Ferris State Alumni Association
420 Oak Street, Big Rapids
The Ferris State University Distinguished Alumni Award is bestowed on individuals who demonstrate leadership and service to their profession, community, service organizations and alma mater. These award recipients help guide our multicultural society toward the celebration of our own diversity through their accomplishments within their vocations and avocations. All Ferris alumni are eligible for the Distinguished Alumni Award.
Since 1956, Commencement week activities have included the presentation by the Ferris State University Alumni Association of Distinguished Alumni Awards recognizing exceptional career success and noteworthy fidelity and devotion to the University. You can view the full list of 2020 and 2021 Distinguished Alumni Award winners below, and clicking on their names will take you to their feature video on YouTube to learn more!
Steven Frederickson graduated from the College of Engineering Technology in 1993 with a degree in Construction Management. He is currently the vice president at Rockford Construction overseeing its healthcare division. Previously, he served as president of Rock Creek Companies, an owner’s representative company that provides high-level real estate and consulting services in Reston, Virginia. He is passionate about and active with the advancement of good causes in the community. He serves on the Loudoun Education Foundation Board and Executive Committee which supports an 84,000-student school district. The Foundation provides scholarships to students, feeds 30,000 at-risk youth on the weekends and creates partnerships with synergistic business and industry. Additionally, he serves on the Beat the Odds Board and Executive Committee, which provides scholarships and mentoring to rising seniors who have overcome tremendous adversity in the home. Frederickson fully believes that when we give back to our community, we gain so much more than we give. He is a local philanthropist and social entrepreneur, providing funding for local community causes including hunger relief, healthcare for the disadvantaged, abused women and children, and Habitat for Humanity. He also supports individuals creating businesses that serve the local community and has served on the Redeemer United Methodist Church Leadership Board. At Ferris, he is vice president of the Construction Industry Advisory Board and has actively served in a multitude of capacities over the last 19 years, including helping to increase enrollment five-fold. Frederickson and his family have made contributions to support Ferris’ Michigan Construction Hall of Fame donor recognition wall and most recently the Frederickson Family Mechanical & Electrical Practices Lab was named in their honor. In 2019 Frederickson was selected for the Department of Defense Distinguished Visitors program, and he holds five patents from the United States Patent and Trademark Office related to package and mail security.
Omar Ha-Redeye is a 2002 graduate of the College of Health Professions. He went on to further his education, earning a bachelor’s degree in Health Services Management from Ryerson University, a master’s degree in Health Law from Osgoode Hall and a Juris Doctorate from Western Law. He is currently the executive director of the Durham Community Legal Clinic in Oshawa, Ontario, and teaches part-time at Ryerson University. Much of his professional work has been integrated into the community and is largely focused on multiculturalism and the promotion of diversity. He is regularly involved in the litigation of human rights issues in the employment sector. Within the legal community in Ontario, Ha-Redeye is a regular presenter at conferences on issues of multiculturalism and diversity, and is involved in numerous related initiatives. Ha-Redeye serves on multiple community boards including as president of the Board of Flemington Health Centre, a local community health center that serves newcomers to Canada and marginalized populations. He also serves on the Board of Spinal Cord Injury Ontario, the largest organization in Ontario that focuses on disability issues related to spinal cord injuries and conditions. In 2012, he was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for promoting access to justice and advocacy on behalf of marginalized and discriminated populations. In 2015, he was awarded the OBA Foundation Award for exceptional contributions to improving the justice system and public legal education. In 2017, Omar received the Ted Rogers School of Management Teaching Award for Contract Lecturers at Ryerson University. In 2018, Omar was recognized by the Canadian Law Blog Awards for the Best Blogger in a Group Blog or Platform. The Young Advocates Standing Committee of the Advocates’ Society awarded him a Civility Award, as selected by his peers, in 2020. During his time at Ferris, he was involved in The Torch, Black Think Tank, and the Health Care Systems Administration registered student organization.
