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Business & Technology

ETSU College of Business and Technology Hall of Fame welcomes newest members

November 1st, 2011 11:07 am by Kate Prahlad

The East Tennessee State University College of Business and Technology inducted the following members into its Hall of Fame during a ceremony Friday at the Carnegie Hotel Grand Soldiers Ballroom.
The Lifetime Achievement in Business Award is presented to alumni of the College of Business and Technology who have recorded significant accomplishments in business or public service, and demonstrated exemplary service to the community and a commitment to the college and university.
D. Roger Kennedy earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing and management at ETSU in 1969. He was commissioned in the U.S. Army as a second lieutenant through the ETSU Army ROTC program and spent the next years serving in Georgia. In the early 1980s, he became a market analyst for AFG Industries, soon becoming vice president of marketing. In 1986, AFG became a private company and eventually was sold to Asahi, the Japan-based glass company, and Kennedy became president and chief executive officer of AFG’s North American Distribution and Fabrication Group in Atlanta for 11 years. He then became president and chief executive officer of AFG in 1999, until his retirement in 2004.
Named the 2005 ETSU Outstanding Alumnus, Kennedy serves as chairman of the ETSU Foundation, serves on the ETSU Alumni Board, and is the alumni representative on the Intercollegiate Athletics Standing Committee. Kennedy and his wife, Martha, are members of the President’s Trust Silver Society and the ETSU Legacy Circle. They have endowed a business and technology scholarship fund and an intercollegiate athletic scholarship fund through their estate planning.
The Kennedys have settled in Jonesborough.
Stephen J. LaPorte began his education at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, but graduated from East Tennessee State University in 1978 with a degree in management. LaPorte entered the banking business under his father’s tutelage at Citizens Bank in Elizabethton. A few years later, the LaPorte family became partners in the Government Securities Corp. in Houston. The family merged the two regional investment banks and created Coastal Securities, with headquarters in Houston. LaPorte is currently the managing director of trading and banking, and works closely with his brothers Chris, who is also in Houston, and Sam and Joe, who operate from Elizabethton.
LaPorte and his wife, Elizabeth, reside in Houston and are the parents of daughter Corri, who is a student at the University of Arizona, and son Stephen, who is a high school student.
Charles O. Steagall attended what was then East Tennessee State College and graduated in 1966 with a degree in accounting. He joined the Johnson City accounting firm of Blackburn and Childers, successfully passed the Certified Public Accountant exam in 1968, and became a partner the next year. Blackburn, Childers and Steagall PCL is now the largest accounting firm in Northeast Tennessee, with offices in Johnson City, Kingsport and Greeneville. During his 45 years with the firm, Steagall has provided accounting, consulting and tax services to a wide variety of clients. In addition, he specializes in business valuations and litigation support services.
ETSU presented Steagall with an Award of Honor in 2007, and he has served on the ETSU Foundation Board. He served for many years as treasurer of the ETSU Foundation. His leadership was instrumental at his firm to create the BCS Faculty Fellowship in Accountancy at ETSU, as well as an endowed scholarship in accountancy that honors the late Joe Blackburn, the late Carl Childers, and also honors Charles Steagall.
Steagall and his wife, the former Nona Peters, reside in Jonesborough. They are the parents of twin girls. Melanie received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from ETSU in 1991, followed by a bachelor’s degree in nursing in 1995. She and her husband, David Stanton, are the parents of 10-year-old twins. Melissa is also a member of the ETSU Class of 1991. After earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration, she became a CPA and is a partner with Blackburn, Childers and Steagall PLC. She and her husband, Jeffrey Jones, are the parents of a 13-year-old daughter and 7-year-old son.
A. Richard Wilson attended what is now University School on campus and earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and finance from ETSU in 1963, followed by an M.B.A. in real estate finance from the Harvard Business School in 1969. Between earning degrees, he served his country as a U.S. Army captain and intelligence officer. After his graduation from Harvard, he joined Alodex Corp. in Memphis as vice president of joint ventures. Next, Wilson, along with leading members of the business community and three major banks, founded a venture capital firm, New South Investment Co., in Memphis. In 1979, Wilson joined the Harry R. Jones Co. in Houston as a vice president. A year later, Wilson accepted a position with the Horne Co., Realtors, as a senior investment broker. In 1985, Wilson became a real estate adviser, reviewing and marketing Real Estate Owned portfolios for banks, savings and loans, and individuals. Currently, Wilson is president, chief executive officer and founder of The Property Group, a real estate investment and development firm working with corporations and sophisticated investors.
The recipient of a 2003 ETSU Award of Honor, Wilson is a member of the ETSU Foundation’s Distinguished President’s Trust. Wilson has also been an active participant in the “Alumni Return to the Classroom” program for the College of Business and Technology.
Wilson resides in Houston.
The Excellence in Business Award is presented to individuals whose work has brought distinction to the College of Business and Technology. Although they may not be ETSU graduates, recipients must have significant accomplishments in business or technology, exemplary service to the community, and a demonstrated commitment to the College of Business and Technology and East Tennessee State University.
J. Lane Latimer III is a member of the ETSU Class of 1959, although he transferred and graduated from the University of Alabama. Latimer accepted a position as a stock broker at Shearson, Hammill and Co. in Orlando, Fla. Ten years later, Latimer returned to Northeast Tennessee when he became the owner and president of Oak Hill Funeral Home and Cemetery in Kingsport. He has served as president of the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce, the Cemetery Association of Tennessee and the Southern Cemetery Association. His other civic interests include the American Cancer Society and Holston Valley Hospital.
