Kettering alums named to NCCE Co-Op Hall of Fame

Sep 2, 2003

For most people who read "People" magazine and "Esquire," the individuals nominated by Kettering President James E.A. John for the National Commission for Cooperative Education (NCCE) 2003 Co-Op Hall of Fame are relatively unknown, yet their contributions to U.S. industry have helped shaped the fields in which they work and touched the lives of millions of people throughout the country.

For most people who read "People" magazine and "Esquire," the individuals nominated by Kettering President James E.A. John for the National Commission for Cooperative Education (NCCE) 2003 Co-Op Hall of Fame are relatively unknown, yet their contributions to U.S. industry have helped shaped the fields in which they work and touched the lives of millions of people throughout the country. One look at the companies these individuals lead makes people suddenly realize who is behind the organization's success. This is why they have been named to this year's National Co-Op Hall of Fame. They are:

F. James McDonald '44, retired president of General Motors Corp.;

  • Marissa Peterson '83, executive vice president of World Wide Operations and chief customer advocate for Sun Microsystems Inc. of Palo Alto, Calif.;
  • Thomas G. Plaskett '66, managing director of Fox Run Capital Associates of Irving, Texas;
  • Stan O'Neal '74, president and chief executive officer of Merrill Lynch & Co. based in New York City; and
  • Charles L. Sargent '59, president of Quality Boats of Fort Myers, Fla.

The Hall of Fame induction class of 2003-2004 will be featured in the "Best of Co-op" guide, published by NCCE later this year. To read more on the NCCE, go to:

F. James McDonald '44
Career Highlights

F. James McDonald retired as president of General Motors Corp. Under his leadership, the company reorganized American Vehicle Operations, which helped GM to compete in a global market. During his presidency, GM also established a living document that included six mandates that identified quality as the top operating priority.
Biographical Statement
Following graduation from St. Andrews High School of Saginaw, Mich., in 1940, McDonald enrolled at Kettering/GMI as a co-op student sponsored by the Saginaw Malleable Iron Plant. He graduated from Kettering/GMI in 1944 and served in the Navy as an engineering officer assigned to the submarine service. Following the war, he returned to his position at GM and progressed through the company ranks. In 1955 at the age of 32, GM named him plant manager of one of the company's largest foundries in Defiance, Ohio. His steady rise through the company continued and included general manager positions at the Hydra-matic, Pontiac Motor and Chevrolet Divisions in 1963, 1969 and 1972. He went on to receive an appointment to the board of directors and made executive vice president of the Truck, Body and Assembly, and Electrical and Mechanical Components Groups, with overseas operations also becoming part of his responsibilities. Shortly after this appointment, he won the top post as president and chief operating office in 1981, succeeding Elliot "Peter" Estes, a 1939 graduate of Kettering/GMI. In retirement, McDonald served on four boards for major companies and was chairman of William Beaumont Hospital of southeast Michigan from 1993-1997. He is also a member of Kettering's President's Council and received an honorary doctor of Engineering from Kettering in 1988.

Stan O'Neal '74
Career Highlights

Stan O'Neal is the CEO of Merrill Lynch in New York City and the highest ranking African American on Wall Street. He began his career as a student sponsored by General Motors at Kettering/GMI. He has served as vice chairman of the Securities Industry Association, as a member of the Capital Markets Advisory committee of the New York Stock Exchange, and as a director of the NASDAQ Stock Market. He is 20th on "Fortune Magazine's" 2003 listing of "The 25 Most powerful People in Business." "Fortune," "Newsweek," and several other leading magazines have featured him on their covers over the past several years.
Biographical Statement
Stan O'Neal earned his bachelor's degree in Industrial Administration in 1974. He received his MBA in Finance from Harvard University and joined the General Motors Treasury Department shortly thereafter. In 1986 he received an appointment as director of Investment Banking at Merrill Lynch and has since held a number of senior management positions at the firm, including president and chief operating officer; president of the U.S. Private Client Group; chief financial officer; and co-head of Global Markets and Investment Banking. In the July 22 issue of "Fortune," the cover story, titled "The 50 Most Powerful Black Executives in America" states that what clinched O'Neal's position as CEO at Merrill Lynch was his leadership of the firm's brokerage house. His civic activities include serving on the boards of the National Urban League, Ronald McDonald House of New York, Catalyst and the Buckley School. He also serves on an advisory council to the Bronx Preparatory Charter School of New York. In 2002, he received an honorary doctor of Management from Kettering.

