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2024 OBL Celebration

Saturday, April 6, 2024

Henry Ford Museum, Dearborn, MI.

We will honor the 2024 class of Outstanding Business Leaders:

  • Mamadou DialloAutomobile Sales, Sr. Vice President, American Honda Motor Co., Inc.
  • Thomas LathamCEO, Tri-State Forest Products, Inc.
  • Sarah Rowley OppermanChair, Isabella Bank Corporation
  • Chris PruittPresident/CEO, East Penn Manufacturing Co.
  • Ambassador John Rakolta Jr. (ret)Chairman, Walbridge Group

Richard Devos Young Entrepreneur Award: Eric D. JulyCEO & Founder, Rippaverse, LLC


6:30pm – Reception

7:30pm – Dinner & Awards

9:00pm – Dessert-Afterglow

The Henry Autograph Collection – 12:00pm – 1:30pm Plaza A

Join Northwood staff and students for a reception and luncheon where we will welcome and introduce our newest class of Outstanding Business Leaders.

Student Roundtable – 2:00pm – 3:30pm Plaza B

Q&A sessions with Outstanding Business Leader honorees and Northwood students.

  • Dr. Daniel G. DeVos, Chairman, OBL ‘07
  • Dr. Albert F. Zehnder, OBL, ‘04
  • Dr. James Fabiano Sr., OBL, ‘06
  • Mr. Steve Madincea, OBL, ‘15
  • Dr. Jamie Massie, OBL, ‘16
  • Mrs. Carol Williams, OBL, ‘17

Northwood University’s Outstanding Business Leader Award

Every year, the Northwood University Board of Trustees present the Outstanding Business Leader Awards. 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 their contribution to the philosophy of private enterprise, support of the integration of business and the arts, contributions to education, industry, economic innovation, creative marketing ideas, community involvement, religious leadership, philanthropy and professional success.

The goal of the Outstanding Business Leader program is to provide a means to overcome the tremendous challenges faced by today’s college students. Honorees provide a powerful motivation for these students, and their personal stories are proof that true success is obtainable. It is through the stories of these inspirational leaders and entrepreneurs that our students are challenged to model and participate in their personal character development process.

The Outstanding Business Leader Award was developed by Dr. Arthur Turner, co-founder of Northwood University, and was established by the Board of Trustees in 1981. The Outstanding Business Leader Executive Committee plays an integral role in the preparation of the future business leaders of a global, free-enterprise society by providing inspiration, mentorship and scholarship to Northwood University students.

Proceeds from the Annual Awards Gala support the OBL Endowed Scholarship Fund at Northwood University.

Northwood University’s Richard DeVos Young Entrepreneur Award

The Richard DeVos Young Entrepreneur Award recognizes individuals who embrace change and market freedom by identifying opportunities that allow for the introduction of a new business. Recipients are compassionate capitalists whose spirit, energy and ethics build stronger communities and a better world.

This award honors the life and legacy of Richard DeVos – a lifelong advocate of free enterprise, capitalism and freedom – co-founder of Amway Corporation and philanthropist. Richard was a true friend of Northwood University.

The Richard DeVos Young Entrepreneur Award was developed by the Outstanding Business Leader Executive Committee to recognize one individual or couple. The award will be presented annually at Northwood University’s Outstanding Business Leaders Gala.

Their peers, Northwood University Outstanding Business Leaders, Northwood alumni, or any individual within the Northwood network of entrepreneurs and leaders must first nominate those honored for the award. The honorees will be selected based on personal and professional achievement that is consistent with the unique philosophy of Northwood University – The Northwood Idea. Criteria used in the selection of awardee includes their commitment to the philosophy of private enterprise, successful and creative application of business acumen to addressing a market need, contributions to education, industry, economic innovation, community involvement, philanthropy and professional success.

The selection committee includes the current Outstanding Business Leader Executive Committee comprised of past Outstanding Business Leader awardees along with the President and CEO of Northwood University. The DeVos family will provide approval on the final awardee.


View The Past OBL Honorees