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Miners on the Move
by Lee Nelson

The UTEP Alumni Association is always excited to share the success stories of our alumni around the world. These are just a few examples of what a degree from UTEP can do. If you have news to share, please send your name, year of graduation, daytime phone number and the information you'd like to share to alumni@utep.edu.



August 2010

Yolanda Diaz ’92, president of Mirador Enterprises, received the 2010 Region IV Contractor of the Year Award by the Small Business Administration for her company’s performance as the premier contracting company in the states of Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Alabama. On July 22, 2010, she was also selected as a 2010 Honoree by the El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce at their annual Sol de Oro Celebration.

Judy Downs-Lombardi ’75, ’82 was promoted to full professor of secondary education at California State University Northridge. In January 2010, her textbook Guide to PACT: Performance Assessment for California Teachers was published by Pearson Allyn Beacon.

Johnny E. Hawkins ’79 has lived in Pearl City, Hawaii since 1983 and currently owns and operates Johnny’s Auto Detailing Service.

Cynthia F. “Cindy” Lyon ’80 of Lauterbach, Borschow and Company was recently elected as a board member for the Paso del Norte Health Foundation in May 2010.

Carolyn Mora ’84, owner of Carolyn Mora, CPA, PC was elected as the chair-elect for the Paso del Norte Health Foundation.

Dr. Robert M. Munoz ’77 was elected to serve a two-year term as chair of the Central Area Council, which oversees the downtown area, for the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce. Dr. Munoz is vice-president for Continuing Education Services at the Trinity River Campus of Tarrant County College.

Dr. M. Susana Navarro ’68, of the El Paso Collaborative for Academic Excellence at UTEP, was recently elected as a board member for the Paso del Norte Health Foundation in May 2010.

Lorenzo M. Reyes, Jr. ’83, CEO of Workforce Solutions Upper Rio Grande, was recently recognized by the Texas RehabACTion Network with the “Above the Call of Duty” award. Reyes serves as a member of the Pharmacy Blue Ribbon Committee, and for the advisory boards of the UTEP College of Health Sciences and School of Nursing.


July 2010

Marco C. Bencomo ’99 recently received the May Production Leader Award at JDW Insurance in May for generating new business; Marco is a member of the El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce, and is involved in the Independent Insurance Agents of El Paso, United Way, Sheriff's Posse of El Paso, Downtown Management District and Leadership El Paso.

Brian J. Carter ’86, Associate Director of the UTEP Swimming and Fitness Center, celebrates his 50th birthday by taking part in Ironman Nice in France on June 27, and then participating in the running of the bulls as part of the San Fermin Festival in Pamplona, Spain. He has traveled the world in his athletic adventures and, with local triathlon standout Mike Bake, set a world record for a tandem triathlon at the Vineman Ironman in Sonoma, California.

Jack Chapman ’64 helped with the annual Kids Excel El Paso (KEEP) extravaganza “Reading Rock Stars, A Literary Musical Adventure” held recently at the City Art Museum and Plaza Theater; Jack helped start the program patterned after the National Dance Institute, which teaches dance to pre-kinder and elementary school age children.

Ruben Estrada ’95 has been appointed to the Southwest Minority Supplier Development Council board; he is the global supply management facilities category manager for Delphi and experienced in the supplier development, supplier quality, purchasing and program management.

Cynthia Farah ’92 was recently in El Paso for the El Paso Museum of History’s second exhibit to examine El Paso’s Giants; this event, attended by about 600 celebrated Farah Manufacturing and served as a reunion for former loyal employees.

William R. “Will” Jewell, Jr. ’88 Chief Accounting Officer for Western Refining was granted restricted shares in the company after certain company criteria were met and as an incentive to stay with Western.

John D. “Danny” Olivas ’89 retired from NASA May 25 after flying two shuttle flights, accumulating more than 668 hours in space while serving as a mission specialist on STS-117 in 2007 and on STS-128 in 2009, and conducting five spacewalks; his expertise in spacewalking and materials engineering will be sorely missed with his departure said Peggy Whitson, chief of the Astronaut Office at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Lester L. “Les” Parker ’67, ’77 Chairman and President of United Bank of El Paso del Norte, was recently named to the Minority Bank Council of the Independent Community Bankers of America; Les currently serves UTEP on the College of Business Advisory Council and is a board member of the Friends of the Library.

Izabela Marta Piekarska ’08 UTEP woman's basketball 2007-08 season all-time leading scorer, recently visited UTEP after playing professional basketball in Israel, Turkey, and her home country of Poland. Her pro-games took her to many capitals and countries of the world.

Jesse A. Sanchez ’00, ’04 a licensed engineer, has been elected president of the El Paso Public Library Association; the association is dedicated to increasing the literacy rate in El Paso County.

Andrew E. Sobioch ’92 was recently hired by Huntleigh Technology Group to be responsible for writing software and network design; he has 20 years experience in El Paso and New Mexico and worked as a flash automation engineer for Intel Corporation.

Rosemary Torres ’89, ‘03 second grade teacher at Serene Hills Elementary School was recently honored by the Lake Travis Independent School District (LTISD) in Austin, Texas as Elementary District Teacher of the Year for 2009-2010.

Stacie K. Townsend ’09 was named to the 2010 ESPN The Magazine - Academic All-America Softball first team by the College sports Information Directors of America and is the first such honoree in the softball program's history; working on her MBA, Stacie was a UTEP top-10 graduate with a 4.0 grade average, and had 25 pitching wins out of 31 this season, a no-hitter, five shutouts, 11 double-digit strikeout games and over 800 strikeouts in her career.

Russell A. “Russ” Vandenburg ’70 committee treasurer for El Paso for Educational Excellence, a PAC recently campaigning to increase local El Paso school taxes, said it was an economic issue; Russ who is CEO of property management company TVO Groupe also serves on the executive board of the Regional Economic Development Corporation (REDCO).

