SPCA of Texas Leadership Team
James Bias, CAWA
James Bias is a native of Arizona but a Texas resident for over forty years, and has been in the animal care and control industry for the past three decades. James holds an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Animal Health Technology; is a former reserve Texas Peace Office, Certified Animal Cruelty Investigator; holds a certificate in Non-Profit Leadership from SMU and the Center for Nonprofit Management; and is a Certified Animal Welfare Administrator (CAWA).
Prior to becoming President of the SPCA of Texas in 2004, James was Executive Director of the Humane Society SPCA of Bexar County in San Antonio. While in San Antonio, James successfully spearheaded a fundraising campaign to build a 21,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art Humane Society Adoption and Education Center, completed in November 2002. James also started the preliminary work for the Bexar County Maddie’s® Fund Shelter Data Grant benefiting many community animal shelters throughout the U.S.
James has also served as Regional Coordinator for the Humane Society of the United States Southwest Regional office, Animal Services Manager for the City of Albuquerque Animal Services, Executive Director for the Humane Society of North Texas in Fort Worth and Operations Director for Citizens for Animal Protection in Houston. James is a current Board member and Past Board Chair of the Society of Animal Welfare Administrators. He was elected to the Board of Directors of the National Council on Pet Population and has joined the Board of the Lone Star Business Park Association.
Under James’ leadership, the SPCA of Texas serves as Lead Agency and a partner in the No More Homeless Pets of Dallas Coalition. Conceived in 2007, the Coalition is comprised of Dallas-based animal control and traditional adoption guarantee organizations whose mission is to reduce the number of homeless pets in Dallas and work with others to transition Dallas to a no-kill community. James oversees the Coalition’s transparent and consistent shelter statistics reporting made possible through a series of Maddie’s® Fund Starter Grants for shelters. Maddie’s® Fund publishes the Coalition’s statistics and others throughout the nation on its website for easy public access and measurable results. James was Named Non-Profit CEO of the Year in 2011 by the Center for Nonprofit Management. In 2014, James was honored with the 2014 "Humane-itarian" award in recognition of his lifetime of helping animals at the Texas Humane Legislation Network's sixth annual Animal Advocacy Conference.
Senior Vice President, Development
Debra Burns, MA, CFRE brings a life-long experience in development at major public and private research universities and healthcare institutions, in particular the execution of comprehensive campaigns and creation of million-dollar relationships. She also brings an exceedingly high-level of proven expertise in foundation management, leadership engagement, major and planned gifts, and extensive experience with governing boards, donors, and staff.
Prior to joining the SPCA of Texas, Debra, a Dallas resident since 2004, served 10 years as a Director of Development for the University of Memphis Fogelman College of Business & Economics where she stewarded that University’s largest gift [$15 million], raised an additional $10 million endowment, and developed sustainable corporate relationships that resulted in the 10-year renewal of a six-figure annual operating revenue stream. Those successes were preceded by her execution and direction of an endowment campaign for the college that resulted in securing six and seven figure gifts launching the foundation for the University’s successful $250 million comprehensive campaign. In addition, as Special Assistant to the President, Debra’s establishment and direction of best practices for board operations, development and management of a 44-member advisory board and six task forces resulted in increased public and private funding for the University. Debra’s extended resume of development career accomplishments all over the U.S. includes consistent achievement of goals, building long-term relationships, highly successful experience in operations and new construction projects, strategic planning, new revenue-producing programs, and annual special events.
Debra holds a B.S. Business Administration [Marketing/Economics] from The University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut and an M.A. Dispute Resolution and Conflict Management from Southern Methodist University Dallas, Texas. She is a Certified Fundraising Executive, a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, American Bar Association and active community volunteer. She resides in Dallas with her family and cats Al, Lexus and Boone.
Vice President, Communications
Maura Davies, Vice President for Communications for the SPCA of Texas, has been with the organization since 2001. Maura oversees the Communications department, which is responsible for responding to and working with traditional and social media to publicize the SPCA of Texas’ many programs and services, maintaining the SPCA of Texas’ website, raising funds through online initiatives to support the SPCA of Texas’ goals, designing and producing collateral material and spreading the word about the SPCA of Texas to the community at large with a focus on maintaining the SPCA of Texas’ brand.
Prior to her work with the SPCA of Texas, she was a non-fiction book editor. Maura graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a bachelor’s degree in English and from Southern Methodist University with a master’s degree in English. She resides in Dallas with her family, which includes two cats, Meow and Hemingway, and two rats, Lola and Lilly.
