Patrick Thornton

age: 30 | Owner | Pop Pop Shoppe

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Ragin Cajun. Pickles Pickles. Butter Cream Caramel. Salt & Vinegar. Blueberry. Who doesn’t love to try all of these popcorn flavors? As the owner of Pop Pop Shoppe, Patrick Thornton’s responsibilities are quite varied and diverse. “Roughly, I attempt to balance the needs of Sales and Operations in the business and ensure that neither wins out over the other,” he says. Through trial and error, Patrick has learned the key to the success of his businesses and now has numerous Pop Pop Shoppe locations in Texarkana (as well as locatons in Little Rock and Conway). He continues, “I wanted to build a great business in my hometown to prove that you didn’t have to leave Texarkana to accomplish big things.”

Best piece of advice:

“IF IT’S GONNA HAPPEN, IT’S GONNA HAPPEN OUT THERE.” – CAPTAIN RON

Making gourmet popcorn that pleases his customers and keeps them coming back for more is Patrick’s mission. Coming up with a Cornferno flavor, also known as “the hottest popcorn in the world,” is a professional feat that makes Patrick very proud while reading the Kindle version of The Chesterton Collection three times is his most noteworthy personal feat.

It’s fair to say that Patrick Thornton is appropriately dubbed “Lord Popcorn.” When asked where he sees himself in 10 years, he replies, “Building a great tower to overlook a fine field and watching as the hay beneath is collected and pressed into bales.”

Name something about you that very few people know:

“Given the nature of the industry I am in and the intentionally specific wording of the claim I am about to make, it is almost entirely certain that I, Patrick Thornton, am the greatest high volume gourmet popcorn maker in the history of the known universe.”

Dr. Jessica Trichel Smith

age: 33 | Optometrist | Wiggins Eye Center

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Dr. Jessica Trichel Smith knows being an optometrist is exactly what she is supposed to be. She applied to Optometry School on a whim, and things seemed to just fall into place. “God put me in an exact place at an exact time and moved every obstacle out of the way,” she explains. “In no way am I here, in this place on my own. It just doesn’t work that way.”

As an Optometrist with Wiggins Eye Center, Jessica diagnoses, treats and manages many ocular diseases. She also writes prescriptions for glasses and contacts. Passionate about her career choice, Jessica loves extending eye care and wants her patients to know they receive top notch care right here at home from someone who cares about them and extends a caring heart.

Best piece of advice:

“WORK HARD, BE KIND AND EVERYTHING ELSE WILL FALL INTO PLACE.” – MIKE SMITH, JESSICA’S HUSBAND

In her free time, Jessica can be found traveling, gardening, and spending time with her husband, Mike, and daughter, Caroline. She also loves snow skiing, being on the water and losing track of time working with her flowers.

Supporting local schools is important to Jessica. She explains, “Education is a passion of mine. I am also involved with Women for the Arts and recently showcased a piece of art in the 18th annual Party with Picassos event. I have also volunteered with Texarkana Community Ballet in their annual production of ‘The Nutcracker.’”

Name something about you that very few people know:

“I was in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 2001, 2002 and 2003 with the Mike Miller Dance Team.”

Olivia Sheppard

age: 28 | Attorney | Trammell Piazza Law Firm, PLLC

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Representing clients in a variety of areas ranging from family law cases to complex civil litigation such as railroad crossing accidents and nursing home negligence is Olivia Sheppard’s duty as an attorney. No matter the case, Olivia’s job is to help put her clients in a better situation moving forward than when they came to her amidst crisis or tragedy.

After attending law school, Olivia moved back to Texarkana to practice law. Involved with many organizations and initiatives, she enjoys giving back to her hometown. “I’m a lifelong member of the First Baptist Church of Ashdown, a member of Women for A&M, and a member of the Texarkana Chi Omega Alumni chapter,” Olivia says. “I’m also a member of the Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association and the American Association of Justice, both of which maintain advocacy efforts that span across areas including our Texarkana area.”

Best piece of advice:

“BE PATIENT AND PERSISTENT.” – CHARLES TRAMMELL, OLIVIA’S GRANDFATHER

Every chance she gets, Olivia enjoys taking vacations with her family. “If I can find the time to leisurely read a book on the beach or see a Broadway play with my Mom, I’m in my happy place,” she explains. “I also love a good baseball trip, whether it’s to watch the Ashdown Panthers, my 7-year-old nephew, or to see my younger cousin play for LSU. I bleed Razorback red and am a University of Arkansas alumni, but I’m a baseball fan of whichever team my family plays for above all else.” Being an aunt to her nephew, Isaac, and niece, Charleigh, is very special to Olivia. She considers them to be “the very best.”

