David Porter started out with a part-time job assembling bicycles at Ada’s Wal-Mart store as he worked his way through East Central University. Two years after graduating in 1987, he found himself sitting down with founder Sam Walton at 6 a.m. every Friday to discuss that week’s activities at the company’s first super center store in Dallas, Texas.
Porter, then an internal auditor, went on to become vice president and general merchandise manager of entertainment at Wal-Mart before leaving after 25 years to become head of Worldwide Product Distribution for Jeffrey Katzenberg’s DreamWorks Animation SKG.
Today, the Broken Bow native is corporate vice president of retail stores for Microsoft Corp. He was recruited by Microsoft in 2009 to develop and open that company’s first retail stores.
To recognize his professional and personal success, ECU will name Porter its 2012 Distinguished Alumnus at commencement ceremonies on May 12 [SATURDAY]. He will address spring and summer graduates and their families at both the 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. ceremonies in the Kerr Activities Center.
Most bachelor's degrees will be conferred during the 10 a.m. ceremony. Master's degrees and bachelor's degrees in nursing, elementary education, early childhood education, special education, psychology, social work, counseling and criminal justice will be conferred during the 2 p.m. ceremony.
ECU has 680 degree candidates who completed degree requirements this spring or will complete their requirements this summer. There are 498 candidates for bachelor's degrees and 182 candidates for master's degrees.
Porter said ECU taught him “an enormous amount” about himself.
“I wanted to be an athlete, play basketball, but that didn’t work out,” he said.
Instead, he loved to play intramural sports, was a member of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity and said he was fortunate to make lifelong friends. He wanted the college experience although he was putting in 40 hours of work as well as going to class.
Today, he said, he works every day and has fun every day.
“You’ve got to learn how to work it all in,” he added.
As for his career, “It’s been awesome,” he said.
“I was the guy who put bikes together (at Wal-Mart). I got $5 for putting together a 10-speed bike. The store in Ada hired me and I was very thankful for my job.”
After receiving a bachelor’s degree in business administration/finance, Wal-Mart hired him as an internal auditor. He also worked in accounting and finance and was a store manager in Panama City, Fla., and Bentonville and Conway, Ark.
Porter also worked in technology for several years, in merchandising and replenishment systems. As vice president and general merchandise manager of entertainment, he was involved with “everything that’s carried in the electronics department.” He oversaw areas related to merchandise layout and took the lead in digital initiatives, marketing integration and licensing activities throughout the company.
He led Wal-Mart’s selection of movie, music, videogame and wireless-entertainment products. Porter also helped craft packages and distribution deals with studios and artists, including a partnership between Garth Brooks and Wal-Mart on an exclusive boxed set and music project.
“I loved that category,” he said. “After 25 years, I asked for 30 days to evaluate whether I wanted to stay at Wal-Mart for the next 25 years.”
Inspired by a new opportunity, Porter was hired by DreamWorks where his responsibilities included developing new business models in worldwide home video, consumer products and licensing, and alternative forms of media distribution. He was a leader of projects such as “Shrek,” “Madagascar,” “Kung Fu Panda” and “The Bee Movie.”
He was responsible, for example, for all Shrek merchandise that was sold around the world. He also worked with Jerry Seinfeld, Jack Black, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie in supporting DreamWorks movies and DVDs.
“Then the Microsoft guys called,” Porter said.
Kevin Turner, Microsoft’s chief operating officer, told Porter Microsoft was going to start a new business to take the company directly to consumers – to “make a direct connection with people. I became employee No. 1 of that start-up.”
Turner also is an ECU distinguished alumnus and a former Wal-Mart vice president.
Porter oversees Microsoft’s development and investment in the growing channels of the company’s brick and mortar stores and online channels. He works to create a premium retail experience for customers around the world.
Under his leadership, Microsoft’s retail efforts have expanded rapidly and currently combine 16 stores in Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Minnesota, Texas, Virginia and Washington along with a major global online presence.
