Ray Hunt, chairman, chief executive officer and president of Hunt Consolidated Inc., was honored with the 2004 Kupfer Distinguished Executive Award. Named in memory of Harold Kupfer ’54, the award was created by lifelong friends Donald Zale ’54 and Gerald Ray ’54 to honor a businessperson who exemplifies Kupfer’s integrity, leadership and business acumen.

Hunt no doubt fits the bill, having been taught the nuances of the oil exploration industry by his father H.L. Hunt, who founded the company in 1934. The younger Hunt began his relationship with the company working in the oil fields during the summer of 1958.

Becoming chairman of Hunt Oil in 1974, Hunt has guided the company’s growth and success by sticking to the core principles his father stressed. In fact, Hunt believes that corporate culture, especially in a marketplace soiled with scandal, is one of the most important values.

“If someone would have asked me five years ago what was the single most important aspect was, I would have said our people,” Hunt told the audience upon accepting the award. “But in a post-Enron environment, I would now have to say corporate culture. If you have a strong culture, it will attract the right people.”

In addition to his success at Hunt Oil, Hunt has long been an active community and government servant. In 2001, George W. Bush appointed him to the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. He is a member of the National Petroleum Council and chairman of the board for the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. He earned a bachelor’s in economics from Southern Methodist University in 1965, where he serves on the board of trustees. SMU named Hunt a Distinguished Alumnus in 1977, and he was elected to the Texas Business Hall of Fame in 1992.