Industry News From Across East Texas

Published on Sunday, 15 December 2013 18:33 - Written by


Austin Bank honored 56 employees for a total of 610 years of experience at the annual luncheon. The Tyler recipients were:

Elena Gomez, (15 years), assistant vice president, offices in the Bank’s Tyler Med Center location. Ms. Gomez began her banking career with Austin Bank as a teller then worked her way through the ranks as a customer service representative and loan assistant before assuming her current position as a relationship manager/lender. Ms. Gomez is a graduate of Tyler Junior College and LeTourneau University.

Alejandra Cabello is a loan assistant at the Bank’s Tyler downtown location with five years of banking experience. Cabello is a resident of Tyler and a graduate of Robert E. Lee High School and the University of Texas at Tyler.

Brenda Marshall, teller and customer service representative at the Bank’s South Tyler location, has been with Austin Bank for a little more than five years and has more than 33 years of banking experience. Marshall holds her certified customer service representative designation through the Institute of Certified Bankers.

Photo left to right: Alejandra Cabello, Brenda Marshall, Elena Gomez




Daniel Sitton has been named vice president of Southside Bank. Sitton began his career at Southside Bank in 2009 as a network engineer. He now serves as vice president, manager Infrastructure Services. Daniel and his wife, Kristy, have four children.

Jana Simmons has been named vice president of Southside Bank. Ms. Simmons began her career at Southside Bank in 1994 as a part-time teller at Lake Palestine. In 1997, she was promoted to branch manager of Southside Bank’s Lake Palestine retail branch. During the next 10 years, she worked as branch manager at the Whitehouse and Super One retail branches. In 2007, Jana was promoted to her current position as the call center manager. Jana is a wife and mother of three.

Jeff Quesenberry has been named vice president of Southside Bank. Jeff graduated from UT-Tyler in 2004 and began his career at Southside Bank’s Lake Palestine In-Store location. In 2007, he transitioned into the Electronic Funds Transfer department. He obtained his Accredited ACH Professional certification in 2008 and has managed the EFT Department since 2009. He lives in Bullard with his wife Raegan and daughter Abby.



The University of Texas at Tyler has announced that as of Jan. 6, Erica Campanelli will become the first full-time development officer for the Department of Athletics. Ms Campanelli has been with UT Tyler since 2011 when she was the assistant soccer coach for both the men’s and women’s programs. Ms. Campanelli holds a degree in sport management from UT Austin, where she was a standout soccer player, as well as team captain her junior and senior seasons.



The Lighthouse for the Blind once again collected more than 500 toys for Toys for Tots during its annual campaign. Each year during the holiday season, employees are encouraged to donate toys for families in East Texas and they also donate their time by volunteering to organize, bag, and label all of the toys collected in East Texas for the Toys for Tots organization from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Dec. 16 through Dec. 18 at the Old Texas Guard Armory, 2520 E Commerce St. A number of blind and visually impaired employees will be assisting in the activity, which to them is a way to give back to the community during this holiday season.



Kevin King has been named executive director of Breckenridge Village of Tyler, a faith-based, assisted living community for adults with mild to moderate intellectual and developmental disabilities as of Jan. 1. King currently is the associate executive director for two BCFS Health and Human Services campuses in San Antonio. King holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology, a master’s degree in Religious Education, and is licensed by the state of Texas as a child care administrator.



Trinity Mother Frances Home Health, the home health care agency of Trinity Mother Frances Rehabilitation Hospital, has ranked as one of the top 100 home health care agencies in the United States on the HomeCare EliteTM listing for 2013. The list, created annually, recognizes the top 25 percent of free-standing and facility-based home care providers and designates those that are identified as the top 100 and 500 agencies in the nation based on performance measures. The performance measures include quality of care, quality improvement, patient experience, process measure implementation and financial management.



The East Texas Baptist University Debate team competed at the Mississippi College Deep South Debate Tournament Dec. 5 and 6. The team won the second place overall team sweepstakes trophy.

