November 2022 Newsletter

Greetings from your NLF Chair, Shelby Bruhn

Good Friday morning!


Wasn’t it more fun to share Thanksgiving gatherings in person this year rather than share turkey and dressing over Zoom as in the past two years?


And while last Saturday was Small Business Saturday, let’s take care of our small businesses in Northeast Tarrant County by shopping locally as much as possible during this Christmas gifting season.


Now, let’s reflect on what a wonderful event we hosted on November 2 with our 25th Annual Heart of North Texas Conference. Yes, a quarter-century of sharing wisdom and insights for our community and business leaders.


This event attracted a record number of sponsors and attendees which resulted in over $25,000 being raised for our scholarship fund.


I want to personally thank our tri-chairmen, Kathryn Rotter, RaDonna Hessel, and Craig Hulse, for leading their committee to create such an outstanding event.


We are indeed grateful for the following speakers sharing their amazing insights:

  • Julian Alvarez, III – Commissioner, Texas Workforce Commission
  • Dr. CyLynn Braswell – Ed.D, Advisor for Student Analytics, Frontline Education
  • Kyle Hartung – Associate Vice President at Jobs for the Future
  • A.J. Griffin – Director of Government & Community Affairs, Paycom


And Kathryn did a wonderful job in her one-on-one interview with our Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley. Glen and his wife Brenda took turns sitting in his personalized retirement chair that we presented to him.


… and, of course, Dr. Faye Beaulieu, who once again offered the kindest and most inspirational opening prayer imaginable.


Please allow me to also thank Chris Connolly, General Manager of the Hurst Conference Center for overseeing such a smooth operation from a logistics perspective. We have had nothing but positive comments about the food, service, and audio/visual elements.


The Heart of North Texas reaffirms that the Northeast Leadership Forum is an organization of leaders that focuses on connecting leaders and building leaders.


Just as with the last three years, the entire event was sold out with every sponsorship filled and a full house with sponsors filling tables. We are deeply grateful to everyone who contributed to this amazing event and to all our sponsors


Your NLF board held our regular board meeting on Tuesday, November 8, and approved a new member: Ross McMullin, Mayor Pro Tem of the City of Keller.


Our annual award luncheon committee is finalizing plans for the event to be held in late March or early April.


Please look for award nomination requests for our Distinguished Leader Award, which will be presented at the banquet. The deadline for nominations will be Monday, January 23.


Special kudos to NLF members Darlisa Diltz and Craig Hulse, who each played leadership roles in the Global Entrepreneurship Week that took place across North Texas November 13-18. The program consisted of more than 120 events that included pitch competitions, youth entrepreneurship programs, lunch & learns, and nightly networking events.


And finally, let’s pay attention to what FBI Assistant Special Agent-in-Charge Brett Leatherman told us at the Heart of North Texas just one year ago:

'The holiday season is when cyberattacks are most likely to occur in our businesses and for us personally. Now is the time to focus on our cyber protocols.'


From my family to yours, I wish you happy, merry, and joyous Christmas holiday season 🎄!


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

817-564-2300 or at

-Shelby Bruhn

Heart of North Texas a Resounding Success – Again!

The theme of “May the Workforce Be with You, Now and in the Future” created energy inside the Hurst Conference Center for the 25th Annual Heart of North Texas Conference. The sold-out crowd learned about workforce challenges, trends, and proposed solutions for Texas and Northeast Tarrant County.


One of the most clever elements of the conference took place between speakers, as our conference committee created a theme for each networking break that generated engagement among our attendees.

Julian Alvarez, III, Commissioner of the Texas Workforce Commission, shared insights on the challenges facing not only employers but also educators as they prepare the next generation of workers.

His key points included:

  • Inflation and the labor/skills shortage are the most disruptive factors facing CEOs in the next 12 months
  • Micro-credentials are adding value to four-year college degrees
  • Texas has gone from Registered Nurse being the top job posting for the last 10 years to a projected deficit of 57,000 RNs by 2035

Dr. CyLynn Braswell, Ed.D, Advisor for Student Analytics with Frontline Education, updated how educators are responding to the heightened demand for and interest in career and technical education.

Her take-aways included:

  • There’s a new focus on “Live locally, compete nationally”
  • Conversations about work at home influence our children in their view of work
  • Collaboration involves such factors as team participation, effective communications, problem solving, creating a trust environment, and seeking conflict resolution/compromise skills
  • Graduates need to have a professional appearance, appropriately use tools and resources, display manners and etiquette, be prepared to execute, be punctual, and put their ethics to work in order to stand out
  • Work-Based Learning makes graduates more sought-after for jobs
  • Texas has defined Work-Based Learning but has not implemented it well
  • Industry-based certifications are opening doors to promising futures
  • Pell Grants should be considered for high-quality certification/license programs that do not require enrollment

She closed with an insightful question: What is your child’s perception of the world of work, based on your conversations at home?

