DI People: Dave & Busters, Fujitsu, Keurig Dr Pepper, Aurora Innovation, DHA, and More Make Leadership Moves

In this week's roundup of hires, promotions, and accolades in North Texas, you'll also find news from Firehouse, Enseo, Cambium Learning, D Magazine, Lear Investment Management, Spacee, Envy Gaming, 5Q, Stream Realty Partners, Nanoscope, Crossplane Capital, Improving, TimelyMD 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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Keurig Dr Pepper Announces CEO Succession Plan

The board of directors of Keurig Dr Pepper Inc. announced that CFO Ozan Dokmecioglu will be the next CEO of the company, effective July 29. He will succeed Chairman and CEO Bob Gamgort in that position.

The company is headquartered in Frisco and Burlington, Massachusetts.

Gamgort will serve as executive chairman for two years. Dokmecioglu will join the company’s board of directors when he assumes the CEO role.

The moves are part of a succession plan for Keurig Dr Pepper that it said ensures continuity of the company’s leadership and strategic direction, “while strengthening KDP’s focus on deploying its exceptional discretionary free cash flow to create shareholder value.”


Eatertainment Innovators: Dave & Buster’s Gets New CEO via $835M Acquisition of Main Event

Main Event’s current CEO Chris Morris will be named CEO of Dave & Buster’s. [Photo: Morris’ LinkedIn profile]

Main Event Chief Executive Officer Chris Morris will be named CEO of Dave & Buster’s after the closing of the $835 million acquisition of Main Event by Dave & Buster’s, the companies announced.

One of the fastest-growing family entertainment brands in the U.S., Main Event has 50 locations across the country offering state-of-the-art bowling, laser tag, hundreds of arcade games, and virtual reality experiences.

“We will undoubtedly benefit from the collective expertise and strong culture of both brands, particularly as we continue to accelerate Main Event’s aggressive expansion plans,” Morris said in a statement.

The companies said the acquisition is projected to close later this year. Dallas-based Main Event will continue to operate as a distinct brand serving families of all ages under Dave & Buster’s, which is headquartered in Coppell.

Morris joined Main Event in 2018 and has more than 20 years of experience with multisite businesses, including over six years in the family entertainment business.

Shingo Mizuno [DI composite; Fujitsu photo; istock background]

Fujitsu Exec Moves from Japan to Richardson for CEO Role

Shingo Mizuno, global head of the Fujitsu Network Business, is transferring from Japan to Richardson to become acting president and CEO of Fujitsu Communications, the company announced.

He is replacing Doug Moore, who has been appointed CEO of Fujitsu North America.

“Communications service providers are facing a radically different business environment, largely created by a convergence of technical and socioeconomic pressures,” Mizuno said in a statement. “To help our customers achieve greater business value, Fujitsu is paving the way to improved digital transformation technologies and open ecosystems.”

Mizuno has been with Fujitsu for 33 years and serves on the board of directors for the IOWN Global Forum, and contributes to industry committees for the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC), Association of Radio Industries and Business (ARIB), Photonics Electronics Technology Research Association (PETRA) and the ITU-Association of Japan.

Cambium Learning Promotes COO to CEO and Chairman 

Ashley Andersen Zantop

Dallas-based Cambium Learning Group, a provider of award-winning education technology and services for PreK-12 markets, announced that Chief Operating Officer Ashley Andersen Zantop will succeed CEO and Chairman John Campbell, who’s retiring effective May 6.

Campbell will remain on Cambium’s Board of Directors.

Cambium said that during Campbell’s tenure as CEO over the past nine years, the company grew to serve more than 20 million students in 94% of U.S. school districts, and has learners across more than 170 countries. 

Andersen Zantop has more than two decades of leadership experience in media, technology, publishing, and ecommerce for K-12 education, global consumers, and nonprofits worldwide. She has been COO at Cambium since 2020, overseeing the Cambium Assessment and Lexia Learning business units. 

Previously, she was COO, co-president, and CMO at GreaterGood, a cause-based commerce platform, digital publisher, and registered fundraiser for nonprofit programs. Before that, Andersen Zantop was chief content officer for Capstone, a leading educational publisher for digital solutions, children’s books and literacy programs.

