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Junior Achievement Announces 2022 Business Hall of Fame Inductees

Plus: Wheels Up goes public and several DFW companies expand through acquisition.

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Junior Achievement announced the four 2022 Dallas Business Hall of Fame inductees that will join fellow Laureates on February 26, 2022. The event will honor Arcilia Acosta, president and CEO of CARCON Industries; Clark Hunt, chairman of Hunt Sports Group; Tom Luce, founder of Texas 2036; and Fred Perpall, CEO of The Beck Group.

“Each Laureate has contributed so much to the Dallas community, and they are fabulous business and philanthropic leaders,” says Jan Murfield, CEO and president of Junior Achievement Dallas.

The Dallas Business Hall of Fame event helps Junior Achievement reach its goal of providing business role models, basic business skills, and financial literacy to at-risk students in Dallas. Students also attend the event and speak on the organization’s impact on their lives. The 2022 Junior Achievement Dallas Business Hall of Fame event will be held at the Hyatt Regency in Dallas.

Wheels Up launched as a public company earlier this month.

Wheels Up Completes New York Stock Exchange IPO

Earlier this month, Wheels Up—a New-York based private aviation company with some corporate employees in North Texas—became the first of its market niche to be traded on the New York Stock Exchange. It went public upon closing its transaction with Aspirational Consumer Lifestyle Corp., a special purpose acquisition company. Wheels Up will trade under the symbol “UP.”

In Q1 of 2021, Wheels Up had a record year-over-year revenue growth of 68 percent and a 56 percent increase with active members. The capital raised through its IPO will help drive expansion and increase investment in its technology and products. Wheel’s Up recently announced partnerships that will add to membership benefits, including deals with American Express, Porsche, Belmond, and others.

Urban Air Adventure Park Forms Unleashed Brands and Acquires Snapology

The group behind Urban Air, an indoor adventure park, announced the launch of Unleashed Brands— a platform that will curate and grow a portfolio of brands that help kids learn, play, and grow. As part of Urban Air’s new venture, Unleashed Brands has acquired Snapology, a children’s enrichment franchise offering STEAM programs for kids.

Unleashed Brands, newly formed under a DFW adventure park brand, will serve as a collection of brands where kids can play, learn, and grow.

“As we look for ways to strengthen our portfolio of brands, Snapology presented as a strong, strategic fit with programming that allows our founding company, Urban Air, to expand its offerings into STEAM education—something significant in the development of young minds,” says Michael Browning, president and CEO of Unleashed Brands and founder of Urban Air.

For the past 10 years, the Unleashed Brands team has been building a platform to scale businesses that focus on serving families and children. Their acquisition of Snapology will allow both companies to serve families and children better.

New Operating Joint Venture to Produce Industrial-Grade Chemical Products

Las Vegas-based Kingsbarn Realty Capital will form a new operating joint venture with Fusible Innovations of Plano. This venture will manufacture and distribute potassium chloride, salt, and metaphosphoric acid for food, pharmaceuticals, and other industrial-grade products. The venture will operate under the Fusible Innovations trade name and will be based in Greenville, Texas.

Kingsbarn will contribute land, building, and equipment to the venture, operating in its 100-acre rail-reserved industrial park. It has acquired and currently operates more than $800 million of commercial real estate throughout the United States. Fusible Innovation is a privately held company involved in the chemical manufacturing of potassium chloride and metaphosphoric acid for sale.

“The global demand for potassium chloride is growing. According to the research firm FMI, the global market for this chemical product will increase from $12.6 billion in 2020 to $16.5 billion by 2030,” said Jeff Pori, CEO of Kingsbarn. “Additionally, the market for potassium chloride is fairly fragmented, with a small number of players controlling 95 percent of the overall market.”

Uber Freight to Acquire Transplace

Logistics platform Uber Freight will acquire transportation and logistics network Transplace for approximately $2.24 billion, consisting of up to $750 million in common stock of Uber Freight’s parent company, Uber Technologies, and the remainder in cash.

“Our expectation is that shippers will see greater efficiency and transparency, and carriers will benefit from the scale to drive improved operating ratios,” said Frank McGuigan, CEO of Transplace.

The hope for the acquisition is to help reduce friction across the supply chains and enable a new era of logistics management:

  • Shippers will have access to an even more robust set of technology across all transportation modes and services.
  • Carriers will be able to collaborate directly with shippers within a seamless marketplace and access freight across multiple expanded service lines, including intermodal, cross border, and Less-Than-Truckload.
  • Uber Freight’s brokerage will continue to operate independently from Transplace’s managed transportation services to ensure the highest-quality service for shippers.