Ashley Amini is the Principal Broker, GRI at Levy Properties where she works in residential real estate, as well as farm & ranch real estate. Through her profession, she has seen first-hand how conservation and land stewardship benefit both the environment and private land owners. ... Read More Ashley is currently serving as the co- president of the Texan by Nature Next Generation Advisory Council. She is also president of the BK Asher Charitable Foundation and is a member of the Elizabeth Ann Seton Board.
Ashley has been a member of the Junior League of Austin since 2009 where she has been involved in various community programs and in-league leadership. Ashley has spent time volunteering with Westcave Preserve and Mobile Loaves & Fishes and has been involved with fundraising for the Brighton School in San Antonio, Texas. Ashley also serves on the Advisory Board of Broadway Bank in Austin, Texas and manages the Managed Land Deer Permit program for her family’s ranch outside of Kerrville, Texas. Ashley graduated from Washington & Lee University with a degree in Geology and she earned an MBA at Texas Christian University.
Sallie Armstrong is the Legislative and Policy Coordinator for Speaker Joe Straus of the Texas House of Representatives. Ms. Armstrong has worked on campaigns, helped plan the 2015 Texas Inauguration, scheduled for a Texas Senator, and coached field hockey, soccer, and track at a private school in Austin. ... Read More Ms. Armstrong attended Washington and Lee University where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology.
Upon graduation from Washington and Lee University, Ms. Armstrong moved to Austin to coach at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School. While, coaching, she volunteered for a Texas U.S. Senate Campaign with the Finance Team. As the campaign continued on, the position became a full-time position and Ms. Armstrong began her career working politics that has led to her current position in the Speaker’s office.
Matthew Bentley is a governmental relations consultant working for companies, local governments and non-profit organizations involved with environmental management, energy and utility regulations, private property interests and economic development. He started working in state government in 2008 and began contract consulting in 2013. ... Read More Matthew focuses his guidance on public positioning, issue management and government relations. His work has resulted in the development and implementation of public policy; formulation of strategy with key government officials; and improved communication between legislative and business leaders at the highest level.
Most recently, Matthew served as Legislative Director and Campaign Manager to State Representative Byron Cook (R-Corsicana). Representative Cook is the Chairman of the House State Affairs Committee, serves on the Calendars Committee and is the former Chairman of the Environmental Regulation and Civil Practices Committees. Matthew oversaw the Chairman’s successful re-election campaign, which was among the highest profile and most seriously contested races in 2016.
With great success, Matthew has considerable experience in working on political campaigns throughout Texas and the United States. Among others, he worked on Commissioner Todd Staples’ statewide Agriculture Commissioner campaign, House State Affairs Chairman Byron Cook’s campaign and Governor Rick Perry’s 2010 gubernatorial and 2012 presidential races. Matthew is currently very involved with the Texas GOP’s Mighty Texas Strike Force, serving as the Virginia Co-Captain for the 2016 General Election.
Matthew graduated from The University of Texas at Austin. He was chosen as the sole researcher for the University of Texas Legislative Research Scholarship, where he authored research on behalf of the university regarding political influence on biofuel production in the state.
Stoney serves as a Principal in Bracewell’s Policy Resolution Group in Washington, DC. Drawing on his decade-long career on Capitol Hill, Stoney advises Fortune 500 companies, nonprofit organizations and trade associations on developing legislative, regulatory and strategic communications strategies related to energy, infrastructure, technology, trade and national security policy. ... Read More
Previously, Stoney served for three years as Chief of Staff for Rep. Will Hurd, where he led the staff hiring process and set up of the offices for a first time Member of Congress. The newly established Congressional office was recognized for diversity hiring practices by the Hispanic Lobbyist Association for having more than 50% of the positions filled by Latinos in the organization. Over this period of time, twelve pieces of legislation were signed into law, a record for any Member of Congress in such a short period of time.
In addition, Stoney also spent seven years in the private sector as Director of External Affairs at Southern Company, one of the largest and most sophisticated power companies in the United States. At Southern, Stoney developed legislative strategies and coordinated external messaging with corporate communications, third party groups, trade associations and thinks tanks to maximize the strategic reach of policy positions. Recognized for his leadership abilities, Stoney was selected by the Executive Team at Southern Company to participate in an internal development program that focused on team building and in depth mentoring to better understand the core business units. He also worked for two years as a Legislative Assistant for former Rep. Chet Edwards where he was responsible for energy, agriculture, natural resources and trade issues for the then-Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman.
On a personal level, Stoney is married to Josefina Urzaiz, a Merida, Yucatan native and entrepreneur focused on improving the quality of life of the indigenous, Mayan population in the Yucatan. Throughout the year, Stoney spends significant time in the Yucatan as an Advisory Board Member for Cielo Foundation, a 501c3 organization set up by Josefina to assist impoverished communities.
