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The Breech Hall of Fame was created to honor Drury alumni and faculty for outstanding professional achievement in the field of business. Drury's Breech School of Business Administration is one of the Midwest 's best business schools, and is recognized as one of the finest in the country associated with a small university. The reputation of the Breech School has grown tremendously since its inception in 1957 due, in part, to the success of its alumni. Majors associated with the Breech School of Business Administration benefit immeasurably from Drury's liberal arts curriculum, which guides students to self-knowledge and an understanding of their place in our global society. Business students emerge from Drury as thoughtful leaders and insightful decision-makers, attuned to the ever-changing trends and demands of business. Inductees into the Hall must have made a significant, positive impact in the field of business through exemplary leadership, have demonstrated professional conduct consistent with the mission of the University and the Breech School of Business Administration, and have demonstrated a concern for improving their communities.
John William (Bill) Ricketts graduated from University of Missouri-Rolla (now Missouri University of Science & Technology) in 1961 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. After graduation Bill joined the Junior Executive Trainee Program at Southwestern Bell and worked in this program both before and after serving two years in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. After returning from active duty, he held several positions in operations management with Southwestern Bell and graduated from Drury with an MBA in 1971.
Ricketts was convinced his future lay in a more entrepreneurial direction and this led to a 40 year career in the management of manufacturing companies (30 in private or closely held companies and 10 in public companies). He joined TAMKO in 1966, serving in many positions, including vice president of manufacturing and senior vice president. In 1984 he became president of Lunday-Thagard Oil Company in California. He then joined St. Gobain Corporation (Paris, France) as vice president of operations of its CertainTeed Corporation in 1990 and moved on to St. Gobain's Norton Abrasives Corporation in New York in 1992. This assignment included full bottom line responsibility for Mexico, the United States and Canada as well as worldwide exports from Canada and the United States, providing marketing, research and development, product development, and engineering services to the company's seven other regions worldwide. In 1995, he became president of EMCO's Roofing Products Group in Montreal, Quebec and was promoted to president of its parent, EMCO Building Products, in 1997. Ricketts gained a reputation for being able to restore an organization to record returns in a short period of time by focusing on the development of leadership and entrepreneurial skills at each company.
In addition to his degrees from Missouri S&T and Drury, Ricketts participated in the Executive Development Program at the University of Michigan and has an honorary Professional Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Missouri S&T. He has a long record of leadership and service in a wide variety of industry and community organizations and is also involved with higher education organizations. He has been a member of the Board of Trustees at Drury since 1995.
Since his retirement from EMCO in 2005, he remains busy with consulting and volunteer work. Bill and Camille (Drury '65) have been married for 47 years and have two married daughters and three grandsons.
Andi Solaiman graduated from Drury University in 1984 and received his MBA in 1986. He began working with the Salim Group, a highly diversified group of companies with worldwide operations and businesses in Australia, China, the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Middle East, Europe, the United States and Africa.
Solaiman began his career in marketing, was appointed to head the Comptroller Department of the Chemicals Division in the Salim Group and ran the operations of 11 companies before age 32. Solaiman serves the group in his various capacities as a commissioner, chief executive officer, finance director and executive director. He has had a significant role in the development of Salim Group as a global competitor, including mergers, acquisitions and restructuring. He has established mentoring programs within Salim Group to identify and encourage future leaders within the corporation.
Solaiman and Imelda, his wife, have two sons, Reginald and Terrence, both of whom are students at Drury University. They reside in Singapore, Malaysia, and Jakarta, Indonesia.
Despite his hectic schedule of business meetings and travel, Solaiman is actively involved in various social and church activities particularly those in support of pastoral services and congregational needs.
John D. Beuerlein graduated from Drury in 1975 with a degree in Business Administration and went on to receive a master's degree from Washington University in 1977. John joined Edward Jones as an intern in the Equity Research department in 1976, and three years later he became a limited partner in the firm. Just one year later, in 1980, John became the youngest person ever to be made a general partner of Edward Jones.
Over his career he has been responsible for the firm's Research department, the Equity Trading Desk, the Syndicate department, the Equity Marketing department, Sales Management for more than 1,000 branch offices from Maine to Florida, and global advanced sales training for the firm. In 2007, he assumed his current role, partner responsible for the global client loyalty program, Edward Jones' No. 1 key objective.
