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.
DISD Superintendent Hinojosa Is Leaving Post in December
The move caps off Hinojosa’s 42-year-career in education, including helming Dallas ISD for 13 years. The city will likely be searching for a new superintendent in the interim.
A roster of leading civic supporters stepped up to praise the superintendent.
Governor Abbott Appoints North Texan to Governor’s Broadband Development Council
Governor Greg Abbott has appointed North Texan Jack Kelanic, along with Schelana Hock and Ray Scifres, to the Governor’s Broadband Development Council. The council, which studies and identifies ways to provide internet access to underserved areas of Texas, was created by the 86th Legislature in 2019 and expanded by the 87th Legislature in 2021.
Kelanic is Chief Technology Officer for the Dallas Independent School District where he creates a technology plan to maximize digital learning and directs the district’s $270 million technology capital program. Previously, the CTO was Director of Information Technology for the City of Tacoma, the Chief Information Systems Director at Los Angeles Unified School District, and as an engineer at Dewberry and Davis.
The CTO is also co-chair of the Internet for All Coalition and a member of the Texas Education Technology Leadership Council and Consortium for School Networking. In addition, he’s served as an advisory board member of The University of Washington Tacoma Institute of Technology and a board member of the Schools Federal Credit Union. Kelanic received a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from Vanderbilt University.
Kelanic will serve with Moscow, TX-based Hock and Levelland, TX-based Scifres. Hock is County Clerk of Polk County where she serves as the official record keeper of the county and Scifres is the Sheriff of Hockley County.
Terms for the new appointments are set to expire on August 31, 2026.
Hawkeye Appoints Tina Posey as CEO
Dallas-based Hawkeye announces the appointment of Tina Posey who will serve as Chief Executive Office for the marketing agency.
Previously, Posey was at Omnicom Group, where she served as CEO of Javelin Agency. The company says Posey takes a “human-centric” approach to leadership, which has allowed her to build a substantial track record of deep client partnerships with multiple brands. These brands include AT&T, Novartis, Hyatt Hotels, Citibank, American Express, Best Buy, Mercedes-Benz, Sparkling Ice, and USAA, among others.
Succeeding W. Joe Demiero in the role of CEO, Posey will report to the CEO of the Publicis Digital Experience Group in the U.S., Jem Ripley.
“Tina is the perfect choice to lead Hawkeye as we continue to level up our industry-leading CRM and Commerce solutions to make an impact for the brands we serve. We thank Joe for his many contributions to our clients, our people, and our business and wish him the best,” said Ripley.
Global Talent Tech Company Harver Announces Scott Lander as CEO and Board Chair
International volume hiring company Harver announced Scott Landers as CEO and chairman of the board. The hire follows the company’s merger and rebranding in 2020. Dallas-based Outmatch joined forces with Amersterdam-based Harver in May and rebranded in November.
Landers replaces Greg Moran, the founder of Outmatch, who remains on Harver’s board.
“It’s an honor to join Harver at such an exciting time in their journey,” said Landers in a statement. “Organizations need to adapt their recruitment processes more than ever to address challenges such as shrinking talent pools, and Harver brings world-class solutions that are transforming enterprise volume hiring processes and delivering better candidate experiences across the globe.”
Read more in our story.
Recode Therapeutics Names Shehnaaz Suliman as New CEO
Shehnaaz Suliman, who’s leaving a San-Francisco immuno-neurology and immuno-oncology company, will remain in Menlo Park but travel to Dallas as she takes over her new role as CEO.
With 25 years of drug development and deal-making expertise, Suliman will help advance the biopharma’s pipeline of novel genetic medicines using its selective organ targeting platform.
Suliman replaces CEO David Lockhart, who becomes chief scientific officer and remains president and a member of the board. Recode closed an $80M Series B round to expand its drug pipeline for respiratory diseases in October.
