Every Last Word: Quotes About All Things North Texas

Read “who said what” in our roundup of quotes about all things North Texas, including Toyota's Trey Spyropoulos; DS+R's Elizabeth Diller; Wired's Steven Levy; Mark Cuban on the metaverse; John Goff of Goff Capital; SMU's Dr. Simon Mak; CITI apprentice Rasheda Walker; McKissack and McKissack's Deryl McKissack; Articulation Art's Lesli Marshall; and more.

THE LAST WORD on Dallas Innovates. Find "who said what" in our collection of quotes on Dallas-Fort Worth Innovation.

Monday, August 15

Trey Spyropoulos is Toyota’s manager of communications and organizational effectiveness. [Photo: Trey Spyropoulos]

“Our goal at Toyota is to help develop the next wave of talent entering the job market.”

Trey Spyropoulos
Manager of Communications and Organizational Effectiveness 
Toyota North America
.…on the SWARM Connected Mobility Hackathon, held at Toyota’s Plano campus in July.

Over 400 Toyota software and hardware engineers from around the world gathered at the company’s Plano campus last month for the SWARM Connected Mobility Hackathon—a 36-hour company-wide “concept-to-creation” challenge.

And seven UT Dallas students were along for the ride.

Last spring, Toyota had met six of them—all young women—when they won WEHack, a Society of Women Engineers hackathon held on the UT Dallas campus and sponsored in part by Toyota. Matthew Chang, a UTD computer science graduate student and an intern with Toyota Connected, also took part in the SWARM hackathon.

“Our relationship with UT Dallas is just the beginning of what we’re looking to grow into a widespread collaborative research opportunity between our organizations,” Spyropoulos said in a statement.

Read more about the hackathon here.

From left: Nithila Shenoy, Palak Bhargava, Allison Pham, Vyshnavi Nalla, Gail Hernandez and Keyan Huang were among the participants representing UTD at the SWARM Connected Mobility Hackathon in July. [Photo: UT Dallas]

Friday, August 12

A scene from the exhibit “Cartier and Islamic Art: In Search of Modernity” at the Dallas Museum of Art. [Photo: Cartier]

“I’m not a jewelry person. I don’t wear a thing. No rings, nothing. This was plunging into something unfamiliar.”

Elizabeth Diller
.…on creating the exhibition design for the Dallas Museum of Art exhibit “Cartier and Islamic Art: In Search of Modernity,” via Artnet.

The Dallas Museum of Art is the only museum in the U.S. to host the exhibit “Cartier and Islamic Art: In Search of Modernity,” on display through September 18. Islamic art was a major inspiration for Louis Cartier and the Maison Cartier in the early 20th century, resulting in astonishing, geometric jewelry creations. 

To create the exhibition design, the DMA hired the New York architecture firm DS+R, which created evocative settings in four rooms, with a single Cartier piece flanked by 14-foot-tall video screens. Videos on the screens create mesmerizing backgrounds for each solo piece of jewelry, in a play of light and darkness, large and small, precise geometric reality and visual dreaminess.

“A different way of viewing through technology really helped,” Diller told Artnet. The curators’ insight was very important to us. These Islamic patterns are contemporary. There are pure geometries here. These are almost frameless patterns that go on to make infinite atmospheres.”

Diller said her “eureka” moment was focusing on scale. “It all coalesced with this understanding of the radical scale difference,” she told Artnet. “With this realization, we could now see how you could tell different stories—even some of our own.”

Read more here.

Thursday, August 11

Wired Editor at Large Steven Levy

“The way we work is changing us. It’s changing humanity. It really is the big story of our time.”

Steven Levy
Editor at Large 
.…speaking at the closing day of Dallas Startup Week today.

Levy has been writing about technology for more than 30 years. A founding writer at Wired, he’s widely considered to be the premier tech journalist in the U.S. He’s covered the digital revolution since the early 1980s, reporting every major trend and profiling its key figures.

Today, as a keynote speaker on the closing day of Dallas Startup Week, he took stock of how we got here—and what’s next. 

“When I started, the personal computer industry was just starting to grow,” Levy said. “On top of that, we got the internet. Connectivity is built on top of that.”

“So here’s all the social media buzz that happens. And each movement that happens, you can make a bigger change with a smaller degree of effort, thinking through creativity.”

The iPhone has led to huge changes, Levy said. “It’s got the connectivity, sensors, and mobility GPS, so that builds other things. That makes a company like Uber possible. Now emerging technologies like blockchain and AI are at the forefront of change.”

Read more here.

Wednesday, August 10

Mark Cuban

“Buying land in the metaverse is the dumbest sh** ever!”

Mark Cuban
Dallas Mavericks, Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Company, “Shark Tank,” etc. 
.…sharing his take on the Metaverse, crypto, and more via Altcoin Daily.

Mark Cuban has some hot takes on the metaverse, and he doesn’t stop there. He made a recent virtual appearance on the YouTube channel Altcoin Daily to share his thoughts on Bitcoin, Ethereum, XRP, Cardano, cryptocurrency in general, and more.

“The metaverse is anything you want it to be,” Cuban told the Altcoin Daily hosts. “People that are focused on VR want that to be the metaverse. People want Web3 to be the metaverse. There’s no rhyme or reason to it yet. Now, will there be? It’s gonna be hard to standardize things and to make it interoperable, at least for the foreseeable future.”

“It won’t be just one size fits all. There’ll be a lot of different applications and a lot of ways of defining the metaverse. But right now it’s more talk than anything.”

“The worst part is people are buying real estate in these places,” Cuban added. That’s just the dumbest s*** ever. The dumbest, dumbest… Did I say it was dumb? No, that’s not strong enough. Super-meta immaculately dumb.”

“Now, after you create a community…then you can find places—depending on how that community works—that can have perceived value because of access or whatever. But beforehand? Based off of a traditional real estate model? Dumbest (bleeping bleeping bleep) ever.”

Tuesday, August 9

GameSquare acquired Complexity Gaming in June 2021. Left to right: Travis Goff (Goff Capital President), John Goff (Goff Capital Founder and Chairman), Stephen Jones (Dallas Cowboys COO/EVP), Justin Kenna (GameSquare CEO), Jason Lake (Complexity CEO/GameSquare Global Head of Esports) and Tom Walker (Dallas Cowboys CFO). [Photo: David Higgs/Complexity Gaming website]

“Don’t underestimate the power of having our physical office address right there in the middle of one of the most valuable sports franchises in the world.”

John Goff
Founder and Chairman 
Goff Capital
.…on why esports powerhouse GameSquare plans to move its HQ to The Star in Frisco, via Dallas Business Journal. 

Toronto-based GameSquare Esports acquired Frisco’s Complexity Gaming in June 2021. Since launching in 2003, Complexity has won over 140 esports championships in nearly 30 games, and it’s headquartered in the GameStop Performance Center at The Star in Frisco.

Goff (second from left above beside his son, Goff Capital President Patrick Goff, at far left) is deeply invested in all this—literally. Goff Capital, the Jerry Jones family, and Complexity founder and CEO Jason Lake have owned Complexity Gaming since 2017. And the Goff and Jones families acquired a 47% ownership stake in GameSquare with last year’s acquisition.

Now GameSquare is planning more moves, the DBJ reports—including getting listed on a U.S. stock exchange, increasing its ties to the Cowboys, and eventually moving its HQ to The Star.

“While there’s not a formal relationship, there’s a lot of collaboration,” Goff told the DBJ about links between GameSquare and the Cowboys. “The Joneses have been nothing but incredibly supportive of this company, (GameSquare CEO Justin Kenna), and the whole strategy.”

Monday, August 8

Dr. Simon Mak, executive director of SMU’s Caruth Institute for Entrepreneurship. [Photo: Cox Today/SMU]

“Take a chance and #FollowYourCalling, and you will experience life beyond your imagination.”

Dr. Simon Mak
Executive Director
SMU’s Caruth Institute for Entrepreneurship 
.…on why you should dive in as an entrepreneur, via LinkedIn.

Besides his role at the Caruth Institute, Dr. Mak is a professor of practice in the Department of Strategy, Entrepreneurship, and Business Economics at the SMU Cox School of Business, and much more.

The Cox School is ground zero of North Texas entrepreneurship this week, as the site of Dallas Startup Week.

Mak is one of SMU’s leaders in researching blockchain. He created an MBA class called Blockchain Entrepreneurship, where he taught about CryptoKitties as one of the first NFT (Non-Fungible Token) startup business models. He’s traveled to London, Berlin, Malta, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Israel, Beijing, and Shanghai researching blockchain startups, and formed Genesis Blockchain Academy, LLC, a startup supported by the SMU Incubator.

Writing in LinkedIn, Mak says “I felt a special pull to this job, a calling if you will. So I went against common wisdom and advice and followed my calling, not really knowing what I was getting myself into.”

Read more here.

Friday, August 5

Rasheda Walker is an NPower Tech Fundamentals graduate and an apprentice at CITI. [Photo: NPower]

“It’s OK to be a beginner at something, because you can continue to learn and develop.”

Rasheda Walker
.…on the training she received from NPower Texas’ free Tech Fundamentals program.

A recent graduate of the NPower Texas’ Tech Fundamentals program, Walker is a testament to what the nonprofit’s free 16-week training course can offer.

Before joining the program, Walker was facing the most difficult period of her life. When she saw the organization at a veteran’s job fair, she grabbed the opportunity for its free training and the opportunities it could provide. She ended up getting not only tech instruction, but much-needed social support as well.

In a little over five months, she learned new technical and life skills, earned multiple certifications, and has since begun an apprenticeship with CITI.

I could not have imagined these accomplishments a short while ago,” Walker said. “With my new skills, I plan to work hard as an apprentice with the goal to obtain a full-time career in a specialized field, then move on to advanced training.”

Read more here.

Thursday, August 4

Deryl McKissack, president and CEO of McKissack and McKissack. [Photo: McKissack and McKissack]

“I want them to leave knowing that they are valuable, they are needed, they have a unique place in this universe, and no one else can take that place.”

Deryl McKissack
President and CEO 
McKissack and McKissack
.…on the 5th annual Women’s Leadership Summit, via NBC 5 DFW.

This Friday and Saturday August 5 and 6, some 250 female leaders will gather for the 5th annual Women’s Leadership Summit at the Renaissance Dallas at Plano Legacy West Hotel. Founded by former Texas State Representative Helen Giddings, the event has a goal of women empowering women to promote mentorship, entrepreneurship, and breaking down barriers to women in leadership.

The theme of this year’s summit is “Reemerged, Restored, Refocused and Reimagined.”

Keynote speakers will include McKissack, who founded her architectural and construction firm in 1990, along with Vanessa Gilmore, a retired U.S. district judge for Texas’ Southern District, and  Sharon Weston Broome, the mayor-president of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

“We know that the obstacles that we come across as Blacks and as women in this country, and especially being in an all-male dominated business, so every morning I get up on my purpose,” McKissack told NBC 5 DFW. 

Read more here.

Wednesday, August 3

Lesli Marshall, owner of Articulation Art. [Photo: Facebook]

“It was like a free billboard in one of the hottest neighborhoods in the United States.”

Lesli Marshall
Articulation Art
.…on painting one of the murals in the Deep Ellum 42 Murals project, as she grew her business as an art curator and consultant, via the Dallas Morning News.

You may have seen her mural on the wall of Pecan Lodge in Deep Ellum. But that’s just for starters. Marshall has made her mark across Dallas-Fort Worth and beyond as an art curator and consultant for her firm Articulation Art. Tapping the talents of multiple artists, her company has curated art works on exterior and interior walls for the Virgin Hotel, the Design District Playground, the Renaissance Hotel, Cushman & Wakefield, the Case Building, Tom Thumb, 7-11, Deep Ellum Brewing Company, and many more businesses.

Marshall, who does triple duty as a mixed-media artist, art curator, and consultant, painted her first mural on the back side of Pecan Lodge as part of 42 Real Estate’s 42 Murals project. But as the only employee of her Articulation Art business, what keeps her busy most is running many current projects she’s sub-contracted to an array of other artists.

Something that’s really helped my business grow is low overhead,” she told the Dallas Morning News. “That’s what I like to tell other artists and people starting out. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a giant studio space or hire a bunch of employees.”

Read more here.

Tuesday, August 2

Reid Goetz, Senior Vice President, Hillwood

“We like to keep a million square feet or so on the ground at all times.”

Reid Goetz
Senior Vice President 
.…on 1.7M SF of new industrial being built at AllianceTexas in Fort Worth, via Dallas Business Journal.

Dallas-based Hillwood has broken ground on two spec industrial buildings in its AllianceTexas development in Fort Worth. Together, the two buildings will total around 1.7 million square feet with cross-dock configurations and 40-foot clear heights.

In total, industrial development at AllianceTexas will add nearly 4 million square feet this year, Hillwood says.

The two new developments at Alliance Westport 25 and Alliance Center North 4 will help meet the needs for logistics space for shipping and storage. 

You really have optionality, with all the changes that are happening in the world and impacting the supply chain, not only delivery times, but costs,” he told the DBJ of the two new developments at Alliance Westport 25 and Alliance Center North 4. AllianceTexas’ infrastructure offers flexibility to users, he said: “They don’t have to make a facility decision if they have to switch from intermodal to trucking to air. It all happens here.” 

Read more here.

Monday, August 1

Frisco-based Dude Perfect team with Coby Cotton at far right. [Photos: Dude Perfect/Facebook]


Coby Cotton
Dude Perfect
.…tweeting with his Dude Perfect team about his space launch this Thursday on Blue Origin.

Dude Perfect, the sports and comedy group that’s been doing stunts, trick shots, and viral videos since 2009, is about to really take off. Or at least one of them is: Co-founder Coby Cotton has a seat on Thursday’s scheduled Blue Origin space flight.

Headquartered in Frisco, The group consists of Tyler Toney, twins Coby and Cory Cotton, Garrett Hilbert, and Cody Jones—all  former college roommates at Texas A&M whose YouTube channel has over 57 million subscribers 

They’ve raced camels in Qatar, built a “real life invisibility shield,” and, just last month, had a model rocket battle. Now Coby Cotton is about to blast off in a real one.

Read more here.

Friday, July 29

Mary Scott Nabers

“We just got a huge amount of money, trillions available to do something we’ve not been able to do in the last 30 years and that’s to fix our infrastructure.”

Mary Scott Nabers
President and CEO 
Strategic Partnerships, Inc.
.…speaking at the North Texas Infrastructure Summit Thursday in Hurst, via the Dallas Morning News.