John has continued his education throughout his career participating in executive-level programs from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton Business School, the University of Virginia where he earned the Chartered Financial Analyst designation, the Harvard Business School, and the Peter Drucker School of Management in Claremont, California.
In addition to his many professional achievements, John and Crystal, his wife, who were classmates at Drury, have given time and resources to their community and to Drury. John became a member of the Drury board of trustees in 1991 and since that time has contributed to a number of committees. In 1999, John co-chaired the Drury Campaign for Science and he and Crystal provided one of the key lead gifts that resulted in the construction of the Trustee Science Center. In 2004, John chaired the presidential search committee and he is currently in his second year as Chair of the Board of Trustees.
Recently, John and Crystal joined Edward Jones in a $2 million donation to establish the Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship. In addition to this program they have provided the funding to establish 10 annually renewable scholarships for minority students who are interested in studying entrepreneurship while attending Drury.
John and Crystal have been big supporters of the Students in Free Enterprise at Drury and have financially sponsored SIFE water purification programs to Mexico and India and are working on expanding those programs through a joint venture with Edward Jones.
Throughout his years in the industry John has served as Chairman of the National Membership Committee of the Securities Industry Association and on the Board of Directors of the St. Louis Society of Financial Analysts. He has been associated with many community service organizations throughout the years, including Washington University, the Assistance League of St. Louis, the United Way, Habitat for Humanity, and various Catholic charities.
John and Crystal have been married for nearly 32 years and have three children and a son-in-law — Sara and David, Robin and Danner.
Dr. W. Curtis (Curt) Strube came to Drury in 1969 and became director of the Breech School of Business in 1975. He was known as “Mr. Breech School of Business” on and off campus because of his dedication to the school.
Dr. Strube began his academic career at Monmouth College (Ill.) and earned his MBA from the University of Arizona, Tucson. He completed his doctorate at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.
A small business owner himself (he and his wife, Jan, founded and co-owned One Hour Photo Service, and other businesses over the years), he was always particularly interested in making Springfield a healthy environment to grow new businesses. Strube was determined to help his students and the general public move beyond “economic illiteracy.”
Dr. Strube spoke anywhere he was invited, from the Rotary Club or the Chamber of Commerce to any media outlet that called him for an interview. A noted economist famous for his “economic updates” at faculty meetings, Dr. Strube was willing to advise anyone from local small business owners to students, or simply go to lunch and chat if called.
Dr. Strube was the founder, and later chairman, of the Small Business Council. Because of his tireless work for small businesses, The Springfield Chamber of Commerce named its Small Business of the Year award in his honor. He also worked to establish the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs, the national accrediting agency for business schools. The Breech School of Business and Administration was an inaugural accredited school of the agency; Dr. Strube served on the agency’s board for many years and also served a term as its president.
A reaction to medication left Dr. Strube nearly deaf in 1996. He kept teaching, despite the constant ringing in his ears, and he communicated by dry-erase board and by a microphone connected to headphones designed for one-on-one communication with his students.
Dr. Strube died on April 21, 1997. He was fifty-six years old.
Raymond F. Aton (1916-1993) was a pioneer in the development of Springfield’s post-World War II economy. With his brother Richard ’36, their firm Aton Brothers Construction Co., built more than 200 banks and several Springfield landmarks, including the Southwestern Bell Telephone office, Mid-America Dairies, National Avenue Christian Church, and Belle Hall on Drury’s campus.
Aton purchased Southern Missouri Trust Company in 1968 with Thomas H. Baird, which they later sold to Mercantile Bank Corporation. He served as president of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce, president of the Springfield-Branson Regional Airport Board, member of the City Utilities board, the Southwest Missouri Art Museum board, the YMCA board, and the Springfield Planning and Zoning Commission. He was named Springfieldian of the Year in 1990.
Aton was also an active member of the Drury community. A 1937 alumnus of the university, he was an active member of Sigma Nu and the golf team, as well as the Panthers’ championship basketball team. He served as president of the alumni association from 1953-1954, joined the board of trustees in 1970, and served as its chairman. He was honored with the Drury Distinguished Alumni Award in 1985.
