Business Alumni Lead Charge to Fill the Sombrilla Fountain

alumni_leadWhen the water stopped flowing in the UTSA Sombrilla fountain, business alumni Nancy, ’93, MPA ’95 and Andrew Ozuna, ’91, stepped up to challenge the UTSA community to “Fill the Fountain.” They pledged $10,000 to encourage others to match their gift to support renovations.

“The fountain in the Sombrilla is iconic to the Roadrunner community. It is a place where so many photos are taken and memories have been made,” said Nancy, a principal at BKD and College of Business Advisory Council member. “Andrew and I wanted to help bring this icon back to life. And we wanted to encourage others to give to UTSA, too.”

With a strong response from alumni, students, faculty and staff, the challenge was quickly met. Donations were received from 299 individuals, with an average gift of $33. Fifty-two percent of the donors were alumni. The UTSA Alumni Association and GreenFund also contributed $75,000 each to help the effort.

The 35-year-old fountain was restored and rededicated this spring and now is fully sustainable using reclaimed gray water from the air conditioning systems on campus.

Two Business Alumni Honored by UTSA Alumni Association

two_business_alumniThe UTSA Alumni Association named John T. Engates, ’94 Alumnus of the Year and Winell Herron, EMBA ’00 Alumna of the Year at their annual Alumni Gala.

Engates is the chief technology officer at Rackspace Managed Hosting in San Antonio. An accounting graduate, he began his career at Rackspace in 2000 as vice president of operations and managed the data center operations and customer service teams. Engates was one of the leading forces behind the Rackspace Microsoft Gold Certification and is recognized as a cloud computing expert internationally.

Herron is group vice president of public affairs, diversity and environmental affairs for H-E-B in Houston. Since beginning her career at H-E-B in 1988, she has held several key positions at the company including director of workforce diversity and vice president of customer service.

She is a trustee for the H-E-B Tournament of Champions and was instrumental in creating the H-E-B Faculty Research Excellence Fund at UTSA. Herron serves on the boards of Texans Care for Children, The Ensemble Theater, Girl Scouts, Big Brothers Big Sisters, the board of trustees for the University of the Incarnate Word, and chairs the Texas NAACP Corporate Advisory Council.

Meet a Roadrunner

alex_richAlex Rich, ’06, Finance
Strategy & Operations
Consultant at Deloitte

Alex Rich’s dedication to both his education and career has led him to succeed. While as an undergraduate at UTSA, Rich completed his degree in less than three years. With that same passion he has focused his energy on his oil and gas consulting career in Houston, Texas.

Briefly describe your career experiences since graduating from UTSA.
I began my career in an oil and gas rotational program at BP. There I gained exposure to several commercial functions of their upstream business unit. When an opportunity arose to help Deloitte build their oil and gas practice, I jumped on it. I have spent the last few years focused on tailoring professional service offerings to the needs of the ever-shifting energy industry. My new role as of this summer is focused on delivering strategy and finance solutions directly to clients.

What is your favorite part of the job?
Consulting is an extremely dynamic environment. I love seeing new business problems and developing solutions, adapting to new environments and working with intelligent people.

What is the toughest part of your job?
Managing multiple stakeholders, ensuring focus on client service, industry issues and overall market trends.

Favorite business class
The capstone simulation was a great finale. I gained a lot of confidence related to working with and leading diverse teams (e.g. highlighting strengths, coaching weaknesses, understanding roles/expectations).

Favorite business professor
Lalatendu Misra and Palani-Rajan Kadapakkam

How did UTSA help prepare you for your career?
What I found most valuable, apart from the curriculum and faculty, was the culture of UTSA’s College of Business. Being surrounded by mature students and professors already working in the business world motivated me every day and kept me focused on my career aspirations. This gave me multiple sounding boards to vet my plans as I built my network, and it also helped me realize life doesn’t stop when you “get the job.” You should always be learning and developing yourself and others.

EMBA Graduate Launches Social Enterprise

truckintomatoeBusiness alumnus Shaun Lee, EMBA ’13 has turned an Executive MBA class project into a social enterprise—Truckin’ Tomato.

Truckin’ Tomato is a mobile farmer’s market with locally grown produce that is dispatched to local businesses, churches and apartment complexes. Functioning as a for-profit business, Truckin’ Tomato shares profits from their first trailer with the Christian Hope Resource Center.

Lee’s business plan for Truckin’ Tomato became a reality when the business opened in May. He received $50,000 in funding from the 80/20 Foundation as well as financing from crowdfunding campaigns and angel investors.

“My whole professional career has been in nonprofit work,” said Lee, who previously worked as executive vice president of operations at Haven for Hope. “I wanted to figure out a way to make nonprofits more self-sustaining.

“My faith is the driving force behind all of this. I’ve been blessed with opportunities, and I want to give back to others.”

Truckin’ Tomato not only supports local vendors, but Lee envisions the business as a way to create more jobs and job training opportunities for San Antonians.

“The EMBA program awoke an entrepreneurial side of me that I didn’t know existed,” said Lee. “This business would not have been possible without all the knowledge that I received from UTSA’s EMBA program.”