August Class Notes

We welcome announcements of new jobs, promotions, board positions, marriages and family additions. Please visit our online submission form to share your news. You can also use this form to request your copy of the Whitman biannual magazine via email rather than in print. To update your address or contact details, please visit


BlackshearMichael Blackshear ’91 was recently named SVP and Global Chief Compliance Officer at Ryan Specialty Group(RSG), an international specialty insurance organization that provides solutions to brokers, agents, and insurance carriers with operations in North America, United Kingdom, and Europe. Blackshear, a longtime former member of the Whitman Management Department Advisory Board and highly engaged alumnus of Syracuse University, received the 2019 Dean’s Citation for Exceptional Service.

Kurt vom Scheidt ‘84: Chief Product Officer, OANDA

Kevin Zerrusen ‘99 MBA: Senior Advisor to the Chairman for Cybersecurity Policy, SEC

Alex J. Nitka, CPA ’07 MBA:Tax Partner, Dannible & McKee, LLP

Chris Ramirez ’18 MBA: Head of Business Development, KCI LLC


Elisbeth Dwyer ’06and her spouse, Benjamin Taylor, welcomed a baby girl, Georgiana Taylor, on June 21, 2019. In addition, Elisabeth was appointed to the Syracuse University Alumni Association Board of Directors for a two-year term as of July 1, 2019.

Marley Cohen Tannenbaum ’08and her husband, David, welcomed their first child, Zachary Ryan, on July 11, 2019.

Jeff Kryger ’09 MBAmarried Stacey King onboard the Anthem of the Seas cruise to Bermuda on June 16, 2019.


Gerald L. Friss ’53 of Thousand Oaks, Calif., passed away on July 22, 2019 at the age of 88.


R. Kraft Bell MBA ’72, PhD ’79 retired in 2018. He valued and applied his SU MBA & PhD throughout his career as a recognized strategist and trusted CXO advisor, facilitator, coach, business developer, and consultant on Digital Business Transformation-focused on business, change strategy, and digitization, including disruptive business models, design thinking, and iterative digital solutions. Led, researched, and advised on 15 successful enterprise-wide transformation/change efforts in USA, Europe and Japan. For example, led the Ford large-scale change effort that resulted in 50 percent improvement in quality, significant reductions in cost ($1.2 billion per year), and a dramatic decrease in development cycle from 7 to 4 (then under 3) years—an effort recognized as one of only two “large companies [that] had actually succeeded in fundamentally changing their culture” on page 169 in The Lords of Strategy by Walter Kiechel III. Founded strategic change firms. Created WorkFrames change, process design, and problem-solving business software. Developed integrative, digital, business-led IT approach for strategy-aligned business results.