Alumni Connections - No. 56 - March 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

Accor North America
Jeffrey Palmer, '00, has been promoted to executive vice president, sales and marketing. He joined the Dallas-based hotel firm in December 2007 as senior vice president, sales and marketing.

Richard Parran Jr., '81, has been appointed president, network solutions business unit. Based in Minneapolis, the telecommunications company provides infrastructure equipment and services that enable high-speed Internet.

Agilysys, Inc.
John Mutch, '97 (EXP-2), has been nominated to the board of directors. The information technology company is headquartered in Solon, Ohio. Mutch is founder and managing partner of MV Advisors, LLC.

Hirofumi Hirano, '89, has been promoted to managing director in the Tokyo office. The restructuring, consulting, and financial advisory firm is headquartered in Southfield, Michigan.

A.T. Kearney
Michael Kim, '96, has been appointed vice president in the financial institutions group in the New York office. The global strategic management consulting firm is headquartered in Chicago.

BMO Capital Markets
Tom Krasnewich, '92, has joined as a managing director in its U.S. industrials practice, which is based in Chicago. Headquartered in Toronto, the firm offers financial services.

Carter's, Inc.
Richard Westenberger, '96, has joined as executive vice president and CFO. The Atlanta-based company markets clothing for babies and children.

Enservio Inc.
Dan Farrell, '73, has been appointed vice president of collector services. Based in Natick, Massachusetts, the company works with insurance company customers and adjustors to appraise and inventory property contents.

G4S Compliance & Investigations
Dennis Chookaszian, '68, has been named to the 2009 advisory board. Based in Raleigh, North Carolina, the company helps corporations with fraud abatement and corporate compliance. Chookaszian is a director at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

Huntington Hospital
David Kirchheimer, '78, has joined the board of directors. The hospital is based in Pasadena, California. Kirchheimer is chief financial and administrative officer for Oaktree Capital Management, L.P.

Memorial Health Foundation
Daniel Buckenmeyer, '01, has joined as vice president of operations. The foundation supports the mission of Memorial Hospital and Health System in South Bend, Indiana.

MV Transportation, Inc.
Nate Smith, '02, has been named president of West Coast operations. Based in Fairfield, California, the paratransit firm is the largest privately owned transportation contracting firm in the United States.

New York Life Investment Management
Holbrook Forusz, '05, has joined as a director in the New York-based asset management firm.

Nexxus Lighting, Inc.
Gary Langford, '86, has been appointed CFO. The lighting technology company is based in Charlotte, North Carolina

Novabay Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Harry Hixson Jr., '78 (XP-41), has been appointed to the board of directors. The biopharmaceutical company is based in Emeryville, California. Hixon is chairman of BrainCells, Inc,. and the former president of Amgen.

OfficeMax Incorporated
Bruce Besanko, '92, has joined as executive vice president and CFO. The company is headquartered in Naperville, Illinois.

Paso del Norte Group
David Buchmueller, '64, has been appointed chief operating officer. Based in El Paso, Texas, the private group of business executives and community leaders promotes the economic, social, and cultural vitality of the region.

PharMerica Corporation
Marjorie Dorr, '89, has been appointed to the board of directors. The Louisville, Kentucky-based company runs more than 100 institutional pharmacies. Dorr most recently served as executive vice president and chief strategy officer for WellPoint, Inc.

Picus Venator Fund
Jay Nawrocki, '75, has been appointed a director. The fund was launched by Picus Capital, which is a London-based hedge fund manager investing in European leveraged finance credits. Nawrocki is a retired managing director for WestLB Panmure.

Mark Kiesel, '96, has been promoted to managing director from generalist portfolio manager and senior member of the investment strategy and portfolio management group. The bond fund management firm is based in Newport Beach, California.

ReVolt Technology Ltd.
Hugues Delmaire, '02 (EXP-7), of RWE Innogy, has been named to the ReVolt board of directors. Based in Staefa, Switzerland, the firm has developed a rechargeable zinc-air battery.

THQ Inc.
Paul Pucino, '92, has been appointed executive vice president and CFO. Based in Agoura Hills, California, the company develops and publishes video games.

