Since 1990, the Bishop Lynch Alumni Association has recognized those graduates who have best exemplified the Bishop Lynch tradition and Dominican heritage of service to the community. Each honoree should show commitment to the school and its missions, and should serve as a model to all of what Christ has called us to become.
The criteria for the Alumna/Alumnus of the Year Award include excellence in the following areas: service to Bishop Lynch High School, service to the community and success in his or her chosen field. Award recipients are honored during Homecoming and Reunion Weekend, and celebrated during an all-school assembly for the students and an awards dinner for family and friends.
Named as one of two Alumnus of the Year, Gene Schaefers from the Class of 1977 currently serves as the Manager of Health, Safety, Environment and Business Continuity for Novartis Business Services, supporting eye care research through the Alcon Research & Development division.
After graduation from Bishop Lynch, Gene attended the University of Dallas and Texas A&M University where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry in 1981. Gene is board certified in occupational safety and health. He began his career in chemical manufacturing with Celanese Chemical Company as a process development chemist.
Gene spent the past 30 years developing safety and health programs to evaluate and minimize occupational cancer risks, reproductive risks and many other work related illnesses. His work has taken him through many different industries including petro-chemicals, textiles, oil and gas production and refining, hi-tech semi-conductors and pharmaceuticals. He has held positions with senior responsibilities in companies such as Celanese, ARCO, FINA and Texas Instruments before his current assignment at Novartis.
While at ARCO Gene was instrumental in determining a correlation between the gravity of crude oils and the presence of the cancer causing agent Benzene so that proper controls could be used to protect workers. As Manager of Occupational Health at FINA Gene re-structured the Occupational Medical Department to ensure that refining and chemical workers were given the proper screening physicals so that their long term health could be better monitored.
During his tenure at Texas Instruments, Gene developed a chemical evaluation protocol to validate how much chemical exposure reduction had occurred through the use of new manufacturing technologies. If his short time at Novartis, Gene has already been able to reduce worker exposure to the cancer causing agent Ethylene Oxide by 80% by using enhanced engineering controls.
Gene’s volunteer work has centered-around St. Philip Catholic grade school, now St. Philip/St. Augustine Academy and Bishop Lynch. From event clean-up committees and advisory boards to coaching DLP sports and working concessions for the Bishop Lynch Band Boosters, service to Catholic education has been at the heart of Gene’s volunteer work.
Gene and his wife Sandi have been married for 31 years and have three daughters, Jenny, Jessica and Allyson, all graduates of Bishop Lynch High School.
Also named as 2015 Bishop Lynch High School Alumnus of the Year, Stephen Arata ’84 grew-up attending Good Shepherd Catholic School. During his days as a Bishop Lynch Friar, he played Varsity Soccer and Junior Varsity Basketball. Stephen was also a four-year member of the Blackfriars Guild and in the National Honor Society. He was Valedictorian of his class and received numerous faculty and class honors that year, including “Most Likely to Succeed.”
Following his graduation from Bishop Lynch, Stephen attended Southern Methodist University, from which he graduated in 1988 with degrees in English and Business. At SMU, Stephen served as a Residence Hall Advisor and was active in his fraternity. To this day, he is an avid supporter of SMU.
After three years working as a financial analyst at First Boston in Dallas, Stephen entered the MBA program at the JL Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University in Chicago, graduating in 1992. His post-MBA career began with four years as an investment banker at UBS in both Dallas and London.
Upon his move back to Dallas in 2005, Stephen left the banking world and entered the corporate world as Chief Financial Officer of Regency Gas Partners, a privately-held natural gas company. Stephen helped take the company public in 2006, remaining with Regency as its CFO until 2010, when he joined another privately-held natural gas company, Caiman Energy, as CFO. In April of 2015, Stephen became the Chief Executive Officer of Caiman Energy, which is the largest gatherer and processor of natural gas in the Utica Shale in Ohio.
Stephen is very active in the community, at his church and at SMU. At SMU, he is currently a member of the Dedman College Executive Board, the Cox School of Business Executive Board and the Mustang Club Board. Stephen and his family have been members of Lovers Lane United Methodist Church for many years, where he serves as a member of the church’s Board of Stewards and a leader in that community’s Capital Campaign.
Stephen also plays an important role in Rays of Light, a non-profit special needs respite care program that offers parents and family members an evening to themselves by caring for their special needs children. He has been a volunteer for 15 years and is the current Treasurer of the Board of Directors.
He was named Dallas Business Journal CFO of the Year for 2014 and was recently honored by the SMU Cox School of Business as a Distinguished Alumnus for 2015. In addition, Stephen is the majority owner of Zilks, an Austin-based company specializing in fresh hummus and salsa, and is also an investor and board member of Pura Vida Tequila Company.
Stephen’s five siblings are all Bishop Lynch alumni, and two of his sisters are married to Bishop Lynch alumni. Three of his nephews have graduated from BL and his niece Zoe will graduate with the BL Class of 2018.
Stephen and his siblings and their families have established a scholarship in their parents’ name to help others receive the same outstanding education that they received at Bishop Lynch.
A lifelong Texas Ranger fan, Stephen is married to Kathryn, his wife of 26 years. They have three children, Jeremy, Hanna and Julianna.
Congratulations and thank you to these two inspiring men who have truly lived out the mission of what a Bishop Lynch education calls us to do!