Latimer and his wife, Sherry, have endowed a business scholarship in the ETSU Foundation to assist students. A longtime member of the ETSU Foundation, Latimer for many years served as a member of the Foundation Investment Committee.
The Latimers reside in both Naples, Fla., and Linville, N.C. They are the parents of an adult son, ETSU alumnus J. Lane Latimer IV.
Martha Butler Rector is the daughter of Sarah Ethel Tarwater Butler, who attended East Tennessee State Normal School beginning in January 1912. Following in her mother’s footsteps, Rector attended what was then East Tennessee State Teachers College from 1941-42. Her college career was abruptly curtailed when Pearl Harbor was attacked. Rector decided to follow her brother’s example and joined the U.S. Marine Corps. She enlisted in 1942 and served at Camp Lejeune, N.C., until 1944. She was secretary to Lt. Gen. Lewis “Chesty” Puller, the most decorated Marine in U.S. history and the only Marine to receive five Navy crosses.
After her discharge from the Marines, Rector returned home and enrolled at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville in 1945 and received her business degree in 1947. Late that same year, she married Calvin Rector, a fellow UT student who worked at Eastman Chemical Co. until his retirement in 1983. He passed away six years after his retirement. Martha Rector was also employed by Eastman as a secretary, starting in 1948.
Rector is a member of the ETSU President’s Silver Society and the ETSU Legacy Circle. In her estate plans, she has created the Martha Butler Rector Professorship in Finance to assist a distinguished faculty member within the College of Business and Technology. Most recently, Rector has directed her attention to the effort to raise funds for a memorial to war veterans in Kingsport, where she resides.
John E. Seward Jr. attended Vanderbilt University, earning a bachelor’s degree in economics in 1970 and a master of management degree in 1972. Seward received a commission as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army, Quartermaster Branch, through the Vanderbilt ROTC program, and he was discharged from the reserves as a captain. He became co-founder and senior partner of Nashville’s SRG Management Consultants, a company engaged in strategic management consulting. Three years later, Seward returned to East Tennessee as the secretary-treasurer of BancTenn Corp. in Kingsport. From 1975-84 Seward was vice-president and then president of Paty Lumber Co. in Elizabethton, a family-owned business founded by his grandfather. He transferred to the Piney Flats Paty headquarters, where he was chairman and chief executive officer and then president from 1984-2000.
When his family sold the lumber business, Seward became president of Aviation Strategies Group, a corporate aircraft management and aviation consultant business in Blountville. He is also president of Johnson City’s Strategic Resources Group, a consulting firm specializing in strategic and financial management.
Seward is a member of the ETSU Foundation Board, and, with his wife, a member of the Foundation’s Distinguished President’s Trust.
Seward is married to the former Julia Ann Farris, and they are the parents of four adult children: John Evans III, Anne Elizabeth, Julia Katherine and Mary Evelyn. The Sewards reside in Elizabethton.
P.C. Snapp received his bachelor’s degree from ETSU in 1961 and continued his education at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, earning a master’s degree in city and regional planning in 1967. For 30 years, Snapp served as the regional director of the Upper East Tennessee State Planning Office. Snapp served as a Johnson City commissioner for 12 years, and for two of those years he was the city’s mayor.
As chairman of the Johnson City Power Board, Snapp directed the construction of a new Power Board building. He was executive director of the Johnson City/Jonesborough/Washington County Economic Development Board for 14 years. An adjunct instructor in the ETSU city management program for seven years, Snapp is also proud of his service in the U.S. Marine Corps, long-term membership in the Kiwanis Club and 20 years as a Little League Baseball coach. He is a member of the ETSU Foundation.
Snapp retired earlier this year after 50 years of public service. He and his wife, Mary Anne, reside in Johnson City. They are the parents of four adult children: Mike, Scott, Robert and Audra.
The Business Horizon Award is presented to graduates of the ETSU College of Business and Technology who are establishing noteworthy careers and display significant accomplishments in business as well as a commitment to the college and the university.
Bryan Daniels is a two-fold ETSU alumnus who earned both a bachelor’s degree in communication and computer science in 1995 and a master’s degree in manufacturing engineering technology in 1997. Daniels joined the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development in Nashville and became involved in reform of the Appalachian Regional Commission Grant Program and the Industrial Training Service Program. In 1997, Daniels accepted the position of economic development planner for the firm of Barge Waggoner Sumner and Cannon in Nashville. From 2001 through 2010, Daniels was executive vice president with Blount Partnership. Daniels was named president and chief executive officer of Blount Partnership in 2010.
An active alumnus, Daniels is a member of the ETSU Foundation Board and the ETSU Alumni Association Board.
Daniels and his wife Kim, who is also a graduate of ETSU, reside in Rockford.
Jerry L. Pelphrey was an integral part of the Buccaneer men’s basketball team from 1989-1993. While he was on the team, ETSU won 98 games, reached a Top 10 national ranking, won three Southern Conference tournament titles and participated in three NCAA tournaments. After receiving his bachelor of business administration degree in marketing in 1994, Pelphrey remained at ETSU as a graduate assistant coach. He went on to a career as an assistant coach at Milligan College, Gardner-Webb University, ETSU and Eastern Kentucky University.
In 2002, Pelphrey joined Kentucky’s First Southern National Bank. Pelphrey returned to the area and was hired by People’s Community Bank as a commercial loan officer in 2005, and then as a commercial relationship manager at SunTrust Bank the following year. From 2009 until the present time, Pelphrey has been employed by TruPoint Bank as a commercial lender and vice president.
Pelphrey and his wife, ETSU alumna Julie, reside in Johnson City and are the parents of two daughters.

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