Alumni News


Drayton McLane Jr., BBA ’58, businessman and Regent Emeritus at Baylor, was appointed by Gov. Greg Abbott to be chairman of the Texas Economic Development Corp. board of directors.


Jan R. Williams, MBA ’65, received the American Accounting Association’s Outstanding Accounting Educator Award in 2018 at the organization’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C. Williams lives in Nashville, Tennessee, following a 44-year career as an Accounting faculty member and administrator at the University of Georgia, Texas Tech University and the University of Tennessee. He served as dean of the Haslam College of Business at the University of Tennessee, a position he held for 13 years leading up to his retirement in 2013.


Thomas Redwine, BBA ’70, municipal judge, was honored by the city of Van Alstyne, Texas, for more than 40 years of service.

Godfrey Sullivan, BBA ’75, has been appointed to the board of directors at RingCentral Inc., a leading provider of global enterprise cloud communications, collaboration and contact center solutions. Sullivan has served as chairman of the board of directors of Splunk Inc., an enterprise software company, since 2011 and previously as president and chief executive officer of Splunk from 2008 to 2015.

John Eddie Williams Jr., BBA ’76, firm founder and managing partner of Williams Kherkher, recently received the Texas Trial Lawyers Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Herb Bristow, BBA ’78, is joining forces with Andy Tindel, BBA ’79, and Mark Mann for an intellectual property practice in Waco, Texas, which has become a burgeoning destination for intellectual property lawsuits.


Jim Greenwood, BBA ’83, and Glenn Ellisor of Vision Source were chosen as the recipients of the 2019 Prevent Blindness Persons of Vision Award. The awards were presented at the Prevent Blindness Person of Vision Dinner at the Edison Ballroom, New York City, in conjunction with Vision Expo East. The Prevent Blindness Person of Vision Award recognizes an individual or organization whose inspired outlook champions healthy vision and its importance for a healthy life.

Stephen Shelton, BBA ’83, has joined Great American Group Advisory & Valuation Services, a leading provider of advisory and valuation services and a wholly-owned subsidiary of B. Riley Financial Inc., as managing director with the firm’s appraisal business based in New York.

Laura Harmon, BBA ’84, has been promoted to senior associate at Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer. She specializes in office sales and leasing in the Upstate South Carolina area.

Kathy Schwaig, BBA ’84, MBA ’86, has been named as Kennesaw State University’s new provost and vice president for academic affairs. Serving in her new position, Schwaig will report directly to the president as the university’s first female chief academic officer. She has served as the dean of the Michael J. Coles College of Business there for more than six years.

William Johnston, MBA ’85, has been hired as chief financial officer and assistant superintendent of business services for the Red Oak, Texas School District. He will oversee the accounting, purchasing, payroll, accounts payable and business services staff. Johnston will relocate from Round Lake, Illinois, where he served as chief financial officer and assistant superintendent of business for Round Lake area schools since 2011.

Robert Overton, BBA ’86, and Julie Overton, BA ’89, have opened a shop in the Milo All Day restaurant complex in Waco, Texas, where they sell decor from the Round Top Collection. The Round Top Collection began 28 years ago in the Hill Country community of the same name. That’s where Jeff Krause sold “rusted metal creations” on the village square, and the venture blossomed to include a 45,000-square-foot manufacturing and distribution facility in Houston, Texas.

Stephanie Young, BBA ’86, has been appointed managing director of Hong Kong Disneyland Resort (HKDL) by Disney Parks, Experiences and Consumer Products. Young has a distinguished 26-year career with The Walt Disney Company, holding leadership positions across the areas of operations, business, finance and information technology.

James Springfield, BBA ’87, has been appointed chief executive officer of Nobilis Health Corp. He spent 13 years with the Memorial Hermann Health Care System in various leadership positions, including chief operating officer of Hermann Hospital, the 900-bed flagship of the multi-hospital system, and chief executive officer of the Hermann Children’s Hospital.

Brent Veach, BBA ’87, is the largest Del Taco franchisee, operating 50 quick-serve restaurants, 21 in Colorado and 29 in Arizona. Veach’s business philosophy focuses on SERVE (strive for excellence, elevate others, relentless focus on achieving results through continuous improvement, visionary leadership, every guest matters) and the motto “SERVE with Pride,” as constant reminders of these core values.

