Advisory Committee

Background and Purpose

The UT Dallas Economic Development Advisory Committee (ED Advisory Committee) was created to support the University’s Facilities & Economic Development team in accomplishing UT Dallas’ strategic initiative of serving as an “economic engine” for the Dallas-Fort Worth Region.

As a key partner with industry, government, cultural organizations and schools in North Texas, UT Dallas will expand and deepen its networks outside of campus by developing partnerships, including:

  • Expanding collaborations with North Texas businesses for research and development
  • Connecting with companies to develop their employees’ knowledge and skills through enrolling in UT Dallas courses and degree programs
  • Extending the reach of UT Dallas’ training programs to new business, government and nonprofit markets
  • Designing and constructing spaces on campus that facilitate innovation and partnerships with community and industry leaders, e.g. a Research and Innovation Park

The ED Advisory Committee supports University’s strategic initiative by leveraging its networks and offering feedback and guidance based on its members’ economic development expertise.


Committee Roster
Mark Caracio

Mark Caracio
President and CEO [Chief Executive Officer]
The Harvard Group


Mark Caracio is President and CEO of The Harvard Group [THG], a management and marketing consulting firm providing outside insights and guidance on issues of strategy, marketing, technology and operations from C-level client executives to leading technology firms. They are a leader in the field of external executive advisory, leadership and governance. THG’s corporate client roster includes AT&T, Cisco, IBM, SAP, Lenovo, HP, Lufthansa, Samsung and Symantec. Additionally, Mark is Managing Partner of FutureCities, LLC a technology event and media company based in Dallas.

Mark has spent over twenty-five years in the IT industry including senior positions with AT&T, MCI, Cable & Wireless, 3Com, and Philips Electronics N.V. Mark holds a bachelor of science in business administration from the University of Tulsa and a graduate certificate of finance from the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University.

Growing new business ventures is a passion for Mark. He is a co-founder of FutureCities, LLC that produces nationally recognized Smart Cities IoT programs; Director for Exaeris Water Innovations who owns US patents for atmospheric water generation; and a Corporate Advisor to Analitiqa Corporation that has pioneered a market leading IT Infrastructure Intelligence solution that is enabling enterprises to achieve unprecedented resource utilization and game changing cost reduction.

Mark participates in community support through his service on the Board of Trustees to Good Shepherd Episcopal School of Dallas, the Cybersecurity Advisory Committee at Southern Methodist University, and as a member of Tech Titans, the technology association for North Texas.

Madison Clark

Madison Clark
Project Manager
McKinney Economic Development Corporation


Madison Clark joined the McKinney Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) in December 2015 and serves as the Project Manager. Her primary role is to develop relationships and partnerships with companies, site selectors, real estate brokers, workforce partners, government officials and other influential individuals to advance local job creation and tax base expansion in McKinney.

Madison has worked in economic development over seven years. Throughout her tenure in McKinney, the MEDC has had involvement in bringing over 2,000 new jobs and nearly $980 million in capital investment to the city.

Madison holds a Bachelor of Arts in Education from Southwestern Assemblies of God University in Waxahachie, Texas and has completed professional economic development training through the University of Oklahoma in order to sit for the Certified Economic Developer (CEcD [Certified Economic Developer] ) certification through the International Economic Development Council.

Madison now resides in McKinney with her husband, daughter and son. She enjoys spending time with family, friends (who call her the “Leslie Knope” of McKinney), serving in her local church, and staying active.

Esmeralda de la Cruz

Esmeralda de la Cruz
Business Retention & Expansion Manager
City of Plano


Esmeralda de la Cruz serves as the Business Retention & Expansion Manager for the City of Plano. She is responsible leading the City of Plano Economic Development Department in the retention and expansion of existing businesses. Through a robust program and key partnerships, create a healthy local business climate, support the retention and creation of high impact jobs and encourage business investments in Plano. Esmeralda has a passion for public service with over 17 years of experience. She began her career as an Urban Planner working in areas of transportation, development and redevelopment of communities throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. She has built successful partnerships to support residents, organizations and businesses.

