skip to main content columnskip to left navigationskip to horizontal navigation

College of Business and Technology

East Tennessee State University

D. Roger Kennedy - Lifetime Achievement Award

D. Roger Kennedy enrolled at ETSU in 1965 and participated in four years of Army ROTC. When he graduated in 1969, he had a degree in marketing and management and a commission in the U.S. Army as a second lieutenant.

In the early 1980s, he became a market analyst for AFG Industries, a fairly new entry into the field of glass-production. He rose rapidly to the position of vice president of marketing.

In 1986, AFG became a private company. Eventually, the company, and Kennedy, moved to Fort Worth, Texas.

AFG was finally sold to Asahi, the Japan-based largest glass company in the world. Only five senior AFG personnel stayed on, including Kennedy, who became president and chief executive officer of AFG's North American Distribution and Fabrication Group in Atlanta.

Kennedy directed that office for 11 years, and 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 for their support of the university through the ETSU Foundation. They have endowed a business and technology scholarship fund and an intercollegiate athletic scholarship fund through their estate planning.


Stephen J. LaPorte - Lifetime Achievement Award

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 Corporation in Houston, Texas.

The family merged the two regional investment banks and created Coastal Securities, with headquarters in Houston. LaPorte has seen the company's holdings increase from $40 million to $70 million.

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.


Charles O. Steagall - Lifetime Achievement Award

Charles O. Steagall attended what was then East Tennessee State College and graduated in 1966 with a degree in accounting.

The new graduate became a revenue agent for the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, but left later that year to join the Johnson City accounting firm of Blackburn and Childers.

He successfully passed the Certified Public Accountant exam in 1968, and became a partner the next year. Blackburn, Childers and Steagall, PLC 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.


A. Richard Wilson - Lifetime Achievement Award

A. Richard Wilson attended what is now University School on campus and earned a bachelor's degree in economics and finance from ESTU in 1963, followed by an M.B.A. in real estate finance from the Harvard Business School in 1969.

He served his country as a U.S. Army Captain and as an Army Intelligence Officer.

After his graduation from Harvard, he joined Alodex Corporation in Memphis as vice president of joint ventures. During his four years there, he assisted in a $30 million public offering, developed over 1,000 condominium units in California and Florida and untangled the bureaucratic regulation difficulties of a $400 million commercial complex in Chicago.

Next, Wilson, along with leading members of the business community and three major banks, founded a venture capital firm, New South Investment Company, in Memphis. An initial investor in Federal Express Corporation, the business acquired sites and developed feasibility studies for financial institutions and corporate investors.

In 1979, Wilson joined the Harry R. Jones Company in Houston as a vice president. He developed a 460-unit apartment complex and evaluated commercial investment opportunities for the firm.

A year later, Wilson accepted a position with the Horne Company, Realtors, as a senior investment broker. His accomplishments included selling the largest, at $65 million, Texas office complex outside a major urban area.

In 1985, Wilson became a real estate advisor, reviewing and marketing Real Estate Owned (REO) portfolios for banks, savings and loans, and individuals. Some 500 properties valued at over $1 billion were involved.

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 for his support of the university over the years. Wilson has also been an active participant in the Alumni Return to the Classroom program for the College of Business and Technology.


J. Lane Latimer III - Excellence Award

J. Lane Latimer III is a member of the East Tennessee State University Class of 1959, although he transferred and graduated from the University of Alabama.

Latimer's first employment after graduation was in sales at WJHL-TV.

A few months later, Latimer accepted a position as a stock broker at Shearson, Hammill and Company in Orlando, Florida.

Ten years later, Latimer returned to Northeast Tennessee when he became the owner and president of Oak Hill Funeral Home and Cemetery in Kingsport.

Latimer and his wife, Sherry, have endowed a business scholarship in the ETSU Foundation to assist ETSU students. A longtime member of the ETSU Foundation, Latimer for many years served the Foundation as a member of the Foundation Investment Committee where he helped to lead the impressive growth of the Foundation's endowments and assets.


Martha Butler Rector - Excellence Award

Martha Butler Rector attended what was then East Tennessee State Teachers College from 1941-1942.

