Legacy Donation Leads to Engler College of Business Naming

Engler Naming
Mr. Paul Engler with President Wendler and Dean Terry finalizing agreement to name the College of Business

Officials at West Texas A&M University announced its largest gift in the University’s 107-year history.  Paul Engler and the Paul F. and Virginia J. Engler Foundation have agreed to donate at least $1 million a year for a period of no less than 80 years to the institution.  In response, The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents has granted naming rights to the Paul Engler College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences and the Paul and Virginia Engler College of Business.

“West Texas A&M University is the lifeblood of the Texas Panhandle,” John Sharp, chancellor of The Texas A&M University System, said. “An investment in this institution is an investment in the future of the region. What an honor it is to become part of the legacy of Paul Engler, a man whose true grit and entrepreneurial spirit has transformed an entire industry.”

Engler, on behalf of the Foundation, said he appreciates the University for its acceptance of the gift and its offer to name the respective colleges honoring his name.  He also praised the overall institutional quality of the respective colleges and the leadership Dr. Terry and Dr. Hawkins demonstrate on a daily basis in their roles as the college deans.

The generous gift represents at least $500,000 a year into the foreseeable future for the Paul and Virginia Engler College of Business.  In addition, the college deans will work with the Engler Foundation to distribute contributions for endowments to benefit five different areas—scholarships, professorships, named spaces, community outreach, and strategic planning/improvement. The implicit impact of the gift is further enhanced by the Engler Foundation’s willingness to encourage others to invest in the respective colleges via a strategy of offering matching funds to donors establishing new scholarship, professorship, and program innovation endowments.

“We are extremely grateful to Paul Engler and the Paul F. and Virginia J. Engler Foundation for their generosity and willingness to invest in the future of the College of Business,” Dr. Neil Terry, dean of the Paul and Virginia Engler College of Business, said. “Paul Engler is the greatest business leader I have ever had the pleasure to befriend. He exemplifies a combination of work ethic, business acumen and resolve that captures the entrepreneurial spirit of the West Texas regional community. A truly inspirational philanthropist dedicated to empowering individuals through education, the Paul and Virginia Engler College of Business will forever recognize a legacy of transformative support.”

Engler Signing Agreement
Mr. Paul Engler signing agreement to name the Paul and Virginia Engler College of Business

Paul Engler is the perfect example of a self-made man who has found success in the cattle industry. The Nebraska native’s business skill started at an early age when he purchased his first herd of cattle at the age of 12. He used the proceeds from cattle sales to fund his college education, and he graduated in 1948 from the University of Nebraska with a degree in agriculture. By 1960, he was the founder/owner/operator of the Hereford Feedyard, establishing the Texas Panhandle as a force in the cattle industry. Under his leadership, Cactus Feeders became the largest cattle-feeding company in the world. A pioneer of the Texas cattle-feeding industry, Engler has received numerous honors and recognition throughout his career, which include induction into the Meat Industry Hall of Fame and the Cattle Feeders Hall of Fame.

The Paul F. And Virginia J. Engler Foundation is a family endeavor and reflects the love of family and the communities Paul and Virginia serve, including the Texas Panhandle. The late Virginia ‘Jinx’ Joan Kreycik Engler was a dedicated philanthropist throughout her life. She loved helping people and shared her kindness and generosity with everyone she met. That generosity and kindness provided the groundwork in helping the community through their foundation.

The impact of the Engler Foundation commitment to West Texas A&M University is recognized by alumni as a vehicle to significantly enhance higher education in the region.

“I am more than honored to have Paul Engler as a personal friend and as a friend of West Texas A&M University,” Stanley Schaeffer, distinguished alumnus (BBA and MBA), said. “Paul is a true visionary with the instinct and ability to recognize an opportunity or need and put the forces into motion to bring that vision to a successful conclusion. Through the years I have watched him as a pioneer in establishing the cattle feeding industry in our area and later forming a cattle-feeding company that became the largest in the world. He also is very concerned about our area and the people within it.  Having Paul Engler’s name and legacy associated with West Texas A&M’s College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences and the College of Business is an enduring recognition he so richly deserves.”

