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Boot maker promotes first female executives

For the first time in its 131-year history, Fort Worth-based Justin Brands, maker of Justin Boots, has women on its executive team.

Lisa Lankes, a 16-year employee, has been named to the new position of vice president of communications, licensing and social media. Donna Lasater, who has been with the company since 1976, was promoted from her position as director to vice president of human resources.

Lankes will still oversee marketing communications and licensing, but she'll also focus on expanding the company's social networking efforts, the company said.

"Lisa is someone who truly knows how to lead Justin Brands with all its rich heritage into a new, technology-driven culture," said Justin CEO Randy Watson.

Lankes started at Justin in 1994 as an advertising coordinator, later becoming its public-relations manager and director of corporate communications. About a year and a half ago, she assumed responsibility for the company's licensing program and has since generated double-digit annual revenue growth despite the tough economy, the company said.

Lankes secured placement for Justin boots in some of the hottest films, including Ocean's Thirteen, No Country for Old Men, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and American Gangster. She also won celebrity endorsements from George Strait, Tracy Byrd, Brad Paisley and Jason Aldean, the company said.

Last year, Justin launched its Justin Bent Rail line almost entirely through social networking channels Facebook, Twitter and MySpace. Sales exceeded goals by 30 percent, the company said.

Lasater joined Justin Industries as a personnel department secretary. She become personnel administrator, employee benefits administrator and then employee benefits manager before transferring to Acme Brick Co. in 2003 after the sale of Justin Industries to Berkshire Hathaway. She rejoined Justin Brands three years ago.

"Donna knows our company, its culture and people incredibly well and is an invaluable asset," Watson said.

Justin Brands is the recognized leader in Western footwear. Its divisions also include Tony Lama, Nocona Boots, Chippewa Shoes and Justin Original Workboots companies.

Hulen bank shuffle

Some big-name banks have been playing musical chairs on Hulen Street, and Liberty Bank is the latest player.

The North Richland Hills-based institution plans to relocate its 1612 Summit Ave. branch to 3880 S. Hulen St. by late September. The new address is the former home of a Frost Bank branch. And before that it was a branch for Summit Bank, which Frost acquired.

Laura Miller, Liberty Bank's market president, was branch president when she opened the Summit Bank branch on Hulen in 2003. She stayed there until 2008.

"For me, it's returning to a location where I was president," Miller said.

Liberty Bank will move five employees and add one in the new 9,000-square-foot space, Miller said.

Frost Bank acquired Summit in 2006. Liberty Bank was founded in 1985 and was acquired in 2008 by a group that included former Summit executives.

Liberty Bank will get signage on the building, said Richard Minker, a principal in MinkerTrahant & Associates commercial brokerage. Minker represented the landlord, 3880 Hulen Partners.

In other Hulen Street moves -- and all within about a mile of the Liberty Bank space -- Frost moved to a former PlainsCapital location, and Wells Fargo closed its space and opened in a former Wachovia Bank. Wells Fargo acquired Wachovia in 2008.

Top honor for Bell

Bell Helicopter has garnered yet another award for service to owners of its helicopters.

Readers of Aviation International News magazine voted Bell No. 1 in product support for the fifth consecutive time since the magazine began its survey in 2006. Readers of another aviation publication, Professional Pilot Magazine, have voted Bell tops in customer support for 17 years running.

Bell officials say they try to earn and keep the customer service plaudits.

"From the day they sign a purchase agreement to the day the aircraft is no longer in service, we are committed to providing Bell Helicopter customers with the highest level of product support," Bell CEO John Garrison said.

In the past decade or so, Bell has lost market share in civil helicopter sales to American Eurocopter and its parent, Eurocopter, leading in sales both in the U.S. and worldwide. But the company maintains 120 customer-service facilities in 32 countries, six strategically located supply centers and many customer support representatives and product support engineers.

McHiring Day

McDonald's says it expects to fill 400 restaurant jobs in North Texas during a daylong national Hiring Day on Tuesday.

Job seekers can apply at participating McDonald's restaurants -- there are 300 in North Texas and more than 1,000 across the state -- or at www.McTexas.com. Openings include managers and restaurant crew, and full-time and part-time jobs.

"For someone, this job will be a stop along their career path," said Cliff Johnson, a McDonald's owner and operator. "For another, this could be the beginning of one of the many career success stories found within the McDonald's system."

Sandra Baker, 817-390-7727

sabaker@star-telegram.com

Scott Nishimura, 817-390-7808

snishimura@star-telegram.com

Barry Shlachter, 817-390-7718

barry@star-telegram.com

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