October, 2021 | Mays Impacts

Freels ’81, Hill ’83, and Marks ’79 are honored at the ’21 Outstanding Alumni Awards dinner

Three business leaders—W. Miles Marks Jr. ’79, Bradley R. Freels ’81, and Randy L. Hill ’83—were honored as the 2021 recipients of Mays Business School’s Outstanding Alumni Awards. Fittingly, the trio of Former Students received their awards at a banquet Thursday, Oct. 21 at Kyle Field’s The Zone Club, which overlooks the gridiron where the Aggies recently celebrated their landmark victory over Alabama, ranked number one at the time.

The prestigious award, launched in 1992 and awarded previously to 91 Aggies, honors Former Students who are transformational leaders in their profession and community. These business executives also have offered their time, talents, and treasure to support Mays Business School’s vision to advance the world’s prosperity.

These recipients embody the Aggie core values of excellence, integrity, leadership, loyalty, respect, and selfless service. “We know all Mays Business School graduates are outstanding; these three are the best among the best,” said Mays Interim Dean R. Duane Ireland. “Individuals who receive this prestigious award are those who live their lives daily in ways that create value for others.”

Miles Marks ’79

Currently serving as a managing director of Avalon Advisors, LLC, a Houston-based wealth management firm, Marks has enjoyed a stellar career in corporate and non-profit finance. After earning a BBA in accounting and an MBA in management with a concentration in finance, he worked with First City National Bank and Texas Commerce Bank.

In 1997, Marks was recruited to serve as the President and CEO of Texas A&M’s 12th Man Foundation. “I think leaders are motivated by excellence,” he said. “I felt like at Texas A&M, the opportunity to be with the 12th Man brought the opportunity to impact and bring excellence to my own school.”

During his 15-year tenure with the Foundation, Marks was responsible for the organization’s strategic planning, organizational development and management, financial management, media relations, volunteer management, charitable fundraising, and special events. He initiated the Eppright Distinguished Donors Program and the John David Crow Legacy Society. Marks also was a driving force behind creating naming opportunities at every level of the athletics program. His work helped lay the foundation for Texas A&M’s move into the Southeastern Conference (SEC). Marks was the recipient of the National Association of Athletic Directors of Development’s 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award.

Marks always has been very active in his community. While in College Station, he was a deacon of Central Baptist Church, where he also taught Newlywed Couples and Young Marrieds. Marks also participated in the Director’s Circle of the Bush Presidential Library Foundation, Texas A&M OPAS, and Breakaway Ministries.

Currently a deacon at Second Baptist Church of Houston, Marks served on the church’s Finance Committee and chaired the Second Baptist School Foundation Annual campaign. He currently serves as an advisory director of Cadence Bancorp, trustee of the Houston Furniture Bank, and chair of the Board of Directors of Houston’s A.D. Players, the nation’s largest faith-based theater organization. A regular guest lecturer at Mays, he serves on the 12th Man Foundation’s Ambassadors Council and the Texas A&M University System’s Chancellor’s Council.

Marks and his wife, Molly, have two daughters, Elizabeth ‘08 and Margaret (who are both married to Aggies), as well as four grandchildren.

Bradley R. Freels ’81

Freels, who holds a BBA and MBA from Mays Business School, has been an integral part of the growth of Midway, the privately owned, fully integrated real estate investment and development firm. He started at the company after graduating from the Mays MBA program and had a key role in opening Midway’s Houston office. Named a partner in 1990, Freels now serves as the company’s Chairman and CEO. He is the sole shareholder of Midway Holdings, LP, the holding company for an integrated group of real estate and investment-related companies that operate under the name Midway.

Thanks to his leadership, Midway has become one of the most active developer/investment owners in the greater Houston area. The company has developed and/or acquired more than 45 million square feet of office, industrial, hospitality, multifamily, medical, and retail properties in the United States and Northern Mexico. Additionally, Midway has more than 5,000 acres of business and residential communities in more than a dozen cities. “As a business, we try to create enduring investments and remarkable places that enrich people’s lives,” he said.

