mover and shaker

Houston recycling company names new CEO

David Hudson has been named CEO of Elemental Recycling. Photo via LinkedIn

A Houston company that turns recycled plastics into high-purity graphene and hydrogen has named its new leader.

David Hudson has been named CEO of Elemental Recycling. The company, founded in 2019, is an investment of Freestone, a portfolio company of Tailwater Capital. He succeeds Tom Samuels, former CEO and board chair of the company.

"With over two decades of proven expertise in driving strategic growth and profitability across the recycling, waste management, sustainability, and decarbonization sectors, David brings a wealth of experience that makes him the ideal leader to take the reins and guide Elemental into its next phase of innovation and growth," Samuels says in a news release. "I am excited about the possibilities that lie ahead for the company under David's leadership. His proven track record and passion for driving positive change make him the perfect steward for the next chapter of Elemental's journey."

Hudson has over 20 years of experience within sustainability across industries. He founded and led Circulus Holdings, a company that turned post-consumer plastics into resins for commercial and industrial use. In that role, he raised almost half a billion dollars in investments, per the news release. He also held leadership roles at Ara Partners, Avangard Innovative, Recology, and Strategic Materials.

"I am grateful for the opportunity to join this exceptional team and contribute to the continued success of Elemental," Hudson says in the release. "Tom's leadership, along with the vision of founders Ron Presswood and Ian Bishop, has positioned the company to become a driving force in the recycling, sustainability, decarbonization, and advanced materials sectors.

"Elemental boasts an exceptional team, and I am eager to collaborate with each member as we navigate the path ahead," he continues. "I am confident that, together, we will grow the Company into a major player in the graphene and hydrogen production spaces and continue to advance Elemental's mission of sustainability."

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A View From HETI

Houston could have ranked higher on a global report of top cities in the world if it had a bit more business diversification. Photo via Getty Images

A new analysis positions the Energy Capital of the World as an economic dynamo, albeit a flawed one.

The recently released Oxford Economics Global Cities Index, which assesses the strengths and weaknesses of the world’s 1,000 largest cities, puts Houston at No. 25.

Houston ranks well for economics (No. 15) and human capital (No. 18), but ranks poorly for governance (No. 184), environment (No. 271), and quality of life (No. 298).

New York City appears at No. 1 on the index, followed by London; San Jose, California; Tokyo; and Paris. Dallas lands at No. 18 and Austin at No. 39.

In its Global Cities Index report, Oxford Economics says Houston’s status as “an international and vertically integrated hub for the oil and gas sector makes it an economic powerhouse. Most aspects of the industry — downstream, midstream, and upstream — are managed from here, including the major fuel refining and petrochemicals sectors.”

“And although the city has notable aerospace and logistics sectors and has diversified into other areas such as biomedical research and tech, its fortunes remain very much tied to oil and gas,” the report adds. “As such, its economic stability and growth lag other leading cities in the index.”

The report points out that Houston ranks highly in the human capital category thanks to the large number of corporate headquarters in the region. The Houston area is home to the headquarters of 26 Fortune 500 companies, including ExxonMobil, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and Sysco.

Another contributor to Houston’s human capital ranking, the report says, is the presence of Rice University, the University of Houston and the Texas Medical Center.

“Despite this,” says the report, “it lacks the number of world-leading universities that other cities have, and only performs moderately in terms of the educational attainment of its residents.”

Slower-than-expected population growth and an aging population weaken Houston’s human capital score, the report says.

Meanwhile, Houston’s score for quality is life is hurt by a high level of income inequality, along with a low life expectancy compared with nearly half the 1,000 cities on the list, says the report.

Also in the quality-of-life bucket, the report underscores the region’s variety of arts, cultural, and recreational activities. But that’s offset by urban sprawl, traffic congestion, an underdeveloped public transportation system, decreased air quality, and high carbon emissions.

Furthermore, the report downgrades Houston’s environmental stature due to the risks of hurricanes and flooding.

“Undoubtedly, Houston is a leading business [center] that plays a key role in supporting the U.S. economy,” says the report, “but given its shortcomings in other categories, it will need to follow the path of some of its more well-rounded peers in order to move up in the rankings.”

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This article originally ran on InnovationMap.

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