The Borderlands Research Institute for Natural Resource Management is part of Sul Ross State University (SRSU) and is in the Texas State University System. The Advisory Board is appointed by the President of SRSU and consists of 9-15 members represented by constituents of the Chihuahuan Desert Borderlands including landowners, civic leaders, and other interested parties. Advisory Board members provide guidance and advisement on Mission, Goals, Strategies of the Institute, assists in establishing research priorities in west Texas and northern Mexico, helps with fund-raising by identifying potential sources for research funding (i.e., individuals, foundations, corporations), and serve as “goodwill ambassadors” for the Institute.
J.P. Bryan, Houston, Texas
In 1978, J.P. Bryan and his wife, Mary Jon, bought the building and returned The Gage Hotel to its turn-of-the-century Trans-Pecos glory, melding the region’s rich ranching heritage of Mexican, Spanish and Native American cultures. J.P. is heavily involved with the Texas State Historical Association and has amassed over 25,000 exquisite pieces of Texana. His collection is considered the world’s largest, and includes artifacts, books, documents, maps, paintings and drawings. The purpose of the collection is to illustrate the vision, courage, integrity and entrepreneurial spirit with which the state of Texas and the American Southwest were founded. He is a proud University of Texas graduate and received a law degree from the school. He is the Founder, Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer of Torch Energy Advisors Incorporated (TEAI) of Houston. J.P. also serves as Chairman of the Board of Resaca Exploitation, Inc.
Thomas F. “Toby” Darden, Fort Worth, Texas
Toby Darden is CEO and Chairman of Darden Energy Group. Toby has been involved with oil and gas production since 1975, where he specializes in shale oil and gas development. Toby has served in leadership roles in several energy focused corporations including Mercury Exploration Company, Quicksilver Resources, Quicksilver Gas Services, Crestwood Midstream, Vermilion Cliffs Partners, and Wolfcamp Water Partners.
Toby received his B.A. in Economics from Tulane University in 1975. Toby has served on a variety of boards including the Neely School of Business Board of Visitors at TCU, the Cox School of Business/Maguire Energy Institute at SMU, and the Toby and Joanie Darden Family Foundation.
Toby and his wife Joanie own and operate the KC7 Ranch in the Davis Mountains and are proud parents of Grace, Kate, Rachel, Samantha, Lauren, and Jack.
Charles Davidson, San Antonio, Texas
Charles Davidson is a 4th generation Texan active and passionate about rural Texas and the outdoor pursuits. Charles is a Past President of the Texas Wildlife Association, a Trustee of the TWA Foundation, and a member of the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department’s White-tailed Deer Advisory Committee. Charles is also a member of the Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association and the Quality Deer Management Association. Charles is Partner with the Republic Ranches team and has hands on experience buying and selling ranch properties and interests as a principal, in addition to overseeing the nationwide operating commercial realty portfolio for his previous employer. Charles received a Bachelor of Science degree from Washington & Lee University and a MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. Charles owns and operates a ranch in Real County and resides in San Antonio with his wife and three children.
Elliott G. Hayne, San Antonio, Texas
Elliott Hayne was raised in San Antonio, with west Texas family roots! Hayne is a great-great grandchild of A. S. Gage, famous for their cattle ranch located in Brewster and Presidio Counties in west Texas. In 2008, Elliott created SA Fresh Catering. Elliott’s culinary philosophy and passion reflects the growing trend towards healthier eating and a down-to-earth lifestyle. Elliott currently serves as chairman of the Borderlands Research Institute and is an active member of the Texas Wildlife Association.
Dan Allen Hughes, Jr., Beeville, Texas
Dan Allen Hughes was appointed to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission, by Gov. Rick Perry in 2009. He serves as president of Dan A. Hughes Company, an oil and gas exploration company based in Beeville and is president of Hupecol Operating Company and CEO of Maverick American Natural Gas. He is also a member of the Texas A&M University College of Geosciences Advisory Council and a member of the All-American Wildcatters. Hughes and his wife Peggy are both Texas A&M graduates, and have three children.
Parker Johnson, Houston, Texas
Parker Johnson is the Senior Vice President, Chief Facilities Operator at Silver Eagle Distributors. Silver Eagle Distributors is the nation’s largest distributor of Anheuser-Busch products. Parker is a native of San Antonio, Texas. Since childhood, he has been in the family Registered Hereford cattle ranching business and is currently managing wildlife habitat and conservation programs at the family ranch in West Texas. Parker is very active in various charities and conservation organizations in Houston, San Antonio and throughout Texas. His involvement includes memberships in Order of The Alamo, San Antonio German Club, Tejas Vaqueros, American Quarter Horse Association, National Cutting Horse Association, American Cutting Horse Association, Lifetime Member of the Texas Wildlife Association, Bighorn Sheep Society, Coastal Conservation Association, Ducks Unlimited, and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Parker received a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management from Texas Tech University. Parker and his wife Victoria reside in Houston, Texas, with their daughter Liston and son Case.
James King, Fort Davis, Texas
James King is a six generation direct decedent of Captain Richard King growing up in Corpus Christi and on family ranches in south Texas. After graduating in 1981 from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Science in Rangeland Ecology, James started a career in Natural Resource Conservation and Real Estate. Working for 19 years with The Nature Conservancy as part of the statewide senior management team and head of real estate, James lead the efforts to protect over 500,000 acres of our state’s most important conservation lands and waters, including Diamond Y Preserve, Hoskins Mound, South Padre Island, Lower Rio Grande River, Barton Creek Preserve, Dolan Falls Preserve, James River Bat Cave, Independence Creek Preserve, Davis Mountains Preserve, Balcones Canyonlands, and many more. James has additionally protected over 300,000 acres in landscapes such as the Devils River, Lower Pecos River, Davis Mountains, Marfa Grasslands, and Chinati Mountains using private conservation tools like Conservation Easements and Conservation Buyers. James left The Nature Conservancy in 2008 to start his own statewide conservation real estate business, King Land & Water LLC, with his wife Tammy and is active today in many major conservation projects across the state. James serves on the board of the Trans Pecos Water Trust and on the Executive Committee of McDonald Observatory Board of Visitors.