Marissa Peterson '83
Career Highlights

Marissa Peterson is executive vice president of Worldwide Operations and chief customer advocate at Sun Microsystems Inc. of Palo Alto, Calif. She emigrated from the Philippines in 1978 after winning a GM Fellowship to attend college and was one of the youngest graduates in the history of Kettering/GMI. Early in her career, she was part of the initial team for Saturn. She was named among 100 of the Most Influential Women in Business in 2003. During her career with Sun, she has won the President's Excellence Award, as well as the Silicon Valley Tribute to Women and Industry.
Biographical Statement
Marissa Peterson earned her bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering from Kettering/GMI in 1983 and her MBA from Harvard University. After serving on the initial team of Saturn, she became a management consultant at Booz, Allen, and Hamilton, and then joined Sun in 1988 as a commodity manager. Peterson has won several honors and recognitions during her career, including the YWCA "Top Women In Leadership" Award, the Kettering University Management Achievement Award, and she has given back to her alma mater by endowing the Peterson Scholarship for students at Kettering who demonstrate academic excellence and financial need. She is also on the University's board of trustees and takes an active role in helping to ensure the school's future through an array of activities. Additionally, Peterson is a board member of Covisint, Lucile Packard Children's Hospital of Stanford, Calif., and a member of the industry advisory council for Stanford University's Alliance for Innovative Manufacturing. She is also involved in the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, the Fremont Homeless Shelter, and City of Fremont Youth Leadership Council.

Thomas G. Plaskett '66
Career Highlights

Thomas G. Plaskett is the principal and managing director of Fox Run Capital Associates, a private consulting firm focused on general management advisory services for emerging companies and Corporate Governance advisory services for both public and privately held companies. He has also served in executive roles in the airline industry, including American Airlines, as senior vice president of Finance and chief financial officer, and is widely known in the industry as the father of airline frequent flyer programs, which spawned loyalty programs in virtually every consumer market. He has been a trustee of Kettering University in Flint, Mich., since 1986, and served as chairman of the board of trustees from 1999-2001; presiding director of RadioShack Corp. of Fort Worth, Texas; and a director of Smart & Final Inc. of Los Angeles, Calif., Novell Corp. of Waltham, Mass., and Alcon Inc. of Fort Worth, Texas.
Biographical Statement
Thomas G. Plaskett earned his bachelor's degree in Industrial Engineering from Kettering/GMI in 1966 and his MBA from the Harvard Graduate School of Business in 1968. His post-graduate career began in 1968 with the Chevrolet Division of GM in Flint, Mich., as general supervisor of the Industrial Engineering Dept. Subsequently, he moved into the financial arena and joined the GM Treasurer's staff in New York City. In 1974 he joined American Airlines in New York as assistant controller for Budgets and Financial Analysis. He was promoted through the ranks at American and in 1976 was appointed chief financial officer for the corporation, responsible for all corporate finance functions. In 1980 he was named senior vice president of Marketing for American Airlines. In 1986, he became president and CEO of Continental Airlines and under his leadership helped the organization merge four airlines into one of the largest U.S. carriers. In 1988, he became chairman, president and CEO of Pan Am Corp. in New York and built a management team that restored the company's brand value and competitive position in the airline industry. After the tragic terrorist attack on Pan Am Flight 103, he led the company through a difficult reorganization. From 1992 to 1994, he was director, interim president, CEO and acting CFO for Greyhound Lines Inc., based in Dallas, Texas, and from 1994-1999 served as the company's chairman of the board. He is also a strong supporter of Kettering University and is a member of the institution's President's Council, which is a group of individuals and corporations that provide contributions to the school in support of the Kettering University brand of education.

Charles L. Sargent '59
Career Highlights

Charles "Bud" Sargent is president of Quality Boat Lifts Inc. of Fort Myers, Fla. In 1963 Sargent was one of the founders of Thetford Corp., the world wide leading manufacturer of sanitation and plumbing system products for recreational vehicles. He is a member and past member of numerous boards of companies and organizations, including trustee for Kettering University, director of the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association, member of the National Sanitation Foundation Corporate Industry Forum, and an elected trustee to the Ypsilanti Lincoln School Board.
Biographical Statement
Charles Sargent earned his bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering from Kettering/GMI in 1959 and his MBA from Harvard Business School in 1962. He began his career with General Motors AC Spark Plug Division in 1962 as a reliability engineer. A year later, Sargent, along with his brother Ronald (class of 1955) and father Frank, established the Thetford Corp. He served as chairman and CEO from 1974 until 1995. An inventor and product designer, he holds numerous U. S. and foreign patents. He has been a director in the First of America Bank in Ann Arbor, Mich., Kalamazoo, Mich., and Tampa, Fla. Other business directorships include Stirling Power Systems and Thermasan Corp. Sargent also served as president of Barton Hills Country Club in Ann Arbor, Mich., in 1987. He has been an active supporter of Kettering through membership in the President's Council and funded the development of the "Sargent Lounge" in Kettering's Connie and Jim John Recreation Center. He has also won several awards for career achievement, including the Harvard Business School Club of Detroit Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 1981, the Kettering/GMI Alumni Association Entrepreneurial Achievement Award in 1987, and the Kettering/GMI Alumni Association Engineering Achievement Award in 1999.

Written by Gary Erwin
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