University of Pittsburgh

Winners of 53rd Annual Business Alumni Association Awards

Recognized for their exceptional contributions to their professions, disciplines, communities, and Pitt Business, the 2017 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 profiles. For more information about these awards or to nominate an alumnus for friend of Pitt Business for a future award, visit our Awards Program page.

Tricina Cash Ben Fryrear Karla G. Geci John Harper Robert Harrison Ferry Soetikno Ernst & Young, LLP

Tricina Cash (EMBA ’09)

Distinguished Service Awardee
Strategic Initiatives and Business Consultant; President, Pitt Black MBA Network (PBAN)

Tricina Cash is a Projects Leader and Business Development Consultant, with past clients and engagements including Urban Innovation21, SolePower, FedEx Ground, and Highmark Health.

Previously, she was the Director of Operations, Conference Management, and Business Development for the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) Center for Continuing Education in the Health Sciences. In this role, she produced multi-disciplinary, national medical conferences across the United States and abroad, and she developed and led the enterprise-wide centralization of a grants management system.

Ms. Cash is a co-founding officer of the Pitt Black MBA Network (PBAN), an independent, global alumni network of the Katz School that was established in 2010. The group’s mission is to support the prominence of the Katz School, especially in its recruitment of diverse MBA applicants. Ms. Cash was the first woman elected as PBAN board chair and president, and is the first member elected to serve two terms. During her tenure, she has led PBAN in establishing and developing a scholarship goal that is on track to surpass $1 million scholarships given by 2017 and also created an Ambassador program to connect alumni and students.

Ms. Cash sits on the Board of Directors of the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh and the Pitt Business Alumni Association. She is a former member of the University of Pittsburgh Alumni Association’s Alumni Leadership Council, the Junior League of Pittsburgh, and the National Black MBA Association—Pittsburgh Chapter.

Ms. Cash also earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Pittsburgh.


Ben L. Fryrear (MBA ’64)

H.J. Zoffer Medal for Meritorious Service Awardee
President and Chairman (Retired) and Board Member, Applied Avionics, Inc.

Ben L. Fryrear retired as President and Chairman of Aerospace Optics, Inc. in 2000. He joined the company in its infancy in 1970. The company was renamed Applied Avionics in 2015, and continues to be a technical leader in illuminated components for the aircraft and aerospace industries.

After serving in the United States Army, Mr. Fryrear worked as a Chemical Process Operator and Supervisor in the Coors Porcelain Company’s Atomic Energy Division in Golden, Colo. His other positions include Metallurgical Engineer at Alcoa Research Labs, Manager of Final Inspection at Firestone Tire & Rubber Company, Industrial Engineer for McCall Publishing, and Vice President of Manufacturing for Conti Engravers.

Mr. Fryrear has established numerous scholarships, fellowships, and an endowed chair position at several universities and colleges. At the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business, he established the Ben L. Fryrear Fund for Faculty Development for professors, the Ben L. Fryrear Research Fellowship for doctoral students, and the Ben L. Fryrear Chair of Marketing.

At the Colorado School of Mines College of Engineering and Computational Sciences, he established the Ben L. Fryrear Developmental Assistant Professors Fund, and the Ben L. Fryrear Endowed Professorship Fund.

Additionally, he established the Dean William V. Burger Memorial Endowment Fund for student scholarships at the Colorado School of Mines, and has provided funds for student scholarships at the Tarrant County College in Fort Worth, Texas, the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, Fla., and Eastern High School in Louisville, Ky.

Mr. Fryrear is a recipient of the Colorado School of Mines Distinguished Achievement Medal and was inducted into the Cathedral of Learning Society at the University of Pittsburgh. He serves on the Board of Directors of Applied Avionics Inc., and the Board of Governors of the Colorado School of Mines Foundation.

Mr. Fryrear also holds a professional degree in Metallurgical Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines.


Karla G. Geci (BSBA ’01)

CBA Outstanding Alumni Awardee
Strategic Media Partnership, Facebook

In her role with Facebook, Karla Geci partners with media organizations and content creators leveraging the Facebook platform to build social applications and experiences on digital and mobile properties. She works with businesses in television, print, and digital media to increase their audience and engagement.

