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Tuesday, January 26, 2021

People: Bell Helicopter taps Atherton for VP of military business

Bell Helicopter, a Textron Inc. company, named Lisa Atherton as executive vice president of military business. Atherton will be responsible for providing strategic direction, overall management and performance for all government programs and business development efforts.

Atherton succeeds Mitch Snyder, who was recently appointed Bell Helicopter president and CEO.

Atherton joined Bell Helicopter in 2012 and has had several leadership positions within military programs, including V-22 program manager for the V-22 program office and director of military programs. Previously, Atherton was Bell Helicopter’s vice president of global military business development, where she led the combined domestic and international military business development activities, culminating in this year’s landmark foreign military sales agreements for both the V-22 and H-1 programs.

Prior to joining Bell Helicopter, Atherton was the vice president of Area Attack at Textron Defense Systems. Before joining Textron in 2007, she spent eight years at Air Combat Command’s Directorate of Requirements, helping shape the budget and operational requirements and needs for the combat air forces. Prior to that, Atherton was an officer in the U.S. Air Force.

Boards & Organizations

Hope Center for Autism, a nonprofit organization that provides services for families affected by autism, elected Jason Smith III, a financial adviser at Edward Jones, as president of the board. Smith has been a board member, donor and event volunteer.

Tonya Veasey, president/CEO of OCG PR, was elected to The PR Council, the industry’s trade association.

Anne R. Bavier, dean of the University of Texas at Arlington College of Nursing and Health Innovation, assumed the presidency of the National League for Nursing for a term to expire in 2017. She has served the NLN as president-elect since 2013. Prior to joining UT Arlington in 2014, she was dean of the University of Connecticut School of Nursing (2007-2011) and dean of nursing at Saint Xavier University (2004-2007). She also worked as a program director in the National Institutes of Health’s National Cancer Institute and as deputy director of the agency’s Office of Research on Women’s Health. Bavier is a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and the Institute of Medicine of Chicago.

The Fort Worth Transportation Authority re-elected Scott Mahaffey, president and CEO of Cohn & Gregory Inc., as chairman for 2016. Andre’ McEwing, manager of supplier diversity for the Tarrant County College District, was re-elected vice chairman; and Carter Burdette, attorney and former Fort Worth City Council member, was re-elected secretary.

Other board members re-appointed are Jeff Davis, Dennis Dunkins Sr., Jeff King, Ken Newell, Neftali Ortiz and Jon Michael Franks. New appointments are former Richland Hills City Councilmember Michael Allen Logan and North Richland Hills City Councilmember Sixto “Tito” Rodriguez III.

The North Texas Commission elected new officers for 2016: Chairman Robert Hastings, executive vice president at Bell Helicopter Textron; Vice Chairman Stephen Tolerico, chief marketing officer at Sewell Automotive Cos.; Secretary Kevin Ward, general manager at the Trinity River Authority; Past Chairman Gray Mayes, director of government relations for Texas Instruments; and general counsel Hal Thorne, OnePrime. Appointed to the executive committee are: Garland Mayor Doug Athas; Cameron Curtis; Andrew Johnsen; Frisco Mayor Maher Maso; Joe May; Scott Orr; and Michelle Riddell. Directors remaining on the executive committee are Chris Felan, Bob Pence, Holly Reed and David Tesmer. Newly appointed board members are: Baker Ashiwaya, Anne Glasscock, Brad Gorrondona, Karen Green, Jamee Jolly, Rob Lewin, Mindy Manson, Grace McDermott, Benjamin Rand, Veronica Stidvent, Cliff Wall and Shelley Whiddon. Maura Gast joined as an ex-officio board member.


Tracy Grunig has been named chief audit executive for the University of North Texas System. Grunig joins UNT after working more than seven years as the chief audit executive at Arizona State University. She has worked in audit management with a variety of institutions, including the University of California, the Arizona Board of Regents, Ernst & Young and several large, integrated health care delivery systems. Grunig has more than 20 years of management experience developing and supporting strategic administrative and financial functions for universities, academic medical centers, health care systems, industry and professional services firms. She is a certified public accountant, certified fraud examiner and certified information systems security professional.

Honors & Awards

The University of Texas at Arlington College of Business’ annual Alumni and Service Awards were present to: John Terrell, vice president of commercial development, Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, Outstanding Career Achievement Award; Kathy Weaver, senior vice president and chief human resources officer at Ryan, Outstanding Early Career Achievement Award; and Eric V. Brown, managing partner and consultant at Plus Factor LLC and past president of the College of Business Advisory Council, Dean’s Award for Extraordinary Service.

Among the winners of the 2015 Lex Frieden Employment Awards from the Office of the Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities are Fort Worth professional counselor Thomas R. Schenck, who won the Entrepreneurship Award, and Home Depot store #6548 in Keller, which received the Medium Employer Award. The award honors employers who go above and beyond legal requirements to ensure full inclusion for employees with disabilities.

Kristy Libotte Keener, the graphic design coordinator at North Central Texas Council of Governments, won an International Association of Business Communicators Silver Quill Award of Excellence in Publication Design for a transportation document produced for NCTCOG.

VLK Architects won three merit awards at the AIA Fort Worth Excellence in Architecture: Design Awards & Studio Awards program. VLK’s honors include the Hollenstein Career and Technology Center for Eagle Mountain-Saginaw Independent School District; Weatherford College Wise County facility for Weatherford College and Wise County; and the Near South Studios for Glass Lake Production Group. Additionally, Tommy Stewart, one of VLK’s newest employees, was honored for his design and construction work on Ceverine School, a facility for 400 children in Haiti.

Camp Fire First Texas recently honored Judd Pritchard with the Charlotte Joy Farnsworth Award for his contributions to overall administrative operations, George Bean and Bill McCoy with the John Collier Award for their contributions in the field of business and finance, and Betty Dillard, a staff writer at Fort Worth Business, with the Good News Award for her contributions to the council’s public relations efforts.

The University of Texas at Arlington has again been named one of the nation’s top universities for ethnic diversity, according to U.S. News & World Report’s annual Best Colleges Rankings for 2016. UT Arlington’s diversity index ranks fifth among national universities – a measure of where college students seeking diversity are “most likely to encounter undergraduates from racial or ethnic groups different from their own.”


Falcon Steel, a producer of steel structures for power delivery systems, named Dirk Tillery as national account manager specializing in transmission pole sales. Tillery, who has 19 years of sales experience in steel structures, is responsible for leading the company’s national sales effort as well as overseeing key account management and retention. Previously, Tillery was vice president of sales for a leading manufacturer and guided the company’s entry into the utility structure business. He also has more than 10 years of experience in various sales management roles with another utility structure manufacturer.

Nonprofit Organizations

Easter Seals North Texas hired Sarah McClellan-Brandt as vice president of brand marketing. She handles all communications, collateral and public relations for the agency. Since 2011, McClellan-Brandt had been director of marketing at Stockyards Station, where she led the advertising and public relations efforts for the Station, and worked for the Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District, handling large events and sponsorships. McClellan-Brandt started her career as a reporter at the Fort Worth Business Press in 2003. A career change led her into public relations at a local advertising agency and then into communications at SafeHaven of Tarrant County, where she honed her marketing and fundraising skills.

Send newsmakers to Betty Dillard at bdillard@bizpress.net

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