Alumni Fellows 2020

The Mitchell College of Business congratulates the four class of Alumni Fellow Award recipients. These individuals have been instrumental in the development of our college and its students. 


Alexis Atkins

Alexis Atkins, vice president of human resources/principal in co-ownership of Budweiser Busch Distributing, Inc., of Mobile, is a 1997 graduate of the University of South Alabama with a major in human resources.

Atkins is a member of the University of South Alabama Board of Trustees, the Jaguar Athletic Fund board, the Mitchell College of Business Executive Advisory Council, and Feeding the Gulf Coast (formerly the Bay Area Food Bank), of which she is the past chairman. Atkins is also past president of the University of South Alabama National Alumni Association and Executive Women International. At Budweiser Busch Distributing, Atkins provides comprehensive management of human resources for the beverage distributor, ensures compliance and enforcement of all state and federal mandates regarding employment, and is responsible for policy development and administration, risk management, and administration of employee records and benefits.

Atkins and her husband, Michael, reside in Mobile and have five children.

John Bassett

John J. Bassett is the retired Owner and CEO/President of Renaissance Petroleum Company, LLC (“Renaissance”). Before founding Renaissance, he was the CEO/President of Middle Bay Oil Company (“MBOC”), a Mobile-based, publicly traded oil and gas company. Previously, John served as CEO/President of Bay City Energy Group, Inc.

MBOC was formed through the consolidation of 27 partnerships and six mergers. In 1997, Bassett grew the company’s reserves from approximately $1 million to over $260 million. Birmingham News named MBOC the best company in the state of Alabama, being first in two-year returns to shareholders (254.17%) and the biggest one-year stock price gainer (254.2%).

Bassett earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing and Logistics from the University of South Alabama in 1991. While at South, he lettered two years in baseball. He serves as a director of the Jaguar Athletic Fund, is a member of the Mitchell College of Business Executive Advisory Council, and remains very involved in the growth of the university.

Jim Estabrook

James B. “Jim” Estabrook Jr. is the former president of Pascagoula-based Estabrook Motor Co., which was founded by his father in 1951, and several other automotive-related enterprises. Estabrook is the recipient of the Ford Motor Company Distinguished Achievement Award and the Toyota President’s Award. Estabrook Motor Co. is now run by his two sons, David Reed Estabrook II and James Andrew Estabrook. He also served on the Hancock Whitney Board for over 25 years, with 13 of those as Chairman of the Board. During his time as Chairman, the Bank grew from $5.9 billion to $30.6 billion.

Well known for his community involvement, Estabrook has served as director for community organizations such as: The Salvation Army, The Boys Club, The Economic Development Foundation, The Kiwanis Club, The Singing River Mental Health Assn., South Inc. and The Jackson County Chamber of Commerce.

Estabrook received his degree from the University of South Alabama in 1967. He and his wife, Martha White, belong to the Singing River Yacht Club and enjoy spending time on the water with their four grandchildren.

Pete Hayes

Pete Hayes is a highly accomplished leader, executive, company officer and board member who has consistently demonstrated sustained, long-term success. Hayes is very effective operating at the highest levels in business and government in multi-cultural environments. After 35 years leading significant divisions within major companies, Hayes now focuses his skills and experience on venture capital, private equity and other activities.

Hayes is Founder & CEO of Middleburg Venture Partners, a boutique advisory firm that focuses on strategy, insight, innovation and investment in the TMT Sector (Technology, Media & Telecom). He is also a Blu Venture Investor partner. Blu is a venture capital-investment company that supports early-stage entrepreneurs.

Hayes sits on the board of eight companies whose focus ranges from; communications and coding to luxury consignment & vintage marketplace. He recently completed a five-month role as interim CEO for The Imagine Group. Hayes also is a member of the Mitchell College of Business Executive Advisory Council. Pete lives in Middleburg, Virginia with his wife, Mary.

Jerry Lathan

Jerry Lathan is founder and CEO of The Lathan Company, a historic-restoration company whose projects include the Smithsonian Institution Arts and Science Building, the Trump International Hotel at the Old Post Office, the Beauvoir Mansion and other properties.

An alumnus of the Mitchell College, he is also owner of Big Easy Studios in New Orleans. He is the former finance chairman and vice chair of the Alabama Republican Party and led the UNESCO Haiti Earthquake Architectural Team. He has received the Louisiana Society Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation (2016), was the Alabama Republican of the Year (2008) and has received a number of other awards from the American Institute of Architects and others.

Lathan’s latest project is the development of Carillon Oaks, developing properties with resort-level amenities for communities that would otherwise lack independent-living, assisted-living or memory-care facilities. Lathan is also a member of the Mitchell College of Business Executive Advisory Council. He and his wife, Terry, live in Theodore, AL and have two children.

Arlene Mitchell

Arlene Mitchell is a civic leader and Mobile philanthropist whose family has generously supported the University of South Alabama.

Mitchell, who attended the University of Pennsylvania, has served on various boards, including the Mobile Preschool for the Sensory Impaired, Senior Citizens Services of Mobile, the Boys & Girls Clubs of South Alabama, the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind, the Dauphin Street Synagogue Sisterhood and the Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center. Mitchell is a past president of the Board of Directors of the Community Foundation of South Alabama.

Mitchell is a previous recipient of the Mobilian of the Year Award. In 1997, the Arlene F. Mitchell Philanthropy Award was established in her honor. 

Mitchell was married to the late Mayer Mitchell, brother of Abraham A. “Abe” Mitchell. For their extraordinary contributions, USA’s Mitchell Center, Mitchell Cancer Institute and Mitchell College of Business were named to honor the Mitchell family. Mitchell is a member of the USA Board of Trustees. She has four children.