April, 2013 | Mays Impacts

Mary Pat and Michael J. Bolner '73Mary Pat and Michael J. Bolner ’73

The Mary Pat and Michael J. Bolner ’73 Business Honors Scholarship, created by a $100,000 donation to Mays Business School, will be used to fund scholarships for students enrolled in the Business Honors program. Bolner runs the sales and marketing arm of the San Antonio-based family business, Fiesta Spices, which distributes cooking spices in 40 states.

“One of the best gifts you can give someone is a helping hand while they are in college,” says Michael Bolner. “I have found if you help students when they need help, they will help someone else later on. It starts a nice chain of events.”

Bolner says he and his wife enjoy meeting the scholarship recipients and their families. He says he chose to support the Business Honors program because he wanted to help Mays retain its high standing. “I think Mays Business School graduates can stand up against any other in the country, and I wanted to help the best of the best.”

“We are so very appreciative of the Bolners for their generosity and support of our students,” said Mays Dean Jerry Strawser. “Because of their support, our School will be in position to attract the very best students to study at Mays and our students will receive critical financial support for their education.”

About Mays Business School

Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School educates more than 5,000 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 undergraduate and MBA programs, and for faculty research. The mission of Mays Business School is creating knowledge and developing ethical leaders for a global society.

Categories: Donors Corner

Frank Raymond has been a fan of Texas A&M University — and Mays Business School in particular — since Craig Brown ’75, his co-founder of Bray International, invited him several years ago to attend scholarship events Brown hosts. Brown has long been a supporter of Texas A&M and Mays, where he graduated and was named a Distinguished Alumnus in 2012.

Frank RaymondFrank Raymond

Soon Raymond began exploring ways to connect with Mays on his own, funding scholarships and serving as a judge for the Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship’s (CNVE) Ideas Challenge, in which students from across campus vie to pitch their proposals for products or services to a panel of judges. Raymond’s son, who shares his excitement about innovative ideas, typically joins him.

Now, Raymond and his wife Jean have created the Frank J. and Jean Raymond Foundation Ideas Challenge fund, committing to contributions of $50,000 per year for the next 20 years. These funds will support the Raymond Ideas Challenge and allow the CNVE to increase its impact on the entrepreneurial mindset of Texas A&M University students.

In addition to this gift, the Raymonds also provide scholarships for Mays students with an interest in entrepreneurship.

“Frank and Jean are true champions of entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial thinking at Mays,” said Mays Dean Jerry Strawser. “Their generous support of our students and encouragement to have our students develop “great ideas’ will have an impact on their lives for many years to come.”

“You always hope what you’re doing will help these outstanding young people to be better students and that it will ease their burdens a little bit,” Frank Raymond said.

Raymond says he hopes his gifts will have another benefit to Mays: “I’m hoping to attract others to building on what I’ve done.”

About Mays Business School

Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School educates more than 5,000 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 undergraduate and MBA programs, and for faculty research. The mission of Mays Business School is creating knowledge and developing ethical leaders for a global society.

Categories: Donors Corner, Students, Texas A&M

Stuart W. Murff '73
Stuart W. Murff ’73

A new fellowship honoring Stuart W. Murff ’73 has been established to benefit the Finance Department at Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School. Stuart is a Fort Worth businessman who is actively involved in community service.

A $100,000 gift from Stuart Murff’s older brother James D. “Don” Murff ’70 and his wife Jeanie endowed the Stuart W. Murff ’73 Fellowship in Finance. “We are pleased to establish this fellowship to honor my brother’s friendship and to commemorate his highly successful business career and his many contributions to his community,” said Don Murff, a retired civil engineer. The fellowship is greatly enhanced by the generous ExxonMobil matching program.

“Don’s decision to honor his brother is consistent with Texas A&M University’s focus on family,” said Mays Dean Jerry Strawser. “Through his generosity, we will be able to attract top graduate students to our Department of Finance and provide support for them during their studies at Mays.”

Stuart Murff is currently managing partner of a private investment partnership formed in 1997 following the sale of Central Bancorporation to Norwest/Wells Fargo. Prior to that, he was president of Central Bancorporation, a publicly held local banking group with $1.1 billion in assets. Stuart previously owned and operated a bank consulting and data processing firm. Following graduate school, he worked in various corporate finance capacities at Mercantile Texas/MCorp a banking group.

