Corpus Christi Under 40 exists to honor the men and women dedicated to making a difference in Corpus Christi. Be it in education, health care, or technology, it is those individuals with the perseverance and determination that create culture and opportunity for others in our community.
Click on the drop-down boxes below to meet and learn more about this year’s group of Honorees!
Musanna Al-Muntasir is the Director of Marketing and Development at South Texas Lighthouse for the Blind (STLB). He oversees the organization’s marketing efforts as they strive to employ, educate, and empower the blind and low-vision community. He received his B.B.A. in Marketing from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and his M.S. in Marketing Research from the University of Texas at Arlington. In addition to his responsibilities at STLB, he is an adjunct professor at the University of the Incarnate Word where he teaches marketing courses. Musanna also is a faculty instructor at Southern Careers Institute where he teaches technical and life skills to prepare students for the workforce. He currently mentors business students as the Regional Vice President of Delta Sigma Pi, one of the largest business fraternities in the world. In his spare time, he loves to take random road trips and practice photography.
Dr. Chad Allen is a third-generation Corpus Christi dentist. He received his dental degree from Baylor College of Dentistry in 2004. He then completed a specialty program in prosthodontics and earned a master’s degree in oral biology from Baylor in 2007. Dr. Allen returned home to Corpus Christi where he practices prosthodontics. Chad is married to his high school sweetheart, Amy and they have two little girls, AnnMarie and Allie. The love of the ocean brought Dr. Allen back home. He loves to windsurf and paddle board with his wife and kids. Chad supports many charitable groups including a dental clinic in Flour Bluff for the homeless that his father, Dr. Charles Allen, created. Chad also completed a three-year stint on the Annapolis Christian Academy board of directors where he saw a new gym built and ground broken for a new high school. Dr. Chad Allen has been awarded several honors from the Texas Dental Association including the New Dentist Leadership Award in 2014 and the Service Recognition Award in 2013. In 2014, Chad founded Allen Dental Group which has three office locations in the coastal bend with five general dentists providing excellent dental care.
Rob Boscamp is a material coordinator with KAP (pronounced “Cap”) Project Services Ltd. He recently completed his first year as a contractor for Flint Hills Resources’ Turnaround Department. This past fall, the department completed its largest turnaround project in refinery history. Rob graduated from Skidmore-Tynan High School, and received both his B.A. and M.A. in communication at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. He is a fan of WWE, video games and films. In addition, he is a contributing writer to the Corpus Christi Caller-Times. He also volunteers on Saturday nights as an on-air personality for 91.7 KBNJ, a local Christian radio station. He previously worked at KBNJ as its Community Relations Director and midday host. He also has represented KBNJ as a volunteer for both KEDT-TV, as an on-air reader for their annual auction, and as a bell ringer for The Salvation Army. Rob also auditions for voiceover roles on Voices.com. His voice was recently featured in the popular online game “Heroes of Newerth,” as well as a PSA for the National Human Trafficking Hotline. Rob is a member of Church Unlimited, and has taught in their grade school ministry for the past seven years.
Dr. Criselda I. Castillo was born and raised in Corpus Christi, Texas. With more than 15 years in education, Dr. Castillo has served as a teacher, assistant principal and is currently the principal of the Early Childhood Development Center (ECDC). Dr. Castillo earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas. She received both a Master of Science degree and a Doctor of Education degree from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. In 2010, while serving as assistant principal at Baker MS, the campus was recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a National Blue Ribbon School. In 2015, while serving as principal of the ECDC, the campus was recognized as a Texas Honor Roll School and in 2016 under her leadership, the ECDC earned four distinction designations from the Texas Education Agency. She is currently a member of the National Association for Bilingual Education, the Association of Texas Professional Educators, and the Corpus Christi Principals and Supervisors Association. Dr. Castillo enjoys spending time with her family, her mother, Hilda, father, Jesse, and two nephews, Rolando and Jaime.
Damla Eytemiz is a Clinical Facilities Planner at Driscoll Children’s Hospital. She originates from Turkey and holds two Bachelors in Interpretation and Translation and Teaching English as a Second Language. She came to Corpus Christi in 2009 and received her MBA from Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. During her years at TAMU-CC, she served as the Secretary of University Center Student Organizations and President of Graduate Students Organization. Upon graduation, she started working for Fulton Coastcon General Contractors as a Special Projects Manager. She became a member at American General Contractors Young Contractors Council and volunteered at Habitat for Humanity. In 2014, she started volunteering for IRS as a Volunteer Income Tax Assistant and at Driscoll Children’s Hospital where her interest for healthcare started. She became a Board Member at Citizens Advisory Health Board, applied to TAMU-CC Healthcare Administration program and is hoping to complete her degree this spring. Damla is currently serving as a Board Member at TAMU-CC Alumni Association, Board Member at Children’s Advocacy Center, Volunteer at Driscoll Children’s Hospital, Board Member at Corpus Christi Parks and Recreation and PR Coordinator at Mission Fit Possible Organization. All her family still lives in Turkey. She enjoys running, swimming, reading and is thankful for life every day.
