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People – Dec. 2013

Banking & Finance Wingspan Portfolio Advisors, a diversified mortgage services company with offices in Dallas and Frisco, has named industry veteran Susan Pettem – photo – to the new position of executive vice president for business development. Pettem is an expert in loan servicing and related fields, with an emphasis in default management services. She has more than 30 years of experience in the mortgage business and has led national sales and major accounts efforts for several large companies over the past two decades. In her new position, Pettem will lead Wingspan’s business development team across the company’s service offerings. She started her career as a title officer and later became department manager of trustee sale and guarantee services for Chicago Title in Orange County, Calif. She spent 18 years with Fidelity National Financial as senior vice president of sales and marketing, and became national sales executive for Lenders Processing Service when her division was spun off in 2008. Prior to joining Wingspan, Pettem was senior vice president and national accounts executive for First American Mortgage Services at the company’s Santa Ana, Calif., headquarters. She is active in many industry associations, including the United Trustees Association (UTA), where she is on the board and serves as the membership chairman. She is a past recipient of UTA’s Dorothy Schick Veteran Member of the Year Award, recognizing her achievements and service to the industry.  

BB&T Wealth recently opened its first office in the Dallas-Fort Worth region. The Preston Center office at 8117 Preston Road, Suite 100, in Dallas is led by Janelle Walker, senior vice president and wealth adviser. The team also includes Ryan Bierds, senior vice president and regional director of portfolio management; Chad Forsberg, senior vice president and financial planning strategist; and Mary Petry, relationship management associate.

Boards & Organizations Mark E. Speese, co-founder of Rent-A-Center Inc., will retire from his position as chief executive officer, effective Jan. 31, after 27 years of service. Robert D. Davis, chief financial officer since March 1999, will become CEO on Feb. 1. Davis, who has served as executive vice president, finance, since February 2008, also has been elected to the company’s board. Speese will continue as chairman of the board, and J.V. Lentell, the lead director of the board, will relinquish that role on Jan. 31, while remaining as director. Mitchell E. Fadel, the company’s president and COO, is maintaining that position but has relinquished his board seat. Michael S. Wilding, the firm’s senior vice president, accounting and global controller, will become interim CFO effective Feb. 1.

Health Care The Medical Center of Plano appointed Charles Gressle – photo – as its new chief executive officer. An 18-year industry veteran, Gressle previously was chief operating officer at Medical City Dallas Hospital and Medical City Children’s Hospital in Dallas. Gressle has led Medical City’s ongoing $114 million expansion and renovation. He’s also directed the continued growth of emergency and cardiovascular services at Medical City. Previously Gressle was a senior vice president in the HCA Continental Division, where he led the strategy, business development and growth agendas for the Denver, Oklahoma City and Wichita, Kan., markets. Gressle also is chief operating officer at HCA’s The Woman’s Hospital of Texas in Houston. Dr. Alex Glogau, an orthopedic surgeon with OrthoTexas, has been selected team doctor for the fourth consecutive year for Frisco-based Texas Legends, a professional basketball team.

Honors & Awards Plano Independent School District Superintendent of Schools Richard Matkin received a Distinguished Alumni Award from Austin College during a ceremony Oct. 25. Matkin previously was the Plano district’s chief financial officer, where he oversaw all business and financial services, facility management and legislative advocacy, and assisted the Texas Education Agency as a contributing author of its fiscal and financial accountability standards for all Texas school districts. Matkin became a certified public accountant in 1988. Fred Kemmerer, chief technology officer for GENBAND, received the Outstanding Electrical and Computer Engineer Award from Purdue University’s School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Kemmerer’s experience includes wireless, Internet protocol and multiservice switching and routing, next-generation core networks and broadband access. He has served as GENBAND’s CTO since 2008, and previously had positions at Lucent and then Alcatel-Lucent.

