Published on May 27, 2022 by Morgan Black
Samford University alumnus Troy Lugo ’05, M.B.A. ’06, CPA, has been named the senior vice president and chief financial officer of O’Neal Industries (ONI), the nation’s largest family-owned network of metals service centers and component and tube manufacturing businesses.
In this role, Lugo is responsible for managing the overall financial affairs of the company and will serve as a member of the ONI Executive Committee. Here he reflects on his Samford experience and the career preparation he received.
How did Samford and its Brock School of Business prepare you for your career?
I feel blessed for receiving my college education at Samford. I think it’s a special place and the involvement and care of the faculty are top notch. When I was choosing a major, many professors across campus opened their doors to allow my exploration into several career paths. The accounting and business professors created a great learning environment and pushed students to think outside the box. They were always available outside of class to provide guidance and direction during projects and assignments. Those interactions helped form bonds and trust that are hard to find elsewhere in my opinion. Many professors really inspired and encouraged me along the way. Dr. Dennis Price helped me realize the accounting profession was a great choice after my introductory classes. Professor Sharon Jackson was very involved with the students and Beta Alpha Psi, which helped me get involved with the major accounting firms recruiting on campus. Dr. Bill Belski challenged me through his classes to realize the high level of commitment needed to perform at the next level. Dr. Larron Harper made me appreciate the challenges I would face in business ethics. Dr. Bill Service helped me think about business issues from several different angles. The overall quality of education I received was very impactful and allowed me to exercise my intellectual limits. These experiences and relationships helped shape my foundation to be ready for my career.
What relationships formed at Samford are meaningful to you as you think about your career preparation?
The professors were very dedicated to seeing students succeed as mentioned above. I could not have asked for a better educational experience. The student population is close knit, caring, and dedicated, which pushes everyone to a higher level and calling. I have several life-long friends I met through Samford. They are all inspirational and dedicated people with strong values and work ethics. Many professors connected me with business professionals in the community who helped shape my career decisions and foundation.
How did Samford instill in you ethical leadership skills and how will you use those skills in your new role?
Ethical leadership was always a top theme in my courses. It was never just about “how” to handle a problem or challenge. There was always a focus on doing things the right way and in a way that would be an example for others. Leadership is about more than a title, solving problems, and seeking success. Leadership is about inspiring others to go to the next level. It’s about sacrificing your own desires to help bring about positive change for people, companies, and the world around you. My hope is to use the foundation I received in a way that will set an example for high standards and performance despite challenges faced in life and work. I want to strive everyday to make my work environment better than where I found it. I want to inspire my colleagues to push through obstacles to achieve the best results possible.
What advice do you have for current students as they pursue careers in today’s business climate?
I was fortunate to receive some good advice from mentors throughout my career, and it has proven to be very impactful over the years. Find and associate yourself with good mentors, colleagues, and companies. There is no better way to excel than to be around top performers. Always strive to keep your level of intellectual curiosity high and your learning curve steep. Don’t allow yourself to become complacent. Never settle for the status quo and be willing to examine problems with a fresh perspective. There is no short cut to hard work. If you don’t put in the ultimate effort, you won’t have a solid foundation to take on new challenges. The world will throw many difficult situations at you but strive to make good daily decisions. These small incremental decisions will add up over time and ultimately determine your outcome. Find time to recharge and reflect on your priorities. Make a point to keep your life balanced between faith, family, and career. These areas can feed off each other and will ultimately help you succeed at life.
Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. The Wall Street Journal ranks Samford 1st nationally for student engagement and U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 66th in the nation for best undergraduate teaching and 104th nationally for best value. Samford enrolls 5,683 students from 47 states and 19 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference, and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.