Class Notes: Winter 2013



John Treen (BBA ’49) earned fourth place in the Jefferson Parish Public Library’s inaugural Scrabble tournament. The tournament took place in September 2012 and featured more than a dozen competitive Scrabble players from the area.


Howard S. Cohen (BBA ’63) has been elected chairman of the board of Camp Better America, a 501(c)(3) organization that seeks to reconnect military families by giving them the tools they need to create, build and achieve their dreams. Cohen is a partner and chairman of the board of Waldman Bros., an insurance and financial services firm based in Dallas.


Hardy B. Fowler (MBA ’75) has been elected secretary of the Bureau of Governmental Research in New Orleans.

G. Ben Johnson (MBA ’76) has been elected president of the New Orleans Chamber of Commerce Foundation. The foundation works to secure additional resources to enhance workforce development initiatives, K–12 educational excellence, entrepreneurship, sustainable economic development and other quality of life issues.

Ellen Yellin (MBA ’76) has been elected treasurer of Court Watch NOLA, a nonprofit that tracks hundreds of felony cases to identify systemic problems and help make the New Orleans criminal justice system more efficient, transparent and accountable.


Paul Andoh Sr. (MBA ’80) was elected 2012-2013 secretary of the New Orleans Chapter of the Society of Louisiana CPAs. Andoh is a CPA with Bruno & Tervalon.

Brian J. Cooney (MBA ’86) has been promoted to executive vice president, finance and administration, at Barriere Construction Co. in New Orleans.

Dawnne Keeney (BSM ’86) has been named marketing manager at the Royal Sonesta Hotel New Orleans.

William Leffler

William Leffler

William L. Leffler Jr. (BSM ’86) co-chaired the 7th Annual MDA-ALS Division Night of Hope Gala in Atlanta with his wife, Rebecca. The black-tie event, which took place in October 2012, raised over $640,000 to fund research for ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Leffler also chaired the 2011 gala, which raised $540,000 for ALS research. For more information about the event and ALS, please visit

Christopher A. Sarpy (BSM ’88) has been elected to the board of directors of Metairie Bank.



Vinay Piparsania

Vinay Piparsania (MBA ’90) has been appointed as the new executive director of marketing, sales and service at Ford India. In his new role, Piparsania spearheads marketing, sales and customer service operations as Ford prepares to launch eight new models in India by mid-decade. Piparsania joined Ford India in 1996, a year after the company was established in India, as general manager, sales, and played a key role in establishing the Ford dealer network across the country. In his subsequent role as vice president, marketing, sales and service and external affairs, Piparsania managed Ford’s brand image in India through several product launches including Endeavour, Classic SXi and Fusion. Prior to his current appointment, he had two stints as vice president, marketing and sales, Ford Group Philippines—in 2007 and 2011 respectively— where he was responsible for overseeing the launch readiness and dealer development activities for the introduction of the Ford Ranger, the Ford Focus and the Ford Mustang and building a robust dealership network. His other assignments included director, planning, distribution and fleet, Ford Asia Pacific and Africa, based in Bangkok, where he led sales, production and distribution planning, supporting 12 APA markets in achieving budgeted sales, production volumes and new product launch objectives.

Bruce W. Miller (MBA ’91) recently relocated to Dallas to become director of finance, business process control, with PepsiCo.

Eric Seeger

Eric Seeger

Eric Seeger (A&S ’89, MBA ’91) has been appointed chief operating officer at Barley Snyder, a regional law firm with offices in Central Pennsylvania. Seeger joins the firm after serving as a principal at Altman Weil, a national firm providing strategy and management consulting services to legal organizations. At Altman Weil, Seeger worked with large and small law firms in the areas of strategy formulation, practice group planning, operations and growth. Seeger served previously in private law firm administration and as an independent consultant to law firms and corporate executives. At Barley Snyder, Seeger will divide his time between the firm’s five offices and be responsible for firm strategy, growth and operations.

Lance Young

Lance Brendan Young

Lance Brendan Young (MBA ’91) recently joined the faculty of Western Illinois University-Quad Cities as an assistant professor. His research and teaching focus on organizational communication and health communication.


Stanley Funches

Stanley T. Funches Sr. (BSM ’93) has been named chief compliance officer at Bridgeworth Financial, a registered investment advisor headquartered in Birmingham, Ala. In his new role, Funches oversees systems designed to keep advisors compliant with state and federal laws and rules regulating financial services while continuing to serve clients with their investment and financial needs. Funches is a Certified Financial Planner and a Chartered Financial Consultant.

