Volume 13 No. 1 SPRING 2012

Alumni Notes Spring 2012


William E. Mayer MBA ’67, former dean of the Smith School, was appointed to Miller Buckfire’s Board of Advisors. Mayer is co-founder of Park Avenue Equity Partners, a middle market focused private equity firm he formed in 1999. He is a member of the boards of directors of DynaVox, BlackRock Kelso and Lee Enterprises.


Craig Adler ’79 was recently named the Washington Business Journal’s CFO of the Year. Adler is currently the CFO at DLT Solutions in McLean, VA.

Ron Meliker ’74 has been named chairman of the Howard County Chamber of Commerce. He is currently Executive VP and Chief Operations Officer of the Kane Co. He has previously worked for Sunbelt Beverages Corp., Emery Air Freight Corp., Carling National Brewing Co., and Westinghouse Electric Corp.

Jim Santa ’76 was featured in the New York Times in last year’s Super Bowl coverage. Santa was a linebacker and the second-leading tackler on the 1972 Maryland football team.


Lisa J. Cines ’81 has been named as the new Managing Partner for Dixon Hughes Goodman, the largest CPA firm based in the Southern U.S., and 13th largest in the nation. She is a seasoned veteran in the Washington-metro region’s accounting community, and DHG has tapped her to help build out some of the firm’s core industries.

Earl W. Gast ’85 has been nominated by President Obama to Assistant Administrator for Africa, United States Agency for International Development. Mr. Gast also served as USAID Mission Director to Afghanistan from June 2010-June 2011.

Prashant Gaur, MBA ’88 joined Credence Management Solutions as president of the company.

Eugene L. Podsiadlo MBA ’81 was recently named Wasatch Advisors director of mutual funds. A former president of Warburg Pincus Funds, he has been on Wasatch’s board since 2002 and takes part in business development, acquisitions and strategy.


Wellford Dillard, MBA ’97 was appointed CFO of GetWell Network. In this role, Dillard will be responsible for all financial operations including financial planning and analysis, accounting, and procurement.

Sab Kanaujia MBA ’97 has joined Verismo Networks as the President of Entertainment Services. He had earlier launched the Digital Entertainment Corporation of India, a holding company that focused on launching entertainment services to a global audience.

Joel Kennedy ’96 is Chief Operating Officer and co-founder of Pelican Resource Group, LLC, a consumer finance company that focuses on automotive lending. He started the business in February 2009, and since that time he has grown the business to a nationwide lender with over $30MM in loans originated. The company headquarters are in Cherry Hill, NJ.

Bruce Leith ’91 has worked with the Philadelphia Phillies since graduating in May, 1991. He is currently the manager of concession development and currently oversees the organization’s relationship with concessionaire. He oversees the food and beverage operation throughout spring training as well.

H. Giovanni Leusch-Carnaroli MBA ’93 recently joined Grant Thornton, one of the six global audit, tax and advisory organizations, as Director, Global Public Sector Practice. He recently left the Federal Government, where he was the Associate Chief Information Officer at the US Department of Transportation.

Jonathan Mills ’94 is a radio technician and has served in Afghanistan. He is the executive editor of OutServe, an online and print magazine for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered military personel. He celebrated the recent repealing of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy.


Francis “Hall” Chaney III ’08 became chief operating officer of Chaney Enterprises, and is responsible for the overall safety, leadership, management and productivity of the company’s concrete. He began working for Chaney Enterprises during summer breaks as a grass cutter, yardman, sand and gravel plant maintenance worker, fleet and heavy equipment maintenance worker, customer service representative and dispatcher.

Cathy Echeozo ’03 was recently appointed Deputy Managing Director of Guaranty Trust Bank. She was formerly an Executive Director and head of the Bank’s Institutional banking division, and has also worked on treasury management, credit management, and systems and contol and institutional banking. Mrs. Echeozo has a first degree in Accounting from the University of Nigeria and an MBA from the Robert H. Smith School of Business.