Nabers spoke yesterday at the second North Texas Infrastructure Summit in Hurst, presented by the North Texas Commission. The summit focused on challenges and possible solutions for infrastructure in the region—exploring everything from the water supply to the electric grid to the need for more EV charging stations as electrification grows.

The full-day event featured speakers and panelists who discussed the impact critical infrastructure has on business in North Texas. Experts and industry leaders discussed how the region can benefit from the $35 billion Texas will receive from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

In her session, Austin-based Nabers said she believes state and local governments can’t modernize the infrastructure fully on their own.

“I don’t think we can do it without public-private partnerships,” Nabers said, according to the Dallas Morning News.

Read more here.

Thursday, July 28

Andrea Karne, chief curator at The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. [Photo: Evie Bishop/courtesy of The Modern]

“It’s not a feminist exhibition, but I think there’s a lot of taking the power back when women paint women.”

Andrea Karne
Chief Curator
The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth
.…on the museum’s “Women Painting Women” exhibition, via Forbes.

“Women Painting Women” is an exhibition at The Modern featuring 46 female artists who choose women as the subject of their artistry. Spanning works from the late 1960s to the present, around 50 portraits basically show a woman’s gaze of a woman gazing back—something long underrepresented in art history.

Detail of “Three Figures” by Emma Amos from the “Women Painting Women” exhibition at The Modern. [Image: John and Susan Horseman Collection, courtesy RYAN LEE Gallery, copyright Emma Amos]

“I talked to all the living artists in the exhibition to make sure they wanted to be in it and didn’t feel pigeonholed,” Karne told Forbes. “Everyone was excited about it because of the idea that the show is about inclusivity and it is about stretching the boundaries of what it means to be a woman–it’s not confined to biology in any way.”

The featured artists range from 20th century trailblazers like Emma Amos and Alice Neel to more contemporary virtuosos like Jordan Casteel and Apolonia Sokol.

Read more here.

Wednesday, July 27

Bill Hennessey, owner of Rings Donuts + Coffee. [Photo: Rings Donuts + Coffee]

“We don’t need to reinvent the wheel.”

Bill Hennessey
Rings Donuts + Coffee
.…on making donuts the old-fashioned way—only better, via CultureMap Dallas.

[Photo: Rings Donuts + Coffee]

At his new Rings Donuts + Coffee shop near Preston Center in Dallas, Hennessey doesn’t do artisanal or get all fancy-schmancy. He’s just trying to make donuts the old-fashioned way—only better.

“We do classic doughnuts, not gourmet,” Hennessey told CultureMap Dallas. “Our doughnuts aren’t topped with bacon or candy, they’re regular doughnuts, but higher-quality than what you generally find.”

A former TCU football player, Hennessey is a lawyer and entrepreneur whose previous startups include a title insurance company.

He tells CultureMap he believes donuts are a “nostalgia thing,” and he aims to elevate every part of the process—from using higher-grade shortening to making his own icing and glaze to sourcing a custom blend of coffee beans from Dallas’ Globex

“We’re not doing crazy concoctions,” he tells CultureMap. “It’s just that classic American doughnut, but better quality.”

Tuesday, July 26

Brandon Hall, restoration ecologist at Resource Environmental Solutions. [Photo: Brandon Hall/LinkedIn]

“The abundance of life out there is incredible. It doesn’t do justice to describe it with words.”

Brandon Hall
Restoration Ecologist 
Resource Environmental Solutions
.…on a new, 6-million tree forest created near the new reservoir Bois d’Arc Lake in Fannin County, via Community Impact. 

In Fannin County east of Sherman and Denison, Texas’s first new major reservoir in almost 30 years is slated to come online next spring. The nearly 17,000-acre Bois d’Arc Lake will be a source of much-needed water for the North Texas Municipal Water District, which serves Frisco, McKinney, Plano, Richardson and other areas of fast-growing northeast Dallas County. 

But something just as precious has been created near the lake: a new forest with more than 6 million trees, designed over the last four years as a natural habitat to replace what the lake is swallowing up.

The NTMWD collaborated with Resource Environmental Solutions on creating the forest, calling it “one of the largest environmental restoration projects of its kind in the U.S.” The project is transforming the former 15,000-acre Riverby Ranch along the Red River from a cattle ranch back into the forest it used to be.

Read more here.

Monday, July 25

Joey Grisham, economic development director for the city of Anna. [Photo: City of Anna]

The city of Anna is “just sittin’ there with opportunity galore.”

Joey Grisham
Economic Development Director 
City of Anna
.…on the factors driving the North Texas city’s growth, via Dallas Business Journal.

Bordered by Sherman to the north—a city that recently landed a new $5 billion GlobalWafers silicon wafer plant after breaking ground on what could be $30 billion worth of TI chip plants—and the booming center of Dallas-Fort Worth to the south, the city of Anna looks to be primed for growth.

Here's "who said what" in Dallas Innovates Every Day.Residential building permits in nearby cities like Frisco and Celina were down sharply in the first half of 2021, but permits in Anna rose by 15% in the same time period, the DBJ reports. 

“You already had the T.I. plant down in Richardson, and now you’re going to have this expansion up in Sherman, so that puts us on the center of those two markets.” Grisham told the DBJ. “Sherman, right now, is probably the top community in economic development [in Texas]. Who else has landed $35 billion in projects?”

Grisham also noted the industrial development that’s “really hopping right now along the 75 corridor,” along with the need for single-family and multifamily construction for future workers in Sherman who may want to live closer to DFW.

Read more here.

Friday, July 22

Stacey Gee-Miller is TFS National Manager Strategic Innovation at Toyota North America. [Courtesy Image]

“Women entrepreneurship is as vital as ever, and our goal is to set up women leaders for success.”

Stacey Gee-Miller
TFS National Manager of Strategic Innovation
Toyota North America
.…on the Women in Innovation Summit slated for Dallas Startup Week.

“Women in business are necessary for economic growth and—in our case—for the economic development of Dallas,” Miller said. “Through allyship, supporting the growth of women-owned enterprises helps to close the gender inequality gap.

Dallas Startup Week runs August 7 through 11, both virtually and in person at SMU’s Cox School of Business. Of three summits to be held during the week, the Women of Innovation Summit is particularly in Miller’s wheelhouse. The summit is powered by her company, Toyota Financial Services, and will celebrate women who transform their ideas and ambitions into a reality.

Women have untapped potential, and statistics show that women who founded and co-founded start-ups tend to perform better,” she added. “Women leaders excel in teamwork, creativity, innovation, and problem-solving.”

Read more here.

Thursday, July 21

Dr. Lucy Gildea, Chief Innovation Officer, Product and Science, at Mary Kay Inc. [Photo: Mary Kay Inc.]

“Understanding how our normal aging process influences microbiota of the skin may provide startling new discoveries that shape the future in designing cosmetic products.”

Dr. Lucy Gildea
Chief Innovation Officer, Product and Science 
Mary Kay
.…on a new partnership to study the impact on the microbiome in overall skin health.

Earlier this month, Dallas-based Mary Kay announced a new partnership with Dr. Jack Gilbert, professor of pediatrics at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine and professor of microbial oceanography at UC San Diego Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Scientists at Mary Kay will work in conjunction with Gilbert to study a key area of aging and skin health: the skin microbiome.

Gilbert is co-director of the Microbiome and Metagenomics Center at UC San Diego, part of the National Institutes of Health’s $175 million Nutrition for Precision Health program. Aided by his expertise, Mary Kay scientists “hope to explore how different skin attributes are associated with microbial shifts in women,” the company said.

“There’s a knowledge gap here,” Dr. Gildea said in a statement. “We hope to bridge it.”

Read more here.

Wednesday, July 20

Chad Cook, founder and Managing Member of Quadrant Investment Properties. [Photo: QIP]

“I believe we’ve hit the tipping point.”

Chad Cook
Founder and Managing Member
Quadrant Investment Properties
.…on the growth and momentum of the Dallas Design District, via the Dallas Business Journal.

“There’s this compounding effect that we’ve never seen anywhere else,” Cook told the Dallas Business Journal. “The Design District is its own little subdistrict. Every brick we paint and every roof deck we add creates a direct value lift for everything else. Everything we do feeds off everything else we’re doing.”

Cook also spoke of the future of the office, and how what he’s creating in the Design District relates to the evolution of how people work.

Dallas-based Alto’s new rideshare HQ is in one of many properties in the “Manufacturing District” developed by Quadrant Investment Properties. Originally an industrial area from the 1940s, the district is part of the larger Dallas Design District. With a laser focus on the neighborhood, QIP says it’s acquired more than 25 properties in the last 24 months.

Read more here.

Tuesday, July 19

Tom Florence

“The market has done a complete about-face.”

Tom Florence
President of Physician Permanent Placement
AMN Healthcare
.…on shifts in physicians’ starting salaries.

Orthopedic surgeons are offered the highest average starting salary among physicians and advanced practice professionals, according to a new annual report from AMN Healthcare and its physician search division, MerrittHawkins.

With an average of $565,000 to start, exclusive of signing bonuses and other incentives, orthopedic surgeons top all other docs, in a boost from $546,000 in 2021.

“Several years ago, primary care physicians were the priority for most hospitals and medical groups. While many still seek them, the emphasis has shifted to specialists,” Florence said in a statement.

The AMN and Merritt Hawkins’ 2022 Review of Physician and Advanced Practitioner Recruiting Incentives shows that demand for medical specialists like gastroenterologists, orthopedic surgeons, oncologists, pulmonologists, neurologists, and psychiatrists is rising.

“Demand for physicians, and the salaries they are offered, have rebounded dramatically from the height of COVID-19,” Florence said. “Virtually every hospital and large medical group in the country is looking to add physicians.”

Read more here.

Monday, July 18

Jordan Fisher, new part owner/content creator at Complexity Gaming. [Photo: Complexity Gaming]

“The goal is for Complexity to be the sickest, sexiest, most beautiful, most inclusive and far-reaching organization in the world.”

Jordan Fisher
Actor/Musician/Gamer and Part Owner/Content Creator at Complexity Gaming
.…on what he’s bringing to gaming and esports, via WFAA.

Fisher has done everything from winning ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” to acting in “Hamilton” on Broadway to being a music artist to starring in movies like Netflix’s “Work It.” 

Now he’s going big with gaming. Fisher recently became part owner and content creator at Complexity Gaming, the esports organization headquartered at The Star in Frisco. As a part owner, he has good company: the Dallas Cowboys’ Jerry Jones and investor John Goff are part owners of Complexity, too.

So what does Fisher bring to it? 

“As a creative now, being part owner of Complexity, my production company being partnered with GameSquare, all of these things center around the fact that gaming and traditional entertainment need to work and play together,” Fisher told WFAA. “Because film and television want to collaborate with gaming. And figuring out how to make that work is where I step in.”

Read more here.

Friday, July 15

Walmart plans to purchase 4,500 Canoo electric vehicles. [Photo: Walmart]

“This is the winning algorithm to seriously compete in the last mile delivery race, globally.

Tony Aquila
CEO and Executive Chairman 
.…on Walmart ordering 4,500 of his company’s purpose-built electric delivery vehicles, which will be piloted in DFW.

Walmart has ordered 4,500 all-electric Lifestyle Delivery Vehicles from Canoo, with the first pre-production test models to roll in Dallas-Fort Worth “in the coming weeks.”

As part of the agreement announced earlier this week, Walmart signed an option to buy up to 10,000 units of Canoo’s LDV s to advance its goal to achieve zero emissions by 2040.

Aquila, the former CEO of Westlake’s Solera Holdings, says Walmart has the assets to really leverage Canoo’s EVs.

“Walmart’s massive store footprint provides a strategic advantage in today’s growing ‘Need it now’ mindset and an unmatched opportunity for growing EV demand, especially at today’s gas prices,” he said.

Read more in our story.

Thursday, July 14

From left: Phillip Easter, head of emerging technology, American Airlines: Peter Beasley, co-founder, BUiLT; Aaron Jenkins, account executive, Ntelicor; at BUiLT’s North Texas Black Tech Symposium.[Photo: BUiLT]

“This shift the world needs to see is going to happen by getting, converting, and opening the opportunities for people that are already grown and already in the workforce, pivoting adults into tech.”

Peter Beasley
Board Chairman and Executive Director 
.…on partnering with nonprofits based on racial equity, via Dallas Business Journal.

Beasley’s nonprofit, Blacks United in Leading Technology International, describes itself as the largest community and nonprofit professional organization that focuses on Black people in the tech industry. (Beasley is seen at middle above, between American Airlines’ head of emerging technology Phillip Easter at left and Ntelicor’s Aaron Jenkins at right.) 

As tech hiring continues to boom in Dallas-Fort Worth—with the region consistently ranked No. 3 in the U.S. for tech job postings—Beasley believes Black Americans could be a vital source for new tech workers.

“The opportunity today for the world, America and for North Texas specifically to seize is with the current number of Black adults that are not in tech,” Beasley told the DBJ. “To create racial equity in tech, the opportunity is not as much with K-12 or high school, children or with Black people in college, engineering and technology fields. This shift the world needs to see is going to happen by getting, converting and opening the opportunities for people that are already grown and already in the workforce, pivoting adults into tech.” 

Last fall, Dallas Innovates wrote about BUiLT marking its one-year anniversary as a nonprofit.

“None of what we do is about us,” Beasley told Dallas Innovates at the time. “As they say, there is no “i” in team, and we are united with the other great organizations and their allies who are working to solve America’s unique problem of race relations, as it also plays out in tech.”

Read more here.

Wednesday, July 13

Enrique Otero, psychology professor at Dallas College’s North Lake campus. [Photo: Dallas College]

“It’s letting them know that it’s okay to struggle.”

Enrique Otero
Psychology Professor 
Dallas College’s North Lake campus
.…on making a difference with students preparing for life after college, via LinkedIn.

After two decades on the North Lake psychology faculty, Otero does more than simply teach about things like cognitive theories, behaviorism, and the psychoanalytic approach. He also focuses on his students as people facing what could be an uncertain future. So how does he help them prepare for future challenges?

Otero’s passion is to help students through the challenges “they will inevitably experience,” says Dallas College psychology professor. “I relay to them my own struggles and how I was able to overcome them.”

Read more here.

Tuesday, July 12

Edwin D. Tatum, CEO of TatumTek. [Photo: Edwin D. Tatum]

“There’s no point in making customers wait a year on the largest purchase of their lives.” 

Edwin D. Tatum
Founder and CEO 
.…from a roundup of profiles of regional business leaders honored in EY’s 2022 Entrepreneur Of The Year program, via D CEO.

Last month, Ernst & Young announced the winners of its2022 EY Entrepreneur of the Year Central Plains Awards, and all but one of the 11 winners are from North Texas.

