The official newsletter of the UNT
G. Brint Ryan College of Business.

View this email on the web





Kathleen Wayton ('83)  


Kathleen Wayton's first job was at a Dallas design firm, and like most inaugural forays into the professional frontier, it was no better or worse than fine. The position certainly had some bright spots, particularly in the way it allowed the marketing grad to tap into her innate creativity and knack for problem solving -- skills that served her well then, and even better now.

It was at home, though, that her imagination really soared, ascending as high as the airplanes that glided above her apartment as they made their way to DFW Airport. The Odessa native had rarely traveled, but as she gazed up at the passenger jets, she could picture herself relaxing on international beaches and strolling through European museums, soaking in the masterpieces that had so captivated her attention during an art history class at North Texas.

So one day, Wayton decided to strike a deal with her boss. "I'll work as a reservation agent for American Airlines for a year and travel," she promised, "and then I'll come back."

She never did. Instead, she segued into technology at American, eventually transitioning into a role as an assembler developer. After nearly two decades as a technology leader at American and Sabre, she joined Southwest Airlines in 2004 as senior director of technology.

And while it seems cliché to say the sky was the limit, that was the absolute truth: In a company whose top priority is employee satisfaction, Wayton was presented with endless ways to explore her talents and, in turn, bolster Southwest's reputation with customers.

"Herb Kelleher always said, 'Take care of your employees, and they'll take care of their customers,'" says Wayton, who for the past two years has served as Southwest's senior vice president and chief information officer. "We're all working toward the same goal -- trying to make sure everybody enjoys what they're doing as they're making the customer experience better."

A significant piece of that goal for Wayton and her team was the completion of OneRes, which replaced the airline's 30-year-old reservation system in 2017 with Amadeus' Altéa platform. The migration to Altéa, spearheaded by Wayton, allows Southwest to optimize their schedule, enhance revenue through improved fare flexibility, automate re-accommodations during irregular operations and support international growth through new distribution capabilities.

"OneRes implemented very successfully," says Wayton, who noted that the system is on track to exceed the $500 million in additional annual profit it was projected to generate for Southwest by 2020. "Having a modern, flexible reservation system gives you so much opportunity."

Currently, Wayton is focused on building increased data integration across the end-to-end customer experience. Once those foundational aspects are set, she says, the company will be able to deliver travel experiences much quicker.

And speaking of travel -- since she left that design firm in 1984, Wayton has done plenty of it. But the journey that's taught her the most is her professional one.

"Never say no -- just take the opportunity," Wayton says. "When American said I should be an assembler developer, I did it. When Southwest asked me to work in strategic planning, I did it. Having an open mindset led me to where I am today."




Mike Barnett ('91)

Mike Barnett and longtime friend Seth Morgan (’93) have come to rely on each other to tackle one of their most unexpected, albeit enjoyable, endeavors: owning their own Denton businesses.

Morgan and his wife Jen (’98) officially opened the doors of Denton County Brewing Co., a craft beer brewery on McKinney Street, nearly two years ago and Barnett — who previously operated the Almost Famous pizza truck outside of DCBC, as well as Pizza Guy, a pizza parlor in Boise, Idaho — recently acquired Denton County Independent Hamburger Co. after its original owner, retired last year. 
And while entrepreneurship is no easy task, both agree it’s the right fit.

It was Barnett who found the space that would ultimately become DCBC. After spending three years in New York City and nearly 11 years in Boise, he had recently returned to Denton to be closer to family. On the lookout for the perfect place to open another Pizza Guy, he stumbled across the location on McKinney Street, directly next door to Secondhand Sports. But the building was too big for a pizza joint, so Barnett told Morgan to check it out.

 “It took me forever to figure out what I wanted to do with my life,” Morgan says. “I kind of backed into what I was doing in the financial world, and it was great — I got a ton of experience. But I always knew I wanted to do something that would allow me to be more creative than I could be in finance, yet continue to be around people. I just needed to find my passion.”

Barnett stepped in to help Morgan oversee the day-to-day operations of DCBC while he wrapped up his remaining responsibilities at his finance job. Once Morgan took over the brewery full time, Barnett — who owned a pizza shop and ran two car washes while living in the Boise area — began considering his next step. Soon after, he heard from a friend that Kitchens was looking to retire and sell Denton County Independent Hamburger Co.

