August 2022 Newsletter

Greetings from your NLF Chair, Shelby Bruhn

Good Tuesday morning!


Now that we have finally re-discovered what rain actually is, let’s look forward to cooler temperatures as Labor Day and fall approach.


What an insightful presentation we received from Cameron Cushman, Assistant Vice President of Innovation Ecosystems at The University of North Texas Health Science Center.


He shared how the areas of research, development, and commercialization will converge to create the future of our economy. He also provided data on how small business innovation research will help communities and companies win grants from the federal government as well as 11 governmental agencies.


Here’s the latest news on the American Relief Plan Act (ARPA) grant program for small businesses throughout Tarrant County. The application period ends tomorrow – August 31 at 5:00 p.m., so you must act immediately if you plan to apply. If you own a small business with 50 or fewer employees that qualifies, you could receive $2,500 for the business and $1,000 per employee, up to a total maximum of $27,500. Please visit for complete details.


Here's the latest update from our Heart of North Texas leadership team comprised of Kathryn Rotter, RaDonna Hessel, and Craig Hulse, who continue to lead their committee in crafting an impressive agenda for our 25th edition, entitled, “May the Workforce Be with You, Now and in the Future.”


We are grateful to our many sponsors that include Paycom as the title sponsor and Medical City North Hills and Texas Health Resources Foundation as the Platinum Sponsors.


Sponsorships and table registrations are rolling in, so don’t miss out! Typically held on a Friday, please note, however, this year the date and time is Wednesday, November 28:00 a.m. to 1:30p.m at the Hurst Conference Center. For sponsorships, registration and more information, please contact RaDonna Hessel at


We look forward to our next breakfast on Tuesday, October 18, at the Hurst Conference Center.


And remember that Thursday, September 22 will be North Texas Giving Day. On this day, your contributions made directly on the organization’s website will receive a partial match , if your nonprofit is registered for this impressive fundraising day. Please visit this site for complete details.


Please seek out community leaders to join NLF, so we can continue to grow expand our influence while also growing the influence of our new members.


Finally, we can all look forward to these cooler temperatures in the low 90s!


I will always be receptive to your ideas, so please contact me directly at

817-564-2300 or at

-Shelby Bruhn

DEADLINE for ARPA Grants for Small Business is AUGUST 31


Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley, Precinct 3 Commissioner Gary Fickes and their team are making the final push for the $25 million round of grant applications to small businesses that have been affected by the pandemic.


The deadline for applications is TOMORROW – August 31. Grant amounts range between $2,500 to $27,500, depending upon your number of employees retained. 


Thus far, close to 4,000 businesses have filed applications, but there remains a chance for additional small businesses to receive the funding. Please remember that these are GRANTS and not LOANS.


The approved business categories are:

  • Arts & Culture (theatre, dance, music, working artists)
  • Construction and Landscaping (planning and services)
  • Food Service (restaurants, caterers, bars, lounges, taverns, mobile food trucks, etc.)
  • Gym/Fitness
  • Healthcare (acute, primary, rehabilitation centers)
  • Manufacturing
  • Mortuary Services
  • Non-Profit Service Providers
  • Personal Care Services (hair, tanning, nail salons, barbers, estheticians, spas, massage, tattoo parlors, etc.)
  • Retail stores that do not sell essential household goods


Grant funding will depend upon the number of grants and the designated amounts approved before your application is submitted.


To determine eligibility please CLICK HERE for the document that explains both the program and required documentation in greater detail, or visit the website listed below.

Tarrant County Recovery Grant Information

Cameron Cushman Shares Progress on Innovation, Development

Cameron Cushman, Assistant Vice President of Innovation Ecosystems at The UNT Health Science Center, gave an eye-opening analysis of where Tarrant County currently stands with regard to economic development for technology companies.


His insights included:

  • Economic development is based on a three-legged stool: Recruitment, Entrepreneurial/Start-Up growth, and Business Retention

  • From 1980 to 2005, ALL net Internet new job creation originated from companies less than five years old

  • Since 2005, there have not been as many new companies launched, and as a result, not as many new jobs created

  • The Fort Worth area seriously lags behind the state’s leaders in new company formation 2015-2019:
  • Austin: 222,184 companies
  • Dallas: 112,507 companies
  • Fort Worth: 25,776 companies

  • Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) will lead to grants from the federal government and 11 additional agencies

  • To this point, businesses in Tarrant County have not received their share of these grants: SBIR grants awarded from 2017 to 2021:
  • Austin: 562
  • Dallas: 80
  • Tarrant County 35 (including only 14 in Fort Worth)


Inc. Magazine’s 5000’s fastest growing companies 2016-2021:

  1. Austin
  2. Houston
  3. Dallas
  4. San Antonio
  5. Fort Worth (City of Bedford had some of the fastest growing companies!)
  6. El Paso


One of the most revealing statistics: Fort Worth is the 13th largest city in the United States but ranks #40 in early-stage capital development ($88 million).


