Alumni News


Joe L. Ward, BBA ’68, has been appointed by Gov. Greg Abbott to the Red River Authority Board of Directors for a term through 2023. The authority provides for the control, conservation and development of the watershed and water of the Red River and its Texas tributaries. Ward is a full-time rancher and has interests in an insurance consulting business, redevelopment projects in downtown Bonham, Texas, and investments in land and family-owned restaurants.

Jim Turner, BBA ’69, past Baylor Scott & White Holdings Board of Trustees chair, was honored in October as the Kerney Laday, Sr. Trustee of the Year by the Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council. The award honors trustees who’ve displayed “uncommon excellence” throughout their careers. Turner was on the Baylor Health Care System board for 15 years, leading up to the merger with Scott & White. He became the first chair-elect of the merged company and served as chair from 2015 through 2018.


Tommy Bowman, BBA ’71, a standout basketball student-athlete at Baylor and a member of the University’s Board of Regents from 2001-2010, has been selected for the 2019 class of the Southwest Conference Hall of Fame as Baylor’s representative. Bowman was the first black basketball recruit at Baylor in 1966 and one of the Southwest Conference’s first black players.

Gary Don Johnson, BBA ’77, MBA ’78, former football student-athlete, was among the Tyler Independent School District’s 2018 Athletic Hall of Fame inductees. The Hall of Fame Class was recognized at a ceremony in September.

Nancy Shemwell, BBA ’78, has been appointed chief operations officer of IoT Community (Internet of Things Community), the world’s largest community of corporate executives, IoT professionals and practitioners. Shemwell has served in leadership positions for more than 30 years with global organizations, including Vericlave, DataSpan, Multi-Link, Jovial Test Equipment, Extreme Networks, Symmetricom and Nortel Networks.


Mark R. Williamson, BBA ’82, has been honored with a 2018 Elite Lawyer Award for the area of family law, which recognizes attorneys who display a high level of competence in their practice and receive acknowledgment from their peers, community, bar and committees. He is the founding partner of the Williamson Law Firm in Dallas, Texas.

Mike Singletary, BBA ’83, shared the four pillars upon which he discovered his purpose in life and challenged players to examine their own purpose during the Morristown West Quarterback Club kickoff dinner at First Baptist of Morristown, Tennessee. After earning All-American honors at Baylor, Singletary went on to a career at the professional level with the Chicago Bears.

John Driskill, MBA ’84, was elected president of the National Association of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives (NOSSCR), a trade group of legal representatives assisting disabled individuals.

Laura Swearingen, BBA ’84, a real estate executive with The Laura Swearingen Team, RE/MAX Associates of Arlington, has joined Noticed, an invitation-only service for distinguished professionals. Swearingen has been chosen as a distinguished real estate professional based on peer reviews and ratings, dozens of recognitions and accomplishments achieved throughout her career.

Stephen Kwaku Asare, MBA ’85, is among four accomplished scholars and practitioners selected by the Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) as its first Democracy and Development (D&D) Fellows. Asare will serve as a D&D Fellow in public law and justice. A KPMG professor in Accounting at Florida’s Fisher School of Accounting, Asare is known in Ghana as a public intellectual and scholar-activist whose contributions and activism, including as plaintiff in a number of precedent-setting cases before the Supreme Court of Ghana, are helping to push the frontiers of governance and the rule of law, particularly in the area of constitutional law and practice.

John Martin, BBA ’85, has been elected president of the Texas Land Title Association Board of Directors. Martin, who has worked in the title insurance industry since 1985, is the past president of the Independent Title Agents of Texas. He founded Lone Star Title Company of El Paso, Texas, in 1999 and Camino Real Abstract and Title in 2007.

Cheryl Small, BBA ’85, was promoted to chief financial officer at Trinity Hunt Partners, a growth-oriented middle market private equity firm. Small spent nearly two decades managing the financial and administrative duties of Trinity Hunt.

