President and General Manager of Regional Steel Products, Inc., a family owned business since 1986.
Hometown: Columbia, LA
Now Reside: Victoria, TX
Degree: Bachelor of Science, Mechanical Engineering
How I got to Tech: I was on scholarship playing football and majoring in Engineering at Holmes Junior College in Mississippi and had just finished the first semester of my sophomore year. I wanted to continue playing football at a good Engineering school and since I needed the scholarship I asked my freshman coach who had played for Tech if he would give me a recommendation. I was given a scholarship to try out that spring and afterwards was given a full scholarship as a kicker and a backup linebacker.
How I chose my career: My dad worked for Atlas Construction Company a subsidiary of T. L. James Company when I was growing up. During the summers I would hang out with the engineers on the job site. I was always interested in what they were doing which sparked my interest in Engineering. After I transferred to Tech I decided that Mechanical Engineering was the area I was most suited for.
Upon graduation from Tech I took a job with Union Carbide Corp. as a Production Engineer. After working for Union Carbide for over seven years, it was apparent that I wanted to pursue the American Dream and fulfill my entrepreneurial spirit. With a partner, we started our dream by opening a machining and fabrication company. The steel company was formed in 1981 and in 1983 my wife Ann and I took over management of Regional Steel Products, Inc. with five employees working out of a 12’ x 16’ metal building. In 1986 the two companies split and the steel company became our family business. We now operate out of a 42,000 square foot building, a 20-acre yard with 38 employees.
A day in the life of my job: The first thing I do after starting my computer is meet and greet as many employees as possible. Then I return to my office to check emails, voicemails and my schedule for the day. I am the President and General Manager, and have three managers that take care of purchasing, sales and day-to-day operations. My job now is to work with these three managers to provide advice and guidance. I still maintain my customer contacts where needed and work on collections daily. I usually spend part of each day volunteering in the community, whether it is with the Port of Victoria where I serve as Commissioner, with the Victoria Economic Development Corporation, the Victoria College Foundation Board or with any of the numerous boards and committees that I serve on. Something I always look forward to is at the end of a busy day getting to play a round of golf with one of our customers.
My favorite part of my job: Meeting and working with the people. I have always enjoyed working with customers, vendors and our staff in solving the problems of the day.
Some of my best memories of Tech: Being in football, my best memory was the 1968 game against Northwestern -- with 13 seconds remaining in the game Terry Bradshaw threw the touchdown pass to Ken Liberto to win the game 42-39. On campus, it was the ASME socials and how the Engineering students and faculty worked together with one purpose in mind. That purpose was to make sure that we made Tech proud when we entered the workforce.
My advice to incoming freshman: Be involved! Obtaining your degree is definitely the most important objective to accomplish. But being involved with other students and faculty and participating in the many activities available will be something you will be able to build on once you leave Tech and pursue a career in a community.
How I’ve been rewarded personally through giving back to the community: My wife Ann and I have been active in the community from day one when we moved to Victoria. The personal reward that we receive internally is the gratification that we have helped make Victoria a better place to live. It is also very rewarding when your peers recognize you as a contributor to the community. I have been rewarded by being recognized as Rotarian of the year in 1999/2000 and as Victoria Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year in 2009. It was truly a compliment to be recognized with these two awards.