Miners on the Move
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. Select alumni success stories are also featured in the UTEP Magazine, so help us stay informed as we work hard to support your continuing success!
If you have news to share, please send your name, year of graduation, daytime phone number and the information you would like to share to firstname.lastname@example.org with "Miners on the Move" in the subject line.
= Indicates members of the UTEP Alumni Association
Patricia D. “Trisha”Ainsa `67, professor in the Department of Teacher Education, was recently recognized by the Quest for Quality Teacher Preparation in Texas project for exemplary faculty practices that improve teacher preparation, retention and student achievement.
Sandra E. Braham `02, `05, Executive Director of the YWCA El Paso del Norte Region is one of just 100 women chosen to take part in the 2013 Class of Leadership America. The program selects outstanding women from across the country that come from diverse personal, professional and geographic backgrounds.
Vernon L. “Vern” Butler, Jr. ‘71, ’74, interim EPISD Superintendent was a guest speaker for the EPISD’s Military & Community Parent Academy, which focused on parenting skills, state testing, bullying, gang awareness and other crucial topics.
Lee O. Cannell `79, `93, of El Paso Community College was recently inducted as vice president for finance of the El Paso Holocaust Museum and Study Center 2013 Board of Directors.
Ana L. “Lourdes” Cardenas `57, editor of the El Paso Times’ Spanish language website, Somosfrontera.com became a U.S. citizen in the naturalization ceremony held at the El Paso convention center in January.
Manuel Castruita, Jr. `88, `92, has been hired as the EPISD’s director of guidance services.
John F. Cook ’77, Mayor of El Paso, has been named the fifth-best mayor in the world by the City Mayors Foundation, a London-based think tank intended to encourage solutions to problems such as housing, transportation, education and employment.
Helen T. “Holly” Cox `54, is featured in “3 Generations” a captivating exhibition which opened recently at the Hal Marcus Gallery, showcasing the visual diversity of three generations of El Paso artists.
Sara Y. “Bonnie” Escobar `85, `97 of MJD & Associates was recently inducted as vice president for programming for the El Paso Holocaust Museum and Study Center 2013 Board of Directors.
Jerome T. Flood ’83, is Acting Superintendent for Chamizal National Memorial.
Kandolite N. Flores ’09, recently joined the Humane Society of El Paso as its new program coordinator.
Judge Gabaldón ’76, received an award for his work in undoing racism, reducing and eliminating disproportionality and disparate treatment of children in the Texas foster care system, by the Region 10 of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services Disproportionality Advisory Committee on May 2012.
Yolanda A. Garcia ’83, has been named area president for Wells Fargo’s newly created South Western Border division.
Rosa E. Guerrero `57, `77, motivational speaker, humanitarian and educational consultant, was honored recently by her selection as the First Lady of El Paso by the six local chapters of Beta Sigma Phi sorority.
George A. “Tony” Harper `68, boys basketball coach at Montwood High School, ranks first in wins among active coaches in Texas.
Christopher L. Jacke ’89, is to be inducted into the NFL team’s Hall of Fame on July 20.
Carolyn M. Legoretta ’69, ’74, Assistant Principal at Andress High School, has been promoted to principal.
Beth R. Lipson ’69 was recently inducted as a member of the 2013 El Paso Holocaust Museum and Study Center Board of Directors.
Adan Lopez ‘93, ’98, Assistant Principal of MacArthur Elementary/Intermediate, was named principal of Hughey Elementary School.
Maria Cristina Morales ’96, Associate Professor with UTEP’s Sociology and Anthropology Department is part of a trio of UTEP faculty that has received an award of $124,998 from the National Science Foundation for work focusing on the relationship between neighborhood levels of immigration and crime.
Hector A. Olvera ’02, ’06, Assistant Professor in UTEP’s Center for Environmental Resource Management conducted a year-long study on the amounts of potentially harmful air particles from diesel emissions at the Bridge of the Americas. Findings were published in the nationally recognized Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology.
Francisco J. Ortega `03, of Scott Hulse was recently inducted as a member of the 2013 El Paso Holocaust Museum and Study Center Board of Directors.
Laura Ponce `07, Executive Director of Project Bravo is a new board member of Texas Lyceum.
