Rachel Keathley ’18 has been selected as a Gates-Muller awardee and a Fulbright Scholar. She graduated as a Business Honors and management major with minors in economics and Spanish and a certificate in international business.

The Robert Gates-Muller Family Outstanding Student Award, which also includes a $5,000 gift, was presented to Keathley at commencement. It is one of the highest student awards on the Texas A&M University campus. It was established through a gift from the Muller family of Galveston to provide public recognition to the outstanding seniors graduating from Texas A&M who have demonstrated those qualities of leadership, patriotism, and courage exemplified by Robert M. Gates. He served as president of the university from 2002 until 2006, when he was named U.S. Secretary of Defense.

Keathley also will be participating in the Fulbright student program as a Fulbright-Garcia Robles grantee for the Binational Internship program in Mexico City, Mexico. The Fulbright Program aims to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The 12-member J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board selects the recipients each year.

A path of leadership

While a student, Keathley has served as events coordinator for the Business Honors program. She was selected as a Public Policy Intern for the U.S. Department of Commerce in Washington, D.C., and was awarded the Sophomore Gathright and Outstanding Junior award for her college. She has served on multiple committees, including University Disciplinary Appeals, the Student Health Services Advisory Committee, and Wiley Lecture Marketing committee.

She is heavily involved in local ministry services such as the Philadelphia Sisters, Save Our Streets Ministries, and the Grace Bible Church Street Team. Her references extoll her commitment to “being a true friend,” someone who cares for “the frequently overlooked,” and who has the ability to “stay true to what she believes in, even in the face of challenges.” This fortitude was demonstrated during her term as elections commissioner through which her “conduct was above reproach”—showing “initiative, integrity, and leadership” while handling challenges “with grace.”

 

 

 

 

Categories: Business Honors, Featured Stories, Former Students, Mays Business, News, Spotlights, Students, Texas A&M

Mays Business School recognized 27 undergraduate students as Spring 2018 Martha Loudder Medal of Excellence recipients for their willingness to invest additional effort into their academics.

Named for Mays Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs and Accounting Professor Marty Loudder, the medal recognizes students who intentionally engage in their educations in and out of the classroom, and who engage in the reflective portfolio process to maximize their learning.

To be eligible for the medal, students first participate in a minimum of three high-impact experiences such as a peer educator position, an internship, or a learning community. Each student then completes a comprehensive learning portfolio, which includes self-awareness exercises and reflections on key experiences like those above.

The portfolio is showcased on a personal website, and serves as the final selection criterion for the Loudder Medal. Reviewers look for comprehensiveness, depth, and clear connections among stories, lessons learned, and future goals.

…Read more

Categories: Business Honors, Featured Stories, Mays Business, News, Students, Texas A&M

As Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Westlake Chemical, Steve Bender ’78 has been instrumental in many of the company’s financial decisions. Bender recently visited with Mays business honors students as part of the Mays Transformational Leader Speaker Series, which recognizes business leaders in today’s society and gives them the chance to share their expertise with Mays students.

Bender graduated from Texas A&M University with a finance degree, then went on to receive an MBA from Southern Methodist University. Bender was assistant treasurer at Halliburton and served as vice president and treasurer of KBR prior to joining the Westlake Chemical team as vice president and treasurer in 2005 and later made EVP and CFO. Bender wanted to share with current students the wisdom he has gained at Westlake Chemical after being involved in multiple company acquisitions during his time there.

The most significant company Westlake acquired was Axiall in 2016. “We believed this acquisition would enhance margin stability along with providing additional growth expansion opportunities,” Bender said. The acquisition gave Westlake a global presence with facilities in North America, Europe, and Asia.

However, the acquisition process was not an easy one. Axiall’s CEO and board of directors were not fans of the idea, and it took months of meetings and increasing the initial offer to finalize the acquisition. Even after signing the deal, there were many long days of tirelessly working to make sure the transition ran smoothly.

Through the entire acquisition process, the main lesson Bender learned was to be open to a diversity of views. “Challenge others without being challenging,” he said. “Recognize that not everyone has the same perspective, so coming to a consensus may not always be easy.”

