by Colton Campbell
The University of West Georgia chapter of international business honors society Beta Gamma Sigma inducted more than 50 new members in a recent ceremony, with honorary inductee Rich Stinson – president and CEO of Southwire Company – serving as keynote speaker.
“All of these students should be incredibly proud to be sitting in such great company as they are inducted in this prestigious honor society tonight,” Stinson said. “It’s an extremely big deal to be sitting in this room, and I’m specifically honored tonight to represent Southwire’s 7,700 employees – 325 of which are UWG alumni – in West Georgia and throughout the world.”
Membership in Beta Gamma Sigma is the highest recognition a business student anywhere in the world can receive in a business program accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International).
“We are proud to be part of the only 2 percent of business colleges who are AACSB-accredited, but that accreditation is the result of everything we do – not the end goal,” said Dr. Faye McIntyre, dean of the Richards College of Business and Sewell Chair of Private Enterprise. “Our goals closely align with those of Beta Gamma Sigma, which are to cultivate new leaders and inspire professional excellence.”
Lifetime membership in Beta Gamma Sigma – an organization dating back to 1913 – is by invitation only. The top 7 percent of sophomores, top 10 percent of juniors, top 10 percent of seniors and top 20 percent of graduate students are invited for membership.
During the ceremony, 36 undergraduate students were inducted, along with 11 master’s degree students, two faculty members and Stinson, an honorary inductee. Also during the event, the organization’s members named Dr. Michael Sinkey, associate professor of economics, their professor of the year.
Sinkey joined UWG in 2011 after completing his doctorate in economics at the Ohio State University. He was honored during the event because of his commitment to inspiring students – particularly undergraduates – to complete and present their own research.
Stinson was also inducted as an honorary Beta Gamma Sigma member. McIntyre said it’s become a tradition during the event to induct a member who’s a local businessperson or alumnus who embodies many of the values and characteristics important to the organization – namely honor, wisdom and earnestness.
“We at Southwire are proud to enjoy a strong partnership with the Richards College of Business, forged through a long history we have shared with the university as a whole,” Stinson said. “Our founder, Roy Richards Sr., graduated from UWG – then known as the Fourth District A&M School – with his high school diploma in 1931. Fast-forward more than 60 years, in 1997, the College of Business was renamed after a generous donation by the Richards Foundation to begin a great partnership that has lasted more than two decades.”
Stinson serves as only the fourth president and CEO in Southwire’s nearly seven decades of operation. With Stinson at the helm, the company has been ranked No. 70 on Forbes’ lists of the nation’s largest private companies and by the same publication as one of America’s best employers.
Stinson started his career at the Westinghouse Manufacturing Development Program in Puerto Rico after completing his engineering degree at the University of Pittsburgh. His success at Westinghouse led him to his next endeavor – Eaton Corporation, where he worked in a variety of areas within the company, including plant manager, operations director and general manager of various facilities housed in the U.S., Japan and Mexico.
He retired from Eaton in August 2015 as group president of electrical systems and services for seven different product divisions. In October 2015, Stinson joined Southwire as its president and CEO. In his current role, he leads Southwire Company’s strategy and efforts toward sustaining a multi-generational future.
Additionally, Stinson serves as a board member for National Electrical Manufacturers Association, International Cable Federation, the UWG Richards College of Business and Carroll Tomorrow.
Stinson – who told students to gain as much exposure to different fields and jobs as they can, saying he currently holds his 17th job in his 38-year career – shared several pieces of advice for the audience during his remarks.
“Be the very best you can every day, and don’t look backward or think about how great you just did,” he said. “Think about how you’re going to do better next time. Complacency stifles progress.”
Stinson also advocated the importance of being a team player, encouraging each student to never think he or she is the smartest person in the room.
“You’re not always going to be able to accomplish great things by yourself,” he said. “I spent a great deal of my career working with and depending on others. Think about what you can learn just by listening to others.”
Closing the event, McIntyre said events like the Beta Gamma Sigma induction ensure UWG students’ accomplishments will be shared with future students for decades to come.
“This event truly reflects our mission, as we hope these students – who have clearly demonstrated high-achieving abilities in the classroom – also take advantage of opportunities to engage with our faculty and staff, as well as members of the business community, and experience everything we have to offer in the Richards College of Business,” she said.