Alumni Connections - No. 54 - January 2009

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

Citigroup Inc.
Mark Robinson, AB ’83, MBA ’84, has been promoted to head of the firm’s South Asia operations. Robinson has been with New York-based Citigroup for about 24 years, spending the majority of his career in emerging markets.

CREDO Petroleum Corporation
H. Leigh Severance, ’63, has been elected as an independent director to the board. The independent oil and gas company is based in Denver. Severance owns Severance Capital Management.

Greenhill & Co.
Chris Roehm, ’96, has joined as a managing director in the independent global investment bank’s new Chicago office. The firm is based in New York.

Todd Curry, ’95, has joined as vice president of marketing. He had served on the start-up’s board of directors for a year. The Chicago-based firm offers such telephone applications as click-to-call links, call routing, and interactive marketing systems.

Jason Jeffay, ’87, has joined the consulting firm’s Atlanta-based human capital consulting business as a principal and member of the Americas leadership team. Mercer is headquartered in New York.

Miller Zell
Steven Skinner, ’98, has joined as executive vice president of consumer products. The retail consulting firm is based in Atlanta.

NxtGen Emission Controls Inc.
Gloria Wandyez, ’87, has been appointed executive director of sales for the company, which makes technology for cleaner-running vehicular engines and is headquartered in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada.

Peoples’ Bank of Arlington Heights
Burt Miller, ’70, has joined the commercial banking group, where he is charged with managing the existing portfolio and generating new business. The bank is based in Arlington Heights, Illinois.

PNC Global Investment Servicing
Nancy Wolcott, ’80, has been promoted to president. Wolcott had been executive vice present and chief operating officer. Headquartered in Wilmington, Delaware, the company offers administrative services to the investment management industry.

Schatz Development
Rahier Rahman, ’05, has joined as chief financial advisor. The Chicago-based real estate firm develops, owns, and manages residential and mixed-use commercial real estate.

Tower Group, Inc.
Elliot Orol, JD ’80, MBA ’81, has joined as senior vice president, general counsel, and secretary. The property and casualty insurance firm is based in New York.

TRYX, Inc.
David Elliot Jr., ’87, has joined as president and chief operating officer. Based in Monmouth Junction, New Jersey, the company manufactures medical devices.

Alumni to Know

Pavel Begun, ’03, co-founder of 3G Capital Management, discusses opportunities he sees despite the current economic turmoil, in a November 24 article in Canada’s Globe and Mail. "Two to three years out, I think you will do very well," Begun told the newspaper. "Now, what’s going to happen tomorrow or next quarter is hard to say. I don’t know the answer to that question and I don’t think anybody does." His firm manages a fund of more than $10 million. The company looks for stocks "trading at a deep discount to their ‘intrinsic value’ with the goal of holding them until the market recognizes their true worth," the article said. While other investors "have been frantically selling this fall," Begun has done the opposite, aggressively buying "recession-resistant stocks that trade at low multiples of earnings and free cash flow," the article said.

In a November 10 article in Ad Hoc News, Nina Cunningham, ’94, founder and executive director of Quidlibet Strategic Ventures, said getting the right help in the early stages of a business career can make the difference between clarity and confusion, success and failure. To that end, Cunningham’s nonprofit organization is offering workshops in career planning for military veterans starting January 2009 as part of its Ventures for Veterans programming, the article said. Headquartered in Oak Brook, Illinois, the organization is offering sessions free of charge to veterans in DuPage, Kane, and DeKalb counties as it sees funding to expand services. The workshops will help "returning servicemen incorporate their military training and work experience into resumes and cover letters," the article said.

Pooja Goel, ’05, has launched Little GuruSkool, a collection of DVDs and books that introduce children to Indian culture, according to a November 24 PRWeb story. "The products feature both Hindi and English to familiarize children with basic vocabulary and sounds of the languages during their early developmental years," the article said. The illustrated board books "explore educational topics including animals, colors, and Indian musical instruments." Goel, founder and president of Little GuruSkool LLC, created the products because she wanted to introduce her son to Indian culture at an early age. After an unsuccessful search for suitable products, she decided to create them herself. Goel said, "It has been rewarding to answer my son’s questions about Kathakali dancers, wedding Shehnais, and colorful Rangolis as he watches Little GuruSkool DVDs. I hope that other parents and children around the world can enjoy exploring this exciting culture together."

