Special Olympics Texas is governed by a Board of Directors, which consists of 25 out of 39 volunteer positions. Among these positions are two athlete positions, and one is currently filled. Special Olympics Texas was one of the first chapters in the nation to implement athlete participation on its governing Board by amending its bylaws in 1995 to allow for three athlete positions.

In addition to meeting the requirements of the position the Director is filling, a Board member shall have demonstrated leadership qualities through their public relations, public awareness, fund raising and/or program accomplishments on behalf of Special Olympics Texas. Applications for membership are submitted to the Board Management/Governance Committee for review. Final nominees are presented to the entire Board of Directors for selection.

Executive Committee

Susanne Brady-Lusk, Chair

Susanne Brady-Lusk is the Vice President and General Manager of the South Texas Market Unit for Arca Continental Coca-Cola Southwest Beverages. She manages more than half of the business for Coca-Cola Southwest Beverages, including 13 facilities and 3,500 associates. 

Susanne has 12 years of experience in the Coca-Cola system as Key Accounts Manager and Area Sales Manager and Houston Market Unit Director of Small Stores, Vice President of West Texas Market Unit, and the Vice President and General Manager for the Southeast Texas Market Unit. Susanne has 17 years of experience in the grocery and convenience retail business in various roles, including Store Director and District Director. Susanne holds a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting and Management from St Andrews Presbyterian College and an MBA from Wingate University.

Susanne is a champion for Inclusion & Diversity is committed to promoting diversity throughout Coca-Cola Southwest Beverages and the Community.  Susanne is involved with the Network of Executive Women, Executive Women’s Partnership of Houston, and Special Olympics of Texas.  She also enjoys spending time with her family. She and her wife Rhonda live in Houston with their two dogs, Bentley and Beamer.

Pete Carey, Vice Chair

Pete Carey is group vice president at Toyota Financial Services (TFS), and president of Mazda Financial Services (MFS) overseeing all aspects of TFS’ new private label business and the relationship with Mazda Motor of America, Inc. He reports to Mark Templin, TFS president and CEO. Prior to his appointment as president of MFS, Carey was group vice president of TFS Service Operations and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Toyota Financial Savings Bank (TFSB). In this role, Carey oversaw a wide range of customer and dealer service functions including TFS’ three customer service centers and the company’s industrial loan-chartered bank operation. His responsibilities were focused on further enhancing TFS’ efficiency while ensuring the company meets the evolving needs of its customers. Previously, Carey served as group vice president of sales, marketing, insurance and product, responsible for over 800 team members in 30 field offices and 3 regional offices. He also spent time as vice president and general manager of the San Francisco Region at Toyota Motor Sales, where he was responsible for sales, service and parts, marketing, customer service, market representation and distribution for dealers in the San Francisco region.

Carey’s accomplishments include maximizing acquisitions and building relationships with key stakeholders including Toyota and Lexus dealer and division partners while serving as vice president of sales. Under his leadership as corporate manager of commercial finance, that area of TFS delivered a $100 million year-over-year turnaround in 2011. Carey began his career at TFS in 1993 and has since held key positions in a variety of areas within TFS and across the country. His broad experience at TFS includes dealer credit, collections, customer service center development, and field services management. Carey holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Marist College, Poughkeepsie,New York.

Gabe Kwentus, Treasurer 

David B Mantor, Secretary

Houston

David B Mantor was elected to the Texas Special Olympics Board of Directors in May 2019, and currently holds the position of Secretary to the Board.  

Mr. Mantor is Senior Environmental Counsel to Exxon Mobil Corporation.  He and his wife Allison are both long-time coaches and volunteers and the proud parents of long-time Special Olympics athlete, Matt Mantor. 