The company’s projects include CITYCENTRE (home of Mays CITYCENTRE, where Mays offers its Executive MBA and Professional MBA programs), East River, Kings Harbor, Green Street, Memorial Green, The Jones on Main, Avenue Grove, Kirby Grove, and Spring Trails. Midway also has developed projects in Bryan/College Station, including Century Square, Cavalry Court, The George, and 100 Park, and currently is leading the development of Aggie Park adjacent to Kyle Field. “What I get excited about is seeing people use those properties,” he said, pointing to Century Square as a prime example of the company’s work. “In College Station, the University was there before the city, so it never had a town center, a heartbeat. That’s what we are creating, and over time we’ll continue to do that.”

The Aggie is very involved in the Houston community. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Greater Houston Partnership and has been involved with numerous national and local business, educational, Christian, and charitable organizations. He’s also proud that Midway encourages employees to be actively involved in the community. “We’re fortunate enough to be able to give everybody a day a month to give back to the community,” he said. “You take those 12 days times 137 people (and) that’s a lot of days and a lot of intersections.”

Freels and his wife, Claudia ’82, have three adult children Clayton ’12, Kevin ’14, and Carly Whitehurst ’17, and two grandchildren.

Randy L. Hill ’83

After graduating from Mays Business School with a BBA in Accounting, Hill went to work for KPMG LLP—and remained with the firm until 2021. “[Texas] A&M breeds opportunities for you to land a good job and then just take off from there,” he said.

He has worked in KPMG’s Dallas and Houston offices, primarily as an audit partner. Hill specialized in serving energy, chemical, transportation, and other commercial clients both in the United States and across the globe. The business leader, who led the KPMG Dallas office’s audit practice for almost a decade, also served clients with his knowledge and skills of corporate board governance, merger and acquisitions transactions, complex audit and accounting matters, and capital market transactions.

In 2021, Hill became a partner in the Dallas office of Opportune LLP. The business advisory firm focuses on helping industry stakeholders manage energy challenges. Hill’s role focuses on bringing value and expertise to existing clients and developing new client relationships in the Dallas-Fort Worth market.

Hill has remained active in Mays. He was KPMG’s partner liaison with Mays for more than 15 years, helping to guide the company’s investment of time, talent, and treasure into the business school. As a result, KPMG–which was named Mays 2017 Corporate Partner of the Year–led several Mays fundraising campaigns over the years and the company’s gifts include a chair in accounting, a professorship in accounting, a fellowship, a data analytics/technology development endowment, and accounting scholarships. Hill was the recipient of the James Benjamin Department of Accounting’s inaugural Accounting Hall of Honor Award in 2016 and currently serves on the James Benjamin Department of Accounting Advisory Council

This Aggie has been very active in both the Dallas and Houston civic and charitable communities, primarily focusing his efforts on serving disadvantaged and lower-income families. He also has participated in fundraising efforts and activities to support South Dallas initiatives as a member of the Salesmanship Club of Dallas. Hill is active in his church, serving on the business advisory team.

Hill and his wife, Sandy, have two daughters, Bailey and Emma ’21.

Inspiration for Aggies

Throughout the evening, the latest inductees as Mays Outstanding Alumni were honored with standing ovations by more than 130 audience members, which included their family members, some of their classmates, and Mays’ administrators and faculty. Their recognition also offered inspiration for current Aggies who were in attendance, including Brown Scholars, Business Honors students, and Mays’ Ambassadors. “We are very proud of all Mays Business School graduates. We also are very proud of all current Mays Business School students,” Ireland said. “We know that your successes of today lay the foundation for you hopefully to become a recipient of the Outstanding Alumnus Award for Mays Business School in the future.”


Enjoy the special moments from the evening: 2021 Outstanding Alumni Awards dinner album

Categories: Alumni, Featured Stories, Former Students, Mays Business, Texas A&M

Mays Business School’s McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship is proud to publicly announce the companies that were honored at the 17th Annual Aggie 100®. The celebration, held on Friday, October 22, recognized the fastest-growing Aggie-owned or Aggie-led businesses from across Texas and around the world.