Andy Cullen, BBA ’86, has been promoted to district manager of the Oklahoma City office of Insperity Inc., a leading provider of human resources and business performance solutions. He will direct the company’s sales efforts in the Oklahoma region.

Todd Dorton, BBA ’86, has been appointed by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to serve on the family practice residency advisory committee. The committee is responsible for funding recommendations for the Higher Education Coordinating Board and other support programs.

Doyle R. Simons, BBA ’86, retired from his position as president and chief executive officer (CEO) at Weyerhaeuser Co. Simons has been president and CEO of Weyerhaeuser for the past five years.

Col. Jimmie “Pat” Brooks, BBA ’87, retired as vice commander of the 908th Airlift Wing, Air Force Reserve Command, Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama. Brooks served in the Air Force and Air Force Reserves for 30 years, serving in Operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm and Enduring Freedom. In his civilian occupation, Col. Brooks is an international first officer with Delta Airlines.

Steve McKechnie, MBA ’88, and

Jill Montgomery McKechnie, BBA ’87, are in The Woodlands, Texas (when not traveling) and are now enjoying empty nesthood. Jill is the customer service manager for ZMC, and Steve is a central region director for RGP’s advisory services.

Donovan (Don) Russell, BBA ’88, been named vice president of sales for Santa Cruz Nutritionals, the innovator and leading manufacturer of Gummy Vitamins and Supplements. He will oversee sales and product development in the consumer-packaged goods industry serving retailers worldwide.

Don W. Allen, BBA ’89, has joined the Orlando, Florida, office as a partner in the business law firm of Kelley Kronenberg. Allen has nearly three decades of experience handling workers’ compensation issues in Florida courts. He is admitted to practice law in Florida, the Florida Supreme Court, the United States District Court Middle District of Florida and the United States Supreme Court.

Deeanne King, BBA ’89, current senior vice president of omnichannel operations and customer experience at Sprint, has been named Sprint’s chief human resources officer. King has been with Sprint for nearly 30 years and has extensive management experience across a variety of business units, including care, operations and more than 13 years in human resources.

Don R. Reeves, BBA ’89, joined Roberts & Roberts in Tyler, Texas, in June, where he will continue to represent injured victims. Prior to this, Reeves worked as a personal injury attorney at Bennett Law Office in Longview, Texas, for approximately 19 years.


Brett H. Graham, BBA ’90, has been reappointed by Gov. Greg Abbott to the board of the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles. Graham is owner and chief executive officer of Graham International and serves as a board member of the Texas Association of Business, and a member of the Texas Automobile Dealers Association and the Texas Tire Dealers Association.

George Kazanas, BBA ’90, superintendent of Midway Independent School District, has been named the 2018 Region 12 Superintendent of the Year and regional nominee for the Texas Superintendent of the Year. Kazanas has overseen collaborative research partnerships with Baylor and teaches and mentors future administrators through Baylor’s educational leadership doctoral program. He also serves as a superintendent mentor.

Kelli C. Styron, BBA ’90, has been appointed interim vice president of Tarleton State University’s division of student affairs. Now dean of the College of Liberal and Fine Arts, she began her new duties in January. Styron began at Tarleton in 1995 and has worked closely with the division of student affairs. She has served the institutional advancement and enrollment management divisions, led the social work, sociology and criminal justice department, and chaired the university’s compliance committee for accreditation. She was named dean in 2011.

Jim F. Andrews, Jr., MBA ’92, has been hired by PPGMR Law as its newest counsel to the firm in El Dorado, Arkansas. Andrews spent 17 years in a legal career at Deltic Timber Corp., with the last seven of those years as its vice president, general counsel and secretary.

Scott Delaney, BBA ’92, has joined Unichem Pharmaceuticals as president and chief executive officer and a member of the company’s Board of Directors. Delaney has more than 24 years of experience in brand and generic pharmaceutical management.

