Alumni Profiles

Milt Stewart '59

When It Comes to Brother Milt Stewart... it's Always About Giving Back!

September 2006

Milt Stewart... Gamma Alpha #1048 wasn't your typical pledge or Brother while at Sigma Nu. Even back then, his Brothers sensed something special. "I didn't pledge until my junior year and was initiated in 1959... primarily because of a very persuasive and outstanding group of seniors whom I admired and respected enormously. At the time, it certainly stretched my financial resources to join a fraternity... but it also encouraged me to succeed. Financially, it was important to graduate on time and to begin a career. I vowed then that if I were ever in a position to be able to give back... then I would." And boy has he ever.

While at Georgia Tech, Milt studied Industrial Engineering, now called Industrial and Systems Engineering. The School of Industrial Engineering was established by Colonel Frank Groseclose a few years before Milt arrived and had already achieved national status... Milt even worked in the I. E. office for the Colonel who he admired and respected enormously. This past year Milt and his lovely wife Carolyn donated $20 Million to the School he so beloved. And in honor of his leadership and his commitment and his generosity, the NUMBER 1 ranked Industrial and Systems Engineering School in the country is now named the Milt Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering... "the Georgia Tech School of ISYE has been ranked number 1 for the past 16 years, and I have been fortunate to be one of its many active alumni supporters."

Milt has very fond memories of his days at Sigma Nu and of his Sigma Nu Brothers and recalls many colorful stories from his fraternity days. "I had several roommates while living in the house. Pearce Connerat and Mark Conway who went on to become our Eminent Commander were two of my first roomies. We got along extremely well and realized very early on that it was impossible to study in the house and always went to the hill. Pearce was not only one of my best friends... but he was also a wonderful resource to have around when writing papers because he could spell any word in the dictionary."

It always seemed like Milt was directly involved in the chaos at 750 Fowler. "The Sorrow twins, Bill and Phil, as well as the Motz gang - Aubrey and Freddy... lived on the hall and somehow were the catalysts for excitement." During one White Rose Formal weekend, the Brothers moved out of the house so their dates from out of town could have their rooms. Milt's date was among them. When they had returned to the house after the formal, all the curtains had been stolen from the plate glass windows facing the Beta house. The girls' underwear had been dumped into the swimming pool... obviously carefully planned so the girls would be exposed as they dressed for bed for viewing by the Betas. "The Beta wars... which had been ongoing anyway... suddenly escalated dramatically. The term Beta Bombs was thus originated."

Milt reminisces about the entrepreneurial spirit and leadership promoted by so many of the Brothers at this time... "as I recall, Jerry Meyer installed a tanning machine with a coin slot in the upstairs bathroom. Was probably the first tanning salon ever on the Tech campus or even in Atlanta. He made a fortune." Another situation involved the Phi Delts and the newly built swimming pool. "The Phi Delts were always throwing different types of dyes as well as some bizarre road kill into the pool. It was quite disturbing to see bloated and water filled green squirrels floating on the top of the pool ."

Milt definitely appreciated the fun times at Sigma Nu, but he also took his studies very seriously, and he has proved that in his successful endeavors after Georgia Tech. He vividly remembers telling the Colonel that if he ever got out of Georgia Tech, he would never set foot on a college campus again. He lied. "I found my engineering degree to be a wonderful career start, but I needed a business education as well." His education continued at Kansas University, Michigan State, University of Michigan, Michigan Tech, Harvard University, and an MBA from Emory where he finished number one in his class.

After school, Milt returned to his home town to help his father operate a local telephone company he purchased in 1939, the year after Milt was born. Growth in the northeast Georgia mountains had begun to accelerate and his father needed someone to build an engineering department. Milt obtained a Professional Engineering license just as he became Manager, which effectively ended the engineering career that he had enjoyed so much. "My father's health failed and I became President, Treasurer and CEO at the dangerous and reckless age of 31. From that point on, it was full speed ahead and damn the torpedoes."
Pictured in Rambling Wreck is Milt with Brother (and brother -in-law) Aubrey Motz... Gamma Alpha #1012.

