DI People: Toyota North America, Six Flags Corp., Logicalis, OncoNano, RAVE Restaurant Group, and More Make Moves

In this week’s roundup of hires, promotions, and accolades in North Texas, you’ll also find news from Catalyze Dallas, Flexport, Oceans Healthcare, Costar Technologies, TXOne Networks, North Texas Food Bank, Holt Lunsford Commercial, and others.

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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Toyota Motor North America Announces 25+ Leadership Changes


Bob Carter, Mike Owens, Tracy Doi, and Zack Hicks will retire from Toyota this summer.

Plano-based Toyota North America has announced more than 25 executive leadership changes, including the retirement of the four industry veterans above.  Toyota detailed a series of structural changes, new positions, and promotions designed to further the organization’s mobility transformation in a statement released this week.

Here’s a rundown of the retiring executives—and who will take up their mantles.

Costar Technologies Appoints President, CEO

Coppell-based Costar Technologies Inc. announced that Scott Switzer has been appointed as the company’s president and chief executive officer.

Scott Switzer

In a statement, the company said that Switzer has been serving as its interim president and CEO since April 2020.

“Scott has managed Costar extremely well over the last two years and played a vital role in shaping the organization’s strategic direction. He skillfully navigated us through a particularly difficult time in the global economy.” Sally Washlow, chair of the Board of Directors, said in a statement. “Scott embodies Costar’s core values and I’m confident that he will provide the leadership and expertise needed to move the Company forward.”

Prior to being appointed Interim president and CEO, Switzer was the company’s chief operating officer from 2018 to April 2020 and was CFO and secretary of the company from 2011 to April 2020.

Dallas Advisory Firm SBI Appoints New President, CEO

Dallas-based SBI, a Go-to-Market Growth Advisory, announced that Mike Hoffman has been appointed president and CEO, effective July 1.

Mike Hoffman

An experienced executive leader and private equity operating partner, Hoffman has served as SBI’s chief operating officer since he joined SBI in 2018. SBI CEO Matt Sharrers, who handpicked Hoffman for the role, will remain active with SBI and has been named executive chairman, the company said in a statement.

“Mike and I have a decade-long relationship, including the four years spent working together as partners co-leading the firm” Sharrers said in a statement.  “When we hired Mike, it was with the premise of evolving the firm from a project-based consultancy to a tech enabled growth advisory. This included launching a new advisory business and building a proprietary data platform while evolving our core consulting business. Mike has accomplished this and clearly demonstrated he is ready to lead the firm on our next phase of growth. The Board and I are very confident in Mike.”

Before joining SBI, Hoffman was the founder and CEO of inSelligent and an operating partner at Marlin Equity and Francisco Partners, where he held interim CEO, COO, and EVP roles within their portfolio companies.

Flexport Names Ex-Amazon Executive as Co-CEO

Supply chain startup Flexport, which has an office in Dallas, announced that former Amazon consumer chief Dave Clark has been appointed co-CEO, and eventually sole CEO, of the $8 billion-valued supply chain software provider. Clark has moved to Dallas-Fort Worth.

Clark, whose resignation from Amazon was announced last week, finishes up as CEO of Amazon’s massive Worldwide Consumer division with his last day on July 1. He will take his post as Flexport’s co-CEO on Sept. 1 alongside founder Ryan Petersen.

Flexport said it intends Clark, 49, to become the company’s sole CEO six months later, with Petersen, 41, moving to an executive chairman role at the business he founded in 2013.

According to Forbes, revenue at Flexport reached $3.3 billion in 2021. The company said it expects to bring in about $5 billion in revenue this year.

OncoNano Medicine Appoints New Chief Medical Officer

Southlake-based OncoNano Medicine Inc. announced that Kartik Krishnan, M.D., Ph.D., has been appointed as chief medical officer. He will be responsible for formulating and leading all clinical development efforts and operations at OncoNano.

Kartik Krishnan

OncoNano says that Krishnan will also develop and implement the strategic clinical plans for OncoNano, including the creation of a medical affairs team, as the company further advances its clinical oncology development programs.

“His breadth of experience and history of drug development success will be instrumental to our company as we progress our differentiated portfolio of oncology development candidates into multiple clinical trials.” Martin Driscoll, CEO of OncoNano, said in the statement.

Previously, Krishnan previously was chief medical officer at Arcus Biosciences, where he led the expansion of the company’s portfolio into novel indications and combinations, as well as the initiation of a number of pivotal Phase 3 trials. Before that, he was executive medical director at Astex Pharmaceuticals, providing strategic direction and tactical support across multiple programs in all phases of development.

