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Bradley Hilltopics

Winter 2011 • Volume 17, Issue 1  



Safety mission for America's highways and byways


KATHI BUCK HOLST '79 was honored as Bradley's Distinguished Alumna and Centurion at Founder's Day ceremonies on October 15, 2010. A national authority on traffic safety, she resides in Aurora.

A stellar career of 30 years in the traffic safety industry culminated with two prestigious awards for KATHLEEN BUCK HOLST '79 in 2010. She received the chairman's award from the American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA) in February, an honor that has been presented only three times in the association's 40-year history. Holst was then named Bradley University's Distinguished Alumna and inducted into the Centurion Society at Founder's Day in October.

"I am deeply humbled," Holst told the audience. "I wish I could experience Bradley one more time as a student," the former accounting major added, noting all the recent changes on campus. Holst began working in traffic safety after graduating from Bradley in 1979 and received her certification as a CPA in 1980. Eight years later she founded ACCI, her own traffic safety company. In 1999 she sold the company to NES, which evolved into RoadSafe Traffic Systems Inc. Holst now serves as senior vice president of RoadSafe, a national provider of traffic control, pavement marking, and sign installation services. The company is located in Romeoville and operates in 35 states.

She was the first female president of ATSSA, serving from 2002 to 2004, and was the first chairwoman of the Illinois Road and Transportation Builders Association. Holst was president of the Chicagoland Construction Safety Council, as well as the ATSSA Foundation, which awards scholarships to children of workers killed in work zones. She was a guest lecturer at the Illinois Institute of Technology during the '90s. Holst has testified before Congress as part of her mission for safety for motorists, as well as workers in construction zones.

Another mission for Holst has been to spread awareness about early detection of breast cancer. A five-year breast cancer survivor, she is a top fundraiser in the annual Avon Walk for Breast Cancer in Chicago.

She and her husband GREGG HOLST '80 met during their days as Bradley students. Speaking at the Founder's Day luncheon, Holst thanked her husband and their two daughters, as well as her parents, for wholeheartedly supporting her career. "My parents always said 'believe in yourself.' I have passed that along to my daughters."


Rising to the top: Seven new Centurions inducted into Society

Seven Bradley alumni were inducted into the Centurion Society on October 15, 2010, during the Founder's Day Convocation. One alumnus, KURT HERSHER '51, was inducted posthumously. Two of the 2010 inductees were executives with Fortune 100 companies. Starting out on the factory floor to work their way through college, two new members of the Society advanced to lead those companies. Other careers represented by the 2010 Centurions include NBA agent, Las Vegas public relations executive, and leader in the road safety industry. In brief speeches following the awards, the honored alumni expressed gratitude to Bradley University for success in their chosen fields. The Centurion Society began in 1982 as a way to honor alumni for outstanding achievements in business, public life, and their professions. Almost 170 alumni have been inducted to date.

Laura Herlovich '79

Laura Herlovich '79

Public relations executive

With a roster of famous clients, LAURA HERLOVICH '79 has operated her own Las Vegas public relations firm, PR Plus, since 1991. She has represented top musicians, celebrities, and sports figures. They include Donny and Marie, the Chippendales, Bon Jovi, and NBA players.

After receiving her journalism degree, she went to work for the Utah Jazz NBA team. Herlovich went on to oversee public relations, advertising, and marketing for four Vegas casinos.

Herlovich has made it possible for a number of Bradley students to practice their public relations skills through internships with her firm. She also presents seminars to student participants in Bradley's Hollywood expedition. Herlovich is a member of the BUAA board.

Nicholas Owens '67

Nicholas Owens '67

Manufacturing executive, retired

NICK OWENS '67 worked his way through Bradley in a factory job at Keystone Steel and Wire. Just 12 years after earning his business degree, Owens became Keystone's vice president of manufacturing. Three years later he was named president, and then went on to be chief operating officer of Keystone Consolidated Industries in Dallas.

