March 2022 Newsletter
Greetings from your NLF Chair, Shelby Bruhn
Good Tuesday afternoon! 
Today – March 22 – is Common Courtesy Day – our opportunity to do something kind for others.
We are 10 days away from our Annual Award Luncheon on Friday, April 1 that will feature internationally acclaimed economist, Dr. Ray Perryman. The venue will be the Marriott at Westlake – formerly known as the Marriott Solana.
Through the efforts of our banquet committee and the generous support of our members, we have almost sold out this event. This partly because of our keynote speaker, and also in response to the recipient of our Distinguished Leadership Award – Tito Rodriguez.
Tito was selected because of his commitment to serving that goes far beyond his service on the city council of the City of North Richland Hills. You will enjoy reading about him in the article below.
A significant amount of the proceeds from this event will directly benefit college, university, and trade school students through our Northeast Leadership Forum Foundation scholarship program.
Once again, the Nancy and Alan Hamm Foundation will match our $22,000 scholarship funds, resulting in $44,000 in scholarships.
The deadline for scholarship applications is the close of business on Friday, April 8, and our NLF Foundation scholarship committee will announce the scholarship recipients in May.
Finally, we celebrate the addition of five new members to NLF, as we continue to grow our organization’s influence by attracting new members and helping you as a member expand your influence. Welcome to Angie Akmakjian, Dr. Shannan Crawford, Garin Giacomarro, Michael D. Moore, and Craig Norton.
Let's commit to being valuable resources for local businesses and organizations during the balance of this pandemic. You can count on me to support anything that grows the influence of NLF and our members. I will always be receptive to your ideas, so please contact me at 817-564-2300 or at

-Shelby Bruhn
Tito Rodriguez to Receive NLF Distinguished Leadership Award

We congratulate Tito Rodriguez from North Richland Hills for being selected to receive our Northeast Leadership Forum Distinguished Leadership Award, which will be presented during our April 1 Annual Award Luncheon.
The selection committee was faced with one of the most powerful group of nominees in recent memory, which speaks highly of the quality of leadership within our organization.
While our members all know Tito as an energetic member of the North Richland Hills city council since 2011, you may not know of some of his additional community-focused activities.
Following retirement as a Special Enforcement Investigator from the State of Texas, Office of the Attorney General – Child Support Enforcement Division in 2015 after 31 years of service, Tito became the Executive Director of the Birdville Education Foundation for two years.

After this role, he began serving in various capacities with several local, regional, State and National organizations:

  • United Way of Tarrant County: Board of Directors, Area Agency on Aging Advisory Council chairman, United Way Northeast Steering Committee, United Way of Tarrant County Allocations Review Panel, and United Way KERNEL program review panel that awarded entrepreneurial start-up seed money.

  • Northeast Leadership Forum Foundation: Board member, Scholarship committee and liaison to counselors at Birdville ISD.

  • Boards of Directors: Northeast Tarrant Chamber of Commerce (former), CEC (Community Enrichment Center) member of Partner in Faith Committee, Mid-Cities Pacesetters Rotary, Northeast Richland Lions Club, Texas Municipal League (Region 8 Director and ERCOT Advisory Board member), National League of Cities ( Advisory Council – Vice Chair) , North Central Council of Governments (former) and Trinity Metro – Board Vice Chair.

  • City of North Richland Hills: Served as Mayor Pro Tem, Associate Mayor Pro Tem, and Deputy Mayor Pro Tem. He has also served on committees for the animal shelter, parks & recreation, teen court, and planning & zoning, and continues to serve as a member of the NRH Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association, NRH Fire Department Academy Alumni Association, and NRH Community Emergency Response Team.

  • March of Dimes Walk for Babies: Executive Leadership Team since 2018

  • Birdville ISD: Bond Study Review Committee, BCTAL Scholarship Committee – Chair, Partners in Education Committee, BISD ESSER III Committee and Academy 4 mentor at BISD Cheney Hills Elementary and BISD Snow Heights Elementary: volunteer, mentor and Site-Based Committee.

