In 2020, Southwestern Adventist University welcomed six new members to its diverse Board of Trustees. These individuals join a body of 32 leaders committed to advancing a foundation of excellence through Christ-centered higher education.
Representing a variety of industries and residing in locations from across the United States, the leadership skills and qualities each new member brings, will strengthen the mission of Southwestern Adventist University to inspire knowledge, faith and service.
Douglas Bowyer is president of 1stel, Inc., a telecommunications provider headquartered in Texas and serving select industries nationwide. When Mr. Bowyer is not tending to business, he enjoys scuba diving, mountaineering and traveling. His most cherished moments are spent with his wife of 40 years, their three children and grandchildren. Mr. Bowyer shares a love for Christian education and currently serves as Chairman of the Board at Keene Adventist Elementary School.
Penny Johnson was named president/CEO for Texas Health Huguley Hospital Fort Worth South and AdventHealth’s Southwest Region in early 2020. She has served in various financial leadership roles with AdventHealth since 2002. Mrs. Johnson is known as a dynamic, community focused leader. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration and Accounting degree from Union College and a Master of Business Administration degree from Baker University. Mrs. Johnson and her husband Jeff have two children. She enjoys traveling and spending time with her family.
Dr. Guillermo Pechero is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon and Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, practicing at the Rio Grande Valley Orthopedic Center for over 23 years. As a proud native of the Rio Grande Valley, he graduated from the University of Texas-Pan American (UTPA) with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry in 1983. He graduated and received his M.D. in 1992 from Albany College in New York. In 1997, he completed his orthopedic surgery residency program at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada. Dr. Pechero served as chairman of the board for South Texas Christian Academy for 15 years. During this time, enrollment increased from 60 to 350 students and he was instrumental in the construction of a new multi-million dollar state-of-the art campus. He and his wife Angela are blessed with three children.
Lili Gil Valletta is an award-winning entrepreneur, recognized cultural intelligence® expert, A.I. tech innovator and World Economic Forum Young Global Leader. Mrs. Valletta co-founded CIEN+ and CulturIntel, a firm globally recognized as a leader in AI-powered market research, business consulting and cultural marketing strategies. She is an active voice, collaborating on various initiatives at the United Nations, the World Economic Forum and The White House. Mrs. Valletta holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Southwestern Adventist University, a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Colorado and an executive degree from the Harvard Kennedy School in Global Leadership and Public Policy. Mrs. Valletta arrived at SWAU as an ESL student and credits this experience for helping to form a solid foundation for a successful career. She resides in New York with her husband and their two sons.
Tim Whitley has an established career with AT&T, serving in a variety of legal roles since 2000. He is currently a VP and Associate General Counsel for AT&T’s Global Enterprise Sales & National Business division. As a board-certified trial attorney, he has extensive litigation experience in state, federal, and appellate courts ranging in complex litigation. Mr. Whitley is a 1993 graduate of Southwestern Adventist University and a 1996 graduate of the Dedman School of Law at Southern Methodist University. He is an active member of the Arlington SDA Church. He and his wife Catrina have been married for 25 years and have two daughters.
Charlie Wilson is Senior Vice President for Buckner Retirement Services, Inc., having worked at Buckner since 2000. Under his leadership, Buckner has been ranked in the top 25 Great Places to Work for the past three years. Mr. Wilson is passionate about improving quality of life for the older generation and serves on a number of boards protecting the interests of senior citizens. Mr. Wilson is an alum of Southwestern Adventist University, graduating with a Master of Business Administration degree in 2007. Charlie and his wife, Donna, have four children and are active members of Keene Seventh-day Adventist Church in Keene, Texas.
“Southwestern Adventist University appreciates the individuals who have answered the call to leadership through service as new members of the Board of Trustees,” remarked President Ken Shaw. “Each member brings with them a unique combination of experience and expertise. They join an existing group of board members who share a commitment to supporting the vision and mission of our university as we look forward to continuing the work of advancing Christ-centered education.”