Dynamic Business Executives with Purpose
Our Board of Directors is composed of a powerful group of dynamic business leaders, all appointed by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. Gov. Abbott appointed the current Board in July 2022.
Texas Economic Development Corporation (TxEDC) connects a network of business leaders to drive economic development in the state, led by our Governor-appointed Board of Directors. This board serves the organization by spearheading global marketing and business collaboration initiatives and by serving as ambassadors for TxEDC in their own communities and beyond.
President and CEO
Vicki Hollub of Galveston has served on the Texas Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors since April 2019, and previously served as vice chair. She is President and CEO of Occidental, an international oil and gas exploration and production company, and one of the largest U.S. oil and gas companies based on equity market capitalization. She joined Occidental’s Board of Directors in 2015, and has been with Occidental for over 40 years. She has extensive operations and leadership experience and, most recently, was president and COO, overseeing oil and gas, chemical and midstream operations. She is a director of the American Petroleum Institute and for chair of the U.S. – Columbia Business Council. Additionally, she is the former chair of the Bear Bryant Awards Campaign for the American Heart Association. Hollub received a Bachelor of Science in Mineral Engineering the University of Alabama. She was inducted into the University of Alabama College of Engineering 2016 class of Distinguished Engineering Fellows.
Arun Agarwal of Dallas, CEO of Nextt, and has business interests in textiles, cotton trading and real estate. He is chair of the India American CEO Council, president of the Dallas Parks & Recreation Board, and a board member of the US India Friendship Council, US India Chamber of Commerce DFW, and the Texas Tech Innovation HUB at Research Park. He is a volunteer and board member of Gift of Life and a volunteer for CHETNA and the Living Dreams Foundation. Agarwal received a Master’s in Business Administration from IMT, Ghaziabad, a Master’s in Computer Information Systems from Southern New Hampshire University, and a Master’s in International Business from Harvard University.
President and CEO
Temple Economic Development Corporation
Adrian Cannady of Temple is President and CEO of the Temple Economic Development Corporation. He is a member and Treasurer of the Texas Economic Development Council and a member of the International Economic Development Council. Additionally, he is a member and former Chairman of Team Texas. He added the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Cannady received a Bachelor of Science in Mathematical Sciences and a Master of Science in Economic Development and Entrepreneurship from the University of Houston — Victoria and is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma Economic Development Institute.
S. David Deanda Jr.
Lone Star National Bank
S. David Deanda Jr. of Mission, President of Lone Star National Bank. He is a board member of Doctors Hospital at Renaissance and president of the Mission Economic Development Corporation. He serves on the board of the McAllen Economic Development Corporation, Texas A&M University Foundation Board of Trustees, and Valley Alliance of Mentors for Opportunities and Scholarships (VAMOS). He is an active member of Palm Valley Church in Mission. Additionally, he served as Chairman of the Hidalgo County Regional Mobility Authority for over five years. Deanda received a Bachelor of Business Administration from Texas A&I University and studied at the Bank Operations Institute at East Texas State University and the Southwestern Graduate School of Banking at Southern Methodist University.
President and CEO
Katie Farmer of Fort Worth is President and CEO of BNSF Railway, the largest Class I railroad in the U.S. She has been with BNSF for 30 years and previously served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer, where she oversaw the entire Operations organization. She is a member of the Association of American Railroads Board of Directors, former President of the National Freight Transportation Association, and former Chair of the Intermodal Association of North America. She is a member of the Texas Christian University (TCU) Board of Trustees and the Jewel Charity Ball. She is also a sustaining member of the Junior League of Fort Worth and the National Charity League and a former member of the Cook Children’s Health Foundation Board of Trustees and the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra Executive Committee. Farmer received a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing and a Master of Business Administration in Marketing from TCU.
