DI People: Dallas Fed, Container Store, McKinney EDC, Pizza Hut, GM Financial, and Others Make Moves

In this week's roundup of hires and promotions in North Texas, you'll also find news from General Motors, NTCAR, the McKinney Economic Development Corporation, Caris Life Sciences, Howell Instruments, KonaTel, CollateralEdge, and more.

Dallas Innovates covers people in Dallas-Fort Worth business—from new hires to promotions to accolades. Here’s the latest news tied to innovation and technology moves in the region.

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Governor Abbott Appoints 5 North Texans to Private Sector Advisory Council

North Texans appointed to Abbott’s Private Sector Advisory Council, left to right: David Kassen, Kelley Adley, Nathanael Graglia, and Russell McQuiston (Not pictured: Mike McNally)

Governor Greg Abbott has appointed 11 members to the Private Sector Advisory Council, which advises the governor on homeland security issues pertinent to the private sector. Five are from North Texas:

Kelley Adley of Pottsboro is the Director of FirstNet Strategy and Policy at AT&T. He serves as a board member and Investigative Volunteer for Court Appointed Special Advocates. Previously, he served as a Texas State Certified Peace Officer. Adley received a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management from Northwood University and a Master of Business Administration from LeTourneau University. 

Nathanael Graglia of Fort Worth is EVP of drayage/Motor Carrier Wallport Transit Xpress Inc. He serves on the Texas Trucking Association Board of Directors as the Texas Trucking Association Dallas-Fort Worth Chapter Chairman, and the Intermodal Association of North America Intermodal Safety and Operations and Maintenance & Repair Committees. He’s also a member of the American Trucking Association’s Intermodal Motor Carrier Conference, Small Carrier Conference, and the Technology and Engineering Automated Truck Subcommittee. 

David Kassen of Plano is Vice President of Same Day Transportation for FedEx Office where he leads the autonomous delivery project. He is Vice President of St. Paul the Apostle Men’s Club and a University of Texas Dallas Global Business Mentor. 

Mike McNally of Granbury is Nuclear Security Manager for Luminant Power’s Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant. where he’s held various roles for over 20 years. He’s a member of the American Legion Granbury, Texas Detachment and the Marine Corps League Granbury, Texas Detachment. He retired in 2021 after 21 years of service in the U.S. Marine Corps and Marine Corps Reserve.

Russell McQuiston of Fort Worth is the Director of Security and Emergency Services for Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company in Fort Worth. He previously served as the Senior Security Manager of Government Security Operations, Security Manager for the Integrated Fighter Group, and Manager of the Global Emergency Operations Center for Lockheed Martin in Bethesda, Maryland. 

To see the other six members from across Texas, go here. Read more about the council here.

Former Kimberly-Clark CEO is Named New Chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas 

Thomas Falk

Thomas J. Falk has been named the new chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. He joined the Dallas Fed board in 2019.

Falk is a retired chairman and CEO of Irving-based Kimberly-Clark Corporation, where he worked for 36 years. He serves on the board of Lockheed Martin, University of Wisconsin Chancellor’s Advisory Board, and as a National Governor of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.

Falk received his bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Wisconsin and a master of science in management from Stanford Graduate School of Business.

The Dallas Fed’s new deputy chair is Claudia Aguirre, president and CEO of BakerRipley of Houston, Texas.

The news comes as the Federal Reserve Board named the 2022 chairs and deputy chairs for each of the 12 regional Federal Reserve Banks. The Fed’s announcement featured a mix of reappointments and new appointments. According to Investopedia, Economist Philip Jefferson may be President Biden’s nominee for an open seat on the FRB.

Pizza Hut Names Chief Equity Officer as Its New Chief Operations Officer

Chequan Lewis

Plano-based Pizza Hut has announced Chequan Lewis as its Chief Operations Officer. In August 2020, he was named Pizza Hut’s first-ever Chief Equity Officer following previous roles at the company.