T. Boone Pickens, who chairs the hedge fund BP Capital Management, was the top pick in the annual CEO Sentiment Survey conducted by Southern Methodist University Cox School of Business. The survey asks area business leaders to gauge their feelings on the local economy and business climate, and seeks their choice for CEO of the Year. In addition to Pickens, the top 10 CEOs of the Year, as determined by survey responses, were: Joel Allison of Baylor Scott & White Health; Norm Bagwell of Bank of Texas; Mike Berry of Hillwood; Doug Hawthorne of Texas Health Resources; Ray Hunt of Hunt Consolidated Inc.; John McWhorter of Baylor University Medical Center; Randall Stephenson of AT&T; Kip Tindell of The Container Store; and Kelcy Warren of Energy Transfer Partners. Baylor Regional Medical Center at Plano is one of three winners of this year’s Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. It’s the first time a Texas hospital has won the award, said Baylor Health Care System spokeswoman Nikki Mitchell. Baylor Regional Medical Center at Plano is a 160-bed acute care hospital that opened in 2004. It employs more than 2,200 workers and generated $163.4 million in net revenues during the 2013 fiscal year. Vent-A-Hood recently named Meadow Creek Sales, Vent-A-Hood of Georgia and Pinnacle Express as the recipients of its 2013 Sales Achievement Awards. Kitchen appliance distributor Meadow Creek Sales, headquartered in Denver, saw sales amounting to 133 percent of year-to-date sales goal. Based in Haines City, Fla., Pinnacle Express sales were up 22 percent over last year. Sales came to 122 percent of the company’s year-to-date goal at Atlanta-based Vent-A-Hood of Georgia.  

The Texas comptroller of public accounts has reaffirmed Richardson as a Gold member in the State Comptroller’s Leadership Circle Awards. The award recognizes Richardson for its efforts to make finances open and accessible. The city’s financial transparency website went online Dec. 1, 2010, and provides the ability to sort through a variety of municipal financial documents. The website also provides other reporting services such as access to city employee salaries, an online form to facilitate open records requests and a program enabling tracking of projects included in the 2010 bond program. For the second year in a row, Plano-based Capital One Auto Finance received the Auto Finance Excellence Award for Community Service The award recognizes Capital One’s commitment to the community in Collin County and is presented at the Auto Finance Summit in Las Vegas by Auto Finance News. Conifer Health Solutions, based in Frisco, has been honored by the Dallas Regional Chamber’s 2013 Blueprint Awards, which recognize companies that make a positive impact on the economy. Conifer Health, a subsidiary of Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare, won for the Corporate Headquarters Location category. Conifer Health’s four-story, 200,000-square-foot corporate headquarters building is under construction on the northeast corner of Warren Parkway. The expansion, on schedule for completion in March, is expected to add about 600 jobs to the firm’s existing 500 jobs.

Rent-A-Center Inc. was named to Training magazine’s annual list of 125 organizations recognized for preeminent training and development processes. The recognition validates initiatives recently launched across Rent-A-Center’s 21,000-plus workforce. Chief among these initiatives was the identification of high-performing stores, dubbed “Centers of Excellence,” to serve as central employee-training hubs within a geographical district. Culturally sensitive training in Mexico, as well as timely operational presentations dubbed “Coach’s Clinics,” also were cited. The company’s ranking will be revealed during an awards gala slated for Feb. 3 in San Diego, Calif. Legacy Consulting Group of Plano has been named by Financial Advisor magazine to its 2013 independent ranking of registered investment advisers. The recognition was published in the July 2013 issue and is based on assets under management. This is the fourth year Legacy has been on the top adviser list. The firm is ranked in the Top Ten of all firms listed in the Metroplex. Mavenir Systems has been recognized for leadership by the 2013 Fierce Innovation Awards: Telecom Edition, an awards program from the publishers of FierceWireless, FierceTelecom and FierceCable. Mavenir received top honors in the Mobile Core category for its Virtualized IMS Platform. Radio & Television Sports anchor/reporter Guy Rawlings is joining CBS 11 (KTVT-TV) and TXA 21 (KTXA-TV). Rawlings was most recently a news anchor and sports host at WGCL-TV in Atlanta. Prior to that, he was the lead sports anchor and reporter at WESH-TV in Orlando, Fla. He also has worked at stations in Baltimore; Charleston, S.C.; Jacksonville, Fla.; and Miramar, Fla. A graduate of the University of Florida, Rawlings began his television career at WCJB-TV in Gainesville. Additionally, Sim Kolliner joined CBS 11 and TXA 21 as director of engineering. Phillips MediaSource, Dallas-based producer of the TV series Texas Country Reporter, promoted three employees. Christy Carnes will take over as vice president and chief financial officer responsible for managing the financial risks of the company and for financial planning and record-keeping. Martin Perry is now vice president and chief operating officer responsible for the daily operation and Mike Snyder is senior producer.