She received a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master’s degree in City and Regional Planning from the University of Texas at Arlington. She is a member of the Texas Economic Development Council, International Economic Development Council, and American Planning Association (APA [American Planning Association] ).

David Ellis

David Ellis, CEcD [Certified Economic Developer]
Assistant Director
Allen Economic Development Corporation


David Ellis is the Assistant Director with the Allen Economic Development Corporation. There, he leads programs to attract corporate investment and jobs to Allen, Texas. He is the incoming Chair Elect of the Allen-Fairview Chamber.

Previously, he was a Vice President at Site Selection Group where he supported its industrial, economic development and incentive practices. He worked for Plano Economic Development and Angelou Economics, an economic development consulting firm in Austin.

David, a native of Oklahoma City, is Certified Economic Developer (CEcD [Certified Economic Developer] ). He has a bachelor’ss degree from Trinity University in San Antonio and an MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management. He and his wife Lynn have two daughters Kate & Olivia.

Victor Fishman

Victor Fishman, PhD [Doctor of Philosophy]
Executive Director
Texas Research Alliance


Dr. Fishman has served at the organizational interface for industry, government and academia.

Prior to the Texas Research Alliance, he served as Associate Vice President for Applied Research at the University of Texas at Dallas. Dr. Fishman built the full range of high performance computing, additive and subtractive manufacturing and mechanical design and prototyping capabilities that supported both industry and faculty. At Penn State University, he held the industrial and government agency portfolios for the Applied Research Laboratory (ARL), a DoD level University Affiliated Research Center (UARC). His work covered both classified and unclassified programs with government and industry partners. Prior to his retirement and for the last six years of his tenure, Dr. Fishman served as Head of the Washington Office with responsibilities across ARL’s government and industry sponsor base. Dr. Fishman has held significant industry leadership positions in pharmaceuticals, environmental monitoring, technology transfer, and new technology development and commercialization. Dr. Fishman serves on the board of the National Defense Industrial Association. He served in the U.S. Army, separating after six years at the rank of Captain. Dr. Fishman holds a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin, an M.S. degree from Clemson University and an undergraduate B.S. degree from the University of Miami, Florida.

Seth H. Giertz

Seth H. Giertz, PhD [Doctor of Philosophy]
Associate Professor of Economics
The University of Texas at Dallas


Seth H. Giertz is an associate professor of economics at the University of Texas at Dallas. Previously, he has held positions at University of Nebraska - Lincoln (2008-2015) and the Congressional Budget Office’s tax division (2001-2008). In 2005, while on leave from CBO, Seth served as a staff economist for the President’s Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform. His research focus is in public finance and regional economics. Much of his work examines the effects of taxation on various parts of the economy. This includes the overall efficiency costs from taxation, as well as the effects of tax policy on charitable giving, education finance and interstate migration. He also conducts research focusing on local housing markets and house-price bubbles. Here, his research is used to evaluate policies designed to improve the stability of the housing-finance industry. Seth received his PhD in economics from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University in 2001 and his BA in economics from the University of Illinois in 1994.

Geoff Green

Geoff Green
Managing Director
GWG Capital


Geoff is the managing partner of GWG a private investment firm that targets proven small and medium size companies with sustainable EDITA growth. Our investments include growth capital investments, partial buyouts and acquisitions.

Mr. Green was previously CEO and co-founder of Netvious Networks, a leading-edge mobility solutions provider specializing in providing secure, high-performance wireless solutions across educational institutions, large public venues and enterprise accounts. In 2016, Netvious was recognized by Inc. Magazine as the 138th fastest-growing company in the United States, and the 7th fastest-growing company in Texas.

