Our Team

Our Investments and Endowment Operations teams bring decades of investment management expertise across diversified industries and financial specialties. Through disciplined research and due diligence, we assess and pursue investment strategies that are aligned with the long-term risk/reward profile of the endowment.

Investment Team

Allison K. Thacker joined Rice University in 2011 as President of the Rice Management Company with the responsibility of managing a $5.3 billion endowment fund and the University’s $931 million of debt. The Rice University endowment ranks in the top 20 endowments of private research universities in the US and funds over 40% of the university budget. Over the 3, 5 and 10 years ending June 30, 2016, annualized endowment returns were 7.3%, 7.8% and 7.1%. Rice Management Company partners with third party investment managers and also internally manages a portfolio of direct real estate, oil and gas royalties, timberland and operating businesses. Prior to joining Rice University, Ms. Thacker spent 11 years with RS Investments, a San Francisco-based investment firm specializing in public equities. At RS Investments, Ms. Thacker held roles including Portfolio Manager, Managing Director and Research Analyst. In the earlier portion of her career, Ms. Thacker served as a Summer Analyst at Putnam Investments and as a Financial Analyst in the energy investment banking group at Merrill Lynch & Co. She is a member of the KIPP Houston Executive Board, with 24 public charter schools serving 12,500 students in Houston, president of the Houston Ballet Board of Trustees, a board member for Black Stone Minerals, and a member of YPO.  Ms. Thacker is a graduate of Harvard Business School where she received an M.B.A. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics with honors from Rice University.

Jaime Aguirre joined Rice Management Company in 2013 as Investment Director for Private Equity and Venture Capital. Previously, Mr. Aguirre was a Principal at Austin Ventures where he focused on growth equity investments and also acted as CFO of a portfolio company. He was previously a Vice President in the technology, media, & telecom investment banking group at Goldman Sachs. Earlier in his career, he worked in the investment banking division of Merrill Lynch as part of the energy group in Houston and the Latin America group in Mexico City. Mr. Aguirre received his M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and has a Bachelor of Business Administration and Master in Accounting from the University of Texas at Austin. He serves on the board of Accelerate Learning, Austin Children's Museum, Burrell College of Medicine at New Mexico State University, Emerus Hospital Partners, Iora Health, and OrderWithMe.

Alan Arnold joined Rice Management Company in 2013 as Investment Director for Real Estate. Mr. Arnold is responsible for the endowment real estate portfolio including direct investments, programmatic joint ventures, and commingled funds. For the preceding decade, Mr. Arnold served as Senior Vice President and Investment Committee member at Lionstone, where he led the six‐member Investments team on over 50 acquisitions totaling $1.6B nationally across property types. He has prior experience in multi‐family development, management consulting, and housing finance. Mr. Arnold received his M.B.A. from The Wharton School at The University of Pennsylvania. He earned a Bachelor of Arts, Phi Beta Kappa, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He serves on the boards of Urban Land Institute in Houston, St. Anne Catholic School, and Covenant House Texas.

John Lawrence joined Rice Management Company in 2012 as Investment Director for Natural Resources and Public Equities. In this role, Mr. Lawrence oversees approximately $2 billion of the Rice University endowment, including energy investments, timber assets, and public equity portfolios. Previously, he spent 12 years in public equity investments, most recently at Tudor Pickering & Holt covering energy securities. Prior to Tudor Pickering & Holt, Mr. Lawrence was a Principal & Portfolio Manager at Transamerica Investment Management in Los Angeles. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in managerial studies from Rice University; an M.B.A. from the UCLA Anderson School of Management; and is a CFA® charterholder.

