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North Texas Commission Graduates Fifth Class of Leadership North Texas

June 4, 2014 at 5:00:00 AM

NORTH TEXAS – The North Texas Commission graduated the fifth class of Leadership North Texas presented by Oncor on Friday, May 16. Leadership North Texas is a graduate-level, regional leadership program designed to recruit, develop and support leaders who have a commitment to civic engagement and to the North Texas region.

The class of 31 leaders from throughout the region spent nine months learning best practices in regional stewardship, with discussion including education and workforce, regionalism, the North Texas economy, the impact on incarceration, sustainable development, healthcare and transportation.

“As one of the fastest growing large regions in the nation, North Texas needs leaders from all cities and counties along with stakeholder groups such as businesses, higher education institutions and non-profits working together to grow responsibly,” said Mabrie Jackson, president and CEO of the North Texas Commission. “Leadership North Texas brings these individuals from across our 12-county region together to form bonds that will last a lifetime.”

The graduates of Leadership North Texas Class 5 are the following:

  • Bruce Arfsten, Realtor, RE/MAX and Deputy Mayor Pro Tem, Town of Addison

  • Beth Bowman, Chief Development Officer, Greater-Irving Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce

  • Dana Burghdoff, Deputy Planning & Development Director, City of Fort Worth

  • Richard Casarez, Vice President Customer Operations, Oncor

  • Vanessa Copeland, CFO, O. Trevino Construction, LLC

  • Armin Cruz, Vice President, Parking Business Unit, DFW International Airport

  • Corey Davison, Vice President, Government Relations, Tenet Healthcare Corporation

  • Dr. Laura DeFina, Chief Scientific Officer, The Cooper Institute

  • Scott Donaldson, Assistant Coordinator, Tarrant County College District

  • Lynda Gearheart, Manager, Public Affairs, Chesapeake Energy

  • Mark Israelson, Director of Policy and Government Relations, City of Plano

  • Gianni LaBarba, Managing Partner, Venator Group

  • Kim Ludwig, Founder, The Giving Tree

  • Opal Mauldin-Robertson, City Manager, City of Lancaster

  • Wes Mays, Councilmember, City of Coppell and Division Engineering Manager, Peterbilt Motors Company

  • Tracy Merzi, Publisher, Dallas Business Journal

  • Winjie Miao, President, Texas Health Alliance, Texas Health Resources

  • Cindy Milrany, CFO/CAO, Freese and Nichols

  • Carl Pankratz, Councilmember, City of Rowlett

  • David Parker, Vice President, External Affairs, AT&T

  • Mary Jo Polidore, Vice President, Public Affairs, DFW International Airport

  • Asusena Resendiz, President and CEO, Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

  • Kristin Reznicek, Public & Community Relations, Crandall ISD

  • Larry Robertson, President, Texas Health Center for Diagnostics & Surgery

  • Dr. Liz Seymour, Physician, Medical Associates of Denton

  • Owais Siddiqui, Mayor Pro Tem, City of Murphy

  • TD Smyers, President and CEO, American Red Cross – North Texas

  • Charlene Stark, Executive Director, Hope for the Brave

  • Michael Thomas, Executive Director, My Possibilities

  • Jake Yarbrough, Account Director, Global Prairie

Recruitment is underway for Leadership North Texas Class 6. Since the program’s inception, 146 leaders from across North Texas have participated, including a state representative, numerous mayors and city council members, city managers and economic development professionals, business leaders, higher education executives and nonprofit leaders.

Over a nine-month period, the class addresses and discusses topics such as the history of North Texas, regionalism, our economy, workforce and education, sustainable development, the impact of incarceration and a plan for civic engagement. They learn best practices in regional stewardship from experts and other regions, and explore how to collaborate to best address current regional issues.

The application deadline for Leadership North Texas Class 6 is noon, June 13., 2014. Applications are available online at or through the North Texas Commission office at 972-621-0400. Tuition for the program is $3,000.

Oncor is the Presenting Sponsor for Leadership North Texas.

Established in 1971, the North Texas Commission is a regional non-profit consortium of businesses, cities, counties, chambers of commerce, economic development entities and higher education institutions in the North Texas Region. The North Texas Commission improves the economic vitality, infrastructure and lifestyle of North Texas by marketing the region, promoting collaboration and advocating on critical issues.

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