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Melba Whatley


Melba Whatley, an Austin businesswoman, is a local advocate of education, the arts and quality design. In 2007 she received the rarely-bestowed Edwin Waller Award in Public Architecture by AIA Austin for her work as facilities chair of St. Edward’s University where she has been instrumental in transforming the campus. In 2013, she was made an honorary member of the American Institute of Architects.

She has served on Harvard and University of Texas visiting committees, the boards of St. Mark’s School of Texas, the Dallas Museum of Art and The Contemporary, a merger of Arthouse and the Austin Museum of Art. In February 2014, Ms. Whatley received the Jane Dunn Sibley Leadership Award for her role in the successful merger of those two arts organizations.

She holds Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees from Tulane University and a Juris Doctor degree from Lewis and Clark Law School.

In 2010 she was asked by Austin City Councilmember Sheryl Cole to spearhead an effort to design the surface of the Waller Creek District. With Melanie Barnes and Tom Meredith, she founded the Waller Creek Conservancy and launched Design Waller Creek: A Competition. She currently serves as president of the conservancy.

Jesus Garza


Tom Meredith

Immediate Past Chair

Tom is a co-founder and general partner of Meritage Capital, L.P., an investment management firm specializing in multi-manager hedge funds. He is also chief executive officer of MFI Capital, the Meredith family’s private investment arm. He has served as Acting Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Motorola, Inc., where he also served as a member of the board of directors from 2004 to 2011. Tom was managing director of Dell Ventures and senior vice president of business development and strategy of Dell Inc., from 2000 to 2001, and senior vice president and chief financial officer of Dell from 1992 to 2000. Prior to joining Dell, Mr. Meredith served as vice president and treasurer at Sun Microsystems, Inc. He currently serves on the board of directors of Bazaarvoice, Brightstar Corp, IPX, Inc., Macheen, Inc., Rallyhood, Inc. and Verb.

Tom is a member of the board of directors of The Nature Conservancy and Waller Creek Conservancy. In addition, Tom and his wife Lynn have received numerous accolades and awards for their generous support throughout the years including being named 2012 Chamber of Commerce Austinites of the Year; recipients of the 2010 Austin Community Foundation Philanthropy Award for donors who have shown philanthropic leadership in Central Texas; the Torch of Liberty Award given by the Anti-Defamation League in 2006; Outstanding Philanthropist of the Year given by the Association of Professional Fundraisers in 2004; and an Honorary Alumni Award given by Leadership Austin in 2003.

Tom serves on the Advisory Boards of the IBM Watson Group, the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, and the University of Texas System Chancellor’s Technology Commercialization Cabinet. Tom is also a member of the University of Virginia College Foundation Board.

Tom received his B.A. in political science from St. Francis University, a J.D. from Duquesne University and an LL.M. from Georgetown University Law Center.

Tom is married to Lynn Maureen Meredith; they are the proud parents of four children. Tom takes great joy in spending time with family and friends all of whom share the view that collectively we can accomplish more than we can individually.

Melanie Barnes


Ms. Barnes is an ardent nature advocate, education supporter and lawyer. Her initial career ambition was to be an environmental attorney, but the field was not well developed locally, so she focused on business transactions and commercial reorganizations. She returned to law school in 2010 for an advanced law degree in international energy and environment. She also sits on the board of Schopoff Properties Trust, a California real estate investment trust.

Ms. Barnes’ affiliations include: serving two years as board president of the Wildflower Center, a board member of Ballet Austin, trustee for the United Methodist Church in Austin, board member for St. Francis School, founder of the Center for Women in Law at the University of Texas Law School, and active volunteer at Austin High School during the tenures of her daughters and four exchange students.

Ms. Barnes has a Bachelor of Science degree from Texas Tech University as well as Juris Doctor and Master of Law degrees from The University of Texas School of Law.

Charles Barnett


Charles J. Barnett, FACHE, assumed his role as the initial executive chairman of the board for Seton Healthcare Family on July 1, 2013. In this role, Charles provides leadership and guidance to the Seton Board in addition to working directly on strategic projects as senior vice president under the direction of Anthony R. Tersigni, EdD, FACHE, president and chief executive officer of Ascension.

Taking a leave of absence from his role as president and CEO of Seton Healthcare Family in 2012, Charles served in the interim role as president Healthcare Operations and COO Ascension Health of which Seton is a member, to oversee national operations; enterprise resource planning, IT and supply chain functions through June 2013. Prior to this role, in addition to his leadership role at Seton, Ascension Health named Charles one of its ministry market leaders. At that time, he assumed additional responsibility for overseeing strategic positioning and operational performance not only for Seton, but also ministries in Waco, Tucson and Missouri.

