Susan Halsey Executive Leadership Award

The Susan Halsey Executive Leadership Award is a recognition program presented by the Fort Worth Chamber and sponsored by Jackson Walker to honor leadership excellence in business in the Fort Worth Metro area. It recognizes presidents, principals or chief executive officers that devote time and energy to strengthen and transform the organization they lead. This includes specific situations or initiatives where the recipient’s insight, discernment and ability to lead and inspire have guided their organization to a new level of growth, achievement or recognition.


The nominee’s employer must be a current member of the Fort Worth Chamber and be located within the Fort Worth metro area. Fill out a Nomination Form here describing the nominee’s qualifications and how the individual uses their best efforts to: accelerate advancement and innovation, inspire others and increase community involvement. 


February 24, 2023 – Deadline for Nomination Forms
February 27, 2023 – Winner Selected
March 30, 2023 – Award recipient honored at Annual Meeting

Submit Your Nomination


2023 Award Recipient
Dan Berce
President and Chief Executive Officer of GM Financial
Dan Berce has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of GM Financial since October 2010, when the company’s predecessor, AmeriCredit Corp., was acquired by General Motors.
Under Berce’s leadership, GM Financial has experienced significant growth and evolution since its acquisition, growing its operations, capabilities and infrastructure to now cover approximately 90 percent of GM’s worldwide sales. As GM’s global captive finance arm, the company helps drive vehicle sales and loyalty, enhance the customer experience, support GM customers and dealers across economic cycles and contribute to enterprise profitability.

Prior to GM Financial’s purchase, Berce was President and Chief Executive Officer of AmeriCredit Corp. from August 2005 to September 2010, President from 2003 to 2005 and Chief Financial Officer from 1990 to 2003. He was Vice Chairman and Chief Financial Officer of AmeriCredit Corp. from November 1996 until April 2003, Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer from November 1994 until November 1996 and Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer from May 1990 until November 1994. Prior to joining AmeriCredit, Berce was an auditor with Coopers & Lybrand, the predecessor of PricewaterhouseCoopers, for 14 years and was a partner with the firm.

He has been active in many civic and philanthropic organizations, including serving as the past President of the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce and past Chairman of Cook Children’s Health Care System. Berce is currently a trustee for Regis University and Lena Pope Foundation.

A Wisconsin native, Berce is a Certified Public Accountant and a graduate of Regis University in Denver.
2022 Award Recipient
John Avila
Owner and Chairman of Byrne Construction Services
John Avila, Jr. is the Owner, Chairman of Fort Worth based Thos. S. Byrne, Ltd., the largest commercial construction services company in Tarrant County and the largest minority owned commercial construction company in the State of Texas. His 40 years of experience as a senior-level executive for several of the nation’s top commercial construction firms have contributed to Byrne’s reputation as one of the most highly regarded contractors in the industry.
2021 Award Recipient
Barclay Berdan
CEO of Texas Health Resources
Berdan was named CEO of Texas Health in September of 2014, after serving as senior executive vice president and chief operating officer the previous two years. He is one of the longest serving CEOs of a major health care system in North Texas and is a nationally recognized and respected professional in the industry.
2020 Award Recipient
Paul Andrews
Founder and CEO of TTI, Inc.
Paul Andrews is founder and CEO of TTI, Inc., a globally recognized electronics distribution company that he founded nearly 50 years ago. As a self-made business man, Andrews leveraged his collective know-how and entrepreneur spirit to turn his dream into a reality.
2019 Award Recipient
Michael Williams
President of UNT Health Science Center
Dr. Michael Williams, President of UNT Health Science Center since 2013, is a Fort Worth native, a 1981 graduate of UNTHSC and the first alumnus to lead the 49-year old institution. He practiced anesthesiology and critical care medicine in Dallas and Fredericksburg, Texas, for more than 20 years.
2018 Award Recipient
Rusty Reid
Chairman & President of Higginbotham & Associates
Rusty was named president and CEO of Higginbotham in 1989 at the age of 25. At that time, he implemented the firm’s defining “single source” service model whereby customers can obtain all their insurance and financial services under one roof. He also had the foresight to establish Higginbotham’s employee ownership structure, aligning all employees’ interests in the success of the firm.
2017 Award Recipient
Rick Merrill
President & CEO of Cook Children’s Health Care System
As president and CEO of Cook Children’s Health Care System for the past eight years, Rick Merrill led the organization at a time of unprecedented growth; including the historic expansion of Cook Children’s Medical Center which nearly doubled the size of the campus to respond to the growing need for its services.
2016 Award Recipient
Lillie Biggins
President of Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital
Lillie Biggins became hospital’s first female president in 2012. In her years at Texas Health Fort Worth, Lillie has improved hospital operations and played a vital role in enhancing performance in the areas of strategic planning, program development, cost effectiveness, clinical outcomes and patient satisfaction.
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