Jonathan Gain has taught for six years and currently teaches Chemistry and Engineering at Flour Bluff High School, where he is also part of the Site-Based Decision Making Committee and the Grant Writing Committee. He received his BS in Organismal Biology from Central Washington University and an MS in Biology from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. While at his previous teaching position, he began the Robotics Club, organized robotics competitions, began the PLTW Engineering program, and received an international fellowship to sail aboard the Nautilus with Dr. Robert Ballard, the discoverer of the Titanic and hydrothermal vents. In addition to this, Jonathan currently serves on the Corpus Christi Commission on Children and Youth, teaches Sunday School, has tutored Vietnamese citizens in English and prepared them for their citizenship tests, and recently began a group to feed the homeless monthly. He loves golf, reading, and spending time with his wife and two children. Jonathan’s son loves Paw Patrol and his daughter loves anything related to science, sports, and art.
Stephanie Garcia is House of Rock’s Marketing and Public Relations Manager in downtown Corpus Christi, Texas. Stephanie assists in the execution of live music and community events. She develops and implements marketing strategies for events and concerts working with regional and national touring acts and agencies. Stephanie also manages their social media, oversees advertising and is active in the promotion of every event. Stephanie attended Del Mar College where she received her associates degree and was Associate Editor for The DMC Foghorn student publication. She received her Bachelors of Arts in Communication at Texas A&M University- Corpus Christi in 2012. Her love for her hometown had led to her community involvement and leadership roles. Stephanie is a graduate of Leadership Corpus Christi Class 43. As chair of the Corpus Christi 7 Day Film Project and committee member for Masterpiece in a Day, she supports her love of arts and culture in Corpus Christi. Stephanie proudly serves on the National Islander Alumni Association Board of Directors and is co-chair for the Marketing committee. She also serves on the State of the CCPD Breakfast committee which raises funds for the Corpus Christi Police Foundation. Her passions are music, travel and her family.
Jonathan Garison is an assistant principal at Tom Browne Middle School in Corpus Christi Independent School District. He has worked in this position for five years. Prior to working as an assistant principal, Jonathan taught History and coached football, basketball, and track at Cullen Middle School. Jonathan earned his B.A. in History from Texas A&M University in 2005 and his M.S. in Education Administration from TAMUCC in 2010. Jonathan is an active member of Corpus Christi Principals and Supervisors Association. Most of Jonathan’s volunteer time and activities surround his work at the school with students and their families. Jonathan enjoys living in Corpus Christi with his wife Iordanka and their two children Henry and Lillian. Jonathan enjoys fishing, golf, running, gardening, and spending time outdoors with his family.
Mrs. Lori Ann Garza is the Purchasing Manager for Turner Industries Pipe Fabrication Division. She pursued accounting and finance coursework at Del Mar College and Texas A&M University-Kingsville, which led to her professional career with over nineteen years of experience in accounting, finance, payroll, purchasing and procurement and human resources. Her commitment to education and serving the children of her hometown is evident, as she has been a Robstown Independent School Board Trustee since 2014. Through her experiences there, she was part of the team that was recognized as the 2015 Texas Honor School Board with the Texas Association of School Administrators. She also is a Committee Member for the Robstown Innovation Foundation. Mrs. Garza is the Board President for Team Turner, where she volunteers and raises money for community non-profits such as The Ark, The Palmer Drug Abuse Program, The American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk, and The Food Bank of Corpus Christi. She is an avid supporter of the United Way of the Coastal Bend, where she has been recognized since 2013 for Campaign Leadership Awards. Mrs. Garza and her husband have four children. Her hobbies include spending time with family, while supporting her children in their extracurricular activities of choice.
Juan Sebastian Garzon serves as Program Manager for the Coastal Bend Business Innovation Center, part of the College of Business at TAMU-CC. Sebastian graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s in Finance in Spring 2012 and earned a Master’s in Business Administration in Fall 2013. He started as a volunteer at the Innovation Center in 2012, and advanced to the position of Program Manager. In this position, he counsels with clients in business matters and assists companies to obtain needed resources. He also oversees budgeting and financials, facility management, and marketing efforts. As the 2016 achievement honoree for the College of Business at TAMU-CC, he was recognized for excellence in his profession and selfless service. Sebastian leads annual donation campaigns to help those that need it the most back in his home country, Colombia. Through these campaigns, over 10,000 pounds of clothes and toys have been collected and distributed. Sebastian currently serves as Vice President of Marketing for PorColombia National, the largest network of college students and professionals with Colombian background in North America. This organization has 12 chapters around the nation and over 800 members. Locally, he serves as champion for the Corpus Christi United Chamber of Commerce, board member of the World Affairs Council of South Texas, and active member of the Young Business Professionals of the Coastal Bend.
