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West Texas A&M University
Alumni Association eNewsletter
December 2016


West Texas A&M University Alumni Association eNewsletter - Let's Catch Up, BuffAlum.com

WT Alumnus Named Texas High School Principal of the Year 

Congratulations to Steve Williams ’79, ’93, for being named the 2016-2017 Texas High School Principal of the Year by the Texas Association of Secondary School Principals. He will travel to Austin in June to receive his award. Williams is currently in his 21st year as principal of Randall High School (RHS) in Amarillo. He joined the RHS faculty when the school first opened more than 25 years ago as a math teacher and assistant football coach. He later served three years as assistant principal before being named to his current position. In all, he has more than 35 years of experience as a teacher and coach and in school administration. “There is no city called ‘Randall,’ but for two decades, Steve Williams has led an environment that exudes pride in academic and extracurricular accomplishments that carries an ongoing emotional return,” Darryl Flusche, superintendent of the Canyon Independent School District, said. “Throughout his responsibilities, he always considers what is best for the students at Randall High School.” Each year the Texas Association of Secondary School Principals selects outstanding principals and assistant principals from each of its 20 TASSP regions. Campus administrators are nominated and selected by their peers from within their regions. Nominations are based upon exemplary performance and outstanding leadership in secondary education. The TASSP Principal Image Committee reviews the applications and selects the finalists. Finalists are invited to Austin to interview with members of the Principal Image Committee.

Building the Lemieux Legacy

by Brittany Castillo

As he wrapped up a successful workday of video production, Wilson pulled out his phone to see his wife calling. “I have news, but I don’t want to tell you right now,” she said when he answered. Deciding he couldn’t wait, he prompted Heather to say more and was elated to learn he would soon have a daughter. It was 2014, and Wilson Lemieux was working for Smith Hamilton creating videos and media content. He had recently graduated from West Texas A&M University with a degree in mass communications and advertising, and earlier that year, he married Heather, and together with their son, Madden, they moved to a home in Canyon. The Lemieux crew had experienced a year of many firsts, but with the news of baby Nora on the way, the family felt inspired to welcome one more change. In just one year, Wilson created his own video production business, The Lemieux Company.

Growing up in Wellington, Texas, Lemieux was a small town kid with high energy and a love for telling stories. In 2010, he found a home in WT’s mass communications program and was named Best Newcomer as a freshman. In the following years, Wilson led his peers to victory in national competitions serving as general manager of WT’s radio station KWTS 91.1, executive producer of WT’s live music showcase: One Sessions, and production specialist of Buffalo Advertising in the National Student Advertising Competition. His academic successes inspired his first entrepreneurial venture in 2012, when he and a few classmates produced videos for a few clients and took their gig to Austin. Though the business was short lived, it opened the door to an internship with a marketing group in New York City. The position gave Lemieux a taste of the competitive marketing world in the biggest city in the country. These were among a few of his most humbling and challenging experiences. He learned to embrace “failing fast” by remembering he would always get the chance to redeem himself.

“I reminded myself to stay focused and constant. It’s not always about what you can do for client, it is about the relationship you can build,” said Lemieux. “I care so much more about customer experience than I ever will about how video looks, and I care a whole lot about how the video looks.” Wilson saw his growing family as an opportunity to build a legacy for himself, his kids and businesses with a vision. Remembering that small town kid turned ambitious college student, Lemieux took a leap of faith to make a name for himself in Amarillo. With $600, one lead and 12-plus hour workdays, he launched The Lemieux Company on July 3, 2015. “I saw a need for better video content other than what you’d ordinarily see locally,” said Lemieux. “I wanted to take those media influences from WT, and seeing what they could do in New York City, and apply that to Amarillo in an innovative way.” The “Lemieux” Company, roughly translated The “Better” Company in French, is built on the principle of telling better stories and building better content. With an array of production services such as training videos, instructional content, website development and animation, the skilled company appeals to clients in various industries. The young business has already worked with reputable clients like the Amarillo Economic Development Corporation, Valero and Circles Company.