Dr. Wilber C. Bothwell graduated from Drury College in 1931, and after earning his master’s and doctoral degrees from Washington University in St. Louis, returned to his alma mater as professor of economics and political science in 1946. He organized and administered the first evening adult education program in Southwest Missouri in 1947. He spearheaded the development of the curriculum of the new Breech School of Business Administration when it was established in 1958.
Bothwell used a grant from the Ford Foundation to study how some of the nation’s best business schools were organized, and used his research to create the tradition of a Breech education: one that focuses heavily on the development of leadership and decision-making skills intertwined with a background in the liberal arts.
A member of Phi Beta Kappa, Bothwell was elected to the National Academy of Arbitrators in 1960, and served on the national panels of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, the American Arbitration Association, and the National Mediation Board. He served as the permanent arbitrator for Southwestern Bell and the Communication Workers; the Dayco Company and the United Rubber Workers; and the United States Postal Service and its unions; the Zenith Radio Corporation and the United Electrical Workers. He handled more than 1,200 labor disputes, and more than 200 of his decisions and opinions are now cited as major contributions to the development of employer-employee relations common law principles.
Ben A. Parnell, Jr. has a long and distinguished record of leadership in his professional career as a banker, and in service to a wide variety of community organizations. Born in Branson, Mo., Parnell attended Drury from 1935 to 1937 before receiving his bachelor's degree in economics and business administration from Louisiana State University in 1939. Following five years in the U.S. Navy, he returned to the family retail business in Branson. By the mid-1950s, however, he had entered the banking profession, where he would remain until his retirement in 1990.
As a banker, Parnell helped establish Peoples Bank of Branson, now Ozark Mountain Bank, and also has been president, chairman of the board, or director of Bank of Taney County, Forsyth; Citizens State Bank, Nevada; Bank of Kimberling City; Liberty Bank, Springfield; Springfield Trust Co.; and The Bank, Springfield. He played a key role in the development of Branson's tourist industry, making early loans to Silver Dollar City and the Baldknobbers, and urging legislators in Washington, D.C. to construct Table Rock Dam. In 1974 he served as president of the Missouri Bankers Association.
On his retirement, Parnell's friends praised his ability to help people work together. That side of his life is especially evident in his service to organizations such as the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, The Missouri State Chamber of Commerce, Ozarks Empire Council of the Boy Scouts of America, Springfield Symphony, Springfield Airport Board, and Council of Churches of the Ozarks, to name a few. He was named Springfieldian of the Year in 1996, and received the Missourian Award in 2002. In 1988 He received a Drury Distinguished Alumni Award. He has served on the Drury Board of Trustees from 1964 to 1971, and from 1983 to the present. In 1995 he was named a Life Trustee.
Jerry B. Poe, D.B.A., M.B.A., professor emeritus of finance at Arizona State University, was Director of the Breech School of Business Administration from 1968 to 1974. A native of Mountain Grove, Mo., he graduated from Drury in 1953 with a Bachelor of Arts in economics. He earned the Master in Business Administration from Washington University in St. Louis in 1957, and the Doctor of Business Administration from Harvard University in 1963. His work at Harvard was supported in part by a grant from the Ford Foundation.
Following a brief time on the faculty of Boston University, Poe joined the Breech School in 1961 as assistant professor, rising to the rank of professor in addition to his service as director. In 1974 he was appointed chairman of the finance department at Arizona State University, where he has been ever since. In 2000 he became professor emeritus of finance.
As an author, Poe wrote or co-wrote three texts: An Introduction to the American Business Enterprise, Cases in Financial Management: an Integrated Approach, and Essentials of Finance.
While the majority of his professional career has been as a university professor, Poe also has experience in the private sector. He was an industrial engineer for McDonnell Douglas, and consulted with Trans World Airlines, the Small Business Administration, Ridewell Corp. and Zenith, among others.
Poe is a member of Kappa Alpha Order and Beta Gamma Sigma. He and his wife, Carol, have two children, Cheryl and Jennifer.
