J e s s e H . J o n e s G r a d uat e S c h o o l o f M a nag e m e n t / R i c e U n i v e r s i t y / S p r i n g 2 0 0 8
Meet the Entrepreneurs Behind Seismic Imaging Firm Global Geophysical
Food for Thought Michael Cordúa Cooks Up Something Different
Straight Talk Mike Lowe’s Journey From Start-Up to End
The Human Element A Conversation with Leo Linbeck III
DEAN’s Welcome In the following pages, you will find that the Jones School is quickly becoming a leader in entrepreneurship and that we are taking significant steps to expand our reach, both at home and abroad. Most importantly you will see that the combined efforts of our students, alumni, faculty, and staff are enhancing our status as a first-class business school developing principled, thought leaders. As we continue moving forward, our reputation rests on our ability to offer a rigorous and comprehensive business curriculum. To that end, we have introduced eight new concentrations, ranging from accounting to entrepreneurship. Available to students in our Full-Time MBA program, these concentrations serve as an important differentiator for the Jones School. We are also preparing for the 2009 debut of our Management Ph.D. program. Not only is the program critical to our mission of being one of world’s top business schools, it will fill an important need in the faculty job market. You will also find in this issue that we are undertaking the groundbreaking Rice Educational Entrepreneurship Program with the potential to transform K-12 educational leadership in Houston. Among the many benefits of this program will be a strengthened connection between the Jones School and our surrounding community. Despite this rapid expansion, the Rice MBA programs continue to improve on important quality metrics such as GMAT scores, student satisfaction, work experience, and company relationships. We performed exceptionally well in a recent benchmarking study, ranking either first or second in 37 of the 50 questions. Our faculty instruction rated extremely high compared to our peer schools and the MBA for Professionals program received very positive feedback from students. Additionally, a survey of our MBA for Executives students showed Rice to be among the best in exiting salary increases, and also the top school for entrepreneurship in Texas. I am pleased to report that the recent completion of our AACSB accreditation maintenance went very well, and we are looking forward to receiving the review team’s full analysis. Furthermore, Rice University Executive Education is emerging as the area’s premier provider of non-degree open enrollment and custom education. Its programs, such as the Life Sciences Entrepreneurial Management Certificate and the Rice and Ernst & Young Certificate of Management in Energy, are providing critical leadership development for local and global industries. As the Jones School continues to thrive, we look forward to informing you of our future endeavors. Likewise, we encourage you to continue your relationship and commitment to the Jones School. Whether by participating in our events and lecture series, or reconnecting with former classmates, please take advantage of the numerous opportunities to maintain your Rice MBA connections. I wish you the best and hope to hear back from you.
Dean H. Joe Nelson III Professor of Management Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Management Rice University (713) 348-5928 Bill.Glick@rice.edu
On the Cover: The entrepreneurs of Global Geophysical, from left: Duncan Riley (‘05) Craig Lindberg (‘04) Richard Degner (‘04) David Maskell (‘00)
Columns 02 Around the School Ph.D. program | Education Entrepreneurs Program | New MBA
EDITOR JULIA NGUYEN
concentrations | Jones Fund | Rice Alliance recognized as leading U.S. entrepreneurship center | Jones Partners | Life Sciences Entrepreneurial Certificate Program | Entrepreneur Magazine ranks Rice in top 25
DIRECTOR OF MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS LAURA HUBBARD
EDITORIAL CONSULTING SERVICE THE POHLY COMPANY
Marketing writer John R Luedemann
Moving and Shaking | 14 | By Chris Warren | Meet the Entrepreneurs Behind Seismic Imaging Firm Global Geophysical
Food for Thought | 18 | By Ann S. Boor | Michael Cordúa Cooks Up Something Different
ART DIRECTION + DESIGN Ping Lau
Straight Talk | 22 | By Nancy Shepherdson | Jones Alumnus Mike Lowe’s Journey From Start-Up to End The Human Element | 26 | By Mitch Kaplan | A Conversation with Leo Linbeck III
PHOTOGRAPHY Justin Calhoun Tommy LaVergne
PRINTING Western Lithograph
30 Media Mentions
35 Alumni resources 36 Alumni President’s Letter Jones Journal Spring 2008 1
Around the School
Around the School
Jones School to offer Ph.D. in Management The Jones Graduate School of Management will soon join other top U.S. business schools and add a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Management program to its repertoire. The program, to commence in fall 2009, is an exciting step toward growing the Jones School into a worldclass research center that excels in developing principled thought leaders — for both the business world and in academia.
Rising to the Challenge
Academic research is an essential ingredient of graduate programs, so it’s no surprise that a doctoral program in management is viewed as integral to top business schools. Nearly every business school named in Business Week’s Top 30 list has a doctoral program, including the top 25 research universities. With the addition of the Ph.D. program at the Jones School, research in management will proliferate, thereby creating a stronger research culture. The increased collaboration of Jones School doctoral students and faculty with other business schools and Rice departments will also heighten the school’s visibility and prestige.
The Ph.D. in Management, by nature, is distinct from an MBA. Rather than teaching candidates management skills and business acumen, the Ph.D. is designed to prepare candidates for academic careers in research and teaching. To provide the fundamental groundwork in the theories and methods necessary to undertake effective research, the Ph.D. in Management coursework will be supported by multiple departments across Rice campus. About 80 percent of classes will be taken in departments such as economics, psychology, and statistics while the remaining 20 percent will be taught by top-tier Jones School faculty. Doctoral candidates are anticipated to complete the program in four to five years. The first two years will be spent full time in coursework and a summer research project. Candidates will take specialized courses to develop an area of expertise during the third year, and at least one year will be dedicated to writing and defending the dissertation.
The Bigger Picture Before the Rice Graduate Council’s unanimous approval of the Ph.D. in Management in fall 2007, the Jones School was the only department at Rice that did not offer a doctorate. Jones School Dean Bill Glick believes its presence will make Rice more competitive among nationally ranked universities. A Ph.D. in management will “enhance our standing among the top business schools, attract students on a different career path than our MBA students, and strengthen our faculty recruiting and retention,” he said. The Ph.D. program comes during a time when an international shortage of doctoral management faculty exists among a growing demand for such faculty, according to a 2003 report from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. By introducing a doctoral program, Rice also can help meet the increasing demand for doctoral candidates in the faculty job market while attracting the best business faculty to the Jones School.
Jones Journal Spring 2008 3
Around the School
Around the School
Rice Initiative to Transform Houston K-12 Leadership The Jones Graduate School of Management continues to define itself through the successes of its exceptional students, faculty, alumni, and innovative programs. One of its latest initiatives, to begin this fall, will attract a different type of student seeking an MBA; the new initiative is reaching out to K-12 education entrepreneurs. Higher Aspirations The Jones School and Rice University are collaborating with exemplary regional education innovators and national thought leaders to offer compelling programs that provide an alternative approach to reforming K-12 education. The launch of the programs was funded through a $7.2 million grant from Houston Endowment, and the unconventional model is the first of its kind in the U.S. The goal of the initiative is to dramatically change and improve the academic performance of students throughout the Houston community, particularly in underserved schools. Effective school leadership is a key driver in the educational success of these students. The Rice initiative aims to significantly augment the number of strong leaders in Houston schools by grooming experienced educators from the current pool and attracting new talented educators locally and nationally.
A Matter of Principals The initiative, the Rice Education Entrepreneurs Program (REEP), is designed to equip current and future K-12 school principals with exceptional leadership skills and business acumen to better deal with the complex challenges in today’s schools. As leaders of schools, principals are tasked with an array of responsibilities including managing students, teachers, parents, and community members while also tackling budgets and other administrative duties. jonesgsm.rice.edu
“The K-12 school system at large in the Houston community calls for transformational thought leadership in its management ranks that can greatly improve the quality of education for the community, for the long term,” said Bill Glick, dean of the Jones School.
