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Executive Committee
Board of Directors


Lee Cooke

Lee is a businessman, a former Austin mayor and a military veteran. He was born in Marion, Alabama, where Margaret Lea married Texas hero Sam Houston in 1840. After graduation from Louisiana Tech University, he served five years in the U.S. Air Force as an intelligence officer, including a tour of duty in Vietnam, where he was awarded the Bronze Star. Lee has many decades of leadership experience in the public and private sectors, including eleven years at Texas Instruments and as founder of U. S. Medical Systems, among others. Lee served as Austin’s mayor from 1988-1991, and before that as Mayor Pro Tem and Council Member from 1977-1981. He was the President and CEO of the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce from 1983 – 1987. He is a past board member for Huston Tillotson University and a long list of other Austin-based philanthropic organizations. He has one grown daughter, Kim, son-in-law, Doug, and two granddaughters Kylee and Kamdyn, both native Austinites attending college.

Collins, Kent Photo.jpg

First Vice-President

Kent Collins

Kent is the founder and owner of Centro Development, LLC, and an Austin-based real estate development company specializing in mixed-use and residential urban infill properties. At the forefront of developing vertically mixed-use properties in Texas, New Mexico and Georgia for more than 20 years, Kent received a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Texas and a master’s in business administration from the University of California at Los Angeles. He is the past chair of the UT School of Architecture Advisory Council and the Downtown Austin Alliance and a member of the City of Austin Comprehensive Plan Task Force. Kent and his wife Reenie are the parents of three adult children – CeCe, Winston and Tye. Kent is the incoming AHCA President for FY21-22.


Second Vice-President

Saundra Kirk

A former member of the Austin Planning Commission, Saundra is a native East Austinite who grew up in the time of forced racial segregation. Her father was a military veteran of World War II. Her mother, Willie Mae Kirk, was a civil rights leader in Austin and an active member of the Library Commission for 12 years, providing great support to Austin’s library system. As a college student at University of Texas, Saundra demonstrated in the face of the Ku Klux Klan and other violent counter-protest groups. Now retired, she spent 40 years working in California and Texas as a counselor, writer, program director, facilitator, performance improvement training professional, consultant, conference and seminar presenter, and public speaker. Saundra provides advice and guidance to AHCA Committee Chairs throughout the year and overseas the evaluations of the Executive Director.


Treasurer & Finance Chair

Joe Pacheco

An Eastside Austin native, Joe grew up working in his father’s San Jacinto Cafe, a legendary hangout for local politicos just south of historic Scholz’s Beer Garden. He received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Texas at Austin.In 1984, while pursuing an MBA at Texas State University, Joe accepted an offer from the State Bar of Texas and became its first Director of Computer Services. He created the original computer system for the State Bar to serve an attorney membership of 64,000. For 30 years, Joe trail blazed a career in Information technology in both the public and private sectors, including seven public organizations within the State of Texas and the City of Austin. Joe has served on the Travis County Appraisal Review Board and as an officer of the Knights of Columbus Council of St. Vincent de Paul Church in Austin. Now retired, he enjoys travels with his wife of 50 years, Mary, and takes pride in the successes of their accomplished children and grandchildren.



Ruthann Rushing

Active in AHCA since 2015, Native Austinite Ruthann actively works to identify important Austinites still living and capture their stories to add to the Austin History Center archives. She grew up in South Austin; in a home with surrounding grounds that included horse pastures that later became part of Interstate Highway 35. She graduated from the University of Texas with a degree in Interior Design and married fellow UT student Roy Rushing. After working in design, Ruthann became a stay at home mom. Fascinated with history and following family tradition, she began community philanthropic activity as a volunteer and led the revitalization of AHCA's Oral History program and took it to new heights before joining the Executive Committee.


Past President, Nominations Chair

Charlie Betts

An Austin native, Charlie retired as the Executive Director of the Downtown Austin Alliance after 17 years. He was previously the President of Franklin Savings, an institution involved in preserving and utilizing historic properties in Austin. In the 1970’s Charlie assisted in the writing of the city’s Landmark Ordinance and served on the first Historic Landmark Commission for the City of Austin. He also served two terms as president of the Heritage Society of Austin (now Preservation Austin). Charlie has served as a board member of the Austin Chamber of Commerce, Austin Area Research Organization, Headliner’s Club and is Emeritus on the St. Edward’s University Board of Trustees. Charlie is the immediate past president of AHCA and leading efforts to create effective board succession.


At-Large Member




At-Large Member

Ronney Reynolds

Ronney is a 5th generation Austinite. His great-grandparents were married in the historic St. David’s Episcopal Church in 1872. His family has a rich heritage in Austin, which feeds Ronney's interest in preservation. Currently, Ronney is President of Reynolds & Franke, PC (CPA’s). The firm provides auditing, tax, and/or bookkeeping to more than 125 non-profit organizations. Ronney has served in many important municipal, civic, and professional leadership roles throughout his career, including two terms on the Austin City Council from 1991 to 1997, President of the Rotary Club of Austin as well as the District Governor for Rotary International. Today, Ronney is very active at the historic St David’s Episcopal Church, President of the Longhorn Club, and a founding member of the Austin “T” Club. He has received many community and professional recognitions and awards. Ronney resides in Austin with wife Mary. Their daughter Nancy Michelle teaches in Austin and their son Bo, along with his wife, Carole, and their two children, Jacob and Henry, live in Bastrop. Ronney serves on the AHCA Executive Committee and is assisting in the creation of a Corporate Membership strategy.

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