DI People: UT Arlington, City of Dallas, Darling Ingredients, TrailRunner International, UTSW, Argano, and More Make Moves

In this week's roundup of hires, promotions, and accolades in North Texas, you'll also find news from My Possibilities, YMCA, Catalyze Dallas, Balfour Beatty, KAI Design, BBG, and UTD esports.

Plus, long-time Tech Titans and Richardson Chamber leader Bill Sproull resigns.

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.

Don’t miss a move: Get Dallas Innovates Every Day. Have a move? Let us know.

UT Arlington Names First Female President

Jennifer Cowley

Jennifer Evans Cowley

Jennifer Evans-Cowley has been elected president of UT Arlington by the University of Texas Board of Regents. The Feb. 1 announcement comes after almost two years without a permanent leader. 

Cowley, who is currently the provost at the University of North Texas, will begin in her new role on April 28th—where she will make history as the first female president at the University of Texas at Arlington. She’s the 10th person to lead the university.

The Arlington native was named sole finalist for the UTA presidential search in January. According to state law, the board had to wait 21 days to name the finalist as president, The Shorthorn reports.

TrailRunner International Names CEO

TrailRunner International named Jim Hughes CEO. [Photo: TrailRunner International]

The Southlake-based strategic communications firm TrailRunner International, announced the appointment of Managing Director and Executive Committee Chairman Jim Hughes to the position of Chief Executive Officer. 

In 2020, Hughes was appointed by TrailRunner International Founder, Chairman and CEO Jim Wilkinson, to chair the firm’s executive committee. Wilkinson will continue to serve as Executive Chairman of the firm. 

Prior to working at TrailRunner, Hughes served as SVP and Head of Media Relations for Citizens Financial Group. He’s also held positions at Comcast and for CVS Health in roles focused on corporate communications, crisis communications, public policy communications, reputation management, and consumer and B2B public relations.

“Jim Hughes was there with me from the very beginning when I founded TrailRunner International, and he has helped to build our firm into the exciting growth company it is today,” said Jim Wilkinson. “I am excited to hand the reins over to Jim as TrailRunner’s next CEO, and I look forward to working closely with him and the rest of the team as we head into our next phase of international growth.”

Under Hughes’ leadership, TrailRunner International opened its new headquarters in DFW and a new regional office in Nashville, TN in 2021.

Prolucent Health Announces Dan Owens as CTO

Dan Owens

Dan Owens has been announced as Chief Technology Officer for Dallas-based Prolucent Health, a provider of healthcare workforce optimization software and services. 

Owens comes to Prolucent Health from PatientPoint, where he served as the CTO to help build the nation’s largest physician point of care platform. He has over 25 years of experience in the technology industry helping companies of all sizes bring their technology solutions to market. 

In his new role, Owens will be responsible for accelerating the innovation and expansion of Prolucent’s product platform and technology roadmap. 

“I am excited to supercharge our leadership team with the addition of Dan, who has a solid reputation for developing highly scalable platforms that advance early-stage growth companies,” stated Bruce Springer, co-founder and CEO of Prolucent Health. “I have worked with Dan at several companies, and Dan’s entrepreneurial savvy and technical leadership will be instrumental in driving our next level of growth. We are delighted to have him join our team.”

Alan Mclver Joins ICON Medical Network Holding as COO

ICON Medical Network Holdings (ICON), a national provider of solutions for physician and advanced practice staffing, has announced that Alan Mclver has been appointed as Chief Operating Officer.

In his new role as COO, Mclver will work alongside ICON’s executive team and help with overseeing day-to-day operations, implementing strategic direction of the firm including both organic growth and acquisitions, and supporting the delivery of high-quality services to the clients. 

Mclver comes to this role with more than 40 years of management experience, with 35 years dedicated to healthcare staffing. He was most recently the group president at CHG Healthcare where he was responsible for five divisions and $175 million in revenue. 

“Staffing as a whole has had two of the most tumultuous years to date, and the healthcare industry has been at the forefront,” said Janet Elkin, CEO of ICON. “I am pleased to welcome Alan to the ICON family and look forward to tapping his years of experience to expand ICON’s work across the country.”

Argano Appoints Chief Marketing Officer

Debb Kenworthy

Argano, a business and technology services provider that builds digital foundations to help businesses run better, has announced that Debb Kenworthy has been appointed as the Chief Marketing Officer. 