The West Texas A&M University association with Paul Engler and Paul F. and Virginia J. Engler Foundation not only enhances the educational opportunities for students, but also elevates the reputation and prestige of the University. Consonant with the mission of WTAMU, the spirit of the Paul and Virginia Engler Foundation exemplifies the impact one can have on a community through hard work, a willingness to lead, a commitment to generosity, and a determination to succeed.  The naming of the Paul and Virginia Engler College of Business goes into effect immediately.

Beta Gamma Sigma 2017 Inductees Recognized

BGS - Officers
Engler College of Business 2017 Beta Gamma Sigma Officers

The Paul and Virginia Engler College of Business is pleased to announce the induction of students from West Texas A&M University into the fall 2017 class of Beta Gamma Sigma.  The International Honor Society of Beta Gamma Sigma membership is the highest recognition a business student anywhere in the world can receive in an undergraduate or graduate program at a school accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).  Membership in Beta Gamma Sigma is by invitation only to business students who have met explicit academic qualifications defined by the International Honor Society’s Articles of Incorporation combined with chapter requirements relating to active leadership and/or service-learning.  Dr. De’Arno De’Armond, associate professor of finance & Edwards Professor of Financial Planning, serves as the chapter advisor.  Student officers are Arne van Mourik (President), Jalee Blackwell (Vice President), Mary Hayward (Secretary), and Chandler Huddleston (Treasurer).  Mr. James Welch, CEO of YRC Worldwide, and 2014 West Texas A&M University Distinguished Alumni provided the ceremony keynote and is the 2017 distinguished business professional BGS honoree for West Texas A&M University.

The students inducted fall 2017 by hometown/country and major are:

Alexandria, Virginia
Suresh Tripathy, M.B.A.

Amarillo, Texas
Martin Birkenfeld, M.B.A.
T’Reya Espinoza, Management
Elizabeth Hand, Finance
Courtney Jackson, Accounting
Shelley Jones, Marketing
Rebekah Klein, Finance
Ashley Manchee, M.S.- Finance & Economics
Eric Mesa, General Business
Sandra Mitchell, Master of Professional Accounting
Deidre Schlabs, Marketing
Joshua Tarrant, Computer Information Systems
Brittany Tindall, Accounting
Michael Wells, M.S.- Finance & Economics

Bay City, Texas
Raihan Khondker, M.B.A.

Bulverde, Texas
Gabrielle Ashley, Computer Information Systems

Burleson, Texas
Matthew Gerths, M.B.A.

Canyon, Texas
Frank Cordova, M.B.A.
Ben Holland, M.B.A.
James Irons, Management
Robert Taylor, Computer Information Systems
Bradford Yock, Master of Professional Accounting

Centuria, Wisconsin
Andrea Jerrick, M.B.A.

Childress, Texas
Frederick Leighton, Accounting

Conroe, Texas
Mark Lindemann, M.B.A.

Cypress, Texas
David Conner, M.B.A.
William Ewing, M.B.A.

Dallas, Texas
Anastasia Rademaekers, M.S.- Finance & Economics

Arne van Mourik, Finance

Dover, New Hampshire
Ayesha Patel, M.B.A.

Flower Mound, Texas
Makenna Wellborn, M.B.A. – Marketing

Frederick, Maryland
Brienna Cheney, Accounting

Frisco, Texas
Sydney Abraham, General Business

Georgetown, Texas
Jeffrey Wylie, Management

Hereford, Texas
Stefan Schlabs, Finance

Houston, Texas
Aaron Wilkes, M.S.- Finance & Economics
Lauren Stern, M.S.- Finance & Economics

Hugoton, Kansas
Megan Bryan, Entrepreneurship

Hurst, Texas
David Wagner, M.S.- Finance & Economics

Shravan Purohit, M.B.A.

