Posts Tagged ‘Career News’

David Lee Huynh (M.F.A. ’14)

David Lee Huynh will be starring in a television show called “Encounter Party.” It is being produced by Hasbro’s Entertainment One (eOne) and will be the official actual play of the Dungeons and Dragons roleplaying game.

Article here:

Jamal Cyrus (’04)

Jamal Cyrus (’04), a Houston-based artist, was recently awarded a 2023 Guggenheim Fellowship in the category of Fine Arts. A total of 171 scientists, writers, scholars and artists were honored across 48 fields and chosen from nearly 2,500 applicants for their promise of enriching the lives of fellow human beings through their research and work.
Cyrus’ artwork investigates and shines a light on the political histories and visual culture of Black America through collage and assemblage. He uses ordinary materials and processes to provide a deeper understanding of issues Black Americans have faced and currently face.
He graduated from UH with his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with a concentration in photography and digital media in 2004. He went on to graduate with a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 2008. His work has been featured across the country and world, including here at UH. His piece, “Eroding Witness, Episode 3 Season 20,” is featured in the John M. O’Quinn Law Building. His exhibition, “The End of My Beginning,” was first featured at UH’s Blaffer Art Museum in 2021 and went on to be featured at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles and the Mississippi Museum of Art.
Cyrus’ reply about winning the fellowship: “In an odd way I was relieved. Relief because of what the fellowship will allow me to accomplish in the studio. It allows me to be a little more adventurous in the studio than perhaps I would have been before. At the same time, I felt very honored to become a part of a list of artists who have been awarded a Guggenheim, which is a pretty stellar cast.”
Cyrus’ reply about his time at UH: “That was an exploratory period in my life. You really had the opportunity to express yourself in regard to what you make and what it’s about. At UH, I learned to become comfortable expressing myself and talking about my work. I also think the block program at the University of Houston (this is an intensive “block” of semesters for fine arts majors enrolled in junior and senior level studio courses) is perfect training for graduate school. I got to be self-determining and self-directed in terms of describing what my projects were about. That helped me quite a bit.”
Cyrus’ reply about a current project: “I’m working on a public art piece with artist Charisse Weston. We’re doing a commemorative glass sculpture for Barbara Jordan, which will be located at the Gregory School in Houston’s Freedman’s Town.”

Brian A. Bailey (M.B.A. ’78)

May 9, 2023 | Austin, Texas | Appointment

Governor Greg Abbott has named Brian A. Bailey as chair of the Texas Facilities Commission for a term to expire annually. The Commission builds, maintains, and supports state buildings and property across the State of Texas. In addition, the Commission is responsible for the construction of Texas’ border wall along the southern border.

Brian A. Bailey of Austin has served on the Texas Facilities Commission since May 2019. He is a member of the Greater Austin Crime Commission and The University of Texas Chancellor’s Council Executive Committee. Bailey received a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from The University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Houston.

David Sikora (’86)

April 24, 2023
TDECU Board Elects New Chairman to Guide
Its Digital Transformation

David Sikora | TDECU Board of Directors Chairman
Photo courtesy: TDECU
TDECU, Houston’s largest credit union, is moving in a new direction with the election of David Sikora as the Chairman of the Board.
“I am honored to have been unanimously elected as Chairman of the Board and honored by the trust placed in me by my fellow board members,” said Sikora. “TDECU already does a great job on bringing value to our Members, but we must also focus on the technologies that will enable us to engage with them in an even more personalized way.”
Sikora brings over 25 years of experience in executive leadership roles in the financial services and software industry. He began his career in Houston in 1992 as the President & CEO of The Forefront Group, which provided e-learning software for information technology professionals. He has held senior leadership positions in several financial technology companies, most recently CEO and Director of ALTR which provides data governance and security solutions for data-driven enterprises.
“People in our communities demand convenience and a simple and intuitive experience through any digital interaction,” said Sikora. “At the same time we aim to provide our Members with the same human touch that has been a hallmark of the credit union for nearly 60 years.”
Sikora has a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Graduate School of Business and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Houston. He has been a member of the TDECU Board of Directors since 2015, and succeeds Richard Smith, who has served as Chairman since 2014. Smith will remain on the board as a director.
TDECU CEO and President Isaac Johnson says he is looking forward to working with the new Chairman on taking the credit union to the next level.
“David and I have worked together for years and have a great relationship,” said Johnson. “As the landscape of the financial industry is changing, I know that he has the experience and commitment to assist us on our mission to help Members navigate their financial journeys.”

