Tickets available for 37th Annual Recognition and Awards Program

The Mike Ilitch School of Business 37th Annual Recognition and Awards Program will be held Thursday, Aug. 24, at the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center. For the second year in a row, the event will be emceed by Fox 2 Detroit anchor and reporter Roop Raj. To purchase tickets, which are $100 each, please email or call 313-577-4501. 

Sponsorship opportunities for this event are also available. If you are interested in becoming a sponsor, please contact Steve Townsend at or 313-577-0202. 

The event honors winners of the school's signature awards, listed below, as well as student scholarship winners. 

Executive of the Year
La June Montgomery Tabron
President and CEO, W.K. Kellogg Foundation

The Executive of the Year Award recognizes an individual in a senior leadership position at a business, government or non-profit organization that is based in, or has a substantial presence in, the state of Michigan. The primary criteria for selection of this award are recent or ongoing actions by the honoree and/or his or her organization that are likely to reflect positively on the state of Michigan and the disciplines researched and taught within the Mike Ilitch School of Business.

As a champion for vulnerable children and for creating the conditions necessary for all children to thrive, La June Montgomery Tabron leads the Kellogg Foundation and its work to ensure all children, families and communities – regardless of race or income – have opportunities to reach their full potential. Under her direction, the foundation seeks to improve the education, health and well-being and economic security of children and families – and embeds in this work a commitment to racial equity, to developing leaders and to engaging communities in solving their own problems.  

Prior to becoming the first female and first African American president and CEO to lead the foundation in its 87-year history, she served in a variety of positions at WKKF after joining the organization as controller in 1987. Read more...

Distinguished Alumni Award
David Leone ’85
Executive Chief Engineer, Launch Excellence, General Motors

The Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes alumni of the Mike Ilitch School of Business whose exceptional achievements over a career in business, education or public service have brought honor and distinction to his or her alma mater.

Leone is Executive Chief Engineer, Launch Excellence, at General Motors. In this role, he leads a cross-functional effort across the GM enterprise to assess and drive improvements to the way the company brings new vehicles to market.

Previously, Leone served as Executive Chief Engineer for Cadillac and Global Performance Luxury Cars, a position created to drive brand focus through product content, design, engineering and commercialization. He was the leading force behind such vehicles as the award-winning Cadillac ATS, the 2013 North American Car of the Year; the 2014 Cadillac CTS, which was named MotorTrend’s Car of the Year and placed on Car and Driver’s 10 Best Cars and Road & Track Best of Everything; as well as the 2016 Chevrolet Camaro, named MotorTrend Car of the Year. Read more...

Emerging Leader Award
Fares Ksebati '13
Co-founder and CEO, MySwimPro

The Emerging Leader Award recognizes a more recent graduate of the Mike Ilitch School of Business who has already distinguished themselves as a “rising star” in their industry or community and who shows even greater promise for the future.

Fares Ksebati is the co-founder and CEO of MySwimPro, which was named the Best Watch App of the Year by Apple in 2016. The app helps swimmers of all levels achieve their goals through custom workouts, according to its website. Users can also learn techniques from videos within the app and receive analytics for each swim.

Ksebati, who graduated in 2013 with a B.A. in marketing, is a lifelong swimmer and, in recent years, has been a swimming coach. Along with Ksebati, MySwimPro co-founders include Apple iOS developer Adam Oxner and Android developer Michael Allon. The app launched on Android in February 2015 and on iOS in June. Read more...

Inspirational Teacher Award
Attila Yaprak
Professor of Marketing 

This award provides our proud WSU business school alumni with the opportunity to submit stories about professors who truly inspired them, encouraged them, broadened their horizons or made a lasting positive impact on their lives. Nominees must be living current or former members of the WSU Mike Ilitch School of Business faculty (full time or part time).

A member of the Mike Ilitch School of Business faculty for nearly four decades, Professor Attila Yaprak is also a Board of Visitors Faculty Fellow and director of the Ilitch School’s Ph.D. programs. He is an expert in U.S. trade and investment flows among the developed and the developing world, as well as global strategy, especially in multinational marketing. He is extensively published in the literature in international business and marketing and has taught in and/or had research fellowships at universities in Austria, China, Finland, France, Germany, Nepal, the Philippines, Spain, Thailand and his native Turkey. Read more...

Outstanding Student Award
Mahmoud Saleh
Finance Major

Ilitch School faculty are invited to nominate students for the Outstanding Student Award based upon academic achievement, service to the school and the university, and community involvement. 

Mahmoud Saleh is a finance major with a 3.95 GPA. He is expected to graduate with his bachelor’s degree in May 2018 with Honors College accolades. Currently an international finance intern at TransUnion in Chicago, Saleh has also gained internship experience at Bodman PLC in Detroit, one of Detroit’s top law firms, and Jaidah Group in Qatar.

As a paralegal assistant in Bodman’s banking division, Saleh assisted with the accurate completion and packaging of major lending agreements, reviewing credit agreements, loan documents and bank statements for hundreds of clients. At Jaidah Group – a private conglomerate that specializes in the distribution of automotive, electrical and heavy equipment vehicles – he was a rotational finance intern, a role that afforded him the opportunity to immerse himself in hands-on roles in multiple departments of a successful business, while living and working in an international environment. Among other accomplishments, Saleh contributed to the reduction of expenses by over $15 million Riyals, resulting in a 2% increase in net income. Read more...

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