2019 Speakers and Entertainment

Archie Foundation

 

 

 

Archie Foundation

 

Our mission at the Archie Foundation for Therapeutic Horsemanship (AFTH)  is to enhance the quality of life for veterans of the armed forces with diverse needs through therapeutic horsemanship training programs. We strongly believe in the powerful impact horses have and want to enable military veterans and their families to experience that for themselves. At AFTH, we focus on building solid foundations in horsemanship skills through the authentic, knowledgeable instruction of new concepts and methods while creating enjoyable experiences on horseback. The Archie Foundation offers Therapeutic Horsemanship programs to veterans of the armed forces and their families, free of charge. Each of our programs are 8-weeks of horsemanship training. Participants attend classes twice a week for 2 hours of grooming, riding, barn and horse care education, as well as Equine Facilitated Learning sessions.

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

Audrey Newsome

 
 

Chris Biggerstaff - Assistant Chief, Emergency Services Division

 

 

 

Chris Biggerstaff

 

Chief Biggerstaff joined the fire service on March 4, 1991, with the Garland Fire Department.  On December 28, 1992, he began his career as a firefighter at Plano Fire-Rescue where he was awarded Rookie of the Year in 1993 and Officer of the Year in 2013.  He has served the citizens of Plano in every rank up to his current position as Assistant Chief of Support Services. Chief Biggerstaff holds an Associate in Arts and Science from Mountain View College, a Bachelors in Organizational Leadership from Texas A&M Commerce, and is currently working on a Masters in Leadership with an Emphasis in Disaster Preparedness and Executive Fire Leadership at Grand Canyon University.  He is also participating in the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program.  

Chief Biggerstaff serves on the Plano Chapter of the Salvation Army Advisory Council and teaches the Young Adult Class at his church.  He and his wife, Marcy, have been married for 26 years, and they have a son, Matthew, and a daughter, Rachel.  His wife and daughter are elementary school educators, and his son is studying to be a Civil Engineer at the University of Texas at Arlington.  He enjoys activities with his family such as fishing, golf, hunting, and camping.  

 

 

 

Dan Curtis - Interim Chief of Police

 

 

 

Dan Curtis

 

Daniel Curtis (policechief@plano.gov) currently serves as Interim Chief of Police for the City of Plano, TX. The Plano Police Department is an accredited agency with 683 employees and is one of the safest cities in the country. Interim Chief Curtis has been a member of the Plano Police Department since 1990. Prior to employment with the Plano Police Department, he worked as a Police Officer in Waco, Texas.  

During his career with the department, Interim Chief Curtis served as Bureau Commander of the Support Operations Bureau and previously commanded the Field Operations Bureau. He has also served as a patrol officer, field-training officer, narcotics investigator, patrol sergeant, narcotics sergeant, patrol watch commander, patrol administrative lieutenant, and as division commander (captain) in Patrol, Criminal Investigations, and the Support Services Divisions.    

Interim Chief Curtis holds a bachelor’s degree from Midwestern State University and a Graduate Certificate in Local Government Management from the University of Texas at Dallas. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy, Senior Management Institute for Police at Boston University, the Drug Enforcement Agency Drug Unit Commander’s Academy, and the Institute for Law Enforcement Administration’s School of Police Supervision and the School of Executive Leadership. 

Interim Chief Curtis holds a TCOLE Master Peace Officer License, a TCOLE Instructor Certification, and has served as an Instructor for the International Association of Chiefs of Police / West Point “Leadership in Police Organizations” program.

 

 

 

Jeff Leach - Texas State Representative

 

 

Jeff Leach

 

State Representative Jeff Leach proudly serves the citizens of House District 67, consisting of portions of Plano, Allen, Richardson and Dallas in Collin County.  A constitutional conservative, Representative Leach has consistently proven himself to be an effective leader in the Texas Capitol and has worked tirelessly to ensure that Texas remains strong for future generations. 

