Innovate Fort Worth Podcast: Favorite FW Innovators, Part VI

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 51: Edward Morgan is the founder of Revitalize Charging Solutions, a company working to improve the market for home and commercial charging stations. 

Favorite Fort Worth Innovator: Jorge Varela

“When I first started this company, Jorge was taking me through this process of getting my prototype done. He showed me how to jumpstart my business really fast with what I had. But again, there are many innovators that I really want to acknowledge; Hayden Blackburn, Darlene Boudreaux, and James Womack. Everyone dug in with me and gave me great advice and help and I truly want to acknowledge those folks.” 

Jorge Varela

Episode 52: Rikki Kelley is the founder and CEO at EGO Tequila, where she created her own brand of high quality tequila.  

Favorite Fort Worth Innovator: Jonathan Morris, Fort Worth Barbershop & Hotel Dryce

I heard about him two years ago, and I was like, “Ok, he’s got all these businesses,” and then I found out he opened Hotel Dryce. I’ve been there. It’s super beautiful. I was blown away by it. When we launched, he sent me a friend request on Instagram and I was blown away because he reached out to me I’m a nobody. What he’s doing is awesome. It’s super cool to have all these other businesses and then open your own hotel.”

Jonathan Morris, Fort Worth Barber Shop & Hotel Dryce

Episode 53: Chris Powers is the founder and executive chairman at Fort Capital, a private real estate business. 

Favorite Fort Worth Innovator: Cody Campbell & John Sellers

“One, they are just super thoughtful and super generous, but they have reshaped how oil and gas gets done. They’ve been wildly successful. Even in times when everybody else isn’t succeeding, they are always somehow able to turn lemons into lemonade. They have rethought the industry and I draw a lot of inspiration from them.” 

Cody Campbell & John Sellers

Episode 54: Cameron Cushman is the assistant vice president in the Innovation Ecosystems department at HSC Next.

Favorite Fort Worth Innovator: Dr. Michael Williams, Chancellor UNT Systems

“Had he not given me the opportunity to come and be innovative and do some of the things that we get to do on a daily basis then we wouldn’t have a podcast, we wouldn’t be having this discussion right now, and we wouldn’t have Global Entrepreneurship Week. And that’s just the stuff that I’ve been a part of. He has launched so many other things here in our institution.” 

Dr. Michael Williams, UNT Systems

Episode 55: Ranjan Misra is an advisor at AyuVis Research, a company at the forefront of finding new ways to fight diseases through immunotherapy. 

Favorite Fort Worth Innovator: Suchi Acharya, AyuVis

“I have yet to see somebody as passionate as her. To just go out there and get to the finish line and make a difference. Somebody that is focused and purpose driven is ultimately somebody that is a very successful innovator because their innovation is truly going to make a difference.” 

Suchi Acharya, AyuVis

Episode 56: Luke Hejl is the CEO and founder at TimelyMD, a telehealth company focused on transforming healthcare on college campuses across the nation. 

Favorite Fort Worth Innovator: Hayden Blackburn, TechFW

“I’ve known Hayden for some time and really love the mission of what TechFW is doing. I think he’s doing a good job at building this incubator where other technology entrepreneurs can come do things together and learn.”

Hayden Blackburn, TechFW

Episode 57: John Sims and Lee Ann Cunningham work for HSC and are the directors of SaferCare, a service working to reduce medical errors and preventable harm in healthcare. 

Favorite Fort Worth Innovator: Dr. Michael Williams, Chancellor UNT Systems

“Not only for his vision for bringing the institution of patient safety to the Health Science Center but what he did at a rural hospital before he came to the HSC was amazing. There was a hospital that was on the verge of financial ruinevery category was pretty dismal. One thing that stuck out to me was that they had a mission statement of a page and a half. He said, “No. Remarkable Care Always.” If everyone shares that motto, then you can really make progress. And they did.” 

Dr. Michael Williams, UNT Systems

Episode 58: Trey Bowles is the managing director at Techstars Physical Health Fort Worth Accelerator, a global early-stage investment firm that provides accessibility to capital, mentoring, customers, talent, and infrastructure.  

Favorite Fort Worth Innovator: Brad Hunstable, LinearLabs

“He’s been a friend since he was running and building UStream. I think he is the quintessential innovator. He is pushing the limit in so many different places. His vision is so amazing. Now he’s got an opportunity where he is going to build a company with his dad which I know is really cool for him. Seeing somebody who is such an advocate for Fort Worth is someone we can look at and say, ‘That is a great example of what can be done and what having a vision and dream and goal can actually look like.’ And he is doing it. He’s done it once; he’s going to do it again. He’s revolutionizing the industries he is involved in.”

Brad Hunstable, LiniarLabs

Episode 59: Darlisa Diltz is the managing director at the North Texas Entrepreneurial Education & Training Center, a company committed to providing guidance to aspiring small business leaders. 

Favorite Fort Worth Innovator: Marco Johnson & Kendel Rogers, HSC Next

“I have to say Marco Johnson, he’s my all-time favorite. But I have a new one, she is an up-and-coming innovator, Kendel Rogers. Those are my all-time favorite innovators in Fort Worth.” 

Marco Johnson, HSC Next
Kendel Rogers, HSC Next

Episode 60: Matthew Ciardiello is the CEO of Terrastor, a solution for dependable, carbon-neutral energy storage in the ground. 

Favorite Fort Worth Innovator: Farukh Aslam, Sinclair Hotel

“I’m really impressed with what Farukh Aslam has done over at The Sinclair Hotel, along with the electrification of the different devices in a different way using cat5 cable, using direct current electricity. What strikes me about that is that it’s so simple; he’s not reinventing the wheel, he’s taking existing parts, existing applications, existing science and using them in a slightly different way and in a more elegant way. That really speaks to me.” 

Farukh Aslam, The Sinclair Hotel

Don’t forget to check out the favorite Fort Worth Innovators post for Episodes 1-50! And stay up to date on the Fort Worth entrepreneurial community by following Sparkyard on Facebook and LinkedIn.

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.

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