Rick McCarty, Parliamentarian

San Antonio

Rick McCarty has been an active volunteer for Special Olympics Texas for over 50 years. This is his fifth term on the Board of Directors, previously serving in both the Program and At-Large positions. He has been the Chairman, Vice-Chairman, and Parliamentarian of the Board, has served as an Athletics/Aquatics official for countless local and state meets, and has attended six World Games as a coach, official, or volunteer. He has also been a member of various committees as part of the Special Olympics United States Leadership Council.

In addition to his passion for Special Olympics, he devoted his career to Special Education both as a teacher and administrator. He retired after serving for 10 years as Director of Special Education at Region 19 Education Service Center, but resumed his career as Director of Special Education at Anthony I. S. D., for two more years. He retired again, after 38 years in the profession. McCarty also served honorably in the United States Navy for ten years’ active duty and reserves. While on active duty, he earned Vietnam Service Medals, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medals, and the Meritorious Unit Commendation. He holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees and numerous post graduate certifications from the University of Texas at El Paso. McCarty lives in San Antonio with his wife, Linda, who has also been a key volunteer for Special Olympics Texas. Their son, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren also live in San Antonio.

Steve Griffith, Immediate Past Chair

San Marcos

Steve Griffith is a Houston area native and a 43-year law enforcement veteran. He recently retired from the City of Sugar Land. He went to Sugar Land as the Chief of Police in August of 2005. Steve was promoted to Asst. City Manager in 2009 and in 2014 to 1st Assistant City Manager. He oversaw Police, Fire, Public Safety Dispatch, and Airport. Griffith has been actively involved with Special Olympics Texas for over 25 years. He is the Former Area 4 Torch Run Chair, at which he served six years. Revenue for Area 4 (Houston) surpassed $100,000 four times. Griffith served as State Director for the Torch Run for 2 years. During his tenure as State Director, he worked to integrate the State Prison System into the Torch Run. While serving as State Director, the revenue generated by the Texas Torch Runners was $2 million annually. The Texas Torch Run received national awards for revenue growth and totals. Steve and his wife Wendy retired to San Marcos, Texas so that they could be close to their boys and their granddaughter, Olivia. Griffith has served on the State Board of Directors for 15 years, including serving as the Chairman of the Board previously for two years. He and Wendy have two sons, Adam and Tim. Adam has completed his Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from Texas State University and works in Austin, Texas. Tim has obtained his Master’s degree in Criminal Justice and is a Police Sergeant in Kyle, Texas.

Members

Ian Rawn, Athlete Position

Plano

Athlete Ian Rawn of Plano was named to the SOTX Board in 2018. Rawn is a Global Messenger and represented the United States in the 2017 Special Olympics Winter World Games in Austria as a figure skater, placing fourth in the world. He works at Venturity Financial Partners in Addison and takes continuing education classes at Collin College in McKinney. He was a volunteer fire fighter in Pennsylvania.

Benjamin Garcia, Athlete Position

Lubbock

Ben Garcia started participating in Special Olympics at the age of 10. Now 43 years he is a Global messenger, Athlete leadership committee member, and a SOTX Presidential Advisory committee member. Because of Special Olympics Ben has been asked to join The Panel Network Action Committee and Share Holders Committee (associated with Star Care).

Ben has been awarded over 200 SOTX medals via competition, and participated in State Competition for several years.

Ben has also been asked to and Ambassador for High Point Village and the Best Buddies Texas Tech group.

Patti Ballew, Athlete Position

Amarillo

Patti Ballew was appointed to the Special Olympics Texas Board of Directors in 2015. Ballew, the 2012 SOTX Athlete of the Year, has participated in nine sports (athletics, bocce, bowling, flag football, golf, soccer, softball, tennis and volleyball) since getting involved in the organization 2006. Off the field, she has been an advocate for SOTX in various ways. Ballew is a Global Messenger for SOTX, which has enabled her to serve on the President’s Advisory Council, get to Washington, D.C. for Capitol Hill Day and work for TJ Maxx. Board member since 2015

Jan Sartain, At-Large Position

Austin

Jan Sartain spent 40 years in public education as a physical education teacher, varsity coach, and an adapted special education specialist/Special Olympics coach. She is the former Lead Teacher for the Adapted Physical Education Department and the Head of Delegation for the Round Rock Independent School District Special Olympics team.

