B&E inducts four into 2013 Roll of Distinguished Alumni

October 28, 2013
2013 Distinguished Alumni
2013 Roll of Distinguished Alumni inductees: David Woodrum, Robert Robinson, Jerry Black and Robert Reitman

Homecoming Week at West Virginia University is a dynamic time of year, where the campus is alive with enthusiastic students, alumni, faculty and staff. Events and activities abound throughout the week, and one could argue that the Mountaineer Spirit is especially strong during this time.

But throughout the hustle and bustle of Homecoming, the College of Business & Economics (B&E) has made one thing perfectly clear: it is important to stop, recognize and celebrate the outstanding alumni who have left B&E to launch successful careers in areas like business, government and academia.

Although the College has launched countless of such fruitful careers, some alumni have truly risen to the top. For these, the prestigious B&E Roll of Distinguished Alumni was formed in 2011. The 2013 inductees Jerry Black, Robert “Bob” Reitman, Robert “Bob” Robinson, and David Woodrum were inducted in a ceremony at the Erickson Alumni Center on October 18.

“The depth and breadth of the successes of B&E continues to amaze me,” said Jose “Zito” Sartarelli, B&E Milan Puskar Dean. “This year’s inductees are evidence of highly successful people who have contributed greatly not only to the business world, but also in capacities where they enrich the people around them. These four gentlemen show us that they have been successful in a number of ways, and they are truly fantastic examples and inspiration for students at our business school.”

Black, a 1982 accounting graduate, is senior executive vice president for Aeon Co., Ltd. Based in Japan. Not only is he responsible for the overall strategy of the Aeon group companies, but he also serves as the group Chief Information Technology Officer and CEO for the group’s digital businesses and head of all group marketing functions. Aeon’s 2013 estimated revenues are expected to exceed $65 billion USD.

“At WVU, I was fortunate to receive a great education and character values. People come first. I learned that here,” said Black, a Kingwood, W.Va., native. “I would like to thank all of you for the opportunity I had to get a great education- and for the unplanned destinations,” he said to the crowd of B&E faculty, staff and administration.

Reitman, a 1955 accounting graduate, is a prominent figure in the Cleveland-area nonprofit scene. Before he retired, he served as the CEO of The Tranzonic Companies in Pepper Pike, Ohio. He is also a renowned nonprofit consultant and philanthropist whose reach has been widely felt throughout the Cleveland area and his alma mater, including his support of the Corporate Social Responsibility program at B&E.

“I’m proud to have my name linked to the accomplished, loyal and generous alumni who have added value to this College,” Reitman told the crowd. “I was most fortunate that I decided to pursue accounting at B&E. It launched me into the most satisfying career path. The path has not been linear, but it has been interesting and has brought me success over the past five decades.”

Robinson, a 1969 marketing graduate, is broadly known throughout the Wheeling, W.Va. area and the Ohio Valley for the highly successful automotive group that bears his family name, of which he is President. The Robinson Auto Group now includes three separate dealerships encompassing nine automotive brands. He is also well known for his community efforts, including the Community Foundation for the Ohio Valley, YMCA of Wheeling and service as a girls basketball coach at Wheeling Central High School.

Robinson spoke of attending WVU to initially pursue his father’s dreams- not his own. He said he often thought to himself,

“What’s in it for me?” It may have taken time, but eventually the answer was clear to him. “What’s in it for me? Everything. This University has been everything to me,” Robinson told the crowd.

Woodrum, a 1964 economics graduate, is chairman and president of Woodrum, Inc., a national acute and ambulatory care management and consulting company. His career has covered a broad spectrum of health care administration, turnaround management and revitalization experience. He served as president of The Monongalia General Hospital in Morgantown, as well as hospitals in Saudi Arabia and Texas. He has extensive operating and consulting experience in numerous foreign countries. He, as his fellow inductees did, stressed the importance of hard work.

“In business, you’re paid with two coins,” Woodrum said to the crowd. “One with cash, and one with experience. In getting the experience, you’ll find the cash may follow.”

Although all members of the three classes of Roll of Distinguished Alumni inductees took different paths to get where they are today, have held varying positions and had varying experiences, they all have one thing in common: All paths began at B&E.