Campus News

UK’s Gatton College Alumni Hall of Fame Inducts Industry Leaders from Brown-Forman, General Motors and Keeneland

UK honors newest members of the Gatton College Alumni Hall of Fame.

LEXINGTON, Ky., (Feb. 26, 2018)  Surrounded by family, friends and fellow alumni, three exceptional University of Kentucky Gatton College of Business and Economics alumni — Jill Ackerman Jones (Louisville, Kentucky), Thomas W. Shaver (Thousand Oaks, California) and William W. “Bill” Thomason Jr. (Lexington) — were inducted into the Gatton College Alumni Hall of Fame on Feb. 23.

The Gatton College Alumni Hall of Fame recognizes Gatton alumni who have earned exceptional success in their careers and in their communities.

"As a member of the Hall of Fame, these three inductees join a group of highly accomplished individuals, including Fortune 50 CEOs, top business college deans and professors, entrepreneurs, judges and policymakers, internationally known researchers, and philanthropists, who have met the challenge to adapt and succeed in a quickly changing world market," said Steven Skinner, interim dean of the Gatton College.

Jill Ackerman Jones is executive vice president - president of North America, CCSA and IMEA Regions and Global Travel Retail at Brown-Forman Corporation in Louisville. Brown-Forman is one of the largest American-owned spirits and wine companies. Its brands, including Jack Daniel’s Family of Brands, Woodford Reserve, Old Forester, Herradura, El Jimador and Sonoma-Cutrer wines, among others, are sold in more than 160 countries around the world.

Since joining the company in 2000, Jones has progressed rapidly through a series of increasingly responsible roles, including several key financial and strategic business planning positions. Prior to her current position, she served as senior vice president, chief production officer.

Jones earned her bachelor's degree in accounting from the University of Kentucky, where she played Division I volleyball on scholarship, and was named a GTE Academic All-American and team captain. She earned her MBA from Washington University in St. Louis.

Thomas W. Shaver’s career represents a trailblazing path through the automotive industry. Shaver served as senior partner at J.D. Power and Associates, directed U.S. operations for Volkswagen and was the inaugural director of consumer marketing at Saturn Corporation. At Saturn, Shaver developed the consumer strategy that launched the brand-new car company.

He began his career with Chevrolet, moving through several field promotions across the U.S. before being promoted to GM Central Office management positions in Detroit. Prior to the launch of Saturn, he served as director of merchandising for General Motors Corporation where he spearheaded a two-year study of advanced information technologies, database management, and interactive learning video processes for profit and market share improvement.

A native of Central City, Kentucky, Shaver earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Kentucky, where he also played trumpet in the UK Marching 100 Band, and his master’s degree in management from Stanford University.

William W. “Bill” Thomason Jr. serves as president and chief executive officer of Keeneland, the seventh individual to hold that position. Thomason’s long career in the thoroughbred industry began at Lexington’s Mill Ridge Farm, where he worked for 28 years as financial and administrative manager.

Thomason’s active involvement in the thoroughbred industry includes being a member of The Jockey Club, a trustee of the American Horse Council, and a board member of numerous racing organizations. He is also a board member of the University of Kentucky Gluck Equine Research Foundation, University of Kentucky Sanders-Brown Center on Aging Council, Central Bank Advisory Board and the Kentucky Chamber.

Thomason earned both his bachelor's degree in accounting and his MBA at the University of Kentucky. He began his career at the accounting firm of Alexander Grant & Co.

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