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From the editor


e are proud to present our second annual 40 under 40 magazine, brought to you by the Stephenville Empire-Tribune. This project is truly a labor of love, one that was months in the making. It started with input from our community, and this year we received over 80 nominations. From there our editorial team narrowed the list to 40 finalists. On the following pages you will meet those 40 individuals — from young doctors and professionals to those working in education and law enforcement. What they have in common is a deep commitment to their community. Each of them is younger than 40 years old and in the time of their lives when they are juggling careers, busy families and community activism. They are the people working to make Erath County a wonderful place to live, work and raise a family. We hope you enjoy 40 under 40 as much as we enjoyed putting it together. Congratulations to those who were selected this year, and on behalf of this community, we appreciate all that you do.

About us 40 under 40 is a special publication produced by the Stephenville Empire-Tribune. The E-T is located at 702 E. South Loop, Stephenville, TX, 76401. We can be reached at 254-965-3124. Find us on our website at

Publisher - Clarice Touhey Managing Editor - Sara Vanden Berge Advertising Director — Melissa Horton News Editor - Autumn Owens Staff Writer - Mark Wilson Correspondent — Michael Ross Ad Staff - Chris Wood Ad Staff - Hollie Watson Design and Layout - Robert Markham and Whitney Cantwell

Table of contents Terah Gibson..................................... 4

Sgt. Jeff Walker ............................ 14

Ben & Lyndsi Hussey........................ 5

Dr. Joanna Shaw ........................... 15

Jessica Evans ....................................6

Josh Ritchey ................................... 16

Daron Trussell ...................................6

Renee Burdick ................................ 16

Lacy Barton........................................8

Chris Garza .................................... 17

Lisa Pendleton....................................9

Misty Wilson .................................. 18

Dr. Lauren Adams........................... 10

Justin Haschke ............................... 18

Stephen McKethan .......................... 11

Brandon Huckabee ......................... 19

Jeremy Derington ........................... 11

Audie Renee ................................... 19

Vanessa Griffin .............................. 12

Dr. David Moore ........................... 20

Sgt. Kent Howell ........................... 13

Shanna Moody .............................. 20

Toby O’Neal ....................................13

Aly Caulder ..................................... 21

Kimberly McKinney ....................... 14

Aaron Collier ................................. 22

Ashleigh Feuerbacher ................... 23 Brianna Hodges ............................. 24 Mica Rudd ...................................... 25 Fisher Rinderknecht ...................... 25 Craig Parks .................................... 26 Dr. Miranda Nash .......................... 27 Nicole Young .................................. 28 Michael & Jeff Scott ..................... 29 Bayli Johnson ................................ 30 Blazi Weippert .............................. 30 Kenny & Lacey Horton .................. 31 3

Terah Gibson, 36 Helping those struggling with addiction By Autumn Owens


hen she started down the college path, Terah Gibson never thought it would take her to the career she has today as the director of treatment services for STAR Council. Terah attended Tarleton State University and earned a master’s in counseling with a focus on marriage and family therapy. “I enrolled at Tarleton with several career ideas, but not a clear idea of how to ultimately achieve a career where I could understand and help others,” she said. “All it took was one psychology class and I was hooked. I knew then that I wanted to become a counselor so that I could understand human behaviors, the


motivations and reasons behind those behaviors and ultimately help those struggling within their lives.” Terah is a licensed chemical dependency counselor and licensed professional counselor intern. In 2012, she got a position working at a residential inpatient treatment facility in Fort Worth. “My eyes were opened to a vast population of all ages and all walks of life that were struggling with various types of addiction,” Terah said. “There’s a big problem that people don’t like to talk about. Addiction is something that people may deal with on a day-to-day basis, but it’s not something you point out, it’s not something you call people on but it affects everyone.”

Terah Gibson is the director of treatment services at STAR Council. From there Terah began working with adolescents. “I found that I have the skills, compassion and patience to help many individuals that are struggling in their addiction,” she said. In 2016 she was offered the position at STAR Council. “(It) brought me back to Stephenville where I have family and I could also

get back to that small town community environment,” Terah said. “I have been with STAR Council for over a year and I absolutely love what I do. I work with a dedicated professional group of people that are passionate about helping others and improving our community.”

Ben and Lyndsi Hussey, 32 and 30 ‘The way you do one thing is the way you do everything’ we’d learned that gigs are going to come and go. So we just created our own busien and Lyndsi Hussey are folks people ness where we knew we would constantly be working.” know well. His wife Lyndsi is the daughter of Sherri Ben’s originally from Fort Worth, but has been in Stephenville since he was and Mark Littlejohn who own iconic Littlejohn’s Produce and The Feed Mill restaurant. 18. He’s probably best known as a baseRaised in Gustine, she graduated high guitarist from his days when Six Market school there then headed to Stephenville to Blvd was still together. attend Tarleton State University, where Ben “I’m a professional touring musician also was a student. with the band American Aquarium and I “Neither of us graduated,” Lyndsi co-own Melody Mountain Studio with Josh explained. “Other things called us and we Serrato,” Ben said. “When (Six Market) went in those directions.” split up, we needed to find a way to solidify In her case it was to Mary Kay and her position as a sales director. our careers in the music business because By Michael Ross


“We’re all independent, however, my job as sales director is to lead a unit of consultants,” she said. “I’m not necessarily their boss, I just teach them and train them to be as successful as they want to be in their own businesses.” The couple has twin boys, Cooper and Everett. “We’re working as hard as we can so when the boys are older and are in football or showing or whatever they choose, we’ll be able to devote as much time and attention to them and those things as they need us to,” Ben said. With little spare time, Lyndsi has recently taken up leather working and Ben does

Ben and Lyndsi Hussey have successful careers about as different as one can imagine: He’s a professional musician and recording studio owner, and she’s a Mary Kay sales director. woodworking and has a rustic furniture business on the side. We ended the interview with a quote Lyndsi pointed to that’s been attributed to various people including the late Green Bay Packers Football Head Coach Vince Lombardi. But regardless of who said it first, it speaks eloquently to the way this dynamic duo approaches life: “The way you do one thing is the way you do everything.” 5

Jessica Evans, 37 Tarleton is where her heart is By Autumn Owens


essica Evans is the ultimate Tarleton State University fan having worked there for 15 years, and now, as the director of alumni engagement, she gets to share what the university is doing and hear success stories from former students. Jessica has two degrees from Tarleton, as does her husband Chad, who she met at the university almost 20 years ago. “I have been the director of alumni engagement for four years. I have successfully assisted with the transition of the Tarleton Alumni Association from an independent association to an interdependent association,” she said. “I love many aspects about the job. I enjoy welcoming new students to campus and watching them learn and experience Tarleton traditions for the first time. I love

Jessica Evans, Tarleton’s director of alumni engagement, in front of the iconic Alumni House door built in 1915 by James Franklin Cox, former president of John Tarleton College. pinning graduates and watching them walk across the stage and start the next phase of their lives.” Jessica joined the Tarleton Advancement Team in September 2009 as a development officer and was promoted to director of development in 2011. She is involved in hosting events on campus and coordinating and participating in the Tarleton portion of education day through Leadership Stephenville. Jessica and her husband compete in barbecue cook-offs and enjoy cooking for friends, and even though she wasn’t born and raised here, she said this place has always felt like home. “I love the close-knit community,”

she said. As far as her goals, Jessica hopes to grow what she has a passion for. “My career goals are to continue the growth of the alumni engagement program and the Tarleton Alumni Association alongside our blossoming university,” she said. “My husband and I area active with local farmer’s markets and crafts fairs, and we

plan to continue helping with development in the Dublin community.”

