Mary Keith Trawick is a world-class graphic designer and digital production manager. She started her publishing career at Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine and Texas Monthly. She spent five years in New York publishing, including executive tenure as a print and publications manager at John Wiley and Sons, and as a multimedia manager at Dorling Kindersley. Back in Texas, she managed production at G&S Typesetters. She was the design manager for more than a decade at the corporate headquarters of Keller Williams Realty, the world’s largest real estate franchise. Mary Keith is a world traveler and spent a year in Adana, Turkey. She is an accomplished athlete and a fierce competitor who is a two-time full Ironman finisher. In her spare time, Mary Keith embraces the great outdoors, hits the art and music scenes, and spends time with family by dragging them to all those things.
Dr. Brian Watson first interned for Crosswind in the summer of 2012 and now serves as Crosswind’s head of research and analytics. As a trained social scientist, Brian specializes in the latest quantitative and qualitative techniques investigating public opinion, technology, digital media, and marketing campaigns. He is the principal researcher behind Crosswind’s statewide public opinion poll, the Texas Pulse, and directs all research projects conducted at the firm.
His doctoral research at Louisiana State University’s highly regarded Manship School of Mass Communication focused on the relationship between new media technologies and political polarization, news, and behavior. His dissertation work demonstrated how ordinary citizens can use emerging social technologies to improve our increasingly heated political situation. He has also contributed to academic journals, with articles published in the general science journal PLOS One, the International Journal of Public Opinion Research, and Perspectives on Politics. He has presented original research at the annual meetings of some of the world’s largest conferences in Mass Communication and Political Science, including the International Communication Association, National Communication Association, Midwest Political Science Association, and Southern Political Science Association.
Brian earned his M.A. in Political Theory from LSU in 2015 and spent his years there devoted to deep philosophical problems in politics, religion, and ethics. While a master’s student, his reading and writing focused on the ways our Western tradition succeeds and fails in answering the fundamental challenges of democracy, faith, and peace-making, culminating in a thesis on the political theology of German pastor and resistance leader, Dietrich Bonhoeffer. While completing his master’s thesis at LSU, Brian worked as a policy intern for the Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana (PAR), a non-profit state policy think tank that has served as that state’s principal and independent government monitor and watchdog for more than 60 years.
In December of 2011 he was awarded his B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy from Baylor University, the oldest continuously operating university in Texas and one of the first educational institutions of any sort west of the Mississippi River in the United States.
April Dang is Director of Operations, bringing to the agency 20 years of experience in team and project management leadership and consulting, spent principally in global finance and banking. She has extensive experience in navigating high-profile staff and clients through fast-changing market challenges and she is an accomplished crisis responder with a history of team leadership in sales, marketing, credit underwriting and audit. She has deep international roots. April has proud Jamaican, Chinese and British bloodlines. April and her four siblings began working at age 16 to put themselves through university and have since gone on to careers in a variety of industries including accounting, engineering, art design, banking and marketing. April herself, a varsity athlete in high school and a member of the African American Caribbean Students Association at the University of Toronto, graduated with a bachelors degree, majoring in psychology. She met her husband , currently an engineer for Austin-based Dell , in 1993 – across the net on the U of T volleyball court. April and her sons have been deeply committed volunteer members of the Texas-based Young Men’s Service League that sets mothers and sons to a common and local philanthropic project during high school years. She has taken on many board positions in this organization. Her passion for volleyball also lives on and she can be often found as the most animated fan in the stands at historic Gregory Gym on the nearby UT Austin campus where her equally-aggressive Longhorn spikers were this year the Number 1 women’s team in the nation.
For more than 20 years, Barbara has provided strategic communications counsel, issues management, marketing and public relations for a wide range of clients, primarily in the healthcare and technology sectors.
Among her previous roles, she has served as Vice President at Edelman’s San Francisco office where she developed and led a practice focused on Health Technology and Senior Vice President at Porter Novelli Life Sciences (formerly FischerHealth) where she led client teams for the agency’s Medical Device & Diagnostic, Health Information Technology and Health Services practices.
Barbara also founded and ran Modern Health Communications, Inc. focused on strategic communications for the healthcare and wellness industries.
Barbara brings a deep history in technology, medical devices and understanding of the healthcare landscape to the challenges faced by healthcare companies. Her clients have included ArthroCare, AcerMed, Conceptus, Great Basin Diagnostics, i2i Systems, Opthonix, MedeAnalytics, Brain Resource, Medtronic (Kyphon), Carl Zeiss, Hoag Memorial Hospital, Imaging Healthcare Specialists, Xeltis, Fair Isaac Company, Viveve and The Turek Clinic.
Barbara started her career as a reporter and editor after earning her Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from Temple University in Philadelphia. She enjoys hiking, cooking—and eating. Her “bucket list” includes traveling throughout Europe and learning to cook Thai food in Thailand.
