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The Winners of D CEO’s 2019 CIO and CTO Awards

As tech continues to play a pivotal role at North Texas companies, these executives are standing out.
By D CEO |

Now in its third year, our CIO/CTO Awards program honors chief information officers, chief technology officers, and others in top IT posts across the North Texas region. These executives are playing an increasingly pivotal role in their companies, at a time when well-leveraged technology provides a competitive advantage for businesses of all stripes. Our 20 honorees for 2019 come from a variety of fields, from healthcare and finance to aviation and restaurants. They grapple with constant change, labor shortages, and intense demands to develop innovations, apps, and systems that protect their companies the the clients they serve.

The Winners

Phill Lawson-Shanks

Aligned Energy

Outstanding CIO/CTO
Emerging Company

Proud Moment: “Along with colleagues, I began evangelizing the concept of ‘edge data centers’ five years ago. In the past 24 months, I helped design and deploy 23 data centers, spreading the edge message around the world, to the extent that it is now a key focus of the data center industry.”
Looking Ahead: “We have, in the palm of our hands, access to more of the world’s collective knowledge and learnings than at any other time in human history—almost ubiquitous access to unlimited, low-cost compute and storage, artificial intelligence, machine learning, augmented reality, voice control, and autonomous driving. If ever there was an opportunity to address the big questions and global issues we face as a species, this has to be that time.”

Jyoti Lynch

Jamba Juice

Outstanding CIO/CTO
Midsize Company

Proud Moment: “When I joined Jamba Juice it was a true transformational opportunity, given that the infrastructure in its 800 stores was more than a decade old. In less than a year, I was able to define and execute a strategic roadmap that led to the modernization of the restaurant technology. This helped position the company for sale and led to the successful $200 million acquisition of Jamba Juice by Focus Brands.
Looking Ahead: “Technology is an integral part of what drives businesses today, and even more so in the future. What excites me the most is how rapidly artificial intelligence is progressing. Today it is already being leveraged for things like voice ordering, self-driving cars, and facial recognition, but future options are limitless.”

Matthew Chambers

Baylor Scott & White Health

Outstanding CIO/CTO
Enterprise Company

Proud Moment: “I am extremely proud that our mobile app, myBSWHealth, is the highest-rated patient care application in the Apple Store. … The patient response has been incredible. myBSWH is rated 4.8 stars (of 5), considered the ‘gold standard.’ Since our merger, we have been challenged with improving patient’s ability to navigate the multiple portals we offered across regions, joint ventures, and other entities.  Shielding our customers from the complexity of our underlying healthcare systems was a top priority.”
Looking Ahead: “I’m looking forward to the continuous evolvement of the healthcare landscape, rapidly changing technology needs, and overcoming the challenges that coalescing those two factors will continue to present.”

Lalit Ahluwalia


Excellence in Cybersecurity

Proud Moment: “I’ve been working in cybersecurity for 20 years. The toughest challenge hasn’t been the technology or finding the right solution; it’s been getting organizations and consumers to adopt a cybersecurity-first culture and mindset. With everything moving toward digital, a lot is at stake.”
Looking Ahead: “I’m excited about what’s to come in cybersecurity. We’re in a period of constant change, where the future is undefined and unexplored. In the era of digital eruption, there’s never been a better time for us in information security to flex our creativity, agility, talent, and innovation muscles to solve problems and make a global impact. I’m looking forward to the endless possibilities to define and shape next-gen security for the future.

Russell Medina


Outstanding Technology Advocate

Proud Moment: “Helping hundreds of veterans and their spouses launch technology careers in IT, coding, and cybersecurity. Many are under-employed or unemployed. At no cost to the veteran student and without the use of the GI Bill, in a short and intense 15 weeks of instruction and seven weeks of internship, graduates of the nonprofit NPower are finding employment in the North Texas region.”
Looking Ahead: “I’m excited about the opportunity to grow the NPower program over the next four years, engaging more than 400 corporate partners in the hiring of more than 3,500 veterans and their spouses. As I speak with business leaders, there is a strong desire to support our noble cause. I am hoping to attract more companies to support NPower.”

