Texas A&M | Mays Impacts - Part 73

Many corporate leaders viewed the recent recession as a time to hunker down, put long-term plans on hold, and simply ride out the storm. Eric Foss, chairman and CEO of Pepsi Bottling Group (PBG), wasn’t one of them.

“One of the things leaders look to do in very challenging times is reshape the business model and hopefully reshape industry boundaries,” Foss says.

That’s exactly what his company did when it agreed to merge with PepsiCo in August 2009. Upon completion of the merger, PepsiCo will form a new bottling entity called PepsiCo Bottling North America (PBNA). The new entity will comprise the operations of PBG and another Pepsi bottler, PepsiAmericas. Foss has agreed to serve as PBNA’s CEO.


“To be a great people leader, you’ve got to start with a passion for people,” Pepsi Bottling Group chairman and CEO Eric Foss told Mays students. “You’ve got to give people hope and insipiration.” (view more photos)

He sees the merger as a big opportunity for the Pepsi system to stand out in the market. “I think this deal will give us a competitive advantage as we come out of the recession.”

The process leading up to the merger was unique. PepsiCo, who owns a 40 percent stake in PBG and also has a franchiser/franchisee relationship with the bottler, made its initial bid to purchase the company in April 2009. PBG was suddenly confronted with the challenge of maintaining an ongoing business relationship with PepsiCo, while simultaneously negotiating for a better deal for the sake of its independent shareholders.

“It was an interesting dating process,” joked Foss.

PBG rejected PepsiCo’s initial bid of $29.50 per share, and several months of negotiations ensued. Eventually PepsiCo increased its bid to $36.50 and the deal was cinched.

“When something like that happens, as a leader you’ve got to be ready to play, fight, and win,” says Foss. “In the end, we were able to provide outstanding value for PBG shareholders, create a new company that will better meet the needs of our customers, offer new and expanded opportunities for PBG employees, and accelerate growth for the Pepsi system going forward.”

Foss’s circumstance is unique: he was part of the management team at PepsiCo 10 years ago when it spun off its asset-intensive bottling and restaurant businesses (PBG and Yum! Brands, then called Tricon Global Restaurants). Now he’s overseeing the reverse action as PepsiCo reacquires the bottling business. “It was a once in a lifetime experience to go through that process,” he says.

While Foss says he enjoys being a public company CEO, he is excited to rejoin PepsiCo and lead PBNA. “As I’ve looked at setting up this business, I felt a huge sense of ownership and obligation to our 70,000 employees to make sure this thing gets set up for success.”

“As a leader, you can’t always predict what’s going to happen, but you can try to prepare.”
—Eric Foss

Foss has been with Pepsi in a variety of positions for the past 27 years—since soon after he graduated from Ball State University in Indiana in 1982. Beginning as an entry-level sales-rep, he moved up through the ranks of management, eventually attaining the top spot in July 2006. His first assignment with Pepsi brought him from his Midwestern home to Austin, Texas. Five months later Foss was transferred to Bryan/College Station where he met his wife, then a student at A&M. He says he sees many similarities in the culture at A&M and at PBG. Though he resides in Connecticut, he says he still loves to visit Aggieland, especially now that two of his three daughters are students here.

His daughters have contributed to his success as a leader, says Foss, as they have taught him much about how to work with and lead women. These lessons were solidified when he coached their athletic teams, where he learned that motivating females is very different from motivating males. “The way I was coached…was a more in your face, “you will get this done’,” he said. “I found out real early coaching fifth and sixth grade girls that was not going to work.”

His role at PBG is similar. “At the end of the day, my number one job is that of head coach and cheerleader.”

“To be a great people leader, you’ve got to start with a passion for people. You’ve got to give people hope and inspiration,” he said.

An integral part of his leadership style is gratitude and recognition, says Foss.

For example, every Monday morning, he expects his management team to write 10 thank you notes to employees who have done something well. “The key is not a plaque or a trophy…really great leaders build a culture of appreciation into [the company’s] DNA. Because what people appreciate most is the little things…The personal touch goes a long way.”

While on campus, Foss presented a check for $10,000 on behalf of PBG to student organizers of The Big Event.
While on campus, Foss presented a check for $10,000 on behalf of PBG to student organizers of The Big Event.

