Nomination Form OBL Honorees Information

Contact Information

  • Allison D. Tardonia
  • Advancement Director
  • Director, Outstanding Business Leaders Association
  • Office: 561.478.5539

35th Annual Outstanding Business Leader Awards

Friday, February 6, 2015

Outstanding Business Leader Student Forum - Northwood University Florida Campus

Welcome Reception - by invitation - Private Residence, Palm Beach, FL

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Entrepreneurial Roundtables - Northwood University Florida Campus

35th Annual Outstanding Business Leader Awards Gala - The Breakers, Palm Beach, FL

Northwood firmly believes that American business leaders deserve the highest forms of personal recognition for their contributions to this great nation and the world.

The challenges faced by today's college student are tremendous and it is a powerful motivation for them to become acquainted with the lives and achievements of present-day business leaders. Their personal stories are proof that "it can be done" and to know them is an indispensable part of the education of America's next generation of business leaders.

The Outstanding Business Leader Awards are presented by the Northwood University Board of Trustees. Each awardee is selected on the basis of personal achievements which typify the unique philosophy of Northwood University. Criteria used in the selection of awardees include contribution to the philosophy of private enterprise, support of the integration of business and the arts, contribution to education, economic innovation, creative marketing ideas, community involvement, religious leadership, philanthropic contributions, as well as business success.

Dr. Arthur E. Turner

35th Annual Outstanding Business Leader Honorees (2015)

Jim Hallett

Jim Hallett

CEO, KAR Auction Services

Carmel, Indiana

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As Chief Executive Offer and Director of KAR Auction Services, Jim Hallett leads the strategic planning for the entire organization by directing its executive management team and identifying synergies across all business units to optimize future growth.

Mr. Hallett entered the retail automotive business in 1975 and later owned and managed a number of new car franchises. In 1990, he opened two automobile auctions, the Ottawa Dealers Exchange and The Greater Halifax Dealer Exchange.

Mr. Hallett joined the Automotive Dealer Exchange Services of America's (ADESA) Canadian location in 1993 as president. In 1996, he relocated from his native Canada to Indianapolis to serve as president and CEO of the entire organization. During his tenure, the conglomerate grew from 16 to 53 whole-car auctions and expanded its Automotive Finance Corporation (AFC) to fully service the industry. Mr. Hallett also solidified ADESA's presence in the automotive remarketing trade by entering the salvage vehicle industry in both the United States and Canada.

Mr. Hallett then joined the Columbus Fair Auto Auction in Columbus, Ohio to serve as president from 2005 to 2007. He returned to ADESA to take on the role of president and CEO in April, 2007. In September 2009, he was promoted to his current role as CEO and director of KAR Auction Services.

Having enjoyed a lifelong passion for the game of hockey, Mr. Hallett purchased the Central Hockey League's Indianapolis Ice professional hockey team and won a championship the first year. In November of 2013 he announced that he'd acquired an expansion franchise in the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL). The team named the Indy Fuel began playing in October 2014 at the newly renovated Coliseum at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.

A graduate of Canada's Algonquin College, Mr. Hallett holds a Dealer Management Certification from General Motors University. He has received several industry awards, including the Ring of Honor from the National Independent Dealers Association. In 2008, he was recognized as Remarketer of the Year at the Conference of Automotive Remarketing, and subsequently received the Pioneer Award at the National Auto Auction Association Conference in recognition for a lifetime of leadership and contribution to the automotive remarketing industry.

Most recently, Mr. Hallett was awarded with the national 2014 Ernst and Young (EY) Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the Services category, further recognition of his achievement as the Midwest regional winner for the same honor in the Consumer category.

*All biographical information is only current up to the date of the award.

Steve M. Madincea (MI ‘82)

Steve M. Madincea (’82)

Founder & Group Managing Director, PRISM

Surrey, England

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Born in the shadows of Motown, Steve Madincea has always marched to a different beat within the global business world. An honors graduate from Northwood University's Midland, Michigan campus, Madincea will tell you this is where his entrepreneurial flame was lit, igniting a career that has spanned the globe and is far from complete in his eyes.

Madincea is the Founder & Group Managing Director of PRISM (Public Relations & International Sports Marketing Ltd.), a worldwide powerhouse in the fields of sponsorship activation and automotive communications. PRISM offices in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Bangkok and Melbourne cover its Asia-Pacific Region and locations in Cologne, Amsterdam and London lead its European business. North American activities are run from Detroit, Michigan and Santa Monica, California. These worldwide locations have run sponsorship and public relations programs for global giants including Ford, Puma, Johnson and Johnson, Infiniti, Coca-Cola, Shell, Nissan, Heineken, Samsung, Unilever and Red Bull, to name a few.

"Throughout our history we have been blessed with terrific team players who work with great clients," Madincea said. "Interesting business challenges have taken us to far reaching places such as Boston and Bangkok, Melbourne and Montreal, New York and New Delhi, Singapore and Sao Paolo, London and Tokyo. It has been an absolute joy to work with people in different cultures and backgrounds from all over the world who find value in the dedicated PRISM ethos that great work leads to more work. Northwood lit my entrepreneurial flame, and working across the globe for 20-plus years continues to fuels my free-enterprise fire," he said.

