The elite group will advise the governor on how to safely and effectively reopen the state.
During a news conference on April 17, 2020, Texas Governor Greg Abbott shared his plan to begin the process of safely reopening the state of Texas while containing the spread of COVID-19. His plan includes the establishment of a statewide strike force of more than 40 medical experts, educators, business and political leaders; including three prominent alumni from Texas Tech University's Jerry S. Rawls College of Business.
"By coming together, we can get Texans back to work, practice safe standards that will prevent the spread of COVID-19, and we can overcome this pandemic," Abbott said during the news conference.
Rawls College alumni Scott Dueser, Rick Francis and Brad Heffington will help advise the governor on a safe and strategic plan to restart and revitalize all aspects of the Lone Star State, including work, school, entertainment, and culture.
Scott Dueser, chairman, president and CEO of First Financial Bankshares, earned bachelor's degrees in both finance and accounting from Texas Tech in 1975. Dueser was honored as a Distinguished Alumni Award recipient by Rawls College in 2006 and by the Texas Tech Alumni Association in 2019. Dueser was also a driving force behind the establishment of the Excellence in Banking Program at Rawls College.
Rick Francis, chairman and CEO of WestStar Bank, earned a bachelor's degree in finance from Texas Tech in 1978. Francis served on the TTU System Board of Regents from 2003-2019, including service as chairman from 2005-2007 and again from February 2017 until October 2018. Rawls College named Francis a Distinguished Alumni Award recipient in 2008.
Brad Heffington, owner of Heffington Farms, Inc. and Triple T Irrigation, Inc. earned a bachelor's degree in management from Texas Tech in 1990. Heffington currently serves as precinct two district director and vice-president of the High Plains Underground Water Conservation District Board of Directors. He is a past president of Plains Cotton Growers, Inc. and a past board member of Cotton Incorporated.
Several other Texas Tech alumni were also appointed to the strike force, including Arcilia Acosta (1989, Arts & Sciences), Carla Moran (1988, Arts & Sciences) and David Oliveira (1988, Law). Additionally, former Lubbock mayor and current business owner and developer Marc McDougal will also serve on the strike force.
More information and a full list of strike force members can be found on the State of Texas webpage.