Class Notes: Fall 2022

Jay Bourgeois (A&S ’68, MBA ’70) recently completed his fifth book, The Tao of Strategy: How Seven Eastern Philosophies Help Solve Twenty-First-Century Business Challenges. The book is designed to help leaders solve workplace challenges through lessons from Eastern philosophies and takes examples from Asian, American and European executives. Bourgeois is a professor emeritus at the University of Virginia Darden Graduate School of Business and has worked in consulting for more than 100 groups across the globe. He and his wife Maggie (NC ’67) split their time between Charlottesville, Virginia, and New Orleans.

Wallace BostonWallace E. Boston (MBA ’78) was appointed to the American College of Financial Services board of trustees. Boston retired in 2019 after 15 years as CEO of American Public Education Inc. (APEI), a provider of higher education for military, public service and nursing communities. In 2020, he retired as president of American Public University Systems (APUS), an online university system. Under his leadership, APUS expanded to 85,000 students, 200 degree and certificate programs, and 100,000 alumni.

Maxine Buckles (MBA ’79) has been named Port Houston’s first chief business equity officer. In this newly created position, Buckles serves as a member of the executive leadership team to ensure that diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) are infused into the port culture. She also plays a pivotal role in creating a comprehensive strategy to launch, facilitate and implement DEI initiatives across the organization. Buckles is responsible for implementing and administering diversity, equity and training programs, including Port Houston’s new Minority and Woman-Owned Business Enterprise Development Program and its successful Small Business Development Program. Buckles previously served as Port Houston’s chief audit officer. She also previously held the position of Port Houston’s corporate controller.

Diana Garvis PurcelDiana Garvis Purcel (BSM ’88) has been appointed to the board of directors of PetMed Express Inc. She will serve as independent director and chair of the board’s audit committee. Purcel currently serves as chair of the audit committee for the Ocean Power Technologies Inc. board of directors and is chair of the finance committee for the board of the Animal Humane Society. She previously served as chief financial officer for iMedia Brands Inc., Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants LLC, Famous Hospitality Inc. and Paper Warehouse Inc.

George Herrera (BSM ’89) has been appointed executive vice president of donor services at MTF Biologics, a global nonprofit that advances the science of tissue transplantation by awarding grants that fund groundbreaking research. Herrera joined the organization in 1997 as a regional director of donor services. In his new role, Herrera oversees all public awareness initiatives related to tissue donation and provide strategic leadership and management to multiple MTF Biologics Divisions.

James T. “Jim” Rogers III (BSM ’89, L ’92) has been named to the executive committee of the law firm Adams and Reese. Rogers is a partner in the firm’s New Orleans and Houston offices, and his practice encompasses transactions and litigation arising out of the exploration, development, production, transportation, and regulation of oil and gas operations worldwide. He litigates matters ranging from personal injury and property damage claims to collisions, limitation of liability, reservoir and pipeline damage claims, contract disputes, and marine and energy insurance coverage issues.

Phil RubinPhil Rubin (MBA ’89) was named advisory board chair of in/PACT, a company that connects brands and consumers in a shared mission of charitable giving. Rubin recently founded Grey Space Matters, a growth and innovation firm, and he previously served as executive vice president of global insights and strategic partnerships for Bond Brand Loyalty.

Eric Brose (MBA ’91) has been named to the board of trustees of the Museum of Russian Icons. Brose is the chair of the finance committee for the town of Boylston, Massachusetts, chair of governance for Music Worcester, president and treasurer of the Brose Hie Hill Foundation, a board member for the Worcester World Affairs Council, and a Vestry Member and chair of the investment committee at All Saints Church in Worcester.

Jim BurkeJim Burke (BA/MBA ’91) has been named CEO of Vistra Corp., a Texas-based energy company. Burke served as Vistra’s chief operating officer from 2016 to 2020 and later as president and chief financial officer. From 2005 to 2016, he was CEO of Vistra subsidiary TXU Energy.

Michael Jones (BSM ’91) has been named chief financial officer of Sense Biodetection, a global molecular diagnostics company. Jones joins Sense from Cytek Biosciences, where he served as vice president of finance and led the company through a successful IPO in July 2021. Prior to that, he served in a number of roles at Varian Medical Systems, including senior vice president, financial planning and analysis, and chief financial officer of the Oncology Business Unit. Jones also served in senior financial roles with Hitachi Global Storage Technologies, Yahoo and Nortel Networks.

