AUTHOR’S NOTE

From September 15 to October 15, we celebrate people and traditions of Hispanic Heritage – those who have come before us, and the leaders of tomorrow. We recognize their achievement, honor their cultures, and commemorate the heritage and history of Hispanic Americans who have helped shape the face of America. Mays Business school recognizes the remarkable contributions of its Hispanic American students, faculty, staff, and former students who continue to advance the world’s prosperity.

Steve Arizpe ’79, President and COO of premier professional employer organization (PEO), Insperity, credits much of the work ethic and relationship savvy that have shaped his success to his Hispanic heritage. Arizpe connects with Mays about Hispanic Heritage Month, coming of age in San Antonio, Texas, and what it takes to translate “good bull” into good business.

Early life

Steve Arizpe was born the third of five kids to parents of Hispanic descent in San Antonio, Texas. His father’s ancestors came from Spain and his mother’s from Mexico, but both grew up working alongside their siblings on family farms just outside of San Antonio. “My mom was one of 10 and my dad was one of 12; in that era as my great-grandparents built a family, they were really growing a workforce.” To this day he marvels that his parents paid for all five of him and his siblings to attend college, and at his father’s astuteness to invest in a home in Bryan as his oldest brother set off for Texas A&M.

Arizpe’s father worked full time for the US Department of Defense by day, and moonlighted as an entrepreneur, steadily building a technology repair business. His mother was a self-taught math whiz with a fourth grade education, who worked to ensure the fledgling business was on budget and account balanced. Arizpe spent summers apprenticing in the family business and saw firsthand the hard work and dedication required to provide more for a family than preceding generations could offer. His dad helped him carry forward a tireless, generational work ethic and prudent financial management skills, while his mother cultivated a penchant for relationship and engaging others. This combination served Arizpe well as he embarked on his time in business school at Texas A&M – and, of course, beyond – as he began to shape his career.

Striving for more

Growing up in schools in the Alamo Heights area of San Antonio, Arizpe never felt deprived but was acutely aware of his distinct upbringing compared to peers. “We always had plenty to eat and plenty to do,” but he was exposed to another world that opened his eyes to new possibilities. Unsurprisingly, he never saw lack of privilege as a deterrent, but a motivator. He felt proud of where he came from, blessed by family and provision but still eager for more –  saw the lifestyle of peers and instead of feeling more was unattainable, was struck with an immovable sense of self determination. He looked at the world around him and – with remarkable self-assuredness for a teenager – thought, “I can take one of two divergent paths here, either ‘that will never be me’ or ‘why can’t that be me?’ And I chose the latter.”

He never felt like a racial minority, but as a socioeconomic minority in his district, he also never felt like an outsider. He observed, and subsequently emulated, the idea that we treat all people with respect and dignity, socially and professionally. “Whether you are interacting with the CEO or the lowest level employee.” He understood that success isn’t yielded without sacrifices and set out ready to do the work that would be required to achieve big things.

Relationships and cultural influence

Coming from a generation where assimilation was paramount, parents didn’t pass the Spanish language onto their children. Despite growing up in San Antonio with a roughly 70% Hispanic population, the goal of most Hispanic families was still absolute acculturation into established U.S. cultural norms. “We didn’t grow up speaking Spanish at home, but with 60-80 aunts, uncles and cousins attending your average Sunday back-yard BBQ, we absorbed a lot – not just the language but core tenants of the Hispanic culture.” Among those are an instinct to prioritize family, and a natural inclusivity in the definition of who ‘family’ covers. “For us family first looks like, when someone is in need, we’re all in need,” notes Arizpe. “You step up to fill the gap.”

His family first, and inclusive outlook translates into the way he runs his business. Insperity is a missionally minded company, always grounded in their rallying cry of “helping businesses succeed so communities can prosper.” During the economic downturn of 2008, Arizpe and his colleagues saw the significant impacts of layoffs on a city and community, “that’s why we need businesses to succeed, because the economic and cultural impact on the community is tangible.” He and the 4,000 Insperity employees set about creating opportunities for that success. That community-centric perspective comes naturally to Arizpe in one of many ways he reflects his Hispanic heritage in everything he does.

Breaking down barriers

“The Hispanic culture is embracing, in both the broadest figurative sense – and, of course – literally.” The emphasis on community, hospitality and common ground Arizpe credits to his Hispanic culture, are mirrored in the culture of Texas A&M and find a natural commonality in Arizpe as he brings these values to bear in the workplace. As a Latino and an Aggie, Arizpe is heavy on the importance of culture in forging teams, breaking down barriers and bridging gaps.

“The ability to interact with others in a productive and healthy way is something we can’t take for granted,” shares Arizpe, who is known for bridge-building between areas of an organization with competing interests. “We all have differences and they are real, but communicating comfortably with common respect and a goal of mutual understanding breaks down barriers.”

One place he’s applied these skills at Insperity is in navigating the tensions between divisions of Sales and Operations. When Arizpe moved from Vice President of Sales to Executive Vice President of Client Services (or Operations) at Insperity he insightfully notes, “I went from making the promises to the customer in sales, to having to fulfill those promises in operations.” With his sales background, Arizpe had unique insights (for an operations lead) into the organically occurring frictions that often arise between Sales and Ops. He leveraged these insights to build more collaborative teams and relationships, requiring that operations personnel spent some time in the shoes of the sales team, and vice versa. To this day these teams boast an uncommon mutual respect and appreciation, linking these areas of the company in a unique and unprecedented way.

Know your audience – don’t settle

Insperity is a premier PEO that provides premium services to premium clients. For the company, the ‘premier’ label is more than a branding tactic. It’s a concept they take seriously from the quality of services they provide to the prerequisite expectations for potential and active clients. “We take pride in working with business owners who have a ‘getting better agenda.’” Arizpe expands, “the psychographic profile of our ideal client is specific; we work with folks who want to pay people more and provide the best benefits, not those looking to do the bare minimum in compensating their employees.” 