In her new role as Chief Marketing Officer, Kenworthy will lead efforts to build the Argano brand and messaging focused on building digital foundations for helping businesses run better. She will report to Argano Group Chief Strategy Officer, Tim Harris. 

Kenworthy has over 30 years of experience in the technology sector, bringing a strong background in corporate marketing, product marketing and development, operations, consulting, sales, and project management to the Argano team. She has previously held marketing executive positions at UXC Eclipse, DXC Technology, and Arbela Technologies.

“Debb’s extensive technology marketing experience and demonstrated leadership skills will be instrumental in driving our market narrative and brand image to position us as a leading business and technology services provider,” said Argano Group CEO Chip Register.

Long-Time Tech Titans, Richardson Chamber Leader Resigns

Bill Sproull

Bill Sproull, president and CEO of the Richardson Chamber of Commerce and industry trade group Tech Titans, has resigned, saying he is leaving to “pursue other opportunities.” The move is effective immediately.

As he departs with praise from the Richardson Chamber board, the two organizations say they will appoint interim leaders while they make decisions about new leadership.

Read more in our story.

Kathryn Allen Joins YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas as CDO and SVP

Kathryn Allen

The YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas has announced that Kathryn Allen has become Chief Development Officer and Senior Vice President.

Allen joins the Y after her tenure at the American Heart Association, where she was in charge of overseeing the four counties of North Texas. She brings more than 25 years of experience in fundraising, advocacy, and community education/impact experience. Her experience spans working with corporations and high net worth individuals to make investments that improve the health of the North Texas community.  

Allen has spent most of her career in health care and science education. She has received numerous awards including the American Medical Association Award for Excellence in the Use of Youth Volunteers, the Winston E. Forrest Jr. Award for Excellence in Private Fundraising, and American Heart Association 2015 Excellence in Innovation (North Texas Health Alliance).

My Possibilities Welcomes New Chair of the Board

Karen Wald

North Texas-based nonprofit My Possibilities announced that Karen Wald will be its New Chair of the Board. The announcement was made at the 2022 State of My Possibilities, a virtual event. 

The founder of My Possibilities and its current chair, Charmaine Soloman, stepped down from her current position to allow Wald to take the reins. Wald officially assumed her role as chair of the board on January 1. 

Read more in our story.


Ron Nicol of Boston Consulting Group Joins Catalyze Dallas Board of Advisors

Ron Nicol

Senior Advisor at Boston Consulting Group (BCG), Ron Nicol, has been welcomed to the Board of Advisors for Catalyze Dallas, which creates scalable businesses by commercializing intellectual property and products sourced from global defense, aerospace, and industrial companies.

Nicol first joined BCG in 1987 as a senior partner and later moved through various positions at the firm. In 2016, he became senior advisor for the group. 

“We work closely with our Board to identify the most promising innovations to commercialize as standalone companies,” said Joe D’Cruz, Founder and Managing Director of Catalyze Dallas. “Our unique approach has been bolstered by decades of executive experience across aerospace, defense, energy, telecommunications and government; areas where Ron will prove a valuable asset and partner as we continue to expand our portfolio in 2022.”

Liz Cedillo-Pereira Named Dallas’ Assistant City Manager 

Liz Cedillo-Pereira

Native Dallasite Liz Cedillo-Pereira has a new role at the City of Dallas, beginning this month: Assistant City Manager. 

As the former Chief of Equity and Inclusion for the city, Cedillo-Pereira provided leadership to the Dallas Public Library, Office of Arts & Culture, Office of Community Care, Office of Environmental Quality & Sustainability, and Office of Equity and Inclusion. 

Cedillo-Pereira, who was honored as a Latina Trailblazer by the Hispanic Women’s Network of Texas in 2017, has also served as the Director of the Office of Welcoming Communities and Immigrant Affairs (WCIA), a program started in March of that year. The trailblazer helmed a community-driven process to develop a comprehensive “Strategic Welcoming Plan” for the city of Dallas.  The plan was unanimously adopted by the City Council in October 2018.

Cedillo-Pereiro, who has more than 15 years of experience in human rights, immigration, and anti-trafficking-related matters, previously served as senior advisor to the director of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. There she focused on immigration policy and community engagement. 

KAI Design Hires Senior Project Architect for DFW Office

Charles Hoffman

Charles Hoffmann, AIA will take over as Senior Project Architect at KAI Design’s DFW-based office where he will be responsible for functional space planning, development of design and construction documents, and working to maintain design continuity and constructability for building projects. 

