Introducing the 2017 Alumni Award Recipients

The Alumni Board of Directors is pleased to announce the 2017 Alumni Award recipients. The following alumni have exemplified the vision and values of Davenport University through their professional and community service. Introducing the 2017 Alumni Award honorees, pictured above from L to R:

Distinguished Alumni Award
Mike Nelsen, Class of 1987

Mike earned his BBA in Business in 1987 and was quickly was recruited to help launch QVC.com as employee number two. Mike built fulfillment operations from the ground up focusing on one of the industry’s first drop-ship networks of 300+ suppliers that powered sales of $100+ million in 1999. After QVC.com, Mike helped start craftopia.com, which was sold to HSN. Now, the Chief Development Officer at CommerceHub, Mike is responsible for business and client development efforts for both online and brick and mortar retailers, distributors, and supplier companies such JCPenney, Best Buy, Dell, Home Depot, Costco and QVC.

When Mike is not working, he spends most of his time with his wife and three sons, who have all been very active in athletics. Between football, lacrosse and hockey games, Mike has traveled thousands of miles a year to watch his son’s sports and now focuses on getting them through college. He was our first speaker in 2016 when we launched our annual Neighborhood Business and Friends luncheon.

Donald W. Maine College of Business Alumni Award
Wendy Morrow, Class of 1993

Wendy is the Chief Financial Officer of Grand Haven Custom Molding (GHCM), a privately held plastic injection molding company in Grand Haven. Prior to GHCM, Morrow spent 16 years at The Stow Company in Holland, where she was the first woman to be named Vice President of Finance in the company’s history. Wendy started at The Stow Company as an accounting supervisor. Four months later, she was promoted to controller, then to corporate controller. She is also a Certified Management Accountant (CMA) and a member of the Institute of Management Accountants. Wendy is an active volunteer at the Tri-Cities Family YMCA.

Hy Berkowitz Professional Excellence Award
Pat McPherson, Class of 2006

From stump grinding to mopping factory floors, Pat McPherson ’06 was especially determined to earn the money to get his Davenport degree.  Looking back, Pat says that he does not know what was the hardest: sorting bottles from plastic bags at Lakeport Market, cleaning pop can machines at Meijer, or cleaning bathrooms and showers at Lakeport State Park. All of this while working at the family stump grinding business in high school to make money to pay for college. However, once it was time to head to college, the hard work did not end. Pat attended classes Monday through Thursday, and drove to Detroit to mop factory floors Friday through Sunday.

Nonetheless, thanks to his interest in IT, Pat pursued education at Davenport University where he earned his BS in Computer Networking. Now, Pat works on a team at ITS Partners as a senior sales engineer solving IT problems for clients all over the world.  Pat works with organizations that have anywhere from a few thousand devices into the hundreds of thousands. Pat assists organizations in determining if there are tools that can solve their problems, architect how the solution would be configured and implemented within their environments.

College of Technology Alumni Award
Josh Serba, Class of 2011

In 2014, Josh was hired as the Network Manager of AHC+ Hospitality.  In 2015 he was promoted to Chief Information Officer (CIO), where he oversees the daily operation of the IT department, and steers the technology decisions for AHC.  AHC+ Hospitality owns the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, JW Marriott Grand Rapids, and Peter Island Resort & Spa in the British Virgin Islands; and also operates the Courtyard by Marriott in downtown Grand Rapids.  In his short time as CIO, they’ve upgraded the network infrastructure, WiFi, server environment, TV systems, and much more. In his spare time, he enjoys coaching his two son’s baseball and hockey teams.

Outstanding Young Alumni Award
Leslie Winkle, Class of 2011 & 2016, Traverse City Campus

Leslie is a second-generation Davenport graduate who followed her father’s footsteps in attending DU. She received her BBA in 2011 and completed her MBA if 2016. She is the owner of Studio 415, a full-service salon for men, women and children in Traverse City, which she purchased in 2014. Studio 415 has a simple, yet purposeful mission: ‘work hard and be nice.’ Leslie’s ‘be nice’ ethic means giving back to the community as well.

In 2016, Studio 415 was selected as the recipient of the Hagerty Small Business of the Year presented by the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce.  Leslie is also an adjunct instructor at the Traverse City campus teaching accounting.

College of Health Alumni Award
Joseph Rodriguez, Class of 2011

Joseph graduated from the Midland Campus in 2011 with an Associate in Nursing. He currently is a Nurse Case Manager at SouthernCare Hospice in Saginaw, where in 2016 he was recognized as the Regional Clinician of the Year for his outstanding performance and delivery of care. He is a strong healthcare advocate and actively shares and teaches his communities about available health care services, not just for end of life care and hospice, but also in preventative care, palliative care and long-term care.

In his spare time, Joseph supports and advocate for The ROCK (a center for youth development); The Diaper Alliance, providing diapers for those in need in the bay-area, and American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer and Relay for Life.

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