Category: Alumni Spotlight

School Alum Supports Michigan Tech and Philanthropy

Marty Richardson, School of Business and Economics alumna and Board of Control President
Marty Richardson, School of Business and Economics alumna and Board of Control President

Marty Richardson, chair of the Board of Control, and her husband, Jerry Richardson, have made a planned gift of $1 million to Michigan Tech’s Board of Control Endowment Fund. The endowment produces income to fund special projects as recommended by the president to the Board of Control.

Philanthropy is a cornerstone of the Michigan Tech tradition, Richardson explained. Alumni, Board members and friends who give their time and money keep Michigan Tech strong for future generations. “Once our loved ones are taken care of, we couldn’t think of a better place to invest part of our estate than Michigan Tech,” she said. “The return on this investment, when we are gone, establishes a very positive legacy of ‘creating the future’ beyond our lifetimes. What could be more fulfilling than that?”

The Board of Control Endowment Fund succeeds the Board of Control Scholarship Fund, which helped many alumni attend Michigan Tech, such as Dave House, chair of the current Generations of Discovery Campaign. The new fund was established at Marty Richardson’s suggestion.

“Marty and Jerry have shown remarkable leadership with their giving,� said Shea McGrew, vice president of advancement and president of the Michigan Tech Fund. “Marty was the initiator of the Board of Control Endowment Fund and has encouraged Board of Control members and others to contribute to it. As board chair, she sets a fine example for all Michigan Tech volunteers.”

Richardson is the retired president of Services Marketing Specialists, a consulting firm established in 1989 to provide full-service marketing and communications support to professional service firms and business-to-business organizations. She worked in marketing, communications and business management for more than 30 years, after earning a Master of Science in Business Administration degree from Michigan Tech’s School of Business and Economics in 1979.

In 2005, former Governor Jennifer Granholm appointed her to the Michigan Tech Board of Control, and the Board elected her chair in 2010. She has also served on the boards of the Greater Detroit Chapter for the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) and the Corporate Economic Council of the NAWBO. Crain�s Detroit Business named her one of Detroit’s 100 most influential business women.

Her husband, Jerry Richardson, was born and raised in Birmingham and graduated from Michigan State University with a BS in Engineering, followed by an MBA in Materials and Operations Management. He worked for General Motors for 30 years, in purchasing, plant operations, strategic planning and product engineering.

Since retiring, the Richardsons are living on their trawler, Monarch.

Originally published in Tech Today.

Innovation and Balance are the Keys to Success

Reprinted from Impact: Summer 2011

"You spend one third of your life at work. Why wouldn't you find a job you love?" --Marie Cleveland

Marie Cleveland ’82 loves her job. As a worldwide corporate account manager for Federal Express, she handles six major accounts and is responsible for bringing in $50 million in sales each year.

“We believe in helping clients in any way we can,” she says, “which often involves finding innovative solutions to improve their bottom lines.” This freedom to think and act outside the box is one of Cleveland’s favorite aspects of the position.

Though initially skeptical about working in sales, Cleveland found a talent and a passion for the high level of client interaction. She became a regional recruiter for Roadway Package Systems (RPS) in 1988 and went on to hold various positions with the company. When FedEx purchased RPS in 2000, Cleveland was named a corporate account executive.

There is no doubt that Cleveland has had a big impact at FedEx and is a highly valued employee. FedEx has recognized her contributions with numerous accolades over the years, including Rookie of the Year, Senior Account Representative of the Year, Corporate Account Executive of the Year, Ambassador’s Club Award, and the Largest Corporate Account Close Award. In 2010, she received the highest honor at FedEx, the President’s Club Award.

The key to professional satisfaction, according to Cleveland, is finding balance. “I love my job, but it is not my life,” she says. “One of the great things about FedEx is that they promote priorities; for me, it’s faith, family, and FedEx.”

Along with her family—her husband, Michael, is a 1982 chemical engineering graduate, and daughter, Kerstin, is a chemical engineering first-year student at Michigan Tech—Cleveland is heavily involved in her community. She is the president of her neighborhood association, the president of the Illinois Cook County chapter of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, a member of various church committees, and a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity.

In addition, Cleveland finds the time to connect with Michigan Tech. As a member of the Presidential Council of Alumnae, she works with the Society of Women Engineers, serves as the vice president of the Chicago Alumni Chapter, is an Alumni Association Gold Carpet and Life Member, and works to recruit students and help fellow alumni find and keep jobs by setting up networking events and job fairs.

“I have always loved Michigan Tech,” she says. “When I was a student, I didn’t realize how much of my tuition was subsidized. Volunteering with the University is my way of returning the favor, of giving back.”

Written by Erin Kauppila.

Students Travel to Silicon Valley

Almost 30 alumni joined 16 Michigan Tech students, School of Business and Economics faculty member Bob Mark ’72, and development staff Adam Johnson ’98 at a student reception at the Computer History Museum on March 8th San Jose, CA.

Alumni Shankar Mukherjee ’86 and Dale Luck ‘79 gave testimonials and entrepreneurial words of wisdom to the students, and technology company Barracuda Networks spoke about their success with Michigan Tech employees, and compatibility of the work ethic of the Bay area to the hard working, technical nature of Tech students. Alumna Pooja Gupta ‘03 said, “It’s really great to see all the interaction between the students and the alumni. What an incredible opportunity for everyone.”

The students spent their Spring Break touring hi-tech companies in Silicon Valley during the day, and exploring San Francisco by night. The students paid their own way in an effort led by the School of Business and Economics.

Some highlights included a full morning on Google’s Mountain View campus, (spearheaded by a trio of Googlers including Tech alumna Danielle VanDyke ‘06,) a presentation and data center tour at Brocade Networks led by alum and donor Dave House ‘65, and a technology tour of alum Tom Porter’s ’68 Napa winery.

Success Story: Kaari Nevanen

Kaari Nevanen, Michigan Tech Graduate: BS in Mechanical Engineering, MBA
Kaari Nevanen, Michigan Tech Graduate: BS in Mechanical Engineering, MBA

A recent graduate from the Tech MBA program was hired at Mindovo in Winnetka, IL. Mindovo experts transform technology from a self-service hassle into full service results. The release below was taken from the Mindovo website:

Mindovo is excited to welcome Kaari Nevanen to our fast growing team of technology advisors. Kaari was originally scheduled to start with Mindovo in late September of this year but our continued growth required her arrival a full four months early.

Kaari comes to Mindovo from Michigan Technological University where she graduated at the top of her class – first as a mechanical engineer and then as an MBA. During her time at MTU she went from a walk-on with the MTU Women’s Volleyball team to full scholarship, team captain.

Michigan Technological University is home to some of the most brilliant technology minds of our generation who are actively recruited by NASA, Toyota, GM, and the NSA among others. To successfully recruit a candidate of Kaari’s quality is an exciting moment of growth for Mindovo as we look to expand our world class team and deliver service to our clients at the highest possible level.

MBA Association 1st Annual Golf Outing: Success!


The MBA Association Golf Event was great. MBA student Brett Waterson-Rosso gives instructions under the watchful eye of Tom Merz, associate dean of the School of Business and Economics.

Seventeen two-person teams teed off at the first MBAA Golf Scramble Saturday at the Alumni Reunion. The event, run by the students, was held under perfect weather as the teams enjoyed the challenge of Portage Lake Golf Course. Plans are underway for next year’s event, as are plans for the rest of the Alumni Reunion, which filled the campus and communities with laughter and memories from “back in the day.”