Program Details The educational model, which comprises three tracks, merges the best of the Jones School, Teach For America, and Houston A+ Challenge. There will be three customized academic tracks with a total of 45 program participants per year: Principal Development Track: 15 education professionals (with five to seven years experience) will enroll in the Rice MBA for Professionals program. Students will earn principal certification through an intensive summer educational leadership curriculum and participate in a Thought Leadership series featuring nationally recognized leaders in educational entrepreneurship. Rice will provide tuition reimbursement for graduates who work in underserved schools for a designated time. Principal Advancement Track: 15 aspiring principals with master’s degrees will enroll in the Rice Advanced
Principal Development Track: 15 sitting principals will develop their managerial and education entrepreneurship abilities by participating in RAMP and the summer Thought Leadership series. The collaboration with Teach For America will provide a set of candidates who are seeking a rigorous general management education at Rice. Houston A+ Challenge provides coaching to assist the MBA students in assimilating what they have learned into school settings.
The relationships formed among the annual cohort of 45 leaders will have tremendous impact throughout their futures as they face practical challenges in leading educational institutions. The REEP mission is an extension of the core mission of the Jones School and of Rice University’s “Vision for the Second Century” — to make tangible contributions to improve Houston. By preparing education entrepreneurs for leadership, Rice can positively impact K-12 education in Houston’s highly diverse community.
Ninety-nine percent of superintendents and 97 percent of principals say that behind every great school is a great principal. Seventy-nine percent of superintendents and more than two-thirds of principals believe that that the first and foremost step in setting a troubled school on the path to success is to find strong and talented leadership. More than 66 percent of both superintendents and principals believe that, with the right leadership, even the most troubled schools can be improved. The Role of School Leadership in Improving Student Achievement, National Conference of State Legislatures
Management Program (RAMP). Students will earn principal certification through the summer educational leadership curriculum and participate in the Thought Leadership series.
Jones Journal Spring 2008 5
Around the School
Around the School
Business Concentrations offered for Full-Time MBA In an effort to differentiate itself among business schools and capitalize on its strengths, the Jones School is now business concentrations within its Full-Time offering MBA curriculum. The new concentrations provide students with an opportunity to gain functional, cross-functional, professional, or industry expertise in a particular area of interest within the general management program.
“Concentrations add even more value to the Rice MBA. Now, in addition to a broad business perspective and leadership skills, our students can choose specific areas of interest to focus on more intensely. The opportunity to customize the curriculum in this way appeals to students and gives them a competitive advantage with certain employers,” said Sean Burnett, director of MBA programs. Full-Time MBA students may pursue a maximum of two of the eight available concentrations. Currently, these optional programs include accounting, creativity and innovation, energy, entrepreneurship, finance, global business, management consulting, and marketing.
CONCENTRATIONS Accounting Mastering Creativity and Innovation Energy Entrepreneurship Finance Global Business Management Consulting Marketing
Alumni contributions support new Jones School initiatives This past fiscal year, the Jones Fund set a new record for giving, raising $616,519 in pledges and gifts with 19 percent of our alumni contributing to the Jones School. We thank everyone who supported the Jones Fund, and ask all of you, whether it is your first gift or a reinvestment in the Jones Fund, to make a gift this year. Your support is truly critical to our growth. It has helped us launch a new undergraduate business minor, add eight new faculty in various disciplines, and implement the new business concentrations designed to differentiate Rice University and capitalize on the strengths of Houston. Additions to the Career Management Center team have boosted recruitment at the Jones School and led to 94 percent of our Full-Time graduates being placed in positions by July 2007. Furthermore, applications for the Class of 2009 rose 29 percent for the Full-Time candidates and 42 percent in the MBA for Professionals program. Average GMAT scores also increased. Gifts to the Jones Fund not only provide scholarships for students and the funds to hire faculty, they also support areas that are crucial to enhancing the reputation and status of the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Management. As we grow the Jones Fund, we, as alumni, are able to truly enhance the value of our own education. We ask you to join us this year in supporting the Jones Fund.
How Can I Make a Contribution? To contribute online, please visit www.giving.rice.edu and select the Jones Graduate School of Management as your designation. To make a gift via mail or phone, please make checks payable to Rice University and send to: Bridgette Miller Rice University Jones Graduate School of Management – MS 531 P.O. Box 2932 Houston, TX 77252-9900 713.348.3857
Subha (’85) and Jim (’84) Barry Jones Fund Co-Chairs
Jones Journal Spring 2008 7
Around the School
Around the School
Jones Partners Upcoming Events
Rice Alliance recognized as Leading U.S. Entrepreneurship Center Jones Partners Opening Doors
The Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship, the flagship entrepreneurship initiative of Rice University, was recently recognized as the leading university entrepreneurship center in the U.S. for the creation of successful new enterprises by the National Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers (NCEC). The Rice Alliance is a strategic alliance among three schools at Rice University: the Jones Graduate School of Management, the Brown School of Engineering, and the Wiess School of Natural Sciences. Since its inception in 1999, it has assisted in the launch of more than 210 new technology-based companies that have raised more than $300 million in early-stage funding. “The Rice Alliance has proved to be a powerful catalyst for cultivating entrepreneurship within the Jones School and for Houston,” said Bill Glick, dean
of the Jones School. “This prestigious recognition will certainly enhance our ability to impact business on a global basis.” The Rice Alliance and Jones School are also credited with hosting the largest and richest intercollegiate MBA/graduate-level business plan competition in the world, the annual Rice Business Plan Competition, which will take place on April 3-5, 2008. The NCEC is the premier organization of university-based entrepreneurship centers in the U.S. The NCEC award for Outstanding Contributions to Enterprise Creation recognizes an entrepreneurship center that supports enterprise creation and job growth, and helps to establish a high number of viable, successful new companies, and was awarded to the Rice Alliance on October 6, 2007 in New York.
“The Rice Alliance has proved to be a powerful catalyst for cultivating entrepreneurship within the Jones School and for Houston,” Bill Glick, dean of the Jones School
The Jones Partners continues to attract new corporate members through its corporate membership program. By partnering with the Jones School, companies enjoy increased visibility within the Jones School community, including interacting with students and the Career Management Center, discounts for lifelong learning in open enrollment courses, and multiple employee attendance at Partners events.
New Members We are pleased to welcome our new member companies, Baylor College of Medicine, ConocoPhillips, Korn/Ferry International and NCI Building Systems as well as our current members: Baker Hughes, El Paso Corporation, FMC Technologies, Global Geophysical, Lehman Brothers, National Oilwell Varco, Oceaneering International, Quintana Energy Partners, Stewart Title Company, Shell, and Universal Weather and Aviation.
April 8, 2008 Thought Leadership Series — Joint Event with James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy Topic: Global Risk Management Amy Jaffe, Wallace S. Wilson Fellow in Energy Studies, Baker Institute Vincent Kaminski, Professor of the Practice in Executive Education, Jones Graduate School
Amy Myers Jaffe is also the associate director of the Rice University energy program. Jaffe’s research focuses on the subject of oil geopolitics, strategic energy policy including energy science policy, and energy economics. She is widely published in leading academic journals and numerous book volumes, and has received many awards for her contribution to energy.
Vincent Kaminski teaches a course in energy finance and energy derivatives. Before joining the Jones School, he held various senior positions including Citigroup, Sempra Energy Trading, Reliant Resources, Inc., Citadel Investment Group L.L.C., Enron Corp., and Salomon Brothers. He serves on the executive committee of the Global Energy Management Institute at the Bauer College of Business, University of Houston.
April 22, 2008 Jones Partners End of Year Celebration Home of Hoyt Thomas (‘04) and N.J. Pierce of N.J. Pierce and Associates Jones Journal Spring 2008 9
Around the School
Around the School
faculty research and guiding them toward commercialization. “Houston’s thriving life sciences industry puts this program in high demand. It closes a critical gap by providing future and existing managers, as well as investors, with insight into a complicated field and offering scientists the business skills necessary to commercialize new technologies,” said Al Napier, program faculty director and professor of management at the Jones School. Registration is already underway for the upcoming Life Sciences Entrepreneurial Management Certificate. The certificate consists of six days of instruction and will be held on April 4-5, 18-19 and May 2-3. For more information or to register visit www.rice.edu/ee or call 713-358-6060.
