WPC Class Notes
Jeff Ehret (MBA ’79), CEO of PENTA Building Group, has been helping advance ASU’s construction education programs for most of the past two decades. Ehret says PENTA’s success has enabled him to put his philanthropy to work at ASU, where his time earning a bachelor’s degree in construction management in 1976 and an MBA from the business school three years later was a “fantastic, life-changing experience.” His service is “all in the spirit of giving back to an institution that absolutely prepared me well to accomplish what I’ve done in my profession,” he says.
Michael Neuendorff (BS Advertising ’89), PCC, is a coach and consultant for Build and Balance, a professional services company in Burlingame, Calif. Neuendorff started his first business at 15, going up against the local bike shop. “To me, it didn’t matter how old you were or how much money you had. I was creative, passionate about my products, and driven to succeed. My ‘why’ was to have the best BMX bike in town,” he says.

The local bike shop put him out of business, but from that failure Neuendorff says he learned that funding, marketing, and presence matter. Since then, he’s run other businesses related to music, video, and personal finance. “It’s been a great journey thus far, and I’ve learned that tenacity, creativity, enthusiasm, technology adoption, and total love for your customers all make for a powerful competitive advantage.”

Philip Neri (MBA ’90) recently joined the board of directors of life sciences company Eureka93. He is the principal at P. Neri Advisory Group and managing partner at ticketing company Blue Dot Seats, both in Scottsdale, Ariz. Through these positions, Neri consults with organizations on sales, marketing, management, and operations.

Charles Duckworth (MBA ’92) is the deputy CEO and chief of planning at South Carolina’s state-owned water utility company, Santee Cooper. Duckworth is an electrical power system planner and strategist with deep experience in traditional and alternative fuel sources, most recently as a chief strategy, resource planning, and acquisitions executive at Salt River Project, Arizona’s largest utility company. He will focus on future resource planning for Santee Cooper.

Rhonda Turner (BS Management ’95) is the chief human resources officer at Benchmark Electronics, Tempe, Ariz. She leads all aspects of human resources, including talent acquisition and development, organizational design and effectiveness, compensation and benefits, diversity and inclusion, and human resources business operating systems for the global provider of manufacturing, engineering, and design services.

Jerry Coleman (BS Accountancy ’97) is a venture adviser for MetaProp, the New York-based venture capital firm. Previously, he was a co-founder of the home leasing and selling companies Invitation Homes and Offerpad. As a venture adviser, Coleman assists with startup growth distribution and recruiting.

Gordon Bitko (MBA ’99) is the senior vice president of the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) in Washington, D.C. He leads the public sector portfolio, serving as the chief policy strategist for the technology industry in the government and public sector markets. Bitko had been with the FBI since 2007, serving in a variety of senior roles; since 2016, he had served as chief information officer. Bitko’s portfolio at ITI will focus on all public sector policy matters, including federal and state procurement rules and regulations, public sector supply chain risk management and security, federal IT modernization, government acquisition and implementation of cybersecurity, and other innovative products and services.

Jason Kush (BS Marketing ’99), owner and president of JP Kush Construction, completed his seventh and final year on the board of Phoenix Theatre Co. during the nonprofit’s 100th season. During Kush’s tenure on the board of the theater company, he was instrumental in growing the nonprofit’s budget from $3.5 million to more than $10 million in 2019.

Derrek Higgins (BS Accountancy ’00) is chief financial officer (CFO) of California Cannabis Enterprises (CCE). Higgins has more than 20 years of financial expertise in the public and private business sector. Before CCE, Higgins was CFO at FLRish, another cannabis company.
Kimberly A. Zeigler
Kimberly A. Zeigler (MBA ’00)
Kimberly A. Zeigler (MBA ’00) is director of population health at Sonora Quest Laboratories in Tempe, Ariz. In her role, Zeigler drives Sonora Quest’s broader population health strategy with a focus on quality, cost, outcomes, and patient engagement for all customer and market constituents.

Brenda Schmidt (MBA ’02), a finalist for EY’s 2019 Entrepreneur of the Year awards, is the founder and CEO of Phoenix-based integrated health network Solera Health. “Solera Health’s success comes down to not one individual but rather our whole team, which has contributed tirelessly to our efforts to change lives by guiding people to better health within their communities,” Schmidt says.

Joel Wage (MBA ’02) is responsible for successful delivery of VanTrust Real Estate developments in the western region as vice president of development services at the Phoenix office. He has more than 22 years of experience in design and construction, as well as extensive experience in leading and developing teams.