Practically speaking, Arizpe and the team at Insperity help empower these like-minded organizations to achieve an employee-centric outlook. Working with business from 5-5,000 employees, they provide administrative relief and comprehensive HR Resources. And by pooling the 300,000 employees represented under their umbrella, Insperity can pursue better benefits and reduced operational costs they pass on to their clients. The results are significant, “by working as a part of our network, a 30-person company is empowered to compete with big businesses for talent; and companies are encouraged to offer better benefit and compensation packages to their teams.” With 90 offices across the country, Arizpe’s shared excitement with his employees is still so high – “there is still tremendous opportunity for growth, to better the companies and communities we serve.”

Full circle

Arizpe was a Mays Business School student before Mays was Mays, but got to see the tradition carried forward in his own family as his daughter went on to be a Mays student. His ability to cultivate meaningful relationships and prioritize family are evidenced in his 40+ year marriage; closeness with his four children (three of whom work at Insperity); and the joy he takes in his nine grandchildren. 

Asked about retirement he was quick to note he doesn’t have a set date, and that steady work ethic holds strong. While he knows the moment will come to step aside to give others the opportunity to lead, he’s not rushing it. “I’ll retire when it’s not fun anymore,” he pauses. “As long as it’s fun and I still feel like I’m making a difference, I want to be here.”

TAKE THE NEXT STEP

Categories: Diversity and Inclusion, Executive Speakers, Featured Stories, Former Students, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Perspectives, Spotlights, Texas A&M

Author’s Note

From September 15 to October 15, we celebrate people and traditions of Hispanic Heritage – those who have come before us, and the leaders of tomorrow. We recognize their achievement, honor their cultures, and commemorate the heritage and history of Hispanic Americans who have helped shape the face of America. Mays Business school recognizes the remarkable contributions of its Hispanic American students, faculty, staff, and former students who continue to advance the world’s prosperity.

In the Beginning

With roots in Argentina, Mexico, and the United States, Celeste Nava ’23, Business Honors student, embodies the hard work and determination underwriting the Hispanic American experience. Nava, who graduated Valedictorian from her high school, set a high bar and clear goals. A first-generation college student, given the opportunity to attend virtually any university, she only had eyes for Texas A&M.

“Call it tunnel vision, I only applied to Texas A&M,” shared Nava. “The school, the network, the students – from the moment I first stepped foot on campus, I knew this was the place I needed to be.” One college application and acceptance letter later, Nava began her journey as a Mays freshman eager to achieve academic success but also ambitious to show her leadership chops beyond the classroom. She knew Mays could offer her the resources, direction, educational value, and opportunities to prove herself that every college student longs for. Now, stepping into her senior year, Nava reflects on all she’s accomplished and experienced in her time at Texas A&M – the good, the great, and the struggle.

Excelling in Aggieland

With a vision for her future that included lofty goals and bigger dreams, Nava quickly found herself in the Aggie community, immediately buying into the tradition and culture, connecting with the people around her. As a freshman, the next step in her plan included academic exceptionalism at Mays, as she applied to the Business Honors Program.

Although excited and determined, when it came time for her to interview for the Honors program, Nava felt overwhelmed by anxiety and fear. Describing the emotions that accompanied her application process, Nava was transparent about the challenges.  Even as a student excelling academically, she stated, “I didn’t know how competitive the program was, I just wanted to apply even if it was a long shot.” Despite her trepidation, Celeste wowed the committee. “I was so vulnerable with them! I cried during my interview,” sharing that, “despite being unsure of what to say, I knew I wanted to be a part of this program!” Her passion, personality, and intelligence made up for any uncertainty, Nava’s authenticity during her interview left the Mays representatives uniquely in awe.

Self-doubt and anxiety lingered in the weeks that followed. “There was no way I was getting in after my interview… I mean I just cried!” explained Nava. “I thought, it’s not going to happen for me.” But the Business Honors team was as excited to accept Celeste as she was to join the group. Nava’s ability to be vulnerable, honest, and open has underscored her successes at Texas A&M. In concert with those traits, her dynamic energy and penchant for encouragement leave an indelible imprint on everyone she meets. Part of what makes her so relatable is her imperfect path to success.

Turning Struggle to Success

Like many other students, Nava is no stranger to trial and tribulation. Spanish is her first language, and learning English afforded her empathy and a fresh perspective toward others facing obstacles. “I felt that I was a part of two different worlds,” she shared. Growing up, Nava struggled to communicate with teachers and had difficulty making friends because of the language barrier. “It’s great now, being bilingual, but it took 21 years of perseverance.” Nava participated in multiple ESL (English as a Second Language) programs as she worked to master English and to overcome the challenges of communicating simultaneously in two different languages. Simultaneously, she navigated the complexity of two distinct cultural perspectives — her interactions with her family and her connections with her school community. Instead of derailing her efforts, Nava’s struggles nurtured her high-achieving work ethic and determination.

Now, she’s leveraging those experiences to make a difference in the Aggie community. This year as a senior, Nava is the Minority Outreach Director of Howdy Crew (Texas A&M’s welcoming committee for prospective students) where she has been a powerful advocate for students for whom English is not their first language. Wanting to create a sense of belonging for students like herself, Celeste’s ears perked when students reached out to Howdy Crew to request Spanish Speaking interpreters for campus tours.  To her dismay, none were available –  an opportunity for the impact she couldn’t ignore. In her role, Nava was able to establish a program for (and to train) Spanish-speaking tour guides to hold campus tours in Spanish. “Now Spanish-speaking students and families can be just as engaged as their English-speaking counterparts in getting to know Texas A&M,” shared Nava, “and hopefully they can experience that same sense of belonging that defined my introduction to Aggieland.”

