December 2021 Newsletter
Greetings from your NLF Chair, Howard Shotwell
This marks my final column as chairman of Northeast Leadership Forum. It’s been my privilege to serve in 2021, as we have developed a platform to survive and thrive with the pandemic.

We will all remember 2021 for several reasons.

These include:

  • The creativity and resilience of our local businesses and nonprofits, particularly following Snow-mageddon

  • The resourcefulness of Tarrant County and its work with United Way of Tarrant County, and our cities, to help strengthen our nonprofits

  • Our annual award luncheon that RaDonna Hessel negotiated at the awesome Gaylord Texan, featuring Hall-of-Fame Dallas Cowboy Drew Pearson on Zoom live from the NFL draft site as he was interviewed by Scott Murray, and our first-ever engagement announced from the podium (way to go, Fletch!)

  • The quality of speakers at our breakfasts
  • Ian MacLean, Chairman of the Small Business Council of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and CEO/owner of Highland Landscaping in Southlake
  • Dr. Kristen Bennett, Executive Vice President for Advancement at Tarrant County College
  • Sharen Wilson, Tarrant County District Attorney

  • The Hamm Family Foundation providing $22,000 in matching scholarship funds to help us award $44,000 in traditional scholarships

  • My priority – raising money and awarding over $10,000 technology scholarships that provide funding for local students to attend Tarrant County College or other career training

  • Our third consecutive sold-out Heart of North Texas Conference featuring keynotes from Tarrant County United Way CEO Leah King, Texas State Demographer Dr. Lloyd Potter, FBI cybersecurity expert Brett Leatherman, and an education/workforce panel from Tarrant County College that included TCC CEO Dr. Eugene Giovannini and TCC Northeast President Dr. Kenya Ayers-Palmore
I’ve been impressed as I’ve seen our businesses and nonprofits lean on each other and be resources to benefit our community.
To each of you and your loved ones, my wife Sandy and I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a safe and healthy holiday season!

-Howard Shotwell
Incoming Chairman: Shelby Bruhn

Shelby Bruhn grew up in Sulphur Springs, where he played on the high school football team. He attended East Texas State University (now Texas A&M Commerce), where he continued playing football. Shelby transferred to the University of Texas at Dallas, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting.

Shelby has more than 20 years of banking experience and moved to North Texas in 2007 as a Senior Underwriter/Portfolio Manager for Capital One Bank in downtown Dallas. Then, he saw the light and moved to Tarrant County.

 We first met Shelby through NLF when he joined Randy McCauley’s team at Providence Bank of Texas in Southlake, where he served as Executive Vice President/Chief Lending Officer.

Shelby joined Valliance Bank (VBank) in Fort Worth in 2016 as President of the downtown Fort Worth location, was promoted to the Texas President of VBank, and now serves as Chief Lending Officer for the entire corporation.

Shelby has been a member of the Fort Worth Stock Show Syndicate for three years, where he was named Top Rookie for raising the most money to benefit scholarships. As one of the top producers annually, he has the honor of riding in the grand entry parade of the Fort Worth Rodeo each year.

He’s also a member of the Pro Players Foundation Advisory Board in Southlake, and he serves his industry as a member of the Government Relations Council of Texas Bankers Association.

Shelby lives in Keller with his wife Katie and their three daughters.

Shelby’s primary focus for NLF will be “Influence” – how Northeast Leadership attracts influential leaders, grows the influence of its members, and uses that influence for good.
Board welcomes new officers, chooses committee chairs,
approves new member

We look forward to our new leadership team for 2022:
Shelby Bruhn
Eli Mercer
RaDonna Hessel
Shannon Watt
Howard Shotwell
Past Chair
Incoming Chairman, Shelby Bruhn,
announced the following committee chairs

Committee chairs will be:
  • Programs: Eli Mercer
  • Sponsors: John Fletcher
  • Mayors’ Roundtable: Michael Boyter
  • Heart of North Texas: RaDonna Hessel, Craig Hulse
  • Chamber Presidents’ Roundable: RaDonna Hessel
  • Economic Development Directors’ Roundtable: Craig Hulse
  • Nonprofit Roundtable: Randy Clinton
  • Awards Luncheon: Randy Clinton
  • Membership: Shannon Watt
Renowned Economist Dr. Ray Perryman to
Keynote 29th Annual Award Luncheon

Dr. Ray Perryman – known by Texas Monthly as “the most quoted man in Texas” – will keynote our annual award luncheon on April 1.