U.S. Internal Revenue Service
Mark Ernst, '86, has joined as deputy commissioner for operations support.

VisionChina Media Inc.
Helen Plummer, '04, has been appointed investor relations officer. Headquartered in Beijing, the company runs an advertising network on mass transportation systems.

Alumni to Know

Maggie Anderson, JD '98, MBA '01, a Cuban American, and her husband have launched an experiment in which they will buy only from black-owned businesses for one year, according to a December 22 article in International Business Times. Called "The Ebony Experiment," the Chicago family is tracking progress on a website, "During the coming months we want the Ebony Experiment to become a national movement connecting black consumers and investors to black businesses and professionals," Anderson said in the article. "Ultimately, this will unify the struggling and successful sectors of the black community so we can determine and improve our standing together."

Francis Bassolino, '02, managing director in Alaris Consulting's Shanghai office, has cowritten an article, "Is China Too Expensive?" The article was published November 5 in Industry Week. "Labor shortages, wage inflation, rising taxes, and renminbi appreciation drive some to conclude that China's heyday is over," he wrote. Bassolino considers alternatives and suggests that costs may be driven down by improving efficiency in process control, outsourcing, and logistics. The biggest prize is selling in China, Bassolino said. "However, the majority of firms still stand to benefit from sourcing in China. And those who adopt the dual strategy of sourcing and domestic sales are poised to reap the greatest rewards."

Colin Camerer, MBA '79, PhD '81, who is a professor of behavioral economics at Caltech, was featured in a February 16 ScienceDaily article about how game theory and insights from cognitive psychology can shed light on the economic choices people and corporations make. Camerer calls the process of thinking about what people think others will do "cognitive hierarchy theory." He noted that this new theory can be used by people and businesses to forecast more accurately what other people are likely to do in various situations; they can then use those forecasts to make better choices.

William Cunningham, AM '82, MBA '83, has joined with two other African-American executives to create a bank holding company. Called MBF LP, the company will invest capital in and own parts of new and existing black-owned U.S. banks, Cunningham said in a January 15 article in Black Enterprise. The company will be a Washington DC-based equity fund that would seek capital from the government's Troubled Asset Relief Program. "We will provide capital on better terms than those provided by the few limited sources currently available," Cunningham told Black Enterprise.

Ted Kavadas, '05 (XP-74), has created a website,, to discuss the economic crisis, the national response, and its current and future impact. "In my opinion, the subject of our economic situation, which is vastly complex, is discussed incompletely and/or inaccurately," Kavadas said. "Much of what is written on the site is a corollary to the analytical work I have done concerning the financial markets."

Dani Michels, '01, founder, owner, and operator of the Madison, Wisconsin-based Commercial Interior Contractors, discusses being a woman in the male-dominated construction business in a January 6 article on "People in the construction community have been supportive," Michels said. "There is an ever-growing number of women working in construction, so it's not as unusual as it used to be to see women in our business." Taking a cue from a former construction company employer, Michels offers flexibility and a family-friendly work atmosphere. "I was motivated to create a place to work that was comfortable for people," Michels said. "I don't keep track of comings and goings. I have high expectations, but if everybody does what they need to do, I don't mind if they take an afternoon off or take time off."

Shawn Mobley, '97, Midwest director for Grubb & Ellis, was featured in a January 29 profile on When asked about helping clients in today's rough economy, Mobley replied: "We look at it from two different perspectives. One way is from the occupier side. Virtually all companies are looking for cost-reduction opportunities. We focus on how we can help people reduce their space or the cost of their space through sub-leasing or negotiating buy-outs. The other side is we help clients with their top line. Can we help our clients do business with each other? Is there any way we can help them sell more of the products that they provide? Everything right now is going through a financial bottom-line viewpoint."

Peter Peterson, '51, was cited in a January 26 article on the Top 2008 Charitable Givers List. Peterson launched the Peter G. Peterson Foundation with $1 billion last May and funded a feature-length documentary, I.O.U.S.A., about the dangers of the United States's national debt, the article said.

