Posts Tagged ‘Accomplishment’

Brian A. Bailey (M.B.A. ’78)

May 9, 2023 | Austin, Texas | Appointment

Governor Greg Abbott has named Brian A. Bailey as chair of the Texas Facilities Commission for a term to expire annually. The Commission builds, maintains, and supports state buildings and property across the State of Texas. In addition, the Commission is responsible for the construction of Texas’ border wall along the southern border.

Brian A. Bailey of Austin has served on the Texas Facilities Commission since May 2019. He is a member of the Greater Austin Crime Commission and The University of Texas Chancellor’s Council Executive Committee. Bailey received a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from The University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Houston.

Steve Alexander (’72)

Steve Alexander has published “Exploring Galveston: A Naturalist’s Guide to the Island”

After growing up in Galveston and graduating from Ball High School, Steve Alexander enrolled at the University of Houston, and after four years, graduated in 1972 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. During his tenure at UH, “Marine Biology” was his favorite course, one taught by Dr. Nick Fotheringham, a recent doctoral graduate from Scripps Institute of Oceanography. The course sparked in him a desire to pursue marine sciences at the graduate level- and he did so at Louisiana State University, completing his doctoral degree in Marine Sciences in 1976.

After graduating from LSU, Dr. Alexander taught college-level courses in marine sciences for 27-years before retiring and returning to Galveston in 2005. There, he taught part-time for 13 years at Texas A&M University at Galveston while also volunteering as a Texas Master Naturalist, accumulating in excess of 2,500 volunteer hours.

His 40-years as a biologist, ecologist, marine scientist, and naturalist working on the Texas coast gave him the perfect background to write a nature guide for the Upper Texas coast. His book, Exploring Galveston: A Naturalist’s Guide to the Island, serves as an excellent resource when wandering the natural habitats of Galveston Island and Bolivar Peninsula.

Through his series of 25 stories, readers get an expert, guided look at the best natural wonders Galveston Island and vicinity have to offer- the Gulf beachfront, bay wetlands, local parks and preserves, and top attractions. In addition, the book describes the impact of hurricanes and oil spills on Texas coastlines and also includes maps to guide visitors, over 100 color photographs, and a list of coastal plants and animals by habitat.

Dr. Alexander is grateful to the University of Houston for his initial training in biology and for sparking in him a passion for all things marine, a passion that persists in him to this day.

Exploring Galveston: A Naturalist’s Guide to the Island is available locally at The Galveston Bookshop and online at

David Sikora (’86)

April 24, 2023
TDECU Board Elects New Chairman to Guide
Its Digital Transformation

David Sikora | TDECU Board of Directors Chairman
Photo courtesy: TDECU
TDECU, Houston’s largest credit union, is moving in a new direction with the election of David Sikora as the Chairman of the Board.
“I am honored to have been unanimously elected as Chairman of the Board and honored by the trust placed in me by my fellow board members,” said Sikora. “TDECU already does a great job on bringing value to our Members, but we must also focus on the technologies that will enable us to engage with them in an even more personalized way.”
Sikora brings over 25 years of experience in executive leadership roles in the financial services and software industry. He began his career in Houston in 1992 as the President & CEO of The Forefront Group, which provided e-learning software for information technology professionals. He has held senior leadership positions in several financial technology companies, most recently CEO and Director of ALTR which provides data governance and security solutions for data-driven enterprises.
“People in our communities demand convenience and a simple and intuitive experience through any digital interaction,” said Sikora. “At the same time we aim to provide our Members with the same human touch that has been a hallmark of the credit union for nearly 60 years.”
Sikora has a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Graduate School of Business and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Houston. He has been a member of the TDECU Board of Directors since 2015, and succeeds Richard Smith, who has served as Chairman since 2014. Smith will remain on the board as a director.
TDECU CEO and President Isaac Johnson says he is looking forward to working with the new Chairman on taking the credit union to the next level.
“David and I have worked together for years and have a great relationship,” said Johnson. “As the landscape of the financial industry is changing, I know that he has the experience and commitment to assist us on our mission to help Members navigate their financial journeys.”

Judy Haveson Cohen (’86)

Judy Haveson Cohen (’86) released a new book on September 28, 2022.

The publisher description follows:

Growing up in 1970s and 80s suburban Houston, Judy Haveson is funny, sarcastic, and fiercely loyal, especially to her family, friends, and big sister, Celia. When she suffers a series of unimaginable traumatic events, her seemingly idyllic childhood comes to a halt, changing her life forever.

In Laugh Cry Rewind, Judy takes readers on her journey of self-discovery, sharing funny, touching, and heartbreaking stories from her childhood all the way to the birth of her son. Her experiences serve as a reminder that while life is not always fair, ultimately, the choice to surrender or keep on living is ours. Her message to others who have experienced loss or tragedy is this: stop waiting for the other shoe to drop. Let life go on, and good things will be waiting for you on the other side of the pain.

On November 10, 2022, Judy returned to UH to share her story with a class at Valenti School of Communications.

Thomas Moy (’71)

The Arizona Historical Society was pleased to announce that this year’s winner of the Don Bufkin Award for best conference paper on territorial Arizona is Thomas B. Moy’s submission, “Solving a Riddle: Uncovering Chinese Monopoly of Tombstone Laundry Industry.” Moy is a former teacher, principal, and warden with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. His articles have appeared in the Journal of the Wild West History Association.