A critical next step: HSC has formed “Phase Zero” – a platform to promote how SBIR grants work and walk people through the steps on how to apply for the grants, which include a research component. Finding companies that meet all the qualifications will be the most difficult step.


Innovate Fort Worth will host The Global Entrepreneurship Week in North Texas, November 14-20. 

Details Being Finalized on the

25th Annual Heart of North Texas Conference 

“May the Workforce Be with You, Now and in the Future.”


Sponsors are already confirming their participation for this marquee event, so please respond now.


Kathryn Rotter, RaDonna Hessel, and Craig Hulse have been leading their committee in a combination of in-person and Zoom planning meetings to launch our major November event. The date will be Wednesday, November 2, from 8:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Hurst Conference Center. 


PLEASE NOTE that this meeting is on the first Wednesday instead of the first Friday of the month.

Remaining sponsorship levels are:

  • Platinum Sponsors: $3,500
  • 25th Anniversary Sponsor: $2,500
  • Silver Sponsor: $1,000
  • Table Sponsor: $600
  • Individual Tickets: $75


We thank our confirmed sponsors

Presenting Sponsor


Platinum Sponsor

Medical City North Hills

Texas Health Resources Foundation

25th Anniversary Sponsors:

Republic Services

Tarrant County College – NE Campus

Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley/Commissioner Gary Fickes

Silver Sponsors

Aviation Personnel


First Financial Bank

Frost Bank

Linebarger Attorneys at Law

Table Sponsors

1 Million Cups – NE Tarrant

City of Colleyville

City of Hurst

City of Keller

City of North Richland Hills

City of Southlake

Community Enrichment Center: The CEC


JPS Foundation

Legend Bank

Lucas Funeral Home & Cremation Services

M3 Networks

NE Tarrant Chamber


R&D Associates, Inc.

United Way of Tarrant County

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Kyle Hartung – Associate Vice President, Jobs for the Future (JFF)
  • Topic – Work-Based Learning / Teen Employment / In-Demand Skills
  • A.J. Griffin– Director of Government & Community Affairs – Paycom
  • Topic - Future of Human Resources and Workforce from the Employer/Workforce perspective
  • Julian Alvarez III – Commissioner - Texas Workforce Commission
  • Topic – Texas Workforce Challenges, Trends and Opportunities
  • CyLynn Braswell, Ed.D – Frontline Education -Local CTE principal representing all NLF ISDs
  • Topic – Regional Viewpoint Career & Technical Education (CTE) trends


We will also honor Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley, who is retiring following an outstanding 25-year career, serving 10 years as Precinct 3 Commissioner and the past 15 years as County Judge. He has been a dedicated public servant and left his fingerprints on the local, regional, and national stages.


In addition to the exceptional subject matter experts, the event will include both breakfast and lunch. We are riding a wave of continued success at the Heart of North Texas due to the relevance of our agendas and the outstanding quality of our speakers.


Please click below to view the sponsorship flyer or contact RaDonna Hessel directly for more details about how your company may become a supporter of this event.


Please remember that the net proceeds of the Heart of North Texas are the major source of funding for our scholarship program.

25th Annual Heart of North Texas Sponsorship Flyer

The Communities Foundation of Texas’ NTX Giving Day is an 18-hour online giving event designed to empower every person to give back to their community by supporting local nonprofits and causes they care about in one easy-to-use platform.

Among the over 3,000 nonprofits in North Texas will be over 100 from here in Northeast Tarrant County.

The event helps build awareness and support for nonprofits like nothing else. In 2021, $66 million was raised through 103,000 donors benefiting over 3,300 local nonprofits, bringing the 13-year total to over $441 million for our community. NTX Giving Day is the largest community-wide giving event in the nation.