Kyle Hartung, Associate Vice President at Jobs for the Future, addressed Work-Based Learning and in-demand skills for the future, particularly aimed at today’s teens. He emphasized that the top skills from school need to improve with how well they match job needs.

His revelations included:

  • We need to reimagine our education-to-workforce systems
  • The “new economies” will focus on green technologies, remote work, and TDL (Teaching Diverse Learners)
  • We are now teaching new types of skills that didn’t exist 10 years ago
  • Dual enrollment programs accelerate the path to graduation and entry into the workforce
  • Work-Based-Learning designs the curriculum backward – starting with what employers need and teaching the skills that match those needs
  • The relative importance of different skill groups is seeing more growth in thinking/analysis, problem solving, and self-management and a decline in technology development and physical abilities

One of the day’s highlights was Kathryn Rotter’s live back-and-forth with retiring Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley. The Judge looked comfortable in his new handcrafted rocking chair, which was a gift from NLF.


He emphasized that the greatest need among business leaders and educators is collaboration because we need to work together to benefit the emerging workforce and the employers rather than work in isolated silos. He added that Covid-19 has led to this generation’s students losing the equivalent of two years of school for both education and social growth.


Judge Whitley closed his comments with a simple solution: We need to return to civil dialogue, stating, “George Washington warned us about having political parties. He was right.”


The appreciative audience gave the Judge a standing ovation.

A.J. Griffin, Director of Government & Community Affairs, Paycom, keynoted our luncheon with comments about how the worldwide need for cost-effective labor will always be with us. She referenced how World War II brought women into the workforce, which created an entirely different workforce moving forward, and how technology has been a great equalizer as it has lessened the need for physical skills and elevated skills such as problem solving.


Her observations included:

  • The workforce age 65+ will grow by 50% over the next 10 years because these workers are well educated and have pride in achievement in relevant areas; they are mobile, they live longer, and they want a meaningful life
  • 50 years ago, it was common for people never to leave the county where they were born; today’s work is trans-boundary, and people are more willing to move
  • The technology at work cannot be inferior to the high degree of technology at home
  • Skills need to be maximized every day
  • 45-47% of current jobs could be automated
  • Today’s younger workers will change jobs 11 times


She closed with a simple statement: The best way to prepare for the future is to create it.

Event tri-chairman Craig Hulse announced that our Northeast Leadership Forum Foundation has awarded almost 150 scholarships to graduating seniors, and that the net profit from the Heart of North Texas Conference would be at least $25,000.


What a wonderful transition we had from last year’s “Building for an Economic Boom” theme to this year’s “May the Workforce Be with You – Now and into the Future.”

Our event committee consisted of:

Kathryn Rotter, Tarrant County, Tri-Chair

Craig Hulse, City of North Richland Hills, Tri-Chair

RaDonna Hessel, Grapevine Chamber of Commerce, Tri-Chair

Dr. Kenya Ayers-Palmore, Tarrant County College NE Campus

Faye Beaulieu, United Way of Tarrant County, Former NLF Chair

Jerry Cantu, EECU

Trasa Cobern, 6 Stones Mission Network

Marcia Etie, Mosaic Strategy Partners

Mary Frazior, HEB Chamber of Commerce

Jim Griffin, Former NLF Chair

Garry Hamilton, Former NLF Chair

Scott Hurbough, Community Enrichment Center/The CEC

Howard Shotwell, R&D Associates, Inc., Former NLF Chair

Carolyn Sims, NLF Education Foundation Chair, Former NLF Chair

We could never have hosted this event without the financial support of our sponsors, whose generosity is helping us fund scholarships for college, university, and trade school education.

Thank you, Community Sponsors, for Funding Scholarships!

Membership Drives the Influence of NLF


Our membership has grown by 25 new members over the past year, so please continue to invite colleagues and influential members of our community to join NLF. 


Among these is our newest member: Ross McMullin, Mayor Pro Tem of the City of Keller, whose application was approved at the November 8 Board meeting.


As you interact with business and community leaders who impress you, please invite them to next breakfast in early February. Details will follow soon.


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, and we are providing a valuable forum for new members to have close access to so many of the decision-makers that shape the course of events in Northeast Tarrant County.

