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Texas State University

Distinguished Alumni and Young Alumni Rising Stars to be honored during Homecoming Week

Alumni Impact

Julie Cooper | October 28, 2019

Distinguished Alumni

The Distinguished Alumni Award is the most prestigious honor bestowed by Texas State University and the Texas State Alumni Association. The award recognized graduates who have achieved prominence and distinction in their chosen business, profession or life work on a national or international level. The leadership shown by these alumni inspires all members of the Texas State Community.

Texas State will honor five new Distinguished Alumni during Homecoming Week at the Distinguished Alumni Gala November 8. With these newest honorees, the Alumni Association and the university have now presented the most prestigious award to 213 graduates since the first was given to then-U.S. Sen Lyndon Baines Johnson in 1959. The award honors its recipients and demonstrates the remarkable opportunities available at Texas State University.

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Mr. Federico Gorbea, Class of 1985

Federico Gorbea is president and general director of Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) in Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, and northern South America. Consistently reaching record sales, he has positioned ADM as a market leader in the importation, storage, distribution, and sale of grains, rice, and beans. An inspiring leader, he is committed to teambuilding, integrity, and success.

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Ms. Carrie Angell Hurt, Class of 1987

For more than 14 years, Carrie Hurt has served as president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau Inc. of Austin (BBB). Under her leadership, the organization serving the heart of Texas now supports over 17,000 accredited businesses in 105 counties across Texas. It has won multiple awards and has been recognized as a national leader in the BBB community.

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Mr. Adam E. Laubach, Class of 1993

Adam E. Laubach is the technology advisor for Exothermix, a Texas-based company focusing on the transformation of materials and products through self-heating technology. He was CEO of Exothermix from 2014 to 2018. Today, Laubach is the director of Amani Baby Cottage in Jinja, Uganda. In December, Laubach and his family made the move from Texas to Uganda.

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Mr. Jeff Novak, Class of 2015

Jeff Novak is the founding partner and chief architect of business direction and development for Novak Brothers, a residential and commercial real estate development company in Georgetown. He was an offensive tackle for the Bobcat football team for three years before entering the NFL draft in 1990. In 2014, Novak returned to attend classes at Texas State and graduated in 2015.   

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Mr. Joel Stone, Class of 1988

Joel Stone is the chairman and CEO of SpawGlass, a Texas-based commercial and civil contractor. He joined the company the same year that he graduated from Texas State. He has been directly involved with the construction of nine buildings on the Texas State Campus, including the new home of the Ingram School of Engineering. 

Young Alumni Rising Stars

The Young Alumni Rising Star Award was created in 2015 and presented the following year to recognize young alumni under age 40 for their exceptional achievements and outstanding accomplishment in their profession, affiliations, and service. The four recipients of this award for 2019 have demonstrated a level of excellence that positively represents the university and serves to inspire current students and other recent graduates to excel in their work and recognize the important impact of their experience as a student at Texas State.

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Mr. Taylor Collins, Class of 2005, and Ms. Katie E. Forrest, Class of 2007

Taylor Collins and Katie Forrest are co-founders of Epic Provisions, a company that set out to create “the world’s first 100% grass-fed meat, fruit and nut bar.” It was a success. In 2016, Epic was purchased by General Mills for an estimated $100 million.

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Ms. Bharati G. Naik, Class of 2005

As a graduate student in 2005, Bharati Naik managed the Texas State University School of Journalism and Mass Communication’s Bobcat Update newscast. Today, she serves as planning producer, newsgathering at CNN London.

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Mr. Jon David "J.D." Perez, Class of 2005

Jon David “J.D.” Perez is currently head of retail for Hugo Boss – Mexico, managing a team of 150 employees, buying products for stores, forecasting sales goals, and overseeing visual merchandising standards.

For more information, contact University Communications:

Jayme Blaschke, 512-245-2555

Sandy Pantlik, 512-245-2922