Tracewell Hanrahan, ’98, was named to the transition team of Mayor-Elect Ashley Swearengin of Fresno, California, according to KMPH Fox 26 on November 17. Hanrahan is executive officer for school leadership at Fresno Unified School District.


Doug Krieger, ’94, has been chosen as city manager for Naperville, Illinois, after a year-long search, according to a November 21 article in the Chicago northwest suburban Daily Herald. Krieger had been serving as finance director for the city. "I’ve been kind of overwhelmed by the positive response I’ve gotten from everybody," Krieger said in the article. He told the Herald he will "move a lot of my input from financial and tactical into visioning and strategic."

Lyle Logan, ’89, was described as one in a "powerful circle of black business leaders in Chicago" who helped get Barack Obama elected as president in a November 6 article on Logan was among those who met privately in late 2002 when Obama was considering running for U.S. Senate, the article said, describing the group as "kind of a stealth sounding board." Minutes before Obama took the stage in Grant Park on election night, Logan, executive vice president at Northern Trust Co., said, "Our generation has been limited in terms of how far we can dream. We’ve too often been under the impression that we can only serve our own. We’ve had constraints applied to what we can achieve." He pointed with both hands toward the podium, the article related, and said, "This teaches black entrepreneurs and executives to think boldly and broadly. To not think narrowly, but to pursue diverse markets."

Edgar Montalvo, ’01, was profiled in a November 11 article in the Chicago south and southwest suburban SouthtownStar. Montalvo, a U.S. Army Reserve lieutentant colonel, was heading off for a second tour of duty in Iraq. "At the end of the day, someone’s got to serve," he told the newspaper. "And I just look at the service to my country as one of those responsibilities and one of the obligations that go along with the privilege of being an American citizen."

Steve Preston, ’85, discussed what it was like to take over as secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development in the midst of housing market turmoil this summer In a November 30 article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "What it felt like coming in was kind of like parachuting in the middle of a battle," he said. In his short time in the position, he has helped curb the number of foreclosures by working on the Hope for Homeowners program, which helps homeowners renegotiate mortgage terms. Preston also helped clarify a document home buyers receive known as the "good faith estimate document." He recently spoke at the National Press Club and now is mainly focused on getting the agency ready for the new administration, he told the Journal-Sentinel.

Pete Peterson, ’51, has launched a foundation to in the U.S. budget deficit and teach Americans to save. The Peter G. Peterson Foundation’s first major initiative is in big demand, according to a November 26 article in BusinessWeek. The foundation is producing a documentary called I.O.U.S.A., which featured cameos from Warren Buffet and Alan Greenspan. Organizations from universities to American Farm Bureau Federation branches are requesting the film. "We’re suddenly energized by the crisis and what needs to be done about problems that have been perfectly obvious for some time," said Peterson, founder of the Blackstone Group and former U.S. Commerce Secretary. Having pledged $1 billion to the foundation, Peterson ranked eighth on the magazine’s annual list of America’s 50 Top Philanthropists.

CEO Watch: Taking the Lead

Eric Belcher, ’95

Belcher had been president and chief operating officer at the Chicago-based firm, a printing procurement company with clients in such industries as advertising, consumer products, publishing, and retail.

Denis Connaghan, ’90 (XP-59)
President and CEO
etrials Worldwide, Inc.

Connaghan joins the company, which offers software and services to pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device, and contract research organizations. The firm is based in Morrisville, North Carolina.

John Walpuck, ’87

Walpuck also will continue to serve as president and CFO at the Denver-based firm, which developed an interactive online community for people with disabilities.

CEO Watch: Making Headlines

Steve Roberts, ’90
CEO and Founder

An announcement that Roberts was to speak in the Good Ideas in 2009 Salon was published on the PSFK Website on November 11. The salon, which addressed "ideas and innovations in the mobile space," took place on November 18. ShopText created a technology that allows consumers to shop through texting. "This new model literally takes retail anywhere, to a point where brick and mortar stores and even internet connections are no longer necessary," the article said.

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