Michelle May O’Neil, BBA ’89, entrepreneur, lawyer and motivational speaker, has released a new book Wisdom from Momma: Anecdotes and Euphemisms from a True Texas Lady as a guidebook from, and homage to, her mother, Sandra Verdene Crouch May. The book contains life advice from Momma, whose spirit and tenacity guided her and her family through their most trying times. As a respected divorce lawyer, Michelle is not one to shy away from difficult topics, and she brings that same candor to her book. She acknowledges her family’s difficulties (her dad battled depression and her family struggled financially) and shows how her mother’s strength and life philosophies were the family’s guiding force.


Jonathan J. Bates, BBA ’90, of Kinser & Bates, LLP in Dallas, Texas, has been selected to the Board of Governors for the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. He is currently the treasurer for the State Bar of Texas Family Law Section and is a past president of the Texas Academy of Family Law Specialists.

Ray J. Black, Jr., BBA ’90, was named as the head of estate settlement at BBVA Compass, where he oversees the settlement and administration of estates and offers guidance and support to the bank’s trust advisors in the field.

Christopher Derden, BBA ’90, has been appointed litigation practice group leader in the Houston, Texas office of Adams and Reese. Derden has a national litigation practice focusing particularly on the defense of mass tort, environmental, toxic tort and product liability matters.

Jim F. Andrews, Jr., MBA ’92, has been hired by the Little Rock, Arkansas, law firm of PPGMR as counsel for its El Dorado, Arkansas office. Andrews has an extensive background in general business spanning four decades in a variety of functions and positions for companies ranging from startups to the Fortune 500.

Rachel Harris Graham, BBA ’92, co-created Healing Springs Ranch (HSR) after a family crisis in 2013. HSR is an innovative, 28-bed co-ed residential facility that addresses substance use and underlying mental health issues in North Texas. HSR’s core philosophy is not just centered on rehab-style treatment, but rather helping people identify underlying trauma to repair the physiological and psychological damage done to their bodies, minds and souls while helping clients find meaning and purpose in his or her life. Graham resides in the Dallas-Fort Worth area with her two teenage children. She travels extensively with her children and enjoys speaking globally on destigmatizing addiction and compulsive behaviors.

Brad Rinklin, BBA ’93, has been appointed chief marketing officer for Carbon Black. Rinklin has more than 20 years of experience in B2B technology and cyber security marketing.

Marisa Denney Kahley, BBA ’94, restarted her career, after taking several years off to raise her children, as a realtor for Berkshire Hathaway, joining the Rhodes Team in the Flower Mound area. Kahley was awarded 2018 Rookie of the Year and led the team as Buyers Agent of the Month with more than $2 million in sales in March. Using her Professional Sales classes and International Business degree, more than half of her clients have been from countries all over the world, including Romania, India, Nepal, Korea, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Nigeria and Ghana, making their homes in North Texas.

Ted Metcalf, BBA ’95, has joined Compass Health Brands as western regional director, where he will manage the sales teams in Arizona, Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

Mike Ford, BBA ’97, associate head coach of men’s track and field at Baylor, was named head coach of the men’s team competing at the 2019 Europe vs. USA Match, one of five international competitions in 2019, by USA Track and Field (USTAF).

Laura Thompson, BBA ’98, has been promoted to vice president, trade shows at The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies (PMMI), the owner and producer of the PACK EXPO portfolio of trade shows. Thompson previously served as senior director, expositions. A “rising through the ranks” success story, Thompson began as the PMMI receptionist 20 years ago, fresh out of Baylor University.

Esmeralda Hudson, BBA ’99, the first Hispanic city secretary for the Waco City Council, has been reappointed for her second term. Hudson has lived in Waco, Texas, for 20 years and was the first in her family to earn a college degree.

Suprateek Sarker, MBA ’99, is currently Rolls-Royce Commonwealth Commerce Professor at the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia. As a professor, he enjoys teaching classes on Information Systems, mentoring students, conducting and publishing research, and serving in editorial roles at journals. In the last few years, he has been named fellow of the Association for Information Systems (AIS) and a distinguished alumnus by the Department of Operations, Business Analytics, and Information Systems at the University of Cincinnati. He has also received an honorary doctorate from The University of Jyvaskyla, Finland.


