The 2011 advertising team from Mays Business School’s marketing department placed second in the AAF 10th District American Advertising Association advertising competition. In only its second year of participation, the team also won a special award for the best 360-degree integrated campaign.

To develop the campaign for this year’s client sponsor, JCPenney, students from Professor Lisa Troy’s marketing class in fall 2010 conducted secondary research into the target market, industry, product and competition as well as extensive primary research. Using the research from the fall class, students in Troy’s spring class developed objectives and strategy, created and implemented a fully integrated multimedia campaign including creative executions in traditional, digital, alternative and social media, and developed and implemented a $100 million, one-year media plan and schedule.

Members of the Texas A&M team were Vicky Alvarez, Brian Ambrose, Lauren Barre, Hannah Barrier, Macie Becker, Kelly Boyles, Cassidy Davis, Paige Dickerson, Christopher Flores, Stephanie Griffin, Cyndee Guerrero, Katie Hall, Gillian Harris, Heather Henry, Blake Hobson, Melissa Kibby, Briarley Kirk, Matt Knipe, Tyler Koeller, Roland Larino, Zhen Liu, Kristi Marshall, Rafik Massoud, Patrick Mauldin, Jenna Miller, Kelsye Mire, Derek Nido, Ashley Noack, Eric Nordt, Clara O’Brien, Matt Proctor, Derek Redlinski, Caleb Robinson, John Sargent, Chelsea Sauder, Keri Schneider, Nathan Schulman, Sophia Sissamis, Kelsey Smith, Savannah Smith, Brittney Stephenson, Rusty Sugg, Elisa Toscano and Julie Whiteside. The faculty adviser is Lisa Troy.

To market JCPenney to the 18 million 25- to 34-year-old females in the U.S., the Texas A&M advertising team developed the slogan, “Color Your Life with JCPenney.” With a water-color design theme underlying all executions as well as alternative and guerilla tactics relating to the theme, the campaign was rated by both JCPenney and advertising agency judges as best for full integration.

In addition to the campaign, the advertising team suggested ways to improve JCPenney’s store layout and website, making them less cluttered, more consistent and more navigable. The team further recommended new digital technologies such as a new smart phone application, using promotional QR codes and incorporating fingerprint recognition technology for easy access to the JCPenney rewards program, as well as new JCPenney partnerships including a two-year endorsement contract by Carrie Underwood, sponsorship and product placements in Project Runway and HGTV, in-store franchises and new designer clothing lines.

The American Advertising Federation (AAF) sponsors the annual National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC), which started in 1973. More than 100 universities compete annually Some local and peer institutions that also participate include University of Texas, Texas Christian University, University of Houston, Southern Methodist University, Texas State University-San Marcos, Florida State University, Penn State University, University of Virginia, University of Michigan, Michigan State University and University of Alabama.

The competition involves a case study outlined by the current year’s corporate sponsor. Judges for the competition are industry professionals or executives from the client firm. The competition is governed by an academic committee within the AAF. See for more information.

For more information about the Mays team, contact Lisa Troy at

Categories: Students

​Today I sat across the picnic table from a gorgeous, blue-eyed girl who had fixed me a fancy sandwich and snicker doodles. She proceeded to recite the second chapter of I Peter from memory, pausing only for one conjunction. Impressive. All that, and good-looking, too.

​She memorized that because it is important to her, the way she knows the birthday of every living human being who has come into contact with us in the last 33 years. She knows what gift she gave you, and she rightly expects that I ought to remember what gifts others gave me.

​I, on the other hand, remember Jim Gentile’s important batting statistics from 1961. No one else remembers Jim Gentile. I remember where I was sitting, and who I was sitting with, and how cold I was at the 1974 A&M-Texas game. I remember K.C. and the Sunshine Band. But I also remember the anniversary of my first date with the World’s Most Beautiful Woman. And I remember being 22 and staring through the glass at the most glorious sight I had ever seen, my baby girl, as I left the hospital at 2 a.m. with my last two dollars in my pocket.