Eric SeegerEric Seeger (A&S ’89, MBA ’91) was named chief of staff of HunterMaclean, a Savannah, Georgia-based business law firm. Seeger previously served as chief of staff for a Phoenix-based law firm as well as chief operating officer at Barley Snyder, a regional law firm in Central Pennsylvania. He also served as principal at Altman Weil, a national strategy and management consulting firm for legal organizations.

Maria Rodriguez ShireyMaria Rodriguez Shirey (MBA ’91) has been named dean of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Nursing. Previously, Shirey served as UAB’s associate dean for clinical and global partnerships and inaugural holder of the UAB Jane H. Brock – Florence Nightingale Endowed Professorship in Nursing. She has been a tenured professor of nursing at the school since 2013.

Manuel Gómez Uriarte (MBA ’91) has been appointed as managing partner of the Mexico office at Talengo, a global executive search and leadership consulting firm. Gómez Uriarte has significant experience in financial services and an extensive track record in investment banking both in Mexico and in New York. He was previously vice president of JP Morgan in Mexico and CEO and chairman of the board of directors of The Royal Bank of Scotland. In his new role, Gómez Uriarte will direct the growth of the firm in Mexico.

Sarah Acton (BSM ’93) has been named chief marketing officer of, a leading provider of cloud-based software that simplifies, digitizes and automates back-office financial processes for small and midsized businesses. Acton brings a wealth of marketing experience to the company from building leading global brands across both business and consumer markets. She recently led both marketing and sales at Athos, a wearables company in the athletic performance space, where she drove the adoption of products across the major professional sports leagues and elite collegiate teams as well as key programs within the Department of Defense. She was also responsible for global brand oversight during pivotal periods of growth at LinkedIn and consumer marketing leadership at Yahoo! Prior to that, Acton was the owner of a small retail business where she had first-hand experience with the rewards and challenges that come with entrepreneurship.

Germaine GrossGermaine Gross (BSM ’94) has been named vice president for finance and chief financial officer at Grinnell College in Iowa. Gross previously served as chief business officer for Tulane University’s School of Liberal Arts.

Brett C. Moore (BSM ’97, MBA ’04) has joined UBS Wealth Management in Beverly Hills, California. Moore joins the firm with decades-long experience in portfolio management, private equity and private credit. He spent the past five years as a portfolio management director at Morgan Stanley, providing clients with wealth planning advice with an emphasis on risk mitigation. Before that, he ran a Santa Barbara-based Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) firm.

Brad Hill (BSM ’98) has been promoted to executive vice president, chief investment officer of Mid-America Apartment Communities (MAA), a publicly traded real estate investment trust based in Memphis, Tennessee, that invests in apartments in the southeastern and southwestern United States. Hill, who has been with MAA since 2010, will oversee all property investment activities of the company, including property acquisitions and dispositions, management of lease-up properties, and the company’s joint-venture pre-purchase program with thirdparty developers as well as its in-house development operations.

Will Loughran (MBA ’98) has been promoted to president of Evolution Hospitality, a premier lifestyle hotel and resort operator based in California. With over 25 years of global team leadership in hospitality management, Loughran brings diverse experience in corporate leadership to lifestyle and luxury hotels. Loughran began his career with Marriott International and held leadership roles at several management companies before joining Evolution Hospitality in 2015 as COO.

Christopher L. Braud (MBA ’99) has been promoted to senior vice president/New Orleans market president of Home Bank. Braud brings 23 years of commercial lending experience to the role, most recently serving as a senior commercial relationship manager at Home Bank. In his position he will lead the commercial team in the greater New Orleans market.

Jason Smith (MBA ’99), chief operating officer of QuarterNorth Energy, has been appointed to the board of directors of B-32 Exploration Ltd. Smith brings over 25 years of successful international oil and gas experience running both onshore and offshore businesses as well as significant M&A and commercial negotiation experience. He started his career in 1995 with Mobil and then Exxon Mobil in New Orleans, working the Gulf of Mexico in various operations engineering and reservoir engineering roles. Smith joined Murphy Oil in 2000 in corporate planning and spent the next 20 years in a variety of senior leadership roles overseeing operations in the United States, Canada, Malaysia and Ecuador. He also served as president of Murphy Oil Co. Ltd. in Canada.

