Bulldog Reunion Weekend

Aug 22, 2008

It's time to reunite with old friends, relive old memories and celebrate professional and personal achievement, as 50-plus years worth of engineering alumni return to Kettering University for Bulldog Days Reunion Weekend.

The school’s name may have changed but the mascot is the same. The Bulldog classes of 1988, 1983, 1978, 1973, 1968, 1963, 1958, and 1957 and earlier will celebrate their anniversary years at the Kettering/GMI Bulldog Days Reunion Weekend Sept. 5 through 7.

Sponsored by the Kettering University Alumni Association, the Bulldog Reunion brings alumni back to campus to honor outstanding achievement of individual alumni and to reconnect with the campus.

This year the weekend also features tours of the Flint Cultural Center, an alumni Author’s Corner, a Golf Outing at Atlas Valley Country Club, Greek house receptions, and a Soap Box Derby on Chevrolet Ave. -  part of the current student body’s “Up ‘Til Dawn” fundraiser for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.

The highlight of the weekend is the Bulldog Days Alumni Reunion Dinner featuring the Golden Circle 50th Anniversary class and recipients of Alumni Awards, presented by the Alumni Association each year. Awardees are nominated by other alumni for professional excellence and outstanding service.

The alumni awardees for 2008 are:

Distinguished Alumnus
John G. Middlebrook ‘64, GM vice president of Global Sales, Service and Marketing Operations, Detroit, Michigan, will be honored with the Distinguished Alumnus Award recognizing specific and exceptional career achievement, traditionally given to people at the highest level in the corporate structure.

He previously served as GM vice president of Marketing and Advertising and general manager for Vehicle Brand Marketing for GM's North American Operations.

Middlebrook began his GM career in 1959 at Oldsmobile. In 1967, he moved to the Pontiac Motor Division, where he continued to advance, eventually being named zone manager for Pontiac's Washington, D.C., zone. After serving as director of Passenger Car Planning for the General Motors Worldwide Product Planning Group, he returned to Pontiac as director of Car Distribution, Sales Analysis, and Strategic Planning, and then was named assistant general sales manager, Merchandising and Operations, for the division.

After serving as vice president in charge of sales, service and marketing for Saturn Corporation, he was elected a GM vice president in charge of the Marketing and Product Planning Staff. He was named to his current position in 2004.

A native of Lansing, Michigan, Middlebrook holds a bachelor's degree in Engineering from Kettering University/General Motors Institute, and a master's degree in Marketing from Michigan State University.

Middlebrook is a former chairman of the Detroit Area Boy Scout Council Board and received MSU's Outstanding Alumni award in October 2000.

Management Achievement
Derica W. Rice ‘88, vice president and chief financial officer of Eli Lilly and Company, Indianapolis,Ind., will be honored with the Management Achievement Award recognizing a specific contribution with a positive and lasting effect in the field of Management.

Rice is a member of the Eli Lilly Policy and Strategy Committee and the Operations Committee.  He had served as vice president and controller since 2003. He joined the company in 1990 as an international treasury associate, and has held various assignments as a sales representative, manager of Global Financial Planning and Analysis for the Medical Devices Division, and Global Planning manager for Pharmaceuticals. In 1995, he became finance director and chief financial officer for Lilly Canada.  In 1997, Rice was promoted to executive director and chief financial officer for European Operations based in London.  He was named general manager of Lilly United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland in January 2000.

Rice received a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Kettering University in 1988 and a master's degree in Business Administration in 1990 from Indiana University.

He serves as a member of the Boards of Directors for Target Corporation, Clarian Health North and The Center for Leadership Development. He also serves as a member of the Indiana University Board of Trustees and the Board of Governors of the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

Engineering Achievement
Grace Lieblein ‘83, Global  Vehicle chief engineer-Front Wheel Drive Trucks for the Product Development organization for General Motors, Lansing, Mich., will be honored with the Engineering Achievement Award recognizing a specific contribution with a positive and lasting effect in the field of Engineering. 

Most recently Lieblein was the Global Manufacturing System Implementation leader for General Motors North American Engineering. She also served as manager of Vehicle Development and Technical Operations - Engineering Centers for the GM Desert Proving Ground in Mesa, Arizona.

Lieblein began her GM career in 1978 as a co-op student at General Motors Assembly Division in Los Angeles, Calif.  She soon became superintendent of Manufacturing with the Buick-Oldsmobile-Chevrolet Group inWarren, eventually being appointed director of Validation and Test at Lansing Automotive Assembly Division.

