Alumni Notes: Spring 2018


Jenna (Mitchell) Turnage MPA’10 is director of corporate partnerships with the Charleston, South Carolina, Metro Chamber of Commerce. She graduated with a degree in public affairs.

Daniel Kao BS’11 has established a nonprofit venture based in Taipei, Taiwan, to help people travel for less and to encourage the use of some of those savings to go toward his favorite charitable causes. His travel guide can be found at While at UTD, Kao was a member of Toastmasters, Students in Free Enterprise and InterVarsity Christian Fellowship.

Gottfried Laubichler BS’13, MBA’15, MS’15 is a senior investment banking analyst for Capital Alliance Corp. in Dallas. He earned three degrees from the Naveen Jindal School of Management.

Melanie Loehrlein BS’13 landed her first job as a general dentist in 2017 at the Ryan Dental Group in Allen, Texas. Loehrlein, who earned a degree in biology, is pictured during graduation from dental school with her husband, Chris Loehrlein BS’15. She met Chris during her senior year at UT Dallas.

Noura Alameddine BS’15, MS’17 holds two homes, half a world apart, close to her heart. Born in Beaumont, Texas, raised in Midlothian, and a resident of the Metroplex for the majority of her life, she is unquestionably Texan. But she also is proud of her Lebanese roots, and she is determined to help children in Lebanon, using the training and expertise she has amassed on the subject that became her passion: autism spectrum disorder. Upon graduating in December, she crossed the Atlantic to begin working in a hospital.

Dr. Christopher Dunnahoo MS’15, a practicing physician for Leading Edge Medical Associates in Longview, Texas, was elected to the American Health Council’s Board of Physicians and was bestowed the council’s Best in Medicine, Leader in Medicine Award. He also is the medical director of Champion EMS, which is also based in Longview. Dunnahoo graduated with a degree in healthcare management.

Ben Ely MA’15 is a marketing and communications manager for Phi Kappa Psi in Indianapolis. He previously worked as a sports information director for Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. Ely graduated from UTD with a degree in emerging media and communications.

Esteban Bustillos BA’16, a former editor of The Mercury student newspaper, is working at 89.7 WGBH, Boston’s NPR station. His first on-air story highlighted football games taking over Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox. Bustillos graduated with a degree in international political economy.

Thea Junt MS’16, MBA’16, former UTD associate director of energy conservation and sustainability, has joined Children’s Health System of Texas as its sustainability manager. While at the University, Junt oversaw such programs as the campus butterfly waystations, green buildings and Eco-Reps, a student internship opportunity through the Office of Sustainability. She is a member of Phi Kappa Phi honor society.

Julia Craig BS’17 a former member of the Comet volleyball team, was one of 160 students selected to join the College of Osteopathic Medicine at Rocky Vista University in Parker, Colorado. She graduated from UTD with a degree in biology.

Cassandra Porter MS’17 is a therapeutic riding instructor and child development specialist at Paws for Reflection Ranch, an animal therapy business in Waxahachie, Texas. She graduated with a degree in human development and early childhood disorders.

Richard Riner PhD’17 (right), pictured with his supervising professor Dr. Nadine Connell, joined the faculty of Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa. He is an assistant professor of criminology and criminal justice. Riner received a doctorate in criminology from UTD.


Melissa Melton BA’00, Teacher Certification’03 is executive director of special programs for Rockwall Independent School District. She previously worked in special education for various school districts in Texas. Melton earned a degree in literary studies.

Vik Thapar BS’00 was promoted to partner at Cypress Growth Capital, an investment firm based in Dallas. Thapar joined the company in 2012. He previously was a venture capitalist for an investment fund sponsored by the state of Texas. Thapar also spent time in the information technology field. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

Dr. Jordan Asher MS’01 is chief clinical officer of St. Louis-based Ascension Care Management. When not in the office, Asher enjoys spending time playing golf and reading Civil War books. He also was once a member of a hot-air balloon race team. Asher earned a master’s degree in healthcare management.

Brian Livingston MBA’01, MS’02 is chief financial officer of Firebird Restaurant Group LLC. The Dallas-based company oversees restaurants such as El Fenix and Snuffer’s. Livingston, a city councilman for Frisco, Texas, was part of the Firebird team that helped acquire El Fenix in 2008. He returns to the company after a three-year stint as the chief executive officer of Celebrity Café & Bakery.

Dr. Claudia (Hardin) Mason MS’01 was honored by the Palm Beach County Medical Society in West Palm Beach, Florida, with a 2017 Physician Hero award. Mason has been practicing medicine for over 35 years. She also serves on the board of directors for the Susan G. Komen Foundation of South Florida. She holds a degree in medical management.

Todd Outten EMBA’01 is vice president of sales for home furnishing manufacturer Twin-Star International in Delray, Florida. He has more than 25 years of sales leadership experience.