Melanie Gavlik is a licensed Professional Engineer with Naismith/Hanson Professional Services Inc. In 2005, Melanie joined Naismith Engineering Inc. and in September 2016 Naismith joined Hanson Professional Services Inc. She has primarily provided engineering services for water and wastewater infrastructure projects. Melanie received a bachelor’s of science degree in civil engineering from Texas A&M University Kingsville and is currently a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and the Texas Society of Professional Engineers (TSPE). She is serving as the 2017 Marketing Chair for the ASCE Texas Section annual meeting. From 2006 – 2010 she served as a Board member for the Corpus Christi Branch of ASCE holding office as Treasurer, Secretary, Vice-President, President, and Past President and in 2016 completed a two year term as an ASCE Texas Section Director at Large. In 2015, she received the Young Engineer of the Year award from the Nueces County Chapter of TSPE. She is a graduate of Leadership Corpus Christi, class 44 and is currently serving on the Corpus Christi Education Foundation Board. Melanie and her Husband Anthony, have two beautiful girls. In her spare time, Melanie enjoys baking, puzzles and crafting.
Blinda Gibson is a Falfurrias native that has called Corpus Christi her home for almost 4 years. She received her B.S. from TAMU-Kingsville and her M.S. from UT-Pan American in the field of Communication Sciences and Disorders. Mrs. Gibson is currently a Supervisory Speech Language Pathologist with Calallen ISD and has worked in the profession for the last 15 years. She is a past recipient of the ASHA ACE award for excellence in continuing education and is also a Spirit of Rotary recipient for the embodiment of “Service Above Self”. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Rotary Club of Corpus Christi and has been nominated to serve on the board for an additional year. She has served as Assistant Tournament Director for the Memorial Mark VanDoren Golf Tournament for the past 6 years which benefits Border Patrol Agents facing financial difficulties due to catastrophic life events. Mrs. Gibson also volunteers her time with the Junior League of Corpus Christi where she has served on the Run Amuk and Publishing Committees. In her spare time, she enjoys mixed martial arts, playing the cello, range shooting, and spending time with her husband Lyle, and sons, Larson and Aiden.
Rosana Gomez is a native of Colombia and has lived in Corpus Christi, Texas since 2012. Rosana graduated from the Master’s in Business Administration last year in August 2015 at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and she is enrolled in the second semester of the Masters of Accounting. Her background includes three years of experience at the Port of Corpus Christi as a Business Coordinator for Latin America. Her work played an important role at the Port of Corpus Christi, putting together the First Latin America Petroleum and Energy Summit in 2016 resulting in attendance of over 50 International companies. She also led one of the most successful donations campaigns to help those that need it the most in her home country Colombia. This campaign resulted in the collection of hundreds of new toys, clothes and shoes that helped over 1,200 families in. Currently, Rosana works for the TAMU-CC Coastal Bend Business innovation Center.
Stephanie Gutierrez Meza is currently the Quality Manager at CHRISTUS Spohn Memorial and Shoreline campuses. Stephanie received a Bachelor of Science and Nursing degree from Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in 2006. Since the, she has served as a missionary in Hong Kong, China, Costa Rica, Jamaica and England. Stephanie takes the CHRISTUS mission to extend the healing ministry of Jesus Christ to heart. She is a fierce advocate for all patients serving on Ethics Committee, the Living Well Magazine Committee, and the Leadership Rounding Team; all of which work to positively impact patient care and improve outcomes. Stephanie also lives this mission outside of work taking her ministry to the community by supporting Solid Rock Worship Center, Miracle Makers, Club Estates Elementary, and the Women’s Shelter. Her strong resolve and dedication at work and in the community has led to recognitions such as a nomination for the Daisy Award for Extraordinary Nurses, nomination for the Health Care Heroes Administrative Excellence in Health Care Award, a nomination for the St. Luke Award Outstanding Achievement in Providing Safe, Reliable, and Compassionate Care, and most recently an award by the American Hospital Association Health Research & Educational Trust for leadership in improving healthcare. Stephanie enjoys traveling with her husband and 3 precious children.
