Navigating Through COVID-19

The Baylor Business Professional group presented a panel discussion featuring industry experts in the medical, real estate and financial fields. Company leaders Larry Heard, CEO of the Transwestern Companies, Paul Klotman, President, CEO & Executive Dean, Baylor College of Medicine and Chris Wallis, CEO at Vaughan Nelson Investment Management shared their thoughts on navigating through the COVID-19 environment and what the future holds from a real estate, medical, and financial standpoint. The event was be moderated by Baylor Regent Bill Mearse.


Featured Speakers

Larry Heard (BBA ’80)

Larry Heard is president and chief executive officer of Transwestern, a global diversified real estate organization actively involved in investment management, development, and real estate services. Mr. Heard has been active in the commercial real estate industry since 1981. He joined Transwestern in 1983 and was appointed president and chief executive officer of the firm in 2002. Mr. Heard and the senior management of Transwestern’s family of companies have led the firm’s expansion to 35 U.S. cities with more than 2,300 team members and into 37 countries as part of a strategic alliance with Paris-based BNP Paribas Real Estate and Canada-based Devencore. Mr. Heard is a member of a number of prominent industry and civic organizations. In addition to being a Baylor regent, he serves on the executive committee and as vice chairman of the board of trustees for Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. He and his wife, Caroline, are members of South Main Baptist Church in Houston. They have three children: Catherine, married to Nick Riewoldt with three sons; Vivian (BBA ’12), married to Byron Langford; and John (BBA ’16).


Paul Klotman, M.D.

Dr. Paul Klotman began serving as president, CEO and Executive Dean of Baylor College of Medicine on September 1, 2010. He received his B.S. degree in 1972 from the University of Michigan and his M.D. from Indiana University in 1976. He completed his medicine and nephrology training at Duke University Medical Center. He stayed at Duke as a faculty member before moving to the National Institutes of Health in 1988, where he became chief of the Molecular Medicine Section in the Laboratory of Developmental Biology. In 1993, he became chief of the Viral Pathogenesis Laboratory in the NIDR/NIH. In 1994, he moved to Mount Sinai School of Medicine as Chief of the Division of Nephrology. In 2001, he was selected to be the chair of the Samuel Bronfman Department of Medicine of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine.


Chris Wallis (BBA ’91)

Chris Wallis is Chief Executive Officer, Chief Investment Officer, and a Senior Portfolio Manager at Vaughan Nelson Investment Management. He serves on the portfolio management team and as a member of the firm’s Management Committee. Mr. Wallis joined the firm in 1999 and was previously employed by Simmons & Company International and Coopers & Lybrand, L.L.P. He has over 25 years of investment management, financial analysis, and accounting experience. Mr. Wallis received a BBA from Baylor University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. He is a CFA® charterholder and a member of the CFA Society of Houston.


Our Moderator

William 'Bill' E. Mearse (BBA ’78, MBA ’79)

Mr. William "Bill" E. Mearse currently serves as an advisor, investor, and board member with several organizations. His current involvement includes Baylor College of Medicine (trustee), Banda Health (board), Baylor School of Engineering and Computer Science (Board of Advocates), Baylor Angel Network (investor), Baylor Alumni Business Professionals - Houston (chair), Memorial Assistance Ministries (board), Houston Baptist University Center for Christianity in Business, and CRU Houston. Mr. Mearse retired from Accenture as resources group operating officer and senior managing director of the Houston office in November 2013 after more than 33 years. The business scope of resources involved the oil and gas, chemicals, utilities, metals, mining, and paper industries, representing more than $5 billion in revenue. For the Houston office, Mr. Mearse managed local market development, community service, and employee engagement activities for more than 1,200 employees. Mr. Mearse graduated with honors from Baylor University with a BBA in management and marketing in 1978 and an MBA in 1979. His support of Baylor since graduation includes financial gifts to business, engineering and computer science, social work, and athletic programs. Mr. Mearse and his wife, Tanya Field Mearse, married in 1988 and have no children. Both are active, longtime members of Second Baptist Church in Houston. Currently, Mr. Mearse serves on the finance committee and teaches an adult Bible study class. Previously, he served as deacon chair and participated on numerous initiatives and committees.



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