Governor Abbott Names Chair, Vice Chair And Appoints Three To Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board
Governor Greg Abbott has appointed Michael J. Plank, Donna N. Williams, and Welcome Wilson, Jr. to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board for terms set to expire on August 31, 2023. Additionally, the Governor has named Stuart W. Stedman as chairman and Fred Farias, III, O.D. as vice chairman. The board provides leadership and coordination for the Texas higher education system.
Michael J. Plank of Houston is chairman and CEO of The Plank Companies, Inc. and three affiliated companies; National Property Holdings, Rail Logix and Speed Shore Corporation. He is a member and past chairman of the Young Presidents’ Organization and past president of the Trench Shoring & Shielding Association of America and the Houston Equipment Distributors. Additionally, he is a member of the Governor's University Research Initiative Advisory Board, board member and past president of the Children’s Museum of Houston, and a board member of the YMCA of Greater Houston. He also serves on the President’s Advisory Council of Houston Methodist Hospital. Plank received a Bachelor of Science degree from Texas A&M University, where he was named a Distinguished Graduate of the Mechanical Engineering department in 2000.
Donna N. Williams of Arlington is vice president and program manager for Parsons Transportation Group, Inc. She was a member of the Texas State University System Board of Regents and served as chair. Additionally, she is a member of the Laura Bush Institute for Women’s Health National Advisory Board and serves on the boards of directors for Parsons Federal Credit Union, Justin F. Kimball High School Academy of Hospitality & Tourism, and the Dallas African American Museum. Her former member affiliations include the National Association of Professional Women, Project Management Institute and a board of director for the Society of American Military Engineers and Corporation for National Community Service. Williams received a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from Prairie View A&M University.
Welcome Wilson, Jr. of Houston is president and CEO of Welcome Group, LLC and the Joint Venture Partner in Kingham ∙ Dalton ∙ Wilson Ltd. He is a member of the National Association of Industrial Office Properties, vice chairman of the University of Houston System Board of Regents, and chairman of the Alamo Complex Management and the Southwest Houston Redevelopment Authority. He is a board member of the Alamo Endowment Board of Directors, Texas Business Hall of Fame, Texas Guaranteed Student Loan Corporation, Trellis Foundation, and Friends of the Texas Historical Commission. Additionally, he is the immediate past chair of the Houston Realty Business Coalition, former board member of the Houston Food Bank, and former president of Kinkaid School Alumni Association. Wilson attended the University of Denver.
Stuart W. Stedman of Houston is president of Stedman West Interest, Inc. He is a member of the State Bar of Texas and the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute Advisory Board and a former board member of the Methodist Hospital Research Institute. Additionally, he is chairman of the Liberal Arts Advisory Council and member of the Development Board and Blanton Museum National Leadership Board at The University of Texas at Austin. Stedman received a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Business Administration from The University of Texas at Austin and a Juris Doctor degree from The University of Texas School of Law.
Fred Farias III, O.D. of McAllen is CEO of 20/20 Vision Care in McAllen. He is a member of the American Optometric Association Board of Trustees and a charter member of the American Optometric Association Optometry Cares Foundation, and is the only Rio Grande Valley optometrist who is a fellow of the American Academy of Optometry. He is the former president of the Texas Optometric Association and the Rio Grande Valley Optometric Association. Additionally, he is a member of The University of Texas (UT) Development Board, UT System Chancellor's Executive Committee, and the UT Longhorn Athletic Advisory Council, and is a former member of the UT College of Communication Advisory Council and the co-founder of the UT Hispanic Alumni Committee of the Texas Exes. He is chair of the McAllen Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Council, and previously served on several boards, including those of the Vannie E. Cook Cancer Center and the Rio Grande Valley Arthritis Foundation. Farias received a Bachelor of Science from UT Austin and a Doctor of Optometry from Southern College of Optometry in Memphis, Tennessee.