Center for Finance Strategy Innovation

We promote the adoption of corporate, government, and investment strategies that produce value. Appropriate choices are necessary as priorities involving increased digitization, security, investment demands and globalization emerge and evolve. Companies continue to transform and restructure themselves. Business innovation strategies produce new methods of organizing activity and better uses of scarce capital. The search for entrepreneurial innovation and value has intensified nationally and internationally. To these ends, we focus on education, outreach, and research programs. We connect practitioners with knowledge of relevant developments.

We concentrate on activities and industry segments where corporate renewal, business innovation, long-run competitive advantage and sustainable growth models are widely recognized as prime drivers of investment worth and capital investment. This includes private equity and venture capital finance, public-private partnerships, corporate turnarounds and transformations, and corporate re-capitalizations and restructurings. In today’s world, competitive advantage and sustainable growth are the products of business innovation and better choices regarding use of capital. Demands for security have increased.

Finance, too, is evolving. Markets for capital have become truly global. Financial institutions continue to transform themselves. Parallel public and private markets for raising, governing, and managing capital have arisen. Sustainability, risk management, and corporate governance have developed into areas of major concern. At times, governments have become large investors in the private sector. There is renewed interest in partnerships between public and private entities. All of this is relevant in the search for value.

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  • Connect with the Director
  • Vision & Mission
  • Coming Events
  • Past Events
  • DFW Economic Performance
  • Distinguished Instructors

Connect with the Director

Welcome to the Center for Finance Strategy Innovation. We use differentiated programs of support for policy makers, applied research, corporate outreach and graduate education to develop thought leadership. We promote professional capability in practitioners, graduate students and recent alumni. We are a bridge between the Jindal School of Management and its wider constituencies.

David Springate, PhD Director and Co-Founder, CFSI
Elizabeth Jones Associate Director and Co-Founder, CFSI


The vision of the Center is to be an active, engaged partner to those developing and pursuing more productive and innovative uses of capital. Our activities are structured to be of value to faculty and students in the Jindal School of Management, to a wider community of investors, finance professionals, and corporations, and to the state of Texas.


The Center focuses on education and research programs in areas crucial to today’s economy and today’s financial context. These areas include:

  • Corporate transformation
  • Restructuring
  • Turnarounds
  • Leveraged buyouts
  • Funding of innovation
  • Growth capital
  • Fintech
  • Project finance
  • Business strategy
  • Business innovation
  • Public-private partnerships
  • Distressed assets
  • Blockchain

Center for Finance Strategy Innovation Half Day Conference Thursday, September 21, 2017, 11:30 a.m. — 6 p.m.

“Uses of Blockchain: Unlocking Value through Business Innovation” with Keynote Speaker – Chris Ballinger, CFO and Head of Mobility Services at Toyota Research Institute.
Blockchain is a major new technology that is in the early stages of deployment as a system of distributed ledger accounts (blocks of data) that allows transactions to proceed only if the contracting parties agree through specified verifications. This results in major cost, speed and security advantages.

The conference includes lunch with our keynote speaker, two afternoon expert panels, and a closing cocktail reception.


Executive Dining Room
Naveen Jindal School of Management, UT Dallas
800 West Campbell Rd
Richardson, TX 75080

Highlights of this event include:

  • Expanded speaker list from: Toyota, ATT/ATT Labs, Bank of New York Mellon, Delaware Chancery Courts/Symbiont, Dubai Smart City, MoneyGram/Ant Financial. Includes presentations and discussions related to specific corporate and government use case applications.
  • Second panel of experts on the emerging infrastructure of blockchain. Discussion will focus on standards, open vs. closed systems, encryption, regulation and the potential arising from the intersection of the internet-of-things, big data and artificial intelligence. Includes discussions on corporate applications, uses, and benefits.

About the keynote speaker:

Ballinger helps to guide Toyota global strategy addressing future market trends and business model requirements. Toyota is a leader in corporate uses of blockchain.


Contact David Springate at (972)-883-2647 or

Ready to Attend?


Recent Events

The Center for Finance Strategy Innovation Center sponsors a number of conference, panel, and workshop programs each year. Recent programs have concentrated on private equity, hedge fund, growth capital, public-private partnerships, and turnaround topics.