Continuing to Grow

Nava is bold and determined, steadfast in her desire to make an impact both on and off campus. When asked about a prospective career path, her answer has been consistent since early high school: a lawyer, with a specific interest in criminal defense. Like many students, she sought an internship in her field of interest and found one, through a client of her parents.  When the time came to tap into the Aggie network, her father knew just who to ask. So, for the past two summers, Nava has interned with Criminal Defense Attorney, Mark Lassiter ’02 (also a Mays former student). Nava experienced Aggies helping Aggies firsthand, and Lassiter is just as grateful to work alongside her, “Celeste has become an invaluable member of my office since she began as an intern,” shared Lassiter. “She is loyal to a fault and her integrity is unparalleled.” Nava has gained real-world experience and learned a lot from this Aggie-led team. With her dedication to the law office, her studies, and her leadership in multiple organizations at Mays, Nava inspires those in her university community to strive for more, those who share her Hispanic heritage, and those who don’t.

Mays’ vision is to advance the world’s prosperity. In keeping with that focus, the school prioritizes leveraging the strengths of its diverse student population, as part of its efforts to equip the next generation of leaders. With students like Celeste Nava, Mays will further its mission, all while equipping its students to make a valuable impact in their communities. Nava’s story is unique, and she strives to leverage her experiences and education to change the world, one step at a time. But the advantages that come with being a part of the Mays family are not lost on her. “Mays is like a tunnel; the way you go in is not the same way you come out,” she shared. Certainly, Nava has laid the foundation for students like herself to drive forward progress, walking out of the tunnel with more heart and determination than when they started. Nava may have roots in multiple worlds, but she is right at home in her Aggie community and is committed to helping others feel that same sense of belonging.

Take the next step

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

Texas A&M’s Business School honors the firm for advancing their mission

Three leaders holding awards

Texas A&M’s Mays Business School is pleased to announce Deloitte as its 2022 Partner of the Year. Mays Business School presented the award at a ceremony on Friday, September 16, which included roundtable discussions featuring Deloitte leaders and students.

Ahead of the ceremony, Deloitte representatives met with Texas A&M Vice President and Associate Provost for Diversity Dr. Annie McGowan and Professional Program in Accounting interns. Interim Dean Ricky W. Griffin presented the 2022 Partner of the Year Award to Deloitte.

RECOGNIZING A LEADING MAYS PARTNER

Deloitte gives a gig 'em celebrating Partner of the YearSince 2016, the Partner of the Year honor has been given to organizations that have achieved excellence in advancing Mays’ vision – providing career opportunities, developing quality professionals, and investing intellectual and financial capital toward the realization of Mays’ mission.

“Mays is fortunate to have so many stellar partnerships with a wide array of organizations,” said Interim Dean Ricky W. Griffin. “Our vision to advance the world’s prosperity is made possible by these organizations. Those who have received the Partner of the Year recognition from Mays have taken the responsibility of partnership to a new level.”

BUSINESS LEADER

Deloitte provides industry-leading audit, consulting, tax, and advisory services to many of the world’s most admired brands, including nearly 90% of the Fortune 500®, more than 7,000 private companies, numerous government agencies, and higher education institutions.

Building on more than 175 years of service, Deloitte’s network of member firms spans more than 150 countries and territories. At Texas A&M, Deloitte has developed deep ties with Mays, as well as with the broader university community.

Students listen to the presentation celebrating Partner of the Year 2022“Deloitte offers a wide variety of internships and employment opportunities to our students and their professionals have consistently visited us in Aggieland to speak in our classrooms and events,” Griffin said. “Deloitte goes above and beyond in their selfless service of Mays and Texas A&M through their time and talent. They are phenomenal partners, on campus and off, and we are delighted to honor them.”

“Deloitte is proud to be able to make an impact at Texas A&M and is honored to be recognized with this award. Our team — including 983 Aggies who are Deloitte professionals — wants to see Texas A&M, Mays, the students, faculty and administration be successful,” said Amy Chronis, Houston managing partner, Deloitte LLP. “We are thrilled to continue to deepen our work with Texas A&M and Mays through faculty development, curriculum support, enhanced student experiences, and strategy development.”

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Initiated in 2016, Mays’ Partner of the Year has previously been awarded to Phillips 66, KPMG, EY, and Reynolds and Reynolds.

Please see www.deloitte.com/us/about for a detailed description of Deloitte’s legal structure.

Categories: Alumni, Executive Speakers, Featured Stories, Former Students, Mays Business, News, Programs, Students, Texas A&M

In late July, Michelle Fraire ’22, Mays Marketing Communications Student Assistant, asked Trevor Hale ’97, Clinical Professor of Business Analytics at Mays Business School, about his experience as a Senior Faculty Fellow in the Office of Naval Research (ONR) Summer Faculty Research Program (SFRP).

Enjoy the interaction:

Fraire: 1. In your words, what is this program and why does it matter?

Hale: The Office of Naval Research (ONR) Summer Faculty Research Program (SFRP) is run by the ONR and supports about 75 faculty members and their research efforts at various US Navy research labs and bases across the country. The goal is to unite Naval facilities that have some research needs with university faculty that have relevant research skills. The result is a nice win-win. (Visit the official Navy website for program information.)

Fraire: 2. What has been the highlight of your experience so far?

San Nicolas Island. Credit: Flickr: twiga_swala

Hale: There are a bunch. If I had to pick one, I’d have to say that one was today. This summer was my (unprecedented) fifth ONR SFRP. I’ve spent the summers of 2009, 2011, 2013, 2017, and (now) 2022 in Port Hueneme, California. And today (July 25, 2022) I went out and back (a 16-minute flight each way from and to US Naval Air Station Point Mugu) to San Nicolas Island …a completely US military island that the US Navy acquired in 1933. It was awesome to see.

Fraire: 3. What of this experience has had the greatest impact on what you want for your career going forward, if at all?