Carmen Thompson joined Rice University in 2005 as Investment Director, first overseeing risk management and asset allocation, and currently overseeing Rice's $1 billion+ allocation to hedge fund and distressed investment strategies. Prior to joining Rice, she was Vice President of Finance and Investor Relations for Crown Castle International Corp (NYSE:CCI), having joined the company prior to its IPO. Prior to CCI, she was Director of Financial Analysis for Torch Energy Advisors, one of the first fund managers offering directly‐held oil and gas investments to institutional investors. She began her career at Ibbotson Associates, where she was a consultant to institutional investors, publishing research on topics such as strategic asset allocation for endowments and foundations; fixed income investing for pension plans; and the value of holding producing oil and gas properties in an institutional portfolio. She is a frequent speaker at industry events and a periodic author on industry topics. Her most recent publication is Forget Alpha. Why Opportunity Cost is a Better Measure of Hedge Fund Performance (NMS Exchange). Ms. Thompson holds undergraduate degrees in finance and accounting from Texas A&M University and an M.B.A. from Rice University.

Ceci Arreola joined Rice Management Company in 2015 as the Asset Manager for Real Estate.  Ms. Arreola is responsible for the portfolio of direct assets and assists with oversight of the broader real estate portfolio.  Previously, she spent five years at Lionstone Investments, a Houston based real estate private equity firm, where she was the Assistant Portfolio Manager for 3 value-add funds and one core separate account totaling $1.3 billion in AUM.  She has prior experience in real estate investment sales and development.  Ms. Arreola received her M.B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business and has a Bachelor of Arts degree in honors sociology, cum laude from Rice University.  She is an active member of the Urban Land Institute and serves as the Vice Chair for its Women's Leadership Initiative in Houston.   

 

 

David Levin joined Rice Management Company in 2016 in the position of Investment Analyst II. In this role, Mr. Levin is responsible for research and analysis across a wide spectrum of multi-asset class investment opportunities. Prior to joining Rice, he spent two years at Citigroup as part of the Municipal Securities Division, serving as an Analyst on the investment banking team in Dallas, TX. Mr. Levin is a graduate of Texas A&M University where he received his Bachelor of Business Administration in Business Honors and Accounting, as well as his Master of Science in Finance.

Kirsten Roberts joined Rice Management Company in 2015 and is a Senior Investment Analyst. In this role, she provides support to the Investment Team through investment and manager research and analysis and portfolio monitoring across various asset classes. Prior to joining Rice, she was an Associate at Mizuho Bank as part of the Oil and Gas Corporate Finance Advisory Solutions team and an Analyst at The Royal Bank of Scotland as part of the Oil and Gas Corporate and Institutional Banking team based in Houston, TX. Ms. Roberts is a graduate of Rice University where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics.

Sarah Cepeda joined Rice Management Company in 2017 in the position of Executive Assistant. In this role, she supports the CIO, the greater team, and manages the offices of Rice Management Company.  Sarah spent 10 years at Wells Fargo as an Administrative Assistant to the Energy and Power Investment Banking Group and the Corporate Trust Group.  Prior to that, Sarah was at Chase Bank (formerly Bank One) where she worked 10 years in various roles.  Sarah holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Houston-Downtown and is a volunteer with the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

Operations Team

Ronald E. Long joined Rice University in 2000 as Associate Vice President for Investments and Associate Treasurer, and was also named a Vice President of the Rice Management Company when it was formed in 2009. As Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Long is responsible for overseeing the operations of the RMC, which includes cash management as well as planned giving asset investment and administration, in addition to managing Rice’s fixed income, cash investments, and outstanding tax‐exempt and taxable debt. Previously, Mr. Long served as Treasurer of Browning‐Ferris Industries, Inc. where he was responsible for BFI’s treasury, tax and insurance functions, and shared responsibility for managing the pension funds and 401(k) plan assets. Prior to joining BFI in 1993, Mr. Long was Treasurer of American Exploration Company where he was employed from 1989 to 1993. Mr. Long has lived in Houston and has been employed in various finance capacities since January 1981. Mr. Long is a graduate of the University of Kansas where he received a B.A. in history and an M.B.A. Mr. Long became a CPA in 1989 but no longer maintains his license.