Name something about you that very few people know:

“The first concert I attended was to see Prince at Madison Square Garden. I have my Mom to thank for that one. I don’t think I fully appreciated it at the time.”

Morgan Smith

age: 34 | Entrepreneur | President of TXK Marketing,Phone Pros and Texarkana Gameday

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An entrepreneur to the core, Morgan Smith loves starting new ventures. “We live in a time where you really can do anything you can dream up,” he says. “My wife, Jennifer, and I are into several different areas of business, and I like that we can have a very diverse business model.”

Although Morgan has had his fair share of awards, he is most proud of being able to give back and promote the community that made everything possible for him and his family. He gives back to the Texarkana area by sponsoring two community events every year. During Phone Pros’ annual Christmas event, the Smiths provide professional photos for free, and invite children to visit and meet Santa. Over 2,000 people have attended this event. During the Easter event, they provide Easter photos for free, as well as fun activities for families.

Best piece of advice:

““DOING WHAT IS RIGHT ISN’T ALWAYS THE BEST BUSINESS DECISION, BUT IT IS WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO.” — FAY J DURRANT

For fun, Morgan enjoys golfing and being with his children: Stella, Walker and William. Looking back and seeing the changes he has made professionally in the last couple of years makes Morgan sit back and ponder his future. “I’d like to have a few more businesses open and see the current ones grow,” he explains. “It will be exciting to see what happens.”

Name something about you that very few people know:

“In high school, I could dunk a basketball... I have pictures to prove it.”

Anna Lee Powell

age: 29 | Executive Director of UAHT Foundation & Institutional Advancement | University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana

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In her role as Director of Institutional Advancement, Anna Lee Powell leads the Institutional Advancement Office in promoting and developing the U of A Hope-Texarkana brand, which includes managing the Marketing and Communications Department. “I utilize and establish public and private partnerships to continually develop our brand and increase services, opportunities, and programs in the Hope and Texarkana area. As the UAHT Foundation Director, I am responsible for scholarship generation and advancing opportunities for higher education,” Anna Lee explains. “It is important to me, as a first-generation college student, to help offer equal opportunity to higher education through private and public scholarships. Because of scholarships and a part-time job, I was able to graduate without student loans. Starting without student debt was the leg up I needed as a young graduate, and I hope to make this opportunity available to other students through my role in the UAHT Foundation.”
Anna Lee serves on several local boards, including the United Way of Hempstead County and Southwest Arkansas Arts Council. She is Vice President of the Hope-Hempstead County Chamber of Commerce, and an ex-officio of Hope Junior Auxiliary. She also recently completed the second of three years at the Community Development Institute.

Best piece of advice:

“WHEN I STAND BEFORE GOD AT THE END OF MY LIFE, I WOULD HOPE THAT I WOULD NOT HAVE A SINGLE BIT OF TALENT LEFT BUT COULD SAY I’VE USED EVERYTHING YOU GAVE ME.” – ERMA BOMBECK

Finding a steal deal or a really good bargain is what Anna Lee looks forward to when she is not working. When asked what her greatest personal achievement has been, Anna Lee answers, “Flipping a 30-year-old house with my husband, Colby, and my dad in only three months was a huge personal accomplishment for me.”

For now, Anna Lee’s focus is on promoting U of A Hope-Texarkana to those she meets and helping students achieve a quality higher education. For the future, she hopes to continue to enrich this community and region through volunteerism and engagement.

Name something about you that very few people know:

“In college, I was featured in the reality TV show ‘Not Your Ordinary Beauty Pageants’ on TLC about Festival Pageants across the United States.”

Dr. Torin Marracino

age: 40 | Dentist/Owner | Pleasant Grove Family Dentistry

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Caring and compassionate, Dr. Torin Marracino strives to provide a relaxed and friendly environment while taking care of his patients. Their oral health is important to him because beautiful smiles are a result of receiving optimal dental care. “It is so fun to get to know my patients. They all become more like family to me and my team at Pleasant Grove Family Dentistry. Going to the dentist really can be fun!” Torin describes. “It is my passion to help others. I love my job, and I am blessed to go to work and truly enjoy what I do.”

To stay up-to-date on new dental techniques, Torin takes hundreds of hours of continuing education courses each year. Most recently, he earned fellowship status with the International Dental Implant Association, an honor in which he is very proud.