Companies earning their way into the Top 10 in 2021, with growth rate, are:

10. Coleman & Patterson of College Station, Texas – 85.332%

9. Trinity Hughes Construction of Wichita Falls, Texas – 95.496%

8. Selery Fulfillment of Carrollton, Texas – 100.591%

7. Bradley Construction Management of Dallas, Texas – 101.979%

6. WPForms of West Palm Beach, Florida – 107.037%

5. Farmer Law PC of Austin, Texas – 108.415%

4. Bowie Capital of Richardson, Texas – 132.767%

3. Clavis Capital Partners of Dallas, Texas – 142.241%

2. IDC Valores of Guatemala, Guatemala – 221.711%

1. The Albers Group LLC of McKinney, Texas – 321.829%

MB2 Dental, LLC of Carrollton, Texas was also recognized as the 2021 Summit Award Winner, having achieved an average revenue of $303,313,667. In addition, MB2 Dental ranked #24 in this year’s Aggie 100® and is joining a select number of companies to achieve both of these recognitions in the same year.

Launched in 2005, Aggie 100® has become one of the McFerrin Center’s most recognized programs and an aspirational goal for Aggie entrepreneurs around the world. To be considered for the Aggie 100®, companies (corporations, partnerships, and sole proprietorships) must operate in a manner consistent with the Aggie Code of Honor and in keeping with the values and image of Texas A&M University. They must also meet specific criteria, such as being in business for at least five years and having at least one Aggie as an owner and/or in a select leadership role.

“As we mark our 17th Annual Celebration of the Aggie 100® program, we applaud the ingenuity, determination, and success of Aggie Entrepreneurs across the globe by raising up our newest class of Aggie 100® honorees,” says Blake Petty ’98, Executive Director of the McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship. “Despite the tremendous challenges that all businesses have faced in the recent past (and present), the astounding levels of growth and prosperity exhibited by each member company in the Class of 2021 demands our respect, our recognition, and our privilege of welcoming them as the newest additions to our Aggie 100® family.”

A full listing of the 2021 Aggie 100® honorees with detailed ranking information was publicly released Friday evening and can be found at Aggie100.com.

About The McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship

Aggie 100® was created by the McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship which serves as the hub for entrepreneurship at Texas A&M University. The Center’s goal is to enhance entrepreneurial education by providing training, networking, and assistance to enterprising students, faculty, and former students.

The McFerrin Center enables the startup and growth of countless businesses and provides competitive opportunities, professional development, and financial support to aspiring entrepreneurs in the Aggie community through the support of a robust volunteer mentor network, corporate supporters, faculty, and staff.

The McFerrin Center defines entrepreneurship as an attitude that acts upon opportunity. In this spirit, the Center strives to deliver programs and events that are inspiring, engaging, motivating, and life changing. This philosophy has resulted in the McFerrin Center offering over 30 unique programs each year that positively impact the lives of thousands of students, veterans, and other professionals seeking to blaze their own trail as an entrepreneur.

 

###

Media contact: Shanna Spencer, Assistant Director, McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship, shannaspencer@tamu.edu

Categories: Centers, Entrepreneurship, Mays Business, McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship, News, Programs, Texas A&M

#1 Texas Program - Texas A&M EMBA - Financial Times '21

Mays Business School’s EMBA program lands No. 15 in the U.S. in 2021 rankings

Texas A&M’s Executive MBA (EMBA) program, offered by Mays Business School, has been named the No. 1 program in Texas and the No. 5 program offered by a public university in the U.S. according to Financial Times. The rankings are based on surveys of 2018 graduates concerning salary, career progress, and overall satisfaction post-graduation.

“This ranking highlights Mays Business School’s commitment to delivering a rigorous program to the contemporary student during the pandemic and beyond in an effort to advance the world’s prosperity, which is our school’s vision,” says R. Duane Ireland, Ph.D., Interim Dean for Mays Business School.

