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The Alumni of the Decade Honorees

Congratulations to the Executive MBA Alumni of the Decade honorees. These individuals are part of a select group of alumni identified as making significant contributions to industry, community, and the EMBA program. With nearly 5,000 EMBA alumni, this is a remarkable honor.

These alumni were recognized at 50 Years of Excellence: The Broad Executive MBA Celebration, May 14, 2015, at the Fillmore Detroit.

Our honorees:

Ken Way – MBA Class of 1971Ken Way with Sanjay Gupta

Ken Way retired as chairman of Lear Corporation in 2003. He was affiliated with Lear and its predecessor companies for 37 years in engineering and manufacturing, and began serving as chairman and CEO in 1988. Way was also chairman of the Economic Club of Detroit and the United Way Community Services, and served on the board of directors of the Detroit Renaissance, the Automotive Hall of Fame, the Detroit Regional Chamber, Comerica Bank, and more. Way earned his bachelor’s degree and MBA from Michigan State University. He received an honorary doctorate of engineering from Lawrence Technological University in 1995 and the Sigma Chi fraternity “Significant Sig” Award in 1997. In 1998, he received the Distinguished Alumni Award from MSU. He currently sits on the President’s Council at MSU and the board of directors for CMS Energy Corporation and Cooper Standard Automotive. He is also the chairman of Henry Ford Hospital’s Heart Vascular Institute.

Jack Withrow – MBA Class of 1971Jack Withrow with Sanjay Gupta

Jack Withrow retired in 1995 after serving six years as president of Lectron Products. His career started at Chrysler where for 32 years he held various roles of increasing responsibility in engineering and product development, retiring as executive vice president in 1988. Additionally, Withrow was on the Mitsubishi Motors board of directors. He received his bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University. Additionally, Withrow attended the Chrysler Institute of Engineering, where he received a master’s degree in automotive engineering, and Dartmouth University’s Amos Tuck School of Business Executive Management Program. Withrow received a number of accolades from MSU over the course of his career, including the Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award and Claud R. Erickson Distinguished Alumni Award. Also, he and his wife have given more than $1 million to the university for various programs and have established eight endowments bearing their names.

Neil De Koker – MBA Class of 1977

Neil De Koker’s 50-year career highlights include many leadership roles, including his founding and leadership of the Original Equipment Suppliers Association (OESA). Additionally, De Koker held leadership positions with General Motors Corporation, Magna International, the Woodbridge Group, and MascoTech, Inc. De Koker is a fellow of the Engineering Society of Detroit (ESD), an organization that honored him as an “Outstanding Young Engineer” in 1978. In 2004, he was awarded the Executive Leadership Award from the Marketing and Sales Executives of Detroit. He received the 2004 Outstanding Alumni Award from the Michigan State University Broad College of Business. De Koker serves on the Board of the Automotive Hall of Fame, the Board of Trustees of Kettering University, the Board of the Center for Automotive Research, and the Board of the Japan America Society of Greater Detroit and Windsor. De Koker has a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from General Motors Institute (now Kettering University).

Tom Ogden – MBA Class of 1980Tom Ogden with Sanjay Gupta

Tom served as the President of Comerica Bank – Michigan from 2007 to 2013, where he was responsible for the management of customer relationships across all business lines in Michigan. He also served as an executive vice president of Comerica Incorporated and was a member of Comerica Inc.’s Management Policy Committee. He began his banking career as a credit analyst with Manufacturers Bank in 1971 and held various commercial lending and management positions at Comerica, including chief credit officer from 1999 to 2003. Tom served as board member of the United Way for Southeastern Michigan, the Detroit Regional Chamber, the Downtown Detroit Partnership, the Detroit Economic Club, Business Leaders for Michigan, Detroit Zoological Society, College for Creative Studies, and the Karmanos Cancer Institute. He was a member of the Michigan State University Center for International Business Education and Research and the Broad College of Business Alumni Association. Mr. Ogden received his bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University.