Six Flags Corp. Appoints New Chief Financial Officer

Grand Prairie-based Six Flags Entertainment Corp. has appointed Gary Mick as CFO of the world’s largest regional theme park company and the largest operator of waterparks in North America

In his new job, Mick, 61, will be responsible for Six Flags’ financial strategy, budgeting, accounting, financial reporting, audit, tax, and capital planning functions.

In a statement, the company said that Steve Purtell, who has filled the CFO position on an interim basis since March will continue to serve as SVP of corporate communications, investor relations and treasurer, reporting to President and CEO Selim Bassoul.

Mick brings 40 years of business and strategy experience to Six Flags, primarily in the food service industry. Most recently, Mick was president and CFO of Ice-O-Matic, an Ali Group Company based in Denver, Colorado.

EVEXIAS Health Solutions Promotes Director to COO Post

Lisa Mikals has been promoted to chief operating officer of EVEXIAS Health Solutions, a female-founded company based in Southlake.

Lisa Mikals

EVEXIAS Health Solutions is a provider of integrated wellness solutions for men and women seeking relief from symptoms of hormone imbalance, including hot flashes, anxiety, weight gain, muscle loss, and sexual dysfunction, according to the company’s website.

The move comes after Mikals’ pivotal role supporting EVEXIAS Medical Centers’ launch into a successful multi-unit national business. Previously, Mikals served as National Director of Culture and Training.

As a 10-year veteran of the EVEXIAS brand and an organizational development consultant for nearly two decades, Mikals is no stranger to the tasks laid out before her: turning a startup into a nationally recognized brand.

“Lisa will learn any role, do whatever it takes, and put together all the pieces of the puzzle to pave a path of achievement for the organization. The same methodologies she implemented for EVEXIAS Medical Centers can be scaled and really improve outcomes for the consumers we serve,” said Terri DeNeui, DNP, APRN, ACNP-BC, founder and chief medical officer of EVEXIAS.

Oceans Healthcare Hires Chief Operating Officer

Plano-based behavioral health company Oceans Healthcare announced the addition of Jeff Pritchard as chief operating officer

Jeff Pritchard

In a statement, Oceans said that Pritchard joins the company during a time of significant growth. He will lead its multistate operations and expand its mission to provide much-needed mental health services to underserved communities.

Pritchard’s career in behavioral health spans nearly three decades, with more than 15 years of executive leadership experience. Most recently, he served as COO of Louisville-based behavioral health provider Springstone Health, where he oversaw the business and financial performance of hospitals in multiple states.

“As Oceans Healthcare serves more patients in more states, having a seasoned leader and former clinician in the role of COO is crucial to our ongoing success,” CEO Stuart Archer said in a statement. “Jeff’s appointment is a testament to his understanding of the complexities of behavioral health care and the important role our hospitals play in addressing a nationwide crisis of access.”

Oceans says that it has doubled in size since 2017, due in large part to acquisitions, high-profile joint ventures, new facility development and the addition of new services. In the last year, Oceans cared for more patients than ever, opened five new behavioral health hospitals, acquired and expanded pharmacy services, and announced plans for three additional locations. It operates in three states and plans to expand into new ones within the next year.

Maurice Wilson (left) and Bill Garza

North Texas Food Bank Adds Two Execs to Its C-Suite

The North Texas Food Bank announced two additions to the executive staff.

Bill Garza is its new chief financial officer, responsible for directing and overseeing the finance, information technology and procurement functions of the organization. Maurice Wilson II is the new chief operating officer, responsible for leading business operations, logistics, quality, and community impact for the organization.

“Their unique skillsets and passion for our mission of bridging the hunger gap in North Texas will be instrumental in advancing the implementation of the Food Bank’s strategic plan to provide food for today and hope for tomorrow,” said Trisha Cunningham, president and CEO of the North Texas Food Bank. “

Garza brings deep private sector experience in areas of strategy, finance, and cross-organizational initiatives to his new position, the organization says. Most recently, Garza was CFO for leading Austin-based nonprofit agencies in the social services and K-12 education sectors, including AIDS Services of Austin and KIPP Austin Public Schools.

Wilson brings extensive experience in running operations across multiple sites, facilities management and warehousing, the food bank said. Wilson joins the North Texas Food Bank from his most recent position at Wayfair.

