Posts Tagged ‘Career News’

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.

David Baluk (J.D. ’11)

The law firm of Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto,
Aziz & Stogner is proud to announce that David Baluk has joined the
firm as an Associate. David is dedicated to representing individuals
and family members who have been injured or killed as a result of
another’s negligence. His current legal practice 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
accidents. He is licensed to practice in Texas 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.
Prior to joining Abraham Watkins, 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. Throughout his legal

career, he has successfully litigated numerous automobile and trucking accidents,
pharmaceutical, premises liability, product liability, workplace injuries, toxic tort and chemical
exposure cases. He now applies this experience and the skillset he honed in courthouses
throughout the United States to his cases at Abraham Watkins.
Born and raised in New Jersey, David credits his blue-collar roots for his tireless work ethic. He is
a magna cum laude graduate of Washington and Lee University, where he graduated with a
degree in Economics and was inducted into Omicron Delta Epsilon, an International Economics
Honor Society. He later moved to Texas and attended the University of Houston Law Center,
serving on the board of the Houston Journal of International Law and earning the honor of Editor
of the Year. While attending law school, David was also a Law Clerk at Abraham Watkins, where
he received his first exposure to plaintiffs’ personal injury work.
David has been recognized on the Texas Rising Stars list since 2018. He is active in the legal
community as a member of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association, Houston Trial Lawyers
Association, Houston Bar Association, Houston Young Lawyers Association, and Texas Bar

Todd Calvin (’89)

Todd Calvin, PE, was recently elected as a shareholder for BGE, Inc. Todd joined BGE in 2018, and he is currently the director of Public Works in BGE’s Houston region. He has a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Texas A&M University and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Houston.

Michael Urbis (’85) and Larry McClaugherty (’72)

The Texas Hill Country is Alive with Houston Cougars

After retirement, Larry McClaugherty and his wife Kathy moved to the Texas Hill Country. In a short time Larry has successfully connected UH Cougars living in the Texas Hill Country.

Larry McClaugherty (’72) and Michael Urbis (’85) are connected through Robstown, Texas, The University of Houston and the Texas Hill Country. Larry and Michael both grew up in Robstsown – even living across the street from each other. Michael graduated from the UH Bauer College of Business.

Now they all live in the Texas Hill Country and are part of the Hill Country Houston Cougars. Recently Michael stopped by the McClaugherty home for a photo op with Houston Cougar Boulder.

The “Boulder” is from Boulder Design at the Texas Wildseed Farm in Fredericksburg.

Bill Morgan (’63) and Larry McClaugherty (’72)

The Texas Hill Country is Alive with Houston Cougars

After retirement, Larry McClaugherty and his wife Kathy (also a UH graduate) moved to the Texas Hill Country. In a short time Larry has successfully connected UH Cougars living in the Texas Hill Country.

Larry McClaugherty (’72) and Bill Morgan (’63) are connected through their hometown of Robstown, Texas, and The University of Houston and the Texas Hill Country. Larry and Bill are graduates of the University of Houston College of Pharmacy.

Bill’s first job out of pharmacy school was at City Drug in Robstown. Now they all live in the Texas Hill Country and are part of the Hill Country Houston Cougars. Bill recently stopped by the McClaugherty home for a photo op with Houston Cougar Boulder.

The “Boulder” is from Boulder Design at the Texas Wildseed Farm in Fredericksburg.

John J. Hammerle (’65, M.Ed. ’69)

John J. Hammerle (Music Education, ’65, M.Ed., ’69), retired Executive Director of Fine and Performing Arts, Dallas Independent School District, named top Director of Fine Arts in North Texas and recipient of the Hummer Award by the Score a Goal in the Classroom, served as Adjunct Professor, Dallas County Community Colleges, is currently a private instrumental music instructor, and has been a professional performer with the Houston Symphony, American Wind Symphony, and the Dallas Wind Symphony. He has taught in public schools throughout Texas, as well as serving as Supervisor of Music in San Angelo Texas, and Assistant Professor of Music at the University of Texas at Austin. His Internationally famous Westchester High School Band, of the Spring Branch Independent School District, achieved 11 continuous Sweepstakes and numerous Special Awards and trophies. It was the featured band at all Oilers Football home games in the Astrodome. It also captured the coveted Six Flags Over Texas Best of class, topping over 55 bands from 11 states, and won the top honors in the New York Macy’s Parade with 15 minutes of international coverage as the first high school band from Texas in the NY Macy’s Parade. Gov Preston Smith declared an Honorary Day for Hammerle and the band. He is currently an Adjudicator and consultant for National Festivals and consultant for school districts throughout the U.S., most recently serving on the North Central Association of Accreditation of the Chicago Public School Districts.

