Mays Business School recognized three of its most accomplished graduates with the Outstanding Alumni Award. The 2015 recipients are Billy Atkinson ’72, retired audit partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers and current chairman of the Texas Public Finance Authority; Monty Davis ’77, chief operating officer for Core Laboratories NV, and Kathy Milthorpe ’82; chief financial officer and treasurer for the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) and The LPGA Foundation.
Atkinson, Davis and Milthorpe were honored at the 24th annual Outstanding Alumni Awards Dinner, which took place at the Traditions Country Club in Bryan on Oct. 29. Mays Business School Dean Eli Jones ’82 welcomed the honorees and their family members and friends, along with past winners of the award who were in attendance. Also in attendance were members of the Mays Development Council, who were in town for a meeting the next day.
“In one respect, Mays is no more or no less than the sum of the impacts our alumni make on the world on any given day,” Jones said. “Day in and day out, our graduates step up to the challenge of introducing innovative products and processes. They serve on boards of directors as well as in elected offices. They make difficult decisions amid increasing complexity. They lead organizations to achieve tangible business results in the face of constant change. Through it all, they are guided by the core values instilled in them by their parents and families and reinforced through their experiences at Texas A&M. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the works of our 2015 Outstanding Alumni.”
After earning his bachelor’s in accounting from Texas A&M in 1972, Billy M. Atkinson embarked on a 39-year career with PricewaterhouseCoopers (formerly Coopers & Lybrand) in the firm’s Dallas office. Two years later, as a senior audit associate, Atkinson relocated to the Houston office. He was admitted into the partnership as an audit partner in October 1982 and continued to serve in that role until his retirement in 2011. He also served as a risk management partner and was the lead recruiting partner for more than 20 years at Texas A&M. He currently serves as chairman of the Texas Public Finance Authority, which issues state-supported debt to finance legislatively approved projects and facilities throughout Texas.
“My educational experience at Mays opened my eyes to the benefits of diversity of input to a team solution,” Atkinson said. “Ethical considerations were woven into each course which has paid tremendous dividends throughout my career. It also provided me with the confidence that in some small or large way, I could make a difference.”
Throughout his professional career, Atkinson has tirelessly supported his alma mater as well as the accounting profession and the Houston community. He served on the Texas A&M CBA Fellows Advisory Council, the Department of Accounting Advisory Council and the President’s Council of Advisors for many years. He also was president of the Houston Society of CPAs and held numerous leadership positions within the Texas Society of CPAs and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy. In addition, he served as board chair of the Make-a-Wish Foundation of the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast and as a board member for the Boys/Girls Harbor and the Houston Society for the Performing Arts.
“Being acknowledged by one’s peers is always personally gratifying and humbling,” Atkinson noted. “However, the real significance to me is the satisfaction it brings to my family, friends and partners who have been so supportive and enabling to me over my career.”
He said the business school has maintained a positive reputation by educating students well and connecting them with good opportunities in internships and jobs. “An A&M education is indeed a full package,” he said.
Monty L. Davis graduated from the business school at Texas A&M University in 1977 with a bachelor’s in accounting. Davis then began his career working in accounting at Dresser Industries Petroleum and Minerals Group in Houston. He quickly gravitated to the area of international business, working as regional controller for Dresser Atlas division in Aberdeen and London. When Dresser Atlas was merged into a joint venture company, Davis was promoted to the position of vice president of finance for Core Laboratories division, based in Dallas. He currently serves as the chief operating officer (COO) for Core Laboratories NV, a publicly traded oilfield service company with operations in more than 50 countries.
“My education at Texas A&M laid the foundation for my career in technical accounting knowledge and more importantly in leadership development,” Davis said. “I credit this education for giving me the foundation for my whole career development along with much of my life’s work.”
Since graduating from Texas A&M nearly four decades ago, Davis has been actively involved in the growth of his alma mater. He is currently a trustee for the 12th Man Foundation and serves on the Dean’s Development Council at Mays Business School. He and his wife also serve on the Executive Cabinet for Texas A&M University’s “Lead by Example” Campaign. They were the lead donors for the Davis Center for Football Player Development, the R. C. Slocum Nutritional Center, Kyle Field Redevelopment and the Davis Football Operations Center.
“The Outstanding Alumni Award came as a total surprise and is the highest honor that I could have been given,” Davis said. “It is a recognition that I will cherish all of my days and one that I share with my parents who so desired that their sons would get the best education possible.”
Davis said at the Oct. 29 banquet he is proud of the university and the business school, and he enjoys maintaining close ties to their leaders. “Hopefully in a few years we can retire in College Station,” he said. “In the meantime, we have a lot of work to do.”
After earning her bachelor of business administration from Texas A&M University in 1982, Kathryn (Kathy) Harris Milthorpe began her career at Coopers & Lybrand (now PricewaterhouseCoopers), where she served as a senior auditor for four years. Milthorpe then joined the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) in 1986, advancing to the position of vice president of finance and administration and serving in that role until 1997. During that time, she played a key leadership role in managing the LPGA’s relocation to Daytona Beach as well as the development of its national headquarters and golf facilities.
Since that time, Milthorpe has achieved success in a variety of leadership roles with increasing responsibilities, including serving as the tournament director for the PGA Champions Tour’s Lexus Challenge and as managing director of public affairs for the International Speedway Corporation. Since 2009, she has served as chief financial officer and treasurer for the LPGA and The LPGA Foundation.
“There is no question that my education at Texas A&M’s Mays Business School played a critical role in building the foundation for both my personal life and professional career,” Milthorpe noted. “But my Aggieland experience was more than rigorous academics—it provided the strategic framework for developing leadership skills, taught the value of effective communication and collaboration, generated an appreciation of life-long learning and fueled an enthusiasm for giving back to civic and charitable endeavors. As a student I did not fully appreciate the extraordinary opportunity I was provided, but it is now clear that selecting the Mays Business School was one of the most important investments I have made in my professional growth and development. I can safely say I would not be where I am today without my Aggie ring.”
During the course of her 33-year career, Milthorpe has demonstrated a strong commitment to supporting community, civic and philanthropic causes through service on numerous boards and committees. She has been chairman of the Daytona Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Lively Arts Center, the Central Florida Sports Commission and St. James Episcopal School. She also serves on the boards for the United Way of Volusia-Flagler Counties, WORC Inc., Daytona Beach Community Foundation and the Texas A&M’s Women’s Former Student Network.
“When I received the telephone call from Mays Business School regarding this honor, my initial reaction was filled with great shock and surprise,” she said. “This award has been bestowed on so many talented and accomplished professionals, to be considered as part of this distinguished group was an extraordinary honor. Being a third-generation former student and the first female makes this even more special for both me and my family and a highlight of my professional career. My passion for Texas A&M runs very deep and I couldn’t be more grateful and proud of receiving this amazing recognition.”
At the banquet, Milthorpe said she was touched by the award. “This is certainly something I could not have imagined receiving.”
Dean Jones expressed his appreciation and that of the school to this year’s recipients. “Kathy Milthorpe, Billy Atkinson and Monty Davis have truly led lives of distinction as evidenced through the myriad contributions they have made to their organizations and their professions as well as to their communities, the nation and the global marketplace,” he noted. “All the while, they have remained steadfast in their affection and support for Mays and Texas A&M, and we are deeply grateful for the shining examples they have set for all our students and alumni.”