During the 86th Legislative Session, Representative Leach was appointed by Speaker Dennis Bonnen to serve as Chairman of the House Committee on Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence. Additionally, he was selected to serve on the House Committee on Pensions, Investments & Financial Services and the House Committee on Redistricting.  Further, Leach was appointed to the State Preservation Board and also to the Texas Judicial Council.  Jeff worked diligently to tackle our state’s skyrocketing property taxes while making historic investments in and reforms to public education.  He also authored and passed HJR 38 – a constitutional amendment banning the imposition of a state income tax on individuals and businesses – a proposition that Texas voters will have the ability to ratify in the 2019 General Election.  Jeff also worked to advance legislation to safeguard religious freedom, protect free speech, advocate for victims of sexual abuse and assault, fully eliminate the rape kit backlog in Texas, support our law enforcement and attack the heinous crime of human trafficking, adopt significant school safety reforms, and advance smart, free-market policies to ensure that the Texas economy remains robust.

As Chairman of the House Committee on Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence, Jeff worked to improve our state’s judiciary and advance sound reforms to civil practice and procedure.  Specifically, he successfully authored legislation giving Texas judges a much-needed pay raise without raising legislator pensions, bolstered our state’s judiciary with the creation of 17 new courts across the state – including two in Collin County – and implemented various reforms to improve access to courts and consolidate court fees to promote fairness and transparency.  

Jeff understands that strong schools build strong communities, and believes that every child in Texas should have the same opportunities that he was blessed to have growing up in Collin County.  Prior to the start of the 86th Legislative Session, Jeff toured every public school in House District 67 – nearly 50 – seeking counsel and feedback from educators, students and parents regarding the challenges and opportunities facing our classrooms. This experience was invaluable to Jeff, and helped equip him in his advocacy during the most recent legislative session. 

During his four terms in public office, Jeff has successfully authored legislation to crack down on sexual offenders, provide meaningful tax relief for small business owners, protect the private property rights of Texas homeowners, advocate for vulnerable children in our state's foster care system, and has worked to implement meaningful reforms to address the epidemic of sexual assault on college campuses.

Born and raised in Plano, Representative Leach graduated from Plano Senior High before attending Baylor University.  He earned his law degree from Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law, and currently practices at the law firm of Gray Reed & McGraw LLP in Dallas.  Named a “Rising Star” by Texas Super Lawyer, Leach specializes in complex commercial and civil litigation, construction law and real estate.  Representative Leach proudly serves on the Board of Trustees for Houston Baptist University, while serving on the Advisory Board for Meals on Wheels of Collin County

Jeff and his wife Becky, a speaker, writer and artist, are the proud parents of Brady (age 11), Charlotte (age 8) and Landry (age 4).  In addition to service with numerous other community organizations, Jeff and Becky are active members of Prestonwood Baptist Church, where they have served for several years in the Young Families Ministry.

     

Jerry Madden 

 

Former Texas State Representative

Jerry Madden

 

State Representative Jerry A. Madden was born in Council Bluffs, Iowa on February 20, 1943. His father, Second Lieutenant Jerry A. Madden was killed in action in Italy during World War II, May 13, 1944. When Jerry’s mother, Lucille, married Pete Adams who was also in the military, they were stationed in Baumholder, Germany where Jerry spent his junior and senior years at the American High School. Representative Madden attended the United States Military Academy, West Point, class of 1965 where he graduated with a B.S. in Engineering. While at West Point he was on the Race Walking team. He won third place in the 1 Mile Walk at the National AAU meet in Madison Square Gardens in 1964, his junior year. He later won the New York to Coney Island Race Walk event in 1963.  Upon his graduation from West Point Jerry was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant Field Artillery. 

