Three Mays graduates are among the 10 2017 recipients of the highest honor bestowed upon a former student of Texas A&M University, the Distinguished Alumnus Award. Texas A&M University and The Association of Former Students are proud to welcome as Distinguished Alumni: Jorge A. Bermúdez ʼ73 of College Station, Craig Brown ’75 of Houston, and William M. “Bill” Huffman ’53 of College Station and Marshall.

A full list of the 10 recipients and their biographical information may be found here.

Jorge A. Bermúdez ʼ73, in a 33-year career with Citibank and Citigroup, was chief risk officer for Citigroup/Citibank, CEO and president of Citibank Commercial Banking Group and CEO of Citigroup Latin America. He is president and CEO of the Byebrook Group. He is an Outstanding International Alumnus of A&M, received the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Outstanding Alumnus Award, and is on the Department of Agricultural Economics’ Tyrus R. Timm Honor Registry. He has served on the board and as chair for The Association of Former Students and is on the Texas A&M Foundation board as well as on the College of Agriculture Development Council, the Dean’s Advisory Board for Mays Business School and Texas A&M’s International Advisory Board. He is a board member and past chair of the Community Foundation of the Brazos Valley’s investment committee. He serves on the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

Craig Brown ’75 co-founded Bray International, a global manufacturer of rotary valves and actuators; he is owner, CEO and chairman. Since 1989, he has been chairman and co-founder of the Craig and Galen Brown Foundation, which recruits top students to A&M, including National Merit Scholars. In the past 25 years, more than 300 students have come to A&M as Brown Foundation Scholars, including 200 engineers and 40 doctors and veterinarians. He has served on the College of Engineering Advisory Council for more than 25 years and has been on the Corps of Cadets Board of Visitors and a member of the executive cabinet for the Texas A&M Foundation’s Lead By Example capital campaign. He has been named an Outstanding Young Houstonian, an Outstanding Alumnus of A&M’s College of Engineering and an Outstanding Alumnus of the Mays Business School. He has worked with KIPP public charter schools and Bo’s Place, a Houston-based nonprofit bereavement center.

William M. “Bill” Huffman ’53, a longtime lawyer and former chair of the city commission of Marshall, has rendered service to his fellow Aggies ranging from mentoring students and supporting programs and scholarships to compiling a directory of his Class of 1953 classmates. After service in the U.S. Army, he earned the highest grade on the March 1959 Texas bar exam and went into private practice. He and his wife, Barbara, have made gifts to A&M including support for the College of Medicine, Corps of Cadets, numerous scholarships including a President’s Endowed Scholarship, MSC, Kyle Field, Fish Camp, and the new band hall/music building. They have also given more than 600 individual students their first-year active memberships in The Association of Former Students. Since 2009, he has served on the board of Christus Good Shepherd Health System, and has chaired its board since 2015.

Since the inception of the award in 1962, only 271 of Texas A&M’s 469,000 former students have been recognized with the Distinguished Alumnus Award. Awarded jointly by the university and The Association, this honor recognizes those Aggies who have achieved excellence in their chosen professions and made meaningful contributions to Texas A&M University and their local communities.

This year’s recipients learned of their honors when surprised in their places of business and other locations by a group of university and association representatives, including Young, The Association of Former Students’ 2017 Chair of the Board of Directors Phil Miner ’80, Association President and CEO Porter S. Garner III ’79, Texas A&M Foundation President Tyson Voelkel ’96, and a Ross Volunteer, along with university mascot Reveille IX and her handler.

“The 2017 Distinguished Alumni demonstrate the impact Texas A&M has on the state, nation and world,” said Texas A&M University President Michael K. Young. “This group includes incredible leaders and influencers in the fields of engineering, construction, real estate, international and national defense, law, finance, education and philanthropy. Their stories truly display the power of a Texas A&M University education.”

Miner said, “Our 2017 Distinguished Alumni have achieved the highest levels of success in their professions and have made a lasting impact on their communities and Texas A&M through their service. They bring our Texas A&M core values of excellence, integrity, leadership, loyalty, respect and selfless service to life.”

Garner echoed the sentiments of Young and Miner and offered his congratulations on behalf of The Association of Former Students. “Less than one-tenth of one percent of Texas A&M’s former students have been recognized with the Distinguished Alumnus Award,” Garner said. “It is, indeed, the highest honor bestowed upon a former student of Texas A&M, and our 2017 recipients have earned this honor through their exemplary achievements and service to Texas A&M.”