Vanessa Gilmore (J.D. ’81)

Houston judge becomes trailblazer for women in law with historic career on federal bench
By Gina Gaston
Wednesday, March 10, 2021 6:00PM

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — Judge Vanessa Gilmore is a trailblazer in the legal field who made history when she took the federal bench.

But Gilmore will be leaving the bench on January 2, 2022, pivoting to a destination unknown.

She already bought a retirement gift for herself.

“I just wanted to have a ring that symbolizes me leaving the gilded cage of the federal judiciary and going out into the world,” she said.

In 1994, Gilmore was the youngest ever appointee to a federal judgeship at just 36 years old.

A legal career wasn’t the plan when she enrolled at Hampton University, historically Black college and university, at age 16 to study fashion.

After graduating, she worked as a buyer for Foley’s in downtown. Then an inside job apartment burglary changed everything.

“I filed my little lawsuit, went to court, tried my little case, got me a little bit of money. I thought, ‘Hang on. I could do this some more. I’m going to go to law school.'”

Being a female student at the University of Houston Law School in 1979 was still rare, but she didn’t experience sexism there or when she practiced law.

“Now, do I have lawyers who try to push back on me and think that they might be able to take advantage of the fact that I’m a woman? Of course, I do. Does it work? No.”

And her accomplishments have also not shielded her from racism. You might remember the 2007 trial of Tyrone Williams, the truck driver who smuggled 70 immigrants in the back of his trailer in 2003. Nineteen of them died of dehydration, overheating and suffocation.

Judge Gilmore had Williams’ case, and the other defendants who recruited him.

“I said, ‘I don’t think that this is a death penalty case. Why are you seeking a death penalty against this man? And why are you only seeking a death penalty against this man and not the 13 other defendants that were involved in this case?'”

The fifth circuit took the case from her after she said that.

“There was so much explicit bias in the way that the entire case was handled that it really made me lose confidence in the justice system,” Gilmore said.

The jury eventually agreed with her and Williams was sentenced to life.

Outside of the courtroom, Gilmore speaks to her peers often about implicit bias and to her students about her journey.

Gilmore is also an author of several books, including one for kids who have an incarcerated parent. She lobbied Texas Southern University to start a program to support those families.

“I’m not there in a judicial capacity necessarily. I tell them, ‘I know you don’t think that we’re here to help. You think that we’re just here to put you in jail, but we can help too.'”

But her biggest passion is reserved for her son, whom she adopted when she was 44.

“He got a job as a diaper model, earned some money and we use that and put that money away in his college account.”

Sean is in college now, and his empty nester mom is ready to spread her wings.

Gilmore tells women you can have it all, though not at the same time, and the time has come for her to try something new.

“I’ve enjoyed being here. I would not have picked it for myself but I’m glad it picked me.”

She was the first UH law school grad to sit on a federal bench and is now looking forward to golfing, practicing her salsa dancing, and not shy about saying, making time for romance!

Phillip D. Archer (FS ’76)

After nearly 45 years of covering the news in Houston, KPRC 2 senior reporter Phil Archer is retiring.

Archer, a native of Wichita Falls, began his career with KPRC 2 in 1976, starting out as a police beat reporter and photographer. Since then, he’s covered countless stories in Houston, documented war on the ground in El Salvador and pursued a fugitive priest to Spain.

He has won awards from the Associated Press, UPI, Houston Press Club, Houston Fire Department, Association for Retarded Citizens, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, and American Quarter Horse Association. In 2006, the Texas Associated Press Broadcasters awarded Archer first place for his coverage of Hurricane Katrina.

In 1978, he received the Perringer Award from the Texas Association of Broadcasters after being stabbed and hospitalized while covering the Moody Park Riot.

In 1983, Archer was chosen to attend the University of Chicago as a William Benton Fellow in Broadcasting.