During her 25 years in Round Rock ISD, the Roadrunner team grew to over 155 athletes, offering 9 sports, including an extensive Unified Sports program. She retired from Round Rock ISD in May 2017. In honor of her service, the RRISD Partners in Education foundation created a Leader in Education Scholarship in Jan's name for graduating Seniors pursuing a career in special education or the Allied Health field.

Sartain was a member of the Special Olympics Texas Board of Directors from 1996-2002 and again from 2005-2011, serving as Chair of the SOTX Board of Directors from 2009-2010. She has been volunteering with SOTx in numerous capacities for 30 years.

Jan is also a Board Member of the Play for All Abilities Park in Round Rock, TX.

Chief Doug Reim, Torch Run Position

Flower Mound

LETR

Highland Village Police Chief Doug Reim was named to the SOTX Board in 2018. Chief Reim has served as a member of the SOTX President's Advisory Council since 2012 and is a member of the Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR). The LETR is SOTX's largest grass-roots fundraiser and public awareness vehicle, and over the past three years, the group raised almost $4 million dollars to help support more than 58,300 SOTX athletes across the state. Chief Reim is a member of the FBI National Academy Association, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Texas Police Chiefs Association, and currently the Immediate Past President for the North Texas Police Chiefs Association after serving on the Executive Board for 5 years.  Outside of the SOTX and the Police realm, he is also a member of the Highland Village Rotary Club, and for relaxation, rides his Harley across the country as often as he can! 

Jackie Zigtema, At-Large Position

Tyler

Jackie Zigema is the Director of Special Education for Henderson ISD. After obtaining a degree from Stephen F. Austin University in 1996, Zigtema obtained a life skills teacher position with Jacksonville ISD. She taught in the life skills program for five years then moved into a diagnostician position before becoming a special education supervisor. She also obtained her master's degree in special education from UT Tyler in 1998 and is certified to work with autistic children. Board member since 2015

Ralph Herring, At-Large Position

Houston

Dr. Ralph Herring is a native Texan and third-generation optometrist. He was born and raised in Amarillo and came to the University of Houston to complete his undergraduate as well as Doctor of Optometry degrees. This was followed by a year-long Residency in Family Practice Optometry at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry. Following one year of private practice in Lubbock, Dr. Herring returned to his alma mater to join the University of Houston faculty where he has now been for over twenty-five years.

Dr. Herring is currently a Clinical Associate Professor and serves as a clinical instructor in multiple patient services in the University Eye Institute. He has also served on many college committees and has held various administrative appointments. As Director of External Education, Dr. Herring administers the senior level clinical training program which utilizes a network of over seventy affiliated public and private clinics located locally, nationwide and overseas.

Seeking to expand his knowledge base, Dr. Herring returned to school and in 2001 he completed a Master of Healthcare Administration from the Texas Woman’s University Institute of Health Sciences. His professional memberships include the American Optometric Association and the Texas Optometric Association. In 2019, Dr. Herring was honored to receive the Distinguished Service Award from the Vision Care Section of the American Public Health Association,  The organization selected him in part because of his nearly quarter century dedication to Special Olympics, specifically the  Healthy Athletes Program.

Dr. Herring continues his family’s strong commitment to volunteer service with service in his community including the Montrose Counseling Center, the Lions Club, and Special Olympics. When not volunteering, his spare time is spent in two passions: listening and attending the opera and cheering for the Houston Astros baseball team!

Board member since 2015

Jake Squiers, At-Large Position

Lufkin

The Chief Operating Officer of Burke joined SOTX’s Board of Directors in an At-Large position in 2017, following a two-year term on the President’s Advisory Council.  Squiers has served in his current role at Burke since 2008. Burke serves a 12-county region, providing mental health and developmental disability services to more than 10,000 people each year.