Best piece of advice:

“SON, DO NOT WORK YOUR LIFE AWAY. PUT UP FOR RETIREMENT BUT BE SURE TO ENJOY LIFE, BECAUSE YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT TOMORROW WILL BRING.” —ROY SIMS, TORIN’S GRANDFATHER

Marrying the love of his life, Michaelyn, ranks on the top of Torin’s personal accomplishments. Hunting, traveling, old muscle cars, hanging out with friends skiing and being in the mountains are some of Torin’s favorite activities when he is looking for some rest and relaxation.

Torin plays an active part in Texas Mission of Mercy. This dental clinic travels around the state providing free basic dental care to people with limited resources. He explains, “I host the pre- screening for Texarkana at my office where we take X-rays and do exams, and then I provide services, among other local dentists, at the clinic which is held at Texas High School. This takes place every three years. This past year, we saw over 400 people in two days. It is so rewarding to help those who are less fortunate. They are so appreciative, and it is the least I can do to give back to our great community!

Name something about you that very few people know:

“I took a bowling class in college, and I’m actually still pretty good at it!”

Ashly King

age: 38 | Realtor® | ERA Raffaelli Realtors

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Although she is fairly new to the real estate industry, Ashly King has many years of sales and customer service experience. She applies that experience by listening to people while buying and selling real estate. Her goal is to be available to her clients, always being ready to learn and make the process of buying/selling go as smoothly as it possibly can.

“Being a Realtor® puts me in the position of controlling my outcome. If I work hard, put in the hours, and am available to my clients, I should see a positive result. I enjoy working. I enjoy showing my children a positive working mother image,” Ashly explains. “I received my Texas license in February 2019 and Arkansas license in July 2019. Being so new to the game, I have a lot of energy and excitement, and I’m ready for the experience. I’m also very excited to be on team ERA! Combining the experience of Steve Raffaelli, Virginia Ann Prazak and Joe Sterle with the newness of Lauren Callaway and myself, makes for a great combination of agents to help buy and sell Texarkana!”

Best piece of advice:

“DON’T TALK SO MUCH; LISTEN MORE. MOST PEOPLE WANT TO TELL YOU ABOUT THEMSELVES, NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND ... THAT’S HOW YOU LEARN WHAT PEOPLE REALLY WANT AND NEED.”, VAN ALEXANDER

Ashly was raised knowing that family comes first. She is so proud of her children, Grant, Sam and Noelle, and enjoys supporting them and caring for them with her husband, Ben. “No matter what, my family was always there to love me unconditionally, support me 100% (even if they didn’t agree with my decision) and they would sacrifice without hesitation,” Ashly explains. “Early on, I had dreams of being a mom, having my own children that I could share with this same set of values. Now I have a 13, 9 and 8 year old. My wish is that they never have to question where I stand, because I will always be right by their side.”

Name something about you that very few people know:

“I have really long toes that I can use to pick things up and pinch the heck out of someone!”

Elizabeth Jacobsen

age: 33 | Family Nurse Practitioner and Owner/Operator | Eternal Beauty Medical Aesthetics

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Elizabeth Jacobsen always dreamed of owning her own business. As an advanced practice nurse, she was able to accomplish that goal. “I love my career in medical aesthetics. The beauty, health and wellness industry is ever expanding,” she explains. “We all want to look and feel our best. The past two years, I have traveled the country as well as internationally to research the latest technology and techniques. I have brought them all here to Eternal Beauty Medical Aesthetics.”

For fun, Elizabeth enjoys spending time camping and boating with her husband, Erik, and children, Abbygayle (17), Emily (13) and Jaxon (7). Raising her children while successfully completing school and preparing to open a business when the children were older is her greatest personal accomplishment.

Best piece of advice:

“IF SOMEONE TELLS YOU ‘NO,’ YOU’RE TALKING TO THE WRONG PERSON.” —DR. ERIK JACOBSEN, ELIZABETH’S HUSBAND

Supporting local businesses is important to both Elizabeth and Erik (an ER physician with Texarkana Emergency Center). Every contractor they have used to renovate Eternal Beauty’s space as well as Texarkana Emergency Center’s expansion project has been done by local businesses. They always choose local as their way of giving back to the community.

In 10 years, Elizabeth sees herself taking Eternal Beauty Medical Aesthetics to the next level with multiple locations and products.