Brent Holt is a Financial Advisor with American Investment Services, a division of Herndon Plant Oakley Ltd. His expertise includes designing and implementing comprehensive financial plans and managing strategic investment portfolios. Since 2007, Brent has successfully grown his business and manages over $100M in assets, and is currently in the process of completing the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) curriculum with a goal of testing for the designation in July 2017. Through his company’s relationship with American Bank, he is a member of their NextGen marketing team; a group focused on engaging Corpus Christi’s next generation of leaders. While working for TTI, Inc. in Ft. Worth, he achieved the “Dream Team” award for growth of business. Brent earned his Bachelor’s degree at Texas A&M University-College Station where he met his wife, Amy. They are proud parents of three children and much of his volunteering involves their interests, including coaching for Padre Little League/Soccer and being a Board Member (Treasurer) for Windsor Park Elementary PTA. Locally, Brent has been involved with the Corpus Christi Estate Planning Council, Rising Tide Society, and Nueces County A&M Club. Brent enjoys spending his free time with friends, family and cheering for his Aggies!
A native to the Sparkling City by the Bay, Ms. Christina Hunter is an architectural associate at Turner | Ramirez Architects. She graduated from the University of Texas in Austin with her Bachelor of Architecture in May 2015 and is currently enrolled at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in the Masters of Business Administration program. After moving back home, Christina immediately involved herself within the Corpus Christi community. She is a member of the Young Business Professionals of the Coastal Bend, the Rising Tide Society, GROW Local, the American Institute of Architects, and the Contemporary Art Circle, taking leadership positions within four out of five organizations. Growing up with a musical background in piano and singing, Ms. Hunter is also one of many vocalists in the Corpus Christi Chorale. Christina hopes to combine her community involvement and architectural education to continue creating and building beautiful design within the Coastal Bend.
Melanie Jennings is Vice President and co-founder of G&M Oilfield Services Inc. She, along with her husband, Gary Jennings, turned a one-truck, one-crew business into a thriving, successful, million-dollar oilfield servicing company. Melanie was born and raised in Corpus Christi, graduating high school from Incarnate Word Academy. She then moved to Austin where she received her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Texas. For the last 11 years, Melanie has enjoyed helping run the company while fulfilling her deep passion for philanthropy. She has chaired numerous events, raising a combined total of over $400,000 towards causes close to her heart, including New Life Refuge Ministries, IWA, Lupus Foundation and Fallen Horse Rescue. Even though working in the Oilfield industry and doing charity work has been very gratifying, the most rewarding job she holds is wife and mom! She is so blessed to be raising two beautiful children, Madison Adelynn Jennings, 8 years old and Maddox David Jennings (Papi) 7 years old, alongside her wonderful husband of 12 years Gary.
Mickey Kramer is an 8 year partner at Kramer Insurance Agency. He was born and raised in Corpus Christi and attended both Del Mar College and Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. He graduated in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science. That same year, he joined his father and brother in the insurance business and in 2017 they will celebrate the agency’s 40th anniversary. When not working, Mickey is chairperson of the Corpus Christi Human Relations Commission and finishing up on his 6yr term. He was also just elected president of the Greater Corpus Christi Hospitality Association and received the Jim Jones Award for his work in the hospitality industry. His other volunteering works includes the Advisory Board to the Texas Diversity Council, the CC 7 Day Film Festival, the Selena Festival and others. Mickey is also active in several professional groups including YBP, the United CC Chamber of Commerce and he is currently an area director for BNI. On top of all of that, Mickey is married and has a son, 15 and a daughter, 7.
David Landeros is the President and CEO of S-Series Solutions, an engineering and consulting firm, in Corpus Christi, focused on process safety and instrument & controls engineering. He received an Associate in Applied Science in Instrumentation Technology from Del Mar College in 2001 and a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from Texas A&M University-Kingsville in 2005. David is a native South Texan, born in Robstown Texas. After completing his degree, David moved to Houston to begin his engineering career. In 2009, he returned to Corpus Christi and worked as a staff engineer for Flint Hills Resources where he was promoted to engineering lead. David has been actively involved as a volunteer at Saint Patrick Church and also volunteers his time mentoring alongside Del Mar College’s STEM Program. David is currently the President of the South Texas Section of the International Society of Automation (ISA) and is actively involved with Del Mar College’s Student Section of ISA. David is currently in Leadership Corpus Christi (LCC) Class 45. David is passionate about German sports cars, several genres of music and modern contemporary architecture. He is married with two children.
Deana Lara is the Director of Sales for the Best Western Corpus Christi downtown. She is the daughter of Charles and Laura Lara, and grew up with her brother Travis in Bandera, Texas. Growing up in a small town gave her the philanthropist spirit and she continues to volunteer as the Greater Corpus Christi Hospitality Associations’ sectary, the United Chamber of Commerce Champion, Downtown Management District Safety and Clean up committee member, to improve the quality of life for our tourist and local community. During her 13 years in the hospitality industry she has completed her certifications as a Tourism Ambassador, Wedding Planner as well as Access Edge Sales Training by Marriott. After hours Deana enjoys catering, event planning and spending time with her two sons Jacob, 16, and Jace, 4.
