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About The TSS – Board of Directors

Members for 2019 – 2020


Officers

President – Gene Irisari
Gene Irisari is Head of Semiconductor Policy for Samsung and is based in Washington, DC.  In his role, Gene is responsible for all policy work affecting Samsung’s computer chip business where it is one of the largest companies in the world in this industry.  Gene was previously Director of Government Relations for Texas Instruments, where he worked from 2010 to 2019 after serving as Deputy Chief of Staff and Legislative Director for Congressman Michael McCaul, including as the Congressman’s lead staffer for the Congressional High Technology Caucus. Before that, Gene served as Legislative Counsel for Congressman Kevin Brady for more than five years. He is a graduate of Vanderbilt University with a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature and European History, and a graduate of the West Virginia University College of Law. Gene and his wife, Catherine, live in Vienna, VA with their three children.
1st Vice President – Rep. Jodey Arrington
2nd Vice President –Jack Peterson
Since January 1995, Jack has served as Federal Liaison for Harris County, Texas. Born in Beaumont, Jack grew up in Houston, moved to Austin in 1970 and graduated from the University of Texas at Austin.  He worked in a variety of capacities in and around the Texas Capitol Building from 1973 until 1989, when he moved to Arlington, Virginia.  Jack is the proud father of Michael N. and Charles K. Peterson.  Michael is in the Honors College at George Mason University.  Charles graduated with a BS in Communications from Longwood University in Farmville, VA in May, 2016 and resides in Richmond, VA.
Secretary – Nicole Anable
Nicole, an eighth-generation Texan, was born and raised in Richmond, Texas. She attended the University of Texas at Austin where she received a Bachelor’s degree in Government. While at UT she worked for the Texas Senate Sergeant at Arms Office. At the start of Nicole’s senior year of college she moved to Washington, D.C. as a Bill Archer Fellow and interned for Congressman Roger Williams. She continued to work for Congressman Williams to serve as Staff Assistant, Legislative Correspondent and then Legislative Assistant. In 2017, Nicole left the Hill and now works for the University of Texas System.
Treasurer – Alisa Maso
Alisa J. Maso moved to Washington, DC from the booming city of Frisco Texas, where she was born and raised with traditional Texas values. In Frisco, she attended Centennial High School and was involved in many community organizations. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from Kansas State University, and is currently pursuing a Certificate in Intelligence at the Institute of World Politics in Washington DC. She currently serves as the Chief of Staff at the Alpine Group, Government Relations Consulting Firm. An avid community service volunteer, she is always looking for new ways to give back to those around her, such as being a member of the Certified Emergency Response Team, run by FEMA. Endless learning is a passion of hers, thus she enjoys reading, and continuing her practice of foreign languages, including Arabic and French.
Historian – Barry Brown
Barry is a fifth-generation Texan from Greenville, Texas. After graduating from Greenville High School, Barry completed his studies at Texas Tech University in Lubbock and then moved to Washington to pursue a job on Capitol Hill.  Over the next 20 years he served as a Legislative Assistant to Congressman Larry Combest (R-Lubbock), Legislative Director to Rep. Kevin Brady (R-The Woodlands), Chief of Staff to Rep. Kay Granger (R-Fort Worth) and Chief of Staff to Rep. Michael C. Burgess, MD (R-Lewisville).  He is currently a Vice President at the lobby firm the Alpine Group in Washington, DC. Barry is married to Jennifer Brown and they have two children where they reside on Capitol Hill.
Communications – Brooke Oliver

Brooke is a 6th generation Texan, born and raised in South Austin. She went to Bowie High School before attending Texas A&M University, graduating in May 2018 with a degree in History & Political Science. While in College Station, she worked for the A&M Division of Marketing and Communications and was involved on campus as a tour guide and a member of Class Councils. Currently, she works on the Hill as a shared Finance Assistant, managing the budget for 10 House offices including the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, Congressman Michael Burgess, Congressman Chip Roy, and previously Congressman Ted Poe.

Chair Entertainment Committee - Todd Dupler

Todd Dupler is the Senior Director, Advocacy & Public Policy for The Recording Academy, the organization internationally known for the GRAMMY Awards. In this role, Dupler works with Academy leadership to develop policy positions on issues affecting the music community, and represents the interests of the Academy’s 24,000 members before Congress and federal agencies. He previously served as legislative director for Rep. Lamar Smith during Smith’s tenure as chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property. Dupler also served on the legislative staff for Rep. Kevin Brady and Sen. Phil Gramm and was a Presidential appointee at the U.S. Department of Labor. Dupler received his J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center and his Bachelor of Arts degree in history and political science from Baylor University. He is a member of the State Bar of Texas.