L. Frederick “Rick” Francis
L. Frederick “Rick” Francis of El Paso, Executive Chairman for WestStar. He is a member of The Borderplex Alliance, Texas Business Leadership Council, Community Depository Institutions Advisory Council, Federal Reserve Board – Dallas, and the Community Bankers Council of the American Bankers Association. He is chair of the Medical Center of the Americas Board of Directors, board member of the Paso del Norte Community Foundation and El Paso Electric, president of the Pioneer Association of El Paso, and a member of the Hospitals of Providence Advisory Board. He is a former regent for the Texas Tech University System, having served from 2003-2019, former chairman of the Executive Committee for the Texas Hospital Trustees, and former board member of Western Refining, Inc. Additionally, he is former president of Area 5 (Rocky Mountain States) Boy Scouts of America, the Young Presidents Organization, the Yucca Council Boy Scouts of America, the Sunturians, and Crime Stoppers of El Paso. He has been active with the Business Advisory Council at the El Paso Community College, the Rotary Club of El Paso, the Better Business Bureau, and the Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce. Francis received a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from Texas Tech University and a graduate of the Southwestern Graduate School of Banking at Southern Methodist University.
George “Trey” Henderson III
Manager and Owner
Henderson Community Ltd.
George “Trey” Henderson, III of Lufkin is Manager and Owner of Henderson Community Ltd. Previously, he served as Vice President of the Lufkin Division of Overseas Hardwood Company, and as President and formerly Vice President of Angelina Hardwood Sales Company for over 30 years. He is a board member of the 12th Man Foundation. Additionally, he is a former board member of Governor Perry’s Task Force on Evacuation, Angelina College Board of Trustees, Texas Ethics Commission, and the Parks and Wildlife Commission Private Land Advisory Board. Henderson received a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture Economics from Texas A&M University.
Peter J. Holt
CEO and General Manager
Peter J. Holt of San Antonio is CEO and General Manager of HOLT CAT. He is a board member of the University of the Incarnate Word, SA Ready to Work Advisory Board, Early Matters Advisory Board, and the United Way of San Antonio, Chairman of the San Antonio Spurs, and a former board member of the San Antonio Strategic Planning Committee. He serves on the Executive Committee of the United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County and the Executive Committee of the Texas Wildlife Association. Holt received a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of the Incarnate Word.
Executive Vice President of NRG, President of Reliant Energy and NRG Home
Elizabeth Killinger has over 30 years of domestic and international experience in the energy and services industries, including over 20 years with NRG. She is responsible for directing all aspects of NRG Home, which provides innovative residential power and gas services to millions of customers through multiple brands and channels in the United States and Canada. NRG Home is the largest competitive residential electricity business in Texas and the U.S. Having played a key role in the company's transition to competitive electricity markets with customer service at its core, her vision of the "Era of Personal Power" has led NRG to introduce new products that push the energy industry into the future and provide consumers with insights, choices, and convenient ways to power their lives. Elizabeth spent the first decade of her career with a Big 4 Accounting firm serving in the oilfield services, software development, and management consulting industries. She started her NRG career at Reliant in 2002 after working for two years as a consultant, helping launch the company's wholesale and retail businesses for electricity deregulation in Texas. She currently serves on the Audit Committee of the Board of Directors at Helmerich & Payne, Inc., which was founded in 1920 and is the most trusted partner in drilling productivity and reliability. She also serves on the Audit Committee, and the Governance and Nominating Committee of the Board of Directors of TDECU, the largest credit union in Houston and the third largest credit union in Texas. Deeply committed to making a difference for future generations, Elizabeth assists many impactful organizations. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Greater Houston Partnership, Junior Achievement of Southeast Texas, Hope Media Group, and the Lutheran Education Association of Houston (LEAH Schools). In addition, she serves on the Energy Advisory Board and the Bauer Business School Board at the University of Houston. Elizabeth served as Chair for the nation's largest 2014 March for Babies Campaign, and Chair for the 2015 American Heart Association's Heart Walk. And, in 2017, she was honored to serve on the Super Bowl LI Houston Host Committee as Volunteer Chair.