One of Foss’s initiatives at PBG has been to increase diversity at all levels. “We’ve created a more diverse and inclusive culture,” he says, noting that in recent years the number of women in management roles has tripled, and the corresponding number of minorities has quadrupled. “It’s very important to us, from the backroom to the boardroom, that our employees look like the marketplace, look like our customers who drink our products.”

Foss’s leadership skills have been honed over nearly three decades with Pepsi, but his rise to power was not faultless. He shared a defining moment in his career when he made a mistake that cost the company millions. He says he owned up to the mistake and quickly tried to mitigate losses. Though it was costly, it ended well. “Not only did I not get fired, ultimately, I got promoted…the point is you’ve got to be willing to take risks,” he says. He credits some of his professional success to his courage in calculated risk-taking, as well as his confidence. “He who makes no mistakes makes no progress,” he says, paraphrasing Theodore Roosevelt.

“You really do have to believe in yourself and trust that you know what you’re doing and exude that to the organization…people will decide to follow you or not based on whether they believe in you,” he says.

Foss recently visited Mays Business School to serve as an executive speaker, addressing several groups of students. While on campus, he also presented a check for $10,000 on behalf of PBG to student organizers of The Big Event. This is the second time PBG has made a gift of this significance to The Big Event, which Foss sees as an important investment in students and in the community. To see more information about this contribution, read “Big Event at Texas A&M receives $10,000 from Pepsi Bottling Group.” (The Battalion, November 2009)

Categories: Executive Speakers, Texas A&M

Entrepreneurs from Thailand, Texas, and many places in between, representing an array of industries from construction to computer technology, gathered in the Zone Club at Kyle Field on the Texas A&M University campus to celebrate the things they had in common: 1) They were all Aggies. 2) They were all extremely successful business people.

This year's Aggie 100 honorees represented a wide variety of industries, including dentistry, veterinary, construction, truck freight matching, and an online virtual zoo.
This year’s Aggie 100 honorees represented a wide variety of industries, including dentistry, veterinary, construction, truck freight matching, and an online virtual zoo.

The Aggie 100 recognizes the 100 fastest growing Aggie-owned or —operated businesses in the world, as gauged by the company’s compound annual growth rate over a two-year period. The 5th annual Aggie 100 list was announced on Friday, November 6, at a lunch hosted by the Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship (CNVE) at Mays Business School. Claiming the top spot for 2009 was J.C. Schoel ’00, founder and vice president of sales and business development at Andersen Schoel, a contract office furniture business established in Harker Heights, Texas in 2002. Andersen Schoel experienced a whopping 287.54 percent growth rate for the 2006-2008 period.

Of the top 10 companies on the list, four were led by Mays graduates: Kelly Jones ’83, CEO, owner, and founder of Digital Discovery Corps; Ryan Reichardt ’04, president, owner, and founder of Reichardt Construction; Frank Tanner ’87 and Jeff Mackey ’87, founders and owners of Mackey & Tanner; and Clay Schlinke ’94, owner of Tesoro Homes & Development.

Richard Lester, director of the CNVE and master of ceremonies for the event described the Aggie 100 companies as the “backbone of the American economy,” and commended them for their outstanding progress in the face of less than ideal economic conditions.

The Aggie 100 companies account for 10,000 employees and $7.6 billion in annual revenues.

Though half of the honorees on the Aggie 100 list were repeats from a previous year—including MacResource and New Tech Engineering, which have been on the list all five years—the top dog, Andersen Schoel, was a first-timer.

Schoel says his original idea was to start a business with his father once he completed his military service. They planned to sell furniture in the education market as an add-on to the teacher-resource stores that his mother owned. However, their market research revealed another opportunity: selling to the military. In less than a decade, their business has grown exponentially, servicing corporate clients as well as government agencies. They now also provide design, installation, and office relocation services.

Schoel, who graduated with bachelor’s and master’s degrees from A&M in industrial distribution, says being named to the Aggie 100 won’t be a one-time deal: he intends to make the list again next year. He’s planning expansion, adding a second location, even amidst a down economy.

Schoel had advice for the audience regarding the recession: Imagine a river. When the river is high, you can’t see the rocks. “When the river is down, that’s the time to get the rocks out of the way,” he said, so that when the river rises, you can have a smoother ride than before.

