University of Pittsburgh

Winners of 49th Annual Business Alumni Association Awards

Recognized for their exceptional contributions to their professions, disciplines, communities, and Pitt Business, the 2013 Business Alumni Association award recipients are making a positive impact on industry and the next generation of business leaders. Please join Pitt Business and the Business Alumni Association in celebrating the outstanding achievements of the alumni profiled. For more information about these awards or to nominate an alumnus or friend of Pitt Business for a future award, visit our Awards Program page.

Jeffry Marzina Josephine Olson Kenneth Shamus Handy Soetedjo Samme Thompson Kenneth Woodcock DICK'S Sporting Goods

Jeffry Marzina

Distinguished Service Honoree
MBA '87
Executive Vice President
Bill Few Associates, Inc.

As a Certified Financial Planner and partner at Bill Few Associates in Pittsburgh, Jeffry Marzina helps his clients manage the long-term future of their assets. The investment decisions reach years into the future, providing the capital for everything from college tuition payments to retirement savings.

"My favorite part is helping people achieve their goals, seeing the smile on their faces when they reach retirement age and get to say goodbye to their jobs," he says.

Since joining Bill Few Associates in 1990, Marzina has held various leadership roles, including chairman of the firm's investment policy committee. He is on his second term as president of the Business Alumni Association, and his fingerprints are on some of the board's most successful initiatives.

Marzina was involved in the creation of the Business Alumni Association scholarship, which provides $5,000 to student recipients. He helped rewrite the board's strategic plan and mission statement. During his tenure, the board evolved from a largely regional composition to a board with international alumni members. Additionally, Marzina serves as the liaison between the business school and Pitt's University-wide alumni association. Marzina also delivers the alumni welcome speech at Katz's spring commencement.

"The quality of the people at the school never ceases to amaze me," he says.

Marzina and his wife, Lora, have four children: Emily, Jacob, Madelyn, and Nathan, some of whom he coaches through the Bethel Park Soccer Association.


Josephine Olson

H.J. Zoffer Medal for Meritorious Service Honoree
Professor of Business Administration,
Director, International Business Center,
University of Pittsburgh

Since joining Pitt Business in 1971, Josephine "Jo" Olson has championed the expansion of the school's global footprint, which today gives students business experiences in Asia, Europe, North America, and South America.

As director of the International Business Center, Olson helped to create Pitt Business programs including Plus 3, the Global Management major, and the International Internship Program for undergraduates and the Global Management Certificate for MBAs. She has led students on many academic trips abroad, and in the classroom, teaches international economics as well as business economics.

"International business is always changing," she says. "Teaching it 25 years ago, everything was about Japan. Now it's about China. The way companies behave, how they expand operations, has also changed."

Olson was director of MBA programs from 1979-1983 and associate dean from 1996-2001. From 1994-95, Olson was academic dean and interim chief executive officer of the school's Czech Management Center, a joint project of the University of Pittsburgh and the Czech Republic's Ministry of Industry.

Another research interest of Olson's is the workforce gender gap. Based upon more than two decades of data, Olson has compared the career outcomes of male and female Pitt graduates in the fields of business (a predominately male occupation) and library science (mostly female).

Olson earned her PhD in economics from Brown University and her bachelor's degree from Wellesley College. Previously, she taught at Baruch College of the City University of New York.


Kenneth M. Shamus

2013 CBA Outstanding Alumni Award
BSBA '01
Global Inventory Finance Supervisor,
Ford Motor Company

Ken Shamus, a global inventory finance supervisor for Ford Motor Company, oversees the automaker's North America inventory costs, which at any given time represent billions of dollars, with materials arriving from locations all over the world.

Shamus and his team look to optimize the company’s supply chain, for quick inventory turnover optimizes cash utilization and lowers costs. That is easier said than done when a storm in the Atlantic or a mine strike in South Africa can impact the bottom line.

"I'm the finance lead for North American inventory, all the parts and materials that go into the plants and into vehicles. We track, forecast, and plan the inventory levels needed to support our vehicle production," he says.

A Florida native, Shamus attended the University of Pittsburgh on an Honors College scholarship and served as president of the professional business fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi. He secured a summer finance internship with Ford, which led to a job offer when he graduated in 2001. Shamus has been with Ford ever since—working in manufacturing and product development.

Based at Ford's headquarters in Dearborn, Mich., Shamus supervises analysts who monitor more than 30 Ford plants across the United States, Canada, and Mexico. In addition to his Pitt degree, Shamus earned his MBA from the University of Michigan. He and his wife, Dianna, have two children, Allison and Max.

"At Ford, I've met many interesting and talented people. It's a great environment—everybody is moving forward together," he says.


Handy P. Soetedjo

Distinguished Alumnus Honoree
MBA '95
President Director
PT Midasia Capital

Indonesian businessman Handy P. Soetedjo, the president director of PT Midasia Capital and an investor in a variety of entities, is part of the Philadelphia 76ers' ownership team.

He, along with a fellow countryman, made history with the team's 2011 purchase, by becoming the first Asia-based, Asian owner of a National Basketball Association team. The diverse ownership group includes actors Will and Jada Pinkett Smith.

