Member Bios - Part II
Our Hall of Fame members have extensive and diverse backgrounds in industry, interests, and areas of study. They have been brought together by their shared passion for The W. A. Franke College of Business and its dedication to business students. To read a biography on any of our members, please click on their name below.
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Note: FCB alumni honored by the NAU Alumni Office 1996-2001 were inducted into the 2003 Hall of Fame.
If you would like more information on the FCB Alumni & Faculty Hall of Fame, please contact Connie Ott at (928) 523-0538 or Connie.Ott@nau.edu.
Bruce Leadbetter (1958–1960), 2003
Bruce Leadbetter, 1958–1960 at NAU. Mr. Leadbetter is the CEO of Sponsor Investments, LLC (Dallas, Texas). He is a partner of The Beta Capital Group, LLC and was CEO of Dalfort Aviation (Dallas, Texas). Mr. Leadbetter currently serves on the boards of Adam Aircraft, iSecuretrac, and North American Technologies Group. He has previously served on the boards of The Post Company as director and CEO; Levitz Furniture Company as director; Braniff II as director and chairman of the executive committee; and the Astraea Companies as director and CEO. 1996 FCB Centennial Alumni; 2003 FCB Alumni & Faculty Hall of Fame.
Mark Malinski ('77) 2003
Mark Malinski, 1977 B.S. in accounting and data processing management. In addition to his degree from NAU, Mr. Malinski graduated from Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program in June of 1996. He is currently a co-founder and executive vice president & CFO of PetroEdge Resources, LLC, an independent oil and gas company in Houston, Texas. Mr. Malinski began his career with Pennzoil Co. as an EDP auditor. He later became corporate secretary and finally group vice president-accounting. 1996 FCB Centennial Alumni; 2003 FCB Alumni & Faculty Hall of Fame.
Vince McKee ('79) 2003
Vince McKee, 1979 B.S.B.A. in management and marketing. He is currently the president and CEO of Pinal County Federal Credit Union in Casa Grande, Arizona. While at NAU, Mr. McKee was a member of the Quarterback Club, the FCB Community Advisory Board, and the Skyjacks. He was with Arizona State Savings and Credit Union (Flagstaff, Arizona) for twenty-four years, most recently as the vice president and northern regional manager. 1999 FCB Centennial Alumni; 2003 FCB Alumni & Faculty Hall of Fame.
Brad Meuli ('79) 2003
Brad Meuli, 1979 B.S.B.A. in marketing. Mr. Meuli was named president/CEO of the Denver Rescue Mission in January 2001. He joined the Mission after an extensive career in banking, and having served as chairman of the mission’s board of directors. Mr. Meuli has served as president of the board of trustees of the Bonfils Blood Center, is an alumnus of Leadership Denver, has his M.A. in Leadership from Denver Seminary and an honorary doctorate from Colorado Christian University. 2001 NAU Alumni Honoree; 2003 FCB Alumni & Faculty Hall of Fame.
Tom Modisette ('70) 2003
Tom Modisette, 1970 B.S. in finance. In 1980, Mr. Modisette formed the RAM Group, a management services company to the food services industry, and served as president and CEO until 1986. During that time, he acquired a 50% interest in Royal Pacific Foods and sold that in 2003. He formed The Value Group in 1997 and sold that in 1999. In 1998, he sold Honey Hill Farms frozen yogurt to Cool Brands International. In 2000, he entered into a joint venture with Caffe D’Amore to market his brand of fruit teas under the Botanica Foods brand. In 2002, he founded the Greater Pacific Food Holdings, which bought MacFarms of Hawaii and Kapua Ranch (2003); Jeremiah’s Fine Foods (2004); and Buderim Ginger American (2005). Also in 2003, Modisette formed Pan Pacific Foods. His latest venture, in 2005, was to invest in Australian Fund Raising, a leading provider of product to the school fund raising industry in Australia. 2003 FCB Alumni & Faculty Hall of Fame.