Bender continued to provide other pieces of advice regarding students’ futures in the working world:

  • A broad skill set is important. Use your skills and apply them as broadly as you can, and try to leverage those of your co-workers in the process.
  • Always be truthful, even if it is not always pleasant.
  • Be careful about burning out your own team. “Make sure your team sees the benefits and rewards that come out of working long days and nights so that they’ll continue returning every morning,” he said.

Bender closed the discussion by telling the students that what they are learning today has plenty of real-world applications. “Be opportunistic, don’t underestimate your relationships with others, and most importantly, use what you are learning today in the real world,” he said.

John Frederick ’18 said he found Bender’s “insights and experience worth paying attention to and listening to for years to come.” James Warman ’21 said these insights helped him “peer into the world of business and made me even more excited to enter the business world after graduation.”

Categories: Business Honors, Featured Stories, Mays Business, Mays Transformational Leader speakers, News, Students, Texas A&M

Rachel Welch ’17, a student assistant in Mays Business School’s Office of the Dean for nearly five years, was chosen as the Texas A&M Student Employee of the Year.

Rachel Welch, center, was named Student Employee of the Year. She attended the ceremony with fellow Mays students who were nominated, Kennedy Porter and Olivia Lesar.

Welch graduated in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in Business Honors along with a minor in tourism management and a certificate in not-for-profit management. She is pursuing a master’s in human resource management at Mays and has an internship lined up this summer with ConocoPhillips in Houston with their Leadership Development team.

As a student assistant in the Office of the Dean, Welch often serves as the first point of contact for visitors. She manages the phones and general office email account, as well as greets and assists walk-in visitors.

…Read more

Categories: Business Honors, Mays Business, News, Spotlights, Students, Texas A&M

Roger Montemeyor headshot

Having grown up in Galveston, Texas, post Hurricane Alicia and during the 1980’s oil crisis, Roger Montemayor ’99 understands what it is like to live without. Montemayor, who received his bachelor’s degree in management from Texas A&M University, shared his path to success with current students and presented them with tips on how to be successful post-graduation.

Montemayor currently serves as Area President for Arthur J. Gallagher (AJG) and has served on the leadership team for AJG since his merger with them in 2016. During this time, Montemayor has led his team to exponential growth by innovating property and casualty insurance programs for a number of different industries that include public entities, energy, construction, manufacturing, and real estate. Montemayor recently visited with business honors students as part of the Mays Transformational Leader Speaker series, which recognizes leaders in today’s society and gives them an opportunity to share their knowledge with Mays students.

In the beginning of the session, Montemayor explained that his purpose, his drive, and his faith are the three main components of his success. “The most important piece of advice I can give to each and every one of you is to know your purpose,” he said. “Very few things in life will impact everything you do, but your purpose is one of them.”

Along with knowing your purpose, Montemayor used his life experiences to come up with three other pieces of advice for the students:

  • Your “go” has to be greater than your “know.” Knowledge is important, but a good education will mean nothing if you are lazy and have no sense of hustle.
  • Surround yourself with mentors and people you love. You lose your edge the moment you start thinking you have everything figured out. This is when mentors can come into play by helping you stay grounded.  Also, success means so much more when you share it with people you love, both at work and at home.
  • Paranoia is complacency’s greatest defense. “My company continues to grow because my competition stays complacent. Do not ever let yourself reach that point. Stay paranoid,” Montemayor said.

Although Montemayor is successful now, this was not always the case. When he was young, his dad was laid off, which led to some very tough times. His dad picked himself up and went all in on himself.  He went on to build one of the largest independently owned insurance agencies in his area.  He knew the risk, but he also knew what he had to do for his family.  Montemayor vowed to do the same.

“My dad is my biggest inspiration,” he said. Between the years of 2004 and 2016, Montemayor faced many challenges and tribulations, but his faith, motivation, and reminder of his father’s success kept him going.