June 2010

Renato J. Aguilera ’81, ’82, biology professor and director of the graduate program in biology at The University of Texas at El Paso, recently was announced the recipient of the 2010 William A. Hinton Research Training Award.

Stephanie Townsend Allala ’00, was recently elected member of the board of directors of The El Paso Probate Bar Association in El Paso, Texas.

Robert A. “Bob” Black ’77, managing shareholder at MehaffyWeber in Beaumont, Texas, was recently named president-elect of Texas Young Lawyers Association; he has served as chair of the State Bar of Texas board of directors and is a fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation and the American Bar Foundation.

Salvador Borrego ’08, has been promoted to project specialist at Professional Service Industries Inc.'s Fort Bliss Special Project in El Paso, Texas.

Yolanda G. “Yolie” Diaz ’92, founder of Mirador Enterprises, a $6.2 million, 42 permanent employee facilities maintenance and management contractor, has been awarded the Small Business Administration's regional Small Business Prime Contractor of the Year award for 2010.

James A. “Jim” Dick III ’55 and Beverly L. Dick ’55, were recently honored by the El Paso Community Foundation for their long-standing commitment to supporting the El Paso community through civic involvement and philanthropic activities with the establishment of several charitable funds; Jim currently serves on the Foundation’s Investment Advisory Committee.

Fermin Dorado ’70, ’78, founder of Dorado Engineering, Inc., has just been elected to the El Paso Employees Federal Credit Union board; he has served as chairman of the Fiestas de las Flores Hispanic Cultural Center and on the boards of the United Way of El Paso County and Centro Medico Del Valle.

George Espinosa ’83, was recently hired by JDW Insurance as safety and loss control manager in El Paso, Texas; George has 30 years in the safety field and holds professional designations of Construction Health and Safety Technologist and Occupational Health and Safety Technologist.

Ruben Estrada ’95, manager of global supply management for Delphi, has been appointed to the board of directors of the Southwest Minority Supplier Development Council based in Austin, Texas.

Donald S. “Don” Henderson 56, was honored as the Silver Anniversary Miner Award winner at the recent Dinner With the Miners banquet; he was a member of the UTEP (then Texas Western College) basketball and track teams in the 50’s, a highly successful insurance professional and served as mayor of El Paso.

Bernardo M. del Hierro ’02, director at TVO North America who oversees TVO's commercial real estate division, has completed BOMI International's Property Management Financial Proficiency Certificate for people who manage real estate assets.

Natasha Lacy ’07, recently received a training camp contract recently with the WNBA Tulsa Shock franchise, coached by El Paso legend Nolan Richardson; she previously played with the K.V. Imperial AEL Limassol, Cyprus and the Maccabi Bnot Ashdod in Ashdod, Israel.

Janet P. Lynch ’03, has been teaching music for nearly half her life and is now the band teacher at Montwood Middle School after switching from teaching high-school band at Del Valle High in El Paso, Texas; her jazz and concert bands have earned numerous first divisions at competitions, and her jazz band is ranked the second-highest in El Paso.

Cynthia F. “Cindy” Lyons ’80, has been reappointed by Governor Rick Perry to the Finance Commission of Texas and named 2010-2011board chair for the Paso del Norte Health Foundation; she is a CPA and shareholder of Lauterbach, Borschow and Company and member of the American Institute of CPAs, Texas Society of CPAs, and Camino Real Angels.

Robert A. “Bob” Malone '74, Was recently re-elected as a director of Peabody Energy, the world's largest private-sector coal company and a director of Halliburton, of the world's largest providers of products and services to the energy industry at each of the company’s 2010 annual meeting of shareholders; Bob is the former chairman and president of BP America Inc.

George L. McLendon ’71, a leading biochemist and dean of the Trinity College of Arts and Sciences at Duke University in North Carolina, has been named provost of Rice University by Rice President David Leebron; he will take over his new post July 1, 2010.

Rene Ordonez ’84, was recently elected president of The El Paso Probate Bar Association in El Paso, Texas.

Pamela M. Perez ’84, ’85, program director for El Paso Mental Health Mental Retardation’s Elinor Zind Early Childhood Intervention, was recently appointed by Gov. Rick Perry as Chair of the State Early Childhood Intervention Advisory Committee that advises and assists the Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services in developing intervention services for children ages 3 and younger.

Rita Placencia ’95, special education teacher at Sunland Park Elementary School in Sunland Park, New Mexico, was recently recognized as a “Standout Teacher” and featured in an article in the Las Cruces Sun-News on May 16, 2010. This is her 11th year teaching at this school.

Maricela Rodriguez ’94, was recently recognized at this year’s Ysleta Independent School District Volunteer Award Luncheon for her volunteer work teaching prenatal classes at the high schools.

Lina Sena ’01, was recently elected treasurer, The El Paso Probate Bar Association.

Jacquelyn Stroud Spier ’75, ’79, and well-known El Paso artists Susan Amstater and Connie Dillman have created “Yes, We Are Still Dancing,” a book of poems and paintings that celebrate their lives as young women, wives, mothers and grandmothers in the borderland; the book and its original art have been donated to the Frontera Women’s Foundation who will use the proceeds from sales to help area children pursue the arts, and expand opportunities for women, girls and their families who live along the U.S.-Mexico border.

David L. Telas ’95, was recently presented as Horizon High School's new head football coach in El Paso, Texas.

Nestor A. Valencia ’63, ’69, was recently recognized by the El Paso Community Foundation for establishing a fund in memory of his mother; he was also recognized for chairing the restoration committee of the Plaza Theater and painting the portraits on display in the theatre of the philanthropists instrumental in the restoration.

James C. “Curt” Warren, Jr.’72, guitar teacher at UTEP since 1978, perennial heavy hitter on the local jazz scene, and guitar player with the Commodores and U.S. Navy Band, among others, retired from teaching at UTEP in May.