Bob Montoya ('72) 2006
Bob Montoya, 1972 B.S.B.A. in management. Mr. Montoya is a third generation resident of Flagstaff. While attending NAU, in 1968 he founded Bob’s Shamrock, U-Haul Moving Center & Goodyear Tire Store. In 1970, Bob founded Sun Mountain Real Estate and Development which he has turned into a successful real estate/development/consulting firm. He, along with various business partners, has developed many of the beautiful buildings in downtown Flagstaff. Mr. Montoya serves on the Arizona Department of Transportation Board, Flagstaff Medical Center Board as past chair, and is currently the chair of Northern Arizona Health Care System. 2006 FCB Alumni & Faculty Hall of Fame.
Don Murray ('61) 2003
Don Murray, 1961 B.S. in business economics. In addition to his bachelor’s degree from NAU, he holds an MBA from St. Mary’s College (Moraga, California). Prior to Mr. Murray’s retirement, he was the group vice president after serving as vice president – International for the Clorox Company (Oakland, California) with responsibility for more than half of the Company’s sales and profits for the last 11 years of his career. He is past president of the NAU Foundation Board. Mr. Murray was conferred the Doctor of Humane Letters by NAU in 2004. 1996 FCB Centennial Alumni; 2003 FCB Alumni & Faculty Hall of Fame.
Julie Nackard ('78) 2003
Julie Nackard, 1978 B.S. in marketing. Ms. Nackard is the executive vice-president for the Nackard Companies (Flagstaff, Arizona), which include Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company, Nackard Beverage, Hi-Line Vending, and Jewel Trucking. While maintaining multi-faceted executive responsibilities, she has provided leadership to a myriad of community organizations including the American Cancer Society, the Flagstaff Main Street Foundation, Make-a-Wish Oktoberfest, St. Mary’s Parent/Teacher organization, and the Flagstaff Alpine Ski Team. Ms. Nackard is an NAU Foundation Board member as well as a FCB Community Advisory Board member. 1997 FCB Centennial Alumni; 2003 FCB Alumni & Faculty Hall of Fame.
R. Keith Newlon ('79) 2010
R. Keith Newlon, 1979 B.S.B.A. in finance and economics. Mr. Newlon is the president of Pioneer Title Holding Company which owns Pioneer Title Agency and Yavapai Title Agency. Pioneer Title has thirty-nine offices and Yavapai Title has nine offices throughout Arizona.
Mr. Newlon has served in many community and professional organizations including La Salida Del Sol Lions Club, Sierra Vista Chapter Ducks Unlimited, Sierra Vista Little League, Land Title Association of Arizona, Sierra Vista Area Chamber of Commerce, Sierra Vista Association of Realtors, Friends of the San Pedro River, University Foundation of Sierra Vista, Huachucans, and the Boy Scouts of America. He is currently vice president of Sierra Vista Economic Development Foundation and commissioner of Housing Authority of Cochise County. Mr. Newlon received an Appreciation Award in 2004 from the Sierra Vista Economic Development Foundation and the Large Business of the Year Award from the Sierra Vista Area Chamber of Commerce in 2006. 2010 FCB Alumni & Faculty Hall of Fame Inductees
Gregory Norwood ('79) 2004
Gregory Norwood, 1979 B.S. in accountancy. Mr. Norwood is the deposit risk executive for Ally Bank (formerly GMAC) responsible for the risk management systems for Ally’s on-line banking products. Previously, Mr. Norwood was treasurer of Wachovia Corporation responsible for funding, liquidity, analytics, and balance management, including pricing, structuring and investment portfolio. Mr. Norwood joined Wachovia in June, 2005 and held various positions in the Treasury Group. Prior to that, Mr. Norwood was the corporate controller of Bank of America (Charlotte) from 2001–2005. Mr. Norwood was a partner in the Charlotte office of KPMG, LLP. He served as the relationship partner for First Union Corporation for three years, joining in July 1993, and supported their Capital Markets Group and M&A Strategy. Prior to transferring to Charlotte in 1993, Mr. Norwood was a partner in KPMG’s Executive Office. He began his career with KPMG in 1980 in the Houston office where he served a variety of financial services companies. In addition, Mr. Norwood served a two-year appointment as a Professional Accounting Fellow in the Office of the Chief Accountant of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. Mr. Norwood also served as an accounting policy advisor to Fannie Mae (Washington, D.C.) surrounding a wide range of hedging, off balance sheet treatment and investment accounting issues. Mr. Norwood received the FCB Outstanding Senior Award in 1980 and the Beta Alpha Psi Outstanding Alumnus Award in 1994. 2004 FCB Alumni & Faculty Hall of Fame.