Bahareh Naderi, M.B.A.

Las Cruces, New Mexico
Marie Ellyson, Entrepreneurship

Macomb, Michigan
Bradley Cook, M.B.A.

McKinney, Texas
Lurina Dallas, Management

Midland, Texas
Logan Barnes, M.B.A. – Management

Nitesh Jalan, M.B.A. – Computer Information Systems
Saru Pahari, M.B.A. – Computer Information Systems

New Braunfels, Texas
Sara Koepp, General Business

North Richland Hills, Texas
Melanie Durham, M.B.A. – Healthcare Management

Panhandle, Texas
Hanna Williams, Finance

Penn Hills, Pennsylvania
Elijah Toft, M.S.- Finance & Economics

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Peter Vernig, M.B.A. – Healthcare Management

Pinehurst, North Carolina
Mehrsa Aghajafari, M.B.A.

Plano, Texas
William Rhodes, M.S.- Finance & Economics

Rialto, California
Aileen Galicia-Torres, M.B.A.

Roanoke, Texas
Candie Mabey, Finance

Rockwall, Texas
Jalee Blackwell, International Business

Rolla, Kansas
Chandler Huddleston, Economics

San Antonio, Texas
Daniela Arceo, Entrepreneurship
Ruben Preciado, Management

Schertz, Texas
Jenna Roy, M.B.A.

Stafford, Texas
Karryl Romain, M.B.A.

Syracuse, New York
Shane Williams, M.B.A.

Torrance, California
Sahar Rupani, M.B.A. – Healthcare Management

Duong Dinh, M.S.- Finance & Economics
Linh Cao, Master of Professional Accounting
Ngan Dao, M.S.- Finance & Economics
Tram Dao, Master of Professional Accounting

Wendell, Idaho
Kyle Gunter, M.B.A.

Whitesboro, Texas
Thomas Morales, Accounting

Wolfforth, Texas
Destiny Willingham, Management
Lawrence Schwartz, Finance

Wylie, Texas
Julie Lawson, M.B.A.

WTAMU MediaMinds Wins Telly and Communicator Awards

CANYON, Texas—MediaMinds at West Texas A&M University brought home nine awards from the 38th annual Telly Awards, a competition that highlights the very best in marketing, advertising and programs. With more than 13,000 entries from all 50 states and numerous countries, winners represent the best work of the most respected advertising agencies, production companies, television stations, cable operators and corporate video departments in the world.

MediaMinds is a student organization in the College of Business that provides students content creation and emerging media management experience. Digital production for the videos is facilitated by the Ray Bain Media Room in the Classroom Center. The nine Telly awards earned by the team were divided between six individual videos. All of the videos can be found on the West Texas A&M College of Business YouTube page.

  • This is your Time – football video, won two Telly awards in the student production and the sports categories.  The video, produced for the WTAMU football team, promotes the success of student-athletes on and off the field.
  • West Texas A&M University engineering program video, won two Telly awards in the university/college recruitment and student production categories.
  • Bienvenidos video, winner in the university/college recruitment category, highlights the recruitment of Hispanic students at WTAMU.
  • Amarillo Enterprise Challenge video, winner in the student production category, offers an overview of the Enterprise Challenge competition and how the program positively supports emerging entrepreneurs.
  • Alaska Spine Institute (ASI) video, winner in the corporate promotional branding category, focuses on the 12 years of success for ASI for providing medical and therapy services.
  • International student promotional video, winner in the student production and college/university branding categories, highlights the recruitment of international students at WTAMU.

MediaMinds also was the recipient of four Communicator Awards. The Communicator Awards are the leading international awards program recognizing big ideas in marketing and communications. The Communicator Awards receive more than 6,000 entries from companies and agencies of all sizes, making it one of the largest awards of its kind in the world. The Communicator Awards is sanctioned and judged by the Academy of Interactive & Visual Arts, an invitation-only group consisting of top-tier professionals from acclaimed media, communications, advertising, creative and marketing firms.

