Our Advisory Board

Mrs. Wendy K. Dawson

Founder/Director/Social Motion Skills, Inc.

Wendy Dawson is Founder and Director of Social Motion Skills, a 501c3 organization dedicated to breaking the social barrier for children and adolescents with social integration difficulties such as autism spectrum disorders, ADHD, language and learning differences in order they may lead happy, integrated lives.

Social Motion Skills has partnered with SafeWay Driving to provide a specialized driver training learning curriculum and environment for intellectually capable students, at least 15 years of age, who need a slower pace of instruction, expanded explanation and support to safely master state requirements and driving demands. The program, titled “Driver’s Ed at Your Speed,” promises to be a ground breaking initiative that will improve lives for many years to come.

Wendy got her business start in emerging markets in 1989 after earning a degree in International Business from the American University in Paris, France. Rising to VP of Business Development for the energy subsidiary of French Bank Societe Generale in New York by 1994, Wendy proceeded to lead the opening of the Houston marketing office. Wendy left Societe Generale Energie in 1999 to join Enron and continue work on business development in emerging markets.

Her work included commodity trading, marketing, and structuring transactions in Industrial Origination (Refining and Petrochemical) Off-Shore Development (crude oil and products production and import), Wholesale Power Origination (Utilities), and Industrial Markets (Pulp and Paper). Wendy was charged with creation of long term outsourcing transactions, alliances, and customized risk management programs. 

After time off to begin a family, Wendy returns with the creation of Social Motion Skills to bring acumen, structure and economy of scale to the emerging market for social skills and independent living skills training. Wendy is active in her children’s' schools, currently the Community Education Chair at MDE, on the Advisory Committee to University of Texas’ Children’s Learning Institute, and a Director of the Houston Bar Association Auxiliary.

Wendy graduated from Baton Rouge High School in Louisiana, is married to husband Alistair Dawson, a partner at Beck Redden & Secrest, and has four children Kaitlyn, Cameron, Collin and Connor.

Eugene Fowler Walker

Founder/Retired/SafeWay Driving, Inc. Creator of the SafeWay Driving System

Gene Walker is a legend in the driver training world. He is the creator of The SafeWay Driving System and a recognized pioneer and leader in the driving school industry.

For 38 years, Fowler Eugene “Coach” Walker lead the growth of his SafeWay Driving while playing an instrumental role in traffic safety at the state and national level. His tireless efforts with the Texas Education Agency, the Driving School Association of Texas, the Texas Board of Education, the Department of Public Safety and other traffic safety organizations are exemplary of the impact he has on the industry.

His disciplined approach to training drivers and famed SafeWay Driving System curriculum still lead the way today for safer roads and a better quality of life. His commitment to excellence has even earned an annual award bestowed in his name for the best driving instructor in the SafeWay Driving Center organization.

In 1973, Gene and his wife, Jeanne, opened Spring Branch Driving School, which they ultimately renamed Safe-Way Driving Centre. They began with one modest location, one great training curriculum and one old vehicle. By 2010, Safe-Way had grown to eight locations, six products, a fleet of 28 vehicles and 75 employees to become one of the country’s leading driver training schools.

That is when the Walkers sold the school to long time friends and former SafeWay Driving students, Brad Coleman and his family. One of SafeWay’s most noted alumnus, NASCAR driver Brad Coleman has a passion for his former school and the lives it saved by training disciplined drivers. It was a match made in Heaven and while officially retired, Coach Walker continues to consult with SafeWay Driving and serves as their first honorary member of the SafeWay Driving Center Advisory Board.

Gene Walker is a 1962 graduate of Hull-Daisetta High School in South East Texas, which was a community of about 800. He entered Rice University in the fall of 1962 with a football scholarship and graduated in1966. He was inducted into the Rice Athletic Hall of Fame in 2010 with the Distinguished “R” Award for his athletic ability and also for his career accomplishments after leaving Rice. He continues to support Rice Athletics and is presently a member of the Rice University Athletic Advisory Board.

