Texas Tropical Trail Region

Participant in the Texas Historical Commission's
Texas Heritage Trails Program

Executive Director & Board Members

  • Palmito Ranch Battlefield, BrownsvillePalmito Ranch Battlefield, Brownsville
  • Laredo, Photo by Valerie D. Bates Laredo, Photo by Valerie D. Bates
  • Fort Brown, Photo by Curtis CravenFort Brown, Photo by Curtis Craven
  • Port Aransas, Photo by Valerie D. BatesPort Aransas, Photo by Valerie D. Bates

photo of Bart Wales

Bart Wales, Board Chair

A native, 5th generation Texan, Bart was born in Midland and raised in Refugio. He attended college at Texas A&M University College Station, receiving degrees in Environmental Design and a Masters in Architecture. Bart returned to Refugio where he operated his own business, worked with many nonprofit groups, served on the City Council, and as Mayor of Refugio for 3 terms. Currently, Bart is the Director of the Refugio County Museum and President of the Refugio County Historical Society. He is also President of The South Texas Back Thru Time Historical Association, a group that promotes historic sites and businesses in the rural area from San Antonio to Corpus Christi to Victoria back to San Antonio. Bart can also be found in Corpus Christi on the weekends, where he works as a designer for The Home Depot. Bart has always had an interest in history, art, and architecture. He currently lives in a historic home that is open for occasional tours, with a collection of art and antiques to rival none.

photo of Valerie Bates

Valerie Bates, Vice Chair

Valerie Bates, born in California, but a resident of south Texas since the mid 1960s, has been involved in the Tropical Trail Region since 2005. As Marketing Director of Port Isabel (Cameron County) and photographer and writer with an interest in the rich history and culture of deep south Texas, Valerie enjoys traveling and capturing the stories and essence of our communities.

photo of Wanda Greenhill

Wanda Greenhill, Treasurer

Wanda Greenhill was born in Alice, Texas and moved to Harlingen at the age of four. Wanda's grandparents came to Harlingen in 1928.  Being a native Texan, she is proud of her state and wants to promote tourism in every way possible. Wanda has been involved in tourism through her position as General Manager of South Texas for Advantage Rent-A-Car. Her daily business takes her on all the highways and byways of the Texas Tropical Trail Region. Wanda and her husband Paul live outside Lyford in Willacy County. They have four great-grandchildren and nine extra special grandchildren. Wanda is the President of the Harlingen Arts and Heritage Museum Advisory Board.  She is also treasurer of the RGV Museum Association, which is the fundraising arm of the Harlingen Arts and Heritage Museum. She is an active volunteer, treasurer of the RGV Birding Festival, member of the Texas Travel Industry Association, and past president of the Northern Cameron County United Way. She is past secretary of Harlingen North Rotary Club, past board member of the Harlingen Chamber of Commerce, and past judge of the Miss Texas USA Pageant.  She was the first woman president of the Bethel Lutheran Church Council.

photo of Mike Carlisle

Mike Carlisle

Mike Carlisle is from Corpus Christi and serves on the Nueces County Historical Commission and with the South Texas Historical Association. Mike has a personal interest in preserving historic sites, encouraging and promoting historic preservation across the Tropical Trail Region. Mike works for Verizon and served as the 2009-2010 President of the Corpus Christi Northwest Rotary Club.

photo of Rick Stryker

Rick Stryker

Rick Stryker graduated from Austin College in Sherman, Texas with a bachelor’s degree in history and then earned a master’s degree from the University of Delaware in American history with a museum studies certificate. He was a curator with the Historical Society of Delaware before becoming the Assistant Director of the Grand Rapids (MI) Public Museum. He served as Director of the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History from 1985 to 2012. He has served in various capacities including the governing council of the Texas Association of Museums and president of the Museum Association of South Texas.  He retired in 2012 and now lives in Bastrop.

Photo of Marlett Bahn

Marlett Bahn, Secretary

A former Regional Coordinator for the Texas Tropical Trail Region, this Kingsville resident is currently working as a Historical Tour Guide on the famous King Ranch as well as at the Henrietta Memorial Center/King Ranch Museum.  She serves the King Ranch Visitor Center Program as a Safety & Wellness Instructor.  Marlett holds a BS and a Masters from Texas A&I University (now TAMU Kingsville), coming to college from her hometown of Austin, to major in Vocational Home Economics.  Her graduate studies were in sociology and education, whereupon she began a 30-year career as a school teacher.  She and husband David have 4 daughters and are blessed with 11 wonderful grandchildren.  Marlett is active in the St. Paul Lutheran Church in Bishop, the Lutheran Women's Missionary League, the Kingsville/Kleberg County Birding & Wildlife Association, United Daughters of the Confederacy, and the German-Texan Heritage Society.  She has also served on the Board of Directors for the Nueces County Junior Livestock Show and their Scholarship Committee, and was a school board member for the St. Paul Lutheran Church School in Bishop.

Nancy Deviney, Executive Director

Nancy Deviney is a native Texan, born in Corpus Christi and raised in Kingsville. She has lived in the south Texas area for over 60 years. Nancy has been active in south Texas tourism for over 20 years. She currently serves as Executive Director of the Texas Tropical Trail Region and as President of the Texas Coastal Bend Regional Tourism Council. She was Executive Director of the Freer Chamber of Commerce for 15 years and also wrote a monthly feature article for the South Texas Traveler magazine for many years. She and her husband, Frank Deviney, live on the shores of Lake Corpus Christi in Live Oak County near Orange Grove.