LU News Archive

Two inducted into College of Business Hall of Fame

Lamar University’s College of Business recently inducted two new members into its Hall of Fame. Texas entrepreneurial banker Terry Kelley and oil and gas entrepreneur Bart Simmons joined the ranks of honored LU business graduates. 

“The College of Business is delighted to honor Terry Kelley and Bart Simmons by inducting them into the College of Business Hall of Fame,” said LU business dean Enrique “Henry” Venta. “The hall of fame honors alumni from the college who have made significant achievements in their careers and been an integral part of the college.” 

The purpose of the Hall of Fame is to honor outstanding alumni and to provide role models for current students, Venta said. “Several times a month students will ask me as I walk through the lobby at Galloway about our Hall of Fame inductees and what they have accomplished,” Venta said. 

Terry Kelley 

Terry KelleyTerry Kelley graduated from Lamar University in 1965 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. A career banker whose experience in Texas banking spans more than 40 years, Kelley began his career at The American National Bank in Beaumont. 

In the mid 1970s, Kelley was recruited to Dallas where he served as CEO of several Dallas area banks including Texas Commerce Bank, Irving, Preston State Bank, and Dallas Bancshares—all predecessors to JP Morgan Chase. As an entrepreneurial banker, Kelley's experience ranged from being an owner of small banks to the CEO of large banks. 

As the Texas banking industry collapsed in the late 1980s, Kelley co-founded Team Bank. It became a statewide organization and the largest bank headquartered in Texas managed by Texans. In 1993, Team Bank merged with Bank One where Kelley served as chairman and CEO of a multi-state region. 

Presenting awardThroughout his career, Kelley was an industry leader and provided community leadership for many organizations. He is former chairman and CEO for The National Center for Educational Accountability, as well as past chairman of the board of Texas Health Resources. He is a member and past president of The Salesmanship Club of Dallas, a member of the Board of Trustees for the Baylor Oral Health Foundation and a former trustee of The Texas Methodist Foundation. He is also a former board member of Dallas Citizens Council, Highland Park Educational Foundation and The Texas Banker's Association. 

Kelley is a long time member of Highland Park United Methodist Church where he has served as chairman of the board. He and his wife, Sally, have three grown children and nine grandchildren. 

Bart Simmons 

Bart SimmonsThe deregulation of natural gas in the 1980s created many entrepreneurial opportunities in this sector of the oil and gas industry. Armed with a Bachelor in Business Administration (1978) and a Masters of Business Administration (1979) degree from Lamar University, along with work experience at Texaco Inc. and Delhi Gas Pipeline Co., Simmons created a natural gas marketing company in 1985.  This company, owned by Ross Perot and organized by Simmons, eventually became Bridge Gas Marketing Co.   Simmons made Bridge into one of the premier natural gas marketing companies during the 1980s. In 1992, he resigned as president to pursue his dream of starting and owning a company. 

Bart Simmons graduated Lamar magna cum laude while lettering three years in football.  He served as president of the Student Government Association and was a member of the highly regarded College of Business sponsored Students for Free Enterprise. 

Today, his privately held company, Tristar, operates oil and gas production wells, provides well head compression services, natural gas marketing services and electricity service to more than 20,000 residential and commercial customers.  In 2010, the Tristar Companies sold their North Dakota Bakken Field production and lease rights to a publicly traded Canadian company.  Today, the Tristar Companies have operations in three states and annual sales of more than $120 million a year.  Texas Power Co., the Simray Energy Co., Tristar Compression Co., Mid-States Energy Co., and Tristar Producer Services Co. are all part of the Tristar family of companies. 

Presenting awardSimmons is a director and co-owner with his wife, Martye, who graduated from Lamar in 1978, of BESS Investments LP.   The privately held investment company formed in 2003 and owns and operates ranching operations in Texas, real estate properties in Dallas, and other energy and agricultural portfolio investments. 

Simmons is a member of the Texas and Southwest Cattle Ranchers Association.  He has served on the Board of Directors of the North Texas Oil and Gas Association and is a member of the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association.   In addition, he served as the chairperson of the board of stewards of Lovers Lane United Methodist Church and was the recipient of the church’s Heritage Award in 2010. Simmons served on the Board of Directors of the Wesley Rankin Center.   He has maintained an active interest in Lamar University and currently serves on the Board of Advisors of the College of Business and on the Lamar University Foundation Board.  

The couple has been generous to the university, Venta said. “They donated funds to create the Vernon Glass Field of Champions Practice Field and the John Payton Academic Success Center,” Venta said. “They created the Patricia and George Sculley Scholarship in Business and the Martye and Bart Simmons Endowment in Business.” In 2008, Lamar University honored Bart Simmons with the Distinguished Alumnus Award. The Simmons’ are members of the prestigious Lamar University Spindletop Society. 

With their induction into the Hall of Fame, Kelley and Simmons join previous honorees James Crump, retired partner PriceWaterhouse Coopers; Bill Childs, entrepreneur and retired founder and CEO of Texas Industrial Maintenance Inc., the late Robert Swerdlow, longtime business educator and associate dean of business at Lamar University; Jerry Reese, retired founder and president of BoMac Contractors Ltd.; Elvis Mason, retired banking and financial executive; the late C.W. Conn Jr., founder and majority owner of Conn’s Appliances Inc,; and Bette Stead, longtime community activist,  business educator and professor of marketing at the University of Houston.