In 1989, Owens bought his own electrical cable and wire harness company. Later he became president of L.R. Nelson Corp. in Peoria. Owens then served as CEO and chairman of Hagerty Brothers Steel Co.

A gift to the Campaign for a Bradley Renaissance from Owens and his wife Nancy named the atrium of the Renaissance Coliseum in their honor.

A.J. Rassi '65

A.J. Rassi '65

Caterpillar executive, retired

A.J. RASSI '65 began working at Caterpillar in 1959. He advanced from sweeping floors
to operating a radial drill, and then entered Cat's apprentice program. Rassi was part of the initial group of Caterpillar apprentices to join Bradley's co-op program in 1962. He went on to work in five different cities in more than 20 positions. He retired as vice president of the company's track-type tractors division.

Rassi led the Campaign for a Bradley Renaissance with Caterpillar retirees. He and his wife Sonja provided the naming gift for the snack bar at Bradley's Markin Center. Jerry's Juice Bar was dedicated in honor of Jerry Flaherty Jr., the son of Rassi's friend and longtime co-worker.

George Ruebenson '70

George Ruebenson '70

Allstate Protection president, retired

After receiving his business degree, GEORGE RUEBENSON '70 joined Allstate, where he spent the next four decades. In 2000, he became vice president for the Property-Casualty Claims Service Organization. Ruebenson became a member of Allstate's senior management team as a senior vice president in 2003. He was named president of Allstate Protection in 2007, a position he held until retiring last January. Allstate Protection includes Allstate's property and casualty offerings, as well as Encompass and Deerbrook Insurance. Ruebenson led the company's community efforts
to keep teens safe while driving. He has served on Bradley's Foster College of Business national council of advisers.

Henry Thomas '74

Henry Thomas '74

Attorney/NBA agent

Since his days as a Bradley basketball player, HENRY THOMAS '74 has been a tax specialist, a lawyer, a college professor, and an agent for NBA basketball players. His clients include ANTHONY PARKER '97, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Devin Harris, Michael Finley, Ronnie Brewer, Udonis Haslem, and Shaun Livingston. Thomas has negotiated some of the most lucrative contracts in basketball. Currently he is an agent for CAA sports in Chicago.

Thomas earned his juris doctorate, as well as a post-graduate master of laws degree from DePaul University. He was a tax specialist at Coopers and Lybrand, and then became a partner at Carney and Brothers law firm in Chicago. He established and taught a popular sports law course at DePaul for 23 years.


Kurt Hersher '51 (19282009)

Lumber industry executive

KURT HERSHER '51 was honored posthumously as a Bradley Centurion. The retired president and chief operations officer of Stelco Industries Inc., Hersher also served as president of Stevenson Lumber Co., as well as Truss-Tech Inc., a manufacturer of roof and floor trusses.

Hersher was a director at three different banks, and was a principal in land development projects. He was active in a number of Connecticut organizations and activities. From work with the University of Bridgeport and its law school to being a strong supporter of Jewish Family Services, he also established the Hersher Institute for Applied Ethics at Sacred Heart University. A quiet philanthropist, Hersher funded the educations of many young people and helped others start their businesses with interest-free loans. Hersher died on August 2, 2009. His wife Edith was on hand for the ceremony, and the award was graciously accepted by his grandson Michael.


Schock named outstanding young graduate

AARON SCHOCK '02 was named the 2010 Outstanding Young Graduate at Founder's Day in October. The BUAA award recognizes an alumnus or alumna who has gained early and exceptional professional or civic achievement with continued involvement in the University. Schock is the youngest member of the U.S. House of Representatives, serving the 18th Congressional District in Illinois. He was elected to a second term last November. Beginning his political career as a freshman at Bradley, he served on the District 150 School Board, including a term as president, then as an Illinois state representative.