J. Duross O’Bryan ('78) 2003
J. Duross O’Bryan, 1978 B.S. in accountancy. Mr. O’Bryan is a managing director of AlixPartners, LLP (Los Angeles, California). Previously with PricewaterhouseCoopers, he was the partner-in-charge of the dispute analysis & investigations practice of the western U.S. region, partner-in-charge of the New York Metro practice, and an audit partner of the Los Angeles office. Mr. O’Bryan has provided numerous services to the accounting area of NAU-FCB, including recruiting and speaking with student accounting societies. 1996 FCB Centennial Alumni; 2003 FCB Alumni & Faculty Hall of Fame.
Dr. Jon Ozmun, 2012
Jon Ozmun, PhD, came to NAU in 1974 as an assistant professor of economics. He was promoted to associate professor in 1978 and to full professor in 1982. He served as assistant dean for three years and served as interim dean from 1980–81. In his tenure at NAU he served on and chaired numerous committees for both the college and the university.
His most notable service was to the students as both a teacher and an advisor. He taught many economics and management courses and was respected for his knowledge; personal teaching style; and concern and encouragement of each individual student. He had a unique ability to pinpoint student problems and concerns; to anticipate questions; and to develop individualized academic and career plans for students. He routinely followed through with those students as they progressed through the business program. Dr. Ozmun once wrote an email to the faculty which included “… changing lives is the fulfillment of the opportunity that comes with the territory of our chosen profession – college education.” This quote epitomizes his service to the students, faculty, and staff of NAU.
2012 FCB Alumni & Faculty Hall of Fame
Tom Palmer, JD ('67) 2010
Tom Palmer, JD, 1967 BS in accountancy. Mr. Palmer grew up in Flagstaff and attended NAU where he graduated in 1967 with a BSBA in accountancy. He obtained his JD from Arizona State University in 1970 and practiced law in Mesa, AZ from 1970-1974. In 1974, he was hired as an assistant professor of business law for the College of Business at NAU, where he taught for 26 years with enthusiasm and integrity. Mr. Palmer retired as Professor of Law Emeritus in 2000. The extended Palmer family was recognized by NAU as winners of the Nth Degree Contest in 2008, with 47 family members having attended NAU. Since his retirement, he and his wife Gretna have spent several years overseas in India, Indonesia and the Caribbean as humanitarian volunteers and trainers through their church. Mr. Palmer recently returned home to Flagstaff and NAU where he is once again enlightening business students in the area of business law on a part-time basis. 2010 FCB Alumni & Faculty Hall of Fame.
Rick Rodriguez ('84) 2012
Rick Rodriguez, 1984 B.S. in accountancy
Vice President - Finance & Accounting
Sony Pictures Television International Production
Culver City, California
Mr. Rodriquez played four years of basketball at NAU. After graduating in 1984, he played one year of professional basketball in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico.
Mr. Rodriguez, a 27-year veteran of the entertainment industry, has held various finance and accounting positions for media giants MGM, Turner Entertainment Company, and Columbia Tristar Television. Currently he serves as vice president of Finance and Accounting for Sony Pictures Television International Production. With offices worldwide, Mr. Rodriguez travels extensively throughout the year.
He has shared his career experiences with NAU business students through on-campus lectures as well as participating in NAU's FCB Executive Job Shadow Program.
Mr. Rodriguez lives in Costa Mesa, California with his wife Melody and is the proud parent of twin daughters, Briana and Brittany.
