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The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission's Executive Division is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the agency, and is charged with implementing the laws ratified by the state Legislature and the rules set by the three-member Alcoholic Beverage Commission.
The Executive Staff is headed by the Executive Director, who is appointed by the Commission members. The Executive Director oversees more than 600 employees across Texas, along with a biennial budget of nearly $70 million and more than $140 million in biennial revenue.
Joining the Executive Director is the Deputy Executive Director, who assists with overseeing the numerous TABC operations and initiatives in place across the state.
The Executive Management Team answers to the Executive Director and Deputy Executive Director, and consists of the heads of each TABC Division. The team is responsible for implementing and overseeing all agency efforts, and manage employees at 33 offices across Texas.
Sherry Cook, Executive Director
Sherry Cook joined TABC in 2006 as the Information Technology Director and Information Resources Manager. In 2008, Cook was promoted to Assistant Administrator for Regulatory and Business Operations. As the Assistant Administrator, her responsibilities included oversight of Business Services, Marketing Practices, Licensing, Human Resources, Innovation & Technology, Tax, Ports of Entry and Education and Prevention. After joining the agency she has played a key role in the modernization of business practices leveraging technology. Cook was named Interim Administrator on June 1, 2012, and appointed Executive Director on June 28, 2012. As the Executive Director, she oversees an agency with over 600 employees, a biennial budget of approximately $84 million and almost $200 million in annual revenue collections.
Prior to coming to TABC, Cook served 29 years with the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) in various diversified positions. Her career with the DPS included nine years with the Texas Rangers Division as a Crime Analyst where she worked on such high profile cases involving serial murderer Kenneth Allen McDuff and the Texas Ranger Investigation of the Branch Davidian Incident in Waco.
Cook has earned associate degrees from Austin Community College in Information Technology and from Alvin Community College in Criminal Justice and Corrections. She received her Bachelor's of Applied Arts and Science from Texas State University and a Master's of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies also from Texas State University in 2008, where she has received several awards including Outstanding Graduate and Research Student and was selected as the commencement speaker for her graduating discipline. She is a TCLEOSE Certified Peace Officer, Certified Public Manager and a member of various professional and civic organizations.
Ed Swedberg, Deputy Executive Director
Ed Swedberg joined the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission as the agency's Deputy Executive Director in 2012. He is responsible for overseeing the agency's day-to-day operations as well as providing assistance to the Executive Director in the development and execution of agency-wide goals, strategies, policies and rules.
In his first career, he served nearly 24 years on active duty in the U.S. Air Force, including several command assignments, and was awarded numerous military decorations, including the Defense Superior Service Medal and the Legion of Merit. He retired as a full Colonel in 2006, after serving in his final assignment as the Commander of the 45th Mission Support Group, a component of the 45th Space Wing at Patrick AFB and Cape Canaveral AFS in Florida.
Mr. Swedberg began working for the State of Texas in 2007 as the Assistant Director of Innovation and Technology for the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. In 2009, he moved to the Texas Department of Information Resources in the role of Deputy Executive Director.
Mr. Swedberg holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Science degree in Electronic Engineering from Northrop University. He also earned in-residence Master's degrees from U.S. Army Command and General Staff College in Military Art and Science and from Air War College in Strategic Studies. Mr. Swedberg graduated from the University of Texas System Basic Police Officer Academy at the top of his class in 2016 and is a TCOLE-certified State Police Officer.
Robert Saenz, Executive Chief of Field Operations
Chief Saenz has been employed with TABC since 1993 and has been stationed in Galveston, Del Rio Outpost, Odessa, Houston and Austin. He has been in Austin since 2004. Robert graduated from Texas State University with a degree in Criminal Justice. Immediately after graduating from college, Saenz was a Patrolman and Detective with the Del Rio Police Department.
Robert holds a Masters Peace Officers Certificate and has been a licensed TCLEOSE instructor since 1997. He also graduated from the Governor's Senior Management Development Program.
