Class Notes: Spring 2021


Ralph BrennanRalph Brennan (A&S ’73, MBA ’75) has been elected the 21st chairman of the board of the Culinary Institute of America. Brennan is owner and operator of the Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group, which includes Red Fish Grill, Ralph’s on the Park, Café NOMA, Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen and Jazz Kitchen Express, Ralp Brennan’s Catering & Events, and Napoleon House. In partnership with Terry White, he owns Brennan’s on Royal Street, which will celebrate its 75th anniversary in 2021. Brennan also owned and operated the DiRoNa Award-winning BACCO restaurant for 20 years. Brennan has a long history of service in the hospitality industry. He served as chairman and president of the National Restaurant Association and the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation and presided over both the Louisiana Restaurant Association and the New Orleans Restaurant Association. Founded in 1946, the Culinary Institute of America is the world’s premier culinary college. The CIA Board of Trustees consists of 25 highly respected leaders in the foodservice industry and business world who provide expert governance and guidance for the not-for-profit college.

Doug Hertz (A&S ’74, MBA ’76) was named to Atlanta’s Magazine’s Atlanta 500, which highlights the 500 most influential people in Atlanta. Hertz is president and CEO of United Distributors, the family-owned beverage distribution business he grew into one of Atlanta’s top 25 private companies. Hertz sits on the boards of the Marcus Foundation, Atlantic Capital Bank, Georgia Research Alliance and the Westminster Schools and serves on the board and executive committee of Tulane University. He’s also chairman of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and a minority owner of the Atlanta Falcons. A native of Atlanta, Hertz began his career with KPMG in New Orleans, working in the accounting and consulting services area.

Javier Castillo (MBA ’77) recently retired from Lawrence Behr Associates, ending a 35-year career leading sales efforts at the firm, which serves technical infrastructure needs related to the broadcast, wireless, electromagnetic compatibility and safet sectors worldwide. A native of Nicaragua, Castillo joined LBA in 1985 and served as the company’s Latin America broadcast sales manager for many years.


Tim FultonTim Fulton (MBA ’81) recently published his third book, The Meeting. The book is based on Fulton’s 16 years as a Vistage group chair and facilitating over 600 peer-group meetings. Fulton is a nationally recognized small business expert. He publishes an award-winning newsletter, hosts a monthly podcast and leads one of the largest conferences for small business owners in Atlanta.

Ben Joel (MBA ’81), managing director of RBC Wealth Management in Atlanta, was ranked 40th on the Forbes 2021 list of Best in-State Wealth Advisors in Georgia.

Mark S. Lewis (MBA ’81) is the author of Give a Damn: The Ticket to Cultural Change, a new book that combines contemporary moral philosophy with practical initiatives individuals can implement to achieve greater success, happiness and clarity, both personally and professionally. Lewis is president of Communique LLC, an entrepreneurial business coaching firm based in New Orleans. In addition, he moderates five Louisiana CEO round tables, serves as volunteer membership director for the Louisiana chapter of Entrepreneurs’ Organization and serves as project coordinator for the Louisiana IT Symposium. Lewis also owns a fiberglass manufacturing company.

Richard M. Lerner (A&S ’81, MBA ’83) donated $5 million to Tulane Universityto establish a Presidential Chair devoted to increasing the world’s scientificunderstanding of aging and longevity. TheLawrence E. Lerner Presidential Chair Endowed Fund, named after Lerner’s father, who died in 2019, will supporta professor in an interdisciplinary area of academic study, with the initial chairholder to be a scholar whose research focuses on gerontology or related disciplines. Now retired, Lerner was chairman and chief executive officer of Annapolis Bancorp Inc. and its subsidiary, BankAnnapolis, and also chairman of the Maryland Region of First National Bank of

Michelle DienerMichelle Diener (BSM ’84) has been appointed to a three-year term on the Board of Tulane, the main governing body of Tulane University. Diener serves as treasurer of both the Miami Children’s Museum and the Greater Miami Jewish Federation and is on the board for other Jewish educational and social charities. She previously served as CFO of Hotel Reservations, the predecessor to At Tulane, Diener is chair of the President’s Council, a member of the Parents Council and co-chair of Tulane’s National Campaign Council for South Florida. The Dieners also recently funded the Diener Family Endowed Fund for
Student Success in support of the Academic Success Center at Tulane.

