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State Stars

  • Author:
    Robert Bao
  • Published:
    Spring 2013
Stella Cash, MS ’80, president of Food Creation, Inc., vice president of development and strategic partnerships at Lansing’s Sparrow Health System and former director of dietetics in MSU’s Dept. of Food Science and Human Nutrition, has been awarded the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce 2012 Athena Award.  Cash is active in Zonta Club of East Lansing and the American Red Cross.  She helped raise $1 million as chair of Sparrow Women Working Wonders.  She served as interim executive director of the MSU Alumni Association from 2007-10.  Cash is a member of MSU’s Hannah and Landon Societies and is an MSUAA Life Member.
Beth Chappell, ’79, president & CEO of the Detroit Economic Club, has been inducted into the International Institute Foundation’s 2012 Heritage Hall of Fame. Chappell served as executive vice president of Compuware Corporation and also led The Chappell Group management consulting company.  She sits on the boards of American Axle & Manufacturing Corporation, Detroit Regional Chamber, Brother Rice H.S., St. Joseph Mercy Foundation, Michigan Economic Growth Authority, United Way and Citizens Research Council.
Barry Paxton, ’92, managing partner of Trilogy Health Ventures, LLC, Ann Arbor, has been named CEO and co-founder of Pharma Form Solutions, LLC. Paxton has spent over 20 years in the health care industry working in executive and leadership positions for Eli Lilly & Company, The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Ernst and Young, Duracell USA and Merrill Lynch.  Paxton is a member of MSU’s Beaumont Tower Society and is an MSUAA Life Member.
Bill Demmer, ’70, president and CEO of Demmer Corporation, Lansing, has been elected president of America’s first conservation organization, the Boone and Crockett Club. Demmer spearheaded the establishment of several conservation programs at MSU, including the Boone and Crockett Endowed Chair of Wildlife Conservation, the Boone and Crockett Club Wildlife Extension Specialist, the Demmer Scholars internship program and the Graduate Specialization in Business Concepts for Environmental Sustainability and Conservation. He co-founded and is currently a director/investor with the Lansing Economic Area Partnership, and has served on the board for various committees.  Demmer is a member of MSU’s Williams Society and is an MSUAA Life Member.
Peter Flynn, MA ’69, PhD ’71, superintendent of Freeport School District 145, has been named the 2012 Illinois Superintendent of the Year by the Illinois Association of School Administrators. Flynn was named superintendent of Freeport in 2000 bringing with him 21 years of experience at school districts in Pennsylvania, Iowa and Kentucky. He served five years as a board member of IASA and was an active member of the Urban Superintendents Association of America.  In addition, Flynn is serving his second term as president of the Century Club, a national superintendents’ honorary.
Shannon Foster, ’03, manager of operations at Kimpton’s Hotel Monaco Chicago and Hotel Monaco Salt Lake City, has been named as the new general manager for Hotel La Jolla, California. Foster has 11 years of hospitality management experience at properties such as Fairmont Hotel Chicago and Denver’s Oxford Hotel. Privately held Kimpton was recognized by Fortune magazine as a Best Company to Work for in 2012. The company operates more than 50 hotels and more than 50 restaurants in 23 cities.
Randy Shacka, ’04, previously COO at Two Men & A Truck, has been named president.  He is the first non-family member to hold this position at the private company.  Shacka previously served as the company’s franchise development specialist, director of operations and chief development officer.  He is active in various organizations and boards including ASQ Service Quality Division, Chief Operating Officer Network, Franchise Mini MBA Club, Franchise Training Network and Franchise World Network.
William Bowerman, ’93, professor of Wildlife Ecology and Toxicology at the University of Maryland, College Park, was a recipient of the Northern Michigan University Distinguished Alumni Award in 2012.  Bowerman served as a member of the of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northern States Bald Eagle Recovery Team. He has trained over 300 wildlife professionals and currently leads SEA EAGLE. In addition, Bowerman was appointed co-chair of the International Joint Commission’s Great Lakes Science Advisory Board.
Michelyn Pasteur, ’68, MLIR ’70, attorney at Bernick, Radner & Ouellette, P.C., has been named by The Best Lawyers in America as the “Medicaid and Elder Law Attorney of the Year” for the Greater Lansing Area.  Pasteur is a past chair of the Ingham County Bar Association Probate and Estate Planning Section and is a longtime member of the Greater Lansing Probate & Estate Planning Council.  She is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and has authored several articles for the State Bar of Michigan Probate & Estate Planning Journal.  Pasteur is a member of MSU’s Beaumont Tower Society and is an MSUAA Life Member.
Matthew Sweeney, ’97, legislative liaison and policy advisor for the State of Michigan’s Dept. of Technology, Management and Budget, Lansing, was appointed as director of government relations at Beaumont Health System.  He served as chief of staff for State Senator Cameron Brown, and as the deputy director of government relations with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.
