The Atrium is
the center of Van Munching Hall and the heart of the Smith School.
So it is fitting that the Atrium should bear the name of Thomas G.
Pownall, a man with a great heart, as well as a great head for
business. The naming gift, given by Eric Billings ’77 and
Marianne “Fuzzy” Billings, honors Fuzzy’s father Thomas G.
Pownall, business leader and near-legendary head of Martin Marietta
Corporation, best known for fending off a hostile takeover of Martin
Marietta by Bendix Corporation in the early 1980s.
Pictured left to
right: University of Maryland President Dan Mote; Susan
Locke, daughter of Thomas G. Pownall; and Eric
Billings ’77, son-in-law of Pownall; Fuzzy Billings,
daughter of Pownall and Dean Howard Frank.
“He was a charismatic man and a great leader,” says Billings.
“Nothing I could say would do justice to him as a person.”
The naming ceremony was held on Tuesday, November 15, 2005.
Attendees included Eric and Fuzzy Billings, Susan Locke, Dean Howard
Frank, University of Maryland President Dan Mote, and many friends
of the school and Mr. Pownall.
Mote commented on the ways the university has worked to bring
itself to world-class status, including an initiative to bring more
alumni to leadership positions within the university. “We strive to
be recognized by great names,” said Mote. “It’s a very great treat
for the University of Maryland to have the Atrium named after Thomas
Isaman ’85, vice president, integration at UTC Fire & Security (UTCFS),
a division of United Technologies Corporation, gave the keynote
address at the Smith School’s winter commencement on Thursday,
December 22, 2005. Eight doctoral, 25 executive MBA, 100 MBA/MS, and
210 undergraduate business degrees were awarded at the ceremony,
which took place at the Comcast Center.
Isaman, who is responsible for the worldwide integration of
acquisitions into the new UTCFS business division, received a 2004
Friendship Award from the People’s Republic of China. It is the
supreme prize the Chinese government confers to foreign experts who
have made outstanding contributions to China’s economic and social
“Great leaders have an ability to laugh at themselves, to listen
to advice from those that they love, and to include those that they
love in their successes,” said Isaman. “Successful leaders know that
no one does it alone.”
it comes to interviewing, we all know the basic rules. It is common
knowledge that a floppy handshake can leave a lukewarm impression.
But did you realize the power of engaging eye contact?
For those of you in the game to win the title,
read on to find out how you can stand out in a crowd and truly make
an impression on interview day.
1) Prepare like it’s a final exam. Thoroughly research the
company – and then show off your knowledge. Have questions prepared
and make it clear that you are serious about working for this
company and see yourself as a member of the team.
2) Engage the interviewer. Eye contact and engaged body
language convey your interest and the sincerity of your pitch. It’s
hard to buy into the words of someone looking down at their notepad.
Conversing with your interviewer will buy you more points than
reciting sound bytes memorized the night prior.
3) Sound ambitious, not greedy. Save questions about hours
and perks like vacation and tuition remission for HR. Instead, ask
whether there could be a long-term role for you at the company. No
one wants to hire a job jumper – let them know you intend to be
there for the long haul.
4) Confidence, confidence, confidence. Today’s employers
realize the positive value your energy can bring to their
organization. So don’t sell yourself short by relying solely on your
resume skills. Instill confidence and enthusiasm, and allow your
interviewer to envision you succeeding in the position.
The Smith School’s Office of Career Management (OCM) offers
career assistance to alumni as well as current students. Have a
question for the OCM? Submit it via email to
Ricardo Benn CP Engineering ’94, MBA ’99, is a busy guy, but he
counts the hours he spends co-chairing the Alumni Mentor Program
Committee as time well spent. “I really enjoy the connection with
the student body. It lets me stay connected to changes within the
Smith School and the university.”
Benn is committed to helping students understand the importance
of building and maintaining their network within the Smith
community. “I don’t think current students always recognize the
strategic advantage represented by their classmates,” says Benn. “I
can’t tell you how many times I call upon the same internal network
of folks I met during business school when I’m dealing with a
Benn is a principal with Booz Allen Hamilton, leading the
organization’s business in the commercial sector, mainly with a
technology focus, and also works in the civil public sector, focused
on the financial applications of technology problems.
His job keeps him busy, but Benn doesn’t begrudge the time he
spends with Smith students. “We as mentors help students have
another node in their network of connections, but we are also
helping to develop the broad web of business networking connections
that is a hallmark of every top-notch MBA program.”
For more information about the Alumni Mentor program, please