Catalyze Dallas Names First Chief of Staff

Jon Bennett has been named chief of staff at Catalyze Dallas, where he will fill a new role at the company that specializes in the commercialization of proven intellectual property from the nation’s top defense and government research laboratories, as well as Fortune 50 companies.

Jon Bennett

Bennett is a longtime principal at Catalyze, where he has already helped create two scalable businesses, Alpine Advanced Materials and Metro Aerospace, and currently serves as a member of the board for Metro Aerospace, the company said in a statement.

In his new role, Bennett will connect both work streams and leadership, easing communication and uniting teams to drive current and future Catalyze businesses forward. In addition to helping identify promising market potential for new companies, Bennett will have clear views across every Catalyze entity and maintain relationships with all of the company’s constituents. A seasoned senior executive and entrepreneur, Bennett has a proven record of scaling new ventures at speed, including with Alpine and Metro, and decades of executive leadership in the energy sector.

“Jon has played an integral role in writing the Catalyze story and driving our success,” said Tricia D’Cruz, co-founder and managing director for Catalyze Dallas.

Previously, Bennett was senior vice president of SDL Citadel, where he was responsible for channel development, customer acquisition, and new product development.

Holt Lunsford Commercial Hires Principal Over Retail Division

Holt Lunsford Commercial has expanded its commercial real estate services with a new retail division based in its Fort Worth office, and has hired Tracy Gray as principal over the new division.

Tracy Gray

Founded in Dallas in 1993, Holt Lunsford Commercial opened the Fort Worth office in 2008, extending its reach within the industrial and office market sectors with services including project leasing, tenant representation, property and facility management, development, construction management, and investments.

“We’ve talked about adding a retail division, but it was always about finding the right people who embodied our culture,” Matt Carthey, partner and managing principal of the Fort Worth office, said in a statement.

Carthey says the division is based out of Fort Worth because of Gray’s knowledge of the city, but that the division’s reach will extend across all the company’s markets.

Rail and Transit Company RailPros Hires Chief Legal, People Officer

Daniel Carter has been hired as chief legal and people officer at Irving-based RailPros, according to a statement from ON Partners, which assisted in his recruitment.

Daniel Carter

“Our chief legal and people officer is a key role for RailPros’ continued growth. Daniel’s expertise will help us strengthen our company culture, further streamline our HR processes, and reduce the need for outside counsel,” RailPros CEO Ken Koff said in a statement.

In his new role, Carter will oversee RailPros’ legal and human resources department.

Founded in 2000, RailPros has offices nationwide. It focuses exclusively on providing rail and transit engineering and construction services to Class 1 and commuter rail carriers across the U.S. It employs more than 800 rail and transit engineers, construction, inspection, design, and field support staff, enabling the companies to service the full spectrum of the industry’s management, construction, planning, and design needs.

RAVE Restaurant Group Makes EVP, COO Promotion

Dallas-based RAVE Restaurant Group, the parent company of Pizza Inn and Pie Five Pizza, announced that Mike Burns has been promoted to EVP and chief operating officer, effective June 27. Previously, Burns was RAVE’S chief operations officer.

Mike Burns

 “Mike’s influence as a leader is felt throughout the company daily. Not only does he have a reputation for creating high-performing teams, he has improved our supply chain and our franchise development initiatives,” Mark Schwarz, chairman of RAVE Restaurant Group, said in a statement. “Overall, he has helped us shore up operations and create efficiencies across both brands, contributing to our eight consecutive quarters of profitability.”

Before joining RAVE, Burns was vice president of operations for Irving-based Pei Wei, where he led a team of multi-unit operators responsible for 80 restaurants in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Oklahoma. Before that, he served as regional vice president, where he oversaw more than 175 Bojangles’ corporate restaurant locations.

TXOne Networks Expands to Irving HQ, Names Head of Office

Taipei-based TXOne Networks announced it has expanded its Americas operations with a new U.S. headquarters in Irving, growing team and extended channel- and customer-support activities in the region.

Jeff DePasse

The TXOne Networks Americas team is led by Jeff DePasse, who has more than 30 years of experience in high-tech sales, including 15 in direct- and channel-sales leadership in cybersecurity, the company said in a statement.

The company said that DePasse has reinforced the TXOne Networks Americas management team with proven subject-matter experts in the space including John Elder, channel director; Austen Byers, technical director, and De Anne O’Connell, marketing director.

TXOne said that its new Americas headquarters is in the high-tech corridor in Las Colinas, which is home to several Fortune 500 companies.

Read more about TXOne in our story here.

