2021 in review
Editor's Picks: 7 favorite Houston interviews of 2021
Editor's note: In 2021, I recorded 50 episodes of the Houston Innovators Podcast — a weekly discussion with a Houston innovator. While I’ve thoroughly enjoyed each and every conversation I’ve had this year, I picked a few of my favorites based on a few parameters. Maybe I learned something new or got to break a developing story — or maybe I just really loved chatting with someone. Whatever the reason, I’ve rounded up these seven podcast episodes I really liked, and explained why I selected each episode as a favorite on the last episode for the year.
To stream each episode in its entirety, see below or find the Houston Innovators Podcast wherever you stream your podcasts.
Ashley DeWalt of DivInc, Episode 79
Ashley DeWalt, managing director of DivInc, joins the Houston Innovators Podcast to discuss diversity and inclusion, sports tech, and all things Houston. Photo courtesy of DivInc
Ashley DeWalt is the managing director of DivInc, a diversity-focused startup development nonprofit that expanded to Houston officially this year. He has a huge passion for his hometown of Houston and a long career in supporting innovators — particularly within diversity as well as sports tech. In the episode, he discussed both his passions and why Houston is on the path to being a hub for sports innovation.
Deeanna Zhang of Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co., episode 69
Deeanna Zhang of Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. on the energy crisis that occured in 2020. Photo courtesy of TPH
Deeana Zhang, director of energy technology at Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co., joined the show to look back on the effect 2020 had on energy tech in Houston, which took a double whammy of a hit between the COVID-19 pandemic and the unprecedented drop in oil prices. The combo was a shock to the system and the industry, which Houston is home to a significant portion of. Deeanna shared that, while the hit to the economy was devastating, it positively affected the need to focus on the energy transition.
Gaurav Khandelwal of Velostics, episode 99
Velostics is a growing logistics software solution. Photo courtesy of Velostics
Houston has several startups solving complex problems within the logistics industry, and Gaurav Khandelwal is at the helm of one called Velostics. Also the founder of ChaiOne, another Houston software startup, Khandelwal explains a specific part of trucking logistics that is ripe for optimization. This middle mile represents a $700 billion market, and Velostics is ready to make an impact in that space.
Allison Post of the Texas Heart Institute, episode 80
Allison Post joins the Houston Innovators Podcast to share what she's focused on in cardiac innovation. Photo courtesy of THI
The Texas Medical Center is home to over a dozen member organizations all treating thousands and thousands of patients who need care now — as well as supporting research and student health care professionals. And when it comes to innovation within these organizations, the past few years have made for remarkable evolution. Allison Post joined the Texas Heart Institute in October of 2020 in a newly created position of manager of innovation partnerships, and it's her one and only goal to keep THI an innovative force.
Aaron Knape of sEATz, episode 109
Houston-based sEATz is expanding. Photo courtesy of sEATz
Growing Houston startup sEATz, a company that works with vendors in entertainment venues to provide food and drinks directly to fans in their seats. Aaron Knape, CEO and co-founder, joined the show in November to discuss how the pandemic affected his business and the new exciting vertical they were expanding into, which is health care.
Emily Cisek of The Postage, episode 95
Emily Cisek started her company after losing two family members back to back. Photo courtesy of The Postage
Entrepreneurs possess both their ability to recognize a gap in the market as well as the initiative to develop a solution. On episode 95 of the podcast, Emily Cisek discussed her new company, The Postage. She came up with the idea to help families navigate end of life decision making based off a personal experience she had. Now she’s growing and expanding her brand and capabilities while changing the way we discuss death.
Kevin Coker of Proxima Clinical Research, episode 82
Proxima Clinical Research is a contract research organization. Photo courtesy of Proxima
It’s been a trying time for health care innovation, and no one understands that more than Kevin Coker, CEO of Proxima Clinical Research, a Houston-based contract research organization focused on supporting life science startups as they grow and scale. On episode 82 of the show, Coker discussed the effects the pandemic had on life science innovation and shared how in sync with Houston his organization is.