Bria Robinson is an account executive at Crosswind. Born and raised in Austin, she knows the Texas capital and especially its music choices well. Bria is a 2017 graduate in mass communications from Southern University and A&M College, a historically black college university, founded in 1890 that overlooks the Mississippi River. She was editorial assistant at DIG Magazine in Baton Rouge, the city’s leading alternative weekly covering lifestyle, dining, sports and nightlife. She was also a digital media intern at CBS affiliate WAFB-TV in Baton Rouge. Bria was a volunteer tutor for two years in the Big Buddy program, working with secondary students to improve their reading, math and writing skills. She returns to Texas with an enduring passion for Louisiana seafood, Zydeco and most famous- Mardi Gras. Bria remains actively involved in Austin in the philanthropic work of her sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., and serves as elected assistant secretary in the Southern University Central Texas alumni chapter.
Katie Carmichael has several years of legislative and regulatory experience with a strong background in communications. In 2014, she opened her own communications and consulting business in Austin, Carmichael Communications & Consulting, which primarily catered to the oil and gas industry and provided public affairs, government relations, strategic counseling, campaign planning and administration, event coordination and promotion, and in-depth writing and research-related services. Prior to founding her company, she served as Director of Public Affairs for Texas Railroad Commissioner David Porter, devising public affairs strategies and handling all communication to the media and public. Katie also played an integral role in producing Commissioner Porter’s March 2013 Eagle Ford Shale Task Force Report. Other notable oil and gas experience includes working closely with the Atlantic Council as the lead researcher and author of the Council’s 2014 white paper, “Sustainable Water Management by the Texas Oil and Gas Industry.”
While completing her bachelors degree in journalism at Texas State University, Katie served as a legislative intern for Rep. Elliott Naishtat and a freelance writer for local newspapers. After graduating, she continued to work in the Texas Legislature in various capacities before joining the Texas Railroad Commission in 2011.
Jonathan W. Taylor has devoted his career to public service. He has served his country as a frontline combat medic and the State of Texas as a leader of its economic development programs, with oversight of the state’s investment and reinvestment programs. Most recently, Taylor managed contract programs for the Lower Colorado River Authority which delivers vital electrical power, water and public recreation to many thousands of Texans.
Before that, he was executive director under Governor Rick Perry for the state’s Economic Development and Tourism effort where he oversaw integrated marketing (advertising, public relations, research) in domestic and international markets, successfully encouraging non-Texas travel to the Lone Star State and generating millions of dollars to local Texan communities and securing thousands of jobs in local communities.
Jonathan also served as Director of the Texas Emerging Technology Fund. The Fund is the state’s largest, most active seed and early stage venture capital investment fund with over $400 million in expenditures. Jonathan led the development of the strategic plan and managed the State’s investment in 133 portfolio companies and 22 large scale research projects. He reported results directly to the Texas Legislature and advised the Governor, Lt. Governor, and Speaker of the House on investment decisions of taxpayer funds.
Jonathan’s prior public service includes managing the $100 million Research Grant Matching and Research Superiority Grant programs, developing and leading the Texas Small Business Summits, and creating the Texas Small Business Advisory Council. Jonathan served eight years in the United States Army Reserve, as staff sergeant, combat medic and combat Advisor.
In Afghanistan, he served at a remote U.S. combat outpost and trained Afghan National Army and National Police staff, leading them to deploy and equip an emergency medical treatment facility for a population of over 50,000 Afghans.
Previously, Jonathan managed 200 medical personnel, $4 million of equipment, and patient throughput of a fully functional 80 bed Level 3 Army Field Hospital. He served in the Dominican Republic, providing emergency medical treatment of approximately 700 U.S., Central American and Caribbean military and police forces, and he has trained and supervised the medical personnel in a variety of remote and hostile environments.
He has earned the Combat Medic Badge, Bronze Star, Army Commendation Medal, an Afghanistan Campaign Medal with service star, a Global War on Terror Service Medal, NATO medal for ISAF, and several other commendations.
Jonathan holds a BA in Political Science, Economics emphasis with a minor in criminal justice from Texas Christian University and extensive military training including U.S. Army Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training, Warrior Leader Course, U.S. Army Combat Advisor among others. Jonathan’s medical training has included NREMT-B, Advanced Cardiac Life Support Provider and Instructor, Pediatric ACLS Provider and Instructor, Pre-Hospital Trauma Life Support Provider and Instructor, Combat Medic Advanced Skills Provider and Instructor, Field Management of a Chemical and Biological Casualty Course, MITT Medical Course, and many others.
Marc Herring, CEO and principal designer, founded Herring Media Group (HMG) in 1991 with the mission of helping brands distinguish themselves through bold, technology-driven innovation. A leader and pioneer in digital and Architectural Media with deep roots in the arts and broadcast production, Marc designed and produced some of the world’s first outdoor projection mapping installations, coining the term Architectural Media.