Brian Gilbert MBA ’07 has been named as Director of Advertising and Monetization to the management team of Pinger, the company striving to make texting and talking free. He will drive the advertising and monetization strategy as the company expands internationally.

Christopher S. Hogan MBA ’03 has joined the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) as Vice President of Communications. He was most recently director of communications at the American Gas Association, where he delat with several controversial and high profile issues.

Steven B. Kramer MBA ’04 was recently welcomed as a new professor at the H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship at Nova Southeastern University. He has also published in the area of Risk Management and Operations Management, and is currently working on OM pedagogy studies.

Chris Mayer MBA ’00 is managing editor of the Capital and Crisis and Mayer’s Special Situations Newsletters. He began his business career as a corporate banker, but left the industry after ten years and signed on with Agora Financial. His book, Invest Like a Dealmaker, documents his ability to analyze macro issues and micro investment opportunities.

Rebecca Pearce MBA ’02 was named the first Executive Director of the board governing Maryland’s new health insurance marketplace. Pearce is currently an executive in benefits administration at Kaiser Permanente.

Jigar Shah ’01 is the founder of SunEdison and now CEO of the Carbon War Room. The financial concept behind SunEdison emerged from a business plan he wrote while earning his MBA at the Robert H. Smith School of Business. Shah started the DC-Area company in 2003 and sold it in 2009 to MEMC for around $400 million.

Matthew H. Solomson MBA ’02 has been added as a counsel to Sidney Austin LLP in the firm’s government contracts practice in Washington, DC. He will concentrate on government contracts counseling and litigation, as well as contruction litigation, civil fraud defense, among others.

Pete Truby MBA ‘07 is the founder of Salazon Chocolate, a two-year-old line of organic fair-trade, dark chocolate that has carved out its niche by featuring natural sea salt. His business has experienced great success and has been featured in widely circulated newspapers.


Steven J. Kurinsky ’10 has obtained his QuickBooks ProAdvisor certification. As a certified ProAdvisor, Kurinsky is recognized by QuickBooks for his proficiency in helping clients and businesses customize QuickBooks for their unique needs. He is currently employee of the advisory firm DeLeon & Stang.

David Ploskonka, MBA ’10 finished 17 out of 73 in the Badwater Ultramarathon, which is 135 miles long through extreme conditions.

Jared M. Smalley ’10 is working for the Washington Nationals. His department focuses on non-game day events, and his primary responsibility is to sell the ballpark on days where there is not a game and bring in new events.

Michael R. Yochelson, MBA ’11, M.D., has been named vice president of medical affairs and medical director of National Rehabilitation Hospital, which has 34 outpatient sites around Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Virginia. Yochelson, who is board-certified in neurology and physical medicine and rehabilitation, has been on the NRH medical staff since 2006, in positions including associate medical director of the neurological programs. He will remain medical director of the brain injury program and program director of the brain injury medicine fellowship training program at NRH.

Alumni Spotlights:

Brandon Shamy ’08 has found success in the smoothie business. After interning at a financial firm, Shamy decided he wanted a job at which he could interact more with people. He found his calling in the blended-fruit business, thanks to his love for the Smoothie King store in College Park. In October 2009, Shamy opened his own Smoothie King store on Route 206, bringing the popular franchise to his hometown and marking just the third Smoothie King location in New Jersey at the time. He currently owns 10 Smoothie King franchises in the Garden State.

Anthony Davenport, MBA ’09, and Rohit Gulati, MBA ’09 started Chloe’s Cause to support children with Down Syndrome and their families. They are raising money for their cause by selling chrysanthemums and have raised more than $100,000 in less than three years, providing more than $60,000 to families and organizations associated with Down Syndrome and Leukemia.

Ellen Zavian ’85 was inducted into the JCC Sports Hall of Fame in Maryland. She is the first woman to do many things on the business side of sports, including being the first female NFL attorney and agent. She has represented more than 40 NFL players. She has also represented the members of the 1996 U.S. Women’s Soccer and Softball Gold Medal teams in contract negotiations with their governing bodies. She was also the commissioner for the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (NCAA Div II.). She was inducted to the hall of fame in November 2011.

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