In great company

Houston financial powerhouse among 6 tycoons inducted into the Texas Business Hall of Fame

Houstonian Gerald Smith (pictured with wife Anita Webber Smith) is now a Texas biz hall of famer. Photo courtesy of © Alexander's Fine Portrait Design

A local business powerhouse has been recognized for his years or work and success. Houston investment manager Gerald Smith, chairman and CEO of Smith Graham & Co., an investment management firm, can now call himself a Hall of Famer.

Recently, Smith was one of six Texas businessmen inducted into the Texas Business Hall of Fame. He and the five other inductees were honored during a dinner at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas.

More on this local tycoon from his Hall of Fame bio: He's also a board member of New York Life Insurance and the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, and chairman of the Texas Southern University Foundation. A graduate of Texas Southern University with a BBA in Finance, in 2012, Mr. Smith received an honorary doctorate degree from his alma mater, where he has established the Gerald B. Smith Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation to help young people of color better compete in today's business environment.

The sole person of color on this year's list, Smith has received numerous awards for his entrepreneurial achievements and community service. Recently, the City of Houston proclaimed Gerald B. Smith and Anita Webber Smith Day for their community and philanthropic giving. He and Anita, have three sons — Marcus, Jackson and Jordan, and one daughter — Joy.

Aside from Smith, this year's inductees into the Texas Business Hall of Fame are:

  • Dallas billionaire Mark Cuban. He is owner of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks as well as chairman and CEO of AXS TV and one of the investors on ABC's Shark Tank.
  • Austin billionaire John Paul DeJoria, who built his fortune through Paul Mitchell hair care products and high-end tequila. Forbesestimated John Paul Mitchell's 2019 sales at roughly $900 million. In 1989, DeJoria co-founded Patrón, the first ultra-premium tequila. Patrón, now the world's No. 1 ultra-premium tequila, was sold to Bacardi in 2018 for $5.1 billion.
  • Fort Worth private investor John Goff. He was co-founder, vice chairman, and CEO of Crescent Real Estate, which Morgan Stanley bought in 2007 for $6.5 billion. Two years later, he bought back the company in partnership with Barclays Capital. Today, Goff is chairman of Crescent Real Estate as well as Houston-based Contango Oil & Gas. He owns The Ritz-Carlton hotel in Dallas and Fort Worth-based spa company Canyon Ranch
  • Dallas private investor Morton Meyerson. Most notably, he is former chairman and CEO of Plano-based EDS and former chief technology officer at GM.
  • Dallas executive Randall Stephenson. He is former chairman and CEO of Dallas-based tech, media, and telecom giant AT&T.
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This article originally ran on CultureMap.

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Building Houston

 
 

Houston-based medical device and biotech startup Steradian Technologies has been recognized by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Photo by Dwight C. Andrews/Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau

A female-founded biotech startup has announced that it has received a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Steradian Technologies has developed a breath-based collection device that can be used with diagnostic testing systems. Called RUMI, the device is non-invasive and fully portable and, according to a news release, costs the price of a latte.

“We are extremely honored to receive this award and be recognized by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a leader in global health. This funding will propel our work in creating deep-tech diagnostics and products to close the equity gap in global public health," says Asma Mirza, CEO and co-founder of Steradian Technologies, in the release. “The RUMI will demonstrate that advanced technology can be delivered to all areas of the world, ensuring the Global South and economically exploited regions receive access to high-fidelity diagnostics instead of solutions that are ill-suited to the environment.”

RUMI uses novel photon-based detection to collect and diagnose infectious diseases in breath within 30-seconds, per the release, and will be the first human bio-aerosol specimen collector to convert breath into a fully sterile liquid sample and can be used for many applications in direct disease detection.

"As the healthcare industry continues to pursue less invasive diagnostics, we are very excited that the foundation has identified our approach to breath-based sample collection as a standout worthy of their support," says John Marino, chief of product development and co-founder. “We look forward to working with them to achieve our goals of better, faster, and safer diagnostics."

Founded in 2017, Steradian Technologies is funded and supported by XPRIZE, Johnson & Johnson’s Lung Cancer Initiative, JLABS TMCi, Capital Factory, Duke Institute of Global Health, and Johnson & Johnson’s Center for Device Innovation.

The amount granted by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was not disclosed. The Seattle-based foundation is led by CEO Mark Suzman and co-chaired by Bill Gates and Melinda French Gatess.

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