Alumni Connections - No. 89 - December 2011

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

ClearTech Ventures, LLC:
Mike Toribio, '11,
has been named managing director. Based in Auburn Hills, Mich., the firm invests in such technologies as electro-optics, sensors, weaponry, clean/alternative energy, lightweight power sources, and communications and software systems.
Tim Fagan, '97,
has joined as chief operating officer. Based in Whiting, Ind., the company offers online coupon codes and printable coupons.

Del Monte Foods:
M. Carl Johnson, '72,
has been appointed executive vice president, brands. The company makes retail food and pet products and is based in San Francisco.

Elkhart Brass Mfg. Co., Inc.:
Tomas Saavedra, '99,
has been named vice president of international sales. Headquartered in Elkhart, Ind., the company manufactures firefighting and fire protection equipment.

GeneNews Limited:
Karl Wassmann, '75,
has been appointed to the newly created position of executive vice president, US corporate development. Based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, the molecular diagnostics company develops blood-based biomarker tests for early disease detection and health management.

ImmunoCellular Therapeutics, Ltd.:
Helen Kim, '88,
has been appointed to the board of directors. The clinical-stage company develops immune-based therapies for treatment of brain and other cancers. It is based in Los Angeles. Kim is the chief business officer of NGM Biopharmaceuticals.

Hal Halladay, '90,
has been named senior vice president of corporate development. Based in Gilbert, Ariz., the company makes sales and marketing automation software.

Korn/Ferry :
Dick Antoine, '72,
has joined the global board and CEO services practice as senior advisor on CEO and C-suite succession planning. The executive recruitment firm is headquartered in Los Angeles.

J. A. Lacy, '96,
has joined as president and chief operating officer. The investment company is headquartered in Indianapolis.

National Business Incubation Association:
Darlene Ryan, '78,
has been elected secretary of the board of directors. Based in Athens, Ohio, the organization aims to advance business incubation and entrepreneurship.

New York-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center:
Richard Friedman, '02 (XP-71),
has joined as chief of the division of pediatric cardiology. The hospital and medical center is located in New York.

New York Society of Security Analysts:
Nathan Ronen, '92,
has rejoined as CFA exam prep course instructor, effective January 2012. The organization is a forum for business professionals in the New York area.

Venkat Nettimi, '07,
has joined as head of the strategic consulting practice. The boutique consulting firm is headquartered in Alexandria, Va.

Sandbox Industries:
Anna Haghgooie, '08,
has been named managing director and will sit on advisory boards for the health care companies the firm invests in. She also will help lead investment in the newly-closed BlueCross BlueShield Venture Partners Fund II. The venture capital firm and business incubator is based in Chicago.

Waste Management, Inc.:
Steven Preston, '85,
has been appointed executive vice president of finance, recycling and energy services. The waste disposal firm is headquartered in Houston.

Western Manganese Limited:
Christopher Clower, '97,
has joined the board as a nonexecutive director. The manganese exploration company is headquartered in Pert, Australia. Clower is managing director of Borneo Brothers Limited.

Alumni to Know

“This is an incredibly dynamic time in health care,” said Pat Basu, MBA ’05, MD, ’05, in an October PR Newswire article announcing his appointment as chief medical officer at Virtual Radiologic. “Policy reforms coupled with macro-level trends such as increased consumerism, changing demographics, and economic pressures demand higher quality and better access to care while simultaneously lowering the cost of care.” Basu received the 2011 Distinguished Young Alumni Award. He recently finished his appointment as a White House Fellow in President Obama’s administration.

Lorraine Fox, ’83, who used to work for Apple, said she learned from the late Steve Jobs “not to settle for anything less than great—or ‘insane great’ in his words.” She also learned to ask herself every day what she was doing to help move the business forward. “He had something like that printed for all of us to help us get focused and prioritize what was important,” Fox said in an October Ria Biz article in which she is interviewed about her career. The article said that Fox helped her firm, ClearRock Capital, grow to $300 million assets under management in just two years.