Perry Leslie

Perry Leslie

Perry Leslie (A&S ’91, MBA ’94) has been named office managing partner for Baton Rouge at KPMG. Leslie, a tax partner, joined the firm in 2001 and became a partner in 2011. He has more than 16 years of experience providing tax services to large multinational public and private companies across a broad range of industries in the south Louisiana, Houston and New York City metro area markets. He has worked in Baton Rouge since returning to his home state in 2007. Active in the marketplace, Leslie has served major clients in Baton Rouge including Amedisys, Albemarle Corp., Edgen Group, Lamar Advertising Co. and the Shaw Group. He is a member of the KPMG Income Tax Accounting network and is a national instructor for the firm. In addition, he serves as the Houston Business Unit Tax Out-Sourcing and Co-Sourcing leader.

Brig. Gen. Robert Kenyon

Brig. Gen. Robert Kenyon

Brig. Gen. Robert Kenyon (MBA ’95) retired from active duty in the Army in November 2011. Kenyon completed several call ups after 9/11, culminating in his last tour in Baghdad in 2008-2009, where he was responsible for overseeing multiple detention facilities to house members of the former Iraqi regime. Kenyon currently serves as chief of police for the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System in New Orleans.

Jennifer Comeaux (BSM ’97, MACCT ’98) recently published her second novel, Edge of the Past. The book, released by Astraea Press, is the second in her “Edge” series. When she’s not writing novels, Comeaux is tax compliance manager at Pool Corp. For more information about Comeaux and her books, visit

Robin Desman Spindt

Robin Desman Spindt

Robin Desman Spindt (MBA ’97) is the co-founder of Crush, a wholesale supplier of prom dresses to the U.S. market. Spindt, who has a background in jewelry and clothing design, founded the import business in 2009 with Michael Jiang, a former executive with Newell Rubbermaid, who had connections to manufacturers in China. Launched with their own personal savings, the company has sold more than 15,000 dresses in four years, with sales topping $1.2 million in 2011. The company’s dresses, which sell for between $250 and $500 each—a price point lower than that of most competitors—are currently available at more than 500 stores in the U.S., and while some retailers feature the dresses in their online stores, Spindt says Crush does not sell the dresses online to avoid competing with retailers. For more information about the company and its prom dress line, which this season will feature some of Spindt’s own designs for the first time, visit


Ben Carey

Ben Carey

Ben Carey (MBA ’01) is now the Management Consulting Practice lead for Accenture’s North America Energy group. Carey is based in Houston.

Mary Louise Phelps

Mary Louise Phelps

Mary Louise Phelps (BSM ’01, MBA/JD ’05) has joined the family law firm of McCurley Orsinger McCurley Nelson & Downing LLP as an associate in the firm’s Dallas office. Phelps’ practice includes a wide range of family law matters with a special focus on cases involving substance abuse, mental illness, domestic violence and custody issues. Her practice also incorporates the use of collaborative law and alternative dispute resolution methods.

Marcus V. Brown (MBA ’02) was elected senior vice president and general counsel at Entergy Corp.

Jenny Draffin (BSM ’02) and Kevin Smith were married in July 2012 in Columbia, S.C. Draffin is employed by the law firm of Baker, Ravenel & Bender LLP as an associate.

Cappy Johnson (MBA ’02) is currently serving as past president of the CFA Society of Louisiana.

Viktor Ponomarenko (MBA ’02) has been appointed general manager of ProCredit Bank in Ukraine. Ponomarenko joined the bank in 2004 as head of the business clients development department, and he had served as the first deputy general manager since 2006. ProCredit Bank is a full-service bank that operates in 21 countries worldwide.

Shaun Sanghani, right, with former Gov. Edwin Edwin Edwards and wife Trina.

Shaun Sanghani, right, with former Gov. Edwin Edwards and wife Trina.

Shaun Sanghani (MBA ’03) is the creator and executive producer of “The Governor’s Wife, a new reality show on A&E Network. The series, which premiered on March 13, follows 85-yearold former Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards and his 34-year-old wife, Trina, as they take on the challenges of an unconventional married life. Edwards shocked many people—including his family—in 2011 when he married Trina Grimes Scott. Scott had written to Edwards while he was in prison serving an eight-and-a-half-year sentence for bribery and extortion, and the May-December pen pals were married soon after he was released. According to A&E, the series follows Trina as she attempts to fit into the former governor’s upscale world and busy social life while trying to get along with his daughters—Anna, a 62-year-old, four-time divorcée and Victoria, a hardened 60-year-old ex-showgirl—and corral her two teenage sons from a previous marriage. “Between school projects, running for president of the Homeowner’s Association, fending off skeptics who think she’s a gold digger, and thoughts of adding a baby of their own to the mix,” the A&E press release reads, “the Edwards clan truly represents a new take on the modern family.” Sanghani’s company, SSS Entertainment, has produced a number of reality-based programs, including “Guardian Angels,” a documentary about the volunteer crime fighting group that aired on Biography in 2009.

