Marketing Advisory Board
Sandra L. Eads
Director, Polypropylene & Solvents Business Services
|Sandra Eads is Director, Polypropylene & Solvents Business Services. She has 25 years of experience in the oil and gas industry.
Before moving to her current role in 2015, Eads served as National Account Representative, Unbranded for P66 Marketing.
Eads joined Conoco in 1993 in Houston, Texas where she began her career as a credit analyst in the Treasury Department. Over the course of her career, she has also held positions in Downstream Business Development and U.S. Marketing Sales, Programs, and Sales Force Excellence.
Born in Dallas, Texas, Eads holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Marketing and an MBA, both from Texas A&M University. Eads is active at Texas A&M through her role as the Phillips 66 partner for the Mays Business School.
David A. Hendrick
Division Vice President, Global Enterprise Accounts
Abbott Medical Devices
|Dave is Division Vice President of Global Enterprise Accounts with Abbott’s Medical Device Division. He is responsible for managing all enterprise sales across Abbott’s medical device businesses spanning cardiovascular and neuromodulation products. Dave joined Abbott byway of the 2017 St. Jude Medical acquisition where he spent 15 years in roles spanning sales management, strategy, marketing and global operations. Dave has spent over thirty years in the healthcare marketplace across global markets.
Dave graduated from Texas A&M University in 1985 and served as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army for three years. Dave serves on several boards donating his time and energy to include Central Texas American Heart Association; Central Texas American Red Cross; and Texas A&M 12th Man Foundation Champions Council.
Dave and his wife Jo support two endowed family scholarships: The Ray Eileen & Robert Stahala Scholarship at Baylor University Law School and Jo & David Hendrick ’85 Endowed Scholarship in Marketing at Texas A&M University Mays Business School.
Dave and his wife Jo have been married for over 30 years and live in Dallas. Jo and Dave have three sons, Robert graduated from TCU (‘14) and Texas A&M (‘16) and now works for Ernst & Young in Dallas. Mark (1994) graduated from Texas A&M (’17) and now works for Andrews Distributing in Dallas. John is a sophomore at TCU.
O&H Brand Design
|Travis Hopper is Co-Founder/Partner of O&H Brand Design, a branding and advertising agency based in Dallas, TX. He is responsible for new client acquisition, brand strategy development, broadcast production, client relationship cultivation, financial oversight and project supervision for all clients within the agency.
O&H was founded in 2010, and over the past nine years has become one of the most award-winning creative agencies in Texas, receiving recognition from Communication Arts (CA), the local, regional and national chapters of the American Advertising Federation (ADDYs), the Dallas Society for Visual Communications (DSVC), and multiple Best in Show campaigns for the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA).
O&H develops brands with B-to-C, B-to-B and nonprofit clients, from naming, logo and brand system development; to websites, collateral, signage and packaging; to fully-integrated advertising campaigns. They have produced documentary films, coffee table books, and led development of a cultural heritage museum outside of Savannah, GA.
Prior to O&H, Travis was an Account Director at The Richards Group in Dallas, TX, the largest independent advertising agency in the country. He is a Texas A&M University Class of ’00 graduate, where he received his BBA in Marketing, along with the Buck Weirus Spirit Award (’98), and was a member of the Lowry Mays College of Business Fellows Program Group XVII. He guest lectures each Fall and Spring semester with the Texas A&M PMBA program.
Born and raised in Houston, Travis now resides in Dallas with his wife Desiree (Class of ’00) and their children, Savannah and Briggs.
Ché Allison Knight
Vice President, Crisis, Reputation & Risk Management
|Ché Knight is Vice President, Crisis, Reputation & Risk Management at Syneos Health. Prior to joining Syneos Health she was vice president with the Health & Wellness practice at Ogilvy. At Ogilvy she was responsible for the development and implementation of integrated branded and unbranded communications programs around immunotherapy milestones, drug approvals, and patient communications for a global pharmaceutical company.
Prior to joining Ogilvy, Ché ran the communications department at the City of Boston’s Public Health Commission (BPHC), where she led the implementation of several large-scale public health campaigns to connect Boston’s most vulnerable residents with critical health care services and supported the Commission’s application for Accreditation.
Ché cut her proverbial teeth in healthcare at Denterlein, a Boston-based public affairs firm, where she built extensive experience in consulting, crisis management, and public affairs, both in the for-profit and non-profit healthcare realms. In addition to managing communications around labor relations, mergers and acquisitions, and operational incidents, Ché consulted clients on effectively communicating with the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, where she and her teams effectively navigated complex regulatory pitfalls.
With significant expertise in the regulatory and public health communications space, Ché is poised to approach the most pressing challenges with unbounded curiosity, creativity, and cross-vertical insights that position her clients to connect with stakeholders that matter most.
Corporate and charitable leadership
Ché previously served as Communications Director on the board of the Junior League of Boston, and has volunteered with several political organizations, including the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, and Hillary for America.
Personal and educational background
Ché holds a double Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and communication from Texas A&M University. She enjoys traveling to far corners of the world, catching up with friends over interesting food and a cold cocktail, and discussing all things health policy. She currently resides in New York City with her husband and their cat-child, Maverick.
Academy Sports + Outdoors
|Thomas "Tom" Lamb was named Executive Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer, effective May 23, 2016 at Academy Sports. Tom joined Academy after 17 years with Lowe's Companies, Inc. where he served as Chief Marketing Officer. Prior to Lowe's, he served in various leadership roles at ING Financial, Thomson Reuters and BBDO. Tom earned both a bachelor's degree in Economics and also a master's in Marketing from the Univ. of Minnesota.|
Founder, CEO and President
AB Brands, LLC
|Chris McClain is a consumer products entrepreneur with broad innovation experience across diverse categories and a proven track record of not just creating brands, but also driving them to number one within their segment.
