Alumni Hall of Fame
The Barney School of Business has graduated many talented, dedicated, and successful professionals who have made significant contributions to the advancement of the business community. Many Barney School of Business alumni have achieved recognition in business. The Hall of Fame profiles the achievements of prominent alumni to provide a source of inspiration for students, alumni, faculty, and staff of the Barney School of Business.
2021 Alumni Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
2021 Barney School of Business Board of Visitors Alumni Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Reception took place on Thursday, October 28, 2021. This year’s inductees are Ivy F. Zito, CPA, CGMA '78, Former CFO and Co-founder of Encore Optics and Gregory C. Toczydlowski, M'95 Executive Vice President and President of Business Insurance Travelers. The scholarship winners are Makaia S. Almeida ’22, M’23 and Devin M. Kellogg ’22.
Ivy F. Zito, CPA, CGMA BA'78
Ivy Zito began her accounting career working part time at a regional public accounting firm in Hartford while an undergraduate at the University of Hartford’s Barney School of Business. Upon graduating in 1978 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, the accounting major accepted a position on Ernst & Young’s audit staff.
Including her tenure at Ernst&Young, Ivy spent the next half of her career as a CPA in public accounting in the Hartford area with several local and regional CPA firms, including her own practice in Marlborough, Conn. She transitioned from public accounting to private industry as the accounting manager at Dutch Point Credit Union before serving as chief financial officer at QSA Optical Co. and, later, at Encore Optics, both located in South Windsor, Conn.
Ivy’s first retirement was in 2001, when QSA Optical (which was started by her husband in 1979) was acquired by Hoya Vision Care. In 2003, when she and her husband realized they were too young to retire, they founded Encore Optics. Encore was acquired by Nikon Optical USA in a series of transactions from 2008 to 2012, culminating in Ivy’s current (and final) retirement in 2013 and subsequent move to Florida later that year.While CFO at Encore Optics, Ivy achieved the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) credential and was recognized as one of the Most Influential Women in the Optical Industry for her mentoring skills.
Gregory C. Toczydlowski MBA'95
Greg Toczydlowski, executive vice president and president of business insurance at Travelers, is a member of the company’s Operating Committee and Management Committee. He previously served as president of Small Commercial, Business Insurance Technology, and Operations; and as president of Personal Insurance.
Throughout his tenure at Travelers, Toczydlowski has performed many diverse roles. His assignments have included leading within a field office, serving as chief financial officer of different businesses, and leading mergers and acquisition analysis. He has also led product management, systems, underwriting, marketing, and business development functions.
In addition to a Master of Business Administration from the University of Hartford’s Barney School of Business, Toczydlowski earned a bachelor’s degree from Springfield College. He is a member of the board of directors for Hartford HealthCare, the board of overseers at the St. John’s University School of Risk Management, and the board of trustees at Springfield College.
In 2018, Toczydlowski received an honorary Doctor of Humanics degree from Springfield College for giving back to his community and leadership in service to others.
Toczydlowski and his wife, Mary-Jo, have twin sons and live on a farm in Granby, Connecticut.
Past Alumni Hall of Fame Members
Richard B. Belkin BA’56
Richard Belkin is a radio and television broadcasting pioneer. After earning his bachelor’s degree in business at the University of Hartford, he earned a Master’s in Television and Radio Broadcasting at Syracuse University and then served two years in the Army. In the early days of television, he held many roles both behind and in front of the camera.
Belkin eventually became a 40-year broadcast executive who held senior management positions at several media outlets. He was VP and General Manager, WGY/WGFM/WRGB-TV Schenectady, N.Y.; then VP and General Manager, KOA AM/FM Denver; all owned and operated by General Electric. Later he was appointed General Manager of Command Performance Network, a General Electric Large Screen Box Office television network. He also held senior management positions at WNYS-TV, Syracuse, N.Y., at McClatchey Newspapers, Inc. and at Lee Enterprises, Inc.
Among other outstanding accomplishments, Belkin pioneered closed-circuit television and produced the first television program that had viewers vote by phone.
He is currently a producer of the Tony-Award and Olivier Award-winning musical Come from Away.
Girish D. Rishi MBA '92
Girish Rishi is Chief Executive Officer of JDA Software, Inc., a leading provider of supply chain management software and consulting services. Rishi joined JDA in January 2017 from Tyco International, where he was responsible for the firm’s global retail solutions business and North America building automation business.
Previously, Rishi served as senior vice president, Enterprise Solutions for Motorola Solutions, Inc., where in a decade-long career he held positions of increasing responsibility. From 1995 to 2003, he held positions of increasing responsibility at Symbol Technologies, where he eventually led Europe, the Middle East, and Africa region.
