The 2024 Dr. Frank L. Simonetti


Honoring Distinguished Business Alumni

The annual Dr. Frank L. Simonetti Distinguished Business Alumni Awards is an established tradition originating in 1987. The awards have honored 160 College of Business alumni while raising thousands of dollars for the Dr. Frank L. Simonetti scholarship.

April 19, 2024

  • Doors will open at 7 a.m., and breakfast will be available at 7:30 a.m. The program will begin promptly at 8 a.m. in the Martin Ballroom, located in the Jean Hower Taber Student Union.

Register online More details and parking information

BUSINESS ALUMNI Simonetti Award recipients


Vice President, Operations
Energy Harbor

Dunja Augustin is Vice President of Operations at Energy Harbor, the second largest US non-regulated nuclear fleet energy producer and fully integrated retail energy provider, previously
known as FirstEnergy Solutions (FES), the former competitive subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp.

She began her career at FirstEnergy in 2009 as an Analyst and held various roles at FirstEnergy Solutions until 2019, at which time she led key initiatives related to corporate restructuring,
separation, and establishment of Energy Harbor. She oversees eight operations business units and is also responsible for market expansion and new product development. She played a key role in adding Natural Gas, to Energy Harbor’s commodity portfolio. In addition, she led Energy Harbor’s product development efforts related to Carbon Free Power products.

Mrs. Augustin earned her undergraduate degree in International Business with a minor in Pre-Law and International Politics from The University of Akron in 2006. During her time as an undergraduate student, Mrs. Augustin received the Global Business Scholarship. She dedicated herself to community service activities through Alpha Delta Pi Sorority and she also served as President of the International Business Association.

In 2007, Mrs. Augustin graduated with a master’s in Business Administration from The University of Akron with a concentration in Strategic Marketing and Global Sales Management.

Mrs. Augustin was raised in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Aachen, Germany and moved to the United States as a teenager. She is fluent in three languages. Mrs. Augustin now resides in Akron with her husband Matt, her 7-year-old son Thomas, and her 5-year-old daughter Sofia. As an active and passionate young professional, Mrs. Augustin finds time to give back to the Greater Akron area, a community for which she has a deep appreciation. She is the President of the Board at Embrace Care and Clinic Center, Board Member of the Greater Akron Chamber, Board Secretary of the Women in Energy Ohio Chapter, Ronald McDonald House Board of Trustees, and a Member of the University of Akron Marketing Advisory Board. She enjoys volunteering and giving back to Mason Elementary and United Way of Summit County.


Retired Human Resources Executive

Robert “Bob” Chess is an Akron native and a proud University of Akron graduate. Bob graduated in 1972 with a B.S. degree in Industrial Management. Bob has had a meaningful and rewarding career in the field of Human Resources and Labor Relations, dedicated to the success of organizations and individuals.

Upon graduation Bob joined the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company in the organization’s Management Training Program. Bob’s assignments included staff and management positions in Goodyear’s manufacturing facilities and corporate headquarters. His assignments also included management positions at the Goodyear Aerospace Corporation. Bob next served for 20 years in management positions at Roadway Express where he achieved the position of Vice President Human Resources. He next served as the Chief Human Resource Officer for ACRT Services Inc. in Akron. Following his “retirement” from ACRT Bob accepted a position two weeks later as Director of Human Resources for the Conservancy for the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Bob was also the co-founder and Principal consultant of Leading the Way, a consulting firm focusing on ownership transition strategies for small businesses.

Bob is actively involved in the community and serves as the Chair for the University of Akron College of Business Human Resource/Leadership Advisory Board , Board member and Vice Chair for United Disability Services, Board member Emeritus for the Akron Urban League, HR Committee member for the Conservancy for the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and President of the Trailblazer Volunteer group for the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Previous Board and Advisory roles include Summit Workforce Solutions (Chair), Mount Union College B.E.S.T Program, Akron Public Schools Business Advisory Board, American Red Cross, Kent State University – Center for Corporate and Professional Development , and Time Zero Enterprises.

Bob enjoys supporting our students through mentoring, coaching, participation in student events, panel discussions, career days , and “Prepped, Polished and Ready” events. He is also passionate about assisting others in their job search activities and career planning counseling.

