Office of the Governor - Greg Abbott

Governor Abbott Appoints Seven To The Texas Military Preparedness Commission

Wednesday, March 29, 2017  •  Austin, Texas  •  Appointment
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Governor Abbott has appointed Annie L. Sobel, M.D. and James Whitmore and re-appointed Thomas Duncavage, Woody Gilliland and A.F. “Tom” Thomas for a term set to expire February 1, 2023. Additionally, he has appointed Kenneth Sheets and Garry Bradford for terms set to expire February 1, 2021 and February 1, 2019, respectively. The Commission's goal is to preserve, protect, expand and attract new military missions, assets and installations. Additionally, the Commission encourages defense related businesses to expand or relocate in Texas.

Annie L. Sobel, M.D. of Lubbock is an associate professor at the Department of Medical Education and at the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Texas Tech University (TTU), adjunct professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at TTU, and an adjunct associate Professor at the TTU Health Science Center School of Nursing. She is a former distinguished member of the technical staff at the Sandia National Laboratory in Albuquerque, NM and guest scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Previously, she served as a medical doctor and director of Intelligence for the National Guard Bureau in Arlington, VA and as a senior advisor to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the Defense Threat Reduction (DTRA) Agency. She is also the current chair of the Permanent Monitoring Panel for mitigation of acts of terrorism for the World Federation of Scientists. Sobel achieved 20 years of military service in 2008, and retired as a Major General in the Arizona Air National Guard with an honorable discharge with prior service in the United States Army. She is the president of West Texas Komen, chairman and board member of the Lubbock Veterans Advisory Committee, and a board member of the Boy Scouts of America, South Plains Council. She is also a fellow at the American Academy of Family Physicians, Aerospace Medical Association and the Aerospace Human Factors Association. Sobel received a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and Computer Science from Rutgers University, a Doctor of Medicine from Case Western Reserve University, and a Master of Science in Aerospace Medicine and Human Factors Engineering from Wright State University.

James Whitmore of New Braunfels is the president of Jim Whitmore Consulting, LLC, where he specializes in defense and aerospace consulting. He retired after 35 years of service as a Major General in the United States Air Force and is currently the vice president of the Alamo Chapter of the Air Force Association for the Wounded Airman Program, and a member of the Council for a Strong America and the Order of the Daedalians. He is a member of the San Antonio United Services Organizations (USO) Advisory Council, vice president of the Waggener Ranch Property Owners Association, vice chair of the Military Affairs Committee of the New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce, and a board member and Strategic Planning Committee chair for Blue Skies of Texas. Whitmore received a Bachelor of Business Administration in Business Management from the University of Memphis and a Master of Science in Management from Troy University.

Tom Duncavage of League City currently serves as the Simulation and Graphics branch outreach manager at NASA Johnson Space Center. Duncavage, a United States Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel, retired with 23 years of active and reserve service, has previously served as an Assistant Chief Engineer at NASA Headquarters, as a Flight Test Engineer for Naval Air Test Center, and as a Supervisory Engineer for Naval Air Systems Command. He is a current member of the Marine Corps Reserve Association, the United States Navy Test Pilot School Alumni Association, the Houston Military Affairs Committee, the Marine Corps League, and the University of Houston’s William P. Hobby Jr. Center for Public Policy. He is also a donor at both the Wounded Warrior Project and at the Xena Project. Duncavage received a Bachelor of Science in physics from Providence College and is a National Security Fellow at the Maxwell School at Syracuse University.

Woody Gilliland of Abilene is the current president emeritus of the West Texas Rehabilitation Center (WTRC) Foundation, an endowment that supports the WTRC. Gilliland is a U. S. Marine Corps veteran and is the previous CEO of the West Texas Rehabilitation Center, the Abilene Regional Medical Center, Marshall Medical Center in Tennessee and the Lanier Park Medical Center in Georgia. He is a member and former chairman of the Abilene Chamber of Commerce, and is also a member of the Abilene Rotary Club, Military Affairs Committee, American College of Healthcare Executives and the Military Officers Association of America. He volunteers as vice chairman of the Abilene Airport Advisory Board, and as a board member at Serenity House and the Panhandle Plains Higher Education Authority. Gilliland received a Bachelor of Science in Education from West Texas State University, a Master of Business Administration from Marymount University, and a degree in Strategic Military Studies from National War College.

A.F. "Tom" Thomas of El Paso is a civilian aide to the Secretary of the Army in West Texas. He previously served as the senior vice president at the Greater Chamber of El Paso, vice president of marketing at both Southern Union Gas and W.R. Weaver Company and as vice president of sales at AJAY, Enterprises. He is vice president of membership at the Association of the U.S. Army, member of the El Paso Chamber of Commerce Executive Board, director of the Southwest Defense Alliance, treasurer of the Armed Services YMCA, board member at the USO, and a district lay leader at United Methodist Church. Thomas received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in marketing from Henderson University in Arkansas.

Kenneth Sheets of Mesquite is a civil defense attorney at Payne and Blanchard, LLP. He is a former member of the Texas House of Representatives, representing District 107. He is a member of the State Bar of Texas and the Texas Association of Defense Counsel and a fellow of the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers Foundation. He is a former member of the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers, Dallas Bar Association and the American Bar Association. He currently volunteers for the Knights of Columbus Council #11937, and serves as a board member for both Mesquite Social Services and Woodrow Wilson High School Community Foundation. He continues a career in the military with 20 years of service as Major in the United States Marine Corps, having earned a commission in 2001, he previously served as a non-commissioned officer of enlisted Marines. During this time, he served as Chief Legal Assistant Officer and as the Lead Series Commander of a Recruit Training Company at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, SC. Sheets also served as a Battalion Judge Advocate for the Marine Corps’ Second Reconnaissance Battalion during their deployment to western Iraq in 2008. Sheets received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from The University of Texas at Arlington and a Juris Doctor at Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law.

Garry Bradford of Corpus Christi is the owner, president and CEO of Bradford Holding Company. He previously worked in senior management for JC Penney Company. Bradford is a founding member and past chairman of the Board for the Certification Institute for Workers Compensation Risk Management. He is a member of the National Association of Professional Employer Organization, where he was the 2010 recipient of the Michaeline A. Doyle Industry Leadership Award. He is vice president of the Texas Certified Self-Insurance Association, board chairman for the Texas Certification Self-Insurer Guarantee Association Board and member of the South Texas Military Facility Taskforce. Bradford received a Bachelor’s degree in natural sciences and business from Southeastern Oklahoma State University and a Master’s degree in Military Science from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. He retired in 2006 as a Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves and earned an honorable discharge from the U.S. Army for prior service.