May 2010

Irene Chavez ’79, was inducted March 26th at the 21st annual El Paso Commission for Women Hall of Fame banquet for her achievements in science and healthcare. She is a member of University Founders, and serves on the College of Science Advisory Board and CEDARS Advisory Council.

Eduardo A. Gamboa ’72, El Paso County Statutory Probate Court #2 judge, has been named Public Official of the Year by the El Paso Branch of the National Association of Social Workers.

Alonso X. Garcia ’96, and his wife Patricia opened Canadian-based Yogen Früz in the Cielo Vista Mall in El Paso, Texas. This is only one of three in Texas.

Rita Gomez ’00, Canutillo Middle School teacher was named Outstanding ESL Teacher of the Year by Bilingual Educators Emphasizing and Mastering Standards, or BEEMS. She is in her eighth year as a teacher in Canutillo ISD’s ESL program, providing instruction to seventh and eighth grade ESL students in El Paso, Texas.

Debra C. "Debbi" Hester ’97, has been awarded the ERA Sellers, Buyers, and Associates Platinum Circle of Excellence Award for 2009.

Gary R. Hedrick ’77, was recently elected chair-elect of United Way of El Paso County. He is a member of University Founders and an adjunct professor of Corporate Enterprise at UTEP.

Renard U. Johnson ’95, of METI, Inc., has been elected to the board of directors of United Way of El Paso County. He also serves on UTEP’s Centennial Campaign Leadership Council and Engineering Advisory Council.

Antonio Martinez Jr. ’78, has been named to the ReadyOne Industries board of directors. He is a partner with El Paso law firm Firth, Johnson, Martinez and serves on the Paso Del Norte Children’s Development Center board.  

Liliana I. Miranda ’98, was recently elected to the Hospice El Paso board of directors. She is senior vice president for Bank of the West.

Eva M. Moya ’81, advocacy, communication and social mobilization coordinator for Project Concern International and instructor in the UTEP Department of Social Work, was recently appointed to the Health Disparities Task Force by Governor Rick Perry.

Felipe D. Peralta ’71, recently received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the El Paso Branch of the National Association of Social Workers.

Josie Briones Perez ’90, ’96, was promoted to assistant superintendent for the Clint Independent School District in El Paso County, Texas.

Steffen P. Poessiger ’01, was recently appointed vice president, director of client services by Mithoff Burton Partners in El Paso. He also serves as the chair of the Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce Marketing Committee.

Jose L. Rodarte ’65, registered professional engineer and professional land surveyor with Huitt-Zollars in El Paso, Texas, was honored recently by the Texas Society of Professional Engineers with their Engineer of the Year award.

Craig Schneider ’79, was recently promoted to Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) U.S. Army Reserve.  He has been a member of the Texas National Guard since March of 2004 and was deployed to Southern Iraq on the staff of the 36th Sustainment Brigade.

David A. Veloz ’95, has been made executive director of United Blood Services (UBS) National Customer Contact Center where he oversees operations for El Paso and Tempe, Arizona and is responsible for assuring that more than 350,000 blood donations are collected throughout the various UBS locations. He serves on the UTEP Alumni Association board of directors.

Sean C. White ’99, named a 2010 Texas “Rising Star” Super Lawyer by the publishers of Texas Monthly and Law and Politics magazines, has been elected a partner at Kemp Smith law firm where he practices in the litigation department of the El Paso office.



April 2010 

David Bradford '81,retired from the Department of Defense Commissary Agency after a 35 year careerserving military needs and continues to be a proud supporter of our soldiers,marines, airmen and sailors.Originally from Kentucky, he is now living and managing a small farm operation in Virginia.

Gilbert Carreon 98, was recently promoted to the position of audit manager by Bank of the West in El Paso; he will run the bank’s internal audit program and supervise audit staff.

Lianee D. Fernandez '00, has been promoted to the position of vice president and credit underwriter III by Chase Bank’s commercial banking group in El Paso.

Ruth Gillete ’67,a teacher at Andress High School for 39 years, was honored recently by the El Paso Community Foundation for establishing the Ruth E. Gillette Scholarship Fund to benefit Andress High School students wanting to continue theire ducation.

Susana Gottswinter ’83,was recently promoted by the El Paso Employees Federal Credit Union to the position of assistant vice president of finance; she has more than20 years experience in financial accounting and joined the credit union in2006.

Ruben Hernandez '92,was recently promoted to the position of senior banker by Chase Bank’s commercial banking group in El Paso.

Henry T. Ingle ’65,senior partner of The Knowledge-Brokers, recently received the Distance Learning in Higher Education Award presented by the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education (AAHHE) at the AAHHE 5th Annual Conference in Costa Mesa, CA; the award is given for championing distance learning in higher education via online instruction, research, or development of distance learning processes that impact Latino students in higher education.

David H. Lindau ’61,president of Lauterbach Financial Advisors in El Paso and one of the first professionals nationwide to obtain the CFP certification, was recently recognized by the national Financial Planning Association for 25 years as a Certified Financial Planner.

Judy Mangan ’48, was recently recognized by the El Paso Community Foundation for establishing with her late husband, the Judy and Frank Mangan Fund for the continued enrichment of the El Paso community.

Keri L. Moe ’99, ’03,lecturer in the Department of Communication at UTEP and assistant professor of communication at El Paso Community College, was recently awarded the New Member Achievement Award by The Texas Public Relations Association (TPRA) for her service to TPRA and the Public Relations Association of Texas; Keri is the immediate past-president and a founding member of the Public Relations Association of the Southwest and vice president for public relations for the UTEP Alumni Association.

Rosemarie Montez ’09,has joined Varay Systems as client services assistant. The company is headquartered in El Paso.

