Class Notes: Summer 2010

Class Notes

Odom Heebe Jr. (BBA ’60)
was elected vice chair of Communities in Schools of New Orleans, a local affiliate of the national organization focused on reducing dropout rates and improving graduation rates.

Ed Toscano (MBA ’70), a Republican, is seeking re-election to the District 3 seat on the Baxter County, Arkansas, Quorum Court in the May 18 primary. He was first elected in November 2004 and has held the office for two terms. Toscano has chaired the Budget Committee and presently chairs the Personnel Committee and is a member of the Rural Fire and Environmental committees. Toscano retired to Baxter County in 1998 after 32 years with Entergy Corp. where he held a variety of management positions including extensive service in the company’s economic and business development department. Before joining Entergy, he worked in the petroleum industry.

Ashton J. Ryan Jr. (MBA ’71) was installed as chairman of the board of directors of East Jefferson General Hospital in February 2010. Ryan is founder, president and CEO of First NBC Bank. He was previously president and CEO of FirsTrust Corp. and its subsidiary First Bank and Trust. Prior to that, he was vice chairman of Bank One, Louisiana and chairman of its New Orleans market. Prior to its acquisition by Bank One, Ryan was president and CEO of First National Bank of Commerce, a position he had held since 1991.

James (Randy) Pick (E ’73, MBA ’75) has joined LLOG Exploration as managing director, acquisitions and divestitures. Pick has over 30 years experience in the energy industry and has held management positions with independent oil and gas companies in the areas of acquisitions and divestitures, business development, corporate planning, economics, engineering, investor relationship, marketing, and supply chain management. Prior to joining LLOG, Pick was director of business planning and development for ENI Petroleum Co.

Erroll G. Williams (MBA ’75) was elected as New Orleans’ first citywide assessor in February 2010. Williams has served as assessor for the 3rd District, the city’s largest district, since 1986. Prior to becoming assessor, Williams served as finance director and then chief administrative officer for former New Orleans Mayor Dutch Morial. Before that, Williams was an auditor with Alexander Grant & Co. Certified Public Accountants and with the investment banking firm of Goldman Sachs & Co.

Reginald H. (Ric) Smith Jr. (MBA’76) is chairman-elect of the Louisiana Bankers Association. Smith is president and CEO of Metairie Bank & Trust.

Bruce Spizer

Bruce Spizer (A&S ’76, MBA ’77, L ’80) received the 2010 Young Family Award for Professional Excellence from the Jewish Endowment Foundation of Louisiana. The award recognizes legal, financial and estate-planning professionals from the New Orleans Jewish community who demonstrate extraordinary concern for the future of Judaism, the Jewish community and for their clients by encouraging tax-wise planned giving to JEF. Spizer is a former long-serving JEF board member, an ardent supporter and past president of Hillel, and a past chair of JEF’s Professional Advisory Committee, as well as a former Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans board member. A native of New Orleans, Spizer is a past president of the New Orleans Estate Planning Council and past president of the Association of Employee Benefits Planners. In addition to his professional and civic work, Spizer is the author of seven critically acclaimed books on the Beatles and is considered the one of the world’s leading experts on the group. He also serves as a consultant on Beatles projects for EMI/Capitol Records.

Ellen Yellin (MBA’76) has been elected treasurer of Court Watch NOLA. Court Watch NOLA is a volunteer organization founded to compile detailed information on specific court cases, make those in the criminal justice system aware of the public interest and concern about the outcome of criminal cases, evaluate data submitted by court watchers, and disseminate data when appropriate and make recommendations on ways to improve the effectiveness of the criminal justice system.

Martin A. Mayer (MBA ’77) recently finished a one-year term as chairman of Greater New Orleans Inc., a regional economic development agency serving the 10-parish Greater New Orleans region. Mayer is president and CEO of Stirling Properties and ERA Stirling Properties.

Wallace E. Boston (MBA ’78) has been elected to the board of directors of Avalere Health. Boston is president and CEO of American Public University System and its parent company, American Public Education Inc. Boston joined American Public University System in 2002 as executive vice president and CFO and was promoted to president and CEO in 2004. In 2006 he guided APUS through its successful accreditation with the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association, in November 2007 he led American Public Education Inc. to an initial public offering on the NASDAQ exchange.

