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Texas Travel Summit 2012 - Speakers

Texas Travel Summit 2012 Speakers
(updated 9/7/12)

Terry Colley
Deputy Executive Director
Texas Historical Commission

Terry Colley is the Deputy Executive Director of the Texas Historical Commission and Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer. In this role he manages the day-to-day operations of the agency. For the past twenty-eight years he has been involved in preservation-based economic development, Main Street revitalization, heritage tourism and historic preservation. Dr. Colley is a native of Austin, Texas, and holds a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree from Texas State University.  He earned masters and doctoral degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He lives in Driftwood, Texas with his wife, Jennifer, and their two children.

Katie Cook
Interactive Marketing Manager
Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau

As the Interactive Marketing Manager at the Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau, Katie Cook manages all interactive marketing for the organization, including the company’s website, mobile marketing, e-marketing campaigns, social media marketing and search engine optimization strategies.

Katie is a professional member of the Social Media Club and speaks regularly on using social media for tourism/conventions. Katie holds a degree in Mass Communications-Public Relations from Texas State University.

Daniel J. Decker
SeaWorld San Antonio

Daniel J. Decker is currently employed by SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment as SeaWorld San Antonio’s Park President, a position he has held since Septembre 2004. He is responsible for the daily operation of the world’s largest marine life park, as well as strategic planning for the park’s long-term growth.  Prior to that appointment, he was the executive assistant to the President and chairman of the board for Busch Entertainment Corporation, now known as SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, as well as director of operations for Busch Entertainment Corporation, SeaWorld’s parent company. He served for almost 10 years as general manager of Grant’s Farm, a family entertainment and zoological park in St. Louis operated by Anheuser-Busch. Prior to that, Dan held positions in human resources, park operations and culinary operations at SeaWorld San Diego. He currently serves on the board and executive committee of the San Antonio Tourism Council and the San Antonio Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.  Dan also serves on the executive committee of the Texas Travel Industry Association, as well as on the board of the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce.  He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Hartford University.

Meredith Dillon
Midwest Sales Manager

Meredith Dillon is the Midwest Sales Manager for TripAdvisor’s Destination Marketing team and is based in Dallas, Texas. Prior to joining TripAdvisor, Dillon served in both sales and agency roles with an emphasis on digital media at Fleishman-Hillard and CBS Interactive. As a member of the Destination Marketing team she educates on how best to utilize TripAdvisor’s 52 million unique users to market destinations. TripAdvisor® is the world's largest travel site, enabling travelers to plan and have the perfect trip. TripAdvisor offers trusted advice from real travelers and a wide variety of travel choices and planning features with seamless links to booking tools. 

Tim Fennell
Advertising Manager
Office of the Governor, Economic Development and Tourism Division

Tim Fennell, Advertising Manager for the Office of the Governor, Economic Development and Tourism Division, directs the "Texas. It’s Like A Whole Other Country.” advertising program and has been with Texas Tourism since 1995. Under his direction the campaign has recorded the highest awareness, ROI and inquiry numbers in its history. The most recent campaigns have received numerous awards, including the U.S. Travel Association Odyssey Award, a Gold Effie, numerous ADDY’s, and Best Broadcast Advertising, Best Special Promotion and Best Overall Program from the National Council of State Travel Directors. Tim is a graduate of Michigan State University.

Gary Gibbs, Ph.D.
Executive Director
Texas Commission on the Arts

Dr. Gary Gibbs stepped into his role as Executive Director of the Texas Commission on the Arts on October 1, 2007. Dr. Gibbs is responsible for the development and administration of the policies, programs, and procedures of the state agency which supports and promotes the creative industries throughout the state. Prior to joining the Texas Commission on the Arts, Dr. Gibbs served as Director of Education and Outreach at Houston Grand Opera for sixteen years. During his tenure, the education and audience development programs he administered achieved national recognition. Dr. Gibbs currently serves on the board of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies and the Mid America Arts Alliance. He has served on numerous local and national panels including the National Endowment for the Arts.