Dr. Stephen Lenz is an assistant professor of Counseling and Counselor Education at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi as well as President of the Association for Assessment and Research in Counseling. Dr. Lenz is currently the Director of the Supporting Pediatric Adjustment and Resilience through Counseling (SPARC) program at TAMUCC, which trains counselors and counseling students to use evidence-supported treatments. As a practitioner, Dr. Lenz has worked with children, adolescents, adults, and families as an LPC in community-based and private practice counseling settings. He is a specialist in the treatment of trauma and use of positive psychology interventions for which he has received the American Counseling Association’s Best Practice Award. Dr. Lenz, his wife Rachel, and their son love the Coastal Bend Area and enjoy taking the many opportunities to be outside and stay active in community events.
Michael McDougall is an Airport Operations Specialist at the Corpus Christi International Airport and has been with them since March 2015. He received his B.S in Aviation Administration from Lewis University (Chicago) in 2012 and his M.S. in Aviation Science and Transportation from Lewis University in 2016. Michael is a native of Dayton, Ohio where he earned his Private Pilot’s License and Instrument Rating at Wright Patterson Air Force Base. He previously served as the Airport Director at Southland Executive Airport in Lake Charles, Louisiana and Castroville Municipal Airport in Castroville, Texas. As an active member of the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE), he earned his Credited Member (CM) designation in 2014 and his Airport Certified Employee (ACE) designation in 2016. He is currently working on AAAE’s highest ranking, the Accredited Airport Executive (AAE) in which he hopes to have completed by mid 2017. Michael is a member of Toastmaster’s International Public Speaking Club and earned his “Competent Communicator” speaking award. He is also an active member of the Young Business Professionals of the Coastal Bend where he serves on the volunteer committee. In his free time, Michael enjoys working out, water sports, golfing, flying, and volunteering.
Chase McRoberts is an Area Manager for South Texas at First American Home Buyers Protection. He received his Bachelors of Business Administration from Texas Tech University and is currently working on his Masters of Business Administration from Louisiana State University. Chase has worked with First American Financial in several different capacities over the last 10 years, however he has been in the current position for 8 years. He currently manages the Corpus Christi, Laredo, Rio Grande Valley and Victoria markets. He has been the recipient of several industry awards: Sales Person of the Year 2014 & 2015, Lifetime Presidents Club and Circle of Excellence 2011-2016 among several others. In addition to his business endeavors he enjoys being involved with Habitat for Humanity as their 2016 Fundraising Chair and incoming 2017 Vice-President, Bears on the Beat Committee Member and Committee Member of an annual shoe drive for children, Walk with Pride. As a native of Corpus Christi, Chase enjoys the outdoors and the quality of life that our area provides. He currently resides in Corpus Christi with his beautiful wife, Jessica, of 6 years along with their two dogs Bentley and Carlton.
Michael Miller, a native of Corpus Christi, serves as Project Executive over South Texas and is the Director of Business Development for Teal Construction Company. In addition to his business career, Michael serves as Board President of Corpus Christi Metro Ministries. He is very active in all aspects of the organization and has a vested interest in its success as the foremost transitional program for the homeless of our community. Michael also sits on the board of Goodwill Industries of South Texas. In 2011, in response to being tired of hearing “there’s nothing to do in Corpus Christi”, Michael and his fellow classmates from Leadership Corpus Christi Class 40 developed whatsupcc.org and smart phone apps. This service is free and serves as a community calendar of events in and around the Coastal Bend. The service is currently operated by the Chamber of Commerce. Michael has a strong desire to make his community a better place for his family and all who live here. He is married to his wife Amanda and has three daughters, Kensey (15), Ella (12), and Mary Charlotte (1). In his off time, he enjoys hunting, fishing, and all of the outdoor activities the Coastal Bend has to offer.
Tiffany Montemayor is a proud Corpus Christi native. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Texas Tech University in 2013 and is currently working on a Master’s in Mass Communication from Stephen F. Austin State University. As Director of Communication & Development at The Council on Alcohol & Drug Abuse – Coastal Bend, she is responsible for the content and design of their website, social media, and print material and also represents the organization in the community. Tiffany’s first attempt at grant writing proved successful as she recently secured a grant from Health & Human Services Commission that will allow her agency to offer an at-risk youth program to the community. She sits on the Board of Directors for Women’s and Men’s Health Services of the Coastal Bend, serves as the Community Outreach Chair of the Mayor’s Fitness Council, and is the President of the Texas Tech Alumni Association – Coastal Bend Chapter. Tiffany enjoys biking, competing in half-marathons, and being George Strait’s number one fan. She is devoted to the future of the community, her loving family, and her gorgeous cat, Miss Kitty.