“Growing up, I ate there at least once a week,” Barnett says. “I’ve always loved the product and the system, which is so simple and brilliant. I always thought, ‘This guy has it figured out.’ I was just real honest with him. I said, ‘Look, I don’t have a lot of money, but I’m the perfect guy to take it over. I have the skillset, I’ve lived here, I know people.’ This is a restaurant with a 40-year success story — all I have to do is not screw it up.”

Kitchens was convinced, and in March, Barnett took over. True to his word, he left the Denton County Independent formula intact — the burgers, the fries, the beans, the décor. But he did extend the hours of operation, with the restaurant now closing at 9 p.m.

“I think it’s been serendipitous,” Barnett says. “I wanted to start a pizza chain here, and that never really materialized. But as I’m getting older, I’m getting to where I’m trying to plan my life less and just go with whatever God or the universe or whatever you want to call it is throwing at me. I’m just trying to go with the river instead of swimming up it, like I did for the first 45 years of my life.”



Service Nation

Teaming up with UNT’s Ryan College of Business, Service Nation is giving its clients the chance to increase their earning potential.
UNT’s Professional Development Institute (PDI), housed within the Ryan College of Business, has collaborated with Service Nation to develop a program where individuals can take classes that transfer as credit toward a Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences completion degree. In doing so, those workers will receive quality business management training to enhance their technical knowledge, and ultimately transition their jobs into long-term career paths.
With today’s shortage in skilled tradesman, coupled with employee retention challenges, this partnership aims to combat these issues and provide a pathway to increased employment.
And this is not the only way Service Nation is helping to break down barriers.
This spring, PDI delivered a business valuation workshop at Service Nation’s conference in Orlando, Service World Expo, which has spurred additional opportunities for current UNT students. In exchange for the workshop, Service Nation agreed to establish The Service Nation Endowed Scholarship.
This endowment, set to begin distributing in 2020, will provide scholarships to full-time Ryan College of Business students, in perpetuity. A formed committee will determine the number of scholarships and their amounts, annually, with infinite potential on the horizon.
At UNT, a scholarship of just $1,000 can qualify an out-of-state student to receive an in-state tuition rate — making a dramatic difference on their bottom line.



IICF grants twelve scholarships to veterans interested in risk management and insurance

UNT’s Risk Management and Insurance program is giving financial assistance to veterans pursuing their education at the G. Brint Ryan College of Business.
Thanks to a generous grant provided by the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation (IICF), more than $16,500 was awarded this spring to UNT veteran students with an interest in risk management and insurance.
Since its founding in 2012, the IICF Southeast Division has granted over $2.4 million to help meet critical community needs, including veteran assistance. A grant from IICF allowed 12 UNT veteran students to receive customized resume and LinkedIn advice and information about careers in the Risk Management and Insurance industry.
The program, which includes professional training, informational sessions and a presentation from a Questpro representative, gives interested veterans a look at educational and career opportunities within the risk management and insurance industry. It serves as a way to encourage those to pursue the risk management and insurance field, while also giving well-deserved assistance to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.
This year, twelve applicants qualified for the award and each individual received nearly $1,380 to use toward their educational expenses.
The UNT Ryan College of Business has been recognized for its efforts in supporting veterans in a number of ways. Its undergraduate business, management and marketing programs ranked 12th for veterans and its undergraduate business administration program ranked among the top 70 in the nation for veterans by

UNT's CFO and college alumnus earns national Distinguished Business Officer award

Bob Brown, the senior vice president for finance and administration at UNT, and 1990 Ryan College of Business alumnus, was honored with the National Association of College and University Business Officers' Distinguished Business Officer Award. 

NACUBO's annual awards recognize individual and institutional excellence in higher education business and financial management, and recipients exemplify the best in the sector.


Brown was nominated for the award by Chancellor Lesa Roe, UNT President Neal Smatresk and other administrators for his extensive work in creating the UNT New College at Frisco branch campus and overall support for students and the community. 

“I am both humbled and honored to have been selected for this award,” Brown said in a news release. “That such a highly respected group of colleagues would nominate me for my work is one of the highlights of my career. I am so appreciative of their kind words and acknowledgment.”


Campers take to the skies as they learn about the aviation industry

On their fourth day of Aviation Career Education Camp, a couple dozen teenagers stepped into cockpits to co-pilot their first flights.