Bobby McKnight, Fort Davis, Texas
Bobby McKnight and his wife, Lynda, are both very proudly west Texan. Seven generations of the McKnight family have worked Texas’ land as agriculturists and ranchers, thus good stewardship has always been of utmost importance. Bobby is a partner in McKnight Ranch Co., operating in Jeff Davis, Brewster, Reeves, Crane and Ector counties. He serves as a Director of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and is on the executive committee of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association. Previously, Bobby served on the Board of Governors for the Permian Basin Area Foundation and the Federal Reserve. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Texas Christian University.
Dana Nunley, Sabinal, Texas
Dana Winkle Nunley was born in Uvalde, Texas and is a fifth generation Texan. Dana attended Sul Ross State University, Rio Grande College where she studied English. Dana and her husband Bob are passionate about wildlife and ranching. Dana is actively engaged in Nunley Brothers Cattle Company which run cattle on ranches in South Texas, the Hill Country, Southern High Plains, and the Trans Pecos. Dana and her family live on their Coyote Ranch near Sabinal, Texas. Dana is an avid bird, deer, and elk hunter and loves to spend time with her family on their ranches in west Texas.
John B. Poindexter, Houston, Texas
John Poindexter is a third-generation Texan and a military veteran who lives in Houston and the Big Bend region of West Texas. He holds a Ph.D. in Economics and Finance from New York University, and was a highly decorated member of the U.S. Army. John is currently the Chairman of the Board and CEO of J.B. Poindexter & Co., Inc., a member of the Director’s Advisory Council of the Museum of the Big Bend, and was Chairman of its Development Committee. Poindexter is most at home at his historical Cibolo Creek Ranch, which is used by cultural, academic, business and civic organizations for meetings and other functions. He actively restored the ranch and has written a book describing its history and the biography of the area’s founder in “The Cibolo Creek Ranch” (1990). He is also the author of several works on historical, military, genealogical and economic subjects.
Ruthie Bowman Russell, San Antonio, Texas
Ruthie Bowman Russell inherited her conservation values and love of west Texas land from her grandmother, whom she grew up visiting on weekends and during the summers. She has been ranching since 1970, and she is passionate about preserving the land, its wildlife, native habitat, and educating youth on how to do the same. Ruthie works to educate the public on the importance of ranchers, who she describes as the stakeholders who “keep our air and water pure while protecting habitat and wildlife.” Russell has served on the SMH school, Santa Rosa Children’s Hospital, Los Compadres, and Texas Wildlife Association boards. She currently shares her expertise with the Texas Nature Conservancy, South Llano Watershed Alliance, Mind Science Foundation, and Borderlands Research Institute’s advisory board.
Allen W. Smith, Austin, Texas
Born and raised in Austin, Texas, Allen Smith found his love for wildlife and the outdoors at a young age, learning from experience on his family’s ranches across the state. After graduating from St. Edward’s University with a Bachelor of Business Administration, Allen worked as a petroleum marketer for Triple S Petroleum Company in Austin for 17 years before starting his own fleet card company, Texas Fleet Fuels, in 2006. He is currently a member of Borderlands Research Institute’s Advisory Board and brings in personal knowledge from his family’s property, Reagan Canyon Ranch in West Texas. He also serves as president of the newly formed Borderlands Research Foundation, is a lifetime member of the Texas Bighorn Sheep Society, and recently completed the Grand Slam of North American Wild Sheep in 2018. Allen shares his love of hunting and conservation with his two daughters, Hallie and Lizzie, and enjoys spending time with his wife, Mimi, traveling and flying to new places.
Kelly R. Thompson, Fort Worth, Texas
Kelly R. Thompson manages a family office engaged in public and private investments, including publicly-traded investments, oil and gas, real estate, and agriculture. He formerly served as a principal of Crates Thompson Capital, a private equity firm, formed in 1996. Mr. Thompson has served as a director of privately-held companies engaged in manufacturing, distribution, retail, financial services, and energy. Previously, he served as a senior officer and director of a private bank holding company in Texas responsible for investments and acquisitions. He serves on several non-profit boards, including as chair of the Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation, and as chair of the Upland Game Bird Advisory Committee for the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. Mr. Thompson is the mayor pro tem of the Town of Westover Hills. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 1981 with a B.B.A. in Finance.
Justin B. Yarborough, Austin, Texas
Justin B. Yarborough is the President of Big Bend Brewing Co. and serves as a Captain in the United States Marine Corps Reserves. Prior to joining Big Bend Brewing Co., Justin was a director at Kayne Anderson Capital, a leading manager of alternative investment strategies specializing in oil and gas, real estate, credit, and growth private equity. Mr. Yarborough has held various positions in both the public and private sectors with Morgan Stanley, Texas House of Representatives, and the U.S. Marine Corps. Justin is from Alpine, TX where his family has been in the ranching business for decades near Big Bend National Park. Justin received his law degree from St. Mary’s School of Law and his bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech University, where he walked-on to the football team. He and his wife Ashley, a graduate of TCU, reside in Austin.