Patricia Haley Glass, ’89, and her cousin are both best-selling authors, and are featured in an October article in the Rockford (IL) Register Star. Glass writes faith-based fiction under the name Patricia Haley. She said she was inspired by Maya Angelou, in particular her autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, which Glass read when she was a preteen. “It was the first book I read that had a little black girl in it,” she said. Glass self-published her first novel, Nobody’s Perfect. It made several best-seller lists, the article said, including topping Essence magazine’s list.

Genevieve Hanson, ’00, senior real estate advisor for the General Services Administration, has been named to the Washingtonian’slist of Women to Watch. An October article said the 10 women on the list were heading for the magazine’s designation of most powerful women in Washington. Just five years into the real estate investment business Hanson had managed more than $3 billion in development projects, the article said. A former management consultant, when she first got into real estate, “Home Buying for Dummies’ was my bible,” she said.

Editor and Publisher named Michael Klingensmith, AB ’75, MBA ’76, Publisher of the Year, hailing him as a “hometown hero.” Klingensmith drove circulation growth and expansion into digital news.

ProOnGo, a company founded in 2008 by Phillip Leslie, ’09, was featured in a September Tinc (Technology Industry News-Chicago) Magazine article. ProOnGo started an app that allows employees to record expenses from the road, in a format personalized to fit a company’s expense report format. The app was designed for small businesses with traveling sales people, the article said. It has expanded from a simple Windows Mobile app to being used on a variety of devices.

Alana Muller, ’05, president of Kauffman FastTrac, served as a recent guest blogger on Women 2.0. Muller described her company’s Global Women’s Summit, scheduled to take place November 16. The summit is for women business owners and aims to foster entrepreneurship by women. “Over the past few years, my colleagues and I at Kauffman FastTrac have had the opportunity to work with a number of women in entrepreneurship,” Muller blogged. “Consistently, they have told us that the topics on their minds include building effective boards of directors, developing useful networks of professional contacts, acquiring financing for their businesses, and the like. Having heard it time and time again, we decided to deliver resources to address these specific issues to our constituents and, thus, came up with the idea for the Kauffman FastTrac Global Women’s Summit.”

In his book Handbook of Corporate Equity Derivatives and Equity Capital Markets, Juan Ramirez, ’92, writes about a variety of equity derivative instruments. “Equity strategies are closely guarded secrets and as such, there is very little written about how investors and corporate can utilize equity vehicles as part of their growth strategies,” said an October M2 Presswire article. “In this much needed book, industry expert Juan Ramirez guides readers through the whole range of equity derivative instruments, showing how they can be applied to a range of equity capital market situations including hedging, yield enhancement and disposal of strategic stakes, mergers and acquisitions, stock options plan hedging, equity financings, share buybacks and other transactions on treasury shares, bank regulatory capital arbitrage, and tax-driven situations.”

SoCore Energy is installing solar panels on the roofs of 53 Walgreens stores in Ohio, the Columbus Dispatch reported in October. SoCore was one of the New Venture Challenge successes. Team members included Eric Bielke, ’08, who had been SoCore’s vice president of finance and who now is a consultant for McKinsey & Company, and J. S. Roy, ’07, SoCore’s director of engineering and operations.

Expansionary fiscal policy has failed to stimulate the economy in Pakistan, Shan Saeed, ’09 (AXP-8), writes in an October article for Pakistan Today. “Pakistan is a classic case study that proves the evidence of failure of fiscal policy to stimulate the economy, and never really worked to get the economy out of stagnation (high inflation, unemployment, and low growth) mode,” Saeed wrote.

Susan Wagner, ’84, vice chairman and cofounder of BlackRock, is moving up Fortune’slist of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Business. In 2010, Wagner ranked 26th on the list and had debuted the previous year in 33rd place. This year, she was 19th. “Over the past year, the BlackRock cofounder orchestrated the sales of Bank of America’s stake in the company, as well as a portion of PNC’s position,” wrote CNN Money, a web service of CNN, Fortune, and Money.  “She also spearheaded the end-of-2009 acquisition of Barclays Global Investors, which was a major contributor in more than doubling profits.”

