Interview with S.M. Wright II – Episode 12

About S.M. Wright II

At the young age of 18 S.M. Wright became the Sr. Pastor of his father’s church, the People’s Missionary Baptist Church. In the midst of a mass member exodus and financial troubles Wright went to local Dallas business leaders and made the case for why his ministry was so vital and sought out their guidance. At the urging of John Stemmons, S.M. founded the S.M. Wright Foundation. Today the Foundation serves thousands of underprivileged children and families through programs such as Christmas in the Park and Beds for Kids. S.M. II has continued his father’s legacy of civic and ministerial leadership. S.M. is widely respected as a community leader amongst elected officials, business leaders and other non-profits. 
It was such an honor to sit down with this Titan and hear the story of growing up learning at the knee of his father S.M. Wright Sr., a leader during the civil rights era and one of Dallas’s most influential leaders. Please enjoy this interview with my friend S.M. Wright II. 

About S.M. Wright

S.M. Wright was born in Dallas on February 7, 1927 to the Reverend Calvin and Mary Wright. He grew up in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Dallas, the Bon Ton community. As a child, he was determined to “be somebody” so he focused on his education, graduating from Lincoln High School and earning a bachelor’s degree from Bishop College in Marshall, Texas. He later earned a master’s and doctorate degree from Bishop College.

Dr. Wright became the pastor of the People’s Missionary Baptist Church in South Dallas in 1957. A natural leader, he served as advisor to elected officials, businessmen, and civic leaders. He was known for his ability to unite ethnic groups peacefully. During the turbulent 1960s, Dr. Wright worked with city leaders to foster integration in education, employment, and political representation as well as in restaurants, hotels, shops, and swimming pools. He died on November 3, 1994. To honor his legacy, then Governor George W. Bush changed the name of Highway 175 to the S.M. Wright Freeway in 1995.

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Interview with Rogge Dunn – Episode 11

I was honored to sit down with Rogge Dunn this week here is his bio:

The Texas Connection
Rogge Dunn is a fifth generation Texan and second generation Dallasite. Dunn and his wife, Cathy DeWitt Dunn, are active in charitable, political and civic causes.

Recognized Trial Expertise
Dunn was recognized in 2018 as one of the top 100 attorneys in Texas by Thomson Reuters service published in Texas Monthly. Dunn has been repeatedly honored as one of the top 100 attorneys in Dallas/Fort Worth including in 2018  by Thomson Reuters service published in Texas Monthly

Every year from 2003 through 2019 Dunn has also been designated a Texas “Super Lawyer,” by Thomson Reuters. 

Since 2003 Dunn has been repeatedly honored by D Magazine as one of the Best Lawyers in Dallas.  Dunn was so honored in 2019.

Dunn is Board Certified in Civil Trial Law and has taken cases all the way to jury verdicts and arbitration awards in seven states and eight Texas cities.

He has also been recognized in The Best Lawyers in America© (Woodward White, Inc.) for Commercial Litigation and Employment Law-Management.

Dunn’s closing arguments from two trials were recorded for the Million Dollar Arguments audio series.

Another closing argument Dunn made at a trial was printed in Trial Magazine.

Dunn’s Cases Covered by the Media
News organizations seek his expert opinion on legal issues, and report on his cases including: the CBS Evening News,The Wall Street JournalThe New York Times, BBC Radio, Anderson Cooper 360, U.S. News & World Report, the Today Show, CNN, CBS This Morning, USA Today, MSNBC and The National Law Journal.  Click here

Complex Litigation
Dunn is one of only 35 attorneys in Texas Board Certified in both Civil Trial Law and in Labor and Employment Law. He litigates business, employment and personal injury disputes throughout the country.  

He has represented clients in disputes arising in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Dubai, England, France, Hong Kong, India, Mexico, the Netherlands, Scotland, Spain and Qatar.

Dunn handles employment, partnerships, FINRA arbitration, class actions, defamation, privacy issues, shareholder oppression, “business divorce,” non-competes, trade secrets, whistleblowing and significant personal injury matters.