Punya Prakash `09, an applications engineer with Texas Instruments in Dallas was recently named Top Innovator in the Engineering Stars Contest by Design News.
Justin M. Pretiger `03, of Morgan Stanley Smith Barney was recently inducted as a member of the 2013 El Paso Holocaust Museum and Study Center Board of Directors.
Linda A. Samples `02, was recently hired by the El Paso Independent School District trustees as the district’s first in-house attorney.
Renee de Santos ’91, has been named spokeswoman for the El Paso Independent School District.
Rose Schecter `67 of Schecter & Blumenfeld was recently inducted as president-elect for the El Paso Holocaust Museum and Study Center 2013 Board of Directors.
Zahira Torres `07, a 13-year veteran El Paso Times reporter, was given Governing
magazine’s top public service journalism Hovey-Harkness Award recently in
David Zubia ’89, Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at UTEP, has been awarded a three-year grant of $895,000 from the Department of Energy.
Jorge R. Almuina ’10 has joined White, Samaniego & Campbell LLP, as an assurance services and audit team member.
Laura A. Aguilar ’86 of Bickerstaff, Heath, Delgado, Acosta LLP, has been elected secretary of The El Paso Paralegal Association board of directors for 2013.
Matthew J. Aguilar ’93 El Paso Times boxing columnist was elected to the El Paso Boxing Hall of Fame’s Class of 2013.
John A. Attel ’79 has been named general manager of the new Rudolph Volkswagen store in Northwest El Paso.
Erik A. Baray ’08 has been named marketing and development manager by The Boys & Girls Clubs of El Paso where he will manage public relations, marketing, special events and fund development.
Enrique Bernal, Jr. ’96 is new chief financial officer for Las Palmas Del Sol Healthcare.
Lauren M. Blackwell ’12 recently joined the audit department at Schmid, Broaddus, Nugent, & Gano PC.
Jacob R. Boggs ’03 has been named new executive director, Sun Ridge Senior Living at Desert Springs.
Lynda Camacho ’82 of Scott Hulse PC has been elected president of The El Paso Paralegal Association board of directors for 2013.
Hugo Clemente was given a Presidential Citation by the Benavidez-Patterson “All Airborne” Chapter of the 82nd Airborne Division Association during the chapter’s 2012 awards ceremony held January 26, 2013.
Peggy L. Dieter ’87 of Kemp Smith LLP, has been elected parliamentarian of The El Paso Paralegal Association board of directors for 2013.
Edward “Ed” Escudero ’92 has been elected to El Paso Electric's Board of Directors. Ed is a CPA and president and chief executive officer of High Desert Capital LLC, a finance company that specializes in providing capital alternatives to small and mid-size companies.
Christopher J. “Chris” Forbes ’80 is featured in the documentary that premiered in December, detailing the 2009 Socorro High School baseball team State Championship.
Gregory C. “Greg” Foster ’11 one of UTEP basketball’s all-time greats, was recently honored by being named a “Miner Legend.” Foster is a 13-year NBA veteran and now a key recruiter and assistant coach for the Miners. Jose Hernandez Viezcas ’09 a doctoral student at UTEP has been credited with the discovery of the presence of potentially harmful minute particles used in cosmetics and other common substances in the reproductive/edible portion of the soybean plant grown in farm soil containing cerium dioxide and zinc oxide nanoparticles.
Debra C. “Debbi” Hester ’77 was the No. 1 producer for ERA Sellers Buyers and Associates in January 2013.
Isabel A. Meza ’04 has been promoted to assistant vice president of mortgage lending by Evolve Federal Credit Union where she will oversee the mortgage servicing and processing operations and staff.
Alexis Montoya ’11 was recently voted the winner on “La Academia,” a singing competition on the TV Azteca network in Mexico.
Justin M. Pretiger ’03 of Morgan Stanley, has been appointed a new board member of The Ysleta Education Foundation.
Jana L. Renner ’08 has been named an associate program officer for the Paso del Norte Health Foundation.
Priscilla Roldan ’06 of Joe A. Spencer Jr., attorney and counselor at law, has been elected vice president - public relations of The El Paso Paralegal Association board of directors for 2013.
Guillermo “Willie” Romo ’03 has been selected as the new head baseball coach for Montwood High School.
