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Inspiring Stories from North Dallas

The heart of our mission at VoyageDallas is to find the amazing souls that breathe life into our city. In the recent weeks we’ve had the privilege to connect with some of the Dallas-Fort Worth area’s finest artists, creatives, entrepreneurs and rabble rousers and we can’t begin to express how impressed we are with our city’s incredibly deep talent pool. Check out the rising stars of North Dallas below.

Matt Manero

Matt launched Commercial Fleet Financing, Inc. (CFF), in 1995 with a phone, a folding table and the unyielding confidence of a single client, a trucker. By fusing his limited resources with tough-minded personal philosophies on “company culture”, skilling up” and “finding your GRIT,” Matt shaped his thriving businesses and he is willing and eager to share his experiences with others. Fast forward 22 years and CFF has funded over $1 billion in transportation equipment with annual business of over $100 million. Read more>>

Craig Schwimmer

As an ENT doctor, I always took care of patients with snoring and sleep apnea – but traditional ENT treatment of these conditions was surgical, which was very invasive, very painful, and very expensive. Around 2001, a number of newer, minimally invasive treatment options became available. I began incorporating these newer, office-based treatments into my ENT practice in 2002. By 2004, I was treating snoring and sleep apnea full time, and had stopped practicing general ENT. Read more>>

Willie McCray

I was born and raised in Central Arkansas, by way of a small town called Menifee, My parents both worked 2 full-time jobs, which left very little father-son or mother-son time. My mother worked in the healthcare field as a Healthcare Assistant and Nurse Assistant, but began working at the age of nine in the cotton fields. My dad worked in the manufacturing industry, mainly as an assembly line supervisor and plant manager. Most of my early years were spent with both sets of my grandparents until I was around the age of ten. Read more>>

Brian Reinhart

I graduated from the University of Louisville in 2008 with a Masters Degree in Mechanical Engineering. After a few years in the workforce I decided to go back to school and pursue my MBA, which I graduated with in 2012. I joined Bastian Solutions in 2013 as a Logistics Consultant with the software division in Louisville, Kentucky and after 3 years in that role I was approached with the opportunity to move to Dallas to manage the company’s expansion into the SW US. Read more>>

Maggie Brown

I am one of the first female builders that have endured throughout the years. I started with a major residential company as a Project Secretary in the 80’s, then quickly moved into warranty as a Customer Service Rep, then moved on to a builder. I became recognized as an excellent builder in 1994 with another large building company and won awards and trips. I was then asked to start up a new area in Tulsa as a City Manager and moved there for two years. Unfortunately, Tulsa was not accepting of a large track home builder and quickly pushed us out after 2 years. Read more>>

Ronda & Brian Hooks

I went to estate sales and garage sales almost every weekend with my parents as I was growing up. My Mother started the first antique mall in Dallas and I helped run it. I took a 16 week appraisal course and after that I decided to start an estate sales company! My husband, Brian, calls what we do managed chaos because it is literally like moving every weekend! Sometimes we are selling to 100 people in a house at one time. We have sold everything from toothbrushes to cars, motorcycles, horses, guns and much much more. Read more>>

Mamie Collins

I was working at job at 24 and I was sitting there wondering what I wanted to do with my life. I have always had a passion for women empowerment and enjoyed mentoring and helping women with their goals and aspirations. In college, I was a part of a women’s group. I was planning on attending school for fashion but decided to go with makeup instead. I went to esthetics school to get a certification in the field. I worked as a business manager for Clarins for a few months and fell in love with skin and how it gave women great confidence. Read more>>

Larry Luby

Every Saturday morning, I met a group of eight men at a local Denny’s for breakfast and fellowship. One morning a new visitor joined our group. As he was telling us a little bit about himself, he addressed the group and said, “You know I’ve completed two books. I just hate it when people say, ‘I’m writing a book,’ but then never finish.” My heart stopped as I watched eight sets of eyes turn their attention toward me. You see, I was one of those people who was always “writing the book” and never finishing one. Read more>>

Emily Harrington

Growing up in Northern New Mexico was a very active lifestyle. My mom was not one to sit around so my brother and I were always out camping, riding horses or skiing. As I got older I enjoyed dancing, showing horses, and cycling and pretty much anything outside in the high desert. In college, I was not seeing my future and during that time I got busy in the gym and began to teach fitness classes of all sorts. I was pretty addicted actually, and to be very honest I struggled with body issues. In the beginning, I chose to become a personal trainer to ensure that I would always have to stay in physical fitness. Read more>>

Zahid Bheda

I was always fascinated by fashion growing up in a very conservative family in Karachi Pakistan. I remember as a young child, when the button was missing on my shirt, I would find the matching button and sew it back on with my own hands. Also, I make sure my pants and shirts are ironed before I leave for school. Growing up, my life was about two things. Fashion and playing cricket. At the age of 17 I become one of the youngest professional cricket player representing one of the Elite team in Karachi, Pakistan. Read more>>

Eddie Renz

Growing up, I never really thought of myself as creative. I liked to cook and come up with recipes in the kitchen, but I didn’t think that would translate into a career in graphic and web design. When I was working for Texas Instruments I started in the Help Desk and worked my way up to a business analyst. In that position, I had the opportunity to lead off a few events and everyone seemed to marvel at what I thought was just basic decorating and setup. Eventually I started doing web design on the side for bloggers because it was fun and I understood how the flow of the blog pages worked. Read more>>

Noelle Salmo and DeeDee Plank

We started making jewelry as a hobby 16 years ago. Noelle was a new mom and DeeDee had a full-time career. We started selling some of their creations to family and friends. Our friends or family members would host parties in their homes and we would set up our wares. We realized we might have something people outside our circle would like so we tried a few retail or craft shows in the DFW metroplex. We were busy with our lives and saw that this was somewhat a burden to our schedules and started thinking wholesale might be more to our liking. Read more>>

Mehran Assadi

I grew up in Iran. In 1976, I came to the United States to visit my cousin on a 30-day holiday. I never left. The change was enormous. When I arrived in this country I could not speak the language. My first gourmet meal in America was Dunkin’ Donuts. It was a really big change for me. Yet I was so thrilled to be here. To me this was the land of opportunity and I was going to embrace it every way I could. Within 18 hours of arriving in Baltimore from Iran I was working – I was 17 at the time – and I really haven’t stopped working since then. Read more>>

Lauren Kitchens

Growing up in the decadent 80’s left me with very little inspiration. I didn’t want a red Ferrari, my purple jelly shoes gave me blisters, and it seemed that the only professional women out there were either stern business women with shoulder pads up to their ears, or over-sexualized pop stars constantly selling themselves short. The doctor-lawyer-corporate career path was the only acceptable option for my generation to aspire to. We were shown the polished-perfect life provided by the over-achieving Baby Boomers. To deviate from that box was unacceptable. Since I couldn’t find many accomplished women to identify with or admire in pop-culture, my only hero was Rocky Balboa (Yo Adrian!). Read more>>

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