D CEO has profiled the winners, asking them to share their strategies and lessons learned. Tatum told D CEO he got the idea for his modular construction firm after he stopped playing pro basketball in Latin America and started investing in residential construction. 

“I became frustrated with the change orders, inspection process, and delayed times. I distinctly remember telling myself, ‘There has to be another way.’” Tatum told D CEO. Today his company can build a home in eight to 16 weeks, and do it more sustainably, he says, with a forecast of over $50 million in revenue this year.

Read more about D CEO’s EY winner profiles, including some great advice from founders, by going here.

Monday, July 11

[Image: iStock]

“The best CPR is no CPR.”

Tia Raymond, MD
Pediatric Cardiac Intensivist
Medical City Children’s Hospital
.…on reducing cardiac arrests in pediatric cardiac ICUs.

A recent study featuring research at Dallas’ Medical City Children’s Hospital is helping to improve and save the lives of children in cardiac intensive care units, according to the hospital.

Tia Raymond, MD

Dr. Raymond was the physician lead investigator at Medical City Children’s Hospital, which has enrolled more than 200 patients in the study since 2018.

“This project was able to prevent CPR in almost 200 high-risk pediatric patients at these 15 hospitals helping to create healthier tomorrows for these children,” Dr. Raymond said in a statement. 

Read more.

Friday, July 8


Frito-Lay CMO Rachel Ferdinando. [Photo: Frito-Lay]

“Rachel Ferdinando, Crisp like a Doritos, Flamin’ hot like a Cheetos, Suggestin’ recipes for Fritos…”

Rachel Ferdinando
.…as celebrated in the hip hop song “Crisp” from the Cannes Lion award-winning “A Song for Every CMO!”

Frito-Lay CMO Rachel Ferdinando is often ahead of the marketing curve. Last year, she told brands how to Innovate or Die. Now she’s being celebrated by a drop on the Cannes Lions Gold Award-winning track list “A Song for Every CMO!” from FCB New York and Spotify Advertising.

Ferdinando gave a shout out on LinkedIn saying she was “honored to have represented Frito-Lay as part of this campaign to demonstrate the effectiveness of audio storytelling.” Her track “Crisp” can be played on Spotify, featuring lyrics like these:

Rachel Ferdinando
Engagin’ fans, buildin’ brand-os
Orange fingers on the Landos
‘Cuz she’s a super hands-on CMO.

When the voice of Gen Z cried, she detected
Traditional advertising they rejected
So she dug down and found the angle
With the team making magic triangle.

With a bachelor’s degree in chemistry,
She knows the formula for Frito-Lay plus you & me
equals “mmmm-mmm-mmm.”

It’s like fire and ice:
Combine iconic brands with purpose, make history.

Crowd sourcing content that’s flamin’ hot
Risk taker, matchmaker, cream of the crop
Queen of the Cool Ranch, yes she just don’t stop
Poppin’ jalapenos on a 3D-crunchy yacht.

Thursday, July 7

Steve Dennis

Steve Dennis [Courtesy image]

“If you think the last few years of the COVID era was a wild ride, buckle up, buttercup.

Steve Dennis
President and Founder
SageBerry Consulting
.…on Season 5 of his podcast “Remarkable Retail.”

In the preview for Season 5 of Dennis’ podcast “Remarkable Retail: How to Win and Keep Customers in the Age of Disruption,” he tells us to buckle up—and buckle up good. 

“Things are only going to get tougher as retailers face escalating competition and increasing macroeconomic headwinds,” Dennis predicts.

In an era where even very good is no longer good enough,” he adds, “to rise above the rest, our only choice is to choose to be remarkable. And making this remarkable mind shift requires that we aim higher, act more boldly, and move much faster.”

With his co-host Michael LeBlanc, Dennis promises to “challenge the status quo, dissect the latest trends, put the top retail news of the week in context, and make sense of the next era of modern retail.”

You can listen to “Remarkable Retail” on Apple podcasts and a number of other podcast sources.

Wednesday, July 6

Collin Zreet, co-founder and co-owner of Funky Picnic Brewery & Cafe in Fort Worth. [Photo: Funky Picnic]

“In a sense, it’s beer made with purpose.”

Collin Zreet
Co-Founder and Co-Owner
Funky Picnic Brewery & Café
.…on Fort Worth’s craft beer scene, via the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Zreet is a man who wears two hats. One, as seen above, is for his Funky Picnic Brewery & Café. The other is for his day job as a commercial programs R&M engineer and data manager for Bell Helicopter.

But all that engineering makes a man thirsty. So let’s get back to beer. Zreet says out of nearly 100 breweries in North Texas, almost 20 are now operating in Fort Worth, including his. From brewing and canning operations to breweries with taprooms to full-blown brewpubs, a whole culture of craft beer is on tap in the Panther City.

“We’re making beer with local ingredients and when people see that, it really resonates with them, because that keeps a lot of business and a lot of the money right here in Fort Worth,” Zreet told the Star-Telegram, adding that interactions with customers have made the culture flourish. “That’s a huge thing about craft beer, is being able to talk with your customer and see them face-to-face and be able to talk beer and just being able to interact.”

Among other Fort Worth craft beer milestones, the newspaper cites Sandra Murphy becoming the first female head brewer in DFW in 2019 (at Panther City Brewing; she’s now head brewer at Fort Brewery & Pizza); Martin House Brewing Company launching a new beer every week; Rahr & Sons Brewing Company crafting its first brews in 2004; and the Texas Legislature passing a law 10 years later allowing craft breweries to to sell beer on their own premises.

Charles Scudder, a home brewer and official beer judge, told the Star-Telegram that people can get a lot more out of their local craft brewery than a craft brew: “You’re able to support a local business, made for you by people who live in your community, sometimes with ingredients from your local community and made for the palate of this place. And that’s a really cool thing.”

Thursday, June 30

Dr. Ignacio Rios [UT Dallas photo; istockphoto background]

“In many dating apps, we see a lot of frustrated users because they struggle to find a match that leads to a longer-term relationship.

Dr. Ignacio Rios
Assistant Professor of Operations Management
UT Dallas Naveen Jindal School of Management
.…on developing a new model leveraging users’ experiences for an online dating company.

Online dating is a $12 billion industry, with hundreds of platforms helping people find romance. But as Dr. Rios says, many still have trouble finding Mr. or Ms. Right.

In a study published April 7 in the INFORMS journal Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, Rios and his co-authors propose a new algorithm that could make true love bloom after all.

For the study, the researchers collaborated with an unnamed “major U.S. online dating company” to explore how its platform should select potential partners to show each user, in order to maximize the number of matches. The platform has around 800,000 active users in more than 150 markets.

“I initially contacted their head of data science through LinkedIn, and then I told him about my research and how I could contribute to improve the efficiency of their platform,” Rios told Dallas Innovates. “After a couple of meetings we started working together, and I spent the next three months working at their headquarters to get to know all their systems and databases.”

One of the biggest issues was helping the company decide which profiles to show to each user in order to ensure they get meaningful matches. The study found that the more matches a person has had in the recent past, the fewer likes they give to other profiles.

“We observed that users are less likely to like other profiles when they’ve recently succeeded in obtaining more matches,” Rios said in the statement. “This might be because users keep in mind the amount of time and energy they can spend in the app, and thus if they had many matches in the recent past, they expect to spend their time on those matches instead of liking other profiles.”

Read more about the study and Rios’ solution by going here.


Wednesday, June 29

Kent Sharp, president of the Sherman Economic Development Corporation. [Photo: LinkedIn]

“It was a dog fight.

Kent Sharp
Sherman Economic Development Corporation
.…on battling with rivals in South Korea and Ohio to bring GlobiTech’s $5 billion new silicon wafer plant to Sherman, via the Dallas Business Journal.

On Monday, we wrote about the city of Sherman landing a new $5 billion, 3.2 million-square-foot silicon wafer plant.

Beating out two other potential sites in Ohio and South Korea, GlobiTech’s new 3.2 million square-foot Sherman facility will create 1,500 new jobs. To be built in four phases, with construction kicking off later this year, the new plant could eventually produce more than 1 million silicon wafers monthly when production begins by 2025.

Winning the battle wasn’t easy, Sharp says in the Dallas Business Journal, noting that Ohio has laws on the books that give any project with a capital expenditure of $1 billion-plus a 30-year, 100% tax abatement.

“We started putting our pencils together and developed a tax abatement package that was consistent across the city, county, school district and college,” Sharp told the DBJ.

“That’s economic development,” he added. “You wish the company would just show you what they’ve got, but the company is never going to do that. It’s like playing poker with a mirror behind your back.”  

Tuesday,  June 28

T.D. Jakes [Photo: TD Jakes Enterprise. Background: istockphoto]

“This is a bridge I want you to cross—and have a good time crossing over it. It’s going to change your life.

T.D. Jakes
T.D. Jakes Foundation
.…welcoming students to the foundation’s third annual STEAM Academy program on June 6.

The T.D. Jakes Foundation, Dallas Mavericks, and Goldman Sachs announced the winners of its free, two-week immersive ‘Hackathon’ for kids aged 14 to 18. Six local high school students won for developing an app for people suffering from mental illness to get the help they need.

Monday,  June 27

Robert Neely, founder of InspireMore. [Photo: InspireMore]

“The world is full of amazing people, stories, innovation, and joy…and our goal is to share that incredible goodness with people all around the globe.

Robert Neely
.…on reaching half a billion people with good news, via Voyage Dallas.

Since launching Dallas-based InspireMore in 2014, Neely and his team say they’ve reached half a billion people with their website’s inspiring news and positive content

They also report donating over $101,000 to 100-plus charities in the last 7 years through their “unique give-back model.”

“We started as a small team of three people with almost no funding and bootstrapped our way up to reaching nearly 500 million people to date,” Neely told Voyage Dallas. “Today’s media and news can be depressing—each year, hundreds of thousands of people are diagnosed with depression and anxiety due to media consumption. Our site aims to be the opposite, and 9 out of 10 people are happier and more optimistic after consuming InspireMore content.”

Sharing smiles isn’t as easy as it looks, though.

“Since we’re competing with large news companies, social media accounts, and other forms of media for the attention of our users, we have to continually innovate to stay fresh and relevant,” Neely added.

They must be innovating something right: Neely says InspireMore now has 12 million social fans who turn to the site for good news. 

Friday, June 24

UT Dallas Assistant Professor Dr. Kangkook Jee [DI composite, photo UTD]

“You can’t just have a lock on the front door. You need security cameras inside the house.

Dr. Kangkook Jee
Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science
UT Dallas
.…on cybersecurity, via “To Catch a Threat” in UT Dallas Magazine.

The game is changing right now,” Jee says about cybersecurity. The goal used to be simply to block intruders from breaking into a computer system. But now it’s essential that a lot more security must be installed inside systems, so hackers and cyber thieves can be tracked if they successfully break in.

Other UT Dallas professors weighed in on cybersecurity trends.

“Hackers get more and more sophisticated, and they only have to find one vulnerability to be successful,” says Dr. Bhavani Thuraisingham, professor of computer science and the Founders Chair in Engineering and Computer Science at UTD. “We have to find 100% of those cracks.”

But another professor believes cyberattacks can have an upside.

“There are criminals trying to attack our networks all the time, and normally we view that as a negative thing,” says Dr. Kevin Hamlen, UTD’s Louis Beecherl Jr. Distinguished Professor of computer science. “Instead of blocking them, maybe what we could be doing is viewing these attackers as a source of free labor. They’re providing us data about what malicious attacks look like. It’s a free source of highly prized data.”

Thursday, June 23

Sherman Mayor David Plyler. [Photo: City of Sherman]

“We’ve been wanting to grow our industrial base for some time. High-tech manufacturing is going to chart a new course for Sherman.

David Plyler
City of Sherman
.…on local leaders offering $34M in incentives to attract a new $5B silicon wafer plant, via the Dallas Morning News.

Just last month, Sherman hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for new Texas Instruments semiconductor wafer plants representing a potential investment of $30 billion that could create up to 3,000 jobs over time. 

So you’d think the city would be wafered out. But the Sherman Economic Development Corporation has approved $34 million in incentives to attract a whole new silicon wafer plant to the city: a $5 billion plant from GlobiTech, a Sherman-based subsidiary of Taiwan’s GlobalWafers, the Morning News reports. The DMN adds that the Sherman City Council and the county sweetening the deal with tax abatements and tax rebates.

The GlobiTech plant would be built in four phases, bringing up to 1,500 jobs to Sherman and eventually creating $5 million to $7 million annually in city revenues. 

GlobiTech has three options for the plant’s location: Sherman, where it already makes silicon wafers; a site in Ohio; and a location in South Korea.

Plyler and other local leaders are doing all they can to make Sherman the winning city. They’ll get their answer soon—the mayor told the DMN that GlobiTech will announce the winner next Monday. 

Wednesday, June 22

Jay Denton, chief labor market analyst at ThinkWhy. [Photo: ThinkWhy]

The contrast is shocking. Chicago has barely built back, and DFW just kept building back until the numbers were higher than during the housing bubble.

Jay Denton
Chief Labor Market Analyst
.…on comparing Dallas’ housing permits and labor force to Chicago’s, via the Dallas Morning News.

Housing permits tell a lot,” Denton told the DMN. “They encapsulate where people are moving and jobs are being created, along with all the activity around finding talent and retaining it.”

One story they tell is the striking difference between Chicago and Dallas-Fort Worth. Housing permits in DFW have shot up steadily since 2010, reaching a new monthly high of 5,986 in 2021. But in the Windy City, the average 2021 monthly total was still almost  67% below the 2005 peak, with only 1,529 monthly permits.

Chicago has a lot going for it. It’s America’s third largest city, and compared to Dallas County, Cook County has higher rates of adults with bachelor’s degrees. It’s a big industrial and trade center, and Cook County has higher median incomes than Dallas County.

Yet, in ThinkWhy’s list of the 150 top labor markets, DFW is No. 1—and Chicago is way down in the rankings at No. 51, the DMN writes.

More proof of this trend came last week, when Caterpillar announced it was moving its headquarters from suburban Chicago to Irving

“Caterpillar is making a long-term bet,” Denton told the DMN. “If it’s looking for the hub of economic growth, DFW is sitting right in the middle of it.”

Caterpillar isn’t alone. Other Chicago-area companies have also moved to North Texas, including Topgolf Entertainment Group, Boeing Global Services, Addus HomeCare, and OpTic Gaming. HQ moves from across the U.S. and all those rising housing permits have led to increased labor demand in Dallas-Fort Worth. That’s one reason why DFW added 97,000 residents last year while Chicago shed 92,000.