Mark Hadley
Media Director
Belmont Icehouse

As Belmont Icehouse’s resident media guru, Mark Hadley crafts strategic media solutions that are custom-fit to our clients’ diverse communications objectives. His experience includes virtually every consumer vertical, audience type and media vehicle — from traditional broadcast, print and OOH to digital, social, mobile, search and more. Armed with a B.A. in Advertising (Media) from the University of Texas at Austin, Mark spent the first nine years of his career at a number of internationally acclaimed advertising agencies. He led media initiatives for accounts such as AT&T, Texas Tourism, Texas Instruments, Brinker International (Chili's, Macaroni Grill, On the Border and Corner Bakery), Pennzoil/Quaker State, Dell, Purina and many others. Prior to joining Belmont Icehouse, Mark also spent five years with digital publishers AOL and Yahoo!, where he worked closely with C-level marketing clients and agency principals to create integrated solutions and custom measurement models for Dell, AT&T, JCPenney, RadioShack, MasterCard, Frito-Lay and Pizza Hut. Today, Mark capitalizes on his deep understanding of the new media landscape and the interplay between different communication channels to develop innovative solutions that drive measureable, marketable results for our clients. 

Jeff Hahn

Jeff Hahn joined the public relations agency TateAustin in September 2006. In December2007, he bought the firm from Kerry Tate prompting the eventual name change to Hahn,Texas – a communications firm serving clients across the state. He focuses on issues management and brand crafting for the firm’s clients and leads the Corporate Services practice area, particularly in the public affairs space. Prior to joining the firm, he was communications director at Freescale Semiconductor and public affairs director at Motorola Semiconductor. For those companies, as well as with Motorola’s corporate office in Schaumburg, IL and Lockheed Space Operations in Titusville, FL, he served in roles including government relations, media relations, crisis communication, analyst relations, business operations, employee communications, financial communications and executive communications. A native of Iowa farm country, Jeff came to Texas in 1984 courtesy of the United States Air Force. He served at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio where he completed an Associates Degree in Personnel Administration, then graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science in 1990 from the University of Texas at San Antonio. He has completed Masters program work in Communications at Texas State University and is a 2002 graduate of Leadership Austin. 

Owen Hannay

Meet Owen Hannay, Marketing Guru and Digital Pioneer. The year was 1995 and the advertising world was about to be turned on its head by this thing called the internet.  Owen blundered full tilt into the fray, trying to find ways to blend this new technology with proven, traditional marketing strategies and thinking.  The result was a different kind of Agency. And a lot of firsts. The first HTML banner ever placed on the Internet. The first updatable creative. The first agency to use Digitally Informed Planning™.  Owen is Chairman/ CEO of Slingshot.  Today, Slingshot is a full service, digitally centric, agency with over 70 employees in Dallas and Lubbock and one of the largest independent agencies in Dallas. A Dallas native, Owen earned his undergrad from University of Virginia and his MBA from SMU. 

Drew Holmgreen
Belmont Icehouse
Account Director, Director of Client Services

Drew Holmgreen always wanted to be in the NFL. But he says it’s okay that the scouts never came calling because heading up the Belmont account team is like football, requiring strategy, cooperation, goals and stuff. And leads to fewer concussions (most days).Drew has a B.A. in Advertising from the University of Texas at Austin and started his career at McCann-Erickson Southwest working in new business and a range of accounts. He’s been at Kolar Advertising and most recently TM Advertising, where he led the Texas Tourism account to its most successful achievements in their long history. Throughout his ten-plus years in the biz, he’s helped rack up success stories for every client he’s worked with (spanning multiple industries) and awards in every medium (from television to print, digital, experiential and beyond).Throughout his career, Drew has maintained a key focus on the tourism industry, working on brands like Texas Tourism, the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau, Hilton Austin, La Quinta and Rodeo Austin. In addition to the travel industry, Drew has rounded out his experience through working in various other industries on clients like 7-Eleven, Bell Helicopter, Baylor University, Sport Chalet, E-Z-GO Golf Cars, Americas Powersports, METRON Technologies and Texas A&M – Commerce.

