The Business Report is pleased to announce The Top 50 Business Leaders of Dallas for 2022. This city is considered one of the best places to live in Texas and is popular among professionals and families looking to relocate to the state. It has a diverse economy including dominant sectors like defense, financial services, information technology, telecommunications, transportation and more. This year’s awardees play a crucial role within their community and are key players contributing to their strong economy. They are leaders at both small, large and emerging businesses.
Among this year’s awardees is Claudia Mirza, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Akorbi, the 13th fastest-growing woman-owned/led company in the U.S and the 6th fastest-growing language service provider on the Inc. 5000. Also awarded is Brittany Underwood, Founder of Akola, the premiere social impact brand in the luxury space that sells high- fashion jewelry retailing at Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Nordstrom. Awardee Glenn Smith, President and Chief Executive Officer of Mouser Electronics, who has led the company to be one of the world's largest electronic component distributors, with more than 2,500 employees in 26 offices worldwide and nearly $2 billion in annual sales.
Please join us in celebrating the accomplishments of The Top 50 Business Leaders of Dallas for 2022.
1. Glenn Smith
President & CEO, Mouser Electronics
Glenn Smith is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Mouser Electronics. He first joined the company in 1973. Mouser Electronics is a worldwide leading authorized distributor of semiconductors and electronic components from over 1,200 manufacturer brands, with local sales and service centers located around the globe. It specializes in the rapid introduction of new products and technologies for design engineers and buyers. Mouser has a strong commitment to customer service.
Smith earned an undergraduate degree in business from Texas Christian University - M.J. Neeley School of Business. He is an experienced Chief Executive Officer with a demonstrated expertise in b2b e-commerce, marketing, and logistics, in the electronic component and semiconductor distribution industry. He is skilled in negotiation, business planning, sales operations, sales management, and strategic partnerships.
2. Claudia Mirza
CEO & Co-Founder, Akorbi
Claudia Mirza is the Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Akorbi. She first joined the company in 2003. Akorbi is a women-led and minority-owned business that specializes in providing enterprise solutions that empower companies to achieve success in the global economy. It helps organizations connect with employees, vendors, and customers in over 170 languages 24/7, through any modality, from any location. Its customizable enterprise solutions include interpretation, translation, multilingual and technical staffing, multilingual contact centers with business process outsourcing capabilities, learning, and localization services.
Previously, Mirza was a project management office at Verizon, and before that, a process analyst at Genuity. Earlier in her career, she worked with Spiecapag as a health safety environment supervisor. Mirza earned an undergraduate degree in business administration from DeVry University. She is also a board member of the Women Presidents Organization and YPO as well as the chairman of the board of SHE IS Foundation.
3. Brittany Underwood
Founder & Chairman, Akola
Brittany Underwood is the Founder and Chairman of Akola. She first joined the company in 2006. Akola is a globally-inspired brand embodying striking designs that reflect the strength and femininity of women who are changing the world. It is on a mission to empower women to transform their lives and communities. Its manufacturing operations are based in Jinja, Uganda — a beautiful city right on the Nile River where nearly 200 Akola women, largely from rural communities, are given dignified employment and living wages. Its bold, layered pieces are all handcrafted by these women using local, high-quality materials.
Underwood earned a master’s degree in intercultural studies, and international development from Fuller Theological Seminary, and an undergraduate degree in communication, journalism, and related programs from Southern Methodist University. She is also a council member of U.S. President's Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa.
8. Craig Johnson
President & CEO, PepWear
Craig Johnson began his professional career 38 years ago. Today, he is the President and Chief Executive Officer of PepWear. Since 1987, PepWear has been commemorating youth achievements, offering merchandise for sale at competitive events whether in music, athletics, academics, or the arts. With deep roots in the scholastic arts, PepWear serves its mission of making school memories last forever through its custom-ordered quality apparel and official event merchandise that it provides at over 700 events each year.
Johnson first got his start in 1984 as a corporate finance associate at Boettcher & Company. From there, he went on to Daniels & Associates, before eventually rising to SVP of corporate development at Nortel Networks, his most recent position prior to joining PepWear. Johnson graduated from NYU Stern School of Business with an MBA, and from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with an undergraduate degree in business administration.
View the complete list of awardees.
10. Glenn Yeffeth
Chief Executive Officer & Publisher, BenBella Books
Glenn Yeffeth began his professional career 37 years ago. Today, he is the Chief Executive Officer and Publisher of BenBella Books, one of a new breed of independent publishing houses that is thriving in the current turbulent publishing environment. It is a boutique book publisher that puts a big emphasis on creative marketing, building strong partnerships with authors, and publishing strategically in niche markets. It has had ten recent New York Times bestsellers, and one title exceeding one million copies sold.