Before his involvement in professional sports, Soetedjo built a fortune through trading and investing assets in coal, oil, gas, power generation, real estate, and a variety of media companies. An avid basketball fan, he first purchased an ownership stake in the team Satria Muda BritAma Jakarta, which he proudly notes has won eight professional championships in the Indonesian Basketball League. Later, Soetedjo built another basketball club, the Indonesia Warriors, which competes in the Asean Basketball League. The Indonesia Warriors won the championship in 2012.

"Owning the 76ers is a dream come true. I felt I had a Pennsylvania connection because I went to school in Pittsburgh," Soetedjo says.

Soetedjo credits Katz for building his foundation in business fundamentals, while also kindling his entrepreneurial spirit. "Prior to taking my graduate studies, I was a Biology major in my undergraduate school. Katz had opened my mind to see things in terms of the business perspective," Soetedjo says. The 76ers, in the team's first season under new ownership, posted its best record in seven years and made the playoffs.


Samme Thompson

Distinguished Alumnus Honoree
MBA '70
Founder and president
Telit Associates, Incorporated

Samme Thompson, founder and president of Telit Associates, Inc., a financial and strategy consulting firm, has served in executive roles for some of the world's largest telecommunications and consulting organizations.

During a 30-year span, Thompson's senior management roles included chief strategy officer of Motorola Corporation; senior vice president of investment banking in telecommunications and technology for Kidder, Peabody & Co.; chief strategy officer for AT&T Information Systems; and senior engagement manager for McKinsey & Company. He had a front row seat during the U.S. Justice Department's breakup of AT&T, and went on to participate directly in the ensuing wave of industry consolidations and the wireless evolution.

"The telecom industry has gone through a dramatic transformation, and I've been fortunate to be part of that, working around the globe with leading investors, entrepreneurs, corporate boards and CEOs," he says.

Thompson, who is based in Chicago, now advises private sector clients and foreign governments on a diverse range of transactions, financings, and policy matters in the telecom and information technology areas.

Additionally, Thompson is a board member of American Tower Corporation, which is the world's largest publicly traded wireless communications tower company, and USA Mobility Inc., a wireless messaging and communications software company. He serves on Pitt Business' Board of Visitors and on nonprofit boards, including the Illinois Institute of Technology's Entrepreneurial Center, Broadband Illinois, LLC, and the Sheriff's Meadow Conservation Land Trust, LLC on Martha's Vineyard.

"I always tell students, 'Pursue your passion. Don’t take no for an answer. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. And, always strive to broaden and deepen your skills base, '" Thompson says.


Kenneth R. Woodcock

Distinguished Alumnus Honoree
MBA '66
Senior Vice President (retired)
AES Corporation

Kenneth R. Woodcock is a philanthropist and retired executive with The AES Corporation, an electric power company based in Northern Virginia that generates and distributes electricity on five continents.

Woodcock, who joined AES at the company's founding, held many senior positions during his 23-year career, before retiring in 2004 as senior vice president. During the 1980s, he traveled all over the world in search of new business opportunities. Prior to earning his Katz MBA, Woodcock earned a BS in mechanical engineering from Lehigh University. The dual background—combined with Woodcock's earlier employment in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Energy, and Federal Energy Administration— made him ideally suited for selecting desirable sites for new generating facilities.

"I loved trying to understand the regulatory and political landscape in countries around the world. It was fascinating how we as a U.S. company could fit into the electricity grid of a country," Woodcock says.

Among his notable philanthropic contributions is an endowment for the Woodcock Fellows program. Under the program, Katz MBA students join nonprofit boards and provide their business expertise to solve problems. Woodcock is an emeritus member of the Pitt Business Board of Visitors and is vice chairman of the board of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and has served on the boards of environmental, academic, and cultural organizations.

"The purpose of business is to serve the needs of society, not just to make money for shareholders," Woodcock says.

Woodcock and his wife, Dorothy, have two married daughters and one granddaughter.


DICK'S Sporting Goods

2013 Corporate Appreciation Award

DICK'S Sporting Goods, Inc. is a full-line sporting goods retailer offering a broad assortment of brand name sporting goods equipment, apparel, and footwear in a specialty store environment. In addition, the company owns and operates the retailer Golf Galaxy and True Runner.

The origins of DICK'S Sporting Goods date back to 1948, when Richard "Dick" Stack, 18, was working at an Army surplus store in Binghamton, N.Y. The store owner approached Stack, who was an avid fisherman, and asked Stack to brainstorm a list of products needed to start a fishing tackle business. But when Stack presented his suggestions, the owner severely criticized him, and Stack was so angry that he quit.

Shortly thereafter, Stack founded his own modest fishing shop in Binghamton, with $300 gifted from his grandmother's savings. His work ethic was relentless, and by 1958, the store had expanded its product line from fishing to a wide range of athletic equipment and merchandise.

Based in Coraopolis, Pa., DICK'S operates more than 500 DICK'S Sporting Goods stores and more than 80 Golf Galaxy stores nationwide. Additionally, the company operates distribution centers in Arizona, Georgia, Indianapolis, and Pennsylvania.