His corporate career highlights include financial services marketing and strategy roles with Fortune100 firms such as American Express, GE Capital, and Citigroup, as well as operating roles at AIG, including leading a global joint venture which promoted insurance and financial service products in 27 countries worldwide. Geoff has successfully worked across a broad range of geographies and cultures including China, Asia, Europe, Russia, and Latin America.

Geoff received the Dallas Business Journal 2017 Minority Business Leadership Award. He has been featured in a variety of publications, including The New York Times, Dallas Morning News, Chicago Tribune, Dallas Business Journal and Inc. Magazine.

Mr. Green’s board experience includes Visit Dallas, Hack the Hood, Dallas Contemporary, and Rainbow Days, a non-profit organization serving at-risk children. Geoff was also Board Chair of the Urban League of Southwestern Connecticut. Geoff holds a BA in Economics, as well as a BA in Chinese History from the University of California, and an MBA from the University of Michigan where he was an Exxon Fellow.

Rose Hasham

Rose Hasham
Principal, Axe Commercial Real Estate | Hotelier | Board Member


Rose Hasham serves as the Principal at Axe Commercial Real Estate, where she plays a pivotal role in assisting REITs, Family Offices, and institutional groups in acquiring and disposing of their commercial real estate portfolio assets.

As the founder of Axe Commercial Real Estate and Rosegold Hotels, Rose has established herself as a prominent figure in both sectors.

Rose also currently leads Rosegold Hotels, with her commitment directed towards diversifying the company’s commercial real estate portfolio in the greater Dallas area. This mission not only enhances the organization’s growth but also contributes to the local economy by creating new employment opportunities.

In addition to her successful ventures, Rose serves as a Board Member on the HBSCD (Harvard Business School Club of Dallas) and leads their Real Estate SIG [Special Interest Group] for HBS [Harvard Business School] Alumni in the region. She actively contributes to the community as a dedicated advisory member of UTD’s Economic Development Committee. Her passion for technology and innovation fuels her drive to spearhead initiatives, including the creation of TECH internships for UTD students within her firm.

Rose holds a Master’s Degree in Business Management and Organizational Behavior from Harvard University and a Design Thinking Certification from Stanford. After graduating from Harvard in 2010, Rose joined Forbes/Fortune top 100 companies such as Raytheon and CapitalOne in leadership roles to direct people strategy. In 2015, she left the corporate world to start her entrepreneurial journey in Commercial Real Estate.

In her spare time, Rose enjoys exploring new countries with her family, practicing yoga, meditation, and engaging in deep conversations

Ray Hemmig

Ray Hemmig
Retail and Restaurant Growth Capital


Ray Hemmig has more than 40 years of executive and board experience in the retail and restaurant industries. Including: J. C. Penney; Hickory Farms of Ohio; Grandy’s; Ace Cash Express; Buffet Partners, LP (Furr’s Fresh Buffet); in the capacities as COO; EVP; CEO; and as an independent director, as well as an Executive Chairman and Non-Executive Chairman of the Board (COB). He also founded and manages Retail and Restaurant Growth Capital, (RRGC) and Hemmig Investments, LTD (HIL) based in Dallas, TX.

Ray has served in an investor, board member and management roles in multiple, successful M&A transactions: Grandy’s to Saga Corp. in ‘83; On the Border’s to Brinker in ‘96; the sale of Ace Cash Express in ‘06; the sale of Restoration Hardware in ‘08; and multiple private company transactions at RRGC. Current/recent ventures are: Snappy Salads; and MITRA QSR – based in Dallas, TX; and The PGA Tour Super Stores based in Atlanta, GA.