Arthur J. Pyron ’80,was recently named to Mesa Energy Holdings Inc. Advisory Board to provide expertise in the exploration and development of its Java Field, Marcellus Shale natural gas project located in western New York.

Stephanie A. Schulte ’99, ’07,certified sexual assault nurse examiner at Sierra Medical Center, was recently recognized by The Daisy Foundation with the Daisy Award for Extraordinary Nurses; Stephanie was also appointed by Governor Rick Perry to the Crime Victims’ Institute Advisory Council which advises the Crime Victims’ Institute on the impact of crime on victims, relatives, guardians and society and assists the Institute to develop policies to prevent the victimization of society by crime.

Seetharami Seelam 02, and his colleagues received the best papera ward in the architecture track for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) International Parallel and Distributed Processing Symposium of2010; Seelam is currently a staff member at IBM’s TJ Watson Research Center in New York.

Roxanne Weisendanger ’78, ’05, with over 30 years of nursing experience, was recently appointed assistant chief nursing officer at Del Sol Medical Center; she will oversee special nursing projects and initiatives and supervise key hospital programs.

Richard Westbrook 70, of the El Paso Orthopaedic Surgery Group and Center for Sports Medicine was recipient of  the 2009 Texas Monthly Super Doctors designation.



December 2009

Albert Arellano `91, `04
, business lending officer at El Paso Area Teachers Federal Credit Union, was elected vice president of membership for the Ysleta Education Foundation`s board of directors. The foundation`s primary function is to provide financial assistance to further the higher education of Ysleta ISD students.

Christopher G. Baryla `04, former UTEP golf team member from Vernon, British Columbia, earned his first career Nationwide Tour victory at the Chattanooga Classic in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Steven T. Buraczyk `91, `97, vice president of power, marketing and fuels at El Paso Electric Company recently joined The Child Crisis Center of El Paso`s 2009 board of directors.

David C. Chavez `71, a retired teacher, was recently nominated to the El Paso County Ethics Commission by the El Paso County Civil Service Commission.

Irene Chavez `79, chief executive officer of El Paso Specialty Hospital, was recognized for her achievements in the field of science at the 10th annual Ronald McDonald`s Hispanos Triunfadores Award ceremony in El Paso, Texas.

Edward Drusina `74, El Paso area director for Paragon Project Resources Inc., a national engineering firm, is under consideration and awaiting presidential appointment as the next commissioner of the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC), the federal agency responsible for the maintenance of the nation`s borders and the Rio Grande boundary.

Dr. Willarda V. Edwards `72, president of the National Medical Association and 2009 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient recently met with President Obama at the White House to discuss health care reform.

Edward Escudero `92, vice president and chief financial officer of C&R Distributing and president of Sierra Finance was recently named to the El Paso City Council to the Public Service Board which oversees four water utilities.

Mimi R. Espinoza `02, `04, vice president of government relations at the Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce was featured as one of the 40 Under 40 in Chamber Executive magazine`s fall edition.

Rodrigo Flores `93, president and chief executive officer of Capital Savings Bank recently joined The Child Crisis Center of El Paso`s 2009 board of directors.

Gabriel S. Gaytan `79, artist and muralist was recognized for his achievements in field of art at the 10th annual Ronald McDonald`s Hispanos Triunfadores Award ceremony in El Paso, Texas.

Mimi Reisel Gladstein `59, `66, professor of English at UTEP and Daniel Chacon, associate professor of Creative Writing at UTEP, received the 2009 American Book Award from Before Columbus Foundation for their edition of a collection of Jose Antonio Burciaga`s work titled Last Supper of Chicano Heroes: Selected Works of Jose Antonio Burciaga.

Delia Gomez `82, director of programs for the Women`s Intercultural Center in Anthony, New Mexico was recently honored for her work in the community by El Paso nonprofit Las Americas at the Border Heroes award dinner.

Mario Alberto Gutierrez `07 was recently recognized as Nurse of the Year by the El Paso Psychiatric Center.

Elias C. Hernandez `74, background investigator for the Department of Homeland Security and retired FBI special agent was selected as the 2009 Outstanding Ex for Canutillo High School, in El Paso, Texas.

Elvia G. Hernandez `91, LULAC official and former City Council member was recognized for her achievements in the field of government and presented an award at the 10th annual Ronald McDonald`s Hispanos Triunfadores Award ceremony.

Raymond Hernando `81, chief executive officer of RHO Logistics, a trucking company, was recognized for his achievements in the field of business at the 10th annual Ronald McDonald`s Hispanos Triunfadores Award ceremony, El Paso, Texas.

Jason Hungerford `03 summa cum laude, recently joined Kemp Smith law office in El Paso, Texas as an associate in the firm`s litigation department.

Marion L. Hunt `70 is president, chief operating officer and director, Hunt Building Company, Ltd. The company was recently awarded a $69.8 million contract for construction of 146 new family housing units for Navy personnel and renovation of the Navy Fitness Center at the Guantanamo Bay Navy Base.

Renard U. Johnson `95, owner, president, and chief executive officer of Management and Engineering Technologies International Inc. of El Paso( METI, Inc.), announced that his firm is being awarded a $19,429,577 contract to provide test and evaluation, as well as maintenance and operations services, in support of the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division - Weapons Survivability Laboratory in China Lake, California.

Julia Kokina `06 was recently named staff auditor at Schmid, Broaddus, Nugent & Gano PC in El Paso, Texas, Kokina will specialize in areas of government, nonprofits and small business.

Stuart L. Leeds `76 a high-profile defense lawyer was appointed and named the first chairmen to the El Paso County Ethics Commission.

Marcos A. Lizarraga `79, a lawyer for 27 years, was recently nominated to the El Paso County Ethics Commission by the El Paso Sheriff`s Civil Service Commission.

