The three McNeese alumni who have been named recipients are: - Carlin G. Conner, president and CEO of SemGroup; G. Janelle Frost, CEO of AMERISAFE Inc.; and Tommy Marks, director for the U.S. Army’s Office of Small Business Programs.
A native of Lake Arthur, Conner graduated from McNeese in 1991 with a Bachelor of Science degree in environmental science. He began his career at GATX Terminals Corporation in Houston, Texas, serving in various roles, including operations, engineering and commercial management.
Conner - who has more than 25 years of experience in the energy midstream sector - then joined Oiltanking Houston LP in 2000 and served in positions of increasing responsibility, including president and CEO of Oiltanking Holding Americas Inc.; president, CEO and a member of the board of Oiltanking Partners’ general partner; chairman of the board of directors of Oiltanking Partners and its general partner; and managing director of the global Oiltanking Group based in Hamburg, Germany. During this time, Conner led the initial public offering of Oiltanking Group.
In April 2014 Conner was named head of SemGroup. He is also a member of the SemGroup board of directors, president and CEO of Rose Rock Midstream and chairman of the board of directors of Rose Rock Midstream's general partner. SemGroup, based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, is a multi-billion dollar energy midstream company focused on activities in the United States, Canada, Mexico and United Kingdom.
Conner is on the executive board of the Philbrook Museum and on the board for Greater Tulsa Regional Chamber of Conference.
Frost, who grew up in the small, close-knit community of Oberlin, received her Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from McNeese in 1992 and immediately began her career as a staff accountant in October of 1992 at AMERISAFE Inc., the premier specialty provider of workers’ compensation insurance focused on small to mid-sized employers in hazardous industries founded in 1986 in DeRidder.
Over the next 24 years with AMERISAFE, Frost served as deputy controller, controller, assistant vice president, vice president, executive vice president and chief financial officer, chief operating officer and president.
In April of 2015, Frost was named as the first female to serve as CEO of AMERISAFE - a one billion dollar publicly traded organization.
Marks received his Bachelor of Science degree in health and physical education from McNeese in 1977, his Master of Science degree in acquisition management from Florida Institute of Technology in 1988 and his Master of Arts degree in national security and strategic studies from the Naval War College in 1992.
As director for the Office of Small Business Programs, he serves as the Army's lead for small business policy, goals and procedures. In this position, Marks represents the Secretary of the Army at congressional committees and subcommittee hearings on small business, historically black colleges and universities’ minority institutions, economic utilization and other business matters.
A native of Jeanerette, Marks attended McNeese on a track scholarship in 1973 and was active in the ROTC program. When Marks graduated in December 1977, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the infantry and reported for active duty in the U.S. Army in January of 1978. He retired from active duty in 2001 as an Army aviator with the rank of lieutenant colonel after 24 years of service.
After retirement, Marks has worked as a government contractor and Army civilian for the last 15 years, which includes a six-year deployment to Kuwait supporting the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program (LOGCAP) for the U.S. Army Material Command and then serving as LOGCAP’s executive director.
He previously served as the executive director for acquisition services policy for the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Procurement before his promotion in April 2015.