For any prospective NLF members you 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 economic growth of Northeast Tarrant County.


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

New Member Profiles

Please welcome two of our newest members of NLF.

Ross McMullin

Mayor Pro Tem, City of Keller

Keller Mayor Pro Tem Ross McMullin was first elected in 2020 with more votes than any candidate for city office in Keller’s history. 


He gained invaluable experience early in his career as a member of the Governor’s Fellowship Program – a highly sought-after opportunity that trains future leaders in public policy. Ross also served on staff for the United States Senate in the office of Senator Todd Young, where he helped make a difference for our nation’s veterans and taxpayers. 


These experiences have helped Ross get right to work on Keller City Council, where he approved two of the most fiscally conservative budgets in Keller’s history. Ross has been recognized as a thoughtful, principled leader and a relentless advocate for his community.

Ross is a practicing attorney. But his passion for improving his community extends beyond his professional career and public service, as he also volunteers as a youth sports coach and at his kids’ local school. Ross and his wife Katie live in Keller with their four children and attend St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church.

Arthur (Art) Miner

Mayor, City of Watauga

Watauga Mayor Arthur (Art) Miner understands the word “service” from several perspectives. As a member of a military family, he was eager to enlist in the United States Navy after high school, where he served for 24 years. In that time, Art served aboard seven aircraft carriers, making seven major deployments that spanned from Vietnam to Operation Desert Storm. He concluded his naval career at the Naval Aviation Maintenance Office in Patuxent River, Maryland, where he served as Program Manager for Naval Air Systems Command Aircraft Battle Damage Repair Program.


After retiring from military service, Art held positions as production manager, operations manager, and plant manager for numerous Dallas-Fort Worth area companies. Eager to serve his community, Art coached NAYA youth baseball, YMCA girls’ volleyball and Upwards girls’ basketball. It was also when he began his venture into local city service, first with his appointment to the Watauga Parks Advisory Board in 1998. He went on to serve on the Parks Development Corporation, the Watauga Economic Development Corporation and various other boards and committees. In 2019, at the insistence of friends and neighbors, Art ran for and was elected Mayor in May of that year, and he was re-elected for his second term in 2021.


The military has its advantages, as Art met his future wife, Sharon while stationed at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi. Art and Sharon have been married for 48 years and have a son and a daughter that both graduated from Keller ISD schools, and have also been blessed with two beautiful grandchildren, Braden 11, and Annabel 10. 

NLF Foundation Scholarship Program has Broad Reach


In the six years of the NLF Foundation scholarship program, almost 150 students have received a total of $220,000 to help fund their dreams of attending a community college, a four-year university, or a trade school.


We are indeed grateful for our partnership with the Nancy & Alan Hamm Foundation, which has provided matching funds for the past four years and has committed to matching our funds once again for this spring’s graduating seniors.

Coca-Cola Southwest Beverages has already donated another supply of Dell laptop computers for us to award to this coming spring’s scholarship recipients.

These students have attended 52 different universities, ranging from TCU, Texas Wesleyan University, and U.T. Arlington in the Fort Worth area, Stanford University and the University of Southern California on the west coast, and New York University on the east coast. Trade-focused students have attended Tarrant County College, the Culinary Institute of America, and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical.


As you may consider year-end gifting, please consider the Northeast Leadership Forum Foundation, which is a 501(c)(3) organization that is certified by the IRS. For details about a potential gift, please reach out to Carolyn Sims at (817) 905-0542.


Also, please remember that any scholarship money that specifies Tarrant County College will be matched by the Tarrant County College Foundation, so your contribution provides twice as much benefit if you give through the NLF Foundation!

Roundtable Updates

One of the most valuable functions of NLF is to create and foster a platform for categories of community leaders to meet, cooperate, and share best practices. These are our roundtable groups that consist of our area chambers of commerce, mayors, superintendents, economic development directors, and nonprofits.


Here are the latest reports, which were shared at the November 8 Board meeting


  • Chambers of Commerce: Chamber executives met this past Monday, November 28, and the Chairman’s Roundtable with chairmen and chamber executives will meet Monday, December 5
  • Superintendents: Met in September and will meet on December 15 to discuss security and cybersecurity
  • Economic Development Directors: Met earlier this month and will all be attending the ICSC (International Council of Shopping Centers) @Red River in January
  • Nonprofits: Randy Clinton announced that the Nonprofits Roundtable will host an educational meeting next year for nonprofit CEOs and Boards
Mark Your Calendar

2023 Membership Events Coming Soon!

NLF 2022 Membership Application
Visit our webpage!