​My office is gradually transitioning from a place of pictures and gifts from my children into a shrine to grandkids. But there are still important memories in this place. Behind my desk is a small plaque from one of my first students that says, “A Loving Teacher Makes Learning a Joy.” There is a picture taken by a photographer of me on another campus walking across the street with my two youngest children when they were small. I have an aquarium hanging up made out of two paper plates, and a picture of all five kids in the backyard in Michigan. The class of 1998 at Hillsdale College, one of whom just made partner at a major accounting firm, is on my file cabinet. I even have the radio I listened to in high school.

​There is a significant need within each of us to remember the things that matter. It seems that this longing only grows as our capacity for it diminishes. I find that my wife is generally a superior judge of what ought to be remembered, because she has a better sense of what are truly the permanent things. But we both have to work harder than we used to at remembering.

​I have also found that it is very important to people to be remembered. I think I underestimated early in my career how important it was to my students that I know who they were. When you teach 250-300 students a year, and when those students love to come back to campus to remember, and to recruit people to their firms, it is a challenge to always have names on the tip of your tongue. But it would be naïve of me to think that it doesn’t matter whether or not I try.

​The traditions at Texas A&M are centered around remembering. We remember E. King Gill as the 12th Man stands ready to take the field, if necessary, on fall Saturdays. Every month we remember the current students we have lost at Silver Taps. Elephant Walk, Final Review, and, in former days, Bonfire, have evoked emotions in Aggies as accumulated history washes over each person’s personal experience with this place. And its graduates wear a ring like no other, proudly earned and warmly extended to others, as the ultimate sign of a common bond of memories.

​I say all this because tonight I will attend what is perhaps the finest of Aggie traditions, Muster. It seems ironic that it falls on Holy Thursday: “Do this in remembrance of me.” I will go to remember, and to celebrate the lives of those who have gone on before us. I may not feel the need to call out “Here!” as I have in another year. But I will be there. And I will remember.

Categories: Bottom Line Ethics

Two Texas A&M business graduates are among the seven recipients of the 2011 Distinguished Alumnus Award announced recently by The Association of Former Students. Established in 1962, the Distinguished Alumnus Award is the highest honor bestowed upon a former student of Texas A&M.

Clifton J. “Clif” Bolner ’49 of San Antonio received a business degree.

Gerald L. Ray ’54 of Dallas received a finance degree.

Other Aggies being honored this year are Dan A. Hughes ’51 of Beeville, Texas; Dr. Joe E. West; Harold L. Adams ’61; John E. Bethancourt ’74. J. Wayne Stark ’39 (posthumously).

“While alumni of other universities have certainly had a profound impact on their alma mater and on the greater society, we are very proud to recognize those former students that have stood out both within the Aggie family and in their communities, states, and nations,” said Texas A&M President Dr. R. Bowen Loftin ’71. “They exemplify what makes Texas A&M University unique — a rich history and traditions and a culture that instills life-long values such as leadership and selfless service in our students. Through their actions, these Distinguished Alumni represent the very best of what it means to truly live the Aggie Spirit.”

Clifton J. “Clif” Bolner, Class of 1949

Clifton J. “Clif” Bolner graduated from Texas A&M with a bachelor’s degree in business. He was a distinguished student for four years, a member of the Corps of Cadets, executive officer of the Texas Aggie Band and a distinguished military graduate.

Clifton J. “Clif” Bolner ’49

After graduation, Bolner was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force and served during the Korean War. After six years as a partner in the family grocery store, he founded and became president and CEO of Bolner’s Fiesta Products, a San Antonio company manufacturing and distributing food seasoning products worldwide. In 1979, he was named U.S. Grocery Supplier of the Year.

Bolner was awarded the Archbishop Francis J. Furey Outstanding Award Medal in 1969, and in 1979, was the first recipient of the Central Catholic High School Distinguished Alumni Award. In 1982, he was the recipient of the National Conference of Christians and Jews Award. In 2004, he was named an Outstanding Alumnus of A&M’s Mays Business School. He has endowed four scholarships at A&M and is a life member of Sterling Evans Library and a charter member of Texas A&M’s Chancellor’s Circle and of The Association of Former Students Century Club. He is also a member of the 12th Man Foundation, the Texas A&M Foundation Legacy Society, the San Antonio A&M Club and has served as class agent for the Class of 1949 for several years.