While at West Point he met the love of his life, Barbara and they were married for 51 years until her passing earlier this year. They raised three children, Jerry, Stephanie and Kristina who blessed them with five grandchildren. Representative Madden successfully completing both Airborne School and Ranger School in 1965, he received his first overseas assignment 1966 as a 1st Battalion, 2nd Artillery Battery Officer. While in Germany Jerry served first as a Fire Support Officer, and Executive officer, and was promoted to the position of Battery (Company) Commander and Fire Direction Officer.

Representative Madden was deployed to Vietnam as part of MACV from 1968-1969, as Commanding Officer of Battery A, 3rd Battalion of the 52nd Artillery Group’s 6th Artillery and was promoted to rank of Captain. His unit consisted of 6 self-propelled artillery guns and about 100 men under his operational command. Then Captain Madden’s artillery unit moved all around the fire bases in the Central Highlands providing support for the infantry units assigned there. He continued to serve as a fire support officer and a battery commander during this time in Vietnam.

When he returned state side Captain Madden was stationed at Fort Sill, Oklahoma from 1969 to 1971, where he completed an eight-month Artillery Officer Advanced Course and then went on to be an instructor. He taught at the Officer Basic and Advanced Courses as a Nuclear, Biological and Chemical weapons instructor, and worked on the development project that became the first to use computers in fire control artillery. 

Captain Madden was honorable discharged after serving six years in the United States Army. For his service Captain Madden received his Airborne and Ranger tabs and was awarded the Vietnam Service Medal, the Vietnam Campaign Service Medal, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal and others but his DD214 was destroyed during the fire in St Louis.

 

 

 

Ladies Liberty

Ladies Liberty

 

From deep within the heart of Texas, Ladies Liberty is a modern-retro show troupe whose patriotic performers passionately promote the spirit of American pride through the songs of today and yesterday.  Ladies Liberty endeavor is to encourage appreciation for our nations heroes and spark joy in the hearts of all Americans near and far.

 

 

 

Larry Quave

Larry Quave

 

A bugler and musician ever since I was a Boy Scout, after enlisting in the Marines in 1966 and finishing Aviation Electrician School at the top of my class, I was accepted into Officer Candidate School where I earned the rank 2nd lieutenant. After completing my training to become an Air Interceptor Controller, I was ordered to Vietnam where I volunteered to serve as a Civic Action Officer. Upon completing that assignment, I was granted orders to my hometown of Pensacola, FL,  to fulfill my life long dream of becoming a Naval Aviator. Upon being discharged from active duty with the rank of Captain in 1971, I started my 26-year civilian career as a software engineer then taught high school for 18 more years after that until I retired in June of 2018. As a volunteer with Bugles Across America for the past 17 years, I have been privileged to play Taps on more than 150 occasions to honor veterans both individually and at such ceremonial occasions as this one today.

 

 

 

Les Castro - Faithful Friends Ministry

Les Castro

 

Les Castro is a Christian who holds a master’s degree in international management and was a former CEO of a multinational corporation.  He also taught at the University of Texas at Dallas and is a published author.  Since the nineties Mr. Castro has mentored at risk and incarcerated youth in Texas through his nonprofit foundation, “Faithful Friend”.  Simply put Mr. Castro and his volunteers share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

 

 

 

Msgt. Erika Stevens

 

 

Erika is a native Texan who spent her formative years in Denver, Colorado.  She earned a BA degree from Abilene Christian University in Vocal Performance and currently teaches elementary Music in the Dallas Independent School district.

Erika joined the Texas Air National Guard Band of the Southwest in l998 after 8 years as an Air Force band vocalist.  Erika’s performing experience includes morale concerts for US troops in the Middle East, the Warrior Open Golf Tournament hosted by President George W. Bush in 2014, and she has been the requested Anthem singer for the Dallas Veterans Day Parade since 2013.  In 2011 Erika was selected by Major League Baseball to perform “God Bless America” in the 7th inning of the Texas Rangers World Series game 4.  She continued to be a 7th inning performer with the Rangers through the 2014 season. Erika’s recent performances include the 2016 NCAA Division II Championship game in Frisco, singing the 7th inning stretch for the Colorado Rockies (2016) and the Arizona Diamondbacks (2017) and performing the National Anthem at the November 2017 NASCAR race at TX Motor Speedway.  Erika can be requested as a military or civilian performer.

