Tag Archive for alumni business

Jones ’78 Named President of SPARTA Insurance

Ralph Jones III '78

Ralph Jones III ’78

Ralph Jones III ’78 was recently named president and chief operating officer of SPARTA Insurance.

An economics major at Wesleyan, he began his insurance career at Chubb and Son, with underwriting positions of increasing responsibility in their offices on both the East and West coasts. Named chief underwriting officer for Europe, he moved to London and later became president of Chubb Europe. In 1999, he was named CEO of Chubb Executive Risk (later Chubb Specialty Insurance).

In 2003, he joined Arch Worldwide Insurance as their CEO and then, five years later, joined Everest Reinsurance Holdings as president and COO. Jones has completed graduate programs at both Tuck School at Dartmouth and Harvard Business School.

Attorney Puzella ’94 Joins Fish and Richardson

Mark Puzella ’94

Mark Puzella ’94

Mark Puzella ’94 joined the law firm of Fish and Richardson in Boston as a principal in its intellectual property litigation group. He will continue to focus his practice on copyright, trademark, false advertising and licensing disputes for clients. Previously a partner at Goodwin Procter, he had recently served as co-lead counsel for Aereo, Inc., in a high-profile copyright case brought by major television networks regarding technology that enables access to over-the-air television broadcast signals and other services.

Attorney Ann Cathcart Chaplin, the litigation practice group leader at Fish, says that the addition of Puzella “will help us build on our momentum in this area” of copyright and trademark litigation practice.

Both The Legal 500 and The World Trademark Review 1000 have named Puzella a leading IP litigator. A history major at Wesleyan, he received his J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law.

Sara Molyneaux ’77 Elected Chair of Conservation Group

Sara Molyneaux ’77

Sara Molyneaux ’77

Sara Molyneaux ’77 was recently elected first female chair of the Trustees of the Conservation Law Foundation (CFL), a nonprofit environmental protection agency for New England.

Molyneaux, who has served on the board since 1998, succeeds Michael Moskow, chair since 2002, and is only the fifth board chair for the 46-year-old organization. In her new capacity, she will help CFL tackle local environmental challenges, such as the impact of recent storms, reducing transportation emissions and building livable cities, creating sustainable food systems and fisheries, and addressing the issue of water pollution in the region.

Molyneaux, described as a “passionate environmental steward” by CLF President John Kassel, was formerly a research chemist for both the Department of Energy and in private industry, working on biomass-to-energy projects, specifically converting agricultural wastes and seaweeds into bio-diesel. She is active in environmental issues, especially land conservation, in her hometown of Dover, Mass. Her projects with the town include mandated recycling, an integrated pest management program for mosquito control, a regional Land Bank home rule petition, and the purchase Wylde Woods.

Molyneaux also serves on the boards of the Upper Charles Conservation Land Trust, Inc., and the Dover Land Conservation Trust. Currently, she is working in conjunction with the CLF to further nutrient pollution abatement in the southern embayments of Cape Cod.

Kuhn ’86 Named CEO of Endurance Specialty Holdings

Jack Kuhn ’86

Jack Kuhn ’86

John “Jack” Kuhn ’86 has been named CEO of global insurance for Endurance Specialty Holdings, Ltd., a Bermuda-based specialty provider of property and casualty insurance and reinsurance.

Kuhn will be responsible for the company’s U.S., Bermuda and international insurance operations. Based in the Bermuda offices of Endurance, his appointment is subject to approval by the Bermuda Department of Immigration.

Kuhn, whose 26-year career in insurance began with Chubb, where he ultimately served as chief underwriting officer for Chubb/Executive Protection, has also built and led specialty insurance operations, both in the United States and internationally. Most recently he was affiliated with Axis Insurance, where, as CUO, he had responsibility for the company’s worldwide insurance operations.

“Jack is a talented and respected insurance leader with a demonstrated ability to build great specialty businesses,” said David Cash, CEO of Endurance. “He brings important experience and perspective to Endurance’s leadership team and we all look forward to working with Jack to grow Endurance’s insurance business into an industry leader.”

At Wesleyan, Kuhn was a history major.

Dirks ’72, Chancellor-Designate, U.C. Berkeley, “Embraces Opportunity”

Nicholas Dirks ’72 (Photo by Eileen Barroso, Columbia University)

Nicholas Dirks ’72 (Photo by Eileen Barroso, Columbia University)

Nicholas Dirks ’72, a College of Social Studies major, and currently Columbia University’s executive vice president and dean of the faculty of Arts and Sciences, was selected as University of California Berkeley’s 10th chancellor, pending a vote on the terms by the U.C. Board of Regents in late November.

