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Employee Directory

(To read more about a person, click on their name)


Administration


Chris Cobler Mug

Phone: 361-574-1271

Email: ccobler@vicad.com

"I try to treat each day as editor and publisher of the Advocate as a gift. I thank the newspaper's owners, my co-workers and my community for their faith in me to do a job I consider central to society. While embracing the exciting opportunities presented by new media, I believe newspapers' future, whether in print or online, rests with the old-fashioned values of serving your community, creating meaningful connections, and trying to make a difference in our readers' lives. We're all family, after all. A newspaper should be that close friend who cheers your successes, cries over your losses, and prods you to be better than you ever thought possible." 

Read more about Chris here

Phone: 361-580-6509

Email: dwalker@mrobertsmedia.com

With the executives and sales team at the Victoria Advocate, we are building a best in class small market publishing company serving up ad products with real value to advertisers withinan award winning editorial context.

Tim Miller

Phone: 361-574-1272

Email: tmiller@mrobertsmedia.com

I have been with the Advocate since August 2011. I like to bowl and usually do about 4 tournaments a year.  I am also a foodie and love to try new restaurants.  I love to travel and visit new areas and always use tv food maps to locate restaurants to try out.

Phone: 903-237-7796

Email: jshaw@mrobertsmedia.com

John Shaw

I am a very diligent, hard working, goal oriented and results driven individual. I believe firmly in getting it done right the first time and make sure it's done as efficiently as possible.

Phone: 361-574-1262

Email: kthaete@vicad.com

I have been at the Advocate for a number of years, and in the circulation business for several newspapers.

Charles Kulow

Phone: 361-574-1259

Email: ckulow@vicad.com

I have worked at the Victoria Advocate since June of 1974. I'm married, like to travel, and like all kinds of food.


Newsroom


Editors
Becky Cooper

Phone: 361-574-1285

Email: bcooper@vicad.com

“I like working at the Advocate because every day is different. I like being able to tell the stories of our community from fun light-hearted stories to sad life-changing stories to hard hitting-investigative reports every day for our readers to enjoy. In my more than 30 years with the Advocate, no two days have been the same, which keeps my interest in my work fresh. Working with the staff to develop the stories and try new ways of presenting the news in print and online also keeps the job fresh. I enjoy picking up the paper in the morning or clicking on the online paper and seeing the work our talented staff has done to educate and entertain our readers." 

Read more about Becky here

Tony Balandran

Phone: 361-574-1223

Email: tbalandran@vicad.com

"For almost 170 years, generations of Victoria readers have trusted the Victoria Advocate to be their key source of information about the region. They have turned to the pages of the newspaper to learn about the world surrounding them during good times and bad. For that reason, the Advocate is part of the region's history, and I am honored to be a part of that long journalism tradition that began in 1846. I owe it to Crossroads readers and to my long line of newsroom predecessors to make sure that the stories we print in the Advocate are fair, accurate and timely." 

Read more about Tony here

Thomas R. Martinez

Phone: 361-580-6519

Email: tmartinez@vicad.com

I like having my hands in all things digital for the Victoria Advocate. I have a long, storied newspaper career with stops in Colorado, Oregon, Nebraska, Wyoming and Arizona.  

Read more about Thomas here

J Ortega

Phone: 361-580-6504

Email: jrortega@vicad.com

I've worked in many capacities at the Victoria Advocate since I started here in May of 2009, and I've enjoyed every minute of it. I’m a pretty avid gamer, and I put thousands of hours into video games. I write a gamer’s column “Gamer’s Thumb” to give Crossroads readers some variety in gaming news and reviews.  I’ve been with my partner, Jon, for 12 years. I enjoy reading, cooking and DIY. 

Read more about JR here

Mike Forman

Phone: 361-580-6588

Email: mforman@vicad.com

"I enjoy covering events and keeping our readers informed about what's going on in area sports." 

Read more about Mike here

Angela Piazza

Phone: 361-580-6584

Email: apiazza@vicad.com

"I'm originally from Arizona and studied print journalism at Arizona State's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Check out my new Twitter series #CatsOnAssignment." 

Read more about Angela here

Laura Garcia

Phone: 361-580-6585

Email: lgarcia@vicad.com

"I love meeting people and telling their stories. Just finding people who genuinely care about the community and are passionate about what they do is what makes the long, crazy hours worth it." 