Charles has approximately 30 years of health care administration experience. Prior to joining Seton in 1993, he served as vice president and chief operating officer of Inova Health System and Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Va. He also worked for 10 years at St. Joseph Medical Center, part of the Sisters of Charity Healthcare System of Cincinnati and during his tenure held the position of executive vice president.

Charles is a member of Texas State Sen. Kirk Watson’s Organizing Committee for the development of a medical school on The University of Texas at Austin campus. He has served as chairman of the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, the Capitol Area United Way, Austin Partners in Education, Children’s Optimal Health and the Texas Catholic Healthcare Association. He received the Heart Association’s Distinguished Service Award in 2005 for his leadership during the massive influx of patients into Central Texas as a result of Hurricane Rita and was recognized by Ascension Health with their Access Leadership Award. He recently received a Bicentennial Medal from the Seton Legacy of Charity in honor of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, awarded for significant contributions in social services, education and health care. He also was recently named an Affiliate of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, St. Louis Province. Barnett was the 2007 recipient of the Rostow Award, which honors community leaders who have made a difference in the lives of children. He is an Affiliate of the Daughters of Charity St. Vincent de Paul West Central Province. He was named 2009 Austinite of the Year by the Austin Chamber of Commerce, principally for his leadership role in establishing a partnership with The University of Texas System and The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. He recently received the Xavier University Department of Health Services Administration 2013 Distinguished Alumni Service Award.

Charles began his health care career as an operating room technician in 1972 and earned a master’s degree in Healthcare Administration from Xavier University. He earned his bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from the University of Cincinnati and taught history there before entering the health care field. He has authored articles on a variety of health care issues and has presented at numerous national health care conferences.

Theresa Alvarez

Marian Casey

Marie Crane

Marie Crane, PhD, is president and chief executive officer of M. Crane & Associates Inc., an Austin-based consulting firm with a 20-year history in business and brand strategy development, research and planning and performance improvement. Previously, she was a professor at The University of Texas at Austin, teaching and conducting research in the areas of Social Psychology and Survey Research Methods. She has served as a member or chair of more than a dozen Austin-area community boards. She actively participates in regional and national boards of several other professional and charitable organizations.

Virginia Cumberbatch

Paul D’Arcy

Paul J. D’Arcy is a technology industry CMO and entrepreneur based in Austin, Texas. Paul leads worldwide marketing for Indeed.com – the #1 job site worldwide, with over 100 million unique visitors and 2 billion job searches per month. Indeed is available in more than 50 countries and 26 languages.

Prior to Indeed, Paul served as the Chief Marketing Officer of MessageOne through its acquisition by Dell in 2008. At Dell, Paul was responsible for Large Enterprise Marketing across 40+ countries spanning from the U.S. to Argentina as well as Public sector marketing for Canada and Latin America. An early proponent of “Revenue Marketing”, Paul led Dell’s implementation of a standard worldwide methodology for measurable lead generation and marketing-led outbound calling campaigns. The Dell implementation is now one of the largest lead generation programs in the world driving more than $10 Billion in pipeline and more than $2 Billion in directly attributed revenue.

As an expert on demand generation, digital marketing, and the consumerization of IT, Paul’s articles have been published in Forbes, CIO, and the Huffington Post. Paul’s blog on the science of sales and marketing can be found at http://www.scienceofrevenue.com.

Paul has been interested in the evolution of downtown Austin since arriving in 1998. He founded AustinTowers —an Austin blog tracking downtown development — in 2007 and wrote it for 5 years before selling it in 2012. D’Arcy graduated from Wesleyan University in 1993 and received an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1998.

Russell Douglass

Russell Douglass is the President of Raptor Resources Inc. in partnership with Mike Nell and Melba Whatley. Raptor Resources has generated multiple Permian Basin Oil & Gas drilling and production prospects. They have also purchased and sold a number of mineral and royalty packages in the Permian Basin. Russell formed Raptor Resources, Inc. as an operating entity, and since founding has operated over 275+ wells at one time or another. Raptor resources focus is primarily in West Texas and Permian Basin type opportunities. Principals in Raptor Resources, Inc. are Russell Douglass –President, Mike Nell – Vice President, Melba Whatley – Vice President, John Lawrence – Engineer, Katherine Smith – Regulatory & Accounting.

Sue Edwards

Sue Edwards was appointed Assistant City Manager for Development Services in July 2008. Since January 2012, Edwards oversees the Development Services group that includes Aviation, the Economic Development Department, the Office of Real Estate Services, the Planning and Development Review Department, the Sustainability Office, the Office of Innovation, and the Watershed Protection Department.