Matthew J. Ungarino (BSM ’81)
is an attorney and the managing partner Ungarino & Eckert, a law firm with four offices in Louisiana and two in Mississippi.

R. Scott Graham (BSM ’84) has joined the equity research team of Boenning & Scattergood Inc. as managing director and senior analyst covering the water and process industrials sectors. Graham joins the company from Ladenburg Thalmann & Co., where he held the title of managing director, senior equity analyst, industrials. Previously, he covered industrial manufacturing and electrical equipment companies for Bear Stearns & Co. for eight years. Prior to that, he covered building products companies for CIBC Oppenheimer in New York. Boenning & Scattergood is an independent, securities, asset management and investment banking firm headquartered in the Mid-Atlantic region.

Brendan Minihan Sr. (MBA ’84) received a 2010 Will J. Hancock Award from the National Business Officers Association. The award recognizes independent school business officers who have made extraordinary contributions to their schools. Minihan is chief financial officer of Metairie Park Country Day School in Metairie, La.

Mackie Shilstone (A&S ’75, MBA ’84) has become a contributor to Shilstone contributes blog postings and features on building a healthy lifestyle as well as updates on some of the world class athletes he works with. Shilstone directs the Fitness Principle with Mackie Shilstone at East Jefferson General Hospital in Metairie, La., a series of programs designed to go beyond fitness, nutrition, disease management and/or lifestyle management. Shilstone also owns six GNC franchise locations in the greater New Orleans area.

Tom Wittenberg (MBA ’85) has been named general manager of PhotoCraft, a leading provider of retail graphics solutions. Based in Portland, Ore., the company’s services include fixturing programs, store-within-a-store design expertise, and large-format motion graphics. Wittenberg previously served as general manager of Premier Specialty Products and as worldwide director of Checkpoint Systems. Wittenberg and his family have relocated to the Portland area.

Paula Brown

Paula Brown

Paula Brown (BSM ’86) was elected judge of New Orleans Civil District Court, Division J, in February 2010. Brown will serve out the remainder of former Judge Nadine Ramsey’s six-year term, which began in 2009. Ramsey resigned to run for mayor. Brown has been senior staff counsel for Hartford Insurance Group for the past nine and a half years and served as judge pro tempore at Civil District Court from May through October 2004.



Sheila Cohen

Sheila Cohen (BSM ’86) has joined the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta as chief financial officer. As part of her role in managing the financial planning of the federation, Cohen will be involved with overseeing human resources, facility management and campaign administration. She will also ensure compliance with government budgetary reporting requirements, analyze financial statements and evaluate cost controls. Prior to joining the Jewish Federation, Cohen worked with SunTrust Bank as group vice president of financial risk reporting management. She also had various roles with NDC Health, including director of finance and director of customer service operations.

Elizabeth Gordon

Elizabeth Gordon

Elizabeth L. Gordon (BSM ’86) has been named a partner with the law firm Shields Mott Lund in New Orleans. Gordon has been practicing law in Louisiana since 1992 and represents clients in the fields of commercial and construction litigation, oil and gas transactions and litigation, environmental litigation, products liability and mass tort litigation, and medical malpractice defense.



George Wilson Jr. (MBA ’86) has been chosen as New Orleans district alternate director of Louisiana Associated General Contractors. Wilson is president and CEO of Barriere Construction Co.

Lawrence L. Boudreaux III (MBA ’88) was elected treasurer of the World Trade Center of New Orleans.

L. Barbee Ponder IV (BSM ’88) has been named general counsel and vice president of regulatory affairs for Globalstar Inc., a leading provider of commercial and consumer mobile satellite voice and data services. Ponder will be based at the company’s headquarters in Covington, La. Ponder had previously served as senior regulatory counsel for BellSouth Corp. in Washington, D.C., where he provided representation before the Federal Communications Commission, Congress and the White House on issues concerning the 1996 Telecommunications Act., deregulation of broadband services and tax issues concerning the telecommunications industry. Prior to joining BellSouth, Ponder was an attorney with Jones Walker in New Orleans, where he specialized in commercial litigation including class action defense.