Taking Life Sciences Technology to the Marketplace Rice Alliance, BioHouston, and Rice University’s Executive Education offer Life Sciences Entrepreneurial Management Certificate
Life Sciences Entrepreneurial Management Certificate April 4-5, 18-19 and May 2-3 Register: www.rice.edu/ee Modules Overview of the Biotech/Pharmaceutical/Medical Device Industry Understanding the Regulatory Process of FDA Understanding Intellectual Property Protection and Licensing Assessing the Market Opportunity Business Strategy and Planning In partnership with the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship and BioHouston, Rice University’s Executive Education will again be hosting the Life Sciences Entrepreneurial Management Certificate. This program provides an in-depth look at building and managing a life sciences company. Last year, through lectures and presentations from venture capitalists, investors, successful entrepreneurs, and leaders in the life sciences entrepreneurship community, jonesgsm.rice.edu
participants explored the challenge of taking results from the research lab to the marketplace. “After a highly successful debut last fall, we are again bringing together leading minds in biotech, start-up funding and business strategy to offer a six-day program unlike any other,” said Malcolm Gillis, the former president of Rice University and one of the program’s instructors.
Along with Gillis, this year’s instructors will include Peter Hutt, a senior counsel in the Washington, D.C. law firm of Covington & Burling LLP. As a former chief counsel for the Food and Drug Administration, Hutt is one of the leading experts on issues relating to the FDA. Also, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center’s Director of Technology Discovery, Oli Wenker, will offer advice based on his own experiences identifying new technologies within
Communicating Your Plan Sources of Funding Issues and Strategies in Forming a Company Management, Corporate Governance, and HR Issues in Growth, Sales, and Exit Strategies Elevator Pitches
Jones Journal Spring 2008 11
Around the School
Around the School
Entrepreneur Magazine Ranks Rice University in Top 25
Entrepreneur magazine and The Princeton Review surveyed more than 900 schools, revealing the nation’s top 25 undergraduate and top 25 graduate programs for entrepreneurship. The Jones Graduate School of Management earned high marks, placing 22nd among the top graduate entrepreneurship programs in the U.S. With unique and innovative entrepreneurial programs, the Jones School continues to contribute in shaping Houston’s landscape as a breeding ground for entrepreneurs. The Rice Education Entrepreneurs Program geared toward educators was recently launched and a concentration in Entrepreneurship is offered in the Full-Time MBA program. Both programs aim to better serve the growing demands of an entrepreneurial focus in business education. The school also houses the award-winning Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship, the University’s flagship entrepreneurship initiative. “This achievement captures the exceptional entrepreneurial spirit displayed by the Jones School students, alumni, and faculty as well as the contributions of Rice and the Houston business community,” said Bill Glick, dean of the Jones Graduate School.
Nancy Hawes has recently been chosen as the executive director of external relations. In her new role, Hawes oversees alumni engagement and major gift development, as well as guide corporate relations strategies and Jones Fund growth. Before joining the Jones School, she served as executive director and consultant to Pratham USA, an organization that educates underserved children in India and empowers young women by training them to become teachers. Prior to that, Hawes was the executive director of Asia Society Texas. She received her M.S. in Education and Administration (Museum Leadership) from the Bank Street College of Education and her B.A. in History from Smith College.
Shaheen Ladhani has been selected as the new associate director of alumni engagement for the Jones School. Ladhani is responsible for expanding relationships with alumni and motivating them to actively participate in, and support the school’s activities and initiatives. Most recently, he served as assistant director of development for the major gifts regional team at Rice and was a former assistant coach for the Rice men’s tennis team. Ladhani is a Rice graduate with a B.A. in Psychology and Managerial Studies and holds an M.S. in Performance Psychology from the University of Houston.
Timothy Pitts is the new division finance and budget manager at the Jones School. Pitts brings extensive experience to the position in which he manages the school’s accounting, purchasing and budgeting functions. Pitts spent nine years at Rice University including serving as a manager in the information technology division and analyst for the budget office. He also spent 10 years in the U.S. Air Force and remains active in the Reserves. Pitts holds a B.S. in Business Administration from Ithaca College and an M.S. in Human Resources Management from Golden Gate University.
Benjamin Guest has joined the Jones School admissions office as assistant director of admissions. In his new role, he assists in national and international recruiting of MBA students. His duties include reviewing applications, interviewing candidates, and participating in the final selection process. He also works to improve technology initiatives and assists in the development of strategies to market the Full-Time and Professional MBA programs. Previously, Guest was a program coordinator in the Jones School’s MBA program office. He holds a B.A. in Economics and a B.S. in Computer Science from Trinity University.
Cara Spinks has been named an assistant director for the Jones School’s Career Management Center. In this role, she supports Rice MBA students with the development of a career plan and successful job search skills. She also assists in bringing networking opportunities and recruiters to the Jones School. Prior to this new role, Spinks was a recruiting coordinator for the CMC and has also been a member of the school’s events and administration staff. She holds a B.Mus. from Rice University and recently received an Award for Service Excellence from the Jones School.
Executive Director of External Relations
Associate Director of Alumni Engagement
Division Finance and Budget Manager
Assistant Director of Admissions
Assistant Director for Career Management Center
Jones Journal Spring 2008 13
Meet the entrepreneurs behind seismic imaging firm Global Geophysical By Chris Warren Talk to just about any Jones School graduate, and you’ll quickly hear how their education at the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Management has influenced their career long after leaving campus. For some, it’s a particular professor or course that helped shape a view about, say, an ethical situation or an approach to solving a problem. For others, it’s more a matter of the cumulative experience of honing new skills and forging important personal relationships. For Richard Degner, a 2004 MBA for Executives graduate, the experience at the Jones School was valuable for a somewhat unconventional reason. “It gave me the encouragement to be reckless enough to quit my job,” says Degner, who along with fellow Jones School graduates Craig Lindberg ‘04 and Duncan Riley ‘05 founded Global Geophysical Services, a Houston-based company that has grown to be a major player providing seismic images to the oil and gas industry — a vital early step in the exploration process. jonesgsm.rice.edu
While Degner is quick to point out how important Jones School professors were in giving him the courage to become an entrepreneur after more than two decades at some of the largest seismic imaging companies in the business, the Rice influence on Global Geophysical’s 2003 launch goes much deeper. In fact, it’s no exaggeration to say that the company was literally birthed at Rice. Riley recalls how, as students at the Jones School, he and Degner would talk at lunch or at parties about the things they were learning in class. Eventually, those conversations would veer into what they planned to do in the future. “The more we thought about it, the more we recognized that we could put together an organization much along the lines of the companies we had worked for, although we could do it far more efficiently and with much less bureaucracy,” says Riley, who had worked with Degner at Western Geophysical before attending Rice and is now Global Geophysical’s vice president for U.S. and Canadian operations. “We could do it smarter and faster and with greater attention to our clients than we ever could have done had we rejoined organizations elsewhere.” But Degner, Riley, and Lindberg weren’t just idly musing about the possibility of forming a start-up company. They were so serious about it that they didn’t even wait until they graduated. “In the beginning, Global, was Richard, Duncan, and me sitting in the study room downstairs that now bears our name, writing business plans and trying to figure out how to finance the company,” says Lindberg, who met Degner in a study group and is now Global Geophysical’s chief financial officer. Clearly, the time in the study room was well spent. Since its inception, Global Geophysical has grown from zero employees to more than 1,000, with operations all around the world. The company recently broke ground on a new headquarters in Missouri City, a suburb of Houston and has seen its run rate climb from nothing to $300 million.
A Bumpy Road
Sound easy? It wasn’t. Although certainly aided by the recent explosion in oil and gas prices, Global Geophysical’s quick growth and early success belie what has been a turbulent and unconventional rise. Lindberg, who had held senior positions at companies
including Tyson Foods, says he thought he knew what pressure was before he started trying to build Global Geophysical from scratch. “You haven’t felt stress until you’re in a little start-up company and you’re responsible for people’s paychecks, and you don’t know how you’re going to make it,” he says. “Every Tuesday you’re wondering how you’re going to get to the end of the week without running out of money. You have one foot in insolvency at all times.”