Jay BrinkmannJay Brinkmann (MBA ’85) has joined the advisory board of Radius Financial Group, a leading, private, full-service mortgage lender and insurance agency. Through 2017, Brinkmann served as a U.S. representative on the executive committee of the International Union of Housing Finance, and he currently leads the real estate finance and financial advisory consulting practice for BrinkEcon. His previous roles include serving as chief economist and senior vice president for research and education for the Mortgage Bankers Association, serving as senior financial economist and portfolio strategist at Fannie Mae, and serving as an assistant professor of finance at the University of Houston.

Pat Giroir (MBA ’86) recently joined the board and became interim CEO of Southcross Energy Partners. He was most recently a senior partner at Mill Rock Capital Management. Prior to that, he founded HC Midstream and worked with PE firms focused on investing in ArkLaTex midstream assets. He also held senior positions with Continuum Energy, Boardwalk Pipeline Partners and Eagle Rock Energy Partners. Giroir also served as CCO at Regency Energy Partners and earlier in his career held leadership positions with CenterPoint Energy, El Paso Corp. and Tenneco. He started his career with Deloitte.

Mark LivingstonMark Livingston (BSM ’87) has been promoted to chief financial officer of Progyny, a leading benefits management company specializing in fertility and family building benefit solutions. He previously served as the company’s executive vice president of finance. Livingston joined Progyny in 2019, bringing to the company more than 30 years’ experience in accounting, public company reporting and financial planning and analysis at leading healthcare, technology and media companies. He previously served as CFO of the international business at Scripps Network Interactive and as CFO at Emerson, Reid & Co., an employee benefits wholesaler. He also held senior financial leadership roles at WebMD and Hess Corp.


Vinay PiparsaniaVinay K. Piparsania (MBA ’90) has been named to the advisory board of CamCom, a Bangalore-based AI-powered inspection solutions company. Piparsania is chief endowment officer of IIT Delhi and a global automotive industry consultant, with over 30 years of operational experience in senior leadership positions in India, Asia Pacific and the Middle East. Associated with Ford Motor Co. for nearly 20 years, Piparsania has held progressive international marketing, sales and service responsibilities at Ford India and Ford Global Business Services (GBS), planning, developing and launching several new auto models.

Dr. Regina Benjamin (MBA ’91) was recently appointed to the boards of two companies: HealthQuest Capital, a growth capital firm investing in commercial- stage healthcare companies, and PDI, an infection prevention products and solutions company. Benjamin served as the 18th U.S. Surgeon General from 2009 to 2013. She was also chair of the National Prevention Council, composed of 17 cabinet-level heads of federal agencies that released the first-ever National Prevention Strategy, whose goal was to change our healthcare system from one based on sickness and disease to one of wellness and prevention. She is the founder and CEO of BayouClinic in Bayou La Batre, Alabama.

Manuel Gómez-Uriarte (MBA ’91) has been named managing partner of the Mexico City office of Signium, a leading executive search and leadership consulting firm, where he will be responsible for the firm’s growth and positioning in Mexico. Prior to joining Signium, Gómez-Uriarte was partner in charge of Heidrick & Struggles’ Financial Services practice in Mexico as well as serving Infrastructure and Real Estate Industries. From 2011 to 2013, he served as CEO and chairman of the board of directors of the Royal Bank of Scotland Mexico S.A. His responsibilities included leadership, management and direction of RBSM. From 1999 to 2013 Gómez-Uriarte acted as RBSM’s head of Corporate Banking, where his responsibilities included the origination and execution of corporate and investment banking.