Bolner has served many charitable organizations in the San Antonio area. He served as president of the Witte Museum Board, the San Antonio Museum Association and the San Antonio Symphony Society, and served on the boards of the San Antonio Area Foundation, the Cancer Therapy Research Center, the San Antonio Fiesta Commission and many others. He is active in his church, Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church, and is a past president of the Parish Council. The 2011 Humanitarian Award given by Catholic Charities was awarded to Mr. Bolner this year.

Four of his seven children and three grandchildren have graduated from Texas A&M and another granddaughter is a current student.

Gerald L. Ray, Class of 1954

Gerald L. Ray graduated from Texas A&M with a bachelor’s degree in finance. He was a member of the Corps of Cadets and served after graduation as a pilot in the U.S. Air Force and later the U.S. Air Force Reserves. He received his M.B.A. in 1959 from The Wharton School of Finance.

Gerald L. Ray '54
Gerald L. Ray ’54

He first worked for Sanders & Co. and then was vice president of Zale Corp. before founding his own firm, Gerald L. Ray Investment Advisor, in 1976. The following year he founded Gerald L. Ray and Associates Inc. (later Gerald L. Ray & Associates, Ltd.). Ray remains chairman of that company, which has become one of the Southwest’s most respected investment firms. He is a past chairman of the National Conference for Investment Analysts and a member of the Investment Company Institute and the Association for Investment Management and Research.

Ray has a long history of supporting Texas A&M. He has endowed the Gerald L. Ray ’54 Pillars of Texas A&M, multiple scholarships, a Foundation Excellence Award for minority or economically disadvantaged students, and the Department of Finance Kupfer Distinguished Executive Award. He has been a major contributor to the Aggies on Wall Street Program, which brings A&M’s best and brightest to the center of the financial world and has resulted in scores of Aggies succeeding in Wall Street careers.

In honoring Mr. Ray’s mother and father, he chose to name an auditorium at Mays Business School in their honor.

He and his wife, Helaine, have two children and five grandchildren.

The Association of Former Students will further honor all recipients of this award during its annual Distinguished Alumni Gala on Oct. 14. In addition, the 2011 recipients will be hosted for dinner by Loftin on Oct. 13 and recognized during the Texas A&M football game against Baylor on Oct. 15.

For more information

For more information about the Distinguished Alumnus Award, visit

Categories: Former Students, Texas A&M

Omar El-Halwagi ’11 hopes to parlay his Harry S. Truman Scholarship into a law degree so he can specialize in employment discrimination or civil rights.

The Truman Foundation funds the $30,000 scholarships for students pursuing careers in public service. El-Halwagi is the first Texas A&M student to receive the honor since 1994.

Omar El-Halwagi '11 is the first Texas A&M student selected as a Truman Scholar in more than 15 years.
Omar El-Halwagi ’11 is the first Texas A&M student selected as a Truman Scholar in more than 15 years.

Truman Scholars are selected on the basis of leadership potential, intellectual ability and likelihood of “making a difference.” El-Halwagi is one of 60 scholars selected from among 602 candidates nominated by 264 colleges and universities.

El-Halwagi, a graduate of A&M Consolidated High School in College Station, is a management and business honors major with a minor in communications. He is the president of the Texas A&M Speech and Debate Team and was the 2009 Pi Kappa Delta national champion in extemporaneous speaking.

El-Halwagi received All-American awards at two national speech and debate competitions. “All the speeches and debates I give are based on things I really care about,” he says. “I see it as a way to learn more about certain topics and to teach others about them.”

He has been the administrative coordinator the Freshman Business Initiative and has proposed and led his own special topics course for the Mays Business School. He participated in the 2009 China-U.S. Relations Conference, and has interned with the Federal Emergency Management Agency through the Public Policy Internship Program.

El-Halwagi co-founded Global Law Brigades at Texas A&M, and plans to take a group of students to Panama to work with a non-governmental agency. He also coaches middle school students in speech and debate and has volunteered in Teen Court.

He plans to take his Law School Admission Test in June, then he hopes to pursue a joint degree in law and social policy at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. In the long term, he hopes to build a career as an employment discrimination lawyer and, later, a public official.

