Association Board

Tom Byrd, President

The Board of Directors is composed of 10 individuals from four geographic regions along the Trail that are outlined in our Association Bylaws.

Tom Byrd is a Licensed Professional Geologist. He is a graduate of UT Austin (BA Geography) and Texas A&M (MS Geology) and has held positions with the Bureau of Economic Geology (Cartographer) and BP Exploration (Petroleum Geologist -retired 2015). His avocational and academic interests include cartography, geomorphology, soil science, archeology, natural history, and a variety of outdoor interests including caving and wildlife conservation. He claims a life-long fascination with Southwestern Borderlands and Texas History. He grew-up in Austin and now makes his home in Houston and Santa Fe.

Rebecca Blankenbaker has over ten years of experience working with community leaders, heritage attractions, and local stakeholders to create authentic heritage tourism products in the Cane River region. As Director of Communications for Cane River National Heritage Area, Inc., she is responsible for building community relations, tourism and project development, brand management, and promotion. Additionally, she serves as the coordinator of the Cane River National Heritage Trail, a Louisiana Scenic Byway. A native of New Orleans, Rebecca holds a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in heritage resource management from Northwestern State University of Louisiana. She is a member of the Louisiana Trust for Historic Preservation, The Louisiana Association for Nonprofit Organizations, the Louisiana Travel and Promotion Association and the Southeast Tourism Society.

Frank Briscoe has extensive contracting and project supervision experience for historic preservation projects; restoration carpentry and masonry; construction documents; Historic Structure Reports; National Register nominations, and Historic Preservation Certification Applications. He is also a former senior consultant in architectural conservation at Moenjo-daro World Heritage Site, Pakistan, responsible for implementing recommendations consistent with international standards of historic preservation, providing assistance and supervision for technical conservation treatments, and development of a conservation manual for the site.

Tom Byrd is a Licensed Professional Geologist. He is a graduate of UT Austin (BA Geography) and Texas A&M (MS Geology) and has held positions with the Bureau of Economic Geology (Cartographer) and BP Exploration (Petroleum Geologist -retired 2015). His avocational and academic interests include cartography, geomorphology, soil science, archeology, natural history, and a variety of outdoor interests including caving and wildlife conservation. He claims a life-long fascination with Southwestern Borderlands and Texas History. He grew-up in Austin and now makes his home in Houston and Santa Fe.

Ellen Riojas Clark, Ph. D. is Professor Emerita in the Department of Bicultural Bilingual Studies at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Her work as Research Coordinator with the Academy for Teacher Excellence has been in the development of many culturally based multimedia projects and working with pre and in-service teachers and school communities. She served as Co-PI for the Rockefeller Foundation Project: Knowledge, Culture, and Construction of Identity in a Transnational Community: San Antonio, TX and as Content Director of a $21 million Scholastic Entertainment and a PBS program Maya & Miguel, a bicultural bilingual animated series. She received three National Endowment for the Humanities grants focused on Mexican American and Latino literature and culture, and developed curriculum for an AT&T film project entitled Developing Multicultural Understanding through Education. Her work with the Dreamers began in 2010 at UTSA with university and community demonstrations.

Lucinda Freeman is a former Portfolio Manager for high net worth individuals at JP Morgan Private Bank and predecessor banks. She published  a book  titled Historic Houston: How to See It, a heritage tourism book telling the story of early Texas and describing day trips to see related sites.

Sarah Zenaida Gould is Lead Curatorial Researcher at the Institute of Texan Cultures in San Antonio, TX. She is a founding member of Latinos in Heritage Conservation, a national organization that promotes historic preservation within American Latino communities and advocates for the protection of American Latino heritage at local, state, and national levels. In addition to serving on the board of El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail Association, she is board president of San Anto Cultural Arts, a youth arts program located in San Antonio’s Westside. She received a BA in American Studies from Smith College and an MA and PhD in American Culture from the University of Michigan.

John Pruett is a retired Research Immunologist with the USDA-ARS, and is currently serving as the 2nd Vice-District Governor for MD2-S3 Lions Clubs International. John is a native of Milam County where his great-great grandfather emigrated from Louisiana in 1876. John has considerable interest in the history of the native peoples, and settlement of Milam County, Texas.

David Regan is a retired professional with wide ranging experiences and interests. My professional career includes 31 years as a commissioned officer of the U. S. Coast Guard, concentrating in ship maintenance and repair management, and culminating with a senior command assignment in New Orleans, LA that was instrumental in the preparation, response, and operational support of Coast Guard forces during hurricane Katrina. I then served 8 years providing operational logistics consultation services to NASA, the U. S. Air Force, the Defense Information Services Agency, and the U. S. Coast Guard as a Lead Associate at Booz Allen Hamilton.  I concluded my professional career working briefly within the City of New Orleans’ Civil Service office assessing applicants for civil servant positions throughout the city.

Christopher Talbot is a photographer and director of the School of Art at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, TX. He has photographed many historic sites on the Camino Real de los Tejas and has partnered with the National Park Service to create photographic exhibitions to educate the public on the history of the trail.

Lynn F. Young is a native Houstonian and has been actively engaged in preserving and promoting our nation’s history for decades. She has been an active member of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution since 1977. A native of Houston, Texas, Lynn is the fourth of six generations of DAR/SAR/C.A.R members.