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Alumni Bragging Rights: Distinguished Alum, Forbes Young Industry Leaders, and More

Foam finger with "We're No. 1"

As many alumni will tell you, their time at the McCombs School of Business has served as a foundation for their careers, from launching startups to becoming industry leaders and innovators.

This installment of Bragging Rights recognizes recent career achievements, including a distinguished alum, alumni who made the Forbes "30 under 30" list, won $120,000 in seed funding, and launched an award-winning new mobile app.

Distinguished Alum

John L. Adams

John L. Adams, BBA '66, JD '69, was recently named a distinguished alumnus of The University of Texas at Austin. Each year, the Texas Exes award the most impressive alumni with this honor, in recognition of their accomplishments professionally and in service to UT. Adams and his fellow distinguished alumni will be honored with a presentation on Nov. 10 at the Etter-Harbin Alumni Center.

Adams is the former CEO of Chase Bank (now the Texas business of JP Morgan Chase & Co.) and former vice chairman of Trinity Industries, a Dallas-based industrial manufacturing company. He is also chairman of the Group 1 Automotive board of directors and recently retired as a director of the Dr Pepper Snapple Group. In 2013, Adams was inducted into the McCombs School of Business Hall of Fame as a result of his many contributions to the school. Adams spearheaded the McCombs Scholars Program and through his efforts the program has raised over 115 scholarships to date. He continues to serve as the chair.

Adams is a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council, chairman of The University of Texas at Austin Development Board, and is a member of the Chancellor’s Council Executive Committee.

Forbes '30 under 30'

Kovid Gupta, Kenny Worrell, and Dominik Stein

Dominik Stein, MBA '11, Kovid Gupta, BBA '10, and Kendrick "Kenny" Worrell, BBA '10, made Forbes' 2017 "30 under 30" list of the brightest entrepreneurs and innovators in their respective industries. They beat out over 4,000 nominees to receive the distinction.

Stein was featured for his company, Verts Mediterranean Grill. The fast casual chain has grown to over 20 locations across the U.S. with plans to expand to 200 by the end of 2020. Stein co-founded Verts with fellow MBA '11 alum Michael Heyne.

Gupta made the Forbes list for a meteoric rise in Indian cinema, from working as a writer on two of India’s most famous TV shows and as an assistant director on "Prem Ratan Dhan Payo" ("Found a Treasure Called Love"), the fourth-highest grossing Indian movie of all time. During breaks between filming, he published two novels, "Kingdom of The Soap Queen: The Story of Balaji Telefilms" and "Redrawing India: The Teach For India Story."

Gupta is head of business development at Vinod Chopra Films, where he handles acquisitions deals for film and television. He has worked on some of South Asia’s biggest TV shows, lending his talents to more than 1,000 episodes.

Worrell made the list for his energy company, Accelerate Resources, which he co-founded in 2016. The firm uses laser technology to drill for natural resources and minerals around the U.S.

2017 Launch Award

Deven Hariyani

Deven Hariyani, MBA '16, won the 2017 Launch Award and $72,000 at the 2017 WeWork Creator Awards for his company, Kwaddle. The mobile and web app helps parents find local immersive extracurricular activities and enrichment programs for kids, such as sports teams, art classes, and summer camps. In the coming year the company plans to launch a native mobile app and expand to new cities, including Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio. Kwaddle began as an idea formulated for Hariyani’s capstone project in the business school's New Venture Creation class.

Y-Combinator Funding

William Mitchell

William Mitchell, MBA '15, was selected to receive $120,000 in seed funding for Contract Simply, the company he co-founded while at McCombs, from Silicon Valley-based accelerator Y-Combinator. The cloud-based platform streamlines workflow that slows down loan management in the construction industry. Mitchell spent seven years in real estate development before he pursuing an MBA at McCombs.

Do you have any alumni success stories to share? Feel free to email Jeremy.Simon [at] mccombs.utexas.edu with your submission.

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