Meagan Martin Powers, BBA ’01, MAcc ’01, has launched Martin Powers & Counsel, PLLC, a business-focused, woman-owned law firm representing clients in all facets of business law. Martin Powers, a proven trial lawyer who most recently was a partner at Heygood Orr & Pearson in Irving, Texas, focuses her practice on business disputes and bankruptcy issues and serves as external general counsel for several of her clients.

Dion McBay, MBA ’01, was appointed as vice president of sales for Valent U.S.A. LLC. McBay will be responsible for leading the sales team and directing the sales process for Valent’s products and services across North America. He will also serve as their executive lead to the customer channel and support global initiatives of Valent’s parent company, Sumitomo Chemical.

Sabah Al Shamsi, BBA ’02, and his Italian business partner started to empower local small businesses with a digital platform, so they can easily connect with consumers, allowing them to compare the rates, book, pay and monitor services through a smart app. Al Shamsi headed the information technology departments of various organizations in Dubai before starting the company.

Roland Goertz, MBA ’03, was recently presented with the McLennan County Medical Society’s fifth annual Presidential Distinguished Service Award. Goertz has a long history of service in the medical community, primarily as chief executive officer of the Heart of Texas Community Health Center Inc., overseeing all operations of the Waco Family Health Center since 1997.

Bret Hefton, BBA ’03, is moving to the JLL Dallas tenant rep team. A former NTCAR Young Citizen Award winner and D chief executive officer Power Broker with Avison Young, Hefton has been in commercial real estate for 15 years. He has completed $800 million in transactions in his career.

Ashton Gustafson, BBA ’05, public speaker and realtor, recently launched a podcast called Good, True & Beautiful, which serves as a platform for thought leaders and visionaries from across the country to share their wisdom and insights on making the world a better place. In 2018, the podcast averaged 17,000 listeners a week. He has keynoted across the U.S. and internationally. In addition to his writing and speaking, Gustafson is currently a partner at Bishop Realtor Group, Meadowlake Management and Muse Capital in Wichita Falls, Texas, as well as A.G. Real Estate & Associates in Waco, Texas. He writes about the art of living, finding beauty in hidden places and making music with your life, relationships and business.

Mechele Agbayani Mills, MBA ’09, president and chief executive officer of the East Texas Better Business Bureau, has been appointed to the board of directors for the Council of Better Business Bureaus, headquartered in Arlington, Virginia.


Alan J. Lombardo, MBA ’11, has been named chief executive officer of Sheltering Arms Institute, a joint venture between Sheltering Arms Hospital and VCU Health System to provide care for individuals who have survived strokes, spinal cord injuries or brain injuries, and general rehabilitation for various neurological diseases and disorders. Throughout his career, Lombardo has held clinical and leadership positions at Veterans Health Administration facilities across the country.

Will Turner, MBA ’13, has been named president of Baylor Scott & White Medical Center-Waxahachie after serving seven years at the Baylor Scott & White-Hillcrest campus in Waco, Texas as associate director of physician services and then director of hospital operations, and as interim president of the Baylor Scott & White-Carrollton campus.

Andrew Bowman, BBA ’14, will join the Ophthalmology Residency Program at the University of Florida. Bowman completed his medical degree at University of Texas Health—San Antonio and his internship at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas.

Franky Burciaga, BBA ’16, and Alfonso Masso, BBA ’16, were awarded Franchisee of the Year by franchisor Restoration 1, one of the fastest-growing restoration franchises in North America. They accepted the award at the annual convention in Las Vegas, Nevada. Burciaga and Masso went straight from graduation to buying their own franchise.

Noelle Randall, MBA ’17, entrepreneur, hopes to empower more women to join the growing field of real estate investing through free webinars. Randall is the founder and president of FDR Horizon Enterprises, which has created top-selling brands, including her signature product Tea More Skinny. She also is the co-founder of Bella J Hair, the premiere hair extension brand and international hair and wig distributor.

Matt Skinner, MBA ’17, has been promoted to National Sales Manager—Western U.S. for Profile Products of Buffalo Grove, Illinois. Skinner joined Profile in 2016 as a market development manager/regional sales manager. He has more than 18 years of experience in consultative sales and project management in erosion control, soil remediation, geosynthetics, engineered plastics and environmental construction.

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