Maria Cristina BitarMaria Cristina Bitar (MBA ’00) has been named nonexecutive director of Gold Fields, a South African gold mining firm. Bitar has spent 25 years in the fields of public affairs, crisis management, communications and sustainability and has over 12 years of experience on the boards of large companies across the globe.

Robert McNallyRobert McNally (MBA ’00) was appointed as an independent director to the board of directors of Perma-Pipe International Holdings Inc., a global piping services company. McNally also serves as independent director for Oasis Petroleum Inc. and Summit Midstream Partners LP. He previously served as president, CEO and board member for the gas producer EQT Corp. and as executive vice president and chief financial officer at Precision Drilling Corp.

Jonathan IsheeJonathan Ishee (BSM ’01, L ’05) has joined Troutman Pepper law firm as a partner. He will serve in the firm’s Health Sciences Transactional Department. Ishee previously practiced at the law firm McGuireWoods. He specializes in issues of healthcare and data privacy and also serves as an assistant professor of biomedical informatics at the University of Texas.

Ron Bucca (BSM ’02) has been promoted to CEO of Summit Drilling. Bucca previously served as president and COO of the company, an environmental and geotechnical drilling services provider. Bucca has nearly two decades of cross-functional leadership experience in both the private and public sectors. He currently serves in the U.S. Army National Guard and has multiple combat deployments to the Middle East and Africa.

Tiffany CepakTiffany (TJ) Thom Cepak (MBA ’02) has been appointed to the board of directors at EnLink Midstream LLC. Cepak served as chief financial officer of Energy XXI Gulf Coast Inc., an oil and natural gas development and production company, until its sale in October 2018. She also served as chief financial officer of KLR Energy Acquisition Corp. and EPL Oil & Gas Inc. She held a number of previous positions with EPL, including treasurer, director of investor relations and director of corporate reserves. She began her career as a senior reservoir engineer with Exxon Production Co. and Exxon Mobil Co. with operational roles, including reservoir and subsurface completion engineering. She currently serves on the board of directors of Ranger Oil Corp., Patterson-UTI Energy Inc., and California Resources Corp., where she serves as board chair, and she previously served as a director of Yates Petroleum Corp.

Patrick BoydPatrick Boyd (UC ’99, MBA ’03) has been named client systems architect at Cornerstone. IT, an information technology company. In that role, he will manage clients and serve as virtual chief information officer. Prior to joining Cornerstone.IT, Boyd spent 10 years as director of technology for the law firm Frankfurt, Kurnit, Klein & Selz.

Caroline Clapp (BSM ’03) has joined Marcus Partners as senior vice president and director of investor relations. Clapp comes to the Boston commercial real estate agency after 15 years in successively more responsible positions at AEW Capital Management. Most recently she was a vice president in investor relations, where she served as client portfolio manager for real estate investors and consultants. At Marcus Partners, Clapp will lead investor relations and will play a critical role in firm positioning, marketing and public relations.

Sarah Liebel (BSM ’04) has been appointed as a Class III director of Aterian Inc., a leading consumer product platform. Liebel currently serves as chief revenue officer of 1stDibs, an e-commerce company that sells luxury furniture, art and jewelry, and she previously held a number of roles during a five-year tenure with Groupon Inc.

Steve McGough (MBA ’04) has been named president and CEO of HCSS, a construction software company. McGough joined the company as COO in 2005 and was appointed president in 2015. He previously served as chairman of the American Road & Transportation Builders Association and currently is part of the group’s board of directors and executive committee. McGough is also the current chairman for the transportation research group TRIP and a member of The Beavers, a heavy engineering construction association.

Seda Erdem (MBA ’05) has been named HR assistant general manager at ATA Technology Platforms, a Turkish technology company. Erdem joined the company as a strategic planning manager and was named director of the presidential office in 2017. She previously served as a strategy and management consultant for companies including Ernst & Young, Peppers & Rogers and PwC.

Rommel OatesRommel M. Oates (MBA ’08, MFIN ’09) has been appointed to the board of directors of Summit Midstream GP LLC, a general partner of Summit Midstream Partners, a group that develops, owns and operates energy infrastructure. Oates is founder, chairman and CEO of Oates Energy Solutions LLC, a utility company that specializes in hydrogen energy and underground gas storage. He is also CEO of Refinery Calculator Inc., a refinery simulation tool, and serves on the board of the International Association of Hydrogen Energy.