Tech Solutions Company 5Q Promotes President to CEO

Don Goldstein

Don Goldstein has assumed the position of chief executive officer at 5Q, a Dallas-based technology solutions company serving the commercial real estate industry. Goldstein was the company’s president.

Former CEO Wade Hughes will move from day-to-day operations to focus on business development in his role as managing partner, 5Q said in a release. The company said that the transition will help evolve current and prospective client relationships and strengthen the company’s focus on its longer-term strategic growth.

 “The hard work of Don and his executive team continues to create a strong future for our clients and the company, and we expect continued growth as 2022 progresses,” Hughes said in a statement.

Goldstein joined 5Q in 2018 as CEO of 5Q Cyber LLC, and when the company rebranded and restructured in 2020, he assumed the position of chief information security officer and president. 5Q has 80 employees in 11 states.

Trinity River Distillery Names New President and CEO

Spirits industry veteran Thomas Ingham has been named president and CEO of Trinity River Distillery, the Fort Worth-based creator of the Silver Star brands of Vodka, Whiskey, Texas Honey Liqueur, and Bourbon. Along with his new position, Thomas also will hold a minority ownership in the parent company Trinity River Distillery.

Thomas Ingham

Ingham has more than 20 years of senior management experience in the spirits industry including positions with Standard Beverage Corporation, Bacardi USA, and most recently, Pernod Ricard USA. 

Bruce Conti, the majority owner of Trinity River Distillery says Ingham is the right leader to take the brands “to the next level.” Ingham’s experience in innovation and revitalization of brands as well as his focus on the consumer makes him a great fit,” Conti said in a statement.

Ingham has had success in sales, marketing, and marketing operations and brings a wide range of experience, from strategic planning, through resource allocation, GTM strategy development, program launch, and execution, the company said.

Unleashed Brands Taps New COO, EVP of Strategy

Bedford-based Unleashed Brands has hired Joe Luongo as chief operating officer and EVP of strategy. Unleashed is a franchise growth-focused platform company that includes portfolio brands Urban Air, Snapology, The Little Gym and Premier Martial Arts.

Joe Luongo

Luongo brings more than 30 years of experience to his new role. His background spans both franchising and brand management, most recently serving as chairman of WellBiz Brands, Inc., a platform of health and lifestyle brands including Amazing Lash Studio, Drybar, Radiant Waxing, Elements Massage and Fitness Together.

He also served in several high-level leadership roles with Massage Envy, FedEx Kinkos, Starbucks, Pizza Hut, Circuit City, Peter Piper Pizza and Stone Eagle Advisors.

Luongo will work closely with each brand president and will provide high-level mentorship and leadership, the company said.

Enseo Appoints New CFO for ‘Hyper-Growth’ Phase

Brian Gurley

Plano-based tech services provider Enseo has named Brian Gurley as CFO to lead its financial operations globally and oversee finance strategy to achieve growth.

“Brian joins Enseo’s executive team at a critical time as we prepare to enter a phase of hyper-growth and product advancements,” Kris Singleton, Enseo president and CIO, said in a release. 

Gurley brings more than 25 years of financial and operational experience to Enseo. He has a track record of maximizing financial performance by providing financial management and accounting controls along with operations expertise. Most recently, Gurley was CFO of Magnitude Software, a private equity-backed SaaS company, which was acquired in Q4 2021.

DHA, Housing Solutions for North Texas Names Chief Research and Innovation Officer

Dr. Myriam Igoufe

DHA, Housing Solutions for North Texas has named Dr. Myriam Igoufe, previously DHA vice president of Policy Development & Research (PD&R), to the new role of chief research and innovation officer (CRIO) for the agency.

Igoufe will work with DHA executive leadership to expand its long-term innovative capabilities focused on more effective and supportive housing solutions. DHA, the tenth-largest public housing authority (PHA) in the U.S., provides affordable housing opportunities for over 55,700 people through public housing developments and the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program.

Igoufe will lead and manage the innovation process inside DHA, including the pursuit of operational and tech advances and introducing innovative and practical models and policies.