  • 2013 “Buying Neiman Marcus: The Winning Combination of a Global Investor and a Strong Brand” With Canadian Consulate of Dallas

    Opening Remarks: Mike Rawlings, Mayor of Dallas

    Keynote Speaker: André Bourbonnais, Senior Vice President of Private Investments, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board

    Sponsor: USI Southwestern

  • 2012 2nd Annual Private Equity Funds Symposium

    Key Speakers:
    Kevin Boardman, Partner, Patton Boggs LLP
    Gregg Buksbaum, Partner, Patton Boggs LLP
    James Cheng, President & COO, NPIC (Natural Polymer International Corp.)
    Harvey Fine, Managing Director U.S. Global Investments and Strategies, Fosun
    Stephen Foote, Director, Northleaf Capital Partners
    Kim Garber, Co-Founder and Principal, CORE-CCO, LLC
    Gus Gatzios, Managing Vice President of Strategic Access Platforms at Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System
    Micah Green, Partner, Patton Boggs LLP
    R. David Kelly, Chairman, Teacher Retirement System of Texas
    Roman Kikta, Managing Partner and Founder Mobility Ventures
    Shoa-Kai Liu, Founding investor of RenRen
    Paul Louie, North American Partner, Long March Capital
    Matt O'Reilly, Chief Investment Officer, San Antonio Fire and Police Pension Fund

  • 2012 Succeeding With Financing in a Time of Economic Uncertainty

    Rick Pelini, Vice President and Treasurer of Lennox International
    Henry Schopfer who has served as CFO of four public mid-sized companies
    Mahesh Shetty, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer of Encore Enterprises
    David Whiting, Senior Vice President and head of Comerica Bank’s Technology and Life Services Division
    Suzanne Lovett, Senior Vice President of Wells Fargo Capital Finance

  • 2011 Private Equity Funds Symposium, Patton Boggs

    Key Speaker: Ronnie Jung, Texas Teachers Retirement System

    Representative Speakers:
    Don Moorehead, Patton Boggs
    Kim Garber, US Securities and Exchange Commission
    Carl Kopfinger, TD Bank
    Joy Brawner, McGladrey
    Suzanne Kriscunas, Riverside Company
    Brett Palmer, National Association of SBIC’s
    Tony Schell, Escalate Capital
    Roman Kikta, Mobility Ventures
    Conner Searcy, Insight Equity

  • 2010 The Governance and Financial Tools of Public-Private Partnerships

    David Leininger, Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART)
    Paul Wageman, North Texas Tollway Authority (NTTA)
    Sasha N. Page, IMG
    Paul N. Wageman, North Texas Tollway Authority (NTTA)
    Robert M. (Bob) Brown, P.E., TXDOT
    Michael Morris, P.E., Transportation Department of the North
    Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG)
    Col. Dennis Beal, USMC (Ret.), Texas A & M University System
    Hon. Cynthia Figueroa, Attorney
    Paris Rutherford, Catalyst Urban Development, LLC
    John N. Crew, Public Werks, Inc.
    Stephen W. McCullough, Public Werks, Inc.

  • 2010 Conference in partnership with Texas Hedge Fund Management Association

    Peruvemba Satish, Allstate Investments
    Todd Centurino, Teachers Retirement System
    Philip Durst, TollesonWealth Management

  • 2010 Where Will Growth Capital Come From?”

    Trey Vincent, Riverside Company
    Mary Jo Hoch, Capital One Bank
    David Oden, Haynes and Boone
    Ron Stacey, Legacy Advisors
    Jorge Joramillo, ORIX Leveraged Finance

  • 2009 Turnarounds, Restructurings, and Distressed Investing

    Conner Searcy, Insight Equity
    Michael Bruder, Macquarie Group
    Jay Lucas, Lucas Group
    Don Bibeault, Verto Partners
    Harry Gray, Verto Partners

Economic Updates and Case Research

Economic Updates

Two indexes tracking the financial health and financial flexibility of the 50 largest publicly held corporations in North Texas are updated quarterly. The series starts in 2009.

Case Research

The Center is producing a series of contemporary case studies on innovative companies. Shortly, we will release the first case. It deals with innovation in the consumer packaged goods industry will be released shortly. The work will be useful to both professionals in the field and graduate students.

Analytical and Operational Support for Corporate Decision Makers

Starting and Growing Businesses

The Center provides support for the analytical needs, of both new and growing businesses, especially in the areas of funding, valuation and strategy. Parallel analytical help for government agencies that work with these businesses is provided. Both faculty and student help is available.

Turnarounds and Restructurings

The Center provides help to managers responsible for such activities. The help usually involves either analysis of current needs and gaps or the planning of operational improvements.

Enterprise and Corporate Transformation

The Center supports corporations in their transformation endeavors when the opportunity is appropriate. Such support may include diagnosis of needs, design of an integrated business plan for transformation and/or the implementation of the plan. The recent economy continues to produce many such opportunities. Recognizable names with whom we have partnered include JC Penney, Target, Fujitsu, and Tektronix.