So it’s easy to see where the wind is blowing—straight into North Texas.

Tuesday, June 21

Cooper Raiff and Dakota Johnson in “Cha Cha Real Smooth.” [Photo: Apple TV+]

“‘Cha Cha’ is about someone who’s trying really hard to get to the future.

Cooper Raiff
.…on his new film “Cha Cha Real Smooth,” via the Houston Chronicle.

Raiff, a Dallas native and Greenhill graduate, has been writing comedy-dramas about “the awkward, magical space between two people” since his high school days in Addison.

He first hit movie screens in 2020 with his debut feature, “Shithouse,” about a homesick college freshman trying to land a match with a not-that-interested resident assistant. Then he wrote, acted in, and directed “Cha Cha Real Smooth” opposite Dakota Johnson. After it screened at the Sundance Film Festival, Apple TV+ bought the distribution rights for $15 million. It’s now streaming on the service.

In “Cha Cha,” Raiff plays a “party starter” for bar and bat mitzvahs, and falls for Johnon’s character, the mother of an autistic girl.

“When I’m on set, I want to be the most emotionally available person in the room,” Raiff told the Chronicle. “People always ask, ‘How do you suddenly put on your actor hat and cry in a scene?’ I’m like, ‘When I make this next movie, I’ll be sobbing behind the monitor.’”

Raiff credits the Dallas Young Actors Studio and its founder and acting teacher, Linda Seto, for learning how to cultivate spontaneity in front of a camera, the Chronicle writes. 

His goal in making movies?

“It’s really just trying to figure out what I want to say with the movie, figure out the best characters to say that thing, and then from there just doing right by the characters,” Raiff told the Chronicle.

Friday, June 17

Zalat Pizza founder Khanh Nguyen as seen on the “Our Story” page of his company’s website. [Photo: Zalat Pizza]

“Whenever we got overloaded, meaning too many deliveries for the drivers we had, I started calling up Uber drivers. We’d walk the pizza out and we’d have a two- to three-minute conversation with them to convince them.

Khanh Nguyen
Founder and CEO
Zalat Pizza
.…on his claim to be the first restaurant owner ever to partner with Uber, via Food on Demand.

Millions of people have ordered food via Uber Eats. But what was the first restaurant to partner with Uber on food deliveries? 

Nguyen believes it was Dallas-based Zalat. In 2015—the same year Uber launched Uber Eats—the former lawyer and tech founder wanted to spend more time being a pizza-pie innovator and less time dealing with deliveries. Uber was operating in Dallas, but people were using it for lifts, not pizzas. 

That’s where the legend started.

“We realized right away, if we’re going to be ultra-focused on one product, we can’t have that mission diverted by the greater mission of getting the pizza out the door,” Nguyen told Food on Demand.

So when he was out of delivery people, Nguyen began tapping Uber on his phone and talking drivers into making his deliveries. One of of four would “cuss him out,” but the other three buckled the pizzas in and drove off.

Nguyen told Food on Demand he pitched Uber’s Texas GM on doing restaurant deliveries officially:

“He took it back to San Francisco, and about three weeks later he said we have this little piece of software to deliver flowers from some shops. We think we can modify it for food delivery and we’re interested in taking you up on your offer to be the alpha on this thing,” Nguyen told FoD. “We got started on a Monday, and by Friday, I shut down all our own delivery operations. I switched over to them 100%. That was Uber Rush that they created with our help and that became Uber Eats.”

Meghan Casserly, head of communications for Uber delivery, told FoD she couldn’t resolutely confirm Zalat’s “first” status, but: “Zalat Pizza was definitely among the first—if not the very first—restaurant partners in the Dallas Fort Worth area, long before the Uber Eats app existed, and have been valued since day one. The original history of what pre-Eats brand name launched where is a matter of company lore (and is often debated!), but the team in Texas prizes Kahnh and the team at Zalat’s longtime partnership, so we’re proud to call them our first.”

With that extra time focused on the pizzas themselves, Nguyen has seen success and growth. Today Dallas-based Zalat has expanded to 20 pizza shops across North Texas and Houston

Thursday, June 16

Reuben Arasaratnam, M.D., and Pearlie Chong, M.D. [Photos: UT Southwestern Medical Center]

“What the booster does is reawaken the immune system so that it is specifically poised to fight COVID-19.

Reuben Arasaratnam, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine
UT Southwestern Medical Center
.…on getting the second COVID-19 vaccine booster.

Many North Texans who’ve already had COVID-19 vaccines and the initial booster shot are wondering: Should they get a second booster shot?

UT Southwestern infectious disease experts advise people to weigh their own personal health and risk levels in deciding.

Dr. Arasaratnam shared his perspective on a recent episode of “What to Know,” a video series produced by UTSW that provides information on medical topics for the community.

“Patients who are immunocompromised due to a chronic condition or medications that curb the immune system should get a second booster shot when they are eligible,” Arasaratnam says on the episode, The Fourth Dose Decision.

“But if you’re healthy, have received your first booster, your risk of catching the virus is low, and if you’re planning to travel during the summer, it’s reasonable to wait until closer to your travel time to get the second booster,” he added.

Another guest on the episode, Pearlie Chong, M.D., also an assistant professor of medicine at UTSW, said people considering a second booster shouldn’t feel discouraged when they hear that antibodies will wane after several months.

“The protective value of the booster continues beyond that time because our immune system has multiple types of protection,” Chong says in the episode. “And some parts of our immune system, such as B-cells and T-cells, are not easily measurable, but they are continuing to protect. A single booster shot continues to provide high levels of protection against severe disease.”

Wednesday, June 15

Kathleen Culebro, founder and artistic director, Amphibian Stage Productions. [Photo: LinkedIn]

“The last two years have taught us the power of working to support our community.

Kathleen Culebro
Founder and Artistic Director
Amphibian Stage Productions
.…on the release of Amphibian’s AR-powered art walk app, via Fort Worth Magazine.

If you’d like an up-close tour of Fort Worth’s South Main Village, there’ll soon be an app for that. Amphibian Stage is about to launch an app-based, AR-powered “reality art walk” called Neighborhood Leap.

Video still from teaser for Neighborhood Leap app.

Amphibian partnered with Blue Zones Project Fort Worth to create the app, which can help you explore 20+ works of art, various parks, and numerous independently owned shops and eateries. 

“The South Main Village residents and business owners came together and helped one another through some very rough times. We wanted to do something to give back to our city by highlighting all the wonderful things our neighborhood offers,” Culebro told FWM. “We’re in love with this area and excited to give people a chance to fall in love too. Whether it’s your first visit or you think you know it well—there will be something new to discover.”

The app will launch Thursday, June 30, from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., and will remain live this summer. FWM says it will merge “newly commissioned works of music, visual art, movement, and storytelling from local artists with existing public art pieces.” Read more about it and see a preview video here.

The original launch on June 25 was rescheduled due to a heat advisory.

Tuesday, June 14

Herb Kelleher dedicating The Spirit of Kitty Hawk on December 17, 1984. [Photo: Southwest Airlines]

“Never rest on your laurels or you’ll get a thorn in your ass.

Herb Kelleher
Southwest Airlines
.…from the book “Leading With Heart: Living and Working the Southwest Way,” via an article in Texas Monthly.

Kelleher’s chain-smoking, Wild Turkey–swilling, workaholic, laugh-a-minute persona was so associated with the airline, and vice versa, that Wall Street frequently fretted Southwest might fall apart without him,” Texas Monthly writes. “It didn’t.”

Kelleher’s persona still lives on at Southwest years after his passing in 2019. Every new employee learns about Kelleher’s Southwest philosophy, including advice like:

• Working at Southwest is not about “having fun, but about having fun while working very hard.” (One mantra at the airline is that all meetings should start with 10 minutes of fun.)

• “There is no perfect knowledge.”

• “Do not endlessly plan, discuss, and study in an effort to avoid the risk involved in actually making a decision.”

Texas Monthly covers all this in an article about “Leading With Heart: Living and Working the Southwest Way,” which was written by uncredited Texas Monthly contributor Loren Steffy with help from the media group History Factory.

“Herb believed happy Employees make happy Customers,” the book adds, and the proof is in the numbers. Today Southwest has nearly 60,000 employees, more than 700 jets, and more domestic U.S. passengers in than any other airline.

So Herb must have done something right. Especially in keeping all those thorns out of his you-know-what.

Monday, June 14

UPwords apparel and accessories founders Sydney and Shea Hinckley are 17-year-old twins. [Photo: Sydney and Shea Designs]

“I hope when they open our package or wear our stuff that they feel overwhelming love about themselves and that they feel love from others as well.

Sydney Hinckley
.…on her and her twin Shea’s life-affirming apparel and accessories business, via NBC 5 DFW.

In April, we wrote about 17-year-old Dallas twins Sydney and Shea Hinckley and their newly launched UPwords brand, which features a wide array of life-affirming messages on apparel and accessories.

Their e-commerce site offers caps that say “DO GOOD,” a sweatshirt that reads “you are enough,” a T-shirt that urges others to “see good in all things,” and many other apparel, jewelry, and home goods items that aim to uplift with positivity.

“Growing up, our mom always said whatever you say to your mind matters. It’s like the most important thing you can do,” Sydney told NBC 5 DFW. “And so if you say a positive thing, your mind starts believing it and creating it, and so when you have it all around you, you’re able to see it and start saying it to yourself.”

“It just started with something we thought we needed,” Shea added about their new brand. “With social media especially being so prominent in our lives, you see a lot of the comparison and you feel like you need to look like them, or be different to be enough, which is a lie that I feel is constantly being told to us in our generation.”

The twins’ business has grown since launch, and they’re looking to lease a warehouse space one day. In the meantime, they’re giving back. They told the local affiliate their business has donated about 1,000 teddy bears so far to children’s hospitals and the Ronald McDonald House through their Stuffed Hugs charity.

Friday, June 10

“During a time in which COVID-19 has forced many organizations to scale back, our chapter has fought hard to continue to expand and contribute meaningful work.

Tanooha Veeramachaneni
Vice Chair 
Texas Medical Association Medical Student Section
.…on UTSW’s Medical Student Group being named Texas Medical Association Chapter of the Year.

Veeramachaneni is a second-year medical student at UT Southwestern. Before she took her post as vice chair at TMAMSS, she served as president of the UTSW TMA Medical Student Section chapter.

That UT Southwestern medical student group has been named 2022 Chapter of the Year by the TMAMSS, honored for its work on several community health initiatives, including:

• Working with Brother Bill’s Helping Hand organization in Dallas to combat vaccine hesitancy and misunderstanding, by developing and coordinating a vaccine clinic and vaccine education to reach patients in multiple languages.

• Launching the Diabetes Self-Management Program, a free clinic that helps diabetic patients in underserved communities in Dallas learn to control their blood glucose and make healthy lifestyle changes.

Both programs were funded by grants from the Texas Medical Association. 

The UTSW chapter also reached out to the Dallas County Medical Society to initiate organized student involvement on its boards, committees, and councils. It wrote resolutions to propose new TMA policies including more equitable access to medication for opioid use disorder; adjusting a policy ensuring equal pay for equal work; increasing the autonomy of adolescent pediatric cancer patients; and protecting a physician’s ability to provide care in dynamic legal environments. Each of those resolutions was either adopted or referred within the TMA for study.

Thursday, June 9

Akash Patel, Spanish teacher at Dallas’ Ignite Middle School, is a TIME Innovative Teacher of 2022. [Photo: Dallas ISD]

“I saw the gap and did something about it. When you see gaps, you should go fill that gap and then don’t just stop there. Go and fill the next one.

Akash Patel
Founder of Happy Land Inc.
and Spanish teacher at Ignite Middle School
.…on being named one of TIME Magazine’s Innovative Teachers of 2022, via TIME Magazine.

You’d think teaching kids Spanish all day would be enough for most people. But for Patel, he’s just getting started.

The Dallas ISD teacher also runs Happy World Foundation, a global citizenship nonprofit that connects educators worldwide, with volunteers from 150 countries enabling students to learn from speakers in every corner of the earth. Dallas ISD says the Global Connect database has been used by more than 40,000 teachers.

For these and other efforts, Patel has been named to TIME Magazine’s first-ever list of Innovative Teachers.

“He’s traveled to over 60 countries, so he has first-hand knowledge of the potency of immersive language learning,” TIME writes of Patel. “That’s why he uses the power of the internet to bring foreign language speakers from around the world inside the four walls of his classroom. Via his Happy World Foundation, Patel connects students across the country with a network of over 1,200 international native foreign language speakers via video calls, some from countries even he has yet to visit.”

During the pandemic, teachers everywhere got a lot more tech-savvy, mastering videoconferencing to connect to students. Patel’s mission now is to leverage that new, widespread knowledge to open up new worlds for teachers and students alike.

This isn’t the first honor for Akash, and may not be the last. In 2021, he was named to the International Literacy Association’s Global 30 Under 30 list. The global list celebrates young innovators, disruptors, and visionaries promoting literacy around the world.

Wednesday, June 8

Nico Leone, President & CEO of KERA

“We’re so honored to be selected to take over management, and continue a great, free, accessible classical service for the people of Dallas and for all of North Texas.

Nico Leone
President and CEO
.…on KERA’s taking over management of the Dallas-owned WRR classical music radio station, via the Dallas Morning News.

In a unanimous vote today, the Dallas City Council transferred management of the city-owned classical music radio station WRR to the management team of Dallas public TV and radio station KERA. The move had been recommended by the city’s Office of Arts and Culture.

WRR will continue to be owned by the city, but will now be run by KERA, and will move to a non-commercial format. WRR will continue to operate from its studios in Fair Park for the next seven years.

The move comes after a year-long process of deciding the station’s fate, which at one point including a possible sale—which may have meant no more classical music radio in Dallas-Fort Worth.

Keeping WRR a classical station was a requirement of the city’s RFP, and KERA says it was its own explicit goal, too. 

“We’re so thrilled with the outcome of today’s vote,” Leone said today in a statement. “Throughout the procurement process, KERA’s highest priority has been to ensure North Texas has equitable access to classical music and the arts. We now look forward to working with WRR on that shared goal, and expanding on their incredible 101-year history.”

Tuesday, June 7

Connected Mind CEO and CTO Christian Lehinger. [Images via Connected Mind]

“It’s like being interviewed by a psychologist, but it’s a computer.

Christian Lehinger
Connected Mind
.…on his company’s mental health screening platform.

Lehinger says he’s on a mission to save the lives of 10,000 people and improve the lives of 10 million over the next five years.

