Posts Tagged ‘Career News’

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

Alex C. Varkey (PharmD, ’05)

Dr. Alex C. Varkey, (PharmD, ’05) has been elected to serve as the 2023-24 American Pharmacists Association (APhA) President-elect. He will be installed as the 169th President of APhA in March 2024. Founded in 1852, APhA is the only organization representing and advancing the entire pharmacy profession in the United States.

Dr. Varkey will be the first Indian-American to serve as APhA President in its 170+ year history.

More information can be found in the press release linked here:

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Cindy (’86) and Todd (UHD ’89) Breton

Cindy and Todd Breton met at UH in 1985 and were married in 1987. Cindy graduated in 1986 with a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management and Todd graduated 1989 with a bachelor’s degree in business. The Bretons are football season ticket holders and proud Life Members. Todd has served as Sugar Land Rotary Past President and is currently the Assistant Governor for Rotary District 5890.

Jake Morris (MS ’09)

Houston, TX (September 8, 2022) – Jake Morris, WP Edge Senior Manager, has joined the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Big Climb Houston Executive Committee.

The Big Climb is a fundraising challenge where participants climb the stairs of an iconic building in their local community in order to raise critical funds for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). The mission of LLS is to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and to improve the quality of life of patients and their families.

“Giving back to the Houston community is something we are passionate about at Whitley Penn,” stated Audit Partner and Partner-in-Charge of the Houston office, Nathen McEown. “Jake’s dedication and involvement with the mission of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society demonstrates his devotion to the cause. We are proud of him and support him as he steps into this role and are looking forward to watching him succeed.”

Morris has more than 12 years of experience in the accounting industry, including six in public accounting and four as a controller. He has fine-tuned his accounting knowledge throughout his career by focusing on personnel/department management and leadership, banking relationships, month-end procedures and reconciliations, financial statement presentation and analysis, budgeting/forecasting, evaluation of financial ratios, debt compliance, and development/analysis of financial reports. Morris excels at improving client relationships and is a highly skilled communicator who strives for maximum transparency between his team and the people they serve.

Before joining Whitley Penn, Morris served as an audit manager and then as a controller. In his role as an audit manager, he led audit teams in performing risk-based financial statement audits for public and private corporations, as well as employee benefit plan audits. Working as a controller, Morris leads an accounting department of 12 people while also managing executive expectations to allow for a smooth and efficient operation of the accounting and finance functions at the firm.

Morris is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants (TXCPA).

Morris received his B.B.A. in Accounting from Baylor University and his M.S. in Accountancy from the University of Houston.

Devika Kornbacher (’98)

Clifford Chance announced today that technology and intellectual property partner Devika Kornbacher will join its Global Technology Group in the United States. Kornbacher brings more than 15 years of experience in technology transactions, intellectual property, cybersecurity and data privacy.

Joining as Co-Chair of the Firm’s Tech Group alongside Jonathan Kewley (London) and Paul Landless (Singapore), Kornbacher will focus on advising clients on a wide variety of technology-related legal matters, including obtaining, protecting, licensing, and enforcing intellectual property rights, technology commercialization, data privacy compliance, and cybersecurity preparedness. She also has extensive experience across a wide array of transactions, including license agreements, procurement, supply, and distribution agreements, collaboration agreements, software development agreements and patent clearances.

Jonathan Kewley says, “The pandemic has accelerated the pace and scope of tech transactions, and cybersecurity and data privacy are now more critical than ever. Devika, with her deep knowledge of technology and the laws around these matters and her track record of excellence, will boost our focus on expanding our technology offerings in the US and globally.”

DC Office Managing Partner and a leader in the firm’s US Tech Group Megan Gordon adds, “Devika’s hiring realizes our ambition to grow our technology offerings in the US. Her deep knowledge of technology, connection with the unique challenges in the sector, and experience across the spectrum of technology, technology transactions and intellectual property will deliver immediate value to our clients in the US and across the wider network.”

Kornbacher, who joins from Vinson & Elkins, says, “Clifford Chance’s Tech Group has significant cadence in the global market, here in the US and particularly in Europe and Asia Pacific – I am proud and extremely enthusiastic to join this team and can’t wait to harness the power of an international tech practice and expand our presence in the US.”

Clifford Chance’s Tech Group serves as a single global team offering clients tech law advice across the spectrum on matters impacted by technology and its rapid transition, including on matters such as artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, blockchain, big data and cybersecurity.

Christine Vo (’17)

Vo started as an intern for the DC Health Department in Jan 2020.