After graduating from Texas A&M in 1990, Chris started his career with Walmart in merchandising and product development. During his tenure at Walmart, he successfully helped commercialize the Equate brand and launched leading consumer brands Spring Valley Vitamins and EverStart automotive batteries as well as numerous smaller brands.
After a successful career building brands at Walmart and several start-ups and turnarounds, Chris founded his own consumer products company, Advanced Beauty, Inc. in 2003 with his wife Cindy. Chris and Cindy were both active members in the Center for Retailing studies and met in a Marketing class in the Blocker building. Chris and Cindy have three boys, two are Aggies, and they are hopeful for a third.
Under his leadership as CEO and President, Advanced Beauty, Inc. has developed and marketed a wide portfolio of leading national personal care brands including as Dr. Teals, Cantu, and bodycology. Each of these three start up brands quickly became number one in their respective space with no outside funding.
Since selling a portfolio of brands to private equity in 2015, Chris and Cindy restructured Advanced Beauty, Inc. to AB Brands, LLC. and are positioned to launch a wide variety of consumer products in the mass channel of distribution. Their new brands include Aquation, Beautyberry, Brax and Earth Supplied launching fall of 2019.
Chris is a strong business leader with a proven ability to build brands and drive revenue growth through strategic and innovative approaches to the consumer products industry.
Entrepreneur and Coach
|Randi Mays-Knapp ’79 is an entrepreneur who helps individuals develop effective social skills so that they can successfully interact and sell themselves in professional and personal contexts. She offers her services as coach and presenter to organizations, groups and individuals.
As a recruiting manager for Andersen Consulting’s Houston office in the 1990s, Mays-Knapp realized that technically competent employees needed better interpersonal skills. She took the initiative to create Andersen’s etiquette trainings for these professionals.
After taking a break from corporate life to raise her children, Mays-Knapp started her entrepreneurial journey in 2003. She has since worked with numerous organizations, including Accenture, Hewlett-Packard, BP, Alvarez & Marsal, and trained more than 6,000 individuals in civility and social skills.
Corporate and charitable leadership
Mays-Knapp is an active presence across Texas A&M University. She was the first female president of the Houston A&M Club and served as a class agent for nearly two decades. The businesswoman is a past chair of The Texas A&M University System Chancellor’s Century Council, was the first woman to serve on the 12th Man Foundation’s Board of Trustees, was past chair of the Sterling Evans Library Advisory Committee and a 2015 Fish Camp Namesake. She co-founded and ran Houston’s Howdy Club in the 1980’s. Mays-Knapp and her husband, Averyt, are members of the 12th Man Foundation Athletic Ambassadors and Texas A&M’s Legacy Society.
She also is immediate past president of The Prenatal Clinic of The Brazos Valley, served as PTO president for several College Station ISD schools, and started both a women’s Bible study and mom/daughter service organization. The businesswoman also was instrumental in increasing membership for the Brazos Valley Symphony. Mays-Knapp is the founder and organizer of Brazos Valley Greeks, an organization that assists local women in marketing themselves in the sorority recruitment process.
Personal and educational background
Mays-Knapp earned her undergraduate degree in marketing from Texas A&M in 1979. She currently lives in College Station with her husband. They have three grown daughters.
John R. “J.R.” Thomas
TM Group, LLC
|J.R. is the Co-Managing Principal of the Thomas Marshall Group, LLC, a healthcare strategic management and operations firm founded in April of 2017 with members of his management team at MedSynergies, Inc.. From 1996 through April 2017, J.R. Thomas served as Chief Executive Officer of Optum Physician Services, formerly MedSynergies, Inc., a national healthcare service company based in Dallas, Texas. He served as Chief Financial Officer in 1996 prior to being promoted to President and Chief Executive Officer and a member of the board of directors in 1999. The company was acquired by Optum, a division of United Health Group, Inc., a Fortune 20 company, in the fall of 2014.
In 2012, J.R. was selected as the Healthcare Entrepreneur of the Year for the Southwest Region and national finalist for Ernst & Young LLC. He serves, or has served, on the Board of Directors of the Dallas County Community College Foundation which supports the educational endeavors of the largest post-secondary educational system in the State of Texas with over 100,000 students. He is an active member of Business Executives for National Security (BENS), a select organization of executive leaders who bring business solutions to the Pentagon challenges. He is an advisor to Allies in Service, a privately funded veteran hiring initiative in Dallas. He recently won The America’s Future Series’ Five Star Award for his corporate leadership in the recruiting and employment of military veterans. In 1992, J.R. was a founding member of Camp MaGIc, Inc., the predecessor of Camp Oasis, a national camping experience for children challenged by Inflammatory Bowel Disease (“IBD”). Over a ten-year period, he led the fundraising efforts as well as operational structure to provide a unique camping experience for over 1,000 youth affected by IBD during that time. Today, Camp Oasis is sponsored by the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America using the foundation of Camp MaGIc annually serving over 1,500 patients across the country. J.R. was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease in 1986.
J.R. received a Master of Business Administration degree from the McCombs Business School at the University of Texas in 1990 and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Zoology from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville in 1986. He began his business career in banking with Texas Commerce Bank and Bank One in Dallas.
J.R. is an Arkansas native where he spent his formative years on the family hay and cattle farm. J.R. and his wife, Natalie and their two daughters make their home in Dallas, Texas.