Derek FossierDerek Fossier (SLA ’08, MBA ’09) has been named president of Equitas Capital Advisors, an independent investment firm located in New Orleans. Fossier joined Equitas in 2008, serving as an investment analyst, investment management consultant and chief compliance officer. In his new role, Fossier will manage vendors, employees and projects to serve clients in addition to continuing in his role as chief compliance officer.

Ryan GonzalezRyan B. Gonzales (BSM/MACCT ’09) has joined Baker Donelson, one of the largest law firms in the U.S., as an associate. Gonzales, who is based in the firm’s New Orleans office, specializes in mergers and acquisitions, as well as finance, tax, and corporate contracts and governance. He previously worked as a law clerk at the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance and also served as a senior tax associate for Ernst & Young in New York.

Andrea Poldoian (BSM ’09) was promoted to principal on the education team at the Vistria Group, a Chicagobased investment firm. Poldoian joined the company in 2021 after six years as a vice president at Winona Capital. In her new role, she leads deal evaluation, transaction execution and manages company portfolios including Edmentum, MSI Information Services, the University of Phoenix and Vanta Education.

Michelle DeleryMichelle Delery (MBA ’10) joined the Communications Week 2022 Advisory Board, which led the development of Ragan Communications’ 2022 Communications Week. Delery is director of communications at Entergy. As a member of the board, she discussed the future of the communications field amid an ongoing pandemic and created programming for Communications Week.

Will Mizell (BSM ’10) has joined Stone Pigman Law Firm as an associate in its New Orleans office. Mizell will practice in the litigation section. A native of the greater New Orleans area, Mizell earned his law degree from the Loyola University New Orleans College of Law.

Les Werme (MBA ’10) has joined Texas Capital Bank as senior vice president, corporate banking. Specializing in corporate banking for clients in the industrial, manufacturing and services industries, Werme brings more than 12 years of industry experience to the bank, which operates 10 offices in the Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, Houston and San Antonio regions.

Pedro Courard (MBA ’11) has been appointed managing director of Cermaq Chile, a globally leading salmon farming company. Courard has a background in engineering and more than 20 years’ experience in the fish farming industry. He previously served as production director at Cermaq.

Catherine Cusimano (BSM ’11, MMG ’13) has been promoted to principal at Bernhard Capital. In that role, she is involved in all areas of the firm’s investment activities and is active in the sourcing and execution of several of the firm’s proprietary opportunities. Prior to joining BCP, Cusimano was a vice president at HPS Investment Partners in New York. While at HPS, she was a member of the Energy & Power team, where she focused on investments ranging from senior debt to mezzanine, subordinated debt and preferred equity. Earlier in her career, Cusimano was an associate on the E&P Equity Research team at Capital One Securities Inc.

Ruth YomtoubianRuth Yomtoubian (MBA/MGM ’11) was selected to speak at TEDxBroadway, a gathering of speakers to discuss how Broadway can maximize its positive impact. Yomtoubian works for vision and eyewear company VSP Global and launched the company’s Global Innovation Center. She has previously worked as a global consultant to spur innovation opportunities for clients. Yomtoubian credits her success in part to her experience working with New Orleans businesses.

Benjamin De SeingaltBenjamin de Seingalt (JD/MBA ’20) has been named director of compliance and privacy at MarketVision Research, one of the nation’s largest market research firms. De Seingalt, a licensed attorney, brings a deep knowledge of compliance and legal issues to the position.

Samantha Davis-Allonce (MMG ’21) is the founder of Hot N Saucy, a line of vegetable-based hot sauces. The brand was recently featured on Season 14 of “First We Feast,” a show where celebrities eat increasingly spicy hot chicken wings. Davis-Allonce launched the brand in 2020 after working as a private chef for celebrities and athletes.

Jason EngelsonJason Engelson (MBA ’21) has joined Fort-Lauderdale-based investment advising firm Las Olas Capital Advisors as a portfolio strategist. Engelson’s previous experience as an investment analyst involved all phases of security analysis including analyzing historical and projected financials, building and maintaining financial models, valuation, and comparing companies’ due diligence.

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