Eric SeegerEric A. Seeger (A&S ’89, MBA ’91) has joined Jones, Skelton & Hochuli as the firm’s chief of staff. Seeger brings 22 years of experience working with law firms and lawyers to identify strategic opportunities and improve client service and performance. Before joining JSH, Seeger was a principal with legal consultancy Altman Weil, where he worked with hundreds of law firms throughout the U.S. and Canada on strategic planning, growth, operations management, practice/trial group leadership, C-level recruiting, succession planning, and market research and analysis. His in-house experience includes serving as chief operating officer of a regional law firm and as strategy officer for an Am Law 200 firm.

Kate Saltonstall (MBA ’93) has re-joined boutique wealth advisory firm Sandy Cove Advisors as chief investment officer. Saltonstall brings 26 years of investment experience to the firm. For the last nine years, she has focused on wealth management, serving families and individuals at Sandy Cove Advisors, Brown Advisory and her own extended family. For the first 16 years of her career she honed her skills as a portfolio manager and/or equity analyst at BlackRock, Boston Partners and Morgan Stanley among other investment firms.

Adam HersheyAdam Hershey (BSM ’94) has been appointed to the board of directors of General Cannabis Corp. Hershey is the founder, managing partner and portfolio manager of Hershey Strategic Capital, an opportunistic alternative asset manager focused on active investing in small-cap public companies. He is also the founder and managing member of several investment partnerships that focus on providing growth and expansion capital to entrepreneurs and executives to build businesses and ultimately achieve successful liquidity events. From 2007 to 2016, Hershey was a partner and chief investment officer at SIAR Capital, a single family office specializing in undervalued and emerging growth companies based in New York City. Hershey was also a director of United Energy Corp. from 2008 until 2018.

Dan EngelDan Engel (BSM ’98) is founder and managing partner of Santa Barbara Venture Partners, a technology investment fund he launched in 2020 that helps its portfolio companies with customer acquisition and marketing. Engel has years of venture capital, angel investing and serial entrepreneurship experience and previously led customer acquisition at Google, GoToMeeting, Picasa and FastSpring. He attributes part of his success to lessons he learned in Sidney Pulitzer’s class on entrepreneurship at the Freeman School.

Phillip Klien (BSM ’99) has been named vice president of growth and marketing at PicPay, a fintech company that offers a digital wallet app enabling users to send and receive money, pay bills, store loyalty cards and collect discount coupons. In that role, he is responsible for consolidating the use of the portfolio among its 24 million customers. Previously, Klien served as chief growth officer at OLX Brazil, general manager of Uber in Brazil, and director of growth, Brazil, at Twitter.

Suzanne TillemanSuzanne Tilleman (MBA ’99) has been appointed dean of the University of Montana College of Business. She had served as interim dean of the college since May 2019. Tilleman is the first woman to serve as permanent dean of the college. She has been a faculty member teaching management at UM since 2010 and has= earned Outstanding Management Faculty honors multiple times. She served as management department chair from 2017 to 2019 before becoming interim dean. Prior to earning her PhD in strategy and entrepreneurship from the University of Oregon, Tilleman spent seven years working in industry and another four years teaching at Montana State University-Northern, where she discovered her love of teaching and developing students. Her industry experience includes working for some of the largest companies in the natural resources arena, including General Electric, Exxon and Monsanto.


Robert J. McNally (MBA ’00) has been appointed to the board of Summit Midstream Partners. McNally brings a wealth of executive management, operational and financial experience in the oil and gas industry to the board. From 2018 through 2019, McNally served as president and CEO of EQT Corp., an independent natural gas producer with operations in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio. Prior to that, McNally served as senior vice president and CFO of the company. From 2010 until 2016, McNally served as executive vice president and CFO of Precision Drilling Corp., a drilling contractor with operations primarily in the United States, Canada and the Middle East. From 2009 to 2010 and for a period in 2007, McNally served as an investment principal for Kenda Capital. In 2008, McNally served as chief executive officer of Dalbo Holdings. In 2006, McNally served as executive vice president of operations and finance for Warrior Energy Services Corp. From 2000 to 2005, McNally worked in corporate finance with Simmons & Co. International. McNally began his career as an engineer with Schlumberger Ltd. and served in various capacities of increasing responsibility during his tenure from 1994 until 2000.