“I’ve always known I wanted to be a lawyer,” he said. He attributes his habit of “fighting for what I believe in and speaking up,” from his family members, who are all engineers. He says he surrounds himself with “change agents,” including his debate partner Audrianne Doucet, whose Project Yogurt shop gives 20 percent of its earnings to nonprofit agencies.

El-Halwagi is particularly interested in the civil rights infringements against Muslim Americans. “I get really worked up about civil rights issues, particularly against Muslim Americans,” he says. “My personal experiences have made me pursue this issue, especially post-9/11.”

In addition to the scholarship funds, the scholars receive priority admission and supplemental financial aid at some premier graduate institutions, leadership training, career and graduate school counseling, and special internship opportunities within the federal government. Recipients must be U.S. citizens, have outstanding leadership potential and communication skills, be in the top quarter of their class and be committed to careers in government or the not-for-profit sector.

El-Halwagi is the first Texas A&M student selected as a Truman Scholar in more than 15 years. The most recent Texas A&M student to be selected as a Truman Scholar was Kellie (Sims) Butler, in 1994. In the last 10 years, nine Aggies have progressed to finalist, the most recent being international studies major Karthik Venkatraj ’10.

About the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation

Established by Congress in 1975, the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation is the official federal memorial to the nation’s 33rd president. Truman Scholars are recognized as “change agents” and have the “passion, intellect, and leadership potential that in time should enable them to improve the ways that public entities…serve the public good.” Notable Truman scholars include Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, broadcaster and political advisor George Stephanopoulos, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan E. Rice and Ford Foundation President Luis Ubiñas.

Categories: Students

Gregory S. Gilmore ’85 says he is always pursuing “it” and is pleased to have “it” in the ranks of his employees, though he can’t really explain what “it” is.

As president and chief operating officer of Planview, Gilmore says his internal gauge of “it” has led him through many good decisions.

“We are a group of people who strive to delight our customers and ourselves,” Planview president and CEO Gregory S. Gilmore ’85 told students. “We value our integrity and we believe in our faith.” (view more photos)

“You can’t buy it and you can’t create it, but you know it when you encounter it,” he says. “I have an employee who has “it,’ and I know he would do anything I ask and then some — and with enthusiasm. I trust him with the reputation of the company because he is going to handle it properly.”

For the past 16 years, Gilmore has been the driving force behind Planview’s market leadership as an independent provider of enterprise-wide portfolio management solutions. He urges the students to use some internal gauge when pursuing jobs. “I think you should be looking at the culture of the company,” he says. “You should see if you see an environment that suits you. Be intentional about measuring the culture against your own.”

When he visited Texas A&M recently as a dean’s distinguished executive speaker, Gilmore started the class sessions by asking all the students to introduce themselves and then Gilmore introduced himself. He did so to emphasize what he considers the most important element of any job — the people.

“You have to intentionally communicate,” he says. “In fact, at Planview we overcommunicate. That way no one is confused.”

He says at Planview, the company mission is to “innovate with integrity.” “We are a group of people who strive to delight our customers and ourselves,” he said. “We value our integrity and we believe in our faith.”

Gilmore has more than 25 years of experience in sales, consulting, and operations management at organizations including Ernst & Young, Texas Instruments, James Martin & Co. and ABT. He is active in business and charity communities; he sits on the boards of Regent School of Austin and the Foundation for the Homeless, and is a former board member of the HillView Christian Ministries. He received his bachelor’s in business analysis from Texas A&M. The Dallas native lives in Austin with his wife Sheila and their three children.

The employees are encouraged to be involved in charitable organizations and each year, the company has “20 Days of Giving,” during which employees can take up to four hours off to volunteer or they can donate money to charitable organizations and have those donations matched by the company.

Gilmore says the most difficult thing he does each day is deal with people. “But you have to handle every situation with dignity and grace,” he says. “Never be afraid to take the hard paths or face the hard decisions, but always do what you do with integrity.”

About Planview

Planview has been advancing the discipline of portfolio management, helping our customers change the way they manage people and money to make better business decisions. With a singular focus on portfolio management, Planview is the only company that combines customer-driven software, unmatched domain expertise, and proven best practices to solve each customer’s unique business problems. For more information, visit

Categories: Executive Speakers, Former Students

The imprint of Kay ’02 and Jerry Cox ’72 on Mays Business School — and on Texas A&M — is hard to miss. The pair has donated more than $2 million to Mays, and one of Mays’ buildings (Jerry and Kay Cox Hall) bears their name.