Chief Operating Officer
Janice Estes is Chief Operating Officer for the SPCA of Texas and has been with the organization since June 2013. Her duties include direct oversight of Finance, Human Resources, Operations and Community and Volunteer Relations. A strategic planner and thinker with an exceedingly high level of commitment to her leadership teams, she has a stellar compassion for the mission at hand. Janice is a graduate of the University of Texas at Dallas and a Certified Public Accountant. She brings extensive expertise in both finance and operations leadership in the for-profit and non-profit sectors.
Prior to joining the SPCA of Texas, Janice served as Vice President of Finance and Operations for the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Dallas Chapter, Church Administrator at First Presbyterian Church of Dallas and CFO with the National Center for Policy Analysis. In the for-profit sector, Janice held various financial positions with Perot Systems in Dallas. Janice is on the board of Hopeful Solutions, an organization that empowers homeless mothers overcoming the challenges of substance abuse. She is a member of the American Society of Certified Public Accountants and the Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants.
She resides in Richardson with her dog and cat (both rescue animals), where she is active in her community.
Vice President, Animal Welfare
The SPCA of Texas is pleased to announce that Steve Heaven joined the non-profit animal welfare organization as Vice President of Animal Welfare in July, 2014.
Steve brings extensive executive expertise in the animal welfare field and an exceedingly high level of commitment to the leadership team. He is responsible for medical services, the animal shelters, animal behavior program, rescue and investigations and the foster and transfer programs at the SPCA of Texas.
Prior to joining the SPCA of Texas, he served six years as Executive Director for the Bay Area Humane Society in Green Bay, Wisconsin, 13 years as President and CEO of the Capital Area Humane Society in Lansing, Michigan, two years as Director of Animal Control for the Lee County Humane Society and Animal Control in Fort Myers, Florida, two years as Humane Agent for Bucks County SPCA in Lahaska, Pennsylvania and 15 years as a Police Officer for the Thames Valley Police in Kidlington, Oxon, England.
Steve resides in Dallas with his family, including Sid the cat, Callie the German Shepherd, Tommy the Greyhound and Ratchet the Jack Russell Terrier.
Vice President, Finance
Don Lindsley joined the SPCA of Texas in July of 2013. He is responsible for all administrative and operational accounting services, strategic financial planning, budgeting, cash flow, accounting standards and procedures and financial policy matters. With over thirty years in the field of financial management, Don has achieved highly successful results in the for-profit industries of retail, restaurant and entertainment, distribution and manufacturing as well as the non-profit sector. He spent eleven years with the professional services firm of Deloitte & Touche.
Don is a native of Dallas, graduating from St. Mark’s School of Texas in 1977. He obtained BBA in accounting degree from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a CPA and holds memberships with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants. His civic service includes serving on the Board of Trustees for the St. Mark’s School of Texas. Don resides in Dallas with his family, which includes their dachshund named Dash.
Mary Ogilvie joined the SPCA of Texas in October of 2004. As the Administrative Assistant to the President, James Bias, Mary handles the day to day duties and responsibilities that come with supporting the President of the largest non-profit animal welfare organization in the State of Texas. Mary also provides support to the SPCA Board Chair and Board of Directors.
Before joining the SPCA of Texas Mary worked for TIG Specialty Insurance and EDS providing administrative support to Vice Presidents and Managers.
Mary and her husband Troy have one inside dog along with two livestock guardian dogs that make sure their 27 alpacas are well taken care of.
Director, Strategic Initiatives
Prior to coming aboard as Director Strategic Initiatives, Linda Yarbrough contracted part-time for several years with the SPCA of Texas projects to benefit animals, staff, volunteers, partner agencies and supporters. Before her early retirement from the public sector, Linda held a position in the international consumer products distribution industry, where she directed many profitable, multi-million dollar projects in addition to implementing successful team-based programs in federal contract compliance and customer service. These projects included instituting a quality management system based on customer focus, leadership, involvement of people, process approach, system approach to management, continual improvement, factual approach to decision making and mutually beneficial supplier relationships.
Linda has served on several non-profit boards including a private open-door shelter with intake exceeding 40,000 animals annually, as a municipal animal services advisory committee chair, and on a bond committee that resulted in a new municipal animal shelter serving over 20,000 animals annually. She also champions humane animal sheltering best practices, has helped craft and implement humane ordinances benefiting the animals in her north Texas community, has served as founder of rescue organizations and performed field rescue work with a variety of species.
A native of Austin, Linda shares her home with several rescues, her special-needs/hospice cats and her giant Bear Dog, a lovable Pyrenees/Mastiff mix. Linda’s home is one of the original HSUS-certified Urban Wildlife Sanctuaries, an organically-managed safe haven to scores of protected native songbirds and many other species of wildlife who freely roam the area.