Name something about you that very few people know:

“I am obsessed with Halloween and usually start decorating at the end of August.”

Clayton Wisdom

age: 33 | Commercial Lender | Diamond Bank

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Helping people make smart financial decisions and assisting them in achieving their dreams is Clayton Wisdom’s job at Diamond Bank. He enjoys seeing small businesses and families grow and succeed. “In my line of work, I’m able to help people see their dreams come true through financial assistance,” he explains. “I meet and talk to people every day with ideas for their businesses, dream house plans and much more.”

Having a broad client base is important to Clayton. “It might seem small, but it’s a great accomplishment every time one of my current customers shares my name and information to a potential customer,” he says. “It shows that they trust me and that their experience with me was a positive one.”

Best piece of advice:

“BE CONTENT AND RESIGNED TO GOD’S WILL.” — THOMAS JONATHAN JACKSON

When asked about his greatest personal accomplishment, Clayton says that it has to be convincing his wife, Magan, to marry him. An avid volunteer, Clayton has served on the Junior League of Texarkana Community Advisory Council for two years, volunteered time serving as a board member on Teen Court, served multiple years as a board member of the Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund, and gives back to multiple community projects.

Clayton can often be found participating in outdoor activities (especially hunting and fishing) and playing with his son, Lane. Since Clayton enjoys his job as a commercial lender, he hopes to still be broadening his banking career for many years to come.

Name something about you that very few people know:

“While in college, I had my CDL and drove commercial transit buses for the University of Arkansas to help pay my way through college.”

Ross Sarine

age: 38 | Vice President | Tatum Excavating Company, Inc.

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Ross Sarine grew up watching his father in the construction business. Though it was, and is, hard work that requires many hours, he always looked up to his dad’s word ethic and became very interested in heavy equipment and road building. “I went on to study Construction Science at Texas A&M University, and then moved to Texarkana to start my career,” Ross says. “There are many days I question my sanity, but there’s also nothing else I’d rather do!”

At TEC, Inc., and its affiliated companies, Ross is grateful for the privilege of leading a group of dedicated men and women in the construction of both public and private civil projects in the Four States area. Even though it has been quite a challenge, Ross considers his career very rewarding and the fulfillment of a lifelong dream.

Best piece of advice:

“DO YOUR BEST, DON’T QUIT, DON’T LIE AND DON’T APOLOGIZE.” — RAY HAYS, ROSS’ GRANDFATHER

Marrying his best friend, Emily, and raising their 11-year-old son, Jack, is Ross’s greatest personal accomplishment. Spending time with his family, attending and watching Pleasant Grove High School sporting events, attending and watching Fightin’ Texas Aggie sporting events, singing at church, exercising, working on home projects and spending time outdoors are Ross’s favorite pastimes.

As a member of the Pleasant Grove ISD Board of Trustees, Texarkana Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Council, First Baptist Church Texarkana Personnel Committee, First Baptist Church Texarkana choir and Pleasant Grove Youth Association flag football coach, Ross truly enjoys serving the Texarkana community. In the future, he sees himself continuing to invest in TEC, Inc. and its people, serving in numerous volunteer capacities in Texarkana and making every excuse to visit Jack in college!

Name something about you that very few people know:

“I caught a lake record small mouth bass at 6 years old with my Grandad at Lake Belton in Belton, Texas ... 4 pounds, 12 ounces. He submitted my picture to every bass fishing magazine he knew and was VERY proud!”

Dillon Roseberry

age: 29 | Campus Magnet Coordinator for North Heights Jr. High | Texarkana Arkansas School District

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Dillon Roseberry’s most important role as the magnet grant coordinator for the Texarkana Montage Project is to be a responsible steward of the federal dollars with which he has been entrusted. He uses these funds to procure and coordinate resources that will improve the experiences of junior high students while advancing the goals of the school and the district.

Facility upgrades, after-school programs and one-to-one technology are some recent examples of areas in which Dillon has worked very hard. “After teaching history for seven years, I now work mostly behind-the-scenes to turn visions into reality through this fantastic grant program. This is a challenging job for someone who wants to do it well, and that keeps me on my toes so that I am never bored or complacent,” he explains. “I love that every project I touch will affect all of our kids, not just some of them, and I love that we do it all at no cost to them or their families. We serve 600 kids ages 12-13, and many of them spend more time with us than they do at home, so every decision I make is intended to support not just academics but adolescent social and emotional development as well.”

