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With Highest Honors

50th annual Distinguished Alumni Awards recognize excellence

Sohrab Charna, Tamara Hext Hilliard, Raj Malik, Alan Petsche, and Bonnie Petsche

This year’s Distinguished Alumni Award recipients were, clockwise from top left, Raj Malik ’93; Alan Petsche ’80 and Bonnie Petsche ’86; Arnold Petsche, who received the Honorary Distinguished Alumni Award; Tamara Hext Hilliard ’87; and Sohrab Charna ’76.

UTA honored five alumni and a prominent Arlington businessman for their professional achievements, community engagement, and service to the University at the 50th annual Distinguished Alumni Awards in November.

Sohrab Charna ’76, Tamara Hext Hilliard ’87, Raj Malik ’93, Alan Petsche ’80, and Bonnie Petsche ’86 received the Distinguished Alumni Award, while Arnold Petsche received the Honorary Distinguished Alumni Award.

Charna is a licensed architect in California with over 35 years experience in architecture and real estate development. As founder and principal of Designworx, an architecture and land planning firm, he oversees the company’s design and production work. His diverse and extensive portfolio includes office buildings, research and development facilities, manufacturing facilities, shopping centers, and mixed-use business parks. Charna earned a degree in architecture from UTA and has been involved with numerous young technology companies.

Hilliard is the founder, CEO, and owner of Tay’s Gourmet LLC, a gourmet granola company based in Texas. Tay’s Gourmet Power Granola can be purchased in more than 500 stores throughout the Southwest or online at In 1984 Hilliard won Miss Texas and was fourth runner-up in the Miss America competition. After earning her bachelor’s degree in radio/TV broadcasting from UTA, she enjoyed a long career as a spokeswoman and as an actor in commercials, TV, and films in the Dallas area.

Malik is president and founder of BioWorld Merchandising, a leading design and distribution company of licensed and private-label apparel and accessories with a focus on pop culture and youth brands. After earning a bachelor’s degree in computer science and engineering, he secured a music license and began designing and manufacturing unique licensed products for bands like Metallica and the Deftones. Malik has built BioWorld into a multinational organization with more than 250 employees and offices in China, Canada, India, Europe, and New York.

Alan Petsche owns Aaron Ave Records and the Candlelite Inn and is the retired chief operating officer for A.E. Petsche Co., an Arlington aerospace distribution firm founded by his father, Arnold. An ardent civic supporter of Arlington, Alan received a BBA from UTA and worked for the family business until it was sold in 2009. He and his wife, Bonnie, have opened two restaurants, established a commercial cabinet shop, started real estate investment/development companies, founded two independent record labels, and built two recording studios.

Bonnie Petsche, who received a BBA from UTA, is principal and vice president of Petsche Commercial Properties in Arlington. A devoted community volunteer, she serves on the Board of Trustees for Cook Children’s Medical Center and Cook Children’s Health Care System, among others, and chairs the Home Health Board of Trustees. Bonnie and Alan Petsche donated $1 million in 2011 to support construction of UTA’s College Park Center. The court of the state-of-the-art special events venue is named in their honor.

Arnold Petsche is president of A.E. Petsche Property Co. and the retired president and chairman of the board for the A.E. Petsche Co. He founded the A.E. Petsche Co. in 1966 to meet the aerospace industry’s need for streamlined production and distribution of high-performance wire and cable. When the Arlington-based company was sold to Arrow Electronics, it had grown to 20 branches worldwide with sales exceeding $200 million. In 2012 Petsche donated $1 million to establish the Arnold E. Petsche Center for Automotive Engineering at UTA.


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