Audrey Barlow joined Rice University in 2015 as an Endowment Operations Analyst. Previously, she worked at Stage Stores as a Senior Treasury Analyst with the primary responsibilities of cash management, bank relations, and forecasting budgeting. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Finance at Texas A&M University.

Susan Bowers joined Rice University in 2014 as a Treasury Operations Administrator. In her role at Rice, she provides support for the Treasury functions of the university, assists with endowment-related operations and serves as executive assistant to the COO of Rice Management Company.  Previously, Ms. Bowers worked 16 years at Bank of New York Mellon in the Structured Finance division which was part of JPMorgan Chase until 2006. She managed the team responsible for warehousing and closing new CDO portfolios and most recently ran the Business Acceptance Committee meetings for all US Domestic business.

Darren Britt joined Rice Management Company in 2008 as its first Investment/Operations Analyst, responsible for managing the information systems used to analyze and report on Rice’s position of more than 160 private equity and venture capital investments. He also oversees several systems used in the tracking of all of the endowment’s investments. In 2012, he managed the successful implementation of the Backstop system, which houses all of the endowment’s documents and data. Previously, Mr. Britt spent 12 years at JPMorgan Chase, where he was a Vice President and Team Leader, first managing a team that implemented a company-wide system migration; and later leading a team of relationship managers in the Structured Finance division. Mr. Britt holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas.

Roy R. Buckley has been with Rice Management Company since 2005, and serves as Minerals Manager. His responsibilities include managing all oil, gas and mineral property interests directly owned by the endowment, including Rice‐Land Lumber Company (a corporation wholly owned by the University), with 50,000 acres located in Beauregard, Allen, Evangeline, and Rapides Parishes, Louisiana. Mr. Buckley negotiates all oil and gas lease transactions with numerous industry exploration and production firms and represents the University in other E&P associated transactions such as seismic exploration agreements, pipeline right‐of‐way agreements, production sharing agreements and division order contracts. Previously, Mr. Buckley was an oil and gas property manager with the JPMorgan Private Bank (1990 – 2005) and an independent petroleum landman (1979 – 2000). Mr. Buckley holds a Bachelor of Science degree in business management from the University of Tampa (1979) and a Juris Doctor from South Texas College of Law (1990).

Anne Bullen joined Rice Management Company in 2016 as a Minerals Manager. She is part of the team that manages all oil, gas and mineral property interests directly owned by the endowment. Her responsibilities include the implementation and maintenance of a land management system; the review and drafting of agreements; and auditing incoming revenue. Previously, Ms. Bullen was in private practice for eighteen years as an oil and gas title and transactional attorney. Most recently, she served as the Manager of the Title Section of the Kilburn Law Firm where she led a team of 95 attorneys. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in French and political science from Rice University and a J.D. from Vanderbilt Law School. She is a member of the State Bar of Texas, the Oil, Gas and Mineral Law section of the Houston Bar Association and the Houston Association of Professional Landmen.

Justin Burke joined Rice Management Company in 2016 as the Associate Minerals Manager. In his role at Rice, he provides support to the Minerals Managers and Investment Director for Natural Resources by helping manage the University’s direct oil and gas holdings. He is responsible for handling daily transactions work relative to these holdings and inputting data into the relevant systems. He also assists in the reviewing and drafting oil and gas contracts, creating and implementing new systems, procedures, and process improvements. Mr. Burke has been in the oil and gas industry since 2007 having worked in both land research and mineral acquisitions. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from the University of Texas at Austin.

Emily Chong joined Rice University in 2014. In her role at Rice, she provides support for the Treasury functions of the University as well as Backstop system and document support. Previously, Ms. Chong worked at Bank of New York and Virtus Partners as a Director of Client Services specializing in collateralized debt obligations and loan administration. She earned her Bachelors of Business Administration from University of Houston-Downtown.

