Newsmakers: VLK Architects adds principal

Gopinath Akalkotkar


VLK Architects has announced that Gopinath “Gopi” Akalkotkar, COA, AIA, LEED AP, has joined the firm as Principal. Akalkotkar will be responsible for leading VLK’s efforts in San Antonio and the South Texas market. After receiving his master of architecture degree from the University of Texas at Austin, Akalkotkar led dozens of large and complex international projects at firms like ArchWert, Stantec, 3D/I (now Parsons), and Kell Munoz Wigodsky (now Munoz & Company).

The Sundt Foundation named Stefanie Teller  as the organization’s new executive director at its recent annual meeting. The Sundt Foundation has selected Madison Jones as its new President and added three new members to its board of directors. Chad Yount will represent the San Antonio region, Barbara Terry  represents the North Texas region and Vanessa Lopez will represent the Greater Los Angeles area.


TPG announced May 10 that Co-Founder Jim Coulter  has become Executive Chairman of the firm and Jon Winkelried, who has served as Co-Chief Executive Officer with Coulter, has been named sole Chief Executive Officer. David Bonderman, who co-founded TPG with Coulter, will continue in his role as Co-Founder and Chairman of TPG.

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Argent Trust Company announced May 3 that Tom Stringfellow has joined the company as chief investment strategist. Stringfellow comes to Argent from Frost Bank, where he served as president & chief investment officer of Frost Investment Advisors and as executive vice president & chief investment officer of Frost Wealth Advisors.

 Mortgage Contracting Services (MCS) a national provider of residential and commercial property services based in Lewisville, has announced the upcoming retirement of longtime CEO Caroline Reaves. Reaves is set to become chairwoman of the MCS Board, while Chief Relationship Officer Chad Mosley has been promoted to president of MCS.

Crestline Investors Inc. has named David Philipp a partner of the firm. Philipp, who joined Crestline in 2013 as Managing Director & Senior Portfolio Manager, is a member of Crestline’s Management Committee, and co-heads Crestline’s Fund Liquidity Solutions business group.


The Grapevine Colleyville ISD Education Foundation Board of Directors has approved Jane Richards  to lead the foundation as its new executive director effective May 3. Richards is taking the helm from Sue Franks, who is retiring after three years as executive director and decades of support and service to the education foundation. Richards most recently served as the sales director for Club Corp. She previously held the role of director of sales and marketing at Cowboys Golf Club in Grapevine.

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Texas Health Resources has named Laura McWhorter president of the Texas Health Resources Foundation effective May 10. McWhorter will focus on bringing together strategic partnerships through fundraising to solve the greatest challenges within the communities Texas Health is privileged to serve, the organization said in the announcement. Most recently, McWhorter spent 18 months as chief philanthropy officer at North Texas Community Foundation. Prior to that she was vice president of the Texas Health Resources Foundation, having risen in progressively larger roles throughout a 22-year career at Texas Health.

John Hoover joined Medical City Fort Worth as chief operating officer, effective May 10, bringing over 10 years of operational leadership experience to the hospital. Prior to Medical City Fort Worth, Hoover served as chief operating officer at Eastside Medical Center in Atlanta, Georgia. During his tenure, he oversaw strategic development of services, facility and operations planning and colleague engagement.

Caris Life Sciences, an Irving-based innovator in molecular science and artificial intelligence focused on fulfilling the promise of precision medicine, has appointed Joseph E. Gilliam to the Caris Board of Directors, effective April 12, 2021. The board is now comprised of 10 directors.

The Aesthetic Surgery Education and Research Foundation (ASERF) announced the election of Louis L. Strock, MD, a plastic surgeon practicing in Fort Worth, as its new president. Strock is an aesthetic and reconstructive plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.

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ASERF is the philanthropic research and education arm of The Aesthetic Society. As president, Strock plans to leverage research and technology advancements from the Aesthetic One app and Aesthetic Neural Network (ANN) to gain deeper insights for both doctors and patients, the organization said in the announcement.

North Texas Area Community Health Centers has announced that it has hired Dr. Dinesh Gowda, M.D., FAAP,  an award-winning pediatric physician, to join its Arlington location as the demand for accessible pediatric health care has increased.

