Meet The Board
Meet the Board Members of Alliance Bank Central Texas
The Alliance Bank Central Texas' Board of Directors is comprised of some of Waco's most talented business men and women. Select from the list below to read more about their personal story.
With 35 years of community banking experience, Alliance Bank Central Texas Chairman and CEO Todd Moore has a deep understanding of what relationship banking is all about—people. His vision for providing Central Texans with a highly personalized banking experience, complete with local decision making capabilities, is a big part of the bank’s continued expansion and growth. He is a forward thinker, remaining on the forefront of industry change and making a difference in how bankers and clients work together to find innovative solutions for their banking needs.
Becoming a Banker
Moore has a passion for building strong relationships and treating clients like family, a foundation that was laid years ago while working alongside his parents in their family-owned and operated business, Wortham Air Conditioning, Inc., in Wortham, Texas. He began as a helper at age seven, gradually increasing his responsibilities and understanding of the business. He worked in various areas of the business including installation, licensed service technician, bookkeeping, and financial and governmental reporting. He saw first-hand the value of staying connected with clients and the community, as well as the ebbs and flows of business ownership, experiences that drive his business philosophy today.
His community banking career began in 1987, with a scholarship and internship opportunity. He served at a local bank as a part-time credit analyst and completed a six-week operational training program that gave him hands-on experience throughout multiple areas of the bank. Following the internship, he continued to serve the banking community in various roles, from credit analyst and commercial relationship manager, to executive vice president, president, chairman and CEO.
In 1989, Moore graduated from Baylor University with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in finance.
A New Model
While serving on the Texas Bankers Association board, Moore met a fellow banker who raised capital from a broad, diverse group of business owners and executives to start a community based, commercial bank. He then sold shares to people, representing various industries, who would not only commit to doing their own banking at the bank, but would also encourage colleagues, families and friends to do the same. The model allowed for fast growth, while focusing on building relationships and helping local families and businesses meet their financial goals. Moore was drawn to this approach and began looking at how it could be applied in the Waco community.
Moore and Eric Shero, both bank chiefs of a local, family-owned bank, and the team they assembled, had great success in growing the bank and talked about how the broad-based ownership model could help with even further growth. The plans for a broad-based ownership model in Waco began when Moore and Shero were approached to put together a group of capital investors to either purchase a majority stake in the bank where they currently served, or buy another bank and branch it back to the Waco market. In 2007, after purchasing a bank with a century-long tradition of providing personalized banking services, Alliance Bank Central Texas opened its doors in Waco. The State Bank of Jewett still operates in Jewett, Texas under the same name as a DBA of Alliance Bank Central Texas.
Today, Alliance Bank is independently owned by more than 200 shareholders and operated by a local board and management team. Its footprint of operations continues to grow in Central Texas, with locations in Jewett, Donie, Waco, Woodway, Temple and Georgetown.
As chairman and CEO, Moore and the bank’s team are responsible for the overall operations, management, performance and strategic direction of the bank. They prioritize building and maintaining a team of talented banking professionals who equally value teamwork, integrity and respect. Such culture is a big part of the Alliance Bank brand, and is what attracts shareholders who invest, employees who hone their professional skills, and clients who value a trusted relationship with their bankers.
Moore has dedicated his career to helping families and businesses reach their financial goals. His 35 years of community banking has brought many memorable moments, with becoming CEO of a local bank in 2003 as the starting point for perhaps the most memorable: the start of Alliance Bank Central Texas. Moore’s role as a community bank CEO allowed him to build a strong management team, one that became part of Alliance Bank’s foundation, and is the key to its success today. As bank consolidation continues to rapidly change the industry, Moore sees great opportunity for Alliance Bank to provide a more personalized banking experience for families and businesses. Many talented professionals have been, and continue to be part of writing the bank’s story, and Moore notes that “right now” is a very exciting chapter to be a part of.
Community Involvement and Enrichment
Through board service, Moore is committed to impacting the Waco community in various ways. He not only enjoys sharing his financial acumen, but also values collaborating with fellow board members with diverse industry knowledge and backgrounds, learning about what makes them successful as leaders in their company and in the community. He currently serves on the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce and Waco Industrial Foundation boards and is part of their audit committees. He is also a District 8 panel member for the State Bar of Texas Chief Disciplinary Counsel. Past board appointments include: Business League of Waco, Texas Bankers Association (TBA), Baylor Alumni Association, Waco Independent School District Education Foundation, United Way of McLennan County, Doris Miller YMCA, Fuzzy Friends Rescue, and others. Three times each year Moore is a member of a Texas Bankers Association CEO Forum group which meets in Austin for roundtable discussion about industry issues and best practices. He feels that collaborating with some of the best community bankers in the state challenges him to be a better banker and helps him be a better support person for his banking team.
Family, Faith, Friends and Music
Moore married his sixth grade sweetheart, Kelly, 36 years ago. They have three adult children, Rachel, Devion and Traynham, and are loving the chapter of parenting that includes adult friendship with each of them. Moore and Kelly are active members of Renew Church Waco. Moore enjoys exercising, especially outdoors, traveling some, and spending quality time with family and friends. Music is special to Moore, because it moves people emotionally and helps communicate in ways that sometimes words alone cannot. And, it brings diverse groups of people together and provides a lot of joy. He says being a professional singer, songwriter and entertainer would be a dream profession. Moore is always on the hunt to learn something new and a current favorite way to do so is by listening to podcasts about a variety of topics including business, faith, culture and more.
An Industry Leader and Leader in the Community
Benjy Bauer, co-owner of H&B Packing Co., Inc., founding member of Alliance Bank Central Texas and former board chairman, brings extensive expertise to the Alliance Bank board. His depth and breadth of business ownership experience and financial acumen is rooted in the legacy of a four-generation, family-owned and operated business, that has become an industry leader, and a leader in the Waco community.
H&B Packing Co., Inc.: A Story to Tell
Every business has a story to tell, and H&B Packing’s story is one of hard work and dedication to community enrichment. Bauer is a third-generation co-owner of H&B Packing Co., Inc., a company started in Waco by his grandparents, Marthe and Henry Heyman, more than 75 years ago. After leaving everything to escape the Holocaust, Marthe and Henry, along with Bauer’s then 10-year-old mom, immigrated from France during World War II. Bauer’s parents continued in the family-owned business, where Benjy quite literally “grew up.” He learned the importance of a strong work ethic at an early age, beginning to work alongside his parents at age six. They had one rule: he was not allowed in the office. So, Bauer spent his days cutting meat, loading trucks, going on deliveries and more—all experiences that contribute to his hands-on leadership approach today.
Following his graduation from the University of Texas at Austin where he earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree, Bauer did not have plans to return to Waco. Instead, he had hopes of expanding the plant’s reach into Austin and got to work making cold calls. After two months, his dad asked him to come home to work. While his dad had maintained a more conservative approach to business growth, Bauer deeply valued the process of evaluating current performance and continually looking for new ways to grow. H&B Packing was once one of many plants across the state of Texas (with six just in Waco), harvesting about 100 cows per week. Bauer’s strong work ethic and forward thinking not only allowed him to remain competitive in an ever-changing, highly regulated industry, but also led to future growth opportunities.
Today, H&B Packing is the fourth largest independent plant in Texas, harvesting about 2,500 cows per week. They distribute to grinders across the country and major beef retailers in Texas. The company employs about 150 employees and will continue to grow: plans are underway for a renewable energy plant to open at the end of the year.
