Board of Directors
Robert Mayer, Jr.
Derek Blount, president
Derek Blount (Chair, Corporate Council) joined the WaterTower Theatre Board of Directors in 2006 and has served in the roles of Board Treasurer, Co-Chair of The Corporate Council, Board Vice President and in September 2010, was elected President of the Board of Directors. He was re-elected as Board President in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
Professionally, Derek serves as Area President for Sovereign Bank, a Dallas-based financial institution and past corporate sponsor of WaterTower Theatre’s annual fundraising gala. In his role with the bank, Derek focuses on corporate banking, including commercial real estate lending, mergers and acquisitions, equipment financing and working capital loans.
Founded in 2004, Sovereign Bank has grown to nearly a billion dollars in assets with banking operations throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, Austin and Houston.
Derek’s professional experience prior to Sovereign Bank includes corporate lending roles with international banking syndicate Credit Lyonnais (now Credit Agricole) and helping establish the Dallas commercial banking division for Hibernia Bank (now CapitalOne Bank). Derek began his banking career with JPMorganChase through completion of their executive training program and later serving as a commercial banking officer.
A Texas native, Derek received both his B.B.A. in Finance and his M.S. in Marketing from Texas A&M University. Derek is an active member of American MENSA, an enthusiastic traveler and an avid runner.
Derek was married in June 2011 to Bethany Harrison. They have a four-month-old son named Harrison Neil.
Terry Martin, producing artistic director
Multi-award winning Director Terry Martin is starting his 13th season as Producing Artistic Director of WaterTower Theatre where he has overseen over 65 productions. Some of his 33 directing credits at WTT include Our Town, The Full Monty, As You Like It, Almost, Maine, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Man of La Mancha, Humble Boy, The Crucible, Take Me Out, A Country Life (which he adapted from Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya and which won the 2005 Rabin Award – Best New Play), Cabaret, It Ain’t Nothin’ But The Blues, Company, An Inspector Calls, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, The Laramie Project, You Can't Take It With You, Book of Days, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (2002 Rabin Award – Director of a Play), Sweeney Todd (2002 Rabin Award Nomination – Director of a Musical), Desire Under the Elms, Ravenscroft, Rockin’ Christmas Party (2000, 2001), Enter the Guardsman (2001 Rabin Award Nomination – Director of a Musical), Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill and Little Shop of Horrors (2000 Rabin Award Nomination – Director of a Musical) among others. For Plano Repertory Theatre, he has directed Journey’s End (2000 Rabin Award – Director of a Play), Dracula, La Bête, Little Shop of Horrors and Pump Boys and Dinettes. Terry was named "Best Theater Director" in the Dallas Observer's "Best of Dallas 2002." He has appeared on stage at WTT in Blackbird, Woman in Black, Dinner with Friends, The Guys, Bash: Latterday Plays (2002 Rabin Award Nomination - Actor in a Play) and at PRT in The Only Thing Worse You Could Have Told Me… (1998 Rabin Award – Actor in a Play, 1998 Dallas Theater Critics Forum Award), The Woman in Black (2000 Rabin Award Nomination – Actor in a Play), and Lonely Planet. Other area local stage credits include Sight Unseen for New Theatre Company and Lost in Yonkers and Lips Together, Teeth Apart (1997 Dallas Observer Best Actor) for Stage West. After growing up in south Alabama, Terry spent 12 years in New York City working in theatre, television and film. While there, he directed and acted at The Village Theatre Company, Carnegie Hall Studios and Theatre at St. Marks as well as television appearances on ABC’s One Life to Live and NBC’s To Serve and Protect. He holds a BFA from the University of Alabama and has trained professionally with Sanford Meisner, Fred Kareman, Wynn Handman, Sally Johnson and Lehmann Byck. Terry presently teaches on-going acting classes in the Sanford Meisner Technique at WTT, as well as having served as Adjunct Professor of Acting at the University of Texas at Dallas.