From left: Margot Carter and Ray Hemmig

New Officers, Board Members Drive the Advocacy of Directorship at NACD North Texas

NACD North Texas’ talent-rich new lineup is taking the torch and looking ahead. The nonprofit’s new officers and board members will carry forward the local NACD chapter’s mission: promoting corporate governance and standards of excellence to elevate board performance across the region. 

New NACD North Texas Board Chair Margot Carter is the president of Living Mountain Capital and builds businesses in technology, real estate, and construction. Ray Hemmig will serve as board vice chair. The chairman of Retail & Restaurant Growth Capital, he sits on the board of Snappy Salads Enterprises. Hemming will continue to serve as co-chair of the nominating/governance committee.

Meet the new slate of officers and board members in our story.

Logicalis Names Vice President of Managed Services

International IT solution and management services provider Logicalis US announced that Frisco-based Mohammed Ibrahim has been appointed as the company’s new vice president of managed services.

Mohammed Ibrahim

In his new position, Ibrahim will oversee a team of 285 operations experts, composed of help desk, engineering support teams, and solutions architects. He will work closely with Logicalis’ global and regional teams to ensure proper resource alignment, the company said in a statement.

“Our customers rely on our managed services support, and we know that Mohammed will deliver what they need to be successful. He represents what it means to be an Architect of Change, and we look forward to seeing his leadership drive growth throughout our organization,” CEO Jon Groves said in a statement.

Ibrahim brings more than two decades of experience in networking and security, as well as hybrid cloud and enterprise solution design for complex global structures. Based in Frisco, Ibrahim attended Bangalore University and holds various technical certifications including as a Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert and AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner.

“Logicalis US has become a leader in the technology sector by exemplifying what it means to be Architects of Change,” Ibrahim said in a statement.  The Logicalis Group is a division of Datatec Limited, listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, with revenues of over $4.1 billion.

CollateralEdge Hires VP of Technology

Joe Williams has joined Richardson-based fintech platform CollateralEdge as vice president of technology where he will oversee the execution and development of the entire technical product suite, as well as lead new product development.

Joe Williams

Williams has more than a decade of experience scaling and transforming business-critical software applications for various companies, the company said in a statement. Before joining CollateralEdge, he led the technological vision of Sadiant Health as its chief technology officer.

He has a B.A in political science and business from the University of North Texas and an MBA from the University of Texas of the Permian Basin.

Pharos Capital Adds Two Vice Presidents

Middle market private equity firm Pharos Capital Group has added two vice presidents.

Jim Kerrigan

Based in Dallas and Nashville, Pharos Capital said that Jim Kerrigan of the firm’s Dallas office was promoted from associate. Also, Pharos said it hired Philip Butler as a vice president in its Dallas office. The company said that the moves are part of Pharos’ continuing efforts to both recognize home-grown talent and recruit talented outside professionals to support its growth.

Both Kerrigan and Butler are responsible for evaluating and executing investment opportunities, performing transaction due diligence, and working with management teams to implement operational and growth strategies, the company said in a statement.

Philip Butler

Currently, Kerrigan works with the firm’s investments in The Family Treatment Network, MOTION Physical Therapy, Sona Dermatology & Medspa, Sanderling Renal Services, and THEMA Health Services. Before coming to Pharos in 2016, he was an Investment Banking Analyst at Barclays Investment Bank in New York. Mr. Kerrigan graduated from the University of Nebraska Omaha with a BSBA, magna cum laude, in Accounting and Finance.

Butler works with the firm’s investments in Complete Health, FasPsych, Seaside, and Verdi Oncology. Before joining Pharos, he was a vice president and venture partner at Apis Holdings in Tulsa, Oklahoma

DeSoto ISD Names New Superintendent, OKs Teacher Pay Hike

Dr. Usamah Rodgers has taken the reins as the new superintendent of the DeSoto ISD, and one of her first acts was to propose a $6,500 annual teacher pay increase.

Rodgers became superintendent last week, and she presented the pay increase plan to the school board, hoping it will help recruit new teachers who are greatly needed by the district. The board approved the increase on Wednesday.

A longtime educator, Rodgers’ career started with her work as a teacher before she became dean of instruction, assistant principal, and campus principal. Her leadership roles have included posts as an executive director and, most recently, as the deputy chief of strategic initiatives in the Dallas ISD.

Alternative Biomedical Solutions Hires Controller

Carrollton-based Alternative Biomedical Solutions said that Carrie White has been hired as controller.

