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The Senior Leaders
Joe Paulo
President & Chief Executive Officer

Joe Paulo, President & Chief Executive Officer of KSBJ, most recently served as Director of Stewardship and Communication for K-LOVE and Air1 Educational Media Foundation. Before that, he called Columbia International University home for 20 years where he was the Director of Broadcasting, managing WRCM in Charlotte, NC (“New Life 91.9”) and WMHK in Columbia, SC. Joe also volunteered for eight years on the board of Christian Music Broadcasters and completed a three-year term in September as Chairman of the Board. “To me, working in a ministry context is not about having a job,” says Joe. “It is a calling because it is about contributing to an organization that seeks to reach people with the life-changing hope and love only found in Jesus Christ.” Joe has been married to his wife, Kelly, for 27 years. They have three daughters and two sons, ranging in age from 22 to 9. The couple is passionate about marriage, parenting and adoption and have hosted or spoken at numerous marriage and parenting events in recent years. Additionally, Joe received a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Liberty University in 2014. ​

LaRanda Burke
Chief Financial Officer

As Chief Financial Officer, LaRanda Burke oversees all areas of Accounting, Finance, Legal and Compliance for KSBJ, NGEN radio, Special Events and TicketServant. She has been with the ministry since September 2005. LaRanda is a Texas licensed CPA with over 20 years experience in accounting and finance. She has held accounting positions in several industry sectors including banking, education, hospital, federal government, offshore communications, and commercial property management. LaRanda been married to her husband Chris for 21 years, and they have a son who is serving in the US Air Force and a daughter in college at the University of Houston. They also have a new grand-daughter. Having recently moved from the suburbs to downtown, LaRanda and Chris enjoy living the downtown life, attending the theater and concerts, and being part of the H-Town Takeover while cheering on her daughter who is a Houston Cougar cheerleader. LaRanda also manages her own prayer blog encouraging others to take their prayer life to a deeper level.

Elaine Welcome
Chief Operating Officer

There aren’t many people as appropriately named as Elaine Welcome. Born the day after Christmas in the great state of Texas, Elaine is a welcome member of the KSBJ family serving as the Chief Operating Officer. Her many responsibilities range from Human Resources to strategy and prayer initiatives, volunteer and front desk organizer and mentoring. Elaine may wear a lot of hats around the KSBJ offices, but her favorite hat to wear comes with a kayak or a paddle-board. If she’s not at work she’s either spending time in the great outdoors with her husband, Steve, her son, Brandon and his wife Maura, or her fur-babies Bailee, Bella, and Sadee. With her first grandbaby on the way, she’s excited to add one more hat to her collection – ‘grandbaby-spoiling grandmother’. Her church in Pearland also benefits from Elaine’s talents and gifts as she and her husband lead their prayer ministry and their Life Group – Hot Rods-N-Hogs. Elaine’s life reflects the truth of the words in her favorite verse – Matthew 19:26. With God, nothing is impossible; and through Elaine, the impossible is accomplished on a regular basis.

Jon Hull
Senior Director of Donor Engagement

Jon Hull’s love for Christian radio goes back to 1974 when he interned on a two-hour Christian music show on a local AM radio station.  He got his “real” start a few years later at WCVC in Tallahassee, Florida. His 40+ year career brought him to KSBJ in 1996 where today he serves as the Senior Director of Donor Engagement. Jon has been widely recognized by numerous publications like CRW Magazine, Radio & Records Magazine and is the recipient of countless awards and accolades like the Scott Campbell Award, Major Market Program Director of the Year and the R&R Christian Radio Programmer of the Year, just to name a few. When he’s not leading KSBJ in its donor efforts, you’ll find Jon spending time with his family (his wife Karen, their two daughters, sons-in-laws, and four grandchildren), gardening, cooking, and playing drums and percussion on his church’s worship team. After many years of award-winning experience in Christian radio, Jon Hull’s service to the KSBJ team and to Christian radio in general cannot be overstated.

Steven Thompson
Senior Director of Technology and Engineering

Steven Thompson came to KSBJ from CNN where he worked as their Engineering Manager for nine years. Today, Steven puts his talents to work as KSBJ’s Senior Director of Technology providing leadership, vision, and direction for our Engineering, IT, and Facilities departments. Steven’s heart belongs to his wife, Melanie, his three adult children (Jeremiah, Nathanael, and Hannah), his first (and only, so far) grandchild Daniel, and his fur-babies Petra and Jitters. When he’s not spending time with his family, you can find him in the mountains of Georgia, Oregon, or Colorado doing everything from hiking to camping to kayaking. He also serves as the Worship Pastor and Media Ministry Director for his church as well as the Tribe of Judah Motorcycle Ministry. Proverbs 3:5-6 is the passage that governs Steven’s life and he’ll be the first to tell you that it is by God’s grace that he is where he is today. With his God-given talents and experience, the KSBJ family is equally thankful for God graciously leading Steven to lead our technology team.