Frederick M. Van Etten
Frederick M. Van Etten (BS Business Administration ’77), president of Midland Equipment Finance (MEF), a division of Midland States Bank (NASDAQ MSBI), has led MEF to become one of the top 100 U.S. equipment leasing and finance companies by total assets and annual business volume for 2018, according to an industry ranking by The Monitor Daily. MEF, which has 32 full-time employees, reported 2018 year-end total assets of $376.2 million and 2018 new business sales volume of $254.6 million, a notable achievement after its first year in operation. In 2019, at the close of the first quarter, MEF originated $90.1 million in equipment loan and lease financings for Effingham, Illinois-based Midland States Bank, as its business equipment financing division.
MEF finances equipment assets in the manufacturing, construction, transportation, waste, health care, and other industries from a network of national sales offices supported by operations hubs in St. Louis and Denver.

Van Etten is one of the most recognized and respected leaders in the equipment finance industry and has more than 30 years of financial services industry experience. In 2012, he helped found Scottrade Bank Equipment Finance, a division of Scottrade Bank in St. Louis, and served as president of that business until its successful sale to Omaha, Nebraska-based TD Bank in September 2017. Before joining Scottrade, Van Etten held a number of other leadership positions in the equipment finance industry.

Danny Estrada (MBA ’03) founded E Squared, a management consulting firm that focuses on sales team performance. He’s also been a customer relationship management (CRM) practitioner for the past 20 years. Estrada has guided many teams through implementation and development cycles of more than 500 CRM-based projects. He is author of the Practical CRM Blog and has served as a keynote speaker for companies such as Salesforce, Microsoft, SAP, and Sage, discussing real-world application of CRM concepts.

Jarrad Evans (MBA ’04), who has worked in the hospitality industry for more than 20 years, is the chief investment officer for Dallas-based hotel management company Remington. He leads strategic growth, development, and investment initiatives for the company’s portfolio of hotels and resorts.

May Lu
May Lu (BS Economics ’04)
May Lu (BS Economics ’04) was elected president of the Arizona Asian American Bar Association (AAABA) for 2019–20. She has served as a member of the AAABA board of directors since 2014. Lu is a partner at Tiffany & Bosco in Phoenix, practicing business planning and formation, business divorce, and mergers and acquisitions. She is also a member of the American Bar Association’s Mergers and Acquisitions Committee and its Middle Market and Small Business Committee.

Aaron Myers (BS Finance ’04) has been the district manager and vice president of Wells Fargo in Chandler, Ariz., for more than eight years. He grew up mostly overseas in a military family, and he served in the U.S. Air Force as a medical lab technologist. Before shifting to finance, he wanted to pursue medicine but realized that he didn’t enjoy working in trauma.

Amin Elhassan
Amin Elhassan (BS Marketing/Management ’05, MBA ’07)
Amin Elhassan (BS Marketing/Management ’05, MBA ’07) joined ESPN in 2012 as an NBA analyst and commentator after working for a decade in the NBA, most recently as the assistant director of basketball operations for the Phoenix Suns. He can be seen regularly on The Jump, discussing the day’s NBA headlines, and is a frequent contributor to other ESPN TV and radio shows such as Highly Questionable, The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz, and Jalen & Jacoby. Elhassan was born in Sudan and is an avid Star Wars fan.

Jeremy Lange (MBA ’05) is the president of Leavine Family Racing, which fields the No. 95 Toyota Camry in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Lange has coordinated the team’s transition to a full-time competitor and the acquisition of a charter, and has successfully closed transactions with several manufacturers and technical alliances with NASCAR. He has more than 15 years of experience in the advertising, marketing, and sales industries.

 NETLease Corporate Real Estate ETF

“Invest in the real estate of corporate America” is the slogan of Fundamental Income’s NETLease Corporate Real Estate ETF (NYSE Arca: NETL), a net-lease-focused, exchange-traded fund that was honored by the New York Stock Exchange at the closing bell on Jan. 21. Fund co-founder Chris Burbach (MBA ‘05) rang the closing bell with partner and co-founder Alexi Panagiotakopoulos (BS Finance ‘11) to his left, surrounded by their team, families, and investors.

Aaron Banda (BS Accountancy ’06, MTax ’07) is a tax managing director in CBIZ MHM’s Phoenix office. He specializes in tax compliance, planning, and research matters for individuals and business entities. He was recently recognized by AZ Big Media as a 2020 Person to Know in Commercial Real Estate.

John Gray (BS Economics/Finance ’06) joined Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie LLP as of council in January. As a certified information privacy professional, Gray’s practice focuses primarily on data privacy and cybersecurity. He most recently served in the Office of the Arizona Attorney General as senior litigation counsel for the Consumer Protection & Advocacy Section.

Lorenzo Valle Garcilazo (MBA ’06) is a professor at the EGADE Business School at Tecnológico de Monterrey in Mexico City with research interests in business digital transformation, business process management, and project management. The W. P. Carey School of Business and EGADE Business School at Tecnológico de Monterrey have announced a partnership to deliver a dual-degree executive MBA (EMBA) program for global senior business professionals. The EGADE–W. P. Carey EMBA is expected to launch in late August 2020. Learn more: wpcarey.asu.edu/egade

Victor Phan (MBA ’07) is the first vice president of supply chain operations and development for San Diego-based Garden Fresh Restaurants, known for its Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes locations. Phan is in charge of evolving and directing all aspects of the company’s network of 12 food production and commissary kitchen facilities, along with nationwide distribution and purchasing.

