2010 Summer Conference – Austin

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About the Speakers

Andrew Blifford

Andrew Blifford attended Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in history. From 1996–2002, he served in the Governmental Relations Divisions of the Texas Department of Economic Development, Texas Department of Transportation and Texas Public Utility Commission. In 2002, he joined the office of State Representative Jim Pitts (R-Waxahachie) as Chief of Staff. During 2006, he served as Director of the House Appropriations Committee under Chairman Pitts.

In February 2009, Blifford joined the office of Speaker Joe Straus where he currently serves as Senior Budget Advisor to the Speaker.

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Dr. Boyd Bush

Growing up among the oil fields and ranches of West Texas and the Panhandle, Dr. Boyd Bush learned at an early age the importance of hard work, education and family. Beginning with his first job mowing lawns and shoveling snow to serving today as the Professional and Organizational Development Manager for the Texas Legislative Council, Bush brings a wealth of leadership experience to each of his presentations.

With a doctorate in administration from Texas Tech University and 20 years experience as a college administrator, principal, teacher and researcher, Bush has developed a unique way of presenting material that is valuable, practical and humorous. He has co-authored a historical fiction novel, authored several research articles and presented at a variety of local, state and national events.

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Shirley Beaulieu, CPA

Shirley Beaulieu started her state career in 1982 with the State Auditor’s Office. She became a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in 1984 and moved to the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) Accounting Department the same year. In 1992, she left TDI as the Assistant Accounting Director and began working at the Texas Education Agency (TEA) as the Assistant Budget Director.

During the last 18 years at TEA, Beaulieu has held progressively more responsible positions, including the project manager of the Integrated Statewide Administrative System (ISAS) implementation where TEA was the first agency to pilot and implement that system. (She even won the name game for suggesting “ISAS.”) For the past seven years, she has been the Chief Financial Officer overseeing accounting, budget, purchasing and contracts. She also oversees the school finance department responsible for sending over $17 billion a year to the 1,200 school districts in Texas. Outside of work, Beaulieu is married with three children (ages 10, 12 and 13) and has a mini zoo at her house including two dogs, three cats, three parrots, a rabbit, a hamster, a goose, a bearded dragon, a frog and many fish and snails.

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Rob Coleman

Rob Coleman has worked in the public and private sectors for more than 20 years. After graduating from the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Business Administration, he went to work for Electronic Data Systems (EDS) implementing largescale financial applications in the financial industry. Coleman traveled across the country as EDS consolidated operations to the Dallas-based software platform. As a member of EDS, he worked as a business analyst assisting in the implementation of the Uniform Statewide Accounting System. In 1994, he moved over to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts and began his state career as an Appropriations Control Officer. While at the Comptroller’s office, he was also Manager of the Statewide Fiscal section then Assistant Manager of the Fiscal Systems Division.

Coleman joined his alma mater as an Associate Director in the Office of Accounting overseeing the financial reports area for the university. He returned to the Comptroller’s office in April 2009 as Manager of the Statewide Stimulus Oversight section for the Fiscal Management Division. In his current role, he is the primary liaison between the agency and other governmental and federal entities in matters related to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This role also involves managing the oversight of state and federal reporting processes. When not watching any and all Longhorn sporting events, Coleman enjoys golf in any type of weather and hopes to one day vacation in Scotland to play the Old Course at St. Andrew’s.

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Bob Elder

Bob Elder was a reporter and editor for 30 years before joining the Texas State Securities Board in 2008 to work in communications and investor education. A 1981 graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, Elder covered politics, the law and business as a staff writer and editor for Texas Lawyer magazine and other American Lawyer Media publications. He has also been a staff writer for the Austin American-Statesman and Wall Street Journal, among other publications. His journalism awards include two Dallas Press Club Katie awards and an award from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers for his coverage of pension funds in Texas.

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Denise Stines Francis

Denise Stines Francis is Group Director for the State Grants Team in the Governor’s Office of Budget, Planning and Policy. She is also the state single point of contact for intergovernmental review of federal grant applications leaving the state of Texas. Francis graduated magna cum laude from the University of Maryland with a Bachelor of Science in sociology, and attended the Lyndon Baines Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. Her professional career spans more than 25 years and includes experience in grant writing, strategic and long-range planning, private sector operations management and non-profit organization management.