Emily Helm, General Counsel and Director of Legal Services
Emily E. Helm joined TABC in March 2008, as a Staff Attorney prosecuting Code violations. On February 15, 2010, Helm was promoted as the new General Counsel and Director of the Legal Services Division for TABC. Helm graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington, received her juris doctorate degree from Baylor Law School, and acquired her master's of business administration degree from The University of Texas at Austin.
Helm's legal career began as the Assistant Criminal District Attorney for Gregg County in Longview, Texas. By 1983, Helm dove into private practice. After a year, she moved to public service with the Texas Department of Human Services (TDHS), and was appointed as their Assistant Regional Attorney in Paris, Texas. In 1988, she promoted to assistant general counsel with TDHS and relocated to Austin, Texas. Prior to arriving at TABC, she was working for the Texas Youth Commission, first as Director of Legal Services and then as Deputy General Counsel.
Mariann H. Morelock, Director of Communications and Governmental Relations
Mariann Morelock joined TABC in 2014. Her primary duties include legislative liaison, agency spokesperson, and strategic planning.
An experienced legislative operative with ten years of experience working for government, Mariann most recently served as Clerk for the Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee in the Texas House of Representatives. Other public service positions range from working at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee to serving as Special Assistant to the Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives for four years, functioning as the primary contact for both legislators and constituents.
Mariann also has eleven years of experience in the private sector with a business development and government procurement consulting firm. She started as an Account Executive developing strategic plans, conducting major research projects and serving as an advocate for her clients. After four years, she was promoted to Director of Information Services where she developed an extensive understanding of state and local government, procurement practices, public information laws and legislative issues.
Mariann holds a degree in Government from the University of Texas at Austin.
Chris Porter, Public Information Officer
Chris Porter joined the TABC in 2015. His duties include serving as an agency spokesperson and media liaison.
A veteran of the United States Army, Chris served in locations around the world, including Bosnia, Kuwait, Morocco, Egypt and throughout Europe. Following his military service, Chris gained extensive experience as an award-winning writer and editor for several daily and weekly newspapers across Texas. He most recently served as a Program Manager for the Texas Army National Guard's Recruiting & Retention Battalion, where he helped create and manage statewide recruiting campaigns for the nation's largest National Guard force.
Chris is a graduate of the U.S. military's Defense Information School and holds a degree in Public Relations from Texas State University.
Donn Rupp, Director of Human Resources
Donn Rupp has over 25 years of progressive and innovative human resources experience. He is originally from Montana and started his human resources career in Seattle, Washington with Verizon Wireless as a senior recruiter where he was responsible for hiring dynamic talent in seven states. During his tenure with Verizon Wireless, he was promoted into a Human Resources business partner strategic role. In 2004, Donn was recruited by Microsoft as a Human Resources Business Partner where he supported IT and the gaming platform groups. A year later, he accepted an opportunity as a Human Resources Manager and was promoted to Site Senior Director of Human Resources for Bayer Pharmaceuticals where he and his team supported a diverse international client group. In 2015, Donn accepted the position of National Human Resources Manager with Envolve Peoplecare with the healthcare industry in Austin, Texas.
Donn holds a Bachelor's Degree in Human Resources Management from the Montana State University. He is also Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) certified and is a National Certified Master Mediator.
Vanessa Mayo, Chief Financial Officer
Vanessa Mayo started her career with TABC in 2005 as an auditor in the Austin District Office. Two years later she was promoted to Program Specialist in the Compliance Division at TABC Headquarters. In October of 2009, Vanessa accepted the position of Regional Compliance Supervisor for the Coastal Bend Region in Houston. She then served as Assistant Director of the Business Services Division beginning in November 2012 until her promotion to Director and Chief Financial Officer in October 2015. As CFO she oversees the areas of revenue, budget, accounting, purchasing, travel, mail room operations, time and leave, payroll and performance measure reporting.
Vanessa holds a bachelor's degree in business management and a master's degree in international business from the University of Texas at El Paso. She is also a certified fraud examiner and a graduate of the Texas Fiscal Officers' Academy.