Combining a deep appreciation of global business with a unique understanding of what drives successful international sports teams has allowed Madincea to pool two passions into one life-long pursuit. This dedicated drive for client victories has meant that Madincea is one of the few international business leaders readily welcomed into board rooms where trust and results are the key ingredients to success. Madincea elaborated, "Throughout my career becoming a trusted advisor has meant focusing on our client's needs first and foremost. While this approach may not deliver the headlines others crave, it has brought mutually beneficial and lasting business relationships to a highly competitive marketplace."

Based in Surrey, England, Madincea and his wife Jackie started PRISM in 1992 from their spare bedroom while raising three children Cali, Riley and Courtney. In 1999, PRISM was acquired by Sir Martin Sorrell and his WPP Group, the world's largest communication services conglomerate. PRISM was WPP's first sports marketing acquisition and to this day remains its most successful globally.

*All biographical information is only current up to the date of the award.

Rollie Massimino

Rollie Massimino

Head Coach, Northwood University Men's Basketball
1985 NCAA Champion, Villanova University

Tequesta, Florida

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Long recognized as one of college basketball's premiere coaches and motivators, Rollie Massimino has compiled an impressive list of coaching accolades.

Inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013, he has been recognized as Coach of the year for various league conferences during his career, including Big East Coach of the Year, Eastern Coach of the Year, The Sun Conference Coach of the Year and also the NAIA Coach of the Year. In addition, Coach Massimino was inducted into the Palm Beach County Sports Commission Hall of Fame in 2012.

His coaching career began in 1956 after graduation from the University of Vermont where he played varsity basketball for three years (and in 1983 was admitted into Vermont's Athletic Hall of Fame.) All told, Massimino coached on the high school level for 11 seasons and logged a sparkling 160-61 record.

He made his collegiate head coaching debut in 1969 at State University of New York (SUNY) - Stony Brook (Long Island, NY). In just his first season, he led his team to a 19-6 record, a conference championship, and to a berth in the NCAA small college national tournament.

In 1971, he left SUNY to work under the legendary Chuck Daly at the University of Pennsylvania as an assistant coach. During his two seasons at Penn, the Quakers compiled a 46-10 record, won two Ivy League titles, two Philadelphia Big 5 Championships, and finished ranked number five and number two, respectively, in the NCAA Final team defensive statistics.

In 1973 as head coach at Villanova, Massimino began his team's reconstruction relying on long days, hard work, and belief in his "family" atmosphere. Two seasons later he led the Wildcats back on the winning trail and they never looked back. He reached the pinnacle of collegiate coaching on April 1, 1985 when his Wildcats recorded one of the most stunning upsets ever in a NCAA tournament championship game by upending Georgetown 66-64.

In 2006, Massimino started the Northwood University Florida program from scratch, and has transformed Seahawks basketball into a national powerhouse in the NAIA. He has compiled an outstanding record of 227 wins and 49 losses (.822%), with eight consecutive trips to the NAIA National tournament, in the program's short history.

On December 29th, 2012, Coach Massimino became the 39th coach to record 700 career wins, and became just the third active coach in college basketball history to reach the 700-win plateau and win an NCAA National Championship during their coaching career, joining Syracuse's Jim Boeheim and Duke's Mike Kryzewski.

Noted for his "Family Style" coaching, Massimino motivates his players with the message that reflects his own view of life - "Enthusiasm is Contagious!"

*All biographical information is only current up to the date of the award.

Sonu Ratra

Sonu Ratra

President, Akraya Inc.

Santa Clara, California

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The Founder and President of Akraya Incorporated, a multiple-award winning talent solutions staffing firm which provides internet technology, creative and marketing services, Sonu Ratra's story is one of a young Indian girl who is truly living the American dream. Having arrived in the United States 18 years ago with only fifty-dollars in her pocket, she went on to become a successful entrepreneur while never forgetting her roots.

Ratra's mother was her primary role model. In spite of being paralyzed from a spinal cord tumor, she raised two daughters to face the world and its hardships with a smile. She provided precious education, counseling and guidance for her family although she was completely bedridden herself. This determination and positive energy encouraged Ratra throughout her life, and inspired her to work hard toward achieving her dreams while also supporting and counseling other female professionals. As a successful entrepreneur, Ratra believes that with achievement also comes responsibility. She has always been very passionate about giving back to the community, and is a dedicated advocate of women's empowerment.

Besides leading Akraya's aggressive growth strategies, Ratra serves on the Board of Directors at the Institute of Economic Empowerment for Women and supports their Peace through Business Program. She also serves the Northern California Astra Women's Business Alliance leadership group.

A past winner of the Enterprising Woman of the Year Award, Ratra has also received the Woman of Influence Award, the Stevie Award for Women Helping Women, the Soroptimist Ruby Award and the Indian American Women Empowered Award.