Hale: The joke is I now have California residency as I’ve now spent 52 weeks there…albeit spread over five summers at 10 weeks and change each time. As for impact, they have varied. One of those summers has resulted in a journal article in energy management. One summer resulted in a white paper that was snail-mailed to 535 particular offices in Washington, DC. One summer I’m not allowed to talk about as it was a classified project. This summer was about reaching out to potential academic partners to be part of the new Microgrid Academy that my supervisor, Dr. Bill Anderson, started about a year ago. Among about a hundred others, this included inviting, of course, Dr. Stratos Pistikopoulos, the Director of the Texas A&M Energy Institute.

Fraire: 4. What is something you’ve learned about yourself that you didn’t know before you started this program?

Hale: I learned that I am more resilient than I thought I was. I am able to immerse myself in someone else’s research. As an academic and as an American, I am proud that I can support the US Navy…if only in a small way.

Fraire: 5. What do you find the most rewarding about participating in this program?

Hale: The most rewarding part of participating in the ONR Summer Faculty Research Program is being part of team US Navy. This may sound a little hyper-patriotic but it is so true. Like Mays, we…the United States Navy…really are a family. Mission-driven but family at heart. My brother (a 6’4”, West Point alum, US Army Lieutenant Colonel version of me) might disagree but he’d be wrong.

Fraire: 6. How is this program related to your interests and field of research?

Hale: My Ph.D. student, Aaron Heinrich, has started and will be writing a dissertation in the energy management arena. Aaron is a Navy veteran. The synergy therein is downright palpable.

Fraire: 7. When you’re not conducting research, how do you spend your time off?

Hale: In the ‘year’ of my life that I’ve been out here, I have surfed at Rincon Point, I have had brunch at Geoffrey’s two tables down from Tom Hanks, I have ridden my bicycle from Ventura up to Ojai and back on a 15 mile bike-only bike path (probably 5 or 6 times), I have played sand volleyball at my office on Naval Base Ventura County during my lunch hour as well as at the infamous East Beach in Santa Barbara. I have visited Cal Poly – San Luis Obispo, UCSB, UCLA, UCSD, USC, Claremont McKenna, Cal State – Northridge, and nearby Cal State – Channel Islands…which was founded just 20 years ago in 2002. I rode my beach cruiser up and down the Venice Beach boardwalk. I have visited a friend in Goleta, a cousin in La Jolla, and a best friend in Ventura. I have hiked the nearby mountains and I have strolled across the base. I have stayed off base at the Embassy Suites Mandalay Beach Resort and I have stayed on base in ‘BEQs’ (Bachelor Enlisted Quarters). I have played golf on the base at the Seabee Golf Course as well as off base at private Riviera Country Club with a member. In both 2009 and 2011 when my daughter, Lauren, was younger (she just celebrated her 21st birthday the other day) I spent three-day weekends at Disneyland and had tea and crumpets with the Princesses….IYKYK.


Professor Trevor HaleTrevor Hale is a clinical full professor of business analytics at the Mays Business School at Texas A&M University. He teaches in the MS Finance and MS Management of Information Systems programs, among others.

He received a Ph.D. in operations research Texas A&M University, a M.S. in engineering management from Northeastern University, and a B.S. in industrial and management systems engineering from Penn State University. Previously, he was a faculty member at University of Houston-Downtown, Ohio University, and Colorado State University-Pueblo.

Dr. Hale is a third generation professor and a fifth generation Texan. His father, the late Dr. Leslie C. Hale, Jr., was the A. Robert Noll Professor of Electrical Engineering at Penn State while his father’s father was a professor of economics at then Texas College of Mines, now UTEP.

His research interests are in the areas of location science, warehouse science, data analytics, and grid-scale energy management. Dr. Hale spends about a third of his summers as an Office of Naval Research Senior Faculty Fellow at Naval Base Ventura County in Port Hueneme, California. He is the managing co-author of Pearson’s number one textbook in business analytics, Quantitative Analysis for Management, now in its 13th edition. His research has been published in the Annals of Operations Research, the European Journal of Operational Research, the International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, and the International Journal of Production Research among other outlets. He is a senior member of both INFORMS and DSI.

Categories: Departments, Faculty, Mays Business, News, Perspectives, Research, Spotlights, Texas A&M

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.”

Categories: Mays Business

Out of 42 finalists, ten teams were given top honors and awarded cash prizes for their innovative and entrepreneurial ideasr

COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS May 7, 2022 – The McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship hosted its second annual and first in-person Texas High School Ideas Challenge today, with competitive presentations held at Texas A&M University’s Memorial Student Center and The Crowd Fund Showcase and Awards Reception (sponsored by Education Advanced) held at the McFerrin Center. Open to high school students across the state of Texas, the challenge, designed to encourage students to explore entrepreneurship and foster development of an entrepreneurial mindset, awarded more than $10,000 in cash prizes to the top ideas.

Launched in 2021 by the McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship, the Texas High School Ideas Challenge is modeled after the Raymond Ideas Challenge, one of the McFerrin Center’s longest standing programs open each fall to current Texas A&M students. Due to restrictions in place, the inaugural event in 2021 was held exclusively in a virtual format, but the 2022 event was held in person at Texas A&M, giving high school students from across the state the opportunity to visit campus and be introduced to Texas A&M, the McFerrin Center and the Aggie entrepreneurial ecosystem.

In addition to prize money for the top idea winners, this year’s challenge also awarded $3,750 in prizes based on “investments” from “The Crowd Fund,” with showcase guests having the opportunity to visit each of the ideas to meet the student teams and learn about their service or product concept and “invest” in their favorites via “McFerrin Money.”

For the 2022 event, Texas high school students aged 14-18 were invited to apply beginning in late 2021, submitting their idea as a team or individual, via a compelling application demonstrating creative, careful and methodical planning. Following a screening process, a total of 42 finalist teams, comprised of more than 100 students from 18 Texas cities, were selected as finalists and invited to compete in person on the campus of Texas A&M.

