In Houston, the success of Genesys Works is driven by a dedicated board and committed staff.
Houston Board of Directors
Rafael Alvarez, Founder & CEO, Genesys Works
Rafael Alvarez is the founder and CEO of Genesys Works, a not-for-profit organization that provides internship opportunities as well as technical and professional skills for underserved high school students. Mr. Alvarez has been named by Forbes Magazine in their “Impact 30” list of the world’s top social entrepreneurs. Prior to starting Genesys Works in 2002, Mr. Alvarez was a corporate strategist for a Fortune 50 company.
Mr. Alvarez is involved in education reform initiatives where he is viewed as an innovator. He currently serves on the boards of the Spring Branch Education Foundation, the Houston Education Research Consortium, and his church, the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral. Mr. Alvarez obtained a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Texas A&M University and a Master of Science in Engineering Management from the University of Houston. A native of Mexico City, Alvarez resides in Houston, Texas with his wife, and their three daughters.
Hector Avellaneda, Engineering Software Program Manager, Hewlett Packard
Hector Avellaneda is an Engineering Software Program Manager in the Technology Services, Server Division of Hewlett Packard. Mr. Avellaneda was part of Genesys Works Class 1 in 2002 and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Technology Management from Texas A&M University (2008).
Mr. Avellaneda sees his opportunity to serve on the Board of Directors of Genesys Works as a way of “paying it forward” to future generations of young professionals like himself, using his personal and professional experiences to continue the mission and goals of Genesys Works. Avellaneda’s service on the board is not only a tribute to his experience with Genesys Works in the past; it is also preparation for his future goal to begin and lead a non-profit organization of his own. A native of Houston, Texas, Mr. Avellaneda resides north of Houston, in Tomball, with his wife.
Brad Breau, Chief Technology Officer, American General Life Companies, LLC
Prior to joining American General Life Companies as Chief Technology Officer in 2014, Brad Breau served as Executive Director for JPMorgan Chase (a leading global financial services company) in Houston, Texas since 2003, focusing on investment banking and information technology. Prior to that, Brad worked for Accenture (an international management consulting and technology services firm) from 1993 until 2003. He was with Accenture for 10 years where he held management positions focused on Accenture's Energy industry group serving upstream, downstream and oil service companies. Brad also resides as a Director of Father's Joy (a not-for-profit organization for families with children diagnosed with a disability).
Roberto Contreras, President & CEO, St. Christopher Holdings
Roberto Contreras has made a name for himself as a respected entrepreneur, with strong business ties in the United States, Mexico, and Europe. Mr. Contreras has started and owned several highly successful companies, including a surfacing company that is renowned world-wide, Cosentino North America. He received national and international recognition for his business accomplishments, including Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2002; Time Magazine's award to Cosentino's product Silestone as one of the Visions of Tomorrow in 2004; and in 2005 Cosentino was recognized by Inc. 500 as one of the 500 fastest-growing private companies in the US. Mr. Contreras is also active in the community, serving on the Boards of the Houston Zoo, Prepared-4-Life's Lemonade Day Houston, the Board of Trustees for the KIPP Academy, and is a member of the Harris County Sheriff's Office Foundation and the Young Presidents Organization.
Marian Davenport, Executive Director, Genesys Works - Houston
Joining Genesys Works in April 2013, Marian brings extensive experience from her work in both the nonprofit and corporate sectors. She has held executive positions with Big Brothers Big Sisters, initially as President and CEO of the Greater Houston agency, then as Senior Vice President, Operations and Capacity Building at Big Brothers Big Sisters Lone Star. Previously, her experience in the corporate sector included positions with Dynegy Inc., Destec Energy, Inc., PSE Inc. and Cameron Iron Works, Inc. Marian also serves on the Public Service Sector Committee for Neighborhood Centers Inc., on the Board of Directors of the Fourth Ward Redevelopment Authority, as a member of the Greater Houston Partnership Executive Women’s Partnership Committee, and as a Senior Fellow with the American Leadership Forum‘s Houston/Gulf Coast Chapter. A graduate of Colorado College with a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts and Sciences, she also holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Denver, College of Law and is a member of the State Bar of Texas.