Ben Cunningham, Vice President
Ben Cunningham is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Liberty Capital Bank in Addison. Ben started organizing the bank in September 2007 and received the charter approval in June 2008. The bank opened its doors on September 15, 2008. Liberty Capital Bank is located in Addison and serves the needs of small business owners and individuals who desire a high-level of relationship banking. Ben’s connection to the Watertower Theatre dates back to the late 70’s when it was the Addison Community Theatre and he even served as their Treasurer.
Ben has his undergraduate degree in Finance from the University of Texas at Dallas and is a graduate of the Southwestern Graduate School of Banking at SMU in Dallas. He started his banking career in Dallas in 1973. Prior to starting Liberty Capital Bank in 2008 he spent 18-years with Compass Bank as a Line of Business Manager in the Corporate Banking division. He was one of only 2 managers in the Dallas corporate bank to participate in Compass’ leadership development program at their home office. Ben became very involved in the north Dallas / Addison area and is past Chairman of the Metrocrest Chamber of Commerce and the past president of the Addison Business Association. He’s also a 21-year member of the Carrollton / Farmers Branch Rotary Club where he currently serves as Secretary. In addition to his involvement in the business community, he is also well connected with Trinity Christian Academy where his 3 children attended and his wife and daughter now teach.
Ben has been married to Patty Cunningham since 1974. He is active in his church where he’s attended for 34 years and has served on the elder board, chairman of the Finance Committee and is presently chairman of the church’s defined benefit plan’s Board of Trustees. He serves as a mentor to young men in the church and currently works in the Special Needs ministry for kids with a disability. He also helps with the annual deacon development program for new deacons. Ben and his wife are actively involved with the Joni and Friends organization and volunteer their time each summer to serve at JAF’s family camp for the disabled. Ben also serves on the local board. Ben is the recipient of the Golden Eagle Award from the Metrocrest Chamber of Commerce, an award rarely given to individuals who exhibit the highest level of integrity and standing in the community. Ben is also a Rotary Paul Harris Fellow. Ben joined the WaterTower Theatre Board of Directors in 2010.
Katie Myatt, Secretary
Katie Myatt is a Private Wealth Advisor at Goldman Sachs. In this role, she provides investment advisory services to wealthy individuals, families and foundations. Katie joined Goldman Sachs in 2010 after spending six years in the industry at J.P. Morgan. While at J.P. Morgan, Katie was one of seven individuals to participate in the firm’s Scholar Program, where she spent time working in several areas throughout the firm, including FX Trading, Commercial Real Estate, Business Banking and Private Wealth Management. She graduated magna cum laude with a BBA from the University of Notre Dame and received her MBA from Northwestern University, where she attended the Kellogg School of Management.
jimmy niemann, Treasurer
Jimmy Niemann (Chair, Endowment and Planned Giving Committee), a licensed attorney, started as a computer programmer for EDS and then moved into IT Leadership. Jimmy started a market research company, helped start e-Rewards, and an online advertising channel, e-Miles. Jimmy has served on Addison’s planning and zoning committee as well as on the Town of Addison City Council as a Council Member for six years.
Rosalind (Roz) Benjet is a long-time subscriber and patron of WaterTower Theatre, and a former Trustee and Board member. She, and her husband Merv, have been long-time residents of Addison. Roz is a retired teacher of English literature and composition. She has served on numerous non-profit boards, including a past member of the WaterTower Theatre Board. She is actively involved in the Congregation Shearith Israel, Jewish Family Services, the Addison Business Association and the Dallas Jewish Historical Society. Roz is a charter member of WOW!
Michael Canterbury is the President of The Freedom Foundation. He has been deeply involved in activities supporting The Town of Addison since the early ‘70’s. Michael and his family have been supporters of WaterTower Theatre for many years. He is actively involved in the Boy Scouts of America and is the Co-Coordinator for Shadow Ridge Middle School Band’s Annual Music Miles 5k and Fun Run. He is a member of the Council of Southwest Foundations, Dallas Contributors Network, and the Addison Business Association. He attends the First United Methodist Church Coppell. Michael, and his wife Liese, have two children.