He has a BA in economics, an MBA in finance and doctoral studies in economics from Texas A&M. He has been on the faculty of The Graduate School of Banking at Boulder, Colo.

Stuart is an active member of the Fort Worth Community with a particular interest in organizations serving children, having served on the Boards of Lena Pope Homes, The Boys and Girls Clubs, The Tarrant Metropolitan YMCA and Communities in Schools. He was Chairman of The Metropolitan YMCA and on the Board of Trustees for YMCA Foundation and Chairman of Communities in Schools as well as Chairman of CIS Foundation. Through his work in the community, he has been honored with YMCA’s Chi Rho award and the Fort Worth Star Telegram STARS award recognizing community service.

Stuart and his wife Melissa live on a horse farm outside Fort Worth, where they breed, raise and train Three-Day Eventing Sport Horses. They have four children — two of whom are Aggies — and seven grandsons.

James D. “Don” Murff ’70 served in the U.S. Army for five years and is a retired Exxon Research Engineer. He received his BS from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and MS and PhD degrees in civil engineering from Texas A&M. After retirement from Exxon, Don served 10 years as a visiting professor in A&M’s Civil Engineering Department. He now serves as an industry consultant.

Don and Jeanie, a retired nursing home marketing director, live in the Village of the Hills near Austin. They have two sons and two grandchildren.

About Mays Business School

Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School educates more than 5,000 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 undergraduate and MBA programs, and for faculty research. The mission of Mays Business School is creating knowledge and developing ethical leaders for a global society.

Categories: Departments, Donors Corner, Former Students

Cancun, Cabo, Gulf Shores and Panama City Beach—these are some of the top Spring Break destinations for college students. However, for the third year in a row, I found my suitcase filled with heavy overcoats, sweaters, gloves, scarfs, long pants and dress shirts. I was once again headed to New York City with the Mays Business Fellows Program.

Categories: Perspectives, Students, Texas A&M

Three business school graduates were given the 2013 Distinguished Alumnus Award by Texas A&M and the Association of Former Students: Robert A. Epstein ’44, R.H. “Steve” Stevens, Jr. ’62 and Glenda C. Mariott ’79.

Epstein earned his degree after serving in the Army. His career began in insurance, then he founded and operated Risktech, an independent risk management consulting firm. He served as CEO until his retirement in 1991.

Stevens served in the Air Force after graduation, then became a CPA. He worked for Arthur Anderson, then in 1999 became managing partner of accounting firm Stevens & Matthews. He previously served as a Regent of the Texas A&M University System.

Mariott began her career in the banking industry, and now owns GCM Designs, a design, build and remodeling firm. She served on the Texas Residential Construction Commission and on the board of the Association of Former Students, where she was the first female chair.

The annual award is reserved for alumni who have made significant contributions to their professions, their local communities and Texas A&M University, and is the highest honor a former student can receive.

“Each one of our 2013 Distinguished Alumni is a true inspiration as they serve as outstanding examples of the impact that Aggies can have on their alma mater, their communities, and the world,” said The Association of Former Students’ 2013 Chair of the Board of Directors David Heath ’76. “They all share the same deep commitment to Texas A&M and epitomize our core values of excellence, integrity, leadership, loyalty, respect and selfless service.”

The association will honor all of the recipients at the annual Distinguished Alumni Gala on Oct. 18 and will also recognize them at the Oct. 19 Texas A&M football game against Auburn.

A detailed profile of all the recipients is available at http://www.aggienetwork.com/DistinguishedAlumni/

Robert A. Epstein, Class of 1944
Robert A. Epstein, Class of 1944

R. H. Steve Stevens, Jr., Class of 1962
R. H. “Steve” Stevens, Jr., Class of 1962

Glenda C. Mariott, Class of 1979
Glenda C. Mariott, Class of 1979

About Mays Business School

Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School educates more than 5,000 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 undergraduate and MBA programs, and for faculty research. The mission of Mays Business School is creating knowledge and developing ethical leaders for a global society.