“Dr. Igoufe has maintained a proven track record of developing and driving various innovative programs since she first joined DHA, from the launch of CFNTX to her work surrounding the Emergency Rental Assistance program for COVID-impacted households in Dallas,” said DHA’s president and chief executive officer Troy Broussard, in a statement. 

Igoufe, who attended Sorbonne Law School in Paris, she received her bachelor’s degree in political science, government, and international law as well as her master’s degree in public administration from Lamar University. She earned a Ph.D. in urban planning and public policy from the University of Texas at Arlington.

TimelyMD Appoints Chief Care Officer 

Dr. Bob Booth

Bob Booth, M.D., has been named chief care officer by Fort Worth-based TimelyMD, a virtual health and well-being solution for college and university students

Booth has extensive expertise in clinical administration and a combination of medical, mental health, and higher education experiences, the company said in a release.

“I am delighted to join TimelyMD at this pivotal time of growth and care innovation,” said Booth in a statement. “Between my residence life and housing experience and working in a campus counseling center, I have a deep and firsthand understanding of what college students are going through. I’m passionate about joining the team at TimelyMD because the need for equitable, on-demand access to care is a critical challenge for colleges and universities that extends beyond campus walls.”

Booth will work closely with co-founder and Chief Medical Officer Allen Dennington, M.D., to ensure a seamless transition of care team leadership for the 200 campuses the company serves, along with a national network of more than 550 mental health and medical providers.

Firehouse Names Award-Winning Ad Exec Chief Inspiration Officer

Wade Alger

Award-winning advertising executive Wade Alger has been hired by Dallas-based independent ad agency Firehouse as Chief Inspiration Officer.

Alger was responsible such notable ads as the Geico spots “Unskippable,” “Hump Day,”, and “Did You Know,” which helped the insurer go from ninth to the No. 2 auto insurer in the U.S., Firehouse said. Alger also helped create the award-winning site We Chose the Moon and Clouds Over Cuba for the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.

Firehouse said the hire kicks off its 25th year in business, after winning recent industry recognition from Ad Age as one of the Best Places to Work in 2022. 

“There’s a reason why big agency talent like Wade is migrating to smaller shops. There’s less bureaucracy, fewer barriers to creativity, and greater access to clients,” Tripp Westbrook, Firehouse president and chief creative officer, said in a statement.

Alger’s ads have won 57 Cannes Lions, 38 One Show pencils, nine D&AD pencils and countless FWA and Art Directors Club awards, according to the Firehouse release. His work also won several industry AICP awards and multiple ANDYs, Webby and CA awards as well as two EMMY nominations and one EMMY win.

Key Firehouse clients include Lennox, Trupanion, Stryker, Coinstar, and Mary Kay.

Former Cinnabon/Carvel President Joins Milagro’s Board

Kendall Ware.

Hospitality industry veteran Kendall Ware has joined Milagro’s board of directors as the first external director for the Lewisville-based software company.

Ware, 34, is former president and chief brand officer of Cinnabon and Carvel, which are owned by Focus Brands. He was responsible for brand management for the two specialty brands that have 1,300 locations in North America. He led strategic growth, innovation, franchise operations, and marketing for the Focus Brands properties.

Milagro offers a point-of-sale platform that serves as a gateway to unlock actionable data about a client’s guests and automatically converts it into individualized marketing campaigns to drive more traffic. Ware joins the board with 17 years of leadership experience in growing brands, building strong teams, and improving operations as a strategic business and franchising leader, Milagro said.

“We strongly believe that the addition of such a forward-thinking leader and industry expert will enable Milagro to deliver on its mission to change the restaurant industry and revolutionize the way brands engage with their guests,” Milagro founder and CEO Hamed Mazrouei, Founder & CEO of Milagro said in a statement.

Addison Augmented Reality Company Names Three to New Advisory Board

Left to right: Brian Crutcher, Jeff Wellen, and Duncan MacFarlane

Addison-based computer vision- and AI-powered augmented reality company Spacee has announced a new three-person advisory board in a moment that founder and CEO Skip Howard calls “critical.”

