Fallin’s flurry of favorites: Chief executive puts appointees in place for tourism, small colleges, other posts
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Published: 23-May-2011

With the consent of the state Senate, Governor Mary Fallin advanced a diverse range of appointments during the last week of the 2011 legislative session.

The governor named her choices for the tourism commission, ABLE Commission, the accountancy board, an organ donor advisory panel, three small college boards, and the conservation commission. 

In the course of even a single four-term, governors of Oklahoma make thousands of appointments to boards and commissions with powers of governance; other posts have advisory power. 

Due to Senate action on Wednesday, May 18, the following individuals will assume their positions on the Tourism and Recreation Commission: Julie Jacobs Daniels, Xavier Niera, Dr. Rick Henry, Charles Perry, Ronda Roush and T.L. Walker.

According to material from the governor’s office, provided on Friday, May 20, Daniels is community volunteer, formerly serving as both mayor and a member of the City Council in Bartlesville. She is a vice president of the local Boys/Girls Club and member of the regional Chamber of Commerce. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Oklahoma, and her law degree from the University of Tulsa. Daniels replaces Amy Regan.

Niera, of Norman, is state development director at Manhattan Construction. Past service includes the advisory board of the Federal Reserve (Kansas City), Leadership Tulsa and the state Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. A graduate of Texas A&M University, Niera replaces Rebecca Switzer. 

Dr. Henry is an Altus dentist and member of the city council. He is active with the Southwest Area Economic Development Corporation, as well as the community’s Military Affairs Committee. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Southwestern OSU, then his dentistry medical degree at OU. Dr. Henry replaces Jason Glidewell.

Chuck Perry of Grove operates ReMax Grand Lake, belongs to national, state and regional organizations for Realtors, and is active in local Chambers of Commerce. He was a founder of the Grove Educational Foundation for Excellence. Perry becomes an at-large member, replacing Frank Sims with a term that will expire in 2013.

Porcelain artist Ronda Roush is a Tulsan. She previously served the Tulsa community in several capacities, including Junior League and Boy’s Home Auxiliary. She was a founder of Friends of the Mansion. Roush’s B.F.A. is from OU. She is serving an at-large term ending in 2014, and replaces Tony Benson. 

From Ponca City, Walker is reappointed to the commission as an at-large member with a term ending in 2012. She is director of the Standing Bear Native American Foundation and Northern Oklahoma College’s Tribal Institute. 

The chief executive announced two appointments to the ABLE (Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement) Commission, both of whom have been confirmed by the Senate. 

Bryan Close of Tulsa, president of a pipe fitting company, has served on the ABLE panel since 1994 and was reappointed to a seven-year term. He is a graduate of Oklahoma State University. 

Harry Kouri III of Oklahoma City has served since 2006 and is the current ABLE Commission chairman. He is managing partner of a law firm, and active in bar associations. A graduate of the University of Kansas, he earned his law degree from Oklahoma City University and now has another seven-year term.

The governor also made appointments to the Oklahoma Accountancy Board. 

Jay Engelbach, who previously served 2002-07, has returned to the board. 

A former president of the state society of Certified Public Accountants, Engelach served in the auditor general’s office of the U.S. Air Force. A graduate of Oklahoma State University, he has been named to a five-year term, replacing Kim Wyatt Shoemake.

Reappointed for a five-year term is Tulsa’s Elbert B. “E.B.” St. John. Now tax manager at United Benefits Technologies, he served 28 years as an IRS (Internal Revenue Service) case manager. St. John is a graduate of Oklahoma City University, and will serve as a Public Accountant member. 

Karen Cunningham, Oklahoma City, is president of Oklahoma Financial Center and a licensed chartered financial consultant. Her degree is from OU. She replaced Tom Volturo and will serve as a lay board member. 

Mooreland’s Elmer Maddux was reappointed to the Organ Donor Education and Awareness Program Advisory Council, and will serve a four-year term. A 16-year member of the state House, he operates a wheat and cattle ranch and is active in rural leadership for Woodward County. 

On May 18, Fallin named regents for Redlands Community College, Northern Oklahoma College and Rose State. 

Tracey Wills was named to the Redlands board. A founder of The Wills Group specializing in health-care businesses, she is a registered nurse and graduate of the school. Wills now moves into a seven-year term hitch on the regents, replacing Billy Pope.

Remaining on the NOC board is Keith James of Enid, who operates a farming and ranching business in the Pond Creek area. First appointed by former Governor Frank Keating in 1995, James was reappointed twice by Brad Henry. A graduate of Oklahoma State University, he begins another five-year term. 

Russell Smith joins the board for Rose State. A former mayor of Midwest City (including a stint on the board of directors for the conference of mayors and the municipal league), he runs a real estate development company. After garnering his Associate’s degree from Rose State, he earned a Bachelor’s from the University of Central Oklahoma. 

Beginning last week’s announcements on Monday (May 16), Fallin put Karl Jett into place as an Area 1 commissioner (covering much of northwest Oklahoma) for the Oklahoma Conservation Commission.

Operator of Laverne’s KC Farms since 1972, Jett is active in several Beaver County associations and cooperatives. His degree from Oklahoma State University is in agricultural economics. Jett replaces Matt Gard. 

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