Guillermina Solis ‘86, ’10 assistant clinical professor at the University of Texas at El Paso’s School of Nursing, has received a $2,500 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health. The grant will be used to implement a fall prevention program for women age 55 and older in El Paso County.
Henry Tinajero ’84 has been promoted to senior vice president of West Star Bank.
Julio R. “Randy” Bañez ’84 retired in 2012 as commander of the Alaska Army National Guard, where he oversaw 2,000 soldiers statewide and held the rank of general. He was recently inducted into the Hall of Fame at the New Mexico Military Institute (NMMI) in Roswell, where he attended his first two years of college. He continues to work as the deputy director for energy for the Defense Logistics Agency.
Miranda C. Barton ’07 has recently joined the staff of the Scott-Hulse law firm’s corporate and securities, lending and inancial institutions, farm and ranch, and real estate sections in El Paso.
John S. Birkelbach ’71, of Mounce, Green, Myers, Safi, Paxson & Galatzan PC has been selected as a “Super Lawyer” by Texas Monthly magazine for 2012 and has received this recognition ten years in a row.
Robert A. “Bob” Black ’77, a 2011 Distinguished Alumnus and former Texas State Bar president, has given $250,000 to the UTEP Law School Preparation Institute.
Vernon L. Butler, Jr. ’71 is the new interim superintendent at El Paso Independent School District. Former principal ofHanks and Bel Air High Schools, superintendent of the Anthony school districtand interim YISD Superintendent, Vernon was called out of retirement for his current position.
Jose Luis Campos ’83 has been named deputy district director of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s El Paso District Office. He was previously the lead business opportunity specialist in the El Paso District Office and has also worked as contract specialist and a loan servicing assistant at the Disaster Consumer Collection Center in El Paso.
Carlos Carmona '10, assistant chief of operations for the El Paso Fire Department, was named interim fire chief when Fire Chief Otto Drozd III left for a new job in Florida. Carmona has been with the El Paso Fire Department for nearly 30 years and currently oversees field operations.
Estela Casas ’05, Channel 7-KVIA news anchor, presented awards to individuals who serve as role models and have provided quality training to students, at the seventh annual El Paso Association of Career Schools Teacher of the Year banquet held in November at Western Technical College.
Blanca V. Chavez ’97 recently joined Capital Bank as vice president responsible for branch management, deposit operations and client experience. She has more than 12 years of experience in banking including previous roles at Wells Fargo and Washington Federal.
Maria I. Espinoza ’96 of Investment Builders Inc. (IBI), is now a member of the Texas Affiliation of Affordable Housing Providers (TAAHP), the leading organization of affordable housing professionals in the State of Texas.
James R. “Jim” Forbes ’79, former Texas Western College (now UTEP) basketball standout and current Andress High School coach, is the first player whose jersey will hang in the trophy case at Bel Air High School. Forbes, honored for his achievements on the basketball court and off, helped Bel Air win two straight district titles, earning All-City twice and a High School All-America honor.
Sofia M. Gonzalez-Garcia ‘07, ’10 has been selected as manager of Security Service Federal Credit Union in El Paso; she will be responsible for the operation of the Americas service center, including cash operations, member service and facility maintenance.
Martha E. Gomez ’97, due diligence coordinator for more than nine years with Investment Builders Inc., has become a member of the Texas Affiliation of Affordable Housing Providers (TAAHP), the leading organization of affordable housing professionals in the State of Texas.
Kristi S. Graham ’00, former UTEP basketball team standout (played all four years 1995-99 with her name still standing in the record book as ranking among the top 10 all-time in scoring and steals), took over as head coach of the Coronado High girls basketball squad this academic year. Kristi was a graduate assistant at UTEP before becoming a freshman coach at Bel Air, followed by becoming the head coach at Riverside in 2004.
Marcus O. Graham ’98, former UTEP basketball player is head coach at Burges.
Carl H. Green ’73, of Mounce, Green, Myers, Safi, Paxson & Galatzan PC has been selected as a “Super Lawyer” by Texas Monthly magazine for 2012 and has received this recognition for ten years in a row.