“We’re at a critical time in the company’s growth as people are returning to stores, and retailers are under pressure to make consumer experiences interactive and engaging while also collecting data on the shopping experience that is on par with e-commerce data,” Howard, who also co-founded Pave Systems and Cancer Gene Connect, said in a statement.

The company has named Brian Crutcher, Jeff Wellen, and Duncan MacFarlane to the advisory board.

Crutcher owns a management consulting business and is the former top executive at Dallas-based semiconductor giant Texas Instruments. He also serves on the boards of Mariposa Technology and mmTron.

Wellen has held leadership roles from supply chain solutions companies like Advatix to retailers including Michaels Stores, Fossil, and Tuesday Morning.

MacFarlane is a leader in engineering and entrepreneurship at Southern Methodist University, serving as a professor of electrical engineering and holding the Bobby B. Lyle Centennial Chair in Engineering Entrepreneurship. He’s also the associate dean of engineering entrepreneurship at SMU’s Lyle School of Engineering.

Left to right: Arshad Khanani, Charles C. Wykoff, and Eleonora Lad

Nanoscope Therapeutics Bolsters its Advisory Board

Bedford-based Nanoscope Therapeutics, Inc., a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing gene therapies for retinal degenerative diseases, has added three new members of its Clinical and Scientific Advisory Board.

The new members are:

Arshad Khanani, MD, MA, managing partner, director of Clinical Research, and director of Fellowship at Sierra Eye Associates, Reno; and Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine.

Eleonora Lad, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of Ophthalmology, Duke University Medical Center; director of the Ophthalmology Clinical Research Unit, and director of Grading, Duke Reading Center.

Charles Wykoff, M.D., Ph.D., Director of Research at Retina Consultants of Texas and the Greater Houston Retina Research Foundation; Chairman of the Research and Clinical Trials Subcommittee, Retina Consultants of America; and Deputy Chair of Ophthalmology for the Blanton Eye Institute, Houston Methodist Hospital.

They join current advisory board members David Boyer, M.D.; Sai Chavala, M.D.; Steven Gray, Ph.D.; Jeff Heier, M.D.; Peter Kaiser, M.D.; Stephen Kaminsky, Ph.D.; Vittorio Porciatti, DSc; SriniVas Sadda, M.D.; Michael Singer, M.D.; Stephen Tsang, M.D, Ph.D.; Paul Yang, M.D., Ph.D.; and Thomas Yorio, Ph.D.

National Comprehensive Cancer Network Elects New Board Chair

Jonh Sweetenham

John Sweetenham, M.D., associate director for clinical affairs at UT Southwestern’s Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center, has been elected Chair of the Board of Directors of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, NCCN, UT Southwestern announced.

An alliance of 32 pre-eminent cancer centers in the U.S., NCCN is devoted to patient care, research, and education, including those at Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and the Mayo Clinic. Its board includes representatives from those institutions. Joining Sweetenham as the newly elected vice chair of the board is Matt Kalaycio, M.D., vice chairman of the Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute and the Cleveland Clinic’s Transplant Center.

Sweetenham joined UT Southwestern in 2019 and has been a principal investigator on national and international clinical trials in lymphoma. Most recently, he was co-leader of an international trial that established a new standard of care for patients with Hodgkin lymphoma at high risk of relapse following stem cell transplantation. Before coming to UTSW, Sweetenham was senior director for clinical affairs and physician in chief at the Huntsman Cancer Institute of the University of Utah.

Brinks Home Exec Named to Coalition Board

Akash Sah

Akash Sah, head of strategy and chief procurement officer for Dallas-based Brinks Home, has been appointed to the board of directors for the Security Industry Alarm Coalition, joining 10 other industry experts on the board.

Sah brings over 20 years of operations management experience and uses his knowledge to support customers and enhance the work of Brinks Home, according to a statement. Sah was nominated by the Security Industry Association to fill one of its two board positions.

Brinks said that Sah’s appointment to the SIAC board will aid the company’s goal of helping transform the smart security industry and bringing peace of mind and platinum-grade protection to homes and businesses across the country.