The Coxes say they wanted to continue their family tradition of supporting the school, so they created a fund to support the Business Honors Program. The $400,000 gift, which will be implemented over the next five years, will be used to provide scholarships to full-time students enrolled in the program.

Kay '02 and Jerry Cox '72
Kay ’02 and Jerry Cox ’72

“We just strongly believe in the business school and want to keep supporting the good things that are going on there,” Jerry Cox explains. “Kay and I believe that recruiting high-achieving students to the Mays Honors Program will benefit not only those students, but will positively impact all Mays students, programs and faculty.”

Jerry and Kay Cox Hall, completed in 2003, enhanced the classroom and office capacity of the business school. The Coxes gave $1.5 million toward the facility and 40 other former students and friends also contributed.

“I believe this sends a loud message to peer institutions and the business community that we are serious about excellence in business education,” Jerry Cox said at the time of the addition. “We don’t just want to move up in the rankings but desire to impact the business community. It’s not enough to just be successful in the business world. As Aggies, it’s not only our knowledge, but also our values and integrity, that set us apart.”

Cox Hall also contains the Reliant Energy Securities & Commodities Training Center, which was outfitted with the most up-to-date financial data and training equipment by a $3 million endowment by Reliant Energy, and the Cocanougher Special Events Center, named for former Dean Benton Cocanougher, who initiated the center’s construction, and his wife Dianne.

“It is impossible to be at Mays Business School and not feel the impact and affection of the Coxes,” said Mays Dean Jerry Strawser. “Their generosity has significantly enhanced our three most important strategic priorities: our faculty, our Business Honors Program, and our MBA Program. It is a rare donor that touches all of those areas and impacts them so meaningfully. But, Jerry and Kay Cox are rare people.”

Jerry Cox is president and chairman of Cox & Perkins Exploration Inc. in Houston. He received a bachelor’s degree in finance from Texas A&M, a master’s degree in theological studies from Houston Baptist University and an honorary doctorate of laws from Pepperdine University. Kay Cox received a master’s in educational psychology from Texas A&M in 2002.

He was inducted into the Corps Hall of Honor in 2009 and has been honored as a distinguished alumnus by both the Mays Business School and The Association of Former Students.

He has been a major donor behind several enhancements of Texas A&M including the Cox-McFerrin Center for Aggie Basketball and the Jerry and Kay Cox Endowed Chair at the Mays Business School. Cox has served on many boards and committees at Texas A&M, including the Texas A&M Foundation, the Development Council at the 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.

Categories: Donors Corner, Former Students

Accounting graduates Robyn L. ’89 and Alan B. Roberts ’78 want to help Mays Business School maintain its reputation of excellence, so they committed $500,000 which, along with matching funds from school namesakes Peggy and Lowry Mays, will create the Robyn L. ’89 and Alan B. Roberts ’78 Chair in Business. This chair will be used to attract and retain top faculty members at Mays Business School.

Robyn L. '89 and Alan B. Roberts '78
Robyn L. ’89 and Alan B. Roberts ’78

The Roberts wanted to help the business school by supporting the teaching and research activities of Mays faculty. Both of the Aggies appreciate the education they received at A&M, as well as the networking they have been able to establish. Robyn also noted that the matching funds were an attractive feature. “You see your gift grow and get used that much faster,” she said.

“Hearing the needs and wanting to help Mays, we wanted to be able to support the great professors in their research and other endeavors,” she said. “That is a very important part of what makes Mays what it is. It is one of the things that makes Mays so prestigious and well-respected.”

The Roberts already have a track record of supporting Mays Business School. They provided $250,000 in 2007 to help fund the Robyn L. ’89 and Alan B. Roberts ’78 Business Honors Scholarship Program.

“Our school cannot thank Robyn and Alan enough for their generous support,” said Mays Dean Jerry Strawser. “By allowing us to attract top faculty members and Business Honors students to our school, their generosity will allow our programs to continue to be recognized among the very best in the world. We are most grateful for their generosity.”

