The Appalachian Alumni Association honored the cofounder of an international company, an executive at Lowe’s Companies Inc. and a retired collegiate athletics director at its annual Alumni Awards Gala June 7, 2014, on campus.
The men were honored for distinguished careers or service to Appalachian State University. Chancellor Kenneth E. and Rosanne Peacock were also honored, with the Appalachian Medallion for their 31 years of dedicated service to the university.
Preston B. Powell ’01 cofounded the privately held MOAM Group Inc. with offices in Indonesia, China, Hong Kong and North Carolina. An advocate of international experiences, he has created opportunities for Appalachian State University students through his gifts of time and resources.
This award honors individuals under age 40 for their exceptional service to the university and career accomplishments.
Marshall A. Croom ’86 is chief risk officer for Lowe’s Companies Inc. He has served as a mentor for students through the Walker College of Business’s Executive Mentoring Program and panelist for the Martha Guy Institute. He also has supported scholarships, Yosef Club and 2011 Solar Decathlon. The Marshall A. Croom Student Services Center on campus bears his name.
This award recognizes individuals for their exceptional service to the university.
L. Oval Jaynes ’62 had a nearly 50-year career in athletics – from high school coach in Charlotte to director of athletics at Jacksonville State University. His service with the National Collegiate Athletic Association, American Football Coaches Association and other organizations shaped the nation’s collegiate athletics, while his community service improved the lives of many.
This award honors a graduate who has attained extraordinary distinction and success in his or her career and demonstrated exceptional and sustained leadership in the community.
Chancellor Kenneth E. and Mrs. Rosanne Peacock each received the Appalachian Medallion, the highest honor conferred by the university, for their 31 years of service.
The medallion is presented selectively to individuals demonstrating commitment and significant service to Appalachian. Recipients have earned both the individual and collective respect and admiration of the university community.
Voice one: Fire in the hole!
Voice two: Warning the events in the following video were performed and supervised by professionals. Please don’t try this at home.
Preston Powell '01: I grew up in Summerfield, NC although spent some formative years in North West Mississippi and then came to Appalachian by chance almost. I actually was a big fan of their education program and teaching. At the time, I had hopes and dreams of playing a little bit of football and maybe being a history teacher and high school football coach.
PP: I got into the business major, took an intro to business class and was really lucky to get Dr. Jerry Fox as the professor in that class. The picture he painted of business and what all the possibilities that there were, really got me hooked. So, over the next couple semesters I started transitioning out of my history courses and things of that nature and into some business classes and really never looked back after that.
PP: I went on the Scandinavian trip with Dr. Barry Eldridge, at the time, an economics professor and that kind of got me hooked on “Wow, there’s another world outside of North Carolina.”
PP: I was aware of the Holland Fellows Program. I knew it was the crème de la crème of the College of Business. I didn't think I was a candidate for it, but Dr. Peacock, who was the Dean of the College of Business at the time, said “Well you know, throw your hat in a ring and see what happens.” I made it to the interview stage and was fortunate enough to be probably the last entry into the program of that year. It was just a phenomenal experience just to see what was out there and then notice, “Okay, now I want to go plant my flag and see what happens.”
PP: When you make the decision to go into business for yourself and you say, “I’m going to be my own boss,” for like a day in a half you’re the happiest person on the planet and then the realization sets in that the 9-5 job I was leaving was now becoming a full-time, weekend, holiday, all night situation, but it’s one that I’ve really enjoyed.
PP: The MOAM Group in it’s five years has changed in a lot of ways. My business partner, who’s also a Holland Fellows grad and Walker College of Business grad, Adam Scherer. We started out as an agency firm that would work with retailers on their private label products and then find the right factory and then kind of manage that whole point. In the last couple of years we’ve seen increased energy costs for transportation. We’ve seen increased lead times. So, you put all of that together combined with a lot of the buyers here in the United States that don't like waiting 90 days to get their product from China.
PP: I started seeing, from being here back in the United States, “Hey, look there might be an opportunity for this to be done here.” Somehow, we were able to find a spot in West Tennessee, in a little spot called Alamo, Tennessee. Believe it or not, it was one of the last places in the United States that did cut and sew manufacturing for garments, which is a really highly skilled worker. In January of this year we did a soft opening for a new manufacturing facility here in the United States called Alamo Pride.
PP: It’s strange in a way because we were guys that were moving manufacturing from the United States to China and now we are moving a lot of that back, but we feel like we are at the beginning of a new wave of re-shoring of product made here in America. So, it’s something we’re really excited about.
PP: Consumer tastes and trends change very quickly. We’ve been very fortunate to hit ahead of a lot of those trends. Two years ago we noticed a need in the market for survival or prepper gear. Yukon Outfitters was born.