Best piece of advice:

“NOBODY IN LIFE GETS EXACTLY WHAT THEY THOUGHT THEY WERE GOING TO GET. BUT IF YOU WORK RE- ALLY HARD AND YOU’RE KIND, AMAZING THINGS WILL HAPPEN.” — CONAN O’BRIEN

Dillon’s educational journey has equipped him with the skills and mindset to go wherever the road may lead him. He has an undergraduate degree in secondary social sciences education from Henderson State, a masters in adult education from TAMU- Texarkana, and a Specialist in K-12 principal from Arkansas State. He is also weighing doctoral options in our region. He says, “I do not come from a long line of educators; I just love school, always have, and always will.”

A member of the Texarkana Young Professionals, Dillon feels it is every citizen’s duty to be informed and to share the good things happening in the community. He attends City Council and school board meetings and does his best to keep up with the entire community. He is also involved with the rescue efforts of the Texarkana Animal League which he calls “one of the most rewarding decisions I have ever made.”

What will Dillon be doing in 10 years? “If I could stare at pictures of little dogs all day and still pay my bills, it would be a life fully lived,” Dillon jokes. “But until then, I may be in law school, involved with political advocacy full-time, or doing exactly what I am doing now. I wanted to be an architect growing up, so it’s even possible I will pursue that.”

Name something about you that very few people know:

“Cultural documentaries and authentic Mexican food are the fastest way to my heart.”

Kelly Birdwell

age: 40 | Certified Public Accountant | Wilf & Henderson, PC

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Crunching numbers is not for everyone; however, Kelly Birdwell has always liked working with numbers and taking math classes. After taking an accounting class in high school that was very interesting to her, she found that she loved how everything balanced. “I decided to major in accounting for a college degree and accepted a job from Wilf & Henderson as soon as I finished my MBA. I was thrown into auditing Texas school districts and have specialized in that area ever since,” Kelly says. “My career as a CPA is very challenging and gives me the opportunity to use many skills, including communication, organization, leadership, problem- solving and team building. I enjoy working closely with my clients and my coworkers. I am fortunate to be a part of a firm that allows me to balance work and family.”

Best piece of advice:

“SUCCESS COMES WHEN OPPORTUNITY MEETS PREPARATION.” —COACH ROSS MORGAN, KELLY’S HIGH SCHOOL VOLLEYBALL COACH

For fun, Kelly enjoys going to ball games, snow skiing and taking vacations at the beach with her husband, Chris, and children, Kinsley (13), Ripken (11) and Anna Kate (3). She volunteers as a softball coach for a local travel team, serves as executive secretary of the Texarkana Chapter of CPAs, and is very involved with her church.

“In 10 years, I don’t see life slowing down at all. I will continue working hard at Wilf & Henderson to ensure it remains a successful accounting firm in Texarkana,” she explains. “My husband and I plan to be supporting our older two kids in college and starting all over with the younger one. I will also still be supporting my husband coaching the Hooks Hornets on Friday nights.”

Name something about you that very few people know:

“I played college softball.”

Claire Wilson

age: 33 | 504 Specialist | Texarkana Independent School District

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Claire Wilson’s passion and drive revolves around the field of education. For the past five years, she has been a sixth grade math teacher at Texas Middle School. Although it was bittersweet for her to hang up her teaching hat, she is now a 504 Specialist for TISD. “I am now working with the teachers, staff and families at the Josh and Martha Morriss Elementary, Nash Elementary and Waggoner Creek Elementary to ensure that every student receives the best education they can, regardless of their disabilities,” she explains. “It is so exciting to me to be given this new opportunity to take a step back from the classroom, but still be able to learn and grow with TISD.”

Feeling fortunate to wake up each morning living a life that she truly loves, Claire admits that she has the best family and friends who are more like family. She and her husband, Drew, have a 2-year-old daughter, Charlie Jane, who she calls a “firecracker who keeps us on our toes.”

Best piece of advice:

“YOU CAN ALWAYS MAKE MORE MONEY, BUT YOU CAN’T ALWAYS MAKE MORE TIME.” – LOUISE THORNELL, CLAIRE’S MOTHER

Becoming a teacher is Claire’s greatest professional accomplishment. “My ‘why’ behind teaching was that I wanted to be that ‘safe place’ for students. I have always said that math didn’t always come first in my classroom, but instead, love and respect did. It was so important to me to begin the year building these relationships in order to create a safe spot so that learning could actually take place,” she explains. “We learned together. We cried together. We laughed together. We felt frustrated together, and so much more.” Today, that decision to go into teaching still affects Claire’s career-thinking process, even in her new role as 504 Specialist.