In July 2016, the company hosted a party celebrating a year in business. The event was widely supported by the community and sponsored by Long Wooden Spoon Brewing, Printed Threads and Leal’s Mexican Restaurant. The occasion also gave Wilson opportunity to reflect on the highs and lows of his year of production. “Some people who want to be entrepreneurs aren’t willing to suffer for it. It’s important to remember it’s not all peachy keen. Just a year ago, Heather and I struggled to pay our bills, and we weren’t able to give each other Christmas gifts,” said Lemieux. “There are moments when you don’t know why you’re doing this anymore. But just like people suffer for their art, you suffer to build your company.” In addition to celebration, the one-year anniversary was an event that sparked an entrepreneurial spirit among the group of artistic supporters. The gathering became an avenue to building a creative culture in Amarillo. “There is so much talent in Amarillo, and we can’t foster that creative community without giving everyone something to rally behind. Yes, the party was about the company but more importantly, it showed there’s a rise in the celebration of creativity,” said Lemieux. “[Creativity] can be a revenue stream for our town because if us little guys make enough money to survive, then we become a place that is sought out more for creativity. Then, bigger businesses choose to work with the skilled little guys, making us the big guys.”

With the motto “Slow and Steady,” Wilson operates his business by building relationships that allow the company to provide the best customer experience. Rather than solely focusing on video production, the Lemieux Company immerses itself in a client’s mission to adopt their vision and help build a lasting legacy. “The videos are cool and people finding value in what I like to do is awesome, but seeing a customer’s face light up when their vision is realized is what it’s about,” said Lemieux. “I have fallen in love with the process of helping someone bring their vision to life. When we sit down in a meeting with someone, who might not have the full grasp of what they’re wanting, and together build and deliver the concept that makes the client feel like a million bucks—that’s why I do it.” Coming soon, The Lemieux Company is in the process of creating an endowed scholarship awarded to a student for their hard work and dedication to the WT mass communications program. The scholarship is helped made possible with Amarillo National Bank and will not only support students but serve as a reminder of a “slow and steady” work ethic of diligence and perseverance. Said Lemieux, “It’s very important to know that for as successful as you may or may not have been, there are still chances to fail. And on that same note, there’s always chances to succeed again.”

Wendler Kicks Off Panhandle Tour in January

It sounds like a daunting task—more than 60 towns in five months—but West Texas A&M University President Walter Wendler is eager to get on the road in a “Your Community, Your University” tour of the Texas Panhandle.

Wendler’s tour kicks off Jan. 5 with a 6 p.m. stop in Booker and will continue through May with stops planned for Dalhart, Childress and all points in between. The tours are open to the public, and Wendler hopes to meet everyone from teachers to business owners as well as WTAMU alumni during the visits.

“Many of the students that graduate from WT go out into these communities and build their careers and raise their families,” Wendler said. “They are nurses, teachers, business leaders and more in towns from Booker to Lazbuddie. I want to visit these towns, meet the people, build a relationship and make sure that West Texas A&M University is meeting their needs and serving them well. I look forward to what future successes this initiative will bring not only to WTAMU, but to higher education in general and to the Texas Panhandle.

A tentative schedule for the “Your Community, Your University” tour lists the dates and towns Wendler will be visiting in January. Information about the tour for February through May will be available as dates and locations are confirmed.

Wendler was named the University's 11th president by the Texas A&M University System Sept. 1, and this tour marks the first effort in recent history by a WTAMU president to visit the top 26 counties of the Texas Panhandle.

If you are interested in representing WTAMU by attending the presentation at your high school and speaking briefly about your WT experience, please email Becky Stogner, director for alumni relations and university engagement, at bstogner@wtamu.edu. A complete calendar of presentations can be found at wtamu.edu.



Making a year-end gift is a great way to support your alma mater and receive a valuable tax benefit as well. To make a year-end contribution or renew your Alumni Association membership, visit buffalum.com.

Upcoming Events

Dec. 23
University Closed for the Holidays through Dec. 30. 
Offices resume activities on Jan. 2.

Dec. 31
Buff basketball vs. Oklahoma City, 1 p.m.
First United Bank Center, Canyon, TX

Feb. 9
Alumni Gathering at Jazz Texas, 5 - 7 p.m.
312 Pearl Pkwy, Ste 6001, San Antonio, TX

Feb. 10
Annual Alumni Reunion at the Texas Music Educators Association Conference
Menger Hotel, San Antonio, TX

Feb. 20
Alumni Gathering at CU29 Cocktail Bar, 5 - 7 p.m.
720 Brazos Street, Austin, TX

BuffAlum.com - for details on upcoming events
University calendar - for a complete schedule of campus events
gobuffsgo  - for complete schedule of WT athletic events

WTAMU Alumni Association 102 N 25th Street, Canyon TX 79016
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