Atop the corporate ladder
S&T alumni in many sectors have risen to the top of their businesses. Below are six current or former chief executives of influence.
• Wayne Alexander , ME'70, MS EMgt'76, is a former president of SBC Southwestern Bell whose career with that company spanned 32 years. Alexander served as president from 1999 until his retirement in 2002. Previously, he held a variety of executive positions in network operations, sales, marketing and international operations, and led operations in Chile and the Asian Pacific.
• Don Gunther , CE'60, retired vice chair for the Bechtel Group, began his career with Bechtel just one year after graduation and retired in 1998. For years, he was a driving force behind the global engineering company's marketing and leadership development efforts. Even after retirement, he remained active on Bechtel's board. Gunther has been working with the Naples (Fla.) Children and Educational Foundation to build a dental center for needy children.
• Wayne Laufer , CE'67, spent 40 years in the oil business, starting as a "grunt engineer" at Shell Oil in New Orleans. He later struck out on his own. He co-founded Bois d'Arc Energy in 1984, initiated a new your stock exchange IPO in 2005 and retired as CEO after selling Bois d'Arc in 2008. Following the sale, Laufer and his wife, Gayle, established the university's new endowed chair in energy.
• Steve Malcolm, CE'70, retired in 2010 as chair, president and CEO of Williams. He follows fellow alumni Vernon Jones, CE'53, and Keith Bailey, ME'64, in the top position at the Tulsa-based energy services company. Named president and CEO in September 2001, Malcolm became chair in May 2002.
• Brian Matthews , ME'81, is the founder of River City Internet Group, based in St. Louis. Matthews has started and sold several technology companies, including Primary Network (sold to Mpower Communications in 2000), Primary Webworks (sold to Perficient in 2001), CDM Fantasy Sports (sold to Liberty Media in 2006) and IntraISP (sold to Clearwire Communications in 2007). In 2000, he was recognized as "Entrepreneur of the Year" by Ernst & Young.
• Bryan Stirrat , CE'67, president of Bryan A. Stirrat & Associates, is helping communities turn their landfill waste into usable energy, improving air quality and reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the process. The company drills wells into landfills and uses a vacuum to suck out the gas created by the decomposition of organic materials. Now, instead of burning this highly flammable gas, which is mostly methane, it is funneled into engines or turbines to generate electricity.