“I am personally very excited to partner with Dr. Suliman, and we are invigorated by her arrival and look forward to leveraging her expertise as we advance our powerful LNP platform and robust pipeline of treatments for patients with life-limiting genetic diseases,” said David Lockhart, Ph.D., president and chief scientific officer, ReCode Therapeutics.
Exeter names new CFO & Vice Chairman Jason Kulas
Auto finance industry veteran Jason Kulas will join Irving-based Exeter as the company’s new CFO and Vice Chairman next month. He will succeed CFO Brad Nall, who will retire from the company. Nall will stay through March to help with the transition.
The auto insurance finance company and its multi-billion loan portfolio was acquired by Warburg Pincus last year in a deal that closed in November.
Kulas, who has over 25 years of experience in the financial services sector, has served as an Exeter board member and advisor since 2019. He most recently served as the CEO of EZCORP after previously holding positions as an independent director and as the company’s President and Chief Financial Officer. He also served over 10 years in the CFO, president and CEO positions at Santander Consumer USA and was a managing director of investment banking with J.P. Morgan.
CrossFirst Bankshares hires Dallas banker to lead growth in Texas
Kansas-based CrossFirst Bankshares has tapped longtime Dallas banker David Felanto to lead its expansion as Texas regional president.
Felan, who will oversee the company’s Dallas and Frisco operations, has more than 25 years of experience in the Dallas market. The banker was most recently EVP and relationship manager of Texas Capital Bancshares in the company’s Dallas corporate banking group, according to American Banker.
“Any time you are able to attract an experienced banking executive like David Felan, it’s a win for your company, for our clients, and for the communities we serve,” Mike Maddox, president and CEO of CrossFirst, said in the publication.
Johnson & Sekin Announces the Formation of Its Inaugural C-Suite
Johnson & Sekin, a Dallas-based advertising and branding agency focused on the power of purpose in business, has announced the formation of several C-suite appointments.
Chief Design Officer Shannon Phillips, who has held leading design roles at the agency since 2010, will oversee all design and innovation aspects of products and services.
Chief Purpose Officer Kat Kornegay, who joined the team as an account director in 2013, will oversee all functions of helping brands, teams, and organizations uncover and amplify their greater purpose within business models and across industries.
Chief Strategy Officer Emily Florio, who joined the firm in 2020 as director of strategy, will provide transformational business strategy and data-driven insights across their brands and teams.
Jessica Wescott, who previously served as COO and CFO of Fuzzy’s Taco Shop, has been appointed the agency’s CFO.
The formation of the C-suite comes on the heels of the agency’s recently announced expansion to Denver and the launch of Camp Purpose, an immersive workshop experience where brands, organizations, and people can uncover and articulate their purpose in work and life.
“We are extremely proud to put a strong C-suite team in place to support the growth and impact of our business,” said Kent Johnson, co-founder and art director for Johnson & Sekin. “Our vision of the future begins with purpose and all four of these individuals bring a high level of expertise that is unmatched across the industry to the brands we are privileged to work alongside.”
DataBank Names Joe Minarik as Chief Operating Officer
Dallas-based DataBank, a leading provider of enterprise-class colocation, interconnection, and managed cloud services, has named Joe Minarik as the firm’s chief operating officer.
Minarik will report to DataBank’s CEO, Raul Martynek, and will consolidate all operational functions under his leadership, including data center and colocation operations, engineering, construction, managed services, network and security, and IT operations.
Minarik previously joined Amazon in 2005, a year before the public launch of AWS. As a pioneer in the cloud and data center community, he led the development of the company’s underlying data center and network
“Joe Minarik possesses the perfect blend of operational experience and pioneering vision to help DataBank realize its goal of becoming the dominant edge infrastructure platform in the country,” said Martynek. “Consolidating our data center, colocation, managed services, network, and software development efforts under Joe’s leadership will enable DataBank to deliver a transformative, software-driven, edge infrastructure experience for our customers.”
