Special Olympics Texas is governed by a Board of Directors, which consists of 22 out of 28 volunteer positions. Among these positions are two athlete positions, and one is currently filled. Special Olympics Texas was one of the first chapters in the nation to implement athlete participation on its governing Board by amending its bylaws in 1995 to allow for two athlete positions.
In addition to meeting the requirements of the position the Director is filling, a Board member shall have demonstrated leadership qualities through their public relations, public awareness, fund raising and/or program accomplishments on behalf of Special Olympics Texas. Applications for membership are submitted to the Board Management Committee for review. Final nominees are presented to the entire Board of Directors for selection.
Chad Tywater is a Unit Director for the H-E-B Grocery Company. He was named to the Special Olympics Texas Board of Directors in 2015. Tywater has been employed with H-E-B for over 18 years and is a graduate of H-E-B’s School of Retail Leadership program, where he spent time training in every department in the store and developing his leadership skills. He is currently the Chair of the Marketplace Committee on H-E-B’s Corporate Diversity Council and is a former chair of the Austin Area Diversity Council where he’s been an active member since 1998. For the past three years, he has also been the Chair of H-E-B’s volunteer organization, the Spirit Corps. Outside of H-E-B, Tywater also serves as a Board Member for the Elgin Chamber of Commerce. He is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin (B.A. Economics 1995) and held several leadership positions in his fraternity and the Longhorn Band. He is an active volunteer and volunteers over 100 hours a year with different organizations around the Austin area, including SOTX. His favorite SOTX event is, “Over the Edge,” where he’s rappelled in multiple cities since 2011. Board member since 2015.
Steve Griffith, is a Houston area native and a 35-year law enforcement veteran. He came to the City of Sugar Land as the Chief of Police in August of 2005. Steve was promoted in 2014 to 1st Assistant City Manager for the City of Sugar Land. He oversees Police, Fire, Public Safety Communications, and Airport. Griffith has been actively involved in with Special Olympics Texas for over 24 years. He is the Former Area 4 Chair, as which he served six years. Revenue for Area 4 (Houston) surpassed $100,000 four times. Griffith served as State Director for the Torch Run for 2 years. During his tenure as State Director, he worked to integrate the State Prison System in to the Torch Run. While serving as State Director, the revenue generated by the Texas Torch Runners was $2 million annually. The Texas Torch Run received national awards for revenue growth and totals. Griffith served on the State Board of Directors for 10 years, including serving as the Chairman of the Board for two years. He and his wife, Wendy, have two sons. Adam has completed his Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from Texas State University. Tim has obtained his Master’s degree in Criminal Justice and is a police officer in Kyle, Texas. Board member since 2016
Dale Hosack was appointed to the Special Olympics Texas President’s Advisory Council in 2015. Hosack, who holds a degree in Accounting from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, has spent his entire career working in manufacturing and driving lean accounting organizations. He was named the Chief Financial Officer for Western Container Corporation of Sugar Land, becoming only the second CFO in the company’s 30-year history. Western Container is the second largest producer of plastic bottles for the Coca-Cola Bottling System in the world. Hosack and his wife of 35 years enjoy going to sporting events, music concerts and traveling the world. Recently, his daughter and her husband welcomed a daughter in January 2015. Board member since 2016.
Maureen McCutchen is board-certified in Estate Planning and Probate by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Her practice includes probate, trust, guardianship, estate planning and elder law. She is certified by the State of Texas to act as an ad-litem for minors and incapacitated persons and is often appointed by the court to act as an attorney ad-litem an as a guardian ad-litem. She is a qualified mediator and represents clients in business and real estate transactions and in civil litigation. Before joining Mills Shirley LLP in 1993, McCutchen worked for the First Court of Appeals of the State of Texas as a briefing attorney. She also has served as an adjunct professor with the South Texas College of Law in Houston. She is active in the community, serving as president-elect of the Galveston Island Human Society, past president of the Galveston Bar Association and is a member of the Rotary Club of Galveston. Board member since 2014.
The Senior Vice President at Brandt Companies returned to SOTX’s Board of Directors in 2017. Following a one-year hiatus after serving a nine-year term on the board, Hayes is back and will serve a two-year stint in a Programs position.
From 2007-2015, Hayes served on the board following a two-year term on the President’s Advisory Council from 2005-2006. In addition, he has volunteered in numerous capacities at SOTX events in the DFW Metroplex while also devoting his time as a certified tennis coach.
In his role at Brandt, a large mechanical and electrical contracting firm based in Dallas, he oversees all North Texas Business Development efforts, the service business and other corporate functions.
