Office of the President Staff
Chief of Staff and Associate Vice President of Administration
As Chief of Staff and Assistant Vice President for Administration, Grace Hernandez reports directly to the President and serves as the liaison between the President and other members of the senior staff. In addition, Human Resources, Institutional Research, Payroll and the Office of Communications & Marketing report to Grace. She has a long history working in higher education and previously served as Chief of Staff and Affirmative Action Director at The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC). Prior to UMKC, she served as the Director of Diversity & EEO Office at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). Grace earned her B.A. in English from UTSA and received a M.A. in Human Resources Development from Webster University. She is also an active member of the Lubbock community and serves on the boards of the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce, the Science Spectrum and United Way.
Senior Assistant to the President for Regional Partnerships and Latin American Initiatives
Dr. Solis leverages his excellent network in the region to promote research, development, innovation, and education collaboration activities among public and private sectors from both Latin America and the U. S., especially with organizations in the state of Texas. Dr. Solis holds a Bachelor's degree in Electromechanical Engineering from the Technological University of Panama, a Master of Science degree and a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Iowa. His experience bridges the academic and private sectors.
Solis helped to establish and served as Managing Director of the Georgia Tech Panama Logistics Innovation and Research Center, founded to strategically support decisions that help improve Panama's logistics and trade capabilities that enable Panama as the Premier Trade and Logistics Hub of the Americas. He was Director of Research and Professor of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering at the Technological University of Panama; Senior Research Scientist and Adjunct Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Iowa and Director of the Modeling and Simulation Laboratory at the U. S. Department of Transportation sponsored National Advanced Driving Simulator, and Senior Research Engineer at the NSF Industry/University Cooperative Research Center at the University of Iowa. In the private sector, Dr. Solis launched and served as President of Verde Power Corporation, and was the Director for Vehicle Dynamics, Design & Simulation Technology at Austral Engineering & Software Inc. Also, he held positions as plant engineer in the manufacturing sector in Panama.
Among service posts, he has been appointed as the University President Council Representative at the National Council of Directors of Panama's National Research System, and as a member of sectorial commissions responsible for developing Panama's National Strategic Plan for Science, Technology and Innovation. He has produced dozens of publications in journals and conference proceedings and has participated in many events as an invited speaker. Dr. Solis' research experience includes a strong component in Modeling and Simulation Science and Technology, Dynamics and Controls, Vehicle Dynamics, Traffic Simulation and Transportation, Renewable Energy Systems, and Logistics and Supply Chain System Analysis. He is also a certified Lean Supply Chain Professional.
In 1989, Dr. Solis was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship and, in 2010, he was recognized by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers with the inaugural McDonald Award for Excellence in Mentoring and Advising.
Executive Administrative Associate
Mikki Swaffar serves as the Executive Administrative Associate and assists the Chief of Staff, as well as the Senior Assistant to the President. She supports many administrative functions, human resources needs, the university’s preparations for Board of Regents meetings, and executive position searches. Mikki has been with the university since 1996, working for vice presidents before transferring to the President's Office. Mikki is a graduate of Texas Tech with a B.A. in English. Her family, husband and daughters are the joy of her life.
Executive Administrative Associate
LLori Ann Ortiz-Guerrero serves as the Executive Administrative Associate and assists the Chief of Staff and Associate Vice President of Administration in the Office of the President. She supports many administrative functions, human resource needs, the university's preparations for Board of Regents meetings, executive position searches and other miscellaneous administrative duties. Lori previously worked directly with the Executive Assistant to the President, the Director of External Relations, the Coordinator of Presidential Services and Communications, the Director of the Presidential Lecture & Performance Series and with the Executive for Critical Infrastructure Protection and Health Security Initiatives. Prior to arriving in the President's Office, Lori was the Executive Associate to the Director of Athletics. Before that, she worked for the Associate Vice President for Operations as well as in the office of Quality Service & Professional Development where she began her Texas Tech career in 2008. She serves as a mentor in the Mentor Tech program and volunteers in other events throughout the university. Lori's spiritual involvement is a high priority for her. Her participation in and attendance at athletic and Girl Scout events make up some of her extra-curricular activities. The loves of her life; however, are her beloved and beautiful two daughters, her grandson, her family and all her cherished friends.
Coordinator of Presidential Services and Communications
Sarah Stracener is the Coordinator of Presidential Services and Communications. In her role, Sarah is responsible for managing the President’s events, public appearances, communications and outreach activities. Prior to her current position, Sarah worked as the Associate Director of Corporate Engagement for the Texas Tech University System. She has past experience working for the Development and Alumni Relations Office in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources and serving as a student recruiter for the College. Stracener graduated from Texas Tech University in May 2012 with a Bachelor of Science in agricultural communications, and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in agricultural education from Texas Tech. Outside of her professional interests, Sarah enjoys spending time with her family and friends, watching baseball, and being outdoors.
Executive for Critical Infrastructure Protection and Health Security Initiatives
Dr. Annette Sobel currently is an Associate Professor in the Department of Medical Education and serves as the Executive for Critical Infrastructure Protection and Health Security Initiatives, TTUHSC and TTU. She is residency trained in Family and Community Medicine and Aerospace Medicine and is a Hyperbaric Medicine Specialist. In addition, Dr. Sobel is a Human Factors Engineer, and her work has emphasized global disease surveillance and development of novel, interactive learning and educational platforms.
Dr. Sobel is trained as a military and civilian flight surgeon and was an Army Astronaut Candidate in 1989. After 20 years of military service, she retired as a Major General in the Arizona Air National Guard.
Senior Administrative Associate
Janice serves as the Senior Administrative Associate in the Office of the President. She works directly with the Senior Assistant to the President for Regional Partnerships and Latin American Initiatives, the Executive for Critical Infrastructure Protection and Health Security Initiatives and the Director of the Presidential Lecture & Performance Series. Before joining Texas Tech University, Janice worked in the home construction industry and as a public school teacher. She is a graduate of Wayland Baptist University with a Bachelor of Science in Education and University of Texas-Dallas with a Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies. Janice and her husband, Kent, are members of Raintree Christian Church. In their spare time, they enjoy camping, boating, playing golf and spending time with their eleven grandchildren.
Executive Administrative Associate
Carla Lovelace serves as Executive Administrative Associate in the Office of the President. Carla supports the Executive Assistant to the President, the Director of External Relations, and the Coordinator of Presidential Services and Communications. Prior to arriving in the President's Office, Carla was Senior Administrative Assistant to the CEO of Texas Tech Physicians at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, where she oversaw all operational functions related to the School of Medicine Administration. In her current role, Carla feels privileged and honored to serve as the 'point of first contact' – both in person and by telephone - for the wide range of visitors who come to Texas Tech, often for the first time. A proud Tech parent, she supports functions related to athletic activities, academic enhancement, and direct student involvement in the President's office and personally enjoys both athletics and the academic environment at Texas Tech. Prior to coming to Texas Tech, she had extensive administrative experience in the banking and legal professions.