Confidentiality
While Dunn’s high-profile cases have garnered national and international attention, he has discretely resolved many more cases not listed on our website. Dunn knows that many clients need a quick, quiet and confidential resolution.

Dunn helps individuals and corporations in delicate or compromising situations who need a sophisticated and discrete touch. These include everything from assaults, regulatory violations, sexual battery, doxxing, secret videotaping and illegitimate children.  

Clients who need an experienced and politically connected problem solver hire Dunn.  We are experts at controlling the external optics to protect our clients’ reputations.

Representation of High Profile Individuals
Rogge Dunn represents ultra-high net worth individuals, Fortune 500, executives, as well as General Counsels, private equity firms,  coaches, professional athletes, Olympic gold medal winners, Judges and University Presidents.

One of the highest testaments to Dunn’s abilities is the fact that many companies and individuals Dunn has sued, later hired Dunn to represent them. 

Controlling the Narrative in Sensitive Cases
In this instant messaging and social media environment, stories go viral in a matter of seconds.  Working with top PR firms, Dunn ensures the facts involving legal claims are portrayed accurately.  

Paper Pushers Can Take You Only So Far
Choose your attorney carefully.  Many attorneys are adept at pushing paper, but seldom take cases all the way to a jury verdict.  Ask the lawyer specifically how many times he or she has obtained a jury verdict.  Dunn is Board Certified in Civil Trial Law.

Hiring an experienced trial lawyer who flourishes at trial increases your settlement leverage.  If the other side knows your lawyer is bluffing, you will leave money on the table or overpay, if you are a defendant.  When the other side knows they are negotiating against a seasoned trial attorney, you maximize your settlement position, as either a plaintiff or defendant.

Thinking and Operating “Outside the Box”
Dunn earned his spurs as a Senior Partner in two different mega-firms with offices around the world.  While huge firms are a good choice for many matters, they are bureaucratic and often lack flexibility and entrepreneurial spirit.  

Dunn formed our Firm to provide the contingent fee flexibility and personal service lacking in most big firms.  

Is Your Case Too Small?
Most of Dunn’s work involves high dollar, “bet the company/bet your reputation” matters.  However, as Dunn says, “I became a lawyer because I enjoy fighting for a good cause.  There is no greater privilege in my work than righting a wrong and slaying a Goliath.”  

Dunn’s success gives him the financial security to accept smaller matters, work on a contingent fee and a pro bono basis.  

Dunn Understands Executives and Business Owners
Successfully resolving business disputes requires more than good negotiating skills.  It requires appreciating how businesses operate and executives think.  

Dunn is an Adjunct Professor in the SMU Executive EMBA program.  His 20+ years of teaching, including listening to and exchanging business solutions with successful entrepreneurs enables him to reach business-smart solutions.

Change-in-Control Agreements
Dunn has advised C-level executives in  mergers, change-in-control and “poison pill” battles involving  Baker Hughes, Chevron, Dresser, FedEx, Frozen Food Express, GE Energy, Halliburton, Kinkos,  Pizza Inn, Sperry-Sun Drilling, SunEdison, Unocal and the Williams Companies.

Corporate Investigations
Fortune 500 companies hire Dunn to investigate corporate governance and other sensitive matters.  One of Dunn’s investigations was cited by the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals as a basis for his client (CBRE) obtaining a summary judgment. Sandstad v. CB Richard Ellis, 309 F.3d 893 (5th Cir. 2002).

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Interview with Atlanta Braves Pitcher Josh Tomlin – Episode 10

Josh Tomlin is a pitcher for the Atlanta Braves. Josh is from Whitehouse, TX where he began his baseball career. Upon graduation he went to Angelina College then Texas Tech and was eventually drafted in 2005 by the San Diego Padres but did not sign. He eventually found his way to the Cleveland Indians organization after being once again drafted in 2006. 

Josh made his major league debut July 27, 2010 against the New York Yankees. The Indians won the game 4-1. Josh finished his first season with a 12-7 record over 26 games in the 2010 season. Josh was a member of the Indians 2016 ALCS championship team and played in the 2016 World Series. 
Josh is now a 14 year veteran with the Atlanta Braves after signing with the Braves in 2019. In this interview Josh discusses his career first as a fielder and then surprisingly becoming a pitcher. He also shares his mental mindset in dealing with adversity and as he puts it not being a high rated player. 


