DI People: DART, Purple Land, Varsity Brands Name New Innovation and Tech Leaders

You’ll also find news from JPI, Pier 1 Imports, Southern Gas Association, Steward Global Partners, J.C. Penney, and RealFoundations in this roundup of leadership and executive moves by companies in North Texas.

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Across North Texas, companies are promoting and hiring people to take on leadership positions within their organizations. Dallas Innovates covers prominent personnel moves in Dallas-Fort Worth businesses and nonprofits—from the newest startups to well-established companies. Here are people moves tied to innovation and technology in the region.

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DART names its first chief innovation officer and a new audit chief

Chris Koloc

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Gregory Elsborg

Gregory Elsborg has been named Dallas Area Rapid Transit’s vice president and chief innovation officer. He’s the first person to hold that title at the transit agency. 

In his role as chief innovation officer, Elsborg will be responsible for forming new business partnerships, growing the agency’s Mobility as a Service (MaaS) options, and leveraging technology to aid innovation, DART said.

Elsborg has worked to drive eCommerce, mobile, and innovation initiatives across a number of industries. He’s previously held leadership roles in digital innovation and brand strategy at global and Fortune 500 companies.

In other DART people news, Chris Koloc has been named the new director of internal audit.

Koloc will manage and review all audit functions, which includes: operational, IT outsourced, incurred cost audits of contractors, and proactive work.

Purple Land Management names VP of technology and innovation

Mark Morrison

Mark Morrison has been hired as vice president of technology and innovation by Purple Land Management, a Fort Worth-based full-service land management firm with 11 offices across the country.

Morrison is an oil and gas industry specialist who brings more than two decades of experience in technology and business strategy to the newly created position.

Most recently, he was senior vice president at RMinds, a Dallas technology solutions platform provider for mid-tier enterprise companies.

Varsity Brands appoints its first CTO

Jaime Jaramillo has been named the first chief technology officer at Varsity Brands, a Dallas-based market leader in team sports, school spirit, and achievement recognition.

Varsity Brands said the hiring accelerates its investment in a digital, technology-enabled future.

Jaramillo will report to CEO Adam Blumenfeld and work closely with Varsity Brands’ leadership team to build digital technology solutions that provide visibility, intelligence, and efficiency across the company’s three business units and at the enterprise level, the company said.

Pier 1 Imports names two new execs

Douglas Diemoz

Fort Worth-based home furnishings retailer Pier 1 Imports has named Douglas Diemoz as president and Robert Riesbeck as chief financial officer.

Interim CEO Cheryl Bachelder said the appointments come “at a pivotal time for our company.”

Diemoz is taking on the newly created position to oversee day-to-day operations and performance. He has 20 years of experience in home furnishings, and most recently, he was CEO at Crate & Barrel.

Riesbeck has 25 years of experience in retail and consumer goods. Most recently, he was CFO at Fullbeauty Brands. 

JPI names new C-level executives and a board of directors

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Chris Clayton

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Brad Taylor

Irving-based JPI, the largest multifamily home-builder in Dallas-Fort Worth, has announced two C-level appointments.

Brad Taylor was named the chief executive officer and Chris Clayton has joined the company as the new chief financial officer.

Formerly, Taylor was JPI’s chief development officer and national managing partner. In his new role, he will lead JPI’s day-to-day operations. JPI said Taylor’s appointment comes as the company is expanding and transforming its senior leadership team structure to focus on optimizing current and future market opportunities.

Also, JPI has established a board of directors consisting of Bobby Page, Ron Ingram, Mark Bryant, and Kirk Motsenbocker, who previously served as the company’s executive committee. 

Southern Gas Association taps Ogle as new CEO

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Suzanne Ogle

Suzanne Ogle has been named chief executive officer of the Southern Gas Association, succeeding William Cantrell, who is retiring.

Cantrell will step down on Aug. 31, the trade association said. He has been CEO since January 2017 and previously served on its board of director in 2009.

Ogle has more than 25 years of experience in the oil and gas business and more than a decade of membership and volunteer leadership with the Independent Petroleum Association of America.

Sabin joins Steward Partners Global Advisory in Dallas

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Amy Sabin

Amy Sabin has joined Steward Partners Global Advisory LLC in Dallas as managing director and wealth manager.

Steward is an employee-owned, full-service independent partnership associated with Raymond James Financial Services Inc.

Sabin joins Steward Partners from J.P. Morgan Securities, where she oversaw more than $225 million in client assets and focused her practice on serving high-net worth families and individuals whose primary goals are wealth preservation and growth.

Retail veteran joins J.C. Penney board of directors

Retail industry veteran W. Paul Jones has been elected to the board of Plano-based J.C. Penney Co. Inc.

Jones has more than 30 years of department store and specialty retail experience. He previously served as chief executive officer of Payless ShoeSource before retiring in 2017.

The company said Jones will bring extensive leadership, merchandising, and operations proficiency to the board.

RealFoundations names Lara as enterprise managing consultant

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Victoria Lara

Victoria “Vycky” Lara has been promoted to an enterprise managing consultant of Dallas-based RealFoundations, a provider of management consulting and managed services for the real estate industry.

Lara has over two decades of experience in the real estate industry, having worked across property accounting, lease administration, and more.

Lara has been with RealFoundations for 13 years, and over the past five years, she has played a leading role for all RealFoundations’ services related to Oracle’s JD Edwards platform.

Previously, she had senior roles at both The Mills Corp. and Charles E. Smith Realty (formerly a division of Vornado Realty Trust).


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