Alumni News


Don Buckalew Jr., BBA ’56, general manager of Buckalew Chevrolet in Conroe, Texas, was inducted into the Conroe/Lake Conroe Chamber of Commerce Wall of Honor for his selfless service and longtime dedication to the Chamber and community.

Drayton McLane Jr., BBA ’58, Baylor Regent Emeritus, has been named chairman of the board for Texas Central, a group developing what may become the United States’ first high-speed train. The passenger line, the Texas Bullet Train, would connect the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area to the Houston area. In addition, he was honored at the Cooper Institute’s Legacy Award Dinner at Globe Life Park in Arlington in November. McLane, former owner of the Houston Astros, was honored “in recognition of his unwavering determination to better the world around him,” according to the Cooper Institute.


Jerry Moore, BBA ’61, former head football coach of Appalachian State University, spoke at the 25th Annual Fellowship of Christian Athletes Alonzo Stagg Bowl Championship Breakfast in December. Moore coached Appalachian State from 1989 to 2012, winning three consecutive Division I FCS Football Championships in 2005, 2006 and 2007. He was a wide receiver at Baylor and captained their 1960 Gator Bowl team.


F. Wayne McWhorter, MBA ’73, has been appointed to the board of directors of Eagle Energy Inc. McWhorter, a former certified public accountant and county judge in Harrison County, Texas, brings more than 40 years of experience in the oil and gas, banking, public accounting and real estate industries.

Charlie Smith, BBA ’74, executive director of the Mount Pleasant Economic Development Corporation (EDC), retired in January. He spent nearly 15 years leading the economic group in its goal of growing and enhancing the economy of Mount Pleasant and Titus County, Texas.

Godfrey Sullivan, BBA ’75, has been appointed to the board of directors of CrowdStrike Inc., the leader in cloud-delivered endpoint protection. Since 2011, Sullivan has served as the chairman of the Splunk Inc. board of directors and was previously president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Splunk from 2008 to 2015. During his tenure as chief executive officer, Sullivan led Splunk’s initial public offering (IPO) as the first big data company to enter the public market, largely hailed as one of the most successful technology IPOs in recent history.

Rick Richardson, BBA ’78, has been named chief financial officer for Tarleton State University and senior vice president for the division of finance and administration. As part of Tarleton’s leadership team, Richardson oversees the budgetary and fiscal affairs of the university, including planning, monitoring and managing overall financial plans, policies, programs and operations.


Roland Garcia, BBA ’81, was appointed as vice chairman of the Harris County Hospital District Foundation. He was also honorary chair of the Houston Arts Alliance Gala. In addition, Garcia is a principal shareholder of the international law firm Greenberg Traurig, LLP.

Steven Napier, BBA ’81, MTax ’83, has relocated with Ernst & Young (EY) to Hamilton, Bermuda. He oversees the formation of a valuation and business modeling practice that will serve the markets of Bermuda, Bahamas, British Virgin Islands and Cayman Islands. Previously, Napier was a partner in the EY U.S. firm for more than 20 years—holding leadership positions in New York, London, San Francisco and Miami. He has also held leadership positions in each of the major valuation professional organizations including the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), American Society of Appraisers (ASA) and Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). Upon retirement from EY, his ambition is to launch a valuation program at Baylor.

Terry G. Freeman, BBA ’82, was recently announced as a member of McGlinchey Stafford, a full-service law firm providing innovative legal counsel to business clients nationwide. Freeman joined McGlinchey Stafford’s Dallas, Texas office in 2011.

Larry Taylor, BBA ’82, a Texas state senator, has been appointed as chairman of a nine-member Senate selection committee to address school violence and school security in Texas.

Steve Young, BBA ’84, MBA ’85, has been promoted to chief lending officer at West Texas National Bank in Midland, Texas. Young served in a variety of executive and board level management roles in Houston and London before moving to Midland several years ago. His most recent role with West Texas National Bank was as senior vice president of business development.

Keenan Martin, BBA ’87, was honored with the 20-year service award at Austin Bank in Longview, Texas. Martin is senior vice president and compliance officer at the bank.

Henry Kwasi Prempeh, MBA ’87, was appointed the new executive director of the Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana). A legal scholar and governance expert, Prempeh brings a wealth of experience and knowledge gained from a career as a civil society activist, an academic, a lawyer, a corporate manager, a consultant and a policy adviser. He is currently a member of the Ghana Law Reform Commission.

