Ferris State University Distinguished Alumni Awards

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Highlights from Spring Reunion held May 9, 2013

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Society of Golden Eagles

The Class of 1963 returned to be inducted into the Society of Golden Eagles.  This was the last class to graduate from the Ferris Institute before we became Ferris State College.

Above and Beyond Award

Above and Beyond Award

SAGC member Kirsten Slack received the John and Sue Bradac "Above and Beyond" Award

Above and Beyond Award

SAGC member Daniel Marsac received the John and Sue Bradac "Above and Beyond" Award

Pacesetter Award


Shaun Phillips is assistant vice president of Clinical and Ambulatory Services at Bronson Battle Creek Hospital. His professional achievements include being selected for the American Society of Health Systems Pharmacists’ Pharmacy Leadership Institute and Pharmacy Leadership Academy, and as the Michigan representative for the Great Lakes Young Leaders in Pharmacy Conference, as well as his election as vice chair and chairman of Trinity Health Pharmacy Council.

Shaun’s civic activities include frequent presentations on medication and medication safety topics for the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi Indians and Burnham Brook Seniors Center of Battle Creek. He also is a board member and elected board secretary for the Regional Medical Laboratory of Battle Creek.

His commitment to his alma mater shows in his work developing the Maude Bigford Scholarship fund, his 2005-06 vice chairmanship of the College of Pharmacy Experiential Curriculum Committee, his active participation in Ferris’ Pharmacy Education Development and Learning Series, and his role as an adjunct professor in the College of Pharmacy.

Shaun’s resume includes a long list of peer-reviewed papers, published abstracts and presentations. He also has earned an MBA from Michigan State University’s Eli Broad Graduate School of Management and is in the process of qualifying for his private pilot license.


Heather Schalk is a clinical pharmacist at Sparrow Health System in Lansing, Mich., and an adjunct faculty member and preceptor at Ferris State University and the University of Michigan. She has given a significant number of presentations to professional organizations, with a special emphasis on the topic of medication and pain management.

Heather is actively involved in the profession of pharmacy. She currently serves as president of the Capital Area Pharmacists Association. Heather brings her expertise in pharmacy to her service of the community, volunteering at Poison Prevention Awareness Day and Lansing City Market Health Awareness Day. She also has helped collect unused medication, which is a growing problem in the state.

The wide range of research and review projects in which Heather has been involved at Sparrow Health System – from statins to electrolytes and Nicotine replacement to adverse reactions – highlights the growing importance of pharmacy practice. As the recipient of the Michigan Pharmacists Association’s Distinguished New Pharmacist Practitioner Award in 2011, Heather is uniquely qualified to be a leader in her increasingly complex profession.


Doug Searles is a senior product manager at Whirlpool Corporation in Benton Harbor, Mich. In that capacity, he has led the company’s most profitable engineering and manufacturing team; improved year-over-year operating profit and market share in a time of industry decline; led a global operating platform project team; and mentored colleagues in leadership development, communication, writing and analytical skills, and career management. Whirlpool has recognized Doug’s achievements by bestowing its Outstanding Performance Award upon him for three consecutive years, from 2008-10, and its Excellent Achievement Stock Award in 2011, among others.

Doug is deeply involved with his community. He volunteers at The Chapel Evangelical Free Church in St. Joseph, leading a study group of more than 100 men, and coaches the St. Joseph American Youth Soccer Organization.

As a student at Ferris, Doug earned many awards for both academics and athletics, and has remained close to his alma mater. Since October 2008, he has served as an advisory board member for the university’s Honors Program. He also has carried on his love of learning, earning an MBA from the Yale School of Management in 2008.

Distinguished Alumni Award

Distinguished Alumni

Through both his business and humanitarian endeavors, Terry Berden, has made a profound and positive impact in and around Traverse City, Mich., where he has lived for nearly 40 years. Terry started his successful business, Grand Traverse Refrigeration, more than 36 years ago. His entrepreneurial spirit led him to found a second company, Great Lakes Stainless, more than 16 years ago. In 2010, Great Lakes Stainless was honored by the Traverse City area Chamber of Commerce as Small Business of the Year and also was named one of Michigan’s 50 Businesses to Watch  in 2011 by Crain’s Detroit Business. In 2010, Berden Enterprises was formed to serve as a management company to his businesses. Terry also partnered with a local businessman to form Healthy Energy Resources, which provides schools with a low-cost heat-exchange unit that promotes healthy classrooms while saving energy. In March of 2012, Berden added a millwork division to Great Lakes Stainless, which created more than 12 new jobs.

In addition to helping his community by creating economic opportunities, Terry supports many charitable organizations. He has served as a board member for the organization Freedom Builders, which helps the disadvantaged through housing assistance projects. He also has served on the board of Goodwill and received the Mary Stanton Award, which recognizes an individual who personifies the spirit and mission of Goodwill. Additionally, Terry has been involved with prison ministries and raised money to support Traverse City area Catholic Schools. On Jan. 25, Terry received a Distinguished Service Award from the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce in recognition of his community service.

Distinguished Alumni

Mike Suman is that rare individual who is an inventor and innovator as well as an entrepreneur. In Mike’s own words, “Inventors dream about a better way. Innovators make the dream a product. Entrepreneurs transform the product into a business.”

Mike has impressive credentials as both an independent businessman and a corporate executive. He is owner of Product and Market Development, LLC, located in Caledonia, Mich., and in that capacity advises corporations on accelerating growth. He has designed, or co-designed, and launched a number of successful products, including iLean flexible shelving and the e-display holder for electronic readers and tablet computers. Besides sharing his business acumen through his company, Mike authored the book “Should Your Idea Become a Business?” and hosts a weekly radio show, “Innovation Talk,” on WGVU. He is a partner and an advisor to the group Start Garden, a $15-million business incubator located in downtown Grand Rapids.

In the corporate world, Mike worked in Engineering and Development for the Oldsmobile Division of General Motors, and served as a vice president of Prince Corporation, and group vice president of Sales, Business Development, IT, PR and Marketing for the automotive division of Johnson Controls, Inc.

Generously sharing his time and experience with Ferris students, Mike has judged innovation competitions on campus, spoken regularly to classes and served on the Business School Advisory Board. He continues in his several years of service on Ferris’ E-Commerce and Marketing program advisory boards.




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