 

 

 

Noah Henson - Eagle Scout

 Noah Henson

 

Noah has been a member of Troop 291 Plano for seven years and earned the rank of Eagle Scout on September 26, 2017 at the age of 15. His Eagle Project was aimed to encourage fitness by constructing a GAGA Ball pit for his former middle school.   Noah received his gold and his silver palm for completing merit badges beyond the required twenty one for the Eagle rank.  Only 1% of Eagle Scouts earn a Palm.  Noah was elected to Scouting’s honor society, The Mikanakawa 101 Order of the Arrow, in 2017.  Through Scouting, Noah volunteers for Susan G Komen, Buckner International, Plano Rotary, Toys for Tots, and the Collinwood Nursing home.  He is BSA and Red Cross trained.  You can find him using his skills as a lifeguard at Oak Point Center in Plano.  Noah also enjoys playing the string bass with his school and with The Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra.  His favorite sports are Basketball, Ultimate Frisbee, and Spikeball.  Noah also enjoys playing piano, writing music, speaking in Spanish, and teaching string instruments to Special Education students in the United Sound Orchestra at Plano East Senior High. Scouting is not just saying “I did”, but “I can”. 

Noah plans to attend Rice University with a major in Biochemistry.

 

 

 

Patrick Nugent - Photographer

 

 

Senior Master Sergeant (Ret.) Pat Nugent joined the Air Force wanting to become a jet engine mechanic, but he quickly found out that Air Force needs come first and he was sent to school to become a parachute rigger.  

With a passion for photography, Nugent was able to cross-train to a new career field, enjoying assignments in Nebraska and Colorado before getting assigned to the Air Force’s “Thunderbirds.”  That assignment led to a competitive selection as a photojournalist and resulted in advanced training at Syracuse University.  

While stationed in Germany, Nugent covered the Rhein-Main Air Base bombing and the return of hostages Father Martin Jenco and David Jacobson, as well as those kidnapped from the Italian cruise ship “Achille Lauro.”  Nugent also covered Operations DESERT SHIELD, DESERT STORM, PROVIDE HOPE and the Panama invasion.  He supervised the “Prototype” Electronic Imaging Center during the early and groundbreaking days that introduced digital photography to the Department of Defense.  Nugent retired in 1992 after 23 years of service and continues to participate in military photography workshops and the Military Photographer of the Year program.

Time in service:           Air Force                      23 years

Rank Upon retirement: Senior Master Sergeant (SMSgt / E-8)

Jobs in the Air Force:  

Parachute Rigger (7 yrs.), Photographer (8 yrs.), Syracuse University (1 yr.) & Photojournalist (7 yrs.) 

USAF Air Demonstration Team “Thunderbirds”

Team Photographer: Jan ’82 thru July ’84      1st F-16 team

After retirement from the Air Force:

Previously I was the National Account Manager, Photojournalism for the Eastman Kodak Company; before that the Federal Government & Law Enforcement Account Manager for a seven state region representing Kodak Professional traditional and digital products; demonstrating Kodak’s digital hardware and software including Photo and Writable CD technology.

Then Nikon, Government Account Manager; I represented the professional and consumer Traditional & Digital products to the Federal Government. I travel demonstrating products, working equipment for evaluation and conducting training sessions & workshops. Produced 7 "Live" satellite Camera & Photography training broadcasts over the Air National Guard television network.

Now currently retired and living with his wife Carol live in Allen, they have two adult children and five grandchildren.

