SMU Cox Honors Alumni Business Success


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2019 Distinguished Alumni and Outstanding Young Alumni Awards Presented

Dallas, TX (SMU) Friday, May 10, 2019—The SMU Cox School of Business honored four alumni at the school’s annual Distinguished Alumni and Outstanding Young Alumni Awards Luncheon on May 10. Two Distinguished Alumni Awards and two Outstanding Young Alumni Awards were presented at the luncheon ceremony in the Collins Executive Center on the SMU campus. Award nominations are submitted to the SMU Cox Alumni Association for consideration by a selection committee.

In alphabetical order, this year’s SMU Cox Distinguished Alumni Award winners are: Steven J. Lindley and Bruce Robson, both BBA ‘74. The Cox School’s 2019 Outstanding Young Alumni honorees, also alphabetically, are: Courtney Caldwell, BBA ’00, and Ryan Dalton, BBA ’01.

SMU Cox Distinguished Alumni 2019

Steven J. Lindley, BBA’74 is the managing member and president of Johnson and Lindley, LLC and the managing partner of PinHigh Capital Partners, LLC. Born in Odessa and raised in Midland, Texas, Lindley pursued his BBA at SMU in Dallas, where he was active in the Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) fraternity. He began his business career in 1975 with First City National Bank of Houston. In 1980, Lindley joined Johnson and Lindley, a private, family-owned investment firm with interests in oil and gas, oilfield services, and other private investments. He eventually became president of Permian Mud Services, Inc.; chairman of Champion Technologies, Inc.; and the managing member of Athlon Solutions, LLC. Permian/Champion and Athlon were eventually sold to Ecolab and Halliburton, respectively. 
SMU is grateful to Steve and fellow alumni Bruce Robson, ’74 and Joe Robson, ‘76 for providing support that made possible the new, state-of-the-art Robson and Lindley Aquatics Center at the University. Although he was never a swimmer, Lindley’s longtime friendship with Bruce Robson, a former SMU swimmer, helped inspire his support for the new aquatics center. Lindley is active with SMU in various roles, and is also active in the broader community, currently serving as a trustee on three Houston-based nonprofit boards.

Bruce Robson, BBA ’74 is managing partner and CEO of Robvest, a private investment partnership. Robson was active on the SMU swim team and in the SAE fraternity, through which Bruce Robson met his lifelong friend Steve Lindley. Both men completed their BBA degrees at SMU Cox in 1974. He led the path to SMU for his brother John Joseph, ’76 (Joe), who also joined the swim team and SAE fraternity, and their sister Sybil Ann. His brother also earned his BBA at SMU Cox and his sister earned her BFA at SMU Meadows.

Bruce Robson’s business career began with First City Bank, and he later joined InterFirst bank Dallas. After moving to Tulsa in 1984, he founded Robson Drilling and Robson Petroleum Company. In the mid-80s, he acquired controlling interest in Dune Resources, a publicly-traded Canadian oil and gas exploration company and became president and CEO. Ten years later, he exited the oil and gas business and took over his family’s ranching and farming interests in northeastern Oklahoma until 1999. In 2000, he formed Robvest. He continues his interest in ranching on his south central Oklahoma ranch and his family’s ranching and farming businesses in northeastern Oklahoma. Robson has been active on boards in Oklahoma, Florida and Texas, and he is an active SMU alumnus. He and his brother partnered with Lindley in a generous gift that made possible SMU’s 42 thousand square foot Robson and Lindley Aquatics Center, dedicated in 2017.

SMU Cox Outstanding Young Alumni 2019

Courtney Caldwell, BBA ’00, is the co-founder, with her husband Dr. Tye Caldwell, and chief operating officer of a beauty tech start-up and groundbreaker called ShearShare—the first on-demand salon and barbershop space rental app. Licensed stylists can rent workshop space by the day in cities all over the world, while salon and barbershop owners make money on unused space. ShearShare is an alumnus of the prestigious “YC Fellowship” and “500 Startups” accelerator programs, and is the first Texas start-up to be named winner of Google “Demo Day” and “Tech.Co’s Start-Up of the Year.”

Caldwell was a Hunt Leadership Scholar at SMU. She graduated early cum laude with her BBA in marketing in 2000 and later earned an MBA at UT Dallas. During her time at SMU, she was the student representative on the SMU Board of Trustees, and she held leadership positions with the Association of Black Students—which named her Homecoming Queen; the Honor Council, and the Leadership Consultant Council. She was a cadet in SMU’s ROTC program, carpooled weekly to do leadership training at UT Arlington, and walked onto the SMU track and field team and ended up competing in the long jump. Caldwell was also named an Academic ALL-WAC honoree, served as a resident assistant in her Virginia-Snyder Commons, and somehow even found time to sing in the SMU Gospel Choir. Throughout her undergraduate experience, she held a work-study job that she loved—next door to SMU President R. Gerald Turner’s office. She remains active with her alma maters, volunteering to interview final round applicants of the SMU Hunt Leadership Scholars program, serving on advisory boards at UTD and SMU, on the SMU Alumni Board and the 21st Century Council at SMU.

Ryan Dalton, BBA ’01 is executive vice president and chief financial officer of Parsley Energy, Inc. He completed his BBA, with a concentration in finance, at SMU in 2001. Later, he earned his MBA from Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia. He met his wife Alison at SMU, and became friends with two Sigma Chi fraternity brothers: Bryan Sheffield and Colin Roberts. All three graduated with their BBAs in 2001. In 2012, a few years after founding Parsley Energy, Sheffield asked Dalton, and later Roberts, to join the team—creating a reunion of sorts of the three Cox alumni. Dalton’s professional experience in restructuring and management consulting helped him navigate a successful IPO in 2014. Some of the proceeds funded the Parley Energy purchase of more land in the Permian basin, where horizontal drilling—including the work of Parsley Energy—has since helped turn the U.S. into the world’s leading oil and natural gas producer. 

Nomination Requirements
SMU Cox Distinguished Alumni candidates must hold: an undergraduate or graduate degree from SMU; a position of distinction in the business community; demonstrate outstanding career success; be active civic leaders and community partners; and be active and involved with SMU and the Cox School. Those recognized as SMU Cox Outstanding Young Alumni must meet the same criteria, but can be no more than 40 years of age at the time of the awards luncheon. Nominations for either honor may be sent to Kevin Knox, assistant dean of external relations and executive director of the SMU Cox Alumni Association at kknox@smu.edu. 

About SMU Cox 
The SMU Cox School of Business, established in 1920, is committed to influencing the way the world conducts business via prolific research that provokes innovation, change and global thought leadership. Cox faculty members strive to connect ground-breaking research to the classroom as well as the marketplace. Cox faculty are widely published in the world’s most prestigious management journals. The Cox School of Business offers a full range of business education degree programs including BBA, multiple MBA programs, and other Master of Science degree programs, as well as non-degree Executive Education programs. Consistently ranked among the world’s leading business schools, SMU Cox maintains an active alumni network and is accredited by AACSB.