Donnie Williams, BBA ’87, reverend, is among the staff and members who have opened The Bridge church in Odessa, Texas. Previously, Williams worked as youth minister at the First United Methodist Church of Odessa, when the now-retired pastor suggested to Williams he should establish a church on the high-growth north side of town.

Jim Bushy, BBA ’88, joined HaHaMen Improv and Sketch Comedy Troupe in 2017. HaHaMen is a group of Christians who work hard to provide clean, family friendly entertainment. Bushy got his start in improv comedy in early 2015, having found a free, beginners improv class at Westside Improv Studio in Wheaton, Ill. In addition, Bushy recently purchased a Farmers Insurance Agency franchise and opened James Bushy Farmers Insurance Agency in Oak Brook, Ill.

Don R. Willett, BBA ’88, Texas Supreme Court Justice, was approved by the U.S. Senate to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals and sworn in. In addition, he was presented with Baylor’s Pro Texana Medal of Service for contributions in furthering the mission of Baylor and making an immeasurable impact on the public or nonprofit sector.

John Humphrey, MTax ’89, has been promoted to the role of president and chief executive officer (CEO) of July Business Services. As CEO, he is responsible for setting the firm’s vision and providing top-level leadership of the organization.


Michelle (Anderson) Roden, BBA ’90, has been promoted to director of tax and enterprise risk at Interstate Batteries, Inc. She has led the tax function for many years and has the opportunity to create the enterprise risk function. Interstate Batteries is a privately held company located in Dallas, Texas.

Clarke Pich, MBA ’92, was appointed as the new head of global professional services for Epicor Software Corporation, a global provider of industry-specific enterprise software to promote business growth.

Mark W. Smith, BBA ’92, MBA ’93, has been appointed chief financial officer of Helmerich & Payne Inc. Prior to his time at Helmerich & Payne, Smith served in various leadership roles at Atwood Oceanics Inc., an offshore drilling contractor. Before joining Atwood Oceanics in 2009, Smith was a partner at Calvetti Ferguson and a senior manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers. Prior to that, he worked for other legal and financial interests.

Kyle Kennedy, MBA ’93, has been named as president and chief operating officer of COPC Inc. He previously worked as executive vice president and head of the global certification practice at COPC Inc.

Eric Fernandez, BBA ’94, co-founder of sports marketing agency 4FRONT, started SportsDesk Media which later merged with Property Consulting Group in 2011. The two firms became PCG SportsDesk and recently rebranded as 4FRONT, to offer clients the complete sports marketing experience. The company employs three Baylor graduates and hires interns from Baylor’s Sports Strategy & Sales (S3) program every summer.

Lars A. van Gelder, MIM ’94, decided to become a high school teacher after 23 years of working in the corporate world—20 of which were in the telecommunications industry. Van Gelder, a native of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, held senior international leadership positions in sales and marketing at companies such as Verizon and AT&T. He felt it was time to share his knowledge and experience with young people. Now, he teaches economics, marketing and entrepreneurship to honor students at a prestigious high school in The Netherlands.

Anna Ewing, BBA ’95, is now chief operations officer for IMA Financial Group Inc. in Denver, Colorado. Previously, she worked at the Colorado Office of Economic Development.

Kevin Duffin, BBA ’96, is joining AmaWaterways as group chief financial officer. Duffin has long admired the company’s approach to going beyond the norms of river cruising and their delivery of high-level guest satisfaction.

Jennifer Fox, MBA ’96, was named as group chief executive officer and a member of the board of directors for Millennium & Copthorne Hotels PLC.

Raquel Fox, BBA ’98, MTax ’99, has been appointed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to succeed Paul Leder as director of the Office of International Affairs, which advises the SEC on cross-border enforcement and regulatory matters, and coordinates the SEC’s involvement with regulatory authorities outside the U.S. Most recently, Fox served as a senior adviser to SEC Chairman Jay Clayton, focusing on matters involving the division of corporation finance and the office of international affairs and assisted on enforcement matters.

Paul Prator, BBA ’98, was recently appointed account manager of the North America central region for British Airways. Based in Austin, Texas, his responsibilities include establishing, developing and strengthening key corporate partnerships for British Airways throughout markets including Central Texas, Houston, Dallas and San Antonio, as well as ensuring the success of the daily direct flight between Austin International Airport and London Heathrow Airport.

Mark P. Yablon, BBA ’98, received his JD in May 2018 from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law. The law firm Pittenger, Nuspl & Crumley in Collin County, Texas, has hired Yablon to practice in commercial litigation, family law, estate planning and personal injury. Current partners Nick Nuspl and George Crumley are both Baylor undergraduates and law school graduates. In addition, Yablon’s daughter Caroline is a sophomore Journalism major at Baylor and his daughter Reagan was accepted into next year’s freshmen class.