Throughout the day, each team presented their idea twice, each time to a different panel of judges. The presentations consisted of a 5-minute pitch of the idea, followed by a 5-minute “Q&A” with the panel. Judges, selected from the McFerrin Center’s network of mentors, successful entrepreneurs and Texas A&M faculty, were looking for competitors who have an outstanding idea and clearly indicate that their idea creates values, can defend their idea against other ideas in the competition, and demonstrate to the judges that the idea is viable in the marketplace with clear evidence that the idea is attractive to a customer. Ideas were scored based on idea uniqueness, target market, competitive advantage, resources, goals and presentation content.

Rudy A., a junior from Centennial High School in Frisco, walked away with top honors and $2,500 for his pitch of WorkBee, a business concept developed with his partner Sarthak D., also a junior, who was unable to attend the competition. WorkBee solves the problem of low inventory of quality holiday decorations and the hassle of installing decorations by enabling customers to purchase customized holiday decorations and labor from local, reliable, responsive, fair-priced contractors.

“A friend who applied for this challenge knew I had this idea, and he suggested I apply as well. I did, and then suggested a different friend also apply with his idea,” Rudy said. “I feel like that sums up entrepreneurship. Healthy competition, but always looking to help and assist others who are also trying to pursue and build their own ideas.”

Following high school graduation in 2023, Rudy plans to attend college, pursuing a degree related to technology and business. “The best takeaway from today was the feedback I received from the judges following my pitches,” he said. “One judge suggested I consider a subscription option, and one even told me it was probably the best pitch he’d ever heard, including from college students. That really made me feel like not only do I have a great idea, but the time, effort and energy I put into preparing for this challenge really paid off. I’m already thinking of a new idea to apply again and come back to Aggieland next year.”

“In only its second year, this is quickly becoming one of our Signature Programs, and one that brings so much positive energy and excitement to the Center and our partners. As a competition focused solely on inspiring, encouraging and celebrating our next great generation of entrepreneurs, the ideas this year did not disappoint, nor did the students themselves, who have been nothing short amazing,” said Blake Petty ’98, executive director of the McFerrin Center. “While we realize not all of these students will choose Texas A&M as a destination after high school, our ultimate goal and purpose is to pour into them at this earliest stage of their entrepreneurial journey and help fan the flame of their entrepreneurial spirit. If we can create a few new Aggie entrepreneurs along the way, we’ll consider that icing on the cake!”

The McFerrin Center is already planning the third annual event, scheduled for May 5, 2023. Updates and more information will be made available at tx.ag/TexasHSIdeasChallenge.

2022 Texas High School Ideas Challenge Winners

Top Idea Winners
1st Place ($2,500): WorkBee | Centennial HS | Frisco
sponsored by Active Industrial Fire Protection
Student receiving a big check
2nd Place ($2,000): FYDER, LLC | Alamo Heights HS | San Antonio
sponsored by CareerPhysician, LLC
3rd Place ($1,750): Com.Post | Round Rock HS | Round Rock
sponsored by Education Advanced
Honorable Mention ($750): Stoozies: The Heated Shoetree | Canyon HS | New Braunfels
sponsored by Critical Environments Group
Honorable Mention ($750): iPath American English | Centennial HS | Frisco
sponsored by Education Advanced
Honorable Mention ($750): sMile | Centennial HS | Frisco, TX
sponsored by Startup LLC
Honorable Mention ($750): Traverse Marketplace | Vista Ridge HS | Cedar Park
sponsored by Mays Family Foundation

The Crowd Fund Winners
1st Place ($1,500): M.T. Equipment Backpacking Table | Westlake HS | Austin
sponsored by Nexersys (XFit Inc.)
Students receiving a b
2nd Place ($1,250): FYDER, LLC | Alamo Heights HS | San Antonio
sponsored by Startup LLC
3rd Place ($1,000): Let’s Keep Talking | Elkins HS | Missouri City
sponsored by Mays Family Foundation

2022 Texas High School Ideas Challenge Sponsors

Education Advanced, The Crowd Fund Showcase & Awards Reception sponsor
Active Industrial Fire Protection
CareerPhysician
Critical Environments Group
Mays Family Foundation
Nexersys
Startup LLC (Living Learning Community)

 

About McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship

The McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship serves as the hub for entrepreneurship at Texas A&M University. The McFerrin 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 McFerrin Center strives to deliver programs and events that are inspiring, engaging, motivating and life-changing. This philosophy has resulted in the McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship offering more than 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.

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Media Contact: Lara Robertson, communications manager, McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship, 979- 845-1724, lrobertson@tamu.edu

Categories: Entrepreneurship, Mays Business, McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship, Students, Texas A&M

The James Benjamin Department of Accounting’s Internal Audit Program (IAP), which is part of Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School, has been recognized as a Center of Excellence by The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA), an international organization of internal audit professionals.

Only 12 university programs across the globe have completed the stringent requirements to be named an IIA Center of Excellence. “This recognition from the IIA is a tremendous honor for Mays Business School and for the James Benjamin Department of Accounting. It is also a tribute to the hard work of Professors Tara Blasor and Mike Head, and it will provide additional high-impact opportunities for our students,” said Department Head Nate Sharp, who holds the Nelson D. Durst Endowed Chair in Accounting. “Our vision is to be the preeminent Accounting program in the nation, and the IIA Center of Excellence recognition is an important step toward fulfilling that vision.”

Mays leaders and faculty decided to seek the highest recognition because of the growing interest in internal audit among both students and employers. “We’d seen a lot of growth in the number of students in our program,” said Tara Blasor, co-director of Mays Internal Audit Program and assistant department head. “More and more companies are looking to engage with and hire our students, so we felt it was a good time to apply to be recognized by the IIA as top tier, which is the Center of Excellence.”