“I’ve always played like I have nothing to lose because I don’t.” Josh’s mental strength, discipline and level head have helped him survive a 14 year career that has included ups and downs. In August of 2012 he underwent Tommy John surgery. “I never thought I wouldn’t make it back. That was never a thought.”


This was by far one of my favorite interviews yet. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Josh’s wisdom, insight and humorous take on many of the aspects of climbing your way from the “dirt floor club houses” of the minor leagues to the big stage that is the major leagues.


Please enjoy this visit with MLB pitcher and fellow East Texan, and Texas Titan Josh Tomlin.

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Interview with Gillea Allison – Episode 9

Gillea Allison is the President of D Magazine Partners, responsible for revenue
growth and marketing efforts across D Magazine publications,  dmagazine.com ,
and People Newspapers. She has held roles as a digital strategist, marketing
director, and community builder across political campaigns, private brands, and
nonprofit & advocacy organizations. Before moving back home in 2016, she
worked for Blue State Digital in New York, an agency and technology
company that develops and executes digital strategy for organizations ranging
from Sierra Club to EMILY’s List and Ford. She was also on the digital
leadership team for Obama for America 2012 in Chicago. She’s an Executive
Board member of Dwell with Dignity and the Coalition for a New Dallas, and
graduated from Fordham University with honors.

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Interview with Chris Wallace Episode – 8

About Chris:

Chris Wallace, IOM, CCE is President/CEO of the North Texas Commission, a unique public-private partnership that drives large impactful projects and legislative advocacy benefiting a robust 13-county region.

Prior to joining the NTC, Wallace was President/COO of the Texas Association of Business, the state chamber of commerce. In this role, he managed TAB’s statewide team responsible for legislative advocacy and strategy, operations, membership/marketing, as well as board and chamber relations. As a registered lobbyist, Chris led TAB’s advocacy initiatives in the areas of economic development having founded the highly recognized and successful Keep Texas Open for Business Coalition.

Wallace also successfully led a nationwide campaign reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank as well as a NAFTA 2.0 initiative (Texas-Mexico Trade Coalition). Prior to joining the TAB team, Wallace was President/CEO of the Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber, the third largest chamber of commerce in North Texas and the first national Five-Star Accredited Chamber in Texas. He also managed the Irving Economic Development Partnership. Wallace is chairman of the National Board of Trustees of the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for Organization Management as well as a former Regent of Northeast Institute at Villanova University. He is among only 570 executives in the nation who have earned their CCE (Certified Chamber Executive) designation. He also serves on the national board of the Business & Industry Political Action Committee (BIPAC) and on the Texas Advisory Committee of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition.

Wallace has also served as the Vice President of Administration for the Las Colinas Associationwhere he successfully developed and implemented a corporate communications and marketing program for the 12,000-acre Las Colinas development.

He is a 1992 graduate of Texas Tech University and serves as a member of the Texas Tech Chancellors Council and previously on the Professional Advisory Board of the College of Media and Communication where he was named an outstanding alumnus in 2008. Wallace has experience in economic development marketing, strategic planning, and public relations including management in both the public and private sectors. He has played an active role in several local and state political campaigns. Wallace is an advocate of strong civic engagement through his involvement with numerous social service, education, arts and municipal-related boards/commissions. He was a finalist for a 2010 White House Fellowship.

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Interview with Phil Burks – Episode 7

About Phil:

Education- BS Degree in Electrical Engineering Technology from LeTourneau University (1974), Longview, Texas

Previous Employment – KHYM-AM, KFRO-AM, KLTV-TV, Motorola, Jecca Towers, Inc. 