The four MediaMinds 2017 Communicator Awards were divided between two individual videos.

  • This is your Time – football video, won a gold in the student production category and silver in the branding category.
  • This is your Time – basketball video, won a gold in the student production category and silver in the branding category.

Students involved in one or more of the MediaMinds 2017 Telly or Communicator winning production crews are listed by hometown and major.

J. Roman Gray, Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing
Salvador Ruiz, Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing

Trevor Fleeman, Bachelor of Business Administration in CIS and Marketing

Emily Gallaway, Bachelor of Business Administration in Management

Carlos Aguirre, Master of Business Administration

Elliott Teller, Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing

Ethan Nguyen, Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing

College of Business Inducts Students into ODE, AMA, and UPE

Omicron Delta Epsilon
Omicron Delta Epsilon

The Paul and Virginia Engler College of Business at West Texas A&M University inducted its 38th class of students into Omicron Delta Epsilon (ODE), the second class of students into Alpha Mu Alpha (AMA), and the inaugural class of Upsilon Pi Epsilon (UPE) in 2017.

Omicron Delta Epsilon is one of the world’s largest academic honor societies. The objectives of Omicron Delta Epsilon are recognition of scholastic attainment and the honoring of outstanding achievements in economics. The board of trustees for the organization includes well-known Nobel Laureates in Economic Sciences such as Robert Lucas, Kenneth Arrow and Robert Solow. Omicron Delta Epsilon has approximately 600 chapters worldwide, which includes the Nu Chapter established at West Texas A&M University in 1970.

OMICRON DELTA EPSILON INDUCTION, SPRING 2017—Dr. Neil Meredith, Faculty Advisor
• Pradnya Bhere from India
• Gregory Todd Clark from Carlsbad, Calif.
• Min Jiang from China
• Geraldine Klonarides from Greece
• Christopher Morgan from Amarillo
• Jessica O’Brien from Atlanta, Ga.
• Jon Reaves from Fort Worth
• Alexander Sicola from Amarillo
• Steven Webster from Amarillo

Alpha Mu Alpha is an honorary society of the American Marketing Association. The honor society is open to qualified undergraduate students, graduate students and faculty members to reward academic excellence in the discipline and science of marketing. The national Alpha Mu Alpha organization was established in 1981 and the West Texas A&M University chapter was established in 2016.

ALPHA MU ALPHA INDUCTION, SPRING 2017—Dr. Robert King, Faculty Advisor
• Audrey Chatelus from Boise, Idaho
• Rebecca Cole from Fort Lauderdale, Florida
• Jenise Contreras from Los Angeles, California
• Adriana Duch Cordova from El Salvador
• Collin Evans from Sundown, Texas
• Kimber Harrison from Clovis, New Mexico
• Emily Hoelscher from Hereford, Texas
• Evelyn Montoya from Amarillo, Texas
• Andrew Netzel from Geneva, Ohio
• Molly Offutt from Amarillo, Texas
• Hsin-Yi Peng from Taiwan
• Autumn Rogers from Amarillo, Texas

Upsilon Pi Epsilon is the first and only existing international honor society in the computing and information disciplines.  It has received endorsements from the two largest computer organizations in the world, the Association for Computing Machinery and the IEEE Computer Society.  Upsilon Pi Epsilon was first organized at Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, in 1967. The international organization now consists of chapters in various colleges and universities in North America and overseas.  Members are chosen not only for their scholastic achievement in a computing information systems program, but also for distinguishing themselves as true professionals by meeting the standards of the society.  Dr. James Comer, department chair and professor of computer science at Texas Christian University (TCU) facilitated the installation of the WTAMU Upsilon Pi Epsilon inaugural ceremony.

