Meet the 2017 Marketing and Communications Committee
2017 Committee Chair
Brad True '07
Brad True is a sports marketing professional with a passion for college athletics. While at Texas A&M, Brad was heavily involved with Fish Camp, Ol' Ags, CARPOOL and worked for four years at the Student Rec Center. After graduating from Texas A&M in 2008, he attended graduate school at the University of Oklahoma and worked in the OU Athletics Department as an Event Management Graduate Assistant while obtaining his Master's of Education in Intercollegiate Athletics Administration.
Following his time in Norman, Brad headed back to Texas to intern with Houston Texans, eventually receiving a full time position as the Event Coordinator in Lone Star Sports and Entertainment, a group within the Texans that oversees five non-Texans game events (mostly college football) at NRG Stadium in Houston. He was then promoted to Marketing Manager where he oversaw all marketing efforts for LSSE events, including advertising, media buys, digital and social media, graphic design, and all 25 bowl week events, engineering two full stadium sellouts for the AdvoCare Texas Kickoff and AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl in 2014.
Brad currently resides in Houston, TX and enjoys staying active in his free time including hiking, the beach/lake, hammocks, playing or watching pretty much any sport and any other outdoor activities. He is also heavily involved in the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, serving on the GateKeepers Committee since 2012.
2017 Committee Chair-Elect
Matt Pyryt '11
Matt Pyryt '11 graduated from Texas A&M in December 2011 with a bachelor of science degree concentrated in leadership studies from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. He was initially enrolled at the Texas A&M University-Galveston campus in 2007 and transitioned to the College Station campus at the beginning of the following academic year. While at Texas A&M, Matt was a member of the Traditions Council, a part of the Student Government Association.
After graduating, Matt began working at Mercer, in Dallas, Texas, as a defined benefits analyst. He has since been promoted and is currently an associate serving as a client services team lead. Matt has earned a Lean Six Sigma certification while at Mercer and is a member of the company's Rising Professionals business resource group.
Since graduation, Matt has stayed involved with Texas A&M as a member of the 12th Man Foundation's Council of Athletic Ambassadors and the Association of Former Student's Young Alumni Advisory Council. In addition, he enjoys returning to College Station for Aggie football games and has attended the last 61 home games (through 2015), dating back to his time as a student at the beginning of the 2007 season.
Jordan Liles '14
Jordan Liles currently resides in Austin, Texas and works for Dell, Inc. as a Program Advisor on the Global University Relations team. She is originally from Grand Prairie, Texas and graduated in 2014 with her Bachelor's in Business Administration in Supply Chain Management. Jordan joined the Dell team immediately upon graduation and started off in the Procurement organization before moving to her current role. During her time at Texas A&M, she held leadership positions in many organizations such as Delta Sigma Pi, The Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals and FORME. In addition, Jordan also worked part time at the Department of Multicultural Services in the MSC. Her involvement at Texas A&M ultimately helped land her dream job at Dell, where employee involvement is highly encouraged.
Jenna McCormick '13
Jenna McCormick graduated from Texas A&M in December of 2013 and currently lives back in her hometown of Houston, TX. Throughout her four years at A&M, Jenna was an active member of Kappa Delta Sorority and she is excited and honored to be able to give back to the university through her service in the Young Alumni Advisory Council. Jenna is currently pursuing a career in marketing at Community Health Choice, a local non-profit health plan. In her free time, Jenna was able to pursue her sports passion with the Houston Texans part-time Battle Red event staff through the 2015-2016 football season. She currently resides in the Heights with her dog, Scout.
Kayla Daugherty '16
Kayla started her post-secondary education in Seattle, Washington at Green River Community College. When she graduated high school she moved up to Seattle to live with her mother. After living in Seattle and attending two-quarters at a community college she decided she needed to get back to Texas. Once she decided she was moving back to Texas, she decided she wanted to attend Texas A&M University. After moving back to Texas in 2012, Kayla completed her Associate's Degree at Blinn College in Bryan, Texas. In August 2014, Kayla was finally able to attend Texas A&M. After graduating with her Bachelor's Degree in History with a minor in Military Studies, she immediately started working on her Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction with a Teaching Certification. Kayla will complete this program in August 2017.
Chase Friedman '16
College Station, Texas
Chase is truly a jack of all trades. His experience touches many different markets and is a committed lifelong learner with three academic degrees. In a continuation of that commitment, Chase is also pursuing his Ph.D. in Human Resource Development at Texas A&M University. His career has transformed in multiple ways throughout the years as the digital and automation revolution has shifted the focus of organizations.
In his most recent transition, Chase has taken a role as a Managing Consultant at a Salesforce consulting firm called Venn Technology. In true Aggie Network fashion, he was only able to make this transition because of the Aggies in his life and the Lord, of course!
Previously Chase worked at Mays Business school in multiple capacities, ending his time there as the Digital Services and Marketing Manager. In this role he led the SEO, CRM and Digital Advertising banners for the Office of the Dean.
Outside of his professional and academic career, Chase commands a growing number of positions on boards for various non-profit organizations. Most recently Chase was named as a board member to the Community Engagement Advisory Board for Project Management Institute. Additionally, he has served in other roles at PMI as well as the VP of Communications for the Brazos Valley Chapter for the International Association of Business Communicators.
In December of 2016, Chase and his wife Rachel, introduced Juliet Grace to the world. Their first child, they are overwhelmed by the amount of joy Juliet has brought to us and those who love her. Their three dogs, Ladee, Miya and Charlee, have adapted to having to share their time, however slowly.