Spirit of Service and Giving
Because of their parents’ example of service and giving, both Bauer and his wife, Betty, have a strong passion for lifting others to success through education. They modeled that passion for their children as well: as a family, they mentored a former Talitha Koum student whom they still are connected with, continuing to cheer him on to his next steps of a college education. The Bauers are committed to offering students a path to success, and love the relationships that are formed along the way. They have personally provided scholarships for students over the years, and recently started a scholarship program for H&B Packing employee’s children.
The Bauers’ passion and personal investment in making a difference in the lives of many has truly impacted the Waco community, and in 2019, during the 31st annual National Philanthropy Awards Luncheon, they were recognized by the .
Bauer’s commitment to community enrichment continues through his board service. He has had board involvement with Planned Parenthood, Sickle Cell Anemia Association and Doris Miller Family YMCA. He is also active in the Hebrew Rest Association, caring for the local Jewish cemetery.
Bauer points out several milestones and accomplishments that are significant both personally and professionally:
- Bauer is proud to be a principal founding member of Alliance Bank Central Texas, serving as board chairman from 2013 to 2021. During this time, bank assets grew from $191 million to $386 million. His leadership was an integral part of that growth and success of the bank. He continues to provide guidance and insight as he remains active as a board member.
- When the Covid-19 pandemic hit Central Texas, H&B Packing became a best-practice model that the city of Waco looked to for guidance. Bauer closely monitored cases in Europe and their responses, and began implementing safety measures and protocols even before the first case hit the United States. Such forward thinking and quick response not only helped Bauer prioritize the health and safety of his own team, but also the teams of others who followed his lead.
- Bauer is committed to investing in the community he lives, which includes his H&B Packing workforce. He is honored to have a team that is dedicated to continuing his forefathers’ legacy of hard work, and proud to support them through superior compensation and college scholarships for their children. Such investment has resulted in a loyal workforce that is 150 strong, even during a significant labor shortage.
Bauer is married to Betty, who he met in a history of rock ‘n’ roll class while they were both students at the University of Texas. They have two adult children and two grandchildren with another on the way! To those who love him most, he is affectionately known as “Bunny,” because of a costume that caught Betty’s eye at a college social gathering over 40 years ago. To this day, that costume is pulled out once a year on Halloween and is hands down, a family favorite. Bauer is a self-professed hardcore UT football fan, rarely missing an opportunity to cheer on the Longhorns. He and Betty enjoy traveling together, with Cabo San Lucas being one of their favorite destinations. For more quiet moments at home, they love long walks in Cameron Park, logging eight to 10 miles a day on the weekends.
From Accounting to Banking: Serving the Waco Community
As Alliance Bank’s executive vice president and chief financial officer, and president of ABCT Holdings, Inc., Eric Shero, CPA, is a dynamic member of the Alliance Bank board. He has a deep understanding of personalized, relationship banking and has been instrumental in developing and maintaining some of the bank’s most strategic business relationships, resulting in continued expansion and growth.
Accounting to Banking
The son of an engineer, Shero grew up in Houston, Texas, attended high school in North Carolina then graduated in New Jersey. Following in both his mother and grandfather’s footsteps, Shero became a third-generation Baylor Bear. During his time at Baylor, Shero pledged a social fraternity, and was active in College Republicans, Baylor Accounting Society and in the college and music ministries at First Baptist Church, Waco.
Shero graduated from Baylor University in 1992, earning a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in accounting. Following graduation, Shero joined a local accounting firm where he later became partner.
After 11 years in public accounting, Shero transitioned into banking, serving the Waco community alongside Alliance Bank Chairman and CEO Todd Moore for the past 16 years.
A New Opportunity
As bank chiefs of a local bank, Shero and Moore were extremely successful in growing the family-owned business and had a vision of a broad-based ownership for continued growth. In 2006, they were approached to put together a group of capital investors to either purchase a majority stake in the bank, or start a new one.
In 2007, after purchasing a bank with a century-long tradition of providing personalized banking services, Alliance Bank Central Texas opened its doors in Waco. Shero and Moore implemented the broad-based ownership model to grow the bank, relying on shareholders who represent various industries, doing their own banking at the bank and encouraging colleagues, families and friends to do the same.
Today, the bank is independently owned by more than 200 shareholders and operated by a local board and management team. As executive vice president and chief financial officer, Shero manages the bank’s investment portfolio and oversees all financial reporting.
Professional and Community Enrichment
Shero is committed to professional and community enrichment, serving in a variety of roles over the years. He is a board member, executive committee member and past president of Midway ISD Education Foundation, a discussion group leader for the BSF International Waco Men’s Class and a member of the Rotary Club of Waco. Past affiliations include advisory board member of Providence Healthcare Network and Baylor University Department of Accounting and Business Law, board president and treasurer of the American Red Cross Heart of Texas Chapter, board president and treasurer of Community Cancer Association, and more. Shero completed Texas Banker’s Association (TBA) Management Development Program and was part of the TBA Governmental Relations Council. He is currently a member of First Baptist Church Woodway and has previously served as a deacon officer, stewardship chair and on the finance committee of First Baptist Church, Waco.
Professional affiliations include American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants and Waco Business League.
Shero is married to his wife of 28 years, Michelle. They have two sons, Riley, 23, and Reagan, 21. He enjoys Baylor athletics (especially basketball and football), flying, spending time in Colorado and traveling with close friends.
An Accountant’s Journey
As a certified public accountant and licensed realtor, Georgetta Duncan, organizing director of ABCT Holdings, Inc., brings valuable experience and insight to the Alliance Bank Central Texas board. Her robust, 40 year-long career path has included focus on accounting, asset management, finance, real estate and even some ostrich chicks along the way. Today, she serves as director of commercial property management and HOA coordinator at Triliji Group, a premiere real estate firm in Waco.
Following a Passion for Accounting
After graduating from Baylor University with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in accounting, Duncan began her career in finance as a credit analyst. While she found this an interesting job and enjoyed the people she worked with, she longed for a job with more accounting.
In January 1982, she went to work for the Paul Meyer companies in the corporate accounting office where she maintained financial records for various sales and manufacturing companies. In 1985, she was promoted to controller of the real estate division where she oversaw accounting for various residential and commercial properties and gained knowledge in real estate purchases, sales, financing and property management. In 1989, she was transferred to Paul Meyer’s personal accounting office, and in 1998, Duncan was promoted to chief financial officer for Paul Meyer which included his personal accounting as well as that of various trusts and foundations. Duncan served as an officer and director of the Paul and Jane Meyer Family Foundation. This foundation provided support to various organizations in the area, and Duncan had the opportunity to learn the value that many local charities provided to this community.
Ostrich Farm to Christian Retreat
In addition to Duncan’s financial reporting and commercial property management responsibilities, she had some interesting tasks related to Mr. Meyer’s various ventures. In 1990, Mr. Meyer decided to go into the ostrich business, raising ostriches at his Belton farm. This business lasted for approximately five years; sales prices of ostriches during a time when ostrich popularity was growing was most interesting, but not as interesting as taking inventory of ostrich chicks! A couple years after the end of the ostrich business, Mr. Meyer had the idea of turning the brooder pens into individual suites to start a Christian retreat. In 1998, Summers Mill Retreat and Conference Center was started. Duncan was on the planning committee and board of the retreat for almost 20 years. She enjoyed being part of Summers Mill Retreat and working with the team that helped grow this operation into a preferred retreat and conference center in Central Texas.
