January 31, 2023

Attorney joins law firm in Longview

Josh H. Ellis has joined the the Coghlan Crowson law firm in Longview.

Ellis, a native of Atlanta, Texas, had more than 20 years of experience in the legal field before earning his law degree from UNT Dallas College of Law in 2020.

His primary areas of practice include complex commercial, consumer and employment litigation.

The law firm represents clients throughout Texas in oil, gas and mineral law, complex litigation and probate and estate planning.

New agent joins Sugar Magnolia Properties

Katherine "Kat" Smith

Katherine “Kat” Smith

Katherine “Kat” Smith has joined Sugar Magnolia Properties’ team of agents.

Smith was raised all over the world — The Netherlands, Saudi Arabia and Houston, for instance, and moved to Longview in 2015.

The former teacher and her husband, Justin, have a 5-year-old son, Lincoln. She’s a volunteer with community organizations such as the Junior League and Longview Museum of Fine Arts.

Sugar Magnolia Properties is at 210 N. Fredonia St. in Longview.

TxDOT promotes East Texan to chief engineer

Lance Simmons

Lance Simmons

The Texas Department of Transportation appointed Lance W. Simmons, Linden native and longtime resident of Atlanta, Texas, as the agency’s chief engineer.

In his new role, Simmons, a 28-year TxDOT veteran, will direct and coordinate the department’s statewide engineering and district operations to ensure the state’s transportation system is built and operates in a safe, efficient and effective manner.

Simmons started his career with TxDOT as a summer hire in Atlanta in the early 1990s. As a Terry Scholar at Texas A&M University, he earned his bachelor’s degree in 1994. Then, he began working full-time in the Atlanta District’s Design Office. He also worked in advance planning and traffic. Simmons then served as the Atlanta District’s bridge/special projects engineer from 2001 to 2009. During that time, he oversaw the development of a $151-million construction project on Interstate 30 through Texarkana. The project filled gaps in the frontage road system, converted the frontage roads to one-way, and relocated roadways under overpasses to move traffic more smoothly and efficiently.

In 2010, Simmons was selected as the Atlanta District’s director of operations. During this time, he was honored with the Luther DeBerry Award, which is presented to TxDOT employees who show dedication, innovation and performance excellence in the field of transportation. The award is administered by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute.

In 2015, Simmons was named the district engineer in TxDOT’s Bryan District. While there, he oversaw the planning, design, building, operation and maintenance of the state transportation system for that 10-county district. In 2021, he was named TxDOT’s director of engineering safety operations in Austin. In that role, Simmons supervised and coordinated the agency’s engineering operations under the direction of the chief engineer. He will continue to serve as the director of engineering and safety operations until a replacement is named.

Simmons and his wife of 30 years, Deanne, have two children, Parker, 24, and Alyssa, 22, both graduates of Texas A&M University.

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