Alumni Connections - No. 14 - September 2005

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

Allied Waste Industries, Inc.:
James Quella, '81
, was named to the board of directors. Based in Scottsdale, Arizona, the firm is the second-largest non-hazardous solid waste management company in the country. Quella is senior managing director and senior operating partner at The Blackstone Group.
Don Daseke, '63, has been appointed chairman. The firm is the nation's only automated multiple listing service for the apartment industry. Daseke was founder, chairman, and CEO of Walden Residential Properties, a real estate investment trust that was sold in 2000 for $1.7 billion.

Beazer Homes USA, Inc.:
Peter Leemputte, '83, was named to the board of directors and the audit committee. Based in Atlanta, the firm is one of the country's 10 largest builders of single-family homes. Leemputte is senior vice president and CFO for Brunswick Corporation, which makes boats, bowling and billiards products, and fitness equipment.

Decision Dynamics Technology Ltd. (DDTL):
Justin Zinke, '91, has been named chief operating officer. The firm, previously known as LOR Capital, is a capital pool company based in Montreal.

Howard University:
Sheila Roberts, '72, was appointed acting senior vice president, CFO, and treasurer. Roberts has worked at the university, located in Washington DC, for 11 years.

David Sokal, AB '75, MBA '78, has been named principal and is based in the consulting firm's New York office. Sokal brings to the post 20 years experience with financial institutions.

KongZhong Corporation:
J.P. Gan, '99, was named CFO. Based in Beijing, the company is a leading provider of advanced second generation wireless interactive entertainment, media, and community services in China.

M/A/R/C Research:
Joan Treistman, '69, has been appointed executive vice president and charged with starting the marketing research firm's New York office and establishing a qualitative division.

Overture Networks:
Niel Ransom, '86 (XP-55), has been named to the board of directors. Headquartered in North Carolina, the company makes networking equipment that allows carriers to deliver Ethernet services over any network infrastructure. Ransom was chief technology officer for Alcatel, a global supplier of high-tech equipment for telecommunications networks, before retiring in June.

Taylor Meyer Associates:
Ken Taylor, '77, and his business partner, Keith Meyer, launched their own executive consulting firm in Chicago that will advise boards of directors on CEO succession planning, corporate restructuring, and board composition and advisory services. They previously worked at Egon Zehnder, a search firm.

Alumni to Know

Peter Ricketts, AB '86, MBA '91, is running for U.S. Senate in Nebraska, the Omaha World-Herald reported August 14. Ricketts left his post as chief operating officer of Ameritrade, founded by his father, J. Joe Ricketts, but will stay on as vice chairman and a member of the board of directors. Ricketts is one of three candidates gearing up for the Republican primary; the winner will face Senator Ben Nelson, a Democrat, in 2006. The 40-year-old Ricketts told the World-Herald he planned to spend the next 90 days introducing himself to Nebraskans to "earn their trust" and outlining his "conservative reform agenda," which includes his opposition to gambling, abortion, and same-sex marriage. He told the paper, "I am not a career politician. I won't vote like one and I will not act like one." His opponents are Omaha lawyer David Kramer and former Nebraska attorney general Don Stenberg.

Dumas Siméus, '72, is seeking to become Haiti's next president, the Miami Herald reported on August 17. The owner and chairman of Siméus Foods International, a food manufacturing company based in Mansfield, Texas, whose customers include Denny's, T.G.I. Friday's, and Burger King, must gather 100,000 signatures by September 10 in order to put his name on the ballot November 6, the Herald said. Raised by poor farmers in Pont-Sondé, Haiti, he earned his bachelor's degree from Howard University before earning his MBA. He called Haiti "a country of eight million customers that's into bankruptcy. And you need a professional leader, a professional executive to come and get the country out of bankruptcy," the paper said.

Rex Sinquefield, '72, and Jeanne Sinquefield, AM '71, PhD '72 (social sciences), MBA '79, will retire from Dimensional Fund Advisors at the end of the year. Rex is co-chairman of the firm, which he founded 24 years ago with David Booth, '71. Jeanne has supervised the trading operation since 1983. The couple plans to return to their farm in Missouri, according to Business Wire. Rex will remain a shareholder and board member and will continue to serve in an advisory capacity. He has helped create a new nonpartisan, free-market think tank that is scheduled to launch September 1 in St. Louis to focus on Missouri issues.

William Spitz, '74, was profiled in the Venture Capital Journal in August for his work both in private equity at Vanderbilt University, where "the endowment has earned an annual return of roughly 17 percent, putting it among the upper 10 percent of all pension, profit sharing, and endowment funds domestically" under Spitz's direction as treasurer and vice chancellor, according to the article. Spitz also is a clinical professor of management and finance and hosts a highly popular class at the business school. He is a founder and director of Diversified Trust Co., which runs the DTC Private Equity fund-of-funds, among other investments. The Venture Capital Journal called Spitz "an expert in many asset classes," but said private equity is his preference.

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