Prior to merging the company with ALLTEL in January 1999, his company had telephone, cable TV, Internet, cellular and retail operations all across north Georgia and part of North Carolina plus an interest in a fiber optic interstate carrier. "Interestingly, one of my fraternity brothers, Emon Mahoney, was on the board of directors of ALLTEL when we merged."
Milt attributes much of his career success to his Sigma Nu experiences. "There is no doubt in my mind that the interaction with so many diverse Brothers sharpened and developed better interpersonal skills. The fraternity exposed me to so many different people from so many different walks of life... certainly refined your ability to adapt and to interact."

Along with his Sigma Nu experiences, Milt recognizes that his participation with the Boy Scouts helped him in his career, as I trained Scoutmasters through the Woodbadge program. In fact, he has been a part of many clubs and associations, and has held many leadership roles over the years, including Piedmont College Trustee Emeritus, Honorary Doctor of Business Administration at Piedmont College, Past President of the Georgia Tech National Alumni Association, Georgia Tech Foundation Trustee Emeritus, and Distinguished Eagle, Silver Antelope, Silver Beaver - Boy Scouts of America.

It is no surprise that Milt has been awarded many honors as a result of his continuous leadership and dedication, including Georgia Tech Engineering Hall of Fame; Georgia Tech Academy of Distinguished Alumni; Independent Telephone Pioneers Peach State Chapter Hall of Fame; ISyE Distinguished Alumni Award.

When asked why he financially supports the capital campaign - BUILDING THE FUTURE... TODAY! for building a new Sigma Nu fraternity house, Milt responds... "I have pledged $100,000 to the Campaign as a way of giving something back to Gamma Alpha of Sigma Nu. Gary Jones kept putting the squeeze on me and was finally successful with a wonderful stroll down memory lane. Brothers like Gary and Chester Stokes and Charlie Brady along with so many others who have stepped up to the plate, provide the leadership and the passion and the commitment that makes you proud to have them as friends and Brothers."

Milt married his home town sweetheart, Carolyn Jordan, in 1966 immediately before he turned 28. "She made a huge change in my life for the better." They have two children, Jeb and Jill, who attended Georgia Tech and married Georgia Tech grads. Milt and Carolyn are proud grandparents of four grandchildren, one girl and three boys. All four grandchildren are geniuses, of course.

So now you can see... WHEN IT COMES TO BROTHER MILT STEWART... IT'S ALWAYS ABOUT GIVING BACK !
MILT STEWART, GAMMA ALPHA #1048, TRULY WALKS IN THE WAY OF HONOR !

James E. Trimble '87

In 1986, when Jimmy Trimble (GA # 1670) pledged Sigma Nu with a remarkable pledge class of Stosh Bennett (GA # 1653), Bill Lamb (GA # 1662), Michael Robison (GA # 1660), Paul McGowan (GA # 1654), Wayne Aaron (GA # 1653), Brennan Robison (GA # 1666), Ken Milam (GA # 1678) and Billy Phenix (GA # 1655) among so many others, little did he realize how important this life-time BAND OF BROTHERS would actually be for him. Over 20 years later, Jimmy Trimble is still MAKING A DIFFERENCE.....ONE BROTHER AT A TIME.

Jimmy feels very fortunate for his many blessings and is quick to give credit to others for his success. He looks back fondly at Sigma Nu as a major foundational experience in his life.

"I came to Tech with very few friends from high school and knew very few people when I hit campus. Sigma Nu was a great blessing because it gave me a set of Brothers. Sigma Nu taught me the importance of teamwork and provided a valuable foundation of leadership skills," says Jimmy.

After graduating from Tech in 1991, Jimmy has spent the majority of his time in banking. After 5 years in asset-based lending, Jimmy joined the Private Banking team at Wachovia and found his true passion – working with affluent banking clients and bringing them an extraordinary level of service.

"My goal has always been to bring peace to the financial life of each client and to do so one client at a time," says Jimmy. Jimmy was eventually recruited to join Flag Bank, an Atlanta-based community bank.

"The community banking world is very different than the environment at a regional bank. At Flag Bank, I really learned to be a banker and not just a service provider. After we sold Flag to a regional bank, I was much more prepared to take on my next challenge", says Jimmy.

That challenge was to start the Private Banking Group for Fidelity Bank, one of the largest and oldest community banks in Atlanta.

"I think this may be the job God put me on earth to do. The Bank's needs and my experience and interests match up very nicely and have contributed to our ability to grow the portfolio even in a tough banking environment," says Jimmy.

