There are many ways to measure success in business: wealth created, people influenced, new products developed. Mays Business School recently recognized three former students for their successes, which go far deeper than a credit and debit sheet could ever reveal.
John A. Van Alstyne ’66 (Lt. Gen. Ret.), director of the Mays Fellows program; Robert “Bob” Loeffler ’77, chief administrative officer of H-E-B; and Bruce Broussard “84, chairman and CEO of US Oncology, were celebrated for their lives of service to A&M, their businesses, and their communities. In recognition of their achievements, these men were given the highest honor at Mays, the Outstanding Alumni Award.
“Congratulations on a job well done, a life well lived, and an example well set. You are truly a role model to our students,” said Dean Jerry Strawser to the honorees at the banquet, held at the Miramont Country Club in Bryan on October 7. More than 100 people attended the event, including top officials from Mays and A&M, past award recipients, former students, and many current students, including a few Ross Volunteers and Singing Cadets.
Now in its 19th year, the event recognizes business former students whose careers reflect the Aggie core values: loyalty, integrity, excellence, leadership, selfless service, and respect.
Each honoree briefly spoke that evening, crediting their education at A&M for part of their career success. “I got a degree, but what I think Texas A&M brings more than any thing else, it brought me principles,” remarked Broussard, who said those principles prepared him for a life of success.
John A. Van Alstyne ’66
Service to the nation and leading and developing young Americans, both soldiers and civilians, have been the hallmarks Lieutenant General John Van Alstyne’s career.
Van Alstyne ’66
Before he became a decorated officer, he was known simply as fish Van Alstyne in the Corps of Cadets at A&M. He graduated, received a commission in the U.S. Army, and traveled the world in the service of his country. In 2002, he returned to campus to serve as the 38th Commandant of Cadets and Head of the School of Military Sciences. Today, he puts his leadership expertise to work as the director of the Mays Business Fellows program.
In addition to a degree in marketing from A&M, Van Alstyne holds a master’s degree in military science from the Army Command and General Staff College, and a master’s degree in national security and strategic studies from the Naval War College.
Van Alstyne’s long career in the Army provided him with a variety of leadership experiences. He led troops in Germany, Vietnam, Panama, Iraq, and at a number of posts in the United States. His final military assignment was as deputy assistant secretary of defense for military personnel policy at the Pentagon, where he worked with displaced military families after 9/11. It was that kind of experience that impressed current Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, then president of A&M; Gates described Van Alstyne as “a no-nonsense person” when he put him in charge of the disaster relief efforts at A&M after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita brought hundreds of refugees to campus.
In the course of his long military career, Van Alstyne has received a number of awards: three Defense Distinguished Service Medals, the Army Distinguished Service Medal, four awards of the Legion of Merit, two Air Medals, and five Army Commendation Medals. He also holds the Combat Infantryman’s Badge.
During his seven-and-half years as Commandant of the Corps, Van Alstyne worked to emphasize leadership and academics. Now at Mays, he is working with top students through the Fellows program, a premier leadership opportunity for business Aggies.
“I enjoy very much working with the Fellows program,” he says, noting that the students he works with are intelligent and interested in service. “Their optimism and enthusiasm are encouraging.”
Van Alstyne and his wife, Anita, reside in College Station. They have three children and six grandchildren.
Robert D. Loeffler ’77
From his small town start to his role at the helm of a Texas-sized, Texas-based company, Robert Dean (Bob) Loeffler has worked diligently to develop a career and a life of significance.
Loeffler attended the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 1972. He then served as an officer on a destroyer, including combat duty in Vietnam. His military experience became a leadership training ground: at 22-years-old, had 40 men under his command. His sphere of influence continued to grow as, after six years in the Navy, he proceeded to A&M where he taught naval science courses. While teaching, he also earned an MBA at Mays, which he completed in 1977.
After a brief experience in the oil and gas industry, Loeffler began work for H-E-B in 1979 as a systems designer in the management of information systems department. He held several positions in that area, which eventually led to his appointment as the vice president of the department.
In 1990, Loeffler became the leader of the burgeoning Pantry Foods division as vice president and general manager. In 1994 he added to his bank of knowledge and skills by attending the advanced management program at Harvard Business School. In 1996, he was promoted to senior vice president/general manager of H-E-B Pantry Foods and in 1998 was promoted to president of the division.
The following year, Loeffler moved to H-E-B headquarters in San Antonio, where he served as president of the Dallas region and Pantry Foods division and also as the interim chief information officer. In an impressive initiative, Loeffler commenced a major enterprise resource planning program, beginning in 2000, which remains in use today. Loeffler was named president of H-E-B in January 2003 and served in the position until, beginning the retirement process, he stepped down early in 2010.
He continues to work for H-E-B part-time as chief administrative officer and will serve in that capacity until 2012, when he plans to retire completely.
Earlier this year, he received the M.B. Zale Visionary Merchant Award, presented annually to a retailer who is celebrated for their innovation in the field. While on campus to receive the award, Loeffler impacted hundreds of students as a guest lecturer, sharing lessons learned from a long career in retail leadership.
Loeffler was chairman of the San Antonio/Bexar County United Way Campaign for 2009, is a member of the board and executive committee of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, and a member of the San Antonio USO advisory board.
In addition to a successful career, Loeffler has achieved a deal of success in his personal life. He is married to his high school sweetheart, Janet. They have two daughters and five grandchildren.
Bruce D. Broussard ’84
Striving to create and maintain a balance between the business and the personal as well as the financial and the philanthropic arenas of life, Bruce Broussard’s desire to balance a life of accomplishments with a legacy of service is evident in the way he lives.
As chairman and CEO of US Oncology, Broussard is leading the company in doubling its size during one of the most uncertain times for the healthcare industry. Broussard is passionate about improving the company and its work environment. A family man himself, he encourages employees to take advantage of the company’s flexible work arrangements, empowering them to achieve balance between their professional and personal lives.
Cancer, the enemy US Oncology battles everyday, impacts communities in addition to individuals. That’s why the company and its CEO are heavily involved in supporting cancer related charities, giving to the communities where the business operates. Broussard directed the creation of the Life Beyond Cancer Foundation in 2008, among his many charitable works. The foundation is US Oncology’s primary philanthropic vehicle, advancing cancer care in local communities by removing the barriers to prevention, education, early detection, treatment and survivorship. The foundation also sponsors a survivors’ retreat and provides financial support to patients undergoing cancer treatment.
Janine, Broussard’s wife of 17 years and a former operating room nurse, shares his commitment to serving the community. It is a family affair as they involve their two children, ages 11 and 15.
Though Broussard is known for his compelling work ethic, he makes time for the activities that renew his spirit. An outdoor enthusiast, he enjoys saltwater fishing, cycling, and any outdoor activities that he can participate in with his family.
He has lived in many areas of the country, but Broussard is a Texan at heart. He earned a double major in accounting and finance from A&M and an MBA in finance from the University of Houston.
Prior to joining US Oncology, he was CFO of two publicly traded healthcare companies and CEO of a $20 million private company. He joined US Oncology in August 2000 as the CFO. In November 2005, he was appointed president of US Oncology Holdings and US Oncology and served as CFO of each. In February 2008, Broussard began serving as CEO and a board member and was named chairman of the board of US Oncology in September 2009. He also serves on the board of US Physical Therapy.