“My office is a whiteboard,” he said. “I write on the walls. I take pictures of the whiteboards and then move them around to have my notes in order.
“Opportunities have come to me when I was doing the best I could,” he added, whether it was putting together bikes or working on the global launch of a movie for DreamWorks.
“You control you during the difficult times when people are doing things to you,” Porter said. “I can’t control what’s going on, but I can do the best I can.”
Candidates for BACHELOR’S DEGREES are listed by their hometowns:
ADA – Jerica Adame, Taiwo Ajiboye, Michael Albritton, Brandi Alden, Dustin Allen, David Arce, Sheila Arles, Spencer Austin, Erin Barkhimer, Stephanie Barnett, Brittny Baty, Santosh Bhattarai, Kaylie Blackwell, Kevin Blackwood, Chance Branscum, Kelcie Branscum, Whitney Brown, Jayson Bucy, Bradley Butler, Kara Byers, Brianna Byrd, Amber Calvert, Cortnee Cantwell, Janeth Cardoza, Jeffrey Cawthon, Bikash Chapagain, Michelle Childress, Ashley Christian, Derek Coffman, Nevada Cole, Ashley Cothren, Carly Cowart, Christopher Cox, Cerina Crespo, Samuel Crosby, Sabrina Crowell, James Curry, Denarius Darby, Mark Davis, Miranda Dean, Caleb Dillard, Brandon Dodson, Jeannie Dugan, Cayla Dysart, Marissa Eaves, Michael Ellis, Sarah Erwin, Christopher Espinoza, Krystal Estabrooks, Natasha Estep, Donnell Estes, Skylar Farrill, Wyatt Fisher, Kelsey Forman, Brian Fothergill, Jessica Freeman, Whitlee Freeman, Katherine Friant, Justin Gates, Terri Girdley, Caitlin Gray, Sierra Gray, Cordial Green, Samantha Griffin, Anita Gurung, Anup Gurung, Traci Hackett, Amber Heddlesten, Tyler Henshall, Shannon Hill, Marcella Holden, Shannon Ireland, Christina Isom, Taylor Jackson, Jessica Jagielski, Ashley James, Jordan Johnson, LaRanda Johnson, Jacob Jones, William Jones, Karen Judd, Ramila KC, Sagar KC, Mathew Kiio, Margaret Lashbrook, Michael Lewis, Nicole Lewis, Yogita Limbu, Shannon Littlefield, Russell Lollar, Casaundra Long, Lori Lovett, Kelley Lunsford, Tyler Mackey, Ryan Madison, Aaron Manuel, Shandi Martin, Mark Masoner, Shandra Massad, Amber Maxberry, Kyle Maytubby, Randi McCurley, Lacey McFadden, Mussie Mebrahtu, Laura Medcalf, Gregory Meyer, Alanna Miles, Bradley Miller, Bidur Mishra, Megan Moore, James Morgan, Victoria Morgan, Jesse Murray, Gracie Nail, Jena Nickell, Daniel Nitsch, Nickolas Noahubi, Mercy Nyandoro, George Oloo, Adam Orendac, Pushpendra Pahari, Chad Palmer, Angela Perides, Wayland Phipps, Alan Poe, Robert Prescott, Kamala Quinn, Isaac Ramirez, Ruth Richardson, Erin Roberson, Joshua Roberson, Jared Robertson, Shannon Sacks, Michael Saina, Christopher Scoles, Tillman Sharp, Anthony Shelton, Sabina Shrestha, Shadhana Shrestha, Thurman Sims, Kyle Smart, Cory Smith, Kristyn Smith, Jessica Stettler, Jesse Stewart, Aaron Sumpter, Zachary Sutton, Jackie Switzer, Jennifer Swopes, Marilyn Tancik, Steven Taylor, Queenta Teko, Ankita Thapa, Toby Thompson, Michael Thornton, Bailey Torres, Bobby Joe Trail, Jason Trimmer, Mitchell Trimmer, Patricia Tuley, Samantha Tyler, Cierra Tynes, Trevin Vass, Devon Walker, Christian Ward, Philemon Washindu, Douglas West, Brian Wilke, Charlotte Willis, Stacey Willis, Jennifer Yingling, Tanner Young, Katherine Zeier.