2012 FCB Alumni & Faculty Hall of Fame.
Mike Santellanes ('60) 2003
Mike Santellanes, 1960 B.S. in accounting. Mr. Santellanes also attended the Thunderbird School of Global Management. He is retired as senior partner and chairman of Price Waterhouse Interamerica and is currently president of Compania Agropecuaria Las Brisas, S.A. in Costa Rica. Mr. Santellanes also served as a member of the Price Waterhouse World Firm General Council and the Price Waterhouse World Board. 1987 Alumni Achievement Award; 1990 The Jubilee Year Distinguished Alumnus Award; 1996 FCB Centennial Alumni; 2003 FCB Alumni & Faculty Hall of Fame.
Ronald Simonsgaard ('66) 2003
Ronald Simonsgaard, 1966 B.S. in marketing. While at NAU, Mr. Simonsgaard participated in many student activities, including Sophos, Pi Sigma Epsilon- Marketing, Sigma Pi, and Blue Key. He also represented married housing as a student senator. After graduating from NAU, he worked in sales for Xerox. Now, he is a retired senior vice president of Grubb & Ellis Co.1998 FCB Centennial Alumni; 2003 FCB Alumni & Faculty Hall of Fame.
Tony Skrelunas ('92) 2003
Tony Skrelunas, 1992 B.S.B.A. in management; 1994 M.B.A. Mr. Skrelunas directs a highly innovative program for the Grand Canyon Trust that assists Hopi and Navajo communities with focused sustainable economic development expertise. He is a partner in several companies including Southwest Tradition Log Homes and Keya, Inc. He is the former director of Navajo Nation Economic Development Division, helping secure Federal delegation of business site leasing authority, leading efforts to create business friendly legal changes ranging from delegation to Chapters allowing for Local Governance, privatizing several Tribal owned companies including the Shopping Centers and Navajo Times Newspapers, and institution of a sales tax at the local level. He served as the first president of the newly privatized Navajo Shopping Centers Corp., a $50 million asset management company. 1998 FCB Centennial Alumni; 2003 FCB Alumni & Faculty Hall of Fame.
Sherri Slayton ('85) 2007
Sherri Slayton, 1985 B.S. in finance. Ms. Slayton, a chartered financial analyst, is senior vice president and northern region manager for Alliance Bank of Arizona. In 2006 she organized the expansion of Alliance Bank into northern Arizona with its first offices in Sedona and Flagstaff. A veteran banker with more than 25 years of experience, Slayton oversees the day-to-day lending and operations for the bank in northern Arizona, including Flagstaff and Sedona. Ms. Slayton formerly served on the boards of directors for Flagstaff Medical Center and Northern Arizona Healthcare. She is a member of Flagstaff 40; on the advisory board for Sunshine Rescue Mission and Hope Cottage; and served on the Governor’s P-20 Council of Arizona. She remains actively involved with FCB serving on the Community Advisory Council. She previously served on the board for Junior Achievement of Northern Arizona. 2007 FCB Alumni & Faculty Hall of Fame.
Thomas P. Smith ('91) 2009
Thomas P. Smith, 1991 M.B.A., is chairman of the board and co-founder of TASER International, headquartered in Scottsdale. Smith served as the company president from April 1994 through October 2006. As the prime manager of domestic and international sales, he travels worldwide to conduct presentations for government officials and law enforcement agencies.
Along with his brother Rick, Smith was awarded the 2002 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award, awarded by CNN, AT&T, NASDAQ, and USA Today.
Prior to the founding of TASER, Smith held positions for Jostens Learning Corporation and Andersen Consulting in Phoenix. Smith holds a B.S. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the U of A. 2009 FCB Alumni & Faculty Hall of Fame.
Richard Stone ('77) 2007
Richard Stone, 1977 B.S. in accountancy. He completed Harvard Business School’s management development program in 1994. Mr. Stone is the president of the Sea Ray Group in Knoxville, Tennessee, where he oversees the management of the Sea Ray and Meridian marine brands. Sea Ray is the world’s largest manufacturer of superior quality pleasure boats, and Meridian is the consumer’s choice for premium bridge boats. He began his career with Arthur Andersen and Company in 1977 and joined Sea Ray in 1985. He has served on the board of directors of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra since 1986 and the board of directors for the Tennessee Theatre since 2007. 2007 FCB Alumni & Faculty Hall of Fame.