Kurt Hofman graduated from Ferris’ College of Engineering Technology in 1983 with an associate degree in Welding Technology. He serves as the executive vice president for RoMan Manufacturing in Grand Rapids. Through his leadership on the executive management team, the company has seen tremendous growth and now employs more than 150 people. Active in his profession, he has served the industry over the years in various roles including those of Chairman of the Western Michigan Section of the American Welding Society and member of the Board of Directors of the Resistance Welding Manufacturing Alliance where he chaired various committees. In 2018, he was appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder to serve on the University’s Board of Trustees and is currently the chairman of The Ferris Foundation. In addition, he was actively involved in Ferris’ Welding program’s Advisory Board, and in 2017 he was inducted into the Ferris Welding Hall of Fame.
Dr. Andrea McNab graduated from Ferris State University in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in Applied Biology Pre-medicine. Today, she works at Beverly Hills Physicians in Los Angeles, California, as a plastic surgeon and general surgeon who enjoys helping her patients feel comfortable in their own skin. During her training at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago she gained experience in the full spectrum of the field, in both aesthetic and reconstructive surgery. Additionally, she completed five years of general surgery residency at the University of Florida before graduating from medical school at Wayne State University. While at Ferris, McNab was heavily involved in many organizations and activities. She was an Honors Program peer mentor and member of the student advisory board, she served as a new student orientation leader, belonged to the Pre-Med Club, (served as treasurer and secretary) and was a member of the Student Alumni Gold Club. She continues her dedication to Ferris by serving as an Alumni Ambassador and Honors Program Alumni Advisory Board member. She enjoys charity work and has served on countless community and recreation-based projects in Michigan, Florida, Illinois and California. She has traveled to Guatemala with Operation Smile to perform cleft lip operations, and she recently went to Malawi, southeast Africa, to build a home with Habitat for Humanity. She was awarded the Best Resident Breast Reconstruction Presentation Award at the American Society of Plastic Surgery meeting in 2017 and also has a background in trauma surgery research. Her medical expertise has provided her consulting opportunities with the writers of “Grey’s Anatomy”, and she’s appeared as a television and film background actor on hit shows such as NBC’s “Chicago Fire” and “Chicago Med”, and the film An Acceptable Loss. In her spare time, she is always looking for a new place to travel – she has been to 50 states, 31 countries and five continents.
Thomas McNally is a 1976 graduate of the College of Arts, Sciences and Education. His love of helping others has provided him a long and distinguished career as social worker, advocate and educator. Based in New Era, Michigan, he has owned a private practice since 1990, Healthy Highs Unlimited, that specializes in individual, group and family assessments, and treatment for emotional and behavioral disorders in youth and young adults. He is a well-respected member of the National Association of Social Workers and is recognized locally, statewide and nationally. As a therapist he has led the clinical program of a 62-bed private psychiatric facility, and was the consultant and lead supervisor of the design, building and opening of the Grand Rapids Public Schools Alger Middle School, where he served as principal. Additionally, in conjunction with Michigan State University and Star Behavioral Health, he has completed his specialized post-graduate, two year training in the treatment of veterans affected by PTSD. He is known for always being a champion for those who need emotional support, safety and understanding. Included among his many accolades is receiving the NASW Michigan Social Worker of the Year Award in 2018, Outstanding Youth Advocate Award in 2013, the Richard DeVos Award for Prevention and Wellness, and the NASW Lisa Putman Award for Excellence in Child Welfare and Advocacy. To help his local community, he has been involved with the Feed the Hungry program that over 10 years distributed 5,000 turkeys at Thanksgiving to migrant families throughout West Michigan. At Ferris, McNally has presented numerous symposiums to current students that focus on giving it your all when completing projects or presented with challenges to overcome.
Dr. Barbara Horn Thompson graduated from Ferris State University’s Michigan College of Optometry in 1996 with her Bachelor of Science in Vision Science and in 1998 with her Doctor of Optometry degree. She is the president of Beach Eye Care & Audiology in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Throughout her distinguished career she has served on numerous committees in local and state societies. She was honored in 2005 as the Michigan Optometric Association Young Optometrist of the Year, and in 2006, the American Optometric Association (AOA) awarded her Young OD of the Year. In 2011, she earned the MOA’s Optometrist of the Year, and in 2018, the South Carolina Optometric Physicians Association honored her as Optometrist of the Year. In 2019 she was the first FSU-MCO graduate and the third woman to be inducted as president of the AOA. At Ferris, she served on The Ferris Foundation Board from 2014-2017. In 2007 she was recognized by the Alumni Association with the Pacesetter Award, and in 2021 she received the Michigan College of Optometry Distinguished Alumna of the Year Award.