  • Member of: Tarrant Transit Alliance, Tarrant County District Attorney Sharen Wilson- Citizen Advisory Council, North Texas Commission – Water and Infrastructure Council, and Miss Sweetheart Special Needs Pageant - Judge
Tito has received a multitude of honors for his community volunteerism. These awards include Northeast Tarrant Chamber of Commerce Hometown Hero (on five occasions), Advocate of the Year for The CEC (Community Enrichment Center), Shining Star by the Arts Council of Northeast, and Melvin Jones Fellow.
One nominator wrote,
“If there is a cause to be championed,
you’re likely to find Tito on the front lines.”
World Renowned Economist, Dr. Ray Perryman,
to Keynote Award Luncheon
Dr. Ray Perryman, who Texas Monthly calls “the most quoted man in Texas,” will keynote the NLF Annual Award Banquet on Friday, April 1, at the Marriott in Westlake.
His website describes his services best: We are a focused team of analysts who know how to address complex economic information tasks and present our findings effectively.
Translation: You won’t need a Ph.D. to understand what he’s saying, and you’ll also find yourself chuckling at some of his comments.
Ray is known as:
  • The state’s pre-eminent economist and a barbecue connoisseur – by that newspaper on the other side of Highway 360
  •  A world class scholar – Business Week
  • The unofficial state economist – The New York Times
We’re very excited that Dr. Perryman has chosen our Northeast Leadership Forum Award Luncheon as one of his limited speaking engagements.
He will provide three deliverables:
  • Perspectives that will astound us about the complexities of our world and how North Texas fits into it
  • Common-sense understanding of these complicated issues, such as what the Russian-Ukraine war, inflation, transportation, and border issues mean to us locally
  • Humor that will give us the laughter that we need in a world filled with conflict and mystery
If you have already bought your table, you will walk out a smarter person than when you walked into the room… plus you’ll enjoy a wonderful meal and make new friends.
If you have NOT bought a table, we have two tables still available, so please register at the link below. Feel free to call John Fletcher at 817-205-2334 with any questions. CLICK HERE to reserve your table before they're gone!
We will have two special elements for our luncheon. We will recognize:
  • Each of our seven area school districts because EECU Credit Union is buying four (4) seats (Superintendent, Board president, Primary Teacher of the Year, and Secondary Teacher of the Year) for each district
  • Our Distinguished Leadership Award recipient – Tito Rodriguez

Current sponsors include:

Recognition Sponsor
VIP Table Sponsors
Reserved Table Sponsors

City of Bedford
City of Colleyville
City of Euless
City of Grapevine
City of Haslet
City of Hurst
City of North Richland Hills
City of Southlake
Freese and Nichols, Inc.
Frost Bank
HEB Chamber of Commerce
Legend Bank
ONCOR Electric Delivery
Tarrant County College - NE Campus
Town of Trophy Club
Town of Westlake
Trinity Metro
United Way of Tarrant County
Venture Business Impact
Grow Your INFLUENCE: Keep NLF Dynamic and Growing
As you interact with business and community leaders who impress you, please invite them to sit at your table for our next event – the Annual Award Luncheon on Friday, April 1. 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 award luncheon and 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.
Celebrating Five New Members

Your NLF Board of Directors voted to accept the applications of five new members as we continue the trend that saw 26 new members in 2021.
Please welcome our new members at the Annual Award Luncheon on April 1:
Angie Akmakjian
Vice President, Northeast Tarrant Chamber of Commerce

Dr. Shannan Crawford
CEO, Dr. Crawford & Associates

Garin Giacomarro
Assistant Director of Economic Development, City of Grapevine

Michael D. Moore
Founder/CEO, M3 Networks

Craig Norton
President/CEO, Beyond the Known International
New Member Profiles
Please welcome two of our newest members of NLF.
Angie Akmakjian