Prior to Facebook, Ms. Geci was the Director of Marketing for Bebo, a social networking website acquired by AOL in 2008, where she was responsible for striking marketing partnerships with media owners and publishers.

Following graduation, Ms. Geci was the European marketing and public relations manager for RealNetworks, where she worked across mobile, software, and digital music verticals launching and promoting enterprise products and consumer services.

Ms. Geci also holds an MBA from the London Business School. She is a board member of Social Misfits Media, a company that helps charities and social enterprises design and implement digital strategies.


John T. Harper (MBA ’82)

Distinguished Alumni Honoree
President, Store Design, Visual, Construction, and Store Operations, Macy’s Inc.

John T. Harper is the President of Store Design, Visual, Construction, and Store Operations for Macy’s Inc. He oversees the creation of visual displays, the logistics of delivering merchandise, staffing, asset protection, and food operations for more than 700 Macy’s stores across the United States.

Mr. Harper’s career began at Kaufmann’s as a financial analyst in the downtown Pittsburgh store. He held various financial positions there and later at the L.S. Ayres and Famous-Barr divisions before joining Hecht’s as vice president and controller.

At Hecht’s, Mr. Harper held senior executive positions before being named Chairman. When Macy’s Inc. acquired May Company, which included Hecht’s and The Famous-Barr Co., he returned to St. Louis to serve as president of stores at Macy’s Midwest.

Mr. Harper currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and is a past board member of the Washington Ballet and Board of Visitors of Merrymount University.

Mr. Harper also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Pittsburgh.


Robert B. Harrison (MBA ’91)

Distinguished Alumni Awardee
Chief Omnichannel Officer, Macy’s Inc.

Robert (R.B.) Harrison is Chief Omnichannel Officer of Macy’s Inc. He is responsible for the technology infrastructure, programming, site development, and analytics for and All of the company’s technology capabilities fall under his single executive leadership.

Prior to becoming Chief Omnichannel Officer, Mr. Harrison was the company’s Executive Vice President for Omnichannel Strategy. In this role, he managed the development of strategies to closely integrate the company’s stores, online, and mobile activities, he was responsible for the company’s systems and technology, logistics, and related operating functions.

Mr. Harrison previously served as Executive Vice President for Finance, President for Stores, and President and Chief Operating Officer for Macy’s West, and President and Chief Operating Officer of Macy’s Northwest in 2006, following Macy’s Inc.’s acquisition of May Company.

Mr. Harrison began his career at Kaufmann’s in 1986 as an accounting analyst and served in positions of increasing responsibility before becoming Vice President and Controller. He also held leadership roles in finance with the Robinsons-May Meier & Frank division.

Mr. Harrison also holds a Bachelor of Science in Finance from Penn State University.


Ferry A. Soetikno (MBA ’87)

International Distinguished Alumni Awardee
President Director, CEO, Dexa Medica (Indonesia)

Ferry Soetikno is the CEO of Dexa Group, one of the leading pharmaceutical companies in Indonesia. Under his leadership, Dexa Group operates six companies in the pharmaceutical industry, with a strong market presence in Southeast Asia, Africa, Europe, and the United States.

He joined the company as a Business Development Director, and in this role established Dexa’s export activities to various Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries and Africa. He pioneered the concept of co-opetition in the pharmaceutical industry in Indonesia by building strategic alliance models with many global pharmaceutical companies.

Mr. Soetikno is continuing the legacy of his parents, who founded the company a generation ago because they wanted to end the scarcity of medicine in their community.

Prior to joining Dexa Group, Mr. Soetikno served as Chief Operating Manager for KC Pharmaceuticals in Pomona, Calif.

Mr. Soetikno was a recipient of the 2016 Indonesia Most Admired CEO Award. He is involved with professional organizations in the pharmaceutical industry, including serving as Vice Chairman of GP Farmasi Indonesia. He previously served as the President of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Pharmaceutical Industry Club.

Mr. Soetikno also holds a Bachelor of Science from the Institute Technology Bandung in Indonesia and a Master of Science in Chemical Engineering from Washington University in St. Louis.



Corporate Appreciation Award

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