Prior to his current position, Hayes was District Manager for Siemens Building Technologies, Inc., a division of Siemens that provides building controls, fire safety and security system solutions.
Hayes attended Duke University where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1982. He holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management. In 2004, Hayes attended the Southern Methodist University Leadership Program.
Don Langer, the CEO for the UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Texas, was elected to Special Olympics Texas’ (SOTX) board of directors in 2017. He is in the process of serving a two-year term in an at-large position on the board.
Langer joined UnitedHealth Group in 1995 and has served in his current role with UnitedHealthcare since 2012. He works closely with the State of Texas Health and Human Services Commission to support the membership jointly served by HHSC and UnitedHealthcare. In addition to the Medicaid programs administered by HHSC, Langer has accountability for the Texas membership that is dually served by both HHSC as well as the Federal Medicare program.
Prior to his current position, Langer served as Chief Operating Officer of AmeriChoice for the New York plan and CEO for the Connecticut and Delaware plans. Before that, he was responsible for overseeing the integration of UnitedHealth Group’s acquisitions, various operations, networking and strategic innovations.
Langer has a degree from the University of Connecticut and is a certified CPA. Prior to joining UnitedHealth Group, he worked as a CPA with KPMG Peat Marwick where he spent four years working with a variety of clients including Aetna, Timex, Fleet Bank and the University of Connecticut.
In addition to Langer’s professional experience, he has been an advocate for children and has demonstrated commitment to serving young people. Before his time in Texas, he served on the Board of the Hartford Boys and Girls Club, was an active member of the YMCA and coached youth sports for over eight years. Langer was also the Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Governor’s Prevention Partnership Program, an organization that develops programs to address and prevent youth bullying, violence and drug abuse in Connecticut.
More recently, Langer has supported the Texas Alzheimer’s Association. He became a member of the Board of Directors in December of 2014 and has promoted fund raising for Alzheimer’s research through the Walk to Cure Alzheimer’s as well as other statewide projects.
Rick McCarty has been an active volunteer for Special Olympics Texas for over 45 years. This is his fifth term on the Board of Directors, previously serving in both the Program and At-Large positions. He has been the Chairman, Vice-Chairman, and Parliamentarian of the Board, has served as an Athletics/Aquatics official for countless local and state meets, and has attended six World Games as a coach, official, or volunteer. He has also been a member of various committees as part of the Special Olympics United States Leadership Council.
In addition to his passion for Special Olympics, he devoted his career to Special Education both as a teacher and administrator. He retired after serving for 10 years as Director of Special Education at Region 19 Education Service Center, but resumed his career as Director of Special Education at Anthony I. S. D., for two more years. He retired again, after 38 years in the profession. McCarty also served honorably in the United States Navy for ten years’ active duty and reserves. While on active duty, he earned Vietnam Service Medals, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medals, and the Meritorious Unit Commendation. He holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees and numerous post graduate certifications from the University of Texas at El Paso. McCarty lives in San Antonio with his wife, Linda, who has also been a key volunteer for Special Olympics Texas. Their son, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren also live in San Antonio.
Robert Bradshaw was appointed to the Special Olympics Texas President’s Advisory Council in 2015. Bradshaw is originally from Chicago attended Westminster College in Fulton, MO. He and his wife Vicki, of 30 years, have four children: Nicole, Joey, Wylie and Sam. Currently, he is a Site Manager for INEOS Olefins & Polymers in La Porte as well as a volunteer coach for the Clear Creek ISD Challengers where he coaches volleyball, basketball, swimming, and track. Bradshaw also coaches the League City Challengers, which is a division of Little League Baseball for special needs children. Additionally, he is Chairman of the Finance Committee for Clear Lake United Methodist Church. As a Special Olympics coach for the past ten years, he believes Special Olympics can have this same positive influence on boys/girls, men and women who may otherwise not have the opportunity to play in organized sports. Board member since 2016
Athlete Ian Rawn of Plano was named to the SOTX Board in 2018. Rawn is a Global Messenger and represented the United States in the 2017 Special Olympics Winter World Games in Austria as a figure skater, placing fouth in the world. He works at Venturity Financial Partners in Addison and takes continuing education classes at Collin College in McKinney. He was a volunteer fire fighter in Pennsylvania.
