Author Archive

Bonnie Labdi (PharmD ’02)

UH alum Bonnie Labdi started a new position as the Clinical Director of Oncology at Agilum Healthcare Intelligence, an analytics company based out of Deerfield Beach, Florida.

Bonnie has 19 years of experience in clinical pharmacy practice, providing evidence-based care to oncology patients in a wide variety of healthcare settings. As a member of Agilum’s Clinical Solutions team, Bonnie utilizes her knowledge and experience in developing, promoting, and providing pharmacy and analytic consulting services to clients, who are then able to provide the highest level of care for their patients at the lowest possible cost.

Prior to joining Agilum, Bonnie maintained a clinical practice at Memorial Hermann Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. While at Hermann, she held an academic appointment as a clinical assistant professor at the University of Texas McGovern Medical School. Bonnie previously practiced at other healthcare facilities in the Houston area, including the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.

Bonnie has written several articles for peer-reviewed journals, authored textbook chapters, and presented research at national and international medical conferences. She is an active member of several professional organizations, including the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the American Society of Hematology, and the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer, among others, and has held various leadership positions within these organizations.

Bonnie received her Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Houston College of Pharmacy. She completed both her pharmacy practice residency and her specialty practice residency in hematology/oncology from Baylor Scott & White Medical Center in Temple, Texas. Bonnie is certified by the Board of Pharmacy Specialties in oncology and maintains her license to practice pharmacy in her home state of Texas.

Michael Kenneth Vest (’78)

Michael Kenneth Vest
JULY 6, 1954 ? FEBRUARY 19, 2020
Obituary of Michael Kenneth Vest
Michael Kenneth Vest was born on July 6, 1954 in Roanoke, Virginia and passed away on February 19, 2020 in Houston, Texas and is under the care of Memorial Oaks Funeral Home.

David Baluk (J.D. ’11)

Attorney David Baluk Named to Texas Rising Stars for 2021

(Houston, TX) Attorney David Baluk of the Houston personal injury
law firm of Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner has
been recognized on the Texas Rising Stars list for 2021. This marks
David’s fourth consecutive year to be included on this annual list,
which is published in the Texas Rising Stars issue of the Super
Lawyers magazine and Texas Monthly magazine.
Attorneys named to the Rising Stars list go through the same
extensive selection process as Super Lawyers and are selected
based on nominations, independent research by Super Lawyers, and
peer evaluation by practice area. To be eligible for inclusion,
attorneys must be under the age of 40 or in practice for 10 years or
less. No more than 2.5 percent of eligible attorneys are named to
the Rising Stars list, which indicates that David is among a
prestigious list of top young lawyers in Texas.
David has been practicing personal injury in Texas for the last 10 years and is admitted to practice
in the United States District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of Texas and the United
States Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit. His legal practice at Abraham Watkins focuses on a
wide range of personal injury matters, including catastrophic injuries, workplace injuries, product
liability, premises liability, wrongful death, and 18-wheeler, commercial vehicle, and automobile
David is a magna cum laude graduate of Washington and Lee University. After graduating with a
degree in Economics and being inducted into Omicron Delta Epsilon, an International Economics
Honor Society, David moved to Texas and attended the University of Houston Law Center. During
law school, he served on the board of the Houston Journal of International Law, earned the honor
of Editor of the Year, and was a Law Clerk at Abraham Watkins, where he received his first
exposure to plaintiffs’ personal injury work.
Following graduation from the University of Houston Law Center, David practiced at two
prominent trial law firms in Houston, a plaintiffs’ firm and a defense firm, where he litigated cases
in over 23 states and obtained multi-million dollar verdicts and favorable settlements on behalf
of his clients. He now applies this experience and the skillset he honed in courthouses throughout
the United States to his cases at Abraham Watkins which he joined as an Associate in 2021.
Please join Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner in congratulating David Baluk on
being named to the Texas Rising Stars list for 2021. To learn more about David or to contact him,
please email him or call 713-222-7211.

