March 16, 2015

SVSU honors 'Best in Business' at award ceremony

Saginaw Valley State University's College of Business and Management honored regional businesses, students, alumni, and faculty during its second annual Academia Awards: Best in Business ceremony Friday, March 13 at SVSU.

The Bavarian Inn in Frankenmuth received the Outstanding Family Business award. This lodge and restaurant offers visitors the chance to explore over 40 shops, yearly festivals and events, and a taste of classic German architecture. They employ more than 400 people and serve over a half million meals each year, and are annually ranked among the top independent U.S. restaurants. Ten members of the Zehnder family work side-by-side to keep the Bavarian Inn business going and maintain strong ties to the community.

The Outstanding Business award was given to Frankenmuth Insurance. This insurance company employs 127 previous attendees of SVSU, including 100 SVSU graduates. They were named National Company of the Year in 2013 by the Professional Insurance Agents Association. Frankenmuth Insurance promotes core values of caring, commitment and teamwork in addition to providing industry-leading technology and automation from their independent agent partners. With more than 600 employees, they focus daily to exceed policyholder expectations.

The Outstanding Business Leader award was presented to Paul Rowley. A Bay City native, he has played important roles in reviving downtown Bay City through growing his company, Rowley Brothers Inc., and in helping projects such as the river walk, the skate park, the rail trail, and the first downtown condo project. Rowley also has served on the Bay City Downtown Development Authority, the Bay Area Chamber of Commerce, United Way of Bay County, the Historical Society of Bay County, and numerous other community organizations.

Shaya Jewani received the Outstanding Undergraduate Student award. As an undergraduate, she was selected to the prestigious Roberts Fellowship program at SVSU during the 2013-2014 school year where she studied abroad in China, Japan, and Taiwan. A native of Fort Gratiot, Jewani also completed an honors thesis, “Does Bilinguality Significantly Impact a Student's Intellectual Capabilities and Academic Achievements Compared to Monolinguality.” She currently is enrolled at SVSU as an MBA student.

Lindsey Zion received the Outstanding Graduate Student award. A Fenton native and recent MBA graduate, she finished her graduate studies with a 4.0 GPA and, like Jewani, was a member of the Roberts Fellowship Program, which allowed her to study abroad in China, Taiwan, and Japan. She also has studied abroad in Mexico, Greece, Spain, India, and the Czech Republic. Zion recently began working for Consumers Energy as an account manager.

The Outstanding Alumnus award was presented to David Abbs. A 1983 graduate of the SVSU with a bachelor’s degree in marketing and management, he is the owner of Abbs Retirement Planning Advisors in Saginaw; he is also a certified financial planner. Active in the community Abbs has served as chair of SVSU's Board of Control and the Saginaw Community Foundation Board.

Kylie Jaber, assistant professor of economics, received the Excellence in Teaching: Faculty award. Students in Jaber's economics courses recognize her passion, energy, and enthusiasm for teaching. In her own words, "teaching is like an orchestra or a play, where each performance is different - the experience will be new every time the musicians or the actors take the stage… And those attending the productions will hopefully be entertained, challenged, and impacted in some way." Jaber is passionate about teaching because it allows her to explore the things she loves the most: people, challenges, and creativity.

The Excellence in Teaching: Adjunct award was presented to Merle Davis, who has taught marketing and management courses at SVSU since 2010. He was recognized for his commitment to teaching and student learning; more specifically, his passion is in developing critical-thinking skills that allows students to identify opportunities and take advantage of them. Davis is also the president of Davis Performance Consulting, where he provides consulting services to manufacturing, health care, and service organizations.

Hong Park, professor of economics, received the Excellence in Research award. He has conducted pioneering research on the application of transaction cost economics to supply chain management and job turnover.  Among an impressive list of publications, Park has published a paper titled, "Foreign direct investment and global sourcing choices of firms in the U.S." which was included in a two volume book, "Global Supply Chain Management" edited by leading scholars in the field. He is currently working on a research project on knowledge, entrepreneurship and innovation, and has recently completed a study of the economic impact of SVSU on the Great Lakes Bay region commissioned by President Bachand.

Amy Hendrickson, SVSU assistant professor of law, received the Excellence in Service award. Before joining SVSU in 2013, Hendrickson worked at the California Attorney General's Consumer Protection Section, and spent some time providing volunteer legal services. During her time at SVSU thus far, she has engaged in volunteer activities such as coordinating an international Global Business Sustainability Conference at SVSU last year, and serving as judge and assistant for SVSU’s moot court competition.