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College of Business to induct new Hall of Fame members April 8

The New Mexico State University College of Business will induct two new Hall of Fame members ? Brenda Joy Baca Alvarez, co-owner of Las Cruces firm EMI Technologies and a 1981 graduate, and Jim Holder, senior vice president of sales for Cigna?s Mountain States Region in Denver, a 1990 graduate. In addition, the college will present the Traders Award to generous NMSU supporters Bill and Sharon Sheriff.


Portrait of woman
Brenda Alvarez will be one of two 2016 inductees into the New Mexico State University College of Business Hall of Fame at a ceremony April 8. (Courtesy photo)
Portrait of man
Jim Holder will be one of two 2016 inductees into the New Mexico State University College of Business Hall of Fame at a ceremony April 8. (Courtesy photo)
Portrait of man and woman
Bill and Sharon Sheriff will receive the Traders Award from New Mexico State University College of Business on April 8 in recognition of their outstanding service to the college. (Courtesy photo)

Established in 1997 by the College of Business, the Hall of Fame honors outstanding alumni who have distinguished themselves in their careers and supporters who have made an impact with their commitment to the college and NMSU. The ceremony and banquet will take place at 6 p.m. Friday, April 8, at the Las Cruces Convention Center, 680 E. University Ave.

Alvarez, who was born in Denver but raised in Santa Fe, New Mexico, earned her Bachelor of Business Administration in managerial accounting. At NMSU, she met her future husband, Joe Alvarez, also an NMSU alum.

Their business, EMI Technologies, began as a small company but has grown to a $22 million-a-year enterprise focused on the engineering fabrication and delivery of custom mobile instrumentation systems.

Named the 2009 Distinguished Alumna for the College of Business, Alvarez is very active in the community, serving on numerous advisory boards. The couple has created scholarships in the colleges of Business and Arts and Sciences at NMSU. They have three children, all of whom are graduates of the College of Business.

Holder earned his bachelor?s degree in finance in 1990, and started his career at Cigna, where he held numerous roles in sales and sales leadership. Prior to re-joining Cigna, Jim served as executive vice president for a leading West Coast employee benefits consultant, where he was responsible for overseeing all aspects of client deliverables. Before that, he held a variety of leadership positions at several early stage software and technology companies.

He currently serves on the board of directors for the Mile High United Way and Downtown Denver Partnership. Jim received the 2015 Volunteer of the Year Award from the Downtown Denver Partnership and was recently appointed by Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper to the eHealth commission board.

Holder and his wife, Sarah, have a 15-year-old daughter and a 12-year-old son.

Bill and Sharon Sheriff will receive the Traders Award in recognition of their support and commitment to the College of Business and NMSU. In 2013, they established the Bill and Sharon Sheriff Endowed Chair in Entrepreneurship, as well as endowed scholarships in the college.

?Sharon and I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to work with the College of Business at NMSU in establishing the Chair in Entrepreneurship,? Bill Sheriff said. ?To us, it is an investment which we hope in some small way will make a difference not only in NMSU?s College of Business, but also in supporting business development in Las Cruces and the state of New Mexico.?

Bill Sheriff?s executive management career spans nearly five decades. He served most recently for six years as chief executive officer of Brookdale Senior Living, the nation?s largest senior living company. He had served as chairman and CEO of American Retirement Corporation for 22 years prior to its 2006 merger with Brookdale.

Sheriff got his start in management in his family?s truck stop business, headquartered in Las Cruces, after completing his bachelor?s of science in mathematics at NMSU in 1965. He was president and CEO of that business after his father?s death for nine years before selling the company to Ryder System, where he was president of the Truckstops Division for 11 years.

Bill Sheriff?s support of higher education includes service on the Board of Trustees of Belmont University and the Harvard Medical School Health Care Policy Advisory Council. He is a member of the NMSU Foundation Board of Directors, the Real Estate Committee of the NMSU Board of Regents, and the Aggie Development Inc. Board of Directors. He received an honorary doctorate from NMSU in 2012.

Sharon Sheriff has also been involved as a volunteer in education for more than 30 years. She currently serves on the Board of Trustees of a private prep school in Nashville and volunteers with Friends of the Arts at Belmont University.

The Sheriffs have been married for nearly 55 years, having met as students at Las Cruces High School. They reside in Nashville and have three children and eight grandchildren.

?I?m really looking forward to this Hall of Fame event, because I have an incredible amount of respect for the people who are being honored,? said College of Business Dean James Hoffman. ?They?ve been so generous with their time, mentorship and support ? each of these honorees has made an impact on our college and our students.?

Tickets are $100 and table sponsorships are $1,000. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit http://giving.nmsu.edu/COB Hall of Fame.html or contact Anthony Casaus at 575-646-5817 or acasaus@nmsu.edu.