ALLEN – Dawneve Burnett, Samantha McKay.
ANTLERS – Lyndsey Hunter.
ARDMORE – Kristen Auten, Sherri Brown, Shamika Bryant, Cynthia Burr, Jason Carnahan, Kimberly Carrell, Janice Ellis, Kimberly Franks, Jaree Garrison, Maurice Grant, Fran Growall, Marcus Hailey, Raquel Hernandez, Sara Hodges, Dee Dee Hunter, Meredith Jolliff, Rebecca Jones, Garrett Langwell, Kathryn Osteen, Amanda Punneo, Schantereal Reynolds, Jake Richards, Ronesha Roberts, Alicia Smith, Amie Swan, Kristi Tippett, Daphne Weed.
ASHER – Kristi Splawn.
ATOKA – Patrick Gilbreath.
BEGGS – Blake Byars.
BLANCO – Andrea Smith.
BOKCHITO – Brandon Davis.
BOLEY – John Gonzales.
BROKEN ARROW – Todd Cherry, Molly Henry.
BURNEYVILLE – Heather Branscum.
CALERA – Gabriela Frazier, Brooke Rochelle.
CALVIN – Virginia Knighten.
CARTWRIGHT – Tara Metts.
CHECOTAH – Ashley Hackler.
CHICKASHA – Molly Selzer.
CLAREMORE – Kaitlyn Fallin, Miranda Green, Gabriel Sherman.
COALGATE – Billye Downard, Michael Gallo, Kody Wiggins.
COLBERT – Tiffany Hopkins.
COLLINSVILLE – Nathaniel Sheeley.
DAVIS – Ryan Daugherty, Bryan Gaddy, Heather Gaddy, Joshua Gillihan, Travis Johnson, Melinda Liebl.
DUNCAN – Kyle Palacol.
DURANT – Jessica Boothe, Jennifer Corbin, Savannah Daniel, Mallory Earthman, Farah Siddiqi.
EARLSBORO – LaTasha McCormick.
EDMOND – Shundricka Love, Justin Wulf.
ELGIN – Kelcie Nunley.
ELMORE CITY – Lacie Morrison.
ENID – Megan Kimak.
EUFAULA – Amber Nelson.
FITZHUGH – Jeff Berger, Sarah Berger.
FOSTER – Casondra McConnell.
FRANCIS – David Sweet.
FOX – Jace Jenkins.
HARRAH – Benjamin Nicolls, Leslie Self.
HARTSHORNE – Cody Barlow, Kevin Danel, Larry Morgan.
HEALDTON – Tiffany Hess. HENDRIX – Natalie West.
HENRYETTA – Bethany Beachel.
HOLDENVILLE – Felicia Goure, Mica Howard, Laura Johnson, Chase Phillips, Gennie Scroggins, Kadee Wilbanks.
HUGO – Lindsy Polk.
IDABEL – Jay Forshee, Jacob Neal.
INDIANOLA – Jenney Weeks.
JONES – David Griggs.
KINGSTON – Katelyn Croasdale, Jaclyn Mullaney.
KIOWA – Chrisee Leuty.
KONAWA – Joe Coon, Allison Jones.
LANE – Pamela Johnson, Mija Mendoza.
LAWTON – Alisha Armstrong.
LEXINGTON – Justin Bishop, Jamie Thompson.
LOCUST GROVE – Karissa Dugger.
LONE GROVE – Roshan Gajurel, Trista Gannon, Jacqueline Jones, Prajwal Paudyal, Jonus Skinner.
MACOMB – Amber Crook, Stephanie Preston, Brandon Sears.