Sustainable Business

The Center believes there is a real need for financial and business perspectives to be brought to bear in this rapidly emerging area. While relatively new to North America, the concept of designing and operating sustainable businesses finds wider use elsewhere in the world. Sustainable business refers to the balancing of human, financial and ecological concerns so that a business can serve all its stakeholders on a continuing basis. We intend to be part of the continuing evolution of this area.

Financial Management

For the last three years, the Center has provided faculty speakers for the Professional Development Program of the Financial Executives International Dallas Chapter.

Support for Private Equity/Venture Capital Fund Managers and Investors

The Center's capabilities and interests include the provision of professional education, analytical support, economic updates and conference/workshop activities. Analytical support can include the structuring and start-up of new funds.

Analytical Support for Public Policy Makers

Through impartial analysis in its area of expertise the Center actively supports improvements in public policy especially through public-private partnerships of different kinds and involving different levels of governments. In the areas of finance, economic development and innovation the Center is able to help frame issues and analyze needs for consideration by policy makers. The Center does not position itself as an active advocate or active promoter of specific courses of action in the public sphere. In recent years, we have partnered with the Texas Legislature, the City of Cedar Hill, and Dallas Arts District.

Graduate and Professional Education for The Jindal School of Management

The Center contributes to graduate and professional education in four major dimensions.

Development and Delivery of MBA/MS Courses

Graduate courses have been developed and are delivered in the areas of corporate renewal, private equity finance, entrepreneurial finance, turnarounds and restructurings, and international financial management. The Center is preparing to deliver further courses in the area of corporate transformations and project finance. The Center designed and delivered an experimental three credit-hour course in enterprise transformation for the Executive MBA program of the School.

Customized Individual Study

The Center pioneered the use of customized individual study opportunities developed in conjunction with outside companies which support the Center's activities. These opportunities are somewhat like internships, but allow more customization of calendar schedules, credit hours, team membership, matching of student capabilities with needs and nature of final product produced. Approximately fifteen students have used these opportunities in the last two years.


The Center serves and is allied with the Institute for Innovation & Entrepreneurship. CFSI works with the Institute in the finance/strategy sphere and provides finance and strategy academic and executive faculty members as appropriate.

DFW Economic Performance

Distinguished Instructors

Elizabeth Jones, Associate Director and Visiting Professor

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Elizabeth F. Jones is a visiting professor at the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) School of Management, where she is the co-founder and Associate Director of the Center for Finance Strategy Innovation (CFSI). Elizabeth has developed and teaches finance and enterprise management courses in the MBA and EMBA programs. Through CFSI, she leads business advisory projects in private equity finance, public investment and technology commercialization, plus has studied public pension funds, private equity fund development and structuring infrastructure investments. She co-authored the study report for the 2008 Texas Legislative Study Committee Final Report on Private Participation in Toll Projects and has been a frequent speaker to business and public sector groups. She is a member of the UT Dallas Executive Advisory Council and advisor to the UT Dallas Science and Engineering Education Center.

Elizabeth’s public-sector service includes three terms on the City of Dallas Cityplace TIF Board (Bond issuing Infrastructure TIF) and one term on the Dallas Business Development Corporation Board, plus 12 years as a Dallas County Election Judge, Dallas CERT/FEMA certified volunteer, STARTech Certified Mentor, Leadership Dallas and FBI Citizen’s Academy alumni.

Elizabeth is a senior finance executive whose professional career spans more than 24 years. She was a principal investment banker and corporate financial advisor with tier one and regional investment banks, the International Finance Corporation (private equity arm of The World Bank) and strategic management consultancy McKinsey & Co. Over the course of her career she has structured, managed and raised more than $9 billion of debt and equity capital for corporations and quasi-governmental agencies, including having financed public utilities, housing, roads and airports. Additionally, she has advised governments, Fortune 1000 and emerging technology companies in strategic financial management, product/technology innovation, entrepreneuring, and economic development. She began her career as a budget analyst to the Senate Ways & Means Committee of the Washington State Legislature.

Elizabeth received her BA in Economics and Political Science from Wellesley College, an MBA in International Finance and Strategic Management from RSM Erasmus University (Netherlands) including coursework at MIT Sloan School. She has done postgraduate work in corporate finance, corporate governance, fund governance and project management. Elizabeth recently completed a 3- year term on the Global Board of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Enterprise Forum Corporation and was awarded the 2009 MIT Presidential Citation. She is currently a member of the Katherine Dexter McCormick Society and the William Barton Rogers Society at MIT, and is a member of the UC Berkley Haas School of Business Leadership Society.