Michael Dorff is a Manager in Burson-Marsteller’s public affairs practice. As a public sector specialist, he believes in collaboration and finding mutually beneficial solutions. As a former small business owner, he understands the bottom line. Michael has broad knowledge of major economic drivers like technology, education, energy, agriculture, banking, defense, and government. ... Read More He is a writer and media strategist who successfully leads tactical executions in high-pressure environments. As an independent communications consultant, Dorff assisted a Nigerian non-profit group through the economic downturn, he answered the 3 a.m. phone call from a homeland security firm when they suffered a triple-fatality crisis, and he served as in-house communication counsel to a billion-dollar development corporation in the Caribbean. Previously, Dorff served as an appointee during the first and second terms of President George W. Bush, with experience in six federal agencies. At the Department of Veterans Affairs, he become the youngest White House Liaison in the federal government. He filled advisory roles in the Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency. As Deputy to the EPA Press Secretary, Dorff handled tactical crisis communications during the response and recovery of Hurricane Katrina.
Norman Roy Garza, Jr.
Norman Roy Garza, Jr. joined Texas A&M Engineering (TAME) as Assistant Vice Chancellor for Government Relations in November 2014. He is responsible for growing a State legislative program and Federal congressional program for TAME agencies that coordinate with the overall Texas A&M University System (TAMUS) legislative agenda.
... Read More Born in Harlingen, Norman is an eighth-generation Texan with roots across the Rio Grande Valley and South Texas. Reared in Pleasanton, his family maintains a Beef Master Cattle operation near Verdi in Atascosa County. Norman earned a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Saint Edward’s University in Austin. He is currently working on a Master’s degree in Business Administration, also from Saint Edward’s. Since 2003, Norman has worked in various capacities for state legislators and his past professional experiences also include political campaign management.
Immediately prior to joining TAME, Norman served as Associate Legislative Director for Texas Farm Bureau, the largest agricultural organization in the state. He was responsible for influencing public policy affecting agriculture production and landowner interests. Particular issue areas included: eminent domain, endangered species, energy resources, environmental regulation, immigration/labor, private property rights, oil and gas rights/common carrier pipelines, open space conservation, rural economic development, transportation, utility regulation, water ownership/quality, and wildlife/habitat conservation. As Assistant Vice Chancellor, Norman represents the interest of TAME Vice Chancellor/TAMU College of Engineering Dean, Dr. M. Kathy Banks, on behalf of three state agencies under her direction: Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI), Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES), Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX). Particular issue areas include: workforce development, transportation, environment, energy, technology, homeland security, and emergency response.
Ilissa Nolan is the Government Affairs Consultant for Booth, Ahrens and Werkenthin, P.C. in Austin, Texas where she focuses on water and environmental issues. Most recently she served as the Government Relations Director for the Texas Department of Agriculture. Ilissa grew up on a registered Hereford Ranch in the small East Texas town of Gilmer. She received a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Leadership and Development with a minor in Horticulture from Texas A&M University. ... Read More As well, she received a Master of Science in Agricultural Communications from Texas Tech University. Ms. Nolan has worked as a Congressional Intern for the House Agriculture Committee under Chairman Frank Lucas and was honored to serve as the Reading Clerk for the Texas House of Representatives of the 83rd Legislative Session. She worked as the Executive Assistant for Natural Resources Solutions, LC a consulting firm specialized in regulatory and non-regulatory natural resource and environmental issues. Most recently, she served as the Legislative Director for Representative Charles “Doc” Anderson, Vice Chairman of the Agriculture and Livestock Committee. Ms. Nolan is a member of the Junior League of Austin and Next Generation Advisory Council of Texan by Nature.
Marissa Patton lives in Austin and currently works as associate legislative director for the Texas Farm Bureau. She monitors issues and legislation pertaining to eminent domain, land use regulation, wildlife, rural affairs, agriculture and livestock commodities, and appropriations. Marissa was raised in Stamford, Texas, where her family ... Read More maintains a small farming and ranching operation. She is a graduate of Stamford High School and earned a Bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech University.
Prior to joining Texas Farm Bureau, Marissa worked in Washington, D.C. for U.S. Senator John Cornyn. She also worked in Austin for the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA). Outside of work Marissa volunteers for the Junior League of Austin and is an active member of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation’s Stewards of the Wild young professional organization.
Justin Yarborough is a Director at Kayne Anderson Capital and currently serves as a Captain in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves. Mr. Yarborough is affiliated with several statewide and local organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters, Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation, Make-A-Wish Foundation, First Lady Laura Bush’s Texan by Nature, and ... Read More various military nonprofit organizations.
Additionally, Mr. Yarborough was recognized by the Texas House of Representatives for “heroism and valor” for his actions after the 2010 Haiti earthquake, initially featured by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on The Situation Room. Since the earthquake, Yarborough’s charity supports an orphanage and school in Port-au-Prince, while his team’s documentary was an official selection for the DOC NYC Documentary Film Festival and docMiami International Film Festival.
A sixth-generation Texan, Justin is from Alpine, TX where his family has been in the ranching business for decades near Big Bend National Park. Justin received his law degree from St. Mary’s School of Law and his bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech University, where he walked-on to the football team.