They were all upperclassmen or recent graduates from high schools spread across Denton and Tarrant counties.

Groups of students, all wearing matching camp T-shirts, stepped into the four-seater Cessna 172s waiting for them outside a portion of Fort Worth Alliance Airport.

The camp, which is a local branch of a Federal Aviation Administration program, is handled jointly between the University of North Texas and Tarrant County College, with additional support from U.S. Aviation Academy.

Campers, like staff members, ran the gamut from aspiring commercial pilots, to hobbyists, to those who wanted to work in the industry but didn’t necessarily want to be pilots.

Mark Loud, camp co-director and aviation maintenance instructor at TCC, said the campers’ first flight is a polarizing, transformative experience.

“If they didn’t want to be a pilot already, they do now,” he said as the first pairs of students flew above Alliance Airport on Thursday. “Or they don’t want anything to do with it.”

Loud’s career and lifestyle illustrate one of the many options ACE Camp tries to bring to students. While he isn’t a flight instructor, and he isn’t a commercial pilot, he flies his personal small aircraft to work every day.

In addition to cutting down on his morning commute, his skill set makes it easier to visit family on the Gulf Coast or take day trips with his wife across the region.

Along with Steve Joiner, he’s been helping to lead the local ACE Camp for the past five years, during which time the yearly camp has grown from a handful of campers to nearly three dozen actively involved and many more on a wait list.




UNT Accounting Research Conference highlights diverse research

The Department of Accounting hosted its first UNT Accounting Research Conference, coordinated by Dr. Jesse Robertson, earlier this year.

More than twenty academic papers, ten of which were included for presentation at the conference, were submitted. These papers involved a mix of archival and behavioral methodologies and diverse topics such as corporate governance, auditing and professional services, and financial reporting.

In addition to presenters from institutions such as the University of Wisconsin, Louisiana State University, Oklahoma University, and the University of Texas at Dallas, the conference also featured a panel session on ethics and corporate social responsibility in the energy industry.

The department was also honored to host the conference's keynote speaker, Dr. Christine Botosan, Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) board member and past president of the American Accounting Association. Botosan provided remarks on the conceptual framework for financial reporting.

A second research conference is set to take place in 2021 to continue to advance the department's research reputation and promote an exchange of ideas among academics from across the country. 

Alumni Association mobile app in development

The UNT Alumni Association is developing a mobile application to help alumni keep the university at their fingertips. The UNT Alumni app will be a user-friendly and personalized guide to staying connected to all things UNT.

"We're launching the UNT Alumni app to make our programs and services easier to access," UNT Alumni Association Executive Director Rob McInturf says. "It's a portal to all of our alumni events, and it makes keeping up with UNT news quick and easy."

All alumni and friends will be able to download and use the app for free, but UNT Alumni Association members will have additional access to a membership portal with digital member cards and a searchable discount directory. Alumni will also have the opportunity to go green by joining and renewing within the app.

The UNT Alumni app will be available for download on iOS and Android devices through the App Store and Google Play just in time for Mean Green football.

To find the app this fall, search the terms "UNT Alumni" or "UNT Alumni Association" in your device's store.




A $10,000 gift to Ryan College of Business Aviation Logistics will further enhance opportunities, such as the annual Aviation Career Education Camp. For five years, this camp has given high school students the unique opportunity to use flight simulators, go on field trips to observe various aspects of aviation careers at local aviation industries and airports, and have the chance to fly in an airplane with the U.S. Aviation Academy. 


Offering insurance course work for over 70 years, the University of North Texas' Risk Management and Insurance (RMI) program is one of the premier programs in the Southwest. With a professional focus on risk and insurance, it offers a comprehensive insurance curriculum, preparing students for a variety of career possibilities. Your $5,000 gift to the program will support getting students industry-ready to excel in the risk management and insurance field.


The college's accounting internship program is synonymous with success. In 2017, 94% of spring interns were offered permanent positions in their place of employment. Your gift will support this exceptional track record, and continue to help our students excel as we expand our program and partnerships further.

Click here or the "Make a Gift" link below to learn more
and solidify your support.


Join our mailing list
Copyright © 2019
University of North Texas
G. Brint Ryan College of Business

Our mailing address:
1155 Union Circle #311160
Denton, TX 76203-5017

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can
 view our privacy policy or unsubscribe from this list 


.  .