Having come from larger businesses, where factors like cash flow aren’t an everyday concern, Global Geophysical’s cofounders didn’t have much experience as entrepreneurs. But they thrived in the bootstrapping world of a start-up, in part, because all three cofounders were eager to get away from bigcompany bureaucracy and politics. But they learned quickly that to survive requires scrambling and thinking unconventionally. Raising money was a big initial hurdle, particularly given the fact that the seismic business requires significant capital for equipment and personnel. “We built an asset-intensive oil field service company without a lot of equity,” recalls Degner. “You’re not supposed to be able to do that.” In part, they were able to do it because they were willing to take risks and make sacrifices. An initial infusion of money came when Degner and his siblings mortgaged their family’s farm. “That was the first million that came into the company, and after that other money started to flow in,” he says. “Investors knew we
President and CEO Richard Degner ‘04
Jones Journal Spring 2008 15
Senior Vice President and CFO Craig Lindberg ‘04
were serious.” But the company founders knew that wouldn’t be enough. From the start, with a strong conviction that they wanted to build a culture that fostered an entrepreneurial spirit, they took very modest salaries in exchange for an equity stake in the business. Obviously, there were practical reasons for doing that — primary, keeping xpenses low. But having company leaders eschew large, guaranteed paychecks and giving employees equity in the business were ways to build that important entrepreneurial culture, says Lindberg. “If you are going to build a successful company that is entrepreneurial based, you have to give ownership to the people and give them a reason to create value,” he says. “It’s about getting all of us to the equity payday together. We all work like hell, we all sacrifice now, and we all get to the big payday at the same time.” As evidence of how effective a motivational tool that premise has been for Global Geophysical employees, Lindberg points to a job the company did soon after it was founded. As he recalls it, a Global Geophysical crew was doing seismic work at the same time and in about the same place as one of its competitors. “Our competitor’s crew was getting paid the same amount every day, regardless of their production,” he says. “And our crew was getting paid every day based on their production.” Later, we found out that the Global Geophysical crew was vastly more productive. “This is three months out of the gate, and we are outperforming our competitors by a factor of nearly two-to-one. Our people were so highly motivated to be successful that we were absolutely killing the competition.”
Although Global Geophysical’s founders were first-time entrepreneurs, they were hardly novices in the seismic industry. Degner and Riley attended the well-regarded Colorado School of Mines together, and both had spent decades working for leading companies, such as Western Geophysical, in countries around the world. Both men also feel that they gained important experience in this area by spending much of their careers overseas exploring for oil and gas. Riley recalls working in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, as a field accountant and, Degner a field supervisor. According to Riley, being assigned to a developing country was a way for an early career mentor of his and Degner’s to assess what their capabilities were. “Both Richard and I had the same boss who mentored us as we grew up in our careers,” says Riley. “He felt strongly about putting us in positions where we would sink or swim. As soon as we learned to swim he would add more water, and he kept giving us more responsibility trying to prove to us that we couldn’t do it. Then we would prove to him that we could, and we’d move up.” In assembling his staff at Global Geophysical, Degner looked for people who had the kind of deep experience he and Riley shared. It was a way, he says, to not only give the company instant credibility, but also to give its co-founders the kind of knowledge that is absolutely essential in the seismic industry. “It’s a knowledge-based, experience-based, very complex
service business. From the design of the project to the execution of the project, we are in very diverse conditions,” says Degner. “We are working in different cultures, working with foreign governments, and working in extreme environmental circumstances. In our business, you want to hire the people who have already made all the mistakes.” Having a staff largely made up of people with extensive experience — not to mention an international perspective, since many employees are from countries outside the U.S. — allows Global Geophysical to take advantage of important personal relationships people have developed throughout their careers. Riley recalls a recent staff meeting in which people were discussing a Global Geophysical crew about to start work in Argentina. “I spent four years in Argentina, as did some other folks, and so when one of the guys was talking about complexities with customs clearance, a few of us were able to talk about how we addressed similar issues when we were there,” says Riley. “Collectively is where the expertise comes from.” Although Global Geophysical certainly can boast about its depth of knowledge and experience, Degner also points to his time at Rice as vital. Not only was it the place where he, Riley, and Lindberg wrote the
business plan for Global Geophysical, but Degner also says his experience at the Jones School both encouraged him to become an entrepreneur and equipped him to understand the financial world in a way that’s essential for any successful start-up. “I’m a geologist and a geophysicist. The Jones School and the MBA program enabled me to understand and speak the language of the financial world and the legal structures and all the business administration required to build what is now becoming a pretty large organization,” he says. Building a business where he has ownership has required a shift, albeit a positive one, in how Duncan Riley thinks about his career. “I’ll be home on the weekend and need to go in and do some work,” he says. “And one of my kids will ask, why do they make you come in to the office? And I can say, ‘I’m the they. I’m not working for someone else.’” ■
Vice President of U.S. and Canada Duncan Riley ‘05
Jones Journal Spring 2008 17
Food for Thought Michael Cordúa cooks up something different By Ann S. Boor
In 2006, Michael J. Cordúa made good on a commitment he had made 26 years earlier and began the process of earning his MBA. Cordúa, who is enrolled in Rice University’s Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Management, had fully intended to pursue a master’s in his native Nicaragua right after he graduated from Texas A&M in 1980. He had thoughts of becoming a banker back home, or maybe going into the shipping business with his father. But in the wake of Nicaragua’s 1979 communist revolution, Cordúa changed his plans and took a job in Houston with his father’s shipping company. jonesgsm.rice.edu
Cordúa planned to return to Nicaragua eventually, but his dad passed away, and the country’s political environment remained unstable. So Cordúa stayed with the shipping company for six years; he was the last employee to be let go before the oil industry downturn forced the company to close. At age 27, Cordúa didn’t see himself so much out of a job as out of a career. He started looking around at businesses in Houston, but nothing really excited him. The one thing that did engage him was cooking. “Cooking was my hobby,” Cordúa says. “I cook like some people play golf. But how could I trust that my hobby could actually become the way I make a living?” Friends and family suggested that he start by going to culinary school or working in a restaurant. But Cordúa didn’t want to take those routes, so he forged ahead with just his personal savings and credit cards. “It was a bit like jumping off a cliff and hoping you grow wings,” he recalls. “Not much of a business plan!”
The fact that you are the best shoemaker doesn’t make you the best owner of a shoe factory,” says Cordúa. “It’s about what you desire inside.” After overcoming a string of hurdles, including trouble getting a lease in a desirable location due to his lack of experience and unfamiliar cuisine, Cordúa opened his first restaurant, Churrasco’s, in August 1988. From the beginning, Churrasco’s tagline has been, “Farther south than you’ve ever been for dinner.” Initially, people did not understand just how far south he meant. “You know how you normally put the dollar bill from your first customer on the wall?”
The Main Ingredients Cordúa was certain of three things. He wanted to do something that no one else was doing: introduce Latin American food, a whole new category of dining, to Houston. “I didn’t want to just transport food from Latin America,” he says. “I wanted to translate food from Latin America — keep its mystique and exoticness, yet make it approachable and understandable.” He also knew that he didn’t want to learn the business from the inside. Passionate about making his restaurant customer-centered, Cordúa chose not to work at another restaurant before opening his own. “I wanted to have a complete customer perspective with my wish list,” he says. “As a customer, what did I want in a restaurant? Then, how could I create that and still make money?” Third, Cordúa knew he had the fire inside. He learned from his father that it takes a special breed to be an entrepreneur. You have to be honest with yourself about whether you’ve got it in you to overcome so much with so few resources. “The fact that you are the best cook doesn’t make you the best restaurateur.