Chair Membership Committee - Robert Peters

Robert, a proud fifth-generation Texan, was born in Dallas but raised in Paris, TX. Upon graduating from North Lamar High School, Robert went on to attend The University of Texas at Austin, where he graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Government and a minor in Business. Upon graduation, Robert moved to Washington, D.C. where he is currently a legislative staffer for Congressman John Ratcliffe. When not working, Robert enjoys attending sporting events, going to concerts, and spending time outdoors.

Chair Sponsorship Committee - Michael Richards

Directors with Two-Year Terms (expiring in April 2020)

Past President – Ryan Thompson

A proud graduate of Texas A&M University, Ryan Thompson has served as a professional staff member in the U.S. House of Representatives for thirteen years. He currently serves as Chief of Staff to Representative Joe Barton (R-TX). Ryan’s position as President of the Congressional Sports Foundation has allowed him to become heavily involved with DC local nonprofits that focus on literacy and creating opportunities. In 2013, Ryan was presented the Champion for Literacy Award for his work on behalf of The Literacy Council. From June 1993 to June 1997, Ryan served our country as an infantryman in the United States Marine Corps and was promoted to Non-Commissioned Officer, performing the duties of an acting Platoon Sergeant. While at Texas A&M, Ryan spent his free time working on Aggie Bonfire, an Aggie tradition.

Director-Thru April 2020 – Chelsea Brown
Director-Thru April 2020 – Jeff Morehouse

After 14 years on Capitol Hill, Jeff joined ClearPath as Government Affairs Director in January 2017. He served as Chief of Staff for Rep. Bill Flores for six years, acting as a primary liaison for the Texas Republican on the Energy and Commerce Committee and helping manage his term as chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee. During his tenure with Flores, Jeff was also Executive Director of the House Conservatives Fund for the 2014 election cycle. Jeff was previously Legislative Director and appropriations associate for Rep. John Culberson and served other roles for the Texas Republican beginning in 2003. Jeff has a B.A. in Political Science and History from Southern Methodist University and a M.A. in National Security Policy Studies from Naval War College.

Director-Thru April 2020 – Marcie McSwane

Marcie McSwane is the senior vice president of The McGrath Group, a government relations firm she helped establish in January 2016 along with former New York Congressman Ray McGrath (even New Yorkers need a little Texas in their life!). An active member of the National Republican Club of Capitol Hill (Capitol Hill Club), Marcie co-chairs an annual “Texas Night” event honoring the ‘great state’ as well as a successful quarterly networking event. Prior to The McGrath Group, Marcie worked at a bi-partisan firm, Downey McGrath Group from 2009 to 2015. Born and raised in Tyler and a graduate of Texas A&M, Marcie moved to DC in 2007 where she began her career with her hometown Congressman Louie Gohmert (TX-01) and then worked for Rep. Frank Lucas (OK-03). In her free time, Marcie is an avid traveler and concert-goer.                                                                                                                             

Director-Thru April 2020 – Elizabeth Boylan
Elizabeth Armstrong Boylan, a fourth generation Houstonian, sixth generation Texan, began her government affairs career in DC, returned to Houston for the energy revolution working closely with communities and local, state, federal, and international governments across major oil and gas basins, including the Eagle Ford, Permian and Gulf of Mexico. She relocated back to the nation’s capital to manage North American government affairs for a multinational advanced materials and chemical company. She is a graduate of Clear Lake High School in the diverse NASA community and Clemson University. She comes from a long line of strong female pioneers across the state including the first female post master of Texas. She remains committed to preserving the state’s history and heritage through the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and the Former Texas Rangers Association. She and her husband thoroughly enjoy supporting their favorite philanthropies, college football, traveling and exploring the outdoors with their dog, Patton.
Director-Thru April 2020 – Michael Yancey

Michael joined the TSS board as a Volunteer Coordinator in 2015. In this position, he assisted in TSS events such as the Father’s Day Picnic, the Terlingua Two-Step, and the Black Tie and Boots Inaugural Ball. Michael became a Director of the board in 2017 and later took on the role of Chairman of the Modernization Committee in 2018. In these roles, Michael has worked to move forward with the TSS’s mission to modernize its technology acquisition, events, and member outreach. Michael currently works for Dr. Michael Burgess, M.D. as a Legislative Assistant and is pursuing a Master’s Degree in National Security and Strategic Studies at the Naval War College. Michael earned his undergraduate degree at Texas A&M University, where he was heavily active in the Corps of Cadets. Michael first moved to Texas in high school and attended Tom C. Clark HS in San Antonio when his mother was stationed at Lackland Air Force Base.