Lewis joined Pizza Hut in 2016 as Senior Counsel after four years as an associate at Baker Botts, according to the Dallas Business Journal. He was elevated to Senior Director for the restaurant’s Express business in 2018 before taking his post as Chief Equity Officer in 2020.

Lewis told the DBJ how he first came to join the company:

“I was looking for an opportunity to better utilize my business and legal skills, so I listened to a call from a headhunter about a lawyer job in a field I’d never even touched,” he said. “In the end, a great opportunity to grow at and with a great company led me here. I just so happen to really dig the industry too.”

Howell Instruments Appoints New CEO

Bo Underwood

Howell Instruments, a tech provider for civil and military aviation, has named Robert “Bo” Underwood as its new CEO.

The Fort Worth company, which was founded in 1951, manufactures engine test equipment and airborne data acquisition systems for gas turbine-powered aircraft and also repairs aviation ground support equipment.

Underwood has served as Howell’s chief financial officer since 2007. He brings to the top post both his finance expertise and his operational experience in the defense market, according to Fort Worth Business.

He took the helm on January 1st following the retirement of former CEO Arthur “Shep” Brown. Brown will continue to serve the company in a senior advisory role.

The new CEO has an MBA from the Wharton School, an MSE from the University of Pennsylvania, and a BS from West Point.

Noted Dallas Trial Firm Names New Managing Partner

Chris Schwegann

Chris Schwegmann has been elected as the newest managing partner of the Dallas trial boutique Lynn Pinker Hurst & Schwegmann.

In his new role, Schwegmann will manage the firm’s business and operational strategies, while continuing his practice in trademark and copyright infringement, false advertising, antitrust, and other business dispute matters.

In other moves by the firm, Beck Pryor, chief business development officer, was promoted to chief operating officer; Kelly Birch to vice president of marketing and analytics; and Courtney Ramirez to vice president of technology. John W. Watkins also joined the team as a senior advisor.

Medecision Announces New Chief Information Officer

Tal Weitzman

Medecision, a leading provider of digital care management solutions and services, has announced the addition of Tal Weitzman as its chief information officer.

“We’re thrilled to have Tal join our executive leadership team,” said Kenneth Young, president and CEO of Medecision, in a statement. “His expertise will help guide Medecision as we design and deliver dynamic digital capabilities for our customers and the people they serve.”

Weitzman brings more than 25 years of experience in IT to his new post, helping businesses deliver value by managing cloud transformations, quality assurance, and tech implementation in healthcare IT and financial services.

Prior to rejoining Medecision, he served as a consultant at Managed Markets Insights & Technology, where he led the implementation of financial systems transformation. From 2014 to 2016, Weitzman worked with the Medecision leadership team to help migrate three data centers into one managed services solution. He holds a Bachelor of Science in electrical and computer engineering from Johns Hopkins University.

Cyber Group Names New VP of Cultural Growth

Mike Rochelle

Dallas-based Cyber Group has announced Mike Rochelle as Vice President of Cultural Growth.

The 24-year-old company leverages Salesforce platform technologies to help its customers get close to their customers, with offices in Dallas and New Delhi, India, and over 300 employees worldwide.

Over the past three decades, Rochelle has been a divisional CIO for CBRE, chief of staff for the CIO at Time Warner Cable, global head of partner and direct sales, marketing and customer Service at Microsoft and other software and service providers, and has led digital transformation for many other large organizations.

“Cyber Group’s core business is to grow our people to help our customers digitize their businesses,” said Saurajit Kanungo, president of Cyber Group, in a statement. “Building a growth culture has been and will be a central strategy for Cyber Group’s continued success. I’ve known Mike for over 15 years and his passion for growing leadership traits in technology professionals has been very effective.”

KonaTel Appoints Veteran Telecom Executive as President and COO

Chuck Griffin

KonaTel, a Dallas-based voice/data communications holding company, has appointed Chuck Griffin as president and chief operating officer.  Griffin will lead KonaTel’s sales and marketing and all company operations.