Cordúa asks. “Well, our first customer sat down, saw the menu, and left. He saw the Spanish name and thought it would be fajitas.” In spite of that inauspicious beginning, a chance meeting with a bank CEO at the restaurant just seven months after it opened led to faster-thananticipated growth. After his meal, the CEO invited Cordúa to call if he ever had plans for expansion. What Cordúa really wanted to do was move to an area with less crime, so he called the next day. Since he lacked the requested three years of tax returns and financial statements, Cordúa came up with a different type of presentation — he brought the bankers in for a meal. “I still remember what the vice president of lending told me: ‘If ever I’ve seen a
Michael Cordúa, owner of Cordúa Restaurants, Rice MBA for Executives Class of 2008
Jones Journal Spring 2008 19
What Does Success Mean to You? At the basic level, it means not going broke! When I first opened the restaurant, that’s what I hoped for. As you mature, it’s more about improving life for those around you. Success is measured through the tenure of our staff. One of our chefs is turning 40 and he came to work here when he was 20. The general manager at our River Oaks Churrasco’s is a founding member of the company. That’s rare in our industry. Success also means we’ve made life a little better for people and given them a respite. They’ve enjoyed sharing a meal with us, and if we closed the door, people would miss us.
slam dunk in the restaurant business, you’ve got one.’ Even before we were a year old! That was the biggest compliment I could have received,” he says. Cordúa secured the bank financing, but the deal called for him to keep the existing restaurant open for cash flow while the second location was established. Word of mouth and great reviews convinced many Tex-Mex fans to try something new. Esquire magazine named Churrasco’s one of the Best New Restaurants in America. In 1993, Cordúa opened Américas, which earned a loyal following and was named best new restaurant in the U.S. that year by Esquire. Growth continued with the opening of Amazón Grill in 1999 and Artista in 2002. Artista also marked Cordúa’s entry into the concessions business at the adjoining Hobby Center for the Performing Arts. Next up is an Américas located in The Woodlands, Texas, and a project in Sugar Land, Texas.
Taking the Heat Twenty years after Cordúa’s debut, his company, Cordúa Restaurants, maintains its leadership position as the most successful operator of Latin restaurants in the U.S. Cordúa believes that team innovation is the lifeblood of his organization. “We create in a group,” he explains. “Someone may throw out an idea on a plate, someone else will
modify it and throw in another ingredient, and then on the fiftieth try, something fantastic will come out of it. That’s the way the process works for us, in and out of the kitchen.” Learning about successes of other companies has been an important part of Cordúa’s education at the Jones School — and a big reason why he is so glad he finally made it back to the classroom. He appreciates how the professors create and facilitate an environment where people can discuss their business challenges and solutions. Cordúa draws on the real-world experiences shared by people from different companies, countries, and cultures and takes those lessons back to his workplace. He revels in the company of other entrepreneurs in the program. “We’ve all experienced the entrepreneurial terrors; we’ve known what it’s like to have to make payroll next Friday and there’s no money in the bank. It’s gut-wrenching. But how do you not share the panic and lead courageously at work? How do you manage uncertainty?” Cordúa’s short answer to those questions is burn all your boats — make the full commitment. “I tell people never to do it halfway. Once you take the risk, a bigger risk doesn’t worry you more, because your body will adjust to it. Commitment is what fuels us through the years.” ■
Learning about successes of other companies has been an important part of Cordúa’s education at the Jones School — and a big reason why he is so glad he finally made it back to the classroom. From left to right: William Guerra, head bartender; Juan Carlos Rodriguez, sous chef; Kenneth Jackson, dishwasher; Michael Cordúa, owner; Lezlie Mahan, director of special events; and Ignacio Gutierrez, cook.
Jones Journal Spring 2008 21
Straight Talk Jones alumnus Mike Lowe’s journey from start-up to finish by Nancy Shepherdson
Think back to your own experience with dental braces. Wouldn’t you have paid just about anything to get them off your teeth sooner? Mike Lowe, ‘07, would have, in a heartbeat. Twenty years ago, cursed with a mouthful of pain, Lowe had to endure the metal torture for almost four years. So it is understandable that he is passionate about his Houston-based development-stage company, OrthoAccel Technologies, Inc., which is out to cut the time people spend in braces by half.
The innovation behind the company’s breakthrough The Winning Edge process, to be called Celerect, was the discovery that “You must have more of an appetite for risk than the applying pulsating cyclical forces to bone tissue can average bear if you are going to be an entrepreneur,” speed up the process of “bone remodeling.” It has been Lowe says. “But what people don’t realize is that you convincingly demonstrated that the process promotes have to be a salesperson too. I am selling the vision of healing in other parts of the body, repairing damage from OrthoAccel all day, every day. Successful entrepreneurs osteoporosis and long-bone fractures, for instance. are the most effective salespeople you’ve ever seen When Lowe heard about the technology behind because they are selling their vision.” OrthoAccel, he says, “it just automatically clicked.” The technology behind OrthoAccel was initially Technology that could have gotten him out of braces presented at the largest and richest intercollegiate in a year? Now that’s a solution to a real problem. MBA/graduate-level business school competition “My philosophy of business,” says Lowe, who is in the world, the Rice Business Plan Competition, OrthoAccel’s president and CEO, “involves developing by a team from the University of Illinois at Chicago. solutions for problems that already exist, not trying to Although it didn’t win, a member of the judging panel force solutions on the market. If it isn’t a solution, no was impressed enough that he contacted the team and matter how innovative the technology, it can’t be arranged to purchase the patents. In the meantime, he’d monetized.” The new treatment still needs to be proven in the straightening of teeth, and that has required the help of some unusual dental patients. OrthoAccel Technologies’ new device, Celerect, OrthoAccel is currently conducting cuts treatment time for braces in half. trials at the University of Connecticut in which rats are wearing tiny Celerect Features: braces and receiving the pulsating Simple, comfortable. easy-to-use, treatments. Human trials, to take rechargeable device place at the University of Texas, are Accelerates bone remodeling using planned to begin the second quarter pulsing vibratory force vs. constant force of 2008. Lowe hopes to get approval Microprocessor tracks compliance by the FDA to launch Celerect as a Class 2 medical device by late 2009. Bite on mouth guard 20 minutes daily, Lowe’s outlook for the success or 10 minutes twice a day of his new product is buoyed by Patient can do anything but eat or talk studies that show patients (or their The device is not yet available for sale, has not been tested yet in humans, and is not currently FDA approved. parents) are willing to pay as much as 40 percent more for braces that work twice as fast. And with an affluent adult market heard of Lowe, who was already making an impression for new braces now accounting for nearly 25 percent of at the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Management. patients, he believes his company will have a fairly easy Brad Burke, managing director of the Rice Alliance for time convincing orthodontists to offer Celerect. Technology and Entrepreneurship, which organizes
the competition, agreed with the decision to call on Lowe. “Mike has all four parts of the package,” he says. “Understanding technology, business knowledge, the ability to communicate, and the entrepreneurial zeal to take risks. He’s the perfect CEO for a start-up.” Jones Journal Spring 2008 23
As a student at the Jones School, Lowe participated in a variety of experiences that honed his entrepreneurial instinct. The most valuable, he says, was an internship at Texas-based venture capital firm DFJ Mercury following his first year. For months he sifted through business plans for biotechnology start-ups, looking for projects with commercial viability. “The way to learn something is to do it over and over. You start to get a real handle on the repeatability of a technology. And you start to develop filters to help you make decisions quickly.”
Dan Watkins, a managing director at DFJ Mercury, says Lowe was one of his most talented interns, as well as one of the hardest working. “Evaluating proposals is what all our interns do — Mike was just very good at it. He is fearless and relentless when evaluating opportunities. He’ll ask experts what they think, then make decisions and execute. In fact, he just helped us with a deal we recently closed, despite being busy getting OrthoAccel ready for its product launch.” “I’m glad he’s sticking around Houston growing companies,” Watkins adds. “I expect he will persist until he is in the top ranks of Houston business.”
