Carl Pankratz ’03, ’06, city councilman for the City of Rowlett, Texas, and vice president/legal counsel for Capital Title, was recently named to the Dallas Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” list of the area’s top young business executives and entrepreneurs. The rising stars are recognized for their work both professionally and in the community.
Pankratz specializes in closing industrial, multi-family, office and retail properties, as a commercial escrow officer; oversees the real estate firm’s legal department; and manages more than 200 employees.
His service to the community of Rowlett, the growing city in northeast Dallas County that he calls home, is equally multidimensional.
Active in civic affairs, he was elected to the Rowlett City Council in June 2011, having previously been a member of the Planning and Zoning Commission and Board of Adjustment. He has drafted several key ordinances, including an ordinance to reserve oil and gas rights for the city and a program that requires outside vendors to carry a “pink badge” when soliciting homes. Currently, he is drafting an oil and gas drilling ordinance.
He also is co-founder of the Rowlett Association of Non-Profits, a network of more than 100 arts, service and support organizations.
A passionate champion of and participant in the arts, Pankratz has starred in more than eight productions with the Amateur Community Theatre of Rowlett and has been selected for the Texas Ballet Theater’s Leadership Ballet for his commitment to the performing arts.
In addition, he has been selected as one of the “Top Five Dallasites” by the Dallas Junior Chamber of Commerce.
Pankratz graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in advertising from Meadows School of the Arts. He earned a Juris Doctor from Dedman School of Law, where he served on the Moot Court Team and National Mock Trial Team, and founded the SMU Dedman School of Law Sports and Entertainment Law Association.
The busy alumnus was able to “take five” recently to share some Hilltop memories with SMU Magazine.
Did you do any acting at SMU?
I only took one acting class, The Art of Acting, and I was never in a production. But I remember being blown away by the first production I saw at Meadows as a freshman, The Threepenny Opera.
What was your favorite course/professor?
Don Umphrey [professor emeritus of advertising] and his Advertising Research class. On a smaller group project before our big final project, he gave us a lower grade than I thought we deserved. He and I had a passionate discussion about it before I took the group and decamped to the library. For the next two weeks, we worked almost around the clock on that final project. When we turned it in, he said it was the best he’d seen in 20 years of teaching the class. He was the first professor to challenge me in that way, and it was really motivating.
What is your favorite SMU memory?
I’ll never forget the feeling of being part of the first Mustang football team to play in Ford Stadium. [Pankratz was a field goal kicker for two years.] Running through the tunnel, the energy, the excitement. It was amazing.
How did your undergraduate experience prepare you for the road ahead?
The advertising degree program gives you a great foundation, regardless of where you go with it. You have to present frequently, and the more you do it, the more polished and confident you become. Public speaking is a valuable asset for your toolbox in any field.
What do you value most as an SMU alumnus?
As a commercial real estate attorney, I attend a lot of networking functions, and at almost every event, the vast majority of the successful professionals there are SMU alumni. The distinction of being part of this large network of people who excel in their fields is a priceless opportunity. Success breeds success.