Fort Worth is full of innovation and innovators. The Innovate Fort Worth podcast 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 compiled a list of our guests’ favorite local innovators. Be sure to check out the favorite innovators in our previous posts here.
Episode 31: Former Mayor Betsy Price shares her views on why Fort Worth is a great city for startups and small businesses.
Note: At the time of this podcast recording Betsy Price was stepping down as Mayor in a few months.
Favorite Fort Worth Innovator: Paul Andrews, TTI. John Justin, Justin Boots. Williamson-Dickie Mfg. Co. Marvin Gerard, Pier One. John Brunel.
“There are really to many to name favorites. I’ve always thought Paul Andrews and his initiative, TTI, is an incredible company. And if you go back into Fort Worth history and knew John Justin and the Justin boot company, that started as a very small custom boot company and look where Justin’s are now, it’s worldwide. The guys who run Williams Dickie started selling work clothes and now they’re the hot ticket for the hip crowd, Dickies workwear. Marvin Gerard from Pier One and John Brunel who I mentioned earlier. He has kind of set the benchmark for the service industry and many people have followed him and done such a great job. So it’s hard to name a favorite.”
Episode 32: Jeff Rattikin, Co-Founder of Legal Café, a coworking space and café for lawyers located a few blocks from the Tarrant County courthouses in Downtown Fort Worth.
Favorite Fort Worth Innovator: Ross Perot and Mike Berry, Alliance
“I think what has happened out in the Prairie on the North side of Fort Worth with Alliance development is truly amazing. It was ranch land and Ross Perot and Mike Berry and their team had this vision and they created the world’s largest inland port and envisioned using rail, air, highway and warehouses to create one place where it all comes together. The success they are having is a result of their innovation in technology and transportation and shipping.”
Be sure to check out the Highlight Reel.
Episode 33: Dylan Jones is not only a veteran, but the founder and CEO of Animal Cloud Device Connectivity, a cloud based technology that monitors the health of service animals that work in the field.
Favorite Fort Worth Innovator: Sydney Phillips
“She is someone that I went through the entrepreneurial degree plan at TCU with. She is very very technology minded and real estate minded. To me, she’s an amazing example of a student entrepreneur and a female entrepreneur. I have a daughter and I think she is a great role model for little girls like her because of all the success and hard work she’s put into her work.”
Episode 34: Mia Moss is the owner of Black Coffee, acting as a driving force for the revitalization of east Fort Worth.
Favorite Fort Worth Innovator:Roots Coffee, Lazy Daisy & Cherry Coffee
“These people have been an inspiration to me and are people I can count on. I just love that we have connected. I’ve always said that our competition is Starbucks, not each other. They have helped to make that a reality and I just love them.”
Episode 35: Joseph Horn is the director of EcoPlex, working in hopes of turning Fort Worth into the center of sustainability and environmental advocacy.
Favorite Fort Worth Innovator: Brad Hunstable, Linear Labs & Farukh Aslam, The Sinclair Hotel
“They are innovators who have gone out there and they just think big. Farukh, for example, kept challenging ‘Why are we doing things this way?’ and that’s what we need the mindset of. We not only need to think outside the box but also challenge ourselves and keep thinking if there is a more efficient and sustainable way to do something. That’s what we need to focus on.”
Episode 36: Jonathan Morris is a serial entrepreneur and the owner of the Fort Worth Barbershop and Hotel Dryce. He also hosts the Magnolia Network’s tv show, Self Employed.
Favorite Fort Worth Innovator:Fort Worth up and coming youth
“I think that the most innovative person in Fort Worth right now is someone who is sitting, watching, and learning. They might be 16 years old right now, but they are seeing the landscape of what the future of Fort Worth looks like. I don’t know what their name is, I don’t know what they’re doing but I think that the future of the city is the youth who are going to grab the city by the horns.”
Episode 37: Dr. Michael Mathis & Dr. Thomas Cunnigham from the HSC in Fort Worth reveal their new Graduate Certificate in Biomedical Entrepreneurship, which provides preparation for the newest biotech leaders of Fort Worth.
Favorite Fort Worth Innovator: Al Guillem and Dr. Rob McClain
“He [Al Guillem] has done so many tremendous things, from starting out Mucinex, to founding ZS Pharma to being bought out by AstraZeneca. I admire most that he stayed connected to the Fort Worth community. That is the most important thing, is that he’s interested in seeing Fort Worth succeed.”
“I really like what HSC Next is doing. I’ve worked with Rob McClain on a lot of grants and I really like this new model. I think it’s going to be a game changer for the entire HSC community and Fort Worth as well.”
Episode 38: Yanira Borges is the creator of SideKick Checkins, a digital platform that helps staff members handle simple tasks by asking a few simple questions.
Favorite Fort Worth Innovator: Megan Henderson
“She was one of the top 40 under 40. She is the Events and Communications Director at the Near Southside. Megan Henderson is the bomb. She has transformed the community and she inspires me. She supports the community, she supports the arts, she supports Fort Worth, she supports women, she supports entrepreneurs, and she gives of herself so much. Aside from her awesomeness, she has taken art, community and people and put them together in a really neat way and has revitalized a lot of the city.”
Episode 39: Chuck Bouligny is the vice president and chief marketing officer of Juggle, an app that helps people balance their relationships and build authentic connections.
Favorite Fort Worth Innovator: Near Southside
“The reason I love it so much is because it’s all entrepreneurs. It’s so many people quadrupling down on their dreams and their vision. I am on the board of Near Southside and I’ve been saying this for years that it was the idea that we’re going to be resilient as a community here. There’s so many people invested in what’s happening here that if there is a downturn there’s going to be a lot of people right there to grab your hand and pull you right back up.”
Episode 40: Chris Cobler is the publisher of the Fort Worth Report, emphasizing the importance of serving the community by providing local, objective journalism through a nonprofit.
Favorite Fort Worth Innovator: Jessica Miller Essl, M2G Ventures
“She came over for coffee and we were just talking about the way she’s reimagined everything with her sister and company. Our offices are in Trinity Coffee House which her company redeveloped. It was a muffler shop and she talked about how she and her company had thought about what else it could be besides a muffler shop. In my lifetime people would have just knocked down a muffler shop but she said, ‘No we’re gonna improve the character of this neighborhood but preserve the past of this neighborhood.’ The way she’s reimagined it is fascinating to me.”
Be sure to check back for Fort Worth Innovators post for Episodes 41-50!
You can also follow Sparkyard on Facebook and LinkedIn to stay up to date on the Fort Worth entrepreneurial community. Also, don’t forget to download the Innovate Fort Worth Podcast episodes which streams a new Innovator every two weeks.
About the Author
Faith Emmitte is a student intern for the Next department at the University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth. Faith will be a first-year student at Texas A&M University, pursuing a BA in Business Administration. Gig ‘Em Ags! All thoughts and opinions are her own and in no way reflect the thoughts and opinions of the HSC.