At the end of the semester, students tend to relax when it comes to class attendance and note-taking. This was not the case, however, for the final meetings of the Introduction to Business (BUSN 100) class, which featured Al Reese ’71 as a guest lecturer. Reese, who is the chief financial officer of ATP Oil & Gas Corporation, gave students practical advice for succeeding in the business world. He spoke to 150 students in two sections of the class.

Reese talking
Al Reese ’71, CFO of ATP Oil & Gas Corporation, speaks to Business 100 students.

“Guest speakers are important because they make what might otherwise be dismissed as “just theory’ real,” said Kris Morley, director of the Business Honors program and instructor of the Business 100 course. “Speakers like Mr. Reese give students the chance to hear how a concept they’ve learned about in class is played out in the business world.”

Many of the points Reese discussed with students would be obvious to business professionals, but for these freshmen, his message seemed to be an oracle from the business gods. The students hung on his every word as Reese gave tips on handshakes, business cards, e-mail etiquette, and wardrobe choices.

Reese echoed many parents when he gave students advice about quitting smoking, keeping tattoos covered, and dressing modestly and professionally. Though it may have been a familiar message, it held more meaning for the students to hear it coming from a highly successful businessman.

Reese’s final piece of wisdom was basic and profound. “If you want to succeed, work hard,” he said. “I know it’s trite, but it’s true.” Hard work has paid off for Reese, who graduated from A&M with a degree in finance, and then went on to certify as a CPA and achieve an MBA. He has served in his current position as CFO for nine years. Prior to joining ATP, Reese worked in several other management positions in the energy, finance, and accounting fields.

Reese serves on the advisory board of The Energy Forum in Houston and is a director of Integrity Bank in Houston. He also serves as president and director of the ACR Foundation, a private charitable organization in Houston.