Kenneth Yager

Kenneth Yager

Kenneth R. Yager (BSM ’88) has been promoted to chief marketing officer at MorrisAnderson. In the newly created position, Yager will oversee national brand management for the financial and operational advisory firm as well as expansion of its industry practice areas. Yager joined MorrisAnderson in 2005 as a consultant in its Chicago office and was promoted to managing director in 2007 and principal in 2009. In his most recent role, he successfully led the firm’s growing Southeastern U.S. practice. Additionally, Yager has taken a leadership role in MorrisAnderson’s recent launch of four focused industry practice areas, including automotive, business services, consumer packaged goods and restaurants. Prior to joining the firm, Yager led Newpoint Ventures, where he revitalized middle-market companies by establishing new management teams and raising various debt and equity structures. Previously, Yager also served as a vice president at Bank of America, a senior associate at Coopers & Lybrand, and a financial analyst in the capital markets division of Salomon Brothers.

George C. Young II (MBA ’91) and Cara Niska were married on May 15, 2010, in Twin Falls, Idaho. Young is a retired software developer.

Peter Vinall

Peter Vinall

Peter Vinall (MBA ’93) has been appointed president and CEO of Fortress Specialty Cellulose Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Fortress Paper Ltd. based in Quebec, Canada. Vinall has 30 years of experience in the pulp and paper industry and was the forming president of Sateri International Pulp Group, a global leader in the specialty cellulose business. Prior to joining Fortress Specialty, Vinall was president and CEO of AV Group, where he led the conversion of an NBHK pulp mill to produce dissolving pulp.


Paula Waters (MBA ’94) has been named vice president of investor relations at Entergy Corp. She joined the company in 1994 and has held positions in investor relations, strategic planning and financial communications in the finance organization for the past seven years.

Co Le Vavul (BSM ’95) and her husband, Robert, announce the birth of a daughter, Kaila, on April 2, 2010. Vavul is director of sales, online travel and distribution for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide for the Hawaii region. The family resides in Honolulu.

Beth Schaeffer (MBA ’95) has joined McCampbell Global as its senior global development strategist. Schaeffer leads the McCampbell Global market entry analysis team, working with clients to develop strategies for entering overseas markets. Based in Paris, Schaeffer will work directly with clients, researching, modeling and developing clear, actionable entry plans and strategies for European and Asian markets. Schaeffer has over 15 years experience working with Fortune 500 companies in the U.S., Europe and Asia. Headquartered in Minneapolis, McCampbell Global is an international business consultancy that helps American businesses pursue growth opportunities overseas.

G. Scott Burk (MBA ’98) was named one of the top analysts in the country by the Wall Street Journal in its “Best on the Street” survey for 2010. Burk, an analyst with Oppenheimer & Co., ranked fourth in the industrial transportation sector. It was Burk’s second appearance among the WSJ’s top stock pickers. As a Bear Stearns analyst in 2008, he was ranked No. 1 in industrial transportation.

Christopher Grippa (BSM ’97, MACCT ’98) has joined Alvarez & Marsal as a managing director in its Dispute Analysis & Forensic Services unit. A former member of Ernst & Young’s forensic accounting and dispute practice, Grippa has extensive experience working with attorneys and organizations to provide accounting and financial guidance regarding disputes and investigations. Grippa has assisted clients by performing damage calculations, identifying accounting improprieties and fraudulent transactions, tracing funds, analyzing computer forensics, reconstructing and restating financial statements and reviewing the appropriateness of management’s accounting estimates. He is a certified public accountant (CPA) and certified in financial forensics (CFF) in Florida and Georgia. He is also a certified fraud examiner (CFE). Grippa is based in Atlanta.

