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2015 Spirit of UDM: Alumni Achievement Award Honorees

April 28, 2015

University of Detroit Mercy will host its 2nd annual University-wide celebration Spirit of UDM: Alumni Achievement Awards on April 17, 2015. The event honors distinguished alumni from each college and school with a special award.

This year’s recipients include:

College of Liberal Arts & Education

Brian D. Cloyd ’73, ’76
Vice President, Global Corporate Relations, Steelcase Inc.

During his 36-year career with Steelcase Inc., the Grand Rapids-based global leader in the office furniture industry, Brian D. Cloyd ’73, ’76 has distinguished himself as a corporate leader and champion of positive personal, community and corporate relations.

In his current position as vice president of Global Corporate Relations, he is responsible for coordinating Steelcase efforts in the areas of diversity, government relations and public policy, corporate relations, community giving and volunteer programs. He also works with the environmental team to support Steelcase’s sustainability strategies.

School of Law

The Honorable Anthony J. Fiorella, Jr. ’61, ’66
Retired Housing Court Judge, Civil Court, City of New York

A distinguished and highly respected jurist, The Honorable Anthony J. Fiorella, Jr. ’61, ’66 served as a judge of the Housing Court in the Civil Court of the City of New York from 1988 until his retirement in 2013. Recognized for his notable decisions in a wide variety of civil cases concerning landlord and tenant issues, he is a strong advocate for the establishment and maintenance of housing standards. More than 85 of his judicial decisions have been published in the New York Law Journal.

College of Business Administration

John C. Kennedy ’79
President and CEO, Autocam Medical

Nancy G. Kennedy ’83
Quality Analyst, Autocam Corporation

In 1988, John purchased Autocam Corporation and served as president and CEO until August 2014, when he sold much of his interests, maintaining only majority ownership of Autocam Medical. Under his leadership, Autocam had grown to an international family of businesses, including manufacturing, graphics, retail and real estate, with 13 facilities on four continents, 2,000 employees and more than $300 million in sales.

Nancy currently holds the position of quality analyst at Autocam Corporation. Through the years, the Kennedys have been active in numerous civic and community organizations. They have focused much of their service and philanthropic efforts on educational institutions in western Michigan, where they live, including Grand Valley State University, Aquinas College and West Michigan Center for Arts and Technology. John also co-founded both Grand Rapids University Preparatory Academy, a 6th through 12th grade college-prep school, and the AMP (Advanced Manufacturing Partnership), which provides work/study opportunities for young adults. Nancy served on the Grand Rapids Diocesan Finance Committee and was recently named to the Meijer Gardens Foundation Board of Trustees.

College of Health Professions

Jeanette Wrona Klemczak ’65
Retired Chief Nurse Executive, State of Michigan

As chairperson of the Michigan Nurses Association Political Action Committee, Jeanette Wrona Klemczak has been an influential representative of the nursing profession on healthcare at the local, state and national levels. Recognized for her innovative problem-solving skills and strong support of nursing education, she successfully led the Michigan Nursing Corps in securing additional state funding to address the growing nursing shortage.

School of Dentistry

Walter Knysz, Jr., D.D.S. ’75
Chairman of the Board, UnifiedSmiles

Knysz is recognized for creating a dental practice management company, UnifiedSmiles, which provides financial and administrative service to more than 200 dental offices throughout the country. Since founding UnifiedSmiles in 2012, he has provided independent dental practitioners with access to obtain exclusive purchasing power, networking and professional and staff development tools. Prior to UnifiedSmiles, Knysz founded MIDA Dental Plans and Great Expressions Dental Centers in 1982.  MIDA focused on providing high-quality dental service to individuals, businesses and unions in a managed care environment, was sold in 1996.  Great Expressions was developed as a dental practice management company, which provides business people to handle the financial and administrative aspects of running a dental office, allowing dentists and hygienists to focus full-time on patient care. Under Knysz’s leadership, Great Expressions, based in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., successfully grew to more than 200 dental offices in seven states with about $275 million in annual revenue and recognition by Inc. Magazine as one of America’s fastest-growing private companies.

College of Engineering & Science

Dr. Derrick M. Kuzak ’73, ’74, ’76
Retired Group VP, Global Product Development, Ford Motor Company

After a distinguished 33-year career with Ford Motor Company, Derrick M. Kuzak ’73, ’74, ’76 retired in April 2012 as group vice president of Global Product Development. In this position, which he had held for six years, he led a team of 18,000 designers, engineers and technicians located in eight centers in the United States, South America, Europe, Asia and Australia. Under Kuzak’s direction, his team was responsible for the styling, design and engineering of all Ford vehicles globally. With an understanding of customer needs in each market and emphasis on advancements in innovative electric vehicle technology and fuel efficiency, Kuzak and his team led Ford to unprecedented heights in global product development systems, parts and platforms.

School of Architecture

Steven M. Pagnotta ’74, ’76
President & CEO, Bradford Companies

Steven M. Pagnotta ’74, ’76, a Chicago-based retail developer, relied on his business expertise, his understanding of the Chicago economy, and his ability to identify professionals with integrity and tenacity when he established Bradford Real Estate Companies in 1987, during one of the most difficult real estate markets in history. Pagnotta earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Architecture from University of Detroit. After graduating, he moved to Chicago and worked as an architect for seven years at two different firms. He eventually moved to a large national real estate development company, where he gained the experience and knowledge of regional retail centers that led to his founding to his companies, where he is currently president & CEO.

The Spirit of UDM: Alumni Achievement Award was established to recognize the University’s distinguished graduates, from each of its colleges and schools, who have excelled in their chosen profession, demonstrated outstanding leadership in their work, and benefited the wider community through their support. Award recipients reflect the University’s mission of excellence and service and bring pride to their alma mater.

Spirit of UDM

Spirit of UDM

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