UPSILON PI EPSILON INDUCTION, FALL 2017—Dr. Leon Chen, Faculty Advisor

Inaugural Student and Faculty UPE Inductees

• Emily Gross from Amarillo, Texas
• Leeland Hackbarth from Happy, Texas
• Heather Jones from Amarillo, Texas
• Walters Ngwa from Dallas, Texas
• Saru Pahari from India
• Joshua Tarrant from Amarillo, Texas
• Robert Taylor from Canyon, Texas
• Smriti Thapa from Nepal

Dr. Syed Tariq Anwar Awarded Magister Optimus

The 2017 Faculty Senate’s Magister Optimus Award, which translates to “best teacher,” was presented to Dr. Syed Tariq Anwar, professor of marketing.  The award recognizes outstanding faculty members who excel in every aspect of their work, and Anwar definitely epitomizes the Magister Optimus criteria.   Dr. Anwar joined the College of Business in 1987 and has built an impressive record in teaching, research and service.  He has earned numerous teaching awards as well as international recognition for his research. Anwar’s conference papers have taken him to 13 countries as a presenter and his list of credits for publications includes 13 in the last four years alone.

Anwar awarded Magister Optimus
Anwar awarded Magister Optimus

CFA Research Challenge Team Competes for National Championship

CFA Research Challenge Team – 2017 National Finalist

The West Texas A&M University CFA Research Challenge team finished as top five in the nation at the 2017 CFA Research Challenge Americas April 7 in Seattle, Washington.  The WTAMU team gained the right to participate in the Americas by winning the 2017 Southwest U.S. Championship at University of Houston in February.  For the 2016-2017 competition year, 1,031 business school teams representing more than 4,000 students in 81 countries competed in the CFA Research Challenge.

The CFA Institute Research Challenge is an annual global stock research competition hosted by the CFA Institute. The principles applied in the CFA Research Challenge are core knowledge of equity investments; leadership, management and communication skills; and standards, ethics and regulations. Teams create a written analysis, and, if selected, compete in oral competition rounds.

At the Americas competition, the WTAMU team presented its stock research on U.S. Physical Therapy (NYSE: USPH) and answered questions from a panel of three distinguished industry experts. A total of 53 regional championship teams from CFA Societies across the Americas competed at the event. During the semifinal round, the WTAMU team defeated teams from the University of Texas at Dallas, Champlain College, Illinois Institute of Technology and the Univeristy of Connecticut to advance to the final round.

In the final round, the WTAMU team competed again the nine other finalists teams of Barna Business School, Canisius College, Chapman University, Insper Instiuto de Ensinoe Pesquisa, John Hopkins University, Seton Hall University, Universidad Externado de Colombia, University of Denver, University of Waterloo. Seton Hall University and Barna Business School emerged as the winners to advance to the global competition against the winners from Asia and Europe.

“In a highly competitive environment, our students rose to the challenge,” Dr. Amjad Abdullat, associate dean of College of Business Undergraduate Programs, said.

“After winning U.S. Southwest, the students continued to work hard to improve their presentation and update their research.” Dr. Barbara Wang, Gene Edwards Professor of Banking and faculty sponsor, said. “They represented WTAMU and U.S. Southwest really well, and we are so proud of our students.”

From November through April, the four students worked diligently on valuing the company.   The students had to consider how marcoeconomic and industry factors influence the firm’s cash flows and the stock’s price.

“You have to consider hundreds of variables to find the one that actually matters,” Kelsey Pruitt, a finance and management major from Amarillo, said.

“Not only did the CFA Challenge help me decide on my career path, it helped me understand the balance between theory and practice in the finance industry,” Stefan Schlabs, a finance and economics major from Hereford, said.

“The CFA Challenge tied everything I have learned in class into a real world application.  It was the most challenging but rewarding thing I have done in college,” said Niall Pratt, a graduate student in economics and finance from Dublin, Ireland. “Exactly, the CFA Challenge tested our ability to apply finance principles to a messy real world problem,” Joel Klein, an accounting major from Amarillo, added.

