Things Go Better with W&L Alumni

Washington and Lee alumni at Coca-Cola in Atlanta, from left, Wyatt Heaton '09, Paul Hourigan '99, Vail Thorne '80 and Ted Ghiz '78.

Washington and Lee alumni at Coca-Cola in Atlanta, from left, Wyatt Heaton '09, Paul Hourigan '99, Vail Thorne '80 and Ted Ghiz '78.

Here's a story about how Washington and Lee alumni seem to turn up everywhere, and how Colonnade Connections helps alumni make those valuable connections.

Wyatt Heaton, a member of the Class of 2009, is pursuing both a J.D. and a master's in accounting from George State University, in Atlanta. This summer, he participated in the 2013 Summer Legal Intern program at The Coca-Cola Company.

Before he started at Coke, Wyatt checked Colonnade Connections to determine if he could find any alumni who might also be working there.

His search led him to Vail Thorne, of the Class of 1980, the senior environmental, health and safety counsel (EHS) at Coca-Cola. Vail currently focuses on the company's EHS and sustainability issues worldwide and advises on the rules governing green, or environmental, marketing.

During his internship, Wyatt mentioned his alma mater to another lawyer there and discovered Paul Hourigan, of the Class of 1999. Paul is Coca-Cola's primary legal counsel for all professional sports sponsorship deals for North America. Paul's work involves the company's league sponsorship of the NBA and its official marketing partner relationship with the PGA Tour, as well as individual team deals.

When the three of them were scheduled to get together for lunch, Vail mentioned a fourth W&L alum on the premises in Atlanta — Ted Ghiz, of the Class of 1978, a senior tax counsel who deals with legislative, planning and controversy matters related to all state and local taxes. He's worked for Coca-Cola for almost 20 years.

So the four got together at company headquarters in Atlanta for a photo (above) — W&L alumni representing a three-decade span at Coke.

Now that the internship is behind him, Wyatt will be working this fall as an extern for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. He hopes to practice mergers and acquisitions law, tax law or securities law when he finishes at Georgia State.

And he highly recommends Colonnade Connections.

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