A Serial Entrepreneur Perhaps some of Lowe’s confidence comes from the fact that he is not a newcomer to the business world, his freshly minted MBA notwithstanding. After receiving a degree in biology at Louisiana State University, Lowe enrolled in dental school, only to find chairside clinical duties unappealing. But he stayed long enough to pick up an understanding of the business of dentistry. (He also met his future wife, now a successful Houston orthodontist, over a dissection in the anatomy lab.) His knowledge of the dental business was enough to land him a job at Optiva, a start-up company that was developing a now-popular technology, the Sonicare toothbrush. A year later, the company was acquired by Philips, a huge British technology conglomerate whose leaders recognized potential in Lowe and put him on their fast-track management development team for oral health care products. “I learned everything there was to know about dental products in the next seven years,” he says. He ended up in Philips’ global marketing division, living in Seattle but spending a lot of time in Japan. At that point, his wife had an opportunity to buy several orthodontic practices in Houston and move back to the area where her family lives. And so Lowe, who’d been thinking about enrolling in business school for some time, ended up moving to an area that had a top-rated business school focused on both entrepreneurship and biotechnology. He applied to the Jones School almost immediately. It was an application that would lead, in less than two years, to his current leadership role in OrthoAccel. But inspiration for his career as an entrepreneur was inculcated early on, most notably from his wife’s uncle, Dale Pfost, a serial entrepreneur whom Lowe found fascinating. His parents, who live in Madison, Miss., have also been supportive, although Lowe believes they have little understanding of his daily work life. In fact, “high-flying risk taker” is probably the last thing his purchasing agent dad and office manager mom expected him to become. ■
Technology that gets you out of braces in a year? Now that’s a solution to a real problem.
Jones Journal Spring 2008 25
A Conversation with Leo Linbeck III by Mitch Kaplan
The Human Element Leo Linbeck III knows a thing or two about success. As president and CEO of Aquinas Companies, LLC, he leads a $500 million company with interests ranging from construction to life science technology development. Aquinas is the parent corporation of seven diverse enterprises, including the Linbeck Group, which provides real estate planning and assessment solutions to clients in various industries. As an adjunct professor at the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Management, Leo shares what he’s learned from his years in leadership at Aquinas with students in his Managing Growth class. For Linbeck, success in business, as in life, rests on “core values,” and the story of Aquinas is proof of the power of people acting on principles.
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What exactly do you mean by core values? It’s a different model, a different way of thinking about why you come to function as an organization. At Aquinas, we have a set of guiding principles that are the cornerstone of everything we do. We have seven companies, and they all have slightly different flavors basically founded on one set of principles. The reason the company exists is that the leadership is committed to driving the growth of those core values: integrity, trust, innovation, improvement, teamwork, respect for the individual, reward for achievement, safety, quality, and productivity. We’re not there to maximize shareholders’ returns. We focus on creating value for our customers.
What about making a profit? Profit is a key indicator of whether you’re spending your time productively — that you’re able to provide value to someone, and capture that value sufficiently to cover its cost and generate a surplus. You have to make a profit, or you’re not using your time well. If we do make a profit, we reinvest it in the company. Ninety cents of every dollar we make is reinvested; the other 10 cents is tithed. There are plenty of situations where we don’t make a profit. If you dig into why we didn’t make money, almost always at the core there’s a violation of values. Someone misrepresented what they could do, or the client had expectations above what could be delivered, and that caused us to spend money to make good on the promise. There shouldn’t have been a misrepresentation in the first place. jonesgsm.rice.edu
What’s your approach to management? Most of what I do is make sure that the right people are in the right spots and have the opportunity to grow and develop and broaden their horizons, to see that they stay out of trouble or get into trouble — whatever is appropriate for their development. I’m basically a human capitalist. How does management style change with company growth? When you have 10 employees, you can change strategies over lunch; when you have 500, you can’t. You have to have communications and strategy-planning processes. At 500 employees, you don’t have the same level of
familiarity with everyone, so some transformation has to take place. Think of it not in terms of revenues, but people. An organization is people, so how do you manage that? It’s really about becoming a grown-up. An organization with five or 10 employees is like a kid. There’s a lot of informality. It can be freewheeling and fun. How do you preserve that fun as a grown-up, when you have to replace the informal processes with formal ones? The trick is formalizing them without losing your soul and the fire that got you there. That formalization process is a maturation. As you grow up, you have responsibilities and you must put structure around that. You have to have regular meetings. Sure, everyone hates meetings, but they’re a valuable communications tool. Time becomes an important factor. Compensation — you have to formalize that:
What should people be paid? What job are they doing relative to the market? Should they get a raise? Should you fire someone? How about new product development? Channel expansion? Raising money? Aquinas’ expansion has led you into seemingly unrelated areas, such as the medical field. How did that evolve? The goal is active diversification — to have diverse businesses that we actively manage. From hospital construction work, I got to know doctors and administrators and was curious why Houston could be the third largest source of NIH research funding but 20th in venture capital investment. If so much research was going on here, why was there a disconnect between the development of intellectual property and its commercialization? I have a very specific view of things — that most issues are people resource issues, not financial. There weren’t a lot of free-radical entrepreneurs in Houston attaching to cool ideas and bringing them around like I saw at Stanford for the Silicon Valley, or in Boston. There’s a ton of money in Houston, but not a lot of people who know how to develop life science startups. We’ve started six companies — all in the medical technology realm. We began working with inventors in the Texas Medical Center, doing preventure work. Preventure? We’re not venture capitalists; we are the actual management team during the preventure phase. We’re working with inventors, with prototypes, ideas, market research, regulatory, understanding the competitive landscape. We’re looking at developing technologies that could be sold into the life science industry or funded by venture capitalists. Research is a scientific undertaking. But technology development is a marriage between science and business. Current models don’t work well between the development of technology and venture capital. So, we formed a company that works with the scientists and the affiliated institution to provide both the funding and the management team.
Accompanying that, you have an entrepreneurship fellowship program, the Houston Life Science Technology Entrepreneurship Institute. How does that work? Meaningful professions are all apprentice crafts — you learn from someone else. The way doctors do that is very systematized: they do internships, residencies, and fellowships where they’re learning from experienced doctors in a master-apprentice relationship. That’s different in a life science start-up. If you have an entrepreneur, he’s not going to go out and build a staff of 10. It’s usually a guy or woman who goes out and does it by himself or herself. We thought, if we’re going to do start-ups, why not develop a fellowship program to give people the opportunity to experience a portfolio at various stages of its development? Give them broad exposure. You’ve got to get in the middle of the mix under a kind of “adult” supervision. We’ve tried to create that in this program. Is this approach unique? We’ve cobbled together the best ideas out there. I don’t know of any others doing this, but it’s a big world, so there may be. We have a culture of being open to solving problems and pursuing opportunities, to have creative people working together with freedom. We’re creating an environment where we’re open to that, but also understanding and being respectful of real-world practical constraints. There’s not a big master plan. We do a ton of planning work, but there’s some serendipity and providence. It’s not enough to just satisfy shareholders or make profits. There has to be an aspect that develops human capital; that’s what all our businesses do. We’re called to difficult, challenging, huge, value-added, high-risk projects, and that draws people who want to be part of it, which enables us to do more. It’s a virtuous cycle. But undergirding it all has to be those core values. ■
Jones Journal Spring 2008 29
This is a partial listing of the Jones School community appearances in the media. For a more detailed report of international, national, and local media coverage, please visit our website at: www.jonesgsm.rice.edu/news. It seems that competition between the various companies like Disney and Universal would create a price war that would benefit consumers, but Professor of Management Seethu Seetharaman explains why prices remain high at Orlando’s theme parks. In a Business Week article, Oct. 7, he reported that he conducted research that found consumers’ constant search for variety enables companies in certain markets to maintain volume despite high profit margins — therefore those companies needn’t cut costs to remain competitive. The lesson for consumers? Hide your true desires or risk having to pay up for diversity.
On Sustainable Industries.com, Feb. 28, a review was posted on Distinguished Research Professor of Management Marc J. Epstein’s new book, Making Sustainability Work: Best Practices in Managing and Measuring Corporate Social, Environmental, and Economic Impacts. The book about corporate social responsibility builds upon Epstein’s previous articles and books and blends academic work, field research with companies, and other company examples in a guide to the implementation of sustainability.
USA Today, Oct. 17, reported that experts agree that the airline industry is not a business wired for pleasing customers. Associate Professor of Management Shannon Anderson, who has conducted research on customer satisfaction in this industry, said many factors figure into airlines’ customer-satisfaction scores, and airlines aren’t convinced that money spent improving customer service will lead to bigger profits.