Aurora Hires Former Ryder CTO, Opens New Texas Terminals

Kendra Phillips

Aurora Innovation Inc. announced that Kendra Phillips is joining the company to lead its trucking and logistics partner program and will play a leading role in launching Aurora Shield, a suite of operational tools and support services for fleets powered by Aurora Driver, an autonomous driving product.

The company said that is expanding its commercial footprint along the U.S. interstate highway system to connect the country’s most prolific trucking lanes and expand its commercial offering. Aurora has opened three new terminals in Fort Worth, El Paso, and Houston, a strategic development to rapidly bring Aurora Horizon online and deliver value to its customers, the company said.

Aurora, which is based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Mountain View, California, is autonomously hauling goods for FedEx, Werner, and Uber Freight customers across multiple high volume freight corridors in Texas.

D Magazine Partners names new publisher

Noelle LeVeaux joins D Magazine Partners beginning in May.

Noelle LeVeaux

LeVeaux will be the publisher for D Magazine, D CEO, D Home, and D Weddings, as well as the media group’s digital program, website, and events.

LeVeaux is a “marketer’s marketer with an expansive sense of what is possible,” said Christine Allison, D Magazine Partners CEO and editor-in-chief., in a statement.

Most recently director of marketing for the Communities Foundation of Texas, LeVeaux has held leadership and marketing positions at Children’s Medical Center Dallas and Visit Dallas. She’s also served as interim president and executive director of Uptown Dallas Inc., while leading her own marketing and brand development consulting firm from 2017 to 2019.

A math major and graduate of HBCU Spelman College, LeVeaux will graduate in May with a master’s in digital communication analytics from the University of North Texas.

Dallas Investment Firm Hires Director of Business Development

Dallas-based investment firm Lear Investment Management announced that G. Keith Girand has joined it as director of business development.

Lear Investment focuses on portfolio management, research, and superior outcomes, the company said in a release. The firm said that Girand will be based out of its Lear’s Winter Park, Florida and will lead the firm’s business development efforts for prospective investors, including financial advisers of both broker/dealers and registered investment advisors (RIAs).

Girand, a 26-year industry veteran, comes to Lear from AssetMark, where he spent the past 13 years as a regional consultant.  During his tenure Mr. Girand partnered with many of the Southeast’s top advisors by assisting with portfolio construction, manager selection and practice management.

“Keith brings decades of experience, deep adviser relationships and a strong desire to help his clients grow their businesses,” Managing Partner Rick Lear said.

CRE and Construction Veteran to Lead Stream Realty Partners Division

Bobby Kunkle

Bobby Kunkle, a commercial real estate and construction industry veteran, has returned to Dallas and joined Stream Realty Partners, a national real estate services, development, and investment company.

Kunkle, who brings 15 years of experience, will lead and grow the company’s occupier services project management and development division. Most recently, he led ground-up commercial office developments at Oxford Development Company in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Kunkle started his career as a project engineer with JE Dunn Construction in Oklahoma before moving to Pittsburgh as a project manager with Oxford Development. He moved to Dallas in 2014 and joined Cassidy Turley, which merged with Cushman & Wakefield.

Kunkle then rejoined Oxford Development in Pittsburgh in 2018.

Envy Gaming Taps New VP of Legal

Johnathan Jordan has been hired as vice president of Legal at Envy Gaming, the Dallas-based entertainment and esports company.

Jordan, a member of the board of directors of Esports Trade Association, previously served as a litigation and esports attorney with Kane Russell Coleman Logan PC in Dallas and is an SMU undergrad alum. He received his juris doctorate degree from Baylor University School of Law.

In his new role at Envy, Jordan will oversee the increasingly complex and varied legal aspects of the company’s business, including entertainment, live events, venue operations, professional esports players and teams, league and publisher relations, content creators. Jordan also is one of the main organizers of DFW Esports Meetups.

Envy Gaming merged with OpTic Gaming in 2021 to create a gaming and esports business that powers esports franchises OpTic Texas in the Call of Duty League, Dallas Fuel in the Overwatch League, and top-ranked Halo Championship Series, Valorant, and Rocket League teams.

Crossplane Capital Names New Partner

Mike Sullivan

Dallas-based private equity firm Crossplane Capital has promoted Mike Sullivan to partner.

