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