CEO and Founder
Eduardo Margain of Austin is CEO and Founder of Pixiu Investments and Co-Founder and Alternate Governor of Austin FC. He previously served as Co-Founder of Brightstar Retail, Founder and CEO of Momentum Mobile Phones, and as the Corporate Financing Coordinator for Vitro. He is a member of the Young Presidents Organization and the Austin Council on Foreign Affairs and a board member of the 4ATX Foundation and the Greater Austin Crime Commission. Margain received a bachelor’s degree in Engineering and Information Systems from Tecnologico De Monterrey, Mexico.
Executive Director, Economic Development and Tourism
Office of Governor Greg Abbott
Adriana Cruz is Executive Director, Economic Development and Tourism, Office of Governor Greg Abbott. In October 2019, Adriana Cruz was appointed to lead the Governor’s Economic Development and Tourism Office. The Office markets Texas as one of the world’s premier business and travel destinations. As Executive Director, Cruz provides leadership to Business and Community Development, Texas Tourism, Texas Workforce Investment Council, Texas Music Office, and the Texas Film Commission. Cruz has more than 20 years of leadership experience in economic development, marketing, and international business. Prior to her appointment to lead the Texas Economic Development and Tourism Office, Cruz was President of the Greater San Marcos Partnership, the regional economic development organization established to encourage and nurture economic growth in San Marcos, and Hays and Caldwell counties. Previously, Cruz was the Vice President of Global Corporate Recruitment for the Austin Chamber of Commerce.
President and CEO
Texas Economic Development Corporation
Aaron Demerson currently serves as the President and CEO of the Texas Economic Development Corporation (TxEDC). TxEDC is an independently funded and operated 501 (c) (3) organization that markets Texas both domestically and internationally as a premier business destination for companies looking to locate, relocate and/or expand their existing business footprint. Prior to joining TxEDC, Demerson served as the Commissioner Representing Employers for the Texas Workforce Commission. Governor Greg Abbott appointed him to the three-member Commission on August 20, 2019 and reappointed him in February 2021. He was confirmed by the Texas Senate in April 2021. In this role Commissioner Demerson served as an advocate for employers and small businesses in Texas. He also lead efforts as the Director of the Office of Employer Initiatives at the Texas Workforce Commission. Demerson was appointed Chair of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Cultural Affairs by Governor Abbott in November 2019. This advisory council is charged with raising public awareness of major issues affecting the state due to the rapid growth of the state’s Hispanic population and other issues resulting from changes in demographics. Prior to employment at the Texas Workforce Commission, he served as a Senior Advisor to then Governor Rick Perry and Executive Director of the Economic Development & Tourism Division in the Governor’s Office, leading a team that marketed the State of Texas as a premier destination for both business and travel. He has also served as the Director of Business Development, the Director of Administration, and managed the Finance Division for the Texas Economic Development Agency. In addition, Demerson managed the state’s innovative prepaid tuition program (formerly-The Texas Tomorrow Fund) at the State Comptroller’s Office and was employed as a Commercial Finance Analyst and Loan Administration Officer with Texas Bank (former name) in San Antonio, Texas. Demerson has been and continues to be involved in numerous social and civic organizations including the Board for the Austin Lyric Opera, the Austin Area Urban League, Chair of the Capitol Credit Union Nominating Committee, membership in Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., Delta Sigma Pi Business Fraternity, the Texas Economic Development Council, the 100 Black Men of America (Austin Chapter) and is a member of the Texas A&M University-Kingsville Foundation Board of Directors. Demerson has a BBA in Finance from Texas A&M University-Kingsville. He also received a general banking diploma from the American Institute of Banking, is a graduate of Leadership Austin, and had the distinct pleasure of completing the Army War College Commandants National Security Program for civilians and participating in the civilian program for the Army National Training Center (NTC).