Bob has received recognition including Human Resource Executive of the Year – Crain’s Archer Award in 2017 and the Roger T. Read Advisory Board Engagement Award in 2022.

Bob is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the Human Resource Leadership Group of Northeast Ohio. He enjoys being with his many friends, his woodworking hobby, golf, hiking, biking and most everything outdoors.

Bob and his wife Paula live in Hudson, Their blended family includes eight children and seven grandchildren. Never a dull moment!

Bob is always looking forward to his “what’s next”!


Rubber Division, ACS - Executive Director & CEO

American Chemical Society

The Rubber Division of the American Chemical Society is an international association of chemists, engineers, technicians, scientists, plant managers, sales and marketing professionals and others in the rubber, polymer or related fields. The organization’s mission is to educate, connect and grow the evolving elastomer industry. As Executive Director & CEO, Lakisha is responsible for providing daily operational leadership to the team, as well as serving as a spokesperson, developing partnerships with other organizations and maintaining good communications with the Board of Directors, regional Rubber Groups and the American Chemical Society. She places great importance on meeting with community leaders to create synergies to promote the Division’s mission, vision and core values to strengthen the industry. Her efforts also focus on diversity initiatives to celebrate and bring opportunities to minority groups in the industry, as well as increase awareness of the industry to these groups. To date, outreach has been directed towards women, young rofessionals, students and racial minority groups. Lakisha has been with Rubber Division, ACS since 2007. She served as Director of Finance & Administration and was promoted to Executive Director & CEO January 2020. Her background includes Summit County Children Services, the U.S. Air Force, and owning and operating her own tax and accounting service where she specialized in non-profits. She currently sits on the boards of Boys & Girls Club of Northeast Ohio, Greater Akron Chamber and Fair Housing Contact Services and Friends of Main Library. Lakisha earned her B.S. in Accounting from The University of Akron. A forever learner, she graduated from Case Western Reserve University’s Weatherhead School of Management Executive MBA program in May 2023. She achieved Certified Association Executive (CAE) certification in June 2021. The Certified Association Executive (CAE) credential is the highest professional credential in the association industry and the marker of a committed association professional who has demonstrated the wide range of knowledge essential to manage an association in today’s challenging environment.


Chairman & CEO

Kenmore Construction Co., Inc.

William (Bill) A. Scala, is Chairman & CEO of Kenmore Construction Co., Inc. He earned a Bachelor's of Science in Accounting from The University of Akron in 1975 and later attended its School of Law. In the community, he has served as a board member and chairman of the Board at Archbishop Hoban High School in Akron and as a member of the Foundation Committee at the Interval Brotherhood Home in Akron. Bill has also served on the Summa Hospital Board of Trustees and Akron Children's Hospital Board of Trustees and currently serves on The Akron Children's Foundation Board.

Bill is currently serving as a member of The University of Akron Board of Trustees.

John E. Scheatzle, Jr. ’87

Partner, Howard & O’Brien Executive Search

John is an experienced senior global business leader and board member with over 25 years of business leadership experience in the performance materials and building products industries. He possesses a strong background in operational excellence and specializes in developing strategies that enable niche technology companies to accelerate their growth.

John currently serves on the Harvard Business School alumni board and on the Dean’s advisory board of the University of Akron College of Business. He is also currently the chair of the board of trustees of the Harvard Business School Alumni Club of Northeastern Ohio where he is a past president. John was also recently named to the board of trustees of Global Cleveland. Previously, John served as vice chair of the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. John has been a past member of the United Way of Southern Arizona board of trustees and served as the Pacesetter Campaign chair of the United Way of Cuyahoga County.

John is currently a partner in the executive search firm of Howard & O’Brien. Previously, John was president of Arcadia Custom, a division of DMC Global (ticker symbol Boom) where he was also past president of NobelClad. As president of NobelClad, John was a named corporate officer. Prior to that, John led the North American residential flooring division of Tarkett and has held several business leadership positions at Materion (ticker symbol MTRN).

John enjoys golf, competitive sailing, and long-distance running. He has completed eight marathons and the Leadville 50 twice. John and his wife Christy live in Hudson, Ohio and have two adult sons.