The Association of Former Students will further honor all recipients of this award during its annual Distinguished Alumni Gala on Sept. 29. In addition, the 2017 recipients will be recognized during the Sept. 30 Texas A&M football game against South Carolina. Nominations for the 2018 Distinguished AlumnusAward will be accepted through Oct. 6 at tx.ag/DAnominations.

The Association of Former Students, established in 1879, is the official alumni organization of Texas A&M University. The Association connects hundreds of thousands of members of the worldwide Aggie Network with each other and the university, and provided $12.5 million in impact to university scholarships, awards, activities and enrichment for students, faculty, staff and former students in 2016. For more information about the Distinguished Alumnus Award or The Association, contact Scot Walker at SWalker90@AggieNetwork.com or visit www.AggieNetwork.com.

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

Each semester, the Center for Retailing Studies (CRS) hosts 15-20 industry leaders for the Executive Professor Speaker Series, designed to connect retail students with working professionals as guest lecturers.

“Visiting executives share their personal experiences with students and promote career opportunities within their companies,” said Lauren Osborne ’05, program manager.

“Hearing first-hand from our speakers is the highest-rated learning experiences by our students as they incorporate what they learn from their coursework.”

…Read more

Categories: Center for Retailing Studies, Centers, Executive Speakers, Featured Stories, Former Students, Mays Business, Students, Texas A&M

A group of Mays Business School students attended the annual New York City Market Tour, which the Center for Retailing Studies hosts, immersing students in business tours and dynamic cultural experiences they cannot get in Central Texas.

Open to the M.B. Zale Leadership Scholars and members of the Student Retailing Association, this one-of-a-kind spring break travel opportunity provides students aspiring to careers in retail a behind-the-scenes look at some of the world’s greatest brands and retail flagship stores in Manhattan.

“In preparation, I thought about all the different versions of the city that I had seen from sitcoms and movies and had high expectations going in,” said Allison McGraw ’19. “New York blew my expectations out of the park!”

…Read more

Categories: Center for Retailing Studies, Centers, Featured Stories, Former Students, Mays Business, News, Students, Texas A&M

Some Mays MBA graduates answer the question: “How has your MBA program help you see new opportunities and achieve your career goals?” 

The Mays Executive and Professional MBA Programs are held in Mays’ Houston CityCentre complex.

The Executive MBA Program is ranked in Financial Times (2016): 1st public in Texas, 1st in salaries among Texas public schools, 1st in work experience among Texas public schools,  8th U.S. public and 19th in U.S. overall. The Professional MBA Program is a rigorous 22-month program designed for working professionals who want to immediately apply the knowledge they learn in the classroom to their jobs.

Mays also offers a Full-Time MBA program at the Texas A&M University’s main campus in College Station.

Executive MBA, Class of 2017

Kayvan Zarea, Development Partner, Hanover Company

“The Mays MBA program was a highly transformative journey on both personal and professional levels. I expected professional growth but was surprised by the personal growth. I learned things about myself that no one can take away from me. Disaster City was a very insightful experience in which all of your strengths and weaknesses are immediately exposed for you and your team to analyze. It was instrumental in identifying strengths that I was unaware of, and quickly highlighted weaknesses that need further development.”

…Read more

Categories: Featured Stories, Former Students, Mays Business, MBA, News, Programs, Students, Texas A&M

Curiosity has always been at the heart of Steve Harding ’84’s career. Just after graduating from Texas A&M University with a business degree in accounting and management, he took a job in audit at KPMG Peat Marwick to learn about as many different businesses as possible. Later he took his inquisitiveness with him as he moved into the corporate real estate industry and held controller positions at privately held commercial and residential real estate companies, where he became interested in understanding the financial impact of engineering decisions in buildings such as the Dallas and Houston Gallerias, and finally to his current role as a chief financial officer.

…Read more

Categories: Accounting, Business Honors, Departments, Executive Speakers, Former Students, Management, Mays Business, News, Spotlights, Texas A&M

Healthcare customers are a unique type of consumer reluctant to purchase, at risk and often highly stressed. During a visit with business students in the Improving Service Quality in Healthcare course, J.R. Thomas, executive vice president of Optum, shared some of the complicated challenges healthcare providers face today.

The visit was the second day of a trip to Mays for Thomas and Optum senior executives Doug Hansen ’89, Allison Miller ’99 and Kevin Kuhn. The first day, Thomas presented to Business Honors students in the Executive Speaker Series, followed by a networking session and student dinner sponsored by Optum. The second day Thomas and his team members from Optum spoke with MBA students and to students from the School of Public Health.