Bryan FullerBryan Fuller (MBA ’01) has been named executive director of CAPS Research, the Institute for Supply Management’s exclusive industry partner. Fuller joins CAPS from Mastercard International, where he served as chief procurement officer and executive vice president of supply chain and corporate services. Prior to joining Mastercard, Fuller held leadership positions in supply chain management with Monsanto Co., Whirlpool Corp. and Temple-Inland, which received the Institute for Supply Management’s Excellence in Innovative Supply Management Award in 2008.

Andreea Voinea (MBA ’01) spoke as part of an all-star employer branding panel at Business Review’s Working Romania HR Conference in March 2021. Voinea is HR executive director at Banca Comercială Română (BCR) in Bucharest. In that role, she was responsible for BCR’s HR integration into Erste Group and for driving the HR strategy of the company, the largest financial group in Romania.

Alex Hernandez (TC ’98, MBA ’03) and his wife, Megan, recently donated $100,000 to Tulane’s School of Professional Advancement to establish the Fund for Military Students, a new fund that will provide specialized advising for veterans, a student organization for military students and other services designed to aid military students throughout the university. Hernandez is managing partner of Carbon Solutions USA and CEO of Hernandez Consulting.

David PrestonDavid Preston (MBA ’03) has been named head of structured credit research at AGL Credit Management, a registered investment adviser specializing in solutions based on bank loans. Previously, Preston was the head of Asset Backed Securities & Collateralized Loan Obligations research at Wells Fargo Securities, leading a client-facing research group covering CLOs, Middle Market CLOs and ABS. He joined Wachovia Securities in 2005 and stayed on when Wells Fargo acquired Wachovia in 2008. Prior to 2005 Preston worked at Raymond James, and from 1996 to 2001 Preston served in the U.S. Army, rising to the rank of captain.

Conrado Briceño (MBA ’04) has been named operating partner and CEO of IMF Education Group in Madrid, Spain. Briceño brings more than 25 years of international executive experience to IMF, mainly in education and financial services. Prior to joining IMF, Briceño served in a variety of roles with Laureate International Universities, including CEO of Laureate Spain and president of Universidad Europea, CFO for the European Region, COO for the Andean Region in Latin America, and COO and CFO for Chile.

Jacky Wu (MBA ’05) has been promoted to CFO and treasurer of Colony Capital, a global investment firm with a focus on serving mobile communications and data-driven companies. He previously served as the company’s executive vice president of finance. Prior to joining Colony in March 2020, Wu served as executive vice president and CFO of Driven Brands and executive vice president and CFO of Xura. From 2010 to 2015, Wu was a vice president at American Tower Corp., serving as vice president of finance and mergers & acquisitions and vice president of financial planning and analysis at US Tower. Prior to that, Wu spent eight years at Verizon Communications.

Shelly CayetteShelly Cayette (BSM ’06) was highlighted by Smart Business Magazine as one of its 2020 Progressive Woman Honorees. Cayette is senior vice president of Global Corporate Partnerships with the Cleveland Cavaliers, where her responsibilities include leading key personnel to drive brand campaigns and platforms for clients, cultivate new business partnerships for the organization, and retain and grow current partner brand strategies and revenue. She previously served as vice president of Partnership Marketing & Strategy with the Cavaliers, and prior to that served as a director with the New Orleans Hornets, where she oversaw all of the organization’s community outreach initiatives, including corporate partnership programs, team marketing initiatives and sponsorship sales. She is a member of Women in Sports and Events and Black Sports Professionals and active in initiatives that focus on the economic growth of the Greater Cleveland area.

Robert Grissom (BSM/MACCT ’08) has been appointed finance director of the Region 4 School District in Connecticut, which serves the communities of Chester, Deep River and Essex. Prior to his appointment, Grissom served as manager, Financial Planning & Analysis, for Pratt Whitney.