Dan Ponder – MBA Class of 1990Dan Ponder with Sanjay Gupta

Dan Ponder is CEO of Franco Public Relations Group, where he oversees business development and operations. He also provides strategic counsel in business and marketing to Franco’s clients with emphasis on the integration of an organization’s operations and communications disciplines. When he’s not servicing clients, he’s providing leadership and support to several of Michigan’s key institutions and human service organizations through his involvement with the St. John Providence Health System Board of Trustees, Detroit Regional Chamber Board of Directors, Michigan Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, Crime Stoppers of Michigan Board of Directors, Salvation Army Metro Advisory Board, and more. Prior to joining Franco, Ponder was a member of Deloitte’s Private Company Advisory Service. He is a graduate of the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Leadership Detroit X. Ponder received his bachelor of arts in accounting from Michigan State University.

Yousif Ghafari – MBA Class of 1992Yousif Ghafari with Sanjay Gupta

Yousif Ghafari is founder and chairman of Ghafari Associates, LLC, and G-TECH Services. In 2008, Ghafari was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve as U.S. ambassador to Slovenia, where he worked to further develop investments and trades between the U.S. and Slovenia, to increase opportunities for academic exchange between the two countries, and to strengthen overall ties between the U.S. and the European Union. He also is a founding member of the “Partnership for Lebanon,” a collaboration between the U.S. government and private firms to assist Lebanon in economic revitalization. Ghafari was named one of the Top 100 “Executive Heroes” in southeastern Michigan for his philanthropic activities and was inducted into the International Institute of Metropolitan Detroit’s “Hall of Fame.” Upon his return from Slovenia in 2009, he was named the Detroit Regional Chamber World Trader of the Year for his work as ambassador.

Lisa Dancsok – MBA Class of 1996Lisa Dancsok with Sanjay Gupta

Lisa Dancsok is the vice president of Rock Ventures LLC. She is responsible for the “Opportunity Detroit” initiative and marketing, communications, community relations, and philanthropy for the Rock Ventures family of companies. Dancsok is a member of the MSU Executive Management Business Administration Alumni Club, MSU Alumni Club, National Management Association, Detroit Economic Club, Detroit Chamber of Commerce, and the NAACP. She is also a member of the Delta Dental of Michigan Board, the Renaissance Health Service Corporation Board, the Michigan State University Eli Broad Alumni Board, and the Inforum Center for Leadership Board. Prior to joining Rock Ventures, Dancsok was a managing partner of D&D Advisors, LLC. Before that, she was senior vice president of marketing and communications at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. Dancsok also managed and directed Travel Michigan. She received a bachelor of arts in advertising from Michigan State University.

Jim Roberts – MBA Class of 1996Jim Roberts with Sanjay Gupta

Jim Roberts is the CEO of Jim Roberts Enterprises LLC, a management consulting company, and Jim Roberts – Centennial Securities Advisory Services LLC, a registered investment advisory company. Earlier in his career, he served as managing director for CB Richard Ellis in the Global Corporate Services Division. Roberts currently serves on the boards for Michigan Minority Supplier Diversity Council, the West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Cornerstone Alliance Woman’s Business Center, and Michiana Junior Achievement. He served on the boards for the Michigan State University Weekend MBA Alumni Association and the University of Michigan Engineering Alumni Association. Roberts also served on the State of Michigan Council for Labor and Economic Growth. Roberts was recognized in 2013 by Corp! Magazine as one of the Michigan Diversity Business Leaders, was selected as the 2013 Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce – EPIC Award Minority Business of the Year Winner, and was inducted into the Vulcan’s at the University of Michigan.

David Dauch – MBA Class of 2007David Dauch with Sanjay Gupta

David Dauch is chairman, president, and CEO of American Axle & Manufacturing (AAM). He is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of AAM, developing and implementing the company’s operating and strategic objectives, and contributing to AAM’s Board of Directors. He currently serves on the boards of Business Leaders for Michigan, the Detroit Economic Club, the Detroit Regional Chamber, the Great Lakes Council Boy Scouts of America, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan, and others. Dauch has more than 30 years of experience in the automotive industry, beginning his career in 1982 at the former Chrysler Corporation. Dauch joined AAM in 1995 as manager of sales administration and served in many other roles prior to assuming his current position. Dauch obtained bachelor’s degrees in production/operations and purchasing management from Miami University.