Rishi is a member of the Board of Directors of the Arizona Commerce Authority, the state’s leading economic development organization. He is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Insight Enterprises Inc., a Fortune 500 NASDAQ listed company.
Rishi holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Bombay, an MBA from the Barney School of Business, and a Master’s in International Public Policy from the School of Advanced International Studies at the Johns Hopkins University. He lives in Arizona with his wife and two boys.
Charles (Chuck) Seeman is the former president and CEO of United Community & Family Services (UCFS) having retired in 2016 after 21 years in that role. Since 1877, UCFS has provided health and human services to the residents of southeastern Connecticut. Its primary line of service is outpatient healthcare offered through the community health center delivery model providing primary care, dental care, and behavioral health services. Prior to joining UCFS, Chuck was vice president of finance and administration for Helikon Furniture Company, first as an independent organization based in Taftville, Conn., and then in the same role as a subsidiary of Herman Miller, Inc.
Seeman is currently vice chair of the Eastern Connecticut Savings Bank Board of Directors, treasurer of Otis Library, and immediate past board chair of the Southeastern Connecticut Enterprise Region. He has also been board chair of the Eastern Connecticut Chamber of Commerce, president of the Norwich Rotary Club, co-chair of the New London County Health Collaborative, and vice chair of the Community Health Center Association of Connecticut, among many other prominent roles.
Seeman has won many awards through the years, including the Heritage Award from the Legacy Society of the Backus Foundation (2008), Executive Director of the Year from the Eastern Connecticut Social Service Awards (2015), and the Mohegan District of the Connecticut Rivers Council Outstanding Leader Award (2010). In 2016, he was officially recognized and honored by U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney for his work at UCFS.
A longtime respected figure within the University of Hartford, Seeman holds a Bachelor of Science in Management from the Barney School of Business. He was a 2008 recipient of the Anchor Award, the most prestigious honor given by the Alumni Association, and was a member of the Barney Board of Visitors from 1999 to 2010. Seeman and his brother, Bill Seeman ‘77, created the Manfred and Carol Seeman Endowed Scholarship to honor their parents
Charles Seeman and his wife, Susan, have established three other endowed funds in support of the University, the Barney School, and Hillyer College, including the Charles Canedy Beta Gama Sigma Endowment.
Seeman resides in Norwich, Connecticut, with his wife, Susan. One of his two children, Brett, is a 2008 Barney School alumnus.
George A. LaCava Jr. ’60 is the former board vice president of LaCava Construction Company, a home-building group that provided home design services to residents of Hartford, Middlesex, and Tolland counties for over four decades.
LaCava began his professional career while he was an undergraduate student at the Barney School of Business. He worked part time at a midsize public accounting firm, and was promoted to full-time junior accountant after graduating. A few years later, he joined his brothers’ small residential building company, LaCava Construction Company.
LaCava joined the company board, first as controller and later as vice president, and was responsible for all accounting and financial decisions. Over the next 50 years, the growing LaCava Construction Company became a well-respected builder and developer, constructing homes in approximately 30 Connecticut towns, including major subdivisions in nearly two dozen of those communities. In 1970, LaCava Construction Company shareholders formed a partnership, LaCava Equities, and added apartment complexes and an office building to its portfolio.
In addition to his business success, LaCava has also made an impact on his community. He served for several years on the Board of Trustees of Saint Mary Home, which is now part of Mercy Community Health, and was chairman from 1991 to 1994. He was on the advisory board of Liberty Bank and the finance committee of the Home Builders Association of Hartford County. He was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army after serving from 1961 to 1967 with the 76th division, first on active duty and then as an active reservist.
LaCava has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the Barney School of Business, where he majored in Accounting. He has two daughters, one of whom is an alumna of the College of Education, Nursing and Health Professions.
Loic KertanguyLoic de Kertanguy is the Chairman of JB Martin, a textile manufacturing company established in the United States in 1878 and a subsidiary of the Manufactures Jean Baptiste Martin of France; a company started in the early 1800’s by his great, great, grandfather. Throughout his career, Loic has overseen a variety of business development, reorganization, and spin-off activities that have helped the company flourish for over a century.
Loic’s first professional responsibility was to run the firm’s Canadian company from 1972-1981, after a year’s training in the Italian concern. There he held positions of increasing responsibility including Director of Products, Director of Sales, and ultimately President. Later he became President of MR Industries, a diversified manufacturing concern with production facilities in France, Germany and England, from 1990 through 2005.
Loic has been a Director for the last 30 years of Edoardos Martin, a vertically integrated public company in Mexico, which operates textile mills, apparel manufacturing and retail outlets.
A native of Lyons, France, Loic came to the United States to attend college. While at the University of Hartford, he competed in varsity soccer and tennis. He majored in Economics and earned his Bachelor of Science degree from the Barney School of Business in 1969.