Drawing on past personal and professional experiences, he’s doing that through his McKinney-based startup Connected Mind—a mental health screening platform that Lehinger says is seeing more traction due to increased awareness and decreased stigmas during the pandemic.

“(Many) of those that are diagnosed with a mental health condition didn’t know the symptoms they were suffering from were caused by mental health,” Lehinger told Dallas Innovates. “So many people don’t get the help they need because they didn’t even know they had a problem in the first place.”

Through a quick survey on the startup’s platform, people are screened to see if any issue is present, based on their responses. If so, they’re sent to a second tier of screening that helps them and their physician identify specific issues.

You can read more about it in our story here.

Monday, June 6

Axxess Founder and CEO John Olajide

“Get comfortable with being uncomfortable—it’s the only way to grow.

John Olajide
Founder and CEO
.…on how to succeed, from his UT Dallas commencement address.

Graduates get great advice this time of year, and as you can see from Olajide’s messages, innovators of all ages can learn from it.

Olajide gave a commencement address last month at his alma mater, UT Dallas, telling students about his journey from being the Nigerian son of parents with 6th-grade educations to founding Axxess, a leading Dallas-based tech innovator for healthcare-at-home solutions.

His biggest message to the graduates: “Believe anything is possible.”

But it takes work to make that come true. Olajide advises against looking for hacks, shortcuts, and easy ways out. 

“There are no shortcuts,” he said. “Success takes time. And time requires all of us to appreciate the value of patience.”

On getting comfortable with being uncomfortable: “You have to adopt a learning mindset and accept that to grow, you have to put yourself in positions beyond what you think you’re ready for. Leave your comfort zone!”

He urged graduates to be welcoming, inclusive, and tolerant, and to strive to improve something 1% every day.

One thing he stressed most was being involved in the community, as he was in 2020 when he served as chair of the Dallas Regional Chamber, in one of the most difficult years imaginable.

“Doing things to improve the world with people you enjoy and admire is about as good as it gets,” Olajide said.

Friday, June 3

UTA student Alexis Nguyen

“They don’t really teach you how to be an adult in high school as far as managing finances, managing classes, and managing yourself. You end up learning how college works on your own.

Alexis Nguyen 
University of Texas at Arlington
.…on leveraging the opportunities of a Last Mile Education Fund for North Texas grant.

Nguyen graduated from Arlington Collegiate High School in 2021 with a lot of promise, but with some financial obstacles, too. 

“My mom is a single mother and works hard to provide for our family,” she said in a statement. “I wanted to be independent to alleviate stress about finances.”

To help achieve that, Nguyen applied for and received funding via the Last Mile Education Fund for North Texas, which focuses on North Texas students in the biotech and STEM sectors who are falling short of their goal because of gaps in financial support. It’s the first geographically focused fund offered by Last Mile, and is initially supported by a grant from Lyda Hill Philanthropies

“Financial aid can be really helpful but sometimes you can be short a few hundred dollars for the little things like extra costs, even parking passes,” Nguyen said. “This grant helped me close the gap without having to jump through hoops that can make accessing financial aid difficult.”

A member of the Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers, Nguyen recently completed her freshman year at UTA, and will be a sophomore there in the fall.

“I’ve been interested in (biotech) since learning about CRISPR technology in middle school, and wanted to pursue a degree that combined my interests in math, science, healthcare, and in helping others,” Nguyen said. She recently attended a banquet where her SASE team presented findings on data analysis covering the topic of mental health in the tech industry.

“My dream now is to be an academic,” she said. “I want to do research to help cure diseases and eventually be a professor to teach about my passions.”

More info about Last Mile’s North Texas biotech workforce fund, including how students can apply, is available here

Thursday, June 2

Chris Parrish, president of university partnerships at Podium Education. [Image: Podium Education]

“Even the ‘local job’ is now global in some way.

Chris Parrish 
President, University Partnerships
Podium Education
.…on teaching University of North Texas students workforce skills through a global tech experience.

The University of North Texas is partnering with Austin-based Podium Education to give its undergraduate students “in-demand skills for the modern workforce,” UNT has announced.

Students who enroll in the UNT Global Tech Experience will collaborate with students from 38 other countries on projects from big tech companies like Netflix, Spotify, and Airbnb.

UNT’s partnership with Podium comes at a time when the Dallas-Fort Worth area continues to be the No. 3 metro in the U.S. for tech job postings. Podium’s program combines elements of an internship with a global learning experience to give students the  skills needed for entry-level tech and tech-adjacent roles upon graduation.

“We’re thrilled to bring The Global Tech Experience to the UNT community,” Podium’s Parrish said in a statement. “Students must be comfortable working in diverse teams and building products for a diverse set of users. That’s exactly what students will learn in Global Tech.”

Participating UNT students will complete real-world projects and solve global problems for organizations across a variety of industries, the university says.

Wednesday, June 1

Lauren Hasson, founder and keynote speaker at DevelopHer. [Courtesy photo]

Stop asking ‘what if’ and start doing.

Lauren Hasson 
Founder and Keynote Speaker
.…on how women entrepreneurs should push their “analysis paralysis” aside and take action.

Dallas-based Hasson has worked on the front lines of the male-dominated tech world, and shares advice and inspiration as an author, a speaker, and on her DevelopHer platform. Her goal: helping women in tech “get ahead, stand out, and earn more.”

In a recent post, she shares advice that could help women in tech everywhere (and perhaps a lot of men in tech too). Here are some excerpts:

“If you want to get ahead in your career, you need to stop overthinking and overanalyzing and start taking action. You can’t get stuck falling into analysis paralysis and constantly second-guessing yourself.”

The secret isn’t doing something perfectly—it’s just doing something. You can’t solve your entire future upfront; you just have to take it step by step.”

If you’re struck by analysis paralysis, “recognize it,” “visualize your outcome,” and “take the first step.”

“You can’t plan an entire career journey because you have no idea what opportunities are going to appear,” Hasson writes. That’s why she believes in getting there “by doing.”

Tuesday, May 31

David Evans, managing partner, Sentiero Ventures [Photo: LinkedIn]

Venture doesn’t go away. Like every other sector in a downturn it contracts, but it’s been a steadily growing market every year for the last 30 years.

David Evans 
Managing Partner
Sentiero Ventures
.…on venture capital activity in down cycles, via LinkedIn.

After weeks of turmoil in U.S. markets, some may wonder if venture capitalists will continue to deploy capital or stay on the sidelines. 

“Lots has been said over the past few weeks about ‘changes in VC,’ but not much has been said about what really happens in these cycles,” Evans writes on LinkedIn. 

“Even in the last down cycle, total assets in VC in 2009 were up over the previous bottom in 2002,” he adds. “Smart operators with truly innovative products and VCs investing in them will be just fine.”

Evans then links to an article in PitchBook on VC trends in Q1 2022, showing that nearly $71 billion in venture capital was invested during the quarter.

Dallas-based Sentiero’s most recent move was a $750,000 seed funding investment in Palo Alto, California-based Geminus.AI, a physics-informed AI modeling platform “that solves the challenges of conventional AI: inaccuracy, heavy data requirements, long training times, and difficulty updating.”

Thursday, May 26

Lee Bratcher Texas Blockchain Council

Lee Bratcher [Background: istockphoto]

“Bitcoin miners act like a virtual battery, by creating demand for more generation, but then shutting off and pushing that power back to the grid when power demands increase.

Lee Bratcher 
Founder and President
Texas Blockchain Council
.…on how Texas crypto miners are preparing for summer grid usage, via LinkedIn.

With Memorial Day weekend’s unofficial start of summer just ahead, the strains on the Texas power grid aren’t far behind.That raises concerns in some minds about crypto mining operations in the state and their outsized power usage.

“The importance of having flexible loads on the Texas power grid cannot be overstated,” Bratcher writes on LinkedIn. “Yes, Bitcoin miners use a lot of energy, but the flexible nature of the miners, and the fact that they locate in rural areas near underutilized energy sources, mean that they will help to ensure that every day Texans can access the power they need.”

Bratcher links to a KVUE story on the issue to reinforce his point. and adds that Bitcoin miners “provide jobs and tax revenue that help to revitalize rural counties. This solution is far more cost effective than using tax payer dollars to buy giant batteries to help store excess wind and solar for peak moments in the day. In the case of the miners, they are paying taxes. In the case of batteries, they cost taxpayer dollars to install.”

A tiny bit of that power strain is coming from Fort Worth City Hall. Last month, Fort Worth became the first city in the U.S. to mine its own Bitcoin, using three S9 Bitcoin mining machines donated by the Texas Blockchain Council. The machines run 24/7 but consume the same energy as a household vacuum cleaner.

Meanwhile, crypto mining companies are flocking to Texas, reports the Dallas Morning News.

Wednesday, May 25

Dancers from Anita N. Martinez Ballet Folklorico regularly perform in SMU’s annual Homecoming parade. [Photo: SMU]

“About a year after students begin dancing, they become comfortable with themselves.

Al Martinez 
Son of Dallas Civic and Arts Leader Anita N. Martinez 
.…on his mother’s honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from SMU.

Martinez’ mother, 96-year-old longtime Dallas leader Anita N. Martinez, has enriched the city’s civic and cultural life for generations. 

In 1969, Martinez became the first Mexican-American woman elected to the Dallas City Council, as well as the first elected to any big-city council in the U.S. But the fifth-generation Texan launched her first campaign years before at age 14, when she collected signatures to get the city to pave Pearl Street in Dallas’ “Little Mexico.”

Anita N. Martinez receives her honorary doctorate from SMU. [Photo: SMU]

The first in her family to graduate from high school, she took classes at SMU’s Dallas College downtown extension program, which was offered in the 1930s and ’40s. After two terms on the city council, she switched from politics to the arts by founding Anita N. Martinez Ballet Folkorico in 1975, bringing traditional cultural dances from Mexico, Central America, and the American Southwest to students and general audiences for decades.

As a girl on her family’s “Little Mexico” front porch, Martinez and her friends performed dances and received the gratifying applause of neighbors. She never forgot that, and wanted to share that same confidence she received with young people for years to come.

“They learn that they matter,” her son Al says of students in Ballet Folklorico. “It’s a game-changer for the students and their families.” The program continues to thrive today, offering classes for kids three and older and adults as well. More than one million schoolchildren in the past decade have seen the company perform. 

Martinez’ life came full circle on May 14 when she returned to her SMU educational roots by receiving an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree at SMU’s 2022 commencement ceremony.

Tuesday, May 24

“Optimized supply chain planning positively impacts both P&Ls and the planet.

Chakri Gottemukkala, co-founder and CEO, o9 Solutions, Inc. [Photo: Business Wire]

Chakri Gottemukkala, co-founder and CEO, o9 Solutions, Inc. [Photo: Business Wire]

Chakri Gottemukkala 
Co-Founder and CEO
o9 Solutions
.…on the digital transformation of supply chains.

Dallas-based o9 Solutions, the enterprise AI software unicorn that announced $296 million in funding in January, giving it a valuation of $2.7 billion, achieved another milestone last week. It’s been named a leader in the 2022 Gartner Magic Quadrant report for supply chain planning solutions. 

o9 reported a more than threefold increase in year-over-year annual recurring revenue from new clients in 2021 compared to 2020. And the number of existing clients that expanded their o9 deployments tripled year-over-year in Q4’21.

“As demand and supply complexity and volatility continue to escalate, executives at many of the world’s largest enterprises are increasingly turning to o9’s future-proof, AI-powered Digital Brain platform to transform their supply chain, commercial, and integrated business planning capabilities,” Gottemukkala said in a statement.

“o9’s technology combined with our incremental delivery methodology focused on fast time-to-value enables our clients to realize significant improvements in customer service, inventory levels, resource utilization, as well as ESG and financial KPIs,” he added.

Monday, May 23

Brandon Carter, director of global security sales at StackPath. [Photo: StackPath]

“Just because you have a small web presence doesn’t mean you don’t have a lot to lose.

Brandon Carter 
Director, Global Security Sales
.…on the need for web application firewalls.

Firewalls. They’re not just for big Fortune 500 companies like AT&T and CBRE Group. Even a local mom-and-pop e-commerce site is at risk of threats from hackers, cyber thieves, data breachers, and worse.

But the big players need firewalls, too—big time. And Carter says the Dallas-based StackPath team at StackPath has solutions for them as well.

“Having a big security team and budget doesn’t mean you want it tied up configuring and managing a complicated solution,” Carter said in a statement. “Our largest customers are relieved to have an enterprise-grade solution that takes work off their team rather than gives their engineers yet another set of challenges to manage. Powerful doesn’t have to be difficult or prohibitively expensive.” 

Last week, Carter’s company announced the general availability of new subscription levels of the StackPath Web Application Firewall (SP//WAF), offering “new and additional features such as customized sanction screens, custom and advanced rules extensions, professional services, and technical support.”

Friday, May 20

Jason Kaiser, VP of Caterpillar’s Electric Power division. [DI; Video still, Caterpillar/YouTube]

“There’s a lot of skill and a lot of people here for us to draw from.

VP of Electric Power Division
.…on plans to hire 50 in new Las Colinas divisional office, via Dallas Business Journal.

Kaiser hosted a media tour Wednesday of Caterpillar’s new offices at Williams Square Plaza in Las Colinas, showing off the new home base of many of the company’s businesses—including its Electric Power division, Caterpillar Manufacturing, and more. 

He says the North Texas talent pool is a big reason Caterpillar set up the Electric Power division in Irving, and his company is already seeking workers to fill 50 new positions in Las Colinas, on top of the 100 or so who are already based there, reports the DBJ. Another reason was the location’s global access via nearby Dallas-Fort Worth Airport and Love Field

“We’re here for that size and diversity of [talent in] the area,” Kaiser said, according to DBJ. “We’re going to get our name out so we can make the best use of the experience in the area.”

“We plan to grow,” he added, noting that Caterpillar’s energy and transportation segment makes a new engine every two minutes. “We don’t have a target like, ‘We’re going to have so many people by this time.’ We’re really growing through the needs of the business. We have a wonderful space here to work with. We have some businesses that are growing, and so as those businesses grow, we’ll add more people.”

Thursday, May 19

Sterling Anderson, co-founder and chief product officer of Aurora Innovation.

“Some time ago, I was asked why the general public should care about autonomous trucking. This is why.

Sterling Anderson 
Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer
Aurora Innovation
.…on the expansion of Aurora’s pilot program with FedEx out of Dallas and Fort Worth.

“In six months of working with FedEx, we’ve safely, reliably, and efficiently transported packages for tens of thousands of FedEx customers,” Anderson said.

Today, Aurora Innovation announced an expansion to its pilot program to autonomously move FedEx shipments out of Dallas-Fort Worth.