From 2000 to 2008, Edwards was Director of Economic Development. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, she served in several leadership posts in the City of Austin and Travis County government, including Director of EMS from 1994 to 2000.

In addition to her 20 years of public service, Edwards has almost 10 years of private sector experience in establishing and managing SPE Associates, a consulting firm. In her time with SPE, she specialized in small business development and property tax consulting. Edwards’ expertise includes City redevelopment projects, especially in leading negotiations on public-private agreements.

In her time as Assistant City Manager, she has led and finalized negotiations on the Seaholm and Block 21 redevelopment projects. Negotiations for a third redevelopment project at the former Greenwater Treatment Plant are under way. Edwards served as Assistant City Manager from 1984 to 1985 over Police, Fire, EMS and Emergency Management.

Edwards has completed coursework at Baylor University in Waco and Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, LA.

Gary Farmer

Gary S. Farmer is president of Heritage Title Company of Austin, Inc. and Heritage Exchange Corporation of Texas. He has been in the title insurance business since 1985. Heritage has been recognized for its excellence in the commercial title insurance arena as it has grown to be among the largest independently owned title agencies in Texas.

Gary is involved in a variety of civic and charitable endeavors. Currently, Gary serves as Chairman of Greater Austin Economic Development Corporation and its Opportunity Austin 3.0 Campaign. Additionally, Gary serves as a Board Member of The University of Texas Chancellor’s Council, the UT Development Board, Director’s Council for UT’s Department of Theatre and Dance, The Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, the President’s Council of The Real Estate Council of Austin, The Greater Austin Crime Commission, The Trust for Public Land, The American Heart Association, Boy Scouts of America, Capitol Area Council and the National Multi Housing Council.

Gary is also the Immediate Past Chair of Opportunity Austin (1.0 and 2.0), Past Chair of Advantage Austin III, Founder and Past President of RECA, Past Chair of Capitol Area Transportation Coalition, Past Chair of Take on Traffic Initiative, Past Chair of Caritas Community Advisory Board (two terms), and has served as a Board Member on numerous other civic and charitable boards. Gary has also chaired five (5) Capital Campaigns which have raised approximately $55,000,000 for community endeavors. Additionally, Gary has served on three (3) Mayoral Task Forces dealing with the economy, the environment and healthcare.

In 2012, Zachary Scott Theatre named Gary as a “Pillar of the Community” for his work to develop Austin into a special place. In 2011, the Austin Technology Incubator honored Gary with “The Kilcrease Award” for his work to support entrepreneurial activity in the technology sector. In 2009, Boy Scouts of America honored Gary with its Distinguished Citizen Award. Southern Business and Development Magazine named Gary one of its “Top 10 People Who Made a Difference in the Southern United States” in economic development for 2009. The Texas Department of Transportation awarded Gary the State’s Road Hand Award for 2009. In 2007, CATC awarded Gary the “Flying Tiger Award”. In 2006, the Greater Austin Chamber named Gary its “Austinite of the Year” and RECA named its highest award as “The Gary S. Farmer Commendation of Excellence Award”. In 2005, the Austin Business Journal honored Gary with the W. Neal Kocurek Real Estate Lifetime Achievement Award. In 1998, Gary was awarded the Sam Walton Business Leader Award by the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce. In 1994, the Texas Land Title Association honored Gary as “The Outstanding Young Title Person”.

Gary and his wife, Susan, are graduates of The University of Texas and the proud parents of three daughters, two UT graduates and one current Longhorn!

Bianca Garcia

Caroline Haley

Jonny Jones

Jonny Jones is Founder, Chairman and CEO of Jones Energy, Inc. He is based in Austin, TX.

Mr. Jones founded Jones Energy in 1988. With family roots in the petroleum industry dating back to the 1920’s, Mr. Jones is a third generation explorationist with over 25 years of experience focusing on the U.S. Mid-Continent. Over nearly two decades, Jones Energy has focused its efforts on horizontal drilling having drilled more than 475 horizontal wells in 9 different reservoirs in the Texas Panhandle and Oklahoma. In July 2013, Mr. Jones successfully led Jones Energy through an Initial Public Offering. The company trades on the NYSE under the ticker JONE with an enterprise value in excess of $1.5 Billion. Mr. Jones was formerly a production geologist with BP plc, one of the world’s largest energy firms.