Board of Directors
Consistently certified as a “Best Christian Workplace,” KSBJ is a ministry of integrity governed by a group of volunteer men and women from across the Greater Houston area, who serve as the Board of Directors. The board members represent diverse denominations, backgrounds and professions to provide oversight, direction and accountability for the ministry.
Chris Martin

Mr. Martin is one of the most recognized insurance attorneys in Texas. He is the author of three legal treatises on Texas Insurance Law, a frequent speaker at state and national insurance programs and conferences, and previously he served as the professor of Insurance Law at the University of Houston Law School for 10 years. He has tried numerous insurance coverage and bad faith lawsuits in Texas and in 14 other states and he has received multiple recognitions for his skills in trying insurance lawsuits. ​

Alex Suescun
Vice Chair

Alejandro Suescun is part owner and serves as CFO for Pulido Transport, LP. The company, established in 1995, is a bulk liquid transporter for the downstream energy industry. In his role at Pulido Transport, LP, Alex is responsible for the financial, administrative and safety & compliance aspects of the company. He has 17 years of banking and corporate finance experience with JPMorgan Chase (12 years), Wells Fargo (3 years) and Sabre Holdings (2 years). He served as an analyst, underwriter and relationship manager to middle-market and mid-corporate companies. Alex earned his Bachelor’s degree in Finance and Marketing from the University of Houston and M.B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis as a Consortium for Graduate Study in Management Fellow. Alex is active in the community serving on the board of the KSBJ Educational Foundation as Chair of the Strategy Committee. Also, he is an active member at Northeast Houston Baptist Church. He and his wife, Mariela, live with their three children, Jeshua, Maranda and Ezra, in Humble, TX.

Michael Bench

Michael Bench is part owner and serves as President of Jake’s Finer Foods, his family’s foodservice distribution company based in Houston, Texas. The company, established in 1946 by Michael’s Grandfather, sells protein and grocery items to restaurants, hotels, country clubs, retail grocery stores, schools and other foodservice establishments throughout Texas and Louisiana.

Michael and his brother-in-law partner in running the company. In his role, Michael is responsible for the company’s strategic planning process, accounting & finance, warehouse & transportation operations, human resources and information technology. Jake’s also owns its own meat processing company, Gourmet Ranch, and he has oversight responsibilities for that company as well. Michael grew up working at Jake’s during summers and holidays and officially joined the company in 2001.

Prior to joining Jake’s, Michael had 4 years of experience in corporate finance with Arthur Anderson (2) and Quanta Services (2). He served as a financial analyst in both of his prior roles. Michael earned his Bachelor’s degree in Finance and Management from Texas A&M University in 1997 and his CFA designation from the CFA Institute in 2003.

Michael has been a member of C12, a national Christian Business Owner’s group, since 2012. He is active in the community serving on the Board of KSBJ as well as KSBJ’s Finance and Strategy Committees. Also, he is an active member at Faithbridge Church. He and his wife, Kristi live with their three children, Taylor, Jacob and Caden, in Tomball, TX. Michael’s greatest passions in life include being the best husband and father that God has called him to be, loving and encouraging others in the name of Jesus and helping run his family’s business to the glory of God.​

Rebecca Harrington

Rebecca Harrington graduated from East Carolina University and holds a Master of Science in Accounting. Has been a CPA for 25+ years working in public and private sectors including various industries from service to manufacturing. Served on the advisory board of KSBJ and also volunteers with the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and supporting committees.

Jeff Heard

Jeff has spent the last 15 years in Wealth Management (over 30 years in financial services), and has earned both the CFP® and CIMA® designations. Both he and his wife are graduates of Texas A&M, and are actively involved in their church.  They have a daughter (TAMU ’14, TAMU ’15), and three sons (one at Texas Tech, one pursuing his baseball career at Panola College, and one in high school).  He enjoys baseball with his sons, and camping, fishing and hunting with his family.

Joe Parle

Dr. Joseph (Joe) Parle is the Academic Dean, Vice-President of Academic Affairs and Professor of Bible Exposition at the College of Biblical Studies. Dr. Parle has an MABS from Dallas Theological Seminary as well as a Th.M. and Ph.D. from Baptist Bible Seminary. He is currently a volunteer lay elder at Community of Faith Bible Church. Joe appears on his daily program We Speak Inglés y Español as well as on the Up with the Son Program on the Trinity Broadcasting Network. Joe is happily married to Suzan Parle is the proud father of two children: Faith and Joseph Jr.

