Executive Bios

Emmitt Smith

President & CEO - Emmitt Smith Enterprises

Emmitt Smith is a professional football icon and one of the greatest to ever play the game. In his 15 years in the National Football League, Smith amassed many records that still stand today. This includes the all-time leading rusher with 18,355 career rushing yards and the all-time rushing touchdown record holder with 164 TD’s. Smith’s impressive resume also includes three Super Bowl champion rings and being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2010. 

As a first-round pick in the 1990 NFL Draft, Smith was the cornerstone of the Dallas Cowboys offense for 13 seasons. The eight-time Pro Bowler was the first player in NFL history to rush for more than 1,000 yards in 11 consecutive seasons and on October 27, 2002 he surpassed Walter Payton as the NFL’s all-time leading rusher. Smith led the NFL in rushing four times, he was the league MVP in 1993, and MVP of Super Bowl XXVIII. His 175 career touchdowns rank second in NFL history. 

Smith played his final two NFL seasons with the Arizona Cardinals (2003 and 2004) before signing a one-day contract in February 2005, so he could officially retire as a member of the Dallas Cowboys. In September 2005, Smith was inducted to the Cowboys Ring of Honor with former teammates Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin. He was also enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006 for his All-American career at the University of Florida. 

Previously serving as a football analyst for ESPN and the NFL Network, Smith also appeared as a guest college football analyst during FOX’s BCS National Championship pre-game coverage. His post-career television success includes winning the third season of ABC’s popular primetime reality show Dancing with the Stars, with his style being deemed “the King of effortless cool”, being featured on NBC’s Who Do You Think You Are, and returning to the ballroom in 2012 for Dancing with the Stars All-Stars

Currently, Smith has transitioned to the role of businessman and entrepreneur, and runs several companies spanning real estate, construction and technology. He is also a Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM) and REALTOR®. Current businesses include: ESmith Legacy, a premier real estate development and asset management firm; EJ Smith Construction, a Dallas-based commercial and civil construction manager and general contractor; E Smith Realty Partners, a national commercial real estate services company; E Smith Capital Partners, specialists in the procurement of commercial real estate equity and debt financing; and Prova Group, Inc., a mobile authentication company. 

Smith can also add author to his long list of accomplishments. Published in 2011, his most recent book, Game On, outlines the principles that helped Smith succeed both on and off the field. Active in charitable outreach both in the Dallas area and on a national level, Smith founded Pat & Emmitt Smith Charities with his wife to provide unique experiences and educational opportunities to underserved youth. Smith currently resides with his wife, Pat, and their five children in Dallas, TX.

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Pat Smith

President & CEO - Pat Smith Enterprises, Inc.

Pat Smith, a successful television personality and inspirational speaker, is President & CEO of Pat Smith Enterprises. The company manages Smith’s many business interests, chief among them Treasure You™ — a brand of products and services dedicated to renewing the spirits of women by helping them to achieve their dreams and find their passion in life despite their setbacks and circumstances.
 
Smith, the first African-American woman to win the Miss Virginia USA title and first runner-up of the 1994 Miss USA Pageant, lost her mother to breast cancer while preparing for the competition. That loss inspired her to begin mentoring women to achieve their dreams.
 
“Treasure You™ was born during a period when I felt as though I was drowning in the shadows and losing my passion for life,” said Smith. “I had an amazing experience, what I call a Treasure You™ Moment, with a former NFL player's wife. After that, I was led to create experiences like ours where women can come together in a safe environment to share and grow.”
 
Smith’s television career includes being a correspondent for Extra, guest host for Access Hollywood, host of “Treasure You” on Good Morning Texas, host of “Keep the Faith,” and recurring roles and guest appearances on such primetime hits as Beverly Hills 90210, Sunset Beach and The Wayans Brothers Show.
 
Smith is known for her philanthropy on behalf of women and children as well as her commitment to church, civic and community activities. She serves as President of Pat & Emmitt Smith Charities, which annually awards college scholarships and is dedicated to providing enrichment opportunities to underserved youth.
 
Smith is currently a member of the prestigious Vogue 100 and a celebrity role model for the Dallas Elevators mentor program for Dallas ISD high school students. She is also involved with battered women’s shelters and breast cancer initiatives. She was recently voted one of the 10 Most Beautiful Women in Dallas by D magazine.

Smith is a graduate of James Madison University a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism.  She is married and is the mother of five children.