MADILL – Jimmy Jackson, June Standridge.
MANNSVILLE – Jennifer Bond.
MARIETTA – Branson Anderson, Jacy Barrick, Justin Burks, Dustin Holt, Gerald Mason, Kaci Plunkett.
MARLOW – Theresa Bullard, Jarrod Elroy, Alexander Gilmore, Taylor Howard, Austin Wood.
MAUD – Lindsey Griffin, Karis Hawkins.
MAYSVILLE – Jenni Carter.
McALESTER – Conner Alford, Felicia Bailey, Jaclynn Blackburn, Chasity Burke, Kacie Cantrell, Kendra Clark, Trevor Clenney, Caitlin Clifton, Kelsey Hearod, Breanna Homer, Matthew Hull, Hannah Martin, William McCauley, Judy Newport, Tera Petchinsky, Kimberly Randazzo, Kami Runyon, Amy Shouse, Lakeisha Smith, Kimberly Waldrop, Staci Walling.
MEEKER – William Buoy.
MULDROW – Tyffany Osborn.
NEWALLA – Nicholas Geisler.
NORMAN – Megan Cooper, Tommy Towler, David White, Sarah Wolf.
OKEMAH – Amanda Duke, Catelyn Wilbourn.
OKLAHOMA CITY – Helen Brown, Casey Denton, Brian Hampton, Samantha Hix, Zack McCullock, Carl Williams, Deana Zaccarelli.
PADEN – Kayla Bailey, Cheryl Conger, Mary Hoogerhyde.
PAOLI – Randall Ezell, Allen Potts, Stefany Stewart.
PAULS VALLEY – Alisha Boney, Joe Cregger, Jeffrey Dunkin, YaLisa Jolly, Michael Kirk, Lindsey Laxton, Ross Mynhier, Ami Rose, Marisol Tracy, Lindsay Watts.
PORUM – Chelsea Mason.
PRAGUE – Stephen Bradford, Jaclyn Duvall, Hannah Heinzig, Samantha Pearson.
PURCELL – Brandi Ivey.
QUINTON – Joshua Cawyer, Lauren Mintz.
RATLIFF CITY – Brandon Perkins.
RED OAK – Dominick Mulay.
RINGLING – Jesse Buck.
ROFF – Haley Smith, Craig Stewart, Donald Walker.
ST. LOUIS – Thea Dean.
SAND SPRINGS – Joel Foster.
SAPULPA – James Sutrick.
SEMINOLE – Shelbi Bennett, Jeremy Coates, Kory Collier, Chris Conway, Deborah Cotton, Debra Coym, Jerilyn Fixico, Ryan Forgety, Sherry Goines, Krista Green, Tina Martin, Wesley May, Kimberly Parks, Phanittra Saenpanya, Rebecca Welch.
SHAWNEE – Richard Bolling, Payton Broome, Scott Cadenhead, Ryan Corley, Elizabeth Finney, Michelle Johnson, Reginald Neal, Bobbie Pinkston, Erika Smith, Kimberly Steer, Michael Tate, Shelby Thompson, Ashlee Washburn.
SPERRY – Allison Coyle.
STILLWATER – Kahla White.
STONEWALL – Lacie Lawson.
SULPHUR – Jo Busby, Julie Hoffman, Caleb Lochridge, Rebecca Moore, Desa Smith.
TALIHINA – Tatsuaki Negishi.
TECUMSEH – Amber Cannon, Thomas Long, Timothy Long, David Northrip, Rachael O'Neill, Tandie Scallorn.
TISHOMINGO – Marci Adams, Hailey Bailey, Neal Dodd, Ranada Hulsey, James Kennedy, Lindsey May.
TULSA – Catherine Hastings.
TUPELO – Elizabeth Grummons, Eric Neugin.
WANETTE – Amanda Farris, Marysue Farris.
WAPANUCKA – Hannah Parker.
WASHINGTON – Jennifer Gay.