Reginald Eadie – MBA Class of 2013Reginald Eadie with Sanjay Gupta

Reginald J. Eadie, M.D., is chief executive officer of the Detroit Medical Center Harper University Hospital, Hutzel Women’s Hospital, and Detroit Receiving Hospital. Dr. Eadie joined the DMC in April 2008 as vice president of medical affairs at DMC Harper University Hospital and DMC Hutzel Women’s Hospital. Dr. Eadie received the “Shining Star” award from the Michigan Secretary of State in 2013 for championing organ donations. Dr. Eadie was named one of 100 physician leaders of hospitals and health systems by Becker’s Hospital Review and was named “One of 25 Most Influential Black Physicians in Detroit” in 2011. Dr. Eadie is a graduate of the Wayne State University School of Medicine and completed his emergency medicine Residency at WSU/Detroit Receiving Hospital in 1998. He is a diplomat of the American Board of Emergency Medicine and a member of the American College of Health Care Executives.

The event also recognized the 64 alumni nominated.

Our Nominees

1966 – 1975

Robert Stempel, Class of 1970
James Melican, Class of 1971
Kenneth L. Way, Class of 1971
John (Jack) Withrow, Class of 1971
Alex Trotman, Class of 1972
Ralph Caponigro, Class of 1973
Kenneth Pape, Class of 1974
Salvatore Bonanno, Class of 1975
Frank Macher, Class of 1975
Leonard Tabaka, Class of 1975

1976 – 1985

Neil DeKoker, Class of 1977
Thomas Gale, Class of 1978
Tom Ogden, Class of 1980
Edward Hagenlocker, Class of 1982
Doug Valassis, Class of 1983

1986 – 1995

Michael Smith, Class of 1987
William Kozyra, Class of 1988
John Miller, Class of 1989
D. Craig Valassis, Class of 1989
James Holden, Class of 1990
D. Lynn Kelley, Class of 1990
Daniel Ponder, Class of 1990
George Ross, Class of 1990
Michael Widgren, Class of 1990
Bruce Coventry, Class of 1991
Douglas Delgrosso, Class of 1991
Yousif Ghafari, Class of 1992
Jerold Timpson, Class of 1992
Thomas Zuhl, Class of 1993
Marietta Baba, Class of 1994
Karen R. Zehnder, Class of 1994
Blaire Miller, Class of 1995
Glenda Minor, Class of 1995
Mary Sipes, Class of 1995
Thomas VanderLaan, Class of 1995

1996 – 2005

Lisa Dancsok, Class of 1996
Anurag Kumar, Class of 1996
Jim Roberts, Class of 1996
J.C. Stehlik, Class of 1996
Douglas Hughes, Class of 1997
Jeffrey Vanneste, Class of 1997
Linda H. Blair, Class of 1998
Brian Ghesquiere, Class of 1999
Diane Grieves, Class of 1999
Jim Kamsickas, Class of 1999
Jason Luo, Class of 1999
Jason Cardew, Class of 2000
Alphons Iacobelli, Class of 2000
Mark Kelly, Class of 2000
Steven Landry, Class of 2000
Scott Leslie, Class of 2001
Michael Pohlod, Class of 2001
Ralph Gilles, Class of 2002
Jeffrey P. Lux, Class of 2002
Jessica Fields, Class of 2004
Phillip Harwood, Class of 2004
Kevin Klobucar, Class of 2004
Lea Ammerman, Class of 2005

2006 – 2015

Dianna Dryer, Class of 2006
David Dauch, Class of 2007
Sam Elfawal, Class of 2007
Maureen Huber, Class of 2010
Gregory Arendt, Class of 2011
Reggy Eadie, Class of 2013

For more information, contact Socialize these nominations using #MSUemba50.

Eli Broad College of Business

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