Association Honors Five Alumni As ‘Distinguished’

Five Sam Houston State University graduates who have brought pride to the university through their contributions in business and public service will be honored as Distinguished Alumni on Oct. 9 as part of the university’s 2009 homecoming festivities.

The honorees include Ronny Carroll, Tommy Frank, Jerry Marshall, Ed Reyna and Edd Compton IV, the recipient of the university’s Young Alumnus Award. The Distinguished Alumni Gala will take place at 6 p.m. in the Lowman Student Center Ballroom.

Tickets are $70 each. Table sponsorships area also still available. For more information about the event, contact the Office of Alumni Relations at 936.294.1841.

Ronny Carroll

Ronny Carroll is a well-known name in the Houston area homebuilding industry.

A first-generation college student, Carroll came to Sam Houston State College on a football and baseball scholarship and graduated in 1965 with a business degree.

He was called into active duty by the U.S. Army and spent a year in Vietnam where he served as captain. A high point of every year for Carroll is his unit’s Vietnam reunion. At the 25th anniversary of the Vietnam wall in Washington, D.C., he was given the honor of reading the names of 50 fallen soldiers.

After leaving the Army, Carroll became a pharmaceutical sales representative and was named the No. 1 salesman for two years. He then received an offer from two college friends to go into the homebuilding business. Since then, has been named the Houston Custom Builder of the year (in 2000) and one of the 25 largest homebuilders of Houston (in 2008).

He has also served as a director of the Greater Houston Homebuilders Association and is a life director for the Texas Association of Home Builders.

Carroll is an active member of the Sigma Chi fraternity, for which he has served as chapter adviser; has coached little league and youth baseball; and was on the board of directors for Texas Guaranty Bank.

He is a past president and member of the SHSU Alumni Association board of directors.

Tommy Frank

Starting his career as a teenager with Conn’s Appliances in 1957, Tommy Frank worked his way from delivery truck helper to chief executive officer and chairman of the corporation during his tenure there.

He retired on June 2, 2009, but remains on the company’s board of directors and has entered into a consulting contract with the Conn’s.

A 1963 SHSU graduate with a bachelor’s degree in industrial arts, Frank, who worked alongside C.W. Conn, Jr., played an instrumental role in growing the Beaumont appliance store into a major regional chain.

Along the way to his rise to the top, he held key positions in all areas of the organization, including distribution, service, credit, information technology, accounting, and general operations. He became amember of the board of directors in 1980.

In 1994 he was named CEO. He created and implemented a strategic plan that nearly tripled the number of stores, led to the company going public, and resulted in an annual revenue growth rate.

During his tenure, the company grew from 15 employees when he was first employed to a $700 million company with 56 stores in Texas and 2,800 employees that averaged 17 percent growth and 22 percent earnings.

Frank completed the Small Company Management Program at Harvard University and was the recipient of a graduate teaching fellowship from Texas A&M University.

Col. (Ret.) Jerry Marshall

A retired colonel in the United States Air Force, whose services extended more than 31 years, Jerry Marshall is a decorated veteran of 120 combat missions over Southeast Asia and a command pilot with more than 5,000 flying hours.

The 1964 SHSU graduate, who has an additional bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska, has received such awards as the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Cross, the Bronze Star Medal and the Defense Meritorious Service Medal.

After his retirement from the Air Force, Marshall “utilized his acquired abilities and experience, and dedicated his efforts to improving the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of Bexar and many other counties in the state of Texas” to become the executive director for the Bexar Metro 9-1-1 Network District, a special purpose emergency communication district authorized by the Texas Health and Safety Code.

For his retirement from the Bexar Metro 9-1-1- Network District, a proclamation was issued by the Commissioners Court of Bexar County extending “sincere gratitude and heartfelt appreciation” for his “enthusiasm, support, and dedication to the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of Bexar County, Texas.”

Similar proclamations or certificates of appreciation were issued by the County of Comal and the cities of San Antonio and New Braunfels.

Ed Reyna

A public servant for more than 35 years, Ed Reyna’s favorite saying is “making a difference today for tomorrow.”

He has lived by those words throughout his career in the criminal justice arena and in his personal life as well.

The 1971 SHSU and Sigma Chi alumnus from Mission, Tex. also holds a master’s degree from Southern Methodist University and attended the Harvard University JFK School of Government. He was one of the first federal probation officers to implement pretrial services for the Federal Court System.

He worked with the Texas Department of Corrections, Dallas County Juvenile Department and finished his career with the U.S. Probation/Pretrial Services Office for the Northern District of Texas.

Reyna also was chosen to establish the first U.S. Pretrial Services Office in the Southern District of Florida and was selected by the Federal Judicial Center to help train newly-hired federal probation and pretrial officers.

Many of the programs he helped create and implement are still in use today, including the mobile Pretrial Services unit dealing with the processing of large numbers of arrests; education services, in conjunction with the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, for families of soon-to-be incarcerated defendants; and “The Alternatives for Detention,” a guide used for setting bail.

He is qualified as a mediator and a Family Law mediator and has shown a heart for his community by offering “pro bono” mediations for citizens of Dallas County who were not able to afford court ordered mediations. He has also taught English to Third World refugees.

Reyna and his wife, Carla, live in Dallas. They have three children – Courtney, Blake and Sara.

Edd Compton IV, Distinguished Young Alumnus

Ten years ago, Edd Compton took a one-employee, two-vehicle operation in Houston and turned it into the 14-employee, seven fleet vehicle business known today as Professional Fleet Service.

The 1994 and 1995 SHSU graduate with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in industrial technology, became interested in entrepreneurship as a child, when after starting a lawn maintenance service and realizing his allergies were not “conducive to that business,” he hired two classmates to do the mowing. Compton furnished the equipment, did sales, scheduling, billing and collections.

During his freshman year of college, he opened PC Cellular and Protection Connection as a storefront business in the Rice Village Shopping Center where he sold wireless phones, pagers and vehicle security equipment. He closed the store when he transferred to SHSU.

Following his success with the service company, Compton started a sales business, which buys and sells fleet vehicles, boats and motorcycles. He also operates a full service shop and holds car, truck, boat and motorcycle dealer licenses.

Active in his community, he has served with the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo for more than ten years. He is on the Calf Scramble Arena Committee.

Compton, a member of Sigma Chi fraternity and the Order of Omega, lives in Houston. He is the son of Jack, also an SHSU graduate, and Sue Ann Compton, of Bellaire.

Leave a Reply