Thomas West (BSM ’09), founder and president of August Property Co., a real estate investment firm, recently purchased a vacant Waffle House in Fort Worth, Texas, and successfully leased it to a Shipley’s Donuts franchisee. This continues August’s strategy of acquiring under-utilized real estate and bringing new life to shopping centers.


Dr. Marc J. Kahn (MBA ’10) was recently appointed vice president for health affairs at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Dr. Kahn was appointed dean of the School of Medicine in April 2020. He currently holds both roles.

Cole Young (MFIN ’10) has been appointed president, North American Rental Division, at Empire Communities, a residential homebuilder involved in all sectors of the new home building industry, including both low‐rise and high‐rise built forms. Young previously served as vice president, Investment Banking, at Builder Advisor Group, an investment bank focused on homebuilders and developers, where he led mergers and acquisitions and capital raises. Young also served as an investment banking associate at Cain Brothers & Co. Prior to that, Young worked for J.P. Morgan and other banking institutions, where he advised on transactions with an aggregate deal value in excess of $4 billion.

Codelia HeaneyCordelia Heaney (MBA ’11) has been named executive director of Market Umbrella, the nonprofit that operates the Crescent City Farmers Markets in New Orleans. Heaney previously served as executive director of the Compass Center for Women and Families in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, a nonprofit that addresses economic justice and gender equity issues. Prior to that she served as executive director of the state of Louisiana’s Office on Women’s Policy, focusing on health, domestic violence, economics and education.

Arturo Murguia (MGM ’11) was appointed chief information officer/ chief business technologist for Corporate Services at Santander Mexico. Murguia is in charge of defining the information technology strategy supporting business goals while executing the programs and projects of the largest functional areas of Santander Mexico.

Adam Griego (BSM ’14, MBA ’18) was recently promoted to project manage at Lucid. Griego has been with the firm since June 2019.

Jordy JosephJordy Joseph (BSM ’15, MMG ’16, PA ’18) has joined the University of Southern Mississippi football team as running backs coach. Before joining the Golden Eagles, Joseph completed his fifth season as a member of the Tulane football staff and his ninth with the program in 2020. He served as an offensive analyst for the team, assisting with the offensive game plan and the team’s practice installation. Prior to joining the coaching staff, Joseph was a two-year letterman as a quarterback for Tulane from 2011-15.

Melissa DaigrepontMelissa Daigrepont (MBA ’16) has been named of counsel at the Valor Firm, a law firm exclusively representing military veterans and surviving spouses whose claims for disability benefits have been denied by the VA. Daigrepont is a licensed attorney, an Iraq War veteran and deployed in support of the war in Afghanistan. She served as a U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General (JAG) from 2002 to 2012. Following her time in the Navy, she worked for the Louisiana District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration in public information, economic development and international trade. She later worked as a business banker with Capital One’s Greater New Orleans team, where she led the company’s Salute Military Network for Louisiana.

Grant Paranjape (MBA ’16) has joined Shenandoah University’s School of Business as an adjunct professor. In that role, he’ll be teaching an upper-level esports consumerism class as part of the undergraduate and MBA esports programs. Paranjape is vice president of Esports Business for the Washington Justice, a professional Overwatch esports team based in Washington, D.C. In his role with the Justice, Paranjape leads all business and team operations for the franchise and works to expand the organization’s fanbase across the Washington, D.C., Virginia and Maryland areas. An avid gamer, Paranjape leveraged his love for video games into a career while earning his MBA at the Freeman School. Paranjape was able to use his firsthand experience and expertise to consult and advise across multiple esports organizations, including leading esports operations for Monumental Sports & Entertainment, before ultimately being selected to run operations for the Justice. The team is currently playing in its second season in the Overwatch League and has hosted two sold-out homestands at the Anthem, located on the waterfront in D.C.

Mahesh RajanMahesh Rajan (MBA ’16) recently completed his first book, Illusions of Control, a collection of speculative fiction stories published by Notion Press. The book is available on Amazon. Rajan is director of strategy at Vertace Technologies, a software company in Chennai, India, and he does independent consulting for a number of clients. He also works part time as a fashion photographer.