Triliji Group Real Estate
After Paul Meyer’s death in 2009, Duncan continued to work for Jane Meyer (Paul Meyer’s widow) until June 2018 when she left the Meyer companies to work for Triliji Group Real Estate. At Triliji, she serves as director of commercial property management and HOA coordinator. In March 2020, Duncan obtained her real estate license to go along with her CPA license.
Duncan is an active member of Central Christian Church where she serves on the Finance Ministry team and served on the board as treasurer in 2020 and 2021. She enjoys being part of such a friendly church that gives back to the community and is known as the “pumpkin patch church” (their annual fall fundraiser).
Duncan is married to her husband Gary, and they will celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary in the spring of 2022. They have two adult sons, one daughter-in-law and two grandchildren with a third grandchild to arrive in February. Duncan and her husband have a farm about an hour away from Waco that has been a great weekend getaway for many years.
Duncan enjoys music (played clarinet in high school band), fishing and time with family.
Building a Banker and then a Bank
With nearly 20 years of community banking experience, Alliance Bank Central Texas Executive Vice President and Chief Lending Officer Scott Rogers brings a wealth of talent and insight to the Alliance Bank board. His strong community ties and deep understanding of relationship-style banking that is focused on enhanced customer service, coupled with his ability to create innovative, customized solutions for complex situations, has helped position the bank as a preferred banking institution for Central Texans.
The Journey to Banking
Born in Waco, Rogers moved around in early childhood while his dad pursued a career in oral surgery. He spent the majority of his childhood in Temple, Texas. Before graduating with honors from Temple High School, Rogers spent a semester abroad in Germany, where he became immersed in the culture, learning the language and developing life-long friendships. In 2004, Rogers began interning at a local community bank as a credit analyst. Leadership quickly recognized his high emotional intelligence and strong work ethic, and offered him the opportunity to defer college graduation and join the team full time. Rogers continued his studies while gaining first-hand banking leadership experience as credit department manager and assistant vice president. In August 2005, Rogers graduated from Baylor University with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in economics and finance and a minor in German.
A New Bank, A New Journey
In 2006, a group of investors came together to start a new bank strategically designed to have a broad base of shareholders, and a local management team that would provide customized solutions to customers’ needs. Rogers soon joined the team, developing systems, processes and procedures, and warehousing loans. In October 2007, Alliance Bank Central Texas opened its doors in Waco.
Over 100 years ago, Rogers’ second great-grandfather embarked on a similar journey, founding a bank in Round Top, Texas, after immigrating from Germany. The family tradition carried to his great grandfather, and the bank continues to be a vital part of the community today. While Rogers did not always consider community banking as part of his career path, he credits his forefathers for providing a strong example of what community banking should look like.
Today, as Alliance Bank’s executive vice president, chief lending officer and commercial relationship manager, Rogers oversees all lending aspects of the bank—leading the bank’s team of lenders as they help businesses, families and individuals meet their financial goals.
Rogers points out several milestones and accomplishments that are significant both personally and professionally: Rogers earned The Boy Scouts of America’s highest rank, the Eagle Scout. Eagle Scouts value perseverance, discipline, motivation, leadership, accountability and achievement—all attributes that he continues to lean on in all endeavors. And when it comes to banking, Rogers points to two milestones that are most memorable: the day Alliance Bank opened its doors in Waco, when he was added to the bank’s Board of Directors. Rogers is honored to be a part of a passionate team that has a shared vision for the future.
Sharing Time and Talent
Rogers is dedicated to honing his skills and using his gifts to serve others. He has been actively involved with Texas Banker’s Association (TBA) throughout his career, completing the Management Development Program and serving as chair of the Bank Leadership Council. He is currently a member of TBA’s Community Banker’s Council and a member of the TBA board. Rogers is a graduate of Southwestern Graduate School of Banking where he served as class president. He is also a graduate of the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Waco, a program that provides rising leaders with community learning opportunities. He remains active with the Chamber by serving on the Leadership Waco curriculum committee and a Total Resource Campaign volunteer. Rogers serves as treasurer on the executive committee of Ascension’s Providence Foundation. He is a deacon at Columbus Avenue Baptist Church and chair of the finance committee. Rogers also serves on the board of The Hedonia Club of Waco.
Rogers is married to his wife, Erin, and they have two daughters, Claire and Georgia Kate. Rogers enjoys spending time with his family, especially making memories outdoors—from hiking in the Colorado mountains or riding bikes in the neighborhood, to grilling burgers or cheering on the Baylor Bears, and everything in between!
Pathway to President
With 35 years of community banking experience, Alliance Bank Central Texas President Ricky Thompson plays a vital role on the Alliance Bank board. A former NFL football player, Thompson exhibits the same passion used on the field in the banking arena. Such intensity, coupled with his deep understanding of relationship-based banking has helped hundreds of Central Texas businesses and families meet their financial goals over the years.
Pro Footballer to President
A Native Texan, Thompson grew up in Gatesville, Texas. He first came to Waco to attend Baylor University, where he played wide receiver for the Baylor Bears. He was part of the 1974 Southwest Conference Championship team and was also an All-American in track, winning four SWC long jump championships. Thompson earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Baylor University and was drafted by the Baltimore Colts in 1976. He played seven seasons in the National Football League (NFL), primarily for the Washington Redskins.
Thompson returned to Waco in 1983. A banking career wasn’t necessarily on his radar at the time, but through conversations with a community banking mentor, he realized that a banking career path would be a good fit for him. He joined a local bank team, where he served for over three decades, holding various roles, including bank president.
Following his success in collegiate and pro football, Thompson was inducted into the Baylor Athletic Hall of Fame, the Southwest Conference Athletic Hall of Fame and the Gatesville Athletic Hall of Fame.
Alliance Bank Central Texas
In 2017, Thompson joined the Alliance Bank team as executive vice president and commercial relationship manager, and in March 2021, he took on the role of bank president. He continues to drive growth, all while keeping personalized banking experiences top of mind.
Thompson is also a partner in Public Automotive Group, with nine locations in Central and East Texas.
One of Thompson’s biggest dreams-come-true was playing in the NFL. Achieving that goal and playing in Washington brought several memorable moments:
- Thompson had incredible opportunities to visit the White House on several occasions to meet the president and attend events.
- Thompson also credits Washington with having some of the best fans in the NFL, making playing in front of them a memorable experience each time.
As a banker, Thompson points out these milestones as the most memorable:
- Thompson started his banking career as a credit analyst and counts it a true honor to serve his community as a bank president for two local banks.
- The significant growth that Alliance Bank continues to experience over the last five years makes “now” a very exciting time, and likely a “most memorable moment” down the road. The addition of the Woodway headquarters and the new Temple location have created an increasingly stronger presence in Central Texas, allowing the team to better serve their customers.
Committed to community enrichment, Thompson has served on numerous boards, including his current role on the Foundation Board of First Baptist Church Waco. He served as board president for Heart of Texas American Red Cross, Heart of Texas Council Boy Scouts of America, Baylor Lettermen’s Association, and as vice chairman of the University of Mary Hardin Baylor board of trustees. He has also served on the board of Waco Chamber of Commerce, United Way of McLennan County and Texas Sports Hall of Fame. He continues to pursue his passion for football as a sideline radio analyst and commentator for Baylor football and as a volunteer football coach for Waco Montessori School.