Active in industry affairs, Mr. Jones is currently Chairman of the Texas Oil and Gas Association and serves on the executive committee of the US Oil & Gas Association. He serves on the board of directors of the Independent Petroleum Association of America and is active in the American Association of Petroleum Geologist, Independent Petroleum Association of America and Texas Independent Producers and Royalty Owners Association. He served on the Advisory Council of the University of Oklahoma School of Geology and Geophysics and has been actively involved in fund raising efforts at the school. He received the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2012 Award for Central Texas.

Mr. Jones holds a BS in geology from the University of Oklahoma and an MA in geology from the University of Texas at Austin. He and his wife Brenda have three adult children and have lived in Austin for the last 20 years.

Jeanne Klein

Jeanne Klein has a passionate interest in the visual arts is a consuming endeavor, both from the standpoint of private collecting and museum activities. She is extremely interested in museum operations, exhibitions and collections and is actively involved with several museums. The main emphasis of her collection at this time is commissioning artists to do installations in dedicated spaces in private homes.

Jeanne is also dedicated to improving education. The list of issues facing today¶s educators and students is daunting. She firmly believes that schools that prepare students not only to pass tests at school but also to pass the test of life are genuinely effective. She has worked with the search-based demonstration school at the University of Texas for three years to develop curriculum for Social and Emotional Learning (SEL). Jeanne had wonderful results and is now trying, in this difficult climate, to start to install this new concept and curriculum in the Austin Independent School System in Austin, TX.

Jeanne has served on numerous boards both past and present. She was the president of the board at Art Pace in San Antonio, President of the Core Program of the Glassell School of Art, on the Advisory Council of the Blanton Museum, Development Board of the Menil Collection, Chairman of the Acquisitions Committee of the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Co-chair of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, and a Director of Artlies. Jeanne is Currently on the Development Board at the University of Texas, on the Chandellor’s Council at UT, Advisory Council at the School of Education at UT, the Advisory Council at the Ransom Center at UT, the committee of 125 at UT, and the Board of Directors of Site Santa Fe, in addition to her role as a director at the Waller Creek Conservancy.

Chris Mattsson

Chris Mattsson and John McHale founded the Mattsson-McHale Foundation, which provides funding for nonprofit organizations for the benefit of the arts, education, women and families. Chris is actively involved in many organizations in the Austin community, and serves on the board of The Contemporary and KLRU, in addition to, the Waller Creek Conservancy.

In addition to other interests, Chris is a supporter of documentary filmmakers. She recently served as producer on Margaret Brown’s The Great Invisible, which will be in theatrical release this fall.

Chris and her husband live in Austin with their three children.

Leslie Moore

Leslie Moore is the owner of Word of Mouth Catering. Leslie has been in the Austin catering and hospitality business for 3 decades is currently the owner and operator of Word of Mouth. In addition to his work as a local Austin business owner, Leslie has served on numerous boards. He served on the board of the Zachary Scott Theater, Planned Parenthood of Austin, and currently serves on the boards of the Nobelity Project and the Texas Music Hall of Fame.

Eva Muñoz

Katie Naranjo

Elizabeth Rogers

Chris Sanders

Chris Sanders is the founder and creative lead of Austin Architecture firm, Sanders Architecture. Prior to founding Sanders Architecture, Chris served in project architect roles for Andersson Wise Architects in Austin, Texas; Ann Beha Architects in Boston, Massachusetts; and Baum, Freitag & Leesch in Weimar, Germany. Significant works completed include the award-winning Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Admissions Kiosk, Temple Ranch Pool Cabana, AWAY Spa at W Austin Hotel and Residences and Hawthorn Longfellow Library at Bowdoin College.

As an Edward J. Romieniec Traveling Scholar, Chris traveled through South Asia, studying the colonial influence on local architecture and city planning. Chris earned his Master of Architecture degree from Texas A&M University, which included an internship at Leo A. Daly Architects in Washington, D.C. In 2003, Chris served as an intern for the U.S. National Committee of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (USICOMOS) at the Mediterranean Centre for Built Heritage in Split, Croatia.

Chris grew up in Lufkin, Texas, in the heart of the Piney Woods. Time spent outdoors—camping, canoeing, hunting and fishing—is when he began to appreciate nature and to understand humankind’s effect on the natural environment. Trying to reconcile his love of the land with his family’s roots in a natural-resource-based economy provided early lessons in sustainability. These experiences may explain why Chris considers Lady Bird Lake the defining feature of Austin’s urban landscape. Between training for marathons, walks with his family, attending music festivals, biking to and from the green belt and canoeing with his kids, he has formed a personal connection with the lake and associated parkland.