Jose L. Lopez `75, president of Lopez Marketing Group and member of the UTEP Communication Department Advisory Council, was recently elected to the Hispanic Hotel Owners Association (HHOA) board of directors, a rapidly growing non-profit organization seeking to increase Latino ownership of hotels

Cedric A. Lyerly, Jr. `06 was recently promoted to audit senior for Schmid, Broaddus, Nugent & Gano PC in El Paso, Texas. He has public accounting experience in areas of government, nonprofits and small business.

Michael D. Marin `89 recently completed a 2 year term on the Texas Supreme Court Task Force on Jury Assembly and Administration, in Austin, Texas.

William E. Moody `72, state court district judge, recently announced that he will run for the Texas Supreme Court in the November 2010 general election.

Carolyn L. Mora `84, owner of Carolyn L. Mora Financial Services, has been appointed to the finance committee and audit committee of the board of directors of the Paso del Norte Health Foundation in El Paso, Texas, promoting health and preventing disease in the region through leadership in health education, research and advocacy.

Paul C. Moreno `59, former Texas State Representative, was recognized recently for his achievements in the field of government at the 10th annual Ronald McDonald`s Hispanos Triunfadores Award ceremony in El Paso, Texas.

David C. Nemir `05 owner of TXL Group Inc., an El Paso engineering company developing thermoelectric technology, was nominated by County Commissioner Perez to the El Paso County Ethics Commission.

Luis A. Orozco `09 starred in El Paso Opera`s Fall production of `Le Vie de La Boheme` as Marcello the painter.

Steffen E. Palko`71, assistant professor at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, retired president and founding partner of Cross Timbers Oil Co., 2000 College of Engineering Gold Nugget Award and 2005 UTEP Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient recently joined the 40-member University of Texas at Arlington Development Board.

Michael Ramirez `99 has been promoted to corporate associate for Parkhill, Smith and Cooper engineering and architectural firm in El Paso.

Mary A. Rodriguez `96 of State Farm Insurance has joined the United Way as a loaned executive to be its fundraising spokeswoman. Rodriguez will assist with planning and management of United Way`s 2009 Fundraising Campaign.

Karin J. Smith `00 was recently named tax manager at Schmid, Broaddus, Nugent & Gano PC in El Paso, Texas. Smith specializes in federal taxation services.

Ignacio Urrabazo, Jr. `70, president and chief executive officer of Laredo`s Commerce Bank, was recently appointed to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Advisory Committee on Community Banking. He will provide the FDIC with advice and recommendations on a broad range of policy issues that have particular impact on community banks from around the nation and the local communities they serve.

Robert V. Wingo `73, president and chief executive officer for Sanders Wingo Advertising, Inc. and recipient of UTEP`s 2002 College of Business Administration Gold Nugget Award, was the honoree for the El Paso Guidance Center`s 8th annual Celebrity Roast Dinner and Fundraiser.

Tita Yanar `75, director of Upward Bound Programs at UTEP, was recognized for her achievements in the field of education at the 10th annual Ronald McDonald`s Hispanos Triunfadores Award ceremony in El Paso, Texas. Upward Bound Programs helps 150 first-generation, low-income high-school students with classes to prepare them for a postsecondary education.


November 2009

Col. Michael Apodaca `86
who took charge of the Department of Defense Criminal Investigative Task Force based in Fort Belvoir, VA in August, has now taken command of a military task force that investigates alleged terrorists in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay.

Suzanne S. Azar `77, El Paso's first woman mayor and owner of Blue Feather Aero flight school in Santa Teresa, NM was recently honored by the YWCA as part of the celebration of their 100 years service to the El Paso border community.

Kathrin L. Berg Pettit `90 has been appointed to the board of Texans for the Arts, a state arts advocacy group to advance the development of arts and culture in the State of Texas through a forum for public policy and planning.

Irene Chavez `79 was recently selected as part of a 13-member Citizens’ Commission for Best Practices in Government in El Paso, to educate the public on corruption and means of prevention.

Marcia A. Daudistel `86, editor of the forthcoming collection “Literary El Paso” at Texas Christian University Press, has been selected to present at the Texas Book Festival in Austin this fall.

Willarda Edwards `72, 2009 Distinguished Alumni, was elected Outstanding Ex by Bel Air High School in El Paso, Texas.

Blanca E. Enriquez `75,`85, Executive Director of El Paso's Operation Head Start program since 1986 and College of Education Gold Nugget Award recipient in 2004, was recently honored with a feature story in El Paso Style magazine, recognizing her leadership of the only Head Start program in the nation to receive an exemplary rating for the past 12 years. Enriquez was also recently selected as part of a 13-member Citizens’ Commission for Best Practices in Government in El Paso, to educate the public on corruption and means of prevention.

Christopher J. Forbes `80 recently retired from Socorro High School. After 25 years as coach, he built the baseball team into El Paso's top high school baseball program that has made the state playoffs 20 times, won 16 district titles, and delivered El Paso County's first state championship in 60 years.

Octavio Gomez `03, entrepreneur and owner of the 1914 Lounge and Vanilla nightclub in the Union Plaza District, continues his support of El Paso`s downtown development with the recent opening of The Garden, a 12,000-square-foot, full-service restaurant featuring contemporary American food with a heavy Latin American influence.

Rosa Elizabeth Guerrero '57, '77, artist in residence at UTEP's Chicano Studies Department, spokesperson for Las Palmas Medical Center, recipient of the Gold Nugget Award from the College of Education '96 and Distinguished Alumni Award '97, was recently featured in the El Paso Community College Borderlands publication for her many honors, accomplishments and dedication in promoting human and civil rights and Mexican culture.

Raymond Hernando `81 was awarded Texas Hispanic Business Man of the Year by The Texas Association of Mexican American Chambers of Commerce at the state convention in August 2009.

David G. Marcus `74, CPA and managing partner of Marcus, Fairall, Bristol, LLC in El Paso, was recently awarded the Certified Financial Forensics credential by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).