Thompson is married to his wife, Carol. They have two grown daughters, Cortnie Thompson and Casie Weaver; a son-in-law, Clint Weaver; and two grandchildren, Jack and Tessa Weaver. Thompson enjoys spending time with family on the lake and at their ranch, playing golf with his grandson, and anything involving Baylor athletics.
Third Generation Banker Serves Banking Industry for Four Decades
Mark Minor brings over 40 years of finance and banking experience to the Alliance Bank Central Texas board. His vast knowledge of the banking industry includes experience as a bank examiner for the Texas Department of Banking, board service on five different bank boards and roles across all areas of a bank, most recently serving as Chief Credit Officer and Executive Vice President at Alliance Bank Central Texas.
A Family of Bankers
A native Central Texan, Minor grew up in a banking family. With his grandfather, father and two uncles in banking, Minor always knew that banking would be a part of his career path, and he learned first-hand the importance and value of a community bank experience. At the age of 16, he started working for the family bank in Marlin, Texas, in the bookkeeping department. He has worked in every department that existed in a bank including new accounts lobby teller, drive thru teller, installment lender and commercial lender. After graduating from Marlin High School, he studied finance at Baylor University and went on to complete his studies at the Southwestern Graduate School of Banking at Southern Methodist University. He started his post graduate banking career as a bank examiner for the Texas Department of Banking.
Alliance Bank Central Texas
Minor first joined Alliance Bank Central Texas as a director when the bank opened in Waco in 2007 and later as a lender in 2010. During his time at the bank, he also served as Chief Credit Officer and Executive Vice President. He dedicated 10 years to the team, partnering with customers to achieve their financial goals. During his tenure, he worked to improve asset quality and oversaw loan policy compliance and credit quality. He has enjoyed watching the bank continue to grow, both in assets and profitability, and in number of locations across Central Texas. Minor has also seen how the eruption of technology has impacted the industry, further allowing the bank to expand its services and reach.
Looking back on his career, Minor points out two most memorable moments:
- Minor and his father, Carroll Minor, purchased controlling interest in two area banks and sold them about ten years later.
- Minor is a proud organizing director of Alliance Bank Central Texas who traveled with the leadership team to talk to the banking commission about the details of purchasing State Bank of Jewett.
Time Talent Treasure
As a firm believer that in order to have a thriving community, it is imperative to volunteer in an area where your time, talent or treasure can positively impact those around you, Minor has served on the boards for Lorena Little League, Heart of Texas Soccer, Lorena Chamber of Commerce, Lorena ISD School Board, American Red Cross. Past bank board appointments include: First State Bank Kosse, First State Bank Marlin, Bank of Troy and Lorena State Bank.
After a robust career spanning four decades, Minor retired from Alliance Bank in 2021 and remains active on the Alliance Bank Central Texas board.
Minor has been married to his wife, Teresa, for 41 years. They have two sons, Barrett (deceased) and Brady, and five grandchildren. He enjoys working outside, fishing, hunting and anything with his grandchildren.
Helping Farmers and Ranchers Feed America
As a skilled business owner with 30 years of experience in the machinery industry, Brent Neuhaus brings extensive knowledge in budgeting negotiation, operations management, business planning, real estate and development to the Alliance Bank board. He is the corporate inventory manager for United Ag & Turf, one of the largest full-line John Deere dealers in North America. Dedicated to excellent quality and customer care, United Ag & Turf serves farmers, ranchers and property owners across Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. Neuhaus’ depth and breadth of expertise run deep, starting with the seeds planted by his father.
Becoming an Agribusinessman
A native Texan, and son of a farmer and agribusinessman, Neuhaus was raised in Robinson, Texas. In 1992, he graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Science degree in agricultural economics. After graduation, he joined his dad in the family business, Brazos Valley Equipment Co., a Waco-based John Deere dealership specializing in large ag machinery, lawn care equipment and everything in between. He began in sales, progressing to inventory management, general manager, and CEO. Working alongside his father, Neuhaus saw the value of an unwavering work ethic, developed strong business acumen, and learned the importance of serving others.
From One Dealership to Five
In 2004, Neuhaus purchased the family-owned dealership, and soon began looking for opportunities outside of Waco to expand the company footprint. Under his leadership, the company grew from one location to five, first with the purchase of the Hillsboro location in 2006. Three years later, he purchased the Cleburne and Ennis, Texas locations. In 2016, he was approved by John Deere to open a new location in Weatherford, Texas.
United Ag & Turf
United Ag & Turf was founded on the rich tradition of providing quality products and excellent customer service. In 2017, Neuhaus sold the majority interest in Brazos Valley Equipment leading to a merger of four full-line John Deere dealerships to create United Ag & Turf. As corporate inventory manager of the largest John Deere equipment inventory in the marketplace, Neuhaus forecasts inventory needs as well as leads the team that places, receipts, and audits orders, ensuring that metrics are met.
Part of forecasting inventory includes maintaining a pulse on trends. In 2000, 70% of business was related to production agriculture and 30% was consumer-based products, including lawn mowers, small tractors, utility vehicles and more; but that has flipped to 30% ag and 70% consumer. As customer needs began to change, so did United Ag & Turf. They expanded products, inventory, and services, and are now selling and servicing every John Deere product any property owner, farmer or rancher would need—except snow blowers.
With highly motivated sales leadership teams, and a steadfast focus on customer support, United Ag & Turf continues to excel year after year: it is one of the largest sales volume small ag dealerships in North America and has achieved John Deere’s highest market share level. Today, the company has over 750 employees in 28 locations across Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas.
Looking back on a 30 year-long career focused on supporting farmers and ranchers who work hard to producing the food that America and other countries rely on, Neuhaus points out several meaningful accomplishments.
From a young age, Neuhaus learned the importance of building customer relationships, and saw firsthand how the equipment they represented impacted customers’ lives. He learned about the opportunities of business ownership and development, and was able to put those lessons to practice by growing the service area of Brazos Valley Equipment Co. in Texas, from one to five locations.
Technology continues be an industry disruptor in many areas, including ag machinery. To keep up with the latest advancements, Neuhaus spearheaded building three new state-of-the-art facilities and remodeling two facilities, all in a five-year period.
Neuhaus is committed to helping others grow their professional talents and developed United Ag & Turf’s corporate leadership program. This track has produced eight individuals who are serving as top level leaders today.
Sharing Talents, Serving Others
Neuhaus is a firm believer in investing in his community through volunteerism. He is a past chair of the Heart ‘O Texas Fair and Rodeo and has served as a volunteer since 2004. Fair and Rodeo event programming helps youth learn work ethic, grow confidence and earn scholarships so that they can be better prepared to positively impact their community for the next 40 years. As a director for Lone Star Ag Credit, Neuhaus works to support farmers, ranchers, and landowners across the country who are pursuing their dreams and feeding the world, all while returning profits to the customers through the cooperative structure. He joined the Alliance Bank board in 2007, eager to learn about an industry he didn’t have much experience in. He enjoys seeing the vision and culture scale with new locations and employees, leading to continued growth opportunities. Neuhaus is also a member of the Waco Business League and enjoys serving as a Bible Study Fellowship discussion group leader.
Neuhaus is married to his wife Kim, who is a beloved first grade teacher at South Bosque Elementary.