Ben Trowbridge


Innovator of the Year

Proud Moment: “Building out and scaling the EY Cybersecurity as a Service offering and seeing it grow into a mature service for EY clients. This has led to the establishment of the EY Americas Cybersecurity center in downtown Dallas and the creation of more than 300 highly skilled jobs. The center provides 24/7 high-value threat detection and response, threat exposure management, data protection, and managing the digital identity for EY managed services clients. The Dallas center includes a cyber academy for EY cybersecurity professionals and new hires to receive training on a wide variety of cybersecurity skills.  The cyber academy is critical to the future of developing talent to address the 2 million-person shortage that is predicted by 2020.”

Barry Shurkey

NTT Data

CIO/CTO of the Year

Proud Moment: “The integration of Dell Services into NTT DATA. In 18 months, my team migrated more than 1,000 applications, 200 IT projects, nine data centers, 54 facilities, and 1,600 data circuits. It was no easy feat but, I am proud of how seamless the transition went on both the NTT Data and Dell Services side.”
Looking Ahead: “Although I’m sure there are those who fear the day when robots start working more regularly alongside humans, I am excited for it. We are on the edge of another major shift in the technology industry where artificial intelligence is used in the workforce and some jobs might be replaced by robots, but it will be the mundane tasks and it will allow humans to think more critically and perform at higher cognitive levels.”

The Finalists

Scott Gowdish

Door Inc.

Emerging Company

Why I Love My Job: “Every day is a new challenge and a new opportunity to learn. … My job allows me to maximize my past knowledge while optimizing my capacity to learn new things, as we redefine what a residential real estate brokerage can offer consumers.”
Looking Ahead: “The geek in me would say I’m most excited about the use of machine learning and artificial intelligence to deliver a better experience to all of our internal and external customers. The human in me is most focused on what that means for the teams I lead, and how they will react when we actually deliver it.”

Richard Margolin


Emerging Company

Proud Moment: “Launching a curriculum to teach school children to code, even if they do not have teachers who know how to teach coding. We have developed new techniques and technologies, including our robots, in ways that make this course stand out. Seeing students and teachers use it and love it has been extraordinarily rewarding for my teams and me.”
Looking Ahead: “I’m most excited about expanding our curriculum to reach a broader range of students with social and emotional learning needs and to give access and opportunity to every student, regardless of resources.”

Brent Chapman

Roundpoint Mortgage

Midsize Company

Proud Moment: “As part of RoundPoint’s digital transformation, we proactively focused on building API technology for our servicing systems, putting us considerably ahead of our competition. Having built this strategy and launching our first technology product to sell, we have won significant new business.”
Looking Ahead: “There is no denying now that every company is a technology company. I can hardly sleep at night knowing I can be a part of that future group of leaders that is going to take their companies to the next level with the use of technology.”

Pam McNutt

Methodist Health System

Midsize Company

Toughest Challenge: “My field, healthcare IT, is at the intersection of two exponentially evolving industries, healthcare and technology. For the past two decades, it feels like we are running as fast as we can to keep up with the trends and regulations in both. The intersection of these two has also created the need for a higher bar regarding the security of our technology.”
Looking Ahead: “I’m most excited about how technology is going to continue to change the way healthcare is delivered—in particular, how we will empower patients to take control of their health and care, working hand in hand with their providers.”

Cheryl Orange



Proud Moment: “We’re moving from a waterfall methodology of delivering solutions to an agile methodology for delivering value, and it is a major change across our business and IT teams. It is a difficult transformation, but the benefits will be massive.”
Looking Ahead: “My passion is mentoring young people to get them on a path to reach their goals. … It gives me inspiration when others use information I’ve shared to help them succeed. I have mentoring Mondays for team members to set up time talk about anything they want to discuss, and I offer my experiences and applicable ideas.”