Directors with Two-Year Terms (expiring April 2021)

Immediate Past President – Rep. Marc Veasey

Congressman Marc Veasey is the United States Representative for the 33rd Congressional District of Texas. Elected in 2012, Rep. Veasey serves on the House Armed Services Committee and the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, where he serves as the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Energy. Before serving in the U.S. House of Representatives, Congressman Veasey was elected to the Texas State House in 2004, representing District 95 – an area now part of the 33rd Congressional District – for four consecutive terms. Before serving in the Texas State House, Congressman Veasey worked as a congressional staffer in North Texas.  Born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas, he and his wife Tonya live in East Fort Worth and have an eleven-year-old son, Adam.  Veasey earned a BS from Texas Wesleyan University, where he majored in Mass Communication.

Director-Thru April 2021 – Kyle Oliver

Kyle is a principal with BlueWater Strategies, an energy, environment, and natural resources focused firm. He spent ten years on Capitol Hill serving as Legislative Director and Chief Policy Advisor to Congressman Ralph Hall from Rockwall, where his mother grew up. Kyle is a 6th generation Texan, and the ox bow that pulled his ancestors to Texas from California in 1876 proudly hangs above the fireplace in his parent’s Austin home. Born and raised in Austin, Kyle graduated from the University of Texas, where he was a Silver Spur. Kyle’s wife Aaricka (an Aggie – yikes!) is from Denison, TX, and they have a little girl, Chancellor, who is learning the ways of what it means to be a Texan in D.C..

Director-Thru April 2021 – Taylor Hittle

Taylor Hittle, seventh-generation Texan, is the Legislative Director for Congressman Markwayne Mullin. She began her career as a volunteer for Governor Rick Perry’s gubernatorial campaign in 2010. Ready to branch out of Texas, Taylor decided to move to Washington D.C. with hopes of working for Congress. Shortly after arriving in Washington, she was hired as Staff Assistant for Congressman Michael Burgess in 2011. She was later brought into Judge John Carter’s office in summer 2012 and worked as Deputy Press Secretary and Legislative Assistant until February 2015. Taylor was born and raised in Houston, and she is a proud Longhorn from the Class of 2009.

Director-Thru April 2021 – Austin Smithson

Austin Smithson was born and raised in Tyler. He attended The University of Texas where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Radio-Television-Film. He received his Juris Doctor degree from St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio. After practicing law in San Antonio, Austin moved to Washington, D.C. in 2010. He currently serves as Legislative Counsel for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), and previously served as Legislative Director for Rep. Louie Gohmert (TX-01). Austin and his wife live on Capitol Hill and have two boys: Will and Sam.

Director-Thru April 2021 – Kenny Thompson

Kenny Thompson Jr. raised in Pflugerville, Texas. Before heading up to Washington, Kenny worked at Austin City Hall for Council Member, now State Representative Sheryl Cole.  In 2009, Kenny joined the Obama Administration, serving as Special Assistant & Advance Lead for President Obama, Senior Advisor to United States Trade Representative (and former Dallas mayor) Ron Kirk, and Special Assistant to Vice President Joe Biden. Kenny is currently Senior Director of Government and External Affairs at PepsiCo, where he leads the company’s strategic engagement. Kenny is a graduate of TCU (GO FROGS!!!), where he played baseball for the Horned Frogs, he earned his MBA from Georgetown University.

Director-Thru April 2021 – Norberto Salinas

Norberto, a Native Texan from Arlington, earned his Bachelor’s degree from Wabash College and his Juris Doctorate from the University of Michigan. He is a member of Intel Corporation’s Legal and Policy Group and is responsible for helping shape and advance its legislative, public policy, and political interests. Prior to joining Intel, he was Senior Counsel on the House Committee on the Judiciary and practiced law in Washington, D.C.


Event Chairs and Other Committee Chairs

Chair Texas Breakfast Club - Barry Brown

Barry is a fifth-generation Texan from Greenville, Texas. After graduating from Greenville High School, Barry completed his studies at Texas Tech University in Lubbock and then moved to Washington to pursue a job on Capitol Hill.  Over the next 20 years he served as a Legislative Assistant to Congressman Larry Combest (R-Lubbock), Legislative Director to Rep. Kevin Brady (R-The Woodlands), Chief of Staff to Rep. Kay Granger (R-Fort Worth) and Chief of Staff to Rep. Michael C. Burgess, MD (R-Lewisville).  He is currently a Vice President at the lobby firm the Alpine Group in Washington, DC. Barry is married to Jennifer Brown and they have two children where they reside on Capitol Hill.