In a statement, KonaTel Chairman and CEO Sean McEwen called Griffin “an accomplished executive in the telecom space with extensive industry knowledge and a proven track record of delivering measurable results in a number of C-suite roles.”

Prior to joining KonaTel, Griffin served as Chairman and CEO of Lingo Communications, a provider of IP-based Cloud voice and data solutions, following its merger with Impact Telecom in 2018.

Before that merger, he served as CEO of Impact Telecom, where he completed 11 accretive M&A transactions and led the successful restructuring of multiple technology portfolio companies including PacWest, TNCI and Unipoint Holdings, which resulted in record-high net income.

As one of the original founders of Impact Telecom, Griffin led Impact from a start-up to a company with annual revenues of over $290 million and more than 300 employees servicing 250,000 customers worldwide. He ultimately guided the company to a successful exit in 2020.

HilltopSecurities Hires Industry Veteran as Co-Head of Operations

Bob Pineda

Dallas-based Hilltop Securities has announced that Bob Pineda has joined the firm as co-head of operations, reporting to David Holleran, chief operating officer.

“Bob brings decades of experience as a wealth management and brokerage operations executive to HilltopSecurities,” Holleran said in a statement. “We’re fortunate to welcome such an accomplished professional and look forward to his leadership and insight.”

Pineda has 25 years of industry experience, most recently as executive director of managed accounts operations at J.P. Morgan. In that role, he oversaw the advisor and portfolio manager services division to support J.P. Morgan’s managed accounts lines of businesses. He also was responsible for managing organizational strategic initiatives. Prior to J.P. Morgan, Pineda spent time at Scottrade, TD Ameritrade, E*trade, and State Street.

Dallas Fintech CollateralEdge Hires David Nakhleh as VP of Commercial Strategy

David Nakhleh, Vice President Commercial Strategy, CollateralEdge [Photo: CollateralEdge]

Rising Dallas fintech CollateralEdge has hired banking veteran David Nakhleh as vice president of commercial strategy, following two other leadership hires last summer.

In his new role, Nakhleh will connect directly with bank customers, working to integrate CollateralEdge’s state-of-the-art risk-mitigation tool across what can be a rigorous underwriting process to secure attractive loan opportunities.

Nakhleh brings to the company 15 years of experience optimizing debt-capital solutions for commercial customers at Bank of America, Bank of Texas, and Veritex Community Bank.

Read more about CollateralEdge and its other recent leadership hires here.

Population Health Management Firm ZeOmega Names New Growth Officer

Andy Arends

Plano-headquartered ZeOmega, a leading population health management organization, has appointed health plan industry veteran Andy Arends to its management team as chief growth officer.

In his new role, Arends will lead the company’s efforts to help payer and provider organizations adopt sophisticated population health analytics technology to accelerate success under value-based payment models and improve quality, efficiency, and member/patient experience.

Founded in 2001, ZeOmega empowers health plans and other risk-bearing organizations with industry-leading technology for delivering integrated, whole-person health management. The firm, which also has offices in Bangalore, India, supports over 30 million lives on the Jiva platform, employs over 500 people, and hosts an extensive partner network.

McKinney Economic Development Corporation Names New Senior VP

Michael Talley

Michael Talley, the former director of economic development for Denton County, has been named senior vice president at the McKinney Economic Development Corporation.

Talley will begin his role on January 10 after serving in his post at Denton County for the past three years—where he worked with over 40 communities identifying target areas in industrial and corporate development opportunities to fit their goals and objectives.

Previously, Talley was the director of economic development in the city of Keene for four years. He has an extensive background in commercial and residential real estate. 

In his new post, Talley will play a key leadership role in MEDC’s business recruitment and expansion team. 

“We’re looking forward to having Michael on our team here in McKinney,” said Peter Tokar  III, president and CEO of MEDC. “His experience and innovative ideas will be key to maintaining our economic growth and resilience into the future.” 

A McKinney resident, Talley was born in Dallas and is a fifth-generation Texan. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University  of Texas at Arlington and is a graduate of The University of Oklahoma Economic  Development Institute.  