Daron Trussell, 38 Striving to expand local recreation By Autumn Owens


aron Trussell was born and raised in Stephenville and after leaving for a while, came back in 2007 and worked his way up from assistant director


of recreational sports to director of campus recreation at Tarleton State University. Daron worked at Tarleton as an undergrad under Robert Nimmo and Ronnie “Coach” Giles as the intramural supervisor before graduating in 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology. “We worked out of a little un-air conditioned gym on the other side of campus and we mostly just ran intramural programs out of our fields out here,” he said. “I fell in love with it as an undergrad.” Daron tried

coaching at the junior high level, but decided it wasn’t for him after one semester. He then spent two years as the intramural graduate assistant at the University of North Texas and graduated with a master’s in recreation and leisure studies in 2005. “Honestly my goal was not to come back and work in intramurals, my goal was to get into city recreation,” Daron said. He worked for the city of Grapevine from 2005-07 running the youth and adult sports leagues. While Daron was working, Tarleton passed a referendum to build the new recreation facility. “Once they were in the planning process they said they were going to open this job up and I said depending on what it was I’ll apply for it,” he said. “It came open as the assistant director for

Daron Trussell is the director of campus recreation at Tarleton State University. recreational sports and I applied for it and came here in 2007.” The new rec facility opened in October 2007. He was promoted to director in the summer of 2017, the same week his wife Hillary had their son Keller. “It was a good week for me,” he said with a laugh. Daron is on the Stephenville Parks and Recreation Department advisory board and is president of Keep Stephenville Beautiful. “I still love parks and recreation and try to be involved here,” he said. “My plan is to stay here as long as I can. We’re happy in Stephenville.”

Misty Wilson


Women’s Head Basketball Coach

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Lacy Barton, 36 Ensuring success for Stephenville’s foster kids By Autumn Owens


oster’s Home for Children was established in 1960 and is a place of healing for children of trauma, and 36-year-old Lacy Barton has been dedicated to its success since 2002. Lacy has lived in Bluff Dale her entire life and graduated from Tolar High School in 2000. “Even though I have visited 38 states, I have never lived more than three miles from the house I grew up in,” she said. “I still have no desire to move off. This is my home.” Lacy attended Tarleton State University and graduated with a degree in agribusiness in 2004. While attending Tarleton, Glenn


Lacy Barton, vice president of development at Foster’s Home for Children, does many things to ensure the success of kids which includes her favorite thing, playing with them at the ropes course. Newberry, president/CEO of Foster’s Home, approached Lacy in 2002 about working part time at the non-profit as the development assistant. “I jumped at the opportunity and learned rather quickly that Foster’s Home was where I belonged,” she said. In 2008, Lacy became vice president of development and handles special events, mailouts, volunteer groups and community relations. “When you work for a non-profit, you wear multiple hats. If the toilet needs

cleaning, you clean it. If a presentation need to be made to the garden club, you present. If a state representative wants to visit, you give a complete tour and answer all his questions,” she said. “My favorite thing to do that doesn’t fall in my job duties is to play with the kids. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing and hearing a kid full of absolute joy.” Lacy is a member of the Optimist

Club, a Chamber Ambassador and was a member of the Leadership Stephenville class of 2014. Lacy lives on land in Bluff Dale with her husband, JJ; son, Tanner, 14; daughter, Lana, 12, four dogs, 10 cows, five chickens and a guinea pig. “I can’t imagine living anywhere else,” she said. “The people of Stephenville truly care about others.”

Lisa Pendleton, 36 Balancing family, work and community involvement By Sara Vanden Berge


isa Pendleton is beautiful inside and out. The mother of two juggles a busy family, manages the clinic at Countryside Therapy Group and donates much of her spare time to causes near and dear to her heart. Several years ago Lisa started Handsome Hunks of Erath County, a contest that raises money for Meals on Wheels. Over the past five years the event has raised a whopping $120,000. “That organization is so important to this community,” she said. “I am proud of the opportunity I’ve had to help raise money for them.”

Lisa Pendleton is a busy wife and mother who manages a full-time career and civic responsibility. Lisa and her husband Brady have two children — Jonathan, 9 and Chandler, 3 — so staying connected with the school system is another high priority. Lisa is a PTO board member at Hook Elementary and a board member of the Stephenville Education Foundation. She has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Tarleton State University and a Master of Arts in organizational leadership from Bellevue University. people truly care about their well being who volunteer countless hours, it’s “We are blessed to be able to raise and overall success,” she said. “From the people that live here who make the teachers to the coaches at SPARD Stephenville a special place.” our children in a community where


Dr. Lauren Adams, 37 Local vet loves her furry clients By Autumn Owens


tephenville veterinarian Dr. Lauren Adams loves her furry clients just as much as their human parents and has taken the reins from her father, Sam Adams, as the new owner of Cornerstone Animal Hospital. Lauren knew she wanted to become a


vet when she was a little girl helping around her father’s practice in Fort Worth where she grew up. “I grew up in the clinic as much as at home. I would find any excuse I could to go up and help,” she said. “Since I was under the legal age of working he would find odd jobs for me like pulling weeds. Stuff that wasn’t technically working. I’ve always wanted to be a veterinarian.” Lauren got her bachelor’s degree in biology at Tarleton State University in 2004, then attended Texas A&M University where she earned a veterinarian degree

in 2008. She did her first three years out of vet school at the Bandera Veterinary Clinic and then moved to Stephenville after her father purchased Cornerstone Animal Hospital in 2010. “The cool thing about veterinary medicine is that it combines people and animals,” she said. “The majority of veterinarians have to work with people just as much as they do with animals. It definitely keeps you on your toes.” At Cornerstone, Lauren cares for primarily small animals — dogs and cats — but also helps some large animals like horses. She purchased the hospital from her father in April 2017. “The best part is the relationships you form. My staff becomes my family and being able to serve and do something for

Dr. Lauren Adams is the owner of Cornerstone Animal Hospital in Stephenville. other people if I can — and of course the animals, that’s a given,” she said. After Hurricane Harvey, Lauren and her staff took in 29 dogs that had lost their homes and owners and in partnership with P.A.W.S. was able to reunite two with their owners and adopt out almost all of the others. “I’ve always wanted to do something with disaster relief,” she said. “So the Harvey dogs, being able to foster them, was a little bit of a dream come true in being able to help and do my part.” Lauren and her fiancee Austin Reese have one little boy, Gabe, who’s a little over one year, and of course pets of her own — three dogs, two cats and a couple of horses.

Stephen McKethan, 35 Local attorney, husband and father By Michael Ross


riginally from China Spring, local attorney Stephen McKethan – partner at the law firm of McKethan Espinoza PLLC — completed his undergrad at Texas Tech University, then went on to earn his law degree at Baylor. So what brought him to Stephenville? “My best friend played basketball here and I would come to watch him play, so I got pretty familiar with Stephenville and really liked it,” Stephen said. “When I graduated from Baylor Law School I didn’t want to stay in Waco – my girlfriend at the time who’s now my wife, Stephanie, was living in the Dallas area. So I started looking for a job up there but didn’t find anything. However, there was an opening here at the Allen Firm. I applied and was hired and was happy to be here. “When Stephanie and I got married, she moved down here and even though she was a big city girl, adjusted well and

Attorney Stephen McKethan is active in several local causes like Erath County Habitat for Humanity and the Evening Lions Club. liked it here, too, so we stayed. She is an escrow officer at Cross Timbers Title.” The couple has two sons, Mason and Maddox. In terms of the type of law he practices, Stephen explains, “I do mostly business and real estate. I do a lot of real estate for Cross Timbers Title, and then I represent mainly companies doing business law for them. Litigation and contracts primarily. I also do estate planning.” Stephen said he loves to play golf and co-ed SPARD leagues. “I’m pretty competitive, so I keep pretty active doing sports,” he said. “We have a pool, so we hang out there a lot as a family and our son Mason is very athletic so we spend a lot of our time doing that – Little League and soccer. My

wife coaches his soccer team, in fact. She played soccer in college.” Stephen is also involved in other community causes: He was Erath County Bar Association president in 2012. He’s also active with Erath County Habitat for Humanity, sitting on its board of directors from 2008–2013; as its president 2009–2011, and as vice president 2011-2013 and as a volunteer there from 2013 to present

He’s also a member of the Stephenville Evening Lions Club and involved in Leadership Stephenville and the Stephenville Economic Development Corporation.