The EMBA program lasts 21 months with an interdisciplinary curriculum that emphasizes experiential learning and intellectually stimulating activities and features a flexible format for busy leaders.

“The students’ personal and professional transformations in the Mays Executive MBA are real. Whether they are heading to the c-suite, leading an organization, or pursuing an entrepreneurial career, the expertise of our faculty provides the foundation for students to develop their executive skillset. Having one of the more experienced cohorts in the nation adds to the rich learning environment and increases the value of the Aggie network,” says Julie Orzabal, director of the program.

“The aim of the faculty in our graduate programs is not only to impart business acumen and technical skills for our students but to also engage them in wider conversations about leadership and inclusivity,” said Arvind Mahajan, Ph.D., associate dean for graduate programs for Mays Business School. “This holistic and innovative curriculum is what has the most significant effect on our students.”

Applications for entering the program in the fall of 2022 are open now for Texas A&M’s MBA programs – including Full-Time, Professional, and Executive MBA Programs. For more information, visit mba.tamu.edu. Or, learn more specifically about the EMBA program by visiting: learn.mays.tamu.edu/emba

Categories: Featured Stories, Former Students, Mays Business, MBA, News, Programs, Rankings, Texas A&M

Mays Business School at Texas A&M University celebrated the unveiling of the Accenture Business Honors Office Suite with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday, September 23, 2021. The event was attended by Mays Business Honors students, Mays leaders, faculty, and staff as well as Accenture team members.

The Accenture Business Honors Office Suite’s renovation creates an inviting and colorful space where faculty, staff, and students meet. The office suite features a wall display depicting the history of the nation’s higher education honors’ programs, which started in the early 1900s. “We love our office space,” said Kris Morley, director of Mays Business Honors Program. “I literally walk in every morning and smile. It’s bright and colorful, and we get to work with great people.

Strengthening Bonds

The renovated office suite, which was funded through a gift from Accenture in 2019, underscores the strong partnership between Mays and Accenture. “A corporate partner means that the organization—Accenture, in this case—is very supportive of our vision, mission, and values. There’s strong commonality between our six Aggie Core Values and those of Accenture,” said Mays Interim Dean R. Duane Ireland. “There’s also alignment between our vision to advance the world’s prosperity and what Accenture seeks to do through its work as an organization in the private sector. We’d like to thank Accenture for being a great, great corporate partner.”

These shared values strengthen the partnership. “Texas A&M’s Core Values are very similar (to Accenture’s),” said Blake Pounds ’89,  Accenture’s senior client account director. “I think that’s what really makes Accenture and Texas A&M such a good cultural fit.”

The creation of the Accenture Business Honors Office Suite is a natural extension of the company’s ongoing collaboration with Mays Business Honors Program, which began in 2015. “Accenture started funding our summer reading program and bought books for all of the students in our program,” Morley said. “But they didn’t just buy books; they came every fall and joined in the book discussions.”

This collaboration—which continues to involve the investment of Accenture’s time, talent, and treasure in Mays Business Honors students and offerings—is growing. The company also is involved in the Mays Leaders Forum, case competitions, and presentations such as a 2019 Design Thinking workshop.

Expanding Accenture’s Influence

The company continues to look for new ways to support Mays’ efforts, including funding scholarships and offering internships. Most recently, Accenture created an endowment that underwrites Mays Inclusive Student Leadership Program’s activities. As part of this effort, four Accenture team members were the featured presenters at the August kickoff workshop attended by over 50 Mays student leaders. “Our student leaders are provided with opportunities to learn how to lead in an inclusive manner,” Ireland said. “All of us are very dedicated to the importance of diversity, inclusion and engagement, but this generous gift gives us an opportunity to provide superior learning experiences for our student leaders and make certain that everything we do within organizations is, in fact, oriented to diversity, inclusion and engagement.”