Douglas G. Markham `78 has been promoted to executive vice president/chief administrative officer at Books-A-Million, in Birmingham, Alabama. Books-A-Million is one of the nation’s leading book retailers operating 223 stores in 21 states and the District of Columbia.

Liliana I. Miranda `98, senior vice president/auditor with Bank of the West, was recently named to Hospice El Paso's Board of Directors.

Jordan W. Palmer `06, former UTEP football player and Cincinnati Bengals quarterback, spent the offseason working on a business venture to develop individualized iPhone applications for athletes, allowing them to connect with fans on the go.

James E. “Jimmy” Rogers III, CIC, CRM, `85 of Wells Fargo Insurance Services of Texas, Inc., was recently recognized for professional leadership and advanced knowledge by the Society of Certified Insurance Counselors (CIC), a leading national insurance professional organization.

Mike Rosales `66, a State Farm Insurance agent, was elected Outstanding Ex by El Paso High School in El Paso, Texas.

Gerald Rubin `65, College of Science Gold Nugget Award `98, Distinguished Alumni Award `02, recently received the Spirit of Texas on the Border Awards, recognizing his contributions to the area and to Texas' growth at the Spirit of Texas Business Conference held recently at the El Paso Convention Center. Rubin is chairman, CEO and president of Helen of Troy, an El Paso Company which designs and markets name-brand personal-care and house ware gadgets.

Stanlee Nita Rubin `65, Distinguished Alumni Award `02 recently received the Spirit of Texas on the Border Awards, recognizing her contributions to the area and to Texas' growth at the Spirit of Texas Business Conference held recently at the El Paso Convention Center. She is on the board of directors for Helen of Troy.

Victor Santana-Melgoza `08 was recently named the new multicultural resource coordinator for University Housing and Dining Services at Oregon State University.

Israel Ramon Silvas `01 former Top Ten Senior, participant of UTEP’s Law School Preparation Institute and Harvard Law School graduate, has joined the Dallas law firm of Godwin Ronquillo, PC as a member of the commercial litigation section.

Virginia Solis-Cera `00, `06, a fifth-grade teacher at Sambrano Elementary in the San Elizario School District, was named Region 19 Elementary Teacher of the Year.

Linda P. Thurston `75, professor and assistant dean at Kansas State University's College of Education and director of the Office of Educational Innovation and Evaluation, was appointed in September to a one-year term as program director for the National Science Foundation.

Frances McNabb Wever `64 and president of the El Paso Federation of Teachers and Support Personnel from 1993 until she retired in June 2008, was presented the Lifetime Achievement Award by the El Paso Central Labor Union at their annual Labor Day Breakfast.

Paulette Wingo `92, `96, 2009 recipient of the College of Education Gold Nugget Award, was recently featured at a book signing event in El Paso for her new book "Learning Doesn't Have to Be Complicated! A Parent's Survival Guide for the School Years."

Marisa Y. Ybarra `05 recently joined Rincon Law Group, P.C. in El Paso as an associate. The firm is dedicated to the representation of leaders of the automobile manufacturing, insurance, railroad, and trucking industries in civil trials and litigation.

Steven T. Yellen `81 was recently selected as part of a 13-member Citizens’ Commission for Best Practices in Government in El Paso, to educate the public on corruption and means of prevention.



September 2009

Francisco Baltier `70
is currently chief engineer for the new US Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq.

Sandra Blanco `74, holder of a Texas Master Florist certification and owner of Debbie’s Bloomers flower and gift shop, is celebrating 25 years her company has been in business.

James E. Brundage `74 senior vice president at Wells Fargo Insurance Services of Texas, Inc. was recognized by The Society of Certified Insurance Counselors for his commitment to education, excellence and dedication to the insurance profession.

Irene Chavez `79 was recently named chief executive officer of El Paso Specialty Hospital, the first hospital specializing in orthopedic, joint replacement and spine surgeries in the region and one of less than a dozen highly specialized facilities in the nation.

Diana L. Cordova `06 showcased her documentary "Breaking Borders: Cross Dressers & Drag Queens of El Paso" during the "Women on the Verge: Border Women Filmmakers" part of the El Paso Plaza Classic Film Festival held in August.

Michael P. Embry `63, recently was named senior managing director at Resolute Commercial Services, a company specializing in delivering constructive solutions to complicated real estate matters in Scottsdale, AZ.

Linda K. Garretson `94 was recently named vice president of mortgage lending at El Paso Employees Federal Credit Union.

Christine Elizabeth Gleason `97, `05, Fabens High School teacher and recipient of the 2009 Texas Secondary Teacher of the Year award given by the Texas Education Agency earlier this year, is being honored by Wells Fargo. Wells Fargo has placed her picture and information about her award on most of its 764 ATMs statewide through October 5.

Jennifer Elizabeth Han `07, six-time national amateur boxing champion and winner of numerous national kickboxing titles made her professional boxing at the Pan American Center in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

Raymond Hernando `81 was recognized as the Hispanic Business Man of the Year at the 2009 Texas Association of Mexican American Chambers of Commerce convention held recently in McAllen, TX. Hernando is owner of RHO Logistics Experts Inc., a nationwide transportation brokerage company in El Paso, Texas.

Anna Marie Huerta `09 recently joined Culberson Hospital in Van Horn, TX as a physical therapist.

Robert A. Malone `74, was elected as a new board member of Halliburton in Houston, Texas. Halliburton is one of the world’s largest providers of products and services to the energy industry. Malone was a recipient of the College of Engineering Gold Nugget Award in 2002, the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2003 and was UTEP’s Commencement speaker in May 2004.

Patricia Elena Maese-Tidwell `00, was recently hired as the public information officer for the Canutillo Independent School District in Canutillo, Texas.

