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Fall 2008

Meadows Art Gallery

Todd Clifton (B.B.A. 1981) is president of Austin Bank in Gladewater. His community involvement has included serving as president of the Gladewater Rotary Club, Gladewater United Fund, Gladewater Economic Development Corporation and Gladewater Chamber of Commerce; board member of the Gladewater Round-Up Rodeo; and youth baseball coach. Clifton is married to Nea Wood Clifton and they have three children.

Robert E. Reed Jr. (B.S. 1984) is the author of a recently published book about the city of Tyler’s history. “Tyler’’ was released this year as part of Arcadia Publishing’s “Images of America’’ series. Reed’s 128-page book includes more than 200 photographs from personal collections and local archives. The author has spent several years collecting Tyler memorabilia, reviewing municipal records and visiting with longtime residents to learn about the city’s past. He is planning additional projects to share the story of Tyler and its people. Reed is a member of the Smith County Historical Society and the Tyler Tap Chapter of the Cotton Belt Rail Historical Society.

Jess Laird (M.B.A. 1984) was appointed by Gov. Rick Perry to the Trinity River Authority. He is president and chief executive officer of First State Bank in Athens and director of the Independent Bankers Association of Texas. He also is a member of Texas Bankers Association.

Gay Smith (M.A. 1986) recently joined the staff of Southside Bank in Tyler as a senior vice president and commercial lender.

Gay Venable-Brookshire (B.A., M.S. 1991) is a teacher and board member of Christian Women’s Job Corps. The organization provides employment skills to help women become self-sufficient. Venable-Brookshire also serves as a worship leader and choir officer for the Green Acres Baptist Church Celebration Choir. She resides in Tyler with her husband, Kirk, and their three daughters.

Jeff Austin III (B.S., M.B.A. 1996), vice chairman of Austin Bank, was named treasurer of the Texas Bankers Association for the 2008-2009 fiscal year. Austin served as chairman of the TBA BankPac Committee from 1998- 2000 and was elected to the association’s board of directors in 2005. He recently completed a one-year term as chairman of the TBA Government Relations Council.

Hannah Oliphant (B.S. 1997) and her husband, Joe, owners of LearningRx Training Center of Tyler, received a national award this year. They were presented the 205-Star Customer Service Award at the Learning Rx national conference in Colorado Springs, Colo. The Tyler center offers testing and training to help students, both children and adults, overcome learning struggles.

Michael Clendenin (B.S. 1999) was promoted to company president of Estes, McClure & Associates Inc., an engineering and consulting firm. A licensed professional mechanical engineer, Clendenin has worked for the firm for 14 years.

Susanne Lambert (B.S., M.Ed. 2000) serves as principal of Gladewater High School. Lambert previously served as principal of the district’s intermediate school. She and her husband, Mike, have two sons.

Byron Skaggs (B.A. 2000) teaches history in grades six through eight in Carlisle Independent School District. He has been with the district for two years.

Carole Jones (B.S. 2001) was appointed vice president of mortgage operations at Southside Bank in Tyler. She began her banking career with Southside in 1991.

Jill Kinsley (B.B.A. 2002) was promoted to vice president of operations at Southside Bank in Tyler. She has been employed with the bank for four years.

Starla Bickerstaff (B.B.A. 2002) was promoted to marketing manager/director of the corrosion college at Robroy Industries in Gilmer. Bickerstaff joined the company in 2005 as executive assistant and corrosion college coordinator. She was promoted to corrosion college director in 2007 and is maintaining the role along with her new responsibilities.

Suni Davis (B.B.A. 2004) was promoted to vice president at Southside Bank. She works in the investment department, is responsible for portfolio accounting and funds management and assists with financial reporting. Davis is a certified public accountant and a member of the Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants.

Ryan Palmquist (B.B.A. 2005) is a secondyear student at South Texas College of Law in Houston and participated in the law school’s 2008 Mock Trial Summer Academy. At UT Tyler, Palmquist was Student Government Association president for two years and a member of the award-winning debate team.

Kristen Reeves (B.S. 2006)
is serving her 12th year as head paralegal and office manager for the Law Offices of C.D. Cowan, P.C., in Tyler. Reeves also is pursuing her master’s degree this fall. She resides in Tyler with her two children, Sarah and Noah.

Justin Weiner (B.S. 2006) resides in Lansing, Mich., and has completed his first year of law school. He plans to return to Texas and practice law after graduation.

Nathan Taylor (B.S. 2006) accepted a postgraduate internship with U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett of Austin after graduating from UT Tyler. In May 2007, he went to work with Rep. Kathy Castor (Florida-11th), arranging tours for constituents and directing correspondence. He was promoted in September 2007 to legislative assistant to monitor congressional actions in energy, environment and transportation issues. He also drafts and coordinates legislation.

Beth Andersen (B.A. 2007) is the director of Global Expeditions Youth Group Division with Teen Mania Ministries in the Tyler area. She facilitates Global Expedition mission trips with more than 70 groups. She also speaks at Global Expedition’s TrueNorth Leadership Seminars.

Chase Colston (B.S. 2008) resides in Oklahoma City, Okla., and is employed with The Oklahoman newspaper as a sports page designer. He was a staff writer with the Tyler Morning Telegraph newspaper while attending UT Tyler.

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