Ms. Ieva Szentivanyi (M.A ’91)

For the past 22 years or so UH Alum Ieva Szentivanyi has been studying and transposing ancient Latvian poetry into English. This is significant as these poems have been identified by UNESCO as non material cultural treasure and thus worthy of being brought to the attention of more people as part of Western Civilization. Her first volume “Dainas, Wit and Wisdom of Ancient Latvian Poetry” was published in 2018 with 450 of these quatrains generously supported by her explanatory commentary. The second volume she anticipates to see shortly, and she is currently working on Volume 3.

According to Ieva, who earned her Masters degree in Applied English Linguistics from UH, “These poems contain the essence of an old and gentle culture in the words of the people of that day. They speak of all their experiences, including the misery of serfdom and wars, the joy of beauty, a festival, or a good harvest , and their trust in God. There is even a daina that coolly describes observing a UFQ! The ethics is higher than in the Commandments.”

This poetry had not been previously transposed into English because it was popularly accepted as impossible due to the differences in the structure of the two languages. There were only a few translations that retold the main point, without attention to rhythm, or syllable count or expressions of affection for all. Ieva’s goal is to transpose some 2000 dainas, a small fraction of the million plus, in hopes they will inform and amuse us and expand our appreciation of the wisdom of our ancestors.

Gwendolyn Lewis (MBA ’81)

Gwendolyn Smith Clapp Lewis passed away on April 22, 2021 in her home in the
care of family and friends; including her beloved husband Richard Evans Lewis
and best friend Heather Giancarlo. Gwen was born on May 12th, 1935 to Hazel
and Louis Smith in Narrowsburg, New York.
Voted “Most Likely to Succeed” in High School, she followed through in every
detail throughout her life. After obtaining a degree in Accounting at the University
of Rochester, she moved to New York City to become the only female
accountant in a large firm. In New York, she met her husband Charles Clapp,
then moved to Houston, obtained an MBA degree from the University of Houston
and worked for many years as a CPA. She was a long-time member of the
National Junior League and The Harris County Heritage Society.
Following Charles’ death, she met and married Richard in 1993. Gwen liked to
tease that she had children the easy way: by marrying into a family of six
children. All of Richard’s children appreciated Gwen’s sage advice, friendship,
love – and especially the loving companionship she shared with their father over
the last twenty-eight years.
For nearly twenty years, Gwen spent summers volunteering at the Rocky
Mountain National Park in Grand Lake, Colorado. She was a proud Master
Gardener and enjoyed surrounding her home with colorful plants and flowers,
often with custom arrangements she created herself. Gwen was an excellent
cook and loved entertaining friends and family. Her favorite books were
cookbooks which were earmarked throughout and filled with personal notations.
Gwen’s meals were always enjoyed over beautiful table settings with lively
conversation and wonderful food.
She is survived by her husband Richard Lewis; sisters Eileen Smith Leto of
Southern Pines NC and Patricia Smith Hanrehan of Washington DC, her six

children through Richard; Amy Lewis Branch of Golden CO, Elizabeth Lewis
Pratson of Chapel Hill, NC, Stephen Lewis and Evan Lewis of Kingwood, TX, and
Richard Lewis II and Wendy Lewis Carnegie of Austin, TX, as well as their
spouses, fifteen grandchildren, two great grandchildren, nieces and nephew. She
is preceded in death by her parents, previous husband Charles Clapp and her
brother Louis Smith II.
A memorial will be held at a later date at Memorial Drive United Methodist

Mr. Bill Hickl (’86)

Bill Hickl, Class of 1986 and a Partner with the Accounting Firm of BDO, was recently promoted to Office Managing Partner – Houston Tax. Bill has spent his entire 35 year career in Public Accounting since graduating from the University of Houston with a BBA in Accounting.

Jim Penn (’78)

Jim Penn Named Outstanding CFO: Finance Team at D CEO’s Financial Executives Awards


Fort Worth, TX – (May 17, 2021) – Whitley Penn Co-Founder, Partner and CFO, Jim Penn, has been named as Outstanding Chief Financial Officer: Finance Team for the 2021 DCEO Financial Executives Awards. Through the collaborative efforts of the editors at D CEO, the Association for Corporate Growth, the Dallas CPA Society, and Financial Executives International, this awarded the top financial executives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

In addition to serving as the firm’s CFO, Penn is also a partner in the Forensic, Litigation & Valuation Services practice group and is a frequent public speaker on litigation and valuation topics. He is a certified public accountant (CPA) and Accredited in Business Valuations (ABV).   

