DI People: Hillwood, Front Burner Restaurants, Veritex Bank Make Executive Moves

In this weekly roundup of executive moves in North Texas, you'll also find news from SMU, Renovo Financial, Flagship Facility Services, Zalat Pizza, and more.

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 the people moves tied to innovation and technology in the region.

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Hillwood promotes Bolen to VP

Mercedes Bolen

Hillwood has made Mercedes Bolen its vice president of External Affairs and Community Relations, per Fort Worth Business Press.

Most recently, Bolen was a public affairs manager in the energy industry. In her new role, Bolen will be tasked with managing relationships between Hillwood and its partner organizations. She will also oversee strategic initiatives vital to the company, like workforce development and transportation, the publication said.

“As previous director of the marketing and communications team, Mercedes has a long-standing track record of success and has been an integral part of our leadership team during the past decade,” Mike Berry, president of Hillwood, said in the Press. “A strong leader and connector, Mercedes brings a wealth of experience to her new role and we are excited for her to further strengthen Hillwood’s ties to the community.”

Hillwood is the developer of AllianceTexas, which you can read about here.

SMU adds members to its Board of Trustees

At the May 8 board meeting, the SMU Board of Trustees elected six new members to serve four-year terms.

The 42-member board is tasked with setting policies that govern SMU’s operations.

“We are pleased to welcome these new members, grateful for the service of our outgoing trustees and appreciative of the continued hard work of our current board,” SMU President R. Gerald Turner said in a statement. “SMU greatly benefits from the experience and collective wisdom of this important governing body charged with overseeing the mission of this University.”

The new members are:

  • Jennifer Burr Altabef ’78, J.D. ’81, a civic and philanthropic leader in Dallas
  • Tom Burish, provost of the University of Notre Dame in Indiana
  • Martin Flanagan ’82, president and CEO of Invesco Ltd, Atlanta, Georgia
  • David Haley, J.D. ’86, president of HBK Capital Management in Fort Worth
  • Bruce Robson ’74, managing partner of Robvest in Dallas
  • Christa Brown-Sanford, J.D. ’04, partner and deputy department chair of Intellectual Property at Dallas’ Baker Botts LLP

Renovo Financial hires a managing director to open an office in Dallas

Jon Shipley

Chicago-based Renovo Financial, said to be one of the largest regional private lenders serving real estate entrepreneurs, is expanding to Texas and opening an office in Dallas. The firm said it recognizes the state as a fast-growing real estate market.

To head the new office, Renovo announced that it was bringing on real estate finance veteran Jon Shipley as managing director for Texas operations.

Shipley brings more than a decade of experience to the firm. Most recently, he was the SVP of a regional private lender.

“Jon’s wealth of knowledge and experience in real estate finance and markets in Texas, makes him the ideal executive to lead our new operation there,” CEO Kevin Werner said in a statement.  “Our philosophy has always centered around local market knowledge to allow our clients to capture opportunity where national platforms are unable to see the potential—and Jon and his team now bring their Texas expertise to Renovo Financial.”

Renovo has partnered with Cadence Bank to provide capital for local real estate investments, among others.

HSC brings a new director to its Master of Health Administration program

Dr. Stephan Davis

Dr Stephan Davis, DNP, MHSA, FACHE, has joined the UNT Health Science Center as an new assistant professor and its new director of Master of Health Administration (MHA) program.

HSC said in a blog post that Dr. Davis comes at a significant time as the world “looks to healthcare and public health for guidance, answers, and leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic.” Dr. Davis will work with graduate students preparing to lead health systems, long-term care organizations, hospitals and health-related corporations in his new role.

“Perhaps more than ever before,” he said, “professionals in these fields are being called to lead the world in new ways to transform healthcare delivery and discoveries.”

Dr. Davis has vast experience in working with hospitals, health systems, the insurance industry, healthcare task forces, and national boards. You can read more about him here.

Michael Thompson joins Flagship Facility Services

Michael Thompson

Flagship Facility Services, a Southlake-based soft facility services provider, has brought on Michael Thompson to lead its Integrated Facility Management (IFM) operations.

As president of IFM, Thompson will help the company continue delivering quality, self-performed IFM services to organizations across the U.S. Thompson has more than two decades of industry experience, most recently serving as a managing director at JLL.