The Lufkin native is responsible for Burke’s field operations, including mental health, substance abuse, developmental disability, early childhood intervention, integrated care and veterans’ programs. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from Washington and Lee University.  Squiers is very active in the community. He is a SOTX basketball coach for Burke Center Bobcats, serves as his church’s treasurer and is a former member of the Lion’s Club, Main Street Lufkin Board, American Red Cross and St. Cyprian’s Episcopal School board president.

Squires and his wife, Laura, have three daughters: Christie, Haley and Autumn. In his free time, he enjoys woodworking and being a competitive barbecue cook.

Sam Arciniega, At-Large Position

Houston

A 40-year partner of the H-E-B Grocery Company, Sam, Arciniega was elected to Special Olympics Texas’ (SOTX) Board of Directors in 2017 after serving a year on the President’s Advisory Council. The H-E-B unit director is currently serving on the board in an At-Large position.

A native of Robstown, Arciniega started working with H-E-B as a bottle boy in his hometown and has since worked his way up the ranks to his current position at the Blackhawk Blvd. location in Houston.

Over the years, Arciniega has volunteered at several SOTX competitions in the Houston area and has participated in fundraisers, including golf tournaments held in Kingwood.  Prior to his leadership roles with SOTX, Arciniega has always had a passion to serve people in his community. For the last three years, he has been an Ambassador for the Corporate Diversity Council. Arciniega also spent six years on the Houston Diversity Council.

Byron Blevins, At-Large Position

Austin

After spending the first 10 years of his career in the entertainment industry Byron endeavored into the small business/start-up segment launching 3 businesses inside of a 5-year period.  

Through connections made during his time as an entrepreneur he was invited to join Google where he has worked for the past 6 years on projects with GoogleX, Google Cloud, Google.org, and Google Maps. In addition, Byron has served locally as the GoogleServe Ambassador helping build out Google Austin's volunteer and non-profit organization. 

Marian Cabanillas, At-Large Position

Houston

Marian Cabanillas serves as the President of Health Plan Operations for UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Texas. In her role at the Texas Health Plan, Marian manages operations, sales, marketing, community outreach, retention, provider relations, innovation and employee engagement. She also oversees the Executive Directors in each of the Service Delivery Areas throughout the state. Marian is from San Juan, Puerto Rico and has lived in Texas most of her life. She earned both her BA in psychology and her MBA in Healthcare Administration in Texas. Her professional experience includes more than 20 years working within the health care industry in both the public and private sectors, with an emphasis on public health care. Through her work at UnitedHealthcare Community & State, she has promoted innovative managed care solutions for the Texas Medicaid program. Marian works closely with customers, providers, community based organizations and community leaders to address the issues of health care in economically disadvantaged and medically underserved communities.

Marian serves on the Board of Directors of Change Happens in Houston, Texas. Change Happens is a community based, nonprofit organization serving at risk adults and youth. Marian is also an adjunct faculty member with the University of Phoenix where she teaches Healthcare Administration courses to MBA students.

Prior to joining UnitedHealth Group, Marian served as the Director of Community Relations for MHMRA of Harris County.

She joined UnitedHealth Group in June, 2004. 

Gracie Hunt, At-Large Position

Dallas

As Miss Texas International of 2018, and the Miss Teen Texas International in 2016 and 2017, Gracie uses her love of sports and leadership skills to do good in the world.  In 2013, she founded the Breaking Barriers Through Sports Foundation.  Her foundation uses fundraising and sports to level the playing field for people of all backgrounds, gender and race. 

With a background in soccer, she knows the leadership abilities and focus that sports can bring out in all of us.    

Gracie currently attends Southern Methodist University.  