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, North Carolina, until 1944. She was secretary to Lieutenant General 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. Using the G.I. Bill to finance her education, she took a heavy course load to graduate as quickly as possible. She received her business degree in 1947.

Late that same year, she married Calvin Rector, a fellow UT student who worked at Eastman Chemical Company until his retirement in 1983. He passed away six years after his retirement.

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 for her current and future support. 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. - Excellence Award

John E. Seward Jr. attended Vanderbilt University, earning a bachelor's degree in economics in 1970 and a Master of Management degree in 1972.

During his graduate student days, he was a part-time assistant to the Commissioner of the Department of Finance and Administration for the State of Tennessee.

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 Corporation in Kingsport.

From 1975-1984 Seward was vice-president and then president of Paty Lumber Company 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.

Seward's recognition of ETSU's critical role for the development of this region led the Paty Company to provide support at the President's Trust Silver Society level.

When his family sold the lumber business, Seward turned to a childhood love of aviation. He 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 ETSU Foundation's Distinguished President's Trust.


P.C. Snapp - Excellence Award

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. He and six professional planners provided city planning services for 10 counties covering 24 communities. Among his accomplishments is assisting Jonesborough to become the first city in the state to adopt historic zoning and a historic district was created and placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Snapp served as a Johnson City Commissioner for 12 years, and for two of those years he was the city's mayor. His term of office saw many improvements in sidewalk creation, the first curb-side recycling in Tennessee, five new schools, library construction and two parks. During his tenure, the city was recognized by the Tennessee Municipal League for the city's pre-eminent environmental leadership among all of the state's cities and towns.

As chairman of the Johnson City Power Board, Snapp directed the construction of a new Power Board Building.

Snapp was Executive Director of the Johnson City, Jonesborough, Washington County Economic Development Board (EDB) for 14 years. During that time, the EDB was recognized as having one of the top existing business programs in the nation.

An adjunct instructor in the ETSU city management program for seven years, Snapp is also a member of the ETSU Foundation.

Snapp retired earlier this year after 50 years of public service.


Bryan Daniels - Horizon Award 

Bryan Daniels is a two-fold ETSU alumnus who earned both a bachelor's degree in communications 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. He worked with municipalities in Tennessee and Virginia seeking to develop their local economies through state and federal support.

From 2001 through 2010, Daniels was Executive Vice President with Bount Partnership. He managed Blount County, Maryville and Alcoa Inc. economic development efforts. His responsibilities included offices in Maryville; Isle of Wight, England; Yokahama, Japan; and Seoul, South Korea.

With over $400 million is assets, Blount County's economic development program is one of the largest in the state, and it is one of four partner agencies with an aggregate annual $4.5 million dollar partnership operational budget.

Daniels was named president and chief executive officer of Blount Partnership in 2010. The Partnership is comprised of the Blount County Chamber of Commerce, Blount County Economic Development Board, Smoky Mountain Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Blount Chamber Foundation. During his tenure, Daniels has recruited over $1.4 billion of new capital investment from 35 new and expanding companies.

An active alumnus, Daniels is a member of the ETSU Foundation Board and the ETSU Alumni Association Board.


Jerry L. Pelphrey - Horizon Award

Jerry L. Pelphrey may be most familiar to the ETSU community for his skills on the hardwood. From 1989-1993, he was an integral part of the East Tennessee State University men's basketball team. While he was on the team, ETSU won 98 games, reached a Top Ten national ranking, won three Southern Conference tournament titles and participated in three NCAA tournaments including a much-remembered victory over the University of Arizona.

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 shifted his career to banking by joining Kentucky's First Southern National Bank. His duties included responsibility for all presentations of loans to loan committees and management of past-due, problem loans and exceptions. Within a year, he was managing a $7 million portfolio.

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. At SunTrust, he increased an existing $27 million loan portfolio to $45 million in a little over a year.

From 2009 until the present time, Pelphrey has been employed by TruPoint Bank. Currently a commercial lender and vice president, he has seen the average loan size increase to $700,000 over the past year.


icon for left menu icon for right menu