He plans to build on his relationships within the business community of McKinney, Dallas-Fort Worth, and across the U.S. while attracting more companies to the area. 

TechFW Names New Assistant Director

Cortney Gumbleton

Cortney Gumbleton has joined TechFW as assistant director, bringing her own founder’s experience to the startup accelerator, business incubator, and entrepreneur community.

Gumbleton will be working with Executive Director Hayden Blackburn on TechFW’s strategic plan and vision, while leading its marketing and operations teams.

“Cortney is a highly motivated, self-starter who makes creative and significant contributions to everything she is involved with, a results-driven achiever with exemplary planning and organizational skills, and has the ability to handle multiple projects at once,” Blackburn told Fort Worth Business. “She’ll be an incredible social networking asset, community representative, and developer of business partnerships.” 

Gumbleton believes her skills will be an excellent fit at TechFW.

“With Locavore, I’ve spent the last few years strongly involved with the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Fort Worth and feel called to further support local entrepreneurs through the incredible work TechFW is doing,” she told FWB.

Previously, Gumbleton was the founder, co-owner, and managing partner of Locavore, a Fort Worth commercial kitchens rental business and event center.

Before that, she served as executive director of the Jordan Elizabeth Harris Foundation, striving to prevent youth suicides through a peer-to-peer prevention program, the first of its kind in Texas.

Fort Worth GM Financial DEI Leader Named Automotive Champion of Diversity

GM Financial’s Shunda Robinson [Photo: GM Financial/Businesswire]

Putting the “E” in DE&I is intentional at Fort Worth-based GM Financial. Shunda Robinson, the company’s Global SVP of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, works to shape the company’s practices and impact in its full context every day.

Robinson, who is described as “the catalyst for growing and evolving GM Financial into a DE&I innovator and leader in the automotive industry,” was recently named a 2021 Automotive News Notable Champion of Diversity in Automotive.

Since her start at the company in 2015, Robinson has created, nurtured, and advocated for programs that led to measurable success, including increasing the number of diverse leaders. “Today, 28 percent of leaders are professionals of color and 35 percent of leaders are women,” the company said.

Read more in our story.

North Texas Commercial Real Estate Names New Hall of Famers, Lifetime Achievement Award

Left to right: Bill Cawley, David Gleeson, and Tim Headington

The North Texas Commercial Association of Realtors (NTCAR) has named two veteran real estate leaders to its hall of fame, with another poised to win a lifetime achievement award.

Bill Cawley, chairman and CEO of Cawley Partners, and Tim Headington, founder and CEO of Headington Companies, will be inducted into the North Texas Commercial Real Estate Hall of Fame in a 35th annual event to be held Wednesday, May 4, at the Dallas Country Club. 

“Our 2022 NTCAR Hall of Fame inductees are visionary leaders whose extraordinary contributions have improved our communities in remarkable ways,” David Hurmis, a Hall of Fame founder, told People Newspapers.

Cawley leads Cawley Partners, a Dallas-based real estate company that’s been the premier office developer along the Dallas North Tollway, developing more than $500 million of Class A office space and totaling more than 1.5 million square feet within the last five years alone. He served as the 2020 Chairman of TREC (The Real Estate Council) and was recently named Developer of the Year by D CEO magazine.

Headington has helped shape Downtown Dallas through many long-term investments, historic preservation, and placemaking efforts. His Headington Companies have spent over 15 years and over $500 million transforming downtown into a cultural, retail, and business destination for the city—from the Main Street District to The Joule Hotel to Forty Five Ten, Traffic LA, The Eye, CBD Provisions, Sassetta (coming soon), Midnight Rambler, and much more.

Also to be honored at May event will be David Gleeson, sole owner of GRAA Investments. He’ll receive the Michael F. McAuley Lifetime Achievement Award. 

“David Gleeson’s resume far exceeds the Michael F. McAuley award criteria,” Hurmis told People Newspapers. “His lifelong commitment to community service and CRE professional organizations has been exceptional.”

