Class Notes

By Peggy Bolstetter | Spring 2015

From a Mendoza perspective, it was a trifecta: helping those in need, bonding with fellow Domers and using business expertise to take a bite out of a big challenge. In fact, the inaugural round of the Alumni Impact Partners program that launched in May 2014 was so successful, a second round is underway.

Sponsored by the Graduate Alumni Relations Office, the pro- gram invited Chicago-area Mendoza alums, both graduate and undergraduate, to work in teams on long-term projects for three nonprofits: Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago, the Josephinum Academy and Horizons for Youth. Teams were expected to log around 100 hours from May to November.

“The opportunity to bring my skills to bear for an organization that I believe in so strongly, along with other fellow Mendoza alums, was too good to pass up,” said Adam Skibley (BBA ’02), who volunteered to assist Catholic Charities with a strategy to increase corporate engagement and sponsorship.

To accomplish this, Skibley and the other members of the volunteer team had to gain a deep understanding of the organization’s relationships with corporations by crunching data, exhaustively interviewing Catholic Charities board and staff and conducting external competitive benchmarking.

In the end, the team presented to a diverse group of Catholic Charities representatives, including Monsignor Michael Boland, president and CEO of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago.

“Our team devoted hundreds of hours,” Skibley said. “But it was inspiring to meet the people from Catholic Charities and learn how they help so many people every day.”

Christina Raddi Vasta, director of donor relations at Catholic Charities, called the alumni team exceptional. “This experience more than met our expectations,” she said. “Like all nonprofit organizations, we are all working so hard just to maintain our programs that it is difficult to get to the next level. This project helped us understand where our priorities should be, what resources we need to focus on.” 


Eric Biro (MSA, BBA ACCT 2013) has been recognized as a 2014 Excel Award winner and awarded the silver medal by the Illinois CPA Society for achieving the second-highest score on the Uniform CPA Examination in Illinois. The Excel Award is granted to Illinois candidates who achieve a total average score of 90 or more, complete all four parts of the exam within two consecutive testing windows, and are in the top 5 percent of the scores of those who completed all requirements in 2014 on the state exam.

Christian Estrada (BBA FIN) is a sales representative for Nestlé’s Hispanic division and is responsible for managing 22 stores in the greater Los Angeles area. In addition, he continues to manage Custom Elevation, which sells high-quality handcrafted customized wooden and cotton products made by Nicaraguan artisans. The company recently purchased more efficient machines in order to increase production while lowering costs.

Custom Elevation produces several products that carry the Notre Dame logo. It has also secured a licensing deal with Affinity Consultants and is pursuing a standard collegiate license, which will allow Custom Elevation to expand to other universities and colleges.

Tyler Plantz (BBA FIN), a five-year member of the University of Notre Dame rugby squad and a three-year member of the Irish football team, is at the United States Olympic Training Center, Chula Vista, Calif., for the first National Team Olympic Recruitment Camp for rugby.

Tom Restivo (EMBA) was recently promoted to CEO of Gailey Eye Clinic in Bloomington, Ill. In this role, Restivo is responsible for the growth and stability of the business, as well as development of a thriving company culture. 

Kyle Smith (MSB) serves as the director of communications at Frassati Catholic High School in Spring, Texas. Founded in 2013, Frassati Catholic High School serves the families and parishes in the north Houston area of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, preparing students through a robust college-preparatory curriculum rooted in the Catholic faith. ( Smith, along with Katharine Kavanagh (FIN ‘12) and Mason Bashaw (MGT ‘12), is part of the eight-person leadership team that guided the launch of the Houston chapter of Young Catholic Professionals (YCP) in January. Nearly 300 young adults gathered on the University of St. Thomas campus for the event. The national movement has chapters in five cities around the country.

Young Catholic Professionals, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, was founded in Dallas in 2010 to help young professionals connect with one another and maintain their Catholic faith while pursuing demanding careers. The group encourages young adults in their 20s and 30s working in various professions to “Work in Witness for Christ” through free speaker events, networking happy hours and retreats. 


Konrad Billetz (MBA) has been recognized in Forbes“30 Under 30” in Manufacturing for 2015 for his company, Frameri.

Billetz founded Frameri, which manufactures interchangeable eyeglasses that enable its customers to have one set of lenses that can be used with multiple frames. The system allows them to change frames as they change clothes or shoes.

Billetz and Frameri also have been featured in Mendoza Business magazine, CNBC, InStyle, TechCrunch, Inc., and The South Bend Tribune.


Patrick Pierce (EMBA) recently joined Etihad Airways as vice president, marketing. Based in Abu Dhabi, UAE, Pierce leads the company’s sport and entertainment marketing efforts. He previously served as director, Global Marketing and Communications at Aon.


Mike Lenahan (EMBA) recently joined Fairmount Santrol as VP of Industrial and Recreational Products. He is based out of the Benton Harbor, Mich., office.