Toni Cheryl Nerren is the Assistant Director of Human Resources at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, where she began employment in 2007. Ms. Nerren is responsible for staff compensation, performance management and annual service awards while overseeing recruitment, selection, and onboarding procedures. The TAMUCC Human Resources Department was recently recognized for the ‘Most Effective Recruitment Strategy’ at the 2016 HR Excellence Awards. Mrs. Nerren is President of the Coastal Bend Society for Human Resources Management, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing its members programs and services for professional development and personal growth. Mrs. Nerren is committed to the development of emerging leaders at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and is the advisor for the Society for Human Resource Management Student Chapter. Toni received her Bachelor of Business Administration at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. She received her Professional in Human Resources (PHR) certification from the Human Resources Certification Institute. Toni, along with her husband and two young girls, enjoy beach activities, swimming, and enjoying all of the benefits that family life has to offer.
Troy Nicholson, Jr. holds the position of Senior Business Services Officer for American Bank where he serves the Corpus Christi region as well as the Coastal, Victoria, and Goliad markets. Throughout his 12 year banking career with American Bank, Troy has devoted much of his time listening to and understanding the needs of small business owners, executives, and staff members alike to not only offer solutions that would save them time, money, and provide added security to their banking relationship but also to serve as a one stop resource for these clients as well. Troy is a recipient of several awards including the Dale Carnegie Highest Award Achievement. Outside of work, Troy uses his background in banking to serve the communities he works in through several volunteer initiatives. Some of the groups he has worked with include KEDT, American Diabetes Association, Rockport-Fulton Seafair, and the Corpus Christi CROP Walk. In his leisure time, Troy enjoys spending time with his beautiful wife, Sarah, and his two little ones as well as watching documentaries and rooting for the Houston Texans, San Antonio Spurs, and Texas Rangers.
Mr. Sushil Pallemoni is the Director of Institutional Research at Del Mar College, Corpus Christi. He received his Bachelors in Electrical Engineering from India, M.S in Computer Science from Texas A&M University, Commerce and M.B.A from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. Mr. Pallemoni started his career at Del Mar College in 2002 as a Multimedia Specialist and moved into Institutional Research as a Research Associate in 2007. In 2012, he was promoted to his current position and was among the youngest Institutional Research Directors in the State of Texas. His office compiles quarterly State, Federal, Internal reports and assists the college administration with data driven decision-making approach. Mr. Pallemoni led his team and won three state level awards at the Texas Association for Institutional Research conferences. He was also part of GIS grant project that won an international special achievement award from ESRI in 2007. Mr. Pallemoni is also an active presenter at the Texas Association for Institutional Research. An avid movie viewer, Sushil loves aerial cinematography using drones and has participated in some short film festivals. He currently lives in Corpus Christi with his wife Geetha Sanapala.
Dr. Jacqueline Marie Phillips is an Internal Medicine physician who has been practicing in Corpus Christi since 2011. She is currently employed as Associate Program Director of the Internal Medicine Residency at CCMC Bay Area and Doctor’s Regional Medical Center, and as a primary care physician at the Amistad Community Health Center. Dr. Phillips earned her Bachelors of Science in Biochemistry and graduated from the Honors Program at Seton Hall University in New Jersey. She completed her residency at Jersey Shore University Medical Center in New Jersey, and afterwards relocated to Corpus Christi to become part of medical academic education as a hospitalist. Her work in medical education has included serving on the Continuing Medical Education Committee with Texas A&M Health Science Center, as well as on the planning committee for the 2nd Annual Tropical and Infectious Disease Symposium. She has also served as Director of Academic Education for the Internal Medicine and Family Practice Residency programs at CCMC. She strives to improve medical education in Corpus Christi, as well as promote physician retention to the area. Her philanthropic activities include multiple fundraising opportunities for Amistad CHC, and are a contributor to The United Way Corpus Christi, The It’s Your Life Foundation, Metro Ministries, The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and Chicas Rock.
Art Ramirez, also known as “Art The Builder” is Co-Founder and Owner of Summit Construction, LLC. Art holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management and an Associate’s Degree in Information Technology. As a business minded individual with a technical background, combined with experience in the construction industry, Art has built one of the fastest growing and most reputable construction businesses in Corpus Christi TX. He is an established member of the National Association of Home Builders, Texas Association of Builders, Coastal Bend Home Builders Association, and the Better Business Bureau. Art serves on Board of Directors as a Builder Director and holds a seat on the Membership Council. In 2016 Art was selected by the Better Business Bureau to be featured in the “Start with Trust, Start with Us” campaign. Outside of his industry, Art serves on the Board of Directors at the Children’s Advocacy Center and volunteers in several youth events throughout the community. He founded the GVR Guardian Scholarship in 2014 and recently created the Industry of Business Scholarship, for underprivileged students who are seeking a career in Business, set to launch in 2017. He spends his down time with his wife Yvonne, and daughters’ Alexis and Isabella.
