GEORGE KELEMEN

President | CEO

George Kelemen joined TRA as President and CEO in November of 2015. He returned to Texas after 11 years in Washington, DC, working in senior leadership positions for several of the largest and most influential associations in America. Most recently, George served as the Senior VP of Government and Political Affairs at Airports Council International — North America (ACI-NA), the trade association representing commercial airports in the U.S. and Canada. He served as ACI-NA’s chief lobbyist and led the development strategies to influence congressional and legislative actions affecting airports and the aviation industry, particularly ACI-NA’s work with Congress’ leadership.

Prior to joining ACI-NA, George served as the Senior Director for External Affairs at the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), the Cancer Society’s lobbying arm in Washington, DC. George cultivated, developed and maintained corporate relationships, as well as coordinated outreach to members of Congress, specifically Congressional Republicans. He also spent 10 years at AARP in various government relations and advocacy leadership capacities at federal and state level.

 Originally from Houston, George began his career working in Texas, in various political and government affairs roles, as well as in state 

government, in the gubernatorial administration of George W. Bush.  He has a comprehensive understanding of the legislative and regulatory processes and landscapes at both the federal and state levels, as well as a network of bipartisan contacts and relationships in Austin, Washington, and across the US.

 George has a proven ability to effectively communicate with internal and external audiences alike, as well as with decision and policy makers, in addition to native fluency in Spanish. George earned a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Houston. He lives in Austin with his wife and two children.

DIANA CARDONA

Vice President of Operations

Diana joined TRA in May of 2015, and has 9 years of experience managing non-profit association membership and finances. She has the great ability of streamlining and establishing efficient processes to achieve strategic goals for increasing membership, and achieving financial stability. She received the designation of Certified Association Executive (CAE) in 2017 and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Hispanic Studies/Business Management from the University of Texas in Austin.

Prior to TRA, Diana served as the Membership Coordinator for the State Firemen’s and Fire Marshals’ Association of Texas. Her tenure at SFFMA brought about the development of an international certification program still growing today.

JUSTIN WILLIAMSON

Director of Public Affairs

Justin currently serves as the Director of Marketing & Communications for the Texas Retailers Association (TRA), a position he has held since April 2017. Prior to joining the TRA, Justin served as the Director of Communications and Spokesperson for the Texas State Rifle Association, the state’s largest and oldest 2nd Amendment organization. 

Before working for non-profit associations, Justin served as an Account Executive for an award-winning digital firm and as the Digital Strategist for the highly successful Proposition 1 (2014) and Proposition 7 (2015) ballot propositions. He attended Southwestern University, where he majored in Political Science.

ANGELA SHIPP

Membership & Marketing Coordinator

Angela currently serves as the Membership and Marketing Coordinator for the Texas Retailers Association (TRA).

In 2016, Angela participated in the Disney College Program as a marketing intern at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fl. In the summer of 2017, she accepted a marketing internship with the Texas Retailers Association and made the decision to continue her career with TRA upon graduation.

She has a Bachelors Degree in Marketing and a minor in Sports Management from Texas A&M University.

GARY HUDDLESTON

Grocery Industry Consultant

Gary’s career spanned 45 years at Kroger Food stores including store management, human resources, labor relations, public affairs, media relations and charitable giving.

Gary attended Texas State University and completed continuing education completed in Human Resource Management at the University of Texas Austin, Penn State University, and Duke University.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Executive Committee
Amber Gustafson Chair Amber’s Designs
Luke Gustafson Vice Chair Brookshire Brothers
Kathryn Sharp Secretary Stage Stores
Susan Sessions Treasurer Academy Sports & Outdoors
Jason Cooper Immediate Past Chair Brookshire Grocery Company
Jay Bueche Texas Federation of Drug Stores Rep H.E.B.
Michael Smith Member at Large Walgreen’s
Theresa Flores Member at Large/TRAPAC Chair Mary Kay
Chuck Bell Small Retailer Rep. Bracken Textiles/Clothes Mentor
Kathy Sweidel-Caton Texas Food Council Chair Lewis Food Town
TRA Directors (term ending 2018)
Brian Gamberini Director The Home Depot
Michael Diamond Director Scott’s Miracle Grow
Kristina King Director Sears
Leslie Lockett-Sweet Director HEB
Ray Pohlman Director AutoZone
John Raney Director Texas Aggieland Bookstore
Michael Walker Director Rehkopf Enterprises
Jack Tracy Director Ziegler’s Foods
John Vuong Director Pyburn’s
April Martin Nickels Director Kroger Company
 
TRA Directors (term ending 2019)
Jeff Mooney Director Dollar General
Patricia Salmon Director Goodwill Industries Houston
Carrol Cox Director Cox’s
Rebecca Acuna Director Pepsico
Arnold Grothues Director JC Penny
Leigh Ann Hernandez Director Neiman-Marcus
Mike Lewis Director Lewis Food Town
Catherine Helm Director Target
Meredith Preloh Director Lowe’s
Kathryn Sharp Director Stage Stores
Rex Solomon Director Houston Jewelry
Kelli Hollinger Director Texas A&M Center for Retailing Studies
Opio Dupree Director Macy’s
Joe Stalnaker Director Avangard Innovative
 
TRA Directors (term ending 2020)
Steve Bercu Director Book People
Phil Rozenski Director Novolex
Mike Hiltner Director Best Buy
Susan Sessions Director Acadamy
Michael Smith Director Walgreens
Tony Wood Director Baywood Foods
Kathy Mitchell Director PetsMart
Mandy Tomlin Director United Supermarkets
Bruce Levy Director Rice Epicurean Markets
Daniel Morales  Director WalMart

  © Texas Retailers Association 2018. All Rights Reserved.