Since its inception in 2009, this online event has transformed from an idea to help local people give wisely, to a movement that has ignited a broad culture of community-wide giving. During NTX Giving Day, everyone can find their passion, and give with purpose, uniting to build a stronger and more vibrant community.


Chambers of Commerce Continue to be Valuable Resources for Business, Nonprofits, and Communities

As we discovered during the pandemic, our local chambers of commerce are valuable catalysts that help our communities survive and thrive. If you have not joined your local chamber, you are missing out on resources that can help drive the growth of your business.


Please reach out to our local chambers of commerce listed below to energize your business. Please contact them directly for more information: 

Colleyville Chamber of Commerce

Grapevine Chamber of Commerce

HEB Chamber of Commerce

Keller Chamber of Commerce

Metroplex Chamber of Commerce

Northeast Tarrant Chamber of Commerce

Southlake Chamber of Commerce








Membership Continues to Grow

As you interact with business and community leaders who impress you, please invite them to sit at your table for our next NLF breakfast on Tuesday, October 18 at the Hurst Conference Center. These influencers are making a difference in our area, so let's invite them to participate in NLF. Membership is the lifeblood of our organization.


For any prospective NLF members you may know, click here to download the membership application. We want both established and emerging leaders to continue to join our organization to further the dynamic growth of Northeast Tarrant County. 


We specifically ask you to welcome visitors and new members to our breakfast meetings because growing the power of networks is one of the main benefits of NLF.


Please reach out to Craig Hulse, our membership chairman, if you have a prospect: or 972-849-3858. 

New Member Profiles
Please welcome two of our newest members of NLF.

Elizabeth Grace

Executive Director, Serving Our Seniors

Elizabeth Grace is the new Executive Director of Serving Our Seniors, formally Mid-Cities Care Corps. Prior to accepting this position, she worked in banking and trust for 6 years. She was a proud stay-at-home mother for her two sons and has been involved in volunteer work during that time while working part-time as a Marketing Director for an insurance office. Elizabeth is heavily involved in Good Shepherd Catholic Community in Colleyville.

Elizabeth has come in as the Executive Director of Serving Our Seniors during the height of the COVID pandemic. She has pivoted the programs with new services to accommodate COVID restrictions while enabling volunteers and staff to continue relationships with our senior community. While directing programs, she has increased awareness of Serving Our Seniors to the community as COVID restrictions have been lifted.

Elizabeth’s passion is her family, which includes her husband Michael of 30 years, two amazing sons Alexander and Christian, and a granddaughter who is the apple of her eye. Elizabeth enjoys outdoor sports and serving others as evidenced by her service- based professions and volunteer commitments.

Scott Hurbough

Chief Operating Officer,

The CEC (Community Enrichment Center)


Scott Hurbough became Chief Operating Officer of The CEC this past April following a 30-year career as an educator and administrator, and as a nonprofit senior director.


Prior to joining the CEC, Scott was well known in the Northeast Tarrant area as a science teacher and coach at Bedford Junior High before advancing to become Principal at Shady Oaks Elementary. HEB ISD promoted him to Organizational Leadership (fancy term for “Principal”) at Bedford Junior High.


Scott then joined Catholic Charities Fort Worth, first as Director of the Hope Center before becoming its Director of Transportation. Scott served as Senior Associate for Project Development at the University of Notre Dame, where he oversaw a special project on poverty reduction.


He became Executive Director of Community Education & Engagement at Tarrant County College’s Northeast Campus before accepting the offer to join The CEC’s executive team.


Scott earned his bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education from the University of Texas at Arlington, and he received his master’s degree in Educational Administration from the University of North Texas. Scott and his lovely wife Maureen live in Decatur with their two sons, Nicholas and Nathan.

Mark Your Calendar
Membership Breakfast Meetings
Networking: 7:15 a.m. • Breakfast Open: 7:30 a.m. • Program Starts: 7:45 a.m.

Tuesday, February 8

Tuesday, June 14

Speaker: Wes Lyons,

Eagle Venture Fund

Sponsored by:

O. Trevino Construction

Tuesday, August 16

Speaker: Cameron Cushman,

Innovation Ecosystems,

UNT Health Science Center

Tuesday, October 18

Sponsored by:

25th Annual Heart of North Texas Conference

'May the Workforce be With You, Now and in the Future.'

Date: Wednesday, November 2

Time: 8:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Location: Hurst Conference Center

For sponsorship opportunities, please contact Radonna Hessel.

NLF 2022 Membership Application
Visit our webpage!