Friends of Finance Continues Success
BUSINESS LEADERS: Jim Arens, left, senior vice president and chief investment officer at The Trust Company of Oklahoma with FOF December speaker Chip McElroy. Arens is also serving as the Friends of Finance Vice President and Program Chair. McElroy is president and CEO of McElroy Manufacturing Inc.
The University of Tulsa’s popular Friends of Finance speaker series has a new leader at the helm. But in many ways, he isn’t new at all.
Collins College of Business Professor J. Markham Collins took over as the new director of the program after Professor Roger Bey retired in May 2011. The new position is a familiar one for Collins, who was involved in the formation of Friends of Finance in 1985 with fellow finance faculty member Bey and TU alumni Robert Prince ( ’81, ’85), Bruce Currie ( ’81) and Bob Harrison ( ’73).
Together, they wanted to create something valuable for the university and the business community that centered on finance. Over the years, the business topics have become much more diverse. In December, A. H. “Chip” McElroy, President and of McElroy Mfg., Inc., spoke to the Friends of Finance luncheon crowd about the growth of the Tulsa-based company that makes pipe fusion equipment.
“The secret to the success of Friends of Finance is that it is blessed with many well connected friends in the community who are generally the source of the great speakers,” says Friends of Finance President Jim Holloman. “Roger Bey’s drive and perseverance to get an annual full slate of regional and national business leaders with great company stories and good public speaking skills built Friends of Finance into a crown jewel for the University and the City of Tulsa. With Roger’s retirement, our mission is not only to protect this treasure, but to strive to make it even better.”
Now in its 27th year, the program continues to deliver keen business insight to large crowds.
“We are privileged that Professor Mark Collins has stepped into the faculty leadership role,” says Holloman. “Since he helped form the program in 1985, he is very aware of the value of Friends of Finance and what it takes to make it successful. He hit the ground running this summer and, with the steadfast help of Judy Adair, has continued to advance the program.”
Nationally prominent speakers have included JPMorganChase Chairman, , and President Jamie Dimon; Coach Emeritus John Wooden; American Electric Power Chairman, President and Michael Morris; Lehman Brothers Richard Fuld, Jr.; Xerox North America President James A. Firestone; and the Staubach Companies Chairman and Roger Staubach.
“The best presentations are those in which the speaker imparts some information that is not widely known. You feel like an insider when you leave,” says Collins.
Earlier this year, Alan Armstrong, the new President and of Williams, spoke to the Friends of Finance audience about the strategy behind the recent announcement that the 103-year-old Tulsa energy giant would split into two stand-alone companies.
“He was a very good speaker who gave some good insight into the strategy behind the decision to split the company,” says Collins. “Those are the kind of presentations people like. People want to know what business leaders are doing and why are they doing it.”
In January participants will get a taste of one of America’s fastest growing restaurant chains when Buffalo Wild Wings Inc. president and Sally Smith comes to Tulsa. Described as a “fun, edgy, high-energy and easy-going restaurant,” Buffalo Wild Wings was founded in 1982 and is headquartered in Minneapolis. The chain, which currently consists of about 780 locations, is known for a boldly-flavored menu and multi-media system for watching sports. Given the company’s commitment to fun, Smith’s presentation is sure to be lively.
Friends of Finance has raised more than $1 million for the Finance and Operations Management Department at the Collins College of Business that is managed as a Student Investment Fund (), a $2 million portfolio which students have the opportunity to manage. In addition, some 138 students have received more than $250,000 in scholarships from the .
This year, Friends of Finance leaders have an ambitious membership goal of 525 people. TU graduates within the last twelve months can join for only $10. If one lives outside of the Tulsa area (more than 50 miles), the membership fee is only $10. Membership fees support all of the expenses associated with Friends of Finance.
Members are a mix of students, retirees and professionals, including corporate recruiters. Friends of Finance is the largest and strongest finance group in Oklahoma and the Southwest. Collins says the diverse group makes it a good place to make contacts for business and career development.
“You will hear from some of the most influential people in the country,” he says. “It’s also a good networking opportunity.”
For information, please contact Judy Adair at (918) 631-2588 or visit www.utulsa.edu/fof