Amy Harrison, Director of Licensing
Amy Harrison joined the TABC in January of 1990. She is the Director of Licensing which is responsible for the issuance of over 100,000 licenses and permits all over the world. Amy has held various positions in the agency before her promotion to Director in 2004. Prior to joining the TABC, Amy spent five years at the State Comptroller's Office. Amy held several positions there including Licensing Supervisor of the Regulatory Division. Amy's experience at the Comptroller's Office, coupled with the TABC, has given her over 24 years of state regulatory experience.
Amy earned a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science and a minor in Business Administration from Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Texas. It was the experience of working several Legislative Sessions that inspired Amy to pursue a career in state government after graduation.
Dexter Jones, Chief of Audit and Investigations (Special Investigations, Financial Crimes & Audit)
Dexter K. Jones was selected as Assistant Chief of Compliance for the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission in January 2008. He became Chief of Field Operations on August 1, 2011. Dexter began his career with the TABC in 1999 as an entry-level Auditor. He was promoted to Regional Compliance Supervisor for the South Texas Region, and later served as Marketing Practices Director.
Dexter served in the United States Marine Corps from 1988 to 1992. He earned his bachelor's degree in finance in 1998 from the University of North Texas in Denton. He is a graduate of the Governor's Executive Development Program Class XXIV at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin and a 2012 graduate of Class 69 of the FBI Law Enforcement Executive Leadership Development Program in Quantico, VA and a 2015 graduate of the 261st Session of the FBI National Academy. He holds certifications as a Certified Advanced Peace Officer and Certified Fraud Examiner in the State of Texas. Chief Jones currently is a board member of the following Task Forces: Executive Board of Austin Regional FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force; Texas Violent Gang Task Force, Texas Human Trafficking Prevention Task Force and Houston Area Council on Human Trafficking.
Earl Pearson, Chief of Enforcement
Earl Pearson joined TABC as the Chief of Staff in January 2009, bringing with over 30 years of management, legislative and law enforcement experience. He became Chief of Field Operations on August 1, 2011. Earl attended McMurry University in Abilene where he was a starting football player. While at McMurry, a friend encouraged him to join the Texas Department of Public Safety, which he did, graduating from the Recruit Academy in 1976. He then spent 13 years as a trooper with the Texas Highway Patrol. In 1989, he joined the ranks of the Texas Rangers.
Earl rose to Lieutenant in 1992, Captain in 1996 and Assistant Chief in 2001. In 2004, he was named Chief of the Texas Ranger Division, becoming the first African American Department of Public Safety Division Chief. Earl retired from public service in 2005 to start his own security services company, but he re-joined the State of Texas in 2009. Earl holds a TCLEOSE Master Peace Officer Certification and is a graduate of the Governor's Executive Development Program at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin.
Andy Pena, Director of the Office of Professional Responsibility (Internal Affairs)
Captain Andy Pena joined TABC in November 2007 as the Lieutenant of the Office of Professional Responsibility (Internal Affairs). Prior to arriving at TABC, Captain Pena was employed by the Texas Department of Public Safety for 26 years. He began his law enforcement career with DPS in 1982. Upon graduation from the DPS Academy, he was a State Trooper assigned to the Lake Jackson Highway Patrol office for 10 years. He promoted to Sergeant in 1992 and was assigned to the DPS Training Academy in Austin. In 1995, he was promoted to Lieutenant and assigned the Internal Affairs Unit at DPS Headquarters for 12 years.
In November 2007, Pena retired from DPS and was hired by TABC. In February 2009, Lieutenant Pena was designated the Acting Director of Internal Affairs. In July 2009, Pena was promoted to Captain as the Director of the Office of Professional Responsibility. Andy is a graduate of the 205th FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia.
