Tex Appeal | Young Professionals 2019

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Girl’s Guide to Saving the Planet

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By MANDY SHELTON | Photography by JUSTIN BORJA

ennifer Hetzel is going to save the planet. To find out how, Tex Appeal joined her for lunch at Tyku Bistro in downtown Killeen. The following interview has been condensed to be environmentally sensitive by conserving paper. What sparked your interest in the environment? I’ve always had a sense of awe for the natural world. I love to hike and camp—it’s just so peaceful and calming—and the really cool thing about living here is we have so much outdoor recreation within a two-hour drive. Tell us about forming the Centex Planeteers. A friend and I started Centex Planeteers with the idea of exposing people to the environmental issues we’re facing in the world … and locally. These aren’t just things that are happening in books or movies; they’re happening in real life. That’s common ground you can find with people— we only have one planet. I started my podcast, Sustainably Geeky, to reach a wider audience and help people understand the issues facing our planet today.

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How long have you been in Killeen? I was born in D.C. We moved to Killeen from Georgia in 2000 when my dad was stationed at Fort Hood. Clearly, my life was over because we moved here when I was in the middle of high school and I had to leave all my friends. I was devastated. In my first year at Shoemaker High School, though, that changed. I was in band and got involved with other groups at school. That happened every time we moved. I would hate it initially, then I would get there and love it. I’d make friends and find my tribe. What is your job title? I am Director of Research at the Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce. It’s an economic development role. We’re working to bring new industry to the area, promote Fort Hood and start a research park at A&M Central Texas, where we hope to attract green industries, like renewable energy. We’re also involved with the expansion of Interstate 14 and bringing broadband to Central Texas, but that’s the 20,000-foot view of my job.