In 10 years, Claire imagines she will still be in the field of education in some capacity because advocating and being a voice and resource for students of Texarkana is what completes her professionally. She looks forward to continuing to live life and keep on having adventures (both big and small) with her family and friends.

Name something about you that very few people know:

“I really want to learn to weld! It is something that I have always been so fascinated with, and I love creating things! I recently saw that TRAHC offers a class through LeGrand Welding and Ironworks, called Metalsmithing! How fun would this be? Myself and several friends want to sign up for a class in the near future!”

Heather Avery

age: 36 | VP Deposit Operations | State Bank

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Staying busy and learning new things makes Heather Avery happy. “I have been in banking for over 18 years. This side of how the bank operates has always been interesting to me. My job in Deposit Operations takes me in many directions, which is part of the reason I love it!” Heather says. “My job consists of training, audits, updating or writing new policies or procedures and treasury management, to name a few. Every day is something new, and that’s exciting!”

Early on, Heather set a goal to obtain a college degree. While getting a bachelor’s degree at TAMU-T, she decided to obtain a master’s degree also. Although it wasn’t easy, working and raising a family while continuing to attend college, Heather is thrilled that she received her MBA from TAMU-T in 2014.

Best piece of advice:

“IT COULD BE WORSE.” – MELISSA WINKLES, HEATHER’S MOTHER

Heather serves on the Volunteer in Public Schools Board through TISD for the Nash Elementary campus. She has been the volunteer coordinator for three years, going on four. She is also currently serving as a committee co-chair for Race for the Cure® and volunteers to help the children’s classes and other community events through Heritage Church.

Heather’s favorite pastime is spending time with her friends and family. Time at the pool and vacationing during the summer with her husband, Kevin, and children, Abigail (9) and Owen (2), is also her idea of fun. What does Heather think she will be doing in 10 years? “I will still be in Texarkana, for sure!” she answers. “And I will have a 12-year- old and a 19-year-old, so I assume that will be taking up most of my time outside of work, which I hope is still at State Bank.”

Name something about you that very few people know:

“I am always surprised at the number of people who don’t know I am a twin. I have a twin sister, Holly, who also lives in Texarkana and works right down the street from me!”

Bryan Callaway

age: 36 | Landscape/Interior Designer | Studio 230 and MerchantHouse

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While originally attending the University of Arkansas, Bryan Callaway studied architecture. However, after his first year there, his focus turned to landscape architecture. “I have always had an interest in design and construction. I worked for a design firm after college, but soon realized my desire to be in the field during construction phase was as important as the design work itself,” he explains. “That is when I decided to start my own design/build company called Studio 230, named after my studio number in architecture school. MerchantHouse followed four years later when I began to do more and more interior design work.” Luckily, Bryan’s partner in MerchantHouse shared the same passion as he did, so the two teamed up to develop the company.

Fortunate to be able to do what he loves for a career on a daily basis, Bryan acknowledges that owning his own company is a fete in which he is very proud. He strives to continue growing both in his personal and professional lives.

Best piece of advice:

“GO PLAY OUTSIDE.” – REBECCA WICHHART, BRYAN’S MOTHER

Bryan serves on the Historic Landmark Preservation Committee for the City of Texarkana, Texas, and works with several local nonprofits in the area. Whether volunteering time, auction items, design work or materials for fundraisers or to furnish offices, Bryan feels that giving back to his community is important.

Ultimately, Bryan’s hope is to continue working in design, both interior and exterior. “I also hope to still be enjoying all the moments with my family and friends that I do now,” he says. “My life revolves around my family, so I see myself enjoying time with them and continuing to watch them grow in the future.”

Name something about you that very few people know:

“I binge watch the Science Channel, and I’m addicted to Slim Jim mild beef jerky sticks.”

Dr. Stephen Steele

age: 35 | Physician, Gastroenterologist | Texarkana Gastroenterology Consultants

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Ever since he was a little boy, Dr. Stephen Steele wanted to be a doctor. While growing up in Texarkana, he had the opportunity to shadow some amazing doctors. He explains, “I specifically chose gastroenterology because I get to work in both the inpatient and outpatient setting combining preventive health, internal medicine and procedural care.”

While in GI fellowship, Stephen was able to help develop and lead the implementation of a system-based approach for the management of pancreatitis that improved patient care and outcomes. That work was selected for an oral presentation at one of the national GI meetings.

