“I met Michael Jordan during the first week of my internship,” recalls Mark Lau ’06. “Right then I knew that Nike was the place I wanted to work.” Now global director of the company’s EKIN Experience, Lau stays in touch with fellow Mustangs as co-president of SMU’s Portland alumni chapter.
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. Carl Pankratz '03, '06 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 [...]
Jewelry designer Ali Howell '86 is among 13 winners of the Belk Southern Designer Showcase. Jewelry maker Ali Howell ’86 is among 13 winners of the second annual Belk Southern Designer Showcase. Howell, the founder and designer of ali & bird jewelry, was selected from nearly 300 entrants. Her pieces will be sold in Belk department stores throughout the country and online in spring 2014. Howell, an Atlanta resident, started ali & bird in 2009. She describes her original pieces as “affordable statement jewelry that reflect current fashion and color trends, bringing modern flair to classic looks.” The jewelry is handcrafted with semi-precious stones in the United States and is sold by more than 75 retailers. A native of Memphis, Tennessee, Howell dived into the design realm as an SMU student when she landed a summer job in the Dallas Market Center showroom of a friend’s mother. “That led to an internship and a job offer after graduation,” she says. After earning degrees in advertising and psychology from SMU, she moved to New York City where she launched a career in visual merchandising. Howell’s talent for mixing bold colors and classic designs served her well as the creative force behind the marketing, showroom displays and advertising campaigns for Herend USA, a fine china company, for 10 years. At first, jewelry making was strictly a hobby. “I’ve always been a creative person, and [...]