Yeffeth first got his start in 1985 as a senior manager at Nolan, Norton & Co. and then a Partner at Diamond Technology Partners where he headed Internet strategy projects for Fortune 500 companies. From there, he went on to CSC Index before eventually rising to chief strategy officer at Lante Corporation, his most recent position prior to joining BenBella Books. Yeffeth graduated from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business with an MBA, and from Oberlin College with an undergraduate degree in history.
14. Neil Smiley
Founder & CEO, Loopback Analytics
Neil Smiley began his professional career 40 years ago. Today, he is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Loopback Analytics, a leading provider in serving health system and academic medical center specialty and ambulatory pharmacy programs through sophisticated data-driven solutions. Loopback leverages robust analytics to position its clients to effectively identify growth opportunities of high-value medications and improve patient outcomes. Loopback Analytics’ core mission is championing health systems in their effort to optimize specialty pharmacy capabilities.
Smiley first got his start in 1982 as a consulting manager at Andersen Consulting. From there, he went on to Ernst & Young, before eventually rising to founder and chairman at Phytel, Inc., his most recent position prior to joining Loopback Analytics. Smiley graduated from Dartmouth College with an undergraduate degree in computer science. He is also the President of the Charles H. Hood foundation. An organization incorporated in 1942 to improve the health and quality of life for children through grant support of New England-based pediatric researchers.
17. Rod Zastrow
Chief Executive Officer & President, Spartan Global Aviation Training
Rod Zastrow began his professional career 11 years ago. Today, he is a Director for Bye Aerospace, an aircraft manufacturer based in unincorporated Arapahoe County, Colorado. It specializes in the design and manufacture of electric aircraft, including unmanned aircraft for the geospatial roles and light aircraft for the flight training role. Its primary project is the all-electric “eFlyer” general aviation aircraft, which will dramatically reduce ops-cost and eliminate CO2. Zastrow is also the CEO and President of Spartan Global Aviation Training, located in Irving, Texas.
Zastrow first got his start in 2011 as an SVP for business development at Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology. From there, he went on to Spartan Global Aviation Training, before eventually rising to COO and president at Spartan Air Academy Iraq, his most recent position prior to joining Bye Aerospace. Zastrow graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University with an MBA, and from the University of Arizona with an undergraduate degree in aerospace engineering. He has both military and international experience. He also specializes in leadership/operational command, leader development, policy development, force planning, strategy development and more.
19. Patrick Arnzen
CEO & President, Thrust Flight
Patrick Arnzen is the Chief Executive Officer and President of Thrust Flight. The company offers superior programs for Sport Pilot, Private Pilot, Instrument Rating, Commercial Pilot, Aerobatic training, Multi-engine transition, Glass Panel Transition, and Certified Flight Instructor. Its professional pilot programs can take individuals from zero time to flight instructor, where they can build time and start an incredible career flying for corporations or airlines. Thrust Flight hires its instructors primarily from its world-class Flight Instructor Academy.
Arnzen has 12 years of experience. He began his career in 2010. Arnzen graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. A former airline pilot, and one of the youngest designated pilot examiners (DPE) in the country, Patrick has run several aviation businesses prior to launching an Addison, Texas, location for Thrust Flight.
20. Amy Linn
Franchise Owner, PrideStaff Financial
Amy Linn is the Franchise Owner of PrideStaff Financial. She first joined the company in 2007. PrideStaff Financial was created to meet the unique staffing challenges facing companies with accounting, financial and bookkeeping positions. Its staffing consultants spend 100% of their time focused on the accounting and finance market. Its mission is to consistently provide client experiences focused on what they value most. PrideStaff Financial is a division of PrideStaff, a national staffing service founded in 1978 with offices in multiple states.
Linn earned an undergraduate degree in psychology from Arizona State University. She started as a franchise owner of PrideStaff back in 2000 before becoming a franchise owner of PrideStaff Financial in 2007. She specializes in recruiting, contract recruitment, human capital management, executive search, hiring and more.
View the complete list of awardees.
24. Richard Margolin
Chief Executive Officer, RoboKind
Richard Margolin began his professional career 23 years ago. Today, he is the Chief Executive Officer of RoboKind. The company’s comprehensive social-emotional learning curriculum is delivered by advanced, facially-expressive robots in the classroom environment. Its robots4autism program is specifically tailored to autistic learners, but all children can benefit from this program. Increased self-regulation leads to a better learning experience for students, and they are more confident in building meaningful social relationships.
