Published 03/04/13

Three alumni, now CEOs, receive awards at annual Leadership Weekend

Three years ago, one Bryant alumnus left his role as a vice president at Bharti Airtel, one of the top five mobile service providers worldwide in terms of subscribers, to found his own company.

Another began as a temp worker earning $5 an hour at his company. Now, he’s the CEO.

A third left a three-decade career at a Fortune 100 manufacturer. He finds time to indulge in some competitive trap shooting when he’s not running his current company – a $.8 billion revenue business.

These exceptional Bryant alumni, along with three others, were honored March 1 in the Heidi and Walter Stepan Grand Hall of the George E. Bello Center for Information and Technology of Bryant University. More than 130 people attended this year’s Alumni Achievement Awards ceremony – part of the 7th annual Alumni Leadership Weekend.

The winners, described above, included:

  • Eric R. Handa ’97, co-founder and CEO of AP Telecom, was recognized with the Young Alumnus Leadership Award – an honor reserved for those who graduated within the last 15 years and have demonstrated innovative and responsible leadership and outstanding personal achievement.
  • Mirghavamaddin Bozorgmir (better known as Amir Lear) ’83 MBA, CEO of Mutual of America Capital Management, was selected for the Distinguished Alumnus Award for the Graduate School of Business.
  • Joseph F. Puishys ’80, CEO of glass products manufacturer Apogee Enterprises Inc., was chosen for the Distinguished Alumnus Award.

“Business in Beijing, Bogota, or Brisbane is very different. Yet, with a Bryant pedigree you’re well prepared and able to solve complex issues, and succeed in the workplace and in life,” said Handa. “Bryant has many amazing programs that focus on specific individual global growth and I am very proud to say that I am a product of Bryant.”

Also honored Friday were Diane (Zordan) Wardyga ’77 and Alan Wardyga ’77 ’84 MBA with the Nelson J. Gulski Service award. Their many good deeds and volunteer service to Bryant over the years have made a tremendous impact.

“While I have seen the campus change, a campus and a community like Bryant isn’t just about the buildings...it’s about the people. And, over the last 40 years, I’ve been involved with some wonderful people,” said Alan Wardyga.

President Ronald K. Machtley took special note of the faculty members who, he said, are “at the heart of what we do.” This year, communication professor Wendy Samter, Ph.D., was awarded the Distinguished Faculty Award for her personal concern and commitment to students.

“Investing in the future generation through education is not only a moral obligation but a necessity for a vibrant economy,” added Lear in accepting his award. “Thank you for the award, but thank you more for giving me the education I needed 30 years ago.”