Outstanding Business Leader Events Inspire Students, Friends

OBL Class of 2014 (L-R) Richard DeVos, Jr., J Ferron, David Gilmour, Lisa Copeland, Daniel Langdon, Jonathan Hage, Richard Garber and Thomas O'Hare
The student forum provided the opportunity to learn from leaders in the world of business.

Northwood University students, faculty, staff and friends recently enjoyed a variety of inspirational Outstanding Business Leader (OBL) events designed to provide the opportunity to gain from experiences of the honorees.

While sharing anecdotes relating to the obstacles and challenges they encountered while on their personal road to business success, as well as remedies relating to how they overcame them, the  prestigious visitors attended a variety of university events designed to welcome them to various constituent groups.

“Tonight’s honorees are leaders who have generously given their time, talent, and treasure to make the world a better place for all. They epitomize what it means to be a leader - both publicly and privately. And, perhaps most importantly, they’ve made it possible for all of us to do more of the same well into the future,” said Northwood University President Keith A. Pretty, JD, as he welcomed them to the 34th Annual Outstanding Business Leader Awards Gala held at The Breakers, Palm Beach. “This evening, it is our sincere pleasure to recognize yet another class of extraordinary individuals who serve as role models for our students, alumni, and countless friends and supporters.  We not only re-affirm our mission tonight but we confirm that it will stand strong for generations to come,” he added.

The eight honorees Outstanding Business Leader Class of 2014 are:

Lisa Copeland

Managing Partner, Fiat of Austin

Austin, TX


Richard DeVos, Jr. (’81)

President, The Windquest Group/ Retired President, Alticor

Grand Rapids, MI


J Ferron

Chairman Emeritus, Northwood University Board of Trustees

Director, Crain Communications Inc/Automotive News

Bloomfield Hills, MI


Richard J. Garber (’78)

President, Garber Management Group

Saginaw, MI


David H. Gilmour

Founder, FIJI Water/The Wakaya Club and Spa

Palm Beach, FL


Jonathan Hage

President & CEO, Charter Schools, USA

Fort Lauderdale, FL


Daniel R. Langdon

President, East Penn Manufacturing

Lyon Station, PA


Thomas F. O’Hare

President & CEO (retired), WorldPAC

Newark, CA

"The event was a wonderful opportunity for our students to interact with the leaders who attended; and I was particularly impressed with the quality of the questions from the students, which in turn, resulted in terrific answers from the leaders,” said adjunct professor of Finance & Entrepreneurship George Stamas of the OBL Student Roundtable which was held Saturday afternoon.

Northwood University annually recognizes a select group of men and women for their business achievements and for their support and exemplary leadership of the communities in which they live and work. These individuals serve as role models for Northwood University students, all of whom are engaged in the study of business management and who aspire to successful careers. In the 34 years since the program’s founding, more than 300 business leaders from more than 30 states and several countries, representing dozens of industries and fields of business expertise, have received the Outstanding Business Leader Award.




Northwood University is committed to the most personal attention to prepare students for success in their careers and in their communities; it promotes critical thinking skills, personal effectiveness, and the importance of ethics, individual freedom and responsibility.

Private, nonprofit, and accredited, Northwood University specializes in managerial and entrepreneurial education at three full-service, residential campuses located in southern Florida, mid-Michigan and northern Texas. Adult Degree Programs are available in seven states with many course delivery options including online. The DeVos Graduate School offers accelerated, evening and weekend programming in Michigan, Texas and Florida. The Alden B. Dow Center for Creativity and Enterprise provides system-wide expertise in family enterprise, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, and new business development. International education is offered through study abroad and in Program Centers in China (Changchun and Wuxi), Malaysia and Sri Lanka.