Texas Governor Abbott Appoints Eight To Rehabilitation Council Of Texas

AUSTIN, TX (STL.News) – Texas Governor Greg Abbott has reappointed Lonny Matthew “Matt” Berend, JoAnne Fluke, Paul Hunt, and Crystal Stark to the Rehabilitation Council of Texas for terms set to expire on October 29, 2021, and Cheryl Fuller for a term at the pleasure of the Governor.  Additionally, he appointed Colton J. Read, Lisa Cowart, and Joseph “Joe” Powell for terms set to expire on October 29, 2021.  The council works with the Texas Workforce Commission to advocate for people with disabilities in the vocational rehabilitation process.

Lonny Matthew “Matt” Berend of Scotland is a vocational rehabilitation supervisor for the Texas Workforce Commission.  Additionally, he is a licensed social worker and a certified rehabilitation counselor.  He is a member of the National Association of Social Workers, Texas Rehabilitation Association, and the Texas Rehab Action Network and a former member and risk management officer of the Tarleton State University Student Social Work Organization.  Berend received a Bachelor of Social Work from Tarleton State University and a Master of Rehabilitation Counseling from Texas Tech University Health Science Center in Lubbock.

JoAnne Fluke of Abilene is an independent living skills specialist at Disability in Action and an instructor for Zumba International Fitness.  She is also a group leader for Radiant Life Switch, a former member of the Ms. Wheelchair Kansas Board, and former staff for Camp MITIOG, a camp devoted to children living with Spina-Bifida.  Fluke received a Bachelor of Arts in religion from Baker University in Baldwin City, Kansas.

Paul Hunt of Austin is a retired informational technology specialist from the Internal Revenue Service.  He is a past president of the Austin Council of the Blind and vice-chair of the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority Access Committee.  Additionally, he is former chair and member of Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority Mobility Impaired Services Advisory Committee.  Hunt received an associate’s degree in liberal arts from Macomb County Community College in Warren, Michigan.

Crystal Stark of College Station is a vocational rehabilitation counselor for the Texas Workforce Commission.  She is chair of the Mayors’ Committee on People with Disabilities and former chair of the Accessibility Committee for the Texas Rehab Action Network.  Additionally, she is the Vision & Eligibility Committee chair of the National Beep Baseball Association and fundraising coordinator for the BCS Outlaws Beep Baseball Program.  Stark received a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Angelo State University and a Master of Rehabilitation Counseling from Texas Tech University Health Science Center in Lubbock.

Cheryl Fuller of Austin is the Vocational Rehabilitation Division Director for the Texas Workforce Commission.  She is a member of the executive committee and co-chair of the management services committee for the Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation.  She has nearly thirty years of experience in state and local workforce development programs.  Fuller received a Bachelor of Science in communications from Angelo State University.

Colton J. Read of New Braunfels is the owner of Gruene Shredding. He is chair of the State Independent Living Council.  Additionally, he was honorably discharged from the United States Air Force, and has served as a Wounded Warrior Mentor and as treasurer of the Veterans Alliance at Texas State University.  Read received a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Texas State University.

Lisa Cowart of Beaumont is the PATH Project Director for Partners Resource Network.  She has served on the Apprenticeship and Training Advisory Committee of the Texas Workforce Investment Council, and has been a member of the Texas Association of Continuing Educators, and the Texas Association of College Technical Educators.  Cowart received a Bachelor of Business Administration in marketing from Lamar University.

Joseph Powell of Dallas is the president and CEO of the Association of Persons Affected by Addiction, Dallas.  He is a board member of the Texas Certification Board. Additionally, he is an advisory member of the National Southwest Addiction Technology Transfer Center, a member of the Eastfield Community College Advisory Board, and a planning partner of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Recovery Month Planning Partners.  Powell attended Eastfield College and Amber University for social work and substance use and has been a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor for 25 years.