Margolin first got his start in 1999 as a founder, designer and production manager at Duct Tape Things. From there, he went on to What Would Richard Do?, before eventually rising to co-founder at LRN, his most recent position prior to joining RoboKind. He has an extensive background including being a board member at Sensory Health and Orchatect. He has over 20 years of experience. Margolin graduated from Trinity College - Hartford with an undergraduate degree in cognitive and computational neuroscience, and from the University of Texas at Arlington with an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering.
29. Mark Johnson
President & CEO, MedNetwoRx
Mark Johnson is the President and Chief Executive Officer of MedNetwoRx. He first joined the company in 2001. As experts of informational technology services and support for the medical industry, MedNetwoRx is focused on the success of its clients’ practice. By providing information technology solutions to improve practice performance, it takes the headache out of operational management and allows physicians and medical professionals to concentrate on what they do best: giving their patients the best care possible.
Previously, Johnson was a CIO at Physicians Resource Group, and before that, a senior technical consultant at Dun & Bradstreet Software. Earlier in his career, he worked with Gates Energy Products as a programmer analyst. Johnson earned an undergraduate degree in computer science from the University of Florida. He is skilled in healthcare consulting, clinical research, customer service, Strategic Planning, and Enterprise Architecture.
32. Rick Wamre
Founder, Advocate Media
Rick Wamre began his professional career 42 years ago. Today, he is the Founder of Advocate Media Company, a digital marketing firm that specializes in helping non-profit organizations and small businesses achieve their goals. Its team has extensive experience working on Fortune 100 companies’ SEM programs. Its service is customized to each client, data-driven, totally transparent, and focused on providing as much value to its clients as possible. Advocate Media is a Google Agency Partner, and has friendly Google AdWords certified staff that can be relied on.
Wamre first got his start in 1980 as an editor at The Dallas Morning News. From there, he went on to GSC Realty as VP and asset manager, his most recent position prior to joining Advocate Media. Wamre graduated from Southern Methodist University with an MBA in commercial real estate finance, and from Northwestern University with an undergraduate degree in journalism. He is skilled in media strategy, online media, financial analysis, advertising sales, news writing, breaking news, editing, feature writing and journalism. He is the president and on the board of directors for Independent Free Paper Association. He also received awards from various chambers of commerce.
36. Dirk Wenzlaff
CEO & President, Reliance Warehouse
Dirk Wenzlaff is the Chief Executive Officer and President of Reliance Warehouse Systems, Inc., a 20-year proven material handling company, specializing in providing a complete array of professional turnkey rack installations, dismantles and repairs. It works with all types and manufacturers of New and Used Pallet Rack, associated Pallet Rack Systems and Material Handling Equipment Products. Reliance Warehouse is committed to providing quality installations at a competitive price.
Wenzlaff has 48 years of experience. He began his career in 1974. Before joining Reliance Warehouse, Wenzlaff was a VP of operations at Cooper Floor Services. Earlier in his career, he worked with Construction Inc. as an owner. He has experience with pallet storage racks, mezzanines, pallet rack systems, shelving and more in the food, aircraft, household goods and other industries.
39. Terry Hollingshead
President & CEO, netMercury
Terry Hollingshead is the President and Chief Executive Officer of netMercury, a critical parts, materials, equipment, repairs and value-added services supplier with over 30 years of experience supporting global semiconductor manufacturing and other high-technology industries. Offering a highly flexible business model, netMercury is supply chain managers, empowered sourcing agents, distributors and manufacturers’ representatives, allowing the company to provide a broad range of products and services.
Hollingshead has 44 years of experience. He began his career in 1978. Before joining netMercury, Hollingshead was a president at THT Sales Company. Earlier in his career, he worked with Mostek Corporation as a process engineer. Hollingshead graduated from Naveen Jindal School of Management, UT Dallas with an MBA, and from the University of North Texas with an undergraduate degree in biology and chemistry. He specializes in supply chain management, new company and product introductions, business development, strategic planning, and more.
View the complete list of awardees.
40. Rob Helbing
Vice President of Operations, Trek Resources
Rob Helbing is the Vice President of Operations of Trek Resources, an independent energy company that is engaged in the exploration, development, exploitation and acquisition of on-shore oil and natural gas properties in conventional producing areas of the United States. From 1983 until 1992, the company engaged in various types of business activities, including the manufacture of oil and natural gas recovery equipment.