Lily Le

Lily Le

Lily Le (E ’97, MBA ’98) has joined AEG Affiliated Energy Group as executive vice president and chief marketing officer. Le will help oversee AEG’s retail client relationships and marketing operations as well as product and service development. Le joins AEG from GDF SUEZ Energy Resources, the second largest retail energy provider in the United States, where she was a Texas regional sales manager and market manager for Texas and Mid-West regions. Prior to joining GDF SUEZ, Le served in a variety of roles with Reliant Energy.


Michele Lopiccolo (MBA ’98) has been promoted to vice president, planning and financial communications, at Entergy Corp. She previously served as vice president, investor relations. Lopiccolo will lead the integration of strategic planning, corporate planning, investor relations and the investment approval process to ensure consistent, high-quality information is presented to senior management, Entergy’s board and Entergy’s investors.

Dan Packer (MBA ’98) has been appointed to the Board of Commissioners of the Port of New Orleans. Packer will serve a five-year term on the regional board that governs port operations in Orleans, Jefferson and St. Bernard parishes. Packer began his career with Entergy Corp. in 1982 and became CEO of Entergy New Orleans in 1998. He retired from Entergy in 2006 and currently serves as president and CEO of Urban Solutions Inc. In 2005, Packer was honored as one of the “Most Powerful African-American Executives in Corporate America” by Black Enterprise, a leading business and investment publication, and in 2001, he was the first African-American to become chairman of the New Orleans Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Michael J. Sison (MBA ’98), an analyst with KeyBanc Capital Markets, was named one of the top stock pickers in the country by the Wall Street Journal in its “Best on the Street” survey for 2010. Sison was the No. 2 ranked chemicals analyst. It was Sison’s third appearance on the top analysts list.

Pierre Connor

Pierre Conner

Pierre Conner (E ’81, E ’88, MBA ’99) has been named head of sales, trading and research at Capital One Southcoast Inc., a wholly owned non-bank subsidiary of Capital One Financial Corp. Conner, who had served as Capital One Southcoast’s lead equity research analyst since 2003, will oversee all aspects of the sales, research and trading functions. Conner has nearly 30 years combined experience in engineering and equity research. Prior to joining Capital One Southcoast, Connor served in a number of engineering and operations management positions with Exxon Co. USA, now ExxonMobil Corp.


Markell Currault-Holmes (MBA ’99) was elected secretary of the Association of Legal Administrators, New Orleans Chapter. Currault-Holmes is director of human resources at the law firm of Deutsch, Kerrigan & Stiles.

Bart Glenn

Bart Glenn

Bart Glenn (MBA ’99) has been named vice president, senior research analyst, at D. A. Davidson & Co., the largest full-service investment firm based in the Northwest. Glenn will work from the firm’s Lake Oswego, Ore., office and provide coverage of the restaurant sector. Prior to joining D.A. Davidson, Glenn was an associate partner and equity analyst with Invesco Aim in Denver, where he was responsible for primary coverage of the restaurant, retail, Internet, lodging, cruise, footwear and apparel sectors for Leisure Funds.


Julia Mize (MBA ’99) has been promoted to vice president of marketing solutions at Anheuser-Busch Inc. Her role includes responsibility for strategic planning, licensing management, budgeting, brewery tours and gifts, Clydesdale operations and Grant’s Farm. Mize, a 15-year employee at Anheuser-Busch, has worked on the Michelob, InBev and Bud Light brand teams and previously held the post of director of environmental marketing and consumer responsibility. Mize resides in St. Louis.

Robert Schendle (BSM ’99, L ’03) was named manager of knowledge management and sharing at BIO Ventures for Global Health in March 2010. BVGH is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping pharmaceutical and biotech companies find market incentives to address the unmet medical needs of the developing world. Schendle is based in San Francisco.

Silvia Aguirre (MBA ’00) is president and principal of Tax Technology Services. Since 2002, she has built TTS into a leading provider of Exemption Certificate Management software and services for companies like IBM, Big Lots! and Tempur-Pedic. The certificate management solution her company offers was a finalist in the Software CEO Magazine Award for Most innovative software model in 2008. Prior to TTS, she held positions in large corporate tax departments. Prior to her corporate work, Silvia was a sales and use tax auditor for the state of Texas.