The company said that Sullivan, who joined the company in 2018 as its first hire as managing director, has played a key role in Crossplane’s growth since its founding in 2018.

“Mike took a leap of faith with us when we started Crossplane in 2018, and he has proven to be an invaluable asset,” said Crossplane Capital Partner, Brian Hegi, in a statement. “His fingerprints are all over our firm from our collaborative culture to our investment and value creation processes. Mike is the ultimate team player.”

Before joining Crossplane, Sullivan was a managing director with private equity firm Prophet Equity. He started his career in investment banking at Houlihan Lokey.

Improving Creates New Team to Focus on Microsoft Partnership

Improving, a Plano-based digital services company with a strong history as a System Integrator and an indirect Cloud Solution Provider in the Microsoft Partner ecosystem, has announced the formation of a new team to focus its partnership with Microsoft. 

The Improving Microsoft Services Team will work closely with each Improving enterprise to ensure they are maximizing the value of the Microsoft Partnership and assisting clients to do the same for the investments they are making in Microsoft technologies.

Lowell Messner

Former Improving Cleveland president Lowell Messner will lead the team, and was appointed by Improving’s CEO, Curtis Hite.

“As Improving continues to accelerate our Microsoft business, the time was right to create a corporate team who can serve as a resource to each of our enterprises” Curtis said in a statement.

The company said many of its Improving enterprises and customers already have benefited from engaging with the Microsoft Services Team, and continued success in this service area will lead to the team’s expansion.

EnLink’s Carbon Solutions Group Gets New Managing Director

Robert “Bob” Purgason will lead EnLink Midstream’s expanded Carbon Solutions Group as managing director of carbon solutions.

Purgason is a seasoned energy expert and is a former executive of EnLink Midstream’s predecessor, Crosstex Energy.

The company said that Purgason brings extensive industry experience in growing new business lines and excellent industry relationship that will help EnLink grow its carbon capture, transportation, and sequestration (CCS) business.

The Carbon Solutions Group is composed of in-house commercial and engineering talent, including Scott Goldberg, vice president of Carbon Solutions, who will continue to lead the day-to-day execution of the CCS business.

Maguire Center to Honor Paul Quinn College President

Dr. Michael Sorrell

Paul Quinn College President Dr. Michael J. Sorrell will be honored on April 12 with the 2022 J. Erik Jonsson Ethics Award, the Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics & Public Responsibility announced.

Sorrell is being honored for his exemplary service and ethical leadership in higher education and the North Texas community, according to a statement. The Maguire Center said this will be the 25th anniversary of the award.

The presentation will be held noon to 1:30 p.m. at SMU’s Umphrey Lee Center. Go here for tickets and information.

Speakers will include former Dallas mayor and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, SMU President Ron Kirk; SMU President R. Gerald Turner; Brad Cheves, vice president for development and external affairs at SMU; and Dr. Rita Kirk, director, SMU Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics & Public Responsibility.

CityLabHS Foundation Honors Miguel Solis and Gensler

Dallas ISD Choice School CityLab High School Foundation will honor Miguel Solis and Gensler in the second annual City Collaborator Awardees next week.

Miguel Solis

The City Collaborator Awards recognize change-makers who link educational opportunities for students with multiple aspects of the built environment—from planning, design and development, to land use, sustainability and construction. 

The honorees will be recognized for their work that positively impacts public education in addition to their impacts to the built environment through multi-disciplinary collaboration. 

Event co-chair Kate Hoffman said, “CityLab offers dynamic opportunities in architecture, urban planning, environmental sustainability, and civic leadership to youth throughout Dallas.”

Hoffman says the school’s students have had “unique opportunities with support from Gensler to experience projects like the creation of an app to draw larger interest in Fair Park.” They also learned from Solis’ approach to advocating for equity and inclusion through innovative concepts.

“Leaders like our honorees are shaping tomorrow’s leaders through our CityLab youth,” she said in a statement.

The City Collaborator Awards program will be held Noon until 1 p.m. at PwC (2121 N Pearl St, Dallas, TX 75201) on Thursday, April 14. Go here for tickets or information.

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