One of Jimmy's fondest memories was going to chapter each week. "From my first meeting to my last, I loved going to chapter. The meetings themselves were like nothing I had ever seen before – they would swing back and forth from controlled chaos to complete order and it never seemed to faze anyone. There was always good-natured bantering and it was interesting to watch guys go back and forth in what looked to be a conflict and then see them going out for a beer later that night. It was a great lesson for me and one that I've tried to carry throughout my life – don't take yourself or anything else too seriously," says Jimmy.

In addition to serving as the Chaplain and Recorder for the chapter, Jimmy also served as the IFC Secretary in 1989 and IFC President in 1990. These roles provided a platform to observe other chapters and gave him even more reasons to appreciate the very special place Sigma Nu was then – and still is to this day. "I said it then and I say it now from the heart – there is no other chapter that takes the words 'honor' and 'brotherhood' more seriously and there is no better chapter on the Georgia Tech campus," says Jimmy.

One of the things Jimmy is most thankful for over the past few years is his reengagement with the chapter as the Alumni Association President from 2004-2007. Over this time the Alumni Association was foundational in establishing a strong relationship with the active chapter and creating the groundwork for the current strength of the brotherhood.

"The best decision I made was to enlist Alex Brown, who has served as the VP of the Alumni Association from 2005-2007 and who is now President, serving with distinction. Alex was my constant sounding board and effectively recruited most of the core of the current alumni leadership. By the time we got involved, Gary Jones, Pat McKenna and Frank Spears had already put in thousands of hours to lay the groundwork for success. Gary Jones had the foresight to realize that before we rebuilt the house we needed to rebuild the chapter so we made sure the actives were vested in this process. We laid out specific plans identifying their marching orders and they enthusiastically agreed," says Jimmy as he once again rewards all the credit for any success to others.

One of the early challenges Jimmy made to the actives was to give an extra 10% in everything – in grades, in campus involvement, in athletics, and in their commitment to the brotherhood. Since that time, the chapter has consistently earned a GPA of 3.0 and the majority of brothers are now involved in campus leadership positions including last year's IFC President, Jonathan Sangster. Critically important to the rebuilding process, Jimmy points to three solid years of strong leadership and support from Commanders Jonathan Black, Josh Lesman and Adam Pratt. Of particular note was the effort the actives put into rush over the past three years.

"The chapter had fallen to less than 60 brothers and we knew that number would have to increase to support the new house. Thanks to great alumni engagement and a monumental effort by Rush Chair Adam Dudenfoeffer, we pledged 25 great men in 2006 – without a house! In 2007, Adam led the effort again and we pledged an additional 22 men. This year Jonathan Sangster and Redd Schoening Chaired Rush which resulted in an additional 20 pledges. Chris Germann served as the Alumni Rush Chair in 2007 and 2008, and did a terrific job encouraging and advising the actives on rush strategy."

Jimmy is extremely proud of the establishment of the Alumni Speaker Series, which is designed to bring back prominent alumni to give the actives practical advice from distinguished brothers who have done it the right way.

"This has turned out to be a great success. I doubt any other chapter on campus has anything like this." Speakers have included Gary Jones, Rep. Phil Gingrey, John Rhett, Michael Robison, Frank Spears, P.J. Bain, Stosh Bennett, Dan Radakovich (Tech's A.D.), Craig Marmon, Grant Norwood, Adam Fuller and Jimmy, himself – all who have distinguished themselves in their respective fields.

In addition to his service to Sigma Nu, Jimmy has also given back in numerous other ways to the community. "Laura and I have been blessed with the opportunity to give back and we do our best to do so," says Jimmy. He currently serves as a Georgia Tech Trustee and sits on the Boards of the Academy of Medicine, Camp Evergreen, Proactive Evangelism Ministries and the Gamma Alpha Alumni Association. He is also active in the Buckhead Lions Club and he and his wife, Laura, lead the Small Group Program at Northside Methodist Church.

Jimmy enjoys fishing, reading and skiing although many other things compete for his time. The two things Jimmy won't compromise on are his faith and his family time. He travels across the country with Proactive Evangelism Ministries.

"PEM has been a huge blessing in my life. It has given me the chance to be a part of a team that trains congregations across the country in the real message of Jesus. It has made a powerful impact in many lives and I've made a lot of great friends along the way."

