Why Bad Management is Usually to Blame

Management, Ed Whitacre says, is 95 percent about people. “If you can get that part right—the people part—most times the other stuff will work itself out,” says the plain-spoken Texan. He ought to know. For nearly two decades, the Ennis native successfully ran two of the country’s biggest companies: SBC Communications, now Dallas-based AT&T Corp., and General Motors. When Whitacre was lured out of retirement by the Obama administration in 2009 to take over as GM’s chairman following a bankruptcy filing and $50 billion federal bailout, he didn’t know a thing about the auto business. But he knew plenty about… Full Story

Reel FX is Ready For Its Close-up

Animation studio Reel FX turns 20 this year. But in many ways, the under-the-radar creative shop run by Steve O’Brien in Deep Ellum still feels and acts like a startup. Maybe it’s the “margatini” drink recipe scribbled in the lower left-hand corner of the white board. It’s right there alongside copious notes about modeling, texture handoffs, quality control, and other things decipherable only to those in the animation industry. The studio, tucked into a sizable but nondescript red-brick building that formerly housed Yahoo Broadcast.com, is buzzing these days with work on two full-length feature films—the company’s first movies developed entirely… Full Story

The Best Doctors in Collin County 2013

Best Doctors in Collin County is a peer-review voting process. We rely on the doctors’ expertise to determine who deserves to be on the list, just like a doctor would recommend a patient to a specialist. This year, we mailed a letter to 1,565 local doctors from our online directory inviting them to vote using a ballot on our website. They could vote for up to three doctors in 38 categories. The nomination form asked them to vote bearing in mind the following question: which Dallas doctors would you trust with the care of a loved one? This year, 295… Full Story

How Dallas Stole the Byron Nelson

You don’t have to remind Beth Van Duyne that the HP Byron Nelson Championship, the world’s most successful professional charity golf event, is preparing to undergo some big changes over the next few years. In fact, it might be better if you didn’t. The Irving mayor knows full well that these changes will include a new title sponsor and, most likely, a new site for the PGA tournament at the future Trinity Forest Golf Course—a 400-acre former landfill about 10 minutes south of downtown Dallas, east of Interstate 45 along Loop 12. The Trinity Forest project, Van Duyne has learned,… Full Story

The Last Hat Salesman

Last summer my father died in a nursing home adjacent to Central Expressway, the road that, some 57 years ago, he, my mother, my two sisters, and I took to Dallas for the first time, strangers in a strange land. Like thousands of others, we were East Coast expatriates, Jews in a city of gentiles. We were filled with hope and fear. As our leader, my father exuded the most hope and the most fear. He had come here to reinvent himself in a place ripe for reinvention. For the next six decades—from age 38 to his death at 95—my… Full Story

The Legend of Chris Kyle

There’s a story about Chris Kyle: on a cold January morning in 2010, he pulled into a gas station somewhere along Highway 67, south of Dallas. He was driving his supercharged black Ford F350 outfitted with black rims and oversize knobby mudding tires. Kyle had replaced the Ford logo on the grill with a small chrome skull, similar to the Punisher emblem from the Marvel Comics series, and added a riot-ready aftermarket grill guard bearing the words ROAD ARMOR. He had just left the Navy and moved back to Texas. Two guys approached him with pistols and demanded his money… Full Story

Business Lunch: Bowery

Let’s be honest: Dallas palates may be sophisticated, but more business deals are probably closed over a cheese enchilada platter or double hamburger than chateaubriand for two. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. We may enjoy the latest culinary trend and exotic protein de jour, but our hearts and taste buds always come back to the simpler pleasures: comfort food. Lately, fried chicken has taken the spotlight, with area chefs elevating the common bird to new gastronomic heights. Next up: the lowly hot dog. Gourmet franks are a national trend, and celebrated Dallas restaurateurs such as Phil Romano and… Full Story

Business Lunch: Stampede 66

Clad in a wide-brimmed Stetson and spurs that jingle-jangle-jingle, the Texas mystique is a powerful thing. It’s romantic and alluring. But it’s not really Dallas. Our city was built on banking, not cattle drives. Our landscape is more  gleaming skyscrapers than wide open spaces. Sure, you’ll find a few local souls into ropin’ and ridin’. But you’ll find far more into shoppin’ and brunchin’. That’s why, on first visit, Stampede 66 is such a yeehaw assault on the senses: cowhide club chairs, Texas ranch scenes on TV screens, a wire-coiled rattler snaking through the dining room, and longhorns hanging over the bar.… Full Story

Business Lunch: British Beverage Co.

The running joke amongst my friends is that I can’t do a British accent to save my bloody life. The closest I can come is to yell, “ALLO GUVNAH!” in some cartoonish Texas twang meets Liverpool cockney mashup. God save the queen, indeed. Happily, Uptown’s new British Beverage Company—located in the old Hully & Mo space at the Quadrangle—is just British enough to satisfy anglophiles without encouraging any frowned upon faux accents. Designed by local firm Plan B, the handsome interior feels like a modern take on the traditional pub. Sure, there are a few Union Jack-inspired clichés, complete with a London taxi… Full Story

Helping Patients on the Road to Recovery

Michael Fowler had alienated his entire family, dropped out of college, and been in and out of about 10 rehabilitation centers before he truly realized that he needed help. After spending the better part of 15 years in substance abuse programs, he was well into his 30s before figuring out that he had to want to get better to make it work. Today, the former Preston Hollow resident, now nearing a decade of sobriety, is back in touch with his family and spends his days encouraging others with similar struggles. Fowler began working at Caron Texas, a Collin County in-patient… Full Story