Notable numbers

Accounting firm PKF Texas crunched the numbers for the Aggie 100, ranking each of the businesses. Interesting statistics that arose are:

BEST OF THE BEST

To be considered for the 2009 Aggie 100 lineup, a company must possess a few essential qualities.

Company Size and Longevity — The company must meet both of the following criteria:

  • Have been in business for 5 years or more as of June 30, 2009.
  • Have had verifiable revenues of $100,000 or more for calendar year 2006.

Aggie Leadership —The company must meet at least one of the following three criteria:

  • A Texas A&M University former student or group of former students must have owned 50 percent or more of the company from January 1, 2006 through December 31, 2008.
  • A Texas A&M University former student must have served as the company’s chief executive (for example chairman, CEO, president or managing partner) from January 1, 2006 through December 31, 2008.
  • A Texas A&M University former student must have founded the company and been active as a member of the most senior management team from January 1, 2006 through December 31, 2008.

Company Character — The company 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.

  • The number 100 company had a compound annual growth rate of 19.48 percent. The number one company’s was 287.54.
  • Nine of the companies ranked were owned or operated by someone named Michael or Mike.
  • Three father-son teams made the list, including the top company.
  • The Aggie 100 companies account for 10,000 employees and $7.6 billion in annual revenues.
  • Class years of recipients ranged from 1959 to 2005. Class of 1990 was the most represented year on the list.
  • The businesses represented a wide variety of industries, including dentistry, veterinary, construction, truck freight matching, and an online virtual zoo.
  • Companies were located in seven states and seven countries.
  • Half of the honorees are graduates of the A&M Look College of Engineering.

Owner of several industrial services businesses, Phil Miner ’80 didn’t make the top ten, but his achievement is worth noting: at least one of his businesses has made the list each year, setting the record with a total of 10 Aggie 100 recognitions. In 2009, his companies made the list three times.

The purpose of the Aggie 100 is twofold: to celebrate the achievements of successful alumni, and to bring those entrepreneurs into the classroom as guest lecturers so that current students can learn from them. Thirty-five of the 100 honorees spoke to classes across campus. Honorees also purchased tickets for 100 students to attend the lunch ceremony, enabling them to be inspired by successful former students and to build their professional network. “That’s part of the real power of this event,” said Lester.

Nominations for the 2010 Aggie 100 will begin January 15. Applications will be accepted May 1 through June 30. Email Lenae Huebner, assistant director of CNVE, if you have questions.

About The Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship

The Texas A&M Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship provides encouragement, education, networking and assistance to entrepreneurially minded students, faculty and Texas businesses. Founded in 1999, the center is part of Mays Business School’s Department of Management. The center enhances student education through campus speakers, competitions, work experiences and financial support. The Texas A&M faculty and Office of Technology Commercialization benefit from the center’s educational programs, extensive business community network and the entrepreneurial services. The center also reaches out to the state’s business community offering educational programs, business assistance and access to university resources. The center is supported by corporate and individual members and sponsors who believe in the value of an entrepreneurial education program and the value of Texas businesses working with Texas A&M University.

For more information

Categories: Centers, Featured Stories, Former Students, Texas A&M

The 100 fastest-growing Aggie-owned or Aggie-led businesses in the world will be recognized Nov. 6 at the 5th Annual Aggie 100 program, sponsored by Mays Business School’s Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship at Texas A&M University.

Each year, the Aggie 100 program recongnizes the 100 fastest-growing Aggie-owned or Aggie-led businesses in the world.
Each year, the Aggie 100 program recongnizes the 100 fastest-growing Aggie-owned or Aggie-led businesses in the world.

More than 475 representatives and guests have been invited to the Texas A&M campus for the event, and 650 people are expected to attend the luncheon in The Zone Club at Texas A&M’s Kyle Field, including more than 100 current students.

The Aggie 100 focuses on growth as an indicator of job creation, product acceptance and entrepreneurial vision. Recipients of the award were selected based on compound annual revenue growth rate for the 2006 to 2008 period. In all, companies from seven states and five countries will be honored at the event. The oldest company on the list was founded in 1916.

