Amarillo CVB Board of Directors
The CVB Board operates within the framework of a calendar year. However, the founding board was appointed on October 1, 2020, coinciding with the formation of the Amarillo Convention & Visitors Bureau (AKA Visit Amarillo) as a standalone organization. Staggered terms were implemented to ensure a consistent and stable rotation in subsequent years. Subsequent appointments of the initial board, as well as any new board members, entail three-year terms. A special provision, denoted as Term 3, is exclusively applicable to individuals who fulfill the remainder of another member's term and express the desire to serve two full terms.
The board's composition is carefully structured, mandating representation from distinct sectors: 1 City Council Member, 2 Attractions representatives, 3 Hoteliers, and 3 At-large Citizens. Additionally, the board encompasses three ex-officio positions, occupied by the Executive Director of Center City of Amarillo, along with the General Managers of the Tri-State Expo and Amarillo Civic Center Complex.
Board officers are entrusted with two-year terms, with the possibility of serving an additional term. Notably, the President holds a one-year post-president position upon completing their term. This comprehensive governance structure ensures a diverse and robust leadership team, contributing to the effective management and strategic direction of the CVB Board.
Angela D. Knapp Eggers
Angela Knapp Eggers is the Senior Director of the Laura W. Bush Institute for Women’s Health in Amarillo, where she has served for more than thirteen years. A native of Pampa where she graduated as a Fighting Harvester, she then received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Ballet Performance at the University of Oklahoma. She has lived in Amarillo for 44 years where she focuses her work on non-profit management and special events. She is an active volunteer serving on several committees of the Amarillo Convention and Visitors Bureau, City of Amarillo and the Amarillo Rescue Shelter. In her non-profit career, she has raised more than $12M for organizations in Amarillo. She is married to Vincent Eggers, has two remarkable children Shelby and Philip who are married and have provided her with her greatest gifts . . . four grandchildren! Having been born an original, Angela’s goal is to not die a copy. She surrounds herself with those who make her happy and provide fulfillment – did she mention her grandchildren? Much of life’s satisfaction comes from her work at the Institute and she enjoys telling others about the remarkable work provided.
Phyllis Nickum Golden
Treasurer - Attraction
Phyllis Nickum Golden, a former hotel executive turned rancher and Head Cowgirl, founded Cowgirls and Cowboys in the West in 2011, a renowned western tourism attraction. Raised in hotels as the daughter of a hotelier, Phyllis's move to Amarillo in 1994 allowed her to embrace Texas western culture and pursue her passion for horses and ranching. A graduate of Northeastern State University in Tourism and Business Administration, Phyllis actively contributes to the community. She serves on boards for the Amarillo Convention and Visitor's Bureau, Amarillo Women's Network, and the Amarillo Tri-State Fair Exposition. A founding member of the 100 Club of the Texas Panhandle, she previously served on boards for Family Support Services and Kid's Inc. Phyllis resides on her ranch overlooking Palo Duro Canyon, living the Western way of life with her husband, District Judge Douglas Golden.
Vimal Vic Ragha
Vice President - Hotel
Vimal Vic Ragha has been in Amarillo for 31 years since 1987, when his parents pursued their dream in the hotel business. Despite the initial challenges of moving from a big city to a smaller one, the Amarillo community embraced them, making the transition easy. Growing up in the hotel, Vic gained a unique perspective on hospitality, learning various skills from front desk duties to troubleshooting equipment. After graduating in 1999, he pursued medicine at the University of San Antonio but switched to engineering. In 2003, he joined the Aerospace industry, advancing quickly until a 2006 accident changed his path. Returning to Amarillo in 2007, he reengaged in the family hotel business. Today, their family business has grown, employing over 50 people. He has built a stable life, earned his pilot's license, advanced his political career, and received a U.S. Utility Patent. In 2012, he built his dream home in Amarillo, instilling the same values he received from the community years ago.
Board of Directors
Alpesh Patel, CHO With over 9 years of experience in architectural design, project management, and construction documents, Alpesh Patel is the Chief Hospitality Officer at RL Hospitality Group, LLC. Based in Amarillo, Texas, Alpesh has excelled in driving new business and maintaining high client retention rates at Americas Best Value Inn since 2011. Recognized for his leadership, he also serves as an Advisory Board Member for Red Lion Hotels. As a Project Coordinator and Senior Associate Intern Architect, Alpesh's expertise extends to notable projects worldwide, including the $700 million Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando and the Fairmont Hotel & Resort in Dubai, UAE. His contributions to entertainment projects at Walt Disney World Imagineering showcase his attention to detail and commitment to design intent. Alpesh Patel's versatile career and dedication to quality make him a respected figure in the hospitality and architectural industries.
Beth Duke is executive director of Center City of Amarillo, a nationally recognized and award-winning Texas Main Street City. Duke joined Center City after retiring as an award-winning city editor from the Amarillo Globe-News in 2005. She is the co-author of a college textbook, “A Woman’s Place: Management.” She was student editor of the Amarillo College and Baylor University newspapers. She graduated with honors from Baylor with a degree in journalism with a minor in history. She has served on the boards of Opportunity School, the YMCA, High Plains Food Bank, Amarillo West Rotary Club, the Amarillo Junior League, the Amarillo College Foundation and the Amarillo Area Foundation. She served as facilitator for the Amarillo Area Foundation Executive Director Leader Circle for several years. In 2019, Beth was named Amarillo Woman of the Year by the Amarillo Globe-News and received the Founders’ Award from the Texas Historical Commission for Heritage Community Building. She in in the Hall of Fame at Tascosa High School, the Amarillo College Mass Communications Hall of Fame and is a Distinguished Alumna of Amarillo College. She is married to photographer Ralph Duke.