As the session came to a close, Montemayor gave the students one last piece of advice: If you are ever doubting yourself, just remember his story. “I was rejected from Texas A&M twice before I was accepted, and I am probably not the smartest guy in this room,” he said. “I am where I am today because of my hustle, my drive, my faith, and this little piece of gold on my finger. The Aggie network is real, and I encourage each and every one of you to take advantage of it for the rest of your lives.”

Roger Montemeyor group photo

Categories: Alumni, Business Honors, Featured Stories, Former Students, Management, Mays Business, News, Students, Texas A&M

After serving as the Class of 2019 president three years in a row, Mays management junior Amy Sharp readily steps up as the next Texas A&M University Student Body President. She received 66.03 percent of the votes.

Sharp grew up in Conroe, Texas, where she attended Oak Ridge High School before coming to Texas A&M. From the start of her college experience, Sharp knew she wanted to make a difference on campus. As student body president, Sharp will focus on three things: academic improvement, increased inclusion, and improved access to mental and physical health services.

“A student body president’s job is to represent student voices in all affairs and amplify them to any platform necessary to enact positive change,” Sharp said. As the student body president-elect, I am committed to embodying the Texas Aggie core value of selfless service by working tirelessly to serve students.”

Sharp and her supporters spent weeks poring over the platform they had written together, brainstorming ideas to set them apart from the competition, and coordinating the execution of their plans. By the time the four-day campaign period started, Sharp and her team were ready to convince all students why Sharp should be elected student body president. “My team put forth an incredible campaign that was meticulous, genuine, and bursting with integrity, and that is exactly what we set out to do,” Sharp said.

A long-time leader

Along with her recurring role as Class of 2019 president, Sharp has also been actively involved in the business honors program during her time at Mays Business School. Through business honors, Sharp has been able to network with executive speakers, travel to businesses across the country, and grow as a leader both inside and outside of the classroom.

“The community that I have been surrounded by in business honors has been so supportive,” Sharp said. “All of the students in business honors are hard- working, kind, impact-driven individuals who want each other to succeed, and I get the honor of sitting next to them in class and learning from them on a daily basis.”

While in the role of student body president, Sharp hopes she can work to build bridges between the student body and the Student Government Association. “I will make it a priority to meet students where they are and build relationships with them, because I know this is the best way to understand the student experience on our campus,” she said. By creating a stellar classroom experience, making Texas A&M a more inclusive campus, and improving the quality of mental and physical health care services, Sharp hopes to improve the college experience for many Aggies.

Sharp will take office on April 21 after current student body president Bobby Brooks completes his term with a speech at the campus Muster ceremony. As the time to take office comes closer, Sharp cannot help but think about what Mays has done for her the past three years. “My courses at Mays have taught me much about giving back, integrity, and choosing styles of leadership, all of which will be very necessary skills and knowledge points as I begin to serve Texas A&M as student body president,” Sharp said.

After she graduates, she is hoping to pursue her passions of helping people with mental health and substance abuse problems, as well as relieve children in poverty. She is applying for 2+2 programs and hopes to pursue an MBA.

Categories: Business Honors, Diversity and Inclusion, Featured Stories, Mays Business, News, Students, Texas A&M

Mays business honors junior Taylor Welch eagerly awaits the opportunity to leave her mark on Texas A&M University as the 69th president of the Memorial Student Center.

Welch came to Texas A&M from Houston, where she attended St. John’s School all the way through high school. She began her long history of service within the MSC as soon as she transitioned from high school to college.

Welch currently serves as the chair of the MSC L.T. Jordan Institute for International Awareness, one of the 19 subcommittees she will oversee as president. The Jordan Institute aims to promote international awareness at Texas A&M through both on-campus programming and travel-abroad opportunities. “It has been so refreshing to serve my community with an incredible group of individuals so dedicated to learning more about the world,” Welch said.

Along with her role as chair of the MSC L.T. Jordan Institute, Welch was also a member of MSC Freshmen in Service and Hosting (MSC FISH), MSC Wiley Lecture Series, and MSC Business Associates. She has also participated in MSC conferences and trips, such as the MSC Fall Leadership Conference, Stark Northeast Trip, and Champe Fitzhugh International Honors Leadership Seminar.

