Alumni Notes

Jackson Named Outstanding Accounting Alumnus

img_jacksonTracy Jackson, ’93, EMBA ’12, vice president and controller at Tesoro Corporation, was named the Outstanding Accounting Alumnus of the Year at the annual UTSA Accounting Stars luncheon hosted by the Department of Accounting.

Jackson was honored for her professional accomplishments in the field of accounting, her continued support of the UTSA College of Business Department of Accounting and her service to the community.

“I’m truly honored and humbled to receive this recognition,” said Jackson, who is chair of the college’s Advisory Council. “I’m just an everyday person with an incredible support team.”

Excelling in the accounting industry, Jackson began her career with Arthur Andersen & Co. and moved on to lead accounting governance and internal audit at Valero before joining Tesoro in 2007. In her current role she has negotiated, structured and launched numerous leveraged financial transactions as well as acquisition financing for major transactions.

Jackson shared five words that shape her professional philosophy: preparedness, vision, luck, effort and faith. She encouraged the students to “know where you are going with your career…be in the right place at the right time…get out and network…and be brave, be bold and share your opinion.”

At UTSA she has served on the college’s Accounting Advisory Board as well as the UTSA Alumni Association board. Within the community, she is active in community initiatives through Tesoro and has served as treasurer for Child Advocates San Antonio.

MBA Alumnus’ Invention Receives FDA Approval

img_babyDaniel Mendez, BS ’10, MBA ’14 was having a casual chat with friends one evening when one of them, a neonatal nurse, mentioned something about her workplace. Part of her routine was rotating the heads of newborns to keep their soft skulls from becoming deformed.

“We decided—why not try and create something so these nurses don’t have to rotate their heads and prevent deformation?” Mendez said.

Mendez and fellow UTSA engineering students Nicholas Louis Flores and Israel Gonzalez were already on the lookout for a good idea to help them stand out at the Center for Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship (CITE) $100,000 Student Technology Venture Competition.

CITE, an interdisciplinary center in the Colleges of Business and Engineering, hosts the competition each semester to give students hands-on experience as early stage entrepreneurs. Teams of senior business and engineering students work throughout the semester to develop a technology demonstrator and business plan to successfully launch a new company.

Five years later their creation, GELShield™, has received FDA approval and is already in production. Their student team, Invictus, is now Invictus Medical.

Mendez and his team first presented their prototype of GELShield™ at the competition in 2010. The headband-like protection device contains an aqueous gel that distributes the weight of the head and reduces points of high pressure.

“We’re very hopeful that the market will see its benefits and really embrace it,” Mendez said. “I didn’t really have any expectations in terms of the success of the product. All I knew was it was innovative, and the doctors we talked to wanted it. It truly was addressing an unmet need.”

His professor Cory Hallam, director of CITE, said the quick FDA approval is just another result of the phenomenal team at Invictus, which sprouted at UTSA and is now a major San Antonio company in its own right.

Mendez agreed that the competition and making connections at UTSA was vital to Invictus’ growth from a student project team to a real-life company with a board of directors. His experience was instrumental in his decision to return to UTSA to earn his MBA at the College of Business.

“I wanted to be able to attend a larger university because of the connections you’re able to make, especially with a program like the MBA.

It’s really important in moving forward in your career,” he said. “It’s a lot more than a piece of paper, it’s the professors you have, their backgrounds and lots of intangibles that contribute to your degree.”

Three Business Alumni Honored at UTSA Gala

img_alumgalaThree business alumni were honored by the UTSA Alumni Association during their annual Alumni Gala this fall.

Pat Clynes, ’89 received the Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award. This award is presented to an alumnus who has realized extraordinary accomplishments throughout their professional career.

An accounting major, Clynes recently retired from BP Energy in Houston where he served as a top-level executive since 2003. Prior to working at BP, Clynes was employed at Enron and KN Energy.

Clynes’ longstanding volunteer leadership at UTSA includes serving on the UTSA Development Board, the Athletics Executive Advisory Council and past roles on the College of Business Advisory Council and the Alumni Association Board of Directors.

