Outstanding Alumni Honored


1.) Mary Ellen George-Hess (’80, BBA, Hotel & Restaurant Management), Alumni Achievement Award. Mary Ellen, known to most people as Meg, is senior vice president of sales for HRG, a worldwide business travel company. Previously, she worked for BCD Travel, an affiliate of American Express Travel, where she helped expand operations to 100 countries around the globe, and was part of the launch of the online booking fulfillment program that helped double its size. Meg lives in Frisco, Texas, with her husband, Barry, where they enjoy skiing and travel with their children Dylan, Ivy, Hailey, and Griffen.

2.) Mauro G. Gregorio (’99, MBA) Alumni Achievement Award.

After beginning his career as a chemical engineer, Mauro chose Northwood's DeVos Graduate School as a path to a successful business management career. He advanced to the position of chief executive officer at Dow Corning Corp. and business president of Dow Consumer Solutions. He is currently on his third assignment in Midland, and credits his wife, Cinthia, as his strongest supporter.

3.) Michael D. Abbondanza (’99, BBA, Marketing & Management) Alumni Leadership Award.

In 2008, Mike and his partner Bill Newton founded Newton Motor Group, a privately owned company in Tennessee that has grown to include two Nissan stores, a Ford store, and a Chevrolet store. In 2016, the company was named the Autobytel Dealer of the Year, and earned the 2016 Top Workplace Award by “The Tennessean” magazine. Mike and his wife, Karen, a 2001 Northwood grad, live in Gallatin, Tenn., with their daughters Molly and Lucy, and together they've been instrumental in helping to establish an alumni chapter in Nashville.

4.) Grant E. Baidas (’10, BBA, Management & Entrepreneurship) Young Alumni Award.

As the third generation of his family to work for General RV Center, the nation's largest familyowned recreational vehicle dealer with 11 locations in five states, Grant was a natural choice to revolutionize the company’s online presence. He is director of Internet and E-Commerce Operations, with accomplishments that include a new, integrated smartphone app and enhanced web department that is 10 times its original size. Grant lives in Plymouth, Mich., where he enjoys golfing, boating, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.

5.) Admiral Robert A. Chapman (’03, BBA, Management) Alumni Service Award.

After a distinguished career in the U.S. Navy, Robert looked to Northwood for a career “kick-start.” Upon graduation, he worked for the U.S. Department of Justice for 20 years. In 2005, he was asked to manage the legal team that prosecuted Saddam Hussein in Iraq. He supervised 40 staff members, and recalls that as a team they accomplished every goal they set, and everyone was brought home safely. Robert, his wife, Maria, son Hayden, and daughter Kayla Grace live in Arlington, Texas, where he enjoys scuba diving, running, and reading.