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Local business owner gives back to Fort Bend ISD, community that raised him

Fort Bend ISD (Feb. 9, 2024) - If you visit Double Dave’s Pizzaworks in Missouri City, you will likely find the franchise owner Alex Sowell delivering pizzas and goodwill.

He commits a lot of time and effort to his business and his community, getting to work sometimes as early as 5 a.m. to start making dough and even delivering pizza orders.

Loyal to his FBISD community, Sowell partners with Dulles High School teacher Debbie Wingard and her Adult Transition Services Work Based Learning Program. The program teaches workforce skills to students with disabilities, and some are getting hands-on experience at Double Dave’s and at the restaurant’s pizza kitchen at Constellation Field --all thanks to Sowell. 

He is passionate about the partnership because it offers an opportunity for students to find success. Alex, a student employee from Dulles High School, began as an unpaid trainee and is now a paid employee of Double Dave's.

“Not a lot of places are giving them the opportunities,” Sowell said. “I’m trying to give back to the community as much as possible.”

Growing up, Sowell attended all Fort Bend ISD schools - Austin Parkway Elementary, Quail Valley Middle School and graduated in the Class of 2004 from Elkins High School. His mother Sue Sowell, who is now retired, taught kindergarten at Settlers Way Elementary.

Sowell credits the restaurant’s success to his wife Lauren because “she literally put everything on the line” so they could become franchise owners of Double Dave’s.

Lauren also attended Austin Parkway Elementary - where they met in 2nd grade - then Lexington Creek Elementary, Dulles Middle School and graduated in the Class of 2004 from Dulles High School. She received her Bachelor of Science from Texas A&M.

“We reconnected on Facebook in 2014 and have been inseparable ever since,” Sowell said. “When I had this feeling that I needed to do something in the community, she believed in me…in us. Lauren is a blessing and I love her. She truly deserves all the credit.”

The atmosphere at Double Dave’s is like a FBISD family reunion. The general manager Jason Hamner is an alumnus of Elkins High School, Class of 1996. Other staff include current and former Fort Bend ISD students and a retired Settlers Way cafeteria worker whose sole job is to make the pepperoni rolls. Sowell said “she does it perfectly.”

“One of my employees is Sammy from Elkins High School,” he said. “He was just sitting on the bench out front reading, and I welcomed him inside and gave him a job. I’m having fun giving kids the same opportunity I had.”

Sowell has an MBA and a master’s in industrial engineering from Texas A&M. He said being at Double Dave’s is full circle for him. During his senior year at Elkins, Sowell worked at Double Dave’s Pizzaworks - now he owns one.

“While in College Station, I was trying to figure out how to pull off something like this, and I was told you need two years of experience,” Sowell said. “So, I looked back on my career where I had two years of experience, where I had the most fun, and where I could have the most impact in the community - and it was Double Dave’s.”

“I feel like I’m on the right path now,” he said. “Everybody enjoys the pizza, and the reviews are good. People pick my brain wanting to know how I did this. I tell them by the grace of God.”

He recently posted that FBISD crossing guards eat free at his restaurant.

“I drove the route I took to school as a little kid and decided to post on social media that I would feed the crossing guards for free,” he shared. “I was crying in my car putting that thing together.”

He is also known for giving food to Missouri City firefighters and police officers, and nurses at Methodist Hospital.

“If you can feed someone for free, they are forever grateful,” Sowell said. “My superpower - instead of a gun slinger, I’m a dough slinger.” 

He’s more than a dough slinger. Two Ridge Point High School golf team members received PXG drivers thanks to Sowell’s generosity and his love for the game of golf. His restaurant has a Full Swing Pro golf simulator, and his goal is to make Double Dave’s synonymous with golf.

“I can’t take full responsibility for all that’s happening,” Sowell said. “There’s a greater good, a force behind me. I’m just a vessel. As long as I just stay on the path and do what I need to do - keep giving.”

Double Dave’s Pizzaworks is located at 4875 Highway 6 in Missouri City. Just look for the inflatable Davey Rocket waving at the cars passing by.

 

Alex and Alex

Double Dave’s franchise owner Alex with student worker Alex.

 

Student preparing food

FBISD student worker preparing an order.

 

people on jumbotron

Sowell arranged for the FBISD Transition Services Work Based Learning Program students and their families to be celebrated at a Space Cowboys game at Constellation Field.

 

Alex and Lauren Sowell

Alex and Lauren Sowell at the Grand Opening of their Double Dave's franchise in Missouri City.

 

alex with John Lyman

Double Dave’s franchise owner Alex Sowell with FBISD Crossing Guard John Lyman.