Carri Clark, BBA ’93, has joined Stinnett & Associates, a professional advisory firm in Tulsa, Oklahoma, as an associate. Clark has three years of public accounting experience, where she planned, directed and reviewed audits for businesses, not-for-profits, cities, counties and school districts.

Christopher Todd, BBA ’95, MBA ’95, has been promoted to a new strategic role as dual chief financial officer/chief operating officer for the transportation management and logistics service company NT Logistics Inc. He will oversee all of the company’s divisions as well as the fulfillment of several ongoing strategic imperatives.

Corey Bailey, BBA ’96, has been named senior vice president, chief credit officer and divisional credit administration officer for the Texas Market of Comerica Incorporated. In his role, Bailey will support middle market Texas, energy and U.S. banking.

Mark Embry, BS (Marketing) ’96, is co-founder of MedSys Group, a healthcare IT advisory firm in Dallas, Texas. MedSys Group was recently named as a small business partner to the Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs EMR Modernization project team with Cerner Corporation.

Peter L. Sefzik, MBA ’98, has been named executive vice president – business at Comerica Bank. In his new role, Sefzik will lead Comerica’s business segment, which provides companies with an array of credit and non-credit financial products and services.

Chip Gaines, BBA ’98, and wife

Joanna Gaines, BA ’01, have invited the Church Under the Bridge to relocate to Magnolia Market at the Silos before the church is displaced by upcoming road construction in Waco, Texas. Chip has known about the ministry since he was a college student at Baylor and reached out to the church’s pastor after learning how the congregation would be impacted by construction.

Nancy (Payne) McEachern, BBA ’98, business development director and producer at Insurors of Texas, recently received the registered employee benefit consultant designation from The National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU). NAHU views this designation as the highest form of recognition in the health insurance industry, demonstrating McEachern’s commitment to educational leadership within the insurance profession.

Shawn Courtney, MBA ’99, has been appointed president and chief executive officer of ERIKS North America, an industrial service provider. He previously served as regional product director of ERIKS North America and president of ERIKS Seals and Plastics.


Clint Harp, BBA ’00, who gained fame as a craftsman on “Fixer Upper” and starred in his own DIY Network show, “Wood Work,” has written a book, “Handcrafted: A Woodworker’s Story.” The book is an ode to dreaming, hard work and risk-taking. He and his wife Kelly Harp, BS ’02, own Harp Design Co.

Reagan Rorschach, MBA ’00, has joined Stonebriar Commercial Finance as managing director of originations in the central region of the United States while based in Plano, Texas.

David Sullivan, BBA ’00, was cast in the recurring role of “Chris” in the eight-episode HBO series, “Sharp Objects,” starring Amy Adams. At Baylor, Sullivan played football for the Bears for one year, while also starring in theater productions and participating in Delta Tau Delta fraternity. Sullivan caught his big break by landing his first starring role as Abe in “Primer,” an independent film that claimed the Grand Jury Prize at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival. From 2016-2017, Sullivan starred alongside Will Arnett in the Netflix series, “Flaked.”

Michael Brown, BBA ’01, MTax ’01, was recognized by The Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants (TSCPA) with a Chairman’s Special Recognition Award for his role as chairman of the TSCPA strategic planning committee. The honor is bestowed on TSCPA members who have performed an extraordinary service. Brown is a shareholder in the business valuation/litigation support and tax departments with JRBT, an accounting firm in Waco, Texas. In addition to being licensed as a certified public accountant, Brown is also accredited in business valuation and certified in financial forensics. He has served the TSCPA in many roles including appointed member of AICPA Council, TSCPA Executive Board, TSCPA Board of Directors, Trustee of the TSCPA Accounting Education Foundation, several TSCPA committees as well as past president and director of the Central Texas chapter.

Ryan K. Patrick, BBA ’01, was sworn in at an investiture ceremony at the federal courthouse in Houston, Texas, as the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Texas. Patrick is a former state district judge and criminal lawyer.