John Van Leeuwen

John is the President of Lion & Stutz, a boutique strategy and operations management consulting firm based in The Woodlands. Previously, John was employed by Booz & Co. for 15 years and consulted in over 30 countries. John’s passion is helping oil & gas, energy and industrial companies to achieve their full potential. He often assists client in transforming their business including providing seminars for senior executives in Lean operations. John holds an MBA from Chicago Booth, an MSEE from the University of California, Berkeley and a BSEE from the University of Washington.

Mr. Van Leeuwen has served with the KSBJ Board and on multiple committees since 2011.

John married his sweetheart, Ramona, 15 years ago and has two children, Katrina and Luke. The Van Leeuwen’s are members of Faith Bible Church and active with their son’s Scout troop. John enjoys cycling, diving, skiing and travelling as well as applying his business experience to serve in the community.​

Hugh Urbantke

Hugh is a Houston native and attends Houston’s First Baptist Church.  He has been married for over thirty years and has two adult children.  He actively supports a number of charities including KSBJ, The Source for Women, Show Hope and Cure International.  Hugh travels extensively for work and pleasure and lived overseas in Indonesia and Singapore for ten years.

Professionally, Hugh has almost forty years of experience in international business development and  operations. As Executive VP/Chief Commercial Officer of Freeport LNG Development, L.P., Hugh has built an exceptional team responsible for commercial operations, LNG marketing, finance, accounting, information systems, corporate communications, tax and office administration

Glenn Gilchrist

After holding several HR executive leadership positions at Royal Dutch Shell, Glenn built his own consulting practice. He continues to advise and coach senior executives, domestically and internationally in Business, Human Resources and Labor Relations strategies and tactics. He has served on the Board of KSBJ since 2009, and recently as a Director for Serve Houston and Stonebridge Church. He and his wife, Victoria reside in The Woodlands, Texas. They have raised three sons, gained three wonderful daughters-in-law and have been blessed with two grandchildren.

President's Council
President’s Council is composed of a select group of individuals and leaders across the Houston area. The primary purpose of the council is to advise KSBJ on trends and needs of the Houston Community so together we can impact lives for Christ and make an even bigger difference in our great city.
Eric Anderson
Houston Metro Director & SW International Coordinator, Fellowship of Christian Athletes Ministry

For the past 13 years Eric Anderson has served as Houston Metro Director and now the Southwest International Coordinator for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Ministry. As the Regional International Coordinator, Eric serves FCA staff in Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma and FCA Teammates in 20 Latin America Countries. He has traveled to the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala City and Mexico to lead ministry initiatives, vision trips, sport trips, reverse trips and training trips. He is also involved in initiatives on racial healing and reconciliation.

Eric is also the founding Pastor of Global Outreach Community Church in Atascocita. ​

Bill Brown
Community Outreach Executive, Houston Astros

The 2018 season marks Bill Brown’s 32nd with the Houston Astros organization, and his second as a Community Outreach Executive. Brown called his final games as the Astros primary play-by-play broadcaster in 2016 after 30 seasons in the booth.

At 18 years of age, Brown landed his first broadcasting job at KDRO Radio in Sedalia, Missouri, doing news and play-by-play for local high school events. He later graduated from the University of Missouri in 1969. While in the service, Brown became a U.S. Army broadcast specialist working as a sportscaster for the Armed Forces Vietnam Network in Saigon in 1970-1971. After leaving the service in 1971, Brown earned a job at WLWT-TV in Cincinnati. In 1976, Brown earned his first full-time Major League broadcasting job as the television play-by-play announcer for the Cincinnati Reds, where he would remain until 1982. Brown joined the Astros in 1987.
He has received many awards over the years including being inducted into the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame in 2004, receiving the Fred Hartman Award in 2012 and Sportscaster of the Year award in Texas in 2013

Brown is a member of the Advisory Board at Houston Sight and Sound and has been a volunteer reader for 24 years. He and his wife, Dianne have been involved with “Salute to our Hero’s, a fundraiser for scholarships for the Cy-Fair Educational Foundation for 10 years. He has also authored and co-written several books.
Bill and Dianne reside in Houston and have one daughter and three grandchildren.

Joshua Brown
Managing Director, Newmark Knight Frank

Joshua Brown is a managing director in Newmark Knight Frank’s (NKF) Houston office and a member of the tenant representation team. He offers twelve years of experience with specializing in lease negotiations, strategic planning and the development of real estate solutions that align with his clients’ needs in the corporate and industrial sectors. Throughout his career, Mr. Brown has completed transactions in excess of 20 million square feet, valued at over $1.4 billion.

