OUTSTANDING ALUMNI 2020
Mays honors graduates who have led lives of distinction and who embody the Aggie Core Values with the Outstanding Alumni Award. Recipients come from all industries, have been active in their communities, and continue to serve their alma mater.
LAURA C. FULTON ’85
Laura C. Fulton ’85 strives to help individuals reach their full potential. “What I’m passionate about, especially at work, is making a difference in people’s lives—getting them to believe that they have more potential, more possibility than they thought that they did,” she said.
The recently named vice-president of finance for the American Bureau of Shipping has enjoyed similar support from respected colleagues who helped her challenge her own expectations and reframe her aspirations throughout her career. Fulton, who started as an auditor at Deloitte & Touche, reached a career milestone when she assisted Hi- Crush Partners LP in becoming a publicly-traded company as the organization’s CFO. In 2019, “Oil & Gas Investor” magazine recognized Fulton as one of the “25 Most Influential Women in Energy.”
The third-generation Aggie brings this mindset to her continued involvement with Mays Business School. She serves on the Dean’s Advisory Board and the Accounting Department Advisory Council. A regular guest speaker, Fulton also assists with mentoring and supporting students and offers counsel on the accounting department’s curriculum and strategies. She’s provided financial support over a number of years, including establishing the Laura C. Fulton ’85 Department of Accounting Excellence Endowment in 2017 as part of Mays’ campaign to name the James Benjamin Department of Accounting.
A member of Texas A&M Department of Accounting’s Hall of Honor, Fulton believes Mays is on the leading edge in preparing transformational leaders who will advance the world’s prosperity. “I realize that I’m a role model for women in business. I’ve done so many things in my career that I didn’t realize were possible. It was all because somebody believed in me,” she said. “If I can be that special person in someone else’s life, then I definitely want to spend my time and effort doing that.”
RANDALL B. HALE ’85
Randall B. Hale ’85 always wanted to own his own business. Growing up, he picked and sold dewberries door-to-door, had a newspaper route, mowed lawns, and worked a number of odd jobs.
Now, as founder and managing director of Rock Hill Capital Group, Hale supports the entrepreneurial economy by helping business owners realize their goals and reaching their full business potential. The private equity firm invests in small- to lower-middle market companies in a variety of industries.
Hale grew up in Bryan, minutes away from Texas A&M. His family’s friends included Dr. Jim Benjamin – namesake and head of the James Benjamin Department of Accounting at Mays Business School – who saw Hale progress from teenager to accounting student to seasoned professional. Initially impressed with Hale’s intensity and competitiveness, Benjamin watched as Hale, then a young professional, easily interacted with top leaders at his first employer, Arthur Andersen. “Most people his age wouldn’t be able to handle those types of interactions,” Benjamin said.
Now a well-respected member of Houston’s business community, Hale remains an integral part of Mays Business School. He regularly speaks with and actively recruits accounting students, including his son Alex who graduated from the PPA Program in 2018. Hale’s daughter, Hannah, is currently completing her second year in the veterinary medicine program after receiving her undergraduate degree from A&M. Hale also recently established a substantial endowment in support of the Department of Accounting in memory of his father, Ronnie Hale, Sr. The latter served as the first director of the Brazos Valley Boys and Girls Club before going into banking.
Like his father, Hale is committed to serving others, including his long-time association with Boys & Girls Country of Houston, Houston Museum of Natural Science, Houston Venture Capital Association, the Association for Corporate Growth, River Oaks Country Club, and as a current board member of the 12th Man Foundation.
Those in the Bryan/College Station area who have known Hale since childhood are proud of what he’s achieved. “I have been very impressed with his success in business and his service to society, particularly Texas A&M University,” Benjamin said. “He has clearly lived a life of distinction which reflects the core values of Texas A&M University.
BLAKE A. POUNDS ’89
Blake A. Pounds ’89 describes his life’s philosophy as being “a river, not a reservoir.” He finds great satisfaction and fulfillment in helping others.
The San Antonio native’s 30-year career with Accenture has helped him do just that. As a senior managing director, he leads a major international oil and gas client account globally on behalf of the leading professional services company. “I love a good challenge. I’m especially motivated by growing our business by making what’s impossible possible,” he said.
Additionally, Pounds serves as office managing director for the company’s 2,000-employee Houston office, regularly recognized as one of the Houston Chronicle’s Top Workplaces. In that role, he encourages employees’ active involvement in the local community and has served on a number of non-profit boards, including the United Way of Greater Houston.
The second-generation Aggie stays closely connected to Mays Business School. An A&M Legacy Society member and Fish Camp namesake, Pounds serves as the executive sponsor for Accenture’s involvement in Mays and oversees the company’s recruiting and annual fundraising efforts. He also encourages Accenture’s support of Mays Business Honors Program, Mays Business Fellows Program, and the Consulting Guild within Mays Horizon Program.
Pounds and his wife, Dawn, are personally invested in Mays. In one of their proudest moments, the couple endowed a scholarship honoring Pounds’ father, Herbert E. Pounds, Jr. ’65. Pounds also serves as a regular speaker in finance classes and at Mays Business Honors roundtables.
Pounds’ commitment to education has deep roots. He credits his mother and grandfather, both K-12 educators, for his love of education. “They always told me that everything in life could be taken away from you except your education.” Pounds is also proud that Mays teaches ethics, core values, and Texas A&M’s ‘other education,’ which are just as important as outstanding academics. “That’s why Mays graduates thrive at Accenture.”