Three Alumni, Nearly 50 Students Recognized at Walton Awards Banquet

The Sam M. Walton College of Business recognized three exceptional alumni and nearly 50 students for outstanding achievement at its annual awards banquet.

Walton College presented the awards at its 24th annual awards banquet on Thursday, April 13. The following alumni awards were presented Thursday night:

  • Lifetime Achievement Award – John L. Conner Jr. ’70
  • Entrepreneur of the Year – April Seggebruch ‘05, ’08
  • Outstanding Service Award – Philip Tappan ’83

John L. Conner Jr. has lived his whole life in Newport. He graduated from the University of Arkansas with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in 1970. Conner started a farming operation of his own for a few years but quickly worked into management with his grandfather and father. When he returned to Newport after college, his family holdings consisted of 8,000 acres of delta land, growing crops such as cotton, soybeans and rice. Over the next several decades, Conner developed the family business into a 70,000-acre operation that includes land owned by several companies. Conner bought his first John Deere dealership in the late 1980s, and over the past 25 years, Greenway Equipment has become one of the top three John Deere franchisees in the world, with 27 dealerships from Sikeston, Missouri, to Grady, Arkansas. Over the decades, Conner and his companies developed close relationships with their producers to ensure a beneficial arrangement for all parties involved.

One of Conner’s focuses in recent years is ensuring the continuation of the family farming enterprise for future generations. The Conners have placed most of their agriculture businesses and farmland into family trusts that will continue operating well after the current management is gone. They also developed a professional management team to ensure the continuity of the business. Conner and his wife, Andrea, have six children. The couple continue to make their home in Newport.

April Seggebruch, an Illinois native, came to Arkansas to play basketball for the Lady Razorbacks, becoming team captain. She graduated from the Walton College with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in marketing in 2005, and after some time in Chicago working in asset management, returned to complete a Master of Business Administration in 2008. While attending the Walton M.B.A. program,  Seggebruch and Stan Zylowski, her Movista co-founder, participated on a business plan competition team for Carol Reeves’ new venture class. The team’s product and business model turned into what Movista is today — a 35-person company delivering a mobile platform that allows companies to manage their remote workforces and remote locations.

Seggebruch worked in the consumer packaged goods industry for two years while she continued to develop the idea of Movista with Zylowski. Movista became a full-time venture in 2010 and has experienced 300 percent annual sales growth. Seggebruch is also one of the original founders of Tusk & Trotter American Brasserie and Bentonville Butcher and Pint, two award-winning restaurants in downtown Bentonville. Seggebruch has remained active with the Walton College, helping other potential entrepreneurs and serving as a leader on non-profit boards and educational missions worldwide. She currently resides in Bentonville.

Philip Tappan earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in finance and banking from the Walton College in 1983. He is now the executive vice president of financial services for Simmons Bank. He also is the managing partner of Tappan Land & Water, a company owning the majority interest in Purple Cow Restaurants and natural resource properties in several central Arkansas counties. A veteran of the food-service industry, Tappan held positions of increasing responsibility with Quality Foods Inc. from 1985 to 2003, serving as president and chief operating officer of Quality Foods from 1998 to 2001 and president and chief executive officer of Quality Performance Food Group from 2001 to 2003. While at Quality, he served on the boards of directors of International Foodservice Distributors and the Arkansas Hospitality Association. Tappan retired from the food-service industry in December 2003.

Tappan serves or has served on the boards of Delta Trust & Bank, Simmons Bank, ACCESS School, CHI-St. Vincent Infirmary Foundation, Arkansas Symphony Orchestra Foundation, Fifty for the Future, Little Rock Advertising and Promotion Commission, Central Arkansas’ American Heart Association and the Arkansas Community Foundation. He is a board member of the Arkansas Foodbank Network and a member of the Arkansas Business Hall of Fame Selection Committee and the Walton College Dean’s Executive Advisory Board, where he serves as the co-chair of Walton’s Campaign Arkansas Committee. Tappan is married to Gina Kirkpatrick Tappan, and they have three children — Drew, Madison and Sarah. Drew and Madison are graduates of the Walton College, and Sarah holds a master’s degree from the College of Education and Health Professions at the University of Arkansas. Philip and Gina Tappan reside in Little Rock.

UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT AWARDS

  • Outstanding Graduating Senior – Kimberly Changose.
  • First-ranked Senior Scholars – John Bloodworth, Caroline Dominick, Alexander Ross, Jonathan Schultz, Thomas Selig, Kelsey Smiley, Christine Tan and Benjamin Tusson.
  • Senior Scholars – Kimberly Changose, Reynolds Chew, Trevor Darby, Hylke de Vries, Kennedy Hogle, Nicole Limpert, Kendal Murphy, Destiny Pelfrey, Caleb Petersen, Linh Vu, Keith White and Nichole Young.
  • Presidential Scholar Award – Landri McGregor.
  • Sam M. Walton College of Business Student Leadership Award – Caroline Dominick.
  • Ralph Treat Outstanding Cooperative Student Award – Tyler Crosson.
  • Beta Gamma Sigma Award – Andrea Kathol.

Walton College recognized outstanding students in these departments:

  • Accounting – Kimberly Changose, Thai Dang, Caroline Dominick, Cordell Griffin and Kathryn Theriot.
  • Economics – Nathanael Mickelson.
  • Economics, Arts and Sciences – Thomas Selig.
  • Finance – Reynolds Chew, Nicole Limpert, Justin McVeigh, Destiny Pelfrey, Caleb Petersen, Blake Sanders and Matthew Sisco.
  • Information Systems – Annie Alvarez and Michael York.
  • International Business – Paulina Moya.
  • Management – Blake Farris, Spencer Fields, Joshua Koehler and Kelsey Smiley.
  • Management, General Business – Evan Earwood.
  • Marketing – Joseph Dobson, Kennedy Hogle, Sarah Hutson, Sarah Kurien, Jordan Mrachek, Ryan Stackable and Keith White.
  • Retail – Mallory Kleine.
  • Supply Chain Management – Cal Campbell, Layseen Chen, Jonathan Schultz, Nathan Spears and Linh Vu.

GRADUATE STUDENT AWARDS

Walton College presented awards to outstanding graduate students in these programs:

  • Master of Business Administration – Danielle Cirelli, EMBA; Kelsey Wheelhouse, MBA, and Porter Williams, EMBA.
  • Master of Accountancy – John Bloodworth and Benjamin Fly.
  • Master of Arts in Economics – Baqir Fateh.
  • Master of Information Systems – Jenny Glover-Ganapathiraju, MIS, and Blake Malpass, PMIS.