Our Team

Mitzi Ellison

Owner / President


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Mitzi is owner and President of NLA. She serves as a project manager for the team, working on numerous projects across the state. She brings over two decades of experience in communications and public outreach, with 16 years in environmental planning and transportation public involvement. Mitzi is an exceptional project manager, successfully coordinating public involvement on many planning and environmental studies on a wide range of issues, including habitat conservation and environmental remediation. Her transportation public involvement experience includes work on construction, environmental/NEPA process, feasibility studies, planning, schematic design, and scoping studies. Mitzi began working for NLA in 2011 and purchased the company in 2021.

Mitzi has coordinated hundreds of public involvement events and meetings (open houses, public meetings, public hearings, property owner meetings, stakeholder meetings, committees and working groups) across the state of Texas. She has successfully completed virtual public involvement events including virtual property and stakeholder meetings, virtual public meetings and virtual public hearings (incorporating in-person components as well). She has worked as a facilitator on complex projects, helping project teams move to consensus and facilitating the project development process. With a history of working on complex and controversial projects, Mitzi develops communication and outreach plans that not only meet but exceed state and federal requirements and effectively inform and engage the public.

Randall Dillard

Senior Associate


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Randall Dillard is a Senior Associate at NLA with more than 30 years’ experience effectively communicating information to the public to promote understanding and involvement. He works as a project manager for the team, providing excellent project management services for numerous contracts across the state. In a nearly 24-year career with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), Randall served in numerous key communication roles at both the state and district levels. His positions at TxDOT included Director of the Public Information Office, Manager of Media Relations, and District Public Information Officer in the agency’s Austin and Lubbock Districts. Randall later served as Director of Communications for the Texas Secretary of State for nearly three years. As the longtime spokesperson for two state agencies, Randall earned the confidence of top executives while providing meaningful information to the public regarding agency programs, initiatives and activities. Prior to his extensive state government experience, he was a reporter and news anchor at radio stations in New Braunfels and Georgetown.

Randall serves as Senior Associate at NLA and has been part of the team since August 2011. His transportation public involvement experience at NLA includes extensive work as lead for corridor studies, project schematic design, as well as NEPA projects. He has extensive experience in media relations and is a skilled resource for easily translating technical issues into meaningful and understandable information for citizens.

Heather Parscal

Public Information Officer


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Heather offers more than 20 years’ experience in public outreach and has supported public involvement and outreach activities on several important planning projects throughout her professional career. Heather’s prior experience includes program development, local government outreach and public involvement as she headed up programs with both the Heart of Texas Council of Governments and the Capital Area Planning Council. Heather’s experience also includes project development, application and grant coordination for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and assisting with public hearings on legislative changes.

Heather joined NLA in 2009. Heather provides project management and oversight with meeting logistics, stakeholder and property owner identification, development and distribution of notification materials, documentation and preparing reports. She is responsible for planning and coordinating all public outreach activities, including workshops and meetings, and the production of brochures, notices and other outreach and informational materials. Heather’s public involvement experience at NLA includes work on corridor scoping studies, project schematic design, as well as NEPA projects, assisting in all capacities from staffing and logistics through summary reporting.

Liza Ross

Public Involvement Specialist


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Liza Ross offers 20 years’ experience with a strong background in marketing, development, administration and program management. Liza joined NLA in 2008. She supports public involvement efforts on a wide range of transportation projects. Her experience includes project controls, contract requirements for federally funded projects and public outreach efforts. She is a proven resource for accurately completing research and reports, information management, marketing, business-publicity and public outreach efforts. She is adept at developing and maintaining detailed administrative and procedural processes to improve accuracy and efficiency as well as achieving financial and organizational objectives. Liza is exemplary in quality assurance/quality control measures, proofing key project deliverables for public distribution and is an experienced content writer for outreach reports.

Willis Ellison

IT / Graphics / Drone Pilot


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Willis Ellison has more than 20 years of experience in information technology, product development, project and portfolio management, photography and graphic design.

Willis joined NLA in 2021 and delivers a wide range of graphic design and IT support for the team. As a photographer and graphic artist, Willis is proficient in Adobe Creative Suite (Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop, Spark) and DaVinci Resolve Studio for video editing. He creates virtual meeting rooms, strategically working with the project team to effectively communicate electronically to stakeholders. His background includes 15 years of experience in website design and development (desktop and mobile). His design and IT experience is an asset in creating visual tools to encourage involvement and understanding for the clients and the public. Willis is also an FAA compliant, licensed commercial drone pilot (Part 107 certified).

Lauren Canales

Public Involvement Specialist / Graphics Support


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Lauren offers 11 years of diverse professional experience in public involvement, marketing communications, outreach, graphic design, web design, and customer service. She brings a strong background in digital marketing, strategic planning, and project management, and works closely with clients and media outlets on coordinated outreach efforts.

Lauren joined NLA in 2014 and provides public involvement support for numerous local, regional and statewide transportation projects. Her project experience includes deputy project management, stakeholder and property owner identification, meeting planning and logistics, social media, content development and graphic design, quality assurance and other project related tasks. She supports public involvement efforts on all phases of the transportation project development process including work on preliminary roadway studies, schematic design, environmental/NEPA process and active construction projects. Her role also focuses on bringing innovative communication improvements to public outreach and engagement activities on projects.

Ivonne Valdivia

Spanish Translator / Public Involvement Specialist


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Ivonne Valdivia offers 12 years of experience in Spanish translation and translator services. Ivonne joined NLA in 2021 and delivers a wide range of Spanish translation support on project materials and narration. She successfully translates project materials and notifications, ranging from documents to entire websites, excelling in the translation of highly technical products. Ivonne enhances visual tools to encourage involvement and understanding for the clients and the public.