Lieblein received a bachelor's degree in Industrial Engineering from Kettering University in 1983 and a master's degree in Management - Materials/Logistics from Michigan State University in 1987.

Lieblein serves as the Key Executive of New Mexico State University GM college relations team and board member for Hispanic Initiative Team and Women’s Affinity Group. She is also a champion of the GM “Women in Engineering” initiative and recognized as one of the top 50 businesswomen in the United States by Hispanic Business magazine, and recipient of the 2004 Professional Achievement Award from the Hispanic Engineering National Achievement Awards Conference.

Engineering Achievement
Donald Parker ‘75, principal, Vehicle Engineering Practice, Exponent Inc./Failure Analysis Associates, Farmington Hills, Michigan, will be honored with the Engineering Achievement Award recognizing a specific contribution with a positive and lasting effect in the field of Engineering.

Exponent Inc./Failure Analysis Associates is a multidisciplinary organization of scientists, physicians, engineers and business consultants. In his role at Exponent Inc., Parker has served as a consultant for CTS CarTopSystems and as a technical engineering consultant in technical investigations, analysis of automotive vehicle systems and structures, product design issues, crashworthiness and accident reconstruction in support of product liability, intellectual property and other litigation.

His work includes evaluating the design, development, manufacturing and assembly processes for automotive systems and components, including design and performance of vehicle body structural and glazing components, computer modeling and simulation of vehicle structures, design and testing of automotive products for compliance toUnited Statesand foreign regulatory safety requirements, and accident reconstruction and analysis. Parker’s research further extends to assessing the use of alternate materials such as composites and structural foams in vehicle structures, and analyzing the engineering design of various other consumer products.

Previously, he served as chief engineer for Pininfarina of North America in Troy, Michigan, in automobile styling, design, engineering and manufacture.

Parker received a bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering from Kettering University/General Motors Institute in 1975 and a master's degree in Mechanical Engineering from Oakland University in 1980.

Outstanding Alumnus
Michael Burns ’75, retired chairman of the board, CEO and president of the Dana Corporation, will be honored with the Outstanding Alumnus Award recognizing specific and exceptional career achievement.

Prior to Dana, Burns was president of General Motors Europe. His 34-year General Motors career began with various positions in Operations, Engineering, Administration, and Sales before he moved to GM Singapore in 1981 as operations manager for Delco Electronics. In 1985, he joined the GM Treasurer's Office in New Yorkand was subsequently promoted to director, Overseas Financial Analysis, in 1987. After a series of promotions, he was named GM vice president and general manager of Delphi Delco Electronics Systems in 1996.

Burns earned a bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering from Kettering University/General Motors Institute in 1975 and a master's degree in Business Administration from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1979.

A member of the Board of Trustees of Kettering University, Burns is also a member of the Business Council, Business Roundtable, National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). He has also served on the supervisory board of Adam Opel AG, and the board of directors of Saab Automobile AB, ACEA (European Automobile Manufacturers Association), and the Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce.

Entrepreneurial Achievement
Ernest Schaefer ‘68, president of Campus Village Properties, will be honored with the Entrepreneurial Achievement Award recognizing a specific contribution in organizing, managing and assuming the risk of business or enterprise.

Currently president and sole owner of Campus Village Properties, Schaefer began the real estate development, management and construction company in 1996. The company has $80 million in assets, 76 employees and more than 2,475 rental units at more than seven locations, including the Campus Village complex adjacent to Kettering on Chevrolet Ave.

  Prior to Campus Village Properties, Schaefer founded the Multi-Family Real Estate Portfolio.

Schaefer began his career at General Motors, serving as plant manager at three different facilities, director of Manufacturing Engineering and Manufacturing manager, eventually retiring as program manager for Full and Mid-Sized Vehicles in 1996.

Schafer earned a bachelor’s degree from Kettering University/General Motors Institute in 1968 and an MBA from Wright State University in San Diego, Calif., in 1972.

His civic involvement includes serving as treasurer for Rotary International, chair of the Boy Scouts of America Fund Drive in San Fernando Valley, chair of the United Way Drive at the GM Tech Center, board of directors for the Manufacturing Association of California, scholarship selection committee for Sigma Chi at Kettering University and member of SAE and the Rochester Michigan Chamber of Commerce.

Human Relations
Diana Tremblay ‘82, General Motors North America vice president of labor relations, Detroit, Mich., will be honored with the Human Relations Award recognizing a graduate who has rendered significant contributions inspiring unity at Kettering University.