Sophomore Dakota Hiltzman, of Gladewater, was the top-ranked speaker in the Varsity division and Junior Kenny Adcock, of Joshua, was the second best speaker in the Novice division. Sophomore Madysen Neathery, of Wake Village, advanced through the Novice division competition, but lost in the semifinals. Sophomore Ashley Pollard, of Hallsville, who was competing in her first debate tournament, advanced to the elimination rounds in the Novice division.



Applications are now available to all Smith County freshman and sophomore high school girls to be an Azalea Belle at the 55th Annual Azalea and Spring Flower Trail events. This year’s Azalea and Spring Flower Trail will take place in the downtown Azalea district March 21 through April 6. Azalea Belles promote Tyler, greet tourists, and pose for photographs while wearing antebellum dresses. The girls must be academically eligible and are required to attend certain events and trainings. Applications and more details are available online at or at the high school counselor’s office and are due no later than Jan. 21.



Wilhite Landscape will hold an open house in celebration of 30 years of service from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday at its office at 13186 Texas Highway 64 West in Tyler. The public is invited to stop by, enjoy refreshments, and meet the staff. James Wilhite earned a degree in horticulture at Stephen F. Austin in Nacogdoches, moved to Tyler and opened Wilhite Landscape in 1983. Wilhite Landscape provides professional landscape and maintenance services in Tyler and all of East Texas.



Barbara Bass, partner with the accounting firm of Gollob Morgan Peddy, was a delegate to CPAmerica International’s 2013 International Group Meeting in Atlanta on Dec. 4 and 5. The meeting is an annual event sponsored by CPAmerica, which brings together accounting professionals within the association membership to discuss international business development and strategy, networking, member sharing and continuing professional education.



Centene Corp. is inviting the public to the ribbon-cutting ceremony to be held today for its Tyler Service Center, at 3258 Earl Campbell Parkway. The ceremony will begin at 11:00 a.m. followed by a reception in Café Centene



The Children’s Advocacy Center of Smith County has announced that Terri Smith is its new executive director. Ms. Smith has been at Parent’s Anonymous for 11 years, when she served as director of Community Develop and executive director. Ms. Smith brings more than 30 years of experience in executive planning, administration, communications and marketing. Ms. Smith received her bachelor’s degree at Baylor University.



Tyler Transit is now offering four semester passes: a Fall (August through December), Spring (January through May) and Summer (June through August) Pass. The cost of the Fall and Spring Semester Passes will be reduced to $50 from $60 and the Summer Pass will cost $40. Each pass will be for an unlimited number of rides for the semester purchased. A pilot program with Texas Junior College was conducted during the Spring 2013 semester. The number of passes sold during that time increased more than 800 percent. Additionally, Tyler Transit has conducted a pilot program offering day passes for transit riders at $2 per day with unlimited trips. Based upon the success of this pilot, the proposed change to the ordinance allows for the sale of day passes at $2 per day with unlimited trips.



After meeting in executive session this morning to discuss the performance of City Manager Mark McDaniel, the Tyler City Council voted unanimously to rate his performance as outstanding. “We are blessed to have the City leadership that we have,” said Mayor Barbara Bass. “We know it takes great leadership at the top to achieve what we have and we don’t take it for granted. There is no one in the state who could have done better.” McDaniel began his tenure as City manager on Jan. 1, 2009 after serving as City manager designate for 10 months and as deputy city manager for four years. He has more than 25 years of municipal management experience, a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Public Administration from the University of North Texas, and has completed the Senior Executive in Local Government Program at Harvard University.



Brookshire Grocery Co. stores throughout Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas have begun the 32nd Annual Spirit of Christmas Food Drive. Brookshire’s and Super 1 Foods stores will collect donations of non-perishable food items and team up with a wide range of service organizations, food pantries, and other volunteer groups to distribute food to families who need assistance. BGC will donate boxes of nonperishable food items, as well as a coupon for a free roasting hen to accompany each box of food distributed. The food drive will last until Dec. 18 in the Tyler area. For more details visit your local store.