As part of its 2019 Alumni Awards celebration, The Ohio State University Max M. Fisher College of Business proudly honored six individuals for their leadership, dedication and service across a number of industries and in communities throughout the United States.

The annual awards, which were created in 1993, honor Fisher’s living alumni who personify the college’s legacy of excellence. Recognized for their outstanding achievements, career accomplishments and dedication to their communities, recipients are celebrated annually on campus.

"“Our 2019 Alumni Award recipients have demonstrated an incredible commitment to Fisher and to The Ohio State University that is truly extraordinary,” said Anil K. Makhija, dean and John W. Berry, Sr. Chair in Business at Fisher. “These are titans in their industries, servants to their communities, friends to our college and champions for principled leadership. They embody the skills, passion and dedication that we seek to cultivate in our students today.”

2019 Alumni Awards and recipients

  • Open/Close The Distinguished Leadership Award: James R. Allen (MBA ’81) and Denis G. Simon (BSBA ’69)

    Inspired by Max M. Fisher’s legacy of leadership and dedication to others, the Distinguished Leadership Award honors an alumna or alumnus who has served as a principled leader in their company and their community. They are service-oriented catalysts who affect positive change in their profession and seek to advance the common good.

    Jim Allen

    James R. Allen (MBA ’81), Vice Chairman, Baird

    Jim Allen is vice chairman of Baird and is a member of Baird’s Executive Committee in Louisville, Kentucky. He also served as chairman and CEO of Hilliard Lyons, a Baird Company, from 2004 until 2019.

    Jim is active in the financial services industry and serves as chairman of the board of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association.

    A graduate of Fisher’s MBA program, Jim serves on the college’s Dean’s Advisory Council. He is also active in a number of service roles in Louisville. He is a member of the University of Louisville’s College of Business Board of Advisors, and he is the immediate past board chairman of the Jefferson County Public Education Foundation and the 2018 board chair of Greater Louisville, Inc., Louisville’s Chamber of Commerce. He is the former chairman of the Fund for the Arts, and he chaired the 2016 Metro United Way Campaign for Greater Louisville.


    Denis Simon

    Denis G. Simon (BSBA ’69), Senior Executive Vice President, Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

    Denis is the senior executive vice president of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., a company for which he has worked for more than 30 years. Based in Dallas, Denis is responsible for the firm’s offices throughout the southern U.S.

    He joined Challenger, Gray & Christmas from Club Corp, also headquartered in Dallas, where he served as CPO and a board member. Previously, he was corporate director of personnel and labor relations for Zale Corporation and manager of headquarters personnel for Frito-Lay, Inc.

    Denis is a former U.S. Army captain and a decorated veteran having served in Southeast Asia. He serves on the boards of Camp John Marc, a ranch for disabled children in Texas, the Family Place, a shelter for abused women and children, and the Children’s Medical Center of Dallas, the only academic healthcare system in the area dedicated to the care of children.

    He is a member of the Alumni Board at Fisher College of Business and serves on advisory boards at Miami (Ohio) University, Southern Methodist University and the University of Dallas. Denis earned an undergraduate degree in labor economics and management at Ohio State.

    • Open/Close The Excellence in Service Award: Gerard E. “Moe” Modecki (BSBA ’75, MBA ’76)

      Presented to an extraordinary alumna or alumnus who has demonstrated a consummate commitment to service — to their alma mater, in their local community and to humankind.

      Moe ModeckiGerard E. “Moe” Modecki (BSBA ’75, MBA ’76), Assistant Treasurer & Insurance Director (Retired), Marathon Oil Corporation-Houston, Texas

      Moe Modecki spent nearly 40 years in leadership with Marathon Oil, serving in treasury positions in five states throughout the United States and four countries internationally. He retired as the company’s assistant treasurer and insurance director.

      Moe spent more than a decade as a board member for both Oil Insurance Limited and Oil Casualty Insurance, Ltd., where he was chair of the board from 2013 to 2014.

      Upon retirement, Moe and Peggy, his wife of 44 years, relocated from Houston to Columbus, where he has deepened his engagement with Fisher and its students in a number of meaningful ways. He has worked with the Honors Cohort program, served as a mentor in Fisher’s Alumni Undergraduate Mentor Program and is a member of the college’s Alumni Board. He is also a supporter of Ohio State athletics and Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church in Columbus.