Becoming a Leader and Healer
James Morton, D.D.S. served the Waco community for 35 years as the owner of a successful dental practice focused on family and cosmetic dentistry. As an Eagle Scout, he is a nature enthusiast, with a compassionate and dynamic leadership style rooted in the character traits of Scout Law. His passion for serving others has permeated through many areas of his life, including his service on the Alliance Bank board for the past 14 years.
A native Texan, Dr. Morton was born and raised in Houston, Texas. He joined a local Boy Scouts of America (BSA) troop at age 13, following the program all the way to becoming an Eagle Scout. This prestigious achievement is the highest attainable rank in the BSA program, requiring many years of hard work and dedication. Dr. Morton enjoys helping others and always felt called to a career in medicine. After attending a high school career day in the tenth grade, he decided on a dentistry career path. He graduated from Baylor University in 1968 with a Bachelor of Arts degree, following the pre-dentistry program majoring in biology and minoring in chemistry. He was a member of the Knights of Tradition (KΩT) fraternity, an organization dedicated to serving the Waco and Baylor communities. In 1972, he earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from Baylor College of Dentistry in Dallas. While in dental school, Dr. Morton became a member of the professional dental fraternity, Xi Psi Phi, serving as president from 1971 to 1972.
In 1972, Dr. Morton joined the U.S. Army Dental Corps and was stationed in Heidelberg, Germany. As an Army major and dentist, Dr. Morton had the opportunity to work with a variety of expert dental professionals and specialists, advancing his experience in many specialty areas.
After three years in Germany, Dr. Morton returned to Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas. He visited a friend’s dental practice in Waco, Texas and learned of an opportunity to purchase the business. When thinking about owning and running a dental practice, he envisioned a practice that allowed him to focus on his patients, partnering with them in their health to reach the best outcomes together. He also envisioned creating this from the ground up. However, this practice was an established one, complete with new equipment, and he was more quickly able to begin providing the level of expert dental care that his patients trusted for over 35 years.
Throughout his career, Dr. Morton served his community and others through volunteerism. He supported the Boy Scouts of America as an assistant Scoutmaster from 1977 to 1986. He also chartered a new troop.
Mission work has been a priority for Dr. Morton, doing hurricane repair work in Refugio and dental mission trips to St. Kitts and Weslaco. He has built cabinets for Habitat for Humanity and refurbished bicycles that are donated to local non-profits. He is an active member of First Baptist Waco where he has served as chair of the deacons. He is also a former board member of the Waco Regional Baptist Association.
Professional affiliations include American Dental Association, Texas Dental Association and Central Texas Dental Society, where he served a year as president. He is also a Fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry.
Dr. Morton retired from a successful 35-year dental career in 2011, counting it a true privilege to care for patients in Waco community for so many years. He also holds a few personal achievements and milestones near and dear.
- Dr. Morton has been married to his wife, Pat, for over 50 years and they have a son, daughter and four grandchildren. They met at a church in Houston, attended Baylor University where Pat graduated a year after Dr. Morton, with a degree in secondary education. While Dr. Morton attended dental school, he worked part time as a waiter at Steak and Ale, and she taught school. They enjoyed their time together while stationed in Heidelberg, and their love of adventure and travel remains today. They are both avid runners, competing in numerous 5Ks, half marathons and marathons, and Dr. Morton is a three-time Boston Marathon finisher. He was also a charter member and past president of the Waco Striders.
- An Eagle Scout turned Scoutmaster, Dr. Morton loved his Scout experiences as a young teen, learning valuable lessons, such as basic outdoor skills, first aid, citizenship skills, leadership skills and more. He grew to appreciate the magnitude of those experiences as an adult, sharing his love of Scouts with future Scout generations. In 1988, when his son started Boy Scouts, Dr. Morton chartered Troop 497 and served as its first Scoutmaster for five years. Troop 497 is now sponsored by Baylor University. His dedication to investing in the lives of rising Scouts was recognized when he was twice named Scoutmaster of the Year for the Teha Lana district. Undoubtedly a lifelong passion, Dr. Morton remains active with Scouts today by serving on the scouting district committee.
- Dr. Morton and his family share a deep love of nature. Perhaps the love runs so deep because it is a big part of their family history and tradition. His family started vacationing in Colorado 71 years ago, and now, five other family members each have cabins in the Estes Park and Glen Haven areas. Jim and Pat are now privileged to spend their summers there.
To Mars and Beyond
Sherman Ayres brings extensive corporate management and global manufacturing knowledge to the Alliance Bank board. Ayres served over 30 years with Mars, Incorporated, where he excelled in corporate manufacturing responsibilities for some of their most notable and lasting brands of pet food and confectionary products. His career path led to world-wide travel, creating a diverse understanding of the global business community. As founder and CEO of S.R. Ayres & Associates, Ayres now shares his depth and breadth of knowledge through business consultancy, focusing on areas such leadership training, strategic planning, crisis management, and diversity and perspective awareness training.
From a Small Town to the Big City
Ayres was born in Jamestown, Ohio, but as the son of an African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church clergyman, he grew up in parsonages in five different Ohio cities. The experience of those moves later played a key role in his flexibility to relocate throughout his professional career. Ayres began school at Wilberforce University, an AME Church school in Xenia, Ohio. The school, still in existence, is part of the Historically Black College and University (HBCU) education system. After graduating from Zanesville High School, Ayres worked as an apprentice plumber during the summer. He then enrolled in the Ohio University Zanesville campus. While attending school and working full time, he learned about a plant in Columbus, Ohio offering entry level positions that paid significantly more than what he was currently earning. At 19 years old, it was an easy decision to at least apply for a position. The decision paid off. Ayres was hired by Kal Kan pet foods into the shipping and receiving department. Ayres was excited about this new opportunity in the big city, but had no idea he had hired into Mars, Incorporated, one of the largest food companies in the world, or just how monumental this step would be for the trajectory of his career.
Journey through Mars
While his Mars, Incorporated journey may have started somewhat accidentally, it turned into a robust, 31-year long career that offered many opportunities throughout the company. He quickly moved from the shipping and receiving department into the quality control and technical services department, part of the research and development division. He began managerial roles as a meat and ingredient analyst, and continued to move into increasing levels of responsibility, including quality control supervisor, technical services supervisor and eventually becoming the staff level manager of the entire department. He continued to hone his knowledge and skills which led to further advancement and relocation. Ayres held operations manager and plant manager roles at manufacturing sites in Vernon, California, Albany, Georgia and finally, at the Mars Wrigley Confectionary Plant (previously named M&M Mars) in Waco, Texas. As plant manager, he was responsible for the comprehensive operational and management aspects of the plant’s associates, brands and assets.
Throughout his career, Ayres continued his education with significant course work in business and meat science by attending Ohio State University, Franklin University, and completing the Mars Core Curriculum program which modeled as an accelerated BS in business. He also completed intensive quality training, including the Deming Model of Quality Management, The Juran Institute, ISO 9002 certification, Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) Principles and Guidelines, FDA Federal Code of Regulations and Statistical Process Control. Additionally, Ayres received extensive training in thermal processing, canning technology and environment sanitation.
Ayres’ career opened the door for considerable international business travel in Europe, Japan, Russia, and Mexico. These experiences ultimately resulted in broad multicultural knowledge spanning across the entire business spectrum.
