Krannert dinner to feature alumni awards, keynote from Martinez

September 27, 2012  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Krannert School of Management will honor five Purdue University alumni during its 12th annual Leadership Speakers Series dinner Oct. 11.

J.R. Martinez, a wounded Iraq War veteran and actor, will give the keynote address.

The awards and recipients are:

* Krannert Business Leadership Award to Michael J. Birck, a member of the Purdue University Board of Trustees. Birck, who earned a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering in 1960, is executive chairman of Tellabs Inc. He was president and CEO of Tellabs from 1975-2000, when he became chairman. He was CEO again from 2002-2004.

* Distinguished Alumni Award to Brad Hintz, equity research analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein. He earned a bachelor's degree in industrial management from Krannert in 1971.

* Distinguished Service Award to Mary Slater, a consultant for Shell Oil Co.'s downstream management consultancy. She earned a bachelor's degree in 2003 and an MBA in 2005. She runs Shell's Purdue recruiting team.

* John S. Day Distinguished Alumni Academic Service Award to Michael R. Baye, the Bert Elwert Professor of Business at Indiana University's Kelley School of Business. Baye, who earned a master's degree in 1981 and a doctorate in 1983 from Purdue, has held visiting appointments at Cambridge, Oxford, Erasmus University, Tilburg University and the New Economic School in Moscow.

* Burton D. Morgan Entrepreneurship Award to Shawn Taylor, founder of Family EATS, the largest African-American-owned Taco Bell franchisee with more than 30 stores in the Houston area. He also is a part owner of the Houston Astros. He earned a bachelor's degree in accounting in 1982.

Martinez, 29, who was crowned "Dancing with the Stars" champion in 2011, is a sought-after motivational speaker whose message is about resilience, optimism and making the most of every situation.

He joined the U.S. Army in 2002 and was sent to Iraq in 2003. Less than a month into his deployment, a Humvee he was driving hit a land mine. Three other soldiers with him were ejected, but Martinez was trapped inside. He suffered smoke inhalation and burns over more than 40 percent of his body. He spent 34 months recovering at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas, where he underwent 33 surgeries.

Martinez also has been an actor, playing an injured Iraq War veteran on ABC TV's "All My Children."

He graduated from the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities in 2008 through Florida State University. Purdue is one of eight U.S. universities participating in EBV, which was created at Syracuse University's Whitman School of Management in 2007 to teach participants principles of entrepreneurship and small-business management.

Martinez was named the 2012 disabled veteran of the year by the Disabled American Veterans organization.

Tickets for the dinner are available to the general public for $100 per person, $75 of which qualifies as a charitable deduction. Net proceeds from the event go to Krannert undergraduate and graduate scholarships. Specially priced tickets are available for Purdue students, faculty and staff.

To reserve tickets for the dinner, contact Melissa Evens, Krannert associate director of special events and EBV, at 765-494-4392, More information about the Leadership Series and this year's event is available at

Writer: Judith Barra Austin, 765-494-2432.

Source: Tim Newton, Krannert director of external relations, 765-496-7271,

Note to Journalists: Media interested in covering the event should contact Tim Newton, Krannert director of external relations, at 765-496-7271, Videotaping and audio recording of the event will not be permitted.

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