Dr. Ryan Ahrens BA’02 is principal and co-founder of Argent Pictures, a film financing, production and development company based in Malibu, California. Among the company’s projects are Nate Parker’s The Birth of a Nation, Mel Gibson’s Hacksaw Ridge and most recently Tom Cruise’s American Made. Argent has also added star athletes Drew Brees, Tony Parker, Derrick Brooks and Michael Finley as partners. Ahrens graduated with a degree in economics.

Phil Lozano BS’02 is the parks and recreation director for the city of Highland Village, Texas. He previously served as assistant director for the city of DeSoto, and has worked for the cities of Allen and Dallas and for the Richardson Independent School District. Lozano holds a degree in public affairs.

Dr. Vu Tran BS’02 runs the comprehensive eye care, dry eye clinic and post-op care at Lasercare Eye Center in Irving, Texas. He graduated with a degree in biology.

R. Carter Pate MS’03, a distinguished alumnus, is interim chief executive officer of social services company Providence Service Corp. in Dallas. He previously served as CEO of MV Transportation Inc. and also spent nearly two decades in leadership positions at PricewaterhouseCoopers. Pate earned a degree in accounting and information management. During the 2017 Comets Giving Day, Carter and Angela Pate committed to a challenge gift that established the first endowed accounting scholarship in the Naveen Jindal School of Management.

Mitzi Chamakala Chollampel MBA’04 was named a “2017 Airport Business Top 40 Under 40” by Airport Business and was recognized with a 2017 Dallas Business Journal’s Women in Business Award, specifically for her work in the tourism industry. The DBJ annual awards celebrate influential women throughout North Texas who make a difference in business and in their communities.

Finny Mathew BS’04 is president of INTEGRIS Bass Baptist Health Center in Enid, Oklahoma. He joined INTEGRIS in 2006 as an administrative resident before leaving to ultimately become chief executive officer of Crossroads Community Hospital in Mount Vernon, Illinois. Mathew holds a degree in business administration.

Chau Uong BADD’04, BA’04, D.O., is a specialist in physical medicine and rehabilitation at Physician Partners of America in Hurst, Texas. He is a member of the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, the American Osteopathic Association, Association of Academic Physiatrists and Spine Intervention Society. Uong graduated with degrees in biology and sociology.

Michael Bruno BS’05, Teacher Certification’05 is assistant principal at Brent Elementary School in the Little Elm Independent School District. He began his teaching career in Little Elm, Texas, as a math and science specialist at Oak Point Elementary School. He received a Teacher of the Year award for 2016-17. He graduated with a degree in interdisciplinary studies from UTD and later earned a master’s degree in education from Concordia University.

Floun’say R. Caver PhD’05 is chief operating officer/deputy general manager of operations for the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority. He is responsible for 2,100 employees providing all bus, rail and paratransit services. Caver completed a doctorate in public affairs. His supervising professor was the late Dr. Larry D. Terry.

Neil Farquharson MBA’05 is the marketing director at Dallas-based Reporting USA Inc., where he promotes a number of brands. Since graduating from UTD, he’s held several senior marketing roles, first promoting highly technical solutions using traditional marketing, then migrating to web-based digital marketing and more recently being highly focused on marketing analytics. He recently became an adjunct professor in the Naveen Jindal School of Management.

Shelby Vincent MA’05, PhD’15, a research associate in the Center for Translation Studies and managing editor of Translation Review, published her translation of Carmen Boullosa’s Heavens on Earth [Cielos de la Tierra] with Deep Vellum Publishing. The novel is narrated by three protagonists living in distinct centuries in which Boullosa imagines a world where language is banned, memories are obliterated and history is erased.

Courtney Caldwell MBA’06 and her husband, Dr. Tye, co-founders of the ShearShare app, won $100,000 in the Dallas Diversity & Inclusion Investment Challenge and pitched at the 2018 Google for Entrepreneurs Demo Day in Silicon Valley. The mobile-based B2B startup is the first to allow stylists to rent space to work by the day in cities all over the world.

Mark Cox BS’06, MBA’09 is a managing director in the Chicago office of Riveron Consulting, a national business and financial advisory firm. He joined the company in 2013. Prior to joining Riveron, he was in the assurance practice at Ernst & Young. Cox, who played four years for the UTD baseball team, earned a degree in accounting information management and an MBA.

Todd Gabel MS’07, PhD’11 is a clinical assistant professor in the College of Business at UT Arlington. His research interests include microeconomics, welfare policy, labor economics and industrial organization. Gabel holds both a master’s degree and a doctorate in economics.

Todd Zavodnick EMBA’06 is chief commercial officer and president of aesthetics and therapeutics at Revance Therapeutics Inc., a biotechnology company in Newark, California.

Carlos Harleaux BS’07, MA’15 published his seventh book, No Cream in the Middle. Harleaux earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master’s degree in emerging media and communications.

Elizabeth Leak MA’07 is tax director of Preston Hollow Capital, an independent specialty finance company based in Dallas. She was formerly a senior manager with Weaver Financial. Leak graduated with a degree from the Naveen Jindal School of Management.

William F. Rayburn MBA’07, a distinguished professor and associate dean at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, is chairman of the board of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education. The council sets and enforces standards in physician continuing education for more than 2,000 health institutions and organizations in the United States.