Paul Kappelman has joined the board of directors of Sadiant Health, an on-demand health care staffing network.


John Fletcher,  owner of Fletcher Consulting Public Relations, received the Distinguished Leadership Award from the Northeast Leadership Forum (NLF) April 30 at the Gaylord Texan. NLF award judges cited his widespread leadership in several chambers of commerce in Northeast Tarrant County, and how he has involved both himself and his clients in community partnerships throughout the area. NLF includes elected public officials along with leaders in business, education, nonprofits, and community service.

Orion Jean, 10, a fifth-grader at Chisholm Ridge Elementary in Fort Worth, was named one of America’s top 10 youth volunteers of 2021 on by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards during the program’s 26th annual, and second fully virtual, national recognition celebration.

Selected from a field of more than 21,000 youth volunteers from across the country, Orion has earned the title of National Honoree, along with a scholarship of $5,000, an engraved gold medallion, a crystal trophy for his school, and a $5,000 grant from The Prudential Foundation for a nonprofit organization of his choice.

Jean collected more than 600 toys for kids at a children’s hospital, and provided more than 40,000 meals for people in need, after winning a national speech contest in which he encouraged people to “Race to Kindness.” The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, sponsored by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), honors students in grades 5-12 for making meaningful contributions to their communities through volunteer service.

Amanda Wells, Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) and director of National Accounts for the Arlington Convention & Visitors Bureau received the Colleen Rickenbacher Leadership Award at the 19th annual Certified Meeting Professional and Certificate in Meeting Management Recognition Event, hosted by the Dallas/Fort Worth chapter of Meeting Professionals International April 22.

Wells was one of three finalists for the award, with her selection based on dedication to both the meetings industry overall and the local professional chapter.

She has served in six roles within the MPI DFW Board of Directors, including past president. In her year as president, she created many new traditions and creative approaches to “Experience the Difference,” including ways to elevate the educational content and networking opportunities to boost membership.

She is president elect of the PCMA Gulf States Chapter and is also the CVB Director and Membership Chair of the Dallas-Fort Worth Association Executives on behalf of the Arlington CVB.


North Texas Community Foundation elected and approved the 2021-22 board slate, which includes new officers and incoming board members, at its recent annual meeting.

Incoming board members include: Smith A. Brownlie III, partner & CEO at Brownlie and Braden LLC; Robert I. Fernandez, president of Fernandez & Company P.C.; Michael S. Malloy, managing partner at J. Taylor & Associates LLC; Horatio Porter, chief financial officer of North Texas Tollway Authority; and Jeremy Smith, president of Rainwater Charitable Foundation.

Officers include: Chair: Stewart Alcorn, executive vice president of Frost Bank; Vice Chair: Anne Holland, CFP and financial life planner for Plan + Tactics LLC; Corporate Secretary: Daniel H. McCarthy, partner at Wick Phillips Gould & Martin; Treasurer: Joseph DeLeon, president of Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth; Assistant Treasurer: Stephanie Brentlinger, community volunteer; At Large: Buddy Puente, president – Finance & Administration at Southwest Office Systems; Past Chair:  Alfred Saenz, chairman/CEO of MULTATECH; and Chair Emeritus: Phillip W. McCrury, attorney at law with Kelly Hart & Hallman.

United Way of Tarrant County has announced the retirement of Donald R. Smith, executive director of the Area Agency on Aging and vice president, Community Investment effective May 7.

Smith, who has been with the Area Agency on Aging for 16 years, was instrumental in acquiring numerous discretionary grants from the U.S. Administration on Aging and other federal agencies to implement a wide range of innovative community-based initiatives across Texas.

“Don is a nationally respected expert in his field, and his work and achievements are unmatched,” said Leah M. King, president and CEO of United Way of Tarrant County. “He is a tireless advocate for older adults, and his commitment to their unique needs made significant and lasting differences in the lives of countless individuals in the Tarrant County community. We will miss him greatly.”

Much of Smith’s work was devoted to preventing falls and building dementia-capable systems. While managing the United Way Health portfolio, he led the 10-year cross-sector Healthy Aging and Independent Living initiative that featured a diverse array of evidence-based programs that touched more than 50,000 lives.