A staunch advocate of tenants’ rights, Mr. Brown’s expertise includes site selection, property dispositions and acquisitions, lease negotiations and strategic consulting. His experience gives him an in-depth understanding of the complex nature of real estate and the mitigation of the associated risks, and he has worked with a vast array of clients ranging from law firms, oil and gas and engineering groups to manufacturing and distribution users.

Mr. Brown began his real estate career at Jackson Cooksey in 2006. In 2018, he joined NKF, upon its acquisition of the acclaimed tenant representation firm.

Mr. Brown graduated from The University of Texas at Austin, with a Bachelor of Arts degree.

Pierce Bush
CEO, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Lone Star

Pierce Bush, CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters Lone Star, is responsible for coordination of all things related to fundraising, budgeting, programming, the agency’s Board of Directors, and achieving the strategic goals of the organization. Pierce Bush started his journey with BBBS as a volunteer mentor to Jaylyn in 2009, and he was appointed to the Houston Regional Board in early 2012. Believing that BBBS embodies a mission that represents the American spirit of volunteerism and service to others, Pierce left his career in private equity to join the staff full-time in October of 2012. Since joining BBBS, Houston has increased its reach by almost 30% and made critical progress toward the goals of Vision 2×22. Through Pierce’s leadership, BBBS completed construction and fundraising on a new $8 million Houston headquarters near downtown. Pierce became CEO of Lone Star in August 2015 with the vision to build on this success and impact more children across the state. Under his leadership, the agency launched the new strategic plan Vision 2×22 that will guide the agency in doubling its reach by 2022. In 2016, in Pierce’s first full calendar year as CEO, the consolidated BBBS Lone Star agency turned a corner financially and celebrated a cash flow positive year for the first time since the merger in 2010. Pierce earned a BA in American Studies from the University of Texas in Austin. Originally from Houston, Pierce splits his time between Houston and Irving to support BBBS efforts in north Texas. Pierce and his Little Brother Jaylyn enjoy attending church at Ecclesia together, playing baseball, riding bikes, and volunteering in the community.

Susan Caldwell
Marketing Director, Caldwell Companies

Susan received her B.B.A. in Marketing from Texas A&M University. She currently oversees the strategic branding initiatives for Caldwell Companies, a full-service commercial real estate firm.

Susan serves in ministry alongside her husband of thirty-four years, Fred, at the company, JH Ranch, Outback America and at their home church, The Church at Cross Lake. Together, they have a strong passion for serving families. They have two daughters, Amanda Grace and Lindsey.

Susan is very involved in her community and has held board positions in local faith based organizations. In her free time, Susan enjoys oil painting and spending time at their farm in Brenham. Susan and Fred reside in Northwest Houston, Texas.

Pastor Suzette Caldwell
Associate Pastor, Windsor Village United Methodist Church

​In 1986, Suzette graduated from the University of Houston with a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering. Caldwell’s professional career as an environmental engineer in the public and private sectors spans over 17 years. As an entrepreneur, she owned TC Consulting Group, Inc., an environmental consulting company. In September 1997, Governor George W. Bush appointed Caldwell to the University of Houston System Board of Regents. Caldwell is also included in the ordained ministry process of the United Methodist Church. Presently, she serves as Board Chair and President for The Prayer Institute, a non-profit community-based organization that prays for the Houston metropolitan area and has taught thousands of people, nationally and internationally how to pray based on the Model Prayer (the Lord’s Prayer). Caldwell is the Team Lead for The Bible Study in North Houston and the What-a-Study in Memorial Houston. She has prayed for and taught thousands of people from all walks of life how to command God’s will for their lives by praying using the Lord’s Prayer and has witnessed miraculous answers to prayer. Under her leadership, The Prayer Institute has actively carried out its mission to take the world by prayer through its participation in local and national events, including the Greater Houston Partnership Annual Business Luncheon, the Global Day of Prayer, and two presidential inaugurations.

On July 5, 2016, Caldwell launched The ONE Project, a global prayer initiative sponsored by The Prayer Institute. Her goal is to unite one million people in prayer for the purpose of seeing God’s plans implemented on earth as it is in heaven.

Caldwell serves as Associate Pastor for Windsor Village United Methodist Church, which has more than 17,000 members. Her service to the community, in addition to her technical career, has better equipped her to empower people to fulfill God’s promises for their lives.

Dr. Hernan Castaño
Director of Hispanic Church Development, Texas Area Pastor Council

Dr. Hernan Castaño was born in Medellin, Colombia, South America and migrated to the United States with his parents at 5 months of age. He graduated with an Applied Science Degree in Computer Engineering and worked in the computer field for 10 years while serving as a youth pastor in a large congregation. At the same time he started translating for well-known world evangelists like Benny Hinn, R.W. Schambach, T.L. Lowery, Tommy Tenney, T.L.Osborne, and others.