Angie recently became Vice President of the Northeast Tarrant Chamber of Commerce after serving as Manager of Engagement/Volunteer Coordinator for The CEC (Community Enrichment Center) for almost seven years. 
In the community, Angie currently serves as President of DOVIA (Directors of Volunteers in Agencies, Tarrant County and as a Board member of the Birdville Council of PTAs, where she oversees Arts in Education. She is also an award-winning member of Northeast Tarrant Toastmasters and is president of the organization, she serves as the Community Service chair for Mid-Cities Pacesetters Rotary Club. With a bachelor’s degree in Theater and a love for Music, she assists as Fundraising Chair for Mid-Cities Music Teachers Association and teaches 13 students piano, voice and ukulele lessons in her own music studio.
Angie and her family are native Texans. After working at WB Studios in LA for 20 years, and meeting her husband Mike, they decided to relocate with their three children to North Texas 8 years ago. They are believers in Christ and active in the United Methodist Church. Angie loves to give back to the community through volunteering and making others’ lives better.
Dr. Shannan Crawford

Dr. Shannan Crawford is CEO of Dr. Crawford & Associates in Keller. She is a licensed clinical psychologist. Shannan earned her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Regent University. As a third generation entrepreneur, she is passionate to help business leaders, influencers and faith-based organizational leaders identify and resolve self-sabotage in order to thrive with optimal performance and life balance. With over 10-years of leading her group practice she and her team love serving the community by providing the highest quality of individual, couples, and family therapy. 
Passionate to help leaders and influencers identify and implement actionable ways to get unlocked personally, professionally, spiritually, and relationally she is a national and internal conference speaker, leadership-consultant, and podcast host of Unlock U with Dr. Shannan Crawford. As a lifelong learner and lover of people, Dr. Crawford enjoys teaching as an adjunct professor at The King’s University in Southlake, serving on the board of, and leading groups that foster faith, community, and service.
NLF Foundation Scholarship Applications Due April 8
Scholarship applications from graduating seniors in Northeast Tarrant County public high schools are due by the end of school on Friday, April 8.
Once again this year, the Northeast Leadership Forum Foundation is working in partnership with the Nancy and Alan Hamm Foundation to award scholarships to deserving students from our 22 high schools. 
Students are eligible if they will attend a two-year college, four-year university, or a trade school.
The NLF Foundation members are in the process of meeting with area superintendents and reaching out to high school counselors so we can award our annual scholarships.

Nominations must be turned in to high school counselors by the end of the school day on Friday, April 8. We will announce and introduce our recipients in May. Please click below to download the application and apply today! 
NLF Tech Scholarships 

Tarrant County College has once again agreed to match the scholarship amount of each of the students as long as they conduct their studies at a TCC campus or online with TCC.
This workforce development program will encourage studies and help introduce students to promising careers.
The NLF Foundation Scholarship Committee has agreed to solicit and review the applicants for this workforce development initiative, just as it does our high school graduating senior scholarship program.
Nominations must be turned in to high school counselors by the end of the school day on Friday, April 8. We will announce and introduce our recipients in May. Please click below to download the application and apply today!
Mark Your Calendar
2022 NLF Event Schedule
Annual Award Luncheon
Time: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Location: Marriott Dallas/Fort Worth in Westlake

Keynote speaker: Dr. Ray Perryman
Economist & Nobel Prize in Economics finalist
Membership Breakfast Meetings
Location: Hurst Conference Center
Networking: 7:15 a.m. • Breakfast Open: 7:30 a.m. • Program Starts: 7:45 a.m.
Tuesday, February 8

Wes Lyons, Eagle Venture Fund
Sponsored by:
O. Trevino Construction
Heart of North Texas
Time: 8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Location: TBD
For sponsorship opportunities, please contact John Fletcher at (817) 205-2334.