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Saturday, January 23, 2021

Newsmakers: North Texas banker touts SBA loan program in testimony before Congress

Cynthia Blankenship, vice chairman, chief financial officer and corporate president of Bank of the West in Grapevine, testified before Congress on the value of the Small Business Administration’s 7(a) loan program to local small-business lending.

A former chairman of the Independent Community Bankers of America, Blankenship testified on behalf of that organization.

“What sets community banks apart is their first-hand knowledge of the borrower, the community and the local economy,” Blankenship told the House Small Business Subcommittee on Investigations, Oversight and Regulations in early March. “The Small Business Administration’s 7(a) loan program allows community banks to leverage their unique underwriting skills to more effectively serve the small businesses in their communities.”

She called on Congress to ensure that the 7(a) program is not disrupted, noting that while it is fully funded by user fees, not taxpayer dollars, Congress must approve a program authorization level every year.

More broadly, she advocated for regulatory and tax relief for community banks under ICBA’s Plan for Prosperity platform, which would enable more community bank lending and localized economic growth.

Former government staffers

form FW public affairs firm

Tom Stallings, former chief of staff for Tarrant County Judge B. Glen Whitley, and two business partners have formed Mosaic Strategy Partners LLC, a public and governmental affairs and technology strategy firm based in Fort Worth. The company is located in the Fort Worth Club building.

“I am truly grateful for the opportunity and the experience to serve Judge Whitley and the county,” said Stallings. “Moving forward, I feel good about the timing, this new partnership and most importantly, the potential impact our work and business can have in Fort Worth and beyond.”

Mosaic officials stress the company’s focus on data usage and analytics to inform strategy messaging and communications methods. Legintel, the firm’s proprietary software, is a social media analytic tool that provides Mosaic with issues tracking, influencer identification and overall opposition insight.

Mosaic’s client focus is on organizations that want a deeper understanding of their constituencies, customers and clients. The firm can use its data to gather insight into feelings about real estate projects, corporate initiatives or overall business communications. The firm’s capabilities also include government relations, media relations, spokesperson training and crisis communications.

“I greatly valued Tom as my closest adviser during his tenure at the county,” said Whitley. “I feel certain that Mosaic Strategy Partners has a strong future ahead and will be a great addition to the Tarrant County business community.”

Founding partner Brinton Payne, along with technology developer Peeler Howell, is the architect of Legintel. Previously, Payne was the founder and CEO of Legislative Intelligence LLC, a full-service consulting firm. Prior to that, he was vice president of government and urban affairs at the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce.

Founding partner Brooke Goggans is the firm’s communications expert. She began her career as a staffer in the U.S. Senate and moved to the private sector, spending the last 13 years in strategic communications, specializing in public involvement campaigns primarily focusing on large-scale infrastructure projects. Upon relocating to Texas, she was the director of communications for Comptroller Susan Combs. Most recently Goggans worked at Hahn Public Communications in Austin. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in political science and communications. She has certifications in Systematic Development of Informed Consent and Citizen Participation by Objectives from the Institute of Participatory Management and Planning.

Stallings is the firm’s strategist, providing a mix of vision, political sense and pragmatic implementation for clients. He formerly was chief of staff in the U.S. House of Representatives and senior policy adviser on issues of energy, environment, technology, telecommunications, trade and transportation in the Senate. Before working for more than a decade in Washington, D.C., Stallings was a small-business owner who founded, managed and operated successful startup companies in Texas.

He earned his bachelor’s degree and an MBA from Texas Christian University.

Mosaic is in the process of certifying as a minority & women-owned business enterprise (MWBE).


Schimpff joins J.O.

as PR executive

Sarah Schimpff has joined J.O., a Fort Worth-based marketing agency, as a public relations account executive. She will oversee all marketing, strategy, advertising and public relations for assigned clients.

Schimpff previously spent three and a half years at Apex Capital as a public relations coordinator managing media relations, social media strategy and content marketing. She was honored by the Fort Worth Business Press in 2016 on its list of “20 in their 20s” and is active in the Junior League of Fort Worth, Greater Fort Worth Public Relations Society of America and American Advertising Federation of Fort Worth.

“Sarah’s experience in media relations and content marketing, along with her outgoing and positive attitude, will be a real asset to our team and to our clients,” said Jennifer Henderson, president and founder of J.O.

Schimpff graduated from Texas Christian University with a bachelor’s degree in strategic communication.


Premier Bank Texas has opened a new mortgage center at 4851 Merlot Ave., Suite 520, in Grapevine and expanded the bank’s residential lending division in Texas. Several experienced lenders will staff the mortgage center, including Jaime Dejesus, vice president, mortgage banking officer/market manager, and Ron Gayle, mortgage banking officer.


Texas Woman’s University has tapped Alan C. Utter as provost and vice president for academic affairs, effective July 1. Utter is interim vice provost for research and a professor in the Department of Health, Leisure and Exercise Science at Appalachian State University in North Carolina. Previously, he directed ASU’s health promotion academic degree program.

“Dr. Utter’s lifetime interest in research and subject matter expertise in health and wellness align particularly well with our university’s historic strengths and commitment to holistic student success,” said Carine M. Feyten, chancellor and president.

Utter earned his undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degrees at the University of Pittsburgh in exercise science, epidemiology and exercise physiology.

His professional focus on health and wellness runs deep on a personal level as well. As a former Division I collegiate student-athlete and assistant coach, he competed in three NCAA championships and received the University of Pittsburgh Blue-Gold Award in 1990 for the outstanding student-athlete of the graduating class for all sports combined.

In 2013, he was a finalist for president of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). H was elected to the ACSM Board of Trustees and served as president of the Southeast American College of Sports Medicine.

Jennifer Evans-Cowley, – a University of North Texas alumna with more than a decade of experience in higher education leadership, has been named the new provost and vice president for academic affairs at the University of North Texas, effective July 1.

A native of Arlington, Evans-Cowley has been vice provost for capital planning and regional campuses at Ohio State University since 2014.

She previously worked in city government in College Station and Amarillo and also has worked with the Environmental Protection Agency. She taught at Texas A&M University and then at Ohio State. While at Ohio State, she chaired city and regional planning in the Knowlton School before being promoted to associate dean for academic affairs and administration in the College of Engineering.

Evans-Cowley holds a bachelor’s degree in political science, a master’s degree in urban planning and a doctorate in urban and regional science from Texas A&M University, and a master’s degree in public administration from UNT.


Darrin C. D’Agostino, associate dean of community medicine at the University of North Texas Health Science Center, is taking a new position at Kansas City University. D’Agostino will be executive dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine and vice president of health affairs at the KCU of Medicine and Biosciences. He has been at UNT Health Science Center since 2008. He has been medical director at the Cowtown Marathon for several years.

SteadMed Medical announced the addition of Lawton Seal as vice president of medical affairs. Seal will contribute to new product development, oversee medical review processes, assist in new product claims, maintain and build relationships with thought leaders while being the key scientific contact for all customers and partners. He has held senior leadership positions in the infection control and wound care industry. Seal holds a bachelor’s degree from Louisiana State University and master’s and doctoral degrees from Louisiana State University Medical Center.

SteadMed Medical promoted Nicholas Davisson to a new position in the company, region sales director, east region.


The Stayton at Museum Way was recognized by The Alzheimer’s Association–North Central Texas Chapter for the community’s support of the ALZ Stars team, a group of runners and walkers in the Cowtown who join together to raise money for the association. The ALZ Stars team had 46 participants who collectively raised more than $53,000 in this year’s Cowtown, held Feb. 26, and is are still accepting donations toward its goal of $75,000.

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

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