Currently Dirks is the Franz Boas Professor of Anthropology and History at Columbia. He is the author of three books on India, including The Scandal of Empire: India and the Creation of Imperial Britain (Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2006). His 2001 book, Castes of Mind, published by Princeton University Press, was honored with Columbia’s Lionel Trilling Award for Best Book in 2002.

Dirks was selected as the top candidate at U.C. Berkeley, after a six-month screening and interview process involving university faculty, students, staff, regents and others.

The U.C. Board of Regents will vote on terms of the appointment at a special meeting in late November. Dirks would begin June 1, succeeding Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau.

In a U.C. Berkley press release, University of California President Mark Yudof said, “Nicholas Dirks is a highly accomplished leader with the sensibilities and knowledge of a humanist, as well as extensive fundraising, academic and administrative expertise.” He added, “I’m confident he will be a great fit for U.C. Berkeley. His global perspective, leadership of diversity efforts at Columbia and experience with both public and private universities will serve him and the campus well.”

Dirks called the appointment “an opportunity I embrace with both excitement and humility.” He has been executive vice president for Arts and Sciences at Columbia since 2004, overseeing Columbia College, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the School of International and Public Affairs, the School of the Arts, the School of General Studies and the School of Continuing Education. Additionally, he led a major diversity initiative for the Arts and Sciences, as well as supporting and expanding programs in international, ethnic, African-American and gender studies.

On his appointment to U.C. Berkeley, Dirks says, “I have immense respect for the countless accomplishments of faculty, students and staff at what I consider to be the premier public research university in the world. I look forward to becoming part of the U.C. community and to contributing all that I can to the further evolution of a campus that is a beacon of excellence, innovation and aspiration for California, the nation and the world.”

Before going to Columbia in 1997, Dirks taught history and anthropology at the University of Michigan, where he co-founded the interdepartmental Ph.D. Program in Anthropology and History and directed the Center for South and Southeast Asian Studies. Prior to that, he had taught Asian history at the California Institute of Technology.

At Wesleyan, he pursued African and Asian studies. He earned master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Chicago in the Department of History, focusing on South Asian history.

Are you a Wesleyan alumnus? For more alumni stories, photo albums, videos, features and more, visit Wesconnect, the website for Wesleyan alumni.

Alumni Donate, Install 2 EnergyPods in Wesleyan Libraries

Emma Gross '15 tries out one of Wesleyan's new EnergyPods in the Science Library Oct. 18.

Emma Gross ’15 tries out one of Wesleyan’s new EnergyPods in the Science Library Oct. 18.

Need a nap?

Newly installed in both Olin and the Science Library are what appear to be lounge chairs enclosed by white spheres of plastic. These sleek, futuristic-looking machines are built for the sole purpose of squeezing in that midday, mid-study power nap—a recharging center for the mind. The EnergyPod, as it’s called, is the brainchild of a company called MetroNaps and the very first of its kind. Donated by co-founders and Wesleyan alumni Christopher Lindholst ’97 and Arshad Chowdury ’98, these pods are designed to create the ideal energy enhancing environment.

The EnergyPod has a 20-minute timer.

The EnergyPod has a 20-minute timer.

“There is a tremendous amount of research that supports the notion that a 20-minute midday nap can rejuvenate people. It improves memory, learning and mood and can boost productivity by up to 30 percent,” Chowdury said in a BBC article prior to the EnergyPod’s release.

Features include a reclined seat to take pressure off the lower back and legs, an adjustable visor that creates a shield of privacy from the outside, and soothing sounds and rhythms acting as relaxing white noise. A built-in 20 minute timer allows for nap goers to wake up with ease to a combination of slight vibrations and ambient lighting.

The workloads and busy schedules of college life can be just as exhaustion-inducing as those of MetroNaps’ usual corporate customers. For Yekaterina Sapozhnina ’16, who has spent a large portion of her past few days finishing up midterms, a few minutes of sheer relaxation after lunch on Oct. 18 was all she needed to make it through her afternoon classes.

The EnergyPods were donated by Christopher Lindholst ’97 and Arshad Chowdury ’98.

The EnergyPods were donated by Christopher Lindholst ’97 and Arshad Chowdury ’98.