Douglas Reynolds, '87, has cofounded Reynolds Advisory Partners, LLC, a middle-market investment bank based in Denver. Reynolds is managing director of the company. It specializes in mergers and acquisitions, capital-raising, and financial advising. "Given the recent upheaval on Wall Street," Reynolds said in a January 14 PRNewswire article, "we find the boutique investment bank model an increasingly compelling service platform."

Todd Young, '02, an associate at Tucker and Tucker, P.C., has filed to create an exploratory campaign committee for Indiana's 9th Congressional District, according to a January 27 article in the Madison (Indiana) Courier. The election is in two years. "I know it is early to be talking about a political campaign, but it is not too early to be concerned about the dangerous levels of deficit spending now being recommended by Congress and the Obama administration," Young told the paper.

CEO Watch: Taking the Lead

Bruce Duncan, '75
President and CEO
First Industrial Realty Trust, Inc.
The Chicago-based real estate firm buys, develops, and manages industrial properties across the United States. Duncan is chairman of the board of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.

Michael Gonzalez, '84
HK Systems, Inc.
Gonzalez has been named president and chief operating officer. The Milwaukee-based company makes material-handling systems, including automated guided vehicles, conveyors, product binding machines, storage and retrieval machinery, and sorting equipment to manage warehouse items.

Stephen Harris, '91
Bodycote Plc
The specialist thermal processing company is headquartered in Macclesfield, United Kingdom.

Peter Thompson, '00
Perkins Investment Management LLC
The asset management firm is based in Denver. Thompson serves on the Council on Chicago Booth.

CEO Watch: Making Headlines

David Booth, '71
Founder and CEO
Dimensional Fund Advisors
A January 26 Financial Times article headlined "The generosity of a quiet Kansas man" says Booth "made history in November" with a gift from his family that renamed Chicago Booth. "In the late 1960s, the prevailing view of business education was that you needed to teach case studies," he said. "But at Chicago, they said you should also study theory, model-building, and quantitative techniques. At that time, a lot of people pooh-poohed that and said: 'That's just ivory tower stuff; it'll never be practical.' So to see us implementing these ideas was very exciting to these professors. For a long time, people viewed us as just a bunch of geeks, but over the long haul, it worked." Booth's donation also was cited in a January 26 article on about the Top 2008 Charitable Givers List.

Ron Huberman, '00
Chicago Public Schools
Chicago Mayor Richard Daley's January 27 selection of Huberman as head of the school system made several headlines in Chicago newspapers. Most recently the Chicago Transit Authority president, he held city administration positions in the police department, Office of Emergency Management and Communications, and as the mayor's chief of staff. While critics questioned why the mayor named someone to the job who was not an educator, Daley said in a January 27 Chicago Sun-Times article that Huberman has "established a success record. The day he went to any position, that day he established a record of improvement. I have utmost faith in him. I can go to sleep at night, just close my eyes. I don't have to worry about Ron Huberman." In a January 28 article in the Chicago Tribune, Huberman said the job would be "the most important challenge I've taken so far." A Tribune editorial that same day said Huberman is the third person since 1995 "outside the education bureaucracy" to fill the position. Each time, the editorial said, the mayor has "chosen a leader who comes with new ideas and strong administrative and financial skills."

Tom Ricketts, AB '87, MBA '93
Founder, Chairman, and CEO
Incapital LLC
Ricketts led a successful bid by his family to buy the Chicago Cubs professional baseball team. He told the Chicago Tribune in a January 8 article that he once lived in an apartment above a bar across the street from Wrigley Field and that he met his wife in the bleachers at a Cubs game. The Tribune Company chose the Ricketts bid after a nearly two-year auction to sell the team and Wrigley Field, said a January 24 article in the Trib. The family made its fortune through Ameritrade, a discount brokerage firm Ricketts's father helped to start, and which has been built into "an Internet trading giant," the article said. It is now part of TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. Ricketts also was cited as the favorite bidder in a January 21 article in the New York Times. Ricketts made his bid "on behalf of several members of the Ricketts family, using the family ownership model preferred by Major League Baseball," said a January 26 article on Ricketts told the Arlington Heights, Illinois, Daily Herald, "My family and I are Cubs fans. We share the goal of Cubs fans everywhere to win a World Series and build the consistent championship tradition that the fans deserve."

Submit information about yourself or fellow alumni to