Chair Annual Picnic - Rosemary Garza

Rosemary Garza serves as Director of Government & Corporate Affairs. In this capacity, Ms. Garza is responsible for developing and executing a legislative and political engagement strategy for Univision.

Previously, she was Associate Director of Government Affairs at Medtronic where she worked with Members of Congress to advance federal policies that supported organizational goals and objectives.  Rosemary also served as a Capitol Hill staffer for U.S. Energy and Commerce Committee Representatives Gene Green (TX-29) and Charlie Gonzalez (TX-20).

Ms. Garza was born in Brownsville and raised in Houston, Texas.  Ms. Garza is a graduate from the University of Houston with a B.A. in Political Science and a Minor in Spanish. Ms. Garza also has a Master in Public Health (MPH) from George Washington University. Ms. Garza is a member of Women in Government Relations and Hispanic Lobbyist Association. She is also an avid tennis player and longtime member of the Capitol Hill Tennis Club.

Chair LBJ Celebration - Chris Bjornson

Chris serves as chair of the Society’s annual tribute to President Lyndon Johnson. An avid student of presidential history, Chris has more than 125 books on the Johnson. He is Of Counsel with Steptoe & Johnson LLP, where he specializes in telecommunications, Internet and media law. Chris graduated from the University of Texas with a Bachelor of Journalism and a Master of Public Affairs from the LBJ School. He earned his law degree from Catholic University.

Chair BT&B Committee - Chelsea Brown
Chair Cherry Blossom Program - Loretta Solon Greene

Loretta Solon Greene is founder of the Washington, D.C.-based global consulting company Greene Strategy. She is also proud to serve as a Georgetown University Adjunct Professor, Internship Advisor for their Semester in Washington Program. She recently served as the 2014 NCSS Cherry Blossom Grand Ball and U.S. Cherry Blossom Queen Coronation Chair. Greene is a native of Dallas, Texas, where she attended Ursuline Academy. She holds a BA in Political Science from Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia. Her husband, Bill Greene, works on Capitol Hill. They have three children, Julia, Tommy, and Isabella.

Chair Salute to Congress - Maggie Mahfood

Maggie Mahfood-Bradley was born and raised in Tyler, TX. She attended the University of Texas at Tyler and received her degree in Political Science. Upon moving to DC, Maggie worked for Congresswoman Candice Miller. Currently, she works in the U.S. House of Representatives for the Chief Administrative Officer, Philip G. Kiko. Maggie’s husband Josh is also a native Texan and they have resided in the DC area since 2016.

Congressional Liaison –Democrats - Mickeala Carter

Mickeala Carter was born in Dallas and raised in Desoto, TX. Upon graduating from DeSoto High School, she attended Texas A&M University where she received her Bachelor of Science in agricultural leadership and development. Mickeala moved to Washington, DC in 2013, where she began as an Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy intern in the office of Congressman Filemon Vela (TX-34) and she worked with Mr. Vela until 2019, where she last served as Communications Director and Senior Legislative Assistant. Currently, she is the Outreach Coordinator for the House Agriculture Committee under the leadership of Chairman Collin C. Peterson. When she isn’t working, Mickeala spends her time volunteering for Everybody Wins! DC, an organization dedicated to promoting children’s literacy, and serving at Citizens Heights Church, where she is a College Ministry and Citizen Group leader, and a member of the Worship team.

Congressional Liaison -Republicans - Eric Gustafson

Eric Gustafson serves as Legislative Director for Representative Bill Flores (TX-17). Prior to joining Representative Flores’ staff in 2011, he spent four years working for Representative Roy Blunt (MO-07) and just over a year for Representative Tom DeLay (TX-22). Born in Houston and raised in Brownwood, Eric has called Pearland home since 2001 and is a 2005 graduate of Texas A&M University with a degree in economics. He has lived in Washington, DC since 2006.

Collegiate Liaison/Vol. Coordinator - Kaley Mathis
NCSS Liaison - Melissa Carl
Legal Advisor - David Pore

David Pore is a fifth-generation Texan and a partner in the DC office of the Austin-based law firm Hance Scarborough LLP. He represents clients in federal legislative and regulatory matters. Prior to re-joining Hance Scarborough, David was a Counsel at the DC office of Arnold & Porter from 2009-2017. Before that he was an Associate at the Hance Scarborough Austin office (2005-09) and a lobbyist for the Association of Texas Professional Educators (2002-04). David served as Legislative Director for a US Congressman from Texas (1999-2002) and as a Legislative Aide to a member of the Texas House (1998-99). He is a 1998 graduate of the Texas Tech University School of Law.