Athlete Benjamin Garcia of Lubbock was named to the SOTX Board in 2018. Garcia is a fourth Degree member of the Knights of Columbus and a graduate of Central High School in San Angelo. He is a former member of the SOTX President’s Advisory Council and is a Special Olympics Texas Global Messenger. As a Special Olympics Texas athlete, Garcia competes in basketball, bocce, soccer, bowling, aquatics, softball and golf. In his spare time, he enjoys painting and doing arts and crafts.
Patti Ballew was appointed to the Special Olympics Texas Board of Directors in 2015. Ballew, the 2012 SOTX Athlete of the Year, has participated in nine sports (athletics, bocce, bowling, flag football, golf, soccer, softball, tennis and volleyball) since getting involved in the organization 2006. Off the field, she has been an advocate for SOTX in various ways. Ballew is a Global Messenger for SOTX, which has enabled her to serve on the President’s Advisory Council, get to Washington, D.C. for Capitol Hill Day and work for TJ Maxx. Board member since 2015
J’Nette Thorne is the Accounting Supervisor for Advo Companies, Inc., a non-profit organization that provides housing and a sheltered workshop for individuals with intellectual disabilities. She was named to the Special Olympics Texas Board of Directors in 2015. Thorne is a graduate of Pettus High School and Howard Payne University, where she earned her degree in Accounting. Prior to her time at Advo Companies, Thorne was employed by Coastal Federal Credit Union in Raleigh, N.C, where she served as the Administrative Assistant to the President and Board of Directors. Currently, Thorne coaches 11 SOTX sports and is a Competition Director, Games Director, Area Training Director, while serving on the State and Local Sports Management Team. In 2013, she was appointed to the President’s Advisory Council. Outside of dedicating her time to SOTX, she is very active in the community, as she has recently started a Boys Scouts Venturing Crew for special needs individuals. Board member since 2015
Former Round Rock ISD educator Jan Sartain was re-named to the SOTX Board in 2018. Sartain is the former Lead Teacher for the Adapted Physical Education Department and Head of Delegation for the Round Rock Independent School District Special Olympics Texas team. She retired from Round Rock ISD in May 2017. She was a member of the Special Olympics Texas Board of Directors from 1996-2002 and again from 2005-2011, serving as Chair of the SOTX Board of Directors from 2009-2010. Sartain is a Board Member of the Play for All Abilities Park in Round Rock, and is the Competition Director in conjunction with the Round Rock Rotary Club for the annual Round Rock Rotary Track Meet benefiting area Special Olympics Texas teams, celebrating its 20th year of competition in 2018.
Highland Village Police Chief Doug Reim was named to the SOTX Board in 2018. Reim has served as a member of the SOTX President's Advisory Council since 2012 and is a member of the Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR). The LETR is SOTX's largest grass-roots fundraiser and public awareness vehicle, and the group raised more than $1.4 million in 2016 to support more than 58,300 SOTX athletes across the state. Reim is also a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the Texas Police Chiefs Association, where he currently serves as the first Vice President of the North Texas Chiefs Association. He is also a member of the Highland Village Rotary Club.
Jackie Zigema is the Director of Special Education for Henderson ISD. After obtaining a degree from Stephen F. Austin University in 1996, Zigtema obtained a life skills teacher position with Jacksonville ISD. She taught in the life skills program for five years then moved into a diagnostician position before becoming a special education supervisor. She also obtained her master's degree in special education from UT Tyler in 1998 and is certified to work with autistic children. Board member since 2015
Tammy Hortenstine is the Gifted and Talented Coordinator and R.T.I. (Response To Intervention) Coordinator at Bronte Elementary. Her love for Special Olympics began at Angelo State University in 1994 when her Kinesiology professor asked her to assist at the Special Olympics track meet. Since then, Hortenstine has been involved with Area 16 S.O.T.X., serving in various roles such as Sports Director, Competition Director, and Trainer. She has also volunteered for Area 14, 17 and 18 and now coordinates the Area 14 Basketball Tournament held at Bronte I.S.D. Hortenstine has been a basketball gym supervisor at Chapter Games for approximately ten years. She has helped in bocce, softball, track and field, equestrian, golf, aquatics, table tennis, basketball, and bowling. In addition, Tammy is the recreation coordinator for the following camps for individuals with disabilities: Camp Agape, Camp Talon Point, and Wee Camp at Talon Point. Hortenstine has a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Special Learning and Development with an academic specialization in Kinesiology. Board member since 2013