Jeremy Derington, 38 A man of family, faith and community service By Michael Ross


eremy Derington practices law at the Allen Firm and loves helping people find solutions to various challenges in

their businesses. When he’s not at work, Jeremy is largely occupied on bike rides and walks in local parks with his wife of 16 years, Janice, and their four kids: Hanna, 9,

Makenna, 7, Cora, 4, and Carter, who recently turned one. “I graduated from high school in Plainview. But my wife grew up in Gorman, so that’s how we ended up here,” he said. Derington earned his undergrad and law school degrees at Texas Tech University. “Between undergrad and law school, I taught school for one year. My dad was a teacher, my wife was a teacher, my brother was a teacher and my sister is a teacher. Obviously it runs in the family, so after getting my degree, I thought I’d give it a try,” he said. “I taught ag for one year and enjoyed it, but ultimately decided I wanted to go to law school and

Local attorney Jeremy Derington spreads out his efforts between family, business law, church and community service. that turned out to be the right choice for me. I really like what I do and enjoy the feeling of helping people get to where they want to go in their businesses.” The family attends First Baptist Stephenville where he is a deacon, serves on the Finance Committee and teaches Sunday School. He’s also a member the Optimist Club and on the board of directors of Choices Clinic and served as president of the Erath County Bar Association in 2015. 11

Vanessa Griffin, 28 From raising kids to overseeing jail operations By Autumn Owens


t. Vanessa Griffin has an interesting career as the Erath County Jail administrator. She began working at the jail six years ago as part of the night shift. Prior to that, she managed a restaurant. “I was a single mom and needed something with insurance and set hours, so I started on night shift for a while and then there was a position opening for the corporal position on day shift,” she said. “I worked in that position for about four years and that’s where I learned everything — criminal reporting, court, you name it.” When Matt Coates was appointed

sheriff and some things shifted at the Erath County Sheriff’s Office, Vanessa was hired as the jail administrator. “I really care about the jail a lot. It’s something that I’ve put a lot of time into,” she said. “I have to make sure every person here is treated equally and fairly and make sure everything passes jail standards. We have a medical staff that works inside the jail, so I make sure they are here and doing their job.” Vanessa attended Weatherford College and she and her husband of four years, Uel Griffin, have four children — Luke, 14, Bayli, 9, Jordyn, 7 and Liam, 3. And when they’re not working, Vanessa and Uel spend their time coaching their children’s sports. “The criminal justice system is so




Vanessa Griffin is the Erath County jail administrator, a mom and coach. interesting because in the jail, it’s just you and them and you either have the mentality for the job or you don’t,” she said. “I really like being here.” Vanessa hopes to go back to college and earn a degree in forensics.


Erath County Sheriff’s Office



“I’ve always been interested in law enforcement and helping in some way,” she said.


1043 Glen Rose Hwy • Stephenville, TX 76401 254-965-3338 • WWW.CO.ERATH.TX.US/SHERIFF.HTML

Sgt. Kent Howell, 36 ‘My life is about public service’ By Sara Vanden Berge


gt. Kent Howell is a selfproclaimed “Stephenville boy” who says he will never leave. “I’m a Stephenville boy,” he said. “I love this town. This is where I grew up and where I want to raise my kids. I want them to experience the same things I did.” Kent graduated from Stephenville High School in 2000 and worked for his dad in the construction business for several years before moving into law enforceKent Howell is a patrol ment. sergeant for the Erath “I County Sheriff’s Office. started framing

houses with my dad when I was little-bitty,” he said. But Kent is no longer “littlebitty.” The 36-year-old married father of four is a patrol sergeant with the Erath County Sheriff’s Office. He has a big smile and easy-going demeanor and clearly loves his family and community he serves. In fact, Kent was a few minutes late for this interview because he was reading books to an elementary class as part of SISD’s WATCHDOG program. “I love talking to people, helping people and serving this community,” he said. “My life is about public service.”

Toby O’Neal, 36 His love of sports, faith, outdoors keeps him close to home football team, playToby O’Neal in front of his ing for former coach trailer at a construction site. Art Briles when they oby O’Neal is the epitome of all things Stephenville: Polite, athletic, outdoorsy, won state championwell-spoken and faithful. ships in 1998 and 1999. He was also named Toby and his wife Mandy share a blended first-team all state his senior year. family of three children and are expecting After graduation Toby attended Tarleton another in July. State University with the intent on playing “This was a great community to grow up football, but those plans changed when he in,” Toby said. “If I wasn’t fishing or hunting started selling Kirby vacuum cleaners and or going to church, I was playing sports.” opened a dealership in Granbury where he Toby’s love of all things Stephenville began managed 25 employees. when he moved to the area in the sixth grade. Two years later, he closed the business and “I was born in Mobile, Alabama and moved to Missouri where he started a roofing my family bounced around a lot,” he said. company. “We moved to Hamilton when I was in the And just three yeas ago, life came full circle third grade and three years later came to and Toby found his way back to Stephenville Stephenville.” where today he owns and operates TXP It was a move that jumpstarted his continu- Construction and Remodeling. ing love of athletics and small-town living. “This is the perfect place to raise a family,” Toby was a standout on the Yellow Jacket he said. “It’s good to be back.” By Sara Vanden Berge



Kimberly McKinney, 39 Talented photographer dabbles in local politics By Autumn Owens


f you haven’t seen her name, then you have at least seen her beautifullythemed children, family and senior portraits floating around the web. Kimberly McKinney has a thriving business in photography, something she started eight years ago. Kimberly grew up in Breckenridge, married her husband, Stephenville native Travis, in 2000 and graduated from Tarleton State University in 2001 with a degree is sociology. “I worked for MHMR for a while and then I had kids and stayed home,” she said. “When the twins were little I started getting into photography because I wanted beautiful pictures like I would see online and learned really quick that it’s not just grabbing a camera and making it happen.” Kimberly is self-taught and has learned from other photographers to create her business, Kimmie McKinney Photography. “I love all the people and chaotic two year olds, and I love that I can create

something,” she said. “I love being able to transform something and make it into something that’s artistic.” Her favorites include a magical Christmas tree farm she created and bluebonnet photos. “I definitely Photoshop, that’s where the magic happens,” she said with a laugh. “I try to get it right in-camera, but that only takes you so far. I’m always learning new skills, it’s a never-ending process.” Kimberly also teaches a class with other local photographers on how to get that perfect shot. More recently, Kimberly found herself getting involved in local politics and headed up the opposition to the Ranger College annexation. “I really researched that and the more I researched it the more I realized that people weren’t paying attention,” she said. “It’s so not like me, but it just hit me wrong that a junior college would tax us. This is is a brand new taxing entity, it’s not like school taxes, which are completely different. With local issues you