Myra Davis, Senior VP & CIO, Texas Children's Hospital
Myra Davis is the Sr. Vice President/Chief Information Officer at Texas Children's Hospital. Currently as the Sr.VP/CIO of Information Services, Ms. Davis has the responsibility to enhance the operation and services of the IS department by maintaining on-going emphasis on partnerships, customer values, project management, teamwork and implementation of successful operational practices. Her responsibilities include leading a management team of 5 and a staff of 350. Ms. Davis is on the Strategic Advisory Board for HDI – Help Desk Institute; CHIME - College of Healthcare Information Management Executives and the Health Information Exchange Advisory Committee (HIE). She has received a number of notable awards, including the Association for Women in Computing Leadership in Technology Award (2007), the CIO 100 Innovation Award (2011), and Health Care Most Wired Innovator Award (2013)
Twila Day, Managing Director, Alvarez and Marsal (Chairman)
Twila Day joined Alvarez and Marsal business consulting as Managing Director in 2013 after serving as Senior Vice President, CIO for Sysco Corporation, the global leader in foodservice marketing and distribution since November 2009. Prior to that, she served as Vice President and CIO since December 2005. Twila directs Sysco Corporation's information technology organization including system operations, applications, strategy, planning, and data management of the enterprise. She received the 2003 Leadership in Technology Award from the Association of Women in Computing and in 2008 Techxans CIO Innovations Institute recognized Twila with their Leadership in the Technology Industry & Influence on Young People award. She is also actively engaged with the CIO Executive Council, as Governing Body Vice Chair for the CIO Executive Summit, Tuck School of Dartmouth Leadership Roundtable, IBM Power Systems Board of Advisors, SAP CIO Executive Council for Retail and Wholesale, Association for Women in Computing (AWC), Women in Technology Industries (WITI), and Women in Foodservice Forum (WFF).
Keith Farris, Executive Director, JPMorgan Chase
Keith is a graduate of Baylor University and has been a technology professional in the Houston market for over 20 years, spending most of that time in the commodities trading arena. He is currently an Executive Director at JPMorgan focused in Fixed Income trading technology. He also serves as the Houston site lead for the Commercial & Investment Bank technology group at JPMorgan. Outside of work, Keith is deeply involved with students at his church in Sugar Land. He and his wife Ashley are the proud parents of 3 kids; Kelsey - 15, Jake - 13 and Megan - 10.
Myrtle Jones, Senior VP - Tax, Halliburton
Myrtle L. Jones is Halliburton’s Senior Vice President of Tax. Based in Houston, Texas, she has more than 30 years of experience in international and domestic tax compliance and strategic tax planning.
Before joining Halliburton in this role in 2013, Ms. Jones served as Senior Managing Director of Tax and Internal Audit for Service Corporation International (SCI) in Houston. In her role as the Chief Tax Officer for SCI, she managed all aspects of federal, foreign and state income taxes, sales and use taxes, property taxes, accounting for income tax, tax audits and tax planning. For the last two years, she also provided oversight to SCI’s Internal Audit function and led that team through a major transformational improvement process.
Prior to joining SCI in 2008, Ms. Jones was Vice President of Tax for GlobalSantaFe Corporation, where she was responsible for developing and implementing worldwide tax planning strategies, tax risk management, and income tax reporting. She joined Global Marine, GlobalSantaFe’s predecessor company, in 1986 and held numerous positions of increasing responsibility until her promotion to vice president in 2006. Ms. Jones participated on the teams that integrated the tax structures and operations of Global Marine and Santa Fe after their merger in 2001, and of Transocean and GlobalSantaFe after their merger in 2007.
Ms. Jones holds a Bachelor of Accounting degree from Mississippi State University. She is a Certified Public Accountant in Texas, and is a member of Tax Executives Institute and The International Tax Forum of Houston. She is also a member of the United Way Women’s Initiative Steering Committee.
R. Bruce Northcutt, Director, Westlake Chemical Corporation
R. Bruce Northcutt serves as Director at Westlake Chemical Corporation. Prior to his current role, he served as Director, President and CEO of Copano Energy, L.L.C. from November 2009 to May 2013 and was President and Chief Operating Officer from April 2003 until November 2009. Mr. Northcutt served as President of El Paso Global Networks Company (a subsidiary of El Paso Corporation) from November 2001 until April 2003; Managing Director of El Paso Global Networks Company from April 1999 until November 2001 and Vice President, Business Development, of El Paso Gas Services Company from January 1998 until April 1999. Mr. Northcutt began his career with Tenneco Oil Exploration and Production in 1982 working in the areas of drilling and production engineering. From 1988 until 1998, Mr. Northcutt held various levels of responsibility within several business units of El Paso Energy and its predecessor, Tenneco Energy, including supervision of pipeline supply and marketing as well as regulatory functions. Mr. Northcutt holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Petroleum Engineering from Texas Tech University and is a Registered Professional Engineer in Texas.
