AARO’s Class of 2015 – New Members!

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AARO is pleased to welcome many outstanding leaders as new members in 2015:

Dr. Colette Pierce Burnette
President & CEO – Huston Tillotson University
Travis County

“Colette Pierce Burnette brings tremendous experience in higher education leadership, especially around student success. She has a unique perspective as the incoming president of one of the longest-serving universities in our state and our region’s only Historically Black University.  She will be a terrific AARO member.” – Susan Dawson, Chair – P-16 Education Committee


Mr. Don Christian

Chief Executive Officer – Concordia University
Williamson County

“Don Christian is a visionary, engaging leader who will usher Concordia University Texas to its next level of excellence. He is a consensus-builder with a great gift of building relationships.” – Elizabeth Christian, Co-Chair – Strategic Leadership Team


Mr. Ben Cloutier
President – CFAN
Hays County

“Ben will be a terrific AARO member.  His company, CFAN, tends to run under the radar, but is a big deal for the region, employing more than 600 people.  Ben is a great businessman who cares a lot about Central Texas, and will bring an important perspective to AARO as a regional manufacturing leader.” – Adriana Cruz, Member


Dr. Paul Cruz
Superintendent – Austin Independent School District
Travis County

“In every role Paul has filled, he has shown great leadership and grace.  Paul is truly a servant leader who inspires people around him.” – Earl Maxwell, Member


Mr. David Hays
Senior Vice President – Georgetown Title
Williamson County

“David has been a leader in his company and the community for years.  He is incredibly knowledgeable about what’s going on in Williamson County and will bring an important regional perspective and a lot of wisdom to AARO.” – Jon Sloan, Member


Mr. Fred Heldenfels, IV
President & CEO – Heldenfels Enterprises, Inc.
Hays County

“I have always been amazed at the depth of Fred’s knowledge and his capacity to learn issues and develop a balanced view. Fred is a successful Central Texas businessman, a key regional thought leader, and one of the most thoughtful, sincere, and diligent people I know.” – Bobby Jenkins, Member

Mr. Pete Inman
Principal – Camino Real Financial Strategies
Williamson County

“Pete is a person of strong faith, and he applies his faith to build strategic partnerships that will increase prosperity (wholeness) in our region.  Pete doesn’t see traditional boundaries or limitations and tackles projects and initiatives that others find too daunting.” – Ashton Cumberbatch, President – AARO


Mr. Edward Kargbo
President – Greater Austin Transportation Company dba Yellow Cab Austin
Travis County

Ed Kargbo is both a born and bred leader. Affable and intelligent, thoughtful and driven, Ed is energetic and enthusiastic and fundamentally optimistic.  He believes that leadership is about helping people advance through hardship — sometimes pushing, sometimes pulling and sometimes picking people up.” – Chris Kennedy, Member


Judge Donna Klaeger
Partner – HSC Strategies
Burnet County

Judge Klaeger has proven herself to be a regional thinker, dynamic leader, and true consensus builder.  She works with all the players on a broad array of issues and has a knack for bringing people together.” – Ron Kessler, Co-Chair – Strategic Leadership Team”


Mr. Tim Timmerman
Chairman – Lower Colorado River Authority
Travis County

“Tim is of the highest integrity and is a respected businessman and leader in the Austin region.  AARO is lucky to have Tim as a member.” – Ray Wilkerson, Member

Mr. Jay Watson
CEO – 3Can Events
Travis County

“Jay Watson is incredibly community-minded and believes in giving back to the community that has given him so much.  He will bring that sense of responsibility to community to AARO along with his strong business background and his “can do” attitude.” – Trish Young Brown, Chair – Health Care Committee