Kimberly McKinney is a successful photographer that loves her family and more recently, politics. have more control so I dove right in and went to all the meetings and researched. My goal was just to get information out there.” Kimberly is even considering a future run for office. “If we lived in town I would probably throw my hat in for city council, but we’re not in town,” she said. “I thought about school board, but it’s not a good time right now.” Kimberly’s children are involved in sports and she’s always there cheering them on. “We live and breathe football with two boys,” she said. “We do a lot with

Sgt. Jeff Walker, 33 Called to serve and protect looked at border patrol, game warden and that kind of thing. During my last semester riginally from Fredericksburg, Sgt. Jeff at Tarleton I did an internship at the Walker came to Stephenville in 2003 Stephenville Police Department and decided to attend Tarleton State University, this is where I wanted to stay.” graduating with a degree in criminal justice It should also be mentioned that Jeff’s in 2007. law enforcement work includes not only his Asked if he always wanted to become position as a night shift patrol sergeant, he’s a police officer, he said, “No. It was also a member of the Regional SWAT Team. around my sophomore year in high school He and his wife Lena, a speech patholoI started leaning in that direction. I wasn’t gist, have two daughters, ages two and one hundred percent sure what branch of five, so there’s not a lot of time for much law enforcement I wanted to get into, so I else. By Micheal Ross

O 14

Patrol Sgt. Jeff Walker has been with the SPD since 2008. “When I do get a chance, I love to hunt and fish,” he said. “I hunt deer, birds and was fortunate enough to go to South Dakota this year and go pheasant hunting.” Jeff said Stephenville is the perfect place to raise a family. “I’m here for a reason,” he said. “It’s a great place to raise kids and I like the thought of serving the community. There’s no place I’d rather be.”

our kids and are always traveling to some sports function. “I’ve really made Stephenville home,” she said. “It’s just like a better version of high school. You recognize people and you get your niche and you really meet people you are friends with the rest of your life.”

Dr. Joanna Shaw, 37

Dr. Joanna Shaw teaches in the College of Business at Tarleton State University and loves her students, family and community.

Tarleton professor has love for teaching, family, community Joanna got her masters degree in human resource management in 2004 r. Joanna Shaw didn’t always want and decided she wanted to teach at a university, so went back and got a PhD at to become a teacher, but after a the University of North Texas in 2009. brush with death, the Bluff Dale She now teaches in the College of native’s perception changed. Business. Joanna earned a bachelor’s degree “I also had twins (Ella Renee and from Tarleton State University in public Allie Evelyn) in 2009, so it was a busy relations and English in 2002 and after a traumatic health crisis right before she year,” she said with a laugh. Joanna grew up going on educagraduated, Joanna changed. tional trips with her family, and having “I think I was pretty driven toward money before that — I had a blood clot a father who’s a mathematician, has quite the stories to tell. in my leg and almost died,” she said. “On one of my first dates I had the “And that changed me because at that boy over for dinner at my house and we point I decided I really wanted to do something to invest in other people.” had pizza. My father made us figure out During her time in the hospital, Joanna the circumference of the pizza before became engaged to her high school we could eat it,” she said. “And when sweetheart Cory Shaw. we would go to Six Flags we would By Autumn Owens


have to figure out some kind of math thing with the rollercoaster — that’s how I grew up.” Joanna has received tenure — one of only two women in the College of Business — and teaches business ethics, human resource and recruitment and selection classes. One of Joanna’s unique ways of teaching includes bringing in community members — a doctor, police officer, lawyer, small business owner, real estate agent, public administrator — to visit with her students, playing Scrabble, using Play-Doh and drawn lectures bringing out their creativity. “What I love about teaching is that you bring students into your classroom that you might not have met any other way and what I find the most

interesting about teaching is everyone comes with their own story. Everyone comes with their own experiences and ideas and my classroom is a great place to meld all of it together,” she said. “It’s so wonderful getting to watch my students from the beginning to the end and I can’t believe I get to do this every day.” Joanna is on the Erath Excels board and formerly served on the Texas Neighborhood Services board. The family is active in First Baptist Church Stephenville, where Joanna and Cory teach their adult class. “Any type of community service I can be involved in, obviously I want to when the opportunity comes,” she said. “Your home is your community.” 15

Josh Ritchey, 32 Farming and family are his life Josh says he works with a professional company, Maize Quest that actually ne of the most popular attractions designs and cuts the maze and creates in Erath county, particularly around the games that accompany it. Halloween, is Lone Star Family “In addition to the farm, we also Farm, located just a few miles outside have some leased property in Hamilton Stephenville on Hwy. 67, that’s owned County where we raise cattle and wheat by Josh and Ashley Ritchey. and sorgum silage,” he said. “But the fall Josh and his wife live on approxipumpkin patch and corn maze are always mately 100 acres with their kids Gentry, going to be my main focus. I really love six, Clyne, four, and Autry who was born doing that.” at the beginning of February. Josh came to Stepheville to attend “Most of the year, we’re a regular Tarleton, where he and Ashley met. farm, where we raise grass hay square “Then we moved to Lubbock and I bales mainly for horse people,” Josh said. transferred to Texas Tech, so I graduated “But in the fall we open up our farm to from there,” he said. “In Lubbock I the public and schools and we have the taught political science at Texas Tech and corn maze, which is about eight acres farmed – grew vegetables there. One and as a lot of people know we have the year I raised pumpkins on some leased land in the middle of town.” pumpkin patch as well.” By Michael Ross


Josh Ritchey owns and operates Lone Star Family Farm near Stephenville along with his wife Ashley and three children. When the leased land in Lubbock was sold to Costco, the family moved back to Stephenville and bought the land where the family farm is now located. “We learned in Lubbock that college students make great employees and we have the greatest employees here,” Josh said. “With Tarleton right in town, that’s been one of the main things that’s contributed to the success of our business.”

The family attends First Baptist Church Stephenville. Josh has a real estate license, is president of the Farm Bureau board, and is the one of the directors of the Cross Timbers Soil and Water Conservation board.

Renee Burdick, 38 Dancing her way through life By Sara Vanden Berge


enee Burdick has been dancing her entire life and can’t remember exactly when she started. “I’ve been dancing forever,” she said. “I started as a child in a classical ballet school in Washington D.C.” Today, Renee owns and operates the Stephenville Dance Center. She and six instructors give dance lessons to about 150 students in classical ballet, pointe, jazz, lyrical, hip hop and competitive teams. She even has beginning classes for adults. “Dance is a skill you have to hone your whole life,” she said. “And it’s fun to share that talent with my students.” Renee earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in ballet from Texas Christian 16

Renee Burdick inside her studio at Stephenville Dance Center. University with a minor in business administration. She has a master’s degree in education from Tarleton State University where she also serves as an adjunct kinesiology professor. Renee shares her talent for dance outside of her studio as well and is the choreographer for Handsome Hunks of Erath County, which raises thousands of dollars every

year for Meals on Wheels. munity that supports her love of dance. She and her husband Dell have one “This is home,” she said. “This daughter, Ava. is where we will stay and raise our Renee says she is thankful for a com- family.”