These various efforts give Accenture leaders an opportunity to interact with and recruit top Mays’ students. “We love hiring Aggies who come out of the Business Honors program because they hit the ground running,” said Pounds, a member of one of Mays Business Honors’ initial cohorts and a recipient of Mays Business School’s 2020 Outstanding Alumnus Award. “They have leadership skills, poise, and confidence. They know how to analytically solve problems and challenges that our clients are facing. They thrive in our organization.”

The partnership also prepares Mays’ students for success following graduation. “I’m such a huge proponent of the things that Mays and Business Honors do for their students,” said Landry Strawbridge ’22, who works in the Business Honors office, interned with Accenture, and plans to join the company after graduation. “I appreciate the way the Honors Program Staff engages with us and wants to get to know us for who we are and help us find out who we want to be. Accenture has the same approach—and Mays equipped me to succeed in my internship and beyond.”

Categories: Business Honors, Donors Corner, Mays Business, News, Texas A&M

Mays Business School’s Master of Science in Analytics (MS Analytics) program welcomed one of its most diverse and talented classes of working professionals in August 2021. This cohort–the program’s ninth–will spend five semesters learning to apply statistical modeling methods to big data to solve business problems.

39% of the students are female, 35% are Hispanic, and 9% are Black. One-third of this cohort holds advanced degrees. Additionally, these students average 14 years of full-time work experience in over 20 industries. “Analytics programs globally seek to become more diverse to best meet the industry needs and contribute to the diversity of ideas as technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning continue to develop,” said MS Analytics program director Myra Gonzalez.

To further Mays’ vision of advancing the world’s prosperity and improving quality of life, the MS Analytics program awards two scholarships to students who work in the non-profit sector. The ninth cohort’s scholarship recipients are Kimberly Hernandez ’23 and William Jinkins ’23.

Analyzing Success

The MS Analytics program has a strong history of preparing students to continue to succeed in their careers. Approximately 80% of the Class of 2021 received one raise during the program while 29% reported earning several raises during the five-semester period. Additionally, almost 70% of this cohort reported a new job title while enrolled in the program.

The students’ organizations also benefit. The Class of 2021 created an estimated $18.2 million in average annual value, demonstrating a true return on investment for their companies. “We’re excited when our students apply what they learned in class to their job,” said Javier Aldape, MS Analytics program manager. “That is what our program is intended to do!”

This return on investment makes Mays MS Analytics a top choice for students who want a critical edge professionally. “I’m analytical and can work in teams, but I needed an extra push to give me a competitive edge. This program will provide me with it,” said Victor Frausto ’23, who lives in El Paso, TX and works for a federal agency. “My boss tells me that we need to look at the data. It’s telling a story and we need to understand it to work smarter.”

Creating Applied Knowledge

Texas A&M’s MS Analytics is a part-time master’s degree program designed for busy working professionals who are interested in learning more about this rapidly growing area of study. “Given our current uncertain times, many students pursued admission in order to future proof their careers.” said Aldape.

Classes include regression analysis, time series, financial analytics, machine learning, marketing engineering, and data warehousing. The curriculum incorporates real-world case studies and the most current analytics tools. Students also develop business, technical and leadership skills.

Additionally, students’ coursework supports their capstone project. Partnering with a project coach, students use organizational data to build a predictive model that solves an important business question.

The program uses a hybrid instructional model that allows students to attend class in-person or virtually. A record 60% of the new cohort–including 21% who live outside of Texas—plan to virtually attend classes, which meet at Mays’ campus at CityCentre Houston. “I had the pleasure of visiting a class via stream this summer before I enrolled,” said Chelsea Horne ’23, who lives in Pennsylvania. “I liked the dynamics of it. The professor was explaining, and both sets of students had an equal participation. I didn’t feel there was a disconnect between in-person and video stream students. That solidified my commitment in the program and I’m looking forward to a wonderful five semesters.”

Applications for entry in the fall of 2022 are open now for Texas A&M’s MS Analytics program. For more information, visit mays.tamu.edu/ms-analytics.

Categories: Diversity and Inclusion, Featured Stories, Mays Business, News, Programs, Students, Texas A&M