S.R. Ayres & Associates
Starting a consultancy business was not always on his professional radar. In fact, it came after retiring from Mars, Incorporated in 2003. Two years before retirement, Ayres was among a group of senior managers selected to attend The Aspen Institute’s Center for Creative Leadership. As a part of the program, Ayres partnered with a professional coach who helped him see how impactful his experience could be in the area of business consultancy. Ayres formally established S.R. Ayres & Associates in 2009. He partners with businesses to provide strategic planning, objective and goal setting guidance, crisis management, leadership and professional development training, and diversity and perspective awareness training. He was called on by one of his former employer’s biggest competitors to give a presentation on leadership.
With such a tenured career that took him on many world-wide adventures, there are many professional accomplishments credited to Ayres. He points out three that are most memorable to him:
Mars, Incorporated was founded on the principles of quality, responsibility, mutuality, efficiency and freedom. These became to be known as “The Five Principles of Mars.” Since the company’s inception in the early years of the 20th century, the 5 P’s were simply the Mars “way of doing business.” In 1983, Ayres was chosen to be on the team charged with creating the first published associate handbook defining The Five Principles of Mars, the core of which is still used today.
A quality movement took hold in the rebuilding of Japan after WWII. The movement was driven by W. Edwards Deming’s renowned 14 Deming Principles, and revolutionized quality management in every part of the manufacturing sector, particularly in the automotive industry. Ayres was one of the principal project managers responsible for converting Mars’ Quality Control system to a Quality Assurance system. The new system was structured on the Deming Principles and rolled out in all the Mars facilities in North America.
Mars, Incorporated recognized early on the importance and competitive advantage of proactively managing race equity and inclusion. Ayres was one of 26 associates chosen to become a licensed trainer, charged with training all managers across all North America facilities.
Ayres is very active in the Waco community, serving on the boards of Waco Foundation, Startup Waco, McLennan Community College Commercial Music and Alliance Bank Central Texas. Ayres joined the Alliance Bank board in January of 2020. His business acumen from his career in the global manufacturing environment became an added value to the board, further diversifying and broadening its business perspective. Previous board appointments include the Cameron Park Zoological & Botanical Society and the Tadpole Foundation.
Growing up quite literally in the church, music has always been a big part or Ayres’ life. He began playing drums at age five when he got his first drum set. This drum set came with a bit of history, and the story remains a fond family memory. Ayres’ great uncle, Ted Fields, played drums and sang with Willie Lewis and his Entertainers during the Big Band era. A Cleburne, Texas native, Lewis had great success playing across Europe in the 1930s. Fields, having no children of his own, and upon passing, left his drums and accessories to Ayres’ father, in hopes one of his three sons would develop a love for the instrument. Ayres found a passion for drumming and began formally playing in fifth grade. By his senior year in high school, Ayres played in the marching band, jazz and dance band, concert band, orchestra, and has not stopped playing since. He also served as drum captain and was band president.
Ayres has many interests, but if there is a pastime that he enjoys more than music, it just may be fishing. He is an avid reader, always finding a good book a real treasure; he also enjoys a great movie, NBA basketball and Ohio State football. Ayres is married to his wife, Josette, and they have four adult children and one very spoiled family dog.
The Power of Entrepreneurship
Sarah Roberts, founding principal and president, KSR Capital LLC, brings nearly 20 years of experience in real estate development and economic development to the Alliance Bank board. Through her role as an economic development executive, and now as a business owner focused on transformative projects that are disruptors in their industries, Roberts’ deep understanding of innovation, collaboration and negotiation have made a lasting impact on the greater Waco community and beyond. Her contributions to economic growth and development in communities across the country have been widely recognized, including being named as Development Counsellors International’s 40 Under 40 Rising Stars in Economic Development. Her ability to create solutions for complex situations has kept her at the head of the industry, opening the doors to work with innovative clients on new locations that were quite literally the “world’s first.”
Beginning the Road to Entrepreneurship
Roberts was born in Louisville, Kentucky and raised in Temple, Texas. She attended Temple High School where she excelled in athletics and academics, as a track and cross-country runner and an honors student. She and her family enjoyed the many cultural activities the city offered, and she wanted to travel the world to deepen those experiences. Roberts also had heart for entrepreneurship, and with scholarship opportunities from Baylor University, she decided to remain in Central Texas to study entrepreneurship. As a recipient of an entrepreneurship scholarship endowed by a local businessman who started a company in Waco, Roberts saw firsthand how building a business could directly impact individual lives, changing the trajectory of her own path. She graduated from Baylor University in 2002, holding a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Baylor’s top-ranked entrepreneurship program.
Connections opened the door for Roberts’ first job in economic development. As she prepared for an interview for an economic development position in another community, she leveraged the knowledge and resources of others to help her put her best foot forward. A college friend’s dad had relocated a plant to Waco and connected her to a colleague at the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber quickly realized the value Roberts could bring to the organization and community, and their collaboration turned into a job offer.
The Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce
In 2003, Roberts began working for the Greater Chamber of Commerce in economic development.
She served as director, vice president and senior vice president, where she was responsible for leading a regional economic development team. Her team focused on attracting new and expanded corporate locations, urban development, and high-impact entrepreneurship. Also responsible for building the product to attract these investments, Roberts managed master planning, development and disposition of an approximately $50 million real estate portfolio in multiple business parks that experienced record level sales, construction, acquisition, and creation of next generation business parks. She also led administration of a regional economic development corporation, directing more than $20 million in incentives to leverage approximately $430 million in private investment.
During her 10 year tenure, Roberts’ dynamic approach to building teams and implementing strategies garnered international and statewide attention. In 2009, Roberts was recognized by International Economic International Economic Development Council in 2009 for the Multi-Year Economic Development Program for launching a transformational public-private development program that generated significant development results.
In 2003 and 2010, Roberts received the Community Economic Development Award from the Texas Economic Development Council, and in 2013, she was recognized as part of the inaugural class of the New York-based Development Counsellors International’s 40 Under 40 Rising Stars in Economic Development.
KSR Capital LLC
Working in a community that has a strong entrepreneurship and manufacturing legacy, Roberts saw the tremendous impact of innovation and creation. Entrepreneurship always inspired Roberts, and the many entrepreneurs she had the privilege of working with during her time at the Chamber further inspired her to create something of her own.
In 2013, Roberts stepped to the other side of the process in both site location and development to launch KSR Capital LLC. As founding principal and president, she works with clients to identify and deliver the financial and technical resources needed to build advanced projects and achieve innovative business goals. In site location, she built a niche in working on transformative projects with corporate clients that are disruptors in their industries. Over the past few years, her focus has increasingly shifted to directly partner on development projects.
Roberts marks projects that laid the foundation to have generational impact to be most memorable, pointing out two:
- Redevelopment of the long-vacant General Tire facility into the Baylor Research Innovation Collaborative (BRIC):This state-of-the art research facility brings together emerging technologies, industry partners and small businesses all under one roof. Such collaboration not only stimulates innovation, but also helps stimulate the local economy, both making a generational impact on the community for years to come.
- Development of the first master plan of the Waco Industrial Foundation (WIF) land holdings: WIF promotes development by providing land and land incentives to companies. Waco properties continue to attract investment today, further strengthening the development and economic growth of the community.
For Roberts, volunteers are the heart of an organization. In her Chamber role, she saw how they enthusiastically champion goals and visions, and she brings that same passion to both her professional and personal service roles.