Penn earned his BBA from the University of Houston and has been instrumental in the firm repeatedly achieving the “Cougar 100” recognition from his alma mater for being one of the fastest growing UH Cougar-owned and Cougar-led businesses.

Penn currently sits on the Board of Trustees for the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children and has been a supporter of the hospital for more than 40 years. Additionally, he has served on numerous civic organization boards throughout his career and is past Chairman of the Board of the Hurst-Euless-Bedford Chamber of Commerce.  Penn is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) including the Forensic & Valuation Services Division, Fort Worth Chapter of Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants (TXCPA), Financial Consulting Group, LC, and the Dallas & Tarrant County Bar Association Family Law Sections.

“It is an honor to accept this award for Outstanding CFO: Finance Team on behalf of our Team.  I am completely humbled and couldn’t have done it without our hard-working finance and accounting team. It was truly a team effort,” stated Penn.


Sidnei McCarty (’11)

UH Alumnus Leads US’ First Online Casino

2011 UH Alumnus, Sidnei McCarty, is the first Branding and Communications Manager for
Evolution, America’s 1st live, online casino.
McCarty will develop and manage the marketing-recruitment strategy to brand the company and
to hire personnel across North America.
Evolution is the world’s largest developer and supplier of online casino games. Globally, the
Company operates 10 studios in 20 countries, employing 10,000 personnel. The players are
virtual, and the dealers are live and masked in the studio.
Launching its Southfield, Michigan studio in early May, the company is hiring 200 personnel in
the Detroit area, including Casino Dealers, Game Hosts, Recruiters, Studio Technicians,
Trainers, and Floor Supervisors.
Michigan legalized online gambling in early 2021. Online betting is legal in only 4 states:
Michigan, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and West Virginia.
In North America, Evolution broadcasts 24/7 in 4 studios situated in Atlantic City, New Jersey,
Southfield, Michigan, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Vancouver, Canada.

McCarty is the 1st and only African-American woman in a leadership role at
Evolution. McCarty is the Host/Producer of FlavaFull, a travel vegetarian
cooking show, and the entrepreneur/CEO of Sid Simone Staffing, which
she launched immediately after completing her BA in Broadcast
Journalism, and Certificate of Program for Excellence in Selling (PES) at
the University of Houston.

Christopher Gervasio (BBA ’17, MS ’18) & Lauren Christensen (BBA ’18)

Christopher Gervasio (BBA ’17, MS Accy ’18) and Lauren Christensen (BBA ’18) were married on Saturday, April 24, 2021 in Houston, TX. The two met as students in 2014 through the Bauer Honors program and began dating in 2015. Christopher proposed to Lauren in December of 2019 in the Bauer Honors Commons on campus, where their love story began years ago.
Both Lauren and Christopher were heavily involved while students at UH and their love for the university has only continued to grow since becoming alumni.

Richard R. Martin (MBA ’99)

Richard Ralph Martin passed away Tuesday, April 6, 2021. Services will be 10:00 a.m., Friday, May 7, at Wilkirson-Hatch-Bailey Funeral Home. Burial will follow at Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery. Visitation will be 9:00 to 10:00 a.m., Friday, May 7, at Wilkirson-Hatch-Bailey Funeral Home Chapel.

Richard was born April 11, 1961, in Buffalo, New York, to Richard and Helene Martin. He studied mechanical engineering at Arizona State University and then went on to obtain an MBA from Houston University. He had a long military career, earned the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the US Army and was a proud Army Ranger. He was a combat engineer in Kuwait, Afghanistan, Somalia, and Egypt. Richard took great pride in mentoring young soldiers and did so early in his career while he was stationed in Germany, at Fort Hood and later in Korea.

He was preceded in death by his parents.

He is survived by his wife, Jami Remien; his sons, Zachary and Kyle Martin; his stepchildren, Michael Ryan Remien, Dr. Kailey Ann Remien, and Charles Martin Remien; and his sisters, Francine Martin, Kathy Mecum, and Patricia Martin.

His life was at war, may he rest in peace.