Fort Worth is full of innovation and innovators. The Innovate Fort Worth was launched in 2019 to provide a platform for those local innovators to tell their stories and share their latest projects with our community. At the end of each episode the host, Cameron Cushman, asks each guest who their favorite innovator is in Fort Worth. We thought it would be fun to compile a list of these innovators favorite local innovators.
Episode 1: Marco Johnson has made it his life’s work to spark innovation everywhere from East Africa to Fort Worth. Marco now helps connect Fort Worth entrepreneurs to vital resources through the Sparkyard platform.
Favorite Fort Worth Innovator: Veena Somareddy
“The person who right now is my favorite is a lady named Veena Somareddy and she has a company called Neuro Rehab VR. She’s helping to rehabilitate people with mobility problems through augmented reality and virtual reality.”
Favorite Fort Worth Innovator: Issac Manning
“Isaac Manning. He was our first investor and he’s involved in a lot of projects. He’s an MIT grad, a really really smart person who has done a lot of technical work across the US and he wrote our first check, flew to Demo Day, to California, and has just been a great supporter who has believed in us since Day 1.”
Favorite Fort Worth Innovator: Ashlee Inman, Farhaj Mayan, Hamiz Mushtag Awan
“I don’t think I’ll be able to name one. I love a lot of them. There’s Ashlee Inman from Homebody, Farhaj Mayan from Fade, there’s Hamiz from Plutus, and I think I want to do a shoutout to the whole Rising Tide Team: Kevin, Grace, and everybody there.”
Favorite Fort Worth Innovator: Mike Williams
“I think that innovation comes in many different ways. I think that what you guys have going on here at the UNT Health Science Center under Mike Williams’ direction is pretty innovative. So I would say Mike Williams is my innovator.”
Episode 5: John Adams is the founder of Adams Respiratory Therapeutics (ARP), the Fort Worth pharmaceutical company best known for Mucinex.
Favorite Fort Worth Innovator: Ed Schollmaier, Al Guillem, Jeff Keyser
“If I was looking back early on in my career, I would say it was Ed Schollmaier. Ed did so much to continue what Mr. Conner started. He was really, to me, very influential in doing that. But currently, the two people I know best are Al Guillem and Jeff Keyser. These guys are really really sharp. They’ve been great at networking. They’ve identified opportunities out of medical schools and that kind of thing.”
Favorite Fort Worth Innovator: Bill Burns
“Well of course I’m going to think about Encore. Encore was a company created by an ex-executive from Alcon (Bill Burns), and as you know, they were incorporated also here at UNT Health Sciences.”
Favorite Fort Worth Innovator: Ed Bass
“For me that’s easy. Ed Bass, which you probably don’t think of him as an entrepreneur or innovator but I feel like there’s all these millennial buzzwords like walkability and urban living and supporting music and culture, and this is the guy that has been doing that before anybody else was doing that… he was sort of the pioneer of walkability.”
Episode 9: Ab DeWeese is a serial entrepreneur, angel investor, and physicist who has founded multiple startups in the Fort Worth area, including Hepius Equipment, which uses UV light to decontaminate N95 masks.
Favorite Fort Worth Innovator: Ken Schaefer
“Ken Schaefer is full of energy and positivity and he absolutely loves this city and pours his heart and soul into it and I think he’s just a brilliant, brilliant person.”
Favorite Fort Worth Innovator: Lin Nelson
“The main innovator would have to be Lin Nelson because she’s the one who convinced me to go back to school at UTA and if it wasn’t for her giving me that nudge to finish my degree, I wouldn’t be here right now…”
Be sure to check out the favorite Fort Worth Innovators post for Episodes 11-21!