Texas Downtown Association Board Members

Aaron Werner, President, McKinney

Aaron is the Main Street Program Coordinator in Historic Downtown McKinney. He started working for the City of McKinney in 2014 and moved into the Program Coordinator position in 2016. CNN Money declared McKinney as the 3rd fastest growing City in U.S. and its historic downtown is at the heart of it all.

Cristina Odenborg Burns, Vice President, Midland

Cristina is the Planning Division Manager for the City of Midland. She began working for the City of Midland as a city planner in 2014, served as the Downtown Development Coordinator from 2016 to 2018, and has been in her current role since 2018 in which she is still very dedicated to the revitalization of Downtown Midland. She holds a Master of Urban Planning and a Bachelor of Science in Urban and Regional Planning from Texas A&M University and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP).

Melida Heien, Treasurer, Longview

Melida Heien is currently serves as the Main Street Coordinator for the City of Longview. She began her downtown career as the Executive Director for Pekin Main Street in Pekin, Illinois in 2010 and moved to Texas in 2014 to serve as the Main Street manager for the City of Kilgore. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, visiting roadside oddities and CrossFit.

Melinda Brown

Melinda Brown, Secretary, Plainview

Melinda has served as the city's Main Street Director since January 2015.  She also serves as the Convention and Visitors Bureau Coordinator and has most recently assumed responsibilities of managing the Fair Theater.

Kyle Kramm, Immediate Past President, Seguin

Kyle has served as the Main Street and CVB Director for the City of Seguin since June 2014.  In this role he actively works to preserve the unique architecture in Seguin while encouraging the continued revitalization of downtown.

Beverly Abell, Mesquite

Beverly Abell, Downtown Development Manager for the City of Mesquite, has a 25-plus-year career in downtown revitalization. She has managed five award-winning local programs and served as a program associate for the National Main Street Center. A former TDA president, Abell was recipient of the first Susan Campbell Award for Professional Excellence.

Andrea Barefield, Waco

Andrea is the Executive Director of the Texas Brazos Trail Region - part of the Texas Heritage Trails Program. Before joining the Texas Brazos Trail Region, Andrea was the Main Street Manager for City Center Waco. There, she was able to develop, cultivate, and grow a sense of community in Downtown Waco through historic preservation, economic development, and placemaking. Andrea was also recently elected to serve on the Waco City Council.

Katelyn Brown, Bryan

Katelyn is the Community Engagement Manager for Destination Bryan. She began working for Downtown Bryan in 2017, shortly after moving from California to Texas. Katelyn has served as a conference committee member for TDA for the past two years and is extremely passionate about supporting continual growth of Downtown Bryan.

Donna Culpepper, Nocona

Donna is the executive director of the Nocona Economic Development Corporation.

Josie Falletta, San Marcos

Josie is the Main Street Program Coordinator for historic Downtown San Marcos. She is passionate about vibrant downtowns and loves learning best practices from other cities by wandering their streets. When not planning events, promoting downtown or dreaming big for her community, Josie can be found relaxing in the San Marcos River after a long bike ride with friends.

Christine Gossett, Denton

Christine has been promoting Denton since 1995 when she started her professional career.  In 2003 Christine joined the Denton Main Street program and has worked with the downtown merchants and managed the non-profit Denton Main Street Association (DMSA) board and membership ever since. In addition, she also serves the Denton CVB team as Visitor Services Director. 

Sarah O'Brien, Smithville

Sarah is an award-winning passionate public servant & community champion with over 15 years’ local government and community development experience. She is focused on cultivating cross-sector collaboration and applying collective impact principles to all aspects of city-building and downtown development through her firm, Collaborative Development Collective, LLC. She has previously served various downtown, tourism, economic, and community development roles in Nacogdoches, Cleburne, Marshall and Bastrop.

Jorge Quirino, Lubbock

Jorge Quirino is the Director of Downtown & Special Projects for the Lubbock Economic Development Alliance. In his role with LEDA, Jorge assists with project management, administrative and technical duties in the areas of business recruitment, business retention, workforce development, marketing and downtown revitalization. Jorge has over 28 years of business experience with previous positions at Essential Home Health in Lubbock along with positions at the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce and Sam’s Club Corporate. Jorge graduated from Texas Tech University with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in marketing.

