With Highest Honors
University recognizes Distinguished Alumni for outstanding achievements
Seven alumni and President James D. Spaniolo were honored for their professional achievements and service to UT Arlington at the annual Distinguished Alumni Gala in October.
Shirlee Gandy ’70, Charles Goodman ’64, David Hunn ’78, ’80, ’92, Curtis Kayem ’66, and Wayne Watts ’76 received the Distinguished Alumni Award. Baker Jiang ’12 received the Distinguished International Alumni Award, and Dale Martin ’78 received the Distinguished Alumni Service Award. The Honorary Distinguished Alumni Award went to President Spaniolo, who announced his retirement in June (see Cultivating Genius).
Jiang earned an Executive Master of Business Administration degree after working with Walmart China for more than 15 years. He advanced from store deputy general manager to vice president of hypermarket operations with Walmart China, which has 369 Walmart and Trustmart stores in 170 cities and generates more than $8 billion in sales annually. As regional operations director of the Northern China region from 2007 to 2011, he led a turnaround from deficit to profitability.
Gandy is a real estate investor, developer, and community leader with a passion for public service and historic preservation. After earning a bachelor’s degree in political science, she became a political consultant. She later shifted her focus to work with nonprofits on behalf of women, children, and those with mental health issues. Her revitalization of two historic properties in downtown Fort Worth—now the Ashton Hotel and the Ashton Depot—earned her Downtown Fort Worth Inc.’s Trailblazer Award.
Dr. Goodman had a long career in electric utility research and development at Southern Company before retiring in 2007. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, he earned advanced degrees at Tulane University. He began his career as a senior research engineer in 1971 with Southern Company, which owns electric utilities in four southeastern states and also provides optic and wireless communications. Advancing through leadership positions, Goodman was promoted to senior vice president of research and environmental policy.
Dr. Hunn is the chief scientist and director of the technical staff at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. After earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering, he received his Ph.D. in materials science and engineering, all from UT Arlington. For the past several years, his research has focused on development of lightweight armor and novel blast mitigation strategies for military vehicles. In 2009 he was selected Inventor of the Year by Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. He has received 12 patents, with seven pending.
Kayem earned a bachelor’s degree in political science, but his career took a turn when he went to work in the business owned by his father. Today he’s president of that business, Tex-Isle Supply, a pipe and steel company that was one of the first American businesses to develop a relationship with Japanese steel mills and tubular manufacturers. The company began in Houston, expanded twice, and now has offices in Dallas and South Texas. In 2011 the company added Tex-Isle Coating, which provides pipeline stringing operations and pipe stocking and distribution.
Dr. Martin earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry and went on to earn a dental degree. He has practiced pediatric dentistry in the Fort Worth area for more than 25 years. He also has a law degree and has served as assistant regional counsel for the Social Security Administration and the Department of Health and Human Services. He is on staff at Cook Children’s Hospital, Harris HEB, and the Texas Pediatric Surgery Center, and he serves as a volunteer with the Children’s Oral Health Coalition for Tarrant County.
Watts is senior executive vice president and general counsel at AT&T. He earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration at UT Arlington before receiving his law degree at SMU. He joined Southwestern Bell Telephone Co. in 1983 as an attorney in Dallas. He became general attorney for Southwestern Bell Publications in St. Louis, then transferred to the mergers and acquisitions staff of SBC’s legal department. In 1989 he was named vice president-general attorney and secretary for Southwestern Mobile Systems in Dallas.