On Sept. 30, the Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce board of directors be inducted during the 93rd Annual Meeting & Banquet. Some will be familiar with the position as returning directors completing a three-year term, but thirteen will be new additions.
"The Chamber board is fortunate to have so many enthusiastic members who actively work to create the best environment for our Nacogdoches businesses," said Chamber Chair Rayanne DuChane. "They donate their time and expertise to Chamber projects that range from education to mixers. I am so thankful for the current group of board members who have given of themselves so that businesses can find success.”
Meet the newest members to the 2014-15 Nacogdoches County Chamber board of directors:
Liana Berry is the Regional Director of Azleway Children’s Services. Her job duties include overseeing operations out of the Nacogdoches office which include public relations, recruitment and development. She also monitors staff, foster parents, interns and volunteers and complete intake of children in need of foster homes with the agency. As a Chamber director she plans to "contribute a diverse perspective on issues which may not have been recognized in the past but will assist in making Nacogdoches an even better place for anyone to call home." She intends to continue serving the community by volunteering and working to get others involved. "I was born and raised in Nacogdoches and absolutely love the small town feel," Berry said. "The town is becoming more diverse which can be beneficial when it comes to making improvements within the community."
Grady Cashion is the Lufkin/Nacogdoches Customer Operations Area Manager for Oncor Electric Delivery. He serves as a customer relations liaison for city, state and community constituencies for Oncor, and his responsibility is to be involved in the community with the goal of making a difference in the quality of life in Nacogdoches. As a Chamber director Cashion's goal is to be a part of the Nacogdoches community that contributes to the needs and wants of the area. "As my term progresses, it is a challenge of mine to reach out to individuals and businesses to share the opportunities Nacogdoches and the Chamber can provide," he said. "My tenure in the Nacogdoches area has almost been two years now. As I continue to learn more about Nacogdoches it has intrigued me to see the history in Nacogdoches that has influenced the success of the Great State of Texas. Stephen F. Austin University continues to educate and build the men and women that have helped shape countless lives that make a difference all over the world."
Michael Donnell is the IT Manager for the City of Nacogdoches. He manages and oversees operations for the IT department - all of the networking and computers for the City. Donnell would like to ensure that local businesses are aware of and leveraging online advertising for their businesses, such as Facebook, Google and Bing ads. "Mobile internet is fast surpassing desktop computer use in daily lives," he said. "Some folks can only be reached this way and not traditional advertising methods." Donnell loves Pepper Jack's. "Best food in town. I also love SFA, and all of our trails around town - love the town in general."
Kinnie Douglas is the Program Coordinator for Community Health Education at Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital. Specifically, and her duties include conducting programs that improve community in Nacogdoches County. She also facilitates the Healthy Nacogdoches. "I plan to provide knowledge in areas of public health, healthcare and community improvement," Douglas said. "I have enjoyed being part of the Nacogdoches Community for the last nine years; it is a beautiful city with plenty to offer and room for growth. I love finding new ways to enjoy our beautiful landscape with its inviting trails and parks."
Kati Harris is a Managing Partner of The Liberty Bell. "I, along with my husband and our partner, am developing entertainment venues in downtown Nacogdoches. We currently own and operate The Liberty Bell, a pub / wine bar, restaurant and music venue," she said. "I am fortunate to have been a director for the Chamber before, so I will bring my Chamber experience, but will also bring my passion for entrepreneurship, business development and our community." Harris said since opening the downtown business she has rediscovered downtown. "Growing up here, it is easily taken for granted. Now we live and work downtown. We enjoy the creek trails, parks, soccer complex fitness trails, shops, farmer's market, restaurants and the neighbors."
Rusty Jenkins is the General Manager of Piney Woods Country Club. He oversee all operations for a private country club, consisting of approximately 260 members. He brings 30-plus years of management experience and knowledge of business ethics and leadership to the Chamber board. "I appreciate the friendliness of people here and in Texas in general," Jenkins said. "I have always called Nacogdoches my home town."
Megan Kubecka is the Marketing Director/Admissions Coordinator for Willowbrook Nursing & Rehab Center. She markets to the local and surrounding area public by educating them on the products and services offered and how Willowbrook can be of service to them or their loved ones. As an incoming director Kubecka plans to contribute positive decision-making skills and ideas for the betterment of our community's economic environment, business relationships and development of the local culture. "I have only been in Nacogdoches a few years, and even though I am not a native, the people here have taken me in as if I was family," she said. "I know that any of them will be there to help me at a drop of the hat if I needed them, and it feels like home."