Chris Garza, 31 Helping others and sticking to the family business By Autumn Owens


hris Garza not only has a big presence in his family’s business, Bradberry’s Best, but is also the president of the Dublin Chamber of Commerce and involved in the school robotics program. Chris was born and raised in Dublin and attended Texas A&M University where he graduated in 2009 before heading into the corporate world. “I decided I wanted to come back home, so I came back in 2011 and have

been here ever since,” he said. “I was pretty much raised in this feed store with my grandfather Harry Bradberry.” Bradberry’s has expanded from where it once use to be and now supplies to a 200-mile radius and Chris wears several different hats in the company from accounting to IT and marketing. When the Loop was built through Dublin, Chris said things were difficult at first. “We had to be forward thinking about it,” he said. “We came back and shifted our business model around, so we’ve

grown into one of the largest equine dealers in the nation for ADM Animal Nutrition.” Chris has been the Dublin Chamber president the past three years and says he will step down at the end of 2018. “Being on the chamber has been exciting,” he said. “It’s great to be able to be on the business side with Bradberry’s but also come in and help with organizations.” After stepping down from the chamber, Chris said he’s sure he will get involved somewhere else.

Chris Garza helps run his family’s business Bradberry’s Best, is the president of the Dublin Chamber of Commerce and volunteers at the school helping the robotics program. “One place where I volunteer is with Dublin ISD’s robotics program,” he said. “We just finished competition and this has been my third year doing it. It’s always a blast.” As far as his future, Chris said, “Where I am is exactly where I need to be. Maybe I could be making more money, maybe I could be somewhere else, but I’m happy.” 17

Misty Wilson, 39 Leading women on and off the basketball court Tarleton State, so I jumped at the chance.” The following year there was a coaching change and Ronnie Hearne took over and fter graduating from Burleson High kept Misty on staff. School, Misty Wilson – who is now head coach of the Tarleton State She was his assistant for 11 years University TexAnn women’s basketball team before taking over as head coach upon his — earned her bachelor’s in education and retirement. master’s in kinesiology at Tarleton. Misty has three daughters: Jade, 14, At the time, she was thinking she’d Mya, 12, and Kenna, six. teach and coach at the high school level, She enjoys vacationing with her girls, but life had other lofty designs waiting in reading and “hanging out at any large the wings for her. body of water.” “My plan upon completing my degree “I am an active member of the Graham was to teach and coach at the high school Street Church of Christ and currently on the level. I interviewed at a couple of schools Youth Group Committee that helps plan and and then my college head coach Claude carry out events,” Misty said. Cummings called and asked me if I would She also helps coach her youngest be interested in being his assistant coach daughter’s soccer and basketball teams, is at Tarleton,” she said. “I played for him a member of the T-Club, a Stephenville ISD for three years, so he felt like I had a good Athletic Booster Club member and member understanding of his system. I loved the of the Women’s Basketball Coaches idea of coaching at the college level and for Association. By Michael Ross


Misty Wilson is the head coach of Tarleton’s women’s basketball team. Regarding last year’s outstanding season for the TSU women’s basketball team she says, ”I believe the way last season ended, with us winning the LSC Tournament Championship, embodied the best of what sports has to offer participants. “There are so many lessons we can learn through sports, and I know our players learned some valuable ones throughout last season. “As in life, there were highs and lows to that season; adversity, success, frustration, and hope. Through relationships, sacrifice, and committing to something greater than themselves, that team was able to achieve

Justin Haschke, 33 Helping families plan for the future Church, where Justin sits on the Finance Committee. “Naturally, family takes up a good portion ustin Haschke, certified public accountant at Boucher, Justin Haschke, a CPA at BMY, is a busy dad and contributor to Morgan & Young, is a Stephenville native, graduating of our time, but my wife and I are very involved several local causes. from Stephenville High School in 2002. He earned bachelor’s degrees in interdisciplinary business and account- with our church,” he said. “We’re often ing from Tarleton State University in 2008 and 2009, and attained his certified public accountant certification in stretched pretty thin with three kids going in different directions like basketball practice and various things on the 2012. weekend, but it’s very fulfilling just to watch them grow Justin provides financial planning and investment and learn.” advisory services to individuals, business owners and In addition, Justin is vice president of the Stephenville companies. Evening Lions Club. “We do estate planning, retirement planning during the “The Lions have a great purpose and cause in this accumulation phase of life – whether you’re saving for community,” he said. “We have the annual Upland Bird your kids’ college education or looking towards retirement Extravaganza that’s our big fundraiser.” — all of those are encompassed by our practice,” he said. He is also a member of the Stephenville Optimist Club, Justin and his wife Mikah have three children — son sits on the board of Compassion Counseling Center, is presiBoston, 10, and daughters Lennux, 7, and Emmerson, 5. dent of the Erath County Child Welfare Board and president of the Stephenville Economic Development Corporation. The family is members of Oak Dale United Methodist By Michael Ross



what many believed was impossible.” Misty sums up her philosophy as a coach and teacher succinctly: “Personally, there is nothing more rewarding than seeing players demonstrate qualities that will lead to not only success on the court, but success in life; that is what winning looks like.”

Brandon Huckabee, 37 Back home to raise his family By Sara Vanden Berge


randon Huckabee is the kind of guy moms around the world hope their daughters will one day marry. He’s nice, easygoing, hardworking and funny. But best of all he loves his family and the community where he grew up. Brandon graduated from Stephenville High School in 1999, then traveled to various cities in Texas working in retail management. When he and his wife Alyssa had their daughter Brinley, now 3, the couple decided it was time to head home. “In 2014 I started to look into businesses I could start in Stephenville so we could move back,” he said.

Brandon Huckabee grew up in Stephenville where he now runs his business, the Huckabee Inspection Group. That led the couple to start the Huckabee Inspection Group in 2015, a business that does commercial and residential inspections for people buying or selling property. “We wanted to come back and raise our family in a small community, a place where I had so many great memories growing up,” Brandon said. The young family is continuing to grow with the couple’s second child due in August. Stephenville City Council. Brandon is a member of the Lions Asked what he loves most about Club, Chamber of Commerce, Timber Stephenville, Brandon answered quickly. Ridge Church and is even running for “The people,” he said. “There is a

sense of pride in our community and people are always willing to lend a helping hand to their neighbors. This is a special place.”

Audie Renee, 32 Connecting with the community through the airwaves By Sara Vanden Berge


ou have no doubt heard her voice piping through the airwaves on your way to work. Audie Renee hosts a morning radio

show from 6-10 a.m. weekday mornings on KSTV. “My show highlights what’s happening in the community and we play all of the biggest country hits,” she said. Audie is originally from Garland and

“I’ve always liked the entertainment business and when I was a kid, my sister and I would host radio shows at our grandparent’s house. Our grandparents would be our guests and my grandpa would play his harmonica,” she said. “And during the holidays we would put on variety shows.” While attending Missouri State, Audie attended a few concerts and met a program director for a local radio station. “He offered me a job as an overnight program Audie Renee hosts a assistant and three months morning radio show on later he gave me my own KSTV. weekend show,” she said. Audie was hooked. Today, she is involved in the Stephenville Optimist Club and sings in the choir at First Baptist Church. “I love the fact that the community is so tight-knit,” she said.

moved to Stephenville in December 2016 from Dallas. “My favorite part of my job is the interaction I have with the listeners,” she said. She started prepping for her future at a young age.


Dr. David Moore, 39 A clear vision of family, community provide the exams virtually at no charge and we Dr. David Moore of Moore partner with the Lions on r. David Moore, owner of Moore Eye Center. Eye Center in Stephenville and glasses. They contribute a second clinic in Fort Worth, is $20 per patient and we an optometrist who completed his contribute the rest. Also, if someone undergraduate work at Texas A&M in can’t make the Saturday clinics we will biomedical science and earned his Doctor do exams during the week as well. of Optometry degree at the University of “We were able to donate $10,000 in Houston College of Optometry. products and services to the schools last David practices with Dr. Emily Smith year. So if they have a student who can’t and they provide a full range of services afford the product or services, they can for adults and children. In addition they send them over to us and we’ll take care do far more than a little charitable work. of him or her.” “We go into schools and do free David says he’s amazed by the the screenings in conjunction with the spirit of the Stephenville community. David and his wife Jennifer have two nurses. We also do some free clinic “Somebody is always doing someSaturdays in partnership with the schools thing to help other people here,” he said. sons, Will, 7, and Sam, 5. “We’re an outdoors family; we like “It’s truly wonderful and it never stops.” and Lions Clubs,” David said. “We By Michael Ross


being out on the water paddle boarding or sailing, or fishing — things like that,” he said.

