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NMJC Alum / Former Enron Engineer Publishes Book

NMJC Alum / Former Enron Engineer Publishes Book  photo 12/6/2006 5:17:21 p.m. - Hobbs, NM. When James (Jim) R. Tucker was attending New Mexico Junior College in 1969 and 1970, little did he suspect that he would someday write a book about surviving one of the biggest scandals in American corporate history.

The collapse of Enron in 2001 sent shockwaves throughout the world as it registered the largest bankruptcy in American history as well as the massive layoff of thousands of employees. The accounting fraud that was discovered behind the collapse made the company a symbol of corporate corruption and cast a universal cloud of doubt regarding corporate accountability.

But Tucker's recently released book, Surviving with the Enron Dinosaurs: An Insider's Lighthearted Journal, finds both the humor and humanity that existed in spite of the scandal and trauma associated with Enron's downfall. As one of the survivors, Tucker, a former Hobbsan and NMJC alumnus, shares with readers an in-depth recollection of his years as an Enron engineer working with the "Dinosaurs," the derogatory name used by upper management for the easy-going, hard-working employees who designed, maintained, and operated Enron's gas pipeline systems. Ironically, the gas pipelines were the only legitimately profitable companies owned by Enron -- and are still in operation today. Nowadays, several years "after Enron," Tucker lives in Midland with his wife Janice, where he continues to work as an engineer in the gas industry.

Although Tucker moved away from both Hobbs and NMJC many years ago, it is with great fondness that he remembers his time spent here. Tucker, a 1969 Hobbs High graduate, attended NMJC for three semesters before accepting an assistant manager's position at Tootie's HomeOwned Supermarket located on Dal Paso (currently Thriftway). Although Tucker never completed a degree at NMJC, he continued taking classes here, including Drafting and Surveying, before joining John West Engineering and pursuing his industrial engineering degree at Texas Tech University.

According to Tucker, his fondest memories at NMJC included attending the Thunderbird basketball games, which he seldom missed, along with "taking a couple of girls to the dances." He also remembers fondly his history classes with Ron Black, as well as a number of math classes with Dr. Gerald Martin, which, he explains, he "got a lot out of."

Mrs. Mary Hagelstein was mentioned as an instructor who was also "highly thought of" by Tucker and several of his close friends, especially his best friend, Randy Chilton, who insists that Mrs. Hagelstein was "no doubt [his] inspiration to follow through with an accounting career."

After Chilton finished at NMJC, he continued his studies and graduated from the University of Texas-Arlington, and in 1975 moved to San Angelo where he worked as a CPA for a large firm. After a few years, he left and began the accounting firm of Chilton, Wilcox, and Co., which, Tucker insists, was done "with much thanks to Mary Hagelstein." Both Tucker and Chilton insist their time spent at NMJC was "extremely enjoyable."

Although Jim Tucker has traveled a long way from the classrooms of New Mexico Junior College and has experienced much that he never dreamt of those many years ago, he was undoubtedly building even then a foundation of personal integrity, perseverance, and resilience that would see him through difficult times. These many years later, New Mexico Junior College would like to offer congratulations to Jim Tucker for his survival and success. We are proud to call him one of our own.

To order a copy of James Tucker's Surviving with the Enron Dinosaurs (ISBN: 1-4257-2152-4; 978-1-4257-2152-7), log on at Xlibris.com, Barnesandnoble.com, Amazon.com, or Borders.com or visit a local bookstore.

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