Charles L. Cansler III, MBA ’99, has been named The Citadel’s vice president for finance and chief financial officer. Cansler has 30 years of executive leadership, accounting and consulting experience, including serving as vice chancellor for finance and administration at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Additionally, he worked as university controller for North Carolina State University.


Josh Van Manen, BBA ’00, is rejoining Fifth Third Bank as a senior vice president and commercial relationship manager in the bank’s Grand Rapids, Michigan office, after a three-year hiatus as an entrepreneur and business owner.

Renita Miller, BBA ’00, dean of Berkeley College at Yale University and a former director of studies at Princeton, has been named associate dean for access, diversity and inclusion at Princeton University’s Graduate School.

Lisa Denison, MBA ’01, has been named vice president of marketing for Paradigm Spine, LLC, a leader in providing motion preservation solutions for the treatment of lumbar spinal stenosis. She has worked in orthopedic and spine marketing and medical education for more than 20 years.

Ryan Patrick, BBA ’01, took his oath of office to become the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Texas. Patrick, a private attorney, former state district court judge and son of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, was long considered the frontrunner for the post.

Chris Elbrecht, BBA ’02, was recently promoted to trading and operations manager at SWBC Investment Services LLC – Capital Markets in San Antonio, Texas, where he works on the fixed income trading desk. After four years at the firm as a fixed income trader, he was moved into this position after helping start and grow the bond trading unit. Now, Elbrecht oversees the operations of the multimillion-dollar trade desk that works with all major Wall Street institutions as well as with regional and local money managers, school districts, insurance companies and registered investment advisers.

Gabe Hatfield, BBA ’02, MBA ’17, was selected a 2018 Young Professional by Water & Wastes Digest magazine (WWD). Each year, WWD accepts nominations for top young professionals under 40 years old in the water and wastewater industry. Those selected are chosen for having excelled in their professional lives, giving back to their communities and their worldly attitudes and views about the industry’s importance and necessity around the globe, according to the WWD website. Hatfield completed his MBA online while running his company, OK Pipe & Fittings, Inc.

Scott C. Mitchell, MBA ’02, has been named vice president of sales for T5 Data Centers, innovators in providing secure, customizable, hyperscale computing environments for enterprise companies. Mitchell is responsible for finding tenants for T5’s new facilities in the metro Dallas, Texas region and expanding sales of T5’s broader data center consulting and support services across the U.S., Ireland and Singapore.

J. Alex Brown, BBA ’03, has joined the Dallas, Texas office of Passco Companies, a California-based real estate company, as vice president for realty investments. He will oversee due diligence and financing for Passco’s acquisitions of multifamily and commercial properties nationwide.

Kyle Cooksey, BBA ’03, has been named president of leading healthcare services provider CareThrough, a subsidiary of HealthChannels, and will oversee the implementation of tailored care management programs nationally.

Steve Palomino, MBA ’03, has been appointed as performance improvement director for the new Dallas, Texas area office of IntrapriseTechKnowlogies (ITK). Within this role, Palomino will create the IT strategy for enterprise and mid-market organizations.

Kenny Wolfe, BBA ’03, recently wrote a book about the growing importance of passive income to people of all ages. The book, available on Amazon, is called Investing in the Dream. Wolfe built Wolfe Investments, a private equity real estate firm, that focuses on multifamily, commercial, lending and development. To date, he has been involved in more than $100 million worth of real estate transactions in five states. The company recently entered the student housing space with a few assets around Baylor University.

Patrick Claggett, BBA ’04, has joined national specialty wholesale insurance broker Towerstone as a production underwriter, where he will aggregate and package specialized coverages for business clients.

Ben Lamm, BBA ’04, has started Hypergiant, a new company that designs artificial intelligence tools to help Fortune 500 companies better decipher big data and boost efficiency. Lamm is a serial entrepreneur.

Alex Castaneda, BBA ’05, has been promoted to director of accounting at McKesson. Castaneda has more than a decade of accounting experience working for public accounting firms and large public companies. McKesson is the largest pharmaceuticals distributor in the United States and is currently No. 5 on the Fortune 500 list. With more than $200 billion in annual revenue, McKesson is positioned favorably as a powerhouse in the industry.