Stringent Accreditation

The IIA’s tiered accreditation process incorporates a specific framework of standards. Overall, 56 universities in 15 nations have completed the necessary qualifications to be recognized at some level as an IIA-accredited Internal Audit Education Program.

The IIA’s highest tier is Center of Excellence, which builds on the requirements for the Foundation and Comprehensive levels. Currently, 12 higher education institutions internationally—seven of which are in the United States—have received this recognition. Texas A&M joins two other Texas schools—the University of Houston and the University of Texas at Dallas—and one Southeastern Conference School—Louisiana State University—in holding this distinction.

Building on Quality

The IIA accreditation process uses a scaffolded approach that is designed to continually increase an academic program’s level of excellence as it progresses through the tiers. This approach focuses on ensuring that the institution is providing a strong educational foundation for students who want to enter an internal audit career.

Being named a center extends Mays’ long commitment to ensuring that Aggies are well-prepared to make an immediate impact in their career. “The program being recognized as a center is a commendable step in its future – especially for those students who complete the certificate,” said Bethany Miller ’20, a recent graduate of the program who is an internal audit associate with KPMG. “The program’s level of excellence encourages students to understand the critical thinking, diversity, flexibility, and rigor that someone can bring to the table—and adds value to our teams and our clients. It is attractive to recruiting and exemplifies the unique skillset that students will have upon graduation.”

Internal Audit Advisory Board meeting

To reach and maintain IIA’s top level of accreditation, Mays has committed to numerous on-going efforts. These include:

  • The Internal Audit Program offers a 15-credit-hour Certificate in Internal Auditing, which is awarded by Texas A&M’s Office of Registrar.
  • Every faculty member who teaches the Internal Auditing course (ACCT 408/608) in the Internal Audit program is a Certified Internal Auditor (CIA), which ensures that Mays’ instructional program is firmly grounded in practice.
  • Mays is committed to growing the program’s enrollment. With over 120 students currently enrolled, program leaders estimate that 35-40 students will graduate annually in the future.
  • The program provides exceptional support for students. A formal mentoring program links students with internal auditor professionals. Additionally, internships give students an opportunity to work in the field prior to graduation.
  • The program has an active Internal Audit Program – Student Association (IAPSA), which is affiliated with the Brazos Valley IIA chapter. The student organization offers leadership opportunities, professional networking, community service, and a social outlet for like-minded students who are interested in an internal audit career.
  • The Internal Audit Program has an active Internal Audit Advisory Board, which started in 2016. Representatives from more than 25 organizations and several Texas IIA Chapters are engaged in the advisory board and provide support through strategic direction, scholarship funding, internships, and full-time employment recruitment of graduates.

Mays Internal Audit Program’s rapid growth can be tied to Blasor’s hiring in 2012. “Since then, the program has seen incredible growth, and was further strengthened when Mike Head joined in 2016, bringing a career of experience as an Internal Audit leader to the table,” said Protiviti Managing Director Jordan Reed ’95, who has been recruiting at Texas A&M since 1996 and serves as a member of the program’s advisory board. “The Advisory Board has provided guidance and support over the past six years, and I could not be more proud to follow the program’s progression from a Foundation Program to a Center of Excellence in a fairly short time span.”

Continued Forward Movement

As the program grows, Mays’ leaders are committed to maintaining a strong student-centered focus—which Aggies appreciate. “The classes that we take in the program are valuable to our education,” said Ellyse Hahn ’22, an accounting major who is completing the Management Information Systems track in Mays Professional Program in Accounting (PPA). “When I went on my internship, I had a leg up from the interns from other schools due to my education here.”

Elise Hahn ’22, pictured (right)

Aggies also appreciate the opportunity to step into student leadership roles that help them hone their skills. “When I first joined IAPSA, I never dreamed that I would become the president,” said Hahn. “Now, it’s exciting talking to freshmen and sophomores that are joining and telling them about the opportunities that they can have here. If a student comes in and is driven to succeed, they will get to make a difference in the Internal Audit Program.”

Ultimately, Mays is committed to doing its part in preparing more graduates for this growing career field. “There is a high demand for students to go into the internal audit career. Additionally, there is far more demand than qualified students available,” said Head, who is a Mays executive assistant professor. “Mays’ Internal Audit Program gives another avenue where businesses can find students who have been exposed to this specific career and curriculum and are positioned to be successful in these risk-based services. This accreditation is telling potential employers that Mays is a source of very high-quality students because it’s been recognized as a Center of Excellence.”

 

 

Categories: Accounting, Mays Business

Sunjay Letchuman ’22, a senior at Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School, is the lead author on the article, “Revise the IRS’s Nonprofit Hospital Community Benefit Reporting Standard,” published April 15, 2022 in Health Affairs Forefront, a preeminent journal for healthcare policy.

Letchuman co-authored this article with his mentor, Dr. Leonard L. Berry, Mays Business School’s University Distinguished Professor of Marketing, along with Dr. Michael K. Hole, executive director of The Impact Factory and assistant professor at The University of Texas, and Dr. Ge Bai, professor of accounting at Johns Hopkins Carey Business School.

Letchuman now has had four published articles and a fifth under review while an undergraduate student at Texas A&M. “It is unusual for an undergrad to publish an article regardless of where he or she is placed in the byline. To be the lead author for an article in which the other authors are MDs or Ph.Ds. means that Sunjay earned the placement by leading the way throughout,” Berry said. “Dr. Hole, Dr. Bai, and I have plenty of experience researching and writing articles and we pitched in during the cycle of multiple drafts, but Sunjay earned the lead author spot on his own merits.”

The article’s publication in Forefront offers the co-authors an important opportunity to inform and influence healthcare policymakers and industry leaders.  “Appearing in the leading health policy journal, this article may actually lead to revision of the Community Benefit Standard, which, in turn, will enhance nonprofit hospitals’ involvement and investment in improving community health,” Berry said.

