Alumni Bragging Rights: Free Home for a Veteran, VIP Woman of the Year, and More
It's no secret that alumni from the McCombs School of Business are an impressive group, with plenty of diverse achievements. This installment of our Bragging Rights series spotlights alumni who provided free housing for a veteran, placed top 20 in a film competition, showcased a mobile app, and more.
Free Home for a Veteran
Early last year, Elizabeth Phillips Horne, BBA '74, participated in the dedication of a house to wounded veteran U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Ray Coffey and his family. The new, mortgage-free home is located in Santa Rita Ranch, a community Horne developed with her husband, Ed, in Liberty Hill, Texas. "We are so very blessed to be able to do this, as we will always feel a tremendous debt to these heroes that give so much for our freedoms," she says.
Ed Horne's company, Wilshire Homes Inc., partnered with Henley Homes Inc. and Operation Finally Home, an organization that honors wounded, ill, and injured veterans and widows of fallen soldiers with new custom-built, mortgage-free homes. The University of Texas at Austin's mascot, Bevo, was present at the ceremony as well as Santa Rita Ranch mascot Happy the cow and the high school marching band from Liberty Hill.
Top 20 in Film Competition
"Two Roads," a film co-written and directed by Christine Chen, MBA '12, was among the 20 films that advanced to the Louisiana Film Prize competition. Though Chen's film didn't win the top prize in the final competition, she still appreciated the event. "The Louisiana Film Prize is an incredible experience and opportunity. This is one of the festivals that really caters towards and treats filmmakers like superstars," she told the Shreveport Times. "Having only 20 films versus the typical 300 festival films really ensures that all screenings are filled and that people recognize the filmmakers for their hard work and efforts."
Mobile App Success in San Francisco
In September, after winning an audience vote, Maria Luna, MBA '93, and her husband, Dr. Hector Rodriguez, presented their mobile app Bravo at a TechCrunch Disrupt event in San Francisco. The app aims to solve the problem of tipping service professionals — like valet drivers and hostesses — when customers may not have cash on hand. Bravo is available from both the Apple and Google Play stores.
In addition, Macworld named Bravo among the top 20 most fascinating iOS apps from TCDisrupt, and the Phoenix Business Journal recognized the app with its Arizona Top Tech Executive Award.
A 'Rising Star' in His Industry
Kevin McDonough, BBA '02, was named a "rising star" in Becker's ASC Review, a publication that features business and legal information for the health care industry. The article names ambulatory surgery center (facilities that provide same-day surgical care and other health care-related procedures) leaders under the age of 40 and praises them for their outstanding work.
McDonough was recognized for his efforts with VMG Health, a leader in financial valuation and advisory in the surgery center industry. He joined VMG Health in 2003 and now works as a managing director for the valuation department, providing financial and consulting expertise to various health care centers, including hospitals, physical therapy centers, and long-term health centers.
Day Spa Owner Named to 'Winning Women' Program
Ernst & Young selected Alissa Bayer, MBA '04, owner of milk + honey spas, as one of 12 business owners to join its Entrepreneurial Winning Women Program for 2015. The program's U.S. competition and executive leadership program "identifies a select group of high-potential women entrepreneurs whose businesses show real potential to scale — and then helps them do it," according to the EY website.
Since opening in 2006, the company has expanded to four locations in Austin, two of which are full spas and two that focus on hair and nails.
VIP Woman of the Year
In September, Col. Jeanne Arnold, MBA '14, was named a 2015-2016 VIP Woman of the Year by the National Association of Professional Women (NAPW), for "outstanding leadership and commitment within her profession," according to a press release. Arnold, a military veteran with over 30 years of service, was honored for her success in translating her military leadership experience to a corporate setting. "I'm pleased to recognize Jeanne with this important honor, "NAPW President Star Jones said in a press release. "Her perseverance, work ethic, and leadership qualities are an inspiration to all women."
Arnold has partnered with a fellow military associate to form Arnold & Schröder, LLC, a company that aims to bring innovative organizational training and education programs they discovered in the military to businesses across the world.