Both accounting majors at A&M, Alan and Robyn had a true Aggie romance, starting when they met at a football game. They have two daughters, Jennifer and Allyson.

They were co-owners of Pumpco Inc, a pipeline construction and oilfield leasing company Alan founded in 1981. In 2007, Pumpco was named to the Aggie 100, the list of the top 100 fastest-growing Aggie-owned-or-operated businesses. In 2008, the Roberts sold the company to MasTec, Inc. of Coral Gables, Fla. Alan Roberts remains as president of Pumpco.

Categories: Donors Corner, Former Students

With the jury deliberating in the Barry Bonds trial, one of my students asked me to blog about steroids. My student’s basic view is that people have the right to take whatever they want to enhance their performance, as long as they are willing to live with the personal consequences. This is a viewpoint commonly applied to drinking, smoking, and other personal choices. And it is probably more appealing when it comes to performance enhancing drugs, because smoking and drinking have more easily recognized externalities, or consequences to others, such as second-hand smoke and a variety of alcohol-induced behaviors.

I am in favor of steroids. My son is able to see clearly because of steroids that have been planted in his eyes as “seeds” that leech out a little bit at a time over multiple years. I am also against steroids. I have seen how oral steroids affected his body when he had to take them over a modest period as a young boy. I am very thankful for the more targeted steroids that help his vision.

So I am in favor of steroids. I am just not in favor of steroids used to enhance performance in sports.

Sports generally evolve in one of three ways: changes in equipment, changes in rules, or changes in people. There is almost always disagreement about whether these changes are good or bad. But let me provide an example of each.

Today’s Wall Street Journal has an article about bats that have been banned from Little League this year because of dangers to players. These titanium composite bats apparently get springier with use, launching balls at speeds not experienced by past Little Leaguers. I admit to being jealous of today’s bats, because I was a lousy hitter with the old wooden bats growing up. But the fact that you can hit the ball farther and harder is not necessarily a good thing, particularly when you are hitting it at people who are just learning to use a glove.

Of course, many changes in equipment are designed to provide additional protection, such as better designed football helmets. The unintended consequence of equipment that makes players feel safer can be an unlimited amount of spearing with the helmet, leading to serious injuries for the tackler and the ball carrier.

Swimming changed equipment by allowing buoyant, full body suits. But as record after record disappeared, it quickly became evident that the swimmers were not any better. The records were being set by the equipment. And the swimming establishment pulled back, banning the suits. Golf has not pulled back as quickly from advances in clubs and golf ball materials. You can always make fairways narrower and rough deeper, greens more challenging. But at some point, when people are driving par 5’s, the nature of the game will change in a way where it becomes unrecognizable.

The second way that sports evolve is through changes in rules, often to generate more offense. Baseball added the designated hitter, for example. Purists hate it, fans love it. As with most changes, the market decides whether it stays. In 1968, when pitching was dominant, major league baseball lowered the pitching mound and hitting proliferated. Three-pointers are here to stay in basketball. If soccer changed the offside rule, the game would change dramatically.

The final way sports change is through changing people, the athletes themselves. This has happened through nutrition, particularly in the last generation. Many baseball fans my age can remember Charlie Hough of the Texas Rangers smoking between innings in the runway between the dugout and the clubhouse. Now, you need a personal trainer by the time you are fifteen if you hope to compete at a high level. Most would say better nutrition is a good thing.

Pressures change people, too. My buddies in my Little League played in the Little League World Series Championship game on ABC Wide World of Sports. None of them played on travel teams, or had personal trainers. None of my friends went to a baseball camp. We played hotbox, and whiffle ball, and backyard baseball. And then we played every other sport in its season. Now you have to specialize.

And steroids in sport are largely a result of the competitive setting that arises from specialization. Specialization and excellence allow people to get rich, and steroids provide an advantage. Like better nutrition, they change people physically, and there is evidence that they change them emotionally as well. The question is whether they change them for the better.