Hoffmann joins his new role with more than 35 years of experience in design, production, and construction administration. His project experience includes municipal buildings, malls, churches, medical facilities, schools, banks, hotels, senior living facilities, multi-family housing and more.

Since 1991, Hoffmann has worked for a variety of architectural firms in the DFW area—having helped to design notable structures such as the Fred Herring Recreation Center in Lewisville, Texas and the Frisco Medical Building.

“Chuck understands the art and science of architecture and how to successfully apply that expertise in a methodical, coordinated and design-focused manner that produces an outstanding end-product,” said KAI Managing Partner Brad Simmons, FAIA, in a statement. “His leadership style and approach to mentoring younger practitioners is outstanding.”

BBG Appoints Vice President of Special Projects at BBG

Commercial real-estate due diligence firm BBG announced this week that Raj Roy has been appointed to Vice President of Special Projects, a newly created position at the firm. 

Before joining BBG as VP of Special Projects, Roy served as a Vice President with McKinsey & Company’s Recovery & Transformation Services. He bears a broad background in operations, management consulting, investment banking, and sales.

In this new role, Roy will be responsible for collaborating with internal stakeholders to drive improvements in operations and systems at BBG. Doing this, he will identify, plan, and execute high-impact strategic initiatives that include requirements definition, design, issue resolution, quality assurance, and procedures documentation.  

BBG CEO Chris Roach, MAI, CCIM, commented on Mr. Roy’s appointment:  “We are pleased to welcome Raj to BBG as we embark on an exciting new chapter of growth in 2022. Raj is a dynamic and highly accomplished professional who has an established track record of delivering significant improvements in business operational performance. We are extremely confident that Raj’s unique talents will appreciably strengthen our growth strategies, allowing us to further broaden our market reach and to enhance best-in-class services to our expanding client roster.”

Darling Ingredients Names New VP of Investor Relations, Sustainability, and Global Communications

Darling Ingredients Inc. has announced that Suann Guthrie has been named to succeed Melissa Gaither as Vice President of Investor Relations, Sustainability and Global Communications at the company. Ms. Gaither is retiring from Darling Ingredients having served more than three decades with the company. 

In her new role, Guthrie will be responsible for leading the company’s investor relations and communication strategy, as well as overseeing the company’s commitment to sustainability. She will report to Randall C. Stuewe, Chairman and CEO at Darling.  

Guthrie brings over 20 years of experience in strategy development, media and investor relations, public and government affairs, corporate communications, crisis management, and ESG. She began her career at BNSF Railway, she spent eight years at ExxonMobil as head of global public and government affairs for unconventional oil and gas development, and she most recently worked as a communications executive in the tech industry. 

“Suann knows our industry and brings the ideal blend of experience having held senior roles in the transportation and energy sectors,” Stuewe said. “She brings a wealth of experience to Darling that is well suited to advance our sustainability vision and communicate our story of global growth in the years ahead.”

OneDay Appoints New VP of Sales, Director of Product Management and User Experience

Left to right: Dan Dionne and Ryan Gray

Dallas-based OneDay has named Dan Dionne as Vice President of Sales and Ryan Gray as Director of Product Management and User Experience. The announcement comes after two years of significant growth for OneDay, which now has 63 team members, and recently closed its $19M Series B funding round.  

As VP of Sales, Dionne will be responsible for overseeing OneDay’s sales team and working alongside other senior leaders to create strategies for reaching company goals. He brings over 10 years of experience in hyper-growth SaaS organizations across sales functions of new business, upsell, and account management.

For nearly seven years, Dionne worked at the online automotive marketplace, CarGurus. Prior to that role, he served as the Sales Director of Franchise Dealerships and worked as a buyer for Brookstone. 

As Director of Product Management and User Experience, Gray will be responsible for overseeing the overall development of projects, while working to improve user experience, increase adoption, and refine product management insights. He has over 14 years of experience in marketing strategy, integrated marketing planning, corporate communications, product management, user experience design, and P&L management.

Gray began his career leading the development of implementation of CRM platforms using Saleforce.com. He most recently held positions at KPMG as the Director of Digital Consulting, Spectrum Reach as the Divisional Director of Field Marketing, and Cigna as the Director of Marketing.

ExxonMobil Welcomes Jennifer Driscoll as Vice President of Investor Relations

Jennifer Driscoll has been appointed as Vice President of Investor Relations for ExxonMobil. She replaces Steven Littleton, who is retiring after 30 years of service.

