SFA Rusche College of Business Advisory Council members, front row, L-R: Mike Pickard, computer science department chair; Mitch Fralick, co-founder and president of Producers Assistance Corporation, in Houston; Debbie DuFrene, associate dean; John England, managing partner with Deloitte & Touche LLP, in Houston; Warren Fisher, associate dean and MBA director; Wendy Buchanan, senior vice president of investments for Wells Fargo Advisors in Nacogdoches; Michael Bieler, director of information technology for CSC Americas Outsourcing in Dallas; Steve Stagner, president and CEO of Mattress Firm, Houston; Sam Smith; CEO of Mercy Ships, Garden Valley, Texas; Eric Miller, western division vice president with AXA Advisors in Houston; Scott Schmidly, COO and ethics compliance officer for Medical City Dallas and Medical City Children's Hospital in Dallas; Stacie Shirley, senior vice president of finance and treasurer of The Nieman Marcus Group, Inc. in Dallas; Bill McGaughey, business entrepreneur, Lufkin; and Danny Arnold, dean. Back row: Mark Hinton, CEO of FC Background, LLC, in Dallas; Ann Wilson, general business department chair; Clifton Jones, economics and finance department chair; Bob Dyer, vice chairman of Texas Bank & Trust, Longview; Michael Easley, founding partner with Easley, Endres, Parkhill & Bracendorff in Houston; Dean McMann, co-founder and CEO of McMann & Ransford in Sugar Land; Bob Peddy, CPA and founding partner of Gollob, Morgan, Peddy and Co. in Tyler; Scott Watson, vice president and treasurer of Woodbine Development Corporation in Dallas; Vincent Adams, agent/owner of State Farm Insurance Agency in Forth Worth; and John Tyler vice president of The Hulburd/Tyler Group of Merrill Lynch in Houston.

Twenty high-ranking business executives from across Texas attended a recent meeting of the Advisory Council of the Nelson Rusche College of Business at Stephen F. Austin State University on Nov. 4.

The advisory group is composed of more than 30 SFA alumni and provides counsel and ideas for the preparation of students for the workforce. The group also assists in the development of appropriate resources to support continued growth and progress of the Rusche College of Business.

The college's leadership team welcomed Advisory Council members at a reception held at the Hotel Fredonia on the opening evening. A full day of meeting activities on campus included group meetings, breakout sessions with faculty and student representatives and a luncheon at which SFA provost Dr. Richard Berry addressed the council. The meeting concluded with the council developing a list of recommendations and pledging support for college initiatives.

"This was my first meeting with the Advisory Council, and I am extremely impressed with the group," said Dr. Danny Arnold, dean of the Rusche College of Business. "They are our alums and serve as terrific role models for our students. We have a common goal of ensuring that the Rusche College of Business is a great college. The council provided us with many great ideas to move us forward. Our challenge is to now put all of the input together to make our college even better."

Future plans include a meeting of the Advisory Council in the spring and more involvement of the council in activities that impact business students.