SMU Environmental Science Major is Named a Marshall Scholar for 2022

Isabelle Galko

SMU senior environmental science major Isabelle Galko is one of just 41 American university students to be named a Marshall Scholar for 2022.

Galko is the only student from a Texas university to receive the 2022 honor.

The Marshall Scholarship offers the opportunity to pursue graduate studies in the U.K. for distinguished young Americans with leadership potential. It was established in 1953 by the British government to express thanks to the U.S. for aid received under the Marshall Plan after World War II. 

The award is considered second only to the Rhodes Scholarship in prestige.

Galko will use the two-year scholarship to further her studies on climate and policymaking at both Oxford and Durham Universities in England.

“My personal experiences spark my drive to make a difference, but approaching environmental issues from the public policy perspective gives me hope of affecting change,” Galko said in a statement. “As a Marshall Scholar, I plan to use my time in the UK to link science with effective policy and gain a British perspective for future policymaking.”

Container Store Group Announces Changes to Its Board of Directors

Lisa Klinger

The Container Store Group, the leading specialty retailer of storage and organization solutions and custom closets, today announced the election of Lisa Klinger as a Class III Director, effective March 29, 2022. She will also serve on the Audit Committee.

Klinger will replace Timothy Flynn, who has resigned from the board of directors effective March 29th. Flynn is a partner at Leonard Green and has served as a director of the company since 2007.

In a statement, Container Store President and CEO Satish Malhotra said Klinger’s “financial acumen and retail business expertise, as well as her experience serving as a public company director, will be an asset to our team and the work we’re doing to maximize growth across all areas of the business.”

Klinger most recently served as the Chief Administrative and Financial Officer for Ideal Image Development Corp., an L Catterton portfolio company and the largest U.S. retail provider of nonsurgical cosmetic procedures. Previously, she served as Chief Administrative and Financial Officer for Peloton Interactive. Her other CFO roles have included posts at Vince Holding Corp. and The Fresh Market, Inc.

Klinger’s retail career began in 2000 at Limited Brands and continued at Michael’s Stores, where she had various senior finance leadership roles including Treasurer, Investor Relations, and Acting CFO. She holds a B.S.B.A. in finance from Bowling Green State University, and currently serves on the board of directors and as audit committee chair of both Emerald Holdings Inc. and Tremor International Ltd. From 2015 to 2021 she also served on the board of directors and audit committee of Party City Holdco, Inc.

Caris Life Sciences Announces SVP and Chief Communications Officer

Rob Clark

Irving-based Caris Life Sciences, a molecular science company developing and delivering technologies to revolutionize healthcare, has appointed Rob Clark as SVP and Chief Communications Officer.

“As a molecular science powerhouse, Caris is leading a revolution in healthcare with novel approaches to categorize, visualize and target disease in ways never before possible,” said David D. Halbert, Chairman and CEO of Caris Life Sciences, in a statement. “[Clark’s] strong expertise in communications and public policy will help position us to further advance our mission to improve the lives of as many people as possible.”

Clark brings to Caris more than 20 years of communications, marketing, and public policy experience spanning the healthcare, telecommunications and energy sectors. He will lead the company’s communications, corporate marketing and government relations efforts.

Dallas-Based Parks Associates Promotes Key Research Team Members

Yilan Jiang

Paul Erickson

Kristen Hanich

Parks Associates has promoted Yilan Jiang to Senior Director of Consumer Analytics; Kristen Hanich to Research Director, Health and Broadband; and Paul Erickson to Research Director, Entertainment.

The company, founded by Tricia Parks, a consumer technology pioneer, celebrated its 35th anniversary in 2021 and the 25th anniversary of its signature event, CONNECTIONS: The Premier Connected Home Conference.

The firm is recognized as a leading provider for business intelligence for the consumer and SMB (small-to-medium business) markets. Recent data from its survey of 10,000 US broadband households show that consumers value technology significantly more now than before the pandemic.

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