Chris Monroe ('89) | Southwest Airlines
If you think your fuel bill is high, meet Chris Monroe ('89). His bill is a staggering $500 million per month.
Monroe, newly named treasurer for Southwest Airlines, was featured in a CNBC report in May about his fuel-hedging efforts that have saved the airline more than $3 billion over the past decade.
Southwest Airlines has long been considered the industry's most aggressive and dominant player when it comes to the energy derivatives markets. Monroe, who holds a B.B.A. in finance from ACU, is one of the major reasons why.
"Jet fuel is the largest single expense for an airline," Monroe explains. "Southwest Airlines burns just under 2 billion gallons each year. We are either going to pay market prices for that fuel or, hopefully, pay something less through our fuel hedging efforts."
Hedging involves purchasing fuel at prices agreed upon in advance. Monroe works in the financial markets trading crude oil, heating oil, gasoline and jet fuel to attempt to lock in favorable prices, protecting his company from catastrophic increases. So far, his team has been incredibly successful.
In addition to fuel hedging, Monroe oversees capital markets, cash management and investing, corporate insurance and other financial details for the company and its 39,000 employees.
Monroe credits ACU with giving him a great business foundation and critical analytical skills. "I was ready to compete in the marketplace from day one," he says.
Looking back at his time as a student in ACU's business school, Monroe says he discovered benefits that extended far beyond his finance degree.
"ACU also served to deepen my faith and prepare me to become a husband and father," he says. "I watched as the men and women who taught me were careful to preserve their marriages, and cultivate time and deep relationships with their children and grandchildren."
He also discovered the true sense of family that exists between faculty and students. "Teachers who made themselves available beyond the classroom and in their example of what it means to be a Kingdom leader in the marketplace made all the difference for me," he says.
And an added bonus: The university provided the avenue for meeting his future wife.
"The men's basketball team was incredible during my time at ACU, winning 44 in a row at home," Monroe recalls. "Attending those games with the girl who would become my wife are still great memories."
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