Karee Huggins, BBA ’02, MBA ’03, has been promoted to vice president of sales for Blackmon Mooring & BMS CAT, a leader in disaster recovery. Huggins, who has been with Blackmon Mooring since 2006, will oversee all aspects of the national account team and influence all touchpoints of the sales channel.

Angela Ragan, BBA ’03, a senior manager with JRBT Certified Public Accountants in Waco, Texas, was named Young CPA of the Year by the Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants (TSCPA). The award honors an individual 39 years of age or younger “who has made significant contributions to the accounting profession and the community and is a member of at least one other professional organization.” Ragan is a senior manager with JRBT. Ragan joined JRBT in 2005 shortly after earning her BBA in Accounting from Baylor. She’s a member of the American Institute of CPAs, the Central Texas Chapter of the Texas Society of CPAs and the Texas Society of CPAs, of which she is on the Board of Directors. Ragan is involved in the community, serving as a board member for Compassion Ministries, where she held the positions of president, vice president and treasurer, and she was also a business advisory board member for the AJ Moore Academy, a magnet school in Waco that prepares students for success in post-secondary education and in the workplace. She is also a recent graduate of the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce Leadership Waco program and serves as a board member for Caritas, holding the officer position of secretary.

Dana Broadway, BBA ’04, MAcc ’04, has been appointed partner and president of Pattillo, Brown & Hill’s employee benefit practice, Benefits LLC. Broadway provides third-party administration and recordkeeping for flexible benefit and retirement plans.

Ben Lamm, BBA ’04, Dallas entrepreneur and co-founder of Conversable, has sold the company to a publicly-traded online messaging company that helped pioneer alternatives to customers’ long waits on the phone with call centers. Lamm is the former chief executive officer and co-founder of Chaotic Moon Studios, an Austin creative technology studio that consulting company Accenture bought in 2015. He and Austin entrepreneur Andrew Busey are also co-founders of Team Chaos, which was acquired by San Francisco gaming developer Zynga in 2016.

Justin Brasell, BBA ’06, MBA ’07, has been appointed executive vice president of the Transwestern Healthcare advisory services team in Houston, Texas. In his role, Brasell will work to support business development efforts, direct local initiatives and implement new technologies to support tenant and landlords involved with healthcare real estate.

Taylor L. Mathews, BBA ’08, has been promoted to accounting specialist in the oil & gas department of Gollob Morgan Peddy in Tyler, Texas. He played a key role in assisting clients in the area of oil & gas tax and audit by advising them on economic and political trends that may affect the business climate.

Mayra Jimenez, BBA ’09, is children’s program director and managing attorney at the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES). Jimenez oversees more than 50 employees in the largest faction of RAICES that provides legal services to unaccompanied children in court.


Patrick Cummings, MBA ’11, has been named executive director of the Thoroughbred Idea Foundation (TIF), a nonprofit organization established to create an active forum for the exchange and curation of ideas designed to improve the prospects of the thoroughbred industry and its stakeholders.

Taylor Jessee, BBA ’12, MAcc ’12, has joined Taylor Hoffman, a Richmond, Virginia-based registered investment advisor, as a family wealth manager. He will serve as a dedicated financial planning resource for the firm’s clientele.

Jackson Wren, BBA ’15, and brother

Eric Wren, BA ’14, started a croissant-style doughnut venture called Nightlight Donuts, which continues to gain popularity at the Waco, Texas, Downtown Farmers Market. The twins previously founded Dapper Bear Clothiers, which sold neckties, bow ties and socks in green and gold plaid.

Stephanie Madrid, MBA ’17, has been selected as chair of the Local Leadership Board of Directors for the American Lung Association in Texas–Houston, which leads lung disease prevention and lung health initiatives in the state. Madrid is division vice president for Kindred Hospitals of Houston and is the integrated market leader supporting collaboration and strategic partnership between Kindred and its local partners. She began her career as a speech-language pathologist at Kindred Hospital–Houston Medical Center.

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Baylor Business Review, Spring 2019

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