Board of Directors
Board of Directors
Dr. William Perkins — Chairman of the Board
Dr. William D. (Bill) Perkins serves as the Chairman of the Board for Patriot PAWS. After graduating with a Ph.D. from the University of Washington (Seattle), he did his postdoctoral fellowship and faculty appointment in pathology at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Perkins’ expertise in oncology and clinical medicine led him to several senior leadership positions in global pharmaceutical companies through the years. He is now retired from the healthcare industry, living in Texas and devoting his time to Patriot PAWS.
Lori Stevens — Founder and Executive Director of Patriot PAWS
Ms. Stevens has more than 20 years of dog-training experience, an entrepreneurial spirit and a passion for helping others; Lori Stevens became the founder and Executive Director of Patriot PAWS. Since 2006 when the organization was founded, Stevens has provided numerous disabled veterans with dogs trained to fit and assist their needs. She has also partnered with the TDCJ to train prison inmates to train these service dogs. Before Patriot PAWS, Stevens was the owner of Country K9 Academy. She is a graduate of the Karen Pryor Academy and has also had experience working at THSD, PETCO, and Lone Star Assistance Dogs. Along with being a certified pet dog trainer, her attendance and participation in numerous workshops truly shows how dedicated Stevens is to these animals and the people receiving help from them.
Mike L. Kovar – Treasurer
Mike graduated cum laude from Texas State University in 1984 with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. Following graduation he worked for the Big 4 accounting firm Ernst & Young for five years in both their Houston and Dallas offices, specializing in auditing. Subsequent to this, he has served over twenty-three years in the private sector, the last twelve at Fossil, Inc. where he is currently the company’s Executive Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer. His responsibilities include oversight of the company’s global financial, compliance and investor relations functions. Mike is a registered Certified Public Accountant and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants. Mike also serves on the Board of Directors of Fritz Industries, a private company based in Mesquite, Texas.
Mike and his lovely wife, Jana, have been married for twenty-four years and have two daughters, Kyleigh and Kaity, who are both attending the Dallas Institute of Art. Mike enjoys watching and participating in all sports, hunting and fishing, the beach and spending time with his three lovely girls.
Terri Stringer — Secretary
Terri Stringer, who began as a part-time sales associate in 1990, is the Regional Training Manager for Petco Animal Supplies, Inc. Terri covers 13 states in the central portion of the country for Petco coordinating and conducting training for new stores as well as management training, writing training documentation and supervising Store Trainers. She graduated from Amber University in Garland, Texas. Terri taught dog obedience for 10 years and in 2001, was selected to serve on Petco’s National Dog Obedience Committee. She was formerly a Temperament Evaluator for Texas Rehabilitation Service Animals (TRSA) at Baylor Hospital and had two animal assistance therapy dogs – one of which won Therapy Dog of the Year in 1992.
William Cecil — Board Member
William “Bill” Cecil was elected mayor of Rockwall in 2005 after serving more than five years on the Rockwall city council. He currently serves as the council liaison and an ex-officio director of the Rockwall Economic Development Corporation. As the vice chair of the Rockwall County Emergency Services Corporation, Cecil dedicates a great deal of time supporting the arts and historic preservation in his community. He retired from the U.S. Air Force Reserves in 2002 as a lieutenant colonel after 42 years of service. He is a graduate of Langston University and majored in business and administrative management. Cecil then earned postgraduate credit from the Defense Systems Management College in defense systems management. He and his wife, Becky, are proud parents of Renée, Jack and daughter-in-law Angela. They also have two grandchildren, Garrett and Rylie.
Clay Rankin — Board Member
Clay Rankin joined the U.S. Army in 1979 as a military police officer. During his distinguished career with the Army, he was deployed in both the Gulf War and Operation Iraqi Freedom; he has received several accommodations, including the Bronze Star for Valor. In the civilian sector security and law enforcement, Clay was awarded and presented the Medal of Valor by the city of Northglenn, CO. Throughout his career he has continued his education to include a Masters Degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Colorado and more recently he attended the Entrepreneurial Boot Camp for Veterans with Disabilities at Florida State University.
In 2008 after medically retiring from the military, Clay Rankin began a new chapter in his life as an Army Wounded Warrior Program (AW2) Advocate. As an Advocate, Clay utilized his leadership and team-building skills, to provide personalized support to severely wounded, injured, and ill Soldiers and their Families. As a severely wounded soldier himself, Clay knows what Soldiers and Families need and how to help them get it. With assistance from his service dog Harley, Clay has discovered that having a disability does not impact his ability to help others.
In August 2010, Clay Rankin left his position as an Army Wounded Warrior Advocate and has since focused his energies on volunteering with numerous non-profit organizations throughout the United States that focus on serving the Wounded Warrior population. Serving his military brothers and sisters by identifying services and devices to make disabled veterans safe so they can still be productive members of society is important to Clay. Helping them to realize that although they may be severely injured, their lives are not over, they can continue living full lives.
Dr. Rhonda Phillips Black — Board Member
As the owner of Country Friends Veterinary Clinic in Royse City, Texas since 1996, Dr. Rhonda has cared for the dogs of Patriot Paws since the organization’s beginning. She is a perfect fit for this board. She has known Lori for over 20 years and continues to care for the assistance dogs as they progress through the program. Dr Phillips graduated from Oklahoma State University School of Veterinary Medicine. Along with Patriot PAWS, she has served over 12 years with the Royse City Independent School Board, serves on the Royse City ISD Education Foundation Board, and the City of Royse City Animal Shelter / Control Board. She is a member of the First United Methodist Church of Royse City and volunteers with the youth ministries. Dr. Phillips is also a member of the American Animal Hospital Association, the American Veterinary Medical Association and the Texas Veterinary Medical Association. She is married to Pete and has 3 children, Ryon, Colby and Maggie.
Christina Melton Crain – Board Member
Immediate Former Chairman, Texas Board of Criminal Justice; Chairman, Dallas One-Stop Optimized Reentry System (DOORS); Director, State Bar of Texas; Immediate Past President, Dallas Bar Association; Attorney and Counselor.
Nate Crain – Board Member
Nate Crain is a businessman, President, Crain Information Systems, Inc., Texas State Rifle Association Foundation President, SMU Centennial Campaign Member, and Former Chairman, Dallas County Republican Party.