Emmanuel Y. “Manuel” Raux `99, a member of the UTEP tennis team from 1996 to 1998, was the men’s top seed for the El Paso Gold Open at the El Paso Tennis Club held in August.

Martha G. Rodriguez-Staufert `92, `96 was named principal of Dellview Elementary School in San Antonio, Texas.

Cristina I. Torres `02 recently joined the Dallas office of Andrews Kurth LLP, an international law firm with over 400 lawyers. Torres participated in the UTEP Law School Preparation Institute program in 2001 and specializes in labor and employment laws and regulations.

Bert E. Williams `50, was honored by the Humanitarian Society of El Paso for his pioneer work in the civil-rights movement while serving as an alderman on the El Paso City Council and as mayor. Williams was instrumental in the outlawing of discrimination in El Paso prior to the Civil Rights Act of 1964.


August 2009

Mirna Aguinaga ’83
was recently promoted to Vice President of CARD Services Strategic Planning for Bank of America in Dallas, TX.

Erica Alvarez ’08 is one of seven El Pasoans accepted into the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Paul L. Foster School of Medicine’s first class.

Amelia J. Anchondo ’78, a kindergarten teacher at Vista Del Sol Elementary School, was chosen Teacher of the Year for elementary schools by the Socorro Independent School District in El Paso.

Candelario Barragan ’96, a math teacher at El Dorado High School and one of four Texas teachers to receive the Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award in 2007, was honored in May by the Texas House and Senate.

Pauline Anne Dow ’84, ’87, ’89, associate superintendent at the Canutillo Independent School District, was recently named the chief academic officer for the Ysleta Independent School District in El Paso.

Mirella B. Garcia ’92, ’98, a financial representative for Premier Wealth Group in El Paso, was appointed to the Early Childhood Intervention Advisory Committee by Governor Rick Perry in May.

Rosa Guerrero ’57, ’77, 1996 Gold Nugget Award recipient for the College of Education and 1997 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient, was honored by the YWCA for her contribution to the organization as part of the YWCA’s celebration of 100 years service to the community.

Marina Hansen ’81, an English teacher at Mission Early College High School, was named Teacher of the Year for secondary schools by the Socorro Independent School District in El Paso.

Ron H. Hou ’94 is celebrating his 12th year at WaferTech, LLC, the first dedicated semiconductor contract manufacturer in the United States, located in Camas, WA. He is currently the manager of IT.

Omar Khateeb ’08 is one of seven El Pasoans accepted into the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Paul L. Foster School of Medicine’s first class.

Ashok Lakkavaram ’97 recently joined the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and is transferring to Houston, TX.

Susan A. Melendez ’79, a member of the Cornerstone Society, UTEP Trust and the Marketing and Management Advisory Board of the UTEP College of Business Administration, is being honored for her years of dedicated service to the YWCA during its celebration of 100 years service to the community.

Luis A. Mendez Jr. ’60 is retiring after 50 years teaching music, most recently at the Jewett School of the Arts in Winter Haven, Florida. He will still perform with his own group- the Louie Mendez Trio.

Keri Lynn Moe ’99, ’02, lecturer at the UTEP Department of Communication, associate professor of speech communication at El Paso Community College (EPCC), and officer of the UTEP Alumni Association Board, was given a teaching award at this year’s EPCC Awards Dinner.

Thomas Mayhew ’86 was recently selected for promotion to captain in the US Navy. He is currently serving a tour with the Marine Corps as the assistant operations officer, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing in San Diego, CA.

Grace Ng ’08 is one of seven El Pasoans accepted into the Texas Tech university Health Sciences Center Paul L. Foster School of Medicine’s first class.

Juan M. Ontiveros ’74, executive director of utilities and energy management at UT Austin and International District Energy Association (IDEA) member since 1999, was elected 2009-2010 chair at IDEA’s annual meeting held in July in Arlington, VA.

Danny Martin Paniagua ’00, a Clardy Elementary School coach, was named Teacher of the Year for elementary schools by the El Paso Independent School District in May.

Susie Quintana ’04 has recently been commissioned to serve as a U.S. Diplomat in Mumbai, India.

Benjamin Ramos ’09 is one of seven El Pasoans accepted into the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Paul L. Foster School of Medicine’s first class.

Mark G. Sassenfeld ’09 was selected to begin a year of special study and internship for students wanting to enter the intelligence field, by the National Reconnaissance Office. This new program was created in partnership with the University of Southern California Information Sciences Institute.

Carolyn Scott ’97, R.N., M.Ed., M.H.A., has joined Premier Healthcare Alliance as vice president of Performance Improvement and Quality and will oversee QUEST, a nationwide hospital quality and cost improvement collaborative.

Russell A. "Russ" Vandenburg ’70, the 2002 UTEP Distinguished Alumni Award recipient, member of the UTEP Development Board, chairman of the UTEP Centennial Campaign Leadership Council and president & CEO of El Paso-based TVO North America, was recently elected to serve on the National Multi Housing Council's Board of Directors.

James B. “Brian” Young ’00, former UTEP football standout and semi-retired NFL defensive tackle conducted the third annual Brian Young Pro Camp in El Paso’s Sun Bowl free for high school juniors and seniors.


July 2009

Candelario Barragan `96
, a math teacher at El Dorado High School and recipient of the Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award in 2007, was recently honored with special resolutions on the floors of the Texas Senate and House, recognizing him for extraordinary expertise in teaching math and making a real difference in El Paso and the lives of children.

Mary E. Benham `84, the Interim Superintendent of the Socorro Independent School District, retired June 30th after 35 years working in education.

Mary Brochu Bell `83 has been named regional president for Wells Fargo’s Indiana and Ohio region. She will be based in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Violeta Chávez ` 03 recently graduated with a Ph. D. in Microbiology from the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences from The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

John F. Cook `77, Mayor of the City of El Paso, has been appointed to the Federal Southwest Border Task Force by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

Jim Dixon `73 recently completed his term as president of the Houston Chapter of ARMA International, the professional association for records and information management personnel. Dixon has been an active volunteer with the Houston Chapter of the UTEP Alumni Association since its inception in 2004 and is currently the chapter’s vice president.

