2020 Young Distinguished Engineers
Mr. Cal Zant
2005 – BS in Computer Science
Cal Zant is a West Texas native who grew up in Ackerly, Texas. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Texas Tech University in 2005 and started his career as a software developer. Today Cal serves as president of Betenbough Homes, which he helped grow from a local company building 200 homes per year to one of the top builders in the nation at 1,300+ homes per year across multiple cities with annual revenues over $250M. Cal is also a nationally ranked long-range rifle shooter who has leveraged his engineering skills to successfully make first-round hits in competition on targets out to 1.5 miles. A renowned author on the topic of long-range shooting, his independent research and unbiased empirical analysis have been featured in books, magazines, and used by the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit, the Naval Surface Warfare Center, elite special operation teams, and small arms research programs for multiple ally countries. Cal's website, PrecisionRifleBlog.com, has become one of the most influential sources related to long-range shooting, with over 4,000,000 views annually.
Cal started his career at Smooth Fusion, a premiere software firm specializing in cutting-edge, database-driven web applications for clients like Microsoft, Best Buy, and other national marketing firms. Cal joined Smooth Fusion during his final years of study at Texas Tech and continued full-time following graduation. There he played a key role in developing a few of the most high-profile and technologically advanced web applications of the day, including one that received over 50,000 concurrent users the day it launched. The dynamic/real-time nature of the websites and massive traffic loads required his team to pioneer advanced methods of code design and server infrastructure to ensure the websites remained functional and responsive.
He was hired by Betenbough Homes in 2006 as a software developer and was promoted to IT Manager the following year. Cal helped architect and develop the company's internal systems for 10 years and not only designed software systems for every department but also played a key role in implementing most of the company's systems and processes. In 2012, Cal was asked to join the Betenbough Homes Executive Team and given the title of Chief Information Officer. He was additionally charged with leading the ministry team and helping develop future leaders in the company. During that time Cal became much more involved in the strategic planning and operations of the company as a whole and in March 2016 he was asked by the founders to take the role of president.
During the first few years of Cal's tenure as president, he has led the company to the most dramatic period of growth in its 28-year history. Annual closings and revenue have more than doubled, and improved systems and processes have enabled the company to become even more efficient and increase net profit by 180%, providing some of the most impressive financials of any home builders in the world. At the same time, the company offers homes for $20,000-80,000 below market value in some cities, which represents an unprecedented value for their customers. Betenbough Homes also has an industry-leading customer referral rate at over 95%.
But what Cal is most proud of is the distinctive culture that he has helped build and cultivate at Betenbough Homes, where the employees feel genuinely cared for, beyond their job, and believe the organization has helped them grow professionally, personally, and spiritually. Betenbough Homes maintains one of the highest ratings on GlassDoor.com, and the company has been featured in multiple leadership books and use cases by organizations specializing in employee engagement and culture. Betenbough's unique culture has not only helped build high-performing teams by attracting world-class talent (averaging 100 applications for every one position hired) but it allows the organization to make a lasting impact that is well beyond profit and numbers. That is what drives Cal and fuels the passion he brings each day.
Cal has received numerous professional achievements, including being inducted into
the Whitacre College of Engineering Computer Science Academy. He is also passionate
about giving back to his community and global missions through organizations such
as White River Youth Camp, VAPOR Ministries, Narrow Gate Foundation, Mission Lazarus,
and Christian Ministries in Africa. Cal and his wife, Davida, and their two daughters,
Joey and Hattie, attend Hillside Christian Church in Lubbock.
Ms. Nicole Dusang
2002 – BS in Electrical Engineering; 2003 – MS in Electrical Engineering
Nicole graduated with her BSEE and MSEE from Texas Tech University though she originally hails from southern Louisiana. Following graduation, she served in the U.S. Air Force for 11 years, completing four combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan as an engineer and Explosive Ordnance Disposal officer. During Nicole's service, she witnessed fellow servicemembers suffer a variety of combat related injuries to include post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, and spinal cord injury. This has shaped her aspirations to engineer better technologies that address the therapeutic and assistive gaps available to veterans with neurological disease and disorders.
As a Ph.D. candidate in the Brown University Electrical and Computer Engineering department, her current focus is to develop a brain-computer interface (BCI) for the rehabilitation of upper limb movement in patients with stroke. In addition to her research, Nicole is passionate about increasing diversity in STEM fields. She has served as a mentor in the New York Academy of Sciences' 1000 Girls, 1000 Futures program, and currently serves as a coordinator on Brown University's Graduate Women in Science and Engineering student organization. Upon completion of her PhD from Brown University, Nicole wants to continue to pursue the research and development of assistive and rehabilitative BCIs.