Leonard Berry, University Distinguished Professor of Marketing, taught the lecture for the Improving Service Quality in Healthcare course discussion and facilitated discussion between students and their visitors. The focus on Healthcare is one of Mays’ Grand Challenges.

Managing stress

In the discussion, Thomas underscored one of the most important issues facing healthcare providers: stress. “Patients and their families are faced with life-altering decisions, nurses and doctors work long hours and endure emotional exhaustion to provide the best service possible, and management is stressed with striking a balance between good will toward those who can’t afford expensive healthcare and staying in business,” he said.

The key, he said, is to remember that patients are more than customers; they’re people. He provided an example of an end-of life scenario: “If a patient is dying, it’s important to personally talk to the family. Give them your instinct. You can’t always prevent death, but you can control how it will happen.”

He elaborated on another complex situation: “Some customers can’t always afford healthcare. But remember you also owe it to patients to stay in business.”

Technology creates new challenges, opportunities

Thomas also shared how technology is changing the landscape of medicine. “Routine visits and checkups for common maladies are moving towards telemedicine, such as simple phone calls instead of expensive in-office visits,” he said. “But for the more serious cases, the value of a personal touch in an in-person visit will never go away. Patients need that.”

Marketing senior Rachel Claggett said she was impressed by the amount of involvement the business side of healthcare has in the lives of patients. “It’s reassuring to know that there is humanity and passion in this industry – it’s not just about profits.”

Thomas received his master’s of business administration focusing on finance and management at the University of Texas at Austin. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in zoology from the University of Arkansas.

Categories: Business Honors, Executive Speakers, Former Students, Health Care, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Students, Texas A&M

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As a Mays Business School student, Hans George ’91 decided to combine his passions for marketing and sports into a meaningful career. However, his career path took unanticipated detours through high-end men’s suits and mac-and-cheese before George reached the holy grail – a position working at sportswear giant Nike.

George shared stories and lessons learned during his career, including his two decades at the global athletic wear company, with Mays Business Honors students at a recent roundtable discussion. “My biggest takeaway from Hans was the importance of pursuing your passions strategically,” said Loryn Setterquist ’18. “Through the decisions he made in his career, he developed tangible skills, fostered important relationships, and learned about the retailing industry.”
…Read more

Categories: Alumni, Business Honors, Executive Speakers, Former Students, Marketing, Mays Business, Students, Texas A&M

30077345983_ab4ac9d1af_oStrike when conditions are good and exercise restraint when they are not, Bruce Petersen ’83, said of succeeding in the real estate market. On his recent visit to Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School, he sat down with a group of Business Honors students to discuss his experience navigating an ever-evolving – and often volatile – real estate market over the last three decades.
…Read more

Categories: Alumni, Business Honors, Executive Speakers, Featured Stories, Former Students, Mays Business, News, Real Estate, Texas A&M

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Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School Dean Eli Jones ’82 and his wife Fern Jones are personally doing their part to develop transformational leaders by stepping up to endow a $50,000 gift to Mays Business School.

The endowment will provide scholarships to full-time students pursuing an undergraduate degree in marketing who are also pursuing the Professional Selling and Sales Management career track.

“Fern and I are giving back to support students interested in a career in professional selling, a career that blessed me immensely when I was in corporate America,” said Eli Jones. “Sales is at the core of every business discipline, so we are pleased to bolster that aspect of the educational offerings here at Mays. This field also aligns with our vision at Mays to advance the world’s prosperity by creating impactful knowledge and developing transformational leaders.”

Since 2015, Jones has served Texas A&M as a marketing professor, dean, and the Lowry and Peggy Mays Eminent Scholar. His association with the university, which spans four decades, includes three degrees from Texas A&M: a bachelor’s in journalism, an MBA and a doctorate in marketing. …Read more

Categories: Alumni, Dean Eli Jones, Donors Corner, Faculty, Featured Stories, Former Students, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Texas A&M

30624496395_4326378b01_zBen Keating ’94 and Don Whitaker ’96 believe in disrupting the marketplace and then strategically investing in their business. Their success in growing the Keating Auto Group — a family-owned company that includes a number of popular Texas dealerships selling domestic and foreign cars — underscores the wisdom of their approach.

Keating’s and Whitaker’s approach to entrepreneurship resonated with a group of Mays Business School Business Honor majors who listened to their recent presentation. “I learned how having a broad perspective, possessing strong analytical skills and thinking long-term were some of the key elements that enable them to thrive in such a competitive field,” said Bao Nguyen ’20. “As the lecture progressed, it dawned on me that there was more to their business than simply selling cars, trucks and other vehicles for profit.” …Read more

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