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Big News from UTSA
Scott Kabrich

April, 2010

New UTSA alum director faces big task


Web Posted: 04/05/2010

If Jim Mickey's run as head of alumni programs at the University of Texas at San Antonio is anything like his time as a student, the man will leave a lasting imprint.

In the late 1970s, Mickey and his friends launched a major public relations campaign to get the roadrunner elected the school mascot, narrowly rescuing future students and alumni from a lifetime of armadillo ball caps, bulky costumes and defense of a mascot that burrows into the ground at the first sign of conflict.

“We were real passionate about UTSA and our future. And we were pretty motivated not to be the armadillos,” chuckled Mickey, now 53. “It's funny how all that came together.”

Mickey, a former telecommunications executive, has been named director of alumni programs, starting April 15. He replaces Jane Burton, who is retiring after 33 years at UTSA.

“We are so excited. It is a wonderful thing for UTSA,” Burton said of Mickey's selection. Mickey, former chief operating officer at Pocket Communications, has been an active alumnus for many years, sitting on the board of the alumni association, emceeing the annual ring ceremony, and giving money for student scholarships and athletics, Burton said.

Mickey has lived and traveled around the country working for AT&T, Sprint and Pocket, but he wanted to stay in San Antonio. When the UTSA job opened up, it seemed like a perfect fit.

“At this point in my career it is not all about the money, it is about giving back to the university. They really needed someone to step up, and I really do feel honored that I was chosen to do this,” he said.

Mickey takes over at a historic juncture. UTSA is embarking on its first-ever capital campaign, launching a football team and transforming itself into a Tier One research university.

Pride is growing, but Mickey's task of engaging UTSA's 78,000 graduates is not easy. UTSA was founded in 1969, so many of its alumni still are young and are busy with families and climbing the career ladder.

Around 50,000 alumni live in and around San Antonio, but only 3,500 are active members of the alumni association.

“Clearly, there is an opportunity to reconnect the alumni to the university,” Mickey said.

When football comes, alumni may stampede to the stadium, but Mickey also wants to lure them into the classroom as guest speakers, visitors and mentors.

Becoming more savvy about technology and social networking will be crucial to connecting with younger alumni, he said. Donating by text message worked spectacularly well for Haiti, so why not UTSA?

“If you can make it easy for them to give, little numbers can add up to big numbers at the end of the day,” Mickey said. “Even if they start small, now they have connected and will find it easier to give in the future.”

5 killed in Washington Tesoro fire  - In what officials say is the worst refinery accident since 2005, an explosion at Tesoro Corp.'s plant in Washington state killed five employees Friday and prompted renewed safety concerns by U.S. officials.   The Tesoro explosion “is extremely serious. I think it's the largest loss of life since BP's accident in Texas City,” said Daniel Horowitz, a spokesman for the U.S. Chemical Safety Board, a federal agency that investigates serious industrial accidents.

S.A.'s top AT&T exec leaving - John Stankey, the highest-ranking AT&T executive based in San Antonio and the man who has served as the company's public face in the Alamo City for nearly two years, will relocate to Dallas by this summer, a spokesman said Friday.   Another 40 to 50 people in operations for AT&T also could move to the headquarters in Dallas.  Stankey, AT&T's president and CEO of operations, is one of the telecommunications giant's top five executives and has been the senior executive among the thousands of AT&T employees still in San Antonio since the company relocated its headquarters to Dallas in 2008.  He's responsible for all of the company's research and development, information technology and engineering. But quite possibly his most prominent job duties are overseeing AT&T's wireline and wireless networks, including its 3G network.

Local CEO is charged in Pemex fuel case - A San Antonio business executive is the latest person to be charged in a case of $2 million in fuel stolen from Mexican giant Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, that was resold in the United States.   Federal court records unsealed this week show Tim Brink, CEO of Continental Fuels, was charged in January with conspiracy to acquire petroleum that Mexican officials believe was stolen from Pemex by the Zetas, a cartel that since has broken away from the Gulf Cartel and entered into new lines of criminal activity.

San Antonio earns grade as fourth best relocation destination in America - San Antonio ranked as one of the top cities in the United States for people moving in 2009, according to a report released by U-Haul nternational Inc.  U-Haul released its 2009 National Migration Trend Report, ranking the top 50 U.S. Destination Cities.   The Alamo City ranked fourth in the country in 2009, up from eighth place in 2008.  The top market in the country was Houston. Las Vegas ranked second. Chicago ranked third. Orlando, Fla., ranked fifth and Austin; Atlanta; Sacramento; Kansas City, Mo.; and Denver rounded out the top 10.

Rackspace CEO named to Forbes list of young, powerful CEOs - President and CEO Lanham Napier has been named one of “America’s 15 Most Powerful CEOs 40 and Under” by Forbes magazine.  Napier, 39, first became a Racker or Rackspace employee in 2000 at a time when the company had less than 100 employees and a single data center. Since then, Rackspace has grown considerably to more than 2,750 Rackers and nine data centers worldwide in 2010. He was named CEO in 2006 after previously working as the chief financial officer.  The Forbes list of “America’s 15 Most Powerful CEOs 40 and Under” is determined by the heads of the 15 biggest publicly traded companies in the United States under the age of 40 as of Feb. 8, 2010. Companies are ranked by market capitalization. Rackspace had a market capitalization of $2.1 billion.

UT piloting program to shorten grad times - University of Texas is piloting a program this summer aimed at shortening student graduation times and making the in-between semester more useful for students. The Provost's Office introduced the Summer Enhancement Program, which will pilot for the first time next semester. The initiative basically adds new courses and repeats classes that fill up during fall and spring sessions.  The program will also give financial incentives to majors whose summer offerings attract the most additional students. If successful, the it will continue in subsequent summers.

Texas gets $338M for low-achieving schools - U.S. Department of Education is giving Texas nearly $338 million to help turn around persistently low-achieving schools. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said these funds are part of a $3.5 billion School Improvement Grant program funneling to states this spring. Feds will draw the funds from money set aside in the Education Department’s 2009 budget and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Blue Whale Moving opens SA facility - Blue Whale Moving Company Inc. opened its second facility in San Antonio, officials said Sunday.  Officials did not say if the new site houses storage and trucks, only that the expansion will help extend its reach and service in the San Antonio market.  Blue Whale was founded in 1988 by former personal injury lawyer Brad Armstrong and his friend, first investor and University of Texas psychology graduate Blake Miller. They were 28 and 23 years old at the time. The company operates a 23,000-square-foot storage facility in addition to moving and cleaning services. It filed for a Texas Intrastate Offering in 1998, seeking to raise $1.5 million by selling 150,000 shares, but later broke escrow and is still privately-held.

Scott Kabrich

Researcher, Advancement Services

The University of Texas at San Antonio


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