DI People: Farmer Brothers, projekt202, BenefitMall Announce Leadership Moves

You’ll also find news from Fashion Industry Gallery; Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP; Spence Diamonds; Thompson & Knight; Peloton Therapeutics; and Freese and Nichols in this roundup of leadership and executive moves by companies in North Texas.

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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Farmer Brothers appoints interim CEO

Christopher P. Mottern has been appointed interim chief executive officer at Northlake-based coffee supplier and distributor, Farmer Brothers Co.

Mottern has served on the company’s board of directors since 2013. He succeeds Michael Keown, who has stepped down as CEO and director, by mutual agreement with the board.

A search has been launched for a permanent CEO, the company said.

We previously wrote about Farmer Brothers’s relocation from California, and gave you a photo tour of the company’s innovative facility in Denton County.

projekt202 promotes Fisher to GM of Dallas office


Kevin Fisher

projekt202 has promoted Kevin Fisher to general manager of the Dallas office, the firm announced.

A leader in experience-driven transformation for the world’s most respected companies and well-known brands, Fisher is an accomplished senior technology executive with a proven history of successfully directing cross-functional teams.

He joined projekt202 in May 2016 as director in the Technology Practice, and later was promoted to regional vice president, Technology Practice lead, for projekt202’s Southern Region.

Fisher has also held senior positions with Dell, CBRE, and Microsoft. 

BenefitMall names Zelewicz director of sales and implementation


Jamie Zelewicz

BenefitMall, a Dallas-based provider of employee benefits and payroll services, announced that Jamie Zelewicz is the company’s new national director of sales and implementation of its Account Services Division (ASD).

Zelewicz brings years of experience as an insurance executive, leading teams and adding value to small and mid-sized companies. BenefitMall’s ASD provides strategic broker adviser services through client account management, renewal services, and reporting.

Fashion Industry Gallery taps Petty as marketing director


Lisa Petty

Dallas-based Fashion Industry Gallery announced that fashion and marketing veteran Lisa Petty has been named its new marketing director.

Fashion Industry Gallery’s CEO, Matt Roth, said Petty is a key addition to the team that represents a greater level of signature support for exhibitors and buyers. “With our closest market competitor shifting to a greater focus on Western wear and equipment, Fashion Industry Gallery will maintain—and amplify—our commitment to serve contemporary lifestyle retailers with the best brands in fashion,” he said.

Petty’s career has spanned print, digital, and broadcast reporting, along with editorial leadership. She is the founder of Dallas’ first daily fashion content website, an alum of NBC Universal and Mary Kay, and most recently held the position of content director at Dallas Market Center.

“In this dynamic industry, it’s most important that we remain focused on our primary objectives—showcasing the latest trends via in-demand, modern brands, plus an amazing market experience,” Petty said in a statement. “When we do our job well, we all win.”

Fashion Industry Gallery (f.i.g.) is a boutique wholesale venue in the Arts District that’s open to the fashion retail trade, offering apparel and accessory showrooms.

Cottrell joins law firm’s Dallas office in business trial practice group


Amanda Cottrell

Amanda Cottrell has joined the Business Trial practice group at Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP as a partner in the Dallas office. Cottrell joins from Stanton LLP.

Previously, she spent nine years practicing commercial and energy litigation at Locke Lord LLP.

The firm opened it Dallas office in April 2018.

Rathod takes the reins as new CEO of Spence Diamonds

Vancouver-based Spence Diamonds, a leader in the lab-grown diamond retail sector, named entrepreneur Veeral Rathod its new CEO. 

He will lead Spence from its Dallas offices.

Spence was the first brick-and-mortar diamond retailer in the U.S. to focus on proprietary, lab-grown Artisan Created Diamonds, which it says are physically, chemically, and optically identical to mined diamonds, while also selling earth-mined diamonds at the same time.

Rathod has been with the company since September. He was brought on to lead marketing and brand transformation as CMO and to learn the business while being groomed to take the top job at Spence. Prior to joining Spence, he served as J. Hilburn’s CEO.

Thompson & Knight names new Dallas office leader

The law firm of Thompson & Knight LLP has named Bruce Sostek to be officer leader of the Dallas location.

Also, Phillip Oldham was named to lead the firm’s Austin office. The two men join six other office leaders in Algiers, Fort Worth, Houston, Mexico City, Monterrey, and New York City.

Sostek focuses his practice on intellectual property, technology, and commercial litigation in federal courts nationwide, at the International Trade Commission, and at the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals. He also counsels clients on the identification, valuation, licensing, and litigation of intellectual property assets to achieve strategic business objectives. 

Peloton Therapeutics adds two to its board of directors

Peloton Therapeutics Inc., a Dallas-based clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company advancing first-in-class oral medicines for cancer and other serious conditions, announced that Timothy Coughlin and Thilo Schroeder have been appointed to its board of directors.

The company also announced that Steve Winick has resigned from the board.

Coughlin is former chief financial officer of Neurocrine Biosciences Inc., and Schroker is a partner at Nextech Invest Ltd. and former Peloton Board Observer.

Freese and Nichols adds four engineers to North Texas operations

Holly Ahumada

Chris Johnson

Freese and Nichols Inc., a Fort Worth-based professional consulting firm, said that it continues to expand its Stormwater Group with the addition of four experienced engineers in North Texas.

The new engineers are: Holly Ahumada in Fort Worth, Chris Johnson in Denton, and Mark Scheurer and Dawit Zeweldi in Dallas.

Mark Scheurer

Dawit Zeweldi

All are certified floodplain managers, and offer a diverse skill-set to help address complex flood control and drainage challenges for clients locally, regionally, and nationally. Their backgrounds include floodplain mapping, channel design and work with municipalities and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).

Ahumada specializes in advanced 2D modeling for large-scale water resources projects.

Johnson brings more than 33 years of experience in water resources program management, quality oversight, and business administration. 

Scheurer is an established project manager with more than a decade of experience in water resources engineering. 

Zeweldi brings more than 20 years of technical and managerial experience in water resources planning, design, and implementation projects. 

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