In Congress, Schock is a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, the Small Business Committee, and the Oversight and Government Reform Committee. He also was chosen to serve as deputy Republican whip. During his first year in Congress, Schock passed more legislation than any Republican freshman and secured $40.7 million in funding for Illinois in fiscal year 2010. He succeeded in having an amendment adopted by the House, mandating a website to track the bailout funds as part of the TARP Reform Accountability Act of 2009.

Schock remains active in Bradley alumni events and has helped secure funding for campus initiatives. He was the May 2009 Commencement speaker. He lives in Peoria.


Music executive receives Lydia Moss Bradley award

DOUG FRANK, HON '06, past president of music operations for Warner Bros. Pictures, was named the Lydia Moss Bradley Award winner on Founder's Day. The award is presented by the Bradley University Alumni Association (BUAA).

Frank has developed a relationship with the Slane College of Communications and Fine Arts, hosting hundreds of Bradley students in Los Angeles and arranging internships and meetings with industry professionals.

As president of music operations for Warner Bros. Pictures, Frank supervised the music for dozens of films, including the Matrix trilogy, the Harry Potter series, all of the Batman films, The Bodyguard, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Frank began his career as a studio musician and was hired as music director of WB Television in 1986, where he was responsible for establishing the musical identities of shows such as Growing Pains, Murphy Brown, and China Beach. A successful songwriter, his songs have been recorded by many artists, including Dionne Warwick and Placido Domingo. Frank currently serves as a trustee for the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences and is on the board of its philanthropic arm, MusiCares.

In addition to providing real-world experiences for Bradley students, Frank has hosted and participated in alumni and recruiting events in Los Angeles and has guided CFA faculty in developing curricula. Frank was Bradley's McCord Lecturer in 2005 and the May Commencement speaker in 2006, when he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters.

Frank and his wife Barbara have three daughters and live in Calabasas, California.


FROM LEFT: Faculty members Dr. G. Kevin Randall, Tanya Marcum, Dr. Kris Maillacheruvu, Dr. Jean Jost, and Dr. Amir Al-Khafaji are congratulated by President Joanne Glasser (center) after receiving awards at the Founder's Day Convocation at the Markin Center.

Five faculty members receive awards at Founder's Day 2010

Caterpillar Awards for faculty

Dr. G. Kevin Randall received the faculty achievement award for scholarship. An assistant professor of family and consumer sciences, he has written or co-written 11 peer-reviewed publications since coming to Bradley in 2006. He earned a master's and a doctoral degree from Iowa State University. Randall received the Caterpillar faculty award for teaching in 2008.

Tanya Marcum was awarded the Caterpillar Inc. faculty award for teaching. Marcum is an assistant professor of business management. She holds a juris doctorate from Thomas M. Cooley Law School and a bachelor's degree from Central Michigan University. She began teaching at Bradley in 2007.

Putnam Award

Dr. Kris Maillacheruvu was honored with the 2010 Putnam Award for Teaching Excellence. Maillacheruvu is an associate professor of civil engineering and construction. He holds
a master's degree and a Ph.D. from the University of Iowa. He began his career at Bradley in 1997, and recently co-authored a textbook. Maillacheruvu is involved with the Global Explorer program and is an adviser to student professional organizations.

Rothberg Award

Dr. Jean Jost, professor of English, received the Samuel Rothberg Professional Excellence Award. The award recognizes achievements in research and creativity by a senior faculty member. Specializing in medieval studies, Jost has published 16 articles in the last 10 years, and has made 30 scholarly contributions since coming to Bradley in 1989. She holds a master's degree and doctorate from the University of Cincinnati.

Mergen Award

Dr. Amir Al-Khafaji was the recipient of the Frances C. Mergen Award for Public Service, an award presented annually by the Central Illinois Bradley Alumni Chapter (CIBAC). Al-Khafaji is chairman of Peoria's Race Relations Commission and the Sustainability Commission, and serves on the boards and committees of several nonprofit organizations. He is chairman of Bradley's civil engineering and construction department.