The Dallas Morning News also calls him “The state’s pre-eminent economist and a barbecue connoisseur.”
Since Dr. Perryman combines humor into his presentation, the choice of April Fool’s Day is only appropriate.

He is President/CEO of The Perryman Group, an economic research and analysis firm based in Waco. His accomplishments include:

  • Being the consulting economist for Hillwood when the property consisted of undeveloped ranch land
  • Serving over 2,500 clients, who include:
  • Two-thirds of the Global 25
  • Over half of the Fortune 100
  • The 12 largest technology firms in the world
  • 10 U.S. Cabinet Departments
  • The 9 largest firms in the U.S.
  • The 6 largest energy companies operating in the U.S.
  • The 5 largest banking institutions

Dr. Perryman holds a BS in Mathematics from Baylor University and a PhD in Economics from Rice University.

His honors include:
  • Outstanding Young Person of the World for Business and Economic Innovation
  • Texan of the Year by the Texas Legislative Conference
  • Distinguished Service Medal from Baylor University
  • Texas Leadership Hall of Fame
  • Cesar #. Chavez Conscience Builders Award
  • Most Dynamic Economic Researcher in the U.S. from Global Business Insights

Please contact John Fletcher at 817-205-2334 for sponsorships and table purchases.
Nominations Due for NLF Distinguished Leadership Award

Please devote some time to think about nominating the most deserving recipient for the NLF Distinguished Leadership Award, our highest honor. The award recognizes that person who has given many years of service to the Northeast Tarrant County area.
The selection criteria are as follows:
  • Service in civic or educational roles, non-profit organizations, chambers of commerce, elected office or other areas that allowed the individual to make general contributions to the quality of life and well-being of the residents of the Northeast Tarrant County area.

  • Preferably, positive involvement in multiple areas of our community with innovative activities and leadership qualities.

  • Various volunteer responsibilities and longevity in one or more organizations.
We require two nominators for each candidate. Each nomination may also include up to three letters of support. For a list of previous honorees as well as the nomination information and formplease click here
Nominations are due by Monday, February 7.

We were pleased to recognize John Fletcher, CEO of Fletcher Consulting Public Relations, with the 2020 Distinguished Leadership Award.
Year-End Giving :
Consider Northeast Leadership Forum Foundation

As you consider year-end giving, please consider the NLF Foundation, where we continue to award scholarships.

This past year under Howard Shotwell’s Leadership, the Foundation awarded over $10,000 in scholarships to students who are now attending Tarrant County College and Culinary Institute of America. Each scholarship that we award to a TCC student is matched by the TCC Foundation.

Speaking of which, we appreciate the donation this past week of a $2,500 scholarship from Michael Moore and his company, M3 Networks. The scholarship funds will be matched by TCC to generate $5,000 in total benefits, and will help students studying Information Technology and Cybersecurity, which is the field where M3 Networks is a market leader.

The Northeast Leadership Forum Foundation 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 NLF Foundation!
NLF Foundation Scholarship Program has Broad Reach

In the five years of the NLF Foundation scholarship program, 126 students have received a total of $173,000 to help fund their dreams of attending a community college, four-year university, or a trade school.

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.
Mark Your Calendar
2022 NLF Schedule
Annual Award Luncheon
Location: TBD
Keynote speaker:
Dr. Ray Perryman
Economist & Nobel Prize in Economics finalist
Membership Breakfast Meetings
Networking: 7:15 a.m. • Breakfast Open: 7:30 a.m. • Program Starts: 7:45 a.m.
Heart of North Texas
8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Location: TBD
Major concerns are developing over holiday Covid-19 transmission as families and friends gather. For the most current information, please consult the Tarrant County Public Health site.
Please have safe, healthy, and Merry Christmas!