Read more about Laura here

Reporters

Jessica Priest

Phone: 361-580-6521

Email: jpriest@vicad.com

"I have been reporting stories at the Advocate since August 2012. I am passionate about holding those in public office accountable and giving a voice to marginalized people. I’m a scary movie buff — I have a cat named after a vampire but she’s much friendlier. I like bike riding and I think peanut butter and chocolate are a winning combination. 😊 

Read more about Jessica here

Marina Riker

Phone: 361-580-6511

Email: mriker@vicad.com

"My favorite part about working at The Advocate is being able to bring all voices to the table when discussing important issues for Crossroads residents. I'm passionate about drawing attention to Victoria's challenges to spur positive change. It's also my goal to shine a light on problems so community leaders and residents can decide how to tackle them." 

Read more about Marina here

Phone: 361-580-6515

Email: jwilcox@vicad.com

"Whether I am on the scene of breaking news or at my desk in the newsroom, I love my job because I learn something new every day. Reporting in the Crossroads has given me a unique chance to get to know one of the most vibrant communities in Texas firsthand. As a newly-settled Victorian, I promise to give my best effort in serving the area with accurate and timely information." 

Read more about Jon here

Gabriella Canales

Phone: 361-580-6578

Email: gcanales@vicad.com

"When I started my internship in April, I had no idea what to expect. I thought Clark Kent was going to turn the corner and people would be shouting deadline, deadline! I originally wanted to be a high school English teacher, however, I came to love what I was doing with my time at the Advocate. My passion for writing is why I am here." 

Read more about Gabriella here

Kathryn Cargo

Phone: 361-580-6328

Email: kcargo@vicad.com

"Reporting in the Crossroads is a new adventure each day, because I always learn something new about the community. I love being in one of the most unique places in Texas with so many people who have fascinating stories to tell. The best part is that I get to tell those stories. " 

Read more about Kathryn here

Phone: 361-580-6303

Email: aaldaco@vicad.com

"I love having the opportunity to meet so many different people in the Crossroads and learn something new every day. It's an honor to be entrusted with the stories and news of our area." 

Read more about Amber here

Phone: 361-580-6597

Email: cmccarthy@vicad.com

"I love working at The Advocate because I've never worked someplace so completely grounded in its community and dedicated to serving that community. The entire staff works diligently and tirelessly to produce the best newspaper possible, and it is such a privilege to be a part of that effort." 

Read more about Ciara here

Sports

Rey Castillo

Phone: 361-580-6514

Email: rcastillo@vicad.com

"Writing about sports has always been my passion. Now, I get to do it alongside the most talented journalists in Victoria. The best part about my job is interviewing athletes after a game and seeing the excitement on their faces." 

Read more about Rey here

David Vasquez

Phone: 361-580-6576

Email: dvasquez@vicad.com

"I am very excited and extremely grateful to have the opportunity to continue my journalism career at the Victoria Advocate.." 

Read more about David here

Multimedia

Evan Lewis

Phone: 361-574-1204

Email: elewis@vicad.com

I moved to South Texas and the Advocate in November 2017, before that I worked in Northeast Texas, Southwest Arkansas and Colorado. The thing I enjoy the most about community journalism is meeting the individuals that make up this community and the opportunity to tell their stories. 

Read more about Evan here

Evan Lewis

Phone: 361-574-1286

Email: krenie@vicad.com

"I'm originally from Georgia and studied journalism with a concentration in photojournalism at the University of Georgia's Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. I believe that as photojournalists we are trained observers of the human condition and that photojournalism is a powerful tool to honor those we document and to inform our communities and beyond of the issues that influence and impact our world. When I'm not making photographs, I'm probably petting a cat or tending to my numerous houseplants while sipping a cup of a coffee." 