“The students truly have to work as a team.  Months of analysis, writing, and preparation come down to a 30-page report and a 20-minute presentation.  During the Q&A, the industry professionals who judge the competition can question them on anything. The students have to know the company inside and out, including being able to quote the 10-K. The amount of preparation and the trust in fellow teammates is amazing, especially because students did not know each other before being selected to be on the team in November,” Dr. Anne Macy, Gene Edwards Professor of Finance and faculty adviser, said.

The CFA Research team is sponsored by the Amarillo Merrill Lynch – Bank of America leadership.

Team members are listed by hometown or country, classification and major.

Joel Klein, undergraduate student pursuing the B.B.A. in accounting
Kelsey Pruett, undergraduate student pursing the B.B.A. in finance and management

Stefan Schlabs, undergraduate student pursing the B.B.A. in finance and economics

Dublin, Ireland
Niall Pratt, graduate student pursuing the M.S. in finance and economics

Engler College of Business Symposium Winners for 2017

The Paul and Virginia Engler College of Business at West Texas A&M University recognized outstanding student and community leaders at its fourth annual COB Symposium in May 2017.  In addition to the award recognition, the symposium included presentations by the CFA Research Challenge Team, Student-Managed Investment Fund portfolio manager, Media Minds and Enactus.

The following is the list of award winners:

Outstanding Business Graduate Awards
• BBA Accounting—Joel Klein from Amarillo
• BBA Economics—Jalyn Howell from Dickinson, Texa• BBA Finance, Taylor Hurt from Tulia
• BBA Computer Information Systems—Daniel Maratta from Dumas
• BBA Management—Lauren Britten from Amarillo
• BBA Marketing—Jeanette Martin from San Jose, Calif.
• BBA General Business—Matthew Brown from Amarillo
• Outstanding Undergraduate Business Student—Kelsey Pruett from Amarillo
• Outstanding Graduate Business Student—Madison Stanley from Haskell
• CPA Accounting Education Foundation Award—Lauren Crews from Boise City, Okla.

Student Organization Leadership Awards
• CFA Research Challenge—Stefan Schlabs from Hereford,
• Student-Managed Investment Fund—Niall Pratt from Ireland
• Student Government—Chandler Huddleston from Rolla, Kan.
• COB Student Advisory Board—Terio Bost from Lubbock
• Accounting & Finance Association—JJ Gutierrez from Dumas
• Economics Club—Jalee Blackwell from Rockwall
• Technology Club—Julian Biggers from Amarillo
• Carey Lyles Emerging Technology Award—Jonathan Jones from Amarillo
• BuffTeks—Jacqueline Snyder from Amarillo
• Society for Human Resource Management—Veronica Carrillo from Wheeler
• Association for Latino Professionals of America—Mitzy Ramirez from Muleshoe
• Go Team—Ashlyn Robinson from Amarillo
• American Marketing Association—Jeanette Martin from San Jose, Calif.
• Enactus—Heather Grebin from Rochester, Minn.
• Media Minds—Carlos Aguirre from Ecuador

Community Awards
• Ambassador Award—Smith Ellis with FirstBank Southwest
• Legacy Award—Hassan and Jill Dana
• Corporate Legacy Award—Bank of America Merrill Lynch
• Horizon Alumnus Award—Brady Marr with eCapital Advisors
• Employer of the Year Award—Brown, Graham & Company, P.C.

College of Business community award winners from previous years include Alan Roberson (Ambassador), Myrt Wilder (Ambassador), Paul Engler (Ambassador), Don and Dorothy Patterson (Legacy), Dick Railsback (Legacy), William & Betty Semmelbeck (Legacy), First United Bank (Corporate Legacy), Amarillo National Bank (Corporate Legacy), Glazer’s (Corporate Legacy), Will Miller with FirstBank Southwest (Horizon), Silas Girgis with Merrill Lynch (Horizon), Luke Longhofer with First Financial Bank (Horizon), Happy State Bank (Employer), Bell Helicopter (Employer) and Computer Services, Inc. (Employer).