A complete list of all companies qualifying for the 5th Annual Aggie 100, along with their placement on the list, will be formally announced at noon Nov. 6.

To be considered for the Aggie 100, companies (corporations, partnerships, 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. They must also meet the following criteria:

  • Have been in business for five years or more as of June 30, 2009; and
  • Have had verifiable revenues of $100,000 or more for calendar year 2006

Additionally, the company must meet one of the following leadership criteria:

  • A Texas A&M former student or group of former students must have owned 50 percent or more of the company from Jan. 1, 2006, through Dec. 31, 2008, or
  • A Texas A&M former student must have served as the company’s chief executive (for example chairman, CEO, president or managing partner) from Jan. 1, 2006, through Dec. 31, 2008, or
  • A Texas A&M former student must have founded the company and been active as a member of the most senior management team from Jan. 1, 2006 through Dec. 31, 2008.
About the Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship

The Texas A&M Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship provides encouragement, education, networking and assistance to entrepreneurially-minded students, faculty and Texas businesses. Founded in 1999, the center is part of Mays Business School’s Department of Management. The center enhances student education through campus speakers, competitions, work experiences and financial support. The Texas A&M faculty and Office of Technology Commercialization benefit from the center’s educational programs, extensive business community network and the entrepreneurial services.

The center also reaches out to the state’s business community offering educational programs, business assistance and access to university resources. The center is supported by corporate and individual members and sponsors who believe in the value of an entrepreneurial education program and the value of Texas businesses working with Texas A&M University.

For more information

To find out more about the Aggie 100 program, visit Aggie100.com or contact Lenae Hubener, Assistant Director of the Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship at (979) 845-4882 or aggie100@tamu.edu.

Categories: Centers, Former Students, Texas A&M

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above the 10,000 mark last week for the first time in more than a year. What does this mean for the economy?

Jerry Strawser '83, dean of Mays Business School, is teaching a one-hour seminar class this semester in which students discuss current events detailed in the Wall Street Journal.
Jerry Strawser ’83, dean of Mays Business School, is teaching a one-hour seminar class this semester in which students discuss current events detailed in the Wall Street Journal.

E-mail usage is waning in the age of Facebook, Twitter, and texting. What is the impact of this progression for business? How does this change the way we work and communicate?

These are the sort of conversation starters you might hear in “Understanding the Wall Street Journal,” a one-hour seminar class taught by Jerry Strawser, dean of Mays Business School at Texas A&M University. The 12 students in the class, all first-semester freshmen, were probably relieved to hear there would be no textbooks, tests, or research papers for the course. It’s hardly a free ride, though. Instead of lectures, the format is much more interactive: students read the Wall Street Journal everyday, then meet once a week to discuss what is going on in the world.

Students are given grades at the end of the semester, and while it may be the only class Strawser teaches where his students don’t have to learn accounting principles for an A, the freshmen will hopefully finish the course with an approach to thinking about current events and business, as well as practicing classroom participation. “They can practice communication skills in a non-threatening environment,” says Strawser, who has students give oral reports on WSJ articles and write responses to editorials in addition to the classroom discussion of current events.

“It’s nice to get to participate in a class, instead of just being lectured to,” says Michael Andres ’13. Andres and his peers say they find the break from tests and papers to be refreshing, and they look forward to discussing real-world events in a small class setting each week.

Strawser’s class is one of 68 freshman seminar sections currently offered at A&M. The classes have 15 students or fewer in each class and concentrate on a topic suggested by a faculty member and approved by the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Programs. Topics range from the science of surfing, to musical theater, to life on Mars. The classes are designed to give new college students a classroom setting where they feel comfortable speaking up and expressing their ideas, as well as building relationships with other students and a faculty member.

Categories: Faculty, Texas A&M

Ricardo Lopez says that his 22 years of active duty in the U.S. Army gave him the work ethic and time management skills an entrepreneur needs to be successful.

It’s a good thing, too, since his more than two decades of service left him medically disabled to the point where traditional employment would be more than challenging.

He’s still a young man, in his early 40s, but there are days when he doesn’t feel like it, days when it’s hard to even walk. “Sometimes I’m okay. But sometimes it hinders me. My whole body hurts,” said Lopez, who suffers from arthritis and bone problems developed over his years of service.