Ray has extensive (40+) corporate Board experiences. He has served on multiple public company boards: Communications World (COMW); Party City (PCTY); On the Border (OTBC); Ace Cash Express (AACE); Restoration Hardware (RSTO/RH); Full House Resorts (FLL); MobileSmith (MOST); as well as numerous other privately held company boards in the US and abroad. Ray is also an active member and board member of the North Texas Chapter of the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD), where he holds the highest “Leadership Fellow” Director status; he was a Director of The University of Texas at Dallas’s, Institute for Excellence in Corporate Governance (IECG), the Chair of the Jindal School of Management Advisory Board at UTD, and is also currently on the Executive Board for the University. He is also a frequent speaker on the topic of corporate governance, as well as the retail/restaurant trade industries.

Ray has also served on various Industry & Nonprofit affiliations such as: Dallas Restaurant Association (Past President); Texas and National Restaurant Associations (Director); International Franchise Association; International Shopping Center Association; FiSCA (formerly NaCCA); Board Member and Past President (2x) North Texas Food Bank among many other educational, community service and charitable entities.

Clyde Jackson

Clyde Jackson
Wynne/Jackson, Inc.


Clyde Jackson is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Wynne/Jackson, Inc. His company has been involved in multiple mixed-use developments for over 30 years. The company developed over 5 million square feet of office/hotel and retail in downtown Dallas, including the Plaza of the Americas and the Westin Hotel. In addition the company has been active in the development of over 10,000 acres of master-planned communities in Texas and Georgia. The company also has been active in acquiring income producing properties on a portfolio basis.

Mr. Jackson has been a member of the Urban Land Institute (ULI), an international real estate association, since 1974, a Trustee since 1987 and has served as a Vice President. Among other activities for the ULI, he has served as chairman of the Urban Development Mixed-use Council for over six years. In addition, he has had the opportunity to participate in analysis and studies of many of the major mixed-use developments in North America, Canada, and selected European capitals. In association with the ULI, Mr. Jackson also participated in the land use planning assignment for one of the largest remaining development tracts on the island of Oahu, Hawaii that was approximately 41,000 acres. In addition, Mr. Jackson participated in the creation of a new town plan for Zoetemeer, Holland. Mr. Jackson is a ULI Governor and serves as Vice Chair ULIF Governor’s Committee. Clyde is currently the chair of the ULI Student Housing Council.

Mr. Jackson is a member of Highland Park Presbyterian Church, where he has been a Deacon, Elder and Sunday school teacher. He has been or is now serving on the board of the following organizations: Dallas Community Development, Inc., The Hillier School, Probe Ministries, Inc., Sky Ranches, Inc., Cornerstone Bank, the Urban Land Institute, Dallas Committee of Young Life, SMU Sustentation Committee, The 500 Inc., Central Business District Association, Dallas Ballet and the Dallas Real Estate Council.

Juris Doctorate, Southern Methodist University School of Business and Law School

Texas Real Estate Broker

Vishwanath Madhugiri

Vishwanath Madhugiri
Chief Strategist
SAAZ Micro, Inc.


SAAZ (SAAZ Micro Inc – Leaders in Advanced Image Sensors) design advanced electro optical/infrared imaging sensors, camera systems and platforms for space, airborne and defense applications. A seasoned technology professional having lived and worked in 3 continents, Vishwanath was earlier the Chief Innovation Officer at Lycamobile, the world’s largest MVNO. He has 3 plus decades of experience in the Automotive, IT Services, Telco and Semiconductor industries, with the TATA Group, Infosys, Lycamobile and Saaz Micro; in research/IP commercialization at The University of Birmingham, UK, and in incubating start-ups in the UK, USA and India.

Vishwanath was an invited member of the International Business Forum at UK Trade & Investment, a United Kingdom government department that facilitates foreign investment and export trade. He is a Member, India Council on Competitiveness, World Affairs Council DFW, the Economic Development Advisory Committee, the Research & Innovation Advisory Council, as well as the Jindal School of Management Advisory Council, all of them at UT Dallas.

Vishwanath was honored to receive an invitation from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth to a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace in 2014, in recognition of his decade-plus public service and contributions to UK Trade & Investment, now renamed the Department for International Trade. A global thought leader, he is also a Board Member and Mentor at Technology Start-ups.

