Best boss

Houston energy exec scores well on list of top CEOs at Fortune 100 companies

A.J. "Jim" Teague received glowing reviews from ex-employees. EnterprisePartnersProducts
Correction: The original article referenced information from a ranking from Upslide that mistakenly reported Jim Teague's Glassdoor employee approval ratings as 9 percent, rather than his actual approval rating of 96 percent. The corrected story is below.

CEO A.J. "Jim" Teague, of Houston-based pipeline company Enterprise Products Partners LP, has received top marks according to Glassdoor data. Teague receives 96 percent approval rating from employees who've reviewed him on the platform, according to Glassdoor.

The Money Inc. website says Teague, who became CEO in 2016, is working to reconfigure the culture at Enterprise Products Partners. "His goal is to shape that culture so that the company itself can become more popular with the general public," the website notes.

Teague has also received positive reviews locally. In December, the Greater Houston Port Bureau named him its 2020 Maritime Leader of the Year to recognize his support of the Houston Ship Channel.

"Building on the legacy of the late Dan L. Duncan, who started Enterprise in 1968, Teague has remained loyal to the founder's values of hard work, integrity, and perseverance, with an uncompromising commitment to safety," the bureau says in a release.

Fellow Texans also received top marks. As Fortune magazine once observed, Michael Dell's leadership style revolves around "vision, inspiration, curiosity, and ultimately passion." And as it turns out, employees of Round Rock-based Dell Technologies Inc. are equally passionate about their company's chairman and CEO.

According to Glassdoor reviews, Dell has a 97 percent approval rating from employees of Dell Technologies.

In October 2013, Forbes magazine offered a glimpse into how Dell interacts with employees of the tech company he founded in 1984.

After speaking to a group of Dell workers for about 45 minutes, "more than a dozen employees rush forward to have their picture taken with their iconic chief," Forbes wrote, "because they know he'll happily pose — something not many other tech executives would do. He doesn't disappoint. And he leaves them laughing and cheering again after answering a question about what's keeping him up at night. 'I've been sleeping pretty well lately.'"

You might be sleeping pretty well, too, if your net worth were $31.4 billion, making Dell the richest person in Austin and the 18th richest person in the U.S.

Another Fortune 100 company exec, Kelcy Warren, chairman and CEO of Dallas-based pipeline company Energy Transfer Partners, scores highly on Glassdoor as well. Warren's employee rating stands at 97 percent.

The respect paid to Warren by Energy Transfer Partner employees almost certainly stems, at least in part, from his laid-back demeanor. He reportedly favors a "non-hierarchical, collaborative management style."

"For all of his success, Warren remains a small-town sort of guy who likes to have buddies to his Dallas mansion on Wednesdays for beers, shuffleboard, and chain yanking," according to a 2015 article published by the Bloomberg news service.

With a net worth of $4.3 billion, Warren ranks 159th on Forbes' list of the richest Americans.

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This article originally ran on CultureMap.

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Building Houston

 
 

From biomolecular research to oral cancer immunotherapy, here are three research projects to watch out for in Houston. Photo via Getty Images

Research, perhaps now more than ever, is crucial to expanding and growing innovation in Houston — and it's happening across the city right under our noses.

In InnovationMap's latest roundup of research news, a couple local scientists are honored by awards while another duo of specialists tackle a new project.

University of Houston professor recognized with award

Mehmet Orman of UH has been selected to receive an award for his research on persister cells. Photo via UH.edu

Mehmet Orman, assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at the University of Houston Cullen College of Engineering has been honored with a Faculty Early Career Development Award from the National Science Foundation. The award comes with a $500,000 grant to study persister cells — cells that go dormant and then become tolerant to extraordinary levels of antibiotics.

"Nearly all bacterial cultures contain a small population of persister cells," says Orman in a news release. "Persisters are thought to be responsible for recurring chronic infections such as those of the urinary tract and for creating drug-resistant mutants."

Previously, Orman developed the first methods to directly measure the metabolism of persister cells. He also developed cell sorting strategies to segregate persisters from highly heterogeneous bacterial cell populations, and, according to the release, he will be using his methods in the NSF research project.

Houston researchers collaborate on oral cancer innovation

Dr. Simon Young of UTHealth and Jeffrey Hartgerink of Rice University are working on a new use for an innovative gel they developed. Photo via Rice.edu

Two Houston researchers — chemist and bioengineer Jeffrey Hartgerink at Rice University and Dr. Simon Young at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston — have again teamed up to advance their previous development of a sophisticated hydrogel called STINGel. This time, they are using it to destroy oral cancer tumors.

SynerGel combines a pair of antitumor agents into a gel that can be injected directly into tumors. Once there, the gel controls the release of its cargo to not only trigger cells' immune response but also to remove other suppressive immune cells from the tumor's microenvironment. The duo reported on the technology in the American Chemical Society journal ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering.

SynerGel, combines a pair of antitumor agents into a gel that can be injected directly into tumors, where they not only control the release of the drugs but also remove suppressive immune cells from the tumor's microenvironment.

"We are really excited about this new material," Hartgerink says in a news release. "SynerGel is formulated from a specially synthesized peptide which itself acts as an enzyme inhibitor, but it also assembles into a nanofibrous gel that can entrap and release other drugs in a controlled fashion.

In 2018, the pair published research on the use of a multidomain peptide gel — the original STINGel — to deliver ADU-S100, an immunotherapy drug from a class of "stimulator of interferon gene (STING) agonists."

The research is supported by the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Welch Foundation, the National Science Foundation and the Mexican National Council for Science and Technology.

Texas Heart Institute researcher honored by national organization

Dr. James Martin of Texas Heart Institute has been named a senior member of the National Academy of Inventors. Photo courtesy of THI

The National Academy of Inventors have named Houston-based Texas Heart Institute's Dr. James Martin, director of the Cardiomyocyte Renewal Lab, a senior member.

Martin is an internationally recognized developmental and regenerative biologist and his research is focused on understanding how signaling pathways are related to development and tissue regeneration.

"Dr. Martin has long been a steward of scientific advancement and has proven to be a tremendous asset to the Texas Heart Institute and to its Cardiomyocyte Renewal Lab through his efforts to translate fundamental biological discoveries in cardiac development and disease into novel treatment strategies for cardiac regeneration," says Dr. Darren Woodside, vice president for research at THI, in a news release. "Everyone at the Texas Heart Institute is thrilled for Dr. Martin, whose induction into the NAI as a Senior Member is well-deserved."

Martin has authored over 170 peer-reviewed papers in top journals he holds nine U.S. patents and applications, including one provisional application, all of which have been licensed to Yap Therapeutics, a company he co-founded.

The full list of incoming NAI Senior Members, which includes three professionals from the University of Houston, is available on the NAI website.

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