“We were very deliberate in filling this role,” Dave Pasek, CEO of Flagship Facility Services, said in a statement. “Our superior a la carte facility services combined with Mike’s proven leadership and industry insight, will allow us to deliver holistic IFM services built on quality, self-performance, and bottom-up integration.”

Veritex Bank gets a new board member 

William Fallon

Dallas-headquartered Veritex Community Bank, which serves Houston, Fort Worth, and Dallas, has added William Fallon to its Board of Directors. 

Fallon has a wide range of relevant experience. He is the former executive vice president for PNC Bank, and had a 40 year stint with parent company PNC Financial Services Group. There, according to a release, he oversaw PNC’s Portfolio Management function, served as its cief commercial credit officer, and was responsible for the valuation of wholesale loan portfolios of bank holding companies acquired by PNC. He retired in July 2018.

“To achieve our long-term growth goals, we need to ensure that the bank can scale its ability to deliver best-in-class operations and service. The addition of Bill as a board member brings skilled leadership to our bank so that we can serve the needs of an ever-changing business environment,” Malcolm Holland, Veritex Bank’s president and CEO, said in a statement. “Bill certainly is comfortable facing these types of business challenges. But Bill is more than that. His leadership role in the USGA has given him a unique skillset, an applied understanding of the critical importance of structure, organization, clarity and fairness. That, combined with his 40+ years in banking, is what makes Bill an extraordinary addition to the Veritex community.”

AMN Leadership Solutions appoints Dr. Bernard F. Godley as lead physician exec

Dr. Bernard F. Godley

AMN Healthcare, based in Dallas and San Diego, announced that Bernard Godley, MD, PhD is the new lead physician executive for its Leadership & Search Solutions Division.

Dr. Godley was previously a senior client partner for Korn Ferry’s Academic Health Center Practice. Before that, he was a professor and chair of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at UTMB in Galveston.

“We are thrilled to have Dr. Godley join AMN Leadership Solutions. His background as a physician and healthcare leader, in addition to his experience in executive search, will be instrumental as we continue to expand our physician leadership in healthcare,” said Kelly Rakowski, AMN Healthcare’s group president and COO, Strategic Talent Solutions. “This is an exciting time of growth and change in the healthcare industry and we are happy to have Bernard supporting our clients.”

AMN Healthcare calls itself a leader and innovator in healthcare total talent services to facilities across the nation.

Zalat Pizza names a COO

Jason Brooks

Zalat Pizza, a staple in Dallas’ late night pizzeria scene, has added restaurant industry veteran Jason Brooks to its team, per QSR.

As the Zalat’s chief operating officer, Brooks will be responsible managing operations across Zalat’s seven locations, including coaching and motivating the team.

Brooks was previously the VP of operations at Zalat, which he joined after working at Bloomin’ Brands for more than 20 years.


“We are delighted to have Jason lead our merry band of pizza zealots,” Khanh Nguyen, Zalat’s CEO, told QSR. “Jason brings the rare combination of top-level restaurant operational experience with a genuine, caring leadership style that has been enthusiastically embraced by our entire team, from senior executives to our front-line zealots.”  

Sixty Vines names a new CEO

Jeff Carcara

Dallas-based Sixty Vines, known for capturing the essence of Napa Valley with its wine and seasonal cuisine, has hired Jeff Carcara as its new chief executive officer. 

Carcara has worked with a series of companies in the industry: Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group, Barteca Restaurant Group, Darden Restaurants, Inc., and Hillstone Restaurant Group. 

As reported by Fort Worth Business Press, Carcara began his career at Hillstone Restaurants. His impact is recognized ” through his ability to lead teams and restaurants by growing and developing people, differentiating food and beverage experiences and creating multi-unit growth while amplifying brand equity,” the publication said.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Jeff to the Front Burner family,” said Jack Gibbons, CEO of Dallas-based Front Burner Restaurants, the parent company of Sixty Vines. “Jeff’s operational expertise, ability to develop people and proven success with restaurant expansion is ideal to maximize growth at Sixty Vines. I am confident he will have a tremendous impact on our guest experience, culture, and profitability.”

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