Jennifer Ramirez is a Contracts and Funds Administrator for the City of Corpus Christi. She has served five years at the City and has been recognized for her outstanding service by being nominated for Employee of the Quarter. Jennifer has over 14 years of municipal government experience, also serving as an employee with the City of Arlington and City of Irving. Jennifer recently earned a Master of Public Administration degree from Texas A&M University Corpus Christi, graduating with a 4.0 grade point average. During her educational attainment, Jennifer earned membership into Golden Key International Honour Society, Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, and Pi Alpha Alpha Honor Society. Jennifer also serves on the Board of Directors for Padre Soccer Club, is a member of the Young Business Professionals of the Coastal Bend and is a volunteer with the Junior League of Corpus Christi. Jennifer enjoys spending time with family, husband and three beautiful children.
Jordan Regas is the Publisher of The Bend Magazine, the Coastal Bend’s premier lifestyle publication. As a student at Texas State University, he served as Managing Editor for a local magazine in San Marcos before moving to Corpus Christi to work for the Caller Times. In January of 2014, Jordan and Kaley Regas launched The Bend Magazine to help build a stronger community and show off all the great things Corpus Christi and the surrounding region offered. Jordan is an active member of the American Advertising Association – Corpus Christi, recently winning the 2016 Big Wig Award for Best Newspaper/Magazine Sales Rep. Jordan currently serves on the Goodwill Industries of South Texas board, volunteers with the Corpus Christi Ride-In Theater and is a two-year participant in the Men Who Cook fundraiser for Ronald McDonald House. He credits everything to God, who is always faithful and has blessed him in so many ways, especially with an amazing wife and a precious daughter who he wouldn’t trade for the world. Jordan is a big supporter of local coffee shops and spends too much money on books.
Julie Romano is a native Corpus Christi resident. In 2011, she received a B.A. in Graphic Design and Anthropology from the University of Notre Dame, and wanted to return to Corpus Christi. After working as a Graphic Designer at Concierge Auctions for a year and a half, she took a Marketing Specialist position at Sabalo Energy in 2013. She is responsible for designing geological displays and land maps, doing trade show prep, and completing other marketing activities. She also created Sabalo’s new logo and branded materials. Outside of work, Julie was the Marketing Chair on the 2016 board of the Young Business Professionals of the Coastal Bend, and has volunteered with their annual Metro Ministries’ Aquarium Trip and Volunteer-A-Thon. Some other groups in which she participates include the American Advertising Federation – Corpus Christi Chapter, Rising Tide Society, and the Corpus Christi 7-Day Film Project. In addition, she participates in Burners Without Borders Corpus Christi’s beach cleanups. She is currently working on her M.B.A. at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. In her spare time, Julie enjoys designing costumes and various craft projects, going on social adventures with her friends and family, spending time with her feline fur babies, and telling terrible puns.
Luis was born and raised in Corpus Christi and after graduating from W.B. Ray High School and went to pursue a college education at Texas State University in San Marcos. He finished with a B.A. in Communication Studies and resided in Austin for 12 years. Prior to working at New York Life he worked as a Sales Manager for Inc. 500 and then decided to return to his roots and be a part of the booming growth in the Latino Market for New York Life in South Texas. As the Latino Market Manager, Luis is responsible for attracting, hiring and retaining top sales talent to serve the financial needs of the Latino community. He actively participates in the Leadership Corpus Christi program, serving as past President of the Embajadores for the Corpus Christi Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and a past board member for the Young Business Professionals of The Coastal Bend. Luis enjoys spending time with his family and fishing in the beautiful waters of the Coastal Bend.
Eloisa Odette Silvas is a Licensed Specialist in School Psychology (LSSP) for the Corpus Christi Independent School District. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Texas A&M University in 2001 and her Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology in 2004. Eloisa completed her LSSP internship and worked at a private psychology practice before starting with CCISD in 2011, where she works with students at every grade level. She enjoys working with the schools to develop the best education plan for the students she serves. Eloisa volunteers her time with The Nueces County A&M Club, The A&M-CC Alumni board, and serves as Vice-President on the Kanines & Kitties animal shelter board. She is an avid sports fan and enjoys include traveling to different Major League Baseball parks with her fiancé and spending time with her family.