As an active member of the regional business community, Roberts serves on multiple civic and business boards, including the Waco Business League, StartUp Waco, and Alliance Bank Central Texas.
Roberts has also served statewide and nationally in the development profession, including being one of two economic developers on the national Industrial Asset Management Council Board of Directors for three years (2010-2012) and board (2007-2011) and executive committee appointments to the Texas Economic Development Council (2010-2011). She has also served as a member of Team Texas, TexasOne, Central Texas Commercial Association of Realtors and International Economic Development Council, actively supporting many of these organizations as a committee chair and member.
Additional past local board volunteer involvement includes Waco Montessori School Board. She also enjoys serving in church programs as well as programs for her sons’ school and sports activities.
Roberts is married to her husband of 18 years, Korbett. Together they have three boys and one dog. They are an active family, enjoying all things outdoors. Family favorites include hiking, swimming, biking and skiing. Colorado is a favorite family destination, and Sarah and Korbett also enjoy international travel. They are avid Baylor basketball fans and have a family tradition of traveling to cheer on the team for the Big 12 and NCAA tournaments. With Big 12 and NCAA championship titles for the ladies’ and men’s teams respectively, perhaps 2021 will go down as a “favorite” year of cheering on those Bears!
Steps Toward Success
As an attorney and certified public accountant, Jeff Wooley, CPA, Esq., brings a wealth of experience to the Alliance Bank board. He began his career as a tax specialist, but like many career journeys, his path took a slight turn when he was offered an opportunity to use his legal and accounting acumen in a different scope. Wooley spent over two decades with Allen Samuels Auto Group (ASAG) in roles including chief financial officer, general counsel, president, CEO and shareholder. During his leadership, ASAG successfully navigated the automotive industry crisis of 2008-2009. Today, he is the majority shareholder of D1 McLennan County (also known as D1 Waco), a non-traditional fitness training facility that was named a Top 30 Gym by Men’s Health.
Following in his Father’s Footsteps
The Waco community has always been home to Wooley, despite the fact that he moved around a lot. His mom passed away when he was six years old, and he and his dad moved seven times over the next seven years. They landed on a farm in Riesel, just a few miles outside of Waco. He graduated from Reicher Catholic High School and received his Eagle Scout from The Boy Scouts of America in 1979.
His dad was a certified public accountant (CPA) and had Wooley reconciling bank accounts when he was 13 years old. After taking accounting and bookkeeping classes in high school, Wooley knew he would follow in his father’s footsteps to become a CPA. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in accounting from Baylor University and a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree, with a focus on taxation, from South Texas College of Law. His dad encouraged him to pursue the law degree, emphasizing how skilled knowledge of both law and tax go hand in hand. Wooley worked as a law clerk in Houston while completing his degree and moved back to Waco in 1989 to begin his career as a tax specialist.
Wooley began working for KPMG Peat Marwick in 1989, which sold to local partners that same year. As supervising senior tax specialist for Jaynes, Reitmeier, Boyd, & Therrel, P.C., Wooley oversaw all aspects of his clients’ federal and state tax planning and compliance, was responsible for client development and reviewed work product of other employees.
Taking a Step in a Different Direction
In 1993, Wooley casually mentioned to his wife that a client knew of an in-house CPA position at a local car dealer, Allen Samuels. She encouraged him to step out on a limb and submit his resume; but the demands of a rigorous fall tax season pushed setting up a meeting to the back burner.
Samuels immediately recognized the immense value Wooley’s law and tax knowledge would bring, and when they met, he offered Wooley the job on the spot. During his tenure at ASAG, Wooley was responsible for all legal, accounting and tax issues affecting affiliated corporations, initially combining for $383 million in annual sales; tax and estate planning for the sole shareholder; and all aspects of the acquisitions of ten additional dealership operations. He also took on more legal responsibilities including contract review and litigation.
In 1996, Samuels named Wooley president of the holding company, which Wooley had formed as part of his planning responsibilities, structured to own all dealership entities. As Samuels continued to prepare for the future of the company, he again recognized the value of Wooley’s skill and talent, pegging him as an ideal successor for his group of dealerships.
In 2004, Wooley enrolled in NADA Dealer Academy, a year-long program for current and future dealership leaders. The program required six, week-long intensives in Washington, D.C., coupled with practical onsite application across all aspects of the dealership. While in D.C., a broker contact approached Wooley about buying Samuels’ stores. The proposal was strong, and Wooley encouraged Samuels to accept. However, Samuels remained steadfast in his plan for the auto group’s future. Wooley was humbled to learn that Samuels’ plan was to sell ASAG to Wooley.
By December 2005, Samuels and Wooley had a plan in place: Wooley and two business associates would buy Samuels out over a 15-year term. The dealer group had grown to 12 dealerships at the time.
Allen Samuels Auto Group
Samuels’ intuition proved right—Wooley and his partners skillfully and responsibly led Allen Samuels Auto Group, keeping their core principles of doing business legally, ethically and profitably top of mind. The trio navigated economic and financial challenges, all while achieving great success along the way. Annual gross revenue eventually surpassed $850 million, with annual sales averaging 15,000 to 18,000 vehicles per year, and with more than 200,000 service, parts and body shop customers annually. At its peak, ASAG grew to over 1,200 employees in 12 locations, with over 30 Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, Hyundai, Chevrolet and Mercedes-Benz franchises.
During the 2008-2009 financial crisis, ASAG lost two of its dealerships as part of Chrysler Corporation’s bankruptcy. However, adversity led to opportunity, and ASAG was able to simultaneously add Chrysler and Jeep franchises to several of their standalone Dodge locations.
In 2009, ASAG was listed in WardsAuto Dealer Business as the 41st largest dealer group in the United States, with gross revenue over $600 million.
In 2013, Wooley and his partners secured independent financing to pay off the purchase of the auto group from Samuels, and execute an option to buy all real estate holdings. The partners restructured, selling two underperforming dealerships. Operating as an eight-dealership auto group, ASAG became a well-oiled machine, implementing and maintaining best practices in all aspects of the company. In 2015, two parts operations in North Richland Hills and Katy, Texas were ranked number four and six nationally in Mopar (Chrysler Corporation’s Parts Division) sales.
That same year, the partners were approached about selling the dealership group. With diligent thought and research, and their own succession planning in mind, they collectively decided it was time to sell. In 2016, Wooley and his partners sold Allen Samuels Auto Group to AutoNation, becoming the largest group transaction that AutoNation had completed to date.
D1 McLennan County
After nearly 30 years behind a desk, Wooley knew it was time to focus on his health. In 2016, he started working out at D1 Waco and immediately fell in love with the culture, family atmosphere and fitness results. And once again, his intended path went a step further, from a gym membership to franchise ownership.
Wooley noticed that the training facility was struggling, and in 2018, he saw an opportunity to put together an offer to buy the Waco franchise. He renamed the franchise D1 McLennan County, and secured the franchise rights for the entire county.
As owner and senior partner, Wooley provides general oversite and handles all of the accounting, tax and legal aspects of the business. He prefers to remain a member first, entrusting the day-to-day operations to business partner and general manager, Kevin Engelbrecht.