Greg Gilmer '09
College Station, Texas
Greg Gilmer is part of the Texas A&M Ventures team tasked with creating strategic, integrated partnerships between Texas A&M University and Corporate America. Greg transferred to Texas A&M where he soon became involved with the Sport Management program, specifically the Laboratory for the Study of Intercollegiate Athletics (LSIA). During his time as a student, he also worked for the 12th Man Foundation and the Texas A&M Athletics Marketing Department.
After graduating in 2009, Greg joined Texas A&M Sports Properties staff developing corporate partnerships for Texas A&M Athletics. Following four years of substantial grown and increased sponsorship revenue for Texas A&M, he took on the new challenge of managing Mocs Sports Properties at the University of Tennessee – Chattanooga in 2013. Duties as general manager included the oversight of all corporate revenue for athletics and advancing the UTC brand.
In 2016, Texas A&M University announced a new campus-wide revenue model that is the first of its kind in the country. Greg was asked to return to be a part of this new initiative with Texas A&M. He returned to College Station in June of 2016 to join Texas A&M Ventures as the Director of Business Development, focusing on strategic corporate partnerships for the university.
Greg and his wife Holly ’09 reside in College Station, Texas and welcomed their first born daughter Hadley in August 2016.
Katie LaMantia '10
Katie LaMantia joined BevCap Management in June 2010. Katie graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Business Administration from the Mays Business School in 2010. Katie has both her property/casualty and health insurance licenses. Her focus at BevCap Management is growth and risk and program management.
Ellen Pennington '06
Ellen Pennington is a corporate attorney in the oil and gas industry. After graduating from Texas A&M in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in Agribusiness, as well as certificates in International Business and International Trade, she spent the summer in Argentina interning for one of the largest privately owned agribusiness producers and services providers in South America, Grupo Los Grobo. After returning from Argentina, Pennington spent the Fall semester interning for Congressman Ruben Hinojosa in Washington, D.C. through Texas A&M’s Agricultural and Natural Resources Policy Internship Program.
Pennington then entered law school and began clerking for Oil States International, Inc. Based in Houston, TX, Oil States is a leading provider of specialty products and services to natural resources companies worldwide. She earned her JD from South Texas College of Law in 2011 and was hired full time as an Associate Counsel in the Oil States’ legal department.
Pennington is a Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo volunteer, serving on both the Calf Scramble and Mutton Bustin Committees. She is involved with the South Texas College of Law Alumni Association, as well as a member of the Women’s Energy Network in Houston. In her spare time, Pennington enjoys returning home to the Rio Grande Valley to help out on her family’s farming and ranching operation, as well as fishing, golfing, horseback riding, and hiking.
Matt Vanderbloemen '16
Matthew Vanderbloemen graduated from Texas A&M University with a bachelor's degree in Communication in May of 2016. During his time in Aggieland, Matthew was heavily involved in numerous organizations such as the Corps of Cadets (Company D-2), Brotherhood of Christian Aggies, and the Ross Volunteer Company.
As a first-generation Aggie and as the oldest of a Brady-bunch seven, Matthew grew up in Houston.
Following graduation, Matthew began work at Deloitte Consulting as a Business Analyst within Human Capital, where he works to help clients solve their people problems. He currently lives in Dallas, TX and takes every opportunity he can to make it back to Aggieland.
Chad Vrla '12
Chad Vrla graduated from Texas A&M in December of 2012 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering. While enrolled at Texas A&M, Chad was a Fish Camp Counselor for three years and represented his class as a member of Class Councils for two years. As a Class Council Member, Chad worked on many committees including Maroon-Out, Veteran's Day, Junior E-Walk, and Ring Dance. During Chad's senior year, he was appointed as the Crew Chief of Texas A&M's Formula SAE Racing Team who placed 2nd in racing events against 79 other teams across the world.
After graduation, Chad went to work for FMC Technologies in Houston, Texas within their Rotational Engineering Training Program. He now resides with his wife, Jenna, in Granbury, Texas and works as a Flowline Engineer for TechnipFMC (Previously FMC Technologies) designing new and improving existing products related to the hydraulic fracturing industry.
Immediate Past Chair
Chris Buckner '07
Chris "Buck" Buckner graduated from Texas A&M in May, 2007 with a business degree in Marketing. While attending Texas A&M, Chris gave back to the university by being involved in multiple student organizations including Ol Ags, MSC FISH, Fish Camp, and Texas Aggie Yell Leaders. Since his graduation, Chris has pursued his career in marketing aggressively. He began his first job with Clear Channel Radio straight out of college following a small summer job in Alaska. While at Clear Channel Radio, Chris had the opportunity to work on branding and marketing campaigns for some of the country's largest brands like Buffalo Wild Wings, Safe Auto, and Live Nation. After his time with Clear Channel, Chris pursued a management position with Vaughn Construction where he ran the company's profit center. In this position, Chris had the opportunity to work on projects that included MD Anderson, the University of Texas, UTMB, Texas Tech University, and most importantly, Texas A&M.
Chris attributes a lot of his business success to the skills he learned managing the profit center for Vaughn. Although Chris loved working for the incredible people at Vaughn Construction, his heart had always been in marketing and advertising. Chris made his transition back into the full time world of marketing and advertising by becoming a sSenior Account Manager for RMH Marketing and Media. During his time at RMH, Chris worked directly with the head's of marketing for some of the largest corporations in the country including Academy, Bank of Texas, and Valero/Valero Corner Store. Chris was responsible for building campaigns across traditional advertising, digital advertising, social media, and more.
Chris has finally found his home with his new startup in Houston, Texas. Chris is currently the cofounder and Chief Marketing Officer for an all new sports social media application called FanReact. Chris is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the application as well as user and partner acquisition.