2018 Alumni Award Recipients

Alumni and friends of the Max M. Fisher College of Business gathered to celebrate the 2018 recipients of the college’s Alumni Awards.

Created in 1993 to establish an annual tradition of honoring living alumni who personify the college’s legacy of excellence, the awards recognized five individuals for their outstanding achievements, career accomplishments and dedication to their communities.

The 2018 recipients included: Eric L. Lenard CMA, CFM (BSBA ’97, MBA ’97), Nate DeMars (MBA ’11), Stephen D. Milligan (BSBA ’85), Margie (Mendicino) Harris (BSBA ’82) and John B. Gerlach Jr. (BSBA ’76).

Melinda Whittington (BSBA ’89) served as the event’s master of ceremonies, and former Alumni Award recipients Sunil Doshi (BSBA ’94), Judy Tansky (BS ’68, MAcc ’75, PhD ’91) and Paula Bennett (BSBA ’71) presented this year’s awards.

Professional Achievement Award

  • Open/Close Eric L. Lenard CMA, CFM (BSBA ’97, MBA ’97)

    Lenard, Eric 2018 Alumni AwardsEric Lenard is senior director of corporate treasury for Johnson & Johnson, the world’s largest healthcare company and one of the two remaining AAA-rated non-financial firms. In his role, Eric is responsible for leading a best-in-class team supporting enterprise capital structure, corporate forecasting and financing, North America cash management, and enterprise financial risk management. Eric has been with Johnson & Johnson since 2004, holding several financial leadership roles in the company’s vision care, general surgery, and orthopaedics businesses before assuming his current role in 2016.

    Prior to joining Johnson & Johnson, Eric worked at P&G, serving in several roles with increasing responsibilities. He is a 1997 graduate of The Ohio State University where he simultaneously earned his BSBA and MBA in finance. He is a certified management accountant and a certified finance manager. Eric is happily married and resides in New Jersey.

Entrepreneurship Award

  • Open/Close Nate DeMars (MBA ’11)

    DeMars, Nate 2018 Alumni AwardsNate DeMars grew up in northern Wisconsin, received a marketing degree from the University of Minnesota Duluth, and landed in Columbus in 2005, straight out of college, on assignment with Whirlpool Corporation. After four years in the corporate world, he enrolled in the MBA program at The Ohio State University Max M. Fisher College of Business where he launched his business, Pursuit, following an entrepreneurship class project.

    Pursuit is a modern suit store with old-fashioned customer service that launched in 2011 at the South Campus Gateway and re-located to The Short North Arts District in the fall of 2015. Pursuit also operates a unique suit store on wheels, The Suitmobile, and is launching a second location later this year in the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood of Cincinnati. Since launching his business Nate has also spent time mentoring and teaching students at Ohio State about entrepreneurship. He currently serves on the board of directors of the Short North Alliance.

Global Business Excellence Award

  • Open/Close Stephen D. Milligan (BSBA ’85)

    Milligan, Steve 2018 Alumni AwardsStephen D. Milligan is chief executive officer of Western Digital Corporation. He assumed the role of CEO on January 2, 2013.

    Stephen previously served as president and CEO of HGST. During his tenure, he led HGST through a financial and operational turnaround culminating in Western Digital’s acquisition of the company in March 2012. Prior to joining HGST in 2007, Stephen was Western Digital’s senior vice president and chief financial officer. His background includes financial management positions at Dell and Price Waterhouse.

    Stephen serves as board chairman of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group. He is also on the board of directors of The Ohio State Foundation and Ross Stores, Inc. Stephen holds a bachelor's degree in accounting from The Ohio State University.

Excellence in Service Award

  • Open/Close Margie (Mendicino) Harris (BSBA ’82)

    Harris, Margie 2018 Alumni AwardsFor more than 25 years, Margie Harris has worked in HR in industry and consulting, and leading human resource change initiatives. Margie has held leadership positions at several Fortune 500 companies and currently serves as Tellurian’s senior vice president and chief human resources officer.

    Margie is a member of the Fisher College of Business Alumni Board and was recently appointed to the board of directors at The Ohio State University Alumni Association. She also serves on the board of directors of the University of St. Thomas, is a speaker at industry events, and coaches and mentors professionals regarding their career goals.

    Margie holds a bachelor’s degree with honors in finance from The Ohio State University and an MBA with concentrations in finance and marketing from the University of St. Thomas in Houston.

    Margie and her husband, Mark, currently reside in Houston and are proud parents to their son, Payton, who is a student Texas Tech University.

Distinguished Leadership Award

  • Open/Close John B. Gerlach Jr. (BSBA ’76)

    Gerlach, Jay 2018 Alumni AwardsJohn B. “Jay” Gerlach Jr. currently serves as executive chairman of the board of the Lancaster Colony Corporation, a manufacturer and marketer of specialty foods. Prior to this position, he served as chief executive officer from 1997 to 2017. Jay is an active contributor to a number of organizations throughout central Ohio.

    At Ohio State, Jay serves on the Fisher College of Business Dean’s Advisory Council and previously served on the Wexner Medical Center Board, and was the chair of the Ross Heart Hospital board of directors. Jay and the Gerlach family are dedicated supporters of neurology and cardiovascular research, and have contributed generously to Fisher, the Ross Heart Hospital, cancer research, athletics, wetlands research, and the renovation of the William Oxley Thompson Library.

    Jay and his wife Aleusha live in Dublin, Ohio.

2018 Fisher Alumni Awards

The Fisher College of Business Alumni Awards

Professional Achievement Award
Presented to an alumna or alumnus in their early to mid-career who has demonstrated outstanding achievement in business, civic involvement and service to the college

Entrepreneurship Award
Presented to an alumna or alumnus recognized for 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

Global Business Excellence Award
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

Excellence in Service Award
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.

Distinguished Leadership Award
Inspired by Max M. Fisher’s legacy of leadership and dedication to others, the Distinguished Alumni 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.