Alumni Connections - No. 105 - April 2013

Alumni Connections is a sampling of alumni news. Alumni on the Move, Alumni to Know, CEO Watch: Taking the Lead, and CEO Watch: Making Headlines share news gleaned from media online and in print, including news submitted to Chicago Booth Magazine. Submit information about yourself or fellow alumni to

Alumni on the Move

Alumni Connections

Advent Capital Management LLC: Douglas Teresko, ’01, has been named co-portfolio manager of the Advent/Claymore Enhanced Growth and Income Fund. The New York–based fund manager specializes in long-only strategies, hedge funds, and closed-end funds.

Alumni Connections

Baird Capital Partners: Alex Kessel, ’11, has been promoted to vice president from senior associate. He is based in Chicago, the firm’s global headquarters. The private equity investment arm of Robert W. Baird & Co. makes investments in the United States, United Kingdom, and China.

Alumni Connections

The Beanstalk Group LLC: Marc Schneider, ’83, has been named CFO. The New York–based brand licensing agency is part of Omnicom Group, a global marketing and advertising company.

Alumni Connections

BioHealth Innovation Inc.: Cynthia Collins, ’88, has been named to the board of directors. The Rockville, Maryland-based regional private-public partnership commercializes biotech innovations. Collins is president and CEO of Gaithersburg, Maryland-based biotech firm GenVec Inc.

Alumni Connections

Bourque Industries Inc.: Brent Willis, ’91 (XP-60), has been appointed to the board of directors. The Tuscon, Arizona-based company uses nanotechnology to create metal alloys for ballistic armor and such industries as aerospace, automotive, computers, power grid, rail, shipping space, and weaponry. Willis is a former military officer and former CEO and chair of Bradenton, Florida-based Liberty Ammunition Inc.

Alumni Connections

Brown-Forman Corp.: Lawson Whiting, ’97, has been promoted to senior vice president and chief brands officer. He had been managing director, Western Europe, for the Jack Daniels family of brands. The Louisville, Kentucky-based Brown-Forman makes several brands of liquor.

Alumni Connections

Caterpillar Inc.: Thomas Bluth, ’97, is moving to vice president, mining products division, from vice president, earth moving division. Based in Peoria, Illinois, Caterpillar is the world’s largest manufacturer of construction and mining equipment.

Alumni Connections

Charles Stewart Mott Foundation: Jay Flaherty, ’99, has been promoted to vice president and chief investment officer from assistant vice president, focusing on hedge funds and private equity investments. The Flint, Michigan-based private foundation makes grants in four programs: civil society, environment, the Flint area, and Pathways out of Poverty.

Alumni Connections

Clearview Capital LLC: James Tucker, ’75, has been promoted to principal from vice president, business development. The private investment firm is based in Old Greenwich, Connecticut.

Alumni Connections

Cotton Creek Capital: Joseph Lee Rash, ’09, has been promoted to vice president from advisory director. The Dallas-based private equity firm invests in lower middle-market companies.

Alumni Connections

Digital Lumens Inc.: Matthew Healy, ’99, has been named director, business development, at the Boston-based industrial LED lighting company.

Alumni Connections

Dodge & Cox: Charles Pohl, AB ’80, MBA ’81, has been promoted to chair from co-president of fixed income and chief investment officer at the San Francisco–based value mutual fund giant.

Alumni Connections

Equilar Inc.: Peter Browning, ’76 (XP-36), has been appointed lead independent director. Based in Redwood City, California, the company conducts executive compensation benchmarking and research. Browning is founder and managing director of Peter Browning Partners LLC, a Charlotte, North Carolina¬–based board advisory consulting firm.

Alumni Connections

Federal Agricultural Mortgage Corp. (Farmer Mac): Robert Dale Lynch, ’96, has been named senior vice president, CFO, and treasurer. Chartered by Congress, Farmer Mac is a Washington, DC-based stockholder-owned government agency that aims to increase credit availability in rural America by running a secondary market for eligible loans to agricultural and rural borrowers.