In addition to her intense involvement with the MSC, Welch is also actively involved within Mays. She is an enthusiastic member of the Business Fellows Group XXXVI, which has given her extensive knowledge about effectively leading and contributing to something she is passionate about. She is also a part of the Business Honors Program, which has allowed her to gain bits of wisdom through various professional development events.

“I am so thankful to be a student within Mays Business School. The knowledge I have been able to gain from incredibly intelligent professors invested in my success is invaluable,” Welch said. “I often find myself thinking about connections to the Memorial Student Center when we discuss certain topics in class, and I cannot wait to apply the insights I am gaining to serve a department that does so much for this student body and this community.”

After shadowing current MSC president Annie Carnegie for a couple of months to learn the ins and outs of being president, Welch will step up on April 23. “Having always been a huge advocate of involvement both inside and outside of the classroom, I am incredibly excited to see how what Mays has taught me about leadership, teamwork, and organizational knowledge will aid me in serving the Memorial Student Center,” Welch said. 

Categories: Business Honors, Featured Stories, Mays Business, News, Students, Texas A&M

Eighteen teams of Texas A&M University students competed Feb. 9 in the Mays 2018 TAMU Case Challenge competition, hosted by Mays Business School. As part of the competition, the teams presented in front of nine management consulting judges and three sponsoring consulting companies.

Judges included professionals from Deloitte, Accenture, Trenegy, PwC, a former McKinsey partner, and Texas A&M faculty.  Undergraduates of all majors and disciplines were welcome, and a total of 18 teams with 72 participants registered to compete.

The teams were competing for a cash prize and a chance to travel and represent Texas A&M against other accredited universities. The teams also had the opportunity to network with industry professionals, gain insight into working in the consulting industry, and develop their practical case skills.

The winners for this year’s case challenge were:

First place – The Blockchain Smokers:

Robin Herrington ’18 – Business Honors

Joshua Anderson ’18 – Business Honors

Blake Harvey ’18 – Business Honors

Maggie Talbot ’18 – Business Honors

Second place – The 12th Case:

Joseph Scott ’19 – Finance

Hayley Eckert ’18 – Computer engineering

Cameron Dawley ’18 – Industrial distribution

Chris Bettiol ’18 – Finance

Third place – Team 18:

Arijon Horvat ’18 – Management information systems

William McCanless ’19 – Mechanical engineering

Mutaharah Wani ’19 – Industrial engineering

Karisa Coe ’20 – Business Honors

Kathryn King-Metters, an executive professor of management, coordinated the competition.

Categories: Business Honors, Featured Stories, Management, Mays Business, News, Students, Texas A&M

In a journey that has taken Bill Sims ’89 from studying engineering and receiving both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree to becoming president and CEO of The Accent Family of Companies, Sims says that continuous learning and having a drive to understand everything is what led to his success in the business world.

Sims spent his time with Business Honors students during the Mays Transformational Leader Speaker Series – a series that recognizes business leaders in industry and gives them an opportunity to share their knowledge with the communities of Mays – walking through his achievement of finding that drive and success.

Accent Family of Companies was started 30 years ago by Sims’ father, and the company continues to be family-owned. The company has experienced great success as it is the world’s largest supplier of packaging and packaging equipment for the recycling and waste industry, and is a major supplier of building materials for the residential and commercial construction industry.

During Sims’ time as president, the company has gone through great strategic and cultural change. He created a robust team and infrastructure that embraces an entrepreneurial approach and supports the change that accompanies fast-paced growth. Essentially, Sims wanted to incorporate a culture of analytics within his company, and that started with company strategy.

“Mr. Sims himself leads with an entrepreneurial attitude despite not being the founder of the company,” said Emma Gaas ’18, a business honors and marketing major. “He educated himself in business by reading books and by receiving coaching from successful business people.”