Study Abroad to Germany, Austria, and Switzerland

The 2017 College of Business study abroad trip was focused on the interplay of finance and marketing from a global culture perspective. The trip involved three sponsors, Dr. Anne Macy, Dr. Robert King, and Mrs. Betty Stocker, and 15 students comprised of five undergraduates, five on campus graduate students, and five online graduate students. The main locations were Frankfurt, Germany; Zurich, Switzerland; Salzburg, Austria; and Steyr, Austria. During the trip, students were able to see how businesses operate in a global marketplace and how we can better our understanding of other cultures by being immersed in their lifestyles even for a short period of time. While there were a wealth of activities on this trip, the highlights were:

  • A VIP Tour and Presentation at the Deutche Bundesbank and Money Museum in Frankfurt where students were allowed to observe the importance of Frankfurt and Germany as a whole in the European Union system
    Study Abroad Group
    Study Abroad Group
  • A VIP Tour and Presentation at the he Frankfurt Stock Exchange in Frankfurt that gave students insights into how the Frankfurt Stock Exchange mirrored and differed from that of the more familiar stock exchanges in the US
    Frankfurt Stock Exchange
    Frankfurt Stock Exchange
  • A private tour of the BMW plant in Steyr where students could have a behind the scenes look at how their future automobiles were being made
  • A special walking tour of Zurich that showed the rich history and how similar cultures faired differently given a slightly different location in the world
  • A tour of the Salzburg Salt mines where students could see how a single commodity at the right time in history can be a powerful asset in global politics
    Salt Mine Tour
    Salt Mine Tour
  • A trip to see the famous Eagle’s Nest near Berchtesgaden where many world-altering decisions were made high atop one of Hitler’s most famous possessions
    Eagle's Nest
    Eagle’s Nest

For many, this was the opportunity of a lifetime and was an invaluable look into how other international cultures interplayed with their own experiences. We thank everyone who was a part of this trip and hope that future trips can be as beneficial and successful as this year’s adventure.


To view a video of the trip please visit the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VOBsK1t3IEg

Laura Lopez Presentation Discusses Leadership

Laura Lopez
Laura Lopez

CANYON, Texas—Laura Lopez, former vice president of The Coca Cola Company and current CEO of The Living Leadership Learning Institute, present a Distinguished Lecture presentation on “Excellence in Leadership and Entrepreneurship” last spring at West Texas A&M University.

Lopez, known as the ‘energizer bunny,’ is a sought-after inspirational and motivational Hispanic speaker. She is known as a performance strategist, leadership specialist and branding expert with more than 20 years of experience serving in top positions in the Fortune 100 corporate environment.  She has been mentoring Fortune 100 business leaders across the country through seminars, workshops and trainings since the early 1980s.

She has won a leadership book award for her new book, The Connected and Committed Leader, which is a guide on achieving outstanding leadership results in the 21st century.  She also regularly publishes management and leadership articles in Leadership Excellence. She has been featured for her business, leadership, and life coach experience on the Today Show, Fox News and Women Power Talk Radio. Business periodicals that have noted her stellar accomplishments include The Houston Chronicle, Latina Magazine, Long Beach Business Journal and the Central Valley Business Times.

Lopez is a native New Yorker and a first-generation Latina.  She currently lives in Houston. She has an M.B.A. from The American Graduate School of International Business and a bachelor’s degree from Bucknell University.  Lopez also has international business insights given her time in Spain, Mexico, France and Turkey. Because of her international experiences, she integrates and embraces diversity into her seminars and workshops.

The lecture was sponsored by the University’s Distinguished Lecture Series, WTAMU ALPFA (Association for Latino Professionals), and the Paul and Virginia Engler College of Business.  Dr. Leslie Ramos Salazar, assistant professor of business communication and decision management, serves as the faculty sponsor for the WTAMU Chapter of ALPFA.