Jay Webster, Director of Innovation & Technology
Jay Webster began his career with the TABC in January 1980 as the agency's first computer programmer. During his career at TABC, he has held positions of programmer, project manager, Information Resources Manager, and most recently IT Director. Over his career, he has directed or managed numerous information technology initiatives including the migration to IBM mainframe computing, the introduction of desktop personal computing, the deployment of internet access throughout the agency, the transformation to Versa's LicenseEase licensing solution, and the recent transition of server support to the statewide data center services contractor.
During his 29 years at TABC, Jay has represented the agency on numerous statewide IT task forces, steering committees, and advisory boards including serving six years as Treasurer for the Texas Association of State Systems for Computing and Communications (TASSCC). Jay was raised in Austin and graduated with a BBA in MIS from Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos.
John Reney, Jr., Chief of Ports of Entry
John was born and raised in Brownsville, Texas, graduating from Homer Hanna High School in 1976. He joined the United States Air Force in 1976 separating with an Honorable Discharge in June of 1980. He then joined the Texas Department of Public Safety, completing the Highway Patrol Academy, and was stationed as a Highway Patrolman in Refugio, Corpus Christi, Bryan and Austin before retiring in 2011 as a Major, Highway Patrol Division. After retirement, John joined the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission in March of 2012 and has worked in the Office of Professional Responsibility. In October of 2016 John was promoted to Chief of Ports of Entry.
John is a graduate of Corpus Christi State University with a Bachelor's Degree in 1987, and attended and graduated from the Bill Blackwood Law Enforcement Management Institute in 1992 and is also a 1998 graduate of Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command.
Thomas Graham, Director of the Excise Tax and Marketing Practices Division
Thomas Graham began his career with TABC in 2005 as an Auditor and was assigned to field offices in Waco, Bryan, San Marcos and Austin. His primarily responsibilities were consulting with business owners to ensure they were in compliance with state law and conducting financial audits. In 2008, he was promoted to Marketing Practices Supervisor in the Austin Headquarters office. Thomas reviewed and approved statewide marketing programs for alcoholic beverage manufacturers and distributors. He conducted training for TABC employees and members of the alcoholic beverage industry on commercial relationships between business owners. In 2013, Thomas was promoted to Director of Excise Tax and Marketing Practices. He currently oversees the testing and label approval of alcoholic beverages, the collection of more than $200 million in excise taxes annually, and marketing practices regulation. Thomas holds a Bachelor of Arts in Government from the University of Texas at Austin and is a graduate of the Governor's Executive Development Program at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin.
Mindy Carroll, Director of Education
After teaching in public education, Mindy started her career with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission in 2006 as the education specialist. In 2008, she was promoted to the assistant director of the Education Division and in 2011 was promoted to the director. The division is responsible for managing the States EUDL (Enforcement of Underage Drinking Laws) Block Grant and Mindy is the EUDL State Coordinator. In 2011, the division managed about $1.5 million in funding and distributed grants to 19 different projects. Mindy also oversees all educational programming including the seller server training program.
Albert Rodriguez, Director of Training
Captain Rodriguez graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education from Texas A&I University in Kingsville, Texas. He coached and taught at Jefferson High School in San Antonio from 1975 - 1977.
Captain Rodriguez started his law enforcement career with the Texas Department of Public Safety in 1977. He rose to the rank of Commander as Director of Training. In January 2010, he began with the TABC as a Lieutenant for the Office of Professional Responsibility conducting internal affairs investigations. He has over 35 years of law enforcement experience and currently holds the rank of Captain as the Director of Training for the TABC.
Captain Rodriguez is certified as an Emergency Medical Technician and holds Advanced, Instructors', and Masters' certifications from the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE.) He attended the 147th FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia and has attended over 6,000 hours of various law enforcement seminars and schools throughout the United States. He has instructed throughout the United States, Mexico, and Canada including an International Homicide Conference in Vancouver, Canada. Captain Rodriguez was selected as the Texas law enforcement use of force expert to serve on a national committee at Washington State University. He has investigated and/or served as an expert in over 250 police officer involved shootings. He continues to instruct police officers and investigators (including the Texas Rangers) on the concepts of investigating police officer involved shootings.