Photographer - Marco Santiago


More information

Past Board of Directors

Directors with Two-Year Terms (expiring April 2021)

Immediate Past President – Rep. Marc Veasey

  • Congressman Marc Veasey is the United States Representative for the 33rd Congressional District of Texas. Elected in 2012, Rep. Veasey serves on the House Armed Services Committee and the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, where he serves as the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Energy. Before serving in the U.S. House of Representatives, Congressman Veasey was elected to the Texas State House in 2004, representing District 95 – an area now part of the 33rd Congressional District – for four consecutive terms. Before serving in the Texas State House, Congressman Veasey worked as a congressional staffer in North Texas.  Born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas, he and his wife Tonya live in East Fort Worth and have an eleven-year-old son, Adam.  Veasey earned a BS from Texas Wesleyan University, where he majored in Mass Communication.

Director-Thru April 2021 – Kyle Oliver

  • Kyle is a principal with BlueWater Strategies, an energy, environment, and natural resources focused firm. He spent ten years on Capitol Hill serving as Legislative Director and Chief Policy Advisor to Congressman Ralph Hall from Rockwall, where his mother grew up. Kyle is a 6th generation Texan, and the ox bow that pulled his ancestors to Texas from California in 1876 proudly hangs above the fireplace in his parent’s Austin home. Born and raised in Austin, Kyle graduated from the University of Texas, where he was a Silver Spur. Kyle’s wife Aaricka (an Aggie – yikes!) is from Denison, TX, and they have a little girl, Chancellor, who is learning the ways of what it means to be a Texan in D.C..

Director-Thru April 2021 – Taylor Hittle

  • Taylor Hittle, seventh-generation Texan, is the Legislative Director for Congressman Markwayne Mullin. She began her career as a volunteer for Governor Rick Perry’s gubernatorial campaign in 2010. Ready to branch out of Texas, Taylor decided to move to Washington D.C. with hopes of working for Congress. Shortly after arriving in Washington, she was hired as Staff Assistant for Congressman Michael Burgess in 2011. She was later brought into Judge John Carter’s office in summer 2012 and worked as Deputy Press Secretary and Legislative Assistant until February 2015. Taylor was born and raised in Houston, and she is a proud Longhorn from the Class of 2009.

Director-Thru April 2021 – Austin Smithson

  • Austin Smithson was born and raised in Tyler. He attended The University of Texas where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Radio-Television-Film. He received his Juris Doctor degree from St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio. After practicing law in San Antonio, Austin moved to Washington, D.C. in 2010. He currently serves as Legislative Counsel for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), and previously served as Legislative Director for Rep. Louie Gohmert (TX-01). Austin and his wife live on Capitol Hill and have two boys: Will and Sam.

Director-Thru April 2021 – Kenny Thompson

Director-Thru April 2021 – Norberto Salinas

2018- 2019 – Honorable Marc Veasey (East Fort Worth)

2017- 2018 – Ryan Thompson (Austin)

Texas State Society Board 2017 – 2018

  • President – Ryan Thompson
  • 1st Vice President – Marc Veasey
  • 2nd Vice President- Gene Irisari
  • Secretary – Nicole Lansford
  • Treasurer – Jack Peterson
  • Historian – Taylor Hittle

Directors with Terms Expiring April 2018

  • Rep. Roger Williams
  • LaKeitha Anderson
  • Barry Brown
  • Kyle Oliver
  • Austin Smithson
  • Michael Yancy

Board Positions

  • Entertainment Chair – Todd Dupler
  • Membership Chair – LaKeitha Anderson
  • Sponsorship Chair – Amy Hawkins
  • Director of Communications – Kelsey Crow
  • Volunteer Coordinator – Robert Peters & Michael Yancey
  • Photographer – Marco Santiago
  • NCSS Liaison – Allison Roberts
  • Annual Picnic Chair – Taylor Gilliamm
  • LBJ Celebration – Chris Bjornson
  • Cherry Blossom – Loretta Solon Greene
  • Salute to Congress Co-chair – Christa Danford
  • Salute to Congress Co-Chair – Brystol English
  • Black Tie & Boots Committee Chair – Colby Hale
  • Legal Advisor – David Pore
  • Senior Congressional Liaison – Austin Smithson
  • Congressional Liaison (House Democrats) – Mickaela Carter
  • Congressional Liaison (House Republicans) – Eric Gustafson
  • Collegiate Alumni Liaison – Jordan Ballard
  • Webmaster – Sarah Warner Coward