Brian was born and raised in Corpus Christi, Texas. He received a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Texas Tech University, majoring in Electronic Media & Communications with a Minor in Business. Brian then moved to Houston, Texas to pursue a career in sales and learned valuable skills that led him to start his own business, Brite N Clean Washateria. Along with managing his own business, Brian is the Operations Director for his family’s business, Corpus Christi RV Resorts where he manages four RV parks with over 500 RV Sites in the Corpus Christi area. Recently Brian and his father Ernest Sims received the Spot Light Award from the Flour Bluff Business Association for their commitment and dedication to the Flour Bluff area. Brian is present in the community, cares about his city, and devotes his time to volunteer as much as possible. During Brian’s free time, he enjoys fishing, hunting, playing soccer and spending quality time with his wife Gail and daughter Juliette.
April Smith has been with TMI Hospitality for 2 years working as the Market Sales Manager over four Corpus Christi hotels; the Residence Inn, Fairfield Inn & Suites, Country Inn & Suites and Hampton Inn & Suites. April plays a large part in the company’s quarterly community outreach efforts and coordinates the hotels’ participation in the Adopt-A-Beach Cleanup, Ronald McDonald House Share a Meal Program, and is the creator of the annual TMI Knockout Food Bank Challenge, a friendly competition between the hotels to collect food to be donated to the Food Bank of Corpus Christi. A musician at heart, April received a Bachelor of Arts degree from New Mexico State University with an emphasis in voice and business. Upon graduation she interned at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and spent almost five years with the company before moving to Texas. She continued her hospitality career at the Fairmont Dallas before moving to Corpus Christi in 2012 to work at the American Bank Center as the Sales Account Executive. April has served on the Board of Directors of the Greater Corpus Christi Hospitality Association for the last three years, and was awarded the organization’s President’s Award in 2014. April also serves the community as a Chamber Champion with the United Chamber of Commerce.
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Jonathan Lee Torres is an Electrical Construction Superintendent and Senior Foreman for FSG Electric, having first joined Facility Solutions Group in 2002. As the On-site Supervisor for large commercial projects in Corpus Christi, Jonathan manages all aspects of the electrical scope of new construction. He is most proud of being named FSG’s Field Foreman of the Year, and of FSG Electric winning the South Texas AGC’s Electrical Subcontractor of the Year Award. Jonathan currently serves as Chairman of the Associated General Contractors’ Construction Leadership Council, President of the Coastal Bend Coordinated Community Response Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, and Secretary & Executive Board Member of the Young Business Professionals of the Coastal Bend. Jonathan believes the future is pre-determined by the character of those who shape it, and the growth and development of our community is the personal responsibility of those with the ability to lead. Jonathan is a Graduate of Leadership Corpus Christi, alumni of Kappa Kappa Psi and Sigma Chi, an avid reader, writer, student of American History, Astronomy, and enjoys the outdoors, especially rock climbing in the Texas Hill Country, and hopes to one day summit Mount Everest.
Amy Twardowski is a CPA with Gowland, Strealy, Morales & Company PLLC. She specializes in tax compliance and business consulting for a large variety of clients. Amy received her BBA and MS in Accounting from Texas A&M University in 2007 and her CPA license in 2008. She began her career at Deloitte Tax LLP in Houston where she advanced to the level of manager working for the Private Client Advisory Group. Amy has been named a 2013 Rising Star by the Texas Society of CPAs, 2011 Young CPA of the Year by the Corpus Christi TSCPA and 2014 Mentor of the Year by the Rotary Club of Corpus Christi. She has also received an honorary Paul Harris Fellow for her service to the Rotary Club of Corpus Christi. Amy serves on the Young CPAs and Emerging Professionals committee and recently served on the Nominating Committee at the state level for the TSCPA. Amy is a member of the AICPA, TSCPA, Rotary Club of Corpus Christi, Corpus Christi Estate Planning Council, Rising Tide Society and Young Business Professionals of the Coastal Bend. She and her husband, Todd, enjoy spending time outdoors with their dogs and two young kids.
Kamran Zarghouni, President and Founder of KM Premier Real Estate, Inc., has more than 15 years of progressively responsible experience in real estate and business. Kamran holds a Bachelor degree from TAMUCC and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree Texas A&M-Commerce. As a broker, he directs as many as 30 employees and has successfully sold over 500 homes since 2004. When Kamran arrived in the United States 15 years ago he became immediately determined to make an impact with his career choice and in his community. Kamran participates in various community activities through his volunteerism and sponsorship of many local programs, organizations, and fundraisers. Kamran’s main passion has been to help children in need and it is his mission to continue building homes and business plazas in Corpus Christi, and the surrounding areas to ensure the growth of his community for a prosperous future for the next generation. A dedicated leader, community activist and a family-oriented man, Kamran is excited to see the future of this city grow by leaps and bounds.