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HomeBusinessAmarillo area business news and developments for Nov. 19, 2023

Amarillo area business news and developments for Nov. 19, 2023


NWTHS announces Behavior Health Hospital CEO

November 13, 2023 – Northwest Texas Healthcare System (NWTHS), announced the selection of Chris Veal, RN, MSN, CEN as Chief Executive Officer for the NWTHS Behavioral Health hospital, effective Nov. 13.

Chris began his career in healthcare in 2009 attaining his nursing degree from West Texas A&M University, at University Medical Center in Lubbock where he became the Assistant Director for the Emergency Center. Chris later moved back to Amarillo to serve as the Director of Nursing for a local Freestanding Emergency Center. In 2019, Chris began his career at NWTHS as the Emergency Department Manager, promoting to the Director of Med/Surg then transitioning to the Director of the Emergency Department.

NWTHS Behavioral Health hospital is an 85-bed hospital that has been taking care of patients with mental illnesses since 1967. The hospital serves patients from the vast area surrounding Amarillo including the surrounding states of Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Colorado. The Behavioral Health hospital offers services from children, adolescents, adults, senior and uniformed service members.

Amarillo KOA Journey recognized with major awards during annual convention

Kampgrounds of America, Inc. (KOA), the world’s largest system of open-to-the-public campgrounds, is pleased to announce that the Amarillo KOA Journey campground has earned the KOA Founder’s and President’s Awards. These prestigious awards were presented Thursday, November 16 at Kampgrounds of America, Inc.’s Annual International Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The KOA Founder’s Award, named in honor of Dave Drum, who founded KOA on the banks of the Yellowstone River in Billings, Montana. in 1962, is KOA’s highest service award, according to a news release. It is awarded exclusively to those KOA campground owners and managers who attain world-class scores in both customer service and the KOA Quality Review. The KOA President’s Award is presented to those campgrounds meeting exceptional quality standards and who receive high customer service scores from their camping guests. KOA surveys hundreds of thousands of campers each year regarding their KOA camping experience.

“Our campground owners and thousands of dedicated employees are essential to providing the superior level of outdoor hospitality KOA guests expect and it’s an honor to recognize this hard work,” said Toby O’Rourke, president and CEO of Kampgrounds of America, Inc. “Our President’s and Founder’s awards are driven by camper feedback and an extensive annual review process. These award-winning KOA owners have made the right investments in their campgrounds and their staff to provide the best outdoor experience in North America.”

Campers are an enthusiastic group of travelers with growing expectations, according to recent research conducted by Kampgrounds of America, Inc. The company’s research found that 53% of campers had already booked at least one camping trip for 2024 compared to just 13% of leisure travelers. This enthusiasm could be tied to the satisfaction campers experienced during their camping trips this year; 58% of campers state that their 2023 trips thus far have exceeded expectations.

To find out more about this KOA campground or the more than 500 KOAs across the U.S. or Canada, visit www.KOA.com.

WT personnel news: Rogers Award, new hires, more

CANYON, Texas — Here’s a roundup of recent news about West Texas A&M University faculty and staff.

Dr. Elizabeth Rogers, assistant professor of counseling in the Terry B. Rogers College of Education and Social Sciences, was presented the 2023 John Shirley Advocacy Award from the Texas Counseling Association at the association’s Nov. 1-3 Professional Growth Conference in Houston.

The John Shirley Advocacy Award recognizes an individual or community organization for excellence in legislative advocacy efforts. Rogers has served as president of the West Texas Counseling Association and is president-elect of the Texas School Counseling Association. She serves as the TCA’s policy liaison to the State Board of Educator Certification.

Christina Cahillane, a 2009 and 2010 graduate, is WT’s new executive director of communications for Enrollment Management. Cahillane, who previously was a marketer for the academic departments, returned to WT after more than a decade in sales and marketing.

Lizette Calzada recently started as a major gift officer in WT’s Office for Philanthropy and External Relations. Calzada, who previously worked in WT Athletics as assistant athletic director for ticket operations, was raised in Plainview and earned a bachelor’s in business administration from Wayland Baptist University in 2017 followed by a master’s in sports management from Texas Tech in 2020.

KyLeah Frazier, a 2022 WT graduate, recently began as the communication and community outreach specialist in the Office of the President. Frazier, previously a reporter for NewsChannel 10, is no stranger to the Panhandle, growing up just down the road in Lubbock.

Dr. Shawn Fouts is WT’s new director of residential living, in addition to continuing as senior director of campus community. Fouts, who previously served as associate director of the Jack B. Kelley Student Center, returned to WT in October 2022 as the senior director of campus community and after having worked at Amarillo College and in private coaching/consulting practice.

Brenda Keith recently was named executive director of the Office of College Access and Academic Enrichment Programs in the Office of Student Affairs. Keith previously served as director of WT’s Upward Bound programs and has served in various roles at WT for more than 20 years.

Amanda Lawson, formerly assistant director for new student and transfer orientation, recently was named senior director for orientation and academic success. Lawson, who has worked at WT since 2010, earned her bachelor’s in history and English in 2013 from WT, then her master’s in interdisciplinary studies in 2015.

Steven McLean is WT’s new director of Sponsored Research Services. McLean, who previously worked at WT for more than a decade in the office, has spent the last two years doing grant proposal administration for the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He is a Certified Research Administrator.

Carlo Vazquez recently began his duties as unit director for SSC at WT. Vazquez came to WT from the Community College of Allegheny County in Pittsburgh, where he was vice president and chief facilities officer. Prior to that, he served as assistant director for research support and operations at the University of Texas at El Paso and facilities services general manager at the Universidad de Monterrey in Nuevo León, Mexico. Vazquez has served as the plant engineer for ACEREX, a joint venture with Worthington Industries, Inc., and Hylsamex, Mexico’s second-largest steel manufacturer.



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