichment Center provides affordable housing, financial coaching, job skills training and education assistance to increase economic stability for low income or homeless adults.

– Make-A-Wish Foundation of North Texas grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions, giving them an experience that improves the quality of life for them and their families.

– The Be Kind People Project offers innovative and effective programming and services that help students effectively understand, link, and apply social, emotional, academic, civic, nutrition, physical, wellness, leadership and character education.

– A Journey to Dream supports young adults who left home due to conflict or violence or aged out of foster care with no place to live. The organization offers stable housing, life skill programs and counseling.

The Sundt Foundation awards quarterly grants to area charities that support disadvantaged children and families. Nonprofits are selected through an application process and reviewed by a committee of Sundt employee-owners.

The board of directors of the Arlington Life Shelter has selected Stephanie Melchert as the group’s next executive director, following a search that began this summer and concluded last month.

Melchert, an Iowa State graduate who most recently served as the executive director of the Cooke County United Way, brings more than 20 years of non-profit management experience to her new role at the Arlington Life Shelter, including stints in senior leadership roles at Victory Therapy Center, Easter Seals North Texas, Girls Inc. of Tarrant County, and Helping Restore Ability.

Melchert assumes the top position as the shelter heads into the first winter of operations in the midst of the pandemic and the recent opening of a new $5 million facility.

Local social entrepreneur, family child care provider and national speaker Jerletha McDonald, and the public-private partnership The Best Place for Kids! have received the Child Care Associates (CCA) North Texas Early Childhood Leadership Awards in the categories of individual and organization, respectively.

This is the third year CCA has presented awards to local honorees.

“At Child Care Associates, we are devoted to ensuring every child has access to the quality early education needed to succeed in education and life. While there is much work to be done, CCA celebrates leaders who work creatively to advance outcomes for young children. We established this award in recent years to honor these early childhood heroes,” CCA CEO Kara Waddell said in the announcement.

McDonald is honored for her leadership in the family child care space. Home-based or family child care is an important option for families seeking affordable, accessible care that meets their family needs.

McDonald is the founder and CEO of the Arlington DFW Child Care Association, a family child network, working to improve the quality of child care among home-based providers. She is also the owner/director of Nurturing Gifts Infant and Toddler Center, JayMac Enterprise – a consulting agency for family childcare professionals, and the host of the highly acclaimed Radio/Visual Podcast Show, The Jerletha McDonald Show: Everything Child Care!  In 2019, she was appointed to Gov. Greg Abbott’s Early Learning Council.

“We are honored to receive this award because Best Place for Kids! has been such a collaborative effort. We are proud and humbled to have business leaders, city officials, nonprofits, philanthropy, and educators all working together to develop innovative solutions that make Tarrant County an ideal place to live and work,” said Cheraya Peña, director of The Best Place for Kids!.

Five AmeriCorps VISTA members have joined the United Way of Tarrant County team to help address social issues identified in the organization’s Community Assessment and to strengthen collaboration, leadership and capacity building in the Tarrant County community.

The AmeriCorps VISTA team members are:

Lydia Gulnac, VISTA Team Leader: Gulnac spent the last two years as a Community and Organizational Development Peace Corps Volunteer in Moldova, where she served with a local nonprofit, learned Romanian and practiced her Russian speaking skills.

Andrea DuBose, Affordable Housing VISTA: DuBose spent more than a decade in real estate and finance before transitioning to aviation five years ago. She most recently held the role of Community Relations Chair for the Professional Women in Aviation Employee Business Resource Group at American Airlines. With the onset of the pandemic, she decided to transition away from aviation to community service.

Candis White, Ed.D., Educational Equity VISTA: White recently moved from Nashville, where she worked in education and criminal justice and focused her career on the school-to-prison pipeline.  She is currently pursuing a M.Div. from Brite Divinity School. 

Nadine Salas, Community Needs VISTA: Salas most recently was elected as Commissioner of Community Affairs as a student at California State University, Chico, where she focused on community relations and public safety as a liaison between the student body and the City of Chico.

Sheereen Ibtesam, Transportation Access VISTA: Ibtesam is a native Texan from Galveston Island with parents originally from West Bengal, India. She most recently served as an intern with VIA Metropolitan Transit in San Antonio and RailVolution in Minneapolis. She has also served in two prior AmeriCorps positions.


TTI Inc., a leading specialty distributor of electronic components, has hired Rosemary Lucchesi as internal sales representative for TTI Brazil.