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UVI Alumni Association to Honor Four on Saturday

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June 2, 2005 – The public is invited to partake in a special breakfast as the St. Thomas/St. John Chapter of the University of the Virgin Islands Alumni Association pays tribute to some of its outstanding members. The association will honor four of its members at the Third Annual Alumni Award Recognition Breakfast scheduled for 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 4, at Pilgrim's Terrace. The honorees are Jose Penn, proprietor and chief financial officer of Penns' Corporation; Joan Thomas, co-owner of Pimpy's Trucking Services; Willis Todmann, acting administrator and chief financial officer of the Government Employees Retirement System; and Michael Watson, proprietor of Petite Pump Room restaurant.
Deanna Rogers, president of the UVI Alumni Association St. Thomas/St. John Chapter said this year's honorees were selected for their entrepreneurial and managerial successes. "They have taken their theoretical skills and have applied them to the practical work within their own companies or organizations and are doing quite well," Rogers said. "They are very successful. I thank them for doing not only an outstanding job in the community, which is a big plus, but they are also contributors to UVI and the Alumni Association," Rogers said. "We are very proud to call them alumni of UVI. Rogers is also the alumni trustee on the UVI Board.
Jose A. Penn
Jose A. Penn was raised on St. John. An academically accelerated student, he was the valedictorian of the Julius Sprauve School. While attending the Ivanna Eudora Kean High School, he became one of the first students to participate in the then College of the Virgin Islands Early Admissions Program, where select high school seniors spend their senior year as freshman at the University. Penn went on to become valedictorian of the Ivanna Eudora Kean High School class of 1976. He continued his studies at CVI and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Accounting in 1980.
Penn is a shareholder of the St. John-based Penn's Corporation, a company he helped build with his family in the mid 1960s, and the chief financial officer of the corporation's three subsidiary companies Penns' Apartment Rentals, Inc., Penns' Jeep Rental, Inc. and Penns' Trucking Services.
Before joining the family business full-time, Penn began his professional career as the chief accountant at the V.I. Urban Renewal Board, which was later absorbed into the V.I. Housing Finance Authority. After several years at the board he became an accountant at the V.I. Housing Authority. There he held the positions of accounting supervisor, assistant comptroller and comptroller. He is married to the former Linda Parsons and has three children and one grandchild.
Joan A. Thomas
Joan A. Thomas was born and raised on St. John. While a student at Charlotte Amalie High School Thomas worked part-time at the Division of Personnel for three years. After graduating from CAHS in 1961 she joined the workforce working at the Office of Management and Budget and the Department of Social Welfare. But it was at the Public Safety Department on St. John, now the V.I. Police Department, that Thomas made her mark. She was the first secretary of the St. John office and functioned as office manager, setting up the mechanism of operating the office. She did all administrative work, from typing, to fingerprinting, to registering vehicles. During that time Thomas also worked for the then Territorial Court, collecting child support, bail bond and court fines, among other things.
While working full-time in the day, Thomas attended classes at the then College of the Virgin islands during the evening. In 1984 she earned an associates degree in Business Management. She went on to earn a bachelor's degree in Business Administration in 1987 and a master's degree in Public
Administration in 1992. In 1999 she retired from the V.I. Government. Thomas now manages her husband's water bottling and delivery company Pimpy's Trucking Services. Thomas and her husband Rudolph "Pimpy" Thomas, Jr. have two daughters, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Willis C. Todmann
Willis C. Todmann has a passion for the financial markets. Upon graduating from the Charlotte Amalie High School in 1978 Todmann enrolled in the then College of the Virgin Islands to study business administration. He earned a bachelor's degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance in 1982. Immediately after earning his degree, Todmann was employed by the Department of Health as an accountant II. During that time, Todmann pursued graduate studies at UVI. He went on to earn a master's degree in Public Administration in 1987. Several years later Todmann joined the staff of the V.I. Legislature as senior auditor in the Post Audit Division. He remained there, serving as chief of operations and assistant post auditor before being hired by the Government Employees Retirement system (GERS). At GERS Todmann served as assistant administrator for the Accounting and Finance Division, before being promoted to chief financial officer/treasurer. Since November 2004 Todmann has been serving as acting administrator of GERS, in addition to his regular responsibilities as chief financial officer.
Todmann is also the president of the CAHS class of 1978; the secretary of the Economic Development Authority Board of Commissioners, and the financial advisor to the Virgin Islands Cultural Heritage Institute Board of Governors.
Michael A. Watson
Michael A. Watson was raised on St. Thomas. After graduating from the All Saints Cathedral School in 1979 he served three years in the U.S. Army in radio teletype communications. During his service he received training in jungle warfare and some training with the elite Navy Seals. He also served in several honor guards.
Upon returning to the Virgin Islands he enrolled in the then College of the Virgin Islands, attending classes and working full-time at the family business Petite Pump Room Bar and Restaurant. In 1988 Watson graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor's degree in Business Administration. He has spent most of his adult life managing and developing the Petite Pump Room.
As an active member of the community Watson is a member of several organizations, including the American Red Cross, Catholic Charities, the Lion's Club and Partner's for Health. Watson is married to Judith Nicholson-Watson. They have one son.
Tickets for the Third Annual Alumni Award Recognition Breakfast are $25. For ticket information call the UVI Institutional Advancement Office at 693-1044.

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