Categories: Featured Stories, Former Students, Texas A&M

Helen Sharkey is a felon. That sentence seems in every way to be wrong, even as I write it. Helen Sharkey is a mom of Tae Kwon Do twins, a loving wife, a faithful friend. She is a diminutive dynamo, energetically expressing truth, thoughtfully responding to questions. She is a star, a top accounting graduate of Southwestern University with a Big 4 pedigree who had a rising career in the energy industry. But, there it is again. Helen Sharkey is a felon.

Categories: Bottom Line Ethics

Rodney Faldyn ’88 says obsession drives the success of Academy Sports + Outdoors, which led to his recognition as the 2013 M.B. Zale Visionary Merchant Award. “We are obsessed with always getting better. We build a team, align our goals and let them execute them.”

Rodney Faldyn '88, CEO/President of Academy Sports + Outdoors
Rodney Faldyn ’88, CEO/President of
Academy Sports + Outdoors, with wife Karen

Faldyn says the company’s goal is to be a nationally recognized, regionally relevant and locally merchandised sports, outdoor and lifestyle store. “The market for sporting goods and outdoor gear changes every 100 miles, and we stay on top of that.” With sales projected to exceed $4 billion in 2014 and 21,000 store associates, the company seems to be on the right track.

Faldyn described during his lecture at Mays Business School how his years at Texas A&M University, where he received an accounting degree, prepared him for his career in more ways than one. His juggled a rigorous academic schedule with a job as an assistant manager at a retail store. “I don’t think I could do my role as a manager now if I had not put in that time.”

He says he also learned from the failure of the company he worked for back then — Furrow Building Materials. “So many companies lose touch with the changing consumer landscape and they don’t make adjustments they need to, so they get left behind,” he says, naming other businesses such as Linens ‘n Things and Circuit City.

Before his promotion to CEO of Academy, Faldyn was president and chief financial officer of the company. Prior to Academy, he worked at N.F. Smith & Associates, a privately-held international electronics distributor. He spent eight years at Enron Corp. in several capacities, including vice president in international finance, chief accounting officer for a publicly-held subsidiary and vice president in accounting. Prior to that, he spent eight years at Deloitte & Touche LLP, working in the energy, wholesale trade and construction sectors.

The annual M.B. Zale Visionary Merchant Lecture Series hosted by the Center for Retailing Studies (CRS) highlights the role of innovative merchandising in the success of retail businesses. M.B. Zale was a legendary retailer, visionary merchant and esteemed philanthropist. Past recipients of the Zale award represented companies ranging from Walmart to Crate and Barrel to Build-A-Bear Workshop.

Faldyn’s lecture concluded an invitation-only conference for retail executives, the Center for Retailing Studies’ annual Retail Sponsor Forum. Speakers for the one-day event included Mays faculty members and industry experts who addressed topics such as showrooming, supply chain security, shelf-space allocation and motivating employees for top performance.

Center director Cheryl Holland Bridges said the CRS at Mays has helped prepare thousands of Aggies for careers in retailing. As she introduced Faldyn, she added, “You all are going to have your interest piqued in retailing. If so, come see us at the center on the second floor.”

Mays Dean Jerry Strawser said Faldyn differed from many speakers in that he is involved in an area of retail that directly impacts the students’ lives. The company that started as an Army surplus store now has 159 stores in 13 states, and is still expanding.

“Our culture is very similar to the culture at Texas A&M: friendly, energetic, the highest integrity, respectful and based on family values,” Faldyn says. “We strive to bring active families what they need to stay active.”

Faldyn and his wife live in Houston with four 16-year-olds — two sets of twins they each brought to their marriage.

About Mays Business School

Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School educates more than 5,000 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 undergraduate and MBA programs, and for faculty research. The mission of Mays Business School is creating knowledge and developing ethical leaders for a global society.

Categories: Centers, Featured Stories, Texas A&M

Bill Gardiner might not wear cowboy boots to work or live anywhere near Kingsville, Texas, but he remains grounded in the values and direction of the legendary King Ranch.

Bill Gardiner, Senior VP of King Ranch
Bill Gardiner, Senior VP of King Ranch

He is senior vice president and chief financial officer of the privately-held ranching and agricultural company that owns the historic King Ranch in South Texas. It is recognized as the birthplace of American ranching, having developed the first American cattle breed — Santa Gertrudis.