Real Estate Kelley Ahrens – photo – and Austin Barrett – photo – have joined the Healthcare Services Group at CBRE Group Inc. in Dallas. They will provide transaction and consulting services to institutional and private investors as well as health care systems, practice groups and physicians. Combined, Ahrens and Barrett bring more than 20 years of commercial real estate knowledge and background to their roles. Ahrens returns to Texas after most recently working for CBRE as Phoenix’s health care representative. She formed health care real estate teams for some of the major REITS and provided tenant representation to several physician groups and area health systems. Prior to that, she worked in an acquisitions role in California. Ahrens was named Impact Player in Medical Brokerage in AZ Business Leaders 2013-2014 and is an active participant in RealShare Medical series, BOMA International (Medical) and Insight. Barrett spent more than five years providing medical tenant representation and buyer services to physician groups across D-FW. Since 2008, he has represented several hundred local physicians and completed more than 200,000 square feet of leases as a medical tenant representative.

Technology Omega TeleServe, an independent telecom consulting firm based in Frisco, appointed Scott Blackman as a senior sales manager. Blackman, a Frisco resident, brings more than 30 years of customer support, client management and operations experience in the national retail and learning consulting arena. Most recently he was an account manager and operations lead for a learning consulting firm. Prior to that he spent more than 20 years with a national retailer where he was involved in people leadership, corporate communications, human resources information technology services and corporate learning. He has a bachelor’s degree in economics and psychology from George Williams College. Optimal Blue, a Plano developer of cloud-based lending services for mortgage lenders, added James Rowe as managing director of its new data and analytics business unit. He will be responsible for its day-to-day operations. Rowe brings more than 20 years of experience, including serving as managing director of mergers and acquisitions at Lender Processing Services Inc. and chief operating officer of FIS Decision Solutions, a unit of Fidelity National Information Services. Rowe also had leadership positions in risk management and decision sciences at Capital One and National City Bank. Jon Bolen has joined EnTouch Controls as chief operating officer. In this newly created role, Bolen will be responsible for driving the growth of the new EnTouch 360 managed services offering. Prior to joining EnTouch, Bolen worked at Westec Intelligent Surveillance, where as executive vice president of business development and chief product officer, he led the redesign of all products and assisted in the acquisition of competitors Digital Witness and Vyne Industries. Donald J. Wadas has been appointed the vice president of worldwide sales at Centina Systems. Wadas has more than 20 years of sales and sales management experience, focused in the telecom software market, supplying solutions to tier one and tier two service providers worldwide. His past assignments include global sales and marketing roles at SPATIALinfo, Amdocs, Telcordia, Brix Networks and Granite Systems.

Tourism, Entertainment & Leisure Phillip Couch is the new vice president of food and beverage for Cinemark Holdings Inc. Couch has been a senior national account executive for the Coca-Cola Co. since November 2005. From 1997-2005, he held various sales and account management jobs for Coca-Cola Enterprises. His local and regional account management portfolio included mass merchandising, supermarket and sporting goods customers. Couch also served as Coca-Cola’s representative with the National Association of Concessionaires trade group from 2007-2013. He serves on the NAC executive board.

Send People items to Betty Dillard at bdillard@bizpress.net  

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Robert Francis
Robert is a Fort Worth native and longtime editor of the Fort Worth Business Press. He is a former president of the local Society of Professional Journalists and was a freelancer for a variety of newspapers, weeklies and magazines, including American Way, BrandWeek and InformatonWeek. A graduate of TCU, Robert has held a variety of writing and editing positions at publications such as the Grand Prairie Daily News and InfoWorld. He is also a musician and playwright.

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