Gene and Jeanne have been married 45 years and reside in Houston where they are active members of Second Baptist Church. Gene serves as a deacon at his church and and is past-president of the Memorial High School Mustang Booster Club and member of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

The Walkers have three children, Major Len Walker, USMC, of Jacksonville, NC., Leah Turner of Austin, and Lane Walker of Houston. They have four grandchildren, Sarah Jean, Joshua, Luke and Hannah.

Dr. Maurice Dennis

Founder/Retired/TXDADP Drug and Alcohol Program Retired Professor Emeritus/Center for Alcohol and Education Studies/Texas A&M University

Dr. Maurice Dennis has long been considered the respected industry authority on Drug and Alcohol traffic safety knowledge, instruction and certification.

His 40 years of service to the driving safety education industry and leading role as Director of the Center for Alcohol and Education Studies at Texas A&M University are legendary in the driver training business. Dr. Dennis’ honors are numerous and include prestigious awards such as Professor Emeritus at Texas A&M University, the Richard Kaywood Memorial Award, the Presidential Honor Award from the Texas Alcohol and Traffic Safety Education Association, the American Driver and Traffic Safety Education Teacher of the Year Award, the Distinguished Achievement Award from the Association of Former Students, and he was also named a Fellow of the American Academy of Safety Education.

His distinguished safety leadership and Texas Drug and Alcohol Driving Awareness Program are national standards by which all others are measured. In 2010, Dr. Dennis sold the rights to the TXDADAP program to SafeWay Driving to insure its’ continuity and legacy. While officially retired, Dr. Dennis continues to consult with SafeWay Driving and serves as one of the first honorary members of the SafeWay Driving Center Advisory Board.

Maurice Dennis is a graduate of Florida State University where he became an Assistant Professor and Member of Graduate Faculty of the Transportation and Safety Program. From there he headed to College Station, Texas to ultimately become the Coordinator and Professor of the Safety Education Program in the Industrial Education Department at Texas A&M University. His worldwide reputation and expertise in driver safety eventually lead him to the position of Director for the Center for Alcohol and Drug Education Studies at Texas A&M where he was awarded Professor Emeritus status.

Maury grew up in his hometown of Moss Bluff near Lake Charles, Louisiana where he graduated from Gillis High School. He is married to Patricia, his wife of 45 years. They have three sons; Stephen, Kyle, and Mark and three grandchildren, twin girls Allison and Ashley, and grandson Rett.

Venky Shankar

Marketing Professor/Coleman Chair Texas A&M University

Venkatesh (Venky) Shankar is Professor and Coleman Chair in Marketing and Marketing Ph.D. Program Director, Mays Business School, Texas A&M University, where he has been since 2004. He has a Ph.D. from Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University. His expertise areas include Marketing Strategy, Innovation, e-Business, International Marketing, and Retailing.

His research has been published in Journal of Marketing Research, Marketing Science, Management Science, Strategic Management Journal, Journal of Marketing, Harvard Business Review and Sloan Management Review. He is the author of Shopper Marketing and co-editor of the Handbook of Marketing Strategy. He is an Academic Trustee of Marketing Science Institute--one of the highest professional honors.

Venky is also a winner of the Clarke Award for Outstanding Direct Marketing Educator, the Green Award for the Best Article in Journal of Marketing Research, the Lehmann Award for the Best Dissertation-based Article in an AMA journal, and the Sheth Award for the Best Paper in Journal of Academy of Marketing Science. He is Editor Emeritus of Journal of Interactive Marketing, ex-associate editor of Management Science and is on the editorial boards of Journal of Marketing, Journal of Marketing Research, Marketing Science, International Journal of Research in Marketing, Journal of Academy of Marketing Science, and Journal of Retailing. The Shankar-Spiegel Award from Direct Marketing Educational Foundation is named in his honor.