Mina J. Kasrai joined Rice University in 1994. Since 2005, she has served as Endowment Analyst for Rice Management Company. During her tenure at Rice, Ms. Kasrai has also held staff positions in the offices of Vice President for Finance and Administration, and Resource Development Alumni Records. Ms. Kasrai is primarily responsible for computing returns to capture the performance of each asset class in which the Endowment is invested, and compiling performance values into various reports for distribution to Rice Management Company’s Board. She also assists with data analysis and special projects for the Rice Management Company Investment team. Ms. Kasrai holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Statistics from University of Houston-Downtown.

Cindy Melton joined Rice Management Company in 2012 as Treasury Manager, and now serves as Treasury and Operations Director. Her primary responsibilities include overseeing the cash and banking activity for the University and the endowment; serving as the primary manager for all banking relationships; determining the cash needs for the University, the endowment, and subsidiary companies; and reviewing account statements for appropriateness and accuracy. Her operations responsibilities are supervising the implementation and ongoing management of systems used to support investment activity including document retention and investment management reporting systems, and third-party performance reporting systems. Previously, Ms. Melton worked 10 years at JPMorgan Chase, as a Vice President in the Structured Finance division, and led a 50-person team focused on the CDO industry. She holds an M.B.A. in finance, and a Bachelor degree in business, both from the University of St. Thomas.

Amy Nelson was appointed Trust Manager for Rice Management Company in July 2012. In this capacity, she provides oversight and management for charitable remainder trusts, estates, and other accounts under the administration of Rice Trust Inc., the University’s wholly-owned trust company, as well as other deferred gift accounts of the University. Ms. Nelson is also responsible for reviewing endowment-related investment agreements and amendments, and advising the Chief Investment Officer and investment staff on the best course of action with respect to these contracts. Previously, Ms. Nelson served for five years as Gift Planning Officer in Rice University’s Office of Gift Planning. She spent the prior eight years in the financial services industry managing personal and family trust accounts. Ms. Nelson graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from Texas A&M University and holds a J.D. from St. Mary’s University School of Law. She attended Cannon Trust School and holds a Certified Trust and Financial Advisor (CTFA) designation. Ms. Nelson is a past president and current board member of the Planned Giving Council of Houston and is a member of the State Bar of Texas and Attorneys in Tax and Probate. She is also a Life Fellow of the Houston Young Lawyers Foundation and served for ten years on the Lawyers for Literacy Committee of the Houston Bar Association.

Claire Nelson joined Rice University in 1989 as Associate Vice President for Investments and Associate Treasurer and was also named a Vice President of the Rice Management Company when it was formed in 2009. Ms. Nelson has handled numerous endowment matters including: asset allocation and endowment policy; investment manager selections/monitoring/terminations; investment performance and reporting; endowment spending and budgeting; charitable trust management and administration; treasury, custody and cash management. Prior to joining Rice University, Ms. Nelson was a financial auditor with Arthur Andersen & Co. working with clients in the Not-for-Profit Education and Healthcare sectors, and public companies in the consumer products and oilfield services industries. Ms. Nelson is a graduate of Rice University with Master of Accounting and Bachelor of Arts degrees. Ms. Nelson became a CPA in 1984 but no longer maintains her license.

Larry Perez joined Rice University in 1991 as an accountant in the Controller’s Office in the Endowment Accounting group. In 1995, Mr. Perez moved to the Office of Investments and Treasurer (now Rice Management Company) where his primary responsibility is endowment budgeting and spending. This includes budgeting the annual spending from the University’s 1,800+ endowment funds and monitoring compliance of the endowment spending policy. Mr. Perez is also responsible for generating endowment spending forecasts to assist management in determining appropriate levels of future annual spending from the endowment. Mr. Perez also assists with the management of the University’s long-term debt and commercial paper programs including issuance of debt and monitoring the spending of debt proceeds. Mr. Perez holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Accounting with honors from the University of Houston-Downtown. He is a graduate of Nicholls State University where he received an Associate's degree in business. Mr. Perez became a CPA in 1997 but no longer maintains his license.