Tom Smith ’88 had one of the best seats in the house at the 2009 NBA Finals—as the head trainer of the Orlando Magic. His job kept him rather busy tending to the physical needs of players like Dwight Howard, Hedo Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis.
Smith, a four-year student athlete, now sits two chairs down from Orlando head coach Stan Van Gundy. A double major in sports studies and Bible, Smith set the college’s 3,000-meter steeplechase record in 1987 (9:53.6), which stood for 22 years until last spring, and was an eight-time national championship qualifier in cross-country and track and field.
The early part of his career included stints in the NBA, CBA and International Hockey League, followed by work as head athletic trainer at St. Paul Academy in St. Paul.
Smith, a Long Prairie, Minnesota native, returned to the NBA in 2000, working for the Atlanta Hawks until joining the Magic in July 2006.
The Smith name is well known at UNW. Tom’s brother James Smith is associate professor of business, and his sister-in-law, Kris Smith, chairs the physical education department. When the Magic are in Minneapolis to play the Timberwolves, the Smith family and friends gather to see their now-NBA Eastern Conference Champion brother at work.
Tom Smith (class of 1988)
UNW Major: Sports Studies, Bible
Career: Head trainer for Orlando Magic
Home: Maitland, Florida
Family: Wife, Lisa (FOCUS 1993), Children: Grant (13), Kailee (10) and Jackson (7)
Working for a cause close to her heart
With online social networking, it’s not unusual to be connected with people from many different places and backgrounds. But when it comes to global connections, Naomi Frizzell F’95 has turned it up several notches.
As director of communications for the Lausanne Movement, Frizzell is able to draw upon the tools and training from her FOCUS degree in organizational leadership to work for a cause close to her heart. "I have always had a passion for missions and evangelism," Frizell said. "Having the opportunity to combine my media/broadcast background with communication and public relations has been enormously rewarding."
Cape Town 2010: The Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization is an event at the forefront of Frizzell’s mind these days. She is director of internal relations and digital resources for the gathering in South Africa that will draw 4,000 Christian leaders from 200 countries.
Worldwide Christian unity is what motivates Frizzell. She keeps the global conversation going even as she shares with any willing listener who sits next to her on a plane. “When I explain why I’m traveling and they say, ‘Really, tell me more,’—I do!”
Naomi Frizzell (FOCUS 1995)
UNW Major: Organizational Leadership
Career: Communication, Public Relations
Home: Jacksonville, Florida
Family: Husband, Randy, Son, Bradley
On the success track at two Northwesterns
Eight years after attending Northwestern’s annual Senior Business Banquet as a student, Hector Fernandez ’01 returned as the keynote speaker. Fernandez worked as a bond trader in Minneapolis after graduation and is now pursuing further education at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, one of the most prestigious business schools in the nation.
Fernandez’s education and work experiences have prepared him well for this new venture. He was one of just five Kellogg MBA students chosen to participate in a competitive internship program for investment banking at J.P. Morgan in New York City last summer. Learning from his professors in the classroom and outside of class was an important part of his UNW education. “Networking is so important; that’s something I’ve learned from being in business.” Fernandez has also learned the value of being flexible. When he graduated he wanted to be a bond trader for the rest of his life, but realized that there were other, perhaps better options out there.
Now back at Kellogg focusing on finance strategy and management, Fernandez is thinking of the future. “I want to learn as much as I can once we move to New York since it is the center of finance in the world. Even though I know it’s going to be challenging, I want to be very involved with our kids once we start a family and be involved in my church. I don’t want to coast by in life without making a difference.”
Hector Fernandez (class of 2001)
UNW Major: Business
Career: Currently in graduate school
Home: Chicago, Illinois
Family: Wife, Michelle
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