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CBA Student, Alumnus and Board Member Are Among 2010 SMEI Award Recipients


Mike Rychka, CBA senior, Ray Leach, CBA alumnus and founder, president and CEO of JumpStart, Inc., and Bill Burke, CBA advisory board member and President of Fire-Dex, have been selected for Distinguished Sales and Marketing awards by the Akron affiliate of Sales and Marketing Executives International (SMEI).  They received their awards on February 16 at the 38th annual Distinguished Sales & Marketing Award event held at Tangier Restaurant.

Rychka received the Jim Butler Exceptional Sales and Marketing Collegiate Award.  A finance major with a minor in sales and marketing who is fluent in Russian, he expects to graduate with his BBA degree in December.  Rychka has three years work experience in sales and sales management and is currently employed at Dr. Pepper Snapple Group.  In October 2009, Rychka placed first in the Fisher Institute for Professional Selling Sales Competition and qualified for the National Sales Competition.

Leach graduated from the CBA with a degree in finance and went on to earn an MBA degree from the MIT Sloan School of Management.  A serial entrepreneur and expert in technology entrepreneurship, Leach has founded five high-growth entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial endeavors in the last 20 years. He created JumpStart, Inc. in 2003.  Leach serves on the boards of the Council of Competitiveness in Washington, D.C. and the Red Cross Blood Services in Northern Ohio.

Burke joined the Marketing Department’s advisory board in June 2008. He has been with Fire-Dex, one of the largest firefighter clothing manufacturers in North America, since 1984 and was named president of the company in 1996. Burke is involved in several other organizations including the boards of the Medina Chamber of Commerce and the Medina County of Bluecoats.  He is also part of the Cleveland Chapter of the World Presidents’ Organization.

Founded in 1935, SMEI is the premiere international organization dedicated to providing a forum for knowledge, growth, leadership and connections for the community of sales and marketing professionals.