Ralph Andreano, Ph.D. , professor emeritus of economics at the University of Wisconsin–Madison whose work emphasizes the economics of public health issues. A 1952 graduate of Drury, Andreano is a first-generation American, the youngest of seven children born to his Italian parents and the first in his family to graduate from college. Following his graduation from Drury, he spent a year on Fulbright scholarship in Norway , then taught at Northwestern University (where he earned a doctorate in economics 1961) , Harvard University and Earlham College in Richmond , Ind. He joined the faculty at Wisconsin in 1965, chaired the economics department from 1980–83, and retired from active teaching in 1997.
Recently he has been working with the World Health Organization in Geneva , Switzerland , to measure the impact of diseases like SARS, Avian Flu and Ebola. In the 1970s Andreano was the Chief Economist of the World Health Organization and he has been a consultant to it and other UN agencies for nearly 40 years. He has had a lifelong career of public service; at the age of 48, he became the first non-physician to be appointed chief administrator of the Wisconsin Division of Health. Andreano has published 15 books: four on economic history, six on the economics of health and five on various topics including baseball. He is best known for being one of the first economists to apply the theorems of economics to medicine and health.
Thomas McAlear , chairman and chief executive officer of the E companies, a group of event management, sales training, vehicle evaluation, testing and certification companies serving the automotive industry. Before joining the E companies in March 2004, McAlear spent 27 years at Chrysler and DaimlerChrysler, retiring in 2002 as chief operating officer for DaimlerChrysler Services North America and president and chief executive officer of DaimlerChrysler Insurance Company. McAlear received his bachelor's and master of business administration degrees from Drury in 1972 and 1975, respectively. He is a member of the Breech Advisory Board and is on the boards of directors of the Children's Leukemia Foundation of Michigan and the Oakland University School of Business Administration. He served on Drury's board of trustees from 2000 to 2004.
Charles Mercer, Ph.D. , a professor of business administration at Drury from 1962 until his death in 1994. Mercer was known as a kind, giving yet demanding teacher. In Mercer's obituary in the Springfield News-Leader , Penny Clayton, associate professor of business administration at Drury and one of Mercer's students, recalled him as “tough … You knew that if you got an A or a B you were deserving of it.” Mercer received his bachelor's degree from Memphis State University in 1958 and his master's and doctoral degrees from the University of Arkansas in 1960 and 1967, respectively. He was a frequent business consultant and served on the National Association of Accountants, the Midwest Business Administration Association and Ozark Economics Association, among others. Mercer was a frequent member of the site visit teams assembled by the North Central Association, the agency that accredits schools, colleges and universities in the Midwest .
DAVID HARRISON ('59) is an award-winning author and has been a musician, scientist, editor, speaker, and businessman. He holds degrees from Drury and Emory universities and was Southwest Missouri State University’s first recipient of the honorary doctorate of letters. His latest collection of poems – Connecting Dots – reached libraries and bookstores in November 2004. The 64-page volume of memoir poems spanning Harrison’s lifetime marks his 65th book for young people and teachers. His work has been reprinted in classroom texts and statewide reading tests, anthologized in fifty books, and translated into more than ten languages. Total sales of his books exceed fifteen million copies. Since1999 a trio has been performing David’s poems set to music. Somebody Catch My Homework, the 2002 play inspired by his poetry, has been performed often in the United States and, in 2004, in the Czech Republic. David’s work has been presented on national television and radio, including the BBC in England, and produced on cassette and CD-ROM. His poem, “My Book”, is sandblasted into the Children’s Garden sidewalk at Phoenix’s Burton Barr Central Library. A room is named in his honor in The Library Center in Springfield, Missouri. His 90-minute television documentary, Ozarks Voices, The Story of Springfield, was placed in the Library of Congress’s permanent collection for works of distinction.
DAVID O'REILLY ('71) is co-chairman of the board and chief executive officer of O'Reilly Auto Parts, a family-owned company. He graduated from Drury in 1971 with a bachelor of arts degree in business administration and economics. Active in the community, David has served on a number of local boards including Springfield Family Y, Boatmen's National Bank, The Bank, Springfield Catholic Schools Development Board, and the Drury Alumni Advisory Council. He also serves his industry by holding board and leadership positions with Automotive Warehouse Distributors Association, Auto Value Associates, Inc., and Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance.