Clinton Edgar, BBA ’05, was named the new deputy securities commissioner for the Texas State Securities Board, the government agency responsible for enforcing state securities laws. Edgar has been working for the board since 2010, first as staff attorney for the inspections and compliance division and later, as director of the registration division. In those roles, Edgar investigated securities firms and individuals registered with the state for regulatory violations.

Bill Townsend, MBA ’05, a media and technology entrepreneur and philanthropist, announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination to the United States House of Representatives in Nevada’s 4th Congressional District. Townsend is president and chief executive officer of RevolutionSports, Inc. and TRICCAR Holdings, Inc., as well as founder of the nonprofit Amati Foundation. Townsend was instrumental in the creation of several successful companies, most notably Lycos (sold for $7.6 billion); social media innovator (the technology behind LinkedIn); GeoCities (sold to Yahoo!) and (sold to Google and ebay).

Craig Fuller, BBA ’06, chief executive officer at FreightWaves and managing director at BiTA (Blockchain in Transport Alliance), is in the process of developing a new financial product, branded as TransRisk. In addition to offering shipping stakeholders predictive data and business intelligence services, news coverage and industry conferences, the product will help shippers establish financial hedges against transportation spot-market risks including floods, strikes, wildfires, carrier bankruptcies or shippers’ operational changes.

Jared Sherman, BBA ’06, has been appointed executive director of Guardian Flight Inc., overseeing the medical care and service availability throughout Guardian Flight Alaska’s operation to provide the best medical transportation with servant care. Sherman also will have leadership responsibilities overseeing Guardian Flight’s six bases and the largest air medical fleet in Alaska.

Philip Smith, BBA ’06, will open a new Chick-fil-A restaurant franchise location in Hudson Oaks, Texas, as part of the company’s Dallas-Fort Worth area expansion. It’s his second franchise location. Smith has wanted to become a Chick-fil-A Operator since 2002 when, at age 14, he was introduced to the company by his sister, who encouraged him to join her working there.

Jeff Richards, BBA ’07, alongside fellow Baylor graduate Zach Stanke, founded Mooala, a quality, reasonably-priced organic almond milk company.

Dan Moore, MBA ’08, was elected to the board of directors of the Methodist Children’s Home in Waco, Texas. Moore is an alumnus of the home and is the past president of the alumni association. He was also awarded the 2017 Alumnus of the Year award for the Coalition of Residential Excellence (C.O.R.E). He received the award for his work with Family Compass in Dallas, Texas (formerly the child abuse prevention center), the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program (DVAP), Habitat for Humanity, The One Man Dallas Project and the Methodist Children’s Home.

Whitney Hake, BBA ’09, has joined Transwestern agency leasing as senior vice president. In this role, Hake helps companies find office space in the Denver, Colorado area, represents landlords, and builds and leads a team of highly specialized professionals in office agency leasing.


Ryan Dwiggins, MBA ’10, has been named vice president of development at CHC Development, a real estate developer based in Fort Worth, Texas. In addition, Dwiggins is a founding member of and has been appointed to the executive committee of the Tarrant Transit Alliance, an advocacy group aiming to secure funding for mass transit in Tarrant County, Texas.

Michael Leavine, BBA ’12, was named the competition director for Leavine Family Racing (LFR) and its No. 95 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series team. Leavine is the grandson of team owner Bob Leavine and has served as director of operations at the organization for the past year. In his expanded role, Leavine will help to maximize the team’s resources in its alliance partnership with Richard Childress Racing (RCR).

David Turner, BBA ’13, opened Magnolia Turf, a commercial and residential artificial turf business with operations in Dallas, Texas and Austin, Texas. Fellow alumnus Lance Ingram, BBA ’14, is his partner in Austin. They install artificial turf for landscapes, pet areas, custom golf putting greens, playgrounds, schools, patio decks and rooftops.

Matt Bley, MBA ’15, has been named chief accounting officer and corporate controller of CVR Energy Inc. He also will serve as chief accounting officer and corporate controller for the general partner of CVR Energy’s petroleum subsidiary, CVR Refining LP, and for the general partner of its nitrogen fertilizer subsidiary, CVR Partners LP.

Chris Persaud, MBA ’17, has joined the team of DIGISTOR, the leader in secure data and storage solutions, as director of business development. With a background in technology, sales and defense, Persaud will focus on continuing to bring DIGISTOR’s enterprise-level removable storage solution, VaultDisk, to the federal space.

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Baylor Business Review, Fall 2018

One Comment

  1. Mark Yablon wrote:

    Thanks for printing my story. Btw, I am a 1988 graduate and Reagan became a freshman at Baylor after I submitted my info.

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