Yusuf E. Farran `86, `94, executive director of facilities and transportation at the Canutillo Independent School District in El Paso, was named to the Texas Fire Protection Commission by Governor Rick Perry. The commission enforces fire service standards statewide and provides education and assistance to fire personnel.

Joyce Edwards Feinberg `71 has been honored for exceptional and exemplary volunteer leadership by General Secretary Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda of the World YWCA Council at its 26th meeting in Nairobi, Kenya and also by the YWCA El Paso del Norte Region during its celebration of 100 years of service.

Robby Lawrence Felix ’08 recently signed a free-agent contract with the Baltimore Ravens.

Dr. George Raymond Gibson III `98, chief of Aeromedical Services at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico, has recently earned the Malcolm C. Grow Outstanding Flight Surgeon Award.

Paul Marshall Griffin `86 has just been appointed Department Head Chair of the Harold and Inge Marcus Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering at Pennsylvania State University after serving as professor of industrial engineering, co-director of the Center for Health Care Logistics, and associate chair during his tenure in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Georgia Tech.

Patty C. Hudgens `49 was recently recognized for her outstanding volunteer leadership by the YWCA El Paso del Norte Region as it celebrates 100 years of service.

Dr. Lorenzo G. LaFarelle `56 was honored on his 85th birthday by friends and former students from Jefferson, Bowie, Tech, Evening School, EPCC and UTEP for 34 years of service and to commemorate the naming of Dr. Lorenzo G. LaFarelle Middle School.

John Lewandowski `87 will celebrate his 21st year with IBM. Lewandowski is currently an Aix Application programmer and systems analyst in charge of security in Round Rock, Texas.

Josefina Lujan `83, `88, regional dean of the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Anita Thigpen Perry School of Nursing in El Paso, is one of 20 nurses nationally to be selected as a 2009 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation executive nurse fellow. She was also recently appointed by Governor Perry to the Texas Board of Nursing.

Carlos G. Madrid `04 received the Outstanding Young Lawyer Award from the El Paso Bar Association.

Sheryl C. Maxsom `89 was recently appointed as the new principal of Gonzalo and Sofia Garcia Elementary School by the Canutillo Independent School District in El Paso.

Paul C. Maxwell `67, executive director and CEO of the Bi-National Sustainability Laboratory in El Paso, was appointed by Governor Rick Perry to the Product Development and Small Business Incubator Board. The board advises the Economic Development Bank on the administration of the product and small business development fund.

Jeanine Avie Mazoff `99 was nominated by students to be the 2008-2009 El Paso Times Teacher of the Year and received honorable mention for her work at Marion Manor Elementary.

Thomas Meagher `77, `85 recently became administrator of Durango Surgery Center in Las Vegas, NV after serving several years as executive director of Hospice El Paso.

Osvaldo Mendoza `04 had his composition “Atardecer en la Montana `M`” premiered by the El Paso Symphony Youth Orchestra in concert on May 31st at the Plaza Theatre in El Paso. Mendoza is currently a music composition student at Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore.

David Wendell Molix III `94 was nominated by students to be the 2008-2009 El Paso Times Teacher of the Year and received honorable mention for his work at Montwood High School.

Diana Nuñez `99, executive secretary for El Paso Mayor John Cook, received the Administrative Professional of the Year Award at the Eighth Annual Conference for Administrative Professionals in El Paso.

Leticia Paez `74 was recognized for her outstanding leadership and service to the National YWCA Board and the YWCA El Paso del Norte Region during the local YWCA’s celebration of 100 years of service.

Margarita Porras-Grant `99, principal of Jose H. Damian Elementary in Canutillo Independent School District, was named District 19 TEPSAN of the Year for the Texas Elementary Principal and Supervisors Association.

Pam Goldfarb Fenenbock, M.Ed. `86, a psychology instructor at Heald College in Hayward, California, recently passed boards in California to become licensed as a marriage and family therapist.

Richard D. Praytor `96, author, motivational speaker and Christian comedian, recently headlined the Comedy Bus Tour in High Point, North Carolina.

J. James Rohack, M.D. ‘76 was inaugurated June 16, 2009 as the 164th president of the American Medical Association (AMA), the nation's largest and most influential physician organization. Dr. Rohack received the Gold Nugget Award from UTEP’s College of Liberal Arts in 2002 and the Distinguished Alumni Award, the university’s highest honor in 2008.

Carlos Eduardo Ruvalcaba `06 received his law degree May 16th from the Thomas Jefferson School of Law, San Diego, CA.

Michael F. Shaw `70, `75 was recently appointed as chief operations officer for Baja Mining Corporation, in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Humberto R. Silva Jr. `02 received his Ph.D. with highest honors in Aerospace Engineering from Arizona State University in May 2009.

Duke S. Skarda `94 has been appointed as corporate vice president for information technology and software development at The Planet, a global leader in IT hosting, a leading provider of On Demand IT infrastructure solutions located in Houston and Dallas.

Oscar E. Venegas `73 is owner and president of Venegas Engineering Management and Construction which was recently awarded an $8.6 million contract from the Department of Defense to build a training facility at Fort Bliss.

Robert V. Wingo `73 is CEO of Sanders\Wingo ad agency which was recently selected as the 2009 Advertising Agency of the Year by Black Enterprise Magazine.

Margaret Jerry Wright `99, senior associate at TVO North America, was recently appointed by Governor Perry to the Automobile Burglary and Theft Prevention Authority.

Tracy Jo Yellen `95 was recently recognized for her leadership and service by the YWCA El Paso del Norte Region during its celebration of 100 years of service.