Twilley Wins Grand Prize

By Jamie Gaylor

Richard Twilley designed a financial audit program that earned him a prestigious worldwide industry award.

I met ORU alumnus Richard Twilley on a warm and windy afternoon in the lobby of the new Armand Hammer Alumni-Student Center. We walked through the large common area and found a table on the outdoor patio to enjoy the sunshine, and to reminisce about ORU in years past.

"I haven't been on campus in a while. This is beautiful!" Twilley gestured to the Hammer Center behind us, and we both admired the modern feel of the design, as well as the energy and freshness of the campus in general. We shared a few back-in-my-day memories of ORU, including how he met his wife, Miriam, when they both signed up as volunteers for the same school event. Then we got down to the subject at hand: the 2013 ACL Impact Award.

Twilley graduated from ORU in 2006 with a B.A. in government, and then went on to earn his MBA in 2012. After graduation, he was hired by Conoco Phillips (now Phillips66). In January 2013, Twilley was announced as the ACL Impact Award Grand Prize Winner, a prestigious worldwide industry award for audit, financial, risk, and compliance professionals.

As Microsoft is to office professionals worldwide, ACL is the software leader for the financial industry. (ACL stands for "Audit Command Language.") ACL's annual Impact Awards are highly sought after, and highly respected accolades. The ACL Impact Grand Prize is often awarded to 20+ year veterans in the field, or to teams of people on a project. For Twilley to earn such an accolade early in his career is a major achievement. Was he surprised?

"Yes, so surprised! I had submitted an application for 'Best New User.' When I got the e-mail saying I won the GRAND prize, I thought...the grand prize for best new user? I didn't really tell anyone until they posted the results online, and I could see it for myself!"

Twilley's award-winning creation was an entirely new financial audit program using the ACL software. Before his program was introduced, his company performed monthly audits of random samples of data. With the new program, Phillips66 is able to perform comprehensive system-wide audits of all financial data, and exponentially increase the accuracy of identifying non-compliant financial transactions.

To hear Twilley explain it, it sounds so simple...it makes sense to cross-reference all the relevant databases and run one comprehensive and accurate report. But, to hear him explain it further is to realize how creatively clever someone would need to be in order to visualize the desired result, maximize the functionality of a complex software system, and write the exact program to successfully yield the data.

Dr. Marshal Wright is chairman of the Graduate School of Business at ORU and was Twilley's professor and advisor in the MBA program. Wright remembers Twilley well. "He was very gifted in financial theory, and strong in academics. But he was also strong in the practical application of that theory. A big part of our program is, 'How does this work in the real world?' and Richard was very good at that."

Although excited about the award, Twilley is modest in taking credit. "I came up with the program that won that award; I did that on my own. But I look back at all the individual things that contributed to that accomplishment -- my wife, who I met at ORU and who always supported and encouraged me, Dr. Wright, who helped me so much and recommended that I apply to Conoco Phillips after graduation -- all these things, these little moments that lead you to where you are in your life."

For Richard Twilley, that sentiment sums up his ORU experience. And sitting there on the sunny patio, thinking ahead to the future, life was looking very bright indeed.