Alumni Connections

First Busey Corp.: Stephen King, ’88, has been named to the board of directors of the Champaign, Illinois-based bank holding company. King is founding partner of Chicago-based private equity firm Prairie Capital LP.

Alumni Connections

Grant Thornton LLP: Rona Pocker, ’83, has been named national managing director in the national bank advisory and regulatory services practice. The Chicago-based company offers auditing, management consulting, corporate finance, risk management and information technology.

Alumni Connections

Illinois Innovation Accelerator Fund: Kevin Willer, ’10 (XP-79), has become partner. The Chicago-based seed stage venture fund focuses on tech ventures. Willer is transitioning to his new post from CEO of Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center, now known as CEC.

Alumni Connections

Impetus – The Private Equity Foundation: Johannes Huth, ’86, current chair of The Private Equity Foundation, is slated to become chair of the merged entity when the foundation merges with Impetus. The new entity will aim to give a better start in life to children growing up in severe poverty. Both are UK organizations.

Alumni Connections

The Joint Commission: Daniel Castillo, ’12 (XP-81), has been named medical director, division of health-care quality evaluation. The independent nonprofit organization accredits and certifies health-care programs and organizations in the United States. It is based in Oak Brook Terrace, Illinois with an additional office in Washington, DC.

Alumni Connections

Kraft Foods Group: Adrienne Elsner, ’92, has been promoted to chief marketing officer from executive vice president and president, beverages, Kraft Foods Inc.

Alumni Connections

Lake Forest City Council: John Reisenberg, ’80 (XP-44), has been named acting third ward alderman. He will face election in April. He is the founder and president of Deerfield, Illinois-based executive search firm Reisenberg & Associates LLC.

Alumni Connections

Louisville Gas and Electric Co. and Kentucky Utilities Co.: Paul Thompson, ’81, has been named to the newly created post of chief operating officer.

Alumni Connections

MB Financial Bank: Joseph Sheils, ’05, has been named senior vice president of retail banking, and Sandford Villesvik, ’87, has joined as managing director, capital markets, at the Chicago-based personal, business, and commercial bank.

Alumni Connections

Northleaf Capital Partners Ltd.: Vishal Shah, ’11, has joined as senior associate. Canada’s largest independent global private markets fund manager and advisor is headquartered in Toronto, with offices in London and Menlo Park, California.

Alumni Connections

Penske Logistics: Jeffrey Bullard, ’94, has joined as senior vice president of operations, central region. The Reading, Pennsylvania-based supply chain management and logistics company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Penske Truck Leasing.

Alumni Connections

Putnam Investments Inc.: James Fetch, ’00, and Jason Vaillancourt, ’00, have been named among the co-heads of the global allocation investment organization at the Boston-based money management firm.

Alumni Connections

Sikich LLP: Mel Heckman, ’04, has joined as part of the merger of his Plainfield, Illinois-based firm S2 Consulting Inc. with Naperville, Illinois-based accounting and advisory firm Sikich. He will specialize in operational and technical advisory services.

Alumni Connections

Silver Bay Realty Trust Corp.: Anh Huynh, ’06, has been appointed director of investor relations. The Minnetonka, Minnesota-headquartered real estate investment trust acquires, renovates, leases, and manages single family properties in Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina, and Texas.

Alumni Connections

Silver Lake Technology Management LLC: David Habinger, ’98 (XP-67), has joined as senior advisor in the Menlo Park, California-based asset management company.

Alumni Connections

US Bank: Elliot Jaffee, ’90, has been promoted to head of commercial banking from Twin Cities market president. The bank is a subsidiary of Minneapolis-based US Bancorp.

Alumni Connections

Virginia Commonwealth University: Alexander Henson, AB ’90, MBA ’96, has been named chief information officer, effective April 1. Henson had served as chief operating officer and executive director for administration and operations for the University of Chicago’s Office of Information Technology Services. VCU is located in Richmond, Virginia.