Her responsibilities will include the management of the accounting function and team as well as implementing and enhancing processes and controls that will support the accuracy of ABS’ financial statements, the company said in a statement.

The company said that White is a senior accounting/finance leader with strong relationship-building, successful influencing, and well-developed people management skills. White’s previous workplaces include Nortel Networks, BT Global Services, and IntelliCentrics Global Holdings. Alternative said that White has been engaged in upper-level management responsibilities such as head of finance, vice president accounting, and as vice president/global controller.

Governor Abbott Appoints Students from Two North Texas Schools As Student Regents

Two North Texas students were among the eight student regents appointed to their respective universities by Texas Governor Greg Abbott for terms running through May 31, 2023. Abbott also appointed the student representative to serve on the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board for terms set to expire on May 31, 2023.

University of North Texas System: Andy McDowall of Seguin is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from the University of North Texas.

Texas Woman’s University in Denton: Lily Wilson of Rockwall is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Political Science and plans to attend law school upon graduation. She plays outfield for the Texas Woman’s University softball team.

The governor also appointed Texas A&M University System’s Demetrius Harrell, Jr.; Texas Southern University’s Keonne McClain; Texas State University System’s Gabriel Webb; Texas Tech University System’s Hani Michael Annabi; University of Houston System’s Edward Carrizales-Saucedo; University of Texas System’s Neelesh “Neel” Mutyala; and Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s Georgia Blackwell.

Lexus Culinary Masters Adds Noted Chef to its Program

The Lexus Culinary Masters program has welcomed noted chef, television personality and author Kwame Onwuachi.

Kwame Onwuachi

In a statement, the company said that Lexus Culinary Masters act as ambassadors to the brand, seeking to craft amazing experiences and amplify Lexus core values: quality, innovation, prestige, luxury, and performance, while also partnering with the brand on marketing initiatives and food and wine events. Lexus’ North American headquarters is in Plano.

Onwuachi trained at the Culinary Institute of America in New York City and has opened five restaurants before the age of 30. Onwuachi is a James Beard Award-winning chef and author of the critically acclaimed memoir “Notes from a Young Black Chef,” which is being adapted into a feature film. His much-anticipated cookbook, “My America: Recipes from a Young Black Chef,” was released last month.

“Chef Onwuachi is a multifaceted culinary creator whose dedication to his guests and community closely aligns with the foundational values of Lexus,” said Vinay Shahani, Lexus vice president of marketing. “We’re honored to have him represent our brand and look forward to the perspective he will bring to the Culinary Masters program.”

Cooksey Communications Hires VP and Public Sector Practice Leader

Irving-based strategic communications firm Cooksey Communications announced that Tom Bryson has joined its team as vice president and Public Sector Practice leader.

Tom Bryson

In a statement, Cooksey said that Bryson will draw on nearly four decades of journalism and municipal communications experience to advise Cooksey’s public sector clients on stakeholder communications and engagement best practices.

“Tom’s extensive background in local government communications, coupled with his demonstrated leadership abilities in the industry’s premier professional organizations, makes him an ideal candidate to lead our growing Public Sector Practice,” said Colby Walton, chairman and CEO of Cooksey Communications. “Tom brings invaluable, hands-on experience and connections with peers across Texas and nationwide, further bolstering our ability to provide city clients and other public sector organizations with clear, confident counsel and meaningful support.”

Before joining Cooksey, Bryson had a more-than three-decade career in municipal communications, serving for nine years as the community information administrator for the city of Duncanville and 22 years as the director of communications for the city of Farmers Branch. During his tenure at Farmers Branch, Bryson and his team were recognized more than 55 times with awards on the local, state, and national levels. Previously, Bryson worked as a local newspaper reporter.

Banter by Piercing Pagoda Appoints Artist and Songwriter as Its First-Ever Creative Director

Dallas-based Banter by Piercing Pagoda, a leading U.S. specialty kiosk retailer, has named its first-ever brand creative director: Grammy-nominated rapper, songwriter, and artist Tierra Whack.

Tierra Whack

The company says Whack will use her “boundless creativity” to engage customers with designs that elevate the brand’s “bold spirit.” As creative director, Whack has designed a capsule collection of jewelry in conjunction with designer Malyia McNaughton, a member of the Black in Jewelry Coalition. Part of the Signet Jewelers portfolio, Banter rebranded in 2021 and caters to a Gen Z and millennial customer. Similar to Whack, the company says, the brand’s goal is inclusivity for all people.

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