Profile of an Amarillo Business Leader

Like many other young men who came of age in the Texas Panhandle during the 1960s, Joe Batson spent his youth working on the family ranch in Amarillo. Mr. Batson applied himself in a variety of roles at the Coldwater Cattle Company throughout his adolescence, garnering solid horseback riding and cattle herding skills in addition to a pilot’s license. Although he remains firmly rooted in the ranching lifestyle he experienced as a teenager, Joe Batson’s professional endeavors include accomplishments in film, advertising, and banking.

As a student at The University of Texas at Austin, Joe Batson accompanied the well-known photographer Bill Rhew on a global tour, acting as a Production Assistant for Mr. Rhew’s Dekalb Film Series project. While pursuing his B.A. in Radio-Film-Television and Communications, Mr. Batson became involved with President Lyndon B. Johnson’s re-election bid, joining the former president’s staff as a Youth Advisor and Campaign Coordinator. Functioning as a liaison to the White House, he was also named a trustee for Johnson’s grandchildren. The campaign came to an end earlier than expected, however, and Joe Batson returned home to Amarillo. He subsequently stepped into a leadership role at the Coldwater Cattle Company and continues to oversee the enterprise’s daily operation.

Eager to employ his collegiate education and experience, Joe Batson acquired an advertising firm in Amarillo in the early 1970s. He then launched Berneta Communications, Inc., in 1981, naming the business after his grandmother, Berneta Bivins. Berneta Communications garnered a plethora of accolades under Mr. Batson’s supervision, including multiple Mitch Wilder Awards from the Texas Association of Museums, a national recognition from the American Association for State and Local History, and a first-place ranking for a film the company produced on behalf of United Way.

In subsequent decades, Joe Batson purchased a bank in Amarillo that he sold after six years. He also carved a niche for himself in the oil and gas industry as an Officer of the Grid Oil Company. Most importantly, he was able to share his success with the community he grew up in through his civic and charitable affiliations. For his many contributions to the town of Amarillo and its citizen base, the Texas Department of Public Safety Officer’s Association dubbed Mr. Batson “Citizen of the Year” in 2007. Distinguished as an Honorary Texas Ranger, Mr. Batson won the Amarillo Chamber of Commerce’s Golden Nail Award in 2009 for supporting the city’s performing arts scene.




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