Since his retirement from the military in 2006, Lopez wanted to launch his own business in real estate investment. He knew he had the valuation skills necessary to make the business work, but he lacked the confidence to strike out on his own and take the risks necessary.

That changed last summer when he attended the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV), a program offered at Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School.

“It energized me,” said Lopez. “The only thing I was lacking was action. Fear of losing and fear that I didn’t know what I was doing held me back…now, instead of just talking about it, action! I’m taking a chance. A calculated risk.” The risk is paying off, as Lopez has now purchased several properties and sold them for a profit. He is planning more purchases of fixer-uppers and foreclosures that he can flip, with the long-term goal of one day buying a small apartment complex and operating his own property management company.

Lopez is one of the many success stories to come out of the EBV program, which was offered at Mays for the first time in the summer of 2008. Planning and fundraising are underway for the 2009 bootcamp, to be offered August 15-23.

The program

Last year, 16 servicemen and -women injured as a result of military service since September 11, 2001, participated in the EBV program at Mays. The program is designed to assist veterans with disabilities in becoming small business owners. It’s provided to participants for free, travel and accommodations included, thanks to the generosity of supporters. The wounded warriors selected for the program complete a three-week online business course prior to an intense eight-day residency period on the A&M campus. A year of long-distance mentoring with a Mays faculty member completes the course.

Ricardo Lopez, seen here giving his final presentation during the 2008 EBV, credits the program with giving him the confidence to launch his own business.
Ricardo Lopez, seen here giving his final presentation during the 2008 EBV, credits the program with giving him the confidence to launch his own business.

From budgeting to IP protection, the EBV program focuses on the elements that are important to the would-be entrepreneurs, many of whom come to the course with big ideas and a storehouse of passion, but little business experience. The course presents lessons on creating a workable business plan, securing financing, marketing, and other important areas such as taxes and legal issues.

“The other thing that we bring to this project is an everyday focus on working and living with disabilities,” says Lester. Disability experts, and veteran’s administration affairs and workforce commission representatives present to the group daily, as well as Mays faculty members and successful entrepreneurs.

Lester says there’s a great need for this kind of service. “The number of veterans with issues after they are discharged from the service is phenomenal. One-third of all the homeless folks in the United States are veterans. So, we have a really at-risk population,” he said.

As the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan continue, the number of U.S. veterans—many of them with physical or emotional trauma—grows exponentially each year. “There is an impending crisis looming for disabled veterans…as regards long-term employment opportunities,” said Lester, who hopes that Mays involvement in this program will help the student-veterans to take charge of their futures through owning businesses.

This year, Lester expects to have 20 participants in the innovative program.

Special people

Toni Williams has a heart for children, especially those who face added challenges due to disabilities. When Williams was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps in 2002 due to an injury that left her with a hearing loss and inner ear problems, she decided to serve her country in a new way. She joined Teach for Texas and earned a teaching certification with an endorsement in special education.


“The program brought me from just having an idea to where I am now,” said Toni Williams. The 2008 EBV participant aims to open a school for children with special needs next fall.

Through her experiences in the classroom working with special needs 6-8th graders in Dallas, an idea started to form in Williams’ mind: a school for just these types of kids; an environment where they could be nurtured and encouraged, and taught how to be a successful part of society; a place for kids from low-income families to get the care they need.

Her dream school might have remained nothing more than wishful thinking had it not been for the 2008 EBV program at Mays. Today, Williams is applying for her non-profit status, creating the school’s curriculum, and looking for a space to rent, with a plan to enroll her first class in fall 2010.

“The program brought me from just having an idea to where I am now,” she said. “It’s been a tremendous support system for me as I’m trying to become an entrepreneur.”

Williams is dreaming big: she’d like to open branches of the school in other parts of Dallas and other cities. “This isn’t going to go away, my idea. It’s going to be solidified, and it’s going to be successful.” Williams credits the EBV program with her progress. “I tell all of my friends from the service that if they have any spark of wanting to become an entrepreneur, it’s a wonderful program.”

EBV is offered in consortium with the business schools of Syracuse University, UCLA, Purdue University, and Florida State University. Applications are accepted on a rolling admissions basis, so there is no set deadline for applying to the program. More details are available at https://mays.tamu.edu/ebv/.

