Alumni Build Their Futures A college’s alumni are its unofficial ambassadors, as their success reflects the institution’s ability to provide graduates with the tools to succeed. During academic year 2020, Coles College graduates earned leadership positions at organizations like Amazon and the Georgia Department of Transportation, were recognized by their industries, and have even shared their stories of helping save lives during a natural disaster.
Alejandro Cano at Bessemer , Ala. Amazon Facility
Executive MBA Alumna Receives Women in Biometrics Award May Executive MBA program graduate Lauren Reed was named a winner of the 2020 Women in Biometrics Award by the Security Industry Association (SIA), the world’s largest security trade group. She is one of five women selected that year for the award, which recognizes women leaders driving biometric identity and security industries. Reed’s 20-year career in biometrics and forensics includes being the first woman to serve as director of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Laboratory at the Defense Forensic Science Center as well as the first chief of the U.S. Army Biometrics Examination Services Branch. Nuclear Safey Expert Charles Casto Talks Leadership Charles Casto, an alumnus of the Coles College’s Doctor of Business Administration (now Ph.D.) program, spoke about leadership to Kennesaw State students in September 2019. Casto spent 11 months as the director of onsite operations after the March 11, 2011 magnitude 9.0 earthquake and 45-foot high tsunami slammed eastern Japan, causing three reactor cores to melt down at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. During his presentation, he advised students on how to be great leaders: promote a clear and compelling vision and strategy, cultivate and foster continuous improvement, and set a personal example.
Alejandro Cano Launches Amazon Facility Amid Pandemic When Amazon selected international business graduate Alejandro Cano to open a new fulfillment center in Bessemer, Ala, Cano knew it would test his leadership skills. However, he did not expect to do it during a global pandemic. Amazon opened the facility in March 2020 just as COVID-19 began spreading across America. As the area manager overseeing 50-100 people at a time, Cano had to adjust to an unexpected surge in demand alongside strict new health and safety guidelines. This was Cano’s first professional leadership role since graduating in 2018. He credits his success to his Coles College education. Ph.D. Alumni Recognized by Their Home Institutions Two alumni of the Coles College’s Ph.D. in Business Administration program – Luke Hopkins and Joie Hain – were recognized by their home institutions, with one being named to a prominent leadership position. Hopkins, who graduated from the program in 2013 with a concentration in marketing, has been named director of the James M. Seneff Honors Program at Florida State University’s College of Business, where he teaches marketing. Hain, also a marketing graduate, was named Business Professor of the Year at Clayton State University, where she teaches digital marketing and professional selling.
EMBA Alumni Named Small Business Rock Stars High Road Craft Ice Cream, a successful chef-focused ice cream business founded 10 years ago by two Executive MBA students Keith Schroeder and Hunter Thornton as a class project, was honored in June 2020 by the Georgia Economic Developers Association as one of its 2020 Small Business Rock Stars. Schroeder, a trained chef, and corporate sales professional Hunter Thornton met in Fall 2008 on the first day of their EMBA program. For their capstone project, they created an ice cream business that caters to high-end restaurants and today generates $21 million in revenue. Recent Alumni Achievements The following alumni have either started exciting new career opportunities or earned recognitions in their fields during the last year: ◆ Matt Morris, a graduate of the information systems program, became director of 1898 & Co.’s critical infrastructure cybersecurity practice. 1898 & Co. is a technology consulting firm launched in October 2019. ◆ MBA alumnus Sam Baker became the transportation planning director for the government of Henry County Georgia. Baker has previously worked for the Georgia Department of Transportation, the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, and for Missoula County Montana.
◆ Alex Kalish was named Chief Strategy and Solutions Officer for managed mobility services provider Stratix. Kalish is a graduate of the Coles College MBA program. ◆ Management alumnus Evelyn Kemp became Advanced Medical Pricing Solutions’ senior vice president of strategic accounts. ◆ The City of Canton, Ga. promoted accounting services manager Melissa Forrester, who holds an accounting degree from the Coles College, to the position of finance director.
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