Colleen Laduzinski

Colleen Laduzinski

Colleen Laduzinski (MBA/JD ’00) has become a partner with the law firm Jones Day. Laduzinski is a federal income tax lawyer practicing in the areas of bankruptcy tax, general corporate tax, taxation of consolidated groups of corporations, reorganizations, mergers and acquisitions, financings, and securities offerings, as well as federal tax controversy matters. She has provided tax advice to firms involved in bankruptcy proceedings including Burlington Industries, Chrysler, Dana Corp., FLYi/Independence Air, HQ Global, Interep National Radio Sales, Kaiser Aluminum, Levitz Home Furnishings, NationsRent, WHX Corp., and Williams Communications.


James O’Neill (MBA ’00) and his wife, Lynn, announce the birth of a son, Luke Alexander O’Neill, on Nov. 10, 2009. O’Neill is manager of valuation services with Deloitte Financial Advisory Services in New York.

Jenni Rowntree (BSM ’01) has been promoted to senior vice president of Treaty Brokering in the Hamilton, Bermuda, office of reinsurance broker Guy Carpenter & Co. Rowntree joined the firm, which is part of the Marsh & McLennan Companies, in 2002 as a risk analyst and was soon promoted to associate vice president and later vice president.

Dee Fuchs (MBA ’02) has been named to the board of trustees of the Algiers Charter Schools Association in Algiers, La. Fuchs was previously president of Healthy Lifestyle Choices, an educational nonprofit that encourages students and parents to avoid risky behaviors and boost their safety, nutrition and fitness practices.

Taylor "Tayte" Lutz

Taylor Lutz

Taylor “Tayte” French Lutz (BSM ’02) has been appointed marketing coordinator at French Oil Mill Machinery Co. The company, based in Piqua, Ohio, designs and manufactures a wide assortment of hydraulic presses for molding and shaping rubber and composite materials for aerospace, automotive, and printed circuit board components, office and school furniture, and SRIM applications. Lutz, the fourth generation of the French family to be employed by company, will be responsible for market analysis, brand management and all marketing campaigns at FOMMCO.


Ciprian Paltineanu (MMG/MFIN ’02) has been named director of UniCredit’s Financing & Advisory Department, a new department established to provide advisory services to corporate customers in Romania. Prior to the appointment, Paltineanu served as chief executive of UniCredit CAIB Romania, and before that he worked in the London office of Lehman Brothers.

Sarah Graham Brack (BSM ’04) has been promoted to senior accounting in the accounting and auditing department of Burt & Co. CPAs. Brack, who holds a master’s degree in accounting from University of New Mexico, has more than five years of accounting and auditing experience in public accounting. The firm is based in Albuquerque, N.M.

John W. Theriot (MACCT ’04) has been appointed to the board of directors of the Catholic Foundation. Theriot is a managing partner at Malcolm M. Dienes CPAs in Metairie, La.

Michael D. Dodson (MBA ’05) has been elected to the board of directors of the Music School of Delaware. Founded in 1924, the Music School of Delaware is the only statewide, accredited, community music school in the nation, serving residents of Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland. Dodson is a financial advisor with Morgan Stanley Smith Barney in Philadelphia.

John Keller (MBA ’05) is a vice president in equity research with Stephens Inc. He joined the company in 2009 as a senior analyst responsible for research coverage of the oilfield services sector. Prior to joining Stephens, Keller spent five years as a research associate at Johnson Rice & Co., covering the oilfield services sector with a primary focus on contract drillers and small-cap service companies.

Eric Morgan (MBA ’05) was honored as the city’s top advertising executive of the year by the Advertising Club of New Orleans. Morgan is CEO of Morgan + Company.

Alex Somers (BSM 05) and wife, Marilyn, are pleased to announce the birth of their son, Alexander Hayes Somers III, on Feb. 7, 2010. In May 2010, Somers graduated from Harvard Business School and has returned to Houston, where he is an investment banker with Simmons & Co. International.