3 COB Alumni Honored at WTAMU’s Annual Phoenix Banquet

DAA Honorees

Four West Texas A&M University alumni—a world-renowned auctioneer, a retired Silicon Valley-partnered attorney, an innovative professional sports/entertainer insurance broker and a national leader in nuclear physics—were recognized when the University presented its prestigious Distinguished Alumni Awards at the 54th annual Phoenix Banquet April 2017.

The annual event is the University’s opportunity to recognize and honor the best of WTAMU’s alumni. The four honorees—Tom ‘Spanky’ Assiter II ’79, ’81, Debra Summers ’74, Alex Fairly ’85, and Dr. John Meason ’59—were selected for outstanding contributions to their professions and community from a field of many other successful nominees. This year’s recipients have achieved exceptional success in each of their respective professions since graduating from WT, proving that a degree from West Texas A&M University more than prepares students for rewarding and successful careers.

Spanky AssiterSpanky Assiter earned a bachelor’s degree from WTSU in mass communications in 1979. Childhood dreams of being a square-dance caller or an auctioneer went by the wayside as he joined the workforce at the local Budweiser affiliate. It was there that he was enticed to go back and earn his master’s degree at WT in 1981, but it was an opportunity at a local auction house that altered the course of his life.

Traveling far and wide to study the techniques of different types of auctioneers, Assister developed his own unique and versatile style and eventually founded his own auctioneering firm of Assiter & Associates. He has auctioned off an exciting variety of items including the Batmobile and a 1966 Shelby Cobra 427 Super Snake for $5.5 million. He was named World Champion Automobile Auctioneer in 2005, but he admits a local estate auction for a community member needing money is what makes his job worth it.

“Spanky Assiter may be the greatest auctioneer of his generation,” Dr. Neil Terry, dean of the College of Business at WTAMU, said. “Whether it be real estate auction, car auction or benefit auction, Spanky has a stage presence that encourages competitive bidding between buyers resulting in greater profit for his clients.”



Debra SummersAfter graduating from WTSU in 1974, Debra Summers took a job with Amstar Corporation in her hometown of Dimmitt. She made such an impression that she was soon transferred to the corporate home office in San Francisco, Calif. It was Amstar that encouraged her to enroll at the University of San Francisco to attend law school, where she graduated summa cum laude in 1980.

A distinguished career in law followed. Summers became one of the first female partners at the premier Silicon Valley law firm of Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich & Rosati, where she was fierce practitioner of real estate and later environmental law. She provided legal counsel to leading technology and growth companies and was a key factor in many decisions regarding environmental laws in California. She also appeared and prevailed before the California Supreme Court.

“For those of us that worked with her, she was a fun, intense, self-effacing role model for a generation of women. Though she built her career in the multicultural, sophisticated business climate of Northern California, she never lost her small-town Dimmitt, Texas, outlook or accent.” said fellow attorney Marcia Kemp Sterling.



Alex FairlyAlex Fairly graduated from WTSU in 1985, and he immediately began to develop his “out of the box” approach. He began as a database analyst and worked his way through the ranks until he landed an opportunity at Hilb, Rogal & Hamilton Company (HRH) as an insurance producer. Working for one of the world’s largest publicly-traded insurance and risk management companies, Fairly had found his calling.

As Fairly’s client list began to prosper, he found his passion representing the sports and entertainment industry. Starting with the Amarillo Rattlers in 1997, Fairly was soon representing the entire Western Professional Hockey League followed by the East Coast Hockey League.

HRH eventually became Willis Towers Watson and in February of 2016, it became The Fairly Group. Now with superstar clients like Major League Baseball, the National Football League, Viacom and many more, The Fairly Group is the nationally recognized leader in the risk management field.

“When his efforts take him to the largest cities in the United States and he is asked how he could ever develop such a successful insurance and risk management practice in Amarillo, Texas he is always quick to praise his team and brag about his roots in the area including his education at WTSU.” said friend Barry Odell.