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Derek Gibson, Member
Derek Gibson is an Executive Vice President of Commercial Lending at Legacy National Bank in Springdale. He graduated from the University of Arkansas with a BS in Industrial Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology with an MS in Industrial and Systems Engineering and the Southwest Graduate School of Banking at SMU. He also serves on the boards of the Art Center of the Ozarks, Springdale Public Housing Authority and Downtown Springdale, Alliance. 

Carlos Chicas, Vice Chair
​Originally from Guatemala, Mr. Chicas relocated to the United States over 20 years ago. He graduated from John Brown University, with a Master’s Degree in Counseling. Mr. Chicas has spent 20 years working as a Sports Broadcaster and News Reporter. Some of his time was spent covering Arkansas Razorback sports in Spanish, where he was named “Voice of the Razorbacks” in 2007. He is currently working for the second largest Spanish TV network, Telemundo. He is also the General Manager of Sales & Marketing for Hola Media Group. Mr. Chicas and his wife, Deysi have three children.

Aaron Wright, Member
Aaron Wright received a BA from Henderson State University and a M.Ed. in Technical Educational Administration from the U of A in Fayetteville. He's been a member of the American Welding Society for 20 years and currently holds certificates as a Welding Inspector, Welding Educator, Welding Supervisor and Robotic Welding Technician. He is partners in two Arkansas businesses, United Robotics Inc. and Lancaster Properties. He is currently on a mission to help America continue to lead the world with innovation in the manufacturing sector

Tommy Free, Chair

Mr. Tommy Free was recently appointed by the Governor for a five-year term. Mr. Free is currently Sr. Vice President of Business Development at Centennial Bank in Fayetteville, Arkansas. He has been in banking for 51 years, with the last 39 years in Siloam Springs and Fayetteville, and is actively involved in the community. He has been recognized for Outstanding Civic Leadership by the Siloam Springs Chamber of Commerce.

As President of NTI I would like to personally introduce to our students and constituents a group of hard working individuals who have volunteered their time to serve as Board members. Each member of our Board brings to the conference table a wealth of personal and work experiences. This background helps our staff, faculty and administration be able to provide real life and valuable training for each of our students.


My thanks to our Board,

Blake Robertson, Ed.D.

President of NTI

Dr. Marianne Neighbors, Member

Dr. Marianne Neighbors has been in nursing practice and nursing education for more than 40 years. She received her bachelor’s degree in nursing at Mankato State, a master’s degree in health education at the University of Arkansas, a master’s degree in nursing at the University of Oklahoma, and a doctoral degree in education with a focus on health science at the University of Arkansas. Dr. Neighbors has taught in associate degree nursing education for 18 years, focusing on medical/surgical nursing, and in baccalaureate nursing education for 23 years, focusing on health promotion and community health. She also taught advanced health promotion and nurse educator classes at the master’s level. She is currently an Emeritus Professor in the Eleanor Mann School of Nursing at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Board of Directors