Best piece of advice:

“YOU CAN’T GO BACK AND CHANGE THE BEGINNING, BUT YOU CAN START WHERE YOU ARE AND CHANGE THE ENDING.” — C.S. LEWIS

Stephen admits that he always

dreamed of having a big family. He enjoys doing outdoor activities with his wife, Laura, and children, Isaac (6), Samuel (4), Silas (2) and Amelia (1). “We love to go hiking. I also enjoy traveling and experiencing the food from other cultures, coaching my son’s soccer team, cooking, photography, hunting, and Texas A&M football. My family has been my biggest blessing,” he adds.

Since being a doctor is his dream job, Stephen is honored that he gets to do what he has always dreamed of doing ... and he gets to do it in his hometown. “The only thing I would change is adding one more kid to our crew at home,” he confirms. “I am still trying to convince my wife on that one!”

Name something about you that very few people know:

“I love pie! I love baking pie and eating pie. Growing up, my Mamaw made the best pies, and it is one of my fondest childhood memories. I have enjoyed sharing this tradition of both baking and eating pie with my kids.”

Dr. Jamie Daigle

age: 34 | Instructor of Supply Chain Management Texas A&M University-Texarkana

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Dr. Jamie Daigle is an Instructor of Supply Chain Management at Texas A&M University-Texarkana. Occasionally, she contracts with local companies to provide business intelligence solutions to streamline operations by building artificial intelligence-based platforms. Formerly a member of the business faculty at the University of Houston-Downtown, Jamie moved to Texarkana to work alongside the amazing leaders at TAMU-T. “I am passionate about the logistics industry and am organizing a nonprofit 501(c)(6) called the ‘Red River Air Cargo Association’ where I will act as President of the organization to bring more air cargo into the Texarkana community,” she explains. “I am zealous about helping students and current business executives solve complicated head scratchers by exposing them to new knowledge within the industry. Excited about contributing to the supply chain management industry by discovering new knowledge myself, I have been published in numerous journals including the Journal of Organizational Psychology, International Journal of Healthcare Management, and Health Marketing Quarterly.”

Best piece of advice:

“ALWAYS BE ABLE TO COUNT ON YOURSELF, AND BE INDEPENDENT. GO TO COLLEGE AND INVEST YOURSELF IN YOUR CAREER.” –BREANNA STEPHENS, JAMIE’S MOTHER

Obtaining a Doctor of Business Administration ABD from the University of Liverpool while being a single mom to three children and working full-time is a feat in which Jamie is very proud. Being honored with the Teaching Excellence Award at TAMU-T is her greatest professional accomplishment.

Traveling and experiencing new culture and cuisine is Jamie’s idea of fun. She also enjoys inspiring her children, Annabelle Lilly Poetry Daigle (age 10), Abigale Caelyn Jo Daigle (age 8) and Addison Grace Marie Daigle (age 4) to be intellectually curious. “I like to make discoveries with them and illicit their individual genius. When I have downtime, we will look at the stars at night, or under a microscope during the day,” she explains. “There is nothing more rewarding than seeing the tiny ‘aha’ moments where the light bulb goes off and curiosity shines bright. I intend to create a life without regrets for my children and to leave big shoes to fill.”

Name something about you that very few people know:

“My nickname growing up was ‘Data.’ My thirst for knowledge started as soon as I learned to read. Back in the days of the hard copy Encyclopedia Britannica (before google and search engines), I would beg my mom for the newest encyclopedias for Christmas.”

Lee Alison McCrary

age: 33 | Nurse Practitioner | De Kalb Physicians Clinic

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Lee Alison McCrary provides health care to people in and around the De Kalb community. “I have always had great adoration for older adults,” she explains. “This adoration was the driving force behind pursuing my nurse practitioner specialization in adults. To make health care more accessible in my community, I make home visits to patients that are homebound or too ill to come to the clinic. It is a privilege to give back to the community that has given me so much. I have a large extended family in the Texarkana area and as they say, ‘Home is where the heart is.’”

Married to Adam, Lee Alison is very proud of her children: Adison (13) and Titan (8). “Adison was born when I was 19 years old, and I had just applied to nursing school. Her birth made me more determined than ever to finish my degree,” she says. “Less than a year after my son’s birth, I began to pursue my masters degree and nurse practitioner license. I knew the odds were against me in these pursuits, because only 2% of teen moms earn a college degree by the age of 30. My children were my motivation then and continue to be my motivation now.”

