COBE executive in residence blends business with science


Dale Parris '85

Radford University alumna Dale Parris had a few important messages for College of Business and Economics (COBE) students during her time last week as COBE's latest executive in residence.

Parris, vice president of Roanoke Gas Company, spoke to a group of students March 20 during an open forum in the COBE building. She talked about her education – she has two master's degrees from Radford, including an MBA – and her career path.

Parris instructed those in the audience to "continue to look for opportunities to broaden yourself," to "never consider where you are in a career your final resting place" and to push aside fear.

Parris shared her experiences and the opportunities she had to move from one career path – teaching at a college – to a position with Appalachian Power for 17 years and then to her current role with Roanoke Gas Company.

Following her talk, Parris said she has "a lot of genuine interest" in Radford University, and she wants to see students excited about studying at the university.

"They have a lot to be proud of, being a part of Radford University," Parris said. "If I can give anything back at all to young people, I don't think there's anything more important trying to see the next generation of leaders have motivation and direction from someone who is in the business world who can tell them ‘I've been out there; I've been in your place.' If I can share any of that, I'm happy to do it."

In addition to the public talk, Parris also met with COBE classes during her visit to campus.

In her position with Roanoke Gas Company, Parris is responsible for rates and regulatory affairs, legal issues, legislative affairs and financial planning. She designs, coordinates and manages regulatory filings with the State Corporation Commission of Virginia, the Public Service Commission of West Virginia, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Parris also provides analytical support and strategic guidance in mergers and acquisitions and provides statistical development for forecasting and depreciation models.

Lee earned her MBA and a master's degree in mathematics with a focus on mathematics education from Radford. She is a member of the RU College of Business and Economics Advisory Council and currently serves as the vice chair of the Radford University Foundation.

In addition, Parris is the vice chair of the corporate board of the YMCA of the Roanoke Valley, chair of the American Cancer Society Leadership Council, a member of the Business Leadership Council and a member of the Industrial Development Commission for the City of Salem.

During the fall 2014 semester, COBE introduced the Executive in Residence initiative, a program designed to expose the college's students and faculty to current issues affecting today's business world.

Program organizers invite participating executives to visit campus for two or three days and engage with students, faculty and the campus community through such opportunities as classroom sessions and lectures, one-on-one meetings and campus-wide forums.

The COBE Executive in Resident program continues March 27 with a visit from Steve Cassaday, president of Cassaday and Company and former member of the Radford University Board of Visitors. Cassaday was ranked as the top financial advisor in Virginia on Barron's 2014 list of "Top 1,200 Financial Advisors: State by State."

He will speak at 1 p.m. in COBE building, room 320. The talk is open to all university students, faculty and staff.

Mar 25, 2015