Michael D. Preston, Executive Partner, Accenture
Michael D. Preston has lived in Houston since 1991, residing in Kingwood. Michael attended the University of Nebraska and earned a BS in Industrial Engineering in 1990. He played football for the Nebraska Cornhuskers, was an Academic All American and graduated number two within the Industrial Engineering College. Michael started his career with Price Waterhouse. He joined Dynegy in 1996 and became the CIO of Dynegy's Energy Trading Business. In 2003, Michael joined Accenture and is currently an Executive Partner in Accenture's Global Energy business. Michael has been in the Energy business for over 20 years focusing on Technology, Consulting and Outsourcing.
Dr. Scott Van Beck, Executive Director, Houston A+ Challenge
Dr. Scott Van Beck is a native Iowan and holds a B.A. in History from the University of Iowa, an M.A. in History from the University of Houston, and a Doctorate of Education from the University of Houston. He started his professional career as a teacher at Lanier Middle School in Houston ISD. Later, he taught and served as an assistant principal at Lamar High School, then principal of Paul Revere Middle School. During the 1996-97 school year, Scott was selected Region IV middle school principal of the year. In 1999, he was named principal of the new Westside High School.
Scott has served in numerous school leadership capacities, especially those focusing on high school transformation through small school development. In April 2005, he was named West Region Superintendent for Houston ISD, where he supervised 60+schools with a student population of over 54,000.
In December 2007, Scott was named Executive Director of Houston A+ Challenge, where he provides vision and direction for a portfolio of inter-related programs designed to increase student college and career readiness, by strengthening classroom instruction, school leadership, and district support for student post-secondary success.
He has been married 25 years to his wife Sarah and is father to four native Texans – Wesley, Helen, Sam and Neil. In his spare time, he referees high school basketball games.
Evan Kirchen, Vice President, Williams
Evan Kirchen, a registered Professional Engineer in Louisiana, graduated from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering. He has more than 25 years of industry experience in facility design, process safety management, operations management and senior company management.
Evan began his career in the Specialty Chemical industry working for Hercules, Inc. (now owned by Ashland Chemical) in a facility closely associated with the Pulp & Paper business. He moved to the Gulf Coast to take advantage of the many opportunities that the Oil & Gas Industry offers, starting as a safety advisor to major oil companies looking to implement the then-new OSHA regulation for Process Safety Management.
Years of engineering design and construction management have given Evan a broad background in a variety of energy project types, including oil and gas pipeline systems, onshore oil and gas treating plants, floating production systems, and fixed offshore platforms. Beginning his career at Williams supporting the Gulf of Mexico franchises, Evan oversaw the execution of all deep water pipeline and facility expansions. Currently, he is the Vice President of Project Execution for the Williams Atlantic-Gulf Operating Area, which encompasses offshore pipeline systems, onshore gas processing facilities and the Transco Gas Transmission System.
Evan and his team of project managers, project engineers and project support staff steward a diverse multi-billion dollar project portfolio including greenfield gas transmission pipelines, associated gas compression facilities, and brownfield system expansions in regulated and unregulated environments.
Gene Janiszewski, Managing Partner, Paradigm Group
Gene Janiszewski founded the Paradigm group, one of Houston’s leading Professional and Executive Technology Search Firms, in November of 2003 after a 27-year track record in information systems. Prior to starting the Paradigm group, Mr. Janiszewski held positions as IT Partner/CIO with Sirius Solutions, Senior Director of Technical Services with Sysco Foods, IT Director of Vericenter, and SAP Worldwide, Director/CIO/Vice President of Information systems with Radisys/Texas Micro. Gene is the Vice President of Membership for SIM in 2015, an active board member of Workships for the National Business Development Association (NBDA), and the Membership Co-Chair of the Business Resource Group (BRG).
Previously, Gene served as President of the AITP (Association of Information Technology Professionals) Houston Chapter and Region 3 AITP Director of Conferences and 7 years Student Chapter Liaison. He is also former Co-Chair of the Houston Technology Center’s Tech Champs Group and current Technology screening committee member – working with many technology entrepreneurial companies, citywide technical organizations and business leaders to promote technology in the city of Houston. He served as a board member of the MIT Enterprise Forum, former Member of the Greater Houston Partnership EDC committee, was a facilitator and speaker for the Senior Manager’s Central Group Job Ministry for the past 8 years and actively takes a leadership role in the local Knights of Columbus organization.