Read more about Kayla here

Matthew Westmoreland

Phone: 361-574-1264

Email: mwestmoreland@vicad.com

I’m a photo intern with the Advocate until January 2019 and am currently studying photojournalism at UNC Chapel Hill. I’m constantly busy discovering South Texas through my lens and always look forward to the next story. For a behind-the-scenes look at my shoots, check out my Instagram at @westmojourno

Delivery Desk

Kimiko Fieg

Phone: 361-574-1222

Email: kfieg@vicad.com

"Victoria Advocate is a gem in this community, I believe. It has improved tremendously last 10 years. I am always reminded of that seeing so many plaques lining the wall of the newsroom. (I don't think there are enough room left to display them all.) A tight-knit but small newsroom staff that strives to deliver the best-quality paper daily. I am happy to be part of this team. This rare, family-owned newspaper should be cherished and preserved to keep the vibrant journalism thrive to better the community for long time to come." 

Read more about Kimiko here

Phone: 361-574-1207

Email: mcash@vicad.com

"For me, having a hand in creating something that impacts people on a daily basis is what makes working at the Advocate so special." 

Read more about Meredith here

Sam Hankins

Phone: 361-580-6518

Email: shankins@vicad.com

"I love being part of the team that brings people their news. Whether it's laying out a big story or thinking of the perfect headline, there's always something interesting to do." 

Read more about Sam here

Nicole Crapps

Phone: 361-580-6313

Email: ncrapps@vicad.com

"My favorite part of my job is getting people interested in a story they might not otherwise have read because of an exciting, eye-catching design." 

Read more about Nicole here

Editorial assistants

Robbi Patterson

Phone: 361-580-6524

Email: rpatterson@vicad.com

"I like working at the Advocate because I like to know what is going on in the community and preserving its history." 

Read more about Robbi here

Kathleen Grones

Phone: 361-574-1222

Email: kgrones@vicad.com

"Being at the Advocate is rewarding and challenging -- something fresh and new every day. I enjoy being able to be of service to my community." 

Read more about Kathleen here

Sandy Turner

Phone: 361-574-1257

Email: sturner@vicad.com

I started at the Advocate in 1997. I like music, spending time with family and friends, and chocolate. I don't like cold weather (or being cold in general), mosquitos and spiders


Advertising


Annie Andrade

Phone: 361-574-1241

Email: aandrade@vicad.com

I began at the Victoria Advocate in October of 1975. I have a beautiful daughter, Tiffany, and a handsome son-in-law, Blake. And I was blessed with a handsome, precious grandson, Thomas Robert Spoon, and I love him so much. I love playing bingo (actually, I am the Champion Queen of Bingo!). I love Mexican food, T-Bone Steaks -- let's put it this way: I love food. I love working with my co-workers.

Thomas Bonner

Phone: 361-574-1249

Email: tbonner@vicad.com

I started at the Advocate in September 2009. I have two older brothers and one older sister. My wife and I have been together for 19 years and have the same birthday. I am a professional drummer. My favorite food is Mexican food.

Kathleen Grones

Phone: 361-574-574-1234

Email: hemiliano@vicad.com

I have worked at the Victoria Advocate since August of 2017. I am happily married to my best friend and share our home with three rescued fur babies. Outside of work, I am heavily involved with my church, where my wife and I lead worship and we volunteer frequently with Theatre Victoria.

Amory Gritta

Phone: 361-574-1235

Email: agritta@vicad.com

I worked in the IT industry for almost 20 years before determining I needed to expand my knowledge base in order to better implement my natural abilities. I attended classes at the University of Houston-Victoria and received Bachelor of Science degrees in Criminal Justice and in Psychology and recently graduated with my Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies concentrating, again, on Criminal Justice and Psychology. I recently decided to begin working towards a third BS majoring in Communications. In addition to graduating summa cum laude when receiving my baccalaureates, I was recognized as the Spring 2017 UHV School of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Graduate Student.

Cynthia Fernandes

Phone: 361-574-580-6508

Email: cguzman-fernandes@vicad.com

I started at the Advocate in February of 2016. I love animals, especially dogs. My husband and I own a 10-year-old Cocker Spaniel, a 9-month-old Siberian Husky, and two adorable ferrets. There is never a dull moment in our home!

Jana Hornberger

Phone: 361-574-1243

Email: jhornberger@vicad.com

I started at the Advoate in 1994. I've been here such a long, but I still love what I do, meeting customer's advertising needs.

gabriela Rivera

Phone: 361-574-1251

Email: grivera@vicad.com

I've worked at the Victoria Advocate since February 2017. I love spending time with my kids and enjoy living in the moment.

