Tower Center Forum Event | Ambassadors Unplugged: Antonio Garza & Mark Langdale

Wednesday, November 19, 2014 (5:30 PM – 7:30 PM)
Location TBA (map)

The Honorable Antonio Garza, U.S. Ambassador to Mexico (2002-2009)

JJarman_AGarzaPortraits_186_copyAntonio Garza serves as Counsel in the Mexico City office of White & Case LLP, one of the world’s leading global law firms with 38 offices in 26 countries. Additionally, Amb. Garza is Chairman of Vianovo Ventures, a management consultancy with a focus on cross-border business development.

Drawing on decades of high-profile, political, legal, and business experience, Garza serves as a strategic counselor to CEOs, investors, and entrepreneurs. He is acknowledged as one of the top experts on U.S.-Mexico relations and on the business and political environments of both nations.

Ambassador Garza currently serves as a director of Basic Energy Services, Inc. (NYSE: BAS), an oil and gas well services company, Kansas City Southern (NYSE: KSU), a rail based transportation company and MoneyGram (NYSE: MGI), a global money transfer company. Mr. Garza formerly served on the boards of BBVA Compass and the U.S. holding companies of BBVA (NYSE: BBVA).

Mr. Garza is a member of the Board of Trustees of Southern Methodist University, the Development Board of the University of Texas at Austin and Dean’s Council at the Harvard School of Public Health. The Ambassador is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a past recipient of the “Aguila Azteca” or Aztec Eagle, the Mexican government’s highest honor bestowed upon a foreign national.

From 2002 to 2009, Garza was the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico. Prior to that time, Mr. Garza served as chairman of the Texas Railroad Commission, having been elected to statewide office in 1998. Mr. Garza is a past partner at Bracewell & Patterson (now Bracewell & Giuliani) and served as Secretary of State of the State of Texas and Senior Policy Advisor to the Governor of the State of Texas from 1994 to 1997, and as Cameron County Judge from 1988 to 1994.

Garza holds a BBA from The University of Texas at Austin and a Doctor of Jurisprudence from Southern Methodist University School of Law and has been honored as a distinguished alumnus at both institutions. He is a member of the State Bar of Texas, the District of Columbia Bar and is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court. Garza is married to Dr. Liz Beightler.

The Honorable Mark Langdale, U.S. Ambassador to Costa Rica (2005-2008)


Mark Langdale completed his role as the founding president of the George W. Bush Foundation on September 1, 2013. He was responsible for the development and launch of the George W. Bush Presidential Center on the campus of Southern Methodist University. The Center contains the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum and the George W. Bush Institute. The Center was dedicated by all five living U.S. Presidents on April 25, 2013 and deeded to the National Archives and Records Administration. The Bush Institute has grown to have over 50 people working in six areas of engagement that are the chosen focus of President and Mrs. Bush for their post-presidential charitable efforts. Over $500 million was raised to underwrite this venture. Mark continues to serve of the board of the foundation.

Mark served as U.S. ambassador to Costa Rica from 2005 to 2008 focusing on the ratification and Costa Rican participation in the Central America Free Trade Agreement. He also negotiated and finalized the largest debt-for-nature swap in an agreement among the United States, Costa Rica, the Nature Conservancy, and Conservation International and worked to strengthen the security partnership between Costa Rica and the United States.

Mark served as president of Posadas USA, the U.S. subsidiary of Grupo Posadas S.A. de C.V. from 1989 until 2005 where he oversaw the U.S. management and investment activities for the company. During his involvement, Grupo Posadas grew into one of the largest hotel management and development companies in Latin America. Mark also redeveloped the Omni Bedford Springs Resort, a 2,000 acre historic resort which has won numerous awards for the quality of its historic preservation, environmental stewardship, and world class golf and spa amenities.

Mark also served as the Chairman of the Texas Department of Economic Development from 1997 to 2002 responsible for economic development and tourism promotion strategies for the State of Texas and is a long time active member of the Young Presidents/ World Presidents Organizations, receiving their Legacy Award in 2004 for demonstrated global leadership.

Mark Langdale holds a bachelor of business administration with honors from the University of Texas at Austin (1975), and a bachelor of laws from the University Of Houston School Of Law (1977). He has been married to Patty for over 30 years. They have two children.

Moderator: Lee Cullum, Senior Fellow, Tower Center


Lee Cullum is host of CEO, KERA’s original monthly series of interviews with North Texas business leaders that airs on KERA television and radio. She is also a commentator for Morning Edition on KERA-FM and contributes columns to The Dallas Morning News. A veteran journalist, Lee was previously a commentator for The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer and All Things Considered on NPR. In addition, she was editor of the editorial page of the Dallas Times Heraldand host of Conversations, a series on KERA with major newsmakers. Lee also worked as a reporter, on-air moderator and executive producer of Newsroom on KERA.

Lee is a senior fellow of the John G. Tower Center for Political Studies at SMU and a fellow at the Dallas Institute for Humanities and Culture. On the board of the Council on Foreign Relations for 10 years, she currently serves on the board of the American Council on Germany, the Pacific Council on International Policy, the Dallas Committee on Foreign Relations and the Social Sciences Foundation benefitting the Graduate School of International Studies at the University of Denver. She is a member of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations and the InterAmerican Dialogue, and serves on the advisory board of the International Programs Center at the University of Oklahoma.

Open only to Tower Center Forum members, SMU students, faculty and staff.

Members, SMU students, faculty and staff please RSVP to

If you are interested in joining the Tower Center Forum, please contact Luisa del Rosal at