I have seen steroids provide healing. But even in settings with carefully controlled doses, I have also seen them cause damage. And steroids in sports are not carefully controlled. If they were, human nature says athletes would push past those limits and game the system to gain an advantage (think Tour de France). The drugs are new enough, and they change often enough, that it is difficult to estimate long-term effects. But, as with most things that provide short-term benefit, the tendency is to underestimate long-term harm if you are making the decision.

What seems certain is that, over time, steroids will exclude the non-steroid user from the game. There are a fixed number of slots available on pro teams, and college teams, and high school teams. Today’s good high school teams are like the last generation’s small college teams. It will become evident that you do not play if you do not take steroids. And, as with personal trainers and travel teams, steroids will be taken at younger and younger ages.

As the Little League article in the Wall Street Journal indicates, we pull back from other types of changes in sports because we see the potential for people to be harmed at significant levels. I could use dramatic examples of what steroids have done to people like former NFL stars Lyle Alzado and Mike Webster. But suffice it to say that steroids have the potential to do untold damage when compared to differences in equipment, especially when they are taken for advantage, and not simply for healing.

I cannot safely predict what a generation of athletes who were virtually all on steroids would be like in their 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s. But if it happens, the effects of their choices will not just be limited to what happens to their bodies. I can make serious justice arguments against allowing steroids in sports. But even if they are refuted, those unintended consequences that arise from changing people, not just equipment or rules, weigh heavy on my mind. It takes a lot for me to support restricting people’s freedom. But steroids should be banned from sports.

Categories: Bottom Line Ethics

Hill Feinberg knows the hard knocks of business. With more than 40 years of experience in the finance industry and decades’ worth of common sense under his belt, the chairman and CEO of First Southwest Company has discovered the tried and true methods for success in the business world — and he knows that they are surprisingly simple. According to Feinberg, achievement in today’s ever-changing industry stems from one crucial quality: respect.

“Key words like please, thank you, sir and ma’am: it’s these kinds of things that will make you successful,” Feinberg shared on a recent visit to campus. As part of the Dean’s Distinguished Executive Series, the University of Georgia graduate had an opportunity to address a group of Mays students about the fundamentals of good business, or, as he calls it, the “hard knocks.”

First Southwest Company chairman and CEO Hill Feinberg chats with undergraduate Business Honors students during a recent visit to campus.
First Southwest Company chairman and CEO Hill Feinberg chats with undergraduate Business Honors students during a recent visit to campus. (view more photos)

Starting at an early age, Feinberg began learning the ins and outs of the commercial industry. Working at his father’s shoe store during his junior high years, he not only learned how to be a good salesman, but also picked up on what he says he considers the most fundamental quality to doing business: listening. First Southwest Company boasts more than 1,600 clients, and by being an active listener, Feinberg says he shows each one they are cared for.

“Listening and embracing your clients is awfully important,” he says. Rather than showcasing his own company’s talents and expectations during a business presentation, Feinberg says that keying in on his customers’ needs has proven to be a tremendously successful strategy. With 23 offices in 11 states, First Southwest Company is the “biggest and best” at what they do. First Southwest is one of the country’s largest diversified investment banks, delivering expertise and insight to clients across varied industry specialties.

The firm has what Feinberg, who has served as the investment bank’s leader since 1991, calls “a touching experience” with Texas A&M. Representing the school through assisting the university system on finances, Feinberg fondly recalls that Lowry Mays himself was one of his first clients. He also adds that the firm is extremely pleased with and proud of the multiple Mays Business School graduates employed with his company. The experience they have with hiring Aggie students has been “nothing short of fantastic,” he states.

Upon his recent visit to campus, Feinberg doled out several tips for success in the business industry to future Mays graduates:

  • “Don’t worry about the money right out of school.” Feinberg stresses that, rather than selecting a job with a firm based on starting salary, focus on your own personal performance within the company. The experience you ultimately gain from your work will prove to be more valuable than the money itself.
  • “There’s nothing wrong with asking questions. If you don’t ask, you will not succeed.” The CEO assures students that there are no stupid questions, only stupid mistakes made by remaining silent.
  • “Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know.'” Feinberg emphasizes that admitting you’re unsure of an answer is not the same as admitting defeat; rather, it shows humility and a willingness to continuously learn from those around you.
  • “Being candid with a client is of the utmost importance.” Although he admits this honesty can sometimes carry a burden, Feinberg reveals that if you can’t be candid with your associates, then the firm starts to question whether you can be candid with your client.
  • … “It’s all about integrity. You can’t buy your reputation—you have to build it.” Illustrating this point, Feinberg uses Warren Buffett as an example. Citing his decisiveness and discipline, Feinberg notes that Buffett has emerged as one of the most respected and prolific investors in business history. His success is a testament to “working with what you know” and staying true to your ethics.