Audrey Hensley Monell (BS Economics ’08), president of Forrest Anderson Plumbing & Air Conditioning Glendale, Ariz., took over the third-generation family-owned company in 2008.

Jolean Fleck (MBA ’08) is the director of human resources at Delta Dental of Arizona in Glendale, Ariz. She was previously the chief talent officer and human resources director for the town of Gilbert, Ariz.

Russell Scibetti (MBA ’08), vice president of strategy and business intelligence for the New York Giants, is one of 40 executives under age 40 honored by the Sports Business Journal for his fresh and innovative approaches in sports business.

Dan Gehlbach (MBA ’08) is the center director and owner of Mathnasium learning center in West Des Moines, Iowa.

Marina (Mercer) Carpenter (BS Management ’09) is one of four female executives working for the Arizona Coyotes. She serves as general counsel and chief of staff for the NHL team, managing day-to-day legal needs, litigation matters, risk assessment, and contracts. The Arizona native played Division I volleyball at ASU, where she was named an academic All American twice and ranks second in school history for career assists. She graduated summa cum laude.

Michael Clements (MRED ’10) is the director of acquisitions and portfolio management at Embree Capital Markets Group in Georgetown, Texas. He leads the firm’s acquisition underwriting efforts and ongoing portfolio management as part of its burgeoning fund management business, which focuses on providing joint venture equity and financing solutions to developers of single-tenant, net-leased properties predominantly within the continental United States.

Lynn Torrel (MBA ’10) is responsible for transportation and logistics, business operations, and strategic supply chain management as the chief supply chain and procurement officer at FLEX, a multinational technological manufacturer based in Singapore. With 25 years of experience, Torrel brings a wealth of expertise and an established track record in supply chain management.

Andrew Edelstein (MBA ’10) is the vice president of origination at Arizona-based CommLoan, a commercial mortgage company with technology and operational support. He’s spent his career in real estate, advocating for commercial mortgage borrowers and leveraging his unique capital markets knowledge and lender relationships.

Jason Grimwood (BA Business Sustainability ’10) is the founder and president of Master Ironworks, with various locations throughout California. The luxury ornamental custom ironwork company creates railings, staircases, driveway gates, entry gates, doors, balconies, fences, and more. Grimwood is now working with people from around the world to build a 100% sustainable home.

Ryan Penniman (BS Accountancy ’12, MTax ’13) joined MRA Associates in Phoenix in 2012 and has been instrumental to its tax and wealth management practice areas. In his new role as partner, Penniman provides investment advisory, tax planning, tax compliance, and wealth management services to clients.

Austin Harris (MBA ’13), vice president of commercial banking at Alliance Bank of Arizona in Mesa, was appointed to the board of directors of the Arizona Technology Council. Harris began working for Alliance Bank of Arizona in 2013 as a senior underwriter. He facilitated the underwriting and due diligence of new credit commitments for one of the most productive regions in the bank’s footprint.

Bob Maguire (MBA ’13) is the founder, president, and CEO of BioLab Sciences, a regenerative medicine company focused on developing new ways to regenerate the body to optimal performance. With over 30 years’ experience in leadership, operations, and sales management, he oversees the product strategy and vision for the company. His advice: “Don’t look at failure as an end. Instead, look at it as an opportunity to learn. Most people give up right before they succeed. If you stick with something long enough and become more knowledgeable, you’ll find success.”

Adam Geiger (BA Technology ’15) uses his expertise in industrial tenant representation, sales, and leasing as a director in the Ontario office of Newmark Knight Frank, one of the world’s leading and most trusted commercial real estate advisor firms.

Doris Lynk
Doris Lynk (BS Marketing ’15)
Doris Lynk (BS Marketing ’15) is an account executive at Translation, an ad agency in Brooklyn, N.Y. Lynk was previously a zone manager at Ford Motor Co. in Houston, working in marketing, sales, and service.

Veljko Culafic (MBA ’17) is the managing director at public mineral exploration company Tethyan Resource Group in Serbia. Previously he was the project manager in charge of a copper and gold mining project that lead to fostering strong relationships within the industry and government.

James Fell (BS Economics ’18) is the business development intermediary for the Amergeris Wealth Management Group in Geneva. He was recently a research assistant for the World Trade Organization and attended the WTO 2019 Forum.

Xiaofeng Zeng (BS Supply Chain Management/Business Data Analytics ’18), who is a business and website analyst at New York University, says, “ASU is the place that brought everything and everyone together. Cherish your time and do as much as you can.”