Ignatius Okeze (’79)

There’s an African proverb that says, “a person whose father is in heaven does not go to hell.” That means a person who is a product of a great family, community, business, school, team or university like the University of Houston should not be left alone on a sun scorched desert. This analogy applies to my relationship to this great University of Houston.

Looking back to Saturday May 12, 1979 when I graduated from UH, I feel like God connected me to this University for a greater purpose. Back then I received amazing Letters from then UH President Philip Hoffman, from the offices of the Dean of Business College, from the Athletics Department, from the Cougar Bookstore, from General Activity and Ceremonial departments of this great academic institution. The letters were exceedingly exciting, memorable and overwhelming. The contents of the letters lifted my spirit and made me feel like I was on top of the world.

Recently I began working on a new project. The “City of Hope City of God” (CHCG) Is a vision project connecting people from all walks of life to help with the education of new generations to better know God. CHCG is unique and distinctive from existing institutions in terms of values and culture.

I have been thinking of connecting with the right UH alumni eagles (top successful UH alumni) who have acquired the knowledge, experience and wisdom to play the roles of mentors/coaches, directing and guiding me to notice possibilities, mentor/coach who will act as a resource and encourager to me; to help me see possibility blinders, help me understand different alternatives to solving problems inherent in CHCG project; mentors who will challenge me to accomplish different phases of the project within a given time period. I strongly believe (based on human history and success stories), there are such UH alumni eagles, retired or active in their careers, who will be excited and willing to help me in this regard. My challenge is finding and connecting with them. Most likely, those UH eagles are looking for me.

To find more about the project you can reach me: Dr Ignatius Okeze, or P O BOX 720582, Houston, Tx. 77272

Mike Pede (’89)

UH Alumni Association’s Mike Pede (’89) and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner (’77) presented fellow Cougar Jim Nantz (’81) with the Key to the City and proclamations from Texas Governor Greg Abbott, County Commissioner Lina Hidalgo, and Mayor Turner during the Final Four Weekend in Houston. Jim Nantz was commended for his many accomplishments and dedication to broadcasting and to UH. 2023 marked the end of Jim Nantz broadcasting Final Four games. His familiar voice will be missed by many.

Nathan Conrad (’05)

Hunter is pleased to announce Nathan Conrad as the blast-resistant building firm’s new vice president of operations. In his new role, the Texas native will provide support and conduct long-range planning for the organization’s operations.

Conrad maintains more than 20 years of experience in the manufacturing industry, with prior work placing him in leadership positions ranging from materials management to operations.

He joined Hunter in 2011, originally as warehouse manager, and played a critical role in developing company procurement processes. After a promotion to director of operations, Conrad successfully managed multiple departments while improving efficiency and clarity across the organization.

That first-hand experience provided Conrad a clear understanding of each role required to execute a Hunter building, and he said he plans to put the knowledge to good use in his new position.

“I’ve been deeply involved with the operational side of our company for a while now, but this new role gives me the opportunity to take that work to the next level,” explained Conrad, who earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Houston.

Company Chief Operating Officer Michael Draper congratulated his colleague for taking this next step with Hunter, noting his wealth of experience and dedication to a job done well will benefit both the company and its clients.

 “Nathan is a dedicated leader who’s always looking to learn more and grow his skill set,” Draper explained. “He’s been a tremendous asset to our team for many years already, and I’m confident he’s the right man for this new role.”

Conrad said he is excited to take on new responsibilities to guide an already successful company forward.

“Hunter has an impressive history of growth and success, and that’s no accident,” he said. “Our company has worked hard to become the industry leader it is today. I look forward to further building upon Hunter’s reputation and providing long-term value for our clients and employees.”