Scott Joslove
President & CEO
Texas Hotel & Lodging Association 

Scott Joslove has served for the last eleven years as President and CEO of the Texas Hotel & Lodging Association (TH&LA).  In that time, TH&LA has grown from the fourth largest state hotel association to the largest hotel association in the country.  TH&LA serves over 2,500 lodging related member businesses from the smallest B&B properties to the largest convention center hotels.   TH&LA has been recognized three times for having the Best Governmental Affairs Program, and  of any hotel association in the nation.  TH&LA has also been recognized twice for having the best Educational Program and twice for having the best Membership Program in the nation.   Since joining TH&LA, Scott has successfully led the effort to defeat legislative initiatives that would have saddled lodging operators with additional surcharges, taxes, and burdensome regulations and has passed every legislative bill they have offered over the last eleven years.     Scott has a Masters degree in Public Administration and has been a licensed attorney for 20 years.  Prior to joining TH&LA, Scott served as Chief of Municipal Affairs for the Texas Attorney General and as Assistant General Counsel for the Texas Municipal League.

Julie Niehoff
Director, Field Education & Development
Constant Contact

Julie Niehoff is a speaker, writer and strategist with more than 20 years in technology marketing. In her role as Director, Field Education & Development for Constant Contact, Niehoff manages training and curriculum for the company's global education initiative to provide free, live, local seminars across the US, Canada and in the UK. Niehoff's team of 300+ teachers and speakers delivers free marketing strategy and best practice seminars to an average of 20,000 small businesses and nonprofits every month. Niehoff joined Constant Contact in 2006 as one of the company's first Regional Development Directors. Julie formerly served as Director of Interactive Marketing for the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau. She later launched a consulting firm catering to the tourism and meetings industry and co-founded Niehoff is a member of National Speakers Association, Meeting Professionals International and Texas Travel Industry Association. She serves on the communications committee for Austin Chamber of Commerce and is Vice Chair, Marketing Communications for the Texas Association of Nonprofit Organizations. Niehoff was named a top Small Business Influencer for 2011 by Small Business Trends Magazine and

John Osborne
President & CEO
Lubbock Economic Development Alliance and Market Lubbock

John Osborne is the President and CEO of the Lubbock Economic Development Alliance and Market Lubbock, two private, non-profit organizations. John is responsible for all operations, including business retention, business recruitment, workforce development, and foreign trade zone activities as well as the activities of Lubbock’s Convention & Visitors Bureau: Visit Lubbock, and the Lubbock Sports Authority. John has held economic development positions in communities of various sizes in three states, most recently San Antonio. Over a seven-year period, John recruited more than fifty companies into the San Antonio area, which invested more than $900 million in capital improvements and created more than 13,800 new jobs.  John currently is a member of the Executive Committee and Chair of the Legislative Committee of the Texas Economic Development Council and sits on the board of directors of the Texas Travel Industry Association. A native of Dallas, Texas, John received a B.S. in Agriculture Business and an M.B.A. from West Texas A&M University. He is a Certified Main Street Director from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, has conducted numerous state and local workshops on business development and downtown revitalization, and graduated from the University of Oklahoma’s Economic Development Institute in 2004. John, his wife, Sunni, and their three sons, have called Lubbock their home since mid-2010.

Shelly Plante
Nature Tourism Manager
Texas Parks & Wildlife Department 

Shelly Plante is the statewide Nature Tourism Manager in the Marketing Group of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. She has been with TPWD for sixteen years and her work is all about making life better outside! She oversees the Great Texas Wildlife Viewing Trail (a series of nine driving trails throughout the state guiding visitors to local wildlife viewing attractions) and has been a coordinator for the annual Great Texas Birding Classic for the past 14 years, including overseeing the latest evolution of this program to a statewide event.  Shelly coordinated and helped develop the Texas Paddling Trails Program that builds partnerships between local communities, other agencies, river authorities and Texas Parks and Wildlife sites while creating sustainable paddling tourism opportunities statewide.  She also works with private landowners on income diversification options through nature tourism and with communities on developing nature tourism programs within their region.  She serves on the Steering Committee of the Texas Nature Tourism Council. Shelly received her Masters of Applied Geography with a focus on Nature and Heritage Tourism from Texas State University and has a B.A. in Plan II and Geography from the University of Texas at Austin. She currently resides in Austin, Texas with her husband and two children, and whenever she can find spare time, she enjoys traveling, hiking, camping, paddling and gardening. 

