The Freedom of Information Foundation has named state Rep. Joe Moody, D-El Paso, Lawmaker of the Year. The foundation highlighted Moody’s work during the 86th Legislative Session to close loopholes in the public information act and protect the free speech rights of Texans. His most significant contribution, the foundation said, was H.B. 147, which was aimed at closing the “dead suspects” loophole that has been exploited to keep government records related to most deaths during police actions or while a person is in custody secret forever.

The U.S. Commerce Department’s Minority Business Development Agency has awarded Management and Engineering Technologies International, better known as METI, the Minority Business Enterprise of the Year Award. The award is the highest level of national recognition that a U.S. minority-owned firm can receive from the Department of Commerce. “I am honored for METI to receive this prestigious recognition,” said METI CEO Renard Johnson. “To be selected as the No. 1 firm in the U.S. out of over 8 million minority owned businesses is truly humbling.”

Susan Eisen, El Paso jewelry designer and founder of Susan Eisen Fine Jewelry, Watches, Art & Appraiser, recently won the award for Best in Show at the Texas Jewelers Association Design Competition. Eisen presented a contemporary yellow gold, citrine and diamond ring she designed and crafted in her store. Her ring was featured on the cover of the Fall 2019 issue of Texas Jewelers Magazine. The Texas Jewelers Association is the largest state association of jewelers in the country.

El Paso Electric’s Community Partner Program has awarded more than $320,000 to 60 nonprofits in West Texas. The organizations include: Women’s Fund of El Paso, The Ysleta Education Foundation, CommUNITY en Accion and the LiftFund. Organizations can apply for the 2020 Community Partner Program at epelectric.com/community/community-partner-program.

Macy’s has donated $100,773 to the El Paso Victims Relief Fund established by the Paso del Norte Community Foundation. The store also offered first responders a $25 gift card and a special shopping experience with a Macy’s personal stylist and beauty experts. The relief fund was established to support victims and their families affected by the Aug. 3 mass shooting at the Cielo Vista Walmart.

The University of Texas at El Paso has named Charley Thrash associate athletic director for development. Most recently, Thrash was the assistant athletic director/annual giving for the Bulls Club at the University of South Florida. He also spent two years as the assistant athletic director for ticket operations and sales at the University of Wyoming. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Missouri.

The El Paso Sonic Drive-In at 1865 North Zaragosa has won the bronze medal in the Dr. Pepper Sonic Games. The El Paso fast food restaurant competed against 3,600 other Sonic Drive-Ins nationwide in the training program. They were tested in a number of areas, including food safety, frozen treat preparation and food delivery.

The American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys has recognized the Law Office of Eric B. Darnell as one of its 2019 10 Best Personal Injury Law Firm for Client Satisfaction. The institute is a third-party attorney rating organization that publishes an annual list of the Top 10 personal injury lawyers in each state. The selection process is based on client and peer nominations and an independent evaluation.

Helen of Troy has donated $10,868 to the Paso del Norte Community Foundation’s El Paso Victims Relief Fund. The money was raised by employees and matched by the company.

The University of Texas System Board of Regents has allocated $10,000 to UTEP’s Student Government Association. The student group will work with other campus groups to distribute the funds to local organizations that support the victims of the Aug. 3 shooting and their families.

Kathleen Campbell Walker, member and co-chair of the immigration practice group of the Dickinson Wright law firm, was a featured speaker at the 2019 American Immigration Lawyers Association National Fall Conference for Worksite Compliance and Enforcement Task. Her presentation focused on practical, ethical and business considerations for employers concerning constructive knowledge situation in the workplace.

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