Mr. Shankar is ex-President of the Marketing Strategy SIG, AMA and serves on the Chief Marketing Officers (CMO) council and Business-to-Business (B2B) Leadership Board. He is a three-time winner of the Krowe Award for Outstanding Teaching. He has been a visiting faculty at MIT, INSEAD, Singapore Management University, SDA Bocconi, Nanyang Technology University, Indian School of Business, and Chinese European International Business School. He has been a keynote speaker in several conferences and has delivered over 150 presentations in different countries, including Australia, Belgium, China, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Singapore, U.K., and U.S.A. His work has generated about 3,500 citations—among the highest for marketing scholars—and 10 of his articles have won best paper/honorable mention/finalist awards.

Lastly, Venky has appeared as an international business expert on CNN and C-SPAN and has served as an expert witness in business cases. He has had working/consulting/executive education experience with companies such as ARINC, Allstate Insurance, Cap Gemini Ernst & Young, Colgate-Palmolive, Frito-Lay, Giant Food, Glaxo SmithKline, Halliburton, Hewlett Packard, Honeywell, HSBC, IBM, Intel, International Paper, Lockheed Martin, Lucent Technologies, Marriott International, Medtronic, Northrop Grumman, PepsiCo, Philips, Sirius, United Nations Foundation, Vodafone, Volvo Group, and Wegmans.

Dr. Hal Guthrie

In Memoriam (1941-2013) President/CEO/Hal Guthrie & Associates, Inc.

For nearly 50 years, Dr. Hal Guthrie served in numerous positions of educational leadership and earned a reputation as one of the foremost experts on public school administration and curriculum.

Dr. Guthrie was Superintendent of Schools for the award winning Spring Branch Independent School District from 1986 to 2002 and was named Superintendent of the Year for the State of Texas in 1989-1990 and Superintendent Emeritus upon his retirement in 2006.

Hal Guthrie graduated from Red Bank Valley High School in New Bethlehem, Pennsylvania in 1958 and went on to graduate from Clarion and Penn State Universities. His career began as a classroom teacher then as building principal, Professor of Educational Leadership at Temple University in Philadelphia and then as Superintendent of Schools in St. Mary’s Pennsylvania and with the East Penn School District in Allentown, Pennsylvania. He was named Superintendent of Schools in Cedar Rapids, Iowa before being recruited as Superintendent in Spring Branch in Houston, Texas. He has also served as Adjunct Professor of Educational Administration for Penn State, University of Houston, Texas A&M University and the University of Texas at Austin.

Hal Guthrie held numerous offices including President of the Urban School Superintendents Association and he was appointed to the Texas Telecommunications Infrastructure Fund Board by the late Lt. Governor Bob Bullock and later reappointed by Governor George W. Bush. He has been invited to visit with school officials and observe classrooms in England, Germany, Japan, China, Colombia and Mexico.

After concluding his career as Superintendent in Spring Branch, he founded Hal Guthrie & Associates, Inc. and consulted with over 100 school districts in more than 35 states and has been associated with numerous private sector companies that provide resources and support for public and private schools. His most recent focus was on the use of technology in classrooms to develop more engaging learning experiences for today’s “connected” students.

Hal believed in the Purpose and Vision of SafeWay Driving and knew we were making a difference in the lives of young people. His vast knowledge and contacts in education, school system support and curriculum alignment will have a lasting impact on SafeWay Driving graduates.

He was married to Doris Beutel Guthrie and has two grown children and four grandchildren. Hal was an active member of Second Baptist Church where he volunteered with the Winning Walk radio, television and internet ministry that reaches over 100 million in all 50 states and over 40 foreign countries.

On October 14, 2013, Dr. Harold “Hal” Guthrie graduated to Heaven to be with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and will be missed by the entire SafeWay Driving Family.

The SafeWay Story


SafeWay Driving is an amazing story of human compassion, the desire to make a difference, a relentless commitment to saving lives. It is the story of our stated purpose, Preventing “The Phone Call” that Nobody Wants.℠

The SafeWay Difference


There is a big difference in SafeWay Driving and any other driver education or training organization. Read The SafeWay Difference and know why you are choosing the very best driver training available.