MEET THE AYP
Allison Alvarez – Chair
Job Title: Marketing Director
Fun fact: Allison is a native Clyde American. She left the Abilene area briefly to attend the University of Texas in Austin (Hook ‘em!) and returned with her husband, Mike, to raise their twins, Jasmine and Logan, near family. Allison is an active member of the Abilene Chamber of Commerce, serving on the board for the Abilene Convention and Visitor’s Bureau and has volunteered on Leadership Abilene, Young Professionals Summit, and Celebration committees. Allison is passionate about the mission of AYP and hopes to welcome young professionals from many different industries and trades to build their network in Abilene.
Andy Garcia – Eide Bailly, LLP
Job Title: Senior Associate
Fun fact: Andy grew up in Winters and is a graduate from Angelo State University (ASU). After ASU, he moved to Central Texas and worked for a public accounting firm before moving to Abilene in 2021 to be closer to family. Outside of work Andy enjoys playing golf, binge watching shows with his wife, and taking trips with their two dogs.
Emma Meek - Jacob | Martin
Job Title: Project Manager, Civil Engineering - Municipal Services
Fun Fact: Emma is originally from small town Breckenridge, TX. Emma graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Texas A&M University, College Station. Following graduation, Emma moved to Dallas for 2 years and now has come back to West Texas with her husband, Stetson, with plans to make Abilene home. She loves people and has a desire to serve AYP and others within the community. Emma is excited to be amongst a group of individuals with aspirations to progress Abilene.
Jacob Hutson - Benchmark Business Solutions
Job Title: Market Leader
Fun Fact: Jacob was born and raised in Abilene, TX and graduated from Cooper High School and went on to attend Hardin-Simmons University. After HSU, he moved to Northwest Arkansas for 14 years and somehow became an Arkansas Razorback fan! In 2019, Jacob moved back to Abilene with his family and is excited about raising his family in his hometown. Jacob spends his time coaching various sports in the community and attending/volunteering at church. Jacob is passionate in community development and is excited about investing in the future of Abilene.
Kyle Felan - Big Country Title
Job Title: VP/Business Development
Fun Fact: Kyle is a native of Uvalde, Texas and attended Texas A&M University. Following graduation, he moved to Abilene where he began his professional career in collegiate athletics at ACU. After a 4-year stint in the finance realm, Kyle joined Big Country Title in 2022. Kyle is an active member of the Abilene Chamber of Commerce and the Big Country Home Builders Association, where he serves on several committees between the two organizations. He also serves as a board member for United Way of Abilene, Habitat for Humanity, and Junior Achievement. Kyle is passionate about stewarding the community for future generations to enjoy and build upon. He looks forward to growing the reach of AYP by helping members create authentic connections and relationships. Kyle’s free time is spent enjoying the company of his wife and two daughters.
PJ Martinez - Abilene Christian University (ACU)
Job Title: Associate Dean of Student Engagement
Fun Fact: PJ's memorable years took place in Clyde, America. He is a graduate of Clyde High School, Baylor University and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. During his last year in graduate school, he married his wife, Kristen, also a Big Country native. Soon after, they moved to Fayetteville, Arkansas - where PJ began his first professional full-time career at the University of Arkansas. PJ and Kristen moved back to Abilene in 2020 after they realized that family and grandparents were an essential part to living for them (not to mention free babysitting built in). They have two daughters, Wiley and Mila, who are constantly keeping them on their toes. He enjoys frequenting the local coffee shops and restaurants, Abilene Zoo with the girls and the various events that are hosted throughout the city. After returning to Abilene, PJ has enjoyed seeing the state of growth and newness evolving throughout the city. He currently serves on the CASA Board of Directors and volunteers his time with the United Way campaigns. He is excited to be part of the AYP Steering and give perspective on what college students and recent grads need, in order to become better involved in Abilene!