Robert “Bob” Livermore (’68)

Bob Livermore has been elected to the Board of Maxx Technologies, Inc, parent of Maxx Sports TV. Bob was instrumental in Maxx Sports TV procuring exclusive streaming rights to University of Houston Olympic Sports.
Bob is the Founder and President of Marketing Plus LLC, a 30-year member of the Board of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, with more than 50 years with the University of Houston Alumni Association.
Bob is quoted as saying:
“I am a lifetime UH Cougar and a proud Houstonian. I advocated with UH for the Maxx multistream interactive streaming technology, because it is radically less expensive than other broadcast technologies and produces a much better quality than anything else I have seen. Maxx streaming technology helped the Cougars generate income from sports broadcasts that previously was an expense. That is great news for the Cougars, and good news for College Sports.”
Bob served nine years in the Air Force as a combat pilot and has flown over 200 combat missions in Vietnam and was assigned as a pilot TO Air Force One for President Gerald Ford. Following military service Bob took over ownership of Gulf Coast Dodge, became the head of Marketing and Public Affairs for Miller Brewing in Houston, Texas for 17 years, Instrumental in starting and managing a New Music format radio station in Houston (The Buzz) and is still top in the Houston market. Bob started has owned and managed Marketing Plus LLC, a design, marketing, and public affairs company for over 20 years. Marketing Plus (Mplus Group) has won over 20 Addy Awards (the Oscars for Advertising) for work it has done for clients, ranging from Shell Oil to BP Energy.
Maxx Technologies is a video research and engineering company with deep knowledge of video hardware and video software. Maxx manufactures one of the most powerful video streaming and video analytics computers in the world today. Maxx video streaming software delivers the only interactive 6-camera multi-platform video in the USA.
Maxx has been in business for more than six years and has delivered its technology and automated video content services to clients ranging from the Florida Panthers to the Dallas Cowboys.

Larry Gatlin (’70)

He’s Now ‘Professor’ Larry Gatlin And He’s Teaching Songwriting
Pam Windsor
Nashville-based music, entertainment, and feature writer.
Jan 29, 2023,01:28pm EST

Larry Gatlin and his brothers Steve and Rudy are collectively known as the Gatlin Brothers, and they’ve had a long list of megahits through the years. Their list of familiar songs includes the GRAMMY-winning “Broken Lady,” “All the Gold in California,” and “Houston (Means I’m One Day Closer to You),” and many more. And Larry Gatlin has written every one of them.
He’s also written songs recorded by Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Charlie Rich, Johnny Mathis, and others. And he was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame four years ago.
Now, Gatlin is getting the chance to teach what he knows about songwriting to college students in his hometown of Odessa, Texas. Last Monday (January 23rd), marked the first night of the eight-week Master Class he’s teaching on-site at the University of Texas Permian Basin. He couldn’t have been more excited.
“It really was one of the most moving moments of my life to see those young people there who wanted to learn,” he says.”
It’s not the first time he’s taught students in a classroom setting. Years ago, he was invited to share some of what he knows with students at the University of Texas. He was supposed to talk about music, what goes into performing, and the elements of putting a show together, but it kept coming back around to songwriting.
“I put everything together and visited with these young folks and it turned into what they wanted to talk about. And they’re the ones who moved it into the direction of songwriting.”
He’s since gone into other schools from California to London, England to touch on the topic, but this time he’s actually getting to teach a full-length course. He’ll be guiding students both in-person and online to start writing songs of their own.
“The main thing I’m going to do, I’m not going to lecture, I’m going to tell them a few things to help them learn the craft of writing songs. Like the other night I told them, ‘If you write a song about heaven, when you sing ‘hea…VEN,’ the melody goes up on the second syllable (lifting upward as in the direction of heaven). If you’re writing a song about hell, the melody goes down.’ Little things like that.”
Gatlin, who attended the University of Houston on a football scholarship and majored in English, has a deep appreciation for the English language, as well as American literature. It’s served him well as a songwriter and he plans to encourage his students to read the classics.
He gives an example of how a book report he was assigned in high school on John Steinbeck’s “Grapes of Wrath, led to one of the Gatlin Brothers biggest hits.
“Thirteen short years later, I was stuck in the traffic jam from hell, right in front of the Hollywood Bowl in California in LA,” he recalls. “ Right in front of me was a 1958 Mercury station wagon with an Oklahoma license plate. And I said it to myself, these poor Okies are coming to California to try to get rich and famous. They look like the Joad family from “Grapes of Wrath”, and they’re going to find out that all the gold in California is in a bank in the middle of Beverly Hills in somebody else’s name.”
In the “Grapes of Wrath,” the Joads, a family of tenant farmers in Oklahoma facing hardship during the great depression, head to California in hopes of a better future.
“About an hour later, after I’d written that down,” Gatlin says, “I wrote that song in eight minutes in the Warner Brother parking lot in Burbank. And six months later it was the No. 1 country song in the world. Ain’t God good?”
Gatlin says he’ll point out how music brings people together, noting “we get married to music, march off to war to music, get inaugurated to music, and graduate to music.” It can also influence others and bring about change.
“If you don’t think Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Buffy Saint-Marie, Stephen Stills, Joni Mitchell and David Crosby, if you don’t believe those people helped end the Vietnam War, you’re crazy. They sang songs, got people together protesting the indecency of it, and brought people into the streets.”
Music can also inspire, and Gatlin will celebrate and highlight the work of friends and fellow songwriters throughout the course.
“Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, and Kris Kristofferson, who I think is the greatest wordsmith since William Shakespeare,” Gatlin says. “Mickey Newberry, Roger Miller, Dottie West, and Dolly Parton. If you want to listen to what real life is like, go listen to “Coat of Many Colors,” that Dolly Parton wrote. It’s one of the most incredibly well-written and poignant songs ever, about a poor kid growing up in the hills of Tennessee and making it all the way to the top.”
Gatlin says his overall goal is to support and encourage the next generation to dig deep, and write the kind of songs that mean something to them.
“My most important job is to listen with my good ears and my good heart, hoping these students know I love them, and throwing down my guitar and clipboard and picking up the pompoms to cheer for these young people and encourage them. That’s my deal.”

