The Student News Site of University of Texas at Arlington (Department of Communication)

Lone Star Sentinel

The Student News Site of University of Texas at Arlington (Department of Communication)

Lone Star Sentinel

The Student News Site of University of Texas at Arlington (Department of Communication)

Lone Star Sentinel

Long-time Arlington resident reflects on wide-ranging life spurred by curiosity

Vance Pointer overcame rough start to work as a radio DJ, teacher, political liaison and business executive
Joel Solis
Arlington resident Vance Pointer, 81, looks at and pets his dog April 27 at his Arlington home. Pointer had his first job at a radio station in Brookfield, Missouri, in 1961.

ARLINGTON, Texas—Long-time Arlington resident Vance Pointer has made an impact on Texas communities as a radio DJ, business COO, teacher and as a liaison for the late former Texas Gov. Dolph Briscoe.

Pointer, 81, said he grew up in an orphanage but did not let that rough start stop him from chasing his dreams. After high school, for example, he pursued his interest in working as a DJ for various radio stations.

“My first job was in Brookfield, Missouri,” Pointer said, “and that was in 1961. You were judged by your Nielsen ratings. I lasted about six months.”

After that, he continued as a DJ in Cleveland, Texas, as well as in Corpus Christi, Texas. From there, he worked at a radio station in Oklahoma, before landing a radio job in New Orleans. He eventually ended up in Wilmington, Delaware.

“And one day I got homesick and decided that I wanted to come home, so I came back to Fort Worth, Texas,” Pointer said.

It was in Fort Worth that he met his wife, Sondra Pointer. He said he was driving down the road and saw a beautiful woman walking. He parked the car and ran over to meet her. He said a friend he was with was afraid because it was a bad neighborhood, but Pointer didn’t care.

He and Sondra enjoyed a whirlwind romance and were married a year and a half later.

Map displays all the states Arlington resident Vance Pointer, 81, has worked and lived throughout his life.

With a new wife to support, Pointer decided to get his bachelor’s degree. He worked his way through college as a collector for Montgomery Ward, as a truck driver and as a newspaper delivery worker.

Once he got his bachelor’s degree from Texas Christian University in 1970, Pointer went on to teach with the Fort Worth Independent School District. Pointer said he saved several notes from his students.

One student, Carolyn Hill, wrote, “I enjoyed your class. You inspired me to go into broadcasting.”

The principal found out about his radio experience and asked him to become a media specialist.

“And what I [would] do is take my camera and I go out to various schools and then photograph, take pictures and interview and so forth,” Pointer said, documenting training events around the district.

Pointer later decided to get his master’s in public administration. Then, he went on to work as a liaison for Briscoe, then Texas governor.

“I worked with various programs like the Texas Youth Council and Texas Revitalization Commission, and the opportunity there was for them to get insight from the governor’s office.”

Pointer said he’d counsel the parole officers with the TRC, but eventually decided that he was not interested in a political job.

After this, Pointer went on to work with Tony Lama leather products.

“I elevated from the HR department to the manufacturing department, and became the vice president of manufacturing and the vice president of human resources, and then executive vice president and chief operating officer,” Pointer said.

He said he helped increase profits 900%, helping stock values to increase from $2 a share to $29 a share in two years.

Pointer made an impression on Joe Yost, vice president of Tony Lama, and Yost made a lasting impact on Pointer. When Yost died in 1996, Pointer and his wife posted a memorial quote for his obituary.

“Joe was my adviser and friend when he approved my being hired at Tony Lama Leather Products in 1974. He was Vice President of manufacturing, and named me as manager of Human Resources (at the time it was titled “Personnel Manager),” the Pointers wrote. “Joe told me he was able to overcome his ‘ill education’ through hard work. He was mechanically inclined from youth, and was part of, ‘the founding five,’ to create Tony Lama leather products, after departing Justin Boots with his friend, the president, Roger Souder. Rest in Peace my old friend.”


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