Three distinguished Texas A&M University graduates—Porter S. Garner III ’79, Dr. Eli Jones ’82, ’86, ’97, and Brian K. Pinto ’93—received one of Mays Business School’s top honors, the 2022 Outstanding Alumni Award. The trio was recognized during a celebratory dinner at The Stella Hotel on April 28, 2022.
This award spotlights former students who exemplify transformational leadership in their profession and community, as well as their service to Mays. “These honorees are leading lives of distinction,” said Mays Interim Dean R. Duane Ireland. “They embody the Core Aggie Values of respect, excellence, loyalty, leadership, integrity, and selfless service, while they support their communities as well as Mays and our universities.”
The active involvement of Mays former students is an integral part of the school’s success, as illustrated by their support for the new Business Education Complex (BEC), which is set to break ground in October. Moving forward, Mays is committed to becoming the preeminent public business school in the United States. “We are developing a strategy through which this objective will be reached,” he said. “Obviously, this is a very exciting time for Mays Business School. We are confident that by implementing our strategy, we will advance the world’s prosperity, which is our vision, by reaching our three-part mission, which is to create a vibrant learning organization, produce impactful research, and develop transformational leaders.”
Ireland stressed that Mays continues to hone its focus on excellence. “At Mays, we are one—one school, one vision to advance the world’s prosperity, and one Spirit captured primarily by our Aggie Core Values,” he said. “Being one is the building block for Mays to become the preeminent business school in the United States.”
Porter S. Garner III ’79
Garner’s love of Texas A&M was sparked while watching his first Aggie Muster on the banks of the Rio Grande River. “Watching the emotions and the profound reactions of my dad and other Aggies talking about their classmates and friends from A&M is what first motivated me and inspired me to say to myself—even at a young age—I want to be part of that,” he said.
He enrolled at Texas A&M and earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing before joining Hughes Tool Company. Two years later, he returned to Texas A&M as Field Director for The Association of Former Students and began to build an illustrious career.
Yet, one of his crowning achievements at The Association–being unanimously elected as chief executive, making him the seventh professional leader in The Association’s 143-year history—was preceded by the fall of Bonfire in 1999. “Those were indelible moments in my career because I saw the Aggie Spirit at its finest moment,” he said. “I saw the Aggie Network rally and support fellow Aggies, most of whom they never met and didn’t know. But all that mattered was they were Texas Aggies—and that began to shape my early CEO years because I thought differently than perhaps I had before November 18.”
During his 22-year tenure as the Association’s president and CEO, Garner has helped the organization grow into the premier alumni organization through enhancing its programs and services and broadening its reach and relevance to the global Aggie Network. Additionally, The Association of Former Students’ total assets have grown from $55 million to $190 million under Garner’s leadership. The organization also has raised over $400 million to support Texas A&M and individual Aggies during his tenure as CEO.
What continues at the forefront is the importance of Aggie Traditions. “There’s an old adage that the longer I live, the more I see both in my personal life and in my professional life—The more things change, the more they stay the same,” Garner said. “And I’ve seen it come full circle at Texas A&M with traditions and experiences. And while we are on the cutting edge on so many fronts at Texas A&M, we’re still doing things that are traditional, that are desired, and that are meaningful. I think it speaks to the value of tradition and why those many traditions are important to who we are as Texas Aggies.”
An active member of the Bryan/College Station community, Garner serves on the board of Baylor Scott & White Hospital—College Station Region and has a lifetime membership in the Brazos County A&M Club. Garner and his wife, Lisa ’91, are Endowed Century Club donors to the Association of Former Students, Eppright Distinguished Donors, and members of the Texas A&M Legacy Society. They also have three children, Claire ’21, Callie ’23, and Porter IV ’26.
Dr. Eli Jones ’82, ’86, ’97
Amid the promotions and accolades that Jones has received during his academic career, the Mays marketing professor and former Dean of Mays Business School ultimately sees himself as an educator. “What inspires and motivates me is watching leaders grow,” Jones said. “I love developing leaders, and I love the fact that we are all in on transformational leadership because we get the chance to watch students develop. They go on to be very successful; the cream rises to the top.”
Among the first generation in his family to attend college, Jones initially worked in sales and sales management for three Fortune 500 global companies before moving into higher education. He held faculty and administrative roles at the University of Houston before serving as dean at Louisiana State University’s E.J. Ourso College of Business and at the University of Arkansas’s Sam M. Walton College of Business.