 

Tamela Thornton

Co-Founder/Principal – ESmith Legacy

Tamela Thornton, who serves as co-founder and principal of ESmith Legacy, has over 25 years of real estate related experience including site selection, market analysis for new business development, store location planning, lease negotiation, and construction project management. In her present role, Thornton oversees ESmith Legacy’s Alternative Investment Division, which acquires existing franchise assets and/or development rights in the Food & Beverage, Hospitality, Retail Services, and Entertainment & Lifestyle industry classes. Additionally, she leads the market feasibility / site selection strategy and development services initiatives for the team. Her responsibilities include oversight of all aspects of ESmith Legacy’s retail and mixed-use projects nationally.
 
Prior to joining ESmith Legacy, Thornton formed Bronzegate Development Services, LLC in 2006 to provide consulting services for franchised businesses and small developers in the areas of strategic planning, defining new location development criteria and site selection. Clients have included retailers and developers.
 
Early in her career at YUM!, Thornton generated over $19 million in new store sales with an average return of 17 percent for the Taco Bell brand. She also developed site selection criteria and analysis techniques to identify optimal market penetration for the restaurant brands in both traditional and non-traditional settings. She has worked in many of the major U.S. markets, as well as internationally in markets as diverse as China, Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Peru and the Caribbean.
 
At Starbucks Coffee Company, Thornton managed the real estate and construction team for one of the fastest growing regions in the country. Her team delivered over 65 stores annually while developing a strong project pipeline that has positioned Starbucks for continued growth in Texas and Oklahoma. These deals generated over $70 million in top-line sales for the company.
 
Thornton holds BA and MA degrees in Regional Science from the University of Pennsylvania. Additionally, she holds the CCIM designation. She is on the executive board of the Fort Worth Business Assistance Center, and an active member of the International Council of Shopping Centers, Services of Hope and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.

 

Eugene Walker

President & CEO – EJ Smith Construction & EJ Smith Supply

Eugene Walker serves as President & CEO of EJ Smith Construction, LLC and EJ Smith Supply, LLC. In this role, he oversees all aspects of those two companies.
 
Walker comes to Emmitt Smith Enterprises from Austin Industries where he served as the Corporate Director of Diversity Affairs. He has served in several capacities over his 25-year construction career, including Project Manager, Project Engineer and Senior Estimator. Eugene has been involved with several local projects, including DFW Airport Terminal D, the American Airlines Center and UT Southwestern Medical Center.
 
Walker has been actively involved in minority affairs since 1985. He served on the M/WBE Committee for the Associated General Contractors (AGC) Dallas Chapter in 1993 and as a result of this involvement he has dedicated himself as an advocate for minority and women owned businesses. Walker has been awarded several times for his efforts, including being named as one of the most influential African-American Leaders in Texas by Minority Business News.

 

Nina D. Jones, CPA

Chief Financial Officer

Nina Jones is a Certified Public Accountant and has been in the accounting industry for over 25 years. As a CPA, Nina has assumed the role of Chief Financial Officer for her clients as well as recently being the CFO for Goodwill Industries of Dallas. Over the years, Nina has managed budgets of major organizations from $2m-$3m up to $20m with assets over $50m. Included in managing these budgets is balance sheet reconciliations, revenue/expense analysis, preparation of financial statements, preparation and management of cash flow, oversight of major annual audits, hedging decisions in the energy market to manage electrical contracts, streamlining the payroll process, implementation of tools/technology for automation of retail stores and direct deposit. Nina has also prepared all tax reports — monthly, quarterly and annual as needed including individual tax returns, w2’s, 1099’s, 990 tax returns and 5500 tax returns.

In addition, Nina has handled all the areas of risk management, which includes communication with various insurance professionals for the property, general liability risks as well as nonsubscriber insurance (self insurance in lieu of worker’s compensation), overseeing all the benefits of the organizations – vacation, sick, personal leave, defined pension benefit plan, health, disability and life insurance. She has also overseen the investments of the organizations, prepared detailed analysis and worked closely with investment professional to maintain the goals and investment policy of these assets.

Over the years, Nina has worked with a variety of organizations from nonprofits to for profit organizations. She has also taught accounting/Quickbook courses for Continuing Education Division at the University of Texas at Arlington. Along with her CFO duties for Pat and Emmitt Smith and their charities, she continues to serve a few of her other clients that represent the music & entertainment industry, and other nonprofit ministries.

Nina has a BBA in Accounting from the University of Texas at Arlington, and a MBA from Dallas Baptist University. She sits on the board of the Oak Cliff Christian Credit Union and is a deaconess at the 10,000+ member church – Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship.