Jerry and Kay Cox

Longtime Mays Business School supporters Jerry ’72 and Kay Cox ’02 have been given the Peggy and Lowry Mays Impact Award.

Jerry Cox spoke at the Outstanding Alumni Dinner Thursday (April 5), and said he and his wife were “deeply honored and humbled” to receive the award and a crystal vase at the Outstanding Alumni Dinner on April 5. “We have been directly involved in this place for 23 years. It is now a part of us,” he said.

The award was created in 2017 to honor those who have had a distinguished impact on Mays while showcasing a mindset of giving and exuding strong leadership capabilities. The initial Impact Award honorees were the namesakes, Peggy and Lowry Mays.

Mays Dean Eli Jones said this year’s choice was an easy one. “This award is for people who have really put their imprint on Mays Business School, and these two set the bar for us,” he said. “They think of the kids first. They want them to have all the tools they need to succeed.”

This year’s recipients are Jerry ’72 and Kay Cox ’02, who have long supported Mays Business School with their resources and devotion of their time. One of the buildings within Mays Business School bears their name, in recognition of the donations they have made totaling more than $2 million. The pair has helped in other ways as well, with the creation of the Jerry and Kay Cox Endowed Chair at Mays and a scholarship fund set up for the Business Honors Program. They have been major donors behind several other enhancements at Texas A&M University, including the Cox-McFerrin Center for Aggie Basketball.

Jerry Cox equated their role at the business school to that of the equipment managers for the Houston Astros. “They take care of the bats, balls, gloves, shoes, and uniforms. They get to see these elite athletes up close night after night, and they get to know them better than just about anyone,” he said.  He said the Astros support team finally got a victory after 55 years. At Mays, he said he and his wife have gotten to see the school’s evolution to excellence “from the front-row seats.”

“We have so many rock stars on faculty and so many amazing students, it is a joy to be a part of it,” he said. “Between the leadership of the faculty and the quality of the students, we now have become world champions.”

Giving back to Texas A&M

Jerry Cox graduated from Texas A&M in 1971 with a bachelor’s degree in finance. He then went on to receive a master’s degree in theological studies from Houston Baptist University and an honorary doctorate of laws from Pepperdine University. Kay Cox received her master’s degree in educational psychology from Texas A&M in 2002.

Serving as the president and chairman of independent oil and gas exploration and production company Cox & Perkins Exploration, Inc., Cox’s peers have nothing but praise for Cox as an adroit investor and businessman who operates with high integrity and honesty.

Cox is a member of the Hydril Company Board of Directors and the Pepperdine University Board of Regents. He has also served on boards and committees at Texas A&M, including the Texas A&M Foundation, the Dean’s Advisory Board at Mays Business School, and the Corps Development Council. He is a former director and president of the 12th Man Foundation and was the presiding chairman of the One Spirit One Vision campaign. He was inducted into the Corps Hall of Honor in 2009 and has been honored as a Distinguished Alumnus by both Mays Business School and The Association of Former Students.

 

Categories: Alumni, Donors Corner, Featured Stories, Finance, Former Students, Mays Business, News, Selfless service, 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

Having learned what it means to find good culture during her time at Texas A&M University, Jana Ahlfinger Bell ’86 wanted to share with current students the insights she has gained in her career on her way to becoming the Executive Vice President and CFO of RMG Networks.

Bell, who received her bachelor’s degree in accounting from Texas A&M, also worked as the CFO of EF Johnson Technologies, Inc., as president and CEO of Simple Products Inc., and as the CEO, president, and director of @TRACK Communications, Inc. Bell 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 opportunity to share their expertise with the Mays Community.

“Interviewing is important for both the employer and the potential employee,” Bell said, when she explained her wish for the students in the session – that when they go to their first job, they find a place that is interesting and get to work with great people.

“But how can one decipher what a company’s culture is like just based on the first initial interview?” one of the students asked. Bell responded: “You have to interview as if you’re already there, inside the company. See yourself there, and then you will ask more in-depth questions.”

Bell continued to highlight other ways to discover a company’s culture:

  • Think about yourself actually working there and what that would be like. Delve into their daily happenings to gain that understanding.
  • Pay attention to the tone at the top of the company, what is important to the leadership of the company, because it really matters.
  • Do your homework on the company and the industry to gain insight into the culture. A defense contractor, for example, has a different culture as compared with a media company, or a technology company, or a professional firm, or an oil & gas company.

Bell closed the discussion by telling the students, “I love what I am doing, and I have found that ethical center in what I do. I love being a mentor.”

Bell advised the students to “make the most of the opportunities presented to you during your time at Texas A&M like these speaker sessions.” Bell told the students she wishes she had the opportunities that the students have now to network with speakers like herself, and she encouraged them to take advantage of all of the networking opportunities provided to them during their time here.

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

For this season’s #GivingTuesday, Jon and Debbie Bethancourt have generously committed to a $10,000 matching gift if current and former students from the Strategic Philanthropy course raise $10,000 in additional funding for future grant making. The gift and the match will go straight to nonprofit organizations in the form of grant funding in the 2018-2019 school year.

The Strategic Philanthropy course at Mays Business School is heavily oriented toward the sustainable, responsible, and measurable ways in which nonprofits address and solve problems in local, national, and global communities. This course provides opportunities for students to practice strategic giving as a group while also developing a personal approach to philanthropy to carry forward into their personal and professional lives.

Donations to this initiative not only fund other nonprofits, but also provide a unique learning experience for students to learn how to “give well.”

…Read more

Categories: Alumni, Donors Corner, Featured Stories, Former Students, Mays Business, News, Programs, Selfless service, Spotlights, Students, Texas A&M

Alex CabanasFinding passion in leading and growing a company that makes a profound difference in the lives of employees, guests, owners, industry partners, and the community, Alex Cabanas ’98 exemplifies what it means to be a Mays Transformational Leader.

Cabanas graduated from Texas A&M University with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in finance, and went on to pursue an MBA at Harvard Business School. He currently serves as the CEO of global hospitality company Benchmark. To Cabanas, speaking to business honors students at Mays Business School was “a huge privilege.”

Cabanas kicked his session off by emphasizing the main theme he was discussing, that “it all starts with culture.” Cabanas said that “everything we do is about culture. Culture eats strategy for breakfast; culture is a lot of things to a lot of people.” Culture drives how his company behaves and what motivates them.

…Read more

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

Be the woman, find the woman, teach the woman – those were the directives delivered to the 400 attendees at the 2017 Women’s Leadership Initiative Conference hosted recently by Mays Business School.

This was the first year Texas A&M University opened the annual event to the public after starting at Mays’ CityCentre Houston as a series of seminars to help current and former female MBA students create connections and practice networking skills for their professional development.

The conference is one of the learning experiences that continue to make Mays Business School a vibrant learning organization.“The Women’s Leadership Initiative seeks to leverage the power of our powerful network and to arrest the progression of this alarming gender gap,” said Annie McGowan, Mays Business School’s Assistant Dean of Diversity and Inclusion.

This year’s participants heard from transformational leaders retired Col. Kim Olson, Deb Merril, and KC Allan Waldron. …Read more

Categories: Alumni, Diversity and Inclusion, Featured Stories, Former Students, Mays Business, News, Programs, Texas A&M, Women's Leadership Initiative

The fastest-growing Aggie-owned or Aggie-led businesses were recognized Friday night at the 13th Annual Aggie 100 at a dinner hosted by the Texas A&M Mays Business School’s McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship. Members of the exclusive club were honored by about 700 attendees at a dinner at the Hall of Champions at Texas A&M University’s Kyle Field.

The company with the highest growth was Lonquist Field Services (Canada), which reported a growth of 223.287 percent. It is owned by Richard R. Lonquist ’87, Roy W. Duff ’85 and Robert S. Crews ’90.

The complete Aggie 100 list may be found at www.aggie100.com.

To be considered for the Aggie 100, companies (corporations, partnerships, sole proprietorships) must operate in a manner consistent with the Aggie Code of Honor and in keeping with the values and image of Texas A&M University, and must meet specific criteria.

…Read more

Categories: Alumni, Centers, Dean Eli Jones, Entrepreneurship, Featured Stories, Former Students, Mays Business, McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship, News, Texas A&M

Attributing his current success to what he learned during his time at Texas A&M University, Tim Meyer was ready to share some of that knowledge when he recently visited with Mays Business Honors students as part of the Mays 2017 Transformational Leader Speaker Series.

“Stay disciplined in this field” seemed to be the common theme Meyer conveyed throughout the duration of the session. Meyer is a co-founder and managing partner at Angeles Equity Partners, and is responsible for overseeing all aspects for the firm’s investment activities. He received his Bachelor’s degree in finance from Texas A&M and an MBA with a concentration in entrepreneurial finance from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Meyer knew the value in sharing his decision to return to school to pursue his MBA, enlightening the students on how he went back to school without being sponsored by the firm he had been working for at the time. He then gave students a rule of thumb for planning when he said, “if you get into a top 5 school for your MBA, go, regardless of money. If it’s not a top 5 B-school, try to see if you get sponsored by your company/firm first.”

…Read more

Categories: Alumni, Business Honors, Finance, Former Students, Mays Business, MBA, News, Students, Texas A&M

Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School recognized two graduates – Kathleen Seiders ’95 and Wei Shen ’99 – with the Outstanding Doctoral Alumni Award. This award highlights former students who have achieved significant distinction in their academic field. The pair were honored during an awards presentation and reception on September 29.

“Kathleen and Wei are indicative of the high quality of individuals enrolled in our doctoral programs as well as the commitment that our faculty makes to help our students succeed,” said Mays Dean Eli Jones ’82, who received the honor in 2009. “Our doctoral candidates graduate with a deep knowledge of their subject area, a desire to expand the understanding in their field of research, and a commitment to educating future generations of students.”

Criteria for Mays’ Outstanding Doctoral Alumni include: sustained research productivity and visibility in the field; service to the profession as editor of a major scholarly journal; recipient of major awards for excellence in research, teaching and/or service; academic and administrative leadership; successful career progression at a peer or aspirational school; and holder of an endowed position. …Read more

Categories: Alumni, Departments, Former Students, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Ph.D., Programs, Texas A&M

By Texas A&M Foundation

The Texas A&M Foundation has received two lead gifts totaling $4 million in a $10 million fundraising campaign to name the Department of Accounting in honor of James J. Benjamin in Mays Business School at Texas A&M University. David Baggett, a 1981 graduate of the university with a degree in accounting, and his wife Denise have committed $2 million to the campaign. Ernst & Young has also committed a gift of the same amount. Both gifts will be endowed to support the needs of the department and to ensure its future growth.

The idea to name the Department of Accounting resulted after discussions between Mays Business School, David Baggett and Ernst & Young partner, T. Randall “Randy” Cain, a 1982 graduate from the accounting program and a Texas A&M Foundation trustee. James Benjamin was presented as a worthwhile namesake for the department because of his decades-long commitment to students. The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents recently approved the naming of the James J. Benjamin Department of Accounting.

“The Department of Accounting at Texas A&M is one of the leading accounting programs in the United States, largely due to Dr. Jim Benjamin’s leadership over 35 years as department head,” said Eli Jones, dean of Mays Business School. “In recognition of his extraordinary leadership and selfless service, former students David Baggett ’81 and Randy Cain ’82 have co-led the fundraising effort to name the department in honor of Dr. Benjamin. This funding will help sustain efforts in the department to maintain its national prominence in accounting research and teaching.”

The campaign to name the Department of Accounting is intended to enhance the visibility of the department and provide young people in the field additional opportunities to explore the accounting profession. In addition, the endowment will allow the department to recruit outstanding faculty, develop international opportunities for students to learn global accounting practices, and support high-impact educational programs, such as the Professional Program and the Energy Accounting Program.

Benjamin is the Deloitte Foundation Leadership Professor and head of the accounting department. He joined the faculty at Texas A&M in 1974 and has served as department head since 1982. After attaining his undergraduate degree and CPA license, he received his M.B.A. and DBA degrees from Indiana University. He previously served as the Ph.D. coordinator for Mays Business School and director of the school’s honors program.

“Over the past almost four decades, Jim Benjamin has been a driving force in the transformation of our business school,” said David Baggett. “When I came to Texas A&M in 1979, we were known largely as an engineering and agricultural school.” Today, some 38 years later, the Mays Business School undergraduate accounting program is consistently recognized in the top 10 among public universities, while the bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. programs made Public Accounting Report’s top 10 list for 2017.

“With Jim’s personality, business savvy and leadership skills, he would have been very successful in the corporate world,” added Baggett. “Fortunately for me and thousands of other accounting and business graduates, Jim dedicated himself to our success.”

“We are excited to be part of this effort to name the accounting department after Dr. Jim Benjamin and know the resulting endowment will serve future students for decades to come,” said Denise Baggett.

Half of the Baggetts’ contribution to the accounting program campaign will create a matching gift fund to encourage other donors to contribute to the cause.

“At Ernst & Young we are a purpose-driven organization focused on building a better working world,” said Cain. “When I think of Texas A&M, I can’t think of a better place to invest when we’re trying to live our purpose. Students come out with a set of instilled values, and this marries up with the EY purpose. You have to give credit to Jim Benjamin, who has been an extraordinary visionary in the world of accounting education.”

In addition to the two lead gifts to the campaign, Mays Business School has also received commitments from KPMG LLP, Deloitte, Karen Pape ’80, Karen and Rodney Faldyn ’88, Becky ’76 and Monty Davis ’77, Lina and Kenny Lawson, Marian ’82 and Willie Langston ’81, Wanda and Lou Paletta ’78, and Kay ’02 and Jerry Cox ’72, Tracy and Randy Hale ’85, and Mark Kelly ’79. Combined, these pledges, along with other commitments, total nearly $7.5 million.

“I was humbled and honored when I learned of the initiative to name the Department of Accounting,” said Benjamin. “While I have been gratified to be a part of the growth and success of the accounting program, I have always recognized that our growing reputation was a product of exceptional students and talented and dedicated faculty. I have been truly blessed to be surrounded by such great students, faculty and former students throughout my career.”

All gifts toward the James J. Benjamin Department of Accounting naming also count toward the Texas A&M “Lead by Example” campaign, which aims to raise $4 billion by the year 2020. If you wish to make an endowed gift of $25,000 or more to support the naming initiative, contact Brian Bishop at (979) 862-3615 or bbishop@txamfoundation.com. You can also contribute non-endowed gifts online at give.am/JamesBenjamin.

Mays Business School

Mays Business School’s vision is to advance the world’s prosperity. Their mission is to provide a vibrant learning organization that creates impactful knowledge and develops transformational leaders. Mays Business School educates more than 6,200 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students in accounting, finance, management, management information systems, marketing and supply chain management. Mays consistently ranks among the top public business schools in the country for its programs and faculty research.

Texas A&M Foundation 

The Texas A&M Foundation is a nonprofit organization that unites generosity and vision to raise and manage major endowed gifts that support the future of Texas A&M University. For additional information and for photographs, please contact Dunae Crenwelge at dcrenwelge@txamfoundation.com or (979) 845-7461.

“Lead by Example” Campaign

Launched in 2015, Texas A&M University’s third comprehensive fundraising campaign, “Lead by Example,” is a joint effort between Texas A&M and its affiliate organizations: the Texas A&M Foundation, The Association of Former Students, the 12th Man Foundation and the George Bush Presidential Library Foundation. With a goal of reaching $4 billion by 2020, it is the largest higher education campaign in Texas history and the third largest conducted nationally by a public university. The campaign will generate gifts in three major areas: Transformational Education; Discovery and Innovation; and Impact on the State, Nation and World.

For more information about the campaign, visit leadbyexample.tamu.edu.

 

Categories: Accounting, Alumni, Departments, Donors Corner, Faculty, Featured Stories, Former Students, Mays Business, News, Texas A&M