Stephanie DeLaGarza - Community Foundation of Abilene
Job Title: Donor Relations Director
Fun Fact: Stephanie is passionate about helping to build a vibrant local community through innovative events and community enhancements. Her background is in public relations, fundraising, and event management. She wants to utilize her expertise to help her fellow young professionals continue on the path to building a more vibrant Abilene. Stephanie's free time is spent enjoying the outdoors while camping at state parks with her husband and two young sons.
Joe Mangrem - Immediate Past Chair
Job Title: Project Manager
Fun Fact: Joe is from Alpine and graduated from Texas A&M University. As a professional engineer and business co-owner, Joe is excited to be part of the great young professional community that Abilene has built and looks forward to what the future will bring.
Collin Heidenheimer- First Financial Bank
Job Title: Assistant Vice President Commercial Lender
Fun Fact: Collin Heidenheimer was born and raised in Anson, TX, where he graduated from Anson High School and went on to attend Texas Tech University. Collin Heidenheimer received both a BBA and MSA in Accounting. In 2019, Collin moved back to Abilene to work at First Financial Bank as an Analyst and has worked his way up to commercial lender at the Antilley Location. Collin and his wife are expecting their first child in November 2022. Collin is very excited about joining the AYP steering committee and is looking forward to continuing to network and meet more of the young professionals in the Abilene community.
Hannah Durbin – United States Air Force
Job Title: Chief of Public Affairs
Fun Fact: Hannah was born in Kentucky and graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 2018 before heading to Europe for five years to serve in the Air Force. Hannah and her also active-duty spouse, Mike, were welcomed back to the U.S. with their move to Abilene in July 2023. She loves competing in triathlons and sharing her passion for civic education and local government with anyone who will listen. She’s excited to get plugged in to the Abilene Chamber and serve the AYP!
Kassidy Payne - Funeral Directors Life
Job Title: Client Success Manager
Fun Fact: Kassidy enjoys flying around the world, having visited 49 of the 50 states, exploring Greece alone, and studying abroad in London. Before this, she gained her wings as a fairy godmother at Disney World. Now that she’d landed in Abilene, she looks forward to building a great community for young professionals.
Kylen Williams – Condley & Company, LLP
Job Title: Tax Senior I
Fun Fact: Native Abilenian. 2019 graduate of Hardin-Simmons University. Now a CPA with 3 years at Condley & Company. Enjoys improvement projects at home (when there’s time) and glamping when the weather is swell.
Shelby Villarreal - Hendrick Health System
Job Title: Human Resource Business Partner
Fun Fact: Shelby happily relocated to Texas in 2015 with her husband and two daughters. She received her bachelor’s degree in Human Resource Management from Western Governors University. Shelby has been on the board of Abilene Young Professionals since 2022 and is currently co-chair of the 2024 AYP Summit. This year she was chosen to be one of the Loaned Executives for United Way and is an active Meals on Wheels volunteer. Shelby is passionate about meeting new young professionals and helping grow the AYP community.
Tiffany Nichols - Abilene Convention & Visitors Bureau
Job Title: Senior Sales Director
Fun Fact: Tiffany is an Abilenian. Although she briefly ventured away from the Abilene area to pursue her college basketball career, she returned to her hometown after getting engaged to her husband, Landon. Tiffany went on to complete both her undergraduate and graduate degrees at Hardin-Simmons University. In addition to her academic achievements, Tiffany is a mother to a two-year-old daughter named Lillian and four dachshunds. Beyond her family life, Tiffany is actively engaged in her community/state, serving on the boards of the Texas Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus, the Abilene Youth Sports Authority, the Texas Forts Trail, and the Junior League of Abilene. Tiffany's dedication to her community is further evidenced by her over six years of membership with the Abilene Young Professionals (AYP). She is genuinely passionate about Abilene and wholeheartedly supports AYP's mission. Her primary objective is to introduce fellow young professionals to the many reasons to love Abilene.