Brian Banks (BSM ’04, MACCT ’05) has been promoted to tax supervisor at Bourgeois Bennett in New Orleans.

Margaret Brooke (BSM/MACCT ’06) has been promoted to manager in the assurance practice of PricewaterhouseCoopers in New Orleans.

Andrew Chanin (BSM ’07) is co-founder and COO of PureFunds, a New Jersey based firm that recently announced the launch of three new exchange-traded funds (ETFs): the PureFunds ISE Diamond/Gemstone ETF, the PureFunds ISE Mining Service ETF and the PureFunds ISE Junior Silver ETF. The funds are listed on the NYSE Arca Exchange and aim to track the gemstone, mining service and silver exploration industries.

Hillary Barnett (BSM ’08) has joined the law firm of McGlinchey Stafford in its New Orleans office as an associate in the real estate section.


P. Albert Bienvenu IV (MBA ’10) has joined the board of trustees of Louise S. McGehee School.

Jeanne M. Curran (MACCT ’10) has been promoted to Senior I at Wegmann Dazet & Co.

Dominik Knoll (MBA ’10), CEO of the World Trade Center of New Orleans, served on the executive committee of the International Disaster Conference & Expo, which took place in New Orleans in January 2013.

Ashish Patki (MBA ’10) has been named global product manager, primaries, for the Lithium Division of FMC Corp. As the global product manager, Patki is responsible for product planning, portfolio development and the profitable growth of the division’s Carbonate, Hydroxide and Specialty Inorganic lines. Additionally, he oversees tactical activities to achieve target margins and drive key strategic growth and investment initiatives in regards to expansion, cost and quality improvements in conjunction with other functions of the organization. Patki joined FMC Lithium in August 2010 as an energy market analyst, and from July 2011 until this latest appointment, he served as the Lithium Division’s energy business planner.

Brandon Iglesias

Brandon Iglesias

Brandon Iglesias (MBA ’11) has been chosen to participate in the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation’s 2013 Global Scholars Program. One of 13 young entrepreneurs from around the world selected for this year’s program, Iglesias began a six-month immersion course in entrepreneurship in January that includes intensive workshops with leading scholars, policy leaders and business founders; visits to leading American universities; and three-month internships with companies in the Silicon Valley, Boston and other hubs of entrepreneurial activity. Iglesias is founder of ReactWell, which is developing a patent-pending technology that uses underground geothermal reactors to convert biomass into synthetic crude oil. The company, which Iglesias started when he was a student at the Freeman School, won first place in last year’s Domain Cos. New Orleans Entrepreneur Challenge.Seth Christian (M ’11, MBA ’12) was the first graduate of the TeamHealth Anesthesiology Perioperative Management Fellowship program. The fellowship, a collaboration between TeamHealth and Tulane University, prepares anesthesiologists to be leaders in perioperative management through in-depth clinical and administration education.

Sofia Zarate (MBA ’11) recently joined Conquito, an economic development agency in Quito, Ecuador, as investments director. The firm works in partnership with the city to find investors for major capital projects the city is developing.

Simone Reggie and Seth Hamstead

Simone Reggie and Seth Hamstead

Seth Hamstead (MBA ’12) and Simone Reggie (MBA ’12) are the founders of Cleaver & Co., a new locally sourced, whole animal butcher shop. Located on Baronne Street in New Orleans, the shop sells a variety of meat and poultry products cut from whole cows, pigs, chickens and ducks sourced from South Louisiana farms. “Our rule of thumb is 200 miles, whenever possible,” Hamstead says. “We know that sometimes we may have to go a little bit farther, but we want to make sure that we can tell the consumer exactly where it’s from.” Hamstead calls the practice of buying whole animals and butchering them here “a more sustainable business practice” that benefits both the supplier and the consumer. “We’re making sure the farmers are getting as much as they can out of that animal,” Hamstead says. “We’re also able to choose the farmers who are doing things in the way we think is right. The animals aren’t coming from confined feedlots; they’re not being raised in industrial conditions.” The result, say Hamstead and Reggie, is a better-tasting product— something residents of food-obsessed New Orleans should appreciate. While both admit that beef doesn’t usually come to mind when people think of what Louisiana does best, they say there is a long tradition of cattle ranching here that has been “pushed aside by the industrial food system.” They hope they can take New Orleanians’ zeal for local seafood and translate that into a desire for local “land-based protein.” “There’s such a market for local seafood,” Reggie says. “You see the signs for Louisiana seafood everywhere, and that’s great. We’re looking to make a movement for Louisiana meat as well.” For more information about the business, visit


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