Michael Priem

Michael Priem is the CEO of, an interactive agency and media company. Michael’s experience with technology and application development, large scale project leadership and his corporate development experience is the foundation for his leadership at  Priem has a strong background in integrated marketing communications, branding, and media and many companies have benefited from his strategic foresight. His career spans leadership roles with a global advertising agency that pioneered today's digital revolution along with a publicly traded global consulting firm as well as founding a boutique corporate advisory firm.  His marketing experience has been leveraged by world class brands such as Target, BestBuy, General Mills, Sears, HP, Williams Sonoma, Harley Davidson, American Express to name a few. He is a highly sought after speaker and panelist. He routinely interviewed by several well known publications such as Ad Age, AdWeek, Financial Times, IT+Telecom News. 

Joan Quintana
Managing Partner
Advent GX Corporation

Joan Quintana is a Managing Partner with Advent GX, a tourism and economic development consulting firm with practices in tourism, technology and entrepreneurship. Prior to returning to Advent GX in September 2011, Joan served as Director of Economic Innovation for the Texas Engineering Extension Service. In that capacity, Joan was responsible for shaping economic development and market intelligence programs and services for communities and businesses throughout the State of Texas. Joan has served the state of Texas, the Texas A&M University System and in the private sector, contributing marketing and communications expertise since graduating from Texas A&M University in 1992. Joan is a freelance writer, contributing to national publications as the opportunity presents and blogging on occasion. She’s recently found great joy in home schooling her youngest daughter, a freshman in high school. Joan and her husband Jose Quintana have five children, own multiple small technology oriented businesses and share a passion for entrepreneurship, community development and cultural and heritage tourism. 

Margo Richards
Director, Travel Information Division
Texas Department of Transportation

Margo Richards is the director of the Travel Information Division at the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT).  She is responsible for the department’s state-produced travel literature (including Texas Highways, the state’s official travel magazine, Texas State Travel Guide, Texas Accommodations Guide, Texas Events Calendar and Texas Official Travel Map), the litter-prevention programs, the state’s 12 Texas Travel Information Centers and audiovisual services that provide multimedia support throughout the state. In promoting Texas as a premier tourism destination, Richards coordinates with the Governor’s Office, Economic Development and Tourism Division, the Texas Commission on the Arts, the Texas Historical Commission, and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.   Before joining TxDOT in January 2012, Richards served as the Director of Tourism at the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau and served as public relations coordinator for the Office of the Governor, Economic Development and Tourism.  A Central Texas native, Richards holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Recreation, Parks and Tourism Sciences from Texas A&M University.

Brad Smyth
Director of Tourism
Office of the Governor, Economic Development and Tourism Division

Brad has been proudly promoting Texas as a premier travel destination since joining the Texas Department of Economic Development in 1997, which later became the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and Tourism. Prior to being promoted to director, he served as deputy director of tourism, where for the prior six years, he helped create and oversee the marketing and public relations campaigns for domestic and international markets.  A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, Brad has served on the U.S. Travel Association Communications Committee and the Texas State Agency Tourism Council.

Fran Stephenson
Step In Communication

Fran Stephenson is principal of Step In Communication and has extensive communication experience in the field.  She was director of corporate communications for Rackspace Hosting and director of communications for SeaWorld San Antonio. She instituted the first successful social media program for the SeaWorld parks and implemented a social media coaching program for internal use at Rackspace. She is a contributor to the PRSA San Antonio Byline blog and is part of a team that organizes Action SA, a series of quarterly breakfasts and annual conference to assist nonprofits with social media and technology practice. She has served in many community and industry associations including the board of PRSA San Antonio and Guide Dogs of Texas.  Fran holds a Master’s Degree in Communications Studies from St. Mary’s University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Consumer Science from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. She speaks frequently on integrating social media into communications and marketing initiatives and has won numerous industry awards for campaigns and tactics. She is an adjunct faculty member at Northwest Vista College. Previous clients include Riverwalk Jazz, The Friends of Christus Santa Rosa Foundation, Plano Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Alamo IMAX Rivercenter Theatre and Bloom Maternity. 