Prior to that, he attended the University of Houston, majoring in journalism.

He and his wife Joy reside in Fort Bend County.

Archer will sign off from KPRC 2 next week.

Wade Barnes (’08)


LUBBOCK, Texas – Feb. 17, 2021 – Freese and Nichols, Inc., has added Wade Barnes, PhD, PE, CFM, to its growing Lubbock office to lead stormwater projects that will strengthen flood protections for clients across the West Texas region.

Barnes brings more than a decade of experience in designing and modeling storm sewer systems, along with a teaching and research background focused on hydrology, sediment transport and hydraulics. He also has strong background in transportation drainage, having applied his stormwater expertise to transportation projects locally as well as across the state.

“Wade understands the unique nature of West Texas drainage, and he has expertise in developing solutions to reduce flooding in both urban and rural areas,” said Heather Keister, a Freese and Nichols Associate and Lubbock Office Lead Engineer.

“His technical knowledge will be valuable in helping us assist regional clients as well as contribute to large-scale stormwater initiatives across the firm. We’re also excited about how he will complement our transportation expertise working alongside our Transportation Lead, Kevin Morris.”

Barnes specializes in both 1-D and 2-D modeling for drainage analyses and transportation, drainage and site development design. He also has completed FEMA-related work, LOMR studies and floodplain mapping. He has completed research for the Texas Department of Transportation and the U.S. Geological Survey and has taught engineering hydrology and fluid mechanics courses for Texas Tech University’s Civil Engineering Department.

Barnes is a Professional Engineer and Certified Floodplain Manager and a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, Texas Floodplain Management Association and the National Society of Professional Engineers as well as its Texas affiliate. He received his PhD in Civil Engineering from Texas Tech and his bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston.

Freese and Nichols, Inc., is a professional consulting firm serving clients across the Southeast and Southwest United States. With sustainability and client-centered innovation in mind, Freese and Nichols plans, designs and manages infrastructure projects. It is the first engineering/architecture firm to receive the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. Learn more at

Elizabeth Brock (’97)

CenterPoint Energy has named Elizabeth Gonzalez Brock as Vice
President, Energy Solutions and Business Services. In this leadership role, Brock is responsible
for large customer relationship management, economic development, natural gas and electric
energy efficiency, customer solutions and energy management programs across the company’s
eight-state service territory.

Brock began her career with CenterPoint Energy in 2010. Most
recently, she served as Director, Local Regulatory and Government
Relations. In this capacity, she developed relationships with local and
state stakeholders and worked closely with CenterPoint Energy’s senior
leadership to develop and implement strategic solutions. In addition, she
helped coordinate the company’s legislative and regulatory activities.

“Elizabeth brings to this new role extensive experience in shaping
strategy, outstanding relationships with key stakeholders across our
service territory, and a proven track record of driving efficient and
effective solutions for our customers,” said Gregg Knight, Executive Vice President, Customer
Transformation and Business Services, CenterPoint Energy. “I am excited and confident that
Elizabeth is uniquely capable to lead the company in ensuring our energy delivery strategy,
products and services align with the needs of commercial and industrial customers and also the
communities we serve. She brings a ‘customer first’ mindset to her new role and will work to
ensure the company maintains its position as customers’ trusted energy and solutions provider.”

Brock serves on the boards of Houston First and Rebuilding Together Houston, and is Chair of
EVolve Houston. In 2019, she served as Chair of the board of Greater Houston Women’s
Chamber of Commerce. Brock earned her bachelor’s degree in political science from the
University of Houston.

As the only investor-owned electric and gas utility based in Texas, CenterPoint Energy, Inc.
(NYSE: CNP) is an energy delivery company with electric transmission and distribution, power
generation and natural gas distribution operations that serve more than 7 million metered
customers in Arkansas, Indiana, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Ohio, Oklahoma and Texas.
As of September 30, 2020, the company owned approximately $33 billion in assets and also
owned 53.7 percent of the common units representing limited partner interests in Enable
Midstream Partners, LP, a publicly traded master limited partnership that owns, operates and
develops strategically located natural gas and crude oil infrastructure assets. With approximately
9,600 employees, CenterPoint Energy and its predecessor companies have been in business for
more than 150 years. For more information, visit