Current Employment (29 years) – Founder / CEO of Burks GenCore Co., Inc.; GenCore Candeo, Ltd.; GenCore International, Ltd.; GenCore, LLC; MBCG, LLC., Phirst Technologies, LLC

HISTORY:

Shortly after college, Phil Burks began a rising career in sales with Motorola. An oilfield client offered a new position and opportunity for Phil to start a tower rental company and in 1980 Jecca Towers was born. Jecca owned towers and also sold and installed towers for MCI, AT&T and various communication firms. Jecca grew to 65% cash flow and in 1988 Motorola made an offer that was accepted to purchase all assets of Jecca Towers, and The Genesis Group began.  

In 1989, Genesis grew from a single DOS based billing software product that Phil wrote in his bedroom, to now over 30 Windows and browser-based software products that are designed to enhance Motorola critical two-way radio systems. Genesis software is globally installed for clients like: Motorola Australia, The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Bell Mobility Canada, the States of Florida, Virginia, Louisiana, Arkansas, Illinois, South Carolina, Cities of New York, San Francisco and many, many others. Genesis has grown to include over 60 full time employees at their Tyler, office; an office in London and close affiliates in Melbourne and Mexico City. In April, 2013, Phil stepped down as president and promoted Jim Nipp (VP of Business Development) to President. Phil remains as owner and CEO of the software enterprises.

CURRENT:

Most recently, Phil became an investor and Director of xCraft Enterprises, a drone manufacturing company in Idaho. Along with xCraft’s CEO, JD Claridge (who was on Shark Tank), Phil has created Phirst Technologies, LLC to develop and market a specialized drone for police, fire, and ambulance called FIRST iZ (pronounced First Eyes).  http://FirstiZ.co 

Civic- Many local non-profit boards including being a founding member of Tyler Innovation Pipeline.

Management Style- Phil defines his management style as first being a servant. “I want to set an example that others will follow. If I have a problem doing that, then I have no business leading others. I give responsibility and authority for each person to run their areas, and I stand behind their decisions – right or wrong. If there is an occasion where an employee has made a bad decision, I will correct them in private and give them a chance to make it right,” he says. Phil works hard to empower his employees with responsibility and freedom to do the tasks that are present and will only do follow up as needed. 

More Information on the software portion of Phil’s pursuits can be obtained at- http://www.genesisworld.com and www.GenesisPULSE.com  The real estate development pursuits, additional information can be obtained at www.CorporateGreenTyler.com     www.FaceBook.com/CorporateGreen 

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Interview with Vicki Spriggs – Episode 6

Vicki Spriggs is a dedicated advocate for children who has worked for more than 40 years in the child services arena. Known for her leadership on youth-related issues, she is a national speaker, a decisive leader and a fierce believer in the rights of all children, especially their right to a safe, loving and permanent home.

Prior to joining Texas CASA in January 2012, Spriggs served in a variety of positions dedicated to child welfare, including 16 years as executive director of the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission and director of the Travis County Juvenile Court Informal Adjustment Unit. She has also opened her home as a foster parent.

She received a bachelor’s degree in education and Master of Education in juvenile justice and secondary counseling from the University of Massachusetts Amhurst.

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Interview with Britt Berrett – Episode 5

Britt Berrett served as the president of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, an 898-bed hospital. In addition to his role as president of the Dallas hospital, Berrett also served at the system level as an executive vice president of Texas Health Resources. He oversaw strategic planning and operations for Texas Health Dallas, guiding the hospital in its mission to improve the health of the people in the community it serves.  

While on a two-year mission in Peru, Berrett developed a great appreciation for the role that healthcare providers can play in improving the quality of life for an entire community. It is his concern for the quality of life in the community that makes him a passionate advocate for excellence in healthcare and a perfect fit for Texas Health Dallas.

Prior to joining Texas Health Dallas, Berrett served as president and chief executive officer of Medical City, a 677-bed hospital, since April 2000.  He received his bachelor’s degree in finance from Brigham Young University and his master’s degree in hospital administration from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.  Berrett also received his PhD in Public Administration from the University of Texas at Dallas.

Texas Health Dallas was recognized in 2007 as a U.S. News and World Report Best Hospital for Digestive Disorders, Neurology and Neurosurgery and Orthopedics specialties. Texas Health Dallas received the Magnet Recognition Program Award for excellence in nursing services from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), the nation’s largest and leading nursing credentialing organization within the American Nurses Association (ANA).