“After sitting in the chair and closing the pod, I fell asleep almost instantly. I really didn’t even realize how badly I needed to rest until I sat up and felt much better,” she said. “Everybody should at least try it out.”

According to Nancy Collop in a 2010 U.S. News & World Report article, “Most people don’t get enough sleep. And for those people, a nap will clearly help. The most important factor is duration, and it’s well-accepted that short naps are good.”

In the corporate world, this concept is catching on. MetroNaps’ clientele includes household names such as Google, AOL/ Huffington Post and Zappos.

Bissell ’88 Recognized by Forbes India as Entrepreneur with Social Impact

William Bissell ’88

William Bissell ’88, managing director of Fabindia, is the recipient of a Forbes India Leadership Award for 2012. He received the award for Entrepreneur with Social Impact. According to a recent Forbes India feature, Bissell won the award for “creating a globally recognized, profitable retail brand that has over 22,000 local artisans as its shareholders, most of whom would have lost their livelihoods if it were not for Bissell and Fabindia. And being able to make sure margins are almost three times that of the industry average.”

Bissell’s next goal is to persuade his 16 supplier companies to merge with Fabindia.

“In two to three years, all our employees and suppliers will be shareholders in Fabindia,” says Bissell.

Another Forbes India feature reported that Bissell plans to combat the junk food sold in India. He wants to increase customers’ access to organic fresh food, grown locally.

Forbes says that “he is now looking at expanding the food business on a scale never seen till now in India. Industry grapevine says that he is busy sewing up a deal, that will give him direct access to about 100 acres of agriculture land in Uttar Pradesh. This will not only add more products to the 450 items of organic food that he already sells at Fabindia outlets, but will also see him bring fresh food to the shelves.”

Model Stolz ’05 Lands New Job, Restaurant, Book Deal

Kim Stolz ’05

Kim Stolz ’05 (Photo by the Associated Press)

Former America’s Next Top Model contestant and MTV host Kim Stolz ’05 is no stranger to the world of finance. After receiving her bachelor of art in government with a concentration in international politics from Wesleyan, she worked in equity derivatives at BTIG. Now Stolz has a new gig: a vice president in the equity-derivative sales division at Citigroup.

In addition, Stolz is also opening a restaurant and bar in New York City, along with her co-owner Amanda Leigh Dunn. The Dalloway, named after Virginia Woolf’s novel Mrs. Dalloway, is set to open later this month and will have a “lesbian-implied” theme.

While at Wesleyan, Stolz was awarded honors for her thesis, “The Impact of Exit Strategies of United States Intervention in the Post-Cold War Era.” Her first nonfiction book, Can’t Stop: Why We’re Obsessed with Social Media–And What to Do About It, is scheduled for release on February 26, 2013.

The book, which is currently available on pre-order through Amazon.com, examines the effects of the social media boom on interpersonal and professional communication and the way in which we process information.

“Her whole résumé screams that this is someone that your clients will want to know: Goldman Sachs internship, check,” Patricia Clark wrote in The New York Observer. “Forthcoming book on our collective social media obsession, check. MTV host? HuffPo blogger? SAT tutor? All of that.”

Read more about Stoltz in the Business Insider, The Huffington Post, and The Observer.

Are you a Wesleyan alumnus? For more alumni stories, photo albums, videos, features and more, visit Wesconnect, the website for Wesleyan alumni.

 

 

Freudenheim ’79 Creates App Featuring John Cage’s Piano

Jack Freudenheim ’79

Jack Freudenheim ’79

Musician Jack Freudenheim ’79, working in conjunction with Larson Associates and the John Cage Trust, created an app that allows one to play the sounds of John Cage’s “prepared piano.” It was released in time to celebrate what would have been Cage’s 100th birthday.

An ethnomusicology major at Wesleyan concentrating on South Indian music, Freudenheim remembers reading John Cage’s book, Silence, as an undergraduate in the course “Introduction to Electronic Music” (taught by then-graduate student Nicolas Collins). He still considers reading the book a life-altering experience.

After college, he became a computer programmer—as well as a musician— “and whenever possible I merge the two,” he says.

With recent work for the John Cage Trust together with Larson Associates—a technology group that specializes in working with creative organizations and nonprofits—Freudenheim had a moment of inspiration: “It occurred to me as I was doing another app for the Trust, that it would be great to make a ‘prepared piano’ app, which would let you play the sounds of the prepared piano as John Cage used in some of his famous compositions.”