Bo Fowlkes, a dedicated professional with a profound commitment to Amarillo, currently holds the esteemed position of General Manager at the Amarillo Civic Center Complex. Bo's journey within the Civic Center began in 1999 when he joined as an event supervisor. His unwavering dedication and exceptional contributions led to successive promotions, propelling him to roles such as business manager and assistant GM. Currently serving as the General Manager, Bo brings a wealth of experience and an innate passion for Amarillo to his leadership role. Beyond his professional achievements, Bo is known as a devoted family man, emphasizing the importance of community and connection. His multifaceted career at the Amarillo Civic Center Complex reflects both his professional prowess and his deep-rooted commitment to the vibrant city he serves.
Bobby Lee, a community-driven visionary, is the driving force behind the world-famous Big Texan Steak Ranch, a quirky attraction known for its exceptional steaks and Texas-sized hospitality. Alongside his brother Danny Lee, Bobby has not only sustained but enhanced the charm of this iconic establishment. Renowned globally for its larger-than-life persona, the Big Texan is more than just a culinary standout; it's a beloved, offbeat destination where visitors are treated to an unforgettable experience. Bobby Lee, a culinary entrepreneur with a heart for community, continues to amplify the Big Texan's reputation as a quirky and cherished landmark in Amarillo and beyond.
Brady Ragland grew up near Lubbock, Texas. He attended Blinn College and Texas Tech University. While at Texas Tech, he was a member of the 2011 National Champion livestock judging team and was the high individual overall. After graduating with his master’s degree from Texas Tech, he moved to San Antonio and served as the Livestock Director for the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo. From there, he moved to Montgomery, Alabama and worked for the Alabama Farmer’s Federation as the Beef Commodity Director. Currently, he lives in Amarillo, Texas with this wife, Carlie Shea, and serves as the CEO of the Amarillo Tri-State Exposition.
Coco is the founder of Encourage Consulting, a business coaching and presentation firm based in Amarillo, Texas. A Texan by birth and nature, she was educated at Texas Tech in mass communications, with career experience in advertising, public relations, business planning, sales and marketing...all of which have fueled and sharpened a passion for coaching and business growth. Coco does private executive coaching, group sales and customer service coaching, and facilitates leadership training and strategic planning. Her seminars, workshops and keynote speeches encompass topics that lead to empowering personal and professional success. Her passion for business and strategic solutions has made working with both groups and individuals particularly rewarding. Always thought-provoking, you’ll leave your time with Coco encouraged, with a fresh perspective… and with a challenge for the next steps for your business or organization. Coco and her husband, Rod, have two children and five grandchildren.
Jason Fenton practices civil litigation with a focus on commercial disputes, real estate, construction, personal injury defense and banking. In his practice he represents individuals and non-profits, as well as multi-billion dollar companies. Whether in state or federal court, Jason is well-prepared to represent his clients vigorously. Prior to joining the firm, Jason served as a law clerk to the Honorable Ed Kinkeade, United States District Judge, Northern District of Texas. Jason graduated third in his class from Baylor Law School in 2013, where he served as editor-in-chief of the Baylor Law Review. He received his undergraduate degree in government from Oral Roberts University. After graduation, Jason moved to Washington, D.C., where he worked for the House Majority Leader and as a legislative aide and senior policy advisor to Texas Congressman John Carter. In 2008, he moved to Austin where he served as the federal liaison for the Texas Department of Agriculture. His prior experience in both the legislative and administrative arms of the federal and state governments provide him a unique insight as he litigates issues controlled by legislative action and administrative rule making. Jason and his wife Carmen have three children, Ella Jane, Hays, and Lane. When not practicing law, Jason serves as a youth leader at his church, and is an active partner in the family cattle business.
Meet Payal Nathu, the driving force behind the seamless operations at Ram Hotels, where she serves as the Director of Operations. As a second-generation hotelier, Payal brings a wealth of expertise that extends across various facets of the industry, including operations, development, and meticulous day-to-day management of multiple properties in Amarillo and throughout Texas. With Ram Hotels currently owning and operating nine flourishing properties and three new hotels in the pipeline, Payal's strategic vision and hands-on approach play a pivotal role in the brand's success. Beyond the professional realm, Payal is a passionate traveler who, alongside her husband and children, seeks to immerse herself in diverse cultures, creating treasured memories along the way. Outside the boardroom, Payal is a devoted mother and wife, seamlessly transitioning from the dynamic world of hospitality to the heartwarming moments of family life. Her professional and personal commitment to excellence defines the ethos of Ram Hotels and underscores the importance of family values within the fabric of success.
Amarillo City Council Member
Tom Scherlen is an Amarillo business leader, community servant, and graduate of Frank Phillips College and West Texas A&M University. Tom spent nearly four decades as a businessman, including time as the chief executive officer of Austin Hose. Tom currently serves as President of the Amarillo Senior Citizens Association and as a member of AMBUCS. In the past, he served as a member of the 100 Club of the Texas Panhandle. Tom volunteers with numerous organizations in the community.