John Garvelink graduated from Ferris State University in 1971 with an associate degree in Refrigeration, Heating and Air Conditioning from the College of Engineering Technology. Upon graduation he enlisted in the U.S. Army, and his final station of duty was at Ft. Carson in Colorado Springs, Colorado where he was honorably discharged. In 1975 he became a founding member of Commercial Design Engineering, where he continues to work today as the company’s executive vice president. During the past 46 years of his career, he has been extraordinarily active in his field serving multiple leadership roles for various local, state and national plumbing, heating and cooling professional associations. Among those include membership in the Associated General Contractors association, the El Paso County Contractors Association, and he is a lifetime member of the national Plumbing, Heating and Cooling Contractors, the nation’s largest and oldest professional plumbing/ HVAC organization. In this, he has served on the board of director’s and both as president and vice president of the executive committee. His responsibilities were many, including providing testimony to the U.S. Congress, attending and participating in conferences and trade fairs, both stateside and overseas, and attending numerous Skills USA competitions. In his community, Garvelink is a dedicated member of Sacred Heart Church and supporter of Mercy Center, a Colorado Springs–based worldwide retreat and sabbatical center. He has received numerous awards including the Divine Redeemer Catholic Community Appreciation Award. He is a longtime supporter of various Ferris State University programs and enjoys sponsoring and participating in the annual Ferris Foundation Gala.
In 1983, Dr. Joseph Pistrui earned his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the College of Business. He went on to earn a master’s degree in Liberal Studies from DePaul University and a doctoral degree in Strategic Management, Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management from Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona in Spain. He currently resides in Madrid, Spain, and serves as a senior research fellow for the Drucker School of Management of Claremont Graduate University. He boasts a long-standing international academic career including roles at IE University, Duke Corporate Education, London School of Economics and Political Science, Bocconi University, IESE Business School, and Corvinus University in Budapest. Pistrui’s work has also involved serving on multiple international advisory boards. In addition to his experience as a professor, he has an extensive track record as an executive educator and learning advisor to Fortune 500 and FTSE 100 companies on issues related to strategy, innovation and leadership. He has worked with leadership teams at organizations such as AstraZeneca, Bosch, Citi Group, Microsoft, Siemens and Unilever. Much of his work focuses on the leadership challenges of understanding changing technologies, identifying related new opportunities and rethinking human capabilities required for continuous innovation. He has been featured in Harvard Business Review, Thinkers50, the Global Peter Drucker Forum and other practitioner publications. Throughout his career, his work has touched culturally diverse populations. He has developed and delivered entrepreneurship and leadership workshops for African women entrepreneurs and helped advise the activities of Women in Management, Business and Public Service – a non-profit organization that works to advocate for greater representation of African women in public and private sector leadership roles. He has also advised educational programming efforts targeted at youth and future leaders in the United Arab Emirates and South Africa. Previous to his academic pursuits, he enjoyed a range of leadership positions over a 15-year sales and marketing management career in the consumer goods sector in the United States, mostly with Bristol-Myers Squibb.
Lewis Roubal Jr. graduated from the College of Business in 1998 with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and in 2000 with a master’s degree in Criminal Justice Administration. He is currently serving as senior chief deputy director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. In his role, he is responsible for human service program administration for the State of Michigan across a network of 100 field offices and leading a team of more than 11,000 staff. He also serves on multiple boards and committees, including vice chair of the Governor’s Food Security Council, and he serves on the boards for the Michigan Public Health Institute and the American Public Human Services Association. In his home community of Traverse City, Roubal actively volunteers and supports the Old Mission Education Foundation, Boy Scouts of America Troop 32, the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy and the Traverse City Track Club. At Ferris, he is a past board member of the Ferris Alumni Association, and has taught adjunct in both the Criminal Justice and Social Work programs. He and his wife, Janet, support the Dr. Vizina-Roubal Scholarship Fund through The Ferris Foundation. He is a three-time recipient of the State of Michigan Good Government Award, a graduate of the Ferris State University Michigan Police Corp and has finished a marathon, half-marathon and triathlon.
