Co-op Hall of Fame

Jul 24, 2009

Kettering University's next class into the prestigious National Co-op Hall of Fame is Neil DeKoker '67, Russ Ebeid '62, Denise Gray '86, Jeff Henderson '88 and William Wildern '92. The National Commission for Cooperative Education will honor them in mid-October.

Five more Kettering University alumni will be inducted into the prestigious National Co-op Hall of Fame for their professional contributions to industry and technology, their ongoing support of co-op education and their personal commitment to making the world a better place to live and work.  The National Co-op Hall of Fame is a showcase of the National Commission of Cooperative Education, with headquarters in Boston, Mass.

Kettering’s nominees for the new hall of fame class include the country’s high-tech “battery czar;” the CFO of a global medical manufacturing business; a world-class glass manufacturer and philanthropist; a talented entrepreneur whose consulting firm helps companies in transition and one of the most respected members of the automobile supplier industry.

The five honored graduates were nominated by Kettering President Stan Liberty.  Their biographies and photographs will be published in NCCE’s 2009-10 Best of Co-op Annual Guide in mid-October. Kettering’s honorees are:

Neil DeKoker

Class of 1967

Kettering University

Bachelor of Electrical Engineering

Neil DeKoker, founding president and CEO of the Original Equipment Suppliers Association in Troy, Mich., has been a leader in the automotive industry for many years and played a lead role in the development and organization of Saturn Corp. His contributions and accomplishments have been honored in many ways through the years.  He is a Fellow of the Engineering Society of Detroit and is a former “Outstanding Young Engineer.”  Tau Beta Pi named him an “Eminent Engineer” in 1990.  A member of the Kettering University Board of Trustees, he serves on the boards of the Automotive Hall of Fame, the Center for Automotive Research and the Japan America Society of Greater Detroit and Windsor.  He received the 2007 Visionary Leadership Award from the SAE Foundation. 

Russell J. Ebeid

Class of 1962

Kettering University

Bachelor of Electrical Engineering

Russell J. Ebeid is president of Guardian Glass Group and chairman of the board for Guardian Industries in Auburn Hills, Mich., a diversified global manufacturing company and international leader in glass, automotive and building products.  Mr. Ebeid has spent a lifetime giving back to the community.  He is one of the country’s most distinguished Arab-American Businessmen, and he received the National Arab-American Businessman of the Year Award in 2003.  He has been listed in “Who’s Who in America” and “Who’s Who in the World” since 1991.  Mr. Ebeid’s philanthropy efforts provide a means for Arab-American students to complete their college education, and the Ebeid Family Fund provides a model for other Arab-Americans to engage in broader philanthropy in support of educational and cultural services.

Denise Gray

Class of 1986

Kettering University

Bachelor of Electrical Engineering

Denise (Glover) Gray is considered the “battery czar” at General Motors in Detroit and is one of the country’s leading experts on the advanced development, design and validation of battery system solutions for hybrid technologies.  Her role as GM’s director of Hybrid Energy Storage Systems has been featured in national media including “60 Minutes” on CBS.  She is responsible for developing a new generation of batteries that will give an edge to electric vehicles.  Ms. Gray has global responsibilities and oversight for GM’s worldwide hybrid development efforts. Among her positions at GM, she has been director of Transmission Controls and director of Engine and Transmission controller Systems Integration.  Her community service includes being an advocate for Kettering’s Office of Multicultural Student Initiatives.

Jeffrey W. Henderson

Class of 1988

Kettering University

Bachelor of Electrical Engineering

Jeffrey Henderson is the chief financial officer of Cardinal Health, an $87 billion global manufacturer and distributor of medical and surgical supplies and technologies that assist customers on five continents from its corporate headquarters in Dublin, Ohio.  From 2007-2008, he was the interim CEO of Cardinal Health’s Healthcare Supply Chain Services segment. He previously served as president, general manager, vice president, and corporate controller at Eli Lilly & Co.  Mr. Henderson is a former manager of General Motors in Great Britain, Singapore and Canada. He returns to Kettering to speak with students and provide updates on medical technologies.  Along with an Electrical Engineering degree from Kettering, he holds a master’s of Business Administration from Harvard Graduate School of Business.

William J. Wildern IV

Class of 1992

Kettering University

Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering

Master of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering

William Wildern is the founder and chief executive officer of HYDRA Professionals, a Farmington Hills,Mich., turnaround and consulting firm for companies in transition.  He is considered a “rising star” in Detroit by “Crain’s Detroit Business,” which named him to its “40 Under 40 Class” in 2008.  He previously was the managing director of turnaround specialist Resilience Capital Partners and he also worked at BBK, Ltd., as managing director.  He is also a former luxury vehicle planner and manager of strategic planning for advance technology vehicles at GM. He earned two degrees from Kettering, a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and a master’s degree in Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering.  He also earned an MBA at Harvard Graduate School.

Written by Patricia Mroczek