Experiences like Lopez’s and Williams are made possible through the generosity of individuals and corporate donors. If you would like to support a veteran in this program, you can give at https://maysapps.tamu.edu/maysdonate (select “Disabled Vet Bootcamp” from the drop down menu) or contact program director Richard Lester directly at (979) 862-7091 or rlester@mays.tamu.edu.

Categories: Programs, Texas A&M

Hunter Bollman of Katy has been appointed by Gov. Rick Perry as the newest student regent for The Texas A&M University System, effective June 1. Bollman is the fourth student to serve on the Board of Regents since the governor created the position in 2006. He replaces Anthony Cullins of Dallas.

Hunter Bollman '11
Bollman

Bollman applied for the student regent selection process last fall. Chancellor Michael D. McKinney forwarded the names of applicants to the governor, who made the final decision in announcing a total of 10 student regents to their respective positions May 29.

“Students are a vital part of the A&M System and the reason we’re here,” McKinney said. “The student regent acts as a link between the board and the students to give us valuable input and feedback. I believe Hunter has the leadership skills necessary to be a great student regent.”

Bollman is in the Mays Business School Professional Program at Texas A&M University, where he is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a master’s degree in finance. He also is a fellow in the Fellows Program at Mays Business School and will graduate in May 2011.

He is a past member of the Texas A&M Student Government Association Executive Council, a member of Beta Upsilon Chi, Texas A&M Honor Council and Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society. He also is a volunteer Fish Camp counselor and attended the 2008 KPMG Fast Forward Leadership Conference.

“It is truly an honor and a privilege to be selected as the next student regent for the Board of Regents,” Bollman said. “I am excited about the opportunities that lie ahead and eager to get to work because the challenges we face as a system are great. I look forward to visiting and working with fellow student leaders across the system campuses to gather and articulate student opinion on important issues to members of the board.”

Bollman’s term expires May 31, 2010.

Categories: Students, Texas A&M

The Securities and Exchange Commission recently named Houston businessman Robert Watson in a securities fraud civil lawsuit. In a May 26 press release from the SEC and in other media coverage, Watson was misidentified as an executive professor of finance at Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School. Watson resigned from his position effective April 30, 2009 citing family reasons.

An executive professor is an industry professional that is hired on an adjunct basis to teach a course within their area of expertise. This is different from other “professor” titles, as executive professors usually have no formal training in education, nor are they expected to publish research. Watson held the position of executive professor at Mays from January-April 2009, during which time he taught one course.

Media contact: Pam Wiley, Mays Business School Director of Communications at psw@tamu.edu or (979) 845-0193.

Categories: Texas A&M

Andrew Spencer Welch of Round Rock, Texas, was one of three graduates singled out for special honor at Texas A&M University’s spring commencement. Welch was presented with the Robert Gates-Muller Family Outstanding Student Award, which recognizes an outstanding graduating senior at A&M who has demonstrated those qualities of leadership, patriotism and courage exemplified by Dr. Robert M. Gates, former president of the university and current U.S. Secretary of Defense. The award included a $5,000 gift.

Welch graduated with a bachelor’s in accounting and a master’s in financial management from Mays Business School at Texas A&M.

In presenting the Gates-Muller Award, Texas A&M President Elsa Murano described Welch as someone who strives for excellence in everything he does.

“Mr. Welch not only completed the requirements for one of his courses, but he also turned in every optional assignment for that course. He is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a master of science degree in financial management. In both areas, he maintained a perfect 4.0 grade point ratio,” she added.

One nominator wrote that for others, the victory is in the grade, the job or the salary, but for Welch, relationships are the important thing. While others have celebrated their triumphs, he has used his to make Texas A&M a better place.

Outside the classroom, Welch helped another student establish a leadership program for business students called Horizons and served as a mentor to other students, Murano said, adding that he also has been active in numerous Mays Business School organizations and served as a coordinator for a mentoring program for local elementary school students.

The Robert Gates-Muller Family Outstanding Student Award was established through a gift from the Muller Family of Galveston.