Aurora’s next-generation autonomous trucks—based on the new Peterbilt 579 (below)—began driving FedEx shipments between Aurora’s new terminals in Fort Worth and El Paso in March. Now the companies are adding a new daily “lane” to the pilot—transporting FedEx shipments between Aurora’s South Dallas terminal and its new terminal in Houston.

Aurora Innovation is transporting FedEx shipments from Dallas to Houston and from Fort Worth to El Paso. [Photo: Business Wire]

“This lane expansion came ahead of schedule and we’re delighted to continue building the future of trucking with one of the country’s biggest and most important transportation companies,” Anderson said in a statement.

Aurora—which is based in Pittsburgh and Mountain View, California—is testing more than trucks in North Texas. In March, it capped off a six-month pilot test of its autonomous Toyota S-AM minivans in Dallas-Fort Worth by giving Toyota North America CEO Ted Ogawa and other execs an autonomous ride toward DFW Airport.

Wednesday, May 18

“Everything’s going to be connected.”

James Maclean, founder and CEO of Geoforce

James MacLean 
Founder and CEO
.…on the demand for track-and-trace technology via the Dallas Business Journal.

Geoforce Founder and CEO James MacLean formed his tech company in 2007 with one mission: to address the challenges associated with managing field equipment and field operations in the oil and gas industry.

Since then, Plano-based Geoforce has clearly reaped the rewards of MacLean’s asset-tracking patent. The business is set for “double-digit revenue growth in 2022,” he said in the DBJ.

The company’s tech keeps tabs on assets, “particularly the ones in tough environments as the world struggles with supply-chain challenges,” the publication writes.

MacLean sees growth for the business ahead. Why is there demand for the company’s track-and-trace tech? “People are connected. Vehicles are connected. We’re focused on off-road and oftentimes remote mobile assets that operate in the field. They’re not connected, and they’re going to be — and there are so many more of those physical assets than there are the asset categories that are already connected or tracked today,” he told the DBJ.

MacLean was named to the Dallas Innovates Future 50 and a winner of D CEO/Dallas Innovates The Innovation Awards “Innovation in Energy” in 2020.  Geoforce technology has been implemented in agriculture, mining, and transportation to measure ocean currents and to track California’s grape harvests.

Tuesday, May 17

Annabel Reeves [Photo: LinkedIn]

“Raise your hand. Introduce yourself. Ask questions. Volunteer on as many projects as you can.

Annabel Reeves 
Intern, Venture Partnerships
.…on her advice for students upon her graduation from SMU, via LinkedIn.

Reeves recently graduated with an MBA from SMU’s Cox Business School. During the last two years of study, she did more than take classes—she also seized opportunities, not just at fintech unicorn Clearco but also through internships at Interlock Partners and Blossom Street Ventures. She has served as chief of staff for Venture Dallas and was a finalist for the 2022 State of Entrepreneurship “Student Entrepreneur of the Year” award this year. 

Now Reeves is offering advice to incoming students through a LinkedIn post.

Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there,” she writes. “You never know when you will meet those people who will meaningfully invest in your future. And one day, you’ll get the chance to do the same for someone else.”

“I’m proud to be in a region that is booming with investment and innovation,” she says of Dallas-Fort Worth. “There is so much happening here, and I’m fortunate to have a front-row seat to it all. I’m so excited to start the next chapter of my career at Goldman Sachs in Dallas this summer, continuing to work with and support entrepreneurs.”

Friday, May 13

xtine burrough, artist and UTD professor. [Photo: UT Dallas]

“Gosh, it really is a naked baby, right? Clothes or no clothes, but it’s this nude figure that is used to symbolize a lot of different circumstances.

xtine burrough 
Media Artist and Professor 
UT Dallas
.…on the wild afterlives of the Dancing Baby meme, via CNN Style.

The “Dancing Baby” became one of the first viral Internet memes when it was released in 1996 by its original creators, Michael Girard, Robert Lurye, and John Chadwick. The 3D graphic of a baby in a diaper dancing and wiggling around was shared not by TikTok or Instagram but via millions of email forwards worldwide. 

26 years later—after countless remakes, twists, and variations on the dancing baby theme—it’s gotten new life through a more lifelike, strangely transfixing version made by the original creators in collaboration with Vienna-based HFA-Studio. New dancing babies are set to be released as NFTs next week.

CNN talked with UT Dallas’ burrough about the phenomenon.

“It was released as something that was welcomed to be remixed,” burrough told CNN. “And we saw the results of that, and we are still seeing the results of that. And that really gives people the freedom to take the image and allow it to meet the context of today.”

Musing on “the physics of a dancing baby,” burrough got to the heart of the matter with a straightforward observation: “The way it moves, it’s really hard not to laugh at it.”

Thursday, May 12

Ferris City Manager Brooks Williams. [Photo: City of Ferris]

“We believe this is a creative solution that shows if you care about people, you can honor the desire for limited government in the choices we make for ourselves while still providing valuable services for your citizens.

Brooks Williams 
City Manager 
City of Ferris
.…on using Federal Rescue Plan funds to provide free healthcare for all city residents, via WFAA.

The city council of Ferris, a suburb southeast of Dallas, has unanimously approved a plan to provide free healthcare to all its residents. The city will pay for this out of federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

“From what we’ve found, we’re the first city in the state and in the country to do something like this,” Williams told WFAA. 

The city will be partnering on its program with MD Health Pathways, a Dallas-based team of doctors, nurses, and caretakers that will provide Ferris residents with “Access for All” healthcare at both brick-and-mortar sites and mobile settings.

Williams told WFAA the program will offer “convenience, consistency, and efficiency through a combination of telehealth, cloud-based data management, mobile healthcare team deployment, low-cost essential medication delivery, and patient advocacy.”

“We are determined to not violate the free market of healthcare,” Williams added. “But we are also focused on local solutions that meet the needs of our citizens.”

Wednesday, May 11

Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas incoming President and CEO Lorie K. Logan. [Photo: Dallas Fed]

“I believe strongly in the Federal Reserve’s mission and in the critical role it plays in promoting a healthy economy that truly works for everyone.

Lorie K. Logan 
Newly appointed President and CEO 
Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas
.…on taking the helm of the Dallas Fed this August.

Today, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas announced Logan’s appointment as its new president and CEO, effective August 22. 

Logan will represent the Eleventh Federal Reserve District on the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) in the formulation of U.S. monetary policy, while leading the Dallas Fed’s 1,200 employees.

49-year-old Logan currently serves as EVP of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. She is also manager of the System Open Market Account for the FOMC, overseeing the system’s $9 trillion securities portfolio and leading the implementation of FOMC monetary policy.

“I look forward to engaging with business and community leaders across the Eleventh District and representing all of the hard-working people of the district at the FOMC,” Logan said in a statement. “I’m excited about moving to Texas and becoming involved in the community.”

Logan replaces Robert S. Kaplan, who retired from the Dallas Fed last October. Former First Vice President Meredith Black has been serving as interim president; she plans to retire on September 1 after 39 years of service.

Tuesday, May 10

Marillyn Seeberger [Photo: SMU]

“I don’t want to just take up space on the planet.

Marillyn Seeberger
Aspiring Screenwriter 
.…on graduating from SMU this week at age 85 with a BA in film and media arts.

This Saturday, Seeberger will lead other film graduates into SMU’s McFarlin Auditorium as their marshal for the Meadows School of the Arts commencement ceremony. Then she’ll be ready to get to work in her new career as a screenwriter—at age 85.

“I always wanted to write,” she said in a statement. “I knew I had stories to tell with a little bit of fact and a little bit of fiction.”

At 18 in 1954, she’d planned to attend OU, but ended up getting married and having three daughters instead. After moving to Dallas in 1968, she joined the film production team at the Bloom Agency—then the biggest independent ad agency in Dallas—in the heart of the “Mad Men” era. By 1981, she was Bloom’s first woman vice president of broadcast production, helping to produce national ad campaigns, music videos, and award-winning corporate films. 

She was the first woman to lead nearly every film and production professional organization in Dallas, and created her own production company, Turtle Island Pictures.

But… “I always wanted to write.” 

After creating her SMU senior production class film, “The Author,” she now feels she has the chops to take on screenwriting professionally. “It was important to me to have the credentials to be a screenwriter,” she says.

Now, two words will likely be coming soon to her laptop: “Fade in…”

Monday, May 9

Dan Vermeire

“If you’ve been thinking you want to get a deal done in the next two or three years, you better think about doing it right now, because it isn’t going to get better than this.

Dan Vermeire
Managing Director and Principal
Corporate Finance Associates
.…on trends in the “M&A Super Cycle,” via D CEO.

D CEO has announced the winners of its 2022 Mergers and Acquisitions Awards, and touched off the results by quoting Vermeire on the recent M&A frenzy that’s swept not just North Texas, not just the U.S., but the world.

In 2021, market conditions created a sellers’ paradise, D CEO says, with high valuations, low interest rates, plentiful private equity and venture capital, and baby boomers ready to cash out—leading to a global deal market that topped $5.8 trillion for the year—a 64% YOY increase.

Vermeire closed more than twice as many deals in 2021 as he had in 2020.

“The toughest thing was to pick and choose which deals to work on,” he told D CEO. “The lawyers and accounting firms that handle closings—it got to the point where you had to get on their list, and you had to wait in line in order to get your deal closed.”

Friday, May 6

[Image: istockphoto]

“The Texas Restaurant Show is a catalyst for our industry—creating a unique opportunity for our leaders to gather, collaborate, and reinvent the future of hospitality…

Dr. Emily Williams Knight
President and CEO
Texas Restaurant Association
…on the TRA’s 2022 Texas Restaurant Show coming to Dallas July 9-11.

The Texas Restaurant Association is presenting the Texas Restaurant Show this July 9-11 at Dallas’ Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center. Five thousand people are expected to attend, bringing more than $2 million in revenue to Dallas-area businesses.

Now in its 85th year, the Texas Restaurant Show—formerly known as the TRA Marketplace—will feature “state-of-the-science” products and equipment, cutting-edge culinary technology, and the latest innovative trends from more than 400 exhibitors. Industry leaders will be on hand with advice, and the go-to event is a “party with a purpose”—the Lone Star Bash featuring the Texas Restaurant Awards.

“The past two years have demonstrated the value of working together and learning from each other,” Knight said in a statement. “We’re proud to present the Texas Restaurant Show in Dallas this year, an event and a city which embody the spirit of collaboration and innovation that will carry us into the future.”

This year’s Lone Star Bash will highlight signature dishes and cocktails from more than 30 esteemed chefs and 15 cutting-edge mixologists, competing for the People’s Choice title for Best Dish and Craft Cocktail.

The competition will be followed by a live performance by Red Dirt rocker Stoney LaRue, with all proceeds benefiting the Texas Restaurant Foundation.

Registration for the 2022 Texas Restaurant Show is available here and you can book a booth here

Thursday, May 5

Nick Kennedy, founder of Nick Kennedy Coaching. [Courtesy photo]

“More people should try entrepreneurship. It’s risky, but not as risky as you think.

Nick Kennedy
Nick Kennedy Coaching
…on going for it, via LinkedIn.

Kennedy is the former founder and CEO of Dallas-based RISE Air. He’s also served as president of Surf Air and is a former director and leadership coach at Townsend Leadership. Most recently he’s become founder and chairman of The Good Entrepreneur Institute, based in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

As a coach, he says on LinkedIn, “I sit with leaders and I help them make decisions so they don’t make the same mistakes I made when I was a CEO running my own business. After I sold my last business, I took several years off, I spent time learning a lot of hard lessons. I wrote a book about it [‘The Good Entrepreneur”], and I write here on LinkedIn regarding all the lessons I learned.”

His advice on taking risks with entrepreneurship?

“Likely worst case is you have to find a new job,” he writes. “Likely best case is you change the trajectory of your life forever. It’s way riskier to stay where you are.”

Wednesday, May 4

Dr. David Spetzler

Dr. David Spetzler [Image: Caris Life Sciences]

“We call it the molecular revolution, and it’s going to change healthcare and how we think about health forever.”

Dr. David Spetzler
President and Chief Scientific Officer
Caris Life Sciences

… on the company’s blood testing for various cancers through molecular analysis, in D CEO.

“The number of false positives in the existing screening process is crazy high,” Dr. David Spetzler told D CEO. But he said, while a “perfectly sensitive test” can catch a cancer, it can be at the expense of telling people they have cancer when they don’t.

“That’s not acceptable,” the CSO said.

North Texas-based Caris Life Sciences’ newest lab in Phoenix is just one example of how it continues to innovate. The company is developing “the most powerful blood-based assay ever,” Spetzler said in an announcement last week. The $45 million liquid biopsy facility analyzes blood cells to reveal more than a “binary yes or no.”  Caris aims to launch its diagnostic assay called Caris Assure to deliver tumor profiling and cancer diagnostics.

A leader in precision medicine, Caris has an extensive database of cancer markers that’s a library of tumor biomarker results linked to outcome data. The company also developed a Genomic Profiling Similarity Score that can compare molecular characteristics of a patient’s tumor against Caris’ database.

Caris’ profiling tool for tumors uses over 6,500 mathematical models in a machine-learning algorithm. 

Tuesday, May 3

Tyrus Sanders [Photo: Regions Bank Corporate Communications]

“If the region is going to continue to grow, the opportunity is in the southern sector. You have to think about where the basketball is going to go, not where it is.”

Tyrus Sanders
Executive Vice President
Regions Bank
…on growing the region’s presence in Southern Dallas County, via Bisnow.

Sanders is Region Banks’ Dallas market executive for commercial banking. He sees Southern Dallas County as playing a key role in future of growth for the region—and his bank is putting its money behind that belief. 

Regions Bank has provided a $10 million line of credit to assist the capital campaign for Fair Park, Bisnow writes, along with a $1 million equity investment in the Texas Mezzanine Fund, a Dallas-based community development fund that finances businesses and economic development projects in underserved Texas communities.

The bank has also partnered with James Armstrong III, president and CEO of Builders of Hope, a nonprofit developing affordable housing in urban communities in Dallas.

“We’re going to provide him with a line of credit so he can buy lots from the city that are part of the land bank so he can have inventory to do infill housing,” Sanders told Bisnow. “Before that, he didn’t have a facility to buy a bulk number of lots to build on. He had to do one piece at a time.”

The moves by Sanders and Regions Bank are just part of the renewed focus on Southern Dallas, Bisnow writes, including the Dallas Regional Chambers’ launch of SouthernDallasCounty.com, the Dallas City Council steering $1.5 billion in funding for renovations of Fair Park and the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, and more.