Rose is a graduate of the University of Connecticut with a degree in marketing. She is an accomplished entrepreneur, owning several businesses locally including The Egg and I Restaurants (multiple locations), Curves, etc. She sits on the Advisory Board for My Possibilities, a non-profit organization for adults with disabilities. Rose has been involved with WTT on many levels including sitting on the Steering Committees for WOW! and the Community Cast Party as well as the Spotlight Gala 2015. She has been involved with Metrocrest Chamber and the Denton and Frisco Chambers. She is a regular attendee at WTT shows.
Barbara Daseke (Chair, 2014 Spotlight Gala) is the owner of Barbara Elliott Interiors and, with her husband Don, has been a long-time resident of Addison. She is one of the most dynamic non-profit fundraisers in North Texas, having served most recently as the Chair of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s AT&T Gala and has worked on many other fundraising events for organizations such as the Dallas Museum of Art, Southern Methodist University and TACA. Last year, she served as Co-Chair, with Anita Braun, of WaterTower Theatre’s 2011 Spotlight Gala and is the Chair of the 2012 Spotlight Gala. Barbara currently serves on the Boards of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, TACA and SMU Meadows School of the Arts. Barbara is a charter member of WOW! and also serves on its Steering Committee.
Buddy Frazer was born in Dallas and has lived all of his life in Texas. Most of his school years were spent in Lubbock where he graduated from Texas Tech with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering. He returned to the Dallas area in 1969 to work for Texas Instruments as an electrical engineer, project manager, and international marketing representative. During his 27-years there he traveled extensively in Europe, Scandinavia, Asia and the Middle East. After leaving Texas Instruments he spent three years as Director of Programs for the Dallas office of the Camber Corporation. There he oversaw the development of software for aircraft flight simulators.
He left Camber in 2001 to start his own video production company. He produces videos for corporate clients covering marketing, product promotion, training, award ceremonies, and conventions. He videotapes theatrical productions, memorial services, reunions and oral histories. He has also spoken to groups on documenting their history, and has produced historical videos for the Dallas Historical Society and other organizations. He has been honored with several awards for outstanding corporate and historical videos by the Dallas-Fort Worth Professional Videographers Association.
After moving to the Dallas suburb of Addison in 1980, he became involved in civic activities. He has served as president of his homeowners association, started a neighborhood crime watch program, and was a member of a committee charged with issuing industrial revenue bonds for development at Addison Airport. He served on the Addison Planning & Zoning Commission from 1983-1984 and again from 1998-2002. The last two of those years he served as Chairman. In 2001 he served as a member of the Addison Thoroughfare Plan committee.
He became a member of the Board of Directors of WaterTower Theatre in 1997, where he served as Vice President from 1998-2000 and President from 2000-2003. He currently is a member of the Theatre’s Board of Directors. He was appointed to the Dallas County Historical Commission in 1999, and served as its Chairman from 2003 to January 2007. The Historical Commission grants the first approval for State of Texas Historical Markers, and its members are appointed by the County Commissioners Court. During his term he published the Commission’s quarterly newsletter and maintained its website. As a part of his duties as Chairman, he served on the Board of Directors of the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza.
Stan Graner (Chair, Development Committee) graduated from Texas Wesleyan University with a Bachelor degree in Music and immediately began work as a professional actor. In addition to working as an actor, Stan has had several of his children’s musicals published and has had his musical arrangements performed by The Turtle Creek Chorale in the Meyerson Symphony Center. He is a six-time winner of the Column Awards and was named one of the Best Male Performers in 2010 by arts critic Alexandra Bonifield. He served as Vice President of the Turtle Creek Chorale from 1992-1994. Stan has performed in a number of plays at WaterTower Theatre, most recently in The Diary of Anne of Frank and August: Osage County. This year, Stan was awarded a Dallas-Fort Worth Critics Forum Award for August: Osage County.
Laree has been involved in the theatre most of her adult life. She served on the Board of Directors of the Studio Arena Theatre, a professional theatre company in Buffalo, NY. She is a graduate of Oklahoma State University, SUNY at Buffalo where she did her pre-doctoral study, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania and Boston University. In addition to Arena Stage, Laree has served on the boards of the Dallas Contemporary Museum of Art and The Center for Vital Longevity at UTD. She also helped found the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation Buffalo Chapter. Prior to her retirement, Laree was a Senior Vice President/Senior Investment Advisor for Morgan Stanley. In 2004, Laree was awarded the YMCA’s Leadership Award. Laree is an active member of WaterTower Theatre’s President’s Circle, the Nasher Sculpture Center, the Kimbell Art Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC, and the Perot Museum of Nature and Science.
