Master Minds:
North Texas Idea Generators

These North Texas innovators are making a name for themselves, in areas from startup to enterprise and creative to education.

Idea generators in North Texas

From startups changing the way we travel and how brands can tell stories to inventions bringing new solutions to the health care and wireless industries, these North Texas innovators are making a name for themselves. 

George Brody

George Brody

Best known for his leadership at GlobeRanger, Brody has been a leading innovator in the wireless space for decades. These days, he’s an investor and adviser for Ilumi Solutions Inc., an Internet of Things initiatives company, and founder of the Advanced Wireless Research Consortium of North Texas, which encourages collaboration in the wireless sector.

The founder and CEO of Traxo set out to make it easier for people to share travel itineraries and plans with their friends. Traxo has financial backing from TripAdvisor and has developed partnerships with Lufthansa and other corporations.

The founder of Dallas-based 900lbs of Creative specializes in creating virtual reality and augmented reality content for major brands such as NTT Data and the Dallas Innovation Alliance. Deitz is passionate about telling immersive stories using the latest cutting-edge technology.

Steve Deitz, founder and CEO of 900lbs of Creative.

Steve Deitz, founder and CEO of 900lbs of Creative.

Antaki is the president of Evergaze LLC, an optical technology startup that is developing seeBOOST, a wearable device that helps people who are losing their vision due to macular degeneration.

The chief technical officer for Oculus, maker of virtual reality headsets, made a name for himself in the 1990s when he developed popular video games such as Quake and Doom. Today, he’s pushing the boundary of VR technology.

Liana Dunlap

Liana Dunlap

Dunlap’s resume included leadership positions at Disney and IBM before she became CEO of CoreSpace, a Dallas-based data center with locations across the country that offer cloud-based infrastructure and hosting for businesses.

The president of ZS Pharma has led the development of several prescription and over-the-counter medications, including Mucinex. The billion-dollar company went public with a $100 million offering. ZS Pharma is focusing on drugs to treat renal, heart, liver, and other diseases.

Pete Lerma

Now the principal at Richards/Lerma, Pete Lerma is one of the most innovative digital marketers today. His newest venture focuses entirely on marketing to Hispanics with brands such as The Home Depot and Ram Trucks.

Clyde Valentin

Valentin is the founder and director of Ignite Arts Dallas at the Meadows School at Southern Methodist University. The initiative unites arts and community engagement by encouraging art that explores racial and cultural themes in Dallas and the nation. The New York City native previously worked as the executive director of the Hip-Hop Theater Festival, now known as the Hi-ARTS.

He’s been an entrepreneur, investor, and mentor in Austin, but these days he’s the executive director of the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Texas at Dallas. The goal of the IIE is to encourage the next generation of startups at UTD.

Steve Guengerich speaks at the UTD Big Idea Competition 2017.

Steve Guengerich speaks at the UTD Big Idea Competition 2017.

The CEO of The Brierley Group knows how to generate loyalty for businesses. In his decades of experience, he’s built reward programs for airlines, hotels, retailers, and others. Beyond just loyalty, his work helps brands grab consumer attention.

A version of this story first appeared in Dallas Innovates 2018, an annual magazine that showcases Dallas-Fort Worth as a hub of innovation. Read more about the region’s game changers, disruptors, creatives, and our new frontiers in the digital edition.


The New Frontiers: DFW Companies Leading the Charge

From artificial intelligence to blockchain, North Texas companies are involved in the newest and most innovative trends in the world.

Breaking the Mold: North Texas Companies to Keep on Your Innovation Radar 

More than a dozen companies operate innovation labs, test centers, or teams in North Texas — add these to your watch list.


[Photo by Michael Samples]

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    Nonprofit BUiLT is hosting the event to highlight the success and possibilities of Black tech talent in the region. “There is no talent pipeline problem,” says Peter Beasley, co-founder of the Blacks United in Leading Technology International. “Black tech talent is widely available, especially in North Texas.”

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  • The hybrid event in August will take place in person at SMU and virtually. The seventh annual Dallas Startup Week powered by Capital One is Dallas-Fort Worth's largest event focused on driving entrepreneurial success, economic impact, and innovation in the region.

  • You'll find deadlines coming up for Dallas Innovates and DCEO Innovation Awards, StartHER grants, the Webby Awards; and many more opportunities. NEW!: Opportunities for women- and minority-owned businesses, Texas-based tech startups, and more.