Helbing has 36 years of experience. He began his career in 1986. Before joining Trek Resources, Helbing was an engineer at Dowell Schlumberger Inc and the President of Eureka Gas Company. Helbing graduated from Texas Tech University with an undergraduate degree in petroleum engineering.
43. Bruce Brown
President & CEO, Rhino Steel Building
Bruce Brown is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Rhino Steel Building. He first joined the company in 1998. Rhino Steel Building Systems, Inc. provides kits for metal buildings and structural design for virtually all types of steel buildings. Headquartered in Texas, Rhino Steel Building Systems delivers metal buildings from 7 shipping locations all across the continental United States. Unlike many other prefabricated steel buildings, Rhino buildings offer superior features that are standard with all of their metal buildings.
Previously, Brown was the president of the classic steel frame homes division at NCI Building Systems. Earlier in his career, he worked with Patients Perceptions as a co-founder and president. Brown graduated from Texas Tech University with an undergraduate degree in business.
44. Tim Lightfoot
President & CEO, Radius Display Products
Tim Lightfoot is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Radius Display Products. The company manufactures a variety of items primarily consisting of custom printing on fabric for use as logoed tablecloths, trade show booths, banners and signs. It has various structures such as portable pole systems, lightweight truss, and banner stands. It also makes the Original Folding Stackable and Pole Panel units. The company has a complete cut-and-sew department in-house to create items for the professional audiovisual market.
Lightfoot has 34 years of experience. He began his career in 1988. Before joining Radius
Display Products, Lightfoot was a partner at Prime Overstock Plus, LLC, and before that, a VP at Bank of America. Earlier in his career, he worked with Accenture as a senior consultant. Lightfoot graduated from Southern Methodist University - Cox School of Business with an undergraduate degree in management information systems.
45. Erin Hooley
Chief Executive Officer, Bailey's Blossoms
Erin Hooley began her professional career 14 years ago. Today, she is the Chief Executive Officer of Bailey's Blossoms, a private company that has been in the industry for 13 years. It is a socially driven e-commerce children's clothing line that offers selections of fast-fashion clothing for infants, toddlers, and Mommy and Me. The company specializes in the fashion, apparel, footwear, and personal product areas. Bailey's Blossoms is experiencing rapid growth and achieving record sales. Its brands are well-positioned for continued growth and recognition.
"Bailey's Blossoms" was born in 2009, at a kitchen table in Arizona, and was strictly hair accessories at first, but grew quickly into clothing and accessories as well. After a 2-year hiatus, as the founder’s family moved abroad to Brazil, the company was relaunched again in 2013 upon its arrival in Texas. Hooley has no formal education, but has impressively grown her business to over six figures while taking care of six children.
47. Tina Campbell
Chief Executive Officer, Velocity Industrial
Tina Campbell is the Chief Executive Officer of Velocity Industrial. She first joined the company in 2006. Velocity Industrial serves industries that utilize pneumatic conveying, material handling, the components within these systems such as blowers, vacuum pumps, tube/couplings, etc. It specializes in the plastics industry and target extrusion, injection molding, blow molding, and thermoforming. Velocity Industrial specializes in process equipment and services are driven by the most important product it offers—great customer service.
Previously, Campbell was an executive assistant at Perot Systems. Earlier in her career, she worked with Eicon Technology as an executive assistant. At Velocity Industrial she is responsible for finances, budgets, forecasts, hiring and training employees, assisting in ideas for growth potential, and assisting in aligning the company to be a front-runner in the industrial equipment industry.
49. Joseph Stefan
President & CEO, Mechantek Corp.
Joseph Stefan is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Mechantek Corporation. Murphy Technical, the operating company of Mechantek Corp., has been designing, selling, testing and servicing fire pump systems for nearly half a century. Whether for new construction, facility upgrades, or equipment replacements, the fire protection industry relies on Mechantek from early design guidance to post-commissioning support. The company recognizes the challenges sprinkler contractors face in meeting their externally imposed deadlines. It offers fire pumps, valves, fittings, tanks, parts, flow meters, services, and much more.
Stefan has 38 years of experience. He began his career in 1984. Before joining Mechantek, Stefan was a president and CEO at AgileMesh, Inc., and before that, a principal at Cornell Capital & Consulting. Earlier in his career, he worked with Buyers Access as a president. Stefan graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with an undergraduate degree in economics and math.
View the complete list of awardees.