Jennifer Wheeler graduated in 1991 with an associate degree in Pre-teaching Secondary. She is the founder of The Michigan Training Center on Abuse and Trauma of Children in Detroit, which educates community organizations, faith-based organizations, schools and field professionals on all aspects of communication, care and working with child victims. She is also the managing partner of the family practice consultancy, J. Winston Group, which helps promote advocacy and community engagement on family and child care matters. She is a very active volunteer in her church and holds board leadership roles with many civic organizations and professional organizations, including the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children, the Michigan Professional Society on the Abuse of Children, the John REID & Associates Institute, Prevent Child Abuse America, the Detroit Chapter of the NAACP, and Jack and Jill of America. In 2017, she was recognized by the Michigan Chronicle with a 2017 Woman of Excellence Award. Wheeler is also an active volunteer leader with her sorority, Delta Sigma Theta. At Ferris, Wheeler currently serves on the Alumni Association board and helped re-establish the Black Alumni Association, of which she is currently president.
In 1998, the Ferris State Alumni Association established the Pacesetter Award to recognize individuals who demonstrate leadership and service to their professions, community, service organizations and alma mater, and who, when nominated, have graduated within the previous 13 years. Check out a full list of 2020-21 Pacesetter Award Winners below.
Anthony Iracki is a 2008 graduate of the College of Arts, Sciences and Education. His experiences growing up on a small beach resort in southern Michigan, coupled with his love for the outdoors, have shaped his life. He is currently the education and events manager for the Michigan Recreation and Park Association. In his role he researches, plans, develops, administers and evaluates a comprehensive, year-round professional education regimen for over 2,500 mParks members in conjunction with other staff, members, volunteers, consultants and partners. He actively serves in leadership roles on the boards of the National Park and Recreation Association, the Wisconsin Park and Recreation Association, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Stakeholder Council and is a founding member of the Milwaukee County Parks Foundation. In his service, he has received numerous awards from these organizations including the Young Professional Fellowship, the Recreation Section Young Professional of the Year and the President’s Award. Iracki works with local leaders in his community to address equity and access to the recreation opportunities of the area, including socio-economic status, cultural issues and perceptions about outdoor recreation activities. He actively works to recruit speakers on topics related to unconscious bias and diversity in the workplace, and has planned and promoted tours of diverse neighborhoods, historical landmarks and culturally significant areas to newcomers. Active in his community, he is a member of the Sierra Club-John Muir Chapter, NEWaukee Young Professional Group, FUEL Milwaukee (Metro Chamber of Commerce young professionals group), and since 2011 has been a part of the Sponsor a Scholar Mentorship Program. He has delivered presentations and authored articles on professional development, the multigenerational workforce, leadership and technology, and currently co-hosts a podcast. He is the first member of his family to attend and graduate college, and proudly serves as an Alumni Ambassador.
Dr. Jacqueline Morse graduated in 2006 with her Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the College of Pharmacy. She is a pharmacist and serves as director of Specialty Pharmacy Services and Trade Relations for Meijer in Grand Rapids. Throughout her career she has served in leadership roles with the Michigan Pharmacists Association, including being recognized as Distinguished New Pharmacist Practitioner in 2016; the American Pharmacists Association; the National Association of Specialty Pharmacy; and is a board-certified pharmacotherapy specialist. She has provided immunization training to more than 1,000 pharmacists and student pharmacists as a faculty trainer for the APHA’s pharmacy-based Immunization Training Certificate program. Morse is a member of Women and Meijer, a group dedicated to empowering women in their leadership potential and career growth, and has been involved with Meijer Mosaic, a community that connects, supports and respects the shared experiences and valued differences amongst team members. Active in her local church and community, she is a volunteer with Habitat for Humanity and she supports Kids Food Basket, United Way and the American Heart Association. At Ferris, Morse serves on the College of Pharmacy Alumni Advisory Board, and is a former faculty member and guest evaluator for the College’s Innovations in Pharmacy Practice for P3 students. She recently established the Hanna-Morse Endowed Scholarship for Teaching and Academic Excellence with The Ferris Foundation to support the College of Pharmacy.