Kristi Robich, Hutto

Kristi is the Conventions and Tourism Manager for the City of Hutto. She has always had an interest for the historic fabric of communities and the stories that surrounded them, but didn’t realize the passion and thought put into each component until her transition from the military lead her into the world of professional Downtowners. Her involvement includes creating and maintaining relationships with business and property owners, as well as working closely with other City departments to strategically maintain the characteristics that are unique to Downtown Hutto while also creating a district that is vibrant, desirable, sustainable, and poised for success.

Robert Smith, Garland

Robert is a Garland-based commercial real estate developer and manager specializing in downtown redevelopment and revitalization.  His goal is to create an "authentic sense of place one building at a time".  He received his Masters Degree from SMU in Liberal Arts and his Bachelor's Degree of Business Adminstration Degree in Real Estate and Insurance from Baylor University.  

Debra Drescher

Debra Drescher, Ex Officio, Texas Main Street Program

Debra Drescher has been State Coordinator for the Texas Main Street Program of the Texas Historical Commission for the past 10 years, and serves as team lead for both the state Main Street program and the agency’s Town Square Initiative.

Shane Sorenson, Ex Officio, TTIA

Shane is the Membership Manager for the Texas Travel Industry Association based in Austin. His experience and engagement in the industry eventually led him to work for TTIA, where he could spend his energy strengthening the industry by growing TTIA’s reach and supporting its members. He holds his Texas Destination Marketer (TDM) certification from TACVB and is a Certified Tourism Executive (CTE).

 

Catherine Sak, Executive Director

Catherine was hired as executive director in 2007.  She holds a Bachelors from Emory University and a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of New Orleans.  Her experience includes nonprofit management and development, city planning, and project management of historic renovations.

Stephanie Donahue, Marketing & Membership Coordinator

Stephanie is a Marketing  and Communications professional that has worked with a roster of clients that include: Esther's Follies, Threadgill's, Pecan Street Festival, Vote4Her, and Six Square, Austin's Black Cultural District, among others.

She is passionate about telling her client's stories and highlighting their strengths, in the best way possible. She is thrilled to be working with the Texas Downtown Association.

2020 Board Applications

The TDA Board of Directors is accepting applications from members who are interested in serving on the board. Please download the application below and contact us with any questions.

Download the TDA Board of Directors Application packet

Committees and Annual Work Plan

TDA committees are responsible for many programs and services offered to members.  Help us reach more Texas communities and sign up to serve today.

No travel budget required - committees meet via monthly conference calls.  Want to learn more?  Contact the TDA office.

Current committees include:

Anice Read Fund - facilitates awareness and growth of the Anice Read Fund, the grant fund founded by TDA and managed by Communities Foundation of Texas.
Co-Chairs: Beverly Abell, Mesquite & Melinda Brown, Plainview
Call schedule: 1st Wednesday at 10 am

Annual Conference - provides a meaningful and affordable annual professional development opportunity for those involved in downtown revitalization in Texas.
Co-Chairs: Cristina Burns, Midland & Christine Gossett, Denton
Call schedule: 1st Thursday at 10 am

President's Awards - provides a program that showcases the best in programs, projects and people in Texas downtowns. Spotlight downtown successes to a larger audience. Presents a program that provides a case study learning experience on which members can model local projects.
Co-Chairs: Rebecca Barton, Celina & Josie Falletta, San Marcos
Call schedule: 1st Tuesday at 11 am

Education and Outreach - coordinates the Regional Roundtable and Downtown Assistance programs and identifies educational opportunities for members.
Co-Chairs: Debbie Charbonneau, Manor & Melida Heien, Longview
Call schedule: 2nd Tuesday at 11 am

Legislative - ensures that TDA has a coordinated effort to monitor and provide information about legislation impacting downtowns at the state and federal levels to members. Please note that TDA is not a registered lobbyist.
Co-Chairs: Sarah O'Brien, Smithville & Robert Smith, Garland
Call schedule: 3rd Tuesday at 2 pm

Marketing - coordinates development of marketing materials and programs for TDA.
Co-Chairs: Katelyn Brown, Bryan & Kristi Robich, Hutto
Call schedule: 1st Tuesday at 10 am

Membership - ensures that TDA membership continues to grow via recruitment and retention efforts.
Co-Chairs: Kyle Kramm, Seguin & Shane Sorenson, Austin
Call schedule: 3rd Thursday at 10 am