Shanna Moody, 39 Fitness is her thing By Sara Vanden Berge


t 39, Shanna Moody is the picture of perfect health. She is interesting, energetic and loves all things fitness. And she is smart too. After graduating from Texas State University in 2000 with a degree in exercise sports science, she went on to Texas Woman’s University in Denton where she earned a master’s degree in 2006. Three years later she landed in Stephenville where she put down roots and became the assistant director of recreational sports for Tarleton State University until 2016. “We love it here,” Shanna said. “The moment we arrived in Stephenville, it felt like my hometown.” The “we” she refers to includes her husband Jeremiah and son Cinch, 15. “We are a rodeo family,” she said. “Most days I feel like a horse taxi.” Shanna is currently working on an educational


Shanna Moody is a coach at CrossFit Stephenville where she leads classes and does personal training. doctorate at Tarleton and expects to graduate in May 2019. After that she isn’t sure where life will take her, but for now she is enjoying the ride. “I hope at some point to get into higher education and administration,” she said. Meanwhile, she will continue to focus on leading a healthy lifestyle and helping others do the same. Shanna is a coach at CrossFit Stephenville where she leads classes and does personal training. “I love to help people reach their fitness goals,” she said. “The gym is an interesting place because you make friends with people you might have never crossed paths with. “Stephenville is special. It’s one of those communities you see on movies and wonder if they really exist, but it does here.”

Aly Caulder, 30 From rodeo star to corporate chef By Sara Vanden Berge


ly Caulder grew up in California, but said she came to Texas as quickly as she could. “I came to rodeo at Tarleton and I never left,” she said. After graduating with a degree in interdisciplinary studies in 2009, Aly began working for Sodexo where she rose to executive chef. In 2015 she made the move to Hard Eight BBQ where she now serves in a dual role — as corporate chef and director of catering — for the restaurant and The N at Hardway Ranch. It’s a job that keeps her connected to the community. “As the director of catering, I get to be involved in many of the fundraisers and other

Aly Caulder is corporate chef and director of catering for Hard Eight BBQ and The N at Hardway Ranch. events that take place here,” Aly said. “And that’s one of the things I love most about my job.” Aly and her husband Aaron own Stephenville Pipe and Trade. “He runs the business and I help with the books,” she said. The couple has a two-year-old daughter they plan to raise in Erath County. “I love it here. I love the feel of a small town and the kindness of the people,” she said. “You just don’t find that in many other places.


Aaron Collier, 36 Enjoying a career in geosciences and engineering years and I married a local girl, and she has family here, so it pretty much feels aron Collier is vice president of Collier like I’m a home boy,” Aaron said. “I’m Consulting, a Stephenville-based firm the oldest of three boys and we all married local girls.” that specializes in geosciences and Aaron’s wife is Amy and they have engineering. three kids, Aiden, 10, Allie, eight, and “We also have offices in Austin, Adalyn, three. Houston, Waco and Wisconsin, and we He graduated from Stephenville High work all over Texas and abroad,” Aaron said. “A lot of our work deals with water School in 2000 then went to Texas A&M University for two years, “thinking I was and water resources, but we do a fair going to be a doctor, but decided it wasn’t amount of other types of work; civil and for me. environmental engineers, and locally we “Then I got engaged to my wife who do slab design, curb and gutter, drainage studies, environmental engineering for the had gone to UT thinking she was going to be a pharmacist like her father, but she dairy industry and so forth.” While he wasn’t born here – his family ended up being a teacher like her mother. We got married while we were in college moved to Stephenville in 1994. and moved back here and finished up “I was in junior high then. My father at Tarleton. I got an undergrad degree was a professor at TSU for a number of By Michael Ross



Aaron Collier, vice president of Collier Consulting, which specializes in geoscience and engineering. in geology from TSU, then went to graduate school in San Antonio for two years at UTSA and got my masters in hydrogeology.” Asked what drew him to this field he said, “My parents — who started this company – are in science, so I grew up being exposed to it all my life and always had an interest in science.” In terms of hobbies, Aaron said he doesn’t have much time for them. “Not much time for hobbies with work

and my wife and kids – that takes up just about all my time,” he said with a laugh. “Although we do fantasy football here at work and I did a fantasy football thing this year with my son, who plays flag football. It was a father-son fantasy football league, and that was a lot of fun.” Aaron is also involved in his church, the Graham Street Church of Christ.

Ashleigh Feuerbacher, 38 Doing it all: Juggling family, volunteerism and SEDA interest in our downtown and the historical significance it carries,” Ashleigh shleigh Feuerbacher is a busy said. “Michele saw the jewel in our woman, juggling activities that come community, I was lucky to tag along and with a young family while working make the to-do lists happen.” as the Stephenville Economic DevelopShe also volunteered her time to assist ment Authority’s director of marketing the city and the historical preservationist and administration. who submitted the state application for Ashleigh earned a degree in marketing a historical district nomination that was at Tarleton State University and married awarded on Jan. 20, 2018 by the Texas Arlon Feuerbacher in 2001. Historical Commission. Since then she has held positions at Ashleigh and Arlon — who own the Stephenville Chamber of Commerce, a business with partner Jason Lovell, the high school economics classroom, Lovell Lawn & Landscape — have two private industry and historical real estate daughters, Charleigh, 11, and Tinleigh, management. four, and says being a “girl mom” is her In 2015, Ashleigh had the opportunity first priority. to manage the historical projects led by “My mom duties consist of school property owner Michele Dunkerley. runs, ballet practices, church activities, “These were the catalyst to a thriving 4H meetings and many nights in the By Autumn Owens


swine barn during stock show season,” Ashleigh Feuerbacher is busy with her Ashleigh said. full-time job at SEDA, community work The Feuerbachers attend Graham and raising a young family. Street Church of Christ. Ashleigh serves as the secretary of capacity of matchmaking between those the Downtown Merchants Association, is in need and those willing to give.” a member of the International Economic Another memory for Ashleigh was Development Council (IEDC) and Texas when she organized a benefit with a Economic Development Council (TEDC), group of friends that ran five years for and volunteers with the Youth CommitSpinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) awaretee, Building Committee and coaches for ness raising more than $150,000. Leadership Training for Christ (LTC). “Now with SEDA, I look forward to “I was so proud of my now ‘homeseeing the growth and development in town’ Stephenville when the hurricanes our future,” she said. “I love traditions, hit south Texas where our family is and small town atmospheres and knowing where I was raised,” she said. “In 48 people at the grocery store, and I hope hours, we had three trucks and trailers to preserve that while planning and loaded with supplies, food, clothing, preparing for the growth and new that is labor, tools and money for gas to send coming our way because of the wonderful south. It was an honor to serve in the things this community offers.” 23