Currently Dr. Berrett is the program director of the Jindal School of Management’s undergraduate Healthcare Management program, as well as the director of UTD’s Center for Healthcare Leadership & Management. He lectures nationally and internationally on transformational leadership, organizational change and performance. In 2013, he co-authored Patients Come Second – Leading Change by Changing the Way you Lead

which has become a New York Times, USA Today and WSJ Best Seller.

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Interview with Trey Bowles – Episode 4

Interview with Trey Bowles, Chairman and Co-founder of Dallas Entrepreneur Center and Co-founder of the Dallas Innovation Alliance

Trey Bowles is a serial entrepreneur, social capitalist, and educator. Trey cofounded the Dallas Entrepreneur Center (DEC), a central location for entrepreneurs to learn how to start, build and grow businesses through training, education, mentorship, promotion, and capital investment. As Co-Founder and CEO, Trey leads strategy, vision, and drives the overall planning and development efforts for the DEC. Bowles also recently cofounded and launched the Dallas Innovation Alliance (DIA), a public-private partnership dedicated to the design, development and execution of a Smart Cities plan for Dallas.

In addition to his work with the DEC, Trey worked closely with the Startup America Partnership, a non-profit organization started by Steve Case and the Kauffman Foundation, leading a team of entrepreneurial experts across the country to help high-growth startups find greater success. Trey also helped launch the Arts Entrepreneurship Department in the Meadows School of Arts at Southern Methodist University and currently serves as an Adjunct Professor on staff teaching Social Entrepreneurship and an Accelerate Your Startup Class. Bowles also cofounded the Mayor’s Star Council with Mayor Mike Rawlings of Dallas to find a culturally diverse and civically minded group of emerging leaders who want to embrace and engage the City of Dallas as opposed to inheriting the city in 20 years.

Trey has built companies in both the for-profit and non-profit space with an expertise in strategy, operations, and marketing. Bowles has held key leadership roles in the industries of music, entertainment, and disruptive technology including running the popular peer-to-peer file-sharing site, Morpheus. He led the turn-around and sale of Big Jump Media Inc. to Salem Communications (NASDAQ: SALM) in 2010.

Trey lives in Dallas with his wife and three children and is committed to building collaborative ecosystems at the intersection of technology, entrepreneurship and education.

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An Interview with the New Chairman of the Board of Regents for the University of Texas System, Kevin Eltife – Episode 03

KEVIN P. ELTIFE, Tyler, Texas, was appointed to a six-year term on The University of Texas System Board of Regents by Governor Greg Abbott in January 2017 and was confirmed by the Texas Senate on February 7, 2017.

On December 20, 2018, he was elected Chairman of the Board of Regents. Chairman Eltife chairs the System Review and Structure Task Force. He previously served on the Academic Affairs Committee; the Audit, Compliance, and Risk Management Committee; the Facilities Planning and Construction Committee; the Finance and Planning Committee; and the Board for Lease of University Lands.

He formerly served as Senator for Texas Senate District 1, as the Mayor of Tyler, and on the Tyler City Council. He has also served as a member of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

Mr. Eltife is the owner of Eltife Properties, Ltd. He is a Director for Citizens 1st Bank and serves on The University of Texas at Austin Development Board and The University of Texas at Tyler Development Board.

Mr. Eltife earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from The University of Texas at Austin. He resides in Tyler with his wife and two children.

Kevin is one of the most accomplished, self-made men I know. I’ve had the pleasure of knowing him for almost 20 years. After losing his father at a young age Kevin took notes from his uncle and learned the real estate business. It was in that business he learned the frustrations of bureaucracy and decided to get involved in public service to remedy said frustration. It was soon after he became a member of the Tyler City Council and later the Mayor. Eventually, he served as a State Senator all the while building a wildly successful real estate business.

If you ever wanted to know what a life well lived looks like, I give you exhibit A in the form of Kevin Eltife. Please enjoy this interview.

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