Alumni Connections

Wayne State University: David Nicholson, ’97, has been named to the Board of Governors at the Lansing, Michigan-based school. Nicholson is CEO of sulfur and distribution groups at his Detroit-based family business PVS Chemicals Inc.

Alumni to Know


Amy Katherine Arnold, ’10, has opened a second Bar Method exercise studio, this one in Bethesda, Maryland. She had opened her first in Washington, DC. The Bar Method merges isometrics, dance conditioning, and interval training to lengthen and sculpt the physique. Arnold, who first began working the Bar Method in a Chicago class, said in a February 13 Marketwire article that she loved how the exercise improved her body, posture, and endurance. “My outlook on fitness and health changed because of The Bar Method,” she said.


Murli Buluswar, ’01, presented the Presidential Leadership Lecture February 5 at Bluffton University, his alma mater. Buluswar is chief science officer at New York–based Charter Insurance Group. His presentation was entitled “Perspective on the Path to Clarity.”


Widowed with three children to support in 1995, Adela Cepeda, ’84, founded AC Advisory Inc., a Chicago firm focusing on municipal finance, alone in a borrowed office with one phone. Negotiating became comforting in her time of grief. “When I was concentrating on a deal, that was the one time that I didn't feel like crying,” Cepeda said in a January 28 Chicago Tribune feature profile. Her company negotiates with investors to help government entities raise money through bond issues. Today the firm does $100 billion in business, with such clients as the Chicago Board of Education, the Chicago Transit Authority, Cook County, the city of New York and the state of Connecticut. Perseverance, with constant solicitation of new business, could be a key to her success. Sometimes this perseverance can cause “a misperception that I'm not so nice because I keep asking, because this (client) would be really important. And I really don't let go,” she told the Tribune.


Steven Koch, MBA ’82, JD ’82, ranked 29th in Chicago Magazine’s “100 Most Powerful Chicagoans” article that ran in the March issue. Koch is Chicago’s deputy mayor. The article said Koch’s “fingers are everywhere: from dealing with the pension crisis to negotiating with the Cubs to trying to boost traffic at McCormick Place.”


Shawn Mobley, ’97, who is president, central region, Chicago-based commercial real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield Inc., “has led major staff expansions while competing against larger Chicago real estate operations,” said a January 28 Crain’s Chicago Business “Spotlight” article.


J. Peter Ricketts, AB ’86, MBA ’91, served as honorary cochair of the JDRF Promise Gala in Omaha, Nebraska on February 23. The gala raises money for diabetes research. New York–based JDRF advocates for a cure for Type 1 diabetes. .


Giftology, founded by Nikhil Sama, ’09, uses Facebook to allow customers to send gift vouchers to friends. The business, run by Delhi, India-based startup Sama Web Innovations Pvt. Ltd.—has raised an undisclosed amount of seed money from Kiran Sidhu, chair of Transact Network, a European prepaid cards provider, according to a January 31 article in VCCircle. Sama has also founded the start-up SnapLion. It “provides an online platform to create slick, interactive mobile apps for anyone wanting to engage their fan base in real time,” the article said. .


Iram Shah, ’92, is continuing the work of her daughter Sonia, a global activist who was just 18 when she died in a car accident. Sonia, a Capitol Hill intern, had started the Kulsoom Foundation to build a girls school in Pakistan, said a February 14 article published by WBEZ 91.5 Chicago. .


David Vitale, ’76, president of the Chicago Board of Education, ranked 36th in Chicago Magazine’s “100 Most Powerful Chicagoans” article that ran in the March issue. Vitale, former head of the Chicago Board of Trade, took the lead last year in negotiations with the teachers union, the article said.

CEO Watch: Taking the Lead


Yoong Kang Zee, ’01

Singapore Health Promotion Board
Zee’s role will be to encourage Singapore residents to maintain healthier lifestyles. He also serves as founding CEO of the National Trades Union Congress Learning Hub and founding CEO of the congress’ Employment and Employability Institute.