Ricky Lenz (’75)

I am in my 47th year as a pharmacist. I am the pharmacist in charge of Rogers Pharmacy #3. I work there on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. On Wednesdays, I work as a consultant
pharmacist for the South Texas Eye Surgicenter. I have been working at the South Texas Eye Surgicenter for 35 years. I work at Rogers #6 (in Edna, Texas) from 9-1. I am a long-time member
of the American Society of Health System Pharmacists (50 years), and I am a member of the Texas Pharmaceutical Association (50 years). I am Fellow in the Academy of Consultant Pharmacists.
I turned 70 this year and am still work full-time. I plan to keep working as long as my health holds out.
I have been married for 44 years to Carol Ann Lenz. We have one son, Joseph, who graduated (magna cum laude) in 2006 with a double degree in Classics (Latin & Greek), and German. Joseph
is a Phi Beta Kappa.
The University of Houston College of Pharmacy prepared me well for my pharmacy career. UH is a great university which I support financially every year. I am proud to be a graduate of UH.
Keep up the great work.

Jorge De La Fuente (’15)

The Law Office of Alex Martinez is pleased to announce that Jorge De La Fuente has joined the firm as an associate. Jorge will work with our immigration team to counsel clients on family visas, deportation, citizenship and naturalization, business and work visas, and other related matters.

“Jorge has an incredible breadth of experience working with the immigrant community near Texas’ border,” said founding partner Alex Martinez. “An advocate for immigrants’ rights even before entering law school, Jorge has a true passion for uplifting immigrants who seek equal and proper treatment before the law.”

A native Spanish and English speaker, Jorge has a broad range of experience handling immigration issues. He previously served as an intern with the Harris County district attorney’s office, worked as a paralegal and legal assistant in various immigration law firms, and was a law clerk to a San Antonio immigration lawyer while at St. Mary’s School of Law, where he earned his law degree in 2019.

Before joining our firm, Jorge worked as an attorney and director of immigration services at La Union Del Pueblo Entero (LUPE) in San Juan, Texas. In his role with LUPE, he represented clients before the Executive Office of Immigration Review and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. He also represented clients in asylum, cancellation of removal, and custody redetermination matters. He was also responsible for leading U.S. Department of Justice-accredited representatives to ensure they provided high-quality immigration legal services at their four office locations throughout South Texas.

In addition to professional service, Jorge’s past volunteer experiences include assisting with income tax preparation for low-income families, working with lobbying groups in Washington, D.C., to impact foreign policy, and providing legal counsel to women at a Texas detention center.

A child of immigrants, Jorge grew up in the Rio Grande Valley in the small town of Los Fresnos, Texas, along the southern border and, through his parents’ and extended family’s immigration experience, has a unique understanding of his clients’ experiences within the U.S. immigration system. Jorge understands each case has an enormous impact not only on individuals but on entire families, and therefore provides focused attention and zealous representation in court.

About The Law Office of Alex Martinez

The Law Offices of Alex Martinez represents people from all walks of life in serious personal injury cases, insurance claims, and immigration matters. Firm founder Alex Martinez has more than a decade of experience helping people from Rio Grande City, McAllen, Mission, Edinburg, Pharr, Alamo, Donna, Weslaco, Mercedes, Brownsville, and throughout the Rio Grande Valley and South Texas. For more information, visit

Tarush Anand (’03, J.D. ’06)

McGlinchey’s Tarush Anand Elected to National Retail & Restaurant Defense Association’s Board
HOUSTON (June 2022) — McGlinchey is pleased to announce that Tarush Anand—a litigation Member (partner) in the firm’s Houston office—has been elected to the board of directors of the National Retail & Restaurant Defense Association (NRRDA).
NRRDA is an industry-centered organization focused on advancing and protecting the legal interests of the retail and restaurant industry. By providing its members with cutting-edge information, strategies, and tools, the organization works to reduce claims and manage risk, mount effective defense strategies against claims and litigation, and foster a cooperative relationship among its members.
Tarush has represented clients from a wide range of industries, some of which include construction, energy, health and fitness, hospitality, insurance, manufacturing, retail, and transportation. He has first-hand experience in every facet of the litigation process in state and federal courts, from obtaining emergency temporary restraining orders and injunctions all the way through trials and appeals.

about mcglinchey
McGlinchey Stafford is a premier midsized business law firm offering services in more than 40 practice areas through a highly integrated national platform. McGlinchey attorneys leverage bold innovation, diverse talent, and leading-edge technology across our powerful network to serve clients at the local, regional, and national level. McGlinchey operates from 16 offices, 140 attorneys, licensed in 32 states. The firm currently has 18 attorneys and 11 practice areas recognized in Chambers U.S.A. and Chambers FinTech 2022, 57 attorneys recognized by Best Lawyers, 40 attorneys recognized in various Super Lawyers rankings, 49 practice areas recognized by Best Law Firms, and was named a “Top Performer” by the Leadership Council for Legal Diversity (LCLD) since 2018. To learn more, visit