Mike Knox BS’08 is senior vice president of sales for Virginia-based Nehemiah Security, a cybersecurity software and services company. Knox previously worked for DLT Solutions, Oracle and LexisNexis. Prior to joining the business sector, he pitched three years in the New York Yankees minor league system before an injury forced him to leave the game.

Matt Kratz MA’08 has worked in the University’s print shop since 2000. In his spare time, he works as a freelance writer and has also volunteered at the Callier Center for Communication Disorders and Make-A-Wish. Kratz graduated with a degree in humanities.

Dr. Alexander Raw BS’08 is a faculty member at Southern Illinois University’s School of Medicine in the obstetrics and gynecology department. He graduated from UTD with a degree in chemistry.

Duncan Havlin MBA’09 is national sales manager for OnSSI, a maker of video surveillance management software in Pearl River, New York. He previously served as the company’s western regional manager for five years.

Rick Holland BS’09 is chief information security officer and head of information technology for Digital Shadows, a digital risk management and threat intelligence firm in San Franciso. He has more than 14 years of experience in information security. Holland earned a degree in business administration.

Todd Jordan MPA’09, PhD’13 is president and chief executive officer of the United Way of Wyandotte County in Kansas, which operates or financially supports 51 nonprofit programs and partners with 38 agencies. At UTD, he focused on research in organizational change, public policy and city planning. He also served as a coach for the debate program and was a member of Pi Alpha Alpha Public Affairs Honor Society.

Sid Keswani MBA’09 is chief executive officer of Fiesta Mart LLC, which has 65 stores in Austin, Houston and the Dallas-Fort Worth areas. Keswani previously worked at a real estate development firm in Austin and as an executive with Target Corp. and Stripes LLC.


Gerry D. Baker BS’90, EMBA’06 is senior vice president for revenue cycle management for Dallas-based Parkland Health & Hospital System. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and an executive master’s degree in business administration.

Steven Bullitt BA’92 is the vice president of threat intelligence and incident response for NTT Security in Omaha, Nebraska. Prior to that, he served in the Secret Service — including overseeing cyber and criminal investigations in North Texas and the presidential protection detail — and worked for the Dallas Police Department. Bullitt played football for Texas A&M in the 1980s before being drafted into the NFL by the Cleveland Browns in 1987. He graduated with a degree in interdisciplinary studies.

Shelley Compton MBA’93 is manager of the telecommunications and technology division for engineering firm M S Benbow & Associates in Metairie, Louisiana. She previously worked for Textron Marine & Land Systems as the company’s vice president of lifecycle support.

Joyce Ann Konigsburg BSCS’93 successfully defended her dissertation and graduated in May 2016 with a doctorate in systematic theology from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She and her husband, Brian, live in Maryland, where she is a visiting assistant professor of religious studies at Notre Dame of Maryland University. She graduated from UTD with a degree in computer science.


Timothy Canning BGS’81 is a commissioner for the Humboldt Superior Court in California. He had served as interim commissioner since March 2017. After being admitted to practice law in California in 1990, Canning worked with a small litigation and probate firm in San Francisco before opening his own practice in 2001.

Dr. Luis A. Montes BA’81, a pediatrician in Manatee County, Florida, is a member of the board of directors for Coastal Behavioral Healthcare. He holds a degree in biology.

Dr. Allan Bailey BS’82 is acting director of the Food and Drug Administration’s division of food contact notifications. Bailey joined the FDA in 1992. He earned a degree in chemistry.

Rhonda L. Price BS’83, who has more than 30 years of global and national-level human resource experience, is the senior vice president of human resources for EnLink, which provides services in natural gas, crude oil and other commodities. She graduated with a degree in public administration.

Sam Moser BGS’84 is senior vice president of national sales for FOX News Channel in New York City. He has worked in the company’s sales force since 2005. He previously held executive sales positions at the Game Show Network and Viacom.

Troy Baumann MS’87 is co-founder and managing member of North Shore Healthcare in Glendale, Wisconsin. He earned a degree in management and administrative sciences.

Lisa Danzer BS’88, MS’92 earned a 2017 Dallas Business Journal’s Women in Technology Award for her work with the DFW Alliance of Technology and Women, a nonprofit striving to increase the number of women in technology fields and in executive positions. She earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master’s degree in management and administrative sciences.


Rev. Thomas Taylor MS’75 left a career in analytical instrumentation to attend Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, Virginia. He now serves as a minister in Texas. He is married to Christiann Dykstra and has a grown son, Austin. Taylor earned a degree in biology.

Distinguished alumnus Mike Brodie BS’76 is the new chair of the UT Dallas Development Board. Brodie will lead the group’s efforts to promote the University in the community. He replaces Phil Ritter, who served as board chair since 2010.

Diane McNulty MS’78, PhD’84 received the Sandi Haddock Community Impact Award from the American Heart Association in Dallas. She is the associate dean of external affairs and corporate development for the Naveen Jindal School of Management.