Kathleen Wayton

Southwest Airlines


Proud Moment: “Delivering Southwest’s new reservation system in May 2017. This was the largest, most complicated technology implementation in the company’s history, and it was nearly flawless.”
Toughest Challenge: “Southwest was founded on principles of being a high-touch, low-tech company. Our customers are now expecting more capabilities through technology, so adjusting to a high-touch, high-tech company has been a challenge. … We have a five-year plan to deliver capabilities that will enable Southwest to become the world’s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline.”

Andy Ulrich


Excellence in Cybersecurity

Why I Love My Job: “Constant change. The information security field is marked by agile, imaginative attackers whose job it is to sneak past our defenses. We know how they operate and constantly shut down attack methods and points of entry, but new ones are discovered and exploited. Each day brings something new and unexpected—and sometimes scary.”
Looking Ahead: “5G will bring new capabilities, capacity, density, flexibility, and speed to networks. More things will get smart and become connected. This offers a massive opportunity to deliver new solutions and opportunities.”

Emily O’Halloran


Technology Advocate

Proud Moment: “Helping our Southwest digital practice deliver the game-changing work I knew our teams were capable of and achieving a double-digit growth in digital and new technology-led projects in our nine-state region is my most proud accomplishment in the past year.”
Looking Ahead: “What makes me so excited about the future is the next-generation of women leaders. I recently attended a mentoring event at the first all-girls public school in Texas. To meet such passionate future leaders of tomorrow inspires me and encourages me to do my part in paving the way for these young women.”

Bob Rayes


Midsize Company

Why I Love My Job: “I enjoy the fact that my work is never complete and there are always new challenges ahead. These challenges cut across many different disciplines and, as a result, cover a diverse set of topics and often present unique challenges.”
Looking Ahead: “With the advancement of technology, a focus on human interaction and problem-solving will reemerge. We now live in a highly connected world with vast amounts of information literally at our fingertips.  … With information as a commodity, human intelligence, wisdom, and creativity will advance as key differentiators.”

David Sym-Smith

Mobility Ventures

Technology Advocate

Toughest Challenge: “As a serial start-up person, for all the successes there are the companies that don’t make it. Although it is definitely a learning lesson, it’s very difficult, due to the people who are impacted by the company not making it.
Looking Ahead: “North Texas could be the birthplace of the next big tech innovation. There are exciting things coming out of our universities, and we’ve attracted companies that are doing very innovative things. Technology is constantly evolving. There are industries that didn’t even exist 10 years ago. I am very excited about our opportunities going forward.”

Anthony Goonetilleke


Innovator of the Year

Proud Moment: “Taking a leap of faith (and some risk!) to disrupt a 35-year-old company on a journey into the cloud and a world of platforms and open source. This included partnering with academia (Stanford) to lead a design-led thinking shift across a company of 25,000 employees and more than 85 countries, all while diversifying into new business verticals.”
Toughest Challenge: “Constantly challenging myself to stay in the moment. … Being able to stay in the moment and provide undivided attention to the person or issue of the moment is one of the ‘X factors’ for success.”

William Long

Children’s Health

Innovator of the Year

Proud Moment: “Leading by example, we helped nearly 100 clinics improve their technology security posture and helped our community as a whole be more secure. This delivered better security and inherently better patient safety to our community.”
Looking Ahead: “I am always exited to see how we can change and adapt technology to meet business needs and solve business problems. Regulation, the healthcare industry, and technology are constantly changing, and I am always excited to see how we adapt and improve to meet the new challenges.”

George Conklin

Christus Health

CIO/CTO of the Year

Proud Moment: “We have worked extensively to expand our electronic medical record system to help people get well, help people stay well and help future generations in the communities we serve live healthier lives.”
Looking Ahead: “Apps, devices, technology tools, and wearable wellness apparatuses are everywhere in the healthcare industry. I have no doubt we will continue to move fast in the world of modern medicine and continue to have no shortage of options. I’m excited to be able to help tie this technology all together, develop synergies, and make it seamless and helpful for others.”

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