Linda Shanley is the Vice President, Regional Chief Information Officer at Trinity Health Of New England, whose anchor hospital is Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center. She joined Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center in 2012. Shanley is responsible for all activities related to information technology, infrastructure, telecommunications, and information systems.
With over 35 years of experience in healthcare, she has led teams of clinicians, IT professionals, and clinical analysts to successfully implement the Electronic Medical Record (EMR) connecting healthcare providers and organizations, and has been influential in creating innovative solutions in a challenging environment. Under her leadership Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center has been awarded the highest award for EMR adoption, “Stage 7”, by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) and has been named “Most Wired”.
Prior to joining Saint Francis, Shanley served as the Chief Information Officer at Stony Brook University Medical Center and as Assistant Vice President of Clinical Enterprise Systems at the University of Connecticut Health Center.
She received her undergraduate degree in medical technology from the University of Connecticut and her MBA from the University of Hartford’s Barney School of Business. Shanley served on the University of Hartford Athletic Development Committee in 2013 and is currently on the Connecticut Hospital Association’s DNS board. She has been a member of the University of Hartford’s Alumni Board for the Executive MBA program. Her daughter, Lisa M. Dickison, is also a graduate of the University of Hartford, receiving a BSBA in management from the Barney School in 2007.
Jonathan Bennett is the Chief Financial Officer & Head of Strategy for Property & Casualty and Group Benefits at The Hartford. As a strategic business partner and trusted financial advisor to the leadership team, he is focused on strategy, profitability and growth of these businesses. Bennett is also a member of the Finance senior leadership team for the enterprise.
Most recently, Bennett was the Executive Vice President of Digital Commerce & Customer Analytics for The Hartford. In this role, he directed all digital strategy and execution for the enterprise, and was accountable for developing customer insights to drive The Hartford’s business direction and growth.
From December 2005 to July 2010, Bennett served as the Executive Vice President of Personal & Small Business Insurance for The Hartford. He was responsible for growth and profit of the auto, home and small commercial business, as well Operations and Product Development for the property and casualty division.
Bennett joined The Hartford in April 1999 as the Staff Assistant to the Chairman and CEO. In March 2000, he was named Vice President of Corporate Development, and subsequently, he led the Property and Casualty eBusiness Ventures team.
In January 2002, Bennett joined the Personal Lines organization to lead the Product Management department. And in April 2003, he was named Senior Vice President, Personal Lines Division, with overall responsibility for The Hartford’s Auto and Homeowners business.
Bennett worked at CIGNA from 1994 to 1999, serving as Vice President and Product Manager in charge of the institutional fund strategy at CIGNA’s Retirement Division. He also held positions in Strategy and Marketing and as a Product Manager for corporate-owned life insurance.
Prior to CIGNA, Bennett worked at Arthur Andersen LLP as an auditor and consultant.
Bennett holds an MS in Accounting from the Barney School of Business and a BA in Economics from Connecticut College. He is also a CPA.
Mark Lieb is Founder, President and CEO of Spectrum Asset Management. Spectrum is a world-leading manager of preferred securities, with over US$19 billion in assets, and is a wholly owned and independently run affiliate and a member of the Principal Financial Group®. Mark was previously a founder of DBL Preferred Management and at Drexel Burnham Lambert.
“A finance class research project was the nexus of my expertise in preferred securities. The knowledge that I gained has never been more timely as favorable risk adjusted returns in preferred securities are quite compelling today in light of global market conditions.”
Debra A. Palermino
Debra A. Palermino (M ’82) has served as Executive Vice President of Human Resources at MassMutual Financial Group in Springfield, MA since April 2010. Palermino joined the company in 2006, previously serving as Senior Vice President of Corporate Human Resources from September 2007 to 2010 and Corporate Vice President of Corporate Human Resources from February 2006 to September 2007. Under Palermino’s direction, MassMutual has successfully implemented a new performance management process, introduced initiatives to provide employees with tools to manage personal health and financial well-being, initiated a career planning and peer mentoring program, and established a robust succession planning process. MassMutual has become an award-winning organization recognized for diversity & equality, including NAFE Top 50 Companies for Executive Women and Corporate Equality Index Best Places to Work. Previously, Palermino served as the Founder and Principal of PAL Associates, LLC, a private firm specializing in organizational consulting. Prior to that, she served as Vice President of Chubb Executive Risk, Inc. and in various human resources management positions at Aetna Inc. In the community Palermino is a member of the Mark Twain House and Museum Board of Trustees, and has served on the board of directors of the YWCA Hartford Region and on the United States Golf Association’s Rules Committee. Palermino earned her MBA degree with a focus on organizational effectiveness from the University of Hartford's Barney School of Business.