Categories: Students, Texas A&M

Paul D. “Pablo” Marvin ’66, a graduate of Mays Business School, has been named by the Association of Former Students at Texas A&M University as one of six distinguished alumni for 2009. Established in 1962, the Distinguished Alumnus Award is the highest honor bestowed upon a former student of Texas A&M University. Since its inception, 190 individuals have been recognized for their significant contributions to their professions, Texas A&M University and their local communities.


Marvin

Marvin received a bachelor of science in business management while working part-time and later full-time to support his young family. Upon graduation, Marvin returned to his native Mexico and built a long and prosperous career in business. Working first as a production and marketing manager for Aceros Nacioneles, S.A. in Mexico City, he later founded Plasticos Precisos, S.A., a plastics extrusions company. Marvin also worked at Deutz, CV.de C.B in Mexico City, one of Latin America’s largest holding companies at the time and later founded and operated the Los Tocayos chain of restaurants in Denver, Colorado. Today he is a real estate executive and CEO of Compania de Inversionistas de Mexico, S.A. de C.V.

Marvin has remained a committed and loyal supporter of Texas A&M, especially to initiatives focusing on international programs. He was named an Outstanding International Alumnus in 2006 for his involvement. He is a member of the Texas A&M International Board, the Texas A&M Mexico Center Advisory Board, the Bush School Development Council and is a founding member of Texas A&M’s International Programs Office. In 1993, Marvin and his wife, Barbara, provided 5,000 square feet of office space rent-free to Texas A&M University, allowing for the creation of the Texas A&M University Center in Mexico. This center serves as Texas A&M’s official representation in Mexico, enabling the university to further its research collaborations with Mexico and Latin America and strengthen linkages with academic institutions, business organizations, and governmental agencies in Mexico.

Marvin, who resides in College Station, Texas, serves as a mentor to Texas A&M’s Academy for International Leaders Program and as an external advisor to the Mexican Student Association. He was actively involved in the planning of the Central American Aggie Summit in 2006 and in the 2007 Middle East Aggie Summit.

Categories: Former Students, Texas A&M

Though James Royce Whatley ’47 was a brilliant businessman whose successful career spanned four decades, it is not his financial acumen he is remembered for. Instead, Whatley’s legacy is a history of philanthropy that has touched the lives of countless thousands, including students at Texas A&M University. Though he passed away in 2005, Whatley’s contributions and love for Texas A&M University have not stopped. His final gift to his alma mater was recently announced: $2 million for endowed faculty chairs in Mays Business School and the College of Geosciences.

“Mr. Whatley’s dedication to Texas A&M University and Mays Business School has been inspiring,” said Mays Dean Jerry Strawser. “It is former students like him that make Texas A&M University a special school. We are grateful for his generosity to Mays Business School, with this gift that will have a tremendous impact on our faculty.”

Whatley’s association with Texas A&M began in 1943, when he enrolled in the business program and donned his corps uniform. Like many young men of that era, Whatley put his academic pursuits on hold to defend his country in World War II, serving as a Navy merchant ship gunner. When he returned home in 1946, he had a renewed zest for his education. He quickly completed both a bachelors and masters degree in accounting and became a CPA. It was during that time he also met his bride, Elizabeth, with whom he shared 58 happy years. The couple had one son, James, who was lost to leukemia at a young age.

The majority of Whatley’s career was spent with Kaneb Services, a petroleum engineering pipeline company. Over the course of three decades with the firm, Whatley served in a number of roles including CFO, controller, vice president, president, and CEO. He also was involved in commercial banking and investments.

One of Whatley’s proudest achievements was his contribution to the founding of Northeast Texas Community College in Mount Pleasant. Whatley was part of the original board of trustees that secured the funding and set about to build the college from the ground up. “There were a lot of people in that area who could afford to send their kids to college, but there were even more that couldn’t,” said Mrs. Whatley, who says her husband was passionate about providing opportunities for young people to get the education they might not otherwise have access to. Whatley provided many scholarships to students at NTCC; the most promising ones also received funding to achieve advanced degrees at A&M.

Adding to his philanthropic activities, Whatley also enjoyed supporting the arts in East Texas, Texas heritage and history, cancer research, and A&M football. For all of his personal and professional contributions, Mays Business School presented him with an Outstanding Alumni Award in 2002.

Categories: Donors Corner, Executive Speakers, Former Students, Texas A&M