Shon Bjornberg of Flower Mound is Director of Business Development for Essilor of America. He was named to the Special Olympics Texas Board of Directors in 2015. Bjornberg has nearly 20 years of expertise in sales and marketing, most recently as the director of business development for Essilor of America in the Independent Distribution Division. He started with Essilor in 2009 and was appointed to the position of director in May of 2013. Prior to working in this capacity, Bjornberg was a National Account Manager with a $30 million territory and won the prestigious “President’s Club” award for top sales performance two years in a row. Prior to working with Essilor, the California State University, Northridge graduate served as a director of sales and marketing for one of the leading optical laboratories in the U.S. before owning and operating Pinnacle Sales Solutions, a sales training and business management firm. Board member since 2015
Steve Hatchell was appointed to the Special Olympics Texas President’s Advisory Council in 2015. In January 2005, Hatchell became president of The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame, Inc. (NFF), bringing with him more than 35 years of experience and a reputation as one of the top athletics administrators in the country today. A career sports administrator, he joined the NFF after serving for six years as the commissioner of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA). Prior to the PRCA, he served as the first commissioner of the Big 12 Conference in Dallas, an entity he helped establish in 1995. Hatchell has also served on several U.S. Olympic Committee boards and as part of the staff for three Olympic Games. He graduated from The University of Colorado with a journalism degree in 1970 and is married with two sons. Board member since 2016
Dr. Ralph Herring is a native Texan and third-generation optometrist. He was born and raised in Amarillo and came to the University of Houston to complete his undergraduate as well as Doctor of Optometry degrees. This was followed by a yearlong Residency in Family Practice Optometry at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry. Following one year of private practice in Lubbock, Dr. Herring returned to his alma mater to join the University of Houston faculty where he has now been for over twenty-five years.
Dr. Herring is currently a Clinical Associate Professor and serves as a clinical instructor in multiple patient services in the University Eye Institute. He has also served on many college committees and has held various administrative appointments. As Director of External Education, Dr. Herring administers the senior level clinical training program which utilizes a network of over seventy affiliated public and private clinics located locally, nationwide and overseas.
Seeking to expand his knowledge base, Dr. Herring returned to school and in 2001 he completed a Master of Healthcare Administration from the Texas Woman’s University Institute of Health Sciences. His professional memberships include the American Optometric Association and the Texas Optometric Association.
Dr. Herring continues his family’s strong commitment to volunteer service with service in his community including the Montrose Counseling Center, the Lions Club, and Special Olympics. When not volunteering, his spare time is spent in two passions: listening and attending the opera and cheering for the Houston Astros baseball team!Board member since 2015
The Chief Operating Officer of Burke joined SOTX’s Board of Directors in an At-Large position in 2017, following a two-year term on the President’s Advisory Council.
Squiers has served in his current role at Burke since 2008. Burke serves a 12-county region, providing mental health and developmental disability services to more than 10,000 people each year.
The Lufkin native is responsible for Burke’s field operations, including mental health, substance abuse, developmental disability, early childhood intervention, integrated care and veterans’ programs. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from Washington and Lee University.
Squiers is very active in the community. He is a SOTX basketball coach for Burke Center Bobcats, serves as his church’s treasurer and is a former member of the Lion’s Club, Main Street Lufkin Board, American Red Cross and St. Cyprian’s Episcopal School board president.
Squires and his wife, Laura, have three daughters: Christie, Haley and Autumn. In his free time, he enjoys woodworking and being a competitive barbecue cook.
Lubbock-based Coca-Cola executive Susanne Brady-Lusk was named to the SOTX Board in 2018. Brady-Lusk works with Coca-Cola Southwest Beverages in Lubbock. She has volunteered with SOTX during the Area Spring Games during the last few years, as well as in Houston during the SOTX Over the Edge fundraising event in Houston. Before moving to Lubbock, she volunteered with Habitat for Humanity in Louisiana. She is a member of the Texas Tech Chancellor’s Council and the Network of Executive Women.
A 36-year partner of the H-E-B Grocery Company, Sam, Arciniega was elected to Special Olympics Texas’ (SOTX) Board of Directors in 2017 after serving a year on the President’s Advisory Council. The H-E-B unit director is currently serving on the board in an At-Large position.
A native of Robstown, Arciniega started working with H-E-B as a bottle boy in his hometown and has since worked his way up the ranks to his current position at the Blackhawk Blvd. location in Houston.
Over the years, Arciniega has volunteered at several SOTX competitions in the Houston area and has participated in fundraisers, including golf tournaments held in Kingwood.
Prior to his leadership roles with SOTX, Arciniega has always had a passion to serve people in his community. For the last three years, he has been an Ambassador for the Corporate Diversity Council. Arciniega also spent six years on the Houston Diversity Council.