In an article that appeared in Christian Science Monitor, Oct. 19, secret menus at fast-food restaurants appear to be on the upswing like that of the famed fast food joint In-N-Out Burger. Paul Dholakia, associate professor of management said, “It’s pure genius from the restaurant’s point of view. It’s the best way to get around the barriers we’ve all put up against commercial messages that I’ve seen in a long time. People actually seek these things out.” Applebee’s International’s new advertising campaign has comedian and actress Wanda Sykes as the voice of a “spokesapple.” Andrew Perkins, assistant professor of management, who addressed the unconscious effects of celebrity voices in advertising campaigns, both positive and negative, said the use of a celebrity in a marketing campaign can be positive, but “it’s better if the individuals are not able to recognize the celebrity doing the voiceover.” The story appeared in Kansas City Star, Oct. 24. In a survey released in November by Entrepreneur magazine and The Princeton Review, the Jones School was ranked 22nd among top graduate entrepreneurship programs in the U.S. The ranking, which was based on key criteria in the areas of academics and requirements, students and faculty, and outside-the-classroom support and experiences, surveyed more than 900 schools, revealing the nation’s top 25 undergraduate and top 25 graduate programs for entrepreneurship. Associate Professor Doug Schuler commented on NBC’s KPRC, Nov. 14, an investigation of millions of dollars that may have affected electric bills for Texans. Hundreds of lobbyists were hired by the electric industry to influence legislators who vote on several bills affecting how much consumers pay for electricity. Schuler said it’s just good business for the electricity industry to lobby Austin because shareholders want
whatever it takes to get what’s best for the company. However, “it doesn’t mean they get exactly what they want,” Schuler said. “They’d like that to be the case, but it just doesn’t work that way.” Lecturer in the Practice of Management Vincent Kaminski is interviewed on his firsthand experience about how sophisticated companies systematically underestimate and ignore the financial risks they take on until it’s too late, in the Kansas City Star, Dec. 9. Meharry Medical College President and CEO Wayne J. Riley joined the board of directors of Pinnacle Financial Partners. The Dec. 19 Nashville Business Journal article, also mentioned that he earned a master’s degree in the MBA for Executives program at Rice’s Jones Graduate School of Management. According to an article in The New York Times on Jan. 9, alumna Robyn O’Brien, founder of AllergyKids, asserted that leading researchers and the largest allergy advocacy groups do not support the theory that food supply is being manipulated with additives, genetic modification, hormones and herbicides, causing increases in allergies, autism and other disorders in children. “It was absolutely terrifying to unearth this story,” she said. “These big food companies have an intimate relationship with every household in America, and they are making our children sick.” Even though good communication is vital to every organization’s success, we still agonize over measuring the effectiveness of our programs. So, is your organization getting the most out of its communications dollars? Terry Hemeyer, adjunct professor of management, offers measurement methods published in PRWeek, Jan. 14. Reuters, Jan. 15, reported that Soros Fund Management named alumnus Keith Anderson as the chief investment officer of the money management firm. News of the announcement as well as his departure from BlackRock Inc., a firm he co-founded, appeared in multiple publications including Bloomberg, CNNMoney.com, Financial Week, Forbes, The New York Times, and Wall Street Journal.
To meet the demand for tougher, better-trained principals to turn around struggling inner-city schools, Rice University in partnership with Teach For America and Houston A+ Challenge are proposing an innovative initiative, the new Rice University Education Entrepreneurs program. Leo Linbeck III, a businessman and professor at the Jones School and Stanford University who helped planned the program was featured in the Washington Post, Jan. 21.
Houston-based biotechnology company Agennix is testing a new cancer treatment, and if researchers confirm that an ingredient in mother’s milk can help treat lung cancer, the treatment could become the first federally approved cancer drug to come out of Houston. Dr. Atul Varadhachary, adjunct professor and Agennix president, told the Houston Chronicle, Jan. 17, that earlier phases of testing show Talactoferrin has low toxicity, making it ideal for combination with chemotherapy and other drugs to battle treatment-resistant cancers, said “We’re the first cancer drug developed in Houston to get this far and ours is distinct because it can be taken in combination with other therapies, because it’s extremely well tolerated.” Jack Gill, founder of venture capital firm Vanguard Ventures, interviewed with Houston Chronicle, Jan. 29, about his involvement with the Rice Alliance, which began when he advised Dr. Steven Currall, principal founder of the Rice Alliance, on how having a business plan competition with the most prize money could put Rice on the map in entrepreneurial programs. Later, Gill recruited five associates to form the Grand Order of Successful Entrepreneurs (GOOSE) Society, which donates prize money to the Rice Business Plan Competition. “Now, we’re in the top three of business competitions, maybe even in the No. 1 spot,” he said.
Jones Journal Spring 2008 31
3 Andrew Y. Wang (‘96) and his wife Ronda proudly
Keith Anderson (‘83), who cofounded BlackRock Inc., left the firm after nearly 20 years, and joined Soros Fund Management as the chief investment officer. Carol Der Garry (‘85) joined FTI Consulting in Los Angeles in June 2007 as a managing director in FTI’s Forensic and Litigation Consulting practice focusing on financial fraud investigations and forensic accounting, SEC enforcement matters, litigation support, accountants’ malpractice, accounting process improvements and financial reporting issues. Prior to joining FTI, she spent almost two years at McGladrey & Pullen in Pasadena as an Audit Director and three years as an accountant at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Enforcement in the Pacific Regional Office.
1990s 1 Amber Dobbins-Jones (‘93) held a variety of positions
in finance after graduating from the Jones School and is currently an accounting manager at CITGO Petroleum. She and her husband Dion have three girls: Morgan, age 12; Kelly, age 9; and Corie, age 6; and an adopted dog named Ziggy. Amber is also excited to report her weight loss and maintenance. She was at her heaviest weight not too long after graduation, but three years ago, she lost 50 lbs and has managed to keep more than 45 lbs off.
2 Mark Etheredge (‘93) and his wife Kristen (Rice Ph.D. ‘96) celebrated the birth of their daughter, Miriam Elizabeth Alice, who was born on July 27, 2006. She was welcomed home in Southlake, Texas by big brother, Pete.
Paul Forgue (‘98) recently started AK Advisory Group, a financial advisory services firm focused on special situations and restructuring. He welcomes any and all inquiries from fellow Jones schoolers. The firm’s website is www.akadvisory.com Cindi Howson (‘99) recently authored her third book, Successful Business Intelligence: Secrets to Making BI a Killer App, an insightful read for those who are interested in helping their companies make better use of data for decision making. Showing the value of the Jones School community, 2008 MBA candidate Brent Sefert contributed on the book’s research. Howson is the founder of BIScorecard, a website for business intelligence software product evaluations. She speaks at events around the world, including Rome and Melbourne, and works with clients on improving their BI strategy. Balancing work and family remains her top priority and running her own company gives her that flexibility. She lives in northern New Jersey with her husband Keith and children Megan, 12, and Sam, 10. Basil M. Karatzas (‘99) is vice president for Projects and Finance with Compass Maritime in New Jersey. The company buys and sells commercial vessels and also arranges financing in the shipping finance sector.
2000s 4 Karen Andersen (Rice BA ‘00, MBA ‘05) married Alex Hlavacek on Sept. 2, 2007, in Banff, Alberta, Canada. Wayne J. Riley (MD, MPH, MBA ‘02, FACP), Meharry Medical College president and CEO, joined the board of Pinnacle Financial Partners.
5 Cooper Lee Etheridge (‘03) and his wife Kimberly are proud to introduce their new daughter, Emerson Lucille Etheridge, who was born Nov. 2, 2007. At birth, she weighed 8 lbs and 6 oz and was 21” long.
6 Kelly Duman (‘04) and her husband Ryan are happy to announce the birth of their second son, Preston Holliday Duman born 6 lbs and 8 oz on Nov. 7, 2007 in Colorado. Fernando Gil (‘04) is on assignment as an advisor in business planning in Jakarta, Indonesia with Chevron Indonesia Company.
7 Scott Herbel (‘04) proudly announces the birth of daughter Corinne Kathleen Herbel born Sept. 27, 2007 at 4:53 p.m. She was 20.5” long and weighed 6 lbs and 7 oz at birth.
