Surrounded by family, friends and fellow alumni, three exceptional University of Kentucky Gatton College of Business & Economicsalumni — Joseph Wm. Foran (Dallas, Texas), Youguo Liang (Abu Dhabi, UAE), and Rebecca Barker Vest (Franklin, Tennessee) — were recently inducted into the Gatton Alumni Hall of Fame.
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 David W. Blackwell, dean of the Gatton College.
Joseph Wm. (Joe) Foran is founder, CEO and chairman of Matador Resources Company (MTDR), one of the fastest growing oil companies in the country. He began his career as an oil and natural gas independent in 1983 when he and his wife, Nancy, founded Matador Petroleum Company. Ernst & Young selected him for its “Entrepreneur of the Year” award in 2002, and Oil & Gas Investor magazine named Matador Resources to its list of “15 Dream Companies” to own.
Foran earned his B.S. in accounting from UK in 1974, and his J.D. from Southern Methodist University. In addition to the Gatton Hall of Fame, Foran was one of the first inductees into UK’s Rugby Hall of Fame, honoring his time as captain of the UK team, as well as his semi-pro career with the Dallas Harlequins.
Youguo Liang is head of global research in the Real Estate and Infrastructure Department at Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA). He joined ADIA in April 2013. From 1997 to 2013, he served as managing director and director of research at Prudential Real Estate Investors in New Jersey.
Liang earned his Ph.D. in finance from UK in 1991 and an M.A. in management and a B.S. in operations research from the University of Science and Technology of China. He is a CFA charter holder, a Weimer School fellow at the Homer Hoyt Institute, and a fellow of the Real Estate Research Institute. He has published more than 100 research manuscripts in both academic and industry journals. In his various careers, Liang has evaluated more than $150 billion equity and equity-like investments in commercial real estate globally.
Rebecca Barker Vest is vice president of Purchasing, for Nissan Americas, where she oversees more than $20 billion in purchasing activities for parts, materials, vendor tooling, logistics, services, machinery and equipment, media, aftersales and accessories for Nissan's operations in the U.S., as well as those in Mexico and Brazil. Her responsibilities also include supplier quality assurance, purchasing project management and supplier relations. She also serves as the North American operating general manager for the Renault-Nissan Purchasing Organization.
Vest earned her B.B.A. in management from UK in 1988, and took her first purchasing position at Toyota Motor Manufacturing in Georgetown, Kentucky, after graduation. She joined Nissan in 2009 as director of Powertrain Purchasing, after more than 22 years in positions of increasing responsibility at Toyota.