CEO Watch: Making Headlines


Paul Gaynor, ’93

First Wind LLC
“Failure has influenced my perspectives on business,” Gaynor writes in a first-person, January 26 article in the New York Times about learning from setbacks. “I learned more from my couple of negative experiences than from my successes. Failure has made me skeptical about outcomes, which has influenced how I run First Wind. We take credit for something only when it actually happens and not a second before, because you can get burned in the final seconds of a deal.”


Matt Maloney, SM ’00, MBA ’10
Founder and CEO

GrubHub Inc.
Maloney raised five rounds of funding for his start-up, an online food ordering service. He discusses key insights for the process of meeting investors in a February 12 Wall Street Journal article. They include having a simple, confident pitch and discussing your experience with an eye to how the investor can fill in the gaps. “Exhibiting know-it-all behavior simply illustrates a lack of self-awareness and ability to play well with others,” Maloney wrote. But don’t be so humble that you lack faith in your business. Maloney said “there was never a moment” when he expected anything other than success.


Joe Mansueto, AB ’78, MBA ’80
Founder and CEO

Morningstar Inc.
Mansueto ranked 14th in Chicago Magazine’s “100 Most Powerful Chicagoans” article that ran in the March issue. “Information is power, and this self-made billionaire controls some key taps through which it flows,” the article said.


Janet Pucino, ’94
CEO and Founder

Deep Canyon Media LLC
Pucino, ’94, has written and published Not in the Club: An Executive Woman’s Journey Through the Biased World of Business. “Given that men maintain critical mass in leadership positions, they control the evolution of their organizational structures and the pace at which women will be allowed into leadership,” Pucino said in a February 4 PRNewswire article. “Statistically women are the extreme exception at the executive level and in boardrooms. Only 16 percent of board positions are held by women and less than 4 percent of Fortune 500 companies have women CEOs.”


Dhiraj Rajaram, ’03
Founder and CEO

Mu Sigma
MasterCard Advisors is investing more than $125 million in Mu Sigma, a Northbrook, Illinois-based data analytics company. Together the companies plan to work on data products for businesses to use to acquire and keep customers, said a February 7 Crain’s Chicago Business article. The credit card company has stores of data on customer behavior. “Knowing what people do—actions they take—is far more useful than what people say,” Rajaram said. “We’ll work together, helping their operations and looking at their data to come up with interesting assets from that data.”


Thomas Ricketts, AB ’88, MBA ’93

Incapital LLC
Ricketts, chairman of the Chicago Cubs, ranked 45th in Chicago Magazine’s “100 Most Powerful Chicagoans” article that ran in the March issue. Ricketts had said his family would pay much of the proposed $300 million cost to renovate Wrigley Field if the City of Chicago would relax restrictions on advertising and park usage, the article said.


Joanne Smith, ’00

Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago
Smith ranked 95th in Chicago Magazine’s “100 Most Powerful Chicagoans” article that ran in the March issue. She is planning a $450 million facility in Chicago’s Streeterville area, the article said.


Mary Tolan, ’92 (XP-61)
Founder and CEO

Accretive Health Inc.
Tolan said the medical industry must make better use of data. “First we must not only allow, but also embrace data and information to enable significant advances in health,” she said January 24 in the World Economic Forum blog. “The medicine of tomorrow needs to be better tailored to the needs of individuals, thereby increasing its effectiveness and reducing unintended negative consequences. Improved data and information are even today beginning to change the way health systems operate and practitioners make decisions, a transformation that can be accelerated by the faster and more productive adoption and integration of these data.”


Byron Trott, AB ’81, MBA ’82
Chair and CEO

BDT Capital Partners
Trott ranked 88th in Chicago Magazine’s “100 Most Powerful Chicagoans” article that ran in the March issue. “Elite families—the Crowns, the Pritzkers, the Wrigleys—trust this discreet ex-Goldman investment banker. So does his friend Warren Buffett. Don't be surprised to see Trott succeed the Oracle of Omaha someday at Berkshire Hathaway,” the article said.

Submit information about yourself or fellow alumni to