WAURIKA – Sckyler Brown, Ashley Davis.
WELEETKA – Nedra Thomas.
WEWOKA – April Chesser, Katelyn Logan, Angela Stephens.
WILBURTON – Jennifer Houston, Tabitha Zurovetz.
WILSON – Jessica Lee.
WYNNEWOOD – Ashley Caudill, Phillip Deakins, Heather Rhea.
YUKON – Mitchell Haun, Katie Rowe.
PINE BLUFF, ARK. – Maurice Williams.
CHINO, CALIF. – Tyler Vanderzee
FONTANA, CALIF. – Carlos Savala.
RIVERSIDE, CALIF. – Travis Buchanan.
HOUMA, LA. – Dustin Curley.
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – Darnell Davis.
MAYS LANDING, N.J. – Jamal Edwards.
ALEDO, TEXAS – Justin Gibson.
ALLEN, TEXAS – Kaitlyn Kelly, Laura McNab.
BEDFORD, TEXAS – Lilan Thapa.
COMMERCE, TEXAS – Yakira Essix.
CROWLEY, TEXAS – Sarah DuVall.
DALLAS, TEXAS – Caroline Moseti.
DENISON, TEXAS – April Carter, Carrie Wells.
EL PASO, TEXAS – Nilsa Ramirez.
FORT WORTH, TEXAS – Kimberly MacKenzie, Samantha Rice, Whitney Watts.
FRISCO, TEXAS – Ryan Beasley, Christina Moore, Shidah Telavari.
GRAND PRAIRIE, TEXAS – Andrea Paduch, Charles Stuckey.
HOUSTON, TEXAS – Keeli Panter.
HUFFMAN, TEXAS – Jeffry Schmidt.
IRVING, TEXAS – Kalpana Kandel, Sijan Ranabhat.
KELLER, TEXAS – Bryant Mistler.
MESQUITE, TEXAS – Emily Kennemer.
PARKER, TEXAS – Brandon Herbison.
PLANO, TEXAS – Ashleigh Peete.
SANGER, TEXAS – Cassandra Nordie,
SHERMAN, TEXAS – Jesse Baker, Courtney Bayer, Geoffrey Kring.
SULPHUR SPRINGS, TEXAS – Whitney McDaniel.
TYLER, TEXAS – Stephen Ham.
WEATHERFORD, TEXAS – Nathan Vogel.
MOSES LAKE, WASH. – Shayla May.
GJAKOVE, KOSOVO – Valina Sefa.
Candidates for MASTER’S DEGREES are listed by their hometowns:
ADA – Akinbukola Agboola, Julie Bruner, Tatum Burris Sallee, Andrew Castleberry, Catherine Caton, Samuel Caton, Jarred Clark, Julie Coble, Kimberly Cupps, Marlo Davis, Ginger Dunn, Heather Duns, Amy Fetters, Mai Fields, Amber Gray, Melody Hagar, Christopher Harris, Curtis Hicks, SharLee Knighten, Teresa Martin Roberts, Callie Monroe, Kara Morrison, Elizabeth Nelson, Marc Neufeld, Melissa Peterson, Jarvis Pitts, Brandon Preston, Shelley Ridley, Chad Roark, Tiffany Specht, Wendy Streater, Virginia Tingle, Bethany Toombs, Brooke Trail, Indrit Vucaj, Lisa Waggoner, Casey West, Shelia Wilson, Rachel Wiseman.
ALLEN – Tracy Allison, Brooke Baber, Irina Campbell.
ALTUS – Kaylee Thornbrough.
ARDMORE – Lesley Dvorak, Dawn Gallo, Jennifer Mays, Li Shen.
ATOKA – Mollie Norris.
ATWOOD – Jeremy Beck.
BARTLESVILLE – Eric Scott.
BETHEL – Branda Davis.
BRISTOW – Cynthia Wayland.
BROKEN ARROW – Richard Barnes.