 

 

 

Plano Civic Chorus

 

 

The Plano Civic Chorus is known for its consistent choral excellence. Under the direction of Ralph Frederick Stannard, Artistic Director and Conductor, the 90-member auditioned chorus has established itself as one of premiere arts groups in North Texas. The chorus’s broad repertoire ranges from the songs of the Broadway stage to the great masterworks of the classical composers. The chorus performs regularly with the Plano Symphony Orchestra and has also performed with the Dallas Chamber Orchestra, Irving Symphony Orchestra and Allen Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra.

In recent seasons the Plano Civic Chorus concerts have featured several choral masterpieces, including Bach’s Magnificat, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms, Brahms’s German Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, Mendelssohn’sElijah, Mozart’s Requiem, Orff’s Carmina Burana, Rachmaninoff’s Vespers, Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms, Verdi’s Requiem and Vivaldi’s Gloria. In other concerts the chorus has sung beloved Broadway favorites, famous opera choruses and stirring patriotic songs. The Plano Civic Chorus also regularly participates in community events such as the annual tree lighting celebrations at Galleria Dallas and Caroling in the Arts District with WRR 101.1 FM.

The highlights of the chorus’s history include a performance of Mozart’s Requiem at New York’s Carnegie Hall as part of the North Texas Festival Chorus, an appearance at the Texas Choral Directors’ Association convention in San Antonio, and a guest performance at the Hot Springs Music Festival’s 10th anniversary in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

Through several tours to Europe, the Plano Civic Chorus has also gained international exposure. Its first tour, in 2002, featured performances throughout the British Isles and at the Criccieth Choral Festival in Wales. Subsequent tour itineraries have included Austria, the Czech Republic and the International Church Music Festival in Bern, Switzerland (2005), performances at St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice and Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris (2008), and concerts throughout Germany and Italy, including an international music festival in Berlin (2011). In a tour through France and Spain in 2014, the chorus was invited to perform again in Paris’s Notre Dame Cathedral and was also selected to sing at Barcelona’s stunning basilica, Sagrada Familia.

For more information on the Plano Civic Chorus, email us at info@planocivicchorus.org.

 

 

 

Plano East Jrotc

 

 

Lieutenant Colonel (Ret) Bernard Aikens is a 28 year active duty Army veteran with tours of duty in Western Europe, Asia, Middle East, and Eastern Europe. He holds an undergraduate degree in Political Science from the University of Southern Mississippi and a graduate degree in Education from the University of Oklahoma. His highest military award include the Legion of Merit and his highest civilian award include the Plano East Senior High School Teacher of the Year (TOY),  school year 2018-2019.

Command Sergeant Major (Ret) Michael Franklin is a 27 year active duty veteran with multiple tours in Western Europe, Asia and the Middle East. He holds an undergraduate degree in Computer Technology from Pierce State University. His highest military award is the Legion of Merit and his highest civilian award was selection as Master Trainer for the U.S. Army, teaching teacher how to teach.

Sergeant First Class (Ret) Pete Loredo is a 20 year Army retiree with duty in Western Europe.  His highest military award is the Meritorious Service Medal  and hid highest civilian award was selection as the Top Army Recruiter in 2015.

 

 

 

Reverend Leslie Stewart

 

 

 

Rev. Leslie A. Stewart is a USAF veteran who served in Air Force Special Operations for 6 years enlisted. She was commissioned and went to Pilot Training and the USAF School of Aerospace Medicine. Upon graduation she became an Aerospace Physiologist tasked to prevent Human Factors mishaps. Her expertise was in "Sensation and Perception in the Fighter Pilot." She flew T-37s, T-38s, and F-16s. Rev. Stewart is a graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, SMU Perkins School of Theology, and is trained in Moral Injury, Crisis Counseling, and Suicide Prevention. Her new church, Resurrection Episcopal Church, has a special service for Veterans and First Responders and their families called "Warrior Church." She also serves as the Military Veterans Peer Network (MVPN) Chaplain of North Texas Veterans Court.

https://www.warriorchurches.com/

 

 

 

Richard Kaniss - Colonel

 

 

 

Colonel Richard C. Kaniss was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Transportation Corps on June 2, 1976 upon graduation from the University of Tennessee with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration.  He also earned a Master’s in Business Administration degree from the University of Colorado. He is the Past Chapter President for the Association of United States Army – North Texas – Audie Murphy chapter. 