Dr. Hernan Castaño extended his ministry inside the prisons of the nation by becoming involved in prison ministry where he reached more than 10,000 inmates per month.

Today Dr. Hernan Castaño is the Senior Pastor of Rios de Aceite church in Houston, Texas, a 700 member Hispanic congregation. He serves as the official translator for Dr. Morris Cerullo of World Evangelism at the world conferences. Pastor Castaño holds a Ph.D. of philosophy in Biblical Theology issued by Vision University in Ramona California. He has served the community as a pastor for over 11 years now in helping counseling individuals and families in everyday issues and has work for 12 years in marriage and family orientation according to the strong biblical values and morals. Dr. Castaño is the director of a daily television and radio program called Rivers of Oil, which runs at prime time on local channels in Houston, Texas.

Dr. Castaño also teaches at Vision University at Houston and is well recognized as a leader and teacher by leaders and pastors in the city. Dr. Hernan Castaño is the president of the Biblical Institute Rios de Aceite in Houston for the past eight years where he is helping in the development of Christian leadership and character. Dr. Hernan Castaño serves in the Executive Board of Directors of the Texas Area Pastor Council, which is an association of over 1000 churches working together along with society and government in biblical perspectives and laws according to right ethnical moral standings. Dr. Hernan Castaño continues to reside in Houston with his lovely wife Wendy Castaño who he had the joy to marry in September of 2010.

Harry S Chapman, Ph.D.
Chairman/CEO, Chapman Schewe Benefits Consulting

A founding member of the firm, Dr. Chapman’s primary role and responsibility is devoted to contract negotiation and due diligence analysis of potential and suitable vendors for Chapman Schewe customers. In addition, Dr. Chapman works with all of the joint venture partnerships that represent Chapman Schewe across the United States in its national benefits practice as well as Chapman Schewe Inc. subsidiary companies. He occasionally consults with provider organizations that deliver medical services such as HMOs, insurance companies and PPOs, to assist them in developing and operating managed care strategies. He has also presented at entrepreneurial, managed care and employee benefit seminars.

Prior to creating the practice in 1992, Dr. Chapman served as a Corporate Senior Vice President and Managed Care Officer for CIGNA’s South Central Region with responsibilities for HMO and PPO plans is several states.

Dr. Chapman serves or has served on several non-profit boards where he has chaired the Board or Finance Committee including Desire Street Ministries, Wind River Ministries, YMCA, the Arc of Katy, Bear Creek United Methodist Church and St. Peter’s United Methodist Church.

Joel Cowley
President and Chief Executive Officer, Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

​Joel Cowley was announced as the president and chief executive officer of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo™ Monday, Aug. 5, 2013. Cowley joined the Show staff in 2005 as the executive director of agricultural competitions and exhibits.

Prior to joining the Show, Cowley worked for Certified Angus Beef LLC, the not-for-profit division of the American Angus Association, where he began as executive account manager in the international division and finished as assistant director of the foodservice division. Before his employment with CAB, he was a faculty member at Michigan State University, where he served as an extension beef cattle specialist. Prior to that, he was employed by Texas A&M University as a lecturer and livestock judging team coach. \

Cowley holds a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Colorado State University, a master’s in animal science from Texas A&M University and an MBA from Michigan State University.

Cowley and his wife, Tammy, have two daughters.

Chris Dollins
Co-founder and Co-CEO, Employer Flexible

Chris Dollins is a co-founder and Co-CEO of Employer Flexible, which provides outsourced HR and technology services, in addition to other related interests. He has a BBA from the University of Houston in Management, an MBA from Sam Houston State University, and has also earned his Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) designation. Chris is a life-long Houstonian and has been married to his high school sweetheart for sixteen years and has nine children, and, along with his wife, started an accredited, certified University-Model, Classical School in 2012 located in the Spring Branch area of Houston. He has attended Second Baptist Church since 2001, where he serves in Pre-School Worship and as a Deacon.

Deborah Duncan
Host, Great Day Houston

Raised in a military family, her early years were spent in Taiwan and Japan. As her family constantly moved around, young Deborah attended five different elementary schools.

Deborah enrolled at the University of Texas in Austin and earned a degree in Radio-Television-Film.

After a couple of years in radio, Deborah made the switch to television as a reporter at the CBS station in Austin and then became an anchor at the ABC station. She later moved to Dallas, where she started a talk show called “Good Morning Texas” at WFAA-TV, the sister station of KHOU-TV. Deborah and her co-host were eventually asked to anchor the morning news.

After three years, Deborah moved to New York City to co-host a talk show for Lifetime Television called “Our Home.” Although she loved New York City, her heart was still in Texas.