He approached executive editor of the trust Laura Kuhn, who responded with the utmost enthusiasm. “I thought it was absolutely fantastic, of course. When he told me he was in love with the project, I gave him our blessings.” She also notes that graphic designer Didier Garcia created “a dazzling visual interface,” the photograph montage of elements that appear on the app, which makes use of Cage’s original preparations. “The integrity of the project is very strong. Jack used the actual sounds,” she adds, “and the nuances are delightful. When you tap at the bottom of the box on the screen, it’s a softer sound than at the top.”

Freudenheim acknowledges the project was special. “Creating it has been a labor of love over the past year.”

The app is available for free for iPhone and Android. A larger version for the iPad cost 99 cents. In the week it debuted, it was ranked #5 in the music category on the App Store website.

While Freudenheim was delighted that the app received an enthusiastic welcome, he added that “the real pleasure of this app is to see someone learn about John Cage.”

He didn’t have to wait long to know this was happening: Not 12 hours after Freudenheim’s app was made available in the App Store, he learned that someone in Japan had posted a YouTube video of himself using the John Cage Prepared Piano app to compose a piece on his iPad.

Brown ’85 Joins INTECH in Newly-Created Role

John Brown ’85

John Brown ’85

John Brown ’85 recently joined INTECH as senior vice president and global head of client development, a newly-created role designed to focus on continued client-service excellence. Previously, he was managing director of the sales, marketing and product development team at Hartford Investment Management Company. INTECH is located in West Palm Beach, Fla. with its research office in Princeton, N.J., and international division in London, England. As of June 2012, INTECH had approximately $39.4 billion under management and 80 employees worldwide.

Prior to working at Hartford Investment Management Company, Brown was affiliated with Fortis Investments in Boston, where he was an executive vice president and head of customer service and business development for North America. He began his career at Aetna Capital Management in San Francisco, Calif. and Seattle, Wash. and spent 11 years with Fidelity Investments in both San Francisco and Boston. At Wesleyan, he majored in environmental sciences.

In a MarketWatch report for The Wall Street Journal, Brown said, “I look forward to working with a firm that is so highly regarded by institutional investors and that focuses on investment products that generate alpha [performance exceeding the expected return] within a risk-managed framework. I believe INTECH’s risk-managed pursuit of alpha will become even more important to clients and consultants particularly if markets remain volatile.”

Ambassador Walles ’79 Presents Credentials to Tunisian Presidency

Jacob Walles ’79

Jacob Walles ’79, the new American ambassador in Tunisia, delivered his credentials to the Tunisian presidency on July 24.

A 20-year veteran of the U.S. State Department, Walles has served in a number of posts involving Middle Eastern affairs, including special assistant for the Middle East peace-process in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs. He was also First Secretary at the US Embassy to Israel in Tel Aviv.

Walles previously held the rank of Minister Counselor, and before that he was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs.

A history major at Wesleyan, he holds a master’s degree from the School of Advanced International Studies at John Hopkins University.

Walles notes that he is the second Wesleyan graduate to be Ambassador to Tunisia: Walter Cutler ’53 served as ambassador there from 1982–84.

Roessner ’75 Named Executive Editor of Hearst Connecticut Newspapers

 Barbara Roessner ’75, P’15

Barbara Roessner ’75, P’15

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Barbara Roessner ’75, P’15, was named executive editor of Hearst Connecticut Newspapers, effective Aug. 1. She will be responsible for overseeing all editorial content and initiatives in the company’s four Connecticut dailies (Connecticut Post in Bridgeport, The News-Times in Danbury, The Advocate in Stamford and Greenwich Time), as well as seven Fairfield county weeklies.

Beginning at The Hartford Courant in 1978 as a beat reporter, Roessner later served as chief political writer, opinion columnist, writing coach and deputy managing editor overseeing investigative and enterprise reporting. She was part of the 1999 Courant team that received the Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News, covering the workplace killings at the Connecticut State Lottery headquarters. She also directed investigative and enterprise efforts that were Pulitzer finalists in 2007, 2003 and 2001 and served as managing editor of the newspaper from 2006 to 2009.

A classics major at Wesleyan, she was a Knight Fellow at Stanford University from 2003 to 2004.

Most recently, she served as a strategic communications consultant for educational and non-profit institutions, including Harvard University and the Aspen Institute.

“I’m honored and grateful for the opportunity to get back to doing what I love most—public service journalism,” Roessner said in a company press release.