Zivorad Filipovic

August 9, 2021

A fixture of the local marketing community, Zivorad Filipovic—whom his friends and colleagues know as “Z”—served as the marketing coordinator for the Amarillo Symphony before taking his current job as director of marketing and communications for High Plains Food Bank. But like most guests on Hey Amarillo, there’s much more to Z than his career. He arrived in the United States as a refugee from Serbia during the violent Balkans crisis in the 1990s. “I was so honored that he was willing to talk about his childhood, which was unimaginably intense,” Jason says. “Literally, Z arrived here with nothing. He learned English at Sam Houston Middle School and has so many good things to say about the Amarillo teachers who invested in his life. Despite that childhood trauma, he’s such a positive, uplifting presence.” Filipovic ended up attending WTAMU and became the first in his family to graduate from college. 

Gus Trujillo

August 23, 2021

“I had been chasing Gus for months to be on the podcast,” Jason says. “I don’t interview political candidates during a campaign, for obvious reasons. But I loved the idea of checking in after a campaign ended, because I know that process always becomes a learning experience about the people you’re hoping to represent.” Gus Trujillo, of course, was the local 2020 Democratic congressional candidate for Texas District 13, which includes Amarillo. Republican Ronny Jackson ended up winning the race, but Trujillo enjoyed the process of running and learned a lot about the issues facing this area. In this episode, he digs into those issues. Trujillo also tells Jason about his experience interning for the now-retired U.S. Representative Mac Thornberry, whom he had been hoping to replace.

Dr. Katie Blake

September 13, 2021

Katie Blake has a Ph.D. in social psychology and teaches at Amarillo College. But her reach extends far beyond the community college classroom. Online, Dr. Blake hosts a virtual community of women all over the world who are in the process of “deconstructing” their faith. “For a lot of people, especially in a religious place like Amarilo, the idea of reevaluating what you believe seems a little scary, or even suspicious,” Jason says. “Dr. Blake describes why this is a necessary part of the spiritual journey, because it’s about understanding matters of faith on your own terms, rather than just accepting what you’ve inherited or been taught.” Relationships are critical during this process, particularly for women, and that’s why Dr. Blake is so passionate about supporting them along the way—including women living as far away as Australia and Africa. 

Andrew Hall

September 27, 2021

As the founder and chair of the Hoodoo Mural Festival (see page 58), Jason interviewed Hall the week before the big weekend festival of music and art. But they talked about a lot more than murals. “He comes from a long line of local entrepreneurs, who continue to give back to Amarillo after years of business success,” Jason says. “Andrew has that same entrepreneurial spirit, but he used it to start a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing large-scale public art to Amarillo.” Having grown up in Amarillo, Hall left during his college years. When he and his wife, Lauren, returned to his hometown, they noticed Amarillo lacked some of the cultural elements they had enjoyed in the Metroplex and elsewhere. “He could have complained about the things Amarillo didn’t have. What I love is that, instead, he decided to do something about it,” Jason says.

Helen Burton

October 11, 2021

“After interviewing Helen for Brick & Elm’s  September/October feature about the Barrio, I knew I wanted to host her on the podcast for a longer conversation,” Jason says. Burton didn’t disappoint. In this episode, she shares about her upbringing in the Barrio and her years attending the private Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic School in that neighborhood. Having seen both of her parents work so hard to make a living and provide for their family, Burton became interested in the business world—an interest that drove her forward into a career as a business owner, executive and leadership development coach, and insurance professional. “We talk a lot in this episode about Helen’s upbringing within the Hispanic culture—the very positive elements and some of the challenges—and how those made her so passionate about empowering women.”