Diana Stevie
Tourism Coordinator
Office of the Governor, Economic Development and Tourism Division

Diana Stevie has spent the whole of her career within the hospitality industry.  Working her way through university in hotels and restaurants, she simply could not drag herself away upon graduation, and so began an exciting vocation encompassing over 20 years experience in quite diverse settings. Initially a Sales & Marketing Director for a boutique hotel in Lexington, Kentucky, she rose to Assistant General Manager before moving fully into the tourism marketing industry.  Her next role, as the International Tourism Development manager for the Lexington (KY) Convention & Visitors Bureau, offered in-depth training in the world of tourism marketing and promotion. Eventually, Diana found that the urge to follow her family to Texas was simply too strong to resist, and in 2005 made the move to Austin, going to work at Whole Foods Market’s Headquarters, developing an Event Planning and Catering division for the pure foods grocery chain.   Always maintaining an interest in the travel industry, Diana was incredibly excited upon landing her dream job – educating travelers and consumers around the world about the many experiences awaiting them in Texas – as the Tourism Coordinator for Texas Tourism (specializing in the European market) and looks forward to many years of promoting our incredible state!  

Kristen Sussman
Social Distillery 

Kristen Sussman leads Social Distillery, a social media marketing agency, in business development and company growth. She has substantial experience in social media marketing and digital advertising acquired through her roles at Austin advertising agencies including Tocquigny and VM Foundry.  Prior to transitioning to digital advertising, she worked with traditional media, handling B2C, national live endorsement radio campaigns at Ad Results Advertisingin Houston. Kristen recently spoke at RISE Austin, The University Of Texas and the American Academy of Advertising’s Annual Conference on the topic of social media.  Kristen received her B.A. in Journalism and Broadcast Radio/Television from St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa, and her M.A. in Advertising from The University of Texas at Austin. Connect with Kristen: @KrisSuss

Linda Sweatt
Executive Director
Odessa Convention & Visitors Bureau

Linda Sweatt is the Executive Director of the Odessa Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB).  She joined the Odessa CVB in 1986 as Special Events Coordinator and by 1987 Linda had created the first program for the Bureau in Tourism. In 1991 she was promoted to Executive Director. Linda, started the Odessa Hotel/ Motel Association, the first "We’re Odessa Friendly” Hospitality Program, the Tourism Development Group, and helped create Odessa’s lighted Christmas Parade. She has served on many boards in Odessa and in the West Texas Area. She received the Heritage of Odessa Statesman’s Award for "Service in a Profession” in 2008. Linda has been in the Travel Industry for 26 years and has served on the Texas Marketing Committee with the State of Texas Tourism Department and as the hospitality committee chairman for the 2000 National Tour Associations Exchange and Conference in Houston. She has been chairman for the National Tour Association Team Texas Group for over eight years.  Linda was the 2002-2003 Chairman of the Texas Association of Convention and Visitors Bureau.  She served as an officer for TTIA from 2003-2009. Secretary from 2003-2005 (2 years), Treasurer 2005-2006, Chair Elect in 2007-2008 and Chairmen in 2009. Linda was awarded the Mark of Distinction Award from the Texas Travel Industry in 2004 and received the Tall in Texas Award in 2010.

Ronda Thiem
Senior Vice President of Sales
Madden Media

Ronda Thiem is Senior Vice President of Sales with Madden Media. Working out of the St. Louis, MO office, Ronda handles executive-level sales management. She has 20 years experience in advertising, and 18 years in tourism promotion and with Madden Media.Ronda holds numerous awards for furthering Missouri’s tourism industry.

Ryan Thompson

A lifelong entrepreneur, Ryan Thompson began working at age 11, with a paper route in Ada, Oklahoma. At 14, he was a part-time shipping clerk at a computer technology company. And, by age 18, he managed the multi-million dollar trade show budget for the company as it experienced exponential growth.  In the disruptive trade show environment, Ryan realized that focusing on total experience was a key to building strong client relationships. His career enjoyed continued success as he rose to the highest marketing position in the company. Then tragedy struck.  In 1999, Ryan broke his neck and was very nearly paralyzed. The injury left him unable to move; confined to a hospital bed for months. This idle time and newfound perspective on life provided an opportunity.  And, in 2000, Ariamedia was born. In just over 10 years, Ariamedia has evolved into Aria.  What was once primarily a web creation and design firm, has evolved into a full-service, digital agency with a focus on the interaction between brand and consumer, and the entire brand-consumer experience.