Monday, May 2

Linear Labs co-founder Brad Hunstable [Photo: Quincy Preston]

Fort Worth making waves again. We are going to keep pushing the limits in new tech. From Energy 2.0 to Mobility to even Bitcoin.

Brad Hunstable
Founder and CEO
Linear Labs
…on Fort Worth becoming the first U.S. city to mine bitcoin, via LinkedIn.

Like many in Fort Worth and across the region, Hunstable got excited last week when Fort Worth became the first city in the U.S. to mine bitcoin—right out of its city hall.

Three S9 Bitcoin mining machines donated by the Texas Blockchain Council began running 24/7 last Tuesday in the city hall’s climate-controlled IT Solutions Department Data Center, following a city council vote that authorized the six-month pilot program.

“We want to make sure not only Fort Worth, but the entire state of Texas, is crypto friendly to be the crypto capital of the world,” Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker said on a live Twitter feed that day. 

“With the support and partnership of Texas Blockchain Council, we’re stepping into that world on a small scale while sending a big message—Fort Worth is where the future begins,” Parker added in a statement.

Friday, April 29

Brad Phelan, director of technology commercialization, UT Southwestern. [Photo: LinkedIn]

We don’t want to have really exciting research that then needs to wait two years to get to the point where it can have commercial application.

Brad Phelan
Director of Technology Commercialization
UT Southwestern
…on the promise of Pegasus Park, via LinkedIn.

Moving medical progress forward faster is imperative. UT Southwestern’s Brad Phelan is digging in and pushing things forward—and one thing he’s especially excited about is the promise of the Biotech+ Hub at Pegasus Park.

Just last month, Pegasus Park marked the opening of BioLabs, a 37,000-square-foot facility offering shared wet labs and strikingly designed office spaces, all located within the hub’s reimagined 23-acre campus

When it comes to accelerating the move from research to commercialization, “The reality of Pegasus happening and driving those collisions is here,” Phelan says.

Thursday, April 28

Video still of a promotional video for the Jason Boso-owned Truck Yard off Lower Greenville. [Video still: Truck Yard]

That is going to benefit our city so greatly by having more variety of food options, by having a more diverse food culture, by creating a larger community here, thereby creating competition, thereby elevating the level of food.

Jason Boso
Truck Yard
…on a new city of Dallas ordinance that makes it easier for mobile food vendors to do business, via D Magazine.

Dallas may be about to enter a new era of food truck heaven.

On Wednesday, the Dallas City Council unanimously approved a revised code governing food trailers, food trucks, and food carts. Permits will now cost less and require fewer trips to City Hall. Fees have been lowered, and chefs have more freedom to do things like cook raw fish and poultry on-site. They also will be required to go to commissaries weekly instead of daily.

Previously, food trucks only had to get permit once a year, but more affordable food trailers were required to get a permit each time they served.

With the updated code, opportunity now abounds for anyone with wheels and a hunger to serve even hungrier customers.

“What this does, first and foremost, is it cuts the barrier of entry, the capital cost to get into this, by 50% or more. Then it cuts operational costs by 50% or more,” Boso, who owns both Truck Yard off Lower Greenville and a commissary, told D.

Boso, who also owns Twisted Root Burger Co. and Tacos & Avocados, co- write the wording of the updated ordinance.

“This opens up this entrepreneurial business for diversity,” Boso told D. “It opens it up to underprivileged communities.”

Wednesday, April 27


Jeff Sinelli, CEO of Which Wich. [Photo by Marissa DeFalcis]

“After 18 years of bags and Sharpies, we really went full tech.”

Jeff Sinelli
Which Wich
…on his chain’s new virtual cashier platform, via the Dallas Morning News.

Sinelli’s restaurant chain is moving forward from the pandemic by innovating—with a goal of advancing into the digital age while addressing labor shortages that have plagued restaurants nationwide.

One big innovation Sinelli’s team developed is rolling out now in the newly reopened Which Wich sandwich shop in downtown Dallas: YellowLAB, a virtual customer service platform.

When a customer approaches a YellowLAB screen, sensors ping an available “remote cashier” who appears on the screen, greets the customer, and takes their food order. Their order is sent to the kitchen, and when the food is ready, the customer gets picks it up at the counter. Meanwhile, the remote cashiers get added flexibility and autonomy over their work schedules.

“We built this model to reduce labor,” Sinelli told the DMN. “We used to have six to eight people working in a store at a time, and now we’ve cut that number in half.”

“I think we had to do this as a company that wants to evolve itself,” Sinelli added. “After 18 years of bags and Sharpies, we really went full tech. But during the digital transformation of brands, the human interaction has been missing, and we wanted to bring that back.”

Sinelli told the DMN his team didn’t waste time during the pandemic.

“During COVID, a lot of people retreated, but we created,” Sinelli said. “And we’ve had the luxury of really taking our time during COVID to really do it and do it right.”

Tuesday, April 26

AI Masters Degree UNT

Worlds Inc. CEO and founder Dave Copps [Photo: Michael Samples]

Winning the war between our ears before we take on the market and the world is absolutely my favorite topic to take on with fellow entrepreneurs.”

Dave Copps
Co-founder and CEO
Worlds Inc.
…on discussing “all things entrepreneur” with Business Navigators, via Twitter.

Copps discussed the entrepreneurial mindset last week for the servant leadership nonprofit Business Navigators

His company, Worlds Inc., is a leading intellectual property developer and licensee of patents related to 3D online virtual worlds. Launched in 2020, the startup’s “extended reality environment” builds AI-models to give businesses and organizations a new way to view their physical world.

One of his messages to Business Navigators was to “Embrace Ridiculous.” Why? Because “ridiculous is the radical evolution of thinking big,” he says.

“It’s okay to stare the world in the face and radically elevate your expectation of what it will give back,” Copps noted, followed by other insights:

“We embrace ridiculous by playing impossible games.”

“When you ask the world for big things, what’s possible expands in direct correlation to your expectations.”

Want more? Read the serial entrepreneur’s advice on company culture and the seven mindsets for abundance in startups

Monday, April 25

Hypergiant CEO Mike Betzer [Photo: Hypergiant]

If you look at our energy power plants, what’s protecting them? It’s a wire fence that I could literally drive a car through.”

Mike Betzer
…on “solving the big problems” with AI, via FUTR Tech.

Betzer appeared on the FUTR Tech podcast to talk about how his company’s data science platform is solving some of the “big problems” in critical infrastructure, national security, space, and defense. 

Betzer says America’s critical infrastructure is now national security, and Hypergiant  is working to help keep it safe.

“We are protecting people’s lives, we’re protecting our grid, we’re protecting our infrastructure. If there’s a terrible thing that happens—the power grid gets shut down, the communication grid gets shut down, the water supply gets shut down— as we saw in the Texas freeze that happened a few years ago, people panic in about 24 hours,” Betzer tells FUTR Tech.

There’s nothing protecting our power plants, Betzer adds, “and we have to change that—that’s national security.” 

To do that, our country needs to design a safer, more secure future by using AI, he added.

“You have to be able to design the future, but you have to also be able to execute upon the future,” he said. “We’ve got an awesome fleet of data scientists who can help our customers be successful. We design the future, and then we use [our Hyperdrive data science platform] as the engine that sits in the middle that actually delivers that capability.” 

Betzer explained that in a way, AI is simpler than many people think.

“We’re just trying to leverage data to make decisions,” he tells FUTR Tech. “That’s all that AI is. Now, there’s some places where there’s really cool AI that’s doing things to replace humans—but generally speaking, it’s just leveraging data that’s coming at you with such a pace from so many sources, that a human can’t make that decision.” By using AI, Hypergiant can make that data update automatically, “and you don’t have to worry about it.”

Friday, April 22

Dallas Mayor Eric johnson [Photo: City of Dallas]

Turning off non-essential lighting at night for a few weeks helps our ecosystem, conserves energy, and saves money.”

Eric Johnson
Mayor of Dallas
… from his Earth Day proclamation urging Dallas residents and businesses to join “Lights Out Nights” through May 12.

Every spring and fall, nearly two billion birds travel through the state of Texas—between a quarter and a third of all birds migrating throughout the U.S. Light pollution in big metros like Dallas causes millions of them to die each year as they migrate, when they’re disoriented by urban lights and collide with buildings.

To mark Earth Day today, Mayor Johnson urged Dallasites to do their part to keep birds on the wing—by turning non-essential lights off or down between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. from tonight through May 12.

Lights Out Nights have become a worthwhile tradition in Dallas, and I encourage all of our residents and businesses to again participate if they’re able to do so safely,” Mayor Johnson said in an official proclamation.

Lights Out Texas is a statewide initiative led by former First Lady Laura Bush, conservation non-profits, universities, governmental organizations, and Texans dedicated to the conservation of birds.

“Dallas is a global leader in addressing environmental issues,” the mayor added. “And on Earth Day, I’m proud to say that the people of our city have made major strides by taking small steps, such as this one, together.

Thursday, April 21

Haley Taylor Schlitz [Photo: SMU]

I want to help families open their eyes to the opportunities that they don’t even realize are there.”

Haley Taylor Schlitz
Dedman School of Law
Southern Methodist University
… on being poised to become SMU’s youngest-ever law school graduate, via the Dallas Morning News.

Haley Taylor Schlitz is used to being ahead of schedule.

As a public school fifth grader struggling to be acknowledged as a gifted student, she began home schooling and rocketed ahead. At age 13, she graduated from high school. By 16, she’d graduated from Texas Woman’s University and won acceptance to nine different U.S. law schools. 

She chose SMU’s Dedman School of Law, and is now poised at age 19 to become SMU’s youngest-ever law school graduate on May 13. 

After that, she hopes to work on education policy issues for an elected official or nonprofit. She already has political experience—in June 2020 at age 17, Haley was elected to serve as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention and was one of the youngest delegates at the DNC that year.

She also wants to help increase opportunities for gifted and talented girls and students of color.

“Many girls and students of color are left out of our nation’s gifted and talented programs,” Taylor Schlitz said in a statement. “Society will lose out on the potential scientist who cures a major disease, the entrepreneur who starts the next Amazon and so much more. All because of their gender and/or skin color.”

Wednesday, April 20

Apex CEO William Capuzzi [Photo: Apex Clearing]

Our mission is all about democratizing finance through access—and education is a vital part of that.”

Bill Capuzzi
Apex Fintech Solutions
… on partnering with Zogo, a “next-gen” financial education app, founded by CEO Bolun Li when he was a 19-year-old student.

Dallas-based Apex, which calls itself “the fintech for fintechs,” announced today it’s partnering with Zogo Finance, the next-gen financial education app, to transform the way investors learn on their own.

Created by Austin-based founder and CEO Bolun Li as a student, Zogo takes a Gen Z approach to financial education by offering users gift cards and rewards for learning on the Zogo app.

The app covers everything from investing strategies to e-sports, healthcare, insurance, and more. With the new partnership, the modules will now roll out to investors nationwide by integrating into fintech platforms like Fintron and UNest—both mutual clients of Apex and Zogo.

Millennials and Gen Z are reinventing investing, which requires companies to adapt to their evolving interests, financial aspirations, and educational needs,” Bolun Li said in a statement. “Apex shares our vision of harnessing technology to create customized, flexible, and accessible learning opportunities to support investors of all types.”

“Partnering with Zogo helps us empower our clients and their millions of customers,” Capuzzi added.

Since Zogo’s 2018 founding, users have completed over 16 million “lessons.

Zogo currently serves over 500,000 users and partners with 180+ financial institutions, from banks to credit unions to large corporations including Dallas-based clients RelyOn and Southwest Financial Federal Credit Union.

The Zogo team is hiring aggressively across Texas, with plans to add around 50 people this year, according to a spokesperson.

Tuesday, April 19

DFW*ATW 2021 President Shanthi Rajaram

Shanthi Rajaram [Photo via DFW*ATW]

“Women continue to make progress in leadership but still represent less than 30% of the C-suite.”

Shanthi Rajaram
… on the “why” behind the organization’s upcoming 20th anniversary Women in Tech event—empowering women.

A “powerhouse of speakers” is planned for the annual DFW Alliance of Technology and Women summit themed “The New, Now and Next” on May 11.

“This being our 20th anniversary, we’ve worked to exceed expectations,” said Rajaram, DFW*ATW president.

Rajaram, who is president and CEO of Frisco-based IT consulting firm Amazech Solutions, encourages women to “crack the courage code.” In an interview with Dallas Innovates last fall, the CEO says being “comfortable with the unknown” helped her start her own entrepreneurship journey.  

Inspiration from DFW*ATW events can be catalytic, she says. 

Held at the InnoTech Dallas conference in Irving, the day-long Women in Tech summit will feature five sessions and 17 experts from business, education, and politics who will take a deep dive into technology and career topics impacting women.

Kelly Ann Doherty, EVP and chief administrative officer of Mr. Cooper Group will keynote the summit. Doherty’s career has spanned work within President George W. Bush’s administration and at NASA before her ascent to the C-suite. Following the keynote, panelists will include Texas state Senator Angela Paxton, and technology thought leaders from PepsiCo, Texas Instruments, McKesson, Accenture, the University of North Texas, and more.

DFW*ATW, the largest organization dedicated to women in technology in Dallas, is a nonprofit group committed to increasing the number of women in leadership and strengthening the pipeline of girls entering technology fields.

Go here for details and registration.

Monday, April 18

NFL Hall of Famer Jerry Rice developed G.O.A.T Fuel, an organic energy drink. [Image: G.O.A.T. Fuel]

“It’s not about one person being the goat. It’s about us coming together and just understanding that we all have greatness inside of us.”

Jerry Rice
Co-Founder and Executive Chairman
G.O.A.T. Fuel, Inc.
…on the success of his G.O.A.T. Fuel energy drink, via D CEO.

Rice truly is a GOAT. The greatest NFL receiver of all time, he caught passes for 22,895 yards in his career—more than 13 miles—by far the most of any NFL player in history.

Now he, his daughter, and his son-in-law are making news for racing past the energy drink competition with Plano-headquartered G.O.A.T. Fuel.

Just two years after launch, the brand has bolted out of e-commerce and now has over 7,500 retail accounts, including Target, Central Market, 24-Hour Fitness, and, this summer, Walmart.  

Along with Rice’s son-in-law, Co-Founder and Chief Brand Officer Trevion Gold, the company moved G.O.A.T. Fuel’s headquarters from the West Coast to Plano last April. Shortly thereafter, the brand announced an exclusive partnership with rising Miami Heat star Tyler Herro, a young NBA player who has earned the nickname “Baby G.O.A.T.” from fans for feats like scoring 37 points in a playoff game.