The D1 family includes 19 full-time and part-time employees who serve approximately 280 members, as well as the Baylor Spirit Squads, Baylor Lacrosse, Baylor Crew and Midway Baseball. The dynamic team of certified coaches specialize in individual, group and team training. The D1 franchise uses a panel of doctors and fitness professionals to design a variety of workouts that ensure maximum muscle recovery. D1 trains members from age seven and up. With five training programs, personal training and team training, there is something for every stage of life.
Wooley points out several milestones and accomplishments that were significant both personally and professionally: Wooley earned The Boy Scouts of America’s highest rank, the Eagle Scout. Eagle Scouts value perseverance, discipline, motivation, leadership, accountability and achievement—all attributes that continue to guide Wooley.
In fact, another significant personal achievement includes completing his 1,000th workout at D1 in 2019. Now that takes perseverance, discipline and motivation!
Wooley notes that significant professional milestones include being recognized as the Waco / McLennan County Outstanding Young Lawyer in 1995/1996, entering the purchase agreement to buy Allen Samuels in 2005, surviving the financial crisis of 2009, and structuring the sale of Allen Samuels Auto Group in 2016.
Pursuing his Passions
When it comes to serving his community, Wooley holds Luke 12:48 as a guidepost, “From everyone who is given much, much will be demanded.” He and his wife, Debbie, are passionate about missions, focusing their support of organizations and individuals to those who are spreading the Gospel. Wooley is also passionate about enriching communities in which he lives and works, and has served on a wide range of community boards and civic organizations including, American Cancer Society, American Red Cross, Boy Scouts of America, Riesel Athletic Association, Riesel Lions Club and Riesel Independent School District. Professional affiliations include Texas Automobile Dealers Association, State Bar of Texas, McLennan County Bar Association, Texas Society of CPAs, Waco/McLennan County Young Lawyer Association and McLennan County Estate Planning Council. As a part of D1, Wooley and Englebrecht are committed to giving back to the community, annually supporting No Limitations, a local nonprofit that focuses on enriching the lives the special needs community in Central Texas.
Faith, family and football (or any Baylor sporting event, really!) are longstanding key focuses of Wooley’s. He and Debbie have been married for 31 years. They have two grown children—daughter, Kaitlyn who is married (son-in-law Shawn) and expecting their first child in May, and son, Drew, who is engaged to be married. Both have moved back to live in the Waco area. Wooley and his wife enjoy exploring new places, trying to rarely visit a place more than once, except for Maui. As a beloved favorite, they try to go there annually. They love cheering on the Baylor Bears and are season ticket holders for football, baseball, and men’s and women’s basketball. Wooley and his wife have been members of First United Methodist Church for over 25 years, and he has been involved in Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) for 17 years. Wooley served as a BSF group leader for 11 years and is currently serving as a substitute teaching leader, roles he describes as the most rewarding and profoundly impactful on his own spiritual journey.
Dare to Dream: From Bricklayer to Attorney
With over 27 years of litigation experience and a wide breadth of knowledge and insight in a variety of legal areas, Gerald Villarrial, partner at Dunnam & Dunnam LLP, is a dynamic asset to the Alliance Bank board. He has become a “utility player” practicing many areas of law over the years, with a specialized focus in family law, criminal law and civil litigation. While Villarrial never dreamed of becoming a lawyer, his father had dreams of his own for his son.
Dreaming Beyond a Brick Laying Plan
A lifelong Wacoan, Villarrial is the son of a master tradesman, who laid brick for over 50 years. Villarrial graduated from University High School in 1981 and began working as a bricklayer. He earned an associate degree in building technology from Texas State Technical Institute in 1983. His father wanted a different path for his son, and encouraged him to go back to school. At age 24, Villarrial enrolled in night school at McLennan Community College, with a plan to get an associate degree in business and start his own masonry company. A friend encouraged him to transfer to Baylor University to complete a bachelor’s degree. With his plan to own a masonry company still top of mind, Villarrial chose business as his focus of study. As graduation day drew near, Villarrial and classmates discussed post-graduation plans: two friends were going to law school. Villarrial had never planned on pursuing a law degree, but the seed of possibility was planted and he began to dream. That dream very quickly became a reality—he graduated from Baylor University in 1993 with a Bachelor of Business Administration and with a Juris Doctor degree from Baylor University School of Law in 1994.
Attorney by Day, Musician by Night
Villarrial began his law career in 1994 as a staff attorney for the Heart of Texas Legal Aid, practicing family law. From 1996 to September 1999, he was an associate attorney for Reyna & Reyna, P. C. where he focused on general law. The idea of being self-employed never strayed too far, and in 2000, he started Villarrial Law Firm. In 2017, Villarrial joined Dunnam & Dunnam, L.L.P as a partner, continuing his focus on family law, criminal law, and civil litigation. He also serves as an attorney and guardian ad litem for children.
He is licensed to practice law in the State of Texas by the Texas Supreme Court and a member of the State Bar of Texas. He is also licensed to practice in the federal court in the Western District of Texas.
For many years, Villarrial wasn’t solely a practicing attorney. Before attending law school, he was a touring musician. He continued to gig until about 2011, performing in venues statewide and beyond. He has since laid those music days to rest, but still enjoys music.
Dunnam & Dunnam, LLP
Dunnam & Dunnam was founded in 1925 by William Dunnam, Sr. William “Bill” Dunnam, Jr. joined the firm soon after, followed by Vance Dunnam, Sr. They laid the foundation of providing personalized legal services that clients can trust; and nearly 100 years later, that commitment to excellence remains strong. The firm is home to a team of highly-skilled attorneys, practicing in all areas of law except bankruptcy.
Dunnam and Dunnam is rated by Super Lawyers and received an AV® Preeminent rating by Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™. The firm was also named Wacoan’s “Best of Waco” in 2020.
Villarrial marks the path to a law degree and becoming a practicing attorney as a memorable milestone in and of itself. He planned to become a bricklayer, but through the encouragement and direction of his father and friends, he became an accomplished attorney, making a difference in the lives of many, in and out of the courtroom.
Villarrial has spent his entire career as a litigator, standing before many judges and juries, representing hundreds of clients. But the times he is serving as an attorney ad litem, representing children who are in the Child Protective Services (CPS) system, are often the most memorable and impactful. Whether it is helping children reunite with family, or helping them find a forever home, he views advocating on their behalf as a high calling.
Villarrial is a firm believer that volunteerism is key to enriching our community, and a role he believes he is called to: “To whom much is given, much will be required,” Luke 12:48. He has served on the Alliance Bank board since 2009 and is also currently serving as president-elect for the Waco-McLennan County Bar Association. Past board service includes McLennan County Dispute Resolution Center, McLennan County Juvenile Advisory Board and Waco ISD Adopt-a-School.
Villarrial is an accomplished attorney, musician and community advocate. But perhaps his most meaningful moments are centered around his family. He is married to his wife, Jamie, and together they have seven children. Taylor is in her last year of graduate school at Baylor University and plays softball for the Bears. Madison is a sophomore at Sam Houston State University. Meredith is a senior at Midway High School and is a born performer. She is making plans to attend Oklahoma City University or Baylor University in the fall. Cole is a freshman at Midway, where he plays varsity tennis. He made All-District and was named Freshman of the Year. Cooper is a second grader at South Bosque Elementary. He boxes and is the comedian in the family. Christian is almost four and loves athletics, and two-year-old Charli loves dance, especially tap.
When he and his wife are not chasing kids around and attending sporting events during the week, Villarrial enjoys having the entire family home on the weekends and cooking Sunday night dinners.