A college administrator, a public school superintendent, a businessman, and an insurance executive have been selected to receive the 2013 Alumni Awards for Achievement and Merit presented annually by the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

Lionel Maten, assistant vice president for enrollment management and housing at the University of Mississippi; Dr. Tony Thurman, superintendent of the Cabot School District; Bobby Jelks, president of Franks Management Company LLC, of Shreveport, La., and Martha Carlson of Alma, a regional executive with Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, will receive the awards during a banquet as part of UAM’s homecoming celebration October 25.

“This is an accomplished and diverse group that represents achievement and success in a broad range of careers,” said UAM Chancellor Jack Lassiter. “We are pleased to honor these deserving individuals. Each of them represents a success story that serves as a positive reflection on the University. I congratulate each of them and look forward to seeing them in October.”

Lionel Maten

Lionel Maten joined the Ole Miss administration in June 2012 as director of housing and residential life before being promoted to his current position in July 2013. Maten was a member of the UAM track and field team prior to graduating in 1992 with a bachelor’s degree in physical education. He earned a master of arts degree in recreation and leisure studies from Murray State University in 1994.

Maten returned to UAM following completion of his master’s degree to become a resident director and student development specialist, coordinating a 350-bed residence hall while selecting and training 20 resident assistants and providing both academic and career counseling to students.

He joined the staff at the University of Southern Mississippi in 1997 as area coordinator, serving as the administrator for five residence halls housing 1,200 students. In 2000, he was named associate director of housing services at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pa., where he assisted in forecasting and monitoring an operational budget in excess of $23 million. At Carnegie Mellon he directed all activities associated with the Office of Housing Services, including marketing, off-campus housing, and support staff.

In 2003, Maten became associate director of housing facilities at the University of Louisville, a position he held for three years. From 2006-09, he was the director of university housing at Oakland University, managing all aspects of the university’s housing and residence life program before becoming director of housing and residence life at the University of Texas-San Antonio in 2009. Maten remained at UTSA until 2012.

Tony Thurman

Dr. William “Tony” Thurman has worked in public education for the past 24 years, beginning in 1988 as a bus driver and substitute teacher for the Monticello School District. Thurman is a Monticello native, a 1987 graduate of Monticello High School, and a 1993 UAM graduate with a bachelor’s degree in health and physical education. As an undergraduate at UAM, Thurman was a member of the Knights service organization, a Student Ambassador, and once filled in for the Boll Weevil mascot. He later earned a master of education degree in secondary education from UAM in 1998 before completing a doctor of education degree in school administration from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in 2003.

Thurman taught in the Crossett School System before moving into school administration as principal of McGehee Elementary School. He moved to Cabot in 2000 and served as principal of Cabot Middle School for three years and principal of Cabot High School for four years.

He was named superintendent of the Cabot Public School System in May 2007 where he oversees a student population of more than 10,000 students and 1,400 employees. Thurman has also served as an adjunct professor at Arkansas State since 2004. He completed the Leadership Development Program based at the Center for Creative Leadership in Greensboro, N.C., and participated in the Harvard Superintendents Academy.

Thurman currently serves on the Arkansas ACT Council, the Arkansas Child Health Advisory Committee, and the Arkansas Leadership Academy Advisory Committee. He also plays an active role on the Arkansas Department of Education’s Advisory Committee and is an Arkansas Association of Education Administrators / Wilbur Mills Cooperative Legislative Committee representative.

Bobby Jelks

Bobby Jelks is a 1974 UAM graduate with a bachelor of science degree in accounting as well as a master of science degree in accountancy from the University of Houston.

Jelks is currently president of Franks Management Company, LLC., a business that includes real estate investment, venture capital and oil and gas exploration. He also serves on the board of directors of five companies – Aeropres Corporation, Brammer Holding LLC, Argent Financial Group, Inc., where he serves as chairman, Anderson Oil and Gas, Inc., and TDX Holdings, LLC.

In 2005, Jelks retired after 28 years with the international accounting firm KPMG LLP, 21 years as a partner, where he served a variety of clients from public companies, closely held family businesses, and highly successful entrepreneurs.

Jelks is a certified public accountant, a member of the Louisiana Society of CPAs and holds a Personal Financial Specialist (PFS) designation from the American Institute of CPAs.

Jelks currently serves on the board of directors of The Community Foundation of North Louisiana and is a past chairman and president of the Alta and John Franks Foundation. He is a former board chairman of the Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce, former board chairman of the Northwest Louisiana Economic Development Foundation (now the North Louisiana Economic Partnership), former president of the United Way of Northwest Louisiana, Inc., and past president of the Louisiana State University–Shreveport Foundation.

Jelks received the President’s Distinguished Service Award for his work with the LSU-Shreveport Foundation. And, he was chosen as the Business Leader of the Year by the Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce in 2012.

Martha Carlson

Martha (Manning) Carlson is the regional executive of the west central regional office of Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield. Carlson is a 1988 UAM graduate with a bachelor of science degree in accounting. She holds a master of business administration degree from Florida State University and recently completed the Walton Emerging Leaders Program at the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.

Before joining Arkansas Blue Cross in 2007, Carlson worked for Triad Hospitals, Inc., serving as chief financial officer of the Longview Regional Medical Center, an acute care medical center in Longview, Tex., and CFO of Jackson Hospital, an acute care hospital in Marianna, Fla.  She also served as chief financial officer for Drew Memorial Hospital in Monticello and is a certified public accountant.

Carlson began her career as a senior accountant with the Little Rock CPA firm Baird, Kurtz & Dobson before returning to Monticello as director of administrative services for Delta Counseling Associates. She joined the staff of Drew Memorial Hospital in 1995 as director of patient financial services before becoming CFO in 1997.

From her office in Fort Smith, Carlson oversees Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield operations in Crawford, Franklin, Johnson, Sebastian, Logan, Scott and Polk Counties, including membership growth, provider relations, customer service initiatives and all product lines of business sold in the region.

Carlson is a member of the Healthcare Financial Management Association. She and her husband, Carl (a 1987 UAM graduate), are active in the Parents Association of the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts and served as co-presidents for the 2012-13 school year.

Story and Photos by Jim Brewer, Director UAM Media Services