Renee Teran ('78) 2003
Renee Teran, 1978 B.S. in business administration and communications. Ms. Teran currently is the president of Polaris Business Solutions (San Diego, California). She was the principal of a San Diego based New York Life insurance practice (Lorena International) specializing in asset preservation of world wide, executive benefit planning and investment consultation to companies. In 1991 she received the NAU Alumni Achievement Award. 1998 FCB Centennial Alumni; 2003 FCB Alumni & Faculty Hall of Fame.
Jana Turner ('77) 2005
Jana Turner, 1977 B.S.B.A. in marketing. Ms. Turner is president of JT Solutions, a consulting firm assisting commercial real estate companies with organizational, operational, and marketing issues. She is also a principal and partner with Real Estate Talent Solutions, a staffing service offering the commercial real estate industry interim, permanent and executive position placements. Previously, she was president of the Asset Services division for Los Angeles-based CB Richard Ellis, the world’s largest commercial real estate services firm and a Fortune 500 company. Under her leadership, the division was responsible for managing approximately 650 million square feet of investment-owned real estate encompassing more than 700 clients, 3,000 properties, and 3,000 employees in every major market across the U.S. A 32-year industry veteran, Ms. Turner began her career with R&B Commercial Management in Los Angeles. She joined Koll Real Estate Services in 1990, which was purchased in 1997 by CB Commercial (later became the current CB Richard Ellis). She was named president of Asset Services in 1998. 2005 FCB Alumni & Faculty Hall of Fame
James Umland (1978–1980) 2003
James Umland, 1978–1980, later graduating from the University of Notre Dame with a B.S. in accounting. While attending NAU, Mr. Umland was a Phelps Dodge Scholar and president of Sophos. He is president of CEPS Resource Plastics (West Lebanon, New Hampshire). Previously, he was an investment banker and a founding partner of a Wall Street private equity firm and the director of acquisitions and strategic planning for Ferro Corporation, an international, Cleveland-based manufacturer of specialty chemicals. 1996 FCB Centennial Alumni; 2003 FCB Alumni & Faculty Hall of Fame.
Jim Upchurch ('80) 2009
Jim Upchurch, 1980 B.S.B.A. in accounting, is the president and chief executive officer of Caltius Capital Management, a Mezzanine and Private Equity firm headquartered in Los Angeles. Founded by Upchurch in 1997, Caltius Mezzanine has recently completed the closing of its fourth fund, Caltius Partners IV, LP, with $500 million of committed capital. He also manages Caltius Equity Partners, which closed its second fund, Caltius Equity Partners II, LP, in 2007 with capital commitments of over $133 million. Since Caltius’ inception, Upchurch has overseen the deployment of more than $500 million of capital in over fifty transactions. Prior to founding Caltius, he was the president of U.S. Bancorp Libra and its predecessor, Libra Investments. 2009 FCB Alumni & Faculty Hall of Fame.
Cheryl Wilson ('69) 2003
Cheryl Wilson, 1969 B.S. in accounting. Ms. Wilson, a CPA, earned her M.B.A. from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business. She began her career with Ernst & Young then moved to Coopers & Lybrand, now PricewaterhouseCoopers, where she became their third woman partner and served as a partner for 18 years. Prior to retiring, she was president of THEATREplex Entertainment Properties, Inc. Ms. Wilson is a past governing council member of the AICPA, a past chairperson of the Illinois CPA Society and recipient of their Lifetime Achievement Award in 2004. She is a past chairperson and a current member of the State of Illinois Board of Examiners. 2003 FCB Alumni & Faculty Hall of Fame.
Larry Wilson ('67) 2003
Larry Wilson, 1967 B.S. in accountancy. After NAU, Mr. Wilson earned a law degree from the University of Arizona. He was a CPA and a practicing lawyer before he made his way to radio. Prior to Mr. Wilson’s retirement, he was CEO of Citadel Communications Corporation, which was sold in 2001 to Forstman Little. 1997 FCB Centennial Alumni; 2003 FCB Alumni & Faculty Hall of Fame
Criteria fall into the following categories: professional achievements, community service, and loyalty and support to NAU-FCB. Nomination guidelines can be found HERE.