Honoring Engineering Alumni
Duke's Pratt School of Engineering named two graduates, a top ExxonMobil executive and a partner in a major venture capital firm investing in technology, as recipients of its annual alumni awards. J. Stephen Simon B.S.C.E. '65 received the school's Distinguished Alumnus Award and Lawrence D. Lenihan Jr. B.S.E.E. '87 the Distinguished Young Alumnus Award.
Simon was selected for his achievements in the petrochemical business. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Duke, where he was a member of Sigma Chi fraternity, and earned an M.B.A. from Northwestern University. In 1967, he joined Exxon, U.S.A. He served two years in the Army, where he received a Medal of Commendation, and returned to work as a business analyst at an Exxon refinery in Baton Rouge. Up to 1980, he held various supervisory and coordinator positions in refineries, as well as in the company's refining and controller's departments. He was also an executive assistant to its executive vice president in Houston, Texas.
He returned to the Baton Rouge refinery as operations division manager and then refinery manager. In 1983, he moved to New York to become executive assistant to the president of Exxon Corporation. Simon moved to London in 1984 to be supply manager and supply and transportation manager in the petroleum products department of Esso Europe Inc. Two years later, he returned to Houston as general manager of Exxon, U.S.A.'s supply department. In 1988, he moved to Coral Gables, Florida, as chief executive and general manager of Esso Caribbean and Central America.
In 1992, he moved to Italy as executive vice president and later president of Esso Italiana. He returned to the States in 1997 to become executive vice president of Exxon Company, International. When Exxon merged with Mobil in late 1999, Simon was appointed president of the ExxonMobil Refining and Supply Company and vice president of ExxonMobil Corporation.
Simon is a member of the Pratt School's board of visitors and the President's Council of the William Preston Few Association. He also serves on Northwestern's Kellogg Advisory Board and the boards of the American Petroleum Institute and several community-service organizations. He and his wife, Susan, have three daughters.
Lenihan was selected Distinguished Young Alumnus for his achievements in the field of technology venture investing and his ability to apply his technical expertise in the business world. At Duke, he was a member of Theta Chi fraternity and vice president of the Interfraternity Council. He began his career as a sales associate at IBM, where he advanced rapidly, leading several international sales teams. He developed a start-up interactive multimedia software business within IBM that developed transactional retail kiosks that use digital video servers. While at IBM, he earned his M.B.A. at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. He left IBM in 1993 to join Broadview Associates, a technology-oriented merchant-banking firm, where he was a senior member of the mergers and acquisition team responsible for many of the first deals in the networking industry, including transactions with Bay Networks, Cabletron, and Cisco.
In 1996, he joined Pequot Capital Management, Inc. He co-founded its venture-capital investment arm, Pequot Ventures, where he is now one of nine partners in this $8-billion firm. He is managing director of Pequot Capital and co-head of Pequot's venture funds. He now heads funds with nearly $2 billion in committed capital for venture investment. Pequot focuses on early-stage start-ups and growth-stage companies in technology, telecommunications, and heath care. It has completed more than 100 venture investments in such companies as Sycamore Networks, Netegrity, Celiant, Arrowpoint, Tellium, and Watchmark Software.
Lenihan is a member of the Pratt School's board of visitors and sits on the boards of several private and public companies, including Netegrity, eLance, USSearch, and Performaworks. He and his wife, Marion, have three sons.
Duke Mag-Honoring Engineering Alumni-Jul/Aug 2002
August 1, 2002