Voice three: Fire in the hole.
PP: So, Yukon Outfitters was born when my business partner and I took a fly fishing trip out to the Yukon territory. We picked up a product at the little outrigger airport tackle shop. The product actually failed us and we were in an environment that was incredibly hostile, if you didn’t have the right products. Both being outdoorsmen, Adam’s a former Eagle Scout and myself growing up in the woods, we said, “We’ve got all of these resources. With factories and our knowledge base of product we can build a better line of product.”
PP: We just kind of went from there and started with a set of hiking poles, parachute hammock, hiking and camping gear, sleeping bags, sleeping mats, and what we call expedition gear. Which are our go bags, duffels, two and three day packs, as well as a line of expeditionary dry bags. Then last Fall, we opened up a section of the brand called Yukon Tactical. Range bags, pistol cases, gun cases, range scabbards and scope rifle scabbards. Finishing that area is a bespoke line of hard cases.
PP: My Appalachian degree has meant several things for me. I see profoundly that my life has been affected in a positive manner. It has catapulted my career by being a part of the Holland Fellows Program.
PP: I had Ken Peacock, as a professor. I knew him when he was the Dean of the College of Business...had he not talked to me and mentioned, “There’s a way you could go to China. I know it’s expensive,” he said, but he convinced me to sell my car to go, which I did my senior year. Looking back, I would have sold it one hundred times over again because had I not had that opportunity to go out there and see what was available, I’d be no where near where I am today.
PP: When I first got the call from Ken Peacock that I was being awarded as this year’s young alumni, I wasn't sure if I was being Punk’d. Ken can be bit of a jokester.
PP: I think there’s a lot of responsibility with this award because I feel like we are just getting started and the latest chapter being that we’ve got a lot to do with bringing jobs back here to the United States. Putting people back to work and empowering folks to know that goods made here in America is the way to go and it’s something that’s going to be important both at the consumer level and the retail level.
PP: I feel like my work is not even beginning to be finished. Now with this award, which I am tremendously thankful for, we’ll have a few more eyes watching our projects. That’s enough of an incentive to make sure that we deliver on all of our endeavors.
Marshall Croom '86: My family moved around quite a bit when I was younger. Quite a big family. 1 of 6 children and that was very instrumental for my formative years. Being a part of a large family. Learning to get along with others and deal with others. There was never a dull moment.
MC: We moved to Lexington, NC in 1967. So, I lived in Lexington up until I went to Appalachian. I decided to pursue a career in accounting. I knew they had a good Accounting program and so, for me it was a good opportunity to learn, to grow, and to pursue an accounting career to be successful as a student and hopefully successful as a person in life.
MC: I graduated from Appalachian and then went to go work with Ernst & Young and got a call from an Ernst & Young alumnus who offered me an opportunity to come to Lowe’s, actually in the treasury department and I thought about doing something differently with my career at the time and I knew Lowe’s was an up and coming company, so I went and interviewed for the job at Lowe’s and since then I’ve gotten to do a number of different things at Lowe’s, which is really great. What I call the fun stuff at Lowe’s. So, internal auditing, risk management, information security, project process and change management, and along with quality assurance.
MC: With the different efforts and service opportunities I have, some of it is time based and also an opportunity to give back financially to the university as a whole. I serve as much as I do because of much of my passion for the students. You can call it pay it forward or do unto to others. From the experience I had at Appalachian with the professors and staff at the time, I knew that I wanted to have an impact on students as well.
MC: So, one of those is the mentorship program that we have through the Business Advisory Counsel in the Walker College of Business, so that we are pairing a student with a businessperson, but it’s an opportunity for them to talk about school, academics, life. It’s just meant to be someone they can bounce ideas off of or something else that can help give them a different perspective about what the work force and working world is really like to help shape them and round them out.
MC: My decision to help support the Career Service Center was a very easy one. Also, it was Michelle Boisclair who had a very strong heart for students and that passion for students that really inspired me to help as well. So, it’s really an opportunity to help the students think about getting prepared for applying for a job, interviewing for a job, pursuing a job. But it really dovetails back into to my experience at Appalachian. So in a way for me to kind of give back and hopefully one of these students one day will give back as well.
MC: If I had to describe Appalachian, I think one of the first things that comes to mind is family. It’s the personal connections and the personal relationships. Again, I think I have to go back to the time when it was my second semester at Appalachian and Chancellor Peacock, Ken Peacock...he always kept his classes very engaging, very entertaining, very informative. Just the opportunity to have had him as a professor is tremendous.