In her current role, Ratra spearheads Akraya's Diversity Supplier Program which gives preference to minority and women business owners to fill its corporate needs. She also leads her organization's charitable programs which include the Race for Literacy, Haitian fundraising events, and various women's mentorship programs.

In the staffing industry, Ratra has been recognized as a highly motivated and focused thought leader. After more than a decade of recruitment and management experience, she founded Akraya in 2001 with the goal of fulfilling professional staffing and service demands which weren't met by the current market.

Since its inception Akraya has grown to become the preferred staffing source to several Fortune 500 enterprises, and provides services in seven countries. Having been named Best Places to Work for three consecutive years, its many accolades include having been recognized by employees as the Best Staffing Company to Work For, the Best Staffing Company to Temp For, and more.

*All biographical information is only current up to the date of the award.

John Rotche

John Rotche

President, TITLE Boxing Club

Ann Arbor, Michigan

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After graduating from college in 1990, John Rotche began his career in franchising at the Michigan based pizza giant, Domino's. There, he quickly advanced from delivering pizzas to directing operations for hundreds of the chain's stores throughout the country, which led to various promotions and recognition as the organization's World Wide Trainer of the Year.

After the conglomerate was sold, Rotche accepted a senior level position with Krispy Kreme Doughnuts to help lead the brand's expansion throughout the Midwest. While there, he purchased a small, one-van air duct cleaning business, and soon discovered the value the service could offer children suffering from asthma as demonstrated by his own two-year-old son. He soon resigned from his position at Krispy Kreme to take the small company he'd named DUCTZ national.

Within three years, Rotche grew DUCTZ to become the nation's largest 175-office air duct cleaning business, before selling it to Belfor, the world leader in disaster recovery and property restoration. Due to this acquisition, Rotche was recognized as one of Crain's 2007 Detroit Business Top 40 Executives under the age of 40.

Two years after selling DUCTZ, Rotche's entrepreneurial spirit struck again when he created his next company, HOODZ an organization designed to provide restaurant kitchen exhaust cleaning services. Prior to selling it, Rotche grew the enterprise to become the largest in its industry, with 150 locations in less than two years.

In 2011, Rotche was honored with the Entrepreneur of the Year award from the International Franchise Association (IFA), joining the ranks of J. Willard Marriot of the Marriot Corporation, Fred DeLuca of Subway, Frank Carney of Pizza Hut, John Brown of KFC, and Tom Monaghan of Dominos.

Ready to embark on his next entrepreneurial journey, Rotche learned of the high franchise value and opportunity of TITLE Boxing Club International, and accepted the position as both President and Partner of the organization. Within his three years with the company, he and his team have grown the business from 20 units to over 500 units under development in the United States and Mexico. Today, TITLE Boxing Club is one of the fastest growing fitness brands in America, and is ranked number 202 in INC 500 and number 235 in Entrepreneur 500.

*All biographical information is only current up to the date of the award.

Melissa Spickler

Melissa Spickler

Founder, The Spickler Group
Managing Director, Merrill Lynch

Bloomfield Hills, MI

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As the founder of the Spickler Wealth Management Group and a Managing Director at Merrill Lynch, Missy Spickler built her team with the goal of providing individuals and businesses the same high-quality wealth management expertise that she'd expect to receive as a client.

Spickler believes that a commitment to excellence, integrity, a collaborative approach and dedicated work ethic are among the reasons that many clients have chosen to remain with her for several decades. An expert of the financial services industry, with more than three decades of accomplishments as a Merrill Lynch Financial Advisor, she founded The Spickler Group in 1980 and has since turned it into a team serving both individual and institutional accounts.

After graduating from Michigan State University with a Bachelor's degree in Criminal Law, Spickler became an undercover agent for the Michigan Attorney General. She then entered the financial services sector, joining Merrill Lynch in 1980, and today helps to motivate, advise, and guide women in transition, executives, businesses, retirees and entrepreneurs as they pursue their financial goals and aspirations.

While coaching and inspiring colleagues to provide clients with highly personalized and efficient services by listening attentively to their requests and addressing their needs, promptly, Spickler continues to fulfill her mission of helping customers identify needs they may not have realized while providing them with the financial tools to create and maintain the lives they desire.

A holder of the Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor (CRPC) designation, Spickler is also a qualified Portfolio Manager who, in addition to providing traditional advice and guidance, can help clients pursue their objectives by building and managing her own personalized or defined strategies, which may incorporate individual stocks and bonds, Merrill Lynch model portfolios and third-party investment strategies.

Highly recognized within the industry for superior service, Spickler was named to Barron's list of America's Top 100 Women Financial Advisors and to Registered Rep's Top 50 Wirehouse Women in 2012, 2013 and 2014. In 2014, Barron's listed her among America's 1200 Financial Advisors by State.

Regularly included in a variety of hard copy, television and digital publications she was recently featured on the cover of Barron's magazine and in recent issues of Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine and Crain's Detroit Business.

The executive director of the Detroit Area Chapter of the Women's Exchange, Spickler has served a variety of leadership groups and was recently appointed to the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission.

*All biographical information is only current up to the date of the award.