Team

Texas Retailers Association is proud to represent the retail community. Our staff is here to help you answer any questions you may have about becoming involved in the advocacy process. 

George Kelemen, President/CEO

 

George Kelemen is President and CEO of the Texas Retailers Association (TRA), having joined TRA in November of 2015. In this role he provides executive leadership for the TRA team dedicated to keeping Texas “retail friendly” through legislative and regulatory advocacy in Austin, Washington, DC, and with local governments across Texas, on behalf of the retail industry in Texas, in addition to providing excellent member service and value to TRA members.

 

He returned to Texas after nearly a dozen years in Washington, DC, where he served in senior leadership positions for several of the largest and most influential associations in America. Prior to moving back to Texas, George served as the Senior Vice President for Government and Political Affairs at the Airports Council International — North America (ACI-NA), the trade association representing commercial airports in the U.S. and Canada. He served as ACI-NA’s chief lobbyist and led the development strategies to influence congressional and legislative actions affecting airports and the aviation industry, particularly ACI-NA’s work with Congress’ leadership.

 

Prior to joining ACI-NA, George served as the Senior Director for External Affairs at the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), the Cancer Society’s lobbying arm in Washington, DC. George cultivated, developed, and maintained corporate relationships, as well as coordinated outreach to members of Congress. He also spent 10 years at AARP in various government relations and advocacy leadership capacities at federal and state levels, where he played key leadership roles on passage of Medicare Part D and the Affordable Care Act

 

 Originally from Houston, George began his career working in Texas, in various political and government affairs roles, as well as in state government, in the gubernatorial administration of George W. Bush.  He has a comprehensive understanding of the legislative and regulatory processes and landscapes at both the federal and state levels, as well as a network of bipartisan contacts and relationships in Austin, Washington, DC and across the US.

 

George has a proven ability to effectively communicate with internal and external audiences alike, as well as with decision and policy makers, in addition to native fluency in Spanish. George is a graduate of the University of Houston, where earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from. He lives in Austin with his family.


Gary Huddleston, TRA Grocery Industry Consultant

Gary’s career spanned 45 years at Kroger Food stores including store management, human resources, labor relations, public affairs, media relations and charitable giving.
Gary attended Texas State University and completed continuing education completed in Human Resource Management at the University of Texas Austin, Penn State University, and Duke University. 


Diana Cardona, VP of Operations

Diana joined TRA in May of 2015, and has over 10 years of experience managing non-profit association membership and finances. She has the great ability of streamlining and establishing efficient processes to achieve strategic goals for increasing membership, and achieving financial stability. She has a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Texas in Austin.

Prior to TRA, Diana served as the Membership Coordinator for the State Firemen’s and Fire Marshals’ Association of Texas. Her tenure at SFFMA brought about the development of an international certification program still growing in Latin-America today.


Jim Sheer, Government Affairs

Jim serves as TRA’s primary lobbyist. Jim joined the Austin office of McGuireWoods Consulting in May 2018 as a vice president in the State Government Relations group. He assists clients with legislative and regulatory matters before the Texas Legislature and various regulatory agencies and boards.

Prior to joining McGuireWoods Consulting, Jim most recently served as Vice President of Government and Regulatory Affairs for the Texas Retailers Association. In that capacity, he was the association’s lead lobbyist and government relations representative overseeing all legislative, regulatory, political and PAC activities.