This paper analyzed the Community Benefit Standard, which is used by the Internal Revenue Service to determine whether a hospital qualifies as a nonprofit. “Over half of U.S. hospitals are organized as nonprofits, meaning they do not pay taxes in exchange for benefiting community health,” Letchuman said. “Unfortunately, however, most nonprofit hospitals do not provide more community benefit than their for-profit counterparts. A recent study showed that, for every $100 of total expenses, nonprofit hospitals spend just $2.30 on charity care (a key component of community benefit)—substantially less than the $3.80 of every $100 spent by for-profit hospitals.”

The co-authors suggest changes to the Community Benefit Standard in order to make nonprofit hospitals more accountable for enhancing the community’s health and welfare.  “The federal, state, and local tax exemptions that nonprofit hospitals receive amount to over $25 billion annually. Local property tax dollars that nonprofit hospitals would have paid could have been used to build parks, improve schools, fix roads, and offer other services that bolster public health,” Letchuman said. “Our article describes which of the Community Benefit Standard’s 10 current standards should be kept, modified, or removed, and we include 3 new standards to add. Policymakers can use our article as a guide to strengthen current policy to ensure nonprofit hospitals fulfill their stated mission of promoting the health and well-being of the communities they serve.”

The article also reinforces the role that nonprofit hospitals can play in community wellbeing. “One of the biggest takeaways from this article is that nonprofit hospitals should focus on promoting and achieving community health equity, which means everyone has a fair opportunity to be as healthy as possible. This requires the dismantling of barriers to good health, including poverty, discrimination, and their consequences, such as access to stable housing and education,” Letchuman said. “As anchors in their communities, nonprofit hospitals can and should dedicate at least some of their surplus funds to address the social determinants of health, and they should make the value of their tax exemptions transparent to allow the public to evaluate the adequacy of community benefits provided.”

These publishing opportunities give Letchuman, who will enroll in the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in the fall and plans to devote a part of his career to influencing healthcare policy, the chance to work with and learn from some of the world’s leading researchers. “I am humbled and constantly inspired by the researchers I get to work with,” the Mays student said. “These professors and researchers are doing the work I want to do one day—making high-quality healthcare more accessible to every American. It’s a privilege for me to learn from and work with my role models.”

His co-authors have been equally impressed with the Aggie’s work. “I am certain Sunjay will change the world for good, and I’m grateful I’ve had the chance to watch his rocket-ship career take off,” Hole said. “How fun, too, collaborating across “rival” institutions; we are certainly stronger together.”

 

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Explore more on Sunjay:

Categories: Business Honors, Health Care, Mays Business, News, Research, Texas A&M

Dr. Murray Barrick is the 2022 recipient of Mays Business School’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Research and Scholarship. The award will be presented April 20, 2022 during a special presentation.

The honor, which is one of Mays’ most prestigious awards, recognizes a faculty member who has made a substantial contribution to academic and industry knowledge. “Dr. Barrick is a prolific scholar who is recognized as one of the world’s leading experts with respect to employee selection processes used in organizations. His research has had a significant influence on helping companies use more evidence-based selection processes,” said Mays Interim Dean R. Duane Ireland. “Dr. Barrick is also an excellent mentor for his students. There is a large group of masters and doctoral students who can attest to the value of the guidance and counsel they received from him.”

Barrick considers this honor to be one of the highlights of his career. “Being nominated for this award is amazing. While I’ve won two lifetime achievement awards in two academic societies, this is the most meaningful to me,” said the Department of Management faculty member, who will be retiring at the end of the 2022 Spring semester. “It’s a great way to reflect back on what I’ve accomplished throughout my career and what it’s meant.”

Barrick holds a bachelor’s degree in business management and psychology from the University of Northern Iowa. He enrolled at the University of Akron, earning both his master’s and doctoral degrees in industrial/organizational psychology.

His faculty career started at the University of Iowa, where he had a decade-long appointment before joining Michigan State University’s Broad Graduate School of Management for two years. Barrick returned to the University of Iowa’s Tippie College of Business as the Stanley M. Howe Professor of Leadership in 2001.

In 2006, Barrick was recruited to Mays Business School and named the Paul M. and Rosalie Robertson Chair in Business. Within the first two years, he found himself becoming more impressed with Mays’ academic quality and influence. “I was astonished at the number of scholars in the field who had started their careers at Texas A&M and earned their PhDs here or had started as assistant professors here,” he said. “We have a long history of excellent selection. It just reinforced that I hadn’t made a mistake.”

In 2007, he was named head of the Department of Management and served in that role until 2011. “The Department of Management has a long history of excellent scholarship and has been a vibrant learning community for years,” he said. “We have had among the most influential scholars in the field working here.”

The department continued to flourish through Barrick’s leadership. Four months after his term as department head ended, Texas A&M leaders evaluated the university’s academic performance.  That analysis found that the Department of Management was the university’s top-ranked department (out of 93) and was in the top 5 for research productivity of management faculty based on a comparison of peer and aspirant universities.

Barrick’s substantial body of work continues to contribute to the department’s prestige. His teaching and research have focused on the strategic utilization of human resources, the development of effective selection systems, the impact of behavior and personality on job performance, motivation to effectively manage work, and executive teams. Barrick’s work—which, according to Google Scholar, has been cited over 49,000 times as of March 2022–has been published in the Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Journal of Applied Psychology, Personnel Psychology, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, and other journals or as chapters in Handbooks.

In 2011, Barrick assumed the role of director and then executive director of the Center for Human Resource Management (CHRM). In those roles, he helped the center expand its well-respected offerings and services through hiring exceptional staff members. This set the stage for CHRM to better serve its clients, many of which are Fortune 100 companies and five of which are Fortune 10 companies.