Margo Ramirez Keyes is a highly respected Dallas civic leader, philanthropist and community volunteer. Margo has a lengthy career in fashion design, merchandising, retail and wholesale business. Her 28 year career includes senior positions with The Allied and Federated Corporation and Levi Straus & Company. Margo also has an extensive consumer marketing background in product development where she worked for the British Consulate in Dallas as their International Vice-Consul Commercial Trade Officer. A tireless advocate for the arts, education and Latino causes, Margo is active with numerous non-profits locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. She is currently on the board of TACA, The Dallas Performing Arts and the Latino Cultural Center. Nationally, she sits on the boards of the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and The Red Cross. Margo is married to Wild Oats Chairman Jim Keyes.
Jeff has been in the banking industry for more than 30 years having begun his career as a bank examiner for the State of Texas. Jeff is currently the market leader in Addison for Frost Bank. Jeff is a Co-Chair of WTT’s Corporate Council. He currently serves as Vice President of the Board for HEROES and is on the Board of My Possibilities and the Addison Business Association
Robert Mayer, Jr.
Robert Mayer, Jr., is a native of Dallas, attended public schools here and graduated from Harvard College. He served in World War II as an officer in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He returned to Texas and worked as a geophysicist before starting his company, Well Reconnaissance. Later that company became part of Gearhart Industries, where Bob was Vice President, Technology. He had leadership roles in political activity and in a number of scientific and technical organizations. He has been active in Addison since moving his company there in 1974. He joined the Addison Business Association shortly after its formation and served for many years on its Board. Bob’s late wife of 47 years, Elli, was an actress and appeared in many plays in Dallas. Upon retirement, Bob has served on the Boards of the WaterTower Theatre, the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth and Dedman College, SMU.
Wade W. Owens is the Senior Vice President and Senior Wealth Advisor for Regions Financial. He has over 20 year of banking experience within the corporate, commercial and community banking sectors as well as the private wealth management business. With so much experience in both commercial and private banking, Wade has a comprehensive understanding of the challenges and opportunities for both business owners and executives as well as affluent families. Having spent his career helping clients to build wealth, preserve wealth and, perhaps most importantly, helping people define and plan for their legacies.
Wade is active in the Dallas community and has served in leadership roles in various areas of service including education (Advisory Board for the UTD School for the Arts and Humanities), social service (Board Chairman for the Center for Non Profit Management) and the arts (Director of the Water Tower Theatre). Wade has a BA from the University of Arizona, an MBA from the University of Dallas and several advanced certifications in various specialties including graduating from SMU’s Graduate School of Banking.
Corky is a long-time resident of Dallas and the Addison-area. She has previously served on the Board of Directors of WaterTower Theatre (2003-2008). Currently, she serves on the board of the Addison Business Association, the Metrocrest Chamber of Commerce, and The Civic League among others. She is a member of the WOW! Steering Committee, the Community Cast Party Steering Committee and has been involved in WaterTower Theatre’s Spotlight Gala every year since its inception.
Debbie is the Director of Marketing and Special Events at Million Air Dallas in Addison. She is very involved in the community. She served as past Director of Programs and Membership for the Farmer’s Branch Chamber of Commerce, was on the Board member of the Metrocrest Chamber of Commerce, and has supported a number of non-profits including the Collin County Children’s Advocacy Center, The American Heart Association, CONTACT Crisis Hotline, Genesis Woman’s Shelter. She is a member of Women in Aviation International, Metrocrest Chamber, Women of WaterTower Theatre (WOW!), Spotlight Gala 2013 and 2014 Gala Committee, and WaterTower Theatre’s Corporate Council. Debbie, and her husband Donnie, have one son.
at the Addison Theatre Centre
15650 Addison Road
Addison, Texas 75001