Ashley Scott

Phone: 361-580-6317

Email: ascott@vicad.com

I started at the Victoria Advocate in August of 2017. I hold a bachelor of science in communications from University of Houston-Victoria, a master of science in strategic human resources from the University of Denver and will be pursuing a doctor of strategic leadership in January 2019.  I currently am in charge of all niche publications within the Victoria Advocate and hold a sales territory where my number one goal and objective is to help local businesses increase visibility and expand their brand in order to increase their profit margin and customer base.

Phone: 361-574-6356

Email: dstarrak@vicad.com

Dustin Starrak

I've worked at the Victoria Advocate since August of 2015. I am the oldest child in my family, my father and his parents immigrated to Texas from Canada in the 1950s. I also have two younger brothers. In my free time, I enjoy reading, writing, and traveling to the beach. I also like learning about other cultures and ways of life.

Tony Vasquez

Phone: 361-580-6356

Email: tvasquez@vicad.com

I've worked at the Victoria Advocate since October 2010. Other than the Obituaries and Celebrations sections, I also produce the Spotted page in the Thursday edition of Get Out. I have a strong interest in the local arts in the community and currently serve on the boards of The Nave Museum, Victoria Ballet Theatre, Victoria Public Library, and Victoria Fine Arts Association.

Peter Wallner

Phone: 361-580-6551

Email: pwallner@vicad.com

I started at the Victoria Advocate in April 2018. I’m from Denmark and a proud father.

Phone:361-574-1226

Email: pwilliams@vicad.com

I've worked at the Victoria Advocate since June of 2002. I have three kids (Kierstyn, Sam and Valerie); 2 dogs (Maddie and Pastry); 1 granddog (Izarrie); I'm a Thespian and absolutely LOVE poetry (Langston Hughes, Anne Rice, Maya Angelou) … LOVE, LOVE, LOVE salsa, guacamole and tortilla chips.


Customer Care


Ashley Cooper

Phone: 361-574-1200

Email: memery@vicad.com

I started at the Victoria Advocate in February 2018. I love to read and write.

Jean Marshall

Phone: 361-574-1200

Email: jmarshall@vicad.com

I've worked at the Victoria Advocate since March 2001. I've been married for 35 years, and have three grandchildren. I enjoy fresh water fishing on Coleto Creek lake.

Bridget Vela

Phone: 361-574-1254

Email: bvela@vicad.com

I started at Advocate in September of 2011. I love spending time with my son and family!

Rena Velez

Phone: 361-574-1200

Email: rvelez@vicad.com

I began at the Victoria Advocate in August 2017. I am obsessed with fragrances, such as scented oils, lotions, perfume, cologne, etc.


Information Technology


Shawn Willmon

Phone: 361-574-1219

Email: swillmon@vicad.com

My journey at the Victoria Advocate began in August of 1996. I like to grill and BBQ/smoke food. All food, not just meats. Smoked eggs, smoked cheese, smoked Cheez-Its (crazy yummy), smoked salt.


Business Office


Ashley Taylor

Phone: 361-574-1268

Email: aataylor@vicad.com

I started at the Advocate in November of 2017. I have been married 10 years and have three loving kids (2 boys and 1 girl). I love being outdoors, hunting fishing and playing tennis. I’m also a huge football and NASCAR fan.


Prepress


Terry Solis

Phone: 361-574-1213

Email: tsolis@vicad.com

I've worked at the Advocate since May of 1999. I’m married to my amazing husband of 24 years, Marc Solis. We have two children, Kelsey (23 years old) and Ryan (17 years old).  My favorite thing is spending time with my family. We love baseball (Astros baby!), fishing, traveling, eating out (favorites are Thai and Cajun), and some nights we just love to sit in our stretching pants and binge watch our shows on Netflix.


Operations


Brian Higdon

Phone: 361-574-1205

Email: bhigdon@vicad.com

I started at the Victoria Advocate in May of 1987. I like to fish, camp and listening to music. My favorite foods are fish and BBQ. An interesting fact about me people may not know is that I have a PA system.


Circulation


William LoPinto

My journey at the Victoria Advocate began in July of 2017. I like meeting people, lovie Italian food, cars and radio controlled airplanes.

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