When ABC executives approached Deborah about doing a talk show for possible national syndication, they wanted her to do the show out of New York or Los Angeles. Eventually, they agreed that it could start in Houston. When she finished her contract with ABC, Deborah decided it was time to return to her roots in the business, and that was news. In December 2002, Deborah joined KHOU-TV Channel 11 as an anchor on 11 News This Morning.

After six years at the news desk, she returned to the talk show format as host of Great Day Houston. The show, produced locally by KHOU-TV, airs weekdays at 9:00 a.m. on Channel 11.

Deborah Duncan is the recipient of many local and national awards for television excellence, including two Emmy Awards, two Gracie Allen Awards and a Telly Award, amongst other honors.

In addition, she serves on the National Board of Directors for Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and is a Board Member for the Palmer Drug Abuse Program (PDAP).

Judge Ed Emmett
Harris County Judge

Edward M. Emmett became Harris County Judge on March 6, 2007.

A member of the Texas House of Representatives from 1979 to 1987, Judge Emmett was chairman of the Committee on Energy, a member of the Transportation Committee, and represented the state on numerous national committees relating to energy and transportation policy.

In 1989, President George H. W. Bush nominated Emmett as a Commissioner at the Interstate Commerce Commission. After being confirmed unanimously by the United States Senate, Judge Emmett served on the commission for three years.

Judge Emmett has received international recognition for his work in transportation and logistics policy. He was named Transportation Person of the Year by Transportation Clubs International and one of the Top 20 Logistics Professionals by Logistics Forum.

County Judge Emmett, working with the county commissioners, manages the nation’s third largest county. He also is director of Harris County’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, chairman of the Harris County Juvenile Board and chairman of the Conference of Urban Counties Policy Committee.

Judge Emmett attended Bellaire High School. He graduated from Rice University in 1971 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and from the University of Texas at Austin in 1974 with a Master of Public Affairs degree.

Judge Emmett has received numerous awards and honors, including Distinguished Alumnus of Rice University, the Distinguished Public Service Award from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, and the Presidential Call to Service Award.

Judge Emmett and his wife, Gwen, have been married for 42 years and have four children and 13 grandchildren.

Rick Figueroa
First Vice President, UBS Financial Services

Native Texan Rick Figueroa is a First Vice President with UBS Financial Services in Houston, Texas and Partner with the Caton Figueroa Group which provides financial strategy, solutions and reviews. With over 25 years of experience in the financial sector, Rick received his B.A. in Accounting and M.S. in Land Economics from Texas A&M University in 1991 and 1992, respectively. He has since earned numerous certifications, including CPA, Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor (CRPC), Certified Financial Manager (CFM), and Certified Special Needs Advisor (CSNA) with the Private Client Group. ​

Jeremy Foster
Pastor and Founder, Hope City Church

His life journey has taken him from political consulting to a few years as a bull-riding cowboy. He’s always had a passion to reach his generation with the life-changing message of Jesus Christ. That dream became a reality through Hope City in Houston, TX.

After 15 years in ministry together, Jeremy and Jennifer launched Hope City in Houston and God has consistently moved in an amazing way. This new church has already impacted thousands with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Jeremy also travels and shares leadership principles, inspires congregations and equips teams for next level leadership. His honest, open and humorous delivery style appeals to people of all ages and backgrounds.

Adrian Garcia
Former Sheriff, Harris County

Adrian is a lifelong member of the Precinct 2 community and has a 35-year career in public service that began as a Houston Police officer.

He was appointed by Mayor Lee Brown as Director of the Mayor’s Anti-Gang Office, was then elected to Houston City Council and appointed as chair of two City Council committees – the Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee and the Minority / Women Business Enterprise Committee.

With the support of his peers on City Council, he would be confirmed as Mayor Pro-Tem by Mayor Bill White.

Adrian continued his service by being elected to the office of Harris County Sheriff – the largest sheriff’s office in Texas and the 3rd largest in the United States.

Adrian’s accomplishments during his years of service include:
• Leading the effort to create the Houston Police Department’s Real Time Crime Center;
• Creating the Construction Mitigation Program that saved many family-owned businesses;
• Saving more than $200 million in operational costs during his tenure as sheriff;
• Eliminating chronic overcrowding in the jail and lowered crime every year; and
• Adding 200 patrol deputies to keep businesses and neighborhoods safe.

Adrian was born in Houston, as the youngest of six children, on the day after Christmas in 1960.

His parents, Maria and Ignacio Garcia, made many sacrifices to bring their young family to the United States from Mexico in 1959 for a better life. Adrian’s father had received a guest-worker visa and later petitioned to be re-admitted to the U.S. under a work visa. He eventually opened an auto repair shop, where Adrian worked in his youth.