The 825,000-acre ranch — slightly larger than Rhode Island — is the centerpiece but not the only piece of the company. Its nine operating segments have their own management teams. It is the largest citrus producer in the country, one of the largest turfgrass growers in the country, and operates the largest pecan processor in the world. Its 32 commercial hunting leases cover 518,000 acres.

Gardiner is responsible for numerous functional aspects of the company: accounting, financial reporting, tax, legal, human resources, risk management and information technology. From his office at corporate headquarters in Houston, he also oversees the retail operations, which includes branding and licensing arrangements.

Gardiner told a group of Mays undergraduate students his job is to help preserve the mystique and fiscal potency of King Ranch. The company’s leaders are selective about who they align with — examples include Ford trucks since 2000. Through the King Ranch Saddle Shop, the company offers high-end luggage and hunting equipment, and various home furnishings “A brand is a promise, and the King Ranch brand is a very valuable asset that has evolved over 160 years” Gardiner explained. “It is an iconic part of Texas lore.”

Business Honors Major Joanna Starling ’14 said she entered Gardiner’s presentation with little knowledge about King Ranch, but was interested to learn about its various operations. “Mr. Gardiner did a great job of facilitating discussion after the presentation and he was eager to answer all of our questions.”

Gardiner and his wife Nancy have two children who attended Mays — Meredith ’05, an attorney working for Deloitte, and Robert ’07, a CPA working for PricewaterhouseCoopers.

About Mays Business School

Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School educates more than 5,000 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 undergraduate and MBA programs, and for faculty research. The mission of Mays Business School is creating knowledge and developing ethical leaders for a global society.

Categories: Executive Speakers

A student’s most important job search might be the pursuit of an internship, suggests Anthony DeLuca ’84, managing director of SCF Partners.

Anthony DeLuca '84
Anthony DeLuca ’84

DeLuca, who received a bachelor’s in accounting from Texas A&M University in 1984, urged a group of Mays Business School undergraduates to secure internships, even if they are not required.

“That should be your first job, to begin looking for an internship in August or September of the school year,” he said, advising them to find meaningful opportunities, not just “resume fillers.” “You not only get good experience, but you also get to try things, some of which you think you’ll really like but then find out you really don’t care for. It has been a career saver for some people.”

DeLuca joined two others at SCF in 1992, and most of their current investors have been affiliated with company since the beginning. He attributes the company’s success to its focus on one industry. The firm has built and sold 50 platform companies, has eight companies in its current portfolio, has made more than 300 acquisitions and has a total transfer value of more than $10 billion. “On average, for 24 years we have bought a new company every three weeks. It is a very busy, actively engaged firm,” DeLuca describes.

In the beginning, the investment team members had no job titles, they just did what was necessary, DeLuca recalled. Now there are 22 people working for the firm, of which about half work on the transactions. “We used to require our new people to have experience in energy,” he explained. “Now we want people who are excited about energy and willing to learn.”

Tania Sustaita ’14, a Business Honors and accounting major, said she benefitted from DeLuca’s advice to learn how to take constructive criticism, and to realize from the start that employers do not expect you to do things perfectly. “No one likes to deal with people that cannot accept their mistakes or feedback that they are wrong,” Sustaita said.

Alex Washington ’13, a Business Honors and finance major, said she enjoyed hearing Deluca discuss how he moved from a career at Arthur Anderson to the private equity arena. “I really have not had very much exposure to private equity, so I learned a lot about platform companies and how to combine those for competitive advantages,” she said.

About Mays Business School

Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School educates more than 5,000 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 undergraduate and MBA programs, and for faculty research. The mission of Mays Business School is creating knowledge and developing ethical leaders for a global society.

Categories: Executive Speakers, Featured Stories, Former Students

During the first quarter of 2013, stock prices surged and cash balances continue to increase. On the face, corporations are looking healthier than they have in a long time. Given these dynamics, it would appear to be a good time for corporations to use their cash to retire debt, increase capital expenditures, create employment opportunities, or provide a return to their shareholders. However, the U.S. tax laws discourage this activity through a process known as repatriation.

Categories: Deanspeak