Martha Smiley

Tom Terkel

Tom Terkel began his professional career as an attorney specializing in commercial real estate transactions from 1979 to 1983 in Dallas. He joined Herb Weitzman in his Henry S. Miller Co. Development Group in 1985 as their Austin Development Partner focused exclusively on the development of shopping center projects. In 1989, Weitzman, Terkel and seven others left to form Cencor Realty Services, a full service development and management company for shopping center projects and The Weitzman Group, a brokerage firm focusing on retail projects and tenant needs. Terkel ran the Austin office for the two companies. Terkel developed or redeveloped 14 retail projects comprising 2,000,000 square feet. Projects included power centers (Capital Plaza, Arboretum Crossing), discount department store anchored centers (Round Rock Crossing, Southbrook Town Center), grocery anchored centers (Cedar Park Town Center, North Hills, Center of the Hills), and neighborhood strips (Plaza Balcones, Cannon Oaks, and Lamar Point).

Terkel was also responsible for Cencor’s development of The Triangle, a 21 acre mixed-use project including 750 apartment units and 125,000 square feet of retail space. Cencor brought in an apartment developer to handle the bulk of the apartments, but directly developed the balance.

In 2010, Terkel co-founded FourT Realty, a family owned real estate investment firm with his daughter, Taylor Terkel. Together they have closed on five projects, all retail related. Three of those projects were urban renovations and two are ground up new construction.

Mr. Terkel is currently an active member of several professional and civic organizations, including the International Council of Shopping Centers and the Urban Land Institute where he has served on the District Council of the Austin Chapter. In 2008, Mr. Terkel served as President of the Real Estate Council of Austin, an organization of over 1,600 members he helped found in 1991 and of which he remains a member of the Executive Committee of its Board of Directors. He received the Gary Farmer Commendation of Excellence Award from RECA in 2007. Mr. Terkel has served on the Board of the Austin YMCA (where he has chaired several committees), the Austin Family House, the 1991 Mayor’s Task Force – Comprehensive Watershed Ordinance and the 2006 Bond Election Advisory Committee for a $560 Million Bond Package for the City of Austin, Chairing the Facilities Subcommittee.

In addition, Mr. Terkel serves on the Board of Directors of Zach Theatre and has previously served as Chairman of Zach’s $20 million Capital Campaign and as a member of their Building Committee. Mr. Terkel was named an honorary Life Member of the Zach Theatre Board in 2007.

Jerry Webberman

Jerry Webberman has over 25 years of experience in a wide variety of real estate and financial matters, including the leasing and management of retail, office and industrial projects; the purchase and sale of undeveloped land, developed lots and improved income producing properties (multi-family, retail, office and mixed-use), development of both residential subdivisions and commercial projects, and the formation of business entities. He has also represented lenders and borrowers in real estate financing matters, including permanent and construction loans; the sale, purchase and financing of commercial mortgage loan portfolios, foreclosures, loan workouts and restructuring.

Mr. Webberman’s practice includes an emphasis on energy project development and finance, and he has represented energy developers and lenders in numerous projects, including over 3,500 MWs of wind energy generation and over 4,500 MWs of natural gas-fired plants. He regularly represents clients in connection with project acquisition and finance due diligence; opinion letters; drafting and negotiation of agreements relating to site acquisition and control (e.g., wind leases, transmission easements, access easements, crossing agreements mineral accommodation agreements; subordination agreements, estoppels and consents); permitting issues, including endangered species and environmental matters; analysis and resolution of title and survey issues; tax abatement agreements; and related financing issues.

Mr. Webberman is also considered one of the foremost land conservation attorneys in Texas. With over 20 years of experience advising private landowners, land trusts and governmental entities on conservation issues, he has gained a deep understanding of and appreciation for the complex and sensitive issues involved in balancing land use, including development, with conservation and protection of natural resources. He is particularly experienced in structuring complex multi-party transactions and negotiating and drafting conservation easements, as well as handling open space, endangered species habitat, and sensitive water quality issues.

Peggy Winkler

Peggy is an Austin leader whose vision and commitment has made a significant impact on conserving the unique and precious natural resources in Central Texas. Her dedication to protecting the best of our area for current and future generations has been well demonstrated by her actions and leadership as the Vice Chair of Westcave Preserve. Through Peggy’s Westcave board membership, she has become actively involved in the Austin Children in Nature Collaborative. She is also a longtime supporter of The Nature Conservancy and serves on the Austin Advisory Board.

Peggy has a Master of Science degree in marine botany and certification as a Master Naturalist. She has been married to Matt Winkler, a biotechnology pioneer, for 24 years, and they have three sons.