Pam Windsor
Nashville-based music contributor to

Staci LaToison (’03)

Houston Hospice Appoints Staci LaToison to Board of Directors

HOUSTON, TX (Jan. 23, 2023) – Houston Hospice announced the appointment of Staci LaToison to its Board of Directors. Following this appointment, the Board will comprise of 14 members, four of which are officers and an additional six are advisors.

“We are pleased to welcome Staci LaToison to the Houston Hospice Board of Directors,” said Joyce T. Salhoot, MSW, MHA, board chair of Houston Hospice. “Staci’s wealth of knowledge in the strategy, innovation, and investment industries will be an asset to Houston Hospice’s board of directors as we continue to empower families and underserved communities who are in need of quality hospice care.”

Staci LaToison (’03) is an award-winning entrepreneur and venture capitalist with a passion for supporting women and diverse founders. Named one of Houston Business Journal’s 2022 Women Who Mean Business Honorees, LaToison is the founding partner of Dream Big Ventures, as well as a limited partner of Mendoza Ventures, Portfolio, Urban Capital Network and Soften Venture Fund, where she serves on the advisory board. She is an angel investor of Angeles Investors with additional investments in Agility Bank and Specs AI Optometry. LaToison’s background includes a 22-year career at Chevron, where she served in leadership in China, Angola, and Houston, including innovation and strategy management.

In recognition of her business acumen and entrepreneurial spirit, LaToison was named Entrepreneur in Residence for Divan’s “Women in Tech” accelerator where she mentored women-led startups.

LaToison earned a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology from the University of Houston, where she currently serves on the Dean’s Advisory Board of the College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences. She also earned an MBA in International Business from the University of St. Thomas. In addition, she completed the Columbia Business School Venture Capital and Private Equity Senior Executive program, where she now serves as a Global Ambassador. In her personal time, she volunteers in the community and is the co-chair of the Discovery Green Gala on the Green.

About Houston Hospice
Houston Hospice is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides uncompromising, compassionate, end-of-life care to patients and families across 13 counties Texas, regardless of their ability to pay. Established in 1980, Houston Hospice is the oldest, largest, independent, nonprofit hospice in Greater Houston and a member of the Texas Medical Center. For more information visit