Dr. Tran received a bachelor’s degree in Applied Biology in 2008 and graduated with his Doctor of Optometry degree from the Michigan College of Optometry in 2012. He then completed a residency in pediatrics, vision therapy and neurorehabilitation. He is co-founder of Vivid Vision, a virtual reality medical device company that started in Michigan with headquarters now in San Francisco and Tokyo. He serves on the Australasian College of Behavioural Optometrists, the Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association, the British Association of Behavioural Optometrists, and as clinical director for Special Olympics. Tran is a member of the American Optometric Association and the College of Optometrists in Vision Development, and was an adjunct clinical professor for Western University Health and Sciences, and Salus University. Tran has received numerous accolades including the Medical Capital Innovation Competition winner in 2019, the 1st Proto Award in 2014, the College of Vision Development Award for Excellence in Vision Therapy in 2012 and the Essilor Crizal DCRP Award in 2012. Active in his local community, Tran has volunteered with the Boys and Girls Club and helped raise more than $20,000 for the COVID-19 Relief Fund during an online educational conference for eyecare providers. Tran has remained engaged with the MCO through research and collaboration, including donating the Vivid Vision Clinical System to the Michigan College of Optometry. He has assisted with the Binocular Vision Lab Workshop and sponsored the Michigan Vision Therapy Study Group Conference held at MCO in 2017.
Paola Mendivil moved from Mexico City to Grand Rapids in 2005 and attended Grand Rapids Community College. Twelve years later, she finished her education at Ferris State University on the Grand Rapids campus and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. Today, she is the co-owner and catering coordinator for El Granjero Mexican Grill in Grand Rapids. She is active in her community and passionate about providing personal growth opportunities and connections in her networking circles. Among her many accolades, she has been recognized by both the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce and West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and was celebrated as a Top Women-Owned Business by the Grand Rapids Business Journal in 2019. She was also honored as one of the Top 50 Latinas in Michigan by the Hispanic/Latino Commission and was the first Latina to be featured on the cover of the West Michigan Woman magazine. Mendivil’s community involvement has included serving on the Westside Corridor Improvement Authority, Grand Rapids Planning Commission, Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women, the Latina Network of West Michigan, the Latino Community Coalition, the Business Leaders Linked to Encourage New Directions and was a founding member of the Latino Professionals. She also serves as a member of the Ferris Grand Rapids Council.
A 2007 College of Business graduate, Kevin Simon currently serves as the comptroller for the Diocese of Grand Rapids, lending his expertise to the Diocesan Finance Council and the Catholic Foundation of West Michigan. He also advises the Diocesan Black, Hispanic and Native American ministries, as well as those serving in the prison and jail ministries and Immigration Legal Services. Active in his church and community, Simon has volunteered with several organizations including serving as president of the Holy Spirit Catholic School Board and helping the local Red Cross. While at Ferris, he was involved in many groups and organizations. In addition to being in the Honors Program, Kevin was also a member of Student Government and its Finance Division, the Accounting Association, the Newman Center for Catholic Students, the Habitat for Humanity Ferris Chapter, and also the Honors Student Advisory Board. In addition, Kevin worked on campus as an Orientation Leader. He currently serves on The Ferris Foundation Board where he chairs the Investment Committee, and he has served on the Honors Program Advisory Board.
LyAshia and Maurice Webb graduated from Ferris State University in 2007 and 2008 respectively. Ms. Webb graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Human Resource Management and Mr. Webb received his bachelor’s degree in Social Work. Both entrepreneurs in Raleigh, North Carolina, Ms. Webb is the CEO and owner of 21st Century Mommy, an organization focused on helping young mothers realize their potential and dream big, and Mr. Webb is the CEO and owner of Precision Striping and Lot Restoration, a commercial parking lot maintenance company. This couple has discovered the true meaning of service and have made it their mission in the community. One of their defining moments was the decision to become urban missionaries through Christian Life Homes. Through this, they provided care and compassion in their homes to young, pregnant women from all walks of life. Together, they have successfully brought over 40 pregnancies to term over a three-year commitment to the program. Maurice’s passion for youth has also led him to devoting his time to their local church. He was appointed president of the College Ministry, impacting hundreds of students. The experience led him to earn a Master of Divinity from North Carolina Central University. He currently volunteers as a chaplain at Duke Regional Hospital, a marriage counselor at their church and provides motivation and inspiration to inmates at Butner Federal Prison and Central State Prison. Together, they are a dynamic couple who have used their Ferris education and experience to serve their community and make the world a better place.
420 Oak Street, Big Rapids