James Wigand, ’84, has a complex job as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.’s “complexity czar.” As head of the Office of Complex Financial Institutions, Wigand monitors big banks—those with more than $100 billion in assets—and is ready to seize them and let them fail in an orderly way. According to an October article in Bloomberg Business Week, Wigand has a 65-inch video screen that can put him in touch with any FDIC office in the country in the event of a crisis. Still, not everyone is convinced that the “too-big-to-fail era is over,” the article said. “A segment of the market won’t believe it until the authority is used,” Wigand said. “I hope we never have to use it, but we’ve been given the power. So once it’s used, the market will believe.”

CEO Watch: Taking the Lead

Christopher Conway, '82
President and CEO

Conway is being promoted from president and chief operating officer to the top spot, effective December 13. Based in Franklin, Tenn., the company distributes industrial, mobile, and consumer filter products and services.

John Gannon, '93
President and CEO
Blue Spark Technologies

The company supplies thin, flexible, disposable batteries. It is based in Westlake, Ohio.

Denise Ramos, '79
President and CEO
ITT Corp.

Headquartered in White Plains, N.Y., the company makes components and technology for growing industrial end-markets in energy infrastructure, electronics, aerospace, and transportation. Ramos was promoted from senior vice president and chief financial officer.

CEO Watch: Making Headlines

Seyi Fabode, '10

Fabode, in addition to Bryan Johnson, '07 (XP-76), and Matt Maloney, SM '00, MBA '10, made the list of Crain's Tech 25. Johnson and Maloney were named in the "established players" category, Fabode in the "rising star" category. Johnson, chairman and former CEO of Braintree, said in the Crain's article announcing the list that "the more vibrant" Chicagoans can make the tech community, "the better off we'll be." His company, an online payments provider, raised $34 million in venture capital this year, the article said. Maloney, CEO and cofounder of GrubHub, mentioned that the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and other entrepreneurial groups in Chicago are doing fantastic work." Fabode said he enjoys the fact that he can remain in his hometown, a tech community that is experiencing "amazing" growth.

Matt Maloney, SM '00, MBA '10
CEO and Cofounder

Maloney's company, GrubHub, received the 2011 Merrick Momentum Award from the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center (CEC). The award honors startup companies with a solid track record and growth potential. GrubHub is an online source for ordering out food. It recently expanded in 50 new markets, said an October 7 PR Newswire article about the awards. Also honored: Brad Keywell and Eric Lefkofsky, both adjunct professor of entrepreneurship, and the cofounders of Groupon, Inc. They received the Entrepreneurial Champion Award. "As the central address for entrepreneurship' in Chicago," said Kevin Willer, '10 (XP-79), CEO of the CEC, "the CEC supports and celebrates successful entrepreneurs from our city. It is in that spirit that we recognize Brad Keywell and Eric Lefkofsky as true entrepreneurial champions and celebrate companies like Groupon and GrubHub for bringing national and global attention to our city and giving Chicago, its startups, and its people the momentum to grow."

Michael Jennings, '92
President and CEO
HollyFrontier Corporation

Jennings was a guest on CEO, an interview show airing on PBS station KERA on October 28. He spoke about the challenges of running a capital-intensive independent oil refinery in the face of environmental and regulatory pressures. One advantage: proximity to excess crude supply in the middle of the country. His company is based in Dallas.

Jennings was recently appointed director of Dallas-based Holly Logistic Services, L.L.C., which manages the operations and activities of Holly Energy Partners, L.P.

Mustafa Peracha, '97
wi-tribe Pakistan

The company "has quickly become a formidable force in the market of internet service providers that had earlier been dominated by much bigger players such as the local telecom giant, which leverages the strength of its massive infrastructure," said an October article in Business Recorder. Peracha attributes success to the marketing campaign and to the flexibility his company offers to users. "Competition before us has only been talking about technology, which is the lowest form of communication" and largely irrelevant to the consumer, Peracha said in the article. "When you buy a car, do you really care about who made the pistons?" Instead, wi-tribe communications "are always centered around the uses, the benefits that customers derive from our services."

Kevin Willer, '10 (XP-79)
Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center

Six Chicago startups are banding together to share space in Chicago's Merchandise Mart, said an October 25 article in the Chicago Tribune. Willer wants to open a large hub for tech startups. "Chicago has a massive shortage of places where startups can live together," he said.

Submit information about yourself or fellow alumni to