David Decker, ’81, former sales representative and sales vice president working in technology, consulting services and non-profit industries, will launch and lead SkillSource Sales Solutions, the sales division of SkillSource Business Builders, Cincinnati, OH.  Decker has produced $350 million in sales over a 30-year career.  He has also held general management posts with responsibility for strategic profit-and-loss growth and leadership development. In addition, Decker represents The Lions Head, a national program designed to transform good leaders into extraordinary leaders.
Christopher Tobias, ’94, member of the executive management team at Dudnyk, a healthcare marketing company based in Philadelphia, PA, was named one of the 100 most inspiring people in the pharmaceutical industry by PharmaVOICE magazine.  He is a frequent lecturer on alternative career paths, and was invited to present at the Annual Spring Conference of Neuroscience Departments and Programs in Washington, DC. In addition, Tobias mentors students who are considering pursuing nontraditional careers after earning doctoral degrees.
Jon Allan, ’80, MS ’87, director of environmental policy and intergovernmental affairs for Consumers Energy Co., East Lansing, has been named director of the Michigan Office of the Great Lakes by Gov. Rick Snyder. Allan has co-chaired the DEQ’s Water Use Advisory panel and Michigan’s Groundwater Conservation Advisory Council, served as a key adviser to the Great Lakes Water Resources Compact negotiations, served on the Environmental Advisory Council to the DEQ, Michigan Climate Action Council, and the Midwestern Governors Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord Advisory Group. In addition, he co-chairs the state’s Blue Ribbon Parks Commission.
Herman Marable, ’84, judge at Flint’s 68th District Court, was re-elected in a contested election to his third term on the court.  Marable appointed a Citizens Advisory Committee to receive community input, and established the Judge Marable Student of the Month/Year Program to encourage Flint area high school students to focus on education and career goals. He established the Herman Sr. and Iris Marable Senior Citizen of the Month Award to recognize persons over age 60 who have dedicated themselves to community service. 
Noreen Walsh, ’87, deputy regional director for the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, Denver, has been named as the service’s regional director for the Mountain-Prairie Region.  Walsh previously served in three other regions of the service, as well as the headquarters office in Washington, DC.  Previously, she served as the assistant regional director for ecological services in Atlanta, GA.  In addition, Walsh served as a biologist at the service’s headquarters and worked in the Oklahoma Ecological Services Field Office in the late 1990s.
Chris Foley, ’82, associate professor of Science at Owens Community College, Perrysburg Township, OH, has been chosen by the Professional Landcare Network Academic Excellence Foundation to receive the prestigious 2012 Outstanding Educator of the Year Award.  Foley leads student plant sale activities, which help support the Owens Student Landscape Turfgrass Crew Club’s participation in the annual PLANET Student Career Days.  In addition, he oversees a nursery in Swanton, which focuses on the production of rare and unusual trees and shrubs.
John Ballantyne, ’87, owner of the Leland Group, has been elected president of the Home Builders Association of Greater Cincinnati, OH.  Prior to founding the Leland Group in 2004, Ballantyne was a partner of a local home building company and was also employed by Ryland Homes.  He is active in Big Brothers Big Sisters and also serves as a director of both the Ohio and National Associations of Home Builders. In addition, Ballantyne has served on a variety of HBA committees and councils over the years.
Meredith Bowen, MMUS ’05, TCRT ’06, artistic director for Sistrum Women’s Chorus, Lansing, has been named Holland Chorale’s new artistic director.  Bowen has been adjunct faculty at Lansing Community College since 2006, where she conducted the concert choir, and taught various music classes. She is pursuing her doctorate of musical arts in choral conducting at MSU.
Todd Stein, ’94, senior manager at Ernst & Young, Los Angeles, CA, has been promoted to partner in its Transaction Advisory Services group, where he provides transaction tax services to a wide variety of corporate and private equity clients. Stein serves some of the firm’s largest private equity accounts on the West Coast. He is a certified public accountant licensed to practice in California and a member of the American Institute of CPAs.
Joe Patrick, ’91, head of Worldwide Sales for Miramax, Santa Monica, CA, has been named executive vice president  of Worldwide Television. Previously, Patrick served as executive vice president at MGM Worldwide Television Group, and was vice president at MGM Domestic Television. In addition, he served as vice president at MGM Television Europe, and started his career at MGM in Distribution Services in International TV.  Patrick is a member of MSU’s Beaumont Tower Society.
Cynthia Leaman, ’78, former principal at Clague Middle School, Ann Arbor, has been named principal of the Ann Arbor Pioneer High School. Previously, Leaman was principal at the Dearborn Academy, and served as principal at St. Paul on the Lake School in Grosse Pointe Farms and at the Most Holy Trinity School in Detroit.  She is involved in many district committees including leading the efforts in “Response to Intervention” by teaching the model and chairing the Principals’ Committee on Teacher Evaluations.  Leaman is a former high school teacher and coach.