Colonel Kaniss retired with over 30 years of military service in July 2006.  He is the current Chapter President for the Association of United States Army (AUSA) North Texas – Audie Murphy chapter.    

Colonel Kaniss is a Managing Partner with MGR & Associated, LLC.  The company distributes software and solutions that provide a 2-way communications solutions using Android and Apple OP to schools, commerical buildings and their campuses, hotels, and casinos in Texas and a 4-state area.  

 

 

 

Rick Grady - Plano City Council

 

 

To devote and donate more volunteer time to the citizens of Plano, Rick Grady retired from Cornerstone Credit Union League where he served as Vice President for Research and Economics. While at the League he led all primary and secondary investigations on economic issues affecting financial institutions and consumers. He advocated on behalf of consumers and community financial institutions, especially during the Great Recession of 2008-2009. His 30 years of financial and technology experience provided a platform for spotting future trends and opportunities, and authoring position papers on banking laws and regulations.

Rick serves as Chair of the Emergency Preparedness Planning Council of the North Central Texas Council of Governments, and is a member of Regional Transportation Council, the Dallas Regional Mobility Coalition, the Texas Municipal League Resolutions Committee, and the National League of Cities Finance, Administration and Intergovernmental Relations Committee, the Large Cities Committee and the Military Communities Committee. He is also the Chairman of Friends of Consumer Freedom, a nationwide organization dedicated to financial literacy education, a founder of the Collin County Veterans Coalition, and the former Chairman of Plano’s Planning and Zoning Commission and the Community Relations Commission.

Rick started his community service at the age of 13 when he joined the Civil Air Patrol, a U.S. Air Force Auxiliary that performs three congressionally assigned key missions: emergency search and rescue, disaster relief operations and aerospace education. He joined the U.S. Air Force ROTC program in college but was transferred to the Military Assistance Command Vietnam and the U.S. Army 1st Aviation Brigade, and served as a non-commissioned officer managing a company of forward air controllers in Vietnam. He was twice decorated with the Army Commendation Medal and the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry. In 2017 Rick was honored with the Congressional Veterans Commendation by U.S. Congressman Sam Johnson.

In civilian life Rick led public relations, M&A, and intelligence activities for Fortune 500 companies such as Affiliated Computer Services, Computer Task Group, and, for 20 years at Electronic Data Systems, where he spearheaded technological developments in SaaS, microcomputer networks, Internet technologies and cloud-based operations. He also served with the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), The IndUS Entrepreneurs Association (TIE), as Executive Director of the venture-capital trade association, as senior partner of two public relations agencies and, for eight years, a rating-busting rock & roll disc jockey for a leading college-town commercial radio station.

He is involved with the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, American Legion, American Marketing Association, American Veterans Association, Army Aviation Association of America, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, Collin County Homeless Coalition, Dallas Regional Mobility Coalition, Emergency Preparedness Planning Council, National League of Cities, Non-Commissioned Officers Association, North Central Texas Council of Governments, Public Relations Society of America, Regional Transportation Council, Texas Municipal League, University of Wisconsin Alumni Association, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Vietnam Veterans of America.

 

 

 

Sam Greif - Plano Fire Chief

Plano Fire Chief Sam Greif

Sam began his career as a Paramedic in 1982 and in 1985 he joined the Fort Worth Fire Department as a firefighter where he worked his way up through the ranks to Assistant Chief of Operations.  In that position, he was responsible for more than 800 uniformed firefighters operating in 42 stations and oversaw a budget in excess of $90 million.  He retired after 30 years of service.  In June of 2015, after an extensive nationwide search, it was announced that Sam had been selected as the new fire chief for the City of Plano.  