Best piece of advice:

“MAKE LIFE LESS ABOUT YOU, THEN YOU WILL REALIZE HOWTRULY FULFILLING IT IS.” — DEBRA MCCRARY, LEE ALISON’S MOTHER

Waking up every morning looking forward to working in a career that she loves, with people she enjoys working with, and helping others are Lee Alison’s daily motivators. She also spends many hours helping with various sports associations in the community, especially the De Kalb youth baseball and softball association. Lee Alison, her colleagues, and Dr Groom also provide physicals to De Kalb ISD each school year for the athletic and band departments. Every year, De Kalb Physicians Clinic also sponsors and participates in the De Kalb Oktoberfest & Saturday in the Park.

Name something about you that very few people know:

“I am a true lefty and a sports fanatic.”

Katherine Anne Doan

age: 22 | Student | The University of Texas at Austin

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A fifth year senior at The University of Texas at Austin, Katherine Anne Doan graduated with a degree in Plan II Honors (a liberal arts renaissance degree) and will be graduating in 2020 with degrees in Computational Engineering and French Language. The daughter of Jennifer and Darby Doan, Katherine Anne plans on following in her parents’ footsteps. “I love the majors I’m pursuing and am currently planning on continuing my education in law school,” she says.

As a member of the Texas 4000 2019 team, Katherine Anne recently biked from Austin, Texas, to Anchorage, Alaska. “I took the Sierra route which went west through Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, then north along the Pacific coast through California, Oregon and Washington, through western Canada and into Alaska,” she explains. “Every member of our team raised a minimum of $4,500, and along our ride we awarded grants to cancer research and support organizations. Despite being someone who hates biking, this has been the most incredible experience, and I have met so many incredible hosts, researchers and people affected by cancer along the way that have changed my life forever.”

Best piece of advice:

“DON’T AIM TO BE SUCCESSFUL. AIM TO BE OF VALUE. YOU CAN DO ANYTHING YOU PUT YOUR MIND TO, SO PUT YOUR MIND TO EVERYTHING YOUR HEART IS IN, AND YOU’LL NEVER WANT FOR PURPOSE.” —SAMMYE HALTOM, KATHERINE ANNE’S GRANDMOTHER

Katherine Anne’s greatest academic accomplishment was completing her thesis in May and being awarded as a Model Theses for Plan II. The title was “Equal but Separated: Desegregation of Texarkana Public Schools,” and was a historical narrative of the era leading up to and including integration in Texarkana’s schools. Katherine Anne interviewed Texarkana citizens who were students and teachers at the time, read school board minutes from TISD and TASD from 1954-1975 and used the Texarkana Gazette archive at Texarkana College to compile a cohesive narrative of what happened during that time and the social and cultural impact it created. She concludes, “This topic was important to me because as a fourth generation graduate of Texas High School, my family history is deeply entwined with the history of this city and its schools.”

Name something about you that very few people know:

“I memorize poetry for fun!”

Mitch Alexander

age: 33 | Manager | Alexander’s Jewelers

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Ever since he can remember, Mitch Alexander has had a passion for watches. While helping run his family’s business, Alexander’s Jewelers, Mitch has been able to follow this passion. A three generation business, Alexander’s prides itself on customer service, second to none. “It’s very exciting for me to be able to help a client find the perfect watch for them, which they could possibly pass down for generations,” Mitch explains.

Mitch and his wife, Kelia, have one son. Being a father to Zayden is Mitch’s greatest personal accomplishment. In his spare time, Mitch enjoys spending time with his son and working out. Professionally, Mitch’s greatest achievement is being able to develop a watch clientele across the United States.

Best piece of advice:

“THERE IS NO GREAT ACHIEVEMENT THAT IS NOT THE RESULT OF PATIENT WORKING AND WAITING.” – JERRY ALEXANDER, MITCH’S GRANDFATHER

Besides his daily service to others at Alexander’s Jewelers, Mitch and his family have participated for many years during nonprofit events. To name a few, Heart Ball, Party with Picassos, Opportunities, Inc.’s Golf Tournament, and Alzheimer’s Alliance events are organizations the Alexanders have supported.

Looking ahead, Mitch hopes to still be in the jewelry industry working with his family, growing his industry knowledge and expanding/ growing Alexander’s Jewelers’ clientele.

Name something about you that very few people know:

“I am mechanically-inclined. I like figuring out the mechanics to fixing things that are not properly working. I enjoy working on something over and over until I can figure it out and overcome the challenge.”