One of Sims’ strategic inspirations came from Jim Collins, author of the book “Good to Great,” which discusses why some companies make the leap and some don’t. Collins looks in detail at the strategies of the 11 breakthrough companies and how they have found the success they experience today. From this book’s findings, Sims implemented a number of strategic approaches into Accent.

One of these strategies is based off of a “first who, then what” approach. In this approach, companies seek out and add the right people for the company first, building a superior team, then determine the best path to greatness with said team. Instead, many companies today do the opposite – a “first what, then who,” approach.

Accent’s strategy has evolved through three stages over the life of the company:

  • The lean startup stage, where you have to be very entrepreneurial and take great risks
  • The growth stage, where Accent expanded to new markets, developed new products, and leveraged its supply chain to enter new businesses
  • 200 X 20, Accent’s current stage, a six-year plan concentrating of revenue growth to $200 million by 2020 and improving shareholder return

Wrapping up the session, Sims left the students with a few works of key advice to finding success and happiness. When fielding questions from the students about work/life balance and the pursuit of an MBA, Sims advised, “Make time for what you want to do.”

Klaire Hetmaniak ’21, a business honors major, summarized the session: “Bill Sims’ work and development with his company taught me the importance of continuing to learn new things even after I graduate because one never knows what his or her future holds.”

 

Categories: Business Honors, Featured Stories, Mays Business, News, Students, Texas A&M

Mays Distinguished Professor Emeritus Michael Hitt will receive an honorary doctoral degree from Jonkoping University in Sweden in May. He will also deliver a research presentation to the broader university community the day before the award ceremony.

This is a very prestigious honor – particularly given that Jonkoping has a strong worldwide reputation for excellence in entrepreneurship research.

Hitt was told he was selected for the award because of his “academic quality and his contributions to the success of Jonkoping University” as well as “research contributions to entrepreneurship and family business research.” Following is information about his relationship with Jonkoping University:

  • Visited the university, as a visiting scholar, for a period of time to work with Ph.D. students and faculty on their research projects
  • Served as an outside advisor and reader for a Ph.D. student’s dissertation
  • Served as an advisory editor and helped Jonkoping faculty develop a special issue of a journal called Organization Studies. Family business topics were the focus of the special issue. Family business is a core research topic for Jonkoping faculty.
  • Served as an advisory editor and wrote a forward for an edited book on family business research that includes chapters written by Jonkoping faculty.

“I am highly honored to be offered an honorary doctorate by Jonkoping University,” he said. Honorary doctorates are rare, and are almost always awarded to people who have made distinguished contributions in their field of endeavor. Hitt said it is also not unusual to award to people whom they consider to be or wish to be “friends” of the university.

Hitt is a big supporter for the academic quality of Jonkoping’s work. His connection to the university is through the Jonkoping International Business School. According to Hitt, the university’s world-renowned program in family business complements the entrepreneurship program at Texas A&M.

“Through our previous cooperation and exchanges, faculty there have conducted joint research with faculty here, and in addition, we have jointly co-authored articles which also include several of our Ph.D. students,” Hitt said. He believes that this type of cooperation could continue and perhaps be enhanced if desired. “I am certain that we can learn from their programs and successes in entrepreneurship and family business, and they can learn from our outstanding and encompassing entrepreneurship programs, as well.”

Executive Associate Dean Duane Ireland, a long-time colleague of Hitt’s, said Hitt has positively touched thousands of students’ lives while teaching at all levels – undergraduates, master’s, doctorate, and executive. “Mike has truly ‘done so much for so many,’” Ireland said.

While at Mays, Hitt served as a University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Management. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Colorado and has co-authored or co-edited 26 books and many journal articles. The Times Higher Education in 2010 listed him among the top scholars in economics, finance and management based on the number of highly cited articles he has authored. Hitt received awards for the best article published in the Academy of Management Executive (1999), Academy of Management Journal (2000), the Journal of Management (2006), and the Family Business Review (2012).

Categories: Business Honors, Faculty, Featured Stories, Management, Mays Business, News, Ph.D., Research, Spotlights, Staff, Students, Texas A&M