Hafid A. Guerrero ’07, registered nurse for Sierra Providence Health Network, has earned his Bariatric Nurse certification by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. He also holds certifications in orthopedic and neurology nursing, and has been part of the Sierra Providence Health Network family since 2007.
Marisa C. Guerrero ’07 of Debbie’s Bloomers has been recognized by the American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD) as a recipient of its Certified Floral Designer designation. Marisa was granted the designation after successfully completing the Professional Floral Design Evaluation during summer 2012. In addition to the CFD designation, Marisa is invited to become an accredited member of the AIFD, and will be inducted during the AIFD’s 2013 National Symposium in Las Vegas.
Elvia G. Hernandez ’91 is retiring after more than 40 years in the public eye as one of El Paso’s best and most prominent ambassadors. Twice elected to the City Council, co-founder of LULAC Council 4857, volunteer with various nonprofit groups and causes, and a former director of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Midland, TX, Elvia is moving to the Dallas area to be with family.
Debra C. “Debbi” Hester ’77 recently received the 2012 Leader's Circle Award as a platinum top producer with ERA Sellers, Buyers, and Associates. She is ranked nationally in this elite group of ERA's sales associates, and is a member of the El Paso and National Association of Realtors.
Michael J. Hutson ‘79, ’80 of Ainsa Hutson LLP was recently selected by his peers for inclusion in Best Lawyers in America 2013 in the practice area of real estate law. This listing is the 8th consecutive year for Hutson.
Michael E. “Mike” McLain ’92 has been named the El Paso Times’ All-City Cross Country Coach of the Year. McLain guided Eastwood to a historic season by winning its second straight District 1-5A title, finishing fourth at the Class 5A state meet, and fourth again at the Nike Cross Nationals South Regional making Eastwood the only El Paso team to ever earn the honor since the Nike rankings started in 2002.
Norma A. Mendoza ’92, owner of MerKadoTeknia Research and Consulting, conducted a marketing strategies workshop for startups recently at The Hub of Human innovation, an El Paso technology business incubator.
Robert Navarro ’62 is one of three local consultants working with Populous, a Missouri corporation specializing in major and minor league baseball stadiums, to design El Paso’s Downtown ballpark that will house the Triple A minor league Tucson Padres bought recently by El Paso investors. Expected to open in April 2014, the stadium is expected to respect existing Downtown architecture, reflect the heritage and the history of the community, feature natural turf, and have more than 7,000 seats.
Barry C. Peterson ’09, a Wells Fargo employee, appeared on “Jeopardy” after five years of trying to make it to America’s Favorite Quiz Show. To get on the show Barry had to take an online quiz, and have an in-person audition.
Andres M. “Andy” Quintana ’07 has joined Lone Star Title as Chief Financial Officer.
Linda A. Samples ‘02 was appointed as the first In-House Counsel for the El Paso Independent School District.
Marketa Vavrova’12, doctoral student in the UTEP civil engineering program has received the European Friedrich List Award presented in Budapest as part of the 10th European Transport Congress, for her master’s thesis in transportation and logistics systems.
Jerry M. Ward ’69, who has been a partner with Kaufman, Ward & Co., P.C. for 35 years will merge the accounting firm with Weatherly, Butterworth, Macias and Graves, P.C., one of the city’s larger accounting firms. Ward is a licensed financial adviser known for his expertise in medical practice accounting.
Lawrence P. “Larry” Welsh ’97, associate professor of English at El Paso Community College has won a 2012 New Mexico-Arizona Book Award for his newest collection of poetry, “Begging for Vultures: New and Selected Poems 1994-2009;” in its second printing, it also won a Southwest Notable Book of the Year Award.
John A. Wenke ’89 has been named a Texas Super Lawyer in plaintiff’s employment litigation. He is one of seven attorneys in the State of Texas to receive this recognition. John was also selected to be included in the Best Lawyers in America in the area of employment law.
Richard D. Wiles ’95, El Paso County Sheriff, appeared in the filming of the pilot for the FX television series “The Bridge,” which is based in El Paso and Juárez. Wiles, worked for the El Paso Police Department for 25 years before retiring in December 2007 to run for sheriff.
Sonia Zubiate ’96, founder and director of The Protocol Academy was the guest speaker at a networking event held recently by Hire Times Career & Coaching Group at the El Paso Club.