Giving back to his alma mater, he has established and endowed the Patrick J. Clynes Endowed College of Business Excellence in Service faculty award and two student scholarships. He previously received the UTSA Alumnus of the Year Award in 2000.

Yvonne Fernandez, ’85 and Scott Metzger, MA ’05 were the recipients of the Alumnus of the Year Award. Fernandez is vice president of commercial operations at Security Service Federal Credit Union. Metzger is the founder and CEO of Freetail Brewing Company.

Fernandez, a finance major, is a member of the college’s Real Estate Finance and Development Founders Council. She is a past president and current board member of the Alumni Association and a former member of the UTSA Development Board.

Metzger began his professional career in the banking and oil industries before discovering his true passion—craft brewing. An economics major, he was instrumental in a statewide effort to change distribution laws to allow brewpubs to distribute their beers throughout Texas.

The Alumnus of the Year Award honors UTSA alumni who have distinguished themselves through their accomplishments and good deeds.

Meet a Roadrunner

img_meetroadrunnerSTEVEN GONZALES, ’13
Consultant Software
Engineer at EMC

Leading a team of software engineers remotely for one of the largest and most respected enterprise storage companies, Steven Gonzales has quickly advanced through the ranks in the cloud computing industry. An information systems major, Gonzales drew upon his business background to better understand how the technology he develops creates value for his company. Plucked from Rackspace, the 35 year olds background in software engineering and DevOps infrastructure is utilized daily managing one of the largest cloud scale object-storage platforms.

What is your role at EMC?
I’ve recently transitioned from writing a lot of code to leading a team of engineers. EMC hires only the most experienced talent, so my entire team works remotely. It is difficult to get that talent in one location. A lot of what I’m doing now is strategic planning—looking ahead to what we should be doing next. We are working to deliver more automation and more durable platforms for cloud computing. I’m engaged and passionate about what I’m doing.

What is your favorite part of the job?
My favorite part of software engineering is that I work with leading-edge technologies at the largest scale. We build cool technologies.

What is the toughest part of your job?
Working under accelerated timelines, we are challenged constantly to come up with the best solutions for our clients. I enjoy the challenges that come with that. The key is to find the right team and lead them on a mission to build something awesome. We are trying to do things that nobody has done before.

Favorite business class
Management Strategy Capstone MGT 4893

I remember a Southwest Airlines case study from that class. Other companies were copying Southwest Airlines practices, but couldn’t get the same results. It was valuable for me to understand that the context behind the ideas—the values and culture behind the company—is what made them successful.

Spending time with his wife, Lucy, and daughter, Isabella. Tailgating at UTSA football games with friends. Coding.

Describe yourself in three words.
Competitive. Decisive. Energetic.

Why are you proud to be a Roadrunner?
I have a legacy of being a Roadrunner. My whole family has gone there, and my dad is the vice president of student affairs. It gave me a great foundation to start from.

Dan Karam Issued “I Love UTSA” Challenge

img_loveutsaDan Karam, ’97, MS ’01 loves UTSA. And in an effort to share his love for his alma mater, he challenged fellow UTSA alumni this spring to show their support for UTSA and their respective colleges by making a donation to the university. As part of his challenge Karam pledged to match $25,000 in gifts made by fellow alumni as part of the “I Love UTSA” challenge.

Throughout the course of the 22-day challenge, 380 alumni answered Karam’s call, and $89,950 was raised for UTSA. The College of Business was the beneficiary of $33,311 in gifts. The money will be used to enhance college programming and support student and faculty endeavors.

“The truth is we’ve all gained so much more than our degrees from UTSA,” said Karam, chief information officer at MUY!. “I know I wouldn’t be where I am today, personally and professionally, without my experience as a Roadrunner.”

Alumni giving at any level is valued because the percentage of alumni donors is a common factor used in determining business school rankings.

“The goal of the match was to encourage more alumni to join the tradition of giving back to UTSA,” said Genevieve Tobias, director of annual giving. “The money raised by alumni in three weeks matched the typical amount of UTSA alumni donations in one semester.”