Retired Parks & Recreation Director for the cities of North Richland Hills, Rowlett and Sugar Land, Texas. 35+ years administrative and management experience leading nationally recognized parks & recreation systems. Currently an independent contractor/sole proprietor providing business development and planning services for Brinkley Sargent Wiginton Architects, specializing in recreation centers, senior adult & multi-generational facilities, natatoriums, waterparks and aquatic facilities.
I have been volunteering for the Wine Competition since 2009. I was fortunate enough to be able to Study for and Pass the Introductory Sommelier Course and Exam a few years ago. I enjoy learning about the many different varieties of wine and grapes, where they were grown, how they were produced and the final result once it is poured from the bottle. I work in Sales in the Construction Industry for my Day job, and Wine Competition has become a Hobby I look forward to year after year.
Mark is a Certified Sommelier who worked in the restaurant industry for close to 25 years. He is now on the retail side of beer and wine. He’s also been doing video wine shows since 2009 now called Wine World TV. He’s been a volunteer at Texsom & TIWA multiple times.
Luxury travel advisor for 44 years. Specialize in customized bespoke tours, cruises. especially Europe, Africa, Australia, New Zealand.
Lauren King is the still wines ambassador for Pernod Ricard in Texas, based in Dallas. She has traveled extensively to all Pernod Ricard wineries to learn about the people and the places behind the wines. In Texas, Lauren is the extension of the wineries in the market. She hosts wine tastings, dinners, events, trainings, and more on the Pernod Ricard portfolio while assisting the global and local marketing teams and digital education endeavors.
Originally from Northern California, wine has always been around her and while studying hospitality at Cornell University, her career interests jumped from culinary arts to the wine industry and she completed her Introductory Sommelier Certification before graduation. Before Pernod Ricard, Lauren worked in restaurants in New York and Florida and in fine wine retail in Los Angeles. She now holds her WSET Level 3 with Distinction and is a Certified Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers, earning the top score in her class.
I have been a licensed massage therapist in Texas and Florida for 25 years. I am currently running a medical massage seminar business that often takes me traveling around the United States and internationally. We teach massage therapists, Chiropractors, physical therapists and other health care practitioners how to help their patients get out of chronic pain and try to prevent surgery. Prior to this career I was a professional dancer in musicals, dance companies and Cruise Ships which also took me from Alaska to the Caribbean Islands. I performed various styles of dance including tap, ballet, jazz, ballroom and Argentine Tango. Dance is still my passion and I participate at every opportunity.
Bridget’s passion lies with food and wine – she is a freelance wine educator and wine concierge. She received her Level 1 Sommelier Certification from The Court of Master Sommeliers, is a Certified Specialist of Texas Wine, is on the Board of the Dallas Chapter of Women for Winesense, is TABC Certified, and works wine events such as the TEXSOM Sommelier Conference, the TEXSOM International Wine Awards, and Pinot in the City. She has travelled extensively to different wine regions of the world, and has a soft spot for the New York Finger Lakes region, having been married at a winery overlooking the grapevines on Seneca Lake.
Cat Nguyen fell in love with wine at an early age. She inherited her first wine program when she was only twenty-one years old. Over the next ten years, she ran successful wine programs from casual to fine dining restaurants all over Houston, Texas. In 2015, Cat left the restaurant floor to pursue a career in distribution as a Vanguard representative for Republic National Distributing Company. She holds an Advanced Certification with the Wine & Spirit Education Trust, is a Certified Specialist of Wine with the Society of Wine Educators and a Certified Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers. She is continuing her studies in the future to advance to the next levels with the Court of Master Sommeliers and the Wine and Spirit Education Trust.
|Jon is a clinical research director for a small biomedical company (Nanospectra Biosciences, Inc.) in Houston, where he is responsible for clinical trials in the nanoparticle directed laser ablation of solid tumors.Professionally, his association with the wine industry is that he really likes wine and working with people.|
Ray Sholes is a Certified Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers. He has a discerning palate and is a passionate wine lover. He is known not only for his incredible tasting abilities and vast knowledge but also for his friendly, relaxed and professional approach to wine education. Growing up in Compton, California Ray admits, “I come from a world where an education in fine wines, sake, craft brews, and spirits did not exist.” His fascination for wine took off after graduation from Johnson & Wales University where he earned his Bachelor of Food Service Management.
His thirst for wine has taken him across the globe to vineyards where he learned and improved his skills beyond textbooks. He has spent over 10 years in the restaurant and hospitality industry where he has wine list creation, dynamic staff training and restaurant management under his belt. When he isn’t hosting tasting events, he works as the Beverage Account Manager, in the sales division, of a Miami based duty free supplier company. Ray Sholes is also the Founder and Content Creator for “The Black-Owned Wine Review” series on YouTube producing content that promotes, amplifies, and perpetuates Black-Owned wine brands!
Michael Wangbickler is President of Balzac. With nearly 30 years of experience in marketing and public relations, Mike is a trusted advisor and strategic consultant to his clients. While others are frozen when faced with barriers, Mike is energized by it. He relishes analyzing problems for his clients, finding what is wrong, and providing them with innovative solutions. Mike’s strategic mind enables him to sort through the noise and find the best way forward. He embraces ambiguity and can identify paths to real progress.
Before following his heart to wine country, Mike followed his head to Silicon Valley where he spent 8 fast-paced years in technology communications, where he caught the bug for following the latest trends in marketing tech. Armed with a “live to eat” motto and an evident passion for craft food and beverages and the land, Mike entered Balzac’s life in 2004 and became the agency’s President in 2016.
As a studied disciple of Walt Disney, Mike thinks it’s fun to do the impossible. He believes leadership, imagination, and innovation require a certain level of fearlessness and he encourages his team to step off the worn pathways and break new ground. He leads a team who are driven forward by the stories that inspire people to share in a dream. It is with this philosophy that he’s guided successful marketing and communications campaigns for more than 70 global companies and trade associations from a dozen countries.
I am a third generation Dallasite and a graduate of Texas Tech University. I’ve had a 40 year career in Advertising Sales & Marketing, the majority with The Dallas Morning News. I am currently a Realtor in Dallas working with Keller Williams. I have served with the Los Angeles Advertising League and the Press Club of Dallas. In addition, I have worked with the California Association of Realtors. I volunteer with Meals on Wheels and the Alzheimer’s Association. I grew up in a family that was interested in wine and participated in several wine educational classes. I have also earned my First Level, Sommelier, volunteered for the last five years with TEXSOM, not only in the annual Wine Awards but also have helped with the conference. It is an honor to be affiliated with TEXSOM.