Meet the Executive Board
Gene Richardson retired after 24 years with the Texas Farm Bureau where he served as the Director of the Commodity and Regulatory Activities Division. In this role, Gene was responsible for a variety of resource and agricultural issues, including citrus, feral hog, forestry, hay and forage, nursery and greenhouse, wildlife, game ranch and outdoor recreation. Gene has extensive experience in handling regulatory issues dealing with the Endangered Species Act and its impact on landowners and transportation.
Prior to this position, Gene served as an associate director for Commodity and Regulatory Activities Division and as an area field representative for the Texas Farm Bureau.
A native of the Lubbock area, Gene attended Texas Tech University and received his Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture, Business and Economics from West Texas State University at Canyon. He was employed as district sales manager for Mycogen Plant Sciences.
Gene farmed and ranched in Hudspeth County, where he was a county Farm Bureau director. He and his wife, Cristy, now live in Waco, Texas. Together they have three daughters, share a step son and have sixteen grandchildren.
Shawn Wade serves as the Director of Policy Analysis and Research at Plains Cotton Growers, Inc., an advocate for cotton producers across the High Plains region. His primary responsibilities at PCG include farm policy, crop insurance, and research.
A Lubbock native, Shawn came to PCG in 1991 as Communications Director after graduating from Texas Tech University with a degree in agricultural communications. In his twenty-five-plus years at PCG, Shawn developed a keen interest in legislative and regulatory issues through his work in communications. He monitors how current legislative programs are working once they’re passed and helps PCG members understand how they work and how proposed changes to those programs might impact them at the farm level.
Shawn also works closely with cotton researchers, helping to guide and advise on new projects that address key industry needs through programs such as the Plains Cotton Improvement Program and the Cotton Incorporated State Support Program.
Shawn and his wife, Melissa, live in Lubbock, Texas with their two daughters.
Gary Austin retired in 2022 after 48 years in the energy development and production business. Most recently, he was a cofounder and partner of EcoPoint, an innovative geospatial firm providing environmental services.
Gary began working in environmental restoration and habitat planning in the early days of Prudhoe Bay, Alaska working to protect and restore the fragile tundra on the North Slope. Gary served as a technical advisor on a wide range of environmental issues including threatened and endangered species. He has a long history in the environmental field working in exploration, development and production with the oil and gas industry and in planning and operations in the mining industry.
Gary holds a BA in Biology/Botany and an MS in Environmental Science. Gary has worked with academia, government agencies, trade associations, public land users, private corporations and landowners, to develop and implement innovative strategies for managing industrial surface disturbance on public and private lands.
Gary has been happily married for over a half century to his wife Colleen. His family includes four sons and seven grandchildren. He enjoys the outdoors and is frequently found on horseback on the family ranch in Eastern Colorado.
Richard Brantley is the Senior Vice President of Operations for University Lands. University Lands manages 2.1 million acres of land in 19 West Texas counties, with an emphasis on conservation and environmental programs, for the benefit of the Permanent University Fund. The PUF endowment benefits more than twenty educational and health institutions across both the University of Texas System and Texas A&M System. Richard joined University Lands-UT System in 1999 and served both as Associate Director and Executive Director before his current appointment as Senior Vice President, Operations.
Richard earned his bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry from West Texas State University, in Canyon, Texas. Through his focus on land and environmental management and on natural gas processing, he has served the oil and gas industry for more than 30 years and has obtained two U.S. patents.