Jamie Johns (MBA ’17, MFIN ’18) is CFO of JM LP, a privately owned group of six companies — finance, investment and home services. Under Johns’ leadership, the group has achieved record growth and expansion.

Rachel Lynn Kushnick (BSM ’17) and Joshua Morris Milstein were married in September 2020 at Fairview Farms at Mecox in Bridgehampton, New York. Kushnick is an assistant buyer at Shopbop, a fashion and e-commerce website owned by Amazon.

Emma Kistler (BSM ’18) was featured as one of Real Estate Weekly’s 2020 Rising Stars. Kistler is an associate at Newmark in New York City, where she provides strategic real estate advisory services to both owners and tenants throughout the city. She recently partnered with King Street Properties to lease up its Innolabs property and is part of a team at the forefront of the burgeoning life science cluster in New York City. She has also provided services for GFP Real Estate in leasing efforts at 515 Madison on the corner of 53rd and Madison Avenue.

Lydia Winkler (MBA/JD ’19) was featured as one of Business Insider’s “30 Rising Stars of Real Estate for 2020.” The list highlights commercial and residential real estate professionals under the age of 35 who stand out as the vanguard of the next generation in real estate. Winkler is co-founder of RentCheck, a software platform that brings transparency to security-deposit deductions and helps property managers save time with easy, self-guided inspections that anyone can do from their smartphones. Winkler is also the founder of REEP Now (Relief Effort for Earning Parole), a nonprofit that provides parole advocacy and support to people eligible for parole in Louisiana. She was included in Gambit’s 2019 40 Under 40 and Biz New Orleans’ 2019
New and Notables, and she participated in Techstars Atlanta 2019.


Kendall GardnerKendall Gardner (BSM ’20, SLA ’20) was the winner of a George C. Marshall Scholarship, becoming the second Tulanian in as many years to be honored with the prestigious award, considered to be one of the country’s most selective scholarships. Marshall Scholarships — of which only 40 or fewer are awarded annually — finance young Americans of high ability to study for a graduate degree in the United Kingdom. Gardner will use her scholarship to pursue master’s degrees in political theory and international social and public policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Gardner, an Altman Scholar, graduated from Tulane summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa and with departmental honors in political science. Her honors thesis was entitled “The Forever War: An Analytical Critique of U.S. Policy in Afghanistan.”

Caitlyn Krug (MBA ’20) is owner and distiller of Ebra Gin, a new Spanishinspired artisanal gin produced in California. Krug launched Ebra, a grapebased spirit with floral and citrus notes enhanced by Spanish-inspired botanicals, in the fall of 2020 with a limited run of 300 bottles and produced a second run in January 2021. She hopes to produce more later this year as the hospitality industry continues to recover from the pandemic. Ebra is available online at

Wenchao Shi (MME ’20) has been appointed managing director of LOC China, a unit of international engineering and marine consulting firm LOC Group. In that role, Shi will be based in Shanghai and will oversee the group’s Chinese operations, which include offices in Shanghai and Tianjin.

Tom StuartThomas Stuart (G ’02, MBA ’20) has been appointed director with the Beacon Group, joining the firm’s Healthcare & Life Sciences practice. Stuart most recently served as chief information officer at PatentDive, where he managed strategic planning and developed go-to-market strategies along with co-chairing a business development committee responsible for strategic planning, marketing and sales. Stuart has had a long career as a scientific consultant and advisor for intellectual property law firms, conducting patent due diligence and infringement analysis for pharmaceutical products, medical devices and scientific equipment.

James E. “Jay” Huffstatler Jr. (MBA ’22) has been named advocacy director for the New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity. Huffstatler has 20 years of experience in community development and leadership in New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast. He was a senior development officer at Tulane University School of Law and previously served as the regional director of development for the American Red Cross in Louisiana and Mississippi. He also served as chief of staff and government claims leader for BP’s Gulf Coast Restoration Organization with James Lee Witt Associates.

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