LARRY O'REILLY ('69) vice-chairman of the board of the family-owned business O’Reilly Auto Parts in Springfield, Missouri. The business now has over 1,000 stores in the United States. He has served on the boards of a number of local and national organizations, including National Car Care Council, Springfield Catholic Schools Development Board, Auto Value National Automotive, and Big Brothers/Big Sisters. He is a current board member of St. John’s Hospital, Springfield Sports Commission, and Springfield Sports Hall of Fame. He is chairman of the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame, co-chairman of the Victim Center Building Committee, and is a current member of the Drury Board of Trustees.
LYLE REED ('70, '72) is a former railroad executive who received his bachelor's degree from Drury in 1970, and his M.B.A. in 1972. After some 30 years in the rail industry with Kansas City Southern Railway, St. Louis-San Francisco Railway (the Frisco), Burlington Northern Railroad, and Chicago Central and Pacific Railroad, Reed is currently president of Bois D'Arc Industries. He also serves as a member of the Drury Board of Trustees.
ERNEST R. BREECH (honorary degree 1948): Breech attended Drury from 1915 to 1917. In 1946, Breech became executive vice-president of Ford Motor Company, and from 1955 to 1960 was chairman of the board and chief executive officer. Today, Ernest Breech is regarded as a model corporate manager. The School of Business Administration at Drury University is named in his honor.
JOHN L. MORRIS ('70): Morris is the founder of Bass Pro Shops, Inc., a company he started in Springfield in 1971 as a bait shop. His companies now include Outdoor World, Bass Pro Shops Catalog, Tracker Marine, Big Cedar Lodge, Top of the Rock Golf Course and Dogwood Canyon Nature Park among others. His most recent dream-come-true is the new American National Fish and Wildlife Museum , Wonders of Wildlife (WOW).
CAROL JUNGE LOOMIS ('51): Loomis has been touted by the New York Post as “a legend in financial journalism” and called “an inspiration” by the chief financial correspondent of the New York Times. Loomis has had an enormously successful career as a financial journalist and editor of Fortune magazine spanning more than 45 years. She has been a member of the magazine's Board of Editors since 1968.
Jack Shewmaker is known for his successful career as an executive in the retailing industry and for his active involvement in organizations that promote higher education. For those reasons, Shewmaker will receive the first Breech Lifetime Achievement in Business Award from Drury University for his dedication to free enterprise and his commitment to the corporate world.
"The Breech faculty are honored to celebrate Jack's career. He exemplifies the meaning of accomplishment within the free enterprise system,”says Dr. Robert Wyatt, director of the Breech School of Business Administration. “His passion for improving the lives of people around the world and his support of Drury and our SIFE team has been crucial to our success. In fact, the SIFE's team annual award, given to those who have helped the team in the greatest way, bears his name. We are thrilled to recognize his influence on the lives of our students."
Shewmaker joined Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. in 1970 and served the firm in a number of capacities including the positions of President and Chief Operating Officer and of Vice Chairman and Chief Financial Officer. He was appointed to the Wal-Mart Board of Directors in 1977 and served on Wal-Mart's Executive Committee. Shewmaker announced his semi-retirement from Wal-Mart in February 1988, but remains active with the company as a member of the Board of Directors.
View the tribute video produced to recognize Shewmaker's achievements.
Currently, Shewmaker is a consultant to the Board of Directors and Executive Management of Woolworths Limited in Sydney, Australia, the largest food retailer in Australia. In addition to serving on the Wal-Mart Board of Directors, Shewmaker serves as an advisory board member for Henkel, North America and on both the executive and finance committee of the Board of Trustees of The Cleveland Clinic.
Shewmaker is involved in many organizations that promote higher education. For several years he served as Chairman of Students in Free Enterprise, Inc. and currently serves as an executive board member. He has been a member of the Board of Trustees at Drury University in Springfield, Missouri since 1984, serving on their executive committee and other various committees during that time. Drury University, Southwest Baptist University and Northwest Arkansas Community College have all awarded him honorary degrees.