Yet, throughout these experiences, Texas A&M and Mays Business School remained home. He returned to Texas A&M to become Mays Business School’s dean in 2015. “When I think about Texas A&M, I think about the people–it’s the people that we hire, it’s the people who are impacting our lives,” he said. “When I would leave Mays Business School to go off and do something else and then come back—and I did that several times—every time I came back, I reconnected with those folks who actually touched my life in a dramatic way. Now it’s my opportunity to give back to them and recognize them, and that part is really special.”
In the role of dean, he oversaw the launching of a campaign to fund the BEC and collaborated with others to help Mays reach 147% of its Lead by Example campaign goal. He also led efforts to develop Mays’ strategic plan in 2016, which still influences the school today. Jones expanded Mays’ media and communications capacity, and also facilitated the establishment of several centers.
The Peggy Mays Eminent Scholar’s work as a leading academic also has received widespread recognition. Jones’ research in sales and sales management has been published in top academic journals, and he has written several published books. Jones also has received numerous Excellence in Teaching awards at the university, national and international levels for his work teaching undergraduate, MBA, and executive education students.
He has been recognized as the 2009 Outstanding Doctoral Alumnus by Mays’ Department of Marketing and the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Marketing Association (AMA) Sales Special Interest Group. Jones was inducted into the Ph.D. Project Hall of Fame and recognized as a “Most Influential Black Corporate Director” by Savoy magazine in 2021. That same year, the Association of Former Students’ Black Former Students honored Jones with the Aggie Impact Award. In 2022, Jones received the AMA-Irwin-McGraw-Hill Distinguished Marketing Educator Award and the Academy of Marketing Science (AMS) CUTCO/Vector Distinguished Marketing Educator Award.
Jones and his wife, Fern, have four children and 10 grandchildren. He also currently serves on the boards of Insperity, Invesco Funds, and First Financial Bank.
The former dean encourages everyone he meets—and especially the students he interacts with—to embrace faith. “When I look back at the incredible things that have happened to myself and my family, faith has always been embedded in that,” he said. “When I started believing in a higher power, I started building the confidence to do some things out of my comfort zone. But I had to have a foundation, and that became the foundation.”
Brian K. Pinto ’93
Pinto is committed to teamwork—and credits Mays for helping him learn to work collaboratively. “What inspires me is winning together as a team, working together to overcome some sort of challenge or to reach a goal,” he said. “I look back at Texas A&M and all the opportunities I had to network and learn. That’s really contributed to my success.”
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a master’s degree in Tax, Pinto started at Anderson and then joined Deloitte in 2002, where he has had a stellar career. In his previous role as the global business change storefront leader, Pinto worked with mergers and acquisitions, post-merger integration, and value chain alignment. He also was the Central Region managing partner for International Tax and Transfer Pricing Services, as well as the national operations leader for the U.S. International Tax and Transfer Pricing practice.
Pinto currently serves as the Global Lead Client Service Partner and Global Lead Tax Partner on some of the firm’s largest accounts. He also is the Global Leader for Mergers & Acquisitions for Deloitte’s Tax and Legal business, the U.S. Tax Leader for the Technology, Media, and Telecommunications Industry team, and a member of the U.S. Global Business Council. He also has consistently been included as a leading tax professional in the Guide to the World’s Leading Tax Advisors.
From his professional perspective, Pinto sees great opportunities for Mays graduates. “We’re in a golden age of business, in terms of transformation, M&A, and regulatory change,” he said. “Mays is preparing our students to lead the way.”
Active in Deloitte’s initiatives around diversity, equity, and inclusion, Pinto has focused on increasing the company’s recruitment, development, and retention of women and diverse talent. To that end, he serves as the Advisory Leader University Partner for Texas A&M University, where he works closely with administration, faculty, and students to utilize Deloitte’s resources to support the university’s success across campus. Pinto also maintains a visible presence across campus as a frequent guest lecturer.
Pinto and his wife, Lori, have established the Lori and Brian Pinto Foundation Excellence Award (FEA) in Accounting. He is a member of the 12th Man Foundation, where he is an Eppright Distinguished Donor and a member of the 12th Man Foundation Champion’s Council. Pinto also is a member of the Dallas A&M Club, the United Way, the Ruth Sharp Altshuler Tocqueville Society, and the Trinity Christian Academy Dad’s Club.
Yet despite his busy schedule, Pinto wants to remain engaged in his alma mater. “I stay involved in Mays because I’m passionate about the university; it means a lot to me,” he said. “I love what we’re doing at Mays as an advisory board and as a group of Aggies to differentiate Mays and set it apart from all the other peer schools,” he said. “I feel like the team that we have pulled together, and the resources that we’re putting toward the Wehner expansion and our FEA scholarships and all the different ways we’re making impacts will differentiate Mays Business School from its peers. I want to do my part to help the team win.”
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