Chris Kingston, At-Large Position

Dallas

As a retired U.S. Army Officer, Chris has since obtained an impressive career in education.  He has a B.A. in Criminal Justice (distinguished military graduate) and later graduated from the combined attendance of Ross School of Business in Michigan and the McCombs School of Business at U.T in the Executive Program, Sports Management Institute.  

Through years of working in the field of education, he has gained exceptional relationship-building knowledge, which he applies to his work. He ensures that student-athletes gain the education they need to succeed. 

Chris is currently the Vice President of Learfield. 

Dale Hosack, At-Large Position

Sugar Land

Dale Hosack joined Western Container Corporation of Sugar Land, Texas as Chief Financial Officer in 2003 becoming only the second CFO in the history of the company. WCC was founded in 1981 to supply plastic (PET) bottles to the Coca-Cola Bottling system. The company currently provides 6.5 billion packages to the Coke system annually from 4 locations across the western United States. Annual sales are $305 million and 317 members are employed across 6 locations. Dale has worked in Accounting and Finance his entire career driving lean processes and being a business partner providing decision making information. He has been involved with a variety of businesses that all make something – nuclear power plants, folding cartons, dental implants, automotive parts, picture frames, computer workstations – and now Coke bottles.

Dale earned a BS degree in Accounting from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 1981 and later earned his Lean Six Sigma Green Belt from Purdue University in 2010. Dale and Jo were married in 1984 and their daughter Brittany lives in Pearland with her husband Derek and two children. Brittany graduated from Arizona State University with a dance education degree and then joined Teach for America. She taught in the inner city in Kansas City for two years then came to Houston teaching at HISD, Yes Prep and the Fort Bend ISD. Derek is a Lieutenant for the Pearland Police Department. Dale and his wife live in the Houston Heights and enjoy traveling the world and spending their free time going to concerts and sporting events. If there is a Bruce Springsteen concert anywhere nearby you can bet they will be at it.  They first volunteered with Special Olympics when they moved to Houston in 2013. Dale joined the President’s Advisory Council not long after that and then joined the SOTX Board of Directors as Treasurer in 2017.

"It is always rewarding to see the joy our athletes have at all Special Olympics activities. We have been fortunate in our lives and we appreciate the opportunity to give back."

Christy Dyer, At-Large Position

Christy has been a resident of Randall County for 33 years and Randall County Commissioner Precinct #1 for 8 years.  Licensed stockbroker until 1990 at which time Christy decided to focus on the family business of Dyer's Bar-B-Que.

"I work to  continue the family success in all aspects of the business on a daily basis. As with all small businesses, you will find me doing what needs to be done. Served my community on the L.S.I.O.T Board of Directors from 1998 to 2004 as both an officer and director. During my tenure on the Board, the following agenda items were accomplished while setting and balancing budgets to ensure sufficient staff and resources to serve the needs of the community: Improved and enlarged water system, Purchased additional land for wells, Constructed new water tower, Improved water system pipeline, Maintained roads by purchasing maintenance
vehicles, Established Lake Patrol to ensure water and boating safety Negotiated the purchase of Lake Tanglewood and all the land rights from the Currie family
Served as middle school Sunday school teacher as well as on the Lake Tanglewood Community Church Board as both an officer and chairman. I have been involved on many different levels with Special Olympics for the past twenty years. First as a family member, then volunteering by feeding the participants along with their families for Panhandle tournaments both bowling and basketball.

I loved serving as the MC for the panhandle track meet. I also, my personal favorite, played the scary old lady at our Special Olympics Haunted House. I also had the honor as serving as support staff and feeding the team who carried the Olympics torch for the Unified Torch Run Across America thru our region The love and joy that I have received during every event is more than I could ever begin to describe. Our Special Olympics athletes are one of my biggest blessings. I will approach this position in the same manner I do all other endeavors: fiscally conservative, fair minded and hardworking dedication to the athletes, staff, volunteers and community members of Special Olympics."