Jerry’s daughter, G.O.A.T. Fuel Co-Founder and CEO Jaqui Rice Gold, told D CEO one thing their brand has going for it—besides her dad’s NFL eminence—is a traditional Chinese medicine ingredient. 

[Image: G.O.A.T. Fuel]

“We’re the only mainstream energy drink brand on the market right now utilizing cordyceps mushrooms,” Rice Gold told D CEO. “The ingredient helps our bodies utilize oxygen by improving your VO2 max [the maximum oxygen amount utilized during intense exercise]. It is also an anti-inflammatory and prevents any energy drink jitters or crash.”

“Now that we’re here in Dallas, we’re really looking to scale and embed ourselves in the community,” Rice Gold told D CEO.

Thursday, April 14

Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones presents Blockchain.com CEO Peter Smith with jersey after announcing historic partnership. [Photo: Blockchain.com/PR Newswire]

“They have more fans than crypto companies have users.” 

Peter Smith
Co-Founder and CEO
…on the Dallas Cowboys, via The Block.

In a press conference yesterday, Smith and Dallas Cowboys owner and GM Jerry Jones announced that Blockchain.com is the team’s official digital asset partner in a multi-year sponsorship deal.

“Long before the NFL gave the green light to work with crypto companies, we’ve been getting to know the Cowboys and the Jones family,” Smith wrote yesterday on his company’s website. “Over the past few months it’s been an honor to get to know Jerry Jones. He’s a luminary in business, a Pro Football Hall of Famer, and is synonymous with American culture. He showed what a wildcatter from rural America could do, taking Texas’ best known professional sports team and transforming it into the most valuable sports brand in the world.”

In the coming years, Smith hopes to reach the 80% of Americans who haven’t explored cryptocurrencies.

“Which means all roads for reaching that 80% lead to football — and the Cowboys,” Smith wrote. “A recent survey conducted by the NFL found that a whopping 54% of Cowboys fans believe that cryptocurrencies are the future of online financial transactions and 41% believe that they’d be willing to transition away from traditional banking and use crypto instead.”

Smith says he’ll start the sponsorship “with stadium and in-game activations, in which fans have a never before-seen-experience using crypto and web3 as part of their gameday experience. We’ll also ensure that education is going to be a primary focus.”

Wednesday, April 13

Chef Beto Rodarte and his son Chef Julian Rodarte opened Beto & Son in Trinity Groves in 2016. [File photo]

“Phil Romano gave me my first at-bat to open my own restaurant when I was only 23 years old.”


Julian Rodarte
Trinity Restaurant Group
…on taking over as CEO from noted Dallas restaurateur Phil Romano. 

Rodarte (above right with his father Beto) is the co-owner of Beto & Son, a “next-generation Mexican food” restaurant at Trinity Groves—the restaurant incubator destination on the west side of Dallas’ Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge.  

Today the Trinity Groves Restaurant Group announced that Julian Rodarte is its new CEO, succeeding noted restaurateur Phil Romano in the post.

In a statement, Rodarte gave a big nod to Romano before laying out his future plans.

“[Romano’s] confidence in me catapulted my career,” Rodarte said in the statement. “I’m excited to take the baton and further the vision for West Dallas, as well as implement my ‘Next-Gen Twist’ on the new restaurants that I will be opening at Trinity Groves. Over the next few years, we have a very exciting vision for the expansion of our city’s culinary scene, and we look forward to creating more iconic Dallas brands like Beto & Son, Cake Bar, and Kate Weiser [Chocolate].”

Romano gave Rodarte his stamp of approval, adding that the young chef has the “creativity to create exciting and unique concepts that better cater to today’s generation.”

Trinity Groves has seen a long list of restaurants shuffle through its venues since opening in 2014. Currently, besides the ones Rodarte mentioned above, it also features Holy Crust Pizza, St. Rocco’s New York Italian, Sum Dang Good Chinese, Babb Bros BBQ & Blues, and Milagro Taco Cantina.

Tuesday, April 12

Taylor Shead, founder and CEO of STEMuli. [Photo: STEMuli]

“We know the importance of hydration, activity, and sleep.”


Taylor Shead
Founder and CEO
STEMuli Technology
…on the importance of students’ sleep amid what a recent report calls a “sleep equity” crisis, via Dallas Observer.

Shead, a board member of the Dallas Education Foundation, helms a startup that created an “educational metaverse” for DISD. STEMuli’s virtual schooling platform is being piloted at Dallas Hybrid Preparatory at Stephen J. Hay in Oak Lawn—DISD’s first permanently hybrid school.

But whether students are learning from home or in the classroom, Shead worries that they’re not getting enough sleep, something that impacts both their health and their potential.

“[Dallas Hybrid Prep] tasked us with being creative to consider what would benefit students, and we consider these external factors as all contributing factors to whole, healthy children,” Shead told the D.O., adding that her company’s metaverse will one day be integrated with products like Apple Watch to measure and improve students’ sleep.

The need is great, the D.O. says, citing a CHILDREN AT RISK and Mattress Firm report which says at least 33% of U.S. kids are sleep-deprived. Though Dallas has one of the best-sleeping kid populations in the U.S., with the “second-lowest” rate of sleep insecurity, the report says areas in Dallas with high poverty rates had 27% more sleep insecurity than the city overall—pointing to a nationwide childhood “sleep equity” crisis.

Monday, April 11

Texas State Senator Royce West [Photo: Royce West]

“This addition could make North Central Texas a ‘third coast‘ for life science innovation.”


Royce West
Texas State Senator
…on the opening of BioLabs at Pegasus Park in Dallas, via LinkedIn.

Senator West was one of the North Texas political leaders at the ribbon-cutting ceremony last month for BioLabs at Pegasus Park. The new coworking space at the Biotech+ Hub at Pegasus Park offers 37,000 square feet of shared wet labs and office space for up to 35 life science startups.

The facility’s goal is to serve as the epicenter for life science innovation in North Texas, and to empower biotech trailblazers pursing their next breakthrough.

“Our state has immense intellectual capital; this effort will help to attract venture capital to catapult us into one of the most innovative states and add to our economic diversity,” West said on LinkedIn.

You can see inside BioLabs at Pegasus Park in our story here.

Friday, April 8

Iris Burch, president and CEO of Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center. [Photo: Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center]

“When you let it soak in that it takes more than 24 straight hours to call out the names of each child victim, it’s heart wrenching.”


Iris Burch
President and CEO
Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center
…on the Save Jane Awareness Campaign, which was observed throughout the Dallas area today.

The Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center took a stand against child abuse today with its Save Jane Awareness Campaign. Volunteers from across North Texas read out the names and ages of 27,484 children who were victims of child abuse in Dallas County last year—with “Jane” and “John” voiced to protect the minors’ identities.

The reading of the names took a total of more than 24 hours, with readings scheduled from 8 a.m. this morning at the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center, Garland Police Department, NorthPark Center, Grand Prairie Public Safety Building, Irving Family Advocacy Center, Dallas Love Field Airport, Park South YMCA, and the South Dallas County Government Center.

“DCAC hopes that with the relaunch of the Save Jane Awareness campaign, North Texans will recognize the absolute urgency of child abuse issues in Dallas County,” Burch said in a statement. “This has to stop and we are a force dedicated to eradicating child abuse in our city, and providing healing services to those who are the unfortunate sufferers to this terrible crime.”

Thursday, April 7

Shirin Nilizadeh [Photo: UT Arlington]

“It’s a kind of hack to the recruiting process.”

Shirin Nilizadeh
Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Engineering
UT Arlington
…on finding a way for job applicants to push their resumes to the top of the digital pile.

Nilizadeh has found that job applicants can improve their position, on average, by at least 16 spots on a pool of 100 applicants by employing an algorithm that utilizes job-specific keywords.

Resumes are ranked by text-embedding algorithms by how closely they match job descriptions.

“We found out that you can tailor your resume for a specific job by using specific keywords that could get you pushed toward the top,” she said in a statement.

Nilizadeh’s paper—“Attacks Against Ranking Algorithms with Text Embeddings: A Case Study on Recruitment Algorithms”—was accepted into the Proceedings of the Fourth BlackboxNLP Workshop on Analyzing and Interpreting Neutral Networks for NLP (Natural Language Processing).

“We thought recruitment algorithms were the best example of such ranking algorithms and therefore we decided to work on them,” Nilizadeh said. “The goal of our attack was to identify the keywords from the job description that can improve the ranking of the resume.”

The research showed that using more keywords improves a resume’s ranking. But it also found that adding too many similar words or phrases might not improve a resume’s ranking at all.

Wednesday, April 6

Brinker International SVP and Head of Innovation Wade Allen [Photo: Brinker, background: istockphoto]

“We need automation on all fronts, whether it’s in the kitchen or in the dining room or through delivery.”

Wade Allen
SVP and Head of Innovation
Brinker International
…on partnering on drone deliveries of chicken wings in Granbury and other Brinker innovations, via PYMNTS.com

Last week, we told you about Brinker’s partnership with Israel-based Flytrex to deliver chicken wings by drone to backyards in Granbury, southwest of Fort Worth. In flights that average 3 minutes 30 seconds, wings zoom over Lake Granbury, pause above their destination, and are lowered to the ground in a bright yellow bag, while the Flytrex drone hovers 80 feet above.

Automation is “the heartbeat—the Genesis, if you will—of everything that we do in the innovation department,”Allen told PYMNTS.com. He added that payment options like “mobile order-ahead technology” can help families simplify their in-restaurant dining experiences.

From drones over back yards to robots serving tables to delivery bots rolling down sidewalks, Brinker is trying it all—and helping to reshape the future of how we all get food.

Sign up to “The Last Word” in the Dallas Innovates e-newsletter each weekday. Have wise words of your own?
Let us know here.

Tuesday, April 5

Markus Pineyro, co-founder of KRAVE and founder of Urban Taco. [Photo: Del Sur Restaurant Group]

“We don’t have to go out and build a brick and mortar restaurant. We can launch digitally within three to four weeks.”

Markus Pineyro
…on opening his virtual food hall in Dallas this June, via Dallas Eater.

Urban Taco founder Pineyro is launching something very different early this summer at 3510 Ross Avenue in Dallas: KRAVE, a virtual food hall he calls “the restaurant of the future.”

According to Dallas Eater, the venue will build on ghost kitchen trends that arose with the pandemic. The takeout-only spot will offer a range of brand offerings in one lobby, including Which Wich sandwiches, Austin’s Flyrite fried chicken, Pokey O’s ice cream, Tribal Cold Pressed Juices, Momo Shack dumplings, Paciugo Gelato—and oh yes, Urban Taco.

“We worked with an analytics company that surveyed the entire metroplex, and based on about 90 different touch points, this company told us exactly the type of food that we need to have based on our location,” Pineyro told Dallas Eater, adding that he plans to start with around six different food options and build up to eight.

His “Last Word” above refers to the fact that KRAVE can easily add new restaurant concepts and give up-and-coming chefs a place to launch with a lot less real-world investment.

Monday, April 4

“[Texas has] a bigger GDP than Brazil.”

Mikko Hautala, Finland’s Ambassador to the U.S. [Photo: Business Finland]

Mikko Hautala
Finland’s Ambassador to the U.S.
…on the strength of the Texas economy, during a week-long visit to the “Texas Triangle” to strengthen economic ties.

Hautala and a delegation of Finnish business leaders visited Dallas and other cities in the Texas Triangle last week, in a bid to strengthen economic ties between Finland and Texas.

People say “everything’s big in Texas” for lots of reasons, but Hautala honed in on GDP is a key yardstick of the state’s economic strength.

“In Europe, when people look at the U.S., they remember New York, Washington, D.C., Silicon Valley, and places like that,” Hautala told Dallas Innovates. “For us, the key message to Finnish companies and travelers is that there’s also the U.S. South, and Texas is the center of that.”

Meanwhile, Texas continues to make GDP headlines, posting a 10.1% increase in the annual growth rate of real GDP in Q4 2021, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, while the rate for the U.S. rose only 6.9%.

And an analysis by SmartAsset found that Dallas and Tarrant County combined edged out Harris County in GDP growth over the last three years, according to an article in the Dallas Business Journal, with a combined GDP growth of $11.24 billion.

Friday, April 1

Judges evaluated the students’ knife skills, teamwork, safety and sanitation, the taste of the food, and menu development, specifically regarding recipes and cost. [Photo: TRF/TRA]

“The future of our hospitality industry here in Texas could not be in better hands.

Emily Williams Knight, Ed.D.
President & CEO
Texas Restaurant Association & Texas Restaurant Foundation
…on the 2022 Texas ProStart Invitational held March 25-27 in Frisco.

Chefs and restaurant entrepreneur hopefuls from high schools across Texas gathered in Frisco March 25-27 for the 2022 Texas ProStart Invitational, a “Top Chef” and “Shark Tank”-style competition.

The event, managed by the workforce development foundation of the Texas Restaurant Association, featured dozens of teams of five students each.

The big winners were the Culinary and Management teams from Mansfield’s Ben Barber Innovation Academy and Frontier STEM Academy, who won first place in both categories.

2022 Texas ProStart Invitational 1st place Culinary and Management winners from Mansfield’s Ben Barber Innovation Academy and Frontier STEM Academy. [Photo: TRA/TRF]

The two teams from Mansfield will go on to represent Texas at the National ProStart Invitational in Washington, D.C. May 6-8. The first-place finish is a triumphant return for the management team from Ben Barber and Frontier STEM Academy, which earned top Texas honors in 2019—then brought home first prize from the national competition.

2022 Texas ProStart Invitational 2nd place Culinary winners from Dr. Gene Burton College & Career Academy in Rockwall. [Photo: TRA/TRF]

The second-place Culinary winners from Dr. Gene Burton College & Career Academy in Rockwall.

Want more? Go here for Every Last Word 2022: The Q1 Archive.

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  • ICYMI 2021: The Q3 Archive

    You’ve found Dallas Innovates’ archive of news briefs from July to September 2021.

  • Check out this curated selection of contests, nominations, pitches, and grants. Our roundup of programs is for entrepreneurs, corporates, creatives, inventors, educators, and impact innovators in North Texas. You'll find deadlines coming up for the AccelerateHER Incubator Program; Future of Data Challenge; Lone Star Film Festival; Better Cities for Pets Grants, Tarrant County Small Business Workforce Grants; Women in Toys, Licensing & Entertainment Empowerment Day; and many more opportunities.

  • ICYMI 2021: The Q4 Archive

    You’ve found Dallas Innovates’ archive of news briefs from October to December 2021.

  • ICYMI 2021: The Q2 Archive

    You’ve found Dallas Innovates’ archive of news briefs from April to June 2021.