Hill Feinberg’s tried and true methods for success in the business world are a testament to respect. He has learned all of the “hard knocks,” and after 25 years of prosperous investment experience, assures that sticking true to the basics will most certainly pay off.

Categories: Executive Speakers

Studying for finals is always a bummer, but when you just found out you won a coveted fashion scholarship and are going to New York on an all expense paid trip, studying is impossible. When I started the case study for my marketing elective class, little did I know that I would win one of the YMA FSF scholarships. The non-profit organization founded by fashion designer Geoffery Beene to grant scholarships and mentorships to students. It was such a surprise when Professor Sandi Lampo called me and told me the news; studying was so off the menu.

The trip gave us an incredible opportunity to meet CEOs, designers, and presidents of huge fashion corporations. Here our group is with Kenneth Cole CMO Doug Jakubowski.
The trip gave us an incredible opportunity to meet CEOs, designers, and presidents of huge fashion corporations.

Landing at La Guardia sent a shiver of excitement over my body, I was actually in New York and the next day I would be attending the awards dinner and meeting CEOs, designers, and presidents of huge fashion corporations. The taxi ride to the Waldorf Astoria was actually a great experience, I felt like a real New Yorker. After about a 20-minute ride, I arrived at my hotel and stood in awe of the Waldorf. This hotel was once home to Frank Sinatra, Cole Porter, and a million other famous and successful people; everything about the hotel dazzled me.

That night the group of Texas A&M girls gathered in the lobby and decided on a big dinner to celebrate our accomplishments. We took a taxi, yet again, and arrived at a posh restaurant in the meatpacking district. When we walked up to the restaurant we were informed that it was closed for a private party, but we didn’t care about the inconvenience because we were in New York and everything, no matter how annoying, it felt new and fresh. So we walked half a block and found an adorable little French restaurant and ate a wonderful meal that was much needed after hours of walking earlier that day in the city.

The whole next day was devoted to practicing for the awards dinner. We had to make sure that we were on cue with the music, our pace was right on time, and we were in the right groups according to school. Even though we were all college students, this took a substantially long time because we were in awe of the grand ballroom and all the festivities that were taking place to prepare for the dinner.

After practicing ended, we had a little time to primp our hair and fix our makeup before the VIP reception with the board of executives. As we walked into the cocktail reception, the executives and our mentor, Sherri Rosenfeld, greeted us. She had been helping us with our cases throughout the semester and being our advocate to the board who were deciding which cases were worthy of winning. I was mingling with the executives, when a man walked up to our group. I recognized him because, being the overachiever I am, I had made a dossier of the executives and memorized their faces and positions. The man was Tom Hutton, the CEO of Geoffrey Beene, and he was coming up to talk to us because he said our papers impressed him. This was a surreal moment for me, the CEO of a major company thought that my ideas were impressive and was congratulating me for my accomplishments. The reception lasted for about an hour and we met the CEO of Macy’s, the CEO of Phillips-Van Huessen, and the presidents of both of these companies — along with many, many more people of the same stature, and all of them seemed impressed with us.

The awards dinner was an amazing experience; the master of ceremonies, Mary Alice Stevenson who is a celebrity stylist, honored us. All of the scholars sat at a long elegant table in the center of the ballroom because we were the highlight of the dinner. I felt so honored to be congratulated for my achievements among a group of such highly esteemed and successful individuals. It was an event that I will never forget, and I am so blessed to have been chosen to receive the scholarship.

Thanks to my mother and father for helping me with this amazing achievement and to Dr. Lampo for pushing us through all the obstacles of this case study. I think she probably spent more time on our projects than we did, editing them and sending them to us to revise and keeping us motivated to work hard. And thanks to God because without Him, none of this would be possible.

Categories: Perspectives