Aurelio Banda (EMBA) became the president of Beckhoff North American operations (Beckhoff Automation LLC) on Jan. 1, 2015. As president, Banda will oversee all operations at the headquarters of Beckhoff Automation LLC in Savage, Minn.


Patrick Dillingham (BBA FIN) American Born Moonshine was launched by Windy Hill Spirits, a Nashville-based company founded in 2012 by former Notre Dame quarterback Patrick Dillingham and Sean Koffel, a former U. S. Marine Corps captain. The company distills three distinct flavors of moonshine whiskey following the tradition of American moonshiners.

The founders were inspired by family moonshine stories and recipes shared by friends and fellow Marines that grew up in and around the Appalachian Mountains. While starting Windy Hill Spirits and American Born Moonshine, Dillingham and Koffel traveled the Appalachians and the greater South for a year, spending time with families, hearing first-hand accounts of moonshining and bootlegging legends, tasting a lot of moonshine, and developing an appreciation for the role moonshine has played in American history.

Katie Hench (MNA), and her fellow co-founders of Infiniteach, have recently launched Skill Champ, an educational iPad app for children with autism. Skill Champ is based on best practice autism strategies and teaches 10 foundational level skills, including letter recognition and color matching. Each skill can be easily customized based on the needs and interests of each child.

Michael C. Kane (MBA) is the president and founder of Kane Brewing Company, Ocean, NJ. Following several years on Wall Street as an investment banker, Kane opened the company in August 2011. His goal is to bring his interpretation of American-style and Belgian-influenced craft beers to New Jersey.


Markes Wilson (MBA) has accepted an opportunity with ProHealth Physicians ( as director of payor contracting. Wilson and his family recently relocated to Connecticut in support of a new church (Christ Proclamation Church and they are looking forward to being part of a new community.


Steve Haubner (MBA) recently accepted the position of the Illinois Credit Union League (ICUL) assistant general counsel. Haubner will be based in ICUL’s headquarters in Naperville. He will provide a full spectrum of assistance and guidance regarding regulatory and compliance matters to the League’s 315 Illinois-affiliated credit unions. Prior to joining ICUL, Haubner was an assistant attorney general in the Consumer Protection Division of the Illinois Attorney General’s Office.


John Gavigan (BBA ACCT) was recently promoted to senior vice president and CFO for First Financial Bancorp. Gavigan will oversee the finance, accounting, treasury and investor relations teams. Gavigan joined First Financial in 2008 as assistant controller and was promoted to controller in 2011, managing the accounting, external reporting, Sarbanes- Oxley (SOX), tax and loss share areas.

Tim Keller (BBA FIN) was recently sworn in as the New Mexico State Auditor after being elected in November 2014. In New Mexico, the auditor is an executive branch state-wide elected official responsible for the oversight of more than 900 state agencies and local governments. The auditor also conducts special investigations of potential cases of fraud, waste and abuse. Previously, Keller served as majority whip in the state Senate where he focused on government reform, transparency and accountability. and


Michael Dudkowski (MBA) Towers Watson, a global professional services company, has appointed Michael Dudkowski to provide investment services from its Pittsburgh office. These services include risk assessment, strategic asset allocation, investment manager research and selection, and outsourced chief investment officer (OCIO) services. Dudkowski previously was a managing director with Wilshire Associates investment consulting division. 


Brian Marshall (MBA) was recently promoted to partner at William Blair & Company. Marshall, who has been a financial advisor with the firm for 20 years, works with multigenerational families customizing asset management.


Michael P. Bailey (MBA) was recently appointed president and CEO of AVEO Oncology. He has also been elected to its board of directors. Bailey joined AVEO in 2010 as its chief commercial officer. In 2013, he was named chief business officer.


Scott Malpass (MBA, 84), vice president and chief investment officer at the University of Notre Dame, has been awarded an honorary doctoral degree from the University of Portland. According to Portland’s announcement, Malpass, who will receive the honor during undergraduate commencement ceremony May 3, “is responsible for investment of the university’s endowment, working capital, pension and life income assets totaling some $10 billion. He and his staff closely partner with the most sophisticated investment management organizations throughout the world, which has allowed the Notre Dame endowment to achieve top-tier investment performance over both short- and long-term time periods.”  


Stephen M. (Steve) Spellman (BBA ACCT) has been promoted to CEO of Midwest Dental Support Center (MDSC). Spellman was named president of the organization in 2013.


John Bowie (BBA MARK) has been promoted to chief operating officer for Arby’s Restaurant Group Inc. Bowie, who previously served as senior vice president of operations, joined Arby’s in 2013 and has a tenured history of more than 20 years in the restaurant industry. He was previously president of U.S. operations for Church’s Chicken, where he was responsible for all aspects of Church’s domestic business. Additionally, Bowie has held senior operations and marketing roles with Friendly’s Ice Cream Corp. and Wendy’s International Inc.