MC: I didn’t do so well on one of his tests and it was one of the firsts tests out of the gate and I really wasn’t happy with how I’d done, so I went and talked with Professor Peacock, at the time, and he really helped re instill confidence in myself and my abilities as a student. So, for him to take the time and the genuine interest in caring and the authenticity of his interest in me as a student and person...That again, I just had not had that experience before, so for me that was kind of a defining moment that here was a person in an institution that is different and providing a better experience for our students.
MC: So, again it’s just the offering of that complete package that I had as a student, at the time, and then continue to see that grow, evolve and change over time through continued involvement with students, faculty, and serving on the Business Advisory Counsel.
MC: It’s a tremendous honor to receive this award. To even be considered for it was a tremendous honor. Again, because of the experiences I had at Appalachian, the experiences I’ve had post Appalachian, given the connection I’ve had with Chancellor Peacock, Dean Edwards, a number of the other faculty over the years, the students I’ve gotten to know over the years and just getting to know and interact with them and to feel like you’re having an impact and making a difference in someone’s life. I mean that’s what it’s all about.
MC: So, it means a lot to be recognized for this. I certainly wasn’t asking for it. Certainly gladly accept it, but it’s just a tremendous responsibility for us. Not only giving financially, but giving of our time and talents to provide better experiences for students, faculty and for the college.
Oval Jaynes '62: I grew up in Morganton, which is about 50 miles from Boone. My dad grew up in Burke County in Morganton and my mother had grown up in Salisbury. They dated while she was in school at Appalachian and they of course were married.
OJ: Appalachian was part of my life since I was kid. Going through my mom’s annuals, which I still have copies of the annuals. All of her pictures I’ve torn out of them because I thought I should be carrying them in my pocket. After high school, I had several offers to go other places and I didn’t think I would go to school at Appalachian. I changed my mind and it was probably the greatest decision I’ve ever made in my life.
OJ: So, I knew a lot about Appalachian before I came. I knew my way around. I knew some of the faculty members. Some of them were the same who taught my mama and probably the most exciting thing that happened, happened right at the beginning of my sophomore year. I met this good looking cheerleader. Lord, and it’s been a merry go round ever since. The day after we met, I came back and told my roommate, “I think I’ve met the woman I’m going to marry.” We actually decided to get married before our senior year. Seems like we’ve known each other all of our lives and this month, we’ll be married 54 years on June 25th. A lot of special memories.
OJ: Well, when I finished at Appalachian, I was very fortunate and I already had a job offer. I got into coaching and spent 21 years as a coach. Once I left coaching in the early 80s, I became an athletic director. Thought about, at times, going into the NFL and had opportunities to do that, but I felt like my place to be was on a college campus. Being in college athletics for almost 50 years, I was blessed. Not many people had the chance to take the games they played as a kid and then play it in high school and college and then make your career out of it.
OJ: I couldn’t sleep fast enough. I wanted to get into the next day so much. Never in my life had I thought that I had a real job. I’ll never forget when my dad told me, “You’ve been coaching for 20 years. Don’t you think it’s time for you to come home and take a real job?” That’s the way I feel. I’ve spent a lifetime in college athletics and never really thought I had a job. Just kept getting up every day and enjoying it everyday.
OJ: When I finished school, I felt an obligation to give back. I started buying season tickets and we gave to the Yosef Club and for 41 years I had those season tickets and believe it or not, never set in the seats. Of course you’ve got to realize that I went into college athletics and I was working every day that they were playing. So, I never had a chance to come back. It was 2003 before I finally came to a game and actually sat in the seats for the first time, but I always bought my season tickets. I really thought it was a way that I could give back and contribute. Really to give back so that another group of student athletes and students could come to Appalachian and experience the good things that my wife and I experienced there as students.
OJ: Well, a couple years ago I got a phone call from the executive director of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics and he told me that I had been selected to be inducted into the National Athletic Directors Hall of Fame. It was really a great honor, more than anything, to be voted on it by your peers. To recognize the body of work that you had as an athletic director. It was special.
OJ: I’ve been inducted into my home county hall of fame, sports hall of fame and of course I’ve received another award from the American Football Foundation. Maybe a sign of receiving awards is a sign of you getting older, maybe I don’t know.
OJ: When Dr. Peacock called and said that I’ve been selected to receive this award, it really brought back a lot of fond memories. Not only of my days at Appalachian, but of all the people that shared in my education there and our friendships through the years. I really had a warm feeling about the award because I knew how proud my mom and dad would be.
OJ: I think when you go to a school and you’re a student, you’re an athlete and you leave, you never really think about receiving any awards after that, but to receive this award at this time in my life is really special. It’s more than about me. It’s about my wife, my family, the friends that I’ve made at Appalachian. That’s what is special about it.
OJ: The award is not about me, it’s about all those that can share in it. I’m very honored, very humble to be a Distinguished Alumni for 2014.