Brianna Hodges, 38 Digital learning is her passion bit and went and worked with non-profits.” She left corporate America in 2009 and became a middle school teacher and rianna Hodges may be the director of basketball coach. digital learning at Stephenville ISD, “I was in the classroom for six years and but she’s making a big impact all over I was an English teacher and a basketball the state and nation with her innovation in coach,” Brianna said. utilizing technology in classrooms. Brianna got her master’s degree in Brianna was raised in Stephenville, graduating in 1997, but hasn’t always been in the curriculum and instruction with a focus on instructional design in technology. education field. She worked in fundraising, When SISD began moving to its one-tomarketing and public relations right after she graduated from University of Texas at Austin one iChampion initiative, Brianna moved into her current position in 2015. in 2000. “That brought in a need for someone who During college she got involved in politics. was pretty versed in curriculum to see how “I worked for, at the time, Governor to use this computer in the classroom and Bush and Rick Perry as he was running for lieutenant governor,” she said. “So I spent a that’s where I came in,” she said. “I think I lot of time there and after I graduated that’s have the coolest job in the district because I when I went into a lot of fundraising and then get to work with students and teachers and families in the community and I get to see decided I needed to cleanse my soul a little By Autumn Owens



students light up with knowledge.” In January, Brianna was named one of the top five K-12 administrators to watch in 2018. Brianna and her husband Brad moved back to Stephenville when her father passed away from pancreatic cancer. “I was just so comforted by the outpouring of support and from people I hadn’t seen in years and parents of classmates and people who just went out of their way to make us feel supported,” she said. “My husband and I sat down and realized that’s what home really means and that’s what community means, so it was a really natural way to make the decision to move back home.”

Brianna Hodges is the director of digital learning at Stephenville ISD and loves being able to support students, teachers and parents in the technology-driven society. Brianna and Brad have two children, Mason, 9, and Delaney,5. The Hodges attend the Cowboy Church of Erath County and outside of school, Brianna is a board member of the Zonta Club. “We get to support the community in so many ways,” she said. “It’s wonderful and a great organization.”

Mica Rudd, 33 Humble vice principal is passionate about her work was all about functional life skills, and at Curtis Elementary I taught third grade through sixth grade life skills for f you haven’t met Mica Rudd, you’re three years,” Rudd said. “I got a great missing out. The wonderfully humble opportunity after Mike and I got married Hook Elementary vice principal is passionate about her students, staff and and my life changed in a weekend. We were actually out camping in Proctor and family. I got to do a phone interview at Central Mica grew up on a dairy and graduElementary with Mrs. (Kelly) Magin for ated from Dublin High School in 2003. the PPCD position, which is the Preschool She attended Tarleton State University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Program for Children with Disabilities and interdisciplinary studies EC-4 and all-level within a couple of hours I was offered that job.” special education. Mica accepted and the family moved “I also cheered at Tarleton and I was Pretty Peggy Pepper for Dublin Dr Pepper to Stephenville. “(Magin) has been quite the mentor for many years,” she said. “I did it for a for me and gave me great opportunities few years in high school and then they to grow,” Mica said. “I’m thankful for asked me to come back while I was in college and continue to do that. I went to her.” Mica earned a master’s degree in Waco, went to Austin, went to different events, parades, tours and did all of that 2017 and was then offered the position as vice principal. for them. I love that family.” “It was probably the hardest decision After graduating from Tarleton in to leave the classroom. That was 2007, Mica did her student-teaching in Weatherford where she met her husband gut-wrenching, but I did it. All in God’s Mike, a volunteer firefighter and business plan and here I am,” Mica said. “This is my first year and I love it. The teachers owner. here, the work ethic, I am so blessed. “My passion really evolved and By Autumn Owens


My principal here, Daresa Rhine, has taken me under her arm and she continues to help development me. I couldn’t ask for a better leader.” Mica and Mike have four boys — Jackson, 16; Cooper, 9; Myles, 6; and Nolan, 3. “They keep me on my toes that’s for sure,” Mica said with a laugh. The family attends the First Baptist Church. “That’s a big part of our lives,” she said. “Our faith in God and that’s why we are where we are today. I’m so thankful for the life I have.” Mica loves Stephenville and is proud to call it home. “The community is so great and

Mica Rudd, vice principal at Hook Elementary, is passionate about her students, teachers and family. everybody is so involved and the support is there,” she said. “I love this school district. I love everything about it and just seeing what it’s evolving in to.”

Fisher Rinderknecht, 23 High-flying photographer, entrepreneur and SEDA board member photography and drone technology, something he has been interested in since isher Rinderknecht is wise beyond his he was a little boy. 23 years. “I’ve always had interest in remoteThe 2017 Tarleton State Univercontrolled aviation like helicopters,” he sity graduate is an entrepreneur, business said. owner and community activist looking to Fisher also specializes in professional get involved. photography for real estate agents and “I love Stephenville and plan to stay social media management. here,” said Fisher, who grew up in Glen “I help people build their brands,” Rose. “I’m fully committed to this comhe said. munity and here for the long haul.” Fisher won first place last year in the Fisher owns his own business, Flight Entrepreneurs of Erath business plan conReach Productions, specializing in aerial test and recently became a SEDA board By Sara Vanden Berge


Fisher Rinderknecht is the owner of Flight Reach Productions, specializing in aerial photography and drone technology. member. “I’m excited to bring a young perspective to SEDA,” he said. “Stephenville offers a snapshot of rural life that is growing rapidly and I am excited to be a part of it. This is an

interesting time for residents.” This is one guy you’re going to want to keep in your sights. 25

Craig Parks, 36 ‘Small town kid’ gives back in big ways By Sara Vanden Berge


raig Parks loved growing up on a dairy in Lingleville and now, the 36-year-old technology director at Dublin ISD, is focused on giving his three daughters the benefit of growing up in the place he loves. “I’m a small town kid,” Craig said. “I love the atmosphere of being away from the hustle and grind of a big city and I like being near family.” Craig graduated from Stephenville High School in 2000 then lived for a short time in Lubbock and Hawaii before making it back to Erath County. His job with Dublin ISD is something else he loves. “I like figuring things out and mak-


Craig Parks is the technology director at Dublin ISD. ing things work,” he said. “And I like making sure the kids have the tools they need to access technology.” Outside of Dublin ISD, Craig also works as an IT consultant for Parks Hill Technology and Marketing. He and his wife Amber are members of the Cross Timbers Fine Arts Council and danced in last year’s Dancing For the Stars event benefiting Big Brothers Big Sisters of Erath County. “If there is any kind of fundraiser going on, we are there,” Craig said.

Dr. Miranda Nash, 36 Family, women’s health are her passion By Michael Ross


r. Miranda Nash, who specializes in internal medicine and practices at the Stephenville Medical and Surgical Clinic, comes by her profession by direct succession: Her father is Dr. David Boucher, also in internal medicine who works just down the hall. Miranda is married to someone readers are most likely familiar with, District Attorney Alan Nash. “We both went to high school here but he’s a few years older so we didn’t really know each other in those days. A mutual friend introduced us in 2009,

and we dated for awhile and got married in 2012. We have two little boys; Michael is three and Mathew is eighteen months,” Miranda said with a smile. Miranda is a Stephenville High School and Tarleton State University graduate, and went to medical school at Texas Tech, then did her residency at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center in Temple. “After finishing my residency, I spent another year there as chief resident then moved here in 2012,” she said. Asked if she specializes in any area within internal medicine, she replied, “It’s pretty generalized, I kind of like everything, that’s why I chose internal

medicine. “But I do see a lot of women in my practice. I work with men as well, but I think a lot of women feel a little more comfortable working with a female physician with certain things. “Women’s medicine is something I feel passionate and strongly about. A lot of women come in and say they’re so happy to have a woman practicing here, so that’s very gratifying.” The family attends First United Methodist Church. “I really love cooking and homemaker kinds of things, taking care of my family is a great joy for me,” Miranda said.