BROMIDE – Shanelle Baxter.
CHANDLER – Whitney Herrmann, Malissa Mackiewicz, Debra Winn.
CHECOTAH – Cheryl Donathan, Jennifer Norwood, John Norwood, Kelly Todd.
CLAREMORE – Jeffrey Campbell.
COALGATE – Eddie James.
COLLINSVILLE – Kailan DeCamp.
DEPEW – Lindsey Newpher.
DUNCAN – Ramona Bruner, Kelly Sellers.
DURANT – Jessica Mitchell, Benita Sanchez, Elizabeth Watkins.
ELGIN – Sarah Godsave.
ELMORE CITY – Tevett Boyd, Sheila Henry.
GUYMON – Aaron Rios.
HARTSHORNE – Ira Brinlee, Raymond Wilson.
HEALDTON – Cory Trent.
HEAVENER – Alicia Herell.
HENNEPIN – Mikella Whatley.
JONES – Donna O'Neal.
KONAWA – Lori Sharp, Dee Stoup.
LAWTON – Laura Brady, Marilyn Thurman.
LONE GROVE – Michelle McDaniels, Jennifer Perry White, Jeremy Turner.
LUTHER – Demetrius Birmingham.
MARLOW – Lisa Blaine, Mary Collins.
McALESTER – Sarah Fry, Sondra Hatcher, LaDonna Hendrix, Tanya Jones, Timothy Owen, Vince Parsons, Deana Pilgrim.
McLOUD – Virginia Pritchard.
MEEKER – Shawn Davis.
MIDWEST CITY – Sara Williams.
MOORE – Zac Gleason.
MUSKOGEE – Joshua Johns, Lindsay Liszeski, Andrew Swagers.
NEWALLA – Shanna Keiffer, Rebecca Worth.
NOBLE – Joseph Rohr.
NORMAN – Edward Prince, Reva Testerman.
OKEMAH – April Curry.
OKLAHOMA CITY – Leann Gillham, Heather Miller.
PAULS VALLEY – Paul Hatton, Brandi Kelly, Fawn Riddle.
PERKINS – Leah Colclasure.
POTEAU – Arielle Johnson, Michael Martin.
PRAGUE – Stacie Casey.
QUINTON – Michelle Murray.
REYDON – Tanya Goad.
SALLISAW – Lacey Wallace, Bryan Warner.
SAPULPA – Deanna Howard.
SEMINOLE – Suzanne Barnett, Angela Harjo, Teresa Morgan, Karan O'Dor.
SHAWNEE – Jessica Brown, Kristi Carter, Barbara Core, Samantha Gearhardt, Christopher Klimas, Erin Meyers, Eleen Penson, Jessica Smith.
STIGLER – Brad Martin.
STILLWATER – Christopher Jayne.
STONEWALL – Jenna Ollila.
STRATFORD – Joseph Kelough, Heather Mercer.
STRINGTOWN – Kali Anderson.
TALIHINA – Nellie Tucker.
TECUMSEH – Riley Elmore, Angela Freeman.
TISHOMINGO – Tracey Vasquez, Terri Walker.
TULSA – Jennifer Reese.
VELMA – Deanne Garrett, Jerry Garrett, Shannon Williams.
VIAN – Aubra Barnes.
WAGONER – Tyanna Trippany.
WAPANUCKA – Bridget Hilburn.
WELLSTON – Ginger Clark, Caven Herring.
WEWOKA – Kara Keesee.
WILBURTON – Jacob Lowe.
WISTER – Kim Loggains.
WYNNEWOOD – Cynthia Tackett.
WALNUT, CALIF. – Ikenna Udoh.
BEEVILLE, TEXAS – Lloyd Jones.
PLANO, TEXAS – Trevor Carpenter.
RED OAK, TEXAS – Emily Holombek.
VALLEY VIEW, TEXAS – Jason Bewley
WICHITA FALLS, TEXAS – Dorothea Miller.