Barrick also has offered significant contributions to the field. He served on the Editorial Boards of the Academy of Management Journal, Journal of Applied Psychology and Personnel Psychology. Additionally, he was Chair of the HR Division for the Academy of Management Program, Volume Editor for “Personality and Work: Reconsidering the role of personality in organizations,” and Associate Editor of Personnel Psychology.

The current James R. Whatley Chair also has received numerous honors, including the 1997 Fellow of the Society of Industrial and Organizational Psychologists in the American Psychological Association, the 2001 Owens Scholarly Achievement Award, the 2009 Distinguished Scientific Contributions Award from the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP), and the 2010 Fellow of the Academy of Management.

In 2010, Barrick was named a Texas A&M University Distinguished Professor. This honor recognizes his seminal contribution to and global authority in the field of management as well as his record of teaching and mentoring students.

As the sixth recipient of the Mays Lifetime Achievement Award, Barrick joins a distinguished and elite group of faculty members that includes Ireland, Dr. Leonard Barry, Dr. Ricky Griffin, Dr. Michael A. Hitt, and Dr. Rajan Varadarajan. “The level of scholarship that they have been able to achieve underscores the value of this award. It is only given for outstanding scholarship,” he said. “What also impresses me is the level of service prior recipients have exhibited, including multiple stints as Department Heads, Associate Deans, and service as Interim Deans multiple times. I’m not sure that I live up to that, but receiving this award is quite impactful.”

Categories: Mays Business, Research

Twenty Aggie-led startups competed in the only university-wide business plan pitch competition.

By Lara Robertson, McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship at Texas A&M University

COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS March 8, 2022 – The McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship hosted its fifth annual Aggie PITCH at the Doug Pitcock ’49 Texas A&M Hotel and Conference Center Monday evening. Now open to both current and former students, Aggie PITCH is the only university-wide business plan pitch competition at Texas A&M and seeks to identify the best Aggie business pitches from across industries and sectors.

For the 2022 event, a total of 20 startups were selected as finalists to compete for the coveted McFerrin Cup and a share of more than $35,000 in prize money. Split into three divisions —Full Pitch for both current and former students and Elevator Pitch open to both — the competition gives startup founders the opportunity to pitch their business in a fast-paced, high-energy format to a panel of anonymous judges and an audience of students, professionals, mentors, possible investors and fellow Aggie entrepreneurs.

In the Full Pitch divisions, 10 teams were each given 10 minutes for their pitch. In contrast, the Elevator Pitch competitors were only given a 1-minute allotment for their pitch. Although the anonymous panel of judges was tasked with ranking and selecting the winners of the Full Pitch division, audience members were invited to take part and cast their vote to select for the winners of the Elevator Pitch division.

Finalists’ ventures at this year’s Aggie PITCH represent a variety of industries including agriculture, information technology, consumer products and energy technology, among others, and are now automatically admitted into an exclusive group of startup founders who are eligible to represent Texas A&M University at national and global entrepreneurial competitions.

Flux Works LLC took home first place in the Full Pitch division for current students and was awarded $7,500. Bryton Praslicka ’24, startup lead, reacted with, “Winning to us means that people are excited about our technology. People believe in our technology. And winning this demonstrates that, and that’s really incredible.” Flux Works LLC, a developer and manufacturer of magnetic gears, has now met their fundraising goal and plans to use the prize money to buy back their intellectual property from Texas A&M and move into product development.

Taking home top honors and also $7,500 in the Full Pitch division for former students was Wide Afternoon, LLC (Ovie). Ovie aims to solve the problem of food waste in homes with a digital smart tracking system and plans to use their winnings to purchase prototype samples to get their product into user homes for testing. “Winning Aggie PITCH is so amazing because it validates our idea, where we’re at. And to have our peers and industry professionals that we respect acknowledge that our company is on to something, and believe in us, it means the world. It’s fuel,” stated Ovie lead Stacie Thompson ’02.

“Aggie PITCH continues to be a highlight of our year at McFerrin. The energy in the room is palpable, from both the pitch teams and the audience members getting to experience an event like this,” stated Blake Petty ’98, executive director of the McFerrin Center. “In only our fifth year of Aggie PITCH, we’ve continued to see growth in both the quantity and quality of pitch competitors. Seeing entrepreneurs, specifically Aggie entrepreneurs, pitch their startup businesses to such a diverse, engaging crowd is something I’ll never grow tired of.”

2022 Aggie PITCH Winners

Full Pitch Division | Current Students
1st Place ($7,500): Flux Works LLC [Bryton Praslicka ’24, Daniel Zamarron ‘22]
2nd Place ($5,000): Teale [Narendra Vishnumolakala ’22, Connor Ust ’22]
3rd Place ($3,500): Flow-Pax [Haley Clark ‘23]

Full Pitch Division | Former Students
1st Place ($7,500): Wide Afternoon, LLC (Ovie) [Stacie Thompson ‘02]
2nd Place ($5,000): ClaraTech [Clara Orlean ‘20]
3rd Place ($3,500): SageSpectra [Madi Heck ’21, Mark Golla ‘22]

Elevator Pitch Division
1st Place ($1,500): South Texas Security Gates [Carson Neal ‘22]
2nd Place ($1,000): Imperium [Donald Bowen ‘25]
3rd Place ($750): Unravl Hair [Zanbria Asante ‘18]

A list of past Aggie PITCH winners can be found at aggiepitch.com.

About McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship

The McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship serves as the hub for entrepreneurship at Texas A&M University. The McFerrin 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 McFerrin Center strives to deliver programs and events that are inspiring, engaging, motivating and life-changing. This philosophy has resulted in the McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship offering more than 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.

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Media Contact: Lara Robertson, communications manager, McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship, 979- 845-1724, lrobertson@tamu.edu

Categories: Centers, Entrepreneurship, Featured Stories, Former Students, Mays Business, McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship, News, Programs, Staff, Students, Texas A&M