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People: Shimabuku named director of new regional patent office

Hope Shimabuku, an engineer and intellectual property attorney, will become the first director of the new Texas Regional Office U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in Dallas.

The Texas Regional Office serves Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas.

Shimabuku will begin her new job in January.

“Hope is a critical player in that mission. She brings to the Texas Regional Office nearly two decades of professional experience, with the added bonus of being a native Texan,” said Michelle K. Lee, undersecretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and director of the USPTO. “As a veteran of the innovation ecosystem in Texas, she is well aware of the dynamic variety of economic giants as well as up-and-comers across the broader region, in industries ranging from semiconductors to bioengineering.”

Most recently, Shimabuku served the Office of General Counsel at Xerox Corp. as vice president and corporate counsel responsible for all intellectual property matters for Xerox Business Services LLC. She also worked for BlackBerry Corp., advising on U.S. and Chinese standards settings, cyber security, technology transfer, and intellectual property laws and legislation. As an engineer, she worked for Proctor & Gamble and Dell Computer Corp.

Shimabuku was the chairman-elect for the State Bar of Texas Intellectual Property Section and is a Barrister Member and Inaugural Member of the Barbara M.G. Lynn IP Inn of Court. She sat on the Board of Visitors for the University of North Texas Law School and served as a facilitator for the DFW Women in Intellectual Property group. She is a past president of the Dallas Asian American Bar Association, chaired the Dallas Diversity Task Force, and served on the board of the Dallas Bar Association and as a member of the grievance committee for the State Bar of Texas-District 6.

A native of Houston, Shimabuku received a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin, and graduated cum laude from Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law.

Banking & Finance

Bank SNB and its holding company, Southwest Bancorp Inc., promoted three officers, including Rick Sirchio, to new regional president positions. They will assume the responsibilities previously held by the chief banking officer. Sirchio has been Bank SNB’s Dallas market president since 2014 and manager of health care lending since 2012. He is now regional president for Bank SNB’s North Texas region, including Dallas and Fort Worth. Sirchio will continue as Dallas market president and manager of health care lending. His experience includes officer positions with Bank of America and Citigroup and as treasurer and vice president of investor relations at United Surgical Partners International.

Rylander, Clay & Opitz LLP added new associates DJ Strah to the tax team and Matthew Miller to the audit team. Strah comes to RCO from Johnson, Miller & Co. and specializes in oil and gas. A certified fraud examiner, Miller joins RCO after serving overseas as a captain in the U.S. Air Force at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, where he worked as a financial analyst and database manager.

Boards & Organizations

Fort Worth City Councilmember Gyna M. Bivens has been appointed vice chairman of the National League of Cities (NLC) 2016 Community and Economic Development Committee. This committee has the lead responsibility for developing NLC federal policy positions on issues involving housing, community and economic development, land use, recreation and parks, historic preservation and international competitiveness. Bivens will play a key role in shaping NLC’s policy positions and advocate on behalf of America’s cities and towns before Congress, with the administration and at home.

The Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council board of trustees for 2016 includes Chairman Lillie Biggins,president, Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth; Past Chairman Dr. John Warner, vice president/CEO, UT Southwestern University Hospitals; and Chairman-Elect Brett Lee, CEO Dallas Market, Tenet’s Lake Pointe Medical Center. Trustees are Doug Hock, president/COO, Children’s Health System of Texas; Cindy Schamp, president, Baylor Medical Center at Irving; E. Kenneth Hutchenrider, president, Methodist Richardson Medical Center; Debbie Paganelli, president, Texas Health Harris Methodist HEB; Bill Whitman, executive vice president/COO, JPS Health Network; Scott Peek, president, Baylor Medical Center at McKinney; Charles Gressle, CEO, HCA’s Medical Center of Plano; Clay Franklin, CEO, HCA’s Plaza Medical Center of Fort Worth; Jeffrey Cellucci, district COO, Kindred Hospitals. Ex-officio officers are Robert Walker, president/CEO, Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children; and Dr. Frederick Cerise, president/CEO, Parkland Health & Hospital System. Completing their terms are Daniela “Dany” Decell, CEO, HCA’s Las Colinas Medical Center; and Audra Early, executive director, Kindred’s DFW Hospitals. New board members include Franklin and Cellucci.

Janice Montgomery Albokai-Strauser, North Texas Christian Women’s Chamber president and founder, joined the John Maxwell Coaching, Speaking & Leadership Training Team.


Brenna Allison joined the marketing and communications department at Texas Wesleyan University as the new digital content specialist. Allison spent a year at AM Design, a digital creative agency in North Richland Hills, as a content specialist.

Tammy R. Bailey of Balfour Publishing Co. achieved certified journalism educator status from the Journalism Education Association.

Food & Beverage

Farmer Bros. Co. appointed Randy Clark as chairman of the board, replacing Guenter Berger, who has been chairman since 2005. Berger retired in December 2007 as CEO after more than 47 years with Farmer Bros. in various capacities and now becomes chairman emeritus. He will continue to serve on the board. Clark, a retired food service executive and certified public accountant, has served on the board since 2012. He was president and CEO of Border Foods Inc. from 2008-2011. His earlier experience includes CEO of Fruit Patch Inc., president and CEO of Mike Yurosek & Son LLC, and vice president of sales, marketing and production with William Bolthouse Farms. Clark has consulted for equity groups in the food industry since 2009 and has served on the board of trustees for Whitworth University since 2012.

Honors & Awards

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board named the University of Texas at Arlington’s Pathways to College Access and Career Readiness Program one of seven finalists for its Star Awards in recognition of the program’s efforts to increase student participation and success in higher education, excellence in programs and services, and research development and expansion.


Torrie T. Poehls is a new associate in the Fort Worth office of The Blum Firm PC. Poehls’ practice areas include probate, estates and trusts. She is a member of Tarrant County Bar Association, Tarrant County Probate Bar Association and Tarrant County Young Lawyers Association.

Real Estate

Sperry Van Ness/Trinity Advisors recently hired Jeff Watson on the leasing team. He is responsible for reaching out to prospective tenants to find occupants for the various properties the firm represents. Watson previously worked for RadioShack Inc., where he negotiated store leases, renewals, relocations and closures for four of the company’s U.S. regions. Before that, he was an associate for a Fort Worth commercial real estate firm. He is a Realtor, with membership at the Greater Fort Worth Association of Realtors.

Northern Realty Group added three agents to its team: Scott Blakewell, – Michael Karol and J. Trevor Heaney. After working in real estate for a year, Blakewell joined Northern Realty Group as a commercial Realtor. He is a member of the Society of Commercial Realtors, Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce and Fort Worth South Inc. He serves on committees for the Tanglewood Neighborhood Association and the Panther Club. Karol also specializes in commercial real estate and is a member of the Greater Fort Worth Association of Realtors, Texas Association of Realtors, National Association of Realtors, Young Professionals Network and Society of Commercial Realtors. Previously, Karol worked as a petroleum landman. Heaney has seven years of experience in real estate and related fields, previously working in custom new construction, remodeling and real estate management. He is a residential Realtor in Dallas.

Send newsmakers to Betty Dillard at

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