Longtime 7-Eleven Executive Appointed 7-Eleven International LLC Co-CEO
Irving-based 7-Eleven, Inc., has named Ken Wakabayashi as Co-CEO of 7-Eleven International. Previously, Wakabayashi served as 7-Eleven’s SVP, Head of International. He will now lead the 7-Eleven brand’s global growth strategy alongside Co-CEO Shinji Abe from Seven-Eleven Japan.
“With this move, Ken will help lead the 7IN team to further our global growth strategy and provide world-class value and support to our International Licensees and Master Franchisees,” said 7-Eleven, Inc., President and CEO Joe DiPinto in a statement.
As Co-CEOs of 7IN, Wakabayashi and Abe will oversee all operations outside North America and Japan as well as the 7–Eleven trademark globally.
JCPenney Names Leaders From Neiman Marcus and Gap to eCommerce and Tech Units
JCPenney this week announced two executive appointments: Sharmeelee Bala was named chief information officer and Katie Mullen was named chief digital and transformation officer.
Ballas will have responsibility for the information technology (IT) organization and global tech systems that power JCP’s stores, operational centers and supply chain, and corporate functions. Bala, who joins the company from Gap Inc., will lead development of solutions to unite JCPenney’s physical assets with its evolving digital footprint, the company said in a release.
Mullen, who was most recently with Neiman Marcus Group, will lead the growth of the e-commerce business. That includes jcp.com, as JCPenney reimagines how consumers experience JCPenney—no matter when, where, and how they want to shop.
Indio Management Announces Tasha Krawiec as Senior Vice President of Operations
Tasha Krawiec has been named as Senior Vice President of Operations, where she will oversee all operational aspects of the firm. Bringing over 20 years of experience in the multifamily housing industry, she will work as a partner of the executive leadership team to expand Indio’s platform.
Indio Founder and President, Seth Bame, comments on the hire, “Tasha’s expertise in talent management, leadership, and mentorship of associates will allow her to be a strong captain on our team, and we’re excited to see the direction she helps us push towards in 2022 and beyond.”
Prior to join Indio, Krawiec worked as an independent consultant in the multifamily and single-family rental space for two years. She is also a member of the Institute of Real Estate Management.
Before becoming a consultant, she served as Vice President of Property Operations at BH Management Service, where she was responsible for overall property management and asset preservation for up to 29,000 units across several markets in the Southern U.S. Over her six-year tenure at BH Management Service, she was recognized for generating the highest portfolio net operating income and revenue growth.
The company says that “Krawiec has already begun to positively impact the firm through building brand standards, overhauling the budget process, establishing efficient systems and workflows, and scaling growth by transitioning and onboarding over 25 properties with the assistance of her robust team.”
Leslee Mallinson, who has been an instrumental member of the company’s executive leadership team for the last eight years, will now serve as Senior Vice President of Brand and Communications for Balfour Beatty’s national operations.
In her new role, Mallinson will lead the delivery of strategic communications and brand management across the company’s U.S. Buildings and Civil Businesses.
Mallinson has been with the at-risk construction management company for over 20 years, where she has served as an experienced and passionate communications advisor working to oversee all internal and external communication activities.
The company says “her most recent accomplishments include working to create a shared services communications model to support the company’s Buildings, Civils and Investments businesses, championing Balfour Beatty’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, advancing the tools and technologies to communicate effectively among many more important initiatives.”
“Leslee is an esteemed partner on the executive leadership team who holds the bar high for us to not only focus on our overall business strategy, but our most valuable asset – our people,” said Eric Stenman, president of Balfour Beatty U.S. “She is the epitome of a Relentless Ally in our business, and it is an honor to witness her leadership and passion for shepherding an authentic brand voice, promoting innovative solutions and advocating for our employees.”
CASPR Group Announces Kecia Gray as Senior Vice President
The environmental health technology company taps on Kecia Gray to lead marketing and PR as Senior Vice President.