Ray Mitchum is the Director of Compounding Services at M&S Pharmacy. He makes custom medications that specializing in several areas: including veterinary, pain management, weight management and hormone replacement drugs. As a Chamber director, Mitchum would like to organize, support and/or assist with education programming for the adolescences of Nacogdoches County. "I want to improve academic benchmarks and educator enthusiasm for our community," Mitchum said. He enjoys a Saturday lunch at Shelley's Bakery with his wife and daughter, because "the food is always divine, and I love spending time downtown whenever possible."
Clint Shimer is Assistant Vice President at Austin Bank. He serves as a loan officer and relationship manager, specializing in all types of commercial and consumer lending. Shimer expects to working with other chamber directors, staff and volunteers to see that the vision and mission of the Chamber is accomplished by helping create and foster an environment where businesses can succeed. As an alumni of Stephen F. Austin State University he appreciates the many levels of impact the institution has in the community.
Scarlett Sloane is a Financial Advisor with Raymond James/Smith and Partners. She is a Certified Financial Planner™ with a multinational independent financial planning and asset management firm. The firm advises families and institutions in life insurance and college, retirement, estate and investment planning. "As a director, I hope to work with other Chamber volunteers to make our members aware of the opportunities and services that their Chamber membership provides them" Sloane said. "I hope that we can get more members involved in the wonderful programs that the Chamber has to offer." Sloane loves that Nacogdoches has "a small town feel but offers many fun things to do and unique places to shop." One of her favorite events each year is the Lighted Christmas parade. "The night is filled with everything there is to love about living in a small town. I am proud to call Nacogdoches my hometown!" she said.
Janette Soto is a licensed massage therapist and owner of Nacogdoches Massage Station. Soto uses the art of massage "to reduce pain and rejuvenate muscles back to your comfortable, relaxed self. Tense muscles don't always require deep tissue, but the option is always there as well as Swedish, relaxation, hot stone massages, as well as spa services." As a Chamber director, she will bring her artistic talents to the table - planning and persistence with creative input - and stay considerate of what is best for the community. She enjoys taking her children outdoors to the beautiful parks and playgrounds.
John Thomasson is Regional HR Director at Pilgrim's Corp. He is responsible for managing the field HR function covering four Pilgrim's complexes. Thomasson is ready to serve on the Chamber's committees where he can share his knowledge in education and agribusiness. "My wife and I have lived in a number of cities, and the people here are among the most friendly we have encountered anywhere," he said.
Scott Waller is President of XETX Business Solutions. His is an authorized Xerox sales agent for Nacogdoches and seven surrounding counties, providing managed print services and IT consulting services. Waller plans to enhance the business-friendly atmosphere in Nacogdoches, and to encourage more business people to become actively involved in Chamber and community activities. "Nacogdoches is not too big, and it’s not too small. It’s just right," he said. "The people are warm and friendly, accepting of newcomers to the area and genuinely care about each other."
"As the Chamber's incoming chair for your Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce I am most excited about sharing my theme, 'A Community that Works Together, Succeeds Together!'" said Chair Elect Jessica Henderson. "I believe we have a number of non-profit, small, medium and large businesses here in Nacogdoches that make our community unique, individualized and homelike.
"I plan to encourage others in our community to continue to support our Shop NAC First campaign, because in order to succeed together we have to support one another. We chose to live in Nacogdoches, raise our families in Nacogdoches, start businesses in Nacogdoches, then why not support all of what makes up Nacogdoches. I am looking forward to being a part of the leadership team for the year 2014-2015."
Continuing Chamber directors are:
Judy Abbott, SFASU
Daniel Alders, Charles Pool Real Estate
Clayton Collier, Hydrex Environmental, Inc.
Clay Farrell, Nacogdoches Medical Center
Jason Gound, Gound Chevrolet
Keith Hand, NIBCO, Inc.
Grace Handler, Handler Insurance
Monique Nunn, SFASU
Adam Peck, SFASU
Misty Roe, Rex Perry Autoplex
Polly Etta Sunda, Axley & Rode, LLP
Retiring Chamber directors are:
Marcela Coe, E.S. Translations Plus
Staci Hodges, Brookshire Brothers
Keith Kiplinger, City of Nacogdoches Fire & Rescue
Parker Riley, Liquor Mart
Jan Tracy, Wildflower