Newsmakers: Local journalist named first Latina president of SPJ


Kate Lattimore Norris  has been named vice president of Pavlik and Associates, a full-service communications firm. Norris has been with the firm for more than 12 years, most recently serving as Director of Community Engagement.

In her new position, she has been elevated to a leadership role in the development and execution of successful communications strategies for Pavlik’s cross-section of public and private sector clients. She will continue to specialize in community engagement of all types.

She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Public Administration and Public Policy at the University of Texas at Arlington. Norris holds an MBA in Marketing from the University of North Texas and a BA in Art History and Religious Studies from Texas Christian University.


VLK Architects has promoted Dalane E. Bouillion, Ed.D.,  to Chief Development Officer in response to her outstanding achievement in supporting VLK’s commitment to connecting instructional philosophy to purposeful design to better benefit current and future educational clients.

- FWBP Digital Partners -

VLK Architects has offices throughout Texas and provides architecture, planning, and interior design services to automotive, K-12, higher education, corporate, and institutional clients.

She serves on the board of directors for Friends of Texas Public Schools. Among her other affiliations are the Texas Association of School Administrators, the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, and the Association for Learning Environments. In 2011, she received the American Education Research Association’s Woman of the Year Curriculum Award.

In other news, on Aug.  26, VLK Architects representatives attended a grand opening ceremony commemorating the new Sherman High School. This new building is 500,000 square feet, holds a capacity of 2,600 9-12th grade students, and is a part of the November 2017 bond.


Independent Financial has named Michael Keith as Head of Middle Market Banking for North Texas.

- Advertisement -

McKinney-based Independent Financial, ranked by Forbes as the country’s sixth best publicly traded bank, operates as a financial services company with locations throughout Texas and in the Colorado Front Range region.

The Lone Star Ag Credit board of directors recently elected Brent Neuhaus as chairman and Asa Langford as vice chairman of the rural lending co-op board. Neuhaus was first elected to the board in 2017 and is a native of Waco. He is a director and corporate inventory manager at United Ag and Turf, which operates John Deere dealerships in Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. He is also president and manager of TGBTG Property LLC and JORE LLC and raises Angus cattle in McLennan County.

Jeff Schmid has joined the Southwestern Graduate School of Banking (SWGSB) Foundation, headquartered at SMU’s Cox School of Business, as president and CEO effective Sept. 1. Schmid’s move comes as current President and CEO S. Scott MacDonald, Ph.D., retires from the position after 24 years of service.

With nearly 40 years of banking and regulatory experience, Schmid began his career at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) in 1981 and remained until 1989. He graduated from the SWGSB summer residence program at SMU Cox in 1990.

- Advertisement -

After completing the SWGSB program, Schmid became president and CEO of two closely held banks in the Midwest. In 2007, he led the establishment of Mutual of Omaha Bank, a wholly owned investment of Mutual of Omaha, where he served as chairman and chief executive officer. He built the organization into a national franchise with assets of nearly $10 billion.


BoardBuild has announced the addition of five new board members: Sandra Garcia Acevedo, Vianei Lopez Braun, Anthony Placencio, Brian Renteria and James Sackey. The new board members join existing board members Jeffrey Allison, Kathryn Ball, Matthew Ciardiello, D.J. Harrell, Elise Kensinger, Gregory Nielsen, Willie Rankin, Ed Riefenstahl and Beth Watson.

BoardBuild also welcomes two staff members: John Hernandez, Director of Strategy, and Krista Johnson, Director of Communication and Training.


Rebecca Aguilar became the first Latina national president of the Society of Professional Journalists in its 112-year history when she was sworn in by SPJ National President Matthew T. Hall at the President’s Awards Ceremony during the recent SPJ21 conference in Indianapolis.

Aguilar, who is celebrating 40 years as a journalist, is a freelance reporter based in Dallas. Her journey started as a news reporter at a television station in Toledo, Ohio. She also made professional stops at television stations in Chicago; Corpus Christi, Texas; San Antonio; Phoenix; Los Angeles and Dallas. Along the way, she has been recognized with 50 awards and nominations for her journalism work.

Aguilar joined SPJ in 2009 when the digital media committee asked her to be involved. She has held leadership positions on the digital and diversity committees.

Aguilar is the daughter of immigrants from Mexico. She grew up in Ohio and Mexico City. She earned her bachelor’s degree in communications at Bowling Green State University and received her master’s degree in journalism at the University of North Texas.


Barry Lambert, Ph.D.,  has been named Interim dean of Tarleton State University’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, pending approval by The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents, which is expected. He succeeds Steve Damron, Ph.D., who retired Aug. 31.

Previously Associate Dean of the college and Associate Vice President for Research, Lambert joined the Tarleton faculty in 2003, advancing to Director of the Southwest Regional Dairy and Dean of the College of Graduate Studies. He also led the departments of Animal Science and Environmental and Agricultural Management.


Lisa Albert has been promoted to AVP of Strategic Communications at Fort Worth-based TimelyMD, the leading telehealth provider specializing in higher education. Albert joined TimelyMD in 2019 and drives the communication strategies that bring the mission, vision, and values of TimelyMD to life.

A past president of the Greater Fort Worth Chapter of PRSA, Albert has previously served in senior communications roles at Texas Christian University, Justin Brands, Inc., and Texas Ballet Theater.

In a newly created role, Zac Fleming has broad responsibility for product management, product design, and product strategy. Leveraging technology and strategy, he seeks to create innovative products so that college students everywhere can seamlessly access the care needed to thrive.

Fleming’s previous roles include serving as vice president for product management at Citi, general manager for digital transformation at Baylor Scott & White Health, and chief technology officer at Three to Abandon. He also serves as an advisor for start-up founders, mentors global product leaders, and volunteers to help further his local community.


Courtney G. Lewis, a senior vice president with BancorpSouth of the Fort Worth/Dallas area, is the new president of the Downtown Fort Worth Rotary Club for the 2021-2022 year.

In President Courtney’s picture, the necklace is from Mustard Seed Jewelry, made here in Fort Worth, Texas. President Courtney states, “It reminds me to have faith and not worry, well I try not to worry.”

President Courtney was installed July 1 and joins a long line of exceptional community leaders with a distinction of being the first woman of color as the Rotary Club of Fort Worth’s President. President Courtney brings a fresh perspective of leadership that causes Rotarians to lean into their service and role.

In addition to the Rotary Club, Lewis’s civic involvement includes Ronald McDonald House of Fort Worth as Immediate Past-President and the Housing Channel, Board Chair, Camp Fire First Texas and Leadership Fort Worth. 


FASTSIGNS International Inc., a Carrollton-based sign and visual graphics franchisor with more than 750 FASTSIGNS locations in eight countries worldwide, has announced four internal promotions in the company that include Jeff Lewis, Barbara Engle, Grant Walker and Lana Daley.