Lee Business School Names Seven Outstanding Graduates as 2016 Departmental Alumnus of the Year

Clockwise from upper left-hand corner: T. Ryan Sullivan, Issa Khoury, Jessica Sayles, Bill Doak, Jim Ratigan, John Chase, and Eric Chiang (middle).
Sep. 15, 2016

On Thursday, Sept. 15, Lee Business School recognized seven outstanding alums as Departmental Alumni of the Year. A coveted honor since 2012, the award recipients were chosen by their respective academic departments for bringing acclaim to Lee Business School as well as their personal achievements, professional success, and community involvement.

The honorees are:

Accounting - Jessica Sayles, CPA, principal at Houldsworth, Russo & Company, P.C.

Jessica Sayles is Principal at Houldsworth, Russo & Company, P.C. (HRC) and is a licensed certified public accountant with accounting and tax experience working with nonprofits, individuals, partnerships, and corporations. Sayles has been with HRC since 2010 and her passion is working with nonprofit and small business clients to help them achieve their program and financial goals. She taught two semesters of governmental and nonprofit accounting at UNLV and volunteers to speak to incoming and prospective accounting students to share her enthusiasm about the profession. Sayles is active in the nonprofit community and currently serves on the board of directors of the Trauma Intervention Program of Southern Nevada.

Economics - Eric Chiang, professor at Florida Atlantic University

Eric Chiang is an Associate Professor of Economics and the director of Instructional Technology for the College of Business at Florida Atlantic University (FAU). He is the co-developer of FlipIt, an online learning platform aimed at facilitating a “flipped classroom,” which is an innovative classroom approach that puts the student in the role of a teacher. Chiang has 26 peer-reviewed research publications and is the author of Economics: Principles for a Changing World, an economic principles textbook in its fourth edition and is currently in use at more than 100 universities. He has won numerous awards for his teaching and university service, including FAU’s Distinguished Teacher of the Year, the university’s most prestigious teaching award.

Finance - T. Ryan Sullivan, president and CEO at Bank of George

T. Ryan Sullivan is President and Chief Executive Officer of Bank of George, a $150 million community bank with two locations in Southern Nevada. Previously, he served as the Chief Financial Officer of Alliance Bank of Arizona, a $650 million statewide commercial bank, and served as Chairman of the Asset/Liability Committee managing audit and risk management functions of the bank. Sullivan currently sits on the board of the Nevada Bankers’ Association. In addition, he serves on the Community Bankers’ Council of the American Bankers’ Association Board of Trustees and is currently Treasurer for the nonprofit organization Safe Nest.

Management, Entrepreneurship and Technology - James J. Ratigan, senior associate vice president of alumni relations at University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Born and raised in Okinawa, Japan, James Ratigan has been a resident of Las Vegas for 45 years. After a 14-year career with IBM, where he held system engineering, marketing, and management positions, he left to join International Game Technology (IGT), where he joined as a Program Director for South America. He left IGT to partner with a friend to start RCR & Associates, a cabling and technology company. In 2010, Ratigan was asked to become the Senior Director for Alumni Relations for UNLV and the Executive Director of the UNLV Alumni Association, where he currently works, and has since been promoted to Senior Associate Vice President for Alumni Relations.  In recognition of his support for higher education, CSN honored him with an Honorary Association of Arts in Humane Letters. Ratigan received the Distinguished Alumnus of the Year for UNLV in 2004. 

Marketing and International Business - Issa Khoury, owner of Khoury's Fine Wine & Spirits

Issa Khoury is a Nevada native and aficionado of all things wine, beer, and spirits. Wanting to bring the passion that winemakers, brewers, and distillers put into their products to life, he opened Khoury’s Fine Wine & Spirits in 2004 focusing on small and upcoming brands. A popular retail destination among locals, the store has a vast selection of boutique wines, craft beers, and small-batch spirits.

Executive MBA - John Chase, district governor for District 5300 for Rotary International

John Chase relocated in 1990 from the Midwest to Las Vegas where he dedicated 23 years to law enforcement. He retired from the Boulder City Police Department in 2014 at the rank of Deputy Chief. Paving a new opportunity, Chase opened AmeriSent Insurance – Boulder City in 2011. Chase and his wife are active volunteers with many organizations such as Girl Scouts of Southern Nevada. He is a two-time president of the Rotary Club of Boulder City and has been named “Rotarian of Year” four times. Chase served as President and charter member of the Friends of Boulder City Police Department and is currently Board President of the Nevada Community Prevention Coalition.

MBA - Bill Doak, partner and co-founder of Kirvin Doak Communications

Considered one of the leaders in Las Vegas marketing and public relations, Bill Doak brings more than two decades of experience in sports, entertainment, and travel to Kirvin Doak Communications. He has served as Director of Marketing for Mandalay Bay and Director of Public Relations and Promotions for MGM Grand. Doak has played a key role in the promotion and planning of Las Vegas’ biggest events including both Evander Holyfield vs. Mike Tyson fights, FOX Billboard Music Awards, Radio Music Awards, and dozens of major special events. Most recently, Doak played a key communications role in the opening of T-Mobile Arena and is working on the launch of MGM National Harbor. 

As part of the day-long celebration, the honorees met with students and faculty of Lee Business School, attended the president’s annual State of the University address, and enjoyed an awards reception in the Blasco Event Wing of the UNLV Foundations Building.