He holds an AAS in Fire Science, a bachelor’s degree in Leadership from Midwestern State University, a Master of Public Administration from the University of Texas-Arlington, and is a graduate of the National Fire Academy's Executive Fire Officer Program.

Sam has served on numerous boards and committees both at the state and national level.  He currently is the Chairman of the International CAD Consortium and was on the Board of Directors for Tarrant County 911 for eight years.  He is a member of the International Association of Fire Chiefs, Metro Chiefs, Collin County Fire Chiefs, and the IAFC Terrorism and Homeland Security Committee.  He is also Vice Chair of the Medical City Plano Board of Trustees.  Sam is a graduate of Leadership Plano’s Class 35 and is an active member of the Plano Rotary Club.

Sam and his wife, Rosemary, have one son who followed in his father’s footsteps and is a Lieutenant with the Fort Worth Fire Department.  Sam and Rosemary have been blessed with two beautiful granddaughters.  Faith, family, and friends are staples in the Greif household.  Together they are enthusiastic members of the community and enjoy golf, entertaining, camping, and serving the community.  

 

 

Van Taylor - United States Congressman

Congressman Van Taylor

A seventh generation Texan, Van Taylor is a family man, businessman, and decorated Iraq War Veteran. Growing up, Van earned his Eagle Scout from the future President George Bush.

After high school, Van attended Harvard College from which he obtained a Bachelor of Arts in history. After graduating college, Van volunteered to serve his country and received a commission in the United States Marine Corps.

He attended The Basic School, Infantry Officer Course, and graduated first in his class from Sniper Employment Officer Course. He completed Intelligence School as the Marine Honor Graduate and commanded First Marine Regiment’s Reconnaissance Platoon in Camp Pendleton, CA. After completing that assignment, he served as an intelligence officer for an artillery battalion. Van earned the Navy Achievement Medal for devising a quantitative combat power analysis system.

Van Taylor joined the Marine Corps Reserves to continue serving his country while earning his MBA at Harvard Business School. He served in Fourth Civil Affairs Group, graduating from the John F. Kennedy School of Special Warfare at Ft. Bragg, NC. He joined 4th Reconnaissance Battalion as a platoon commander for Charlie Company.

On September 11, 2001, Van was serving his final day at the 4th Civil Affairs Group at the Anacostia Naval Annex. He was supposed to have lunch at the Pentagon that day, but instead watched smoke rise from across the Potomac River as the Pentagon burned from the 9-11 terrorist attack.

That day, Van swore to always serve and make a difference.

Two years after September 11, Van deployed to Iraq where he fought with 2nd Force Reconnaissance Company. While deployed, Van led the first platoon into Iraq for his brigade and a mission that rescued 31 wounded Marines during the pitched Battle of An Nasiriyah. For his service in Iraq, the Marine Corps awarded Captain Taylor the Combat Action Ribbon, Presidential Unit Citation, and the Navy Commendation Medal with “V” for valor.

Van and his wife, Anne, married after his return from Iraq and are the proud parents of three young girls: Laura, Helen, and Susie.

From April 2010 to January 2015, Van Taylor represented District 66 in the Texas House of Representatives. From January 13, 2015 – January 3, 2019, Taylor served as a Member of the Texas Senate, representing the Eighth Senate District of Texas. On January 3, 2019, Van Taylor was sworn in as a Member of the United States Congress, representing Texas Third Congressional District.

Congressman Van Taylor is proud to serve on two influential House Committees in the 116th Congress: the Committee on Homeland Security, specifically, the Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection and Innovation (CIPI) and the Subcommittee on Oversight, Management and Accountability (OMA) and the House Committee on Education, where he serves on the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education and the Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions. 

Today, Van, his wife, and their three daughters reside in Plano near the land Van’s great-grandfather farmed during the Great Depression.

 

 

 

 

 


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  • Lisa Bloomer