She is currently responsible for developing labor strategy for GM North America operations, negotiating and implementing labor agreements with unions in Canada, Mexico, and the United States. Most recently Tremblay was executive director, Labor Relations – UAW. She began work at General Motors as a college co-op student at Central Foundry in Defiance, Ohio, in 1977.  She held manufacturing and engineering positions with GM’s Powertrain division at Defiance and Toledo, Ohio, and Pontiac and Saginaw, from 1983 to 1996.  She was appointed to Executive for Manufacturing in the Automotive Components Group in 1990.  She has also served as director of labor relations for the corporate labor relations staff in Detroit. 

In 2000, Tremblay began an international service personnel assignment as Manufacturing director, Luton, at Vauxhall Motors Limited in the United Kingdom, and, in 2002, she was appointed plant manager, Opel Belgium, in Antwerp. 

Tremblay received a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Administration from General Motors Institute/Kettering University in 1982 and a master’s degree in Management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1990.

Civic Achievement
Benjamin A. Gibert ‘85, senior pastor and CEO of the DetroitWorldOutreachChristianCenterChurch, will be honored with the Civic Achievement Award recognizing significant and unselfish contributions of time and effort that benefit the community. As part of his ministry, Gibert founded the “Men of Valor” bible study group, with satellite groups forming nationwide and internationally.

Prior to becoming senior pastor and CEO of the 3,500-member multicultural church in the Detroit Metropolitan area, Gibert served as the chief program engineer of Minivans for the Daimler Chrysler Corporation. He began his career with Daimler Chrysler in 2003 as director of Program Management for the Truck Group. Gibert’s career also includes directing Product Development on the Lincoln Mercury line, Sales and Marketing with Saturn and directing Analysis and Development for Cadillac inFlint.

Gibert has been recognized as a General Motors Fellowship recipient in 1988, nominee for Black Engineer of the Year in 1992, a Ford Capstone Leadership participant in 2001 and recipient of a Lifetime Learning Doctorate for Business Management Leadership from Ashwood University in 2006.

Gibert earned a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Kettering University/General Motors Institute in 1985 and a master’s degree in Business Administration from Stanford Graduate School of Business in 1990. He also earned a master’s degree in Manufacturing Systems Engineering from Stanford Graduate School of Engineering in 1991.

Alumni Service
Albert Jordan ’61, a retired General Motors executive and registered professional engineer, will be honored with the Alumni Service Award recognizing outstanding volunteer service to Kettering University.

Jordan earned a bachelor’s of Industrial Engineering in 1961, from Kettering University/General Motors Institute, and a master’s degree in Business Administration from Olin School, Washington University at St. Louis, in 1970.

Jordan has served as a board member on the Kettering/GMI Alumni Board and has assisted with Admissions efforts at the University and the Technology Award given to high school seniors statewide.

Involved in his community, Jordan is a board member of the Kiwanis Club of Traverse City, and member and docent for the Dennos Museum, a member of the Economic Club of Traverse City, and chairs the Guidance Council of the Manufacturing Technology Academy, CTC/TBAISD.

Young Alumni
Kyle Schwulst ’02, founder and CEO of ElectroJet Incorporated in Brighton, Mich., will be honored with the Young Alumni award recognizing a graduate (of the previous 10 years) who has rendered significant contributions, exhibited outstanding character, or has achieved marked success in such areas as Alumni Service, Human Relations, Civic, Engineering, Entrepreneurial, Management or Outstanding Achievement.

Schwulst holds five U.S. patents, three of which are for the ElectroJet technologies.  He also holds two global WIPO patent applications and has filed patents in China and India. Schwulst grew ElectroJet from a pole barn to a burgeoning engineering office in Michigan that is taking its products to the global market.  He secured funding from a Department of Agriculture SBIR, the Automation Alley pre-seed fund, and the Michigan21st Century Jobs Fund.  

ElectroJet currently employs seven people and has plans to expand to meet customer demands.  Schwulst is currently brokering a deal to assist in sponsoring the 2008 Beijing Olympics through donating ElectroJet EFI systems for use on motorcycles used in and around the Olympic games. He hopes to make ElectroJet a household name in the Asian Pacific region while still creating great jobs in Michigan.  

Prior to Founding ElectroJet, Mr. Schwulst held positions in Product Development, Research and Development, and Manufacturing with Visteon Corporation, and Ford Motor Company.

Schwulst earned a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Kettering University in 2002. He is a board member of GLIMA Livingston County and is active in the entrepreneurial community within Michigan.

For more information about the Bulldog Alumni Reunion Weekend, visit http://www.kettering.edu/alumni/bulldogdays_reunion_weekend.jsp.

Written by Dawn Hibbard