Early on, Herring Media Group partnered with media giant Gannett Outdoor to bring groundbreaking media solutions to public spaces. After seeing HMG’s work, Foote-Cone Belding asked Herring Media Group to create an Advanced Communications Group within their global agency. International agencies and marketers took note of the value of HMG’s non-traditional approach at Foote-Cone in helping brands get noticed in an increasingly noisy world. Inspired to continue to bring that value to new clients, HMG returned to working independently. Resilient and always evolving with the changing marketplace, Herring Media Group is still driven by its early mission to help elevate and distinguish brands with bold, innovative solutions.
Some of Herring Media Group’s innovative projects include producing the first television commercial created on board the International Space Station, organizing worldwide broadcast coverage of the reentry of the MIR space station, temporarily illuminating vast, natural desert landscapes with live, digital multimedia projections, and the design and installation of high-rise Architectural Media and lighting installations on skyscrapers throughout the world.
Casey Normandin has worked in the event planning industry for over ten years. She has worn many different hats in that time, allowing her to become an expert in all things events. Casey has gained experience by adopting a hands-on approach and seeking knowledge from some of the most well-known event planners, including Christine Paul of Christine Paul Events and the team behind LVL Weddings and Events. Casey is a strong woman with an outgoing, kind-hearted personality. She is determined, driven and extremely organized. These attributes allow her to work easily with any and all exhibitors in order to execute all projects to the fullest.
“Windy” is a 2015 Kentucky-bred thoroughbred mare who was registered with the Jockey Club, a thoroughbred breed registry, as Princessdaisyleigh. Her sire is Graydar, the son of Unbridled’s Song – who won $1.3 million and was posthumously granted the title of leading sire in North America in 2017 – and grandson of 1990 Kentucky Derby winner Unbridled, who claimed almost $4.5 million in race earnings. Her dam is Cherry Sherry, a granddaughter of Canadian-bred Deputy Minister who sired many successful racehorses – a feat replicated by his son, and Windy’s grandsire, Awesome Again.
Her excellent racehorse breeding was done at the hands of international breeding operation SF Bloodstock breeders – the “SF” stands for Soros Fund. George Soro’s investment firm, Soros Fund Management, is behind SF Bloodstock and its international racing operation, SF Racing Group. This Soros arm also owned a 15 percent stake in Triple Crown winner Justify.
Windy’s breeding brought her owners and investors $15,000 in 2016 at the famed Keeneland Yearling Sale, where she was bought by a top racehorse owner named Craig Aguiar. However, as is the case with so many racehorses, excellent breeding did not translate into top racing talent. Princessdaisyleigh’s final race at Churchill Downs on September 17, 2017 culminated in an 8th place-finish (out of nine horses). She had earned less than $2500 in her three races.
Almost exactly one year later, on September 13, 2018, Crosswind vice president Karen Johnson noticed her sitting in a Texas kill pen, waiting to be saved, or shipped to slaughter in Mexico.
After quarantine, vet attention and rest for an injury, Windy spent the next few months relaxing and just “being a horse” at Karen’s farm. In June 2019 she entered training with Dan Keen, during which she had to learn that not every ride is a race, as well as encountering many other things most racehorses don’t see – from cows, to ATVs.
Regardless of what Windy’s final horse “degree” will be in – whether it’s trail and pleasure, jumping, or working cows – she has become an important member of the Crosswind team and is a reminder of what can happen when responsibility wanes, and as a symbol of hope for new beginnings.
For nearly 30 years, Rear Admiral Robert Durand has been entrusted to lead teams, deliver results and provide key strategic insight at the nation’s highest and most critical levels, providing counsel to CEOs, CMOs and four-star combatant commanders. Robert recently retired from the U.S. Navy as Vice Chief of Information and he now provides strategic media and spokesperson services to clients of Crosswind Media and Public Relations.
As the senior reserve public affairs officer in the Navy, Robert led 500 Navy Reserve public affairs professionals and mass communication specialists who provide communication support to the Navy worldwide for events, exercises and combat operations. His command was the equivalent of a major marketing agency’s global workforce with supervision over media relations, crisis communication, strategic messaging, multimedia production, organizational communication and executive positioning.
In his civilian career, Robert has led corporate communications at five venture-funded high-technology companies, from early stage-startups to private equity turnarounds. He has taken four startups from invisibility to market prominence, resulting in two $400M+ acquisitions, and has also led public relations at a global cybersecurity company through a $2B acquisition, merger, and global rebranding effort.
He translates complex technology into the words, ideas and images that excite customers, investors, employees and partners.
A native of Lakewood, Colorado, Robert was commissioned in 1988 after graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy. He was deployed to the Red Sea in support of Operation Desert Storm, was mobilized twice to serve as director of public affairs, Joint Task Force Guantanamo, and was recalled to active duty from 2009-2012 as director of Public Affairs for the Chief of Navy Reserve at the Pentagon.
Robert counts the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (three), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal and various service and campaign awards as symbols of homage to his service.