David G. Nord
David G. Nord (’79) is Chairman, President and CEO at Hubbell Incorporated. He first joined the company as Senior Vice President of Finance and CFO in 2005. Headquartered in Shelton, CT Hubbell Incorporated is an international manufacturer of electrical, lighting and power products for a broad range of construction, industrial, and utility applications. Under Nord’s leadership Hubbell’s focus on talent development, innovation, and growth have led to the acquisition and integration of more than 30 companies and nearly $1 billion of new revenues over the past decade. The company has operations throughout the Americas, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. Previously, Nord worked for nine years at United Technologies Corporation, serving as Vice President Finance and CFO at Hamilton Sundstrand; preceded by six years in the Corporate office as Controller and Assistant Controller. He has also served as Corporate Controller of The Pittston Company and Senior Manager at Deloitte & Touche.
University of Hartford affiliations include serving on the Barney Alumni Advisory Board, Hawks Athletic Board, and the Barney Board of Visitors. Nord has been the Barney School’s Beta Gamma Sigma academic achievement society honoree in 2003 and 2015. He is also active in professional associations such as the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation and the National Electrical Manufacturers Association. In the community, Nord is on the Board of Trustees of The Bushnell. Nord received his bachelor’s degree with a major in accounting from the University of Hartford’s Barney School of Business.
Thomas O. Barnes Sr.
Thomas O. Barnes Sr. was elected chairman of the board of the Barnes Group, Inc. in Bristol, Connecticut in 1995 after serving as senior vice president since 1993. Barnes is the fifth generation of the Barnes Group’s founding family. The Barnes Group, Inc., founded in 1857, is an international industrial and aerospace manufacturer and service provider, serving transportation, communication, manufacturing, and technology markets.
Previously, Barnes served as president of Olson Brothers, a precision machine parts manufacturer in Plainville, Connecticut. Prior to that, he served in the 1980s as assistant vice president at Connecticut Bank and Trust and vice president for Carpenter Construction. During the 1970s, Barnes worked for Barnes Group’s Bowman Distribution division in Cleveland, Ohio.
Following a long family tradition of public service, Barnes has been a leader in the organizational and philanthropic direction of more than 20 arts, education, and healthcare organizations. He serves as president of the Barnes Group Foundation, Inc., which supports Connecticut organizations involved with arts and culture, education, the environment, health, cancer, youth services, and civic affairs.
Barnes has been the recipient of many service awards. He was inducted into the University of Connecticut School of Business Hall of Fame, received the John J. Filer Award from the Connecticut Council for Philanthropy, the Star of Hope Award from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and the William A. O’Neill Legacy Award.
University of Hartford affiliations include serving as Regent from 1999 to 2008 and membership on the Barney Board of Visitors and the Campaign Steering Committee.
Barnes received his bachelor’s degree in management from the University of Hartford’s Barney School of Business and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Connecticut.
Roger R. Klene
Roger Klene retired in 2013 after 20 years as president and CEO of Mott Corporation, a manufacturer of porous metal in Farmington, Conn. In 2006, he initiated an Employee Stock Ownership Plan or ESOP for Mott and served as its only Trustee until his retirement. When he left Mott, the ESOP had provided a 150 percent compounded return for its employees, something Klene says is the most gratifying accomplishment of his career.
Prior to Mott, Klene was a Manager of Mergers and Acquisitions in an investment fund whose General Partners included Harry Gray, the former CEO of United Technologies. In fact, Klene and Gray had a 35-year business association—from 1974 when Klene joined the predecessor company to UTC until Gray’s death in 2009.
Prior to college, Klene enlisted in the Army in 1967 and became one of the youngest soldiers ever to earn a Green Beret. He is a Vietnam Veteran, having served with a special operations unit (Project Delta), which conducted small-team reconnaissance missions to gather intelligence against the North Vietcong. He received numerous medals and citations during his service.
Klene earned a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and Forensic Science from Indiana University in 1974, a masters in Industrial Psychology and Organizational Behavior from the University of New Haven in 1990, and an MBA from the University of Hartford in 1999.
A member of the University of Hartford's Board of Regents for 15 years, Klene has also served on on the Barney School of Business Board of Visitors for 11 years. He served multiple years on the Boards of Hartford Hospital and the Hill-Stead Museum, was affiliated with the Wadsworth Atheneum, and is a current member of the Academy of Management Executives.
The ceremony concluded with the presentation of Alumni Hall of Fame Scholarships to Margaret Betz ’15 and Robert Meerman M’15, two standout students in the Barney School. Betz is majoring in management and marketing while Meerman is pursuing his master's degree in accounting and taxation.
Lee Ann C. Leahy
Joxel J. Garcia
Evaristo F. Stanziale
Gonzolo G. “G.G.” Pique
Patrick D. Tannock