Eventually, Adrian decided to follow in his brother’s footsteps and become a Houston police officer. His dad gave him some very specific advice:
“Promise me these five things and you will have my blessings:
1. Don’t be ashamed that you are Mexican;
2. Don’t be ashamed that your name is Garcia;
3. Don’t bring shame to your name;
4. Be honest; and
5. Never forget where you come from!”

Adrian, who grew up in Houston’s Northside, still lives there today with his wife and daughter. And he still lives by the rules laid down by his dad.

Ennie Hickman
President, Adore Ministries

With a heart for the marginalized and the forgotten, missionary Ennie Hickman has traveled the United States and abroad for nearly two decades, sharing Jesus Christ with both the churched and the unchurched. After graduating from Franciscan University of Steubenville where he studied Theology, Human Life Studies, and Communication Arts, Ennie spent 7 years as a full-time youth minister. Now, as an international speaker, author, and domestic missionary with Adore Ministries, Ennie has helped transform thousands of lives. Ennie currently serves as Adore’s President working to expand the apostolate to under-served families and young adults throughout the United States. His favorite mission field, however, is in his home and on his cul-de-sac in Houston, TX where his serves with his wife Cana and his seven children.

John Jacobsen
Founder & CEO, RTIC Coolers

John is founder and CEO of RTIC Coolers. He is an internet and retail veteran with over 25 years of corporate management and entrepreneurial experience which includes multiple start-ups. In his earlier years, John worked at a Big-4 Accounting firm as a CPA and an Energy Services Company in Houston. John’s passion is spear-heading company operations with a technology focus.

John currently lives in Cypress Texas with his wife Gena of 23 years. John and Gena have two children Joshua & Alex who both attend Baylor University. The Jacobsen family are long time members of Second Baptist Church and attend the Cypress Campus.

Elizabeth Killinger
President, Reliant and NRG Retail

Elizabeth brings nearly 30 years of domestic and international experience in the energy and services industries. She currently works as a Section 16 Officer and Executive Vice President of NRG, which includes serving as President of NRG Retail and Reliant. In her role, Elizabeth is responsible for directing all aspects of the retail division, a $5.5 billion competitive energy company which includes the largest national competitive electricity business in the country and in Texas as well as the leading portable solar and power business in the U.S.

Elizabeth’s other community service highlights include serving the University of Houston on the Energy Advisory Board and Bauer College of Business Board of Directors, serving the Greater Houston Partnership on the Executive Committee, serving the Lutheran Education Association of Houston as Secretary and Treasurer of the Board of Directors, serving on the Advisory Board of the credit union, TDECU.  And, in 2017, she was honored to serve the Super Bowl LI Houston Host Committee as Volunteer Chair.

Elizabeth attended Houston Baptist University and earned her Bachelor’s degree in Management Information Systems from the Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston. She is also a homemaker, passionate about her role as wife and mother and enjoys spending time with her husband of nearly 25 years and three children who attend Rice University, Lutheran High North and Epiphany Lutheran School.

Marc Laird
Founder & CEO, Cornerstone Home Lending

Founded by Marc N. Laird and Judy Belanger in Houston, Texas, Cornerstone has steadily grown into one of the largest privately-held mortgage companies in the country.

Since 1988, Cornerstone has made a positive difference in people’s lives. Our staff of caring, seasoned mortgage professionals is passionate about helping people become homeowners.

Cornerstone is a full-service mortgage banker that offers a variety of mortgage options, home loan programs, and competitive pricing from a wide range of national investors. With in-house processing, underwriting, and funding, Cornerstone is 100% committed to on-time closings and satisfying home-financing experiences.

Dr. Carol Lewis, Ph.D.
Director of the Center for Transportation Training and Research, Texas Southern University

Carol Lewis, Ph.D., educates students in fundamentals of transportation and urban transportation issues, as well as conducts operational and policy related transportation research. Prior to joining Texas Southern University in 1992, Lewis spent 15 years as manager and director of planning at the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO). Lewis currently serves as appointee of Mayor Annise Parker to the Gulf Coast Rail District. She served as a METRO Board Member from 2002 to early 2004 and as Executive Assistant to Mayor Bill White for Transportation Planning 2005 to 2009. Lewis holds a Master’s degree in planning and the Ph.D. in Political Science with an emphasis in Public Policy and Public Administration.

Lewis belongs to a number of professional organizations including the Red Cross Transportation Advisory Committee and has served for more than 10 years on the Transportation Technical Advisory Committee of the local metropolitan planning organization (HGAC). Lewis holds a Ph.D. from the University of Houston in Political Science and M.A. and B.A. degrees from the University of Iowa.