Ricky Lenz (’75)

I am in my 47th year as a pharmacist. I am the pharmacist in charge of Rogers Pharmacy #3. I work there on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. On Wednesdays, I work as a consultant
pharmacist for the South Texas Eye Surgicenter. I have been working at the South Texas Eye Surgicenter for 35 years. I work at Rogers #6 (in Edna, Texas) from 9-1. I am a long-time member
of the American Society of Health System Pharmacists (50 years), and I am a member of the Texas Pharmaceutical Association (50 years). I am Fellow in the Academy of Consultant Pharmacists.
I turned 70 this year and am still work full-time. I plan to keep working as long as my health holds out.
I have been married for 44 years to Carol Ann Lenz. We have one son, Joseph, who graduated (magna cum laude) in 2006 with a double degree in Classics (Latin & Greek), and German. Joseph
is a Phi Beta Kappa.
The University of Houston College of Pharmacy prepared me well for my pharmacy career. UH is a great university which I support financially every year. I am proud to be a graduate of UH.
Keep up the great work.

Royce Heslep (’77)

Cougar Pride at the top of Texas
The trip to the top was a 8.4 mile round trip hike. It took about 9 hours. We stayed at the top for over an hour flying the UH flag. Kathleen Heslep MBA 1990 / Blake Heslep BSEE 2018 /Royce Heslep BBA 1977

Lyle Oelfke (’55)

UH graduate Lyle Oelfke, at the age of ninety, has written a very interesting book
about his life’s adventures and his accomplishments. He did this all during
this pandemic. A book of 190 pages all typed with one finger. It’s titled :
WHAT A BOOK an Extrtraordinary Life Relived for You IN Bits and Pieces.
It takes you from horse drawn transportation to the jet planes of today.
Stories of adventures from the 21 countries he has visited…his many death
defying close calls…his military service and what he has done for his
country and his community….his business career…how he acquired in his
life a four story castle mansion over looking a lake and how he owned a
restaurant in Fort Worth. The book is now available on Amazon.

Marla-Tiye Vieira (M.Ed. ’03)

Celebrated Author’s Bittersweet Pilgrimage To South Africa
When celebrated American author Marla-Tiye Vieira recently made a pilgrimage to Cape Town to celebrate her mother’s life, she reached out to White Shark Projects to rekindle a friendship that began 13 years ago.

A Mother And Daughter’s Adventure With White Shark Projects Remembered
Marla had travelled to South Africa with her late mum way back then, and after her death six years ago vowed to return to the place where they had shared wonderful adventures, which included shark cage diving in Kleinbaai with White Shark Projects.

Rekindling Friendships After 13 Years
When White Shark Projects’ Jessica Smit received the call, she was so blown away by the story that she invited Marla to Kleinbaai as a special guest of the company. It was a bittersweet reunion, one where an emotional farewell took place out at sea when Marla released her mum’s ashes into the ocean.

The White Shark Projects team wishes Marla safe travels wherever life may lead her and look forward to seeing her again one day.

Jasmine Breeze (a story by Marla-Tiye Viera)
Marla-Tiye Vieira’s inspirational book Jasmine Breeze deals with oppression caused by gender and race inequality in modern-day society. The work has been described by critics as a great international love story and has received five-star reviews.

“This is a story about Jasmine from Southern Louisiana, her mother a third-generation Irish American, her father an African American, his grandmother a Chippewa Native American, and his grandfather who was the first African American in Louisiana to start his own law firm. Jasmine is studying in Spain where she meets Jose all the while holding secrets about her life and who she really is inside, afraid to share her true self with her family. She learns there are people close to her in her family holding their own secrets as well, this is a story about racism, secrets, love, and the struggles of finding your true self with twists along the way. I enjoyed this read along with appreciating the writing style, was an easy read and I would recommend it to anyone. I definitely will be looking forward to other books from this author.” Phyllis Watson (Rated Five-Stars)

“This author really encapsulates human suffering and guides us on how to make authentic connections. I enjoyed reading every page and I did not want the story to end. Vieira writes with inspiration and excitement. Her travel descriptions make you feel that you are actually a part of the setting. I highly recommend this text to one and all.” Carol (Rated Five-Stars)

Recommended Reading
The White Shark team highly recommend Marla’s book, which is available in paperback and Kindle and can be ordered via Amazon here.

Thomas Fenske (’76, ’77)

Thomas Fenske is the author of of six novels and one cookbook. He is originally from Texas but currently lives in North Carolina. His TRACES OF TREASURE Series follows Sam Milton and Smidgeon Toll, somewhat reluctant treasure hunters. THE HAG RIDER is civil war historical fiction about a young boy’s experiences after enlisting in the Confederate Cavalry, all the while under the protection of a slave’s witchcraft. HARMON CREEK explores a decade’s-old murder in rural Texas and the sordid conspiracy that follows. HARMON CREEK is his first novel in the crime/true crime genre, inspired by the mysterious death of his wife’s great-uncle. HARMON CREEK will be available from Amazon or any local bookstore in June 2022

Thomas Fenske