8 Todd A. Lusk (‘04) from Lindenhurst, New York and Dawn N. Coleman from Deer Park, Texas were married on Sept. 29, 2007 at Vineyard 48 in Cutchogue, New York. After their honeymoon in Italy, Dawn returned to her job at First Reserve Corporation in Greenwich, Connecticut, and Todd resumed work in Manhattan as a vice president in Bear Stearns Prime Brokerage unit, where he has been for two and a half years. Other Rice alums in attendance were Dimitri Millas (‘04) and Jorge Murillo (‘04).
Heather Carroll (‘95) returns to Houston after moving to New York in 2005 to work for MasterCard. She continues working at MasterCard as a vice president, T&E Industries overseeing their Airline relationships. Prior to moving to New York, she worked at Continental for nine years.
announce the birth of Kaelan Yen-Kang Wang born on Nov. 11, 2007 at 9:08 p.m. at St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital in the Medical Center. He weighed 7 lbs and 0.3 oz and was 19” long at birth. His middle name is also his Chinese name, Wang Yen-Kang, which means “healthy” and “peaceful.”
Jones Journal Spring 2008 33
9 Maroulia Paulson (‘04) and her husband Stephen welcome the birth of their son, Andrew Myhre Paulson born May 2, 2007.
10 Genefer (Brice) Thornton (‘04) and Tim M. Thornton (’04) are proud to announce the arrival of John Robert Thornton, born Nov. 13, 2007. John weighed 7 lbs and 15 oz and was 19.5” long at birth. Mommy and baby are both doing very well.
Alumni R es o urces Looking for ways to stay connected to the Jones School? Take a moment and check out some of the alumni resources that will help keep you updated with your former classmates.
11 Andrew T. DeGeorgio (‘05) and his wife, Lauren
are proud parents of their new son, Landon Thomas DeGeorgio, born on Aug. 21, 2007. He was 19” and weighed 8 lbs and 6 oz at birth. Michael Swail (‘05) is working at Tudor, Pickering & Co., LLC, a new investment and merchant banking boutique headquartered in Houston, which focuses on the energy industry.
12 Cyndie M. Fredrick (‘06) proudly announces the birth of her son, Zachary Braden McClure born on Feb. 15, 2007.
John King (‘06) is the CEO of Sierra Title Company, which serves the New Mexico and West Texas area. He is also the director for the Texas Land Title Association this year, and remains very active in the rule-making process in front of the Texas Department of Insurance. Joohyun “Jack” Won (‘07) acquired dealership from Ligne Roset, a French furniture company, and opened two furniture stores, in Long Island and New Jersey. He serves as executive vice president of the two stores which cover Long Island and New Jersey territories.
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Please help us in our efforts to maintain a strong Jones School alumni network. If you have recently changed your address or contact information, please send us an email with your new contact information to Shaheen Ladhani at Shaheen@rice.edu. Additionally, if you’ve not been receiving emails from us, please inform us of your current email address.
Find faculty, staff, and students at https://www. jonesgsm.rice.edu/directory. The directory is passwordprotected and requires a valid user ID for the school’s website, but a public version displaying only faculty and staff is also available.
Support the Annual Fund Please support the Jones Fund for fiscal year 2007-2008 Your annual support helps us to raise funds for scholarships, professorships, and innovative programming initiatives. Make a gift to the Jones Fund online at https://online.alumni.rice.edu/giving. (Please choose Jones Graduate School of Management as designation on online giving form), or contact Bridgette Miller at email@example.com or 713.348.3857.
Subscribe to the Alumni Job Newsletter The Career Management Center invites alumni to subscribe to the email newsletter “Alumni Outreach.” The newsletter offers career search tips and tools and includes MBA job listings. To subscribe, contact Ashley McTaggert at firstname.lastname@example.org or 713.348.5303.
Contribute to the Jones Journal: Class Notes If you would like to be published in the Class Notes section of the upcoming Jones Journal magazine, please send photos and information regarding your career, family, and accomplishments to Shaheen Ladhani at email@example.com.
Learn about JGS events with online calendar For frequent updates on Jones School happenings, check the calendar online at jonesgsm.rice.edu/calendar.
Join alumni online communities
A number of alumni classes maintain alumni pages as a way to keep in touch with MBA classmates. We are happy to help you create an online community for your class/group or attach a link to one that is already in use. Please contact Dolores Thacker at thacker@rice. edu for more information.
Receive a free Rice MBAby romper Alumni moms and dads may receive a free Rice MBAby romper for the newest addition to their family. Send us a picture of your baby wearing the romper for the Rice MBAby website at www.jonesgsm.rice.edu/jonesgsm/ RiceMBAby.asp.
Jones Journal Spring 2008 35
Dear Fellow Alums, It is an exciting time for the Jones Graduate School Alumni Association (JGSAA). Not only does the involvement continue to improve, the impact of your support is becoming more evident throughout the Jones School. For this, I would like to personally thank you. Alumni support has increased significantly in the past two years. Currently, we are working to reach 22 percent giving participation from our alumni. Your support of the Jones Fund, class gifts, and other efforts at the Jones School are a critical element in the school’s future success. This issue of the Jones Journal is filled with new initiatives which are underway thanks to your contributions. Remember, alumni support is a significant metric in many of the Jones School’s rankings. Your investment can have a dramatic impact on our efforts to attract the best candidates, and raises our status as a top business school. Regarding elite students, I’d like to recognize Jun Li, this year’s JGSAA scholarship winner. Jun joins the Rice MBA Class of 2009 from his hometown in Hangzhou, China. He holds a bachelor’s degree in architecture and M.Eng in urban planning and design from Zhejiang University. Having already found success at an architecture design firm, and later as founder of an online store, Jun comes to the Jones School hoping to enhance his business education and prepare himself for future endeavors. Congratulations, Jun. I also want to note that the annual JGS Alumni Dinner is fast approaching. I invite you all to join us on Friday, April 11 at the Houston Club. In addition to being an opportunity to catch up with friends and colleagues, the dinner will feature Tony Benten ‘87. Tony was recently named vice president and corporate controller of The New York Times Company after more than 16 years with the company. We hope to see you there. Finally, I would like to introduce two individuals who will no doubt have tremendous influence on the future of the Jones School’s alumni development. As you may have already read, Nancy Hawes is the new executive director of external relations. Nancy brings a wealth of experience in increasing the engagement and financial support of organizations, and she will be a great asset for the school. Also, Shaheen Ladhani has assumed the role of associate director of alumni engagement and will be charged with the important task of engaging and motivating the alumni for the Jones School. His energy and familiarity with the Rice community will serve him well in this position, and we are delighted to have him on board. As much as we have accomplished this year, there is still more work to be done. But, I am confident we are poised to help move the Jones School to an even higher level. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve JGSSA.
Mike Andries, ‘02 President, JGSAA Principal Advisor, mABC Investment Advisors, LLC
New Board Members David Case MBA ‘05 JP Morgan Securities, Inc. Mark Courtney, MBA ‘94 Director CIMA Energy, LTD Ted Dimitry, MBA ‘02 Director GEM Insurance Agencies, L.P. Carolyn Galfione, MBA ‘97 Financial Advisor & CFO Linscomb and Wlliams Priscilla Plumb, EMBA ‘01 Director Hewlett-Packard Company
Board Officers for the 2007-2008 term President Mike Andries, EMBA ‘02 Principal Consultant mABC LLC Management Consultants President Elect Erich Bell, MBA ‘03 Manager, Financial Reporting BMC Technologies Past President David VanHorn, MBA ‘00 Director Archstone Consulting
Board Members continuing from last year Ray Bowen, MBA ‘84 Consultant Silver Point Finance Joe Branch, MBA ‘04 Nike, Inc. Chris Burkard, MBA ‘93 President & CEO Krescent Energy Co. Kelly Enos, MBA ‘84 VP Business Development Ypone, Inc. Landy Haile, MBA ‘03 Triad Real Estate Consulting Group, LLC Lisa Kudchadker, MBA ‘02 Materials Manager BP Robert Lesnick, EMBA ‘00 Manager ConocoPhillips Crystal Maxwell, MBA ‘03 Vice President - Investments UBS Nkem Ogbechie, MBA ‘03 Investment Advisor Goldman, Sachs & Co. Bob Parkey, MBA ‘88 President & CEO ICO, Inc.
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