Rania Mankarious
Executive Director, Crime Stoppers of Houston

Boston native Rania Mankarious was chosen to head Houston’s leading public safety non-profit organization, Crime Stoppers, in March of 2013. Rania received a Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy and a Doctorate of Jurisprudence completed at the University of Houston Law Center. She boasts an extensive resume with experience consulting for national companies, non-profit organizations and private public relations clients alike. Citing a personal mission to serve families and engage the public to better society, Rania began consulting with Crime Stoppers in 2006. In addition to expanding the reach of the Safe School Program, the topics covered by the Safe Community Program, the launch of Parents Against Crime and the critically important Fallen Hero Program, Rania is most proud to have built the first-ever Crime Stoppers headquarters, anywhere in the world, right here in Midtown. The Dave Ward Building, Crime Stoppers of Houston was officially opened January 2017 and is the first public safety, crime prevention facility of its kind.

Pastor Gregg Matte
Senior Pastor, Houston’s First Baptist Church

Gregg Matte is the senior pastor of Houston’s First Baptist Church and the founder of Breakaway Ministries at Texas A&M University, one of the largest college Bible studies in the nation. Gregg holds a marketing degree from Texas A&M and a master’s degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is an author of numerous books, the latest being “Unstoppable Gospel.” Gregg has been married to his wife, Kelly, since 1997, and they have a son and daughter, Greyson and Valerie.

Craig McAndrews
Principle, CMAC Capital Group

Craig McAndrews is an accomplished business executive with 27 years of experience in sales leadership, corporate education and C-level responsibility. Most recently, Craig served as the Chief Strategy Officer at Houston based Mattress Firm, where he was responsible for developing strategic growth plans for stores and online businesses. Prior to that, he served in a variety of senior leadership roles including Chief Merchandising Officer, and Chief Learning Officer. Before joining Mattress Firm, he was a sales leader at Sealy Mattress Company and Simmons Bedding Company. Craig also lived the life of an entrepreneur as co-founder and operator of a retail consulting firm, and a chain of mattress retail stores. Currently, he shares his experience at the University of Houston, as an adjunct professor in the Marketing Department while also operating CMAC Capital Group, a small business investment firm. Craig is passionate about leadership development, writing, and teaching. He has written frequently for publications such as Sleep Saavy, Ministry in the Marketplace, and Coach’s Corner. He graduated from Stephen F. Austin, and lives in Friendswood, Texas with his wife April, and their two boys, Ben and Nate. ​

Elizabeth McIngvale, Ph.D.
Founder, Peace of Mind foundation

Elizabeth is the founder of the Peace of Mind foundation, a non-profit foundation dedicated to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder also known as OCD. Elizabeth was diagnosed with OCD at the age of 12 and she underwent treatment which included both inpatient and outpatient therapy and continues to engage in outpatient therapy to manage her OCD on a daily basis. Elizabeth has made it her life mission to make a difference in the lives of those living with a mental illness. Elizabeth and her family were once told her OCD was too severe to be treated but today she stands before you as someone who successfully manages her illness. She was the first ever national spokesperson for the International Obsessive Compulsive Foundation and is a licensed therapist in Texas. Elizabeth received her bachelors and masters in social work from Loyola University Chicago and her Ph.D. in social work at the University of Houston. Elizabeth proudly serves as an assistant professor at Baylor University’s Diana R. Garland School of Social Work and assistant professor of Psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine. Elizabeth spends her time doing advocacy, clinical work, research and teaching related to OCD, mental health and social work. Elizabeth is a renowned speaker on both the local and national level speaking on behalf of OCD, mental illness and mental health stigma. Elizabeth is dedicated to giving a voice to the voiceless; being a social worker allows her to continue her work in the field and to stamp out the stigma of mental illness every day. ​

JJ Moses
Director of Player Engagement, Houston Texans

JJ Moses enters his first season as the director of player engagement for the Houston Texans. He spent the previous 10 seasons as a Houston Texans ambassador.

In his current role, Moses is responsible for aiding players and their families make a smooth transition from college to the NFL. Moses also helps players continue their educational programs and become involved in the Houston community.

Prior to joining the Texans, Moses started The Moses Group, LLC and spoke to Fortune 500 companies to inspire others to reach their full potential. He also served as a spokesman for Fuel Up To Play 60, a program focused on highlighting the importance of living a healthy lifestyle.

Moses played four seasons as a wide receiver and return specialist with the Green Bay Packers (2002), Houston Texans (2003-04) and Arizona Cardinals (2005) after being signed by the Kansas City Chiefs as a college free agent in 2002.

Prior to his NFL career, Moses was a four-year letterman at Iowa State University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in social sciences with a minor in history. In addition to his on-field accomplishments that included being named the Cyclones’ team MVP, Moses was awarded the ISU Alumni Association Impact Award for his role in enhancing the reputation and visibility of the university in 2000.

Originally from Waterloo, Iowa, Moses now lives in Houston with his wife and two children