She began her employment with the state in February 1989 as a program specialist in the Grant Support Services section of the Texas Department of Human Services. She served as a strategic planner with the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (1992–94) and has directed the State Grants Team since February of 1994. The Grants Team provides technical assistance to state agencies, legislative offices, units of local government, community-based organizations and private individuals on federal funding matters, including identification of federal grant opportunities, proposal review support and responses to inquiries about federal policies and agencies. She is very active in partnered efforts between states and federal agencies to improve efficiencies that streamline the federal grant-making process and increase federal grant transparency. In addition to her work in Texas state government, Francis donates a considerable amount of her personal time to community service activities. She is the mother of an adult son and daughter, and has five grandchildren.

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Anne Pritchard Grady

Anne Pritchard Grady is the Vice President of Strategic Solutions Group, an organizational development firm based in Waco. Grady works with organizations around the country to maximize organizational culture, build leadership and improve communication. Previously, she was the Director of Training and Development for one of the nation’s most prestigious country clubs and resorts and a corporate trainer at one of Fortune magazine’s top rated mutual fund companies. She has been a university instructor and currently works with the professional development department at the University of Texas. She holds a master’s degree in organizational communication from Texas State University. As a parent of a special needs child, Grady has become an advocate and volunteer with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), where she speaks to educators, health care professionals and other businesses about childhood mental illness.

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Thomas Graham

Thomas Graham is the President of Crosswind Communications, a strategic communications firm that guides clients through the complex media, regulatory and stakeholder environment facing today’s business leaders. Graham is the former head of U.S. communications for a top 10 global financial institution and for more than 20 years has helped business leaders energize their brands and achieve their business objectives through effective media and corporate communications strategies. He is an accomplished brand architect, crisis-tested media spokesperson and an expert in shaping public opinion and managing complex communications programs. As the Executive Vice President of Communication & Image at BBVA USA, Graham developed the brand strategy for BBVA Group’s U.S. acquired financial institutions while protecting the overarching brand reputation from the issues associated with acquisition, integration and financial industry crises. While serving on the management committee, he held primary oversight of branding, investor relations, corporate communications, employee communications and executive programs.

Prior to BBVA, Graham served as a General Manager with Weber Shandwick, the world’s largest public relations agency, where he directed the firm’s Austin office. During his 20 years of public relations consultancy with Weber Shandwick, Edelman and his own regional agency, Graham gained extensive experience in political and regulatory issues, corporate communications, brand strategy, investor relations, crisis and reputation management, and media relations. His clients have included Fluor, Wal-Mart, the Project Management Institute, Atmos Energy, NRG Energy, the Texas House Republican Caucus, Vought Aircraft and the Methodist Hospital. He is a former business reporter covering local, regional and national trends in business, financial, agricultural, oil and gas, and industrial sectors as well as a former communications director for a Texas state senator.

Graham is a member of the National Investor Relations Institute and Public Relations Society of America, active in communications organizations and a frequent lecturer on communications issues before students, non-profit, governmental and business associations. He is married to Tanya Fielder, and they have three children.

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Don Green

Don Green has served as a Senior Advisor to Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst since January of 2009 working mainly on economic development and appropriations-related issues. He also serves as the Lieutenant Governor’s representative on the Bond Review Board and the Council on Competitive Government.

His 30 years in state government include 15 at the Legislative Budget Board as a Budget Analyst and Special Assistant to the Director. He has also held the Chief Financial Officer slot at the Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation and at the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC). From 2003–09, Green was the Director of Budget and Policy for the Speaker of the House Tom Craddick and was responsible for advising members of the House on all budget and tax issues, including passage of a biennial appropriations bill in excess of $150 billion and a $16 billion package of property tax cuts and reform of the state’s business tax. The 2003 legislative session was particularly challenging in light of a $10 billion shortfall. Green served as the House budget liaison between the staffs of the Governor and the Senate.

He was elected by state employees as a trustee on the Employees Retirement System (ERS) Board from 2001–09 and was responsible for managing the investments of a $25 billion trust fund as well as managing the state employee health care plan. He served as Chairman, Vice- Chairman and Chair of the Audit Subcommittee during his tenure on the ERS Board. Green holds a Bachelor of Science in economics and accounting, and earned his Master of Business Administration and Master of Public Affairs from the University of Texas at Austin.