      Moe pursued a double major in finance and accounting, earning a BSBA in 1975 and an MBA in 1976.

    • Open/Close The Global Business Excellence Award: Anu Saxena (BSBA ’01)

      Presented to an alumna or alumnus recognized nationally and internationally for significant contributions to business — and for helping to advance the global learning of Fisher students.

      Anu SaxenaAnu Saxena (BSBA ’01), Global Head, Hilton Supply Management

      Anu Saxena is one of the industry’s leading global brand and procurement executives. As president and global head for Hilton Supply Management, she leads the world’s largest revenue-generating global procurement organization focused on the hospitality industry.

      Anu is the Leadership Advocate for Hilton’s Asian & Pacific Islander Team Member Resource Group, which promotes professional development inclusion and diversity within the company. She leads an award-winning Supplier Diversity program that has been recognized by Diversity Inc., WBENC and MBNUSA.

      Anu’s contributions have been highlighted by the Washington Business Journal, which named her to its “40 Under 40” list. In 2018, she was featured on the cover of Lodging magazine as an innovator and disruptor in hospitality.

      As an industry expert, she serves on the board of the American Hotel Lodging Educational Foundation, a foundation developed by the American Hotel & Lodging Association to resupply the industry’s workforce with the next generation of leaders through scholarships and workforce development programs, and DC Safe, an independent nonprofit working to ensure the safety and self-determination for survivors of domestic violence in Washington, D.C.

    • Open/Close The Entrepreneurship Award: Kenneth “Ken” L. Coleman (BSBA ’65, MBA ’72)

      Presented to an alumna or alumnus in recognition of significant contributions to the entrepreneurship community through the development, launch and investment in successful new ventures. This award also recognizes outstanding commitment to the next generation of entrepreneurs.

      Ken ColemanKenneth “Ken” L. Coleman (BSBA ’65, MBA ’72), Chairman, EIS Group

      Ken Coleman is chairman of EIS Group, one of the leading software companies serving the insurance industry. A Silicon Valley pioneer, Ken was the founder, chairman and CEO of ITM Software, an enterprise software company, whose solution focused on the information technology function. Previously, Ken was the chief revenue officer of Silicon Graphics, Inc. Prior to joining SGI, Ken was vice president of product development at Activision. Earlier, he spent 10 years at Hewlett-Packard Company, where he held several management positions.

      Ken serves on the board of directors of Prevedere, Saama Technologies, DHP and Complia Health, and he is special advisor to Andreessen Horowitz Venture Capital Firm and Carrick Capital Partners Private Equity Firm. He is an advisor to Pinterest and CSSA Insurance Group, as well as several other early stage technology companies.

      A past recipient of The Ohio State University Distinguished Service Award, Ken is a member of the university’s Executive Leadership Council and the Dean’s Advisory Council at Fisher. He is on the board of several nonprofits including the National Museum of African American History and Culture and MLT. He also served as a captain in the United States Air Force.

    • Open/Close The Professional Achievement Award: Damon Frost (BSBA ’96)

      Presented to an alumna or alumnus in their early to mid-career who has demonstrated outstanding achievement in business, civic involvement and service to Fisher.

      Damon FrostDamon Frost (BSBA ’96), Beauty Chief Information Officer, Procter and Gamble

      Damon Frost is the chief information officer for P&G’s beauty business. He joined P&G in 1996 and is responsible for the beauty category’s IT needs end to end, including innovation, productivity opportunities and the development of a category-specific digital strategy. Damon was previously responsible for the development and operations of all sales systems, marketing and brand systems, initiative management and business intelligence systems for the company.

      During his tenure at P&G, Damon has had many roles including being on the core team of globalizing P&G email environment, driving the architecture choice for P&G EAI platforms, leading the development of P&G next-generation business intelligence tools and roles in P&G’s business units leading the IT strategy for the coffee business, running P&G’s email, instant messaging, audio and web conferencing, and video collaboration services globally and P&G India CIO.

      Damon currently serves on board of trustees of the Cincinnati-Hamilton County Community Action Agency, the Alumni Board at Fisher College of Business, and he was president of the American School of Bombay’s board of trustees.

      Damon resides in Cincinnati, Ohio, with his wife, Karyn, and two daughters.

    2019 Alumni Awards