Michael Ortman (BBA MGT) has been selected as chair of the board of directors for The Arthritis Foundation. Ortman has served on the board of the national organization since 2011, and is the immediate past chair of the Arthritis Foundation’s Mid-Atlantic region.

Stephen Riney (BBA ACCT) has been appointed executive vice president and CFO for Apache Corp. Riney joins Apache following a career at BP PLC, where he worked following the merger with Amoco in 1998. Most recently, Riney served as the CFO for BP exploration and production and oversaw all accounting, business development, planning and commercial operations for the upstream segment.


Roy Bixby (BBA MARK) was recently promoted to director of HR plant operations and labor relations at MillerCoors. In this role, Bixby will deliver HR strategies and services across all MillerCoors plants and breweries, and provides thought leadership in the development of organization- al capability through effective change management, talent management, employee relations and performance management.

Anne Talluto (BBA FIN) has rejoined Mercer’s Chicago office as a partner and senior client manager. Talluto is responsible for growing and strengthening client relationships in the greater Chicago market. 


John Chestnut (BBA ACCT) has been appointed vice president, solutions and services for SPS North America, the business process out- sourcing and digitization solutions provider. Chestnut will be responsible for leading the solutions and services group. In his new role, he will be tasked with the design, implementation and management of cutting-edge and innovative solutions for prospects and clients.

Bob Golic (BBA MGT) has been selected by The Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) to be included in its Circle of Champions. The OHSAA Circle of Champions honors individuals who had a prominent role in the history of Ohio interscholastic athletics. Golic was a standout football player and wrestler at Cleveland’s St. Joseph High School, where he won the state championship as a heavyweight wrestler in 1975. He went on to the University of Notre Dame, where he helped the football team win a national championship in 1977 and earned All-American honors in both football and wrestling. Golic spent 14 seasons in the NFL. He owns Bob Golic’s Sports Bar and Grille in downtown Cleveland.


John Veihmeyer (BBA ACCT) has been appointed to the Financial Accounting Foundation (FAF) Board of Trustees. The FAF is the independent, private-sector organization responsible for the oversight and support of the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB).


Tim Demarais (BBA) is the vice president of sales and marketing for Abro Industries.What began as a summer job following his graduation from Notre Dame turned into a successful career in international sales for Demarais. He has spent more than 40 years developing the Abro private label into a $200 million international sales organization that does business in 184 countries.


Bernie Van Etten (BS Commerce) and his wife, Sharon, recently attended a brunch in Marco Island with Ara Parsegian and his wife, Katie. Van Etten’s company, Galloy & Van Etten, furnished the granite for the statue of Ara Parsegian being carried off the field by his players, which is located on the west side of the football stadium. Van Etten’s stone company also supplied the granite for the Leahy, Krause, Devine and Holtz statues. Galloy & Van Etten is a family owned business that was established in 1899. 

Future Domers

Beth Barrett Lai (MNA ‘13)husband Clarence and big brother Holden welcome Wolff Ching Lai, 02/12/15. 

In Memoriam

Denis Berry (BS Commerce) passed away at home on January 21, 2015, in Glendora, Calif. Berry, who was born in Chicago, graduated from Corpus Christi High School, in Galesburg, Ill., and received a BS in Commerce from the University of Notre Dame in 1956. In 1957, Berry married Carol Lea (Timberlake), who survives.

Following two years in the United States Army, Berry began his career in sales and marketing. He and his family moved to Glendora, Calif., in 1969, where he worked at Rain Bird Sprinklers Manufacturing Corp. until his retirement in 1989.

In retirement, Berry volunteered as an ombudsman for long-term care pa- tients and an AARP tax preparer for senior citizens. He enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren, traveling, playing cards, and grilling the best Fourth of July ribs in Los Angeles County.

Rumor has it that he also occasionally paced in the front yard during the final minutes of Notre Dame football games.

In addition to his wife, Berry is survived by two sisters, four children, fourteen grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

A Mass will be celebrated at Notre Dame for Berry by the Holy Cross priests from his ND56 Classmates.

Joseph Kortan (BS Commerce), 83, passed away Dec. 6, 2014. He is survived by his wife, Diane, five children, nine grandchildren and two siblings. He was preceded in death by a son.

When Kortan wasn’t driving Ferraris and Lamborghinis in Northeast Ohio, he was putting around the world on a 125cc motorcycle for months at a time. Kortan, owner of the exotic car rental firm Motor Cars Masculine, and his wife took more than 20 international cycle trips, encountering more than their fair share of adventures. Along the way, they were attacked by hundreds of bees in India, took underground shelter from 120-degree heat and blinding sandstorms in Tunisia and survived an overnight kidnapping and robbery in Bolivia.