Meet the 2018 Marketing and Communications Committee
2018 Committee Chair
Matt Pyryt '11
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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.
2018 Committee Chair-Elect
Chad Vrla '12
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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.
Jenna McCormick '13
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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.
Greg Gilmer '09
College Station, Texas
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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.
Kayla Daugherty '16
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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 completed this program in August 2017.
Chase Friedman '16
College Station, Texas
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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.
Katie LaMantia '10
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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.
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 Washington, DC and takes every opportunity he can to make it back to Aggieland.
Nicole Bender '13
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Originally from Coleman, Texas, Nicole Bender graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Communications and Journalism in 2013. After graduation, she moved to Washington, D.C. to serve as the staff assistant, then press assistant and legislative assistant for Congressman Mac Thornberry (TX-13), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. She then ventured to work as a communications specialist for Texas A&M University Health Science Center and GE Transportation.
Nicole currently works for Southwest Airlines in Dallas, Texas. She is the planning and communications specialist in the Labor Relations Department and serves on negotiation committees for several labor union contracts. Nicole is married to Bryce Bender, Class of 2012, who also works at Southwest Airlines as a Flight Operations business consultant. They live in Grapevine, Texas and have two babies, both of which are furry – Ellie and Fratcat.
Mollie (Lastovica) Dreibrodt ’14 currently serves as a Marketing Communications Lead at Cargill, where she manages a portfolio of brands; develops and implements marketing strategies; and leads all internal and external communications initiatives for the U.S. Beef Team in the Animal Nutrition enterprise. Before joining Cargill in 2016, she was a Senior Account Executive at FleishmanHillard, an international communications agency, in Houston. At FleishmanHillard, she supported a number of global clients, including Elanco Animal Health, the National Pork Board, Cigna, MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving), and Earth Balance. Her work included social media strategy and community management, employee relations, executive thought leadership, social media analytics, media relations, and issues management.
Mollie graduated summa cum laude from Texas A&M University in 2014 with a B.S. in agricultural communications and journalism and a B.A. in political science. She received the Brown Foundation-Earl Rudder Memorial Outstanding Student Award, the Texas A&M Foundation Outstanding Senior Award, the Gathright Scholar Award, Buck Weirus Spirit Award, and a number of other accolades on the college and university level. Mollie is active in the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, San Antonio Livestock Exposition and Rodeo, National Agri-Marketing Association, and various community organizations. She lives in New Braunfels, Texas, with her husband, Canaan ’12.
Ashlei Fong-Kutchins ’15
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Ashlei Fong-Kutchins graduated from Texas A&M University in 2015 - WHOOP! While at Texas A&M, she was a part of Fish Camp, MSC ALOT, CARPOOL, Future Former Students (now Aggie Network Student Ambassadors) and Texas A&M Legacies. Throughout her time in college, she also worked for the Dallas Mavericks as a Hoop Camp Coach for their summer camps. She still works part-time at weekend clinics as well.
Ashlei has been with her company, Medix, since August 2015 and has had the opportunity to experience 3 different roles - first a Recruiter, then a Recruitment Advisor and now an Account Executive. Some of her professional accolades include winning Recruiter of the Quarter in Q4 of 2016, as well as, Sales Person of the Quarter in Q4 of 2017. Her company is very focused on positively impacting the lives of everyone they work with which is something Ashlei likes to live by both in and out of the office. She is looking forward to bringing that philosophy to the Young Alumni Advisory Council!
2018 Immediate Past-Chair
Brad True '07
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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.