Gray joined the CASPER in late 2021 as the company prepared for its next stage of growth. The company says it faces increased demand for its proprietary Natural Catalytic Conversion (NCC™) technology—which is a solution that provides healthier indoor air and surface environments across multiple industries—and Gray will lead the communication efforts for the group as they manage demand.
Before joining CASPER Group, Gray owned her own company for over seven years. Called Gray Marketing Solutions, she provided strategic consulting for integrated marketing with clients like Daseke, MKTG Agency, and Veracity Capital.
“Visibility and education regarding CASPR’s key differentiators are paramount to the company’s growth. Choosing the right leader to build CASPR’s next level of modern marketing is extremely important,” said CASPR CEO Derek Blount. “Kecia has the depth of experience and the high level of intensity needed to develop and direct CASPR’s marketing and public relations efforts.”
Mohr Partners Promotes Ruth Baker to Director of Strategy & Growth
Ruth Baker was promoted to Director of Strategy & Growth for Mohr Partners, Inc, a global corporate real estate services firm.
Baker will serve as a project lead who will oversee portfolio strategy/data analytics, site selection/research, lease administration, transaction management and project & facilities management. Baker will report to Misti Meggs, who supervises strategy and growth for Mohr Partners in her role as Managing Partner.
Meggs commented, “I am excited to partner with Ruth to grow our overall global corporate services client base and to help our existing clients navigate the challenges they face as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
In 2015, Baker joined Mohr Partners as Senior Account Manager. She later earned a promotion to Associate Director for Business Development & Client Services in 2019—and after a few months in that role, she quickly transitioned to her role as Director of Transaction Services—where she was responsible for over 24 million square feet of clients’ portfolio transaction work.
She now brings over 15 years of corporate real estate experience to the table to serve in her new role.
One Network Names Peter Nilsson as Chief Marketing Officer
Peter Nilsson is tapped by One Network Enterprises (ONE) to serve on the company’s executive team as Chief Marketing Office.
With more than 20 years of experience in SaaS and the supply chain industry, Peter will usher in the next chapter of One Network’s brand and growth ambitions by leading strategy and executive for the company.
Nilsson has previously worked at at companies such as IBX, Capgemini, Infor Nexus, and most recently at LevaData.
“Peter is an outstanding addition to our executive team with an impressive background and proven track record in driving customer demand and brand awareness”, said Mark Brady, CEO of One Network Enterprises. “Peter’s marketing oversight and guidance will be invaluable as we continue to grow as a company. We are pleased to welcome him to the One Network team.”
Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation Announces Three New VPs as it Strengthens its Team of Healthcare, Tech Experts
Parkland Center for Clinical Innocation (PCCI) announced the hiring of Natasha Goburdhun, MS, MPH, as Vice President, Connected Communities of Care, and the promotions of Yolande Pengetnze, MD, MS, FAAP, to Vice President, Clinical Leadership, and Albert Karam, MS, MBA, to Vice President, Data Strategy Analytics.
The organization says that these executive leaders will boost PCCI’s innovative clinical and data analytics programs—which have made a significant impact in the past—specifically by helping North Texans navigate through the ongoing pandemic.
Bringing over 20 years of planning and operations experience in provider and community-based care, Goburdhun will use PCCI’s advanced analytics to provide insights into community health and social needs, working to address the needs of vulnerable populations.
Dr. Pengetnze joined PCCI in December 2013, where she leads multiple projects, including a population health quality improvement project on pediatric asthma and the development of a program supporting the prevention of pre-term births.
Working at PCCI since 2016, Albert Karam will now serve as Vice President of Data Strategy Analytics where he is responsible for creating predictive algorithms and real-time decision support to Parkland and other institutions across the Dallas/Fort Worth Area.
Kainos Capital Promotes David Gassko to Principal
Kainos Capital (“Kainos”), a food and consumer-focused private equity firm, announced today that David Gassko has been promoted to Principal.
