Joseph A. Martinez
Executive Director
implements board policy
policy and business planning
oversees association

Executive Director Joseph A. Martinez has been with TCDLA for over 13 years. He has BA and MA degrees in psychology from St. Mary’s University, and an MBA from the University of Texas’ School of Business. Joseph has worked for numerous entities, including nonprofit associations and state agencies in executive level leadership capacities in the fields of personnel management, community development and public policy, to name a few. Since becoming Executive Director of TCDLA, Joseph has spearheaded new projects, grown membership and greatly expanded seminars. He is also active in the Austin Community, being involved in various volunteer organizations over the years. His greatest strengths are his vast experience, innovative ideas, and proven leadership abilities.

Melissa J. Schank
Assistant Executive Director
provides support to executive director
oversees seminars and events
website and technology

Melissa J. Schank, Assistant Executive Director, has worked with nonprofit associations for over 15 years, and has been with TCDLA more than eleven years. She earned her Master’s of Human Resources Business Administration, Bachelor’s of Communication and Mediation Certificate from Saint Edwards University in Austin, Texas. Her greatest strengths are overseeing the long-term planning and strategy for legal educational programs, in addition to managing the organization’s seminars, membership and communication departments.

Rick Wardroup
Curriculum Director/
Staff Attorney
provides training and resources for attorneys representing clients accused of capital crimes.

Curriculum Director/Staff Attorney Richard L. Wardroup has been a lawyer for 39 years. He holds degrees from Texas Tech University and the Texas Tech School of Law. He has been a TCDLA member for over 29 years and employed by TCDLA for more than five years. Rick has been involved in the trial of capital murder cases since 1983 and the direct appeal of convictions since 1984. Before joining TCDLA, he was active in the prosecution of both state and federal habeas petitions in death penalty cases. In the past year, Rick has served as a course director for seminars on forensic sciences, mental health/capital murder, and cross-examination. He has also been a course director at the Capital Trial College in Plano and the the South Padre Island Capital Murder Seminar. He has been a faculty member at the Indigent Defense Seminar in Dallas, the Young Lawyer Training in Dallas, and the TCDLA Trial College in Huntsville. His dedication and devotion to bringing high-quality capital defense training to Texas attorneys, and his ability to involve other experienced capital litigators to provide excellent training, are his greatest strengths.

Mari Flores
budgets and financials
grant compliance
financial analysis

Mari Flores, TCDLA’s Controller, has been with TCDLA since February of 2012. She has an MBA in accounting and a BBA in Finance from Saint Edwards University in Austin, TX. She has 15 years of nonprofit experience in accounting, financial management and auditing. Her accounting and financial nonprofit knowledge, as well as the professionalism, efficiency and dedication she brings to her position are her greatest strengths.

Craig Hattersley
Communications Director
Voice for the Defense magazine
graphic design

Communications Director Craig Hattersley has been with TCDLA for ten years. He graduated summa cum laude from UT with a BS in journalism, and was senior editor at 3rd Coast magazine, Texas Life magazine, and Austin Weekly, as well as writing or working for the Village Voice, Texas Monthly Publications, and the Texas Observer, among others. Additionally, before coming to TCDLA, he worked at G&S Typesetters in Austin, specializing in the production of college textbooks. A misspent youth featured tours of duty at the Fillmore East in NYC, the Armadillo World Headquarters in Austin, and years spent under the hood working as a mechanic in a Volkswagen dealership. His son has finished degrees in math and comp sci at the University of Arizona in Tucson and will finish master's work in statistics & probability this next year.

Cristina Abascal
Accounts Payable

accounts payable

Cristina Abascal, TCDLA’s Accounts Payable Specialist, has been with TCDLA for ten years. She is currently attending Austin Community College pursue a BA in Accounting. She has four years of nonprofit experience in accounting and auditing. Her hard work and dedication and ability to adapt to change are her greatest strengths. When she is not studying or at work she is enjoying her four children.

Miriam Duarte 
Database Coordinator

database management
membership benefits

Miriam Duarte, Database Coordinator, has been with TCDLA for ten years. Her experience at TCDLA has allowed her to utilize her professionalism and ability to learn and master new concepts. Miriam has shown a commitment to providing unsurpassed service in the membership, seminar, and publication departments. Her attention to detail and accuracy has provided great management and upkeep of the organization's database, her greatest strength.

Amanda Rivera
Program Coordinator

• Plan and organize CLEs and events
• Travel arrangements for board and speakers
• Prepare seminar materials and marketing

Amanda Rivera, Program Coordinator, was with TCDLA from 2010-2013 and has since returned to her TCDLA family. She has more than 5 years of experience as a coordinator for continuing education events and more than 10 years in administrative duties. Her experience as a Coordinator in continuing education has allowed her to obtain skills that allow her to provide exceptional support to members, staff, officials, and the general public by using her communication, organizational, and technical skills. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends.

Shreika Madison
Program Coordinator

• Plan and organize CLEs and events
• Travel arrangements for board and speakers
• Prepare seminar materials and marketing

Shreika Madison, Program Coordinator, attended college at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas, where she received her bachelors of science in Health Science. Shreika has worked with several nonprofit organizations, including Phoenix House, Boys and Girls Club, and Nacogdoches Treatment Center. She knows the hard work and dedication that goes into working for nonprofit organizations. Her ability in strategic thinking and problem solving allows her to choose the best solution and effectively implement it. In her free time, she enjoys traveling and spending time with family.

Administrative Assistant 


administrative support
answers phone and directs calls
assists with board meetings


Alejandra Rangel
Seminar Clerk

data processing
• attendee packets 

Alex Rangel is a native Austinite who attends classes at Texas State University, studying to be a teacher in early-childhood bilingual education. Proficient in programs such as Word, Excel, and Powerpoint, Alex has worked with children in Extend-a-Care.

Keri Steen
Seminar Clerk

data processing
• attendee packets 

Keri Steen is a native of Wisconsin who brings a wealth of experience to the association. Besides working in a number of office environments and gaining the skills required to handle multiple accounts, Keri has done work with both the Girl Scouts and the Boy Scouts in a variety of positions, including training, accounting, and fundraising. She is the mother of twin teenage girls and a boy.

Maxx Trejo
Seminar Clerk

data processing
• attendee packets 

Maxx Trejo is a native Austinite who attends classes at Texas State University, studying to be an economic policy analyst. Proficient in numerous computer programs and databases, Maxx has conducted research on behalf of political campaigns, legal offices, and most recently for the Social Science Research Center of Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi.

legislative lobbyists

Allen Place Jr.
Head Lobbyist
chief media contact 
 chief lobbyist


Shea Elyse Place


legislative lobbyist 
 legislative listserve reports

Shea Place graduated summa cum laude with a BA in Psychology from St. Edward’s University, interning as a research assistant for State Representative Jessica Farrar in 2009. She received her JD from Baylor University, where she was a technical editor on the Baylor Law Review. In 2016 Shea joined the Place Law Office in Austin, practicing criminal defense with a focus on parole issues. She is a member of the Austin Bar Association and the Austin Young Lawyers Association. Shea joined the TCDLA team in January 2017 as a lobbyist for the legislative session. She will continue to assist in legislative efforts throughout the interim.

Austin Office

6808 Hill Meadow Drive
Austin, TX 78736
512.478.2514 phone | 512.469.9107 main fax | 512.469.0512 seminar fax

Lubbock Office

915 Texas Ave.
Lubbock, TX 79401
806.763.9900 phone |  806.769.9904 fax