Jenny Mizutowicz

Jenny Mizutowicz
Director of Economic Development
City of Richardson


Jenny Mizutowicz is the Director of Economic Development for the City of Richardson, Texas. In this role, Jenny is responsible for executing the City’s economic development strategic plan, which includes developing a diverse and resilient economy, driving innovation and entrepreneurship, and fostering quality of life and place.

Richardson is home to the University of Texas at Dallas, where Jenny served as Manager of Economic Development Initiatives from 2019-2022. She has also served as Economic Development Manager for the City of Carrollton, Texas and Director of Marketing for the former Richardson Economic Development Partnership (REDP [Richardson Economic Development Partnership] ), where she launched and managed the region’s first young professionals talent attraction campaign, “The Real Richardson.”

Jenny has a BBA [Bachelor of Business Administration] in marketing from UT Austin and an MA [Master of Arts] in emerging media and communication from UT Dallas. She is a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD [Certified Economic Developer] ), past Chair of the International Economic Development Council’s (IEDC [International Economic Development Council] ) Young Professionals Advisory Committee, and current Chair of the IEDC Education and Certification Advisory Committee. She is also on the Board of Directors for the University Economic Development Association (UEDA [University Economic Development Association] ) and chairs the UEDA Awards of Excellence Committee and UEDA Place Affinity Network. Jenny has one daughter and enjoys traveling to new places with her husband Cameron, Texas Longhorns and Dallas Cowboys football, and reading books.

Bernie Parker

Bernie Parker
Assistant Director of Economic Development
Anna Economic Development Corporation

Rodney J Thomas

Rodney J Thomas III
Business Unit Executive
IBM (Retired)


Mr. Thomas is an experienced business development manager, investor and civic leader. He is currently on the Executive Board of the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD), in addition to the university’s Economic Development Advisory Council and the Advisory Board for UTD’s globally recognized chess team. Rodney also serves on the advisory board of Mobility Credit Union and the board of directors of the Harvard Club of Dallas. As a member of the North Texas Angel Network (NTAN), he is an active angel investor, providing funding and guidance to startups and growth companies. Rodney spent a number of years at IBM in technology sales, marketing and management, including leading global organizations responsible for driving significant revenue in products and services. He was an Encore Fellow at the Center for Finance Strategy & Innovation, part of UTD’s Jindal School of Management, where he helped business leaders understand how to leverage emerging digital technologies, such as blockchain, artificial intelligence and machine learning.

James Weichel

James Weichel
Vice President
Texas Retail Division Manager
WaFd Bank


James Weichel has been in the banking industry for over 30 years and is currently the Texas Retail Division Manager for WaFd Bank. WaFd Bank is a $20 billion dollar bank with over 230 locations throughout the Northwest and Southwest United States. As the Retail Division Manager, he gets to lead his teams to success by overseeing the Texas retail, mortgage lending and small business lending for WaFd Bank.

James has served the Metrocrest Chamber of Commerce for over a decade and is a former Chairman of the Board. In 2022 he was named Citizen of the Year by the Metrocrest Chamber of Commerce. He is very involved in the community and has sat on the board for Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD Education Foundation, Rotary Club of Park Cities and Metrocrest Chamber of Commerce. He currently serves on the Metrocrest Services Finance Committee and the UTD Economic Advisory Committee. Additionally, he enjoys volunteering with nonprofits like North Texas Food Bank, Meals on Wheels and, Big Brothers Big Sisters. James has found his passion of helping others through financial literacy education, mentorship, and volunteering.

James lives in Rockwall, TX and has been happily married to his wife, Kristen, for 29 years. They have two children: Anna-Kate (age 24) who is a recent graduate of The University of Oklahoma and Griff (age 17) who is a Junior at Rockwall-Heath High School.