Gerald A. Turner, Visiting Professor

Gerald Turner is CEO & Managing Partner of EPM International, LLC, a global business advisory & consulting services firm that delivers high-impact, evidence-based corporate performance management solutions to executive leadership teams within Fortune 500 firms and multi-national companies on 5 continents. Mr. Turner has held positions of increasing responsibility including CEO, COO, Chief Technology Officer, Vice President – International Programs, Vice President – Operations and executive management consultant within major global management consulting firms including Cap Gemini Consulting, Ernst & Young Consulting, Accenture and Hitachi Consulting.

As a visiting professor for MBA programs at The University of Texas at Dallas, The University of Dallas and Texas A&M University, Mr. Turner has provided instruction in corporate and business transformation, performance measurement and management, operations research, operations management, and strategic program-project management.

Mr. Turner is a Certified Management Consultant, Certified Strategic Manager, Certified Professional Consultant to Management and a Certified Program Manager. He is also a Registered Professional Engineer in Electrical and Mechanical Engineering. He holds bachelors and masters degrees in Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Systems Engineering respectively from Fenn College of Engineering, Cleveland State University and an Executive MBA in Systems Management from Baldwin-Wallace College.

David Epperson, Resident Fellow

David Epperson is president of Briarwood Enterprises LLC where he acts as consultant in the areas of strategy, finance and operational improvement. He has worked both independently and in affiliation with leading global consultancies, including McKinsey & Company, advising large multinational clients in the mining, petroleum, chemical, building materials and technology industries. He has served clients in the United States, Australia, New Zealand and across southern Africa.

In the public arena, Mr. Epperson served as General Counsel to the Texas House Judicial Affairs Committee (now the Judiciary Committee) for the 78th Legislature in 2003. He has also conducted extensive research into transportation finance policy and the role of public-private partnerships, both in the US and overseas, and was a co-author of the 2008 report of the Legislative Study Committee on Private Participation in Toll Projects.

He received an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin and completed his studies at the London Business School. He earned a JD from the University of Virginia School of Law and a BA from Baylor University. He has also served as a construction leader for a Dallas-area Habitat for Humanity affiliate and is a member of the Advisory Board of the Dallas Museum of Nature and Science.

Scott Mairs, Resident Fellow

Scott Mairs is a respected leader in the financial services industry including C-level, President, and Managing Director positions. He currently serves as President of plumRHINO Consulting, a leading financial services consulting firm. His experience ranges from private equity and consulting to leadership positions at Citicorp, Sungard and Bank of America. Mr. Mairs has led global technology, performance management and enterprise transformations across 90+ countries and $100+ million dollar strategic programs including Basel II, online banking, general ledger replacements, mergers and acquisitions, and implementation of the European Monetary Unit.

Mr. Mairs currently teaches Enterprise Transformation through Corporate Performance Management at the University of Texas at Dallas. He is a frequent author and speaker on program, portfolio and performance management, including the recent PMI Global Congress publication of the Business Performance Engine(tm) and Strategic Value Continuum(tm) Corporate Performance Management frameworks. He serves on the Leadership Council of the American Lung Association and several boards and leadership advisory groups for high growth and emerging companies.

Mr. Mairs has a BS in Computer Science/Math from University of North Texas, a Master’s Certificate in Project Management from George Washington University and an Executive MBA in International Business from Baylor University. He earned PMI’s Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification. He is the former Chair of PMI’s Global Financial Services SIG and President of Citibank’s Project Management Professional Forum.

Harry Gray, Resident Fellow

Harry Gray has been a middle-market President/CEO, COO, CFO and large cap Board-level Advisor for investment firms such as Goldman Sachs Capital, UBS Capital, Arcapita, Hanseatic Capital, MB Financial and TA Associates. He has also been a private equity professional, investment banker and M&A specialist at leading global firms.

Harry is co-founder of Verto Partners, which is a firm of Fortune 500 CEOs, Big Four partners, and McKinsey, Bain, Booz and BCG alumni that provides corporate strategy, operational improvement and management best practices consulting. The team’s clients have included Kleiner Perkins, JP Morgan, CS First Boston, Bass Family, Technology Crossover Ventures, JMI Equity, GE Capital, Hambrecht & Quist and NEA Associates. Harry was also Managing Director at RKG Osnos, the nation’s oldest corporate performance advisory firm.

Harry was a private equity professional and portfolio company strategy leader at Highland Capital, a $35 billion global investment firm. Prior to this, Harry was an investment banker at two leading firms; first at Alex Brown & Sons, the nation’s first investment bank, and then as a Vice President at Wasserstein Perella & Co., a premier mergers and acquisitions firm.

Harry began his career in the military, where he was a Senior Supply Officer and member of the US Navy’s warship construction program at General Dynamics. Harry is a graduate of the US Naval Academy (BS) and Columbia Business School (MBA), where he was a Bibeault Scholar.