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Sarah Hicks

Sarah Hicks is the Committee Director for the Senate Finance Committee, a position she has held since September 2004. She began working for Senator Steve Ogden in 2002 as a Budget Analyst and then moved to her present job when he was appointed Chair of the Finance Committee. She graduated from Texas A&M University with a double degree in accounting and finance and then received her master’s degree from the George Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University. Hicks and her husband Matt live with their newest family member Wesley in Cedar Park.

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Irene Lee, CPA, CGFM

Irene Lee is the Financial Reporting section (FRS) manager for the Fiscal Management Division at the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. The major responsibilities of FRS include compiling the Texas Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, issuing Reporting Requirements for Annual Financial Reports of State Agencies and Universities and implementing the accounting standards established by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board. She has worked with the Comptroller’s office since 1990 in FRS and the Change Management and Integrated Statewide Administrative System sections. Before joining the Comptroller’s office, she worked for the State Auditor’s Office for five years. She is a Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM). She earned her Master of Professional Accounting from the University of Texas at Austin.

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Dr. Rodney Luster

As Director of Academic Affairs at the University of Phoenix, Dr. Rodney Luster oversees day-to-day academic activities involving faculty, curriculum, assessment and compliance. His tenure with the university began several years ago as an instructor at the Dallas and Memphis campuses.

Luster has held teaching and management positions in both traditional and nontraditional college environments. Prior to joining the University of Phoenix, he worked as a professor at Tarleton State University in the Texas A&M University System. Some of his professional accomplishments include presenting a lecture at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland about emotional affective states in November 2005 and receiving several awards and grants for best-practice contributions to education. In addition to his professional recognitions, Luster is the author of numerous academic publications, including a recent re-released book, The Dichotomized Self in Society. He is also a contributing editor to a cultural anthropology text by McGraw-Hill Publishers and frequently lectures to area police departments and mental health facilities on vicarious trauma. He is currently establishing a software firm — Way2Teach Inc. — that will launch in late summer 2010 and also serves as a peer reviewer for the Higher Learning Commission. Luster received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Our Lady of the Lake University. His doctorate degree is from Capella University.

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Pam Munn, CFE, CFS

Pam Munn is the Manager of the Special Investigations Unit for the State Auditor’s Office, where she has worked for 13 years. She oversees a team of investigators that specializes in financial investigations involving misuse of state resources. In 2003, the American Society for Industrial Security recognized Munn with an Award for Excellence in Performance Measurement for co-authoring an article titled “A Balanced Approach to Managing an Investigative Unit.” Munn has 29 years of investigative experience. She started her career as an officer with the Huntsville Police Department, where she worked assignments in the patrol and criminal investigations division and attained the rank of Sergeant. In 1985, Munn went to work at the Office of the Attorney General in the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, where she conducted healthcare fraud investigations and supervised one of the fraud teams. Munn holds a Bachelor of Science in criminology and corrections from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. She is a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) and a Certified Fraud Specialist (CFS).

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L. Michele Price, CPA

Michele Price is the Team Leader of Financial Reporting and Budget in the General Accounting Department of the Teacher Retirement System (TRS). She is responsible for overseeing the preparation of the Legislative Appropriations Request, Annual Operating Budget, Quarterly Board Reporting and Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. She also oversees and monitors the work of a team of professional accountants.

Price graduated with honors from the University of Oklahoma with a Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting with a minor in history. She was a member of Delta Sigma Pi professional fraternity and was on the dean’s honor roll. Price has been a Certified Public Accountant since 2009 and is a member of the Texas Society of CPAs. She is also a 2008 graduate of the Texas Fiscal Officers’ Academy. Prior to joining the General Accounting Department of TRS, Price was an auditor for a CPA firm specializing in governmental audits. She then moved to Austin and worked in the Investment Accounting Department of TRS for three years before moving abroad. Price lived in Paris, France, for two years studying the language and culture and traveling throughout Europe. Price enjoys traveling, art, jazz, wine tasting and fine cuisine. She seeks to constantly challenge herself with new learning opportunities both personally and professionally.

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