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THE TEKE sits down with Grand Hegemon



ore than 260,000 men represent Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity; 520,000 eyes have seen historical and breathtaking events in our nation’s history. Frater Brian Montgomery (Gamma-Upsilon Chapter, University of Texas at Austin) has been a part of some of the most memorable events of the 21st century. Montgomery has a perspective that serves our TKE Nation beyond his title as Grand Hegemon; his career is a lesson for active Fraters to realize how they can become better men for a better world. Thinking back to his days in Austin at the University of Texas, Montgomery noted some of his lessons learned as an undergraduate member. “TKE taught me how to listen better, and how to work as a team. Up

to that point, football was a part of my life, but being a part of a chapter with 65 men— that was the real lesson about teamwork.” Montgomery served as chapter Prytanis at UT and noted his leadership development in dealing with finances and marketing of his chapter. “Being a Prytanis is like running a small business,” Montgomery said. What once was an undergraduate career of paying dues, recruiting future Tekes, and facilitating house operations, decades later became Montgomery’s professional career of handling situations after the events of 9/11 and the Shuttle Columbia disaster. In 2001, Montgomery served as Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Advance for the 43rd President of the United States of America, George W. Bush. On a trip with President Bush to an

“His selflessness and endless work ethic are prime examples of Frater Montgomery’s character as a national leader.”

Frater Montgomery and the President prepare to call the Jet Propulsion Laboratory team and congratulate them after the Mars rover “Spirit” landing in 2004. 6 THE TEKE q WINTER 2013

Frater Montgomery, as commissioner of the Federal Housing Administration in 2008, announces the administration’s new plan at a House Financial Services Committee hearing on legislation regarding federally insured loans. elementary school in Florida, Montgomery remembers the words of a fellow White House staffer answering a phone call on the way to the school, “An airplane just hit the World Trade Center.” His immediate thought was to focus on the here and now and try to figure out what might be next. “The events of 9/11 taught me that we all have jobs to do even when we are distracted for our loved ones, but we did our jobs for our country in a time of need. What amazed me most about that day is that there are thousands of people put on this good Earth to be firemen, police officers, and first responders for a reason. Their sacrifice was incredible to see.” The morning of September 12 was spent outside the Pentagon building in Arlington, Va. Smoke flew to the clouds and what remained of the impact site was later that day captured by red, white, and blue. “The airliner was missing; it had melted. When President Bush arrived that afternoon, I remember a giant U.S. flag hung over the site where 184 people were killed. That flag meant everything; people started applauding. You could not help being overwhelmed by the moment.” In the following days, Montgomery helped plan the visit by President Bush at Ground Zero in downtown New York and accompanied him on the trip. He stood and saw the World Trade Center and vividly recalls President Bush with his arm around a firefighter standing on a flattened fire truck when he spoke through a bullhorn those now famous words. When asked what was one thing he learned from George W. Bush, Montgomery stated, “Commitment to a cause greater than yourself. Leadership is working toward a goal and having a plan. This event changed

us all. I was lucky to have worked for him.” In 2003, Montgomery continued his White House career in a new role as Deputy Assistant to the President and Cabinet Secretary. The Shuttle Columbia Disaster occurred in February of that year. Montgomery stated, “I remember the Chief of Staff telling me I would be the primary point of contact within the White House for the accident investigation. I asked what that meant exactly. He replied simply, ‘You will find out.’ ” Montgomery spent the next six months focusing on the families, working with NASA and the accident investigation

board, figuring out what happened to cause the disaster, and helping lay the groundwork for new space policies. Montgomery also recommended to President Bush that each fallen astronaut be awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor. For his work, he was awarded the NASA Exceptional Service Medal in June 2004. Brian D. Montgomery is a man who has experienced tremendous responsibility. His focus now is his wife, his two children, and the young men that make up our TKE Nation. His advice for the active Fraters is, “Cherish your time as a Teke. Build relationships. On my wedding day, the best man and one of my groomsmen were Tekes. The friends you have now will be the friends you have for the rest of your life.” Montgomery’s experiences reflect a suc cessful political career, but most importantly, his experiences reflect what every Teke should strive to learn from. His actions show inspiration; his words give Tekes direction, “In the end, hard work always pays off.”

Frater Montgomery shares a lively moment with President Bush aboard Air Force One in 2002. WINTER 2013 q THE TEKE 7

THE TEKE Winter 2012  

The Magazine of Winter 2012

THE TEKE Winter 2012  

The Magazine of Winter 2012