Joining ExxonMobil from Caterpillar Inc., Driscoll served as director of investor relations since 2019. She has also previously held senior investor relations positions at DuPont de Nemours, Inc., Campbell Soup Company, and Best Buy Co., Inc. 

“We welcome Jennifer to ExxonMobil and will leverage her knowledge and experience to enhance our communication with shareholders,” said Kathryn Mikells, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. “I’d like to thank Stephen for his many contributions to the company’s success during his career and wish him all the best in retirement.”

Samuel Achilefu to Launch, Lead Biomedical Engineering Department at UT Southwestern

Samuel Achilefu, PHd, will lead the new Department of Biomedical Engineering. [Images: UT Dallas and UT Southwestern]

Late last year, UT Dallas and UT Southwestern broke ground on a new biomedical engineering and sciences building to help fuel collaboration and education between the two universities’ programs. Now the institutions have tapped someone to launch and lead its new Department of Biomedical Engineering.

Taking over the role is Samuel Achilefu, PhD. In addition to serving as a fellow at numerous organizations, including the National Academy of Inventors, the Royal Society of Medicine and the International Society for Optics and Photonics Engineers, Achilefu has served nearly two decades at the Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology at Washington University’s School of Medicine in St. Louis.

The new, 150,000-square-foot biomedical engineering center will be located near UT Southwestern’s medical school in Dallas and is expected to be completed in 2023.

“The new era of technological revolution is transforming the world as we know it,” Achilefu said in a statement. “From a biomedical engineering perspective, the merging of biological with medical engineering presents a unique opportunity to create innovative systems and methods to transform the current disease-care system into a genuine health care enterprise.”  

Brad Pugh Joins Dorsey & Whitney as Partner

Brad Pugh

Investment funds attorney Brad Pugh has joined international law firm Dorsey & Whitney LLP as a partner at its Dallas office. 

Pugh was a Senior Counsel at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP in the investment management practice in their Dallas office before joining Dorsey. He has more than a decade of experience advising private fund managers. 

Commenting on the announcement, Dorsey & Whitney Managing Partner, Bill Stoeri, said, “Brad brings a wealth of investment fund experience to Dorsey, including expertise in regulatory registration, exemption matters, and fund structuring. Brad is an excellent addition to our investment funds practice and our growing Dallas office.”

Left to right: Ibby Rascoe, Aqua Palmira Cumbo, Mystica Jacob, Angela Keener, and Abby Mayer

Honorees Announced: Five Female-led Tech Startups Join TechFW Accelerator Program with Satori Capital Funding

As inaugural Satori Capital honorees, each of five female-led startups has been awarded $1,000 that will allow them to participate in TechFW’s spring cohort of ThinkLab, a non-seed accelerator program. 

Among this inaugural group of honorees is Ibby Roscoe of Allbodies Collective, Palmira Cumbo of Aqua Luci, Mystica Jacob of DEI Services, Angela Keener of Job Baby, and Abby Mayer of Small Kindness. 

Read more here.

Balfour Beatty Promotes Nicola Spence to VP of Strategic Procurement 

Nicola Spence

Nicola Spence has been promoted to Vice President of Strategic Procurement for Balfour Beatty, a provider of general contracting, at-risk construction management, and design-build services for public and private sector clients across the United States. 

In Spence’s new role, she will oversee the management of corporate procurement processes. She has been a part of the Balfour Beatty team for more than 10 years where she served in procurement roles for the business’ U.S. and U.K. operations. Spence is also a graduate of the Balfour Beatty’s Executive Leadership Development program.


“Nicola is resilient, determined, and has a positive mind-set that adds balance to our team,” said Mark Konchar, senior vice president and chief of Innovation at Balfour Beatty. “Her efforts during the pandemic serve as a testament to her proactiveness and drive to achieve results, and we look forward to seeing her leadership flourish as she takes on more responsibilities across our businesses.”

Drew Boehm Becomes Head Coach of Esports & Program Head at UTD

Drew Biehm

Drew Boehm joined the Esports Program at UTD when it first started in August 2018, originally as a Student Assistant Esports Coach. Now, as the Head Coach of Esports & Program Head, Boehm helps to run the day-to-day operations of the department and the program. 

Boehm says he’s “really excited for the future of UT Dallas Esports. I loved seeing the program succeed these past few years, having grown up in the DFW area, and now being able to carry the torch of this esports department is a super-exciting opportunity,” said Boehm. 

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