Howard Tietjen
Senior Vice President of Research and Strategy
Madden Media

Howard Tietjen is Senior Vice President of Research and Strategy with Madden Media.With a bachelor’s degree in business from Jacksonville University and more than 25 years of experience, Howard brings a unique perspective to Madden Media’s sales and marketing team.Since he joined Madden Media in 2000, Howard has utilized his wide range of interests and skills to excel in many roles. Today, he leads the marketing efforts of our eMedia division. He led the team that developed, including the electronic fulfillment options that help Madden’s clients save thousands of dollars on fulfillment expenses every year. He was the primary architect of Madden’s demographic targeting systems, which allow for the most effective and efficient distribution of Madden’s newspaper insert programs. And, he led the team that launched the travel inserts in O, The Oprah Magazine. Today, Howard and the Madden Media team have focused their efforts on the development of online marketing campaigns that are both effective and cost-efficient. Working together with industry leaders, Howard is helping to bring new ideas, new technology, and new partnerships together that allow Madden’s clients to get the most "bang for the buck” during these difficult economic times.

Juan Tornoe
CMO & Partner
Cultural Strategies, Inc.

Juan Tornoe, CMO & Partner of Cultural Strategies, Inc, has been working for more than 16 years on the media, agency and client sides of the marketing and advertising industry. At LatinWorks Marketing, Juan’s strategic planning and consumer research informed marketing programs for ESPN Deportes and Domino’s Pizza, among others. His unique media buying tactics were developed during his tenure at the Wizard of Ads and the Wizard Academy where he purchased more than $10 million annually in media for a variety of retail clients across the U.S. and Canada. He has judged the AAF’s ADDY Awards and his blog, Hispanic Trending, is the leading Latino marketing and advertising blog. In addition to being an international public speaker, Juan has been published in several industry publications and newspapers, among them CNN’s AC360, Marketing y Medios, LatPro. com, Latino Magazine, The Dallas Morning News, and FutureNow’s GrokDotCom. Juan is frequently quoted in the news regarding his area of expertise and his insights appearing in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA Today, Reuters, The Associated Press, CNN, Los Angeles Times, NPR, BBC, and Univision. Juan earned a master’s degree in business administration, with emphasis in marketing and total productivity management, from Universidad Francisco Marroquin in Guatemala. He oversees the firm’s planning, development, execution of client marketing and media buying activities.

Ly Tran
Director of Digital Strategy & Architecture
Proof Advertising

Ly Tran is the Director of Digital Strategy & Architecture at Proof Advertising in Austin.  She is a 16 year advertising veteran with 100% of that time served being focused exclusively on all things Digital (social, mobile, local, rich media, online display, email marketing, SEO/SEM, websites, etc). Ly started at BBDO West/North America based in Los Angeles doing Interactive before most of the advertising industry knew what Interactive was. She later built a digital department from the ground up for McCann Erickson Southwest/Universal McCann Interactive. After a dot com stint leading marcom programs clientside, she managed Interactive for ConocoPhillips, Dell, Waste Management, American Greetings, Nestle, Harley Davidson, Emirates Airlines, Barbados Tourism and others as Director of Online Marketing & Services at FKM based in Houston, TX. For the past 4 years, Ly has resided in Austin, TX at Proof Advertising, leading all digital strategy and architecture for new business and existing clients including but not limited to 3M, Honeywell Aerospace, Huawei Device USA, Hyatt Resorts, San Antonio Convention & Visitors Bureau and Subway Restaurants. 

Michael West
Rural Economic Development Finance Programs Coordinator
Texas Department of Agriculture Office of Rural Affairs

Michael West joined the Texas Department of Agriculture in November of 2009 and currently serves as Rural Economic Development Finance Programs Coordinator within the Office of Rural Affairs at TDA.   The majority of his career has been spent in various levels of economic development, including the Texas Engineering Extension Service within the Texas A&M System, Office of the Governor –Economic Development and Tourism, and Texas Departments of Economic Development and Commerce.  Michael is a long-time member of the Texas Economic Development Council and holds a BA and an MA in Economics from the University of Texas at Austin. He and his wife have an amazing son in graduate school at St. Edward’s University and two very special Cavalier King Charles spaniels.

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