Heritage: Spring 2021

Class Notes

Larry Reid ’68, an avid cyclist, founded Operation Red, White and Bike 12 years ago with a mission of bringing joy to the lives of children of Purple Heart veterans. His non-profit organization has presented 224 bikes to children across the country. He recently moved the non-profit’s operations from Kemah to Huntsville, Texas.

Ron Gay ’77, ’84, has been elected to the Texas Lions Hall of Fame. As a member of the College Station Noon Lions for 41 years, he has served as the club’s president (’91-’92) and district governor (’94-’95). He is a Life Member of the SHSU Alumni Association.

Virginia Blakeney ’75, widow of former accounting professor, Russell F. Briner, has published her historical novel, “Richilene Trunk”. The book chronicles four generations of European settlers as they find love, loss, tragedy and triumph along the Louisiana bayous. She is a Life Member of the SHSU Alumni Association.

Greg McBee ’85, was promoted to president of The Bank of Madisonville. Also president of the Madisonville CISD board of trustees and chairman of the Madison County Appraisal Board, McBee previously served as executive vice president of the bank.

Anton V. Vincent ’87, has been elected to the International Paper Company Board of Directors. Vincent currently serves as president of Mars Wrigley North America, part of Mars Incorporated.

Gail Dentler ’90, earned a grant from the New Normal-Rockport initiative. The program helps artists in the Rockport, Texas area with economic recovery. The grant will help cover the cost of a botanical illustrator certification from the Society of Botanical Artists in England, and will help her better document hummingbirds for the sake of conservation. She is a Century Club member of the SHSU Alumni Association.

Bob Horton ’90, ’05, ’12, coordinator of fine arts for Conroe ISD, was announced as the new artistic director for the Montgomery County Choral Society. Horton spent 11 years as head choir director of The Woodlands High School where he led a choral program of over 250 students. He is a Life Member of the SHSU Alumni Association.

Kristy Oates ’95, was recently named state conservationist for USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service in Texas. Oates will be responsible the administration of conservation technical assistance to private landowners, conservation financial assistance programs, conservation easement programs, natural resources inventory, soil survey mapping, and the plant materials program. She is a member of the SHSU Alumni Association.

Kerri (West) Chaney ’96, ’98 and husband Sean Chaney ’98 recently expanded their family business with a retail boutique on Huntsville’s town square. The Crooked Crown offers gifts, apparel and Greek gear. Kerri has operated a promotional products company since 2014. Sean
currently serves as director of strategic partnerships with Aramark Healthcare.

Shane Sklar ’99, has been elected as director of Coastal Bend for Capital Farm Credit in Bryan, Texas. Sklar is a fourth-generation farmer and rancher, and owner of El Toro Farms in Edna, Texas. He was the agriculture aide and field representative for US Congressman Chet Edwards and is currently serving as executive director of the Independent Cattleman’s Association of Texas. He is a Life Member of the SHSU Alumni Association.

Ashley Etienne ’00, has joined the White House staff and will serve as communications director for the vice president. Etienne was a senior advisor on the Biden-Harris Campaign. Before that, she was communications director and senior advisor to Speaker of the House, the first woman and person of color to hold the position.

Stephanie Williams ’01,’05, has been named chief financial officer of Naskila Gaming. She is a member of the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas and received her BBA in Accounting and MBA in Business from SHSU. She has since worked in the banking industry, tribal government, the regulatory and now, operational side of Indian gaming.

Jon Kocian ’02 was named Midwest Officer of the Year by the Association of Midwest Fish and Game Law Enforcement Officers. In 2020, Warden Kocian was instrumental in the update and launching of the new Field Training Officer program (FTO) for both Texas Game Wardens and State Parks Police Officers. He has served in Victoria County for over 17 years.

TJ Tijerina ’03, ’17 has been appointed CEO of First Community Credit Union in Houston. He has been part of the FCCU team for 16 years.

Karla Hollins ’03, has joined Austin Bank as assistant vice president and relationship manager in the company’s Lufkin, Texas office. Hollins served previously as vice president/consumer banking manager with Regions Bank.

Kelly (Gilbert) Marchiando ’06 (MA), was chosen as the new principal of Tomball Star Academy. Marchiando was previously the associate principal for curriculum and instruction at The Woodlands High School in Conroe ISD. She also served as the gifted and talented coordinator in Humble ISD and as the assistant principal at the Conroe Ninth Grade Campus.

Sara Rogers Shields ’06, ’08, received Louisiana State University’s Extension Excellence Award (from among hundreds of LSU employees) for her outstanding work involving the Louisiana Master Gardener Program for which she serves as the state coordinator, overseeing more than 1,500 volunteers across the state.

Steve Wright ’06 (MA), has been named the new director of Parks & Recreation for the City of College Station. He previously served in the same role for the City of Houston.

Daniel Owens ’11, has been appointed by Governor Greg Abbott to the 11-member Task Force on Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response. He and his colleagues will provide evidence-based assessments, protocols and recommendations for statewide responses to infectious diseases. He is a Life Member of the SHSU Alumni Association.

Emilie Grecula ’19 works in public relations for Expanding Boundaries International, a non-profit focused on bridging the racial disparity for study abroad programs.

Eric Maloney ’20 (MA), was promoted to the position of Kerrville Fire Department Chief. Maloney has spent most of his career in EMS, developing Kerrville FD’s paramedic and ambulance teams. Starting as a firefighter paramedic, he credits his recently earned master’s in public administration from SHSU with helping him earn his new position.

Pablo Vargas ’20, recently accepted a position with the Teaching Assistant Program in France and moved from Texas to France during the pandemic. He is teaching English language and culture to middle and high school grade levels until May 2021.