Jimmy also enjoys being a family man and is thankful for his many blessings in that area. Jimmy and his wife Laura have been married for thirteen years. They and their daughter, Kate (9) and son Tripp (6) live in Buckhead.

"Laura is amazing. God knew exactly what I needed in a wife and picked her out for me. She is my best friend and genuinely supports me in all that I do. She is also the best mom any kid could ask for," says Jimmy.

Roger Henry Brown '48

Commander Roger Henry Brown '48: Builder Of Character ..... Builder Of Men

May 2006

"When I returned from the South Pacific after serving 3 years in World War II, I pledged Sigma Nu and truly experienced an opportunity to bond with so many different and wonderful Gamma Alpha Brothers. Some of us Vets were in our late twenties interacting with Brothers with a 10 year difference in age in many cases. The memories and the relationships are some of the best of my life. I know the younger Brothers felt they learned from us.....but we felt that we also learned so much from them as well."

Roger Henry Brown, Gamma Alpha 710, was initiated into Sigma Nu during the year of 1948. He held the role of Commander in 1951 and also in 1952. Upon graduation, he took the knowledge that he had acquired during his wonderful days as a student at Georgia Tech as well as the leadership skills that he had sharpened and honed while in Sigma Nu and WW II and applied them to a very successful professional career.

In 1963, Roger began working in the field of highway construction, with Southeastern Highway Contracting Company. He became President and CEO of the company in later years. Roger remembers his time at Sigma Nu as a great social and learning experience, which he carries with him always. "Sigma Nu helped me grow into a leader in life and in my career. The benefits and life-lessons that I received while being a part of the Brotherhood of Gamma Alpha of Sigma Nu far outweigh any other singular life experience that I have undergone."

In recognition of Roger's Sigma Nu and life accomplishments, he was inducted into the Georgia Tech Hall of Fame in early 2000's.

Roger and his wife, Carolyn (Moore) Brown, whom he met while at Georgia Tech, now live in Gainesville, GA. They have a son, Roger Brown Jr. Roger Jr. did not follow in his father's footsteps at Georgia Tech, but he did learn ....the ways of a leader and certainly followed the same gene pool and same DNA trail of his Dad. Son Roger graduated from Davidson College Phi Beta Kappa, went on to teach in Kenya, has work has been published widely around the globe, and then went on to earn a Master's Degree from Yale. He and his wife Linda were named TOP ENTREPRENEURS of the YEAR by Business Week a few years ago; and currently he is President of Berklee College of Music in Boston, Mass. So obviously, Roger Jr. didn't fall from the tree.

Commander Brown's leadership abilities were readily apparent quite early in his days at Gamma Alpha of Sigma Nu as his brothers looked to him for advice and direction on everything from which courses to take to which jobs and careers to pursue. Quotes McKinney Taylor - a life-long friend from Richmond, Va - Gamma Alpha # 737 and Lt Commander under Roger...." Roger was a builder of character.....and a builder of men."

When asked what Sigma Nu means to him, Roger responded, "I am very close to Sigma Nu and I'm very appreciative of my experiences at the fraternity. I still stay in touch with several of the Brothers and have recently spoken with Bob Templeton, Bill Maier, McKinney Taylor and Thomas Hallyburton to name a few." Roger continues to be a part of Sigma Nu, as a volunteer for the Capital Campaign. He visited the house last year and expressed the great need for a new chapter house. "I choose to be a part of Sigma Nu and the Campaign, because I want to help ensure that our brothers live in a viable house."

"I remember when I pledged Gamma Alpha of Sigma Nu.....we lived over on 5th Street and couldn't believe that we were actually going to build a new fraternity house. In 1951, we had the most modern facility on campus. And 750 Fowler St was the center of fraternity row. We were the envy of every single fraternity. Considering she's over 55 years old, I'd said we certainly got our money's worth out of the Old Gal!"

"I am proud to be a part of the leadership of this Campaign and look forward to the opening ceremonies next Fall. My hope is that all of the Brothers of Gamma Alpha will get behind this wonderful new house and give something back to Sigma Nu. That's really not much to ask in return for what Sigma Nu has done for all of us."

ROGER BROWN '48 - GAMMA ALPHA #710 - WALKS IN THE WAY OF HONOR