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July 22, 2020

Stephens Inc. Adds Public Finance Investment Bankers to Expand Education-Related Financing in Texas

Stephens Inc., an independent financial services firm, today announced expansion of its K-12 public finance capabilities in Texas with the hiring of education experts Brian Garcia as senior vice president and Dr. Alfred Ray as vice president. Both will be based out of Stephens’ Dallas office.

“Surging population growth in Texas has created a greater demand for K-12 financings in the state. Accordingly, our increasing market presence and expertise are aligned to meet the state’s evolving education public finance needs,” said Curt Shelmire, manager of Texas public finance. “Brian and Alfred bring to Stephens a wealth of practical knowledge of the opportunities and challenges affecting K-12 financings throughout the state,” remarked Curt Shelmire.

Texas had the biggest increase in population of any state in the country in the last year, according to estimates released in 2019 by the U.S. Census Bureau. The data showed the number of people in the Lone Star State grew by 367,000 from mid-2018 to mid-2019, bringing the state's total population to almost 29 million. According to the Texas Education Agency (TEA), in the 2008-09 school year, 4,749,571 students were enrolled in Texas public schools. By 2018-19, enrollment had risen to 5,431,910 students. Over the 10-year period, total enrollment increased by 682,339 students, or by 14.4 percent.

Brian Garcia brings to Stephens more than 16 years of public finance experience, spending the majority of his career in Texas. Most recently, he was a managing director at Aegis Capital Corp., in the firm’s debt capital markets group. Previously, Mr. Garcia was a director of municipal public finance / capital markets at Oppenheimer. Prior to Oppenheimer, he held positions within public finance at Piper Jaffray, RBC Capital Markets and Citi. Mr. Garcia is a graduate of Harvard University.

Dr. Alfred Ray joins Stephens following a 30-year career in public education in Texas, 14 of those years at the campus level, three at central administration and eight as superintendent of schools. During his career, he has been directly involved in bond referendum construction projects in Texas City, Cedar Hill, and Mansfield ISDs (as a principal); responsible for management of multiple specific projects including financing in Fort Bend ISD (as area superintendent); and responsible for the entire referendum in all facets at Duncanville ISD (as superintendent). The total of the bond projects Dr. Ray was either partially or totally responsible for comprises over $800 million. Dr. Ray holds a Ph.D. in educational administration from Texas A&M where also he played for the Aggies varsity baseball team.

“Stephens’ focus on the K-12 sector in Texas further solidifies the firm’s strength in this important market. We are excited to build upon our momentum in Texas and are pleased to welcome Brian and Alfred to the team, and look forward to their contributions,” concluded Dennis Hunt, executive vice president and head of public finance.

About Stephens Inc.

Stephens Inc. is an independent financial services firm headquartered in Little Rock, Arkansas. Since its inception in 1933, privately held Stephens Inc. has served a broad client base which includes corporations, state and local governments, financial institutions, institutional investors and individual investors throughout the United States and overseas. For more information, visit Member NYSE, SIPC

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