Governor Abbott Names Chair, Appoints Three To Texas Board of Criminal Justice

July 27, 2023 | Austin, Texas | Appointment

Governor Greg Abbott has appointed Bill Welch, Nate Sprinkle, and Sydney Zuiker to the Texas Board of Criminal Justice for terms set to expire on February 1, 2029. Additionally, he named Eric Nichols as chair. The Board provides confinement, supervision, rehabilitation, and reintegration of the state’s convicted felons.

Bill Welch of Austin is a retired United States Air Force Brigadier General and Austin-area businessman. He has held a variety of senior leadership positions in the security and law enforcement fields and had a long Air Force flying career. He is a founder and past chief executive officer of Apptronik, Inc., an Austin-based advanced robotics company. Additionally, he has held leadership positions in numerous business and civic organizations and has served as an elected member of the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District and as the board vice president. He received a degree in Criminal Justice from Community College of the Air Force, a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Boston University, and a Master of Science in Technology Commercialization from The University of Texas at Austin.

Nate Sprinkle of Richmond is senior pastor of Calvary Baptist Church, Rosenberg. He is a board member of Rosenberg-Richmond Helping Hands, Nevertheless Missions, Scripture Memory Fellowship International, and Paisano Baptist Encampment. Additionally, he is a member and moderator of San Felipe Baptist Association Administrative Team and board president of Fort Bend Chargers Homeschool 6-man football program. He volunteered in pre-release rehabilitation programs in North and South Texas and currently assists and counsels individuals in the Fort Bend County area after release. Sprinkle received a Bachelor of Science in Math and Computer Science from Sul Ross State University and a Master of Mission Science from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Sydney Zuiker of Houston is director of the Safe Community Institute for Crime Stoppers of Houston. She is a board member of Demand Disruption, an advisory board member for University of Houston Bauer College of Business Managing HR Program, and a committee member for Advocates for the Children of Texas, Houston Rescue and Restore Coalition, and 2026 FIFA World Cup Human Rights Stakeholders Bid Committee. Additionally, she was recognized in 2021 as one of Houston Business Journal's 40 Under 40 honorees for her public safety work in the community. Zuiker received a Bachelor of Social Work from The University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Legal Forensic Psychology from the University of California, Irvine.

Eric Nichols of Austin is a partner at Butler Snow LLP. Previously, he served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of Texas and as Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Justice for the Office of Texas Attorney General. He is a past president of the American Inns of Court – Barbara Jordan Inn and has served as chair of the Texas Supreme Court’s Grievance Oversight Committee. Additionally, he is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, Texas Bar Foundation, and Austin Bar Foundation. He is a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates and the State Bar of Texas and is a trustee of The University of Texas Law School Foundation. Nichols received a Bachelor of Arts in English and History from the University of Virginia and a Juris Doctor from The University of Texas School of Law.