TABC Executive Staff

An Executive Director, appointed by the three-member governing board, directs the daily operations of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. Current Executive Director Sherry Cook was appointed in 2012. She is responsible for employing staff to ensure that the policies established by the commission and the laws enacted by the legislature are implemented in an efficient and cost-effective manner.

Assisting with that responsibility is the assistant administrator, general counsel, director of the office of professional responsibility, and the director of communications and governmental relations.

An independent audit firm performs internal audit functions for the agency, reporting directly to the commissioners.

Meet the Executive Team:

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, Information Resources, 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 TABC as the agency's Deputy Executive Director in 2012. He is responsible for overseeing the agency's day-to-day operations in the areas of Licensing, Enforcement, Audit and Investigations, Ports of Entry, Education and Prevention, Excise Tax and Marketing Practices, Business Services, Human Resources, and Information Technology.

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 Legion of Merit. During his military career, he was promoted early or "Below the Zone" on three occasions, to the ranks of Major, Lieutenant Colonel, and Colonel. He retired as a full Colonel in 2006, after serving in his final assignment as the Commander of the 45th Mission Support Group 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. Most recently he worked as a Deputy Executive Director at the Texas Department of Information Resources.

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.

Robert Saenz, 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.

Carolyn Beck, Director of Communications and Governmental Relations
Carolyn Beck joined TABC in October 2003 as the Public Information Officer and was promoted to Director of Communications and Governmental Relations in 2009. Her primary duties include agency spokesperson and legislative liaison. She also spearheads various special projects such as the agency's biennial strategic plan.

Prior to joining TABC, Carolyn spent 13 years at the Texas Youth Commission, working in various divisions including Policy Manuals and American Correctional Association Accreditation, Staff Development, Internal Audit, and Juvenile Corrections. Carolyn also has seven years of experience in the private sector, managing internal operations for a start-up company. She earned a bachelor's degree from the Plan II Liberal Arts Honors Program and a master's degree from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, both at The University of Texas at Austin. She is also a graduate of the Governor's Executive Development Program at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs.

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.

Loretta Doty, Director of Human Resources
Loretta Doty joined TABC as the Director of Human Resources in 2004. She has more than seventeen years of state service and was employed in several public sector human resources positions prior to being employed with the TABC.

Loretta is certified as a Senior Professional of Human Resources (SPHR) by the Society for Human Resources Management. She received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with a major in management from the University of Texas at Tyler. She is a graduate of the Governor's Executive Development Program at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin. Loretta currently serves as Chair of the Texas State Human Resources Management Association (TSHRA). She is an active member of the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) and the Austin Human Resources Management Association (AHRMA).

Shelby Eskew, Director of Business Services
Shelby Eskew joined TABC in August 2004 and was selected as Director of Business Services in April 2010. In this role Shelby oversees the Accounting, Payroll, and Purchasing functions as well as oversees fleet and inventory management. Shelby received a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from the University of Texas at Austin and brings over 25 years of experience in the financial arena to the agency.

Prior to joining TABC, Shelby was business manager for KUT-FM, the National Public Radio Affiliate licensed to the University of Texas at Austin. In 1996, she went to work at the Texas Youth Commission in the budget department and was promoted in October 2001 to Budget Director. She joined TABC in August 2004 to assist with the budget administration of the agency and has been very involved in the budget and strategic planning process. She is also a graduate of the 2008 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, Assistant Chief of Audit and Investigations
Dexter K. Jones was selected as Assistant Chief of Compliance for the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission in January 2008. He became an Assistant 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. He is a TCLEOSE Certified Peace Officer and is Commissioned by the Agency.

Earl Pearson, Assistant 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 an Assistant 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 Information Resources
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.

Karen Smithwick, Director of Ports of Entry
Karen Smithwick joined TABC in October 1985 working as a field auditor in the Corpus Christi District office. She left the agency briefly in early 1994 as a result of the agency's reorganization, and then was re-hired as an auditor in October 1995 to continue her TABC career in the Corpus Christi office.

In June 2007, Karen was promoted to Regional Supervisor for the San Antonio Region. Prior to this, Karen served as Acting Regional Supervisor for three months in 2004. She holds a BBA with a major in Accounting from Texas A&I University, and has served as Chair of the Excise Audit Manual Committee in 2000 and in 2008. She is also a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE).

Thomas Graham, Director of the Excise Tax and Marketing Practices Division
Thomas 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 are in compliance with state law and conducting financial audits. In 2008, he was promoted to Marketing Practices Supervisor in the Austin Headquarters. 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 be the Director of Excise Tax and Marketing Practices. He currently oversees the testing and approval of alcoholic beverages, the collection of over $250,000,000 in excise taxes annually, and marketing practices regulation. Thomas holds a Bachelor of Arts in Government from the 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.