Dr. Miranda Nash is a wife and mother who finds joy in caring for her patients and family. Other interests include reading and music. “Since I grew up with music I love playing the piano,” she said. “I usually get my book recommendations from my mom, Vicky Johnson, who’s a professor at Tarleton. “Having grown up here we know a lot of people very well and we just feel so fortunate to live in this great community.” 27

Nicole Young, 27 Young professional juggling community involvement By Sara Vanden Berge


o say that Nicole Young is a busy professional is an understatement. At 27, Nicole is blossoming in her career as the assistant branch manager of Citizens National Bank while juggling a slew of activities that keep her involved in all things Stephenville. Nicole serves on the Erath County United Way board of directors, is a member of the Cross Timbers Business and Professional Womens group, vice president of the Chamber of Commerce

Nicole Young at her desk at Citizens National Bank where she works as the assistant branch manager.


ambassadors and is currently enrolled in Leadership Stephenville. “I love to be involved with the community,” she said. Nicole moved to Stephenville in 2008 to study business management at Tarleton State University. After meeting and marrying her husband Ryan, the couple decided to put down roots and make Stephenville home. The couple owns Southern Screen & Window and Nicole helps with the bookkeeping and marketing, but the business is mostly run by Ryan. Asked what makes Stephenville special, Nicole didn’t hesitate to answer. “The people,” she said. “Everyone is like family here.”

Michael and Jeff Scott, 33 and 36 Brothers operate family-owned business By Michael Ross


cott Pole Line, LLC is a family owned and operated company in Stephenville that has built a reputation of excellence in the linemen industry nationwide. Founded by Dan Scott, who grew up in the industry, Scott Pole Line is now operated by his sons, Michael and Jeff, who are part of our 40 Under 40 selections for 2018. The people at Scott Pole Line are among those who — when the rest of us are trying to avoid the effects of natural and human-made disasters – show up to help mitigate all kinds of

pole line emergencies. Both sons graduated from Tarleton State University — Michael with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting and Jeff with Bachelor of Business Administration. “In our industry we are constantly training and refreshing our skills which include anything from transformer training, proper equipment operation, proper use and care of personal protective equipment, system protective devices, grounding procedures and traffic safety,” Jeff said. Michael adds, “We’re also certified in pole-top rescue, bucket rescue,

Michael Scott, far right, and Jeff Scott, third from the right, pictured with their family. First Aid and CPR.” Michael is married to Leigh Ann Scott and they have two children, Adleigh and Parker. Jeff’s wife is Misty Scott and they have three kids, Zan, Easton and Cayden. Asked about hobbies, Michael lists “family, golf, wood working, and anything outdoors.” Jeff’s a golfer too, but says he “loves family time, boating, all kinds of sports.” Michael is a member of the Haley

Burns Memorial Scholarship Committee. Jeff is on the advisory board for TSTC Waco campus for the Electrical Lineworker Technology and is also a member of Timber Ridge Church where he volunteers in Kid Ridge and Guest Connections. “We help with charity events that are local to Stephenville,” Jeff said. “I believe it’s important to support our own community and meet the needs of the people here in Erath county.” 29

Bayli Johnson, 25 Building the family business By Sara Vanden Berge


t 25, Bayli Johnson knows the value of hard work. She gave up her dream of becoming a kindergarten teacher to jump into the family business — Twisted J — and now helps run the mega-operation at its headquarters in Stephenville. “My mom started the boutique while I was attending school at Weatherford College,” Bayli said. “But I made the decision to quit so I could help her,” a decision she has no regrets about making. Today, Bayli heads up much of the marketing department at Twisted J Apparel and has her hand in just about every facet of the business. “I do all of the purchasing for Twisted J tees and manage the website,” she

Bayli Johnson inside her office at Twisted J Apparel. said. “I work with all of the department heads and appreciate the relationships we have developed. It’s fun to watch the people you work with grow and succeed.” Bayli is no stranger to Erath County. She grew up in Dublin and graduated from Dublin High School in 2010, so she is invested. “Twisted J has worked with Steven Tyler’s Janie’s Fund, Western Wishes, Erath County veterans and Cook Children’s Hospital,” she said. “We have had accomplished. fundraisers for fires in the panhandle, “I think I will always be a part of hurricane relief and numerous other Twisted J. I love it here and I am not causes. I’m proud of what we have

afraid to do anything. The people here are amazing. You can call anyone at any time and they are always there to help.”

Blazi Weippert, 25 Finding joy in all things beautiful By Sara Vanden Berge


s a young girl Blazi Weippert loved makeup and all things related to the beauty industry. Today she has taken that passion and turned it into a successful business. Branded Beauty by Blazi is a quaint room located inside Southern Honey Boutique and Salon, and it’s a place where magic happens. Blazi offers a wide-range of services that include permanent makeup, eyelash extensions, full body waxing, facials, spray tanning, lash and brow tinting and much more. “I love giving back to women,” she said. And that’s exactly what she does. But what makes Blazi special goes


Blazi Weippert is the owner of Branded Beauty by Blazi. deeper than outside appearances. She is kind, warm and makes people feel special. Originally from Oklahoma where she grew up barrel racing, Blazi landed in Stephenville in 2015 to open her business after completing her schooling. “I trained at the Aveda Institute in Dallas for aesthetics and the Dallas Skin Institute for permanent makeup,” she said. And she doesn’t plan on leaving. Blazi plans to continue growing her business in the community she has fallen in love with. “I love everything about Stephenville,” she said. “The people and small town here make it a very special place.”

Kenny and Lacey Horton, 33 and 32 Making faith the center of their lives tion program in Costa Rica. “After that, we’ll go to Guatemala and begin working with school-age kids in n January, long-time Erath County and Dublin residents, Kenny and Lacey Horton 22 ChildHope schools there,” Kenny said. “We’ll be helping provide education, food, and their three-year old daughter Layla embarked on an astounding journey taking clean water, and the knowledge of hope in on a Christian mission in Guatemala with an Jesus Christ to children and families across the country.” organization called ChildHope. Lacey adds, “In addition, we will help The organization’s motto sums up what usher in a new program, Project1, that will it and the Hortons stand for: ”Compassion, disciple recent high school graduates in a Education, Transformation.” year-long missions internship in Guatemala.” The Hortons have been long-serving For those familiar with Dublin Bottling youth ministers with local Church for the Works and Old Doc’s Soda Shop in downLost and Found Assembly of God and have town Dublin, Kenny and Lacey were familiar begun their new mission with an intensive, faces working there, meeting in 2009 and eight-month language and emersion educa- later getting married in 2011. In 2015, By J. Michael Ross


they welcomed their darling baby Layla into the world. Kenny was the manager of Dublin Bottling Works for over a decade and he also held a seat on the Economic Development Corporation board of Dublin. Lacey says, “I’m also a private voice and piano instructor and have worked as a freelance writer and social media manager.” Missionaries for Child Hope are responsible for raising the funds for the kids they’ll be working with. “We visited over 60 churches and civic organizations all over Texas,” Kenny says. The Hortons ultimately raised enough to sponsor 55 kids in this ministry.

Kenny and Lacey Horton spend much of their lives sharing their Christian faith. As Lacey explains, “Churches, organizations, Individuals, families and businesses can sponsor a child for $36 a month, and that provides meals, library materials, computers, and of course, it creates jobs for the local people in the schools.” Kenny said for many of these kids, it’s the only meal they’ll get that day. “If people would like to help support the ministry, they can go to www.ChildHope. org or We obviously welcome any additional help we can get.” 31

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2018 SET 40 Under 40  

2018 SET 40 Under 40