In 2013, Mr. Gassko join Kainos as an associate following his time as an investment banker with Wells Fargo Securities. He later went to business school and returned to Kainos as a Vice President.
“Since returning to Kainos following business school, David has played a key role in the execution of our investment process and adds value both to our portfolio companies and our firm culture,” said Andrew Rosen, Managing Partner of Kainos. “We are excited for his continued professional development at Kainos.”
The Dallas Foundation Names Four New Members to Board of Governors
The new members—Robert Bisor, Jaimee Eddington, Kevin Murphy, and Susana Cordova—were chosen to help shape the vision and future of the foundation, the first established community foundation in Texas.
In 2020 alone, the foundation, in partnership with more than 400 fundholders, awarded $60 million in grants.
Robert (Bobby) Bisor serves as a principal with First Western Capital LLC; CEO of The Bisor Group, a governmental and community relations consulting firm he founded in 2004; chairman of the board of the Beacon Hill Preparatory Institute; as a board member of the North Texas Commission and the Texas Association of Business; and as treasurer and board member of Freedom for All Americans.
Jaimee Eddington is the Regional Leader for the Americas at Heidrick & Struggles. At this premier provider of global leadership advisory and on-demand talent solutions, she advises Fortune 500 small and medium-sized public and private companies, as well as private equity and venture-backed and private equity companies. Her expertise includes advising companies on board composition, talent management, and the changing role of the CFO.
Kevin Murphy is the president of ExxonMobil Foundation, which is the primary philanthropic arm of the Exxon Mobil Corporation, as well as manager of Corporate Citizenship and Global Community Investments for Exxon Mobil Corporation. Previously, he served as global issues manager, public and government affairs manager of ExxonMobil Gas & Power Marketing Company, as well as manager of state government regulations.
Susana Cordova served as superintendent of Denver Public Schools before joining the Dallas Independent School District in early 2021. In her role as deputy superintendent, she oversees Leading and Learning for the district’s 155,000 students in 230 schools and Human Capital Management for DISD’s 22,000 employees.
Read more here.
Denton County Transportation Authority Adds Three Regional Leaders
The DCTA is strengthening its leadership team with the addition of Paul Cristina, Brittney M. Farr, and Pamela Burns as new regional leaders to support the agency’s mission of enhancing mobility and adding value to the communities they serve.
Cristina joins DCTA as the Deputy Chief Executive Officer from BNSF Railway where he led the company’s engagement with public agencies across the railroad’s 23,500-mile rail network, directing new infrastructure project development and agreement execution for BNSF and the public.
Brittney M. Farr joins DCTA from Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) as the Director of Government Relations, where she leads DCTA’s local, state, and federal legislative strategy and relations with local communities.
Pamela Burns joins DCTA from NCTCOG as the Director of Public Involvement and Communications where she oversees community relations, public involvement, marketing, communications, and public relations.
Incoming: New AIA Dallas President Charts a Way Forward for 2022
Ben Crawford is the incoming 2022 AIA Dallas President. The chapter of the American Institute of Architects begins its 75th anniversary year with looking ahead to craft the tactics that will guide it for the next five years, Crawford wrote in a recent blog post. The future is “in need of the gifts we as designers, builders and dreamers have to offer,” and the architect looks forward to continuing the group’s mission as shapers of the built environment.
“Our work is the manifestation of ideas and dreams that can uplift, but also demand much of our communities and environment to realize,” Crawford writes, who notes his pride in the group’s resiliency in the last 24 months. “We must work harder to balance that equation. We will broaden outreach to help our professional ranks more effectively reflect the full spectrum of talent available. We will also expand our education and knowledge communities to encourage our peers to address the plateau in performance on our 2030 Challenge among other critical issues.”
The Design Principal for Dallas studio HOK, Crawford leads design for a range of corporate, commercial urban mixed-use, and municipal projects. With three decades of practice that includes healthcare, aviation, institutional, and hospitality developments, he solves a range of design challenges. Those challenges fuel his creative process, he says.
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