Texas High School Graduates Dr. Daniel Barnette and Cary Patterson were honored Monday during the Texarkana Independent School District's 2019 Distinguished Alumni Luncheon.
Barnette is a 1971 graduate of Texas High School who has worked in the field of aeronautics and aerospace engineering for many years. He received an associate in arts degree from Texarkana College in 1973, a bachelor of science in aerospace engineering from the University of Texas at Austin in 1976 and a master of science in aerospace engineering in 1977.
He recalled his time in elementary at Highland Park, his junior high years and then the four years at Texas High. Barnette also thanked Texarkana College.
"When I graduated from Texas High, I wasn't mature enough to go into college. I just wasn't," he said. "Texarkana College, that was the perfect stepping stone between high school and a four-year university. I don't know how to tell you this, I just fell in love with learning. I just started learning and learning and I loved learning more and more and at some point, people started putting degrees in my hand."
Barnette earned a doctor of philosophy degree in aeronautics/astronautics in 1984 from Stanford University. He later worked a Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico and worked on many projects, including the development of a suite of Python codes for creating, populating, managing, accessing and analyzing MySQL databases. The suite was copyrighted and designated as open source software for use by the scientific community at large. He has been awarded two U.S. patents, four software copyrights and authored 30 publications.
Following his retirement from Sandia in 2014, Barnette served as an associate professor with the mechanical engineering department for LeTourneau University until 2018.
Patterson is a 1970 graduate of Texas High School and earned a bachelor of business administration degree from University of Texas at Austin in 1973 and a Juris Doctorate from St. Mary's University of San Antonio in 1975.
Patterson began his legal career defending product liability and negligence cases in East Texas and Southwest Arkansas. In 1986, he partnered with Harold Nix and began representing plaintiffs in product liability, toxic tort and other complex civil cases. Those include representing the State of Texas in the historic Texas tobacco litigation, which recovered more than $17 billion for the State of Texas. In 2009, worked to secure a $45.5 million judgment against Chevron for underpaid natural gas royalties to the governments and to Native Americans. He also helped the State of Florida receive $3 billion following the 2009 British Petroleum oil spill. In March 2019, the firm obtained a $270 million settlement against Purdue Pharma in the State of Oklahoma opioid litigation. Although the settlement was only with Purdue Pharma, the firm will represent other defendants in a trial in May.
Patterson told those gathered at Northridge Country Club how Texas High prepared him for his career and thanked his teachers.
"I've really had some great teachers over the years. Texas High laid the educational foundation that allowed me to succeed at the University of Texas and later at St. Mary's," he said.
Patterson went on to talk about the AR-Tex Regional Economic Development Initiative, of which he is vice president of the board of directors. He said that development of the AR-Tex REDI, which is a 501c3 non-profit, has helped leaders and companies on both sides of the state line work better together for the common goal of bringing more businesses to Texarkana.
"It was often like it was a competition between Texarkana, Ark. and Texarkana, Texas. Bowie County Texas and Miller County, Ark.," he said. "Fortunately, over the last 18 months, this has all changed. County judges are now communicating with each other. The mayors are all communicating with each other. For the first time in my lifetime, this is the first time I have seen the whole group pull together and it's outstanding to see."