Ed Freydel (BSM ’06) was elected to the board of Communities in Schools of New Orleans, a local affiliate of the national organization focused on reducing dropout rates and improving graduation rates.

Kathryn Spruill Roman (N ’04, MBA ’07) has joined Jenzabar in the newly created position of account manager. Jenzabar is a leading provider of software, strategies and services developed to meet the unique needs of higher education. Roman will advocate for 40+ college clients in the Southeast region. She and her husband, James, reside in Atlanta where she also serves as co-president of the Tulane Alumni Club of Atlanta.

Georgia Whiddon (BSM ’07) has been promoted to media planner-buyer at Zehnder Communications in New Orleans.

Cody Gordh

A. J. Heindel

A. J. Heindel

Cody Gordh (BSM ’09) and A. J. Heindel (BSM ’09) are co-founders of Entreprenation, a new company that provides online products and services aimed at the nationwide student market. The company has its roots in Party Shirts Unlimited, a business Gordh and Heindel started as undergraduates to print T-shirts for student organizations and events. As that business grew, the partners realized that conventional screen printing companies were doing an inadequate job serving the student market, so they founded the Custom Outlet to enable students to design affordable custom apparel via an innovative web interface. Around that time, they also founded, a website that allows students to rate and provide feedback to other students about dorms and off-campus housing options. Gordh and Heindel plan to sell advertising on both websites to firms seeking to target the student market, and they also hope to provide consulting services to young entrepreneurs through a student partner program, which will assist college entrepreneurs with everything from writing a business plan to pursuing investors when the business is ready to launch. For more information about Entreprenation’s brands, visit and

Angela Fyssas (MBA’08) has been promoted to assistant vice president at Hancock Bank.

David W. Kearney (MBA ’08) was elected to the board of the World Trade Center of New Orleans.

Matthew A. Mancheski (MBA ’08) has been appointed vice president, chief information officer and chief strategic planning officer at Tidewater Inc. Prior to the promotion, he served as senior director of strategic planning and financial analysis. In his new role, Mancheski will be responsible for information technology, software applications and strategic planning for the company.

Richard Andersen (MBA’09, MFIN ’10) has been named operations manager for the lease advisory and distribution services group at Key Equipment Finance, one of the nation’s largest bank-held equipment finance companies and an affiliate of KeyCorp. Previously, Andersen was with Silvermark Capital, a leasing company he founded and led in Houston. Prior to that, he held senior positions with American Express Business Finance, First Sierra Financial and the Geneva Companies, a division of Citicapital Global Markets. He has served as a member of the Equipment Leasing & Finance Association’s Funding Committee board since 2007.

Cheryl Pieper (MBA ’09) has joined Vision Logistics as chief information officer. Before joining the company, Pieper was at Waste Management, where she drove a number of company initiatives, creating strategic roadmaps and producing more than 150 bottom-line improvements. Pieper also served in IT leadership roles at J. B. Hunt Transport Services and YRC Worldwide.

Dominik Knoll

Dominik Knoll

Dominik Knoll (MBA ’10) was named CEO of the World Trade Center of New Orleans in May 2010. In the new position, Knoll is responsible for managing the entire organization, including promoting international trade for the Louisiana region and servicing the needs of member organizations. A native of Italy and a new graduate of the Freeman School, Knoll also holds a Master of Science degree from the University of Innsbruck and the equivalent of a doctorate. Prior to attending the Freeman School, Knoll amassed an impressive international business resume. He was an assistant and later project manager to the CEO of Kronberg International Holding, a European real estate player and joint venture partner of Pirelli Real Estate, one of Europe’s largest real estate firms. In that role, Knoll oversaw general contractors in multiphase projects as well as assisted the CEO in securing financing and approaching new investors. Knoll also worked as a consultant with an Italian luxury light manufacturing firm, helping the company to win a lucrative contract to provide lighting for the Bella Center in Copenhagen. Prior to that, he co-founded a company to help businesses in Europe expand to other European countries. In 2007, Knoll published his first book, How Companies Successfully Enter Clusters, a business textbook based on his doctoral research. The book explores the benefits and drawbacks of clustering businesses in an industry together.

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