UMSL celebrates 5 alumni at annual Salute to Business Achievement Awards

by | Apr 25, 2022

Dean Joan Phillips presented the awards to alumni Joe Eimer, James E. Jordan, Susan O'Leary, Jay Plaskett and Peter Racen at a reception last Thursday.
2022 Salute to Business Achievement honorees Jay Plaskett, James E. Jordan, Peter Racen, Susan O'Leary and Joe Eimer

(From left) Jay Plaskett, James E. Jordan, Peter Racen, Susan O’Leary and Joe Eimer were honored as the 2022 recipients of the Salute to Business Achievement Awards. (Photos by Steve Walentik)

Friends, family members and fellow alumni of the University of Missouri–St. Louis College of Business Administration gathered last Thursday to honor five UMSL graduates with Salute to Business Achievement Awards.

The annual awards presentation and reception, hosted by the UMSL Alumni Association and UMSL Business Alumni Chapter, drew an audience of more than 50 people to the Century Rooms in the Millennium Student Center.

“Tonight’s program is designed to honor the outstanding accomplishments of our alumni from the UMSL College of Business Administration,” said Stan Anderson, president of the UMSL Business Alumni Chapter. “Each year we recognize graduates of UMSL Business who have demonstrated exceptional contributions to the university, their professions and our community. Our awardees were carefully selected by the leadership of the College of Business and the Alumni Association’s College of Business Alumni Chapter. Tonight, we honor their success and welcome them into the Salute to Business Circle of Excellence.”

Delta Sigma Pi Scholarship Key awardees Adam Terry, Isaac Gomez and Hunter Jurotich and Dean Joan Phillips

Dean Joan Phillips (at right) presented Delta Sigma Pi Scholarship Awards to UMSL students Adam Terry, Isaac Gomez and Hunter Jurotich.

Anderson shared some of the career achievements of alumni Joe Eimer, James E. Jordan, Susan O’Leary, Jay Plaskett and Peter Racen as he called each one of them to the front to accept their awards from Dean Joan Phillips. They each took turns sharing memories of their time at UMSL and how the lessons they learned have served them in their careers.

Each honoree has been added to the Salute to Business Circle of Excellence, which includes 77 recipients of the award.

Read more about this year’s awardees:

Joe Eimer, BSBA 1992, is senior director of IT for Charter Communications in St. Louis. He has worked for Charter in the IT Department for 14 years, holding leadership positions in ERP data analytics, application development and program management. Prior to joining Charter, his career spanned corporate IT, consulting and technology startups. Eimer serves on the UMSL Information Systems & Technology Advisory Board as past president, is a curriculum advisor, evaluates capstone projects and gathers feedback from graduating seniors. He is also a supporter and advocate for STL Youth Jobs, an organization that helps at-risk St. Louis youth with their summer jobs.

James E. Jordan, BSAcc 2001, DBA 2020, has more than 22 years of experience with the federal government and has spent the past 18 years at the United States Department of Agriculture in Rural Development, Farm Service Agency and the Office of Inspector General. He currently serves as the director of the United States Program Assistance Division, where he oversees all operational, programmatic and policy aspects of loan and grant servicing for all program, field and state office staff. He is participating in the 2022 IRS/Treasury-wide Senior Executive Service Candidate Development Program and has been the recipient of numerous awards including the prestigious USDA Abraham Lincoln Honor Award, where he received department-wide recognition for outstanding contributions to the USDA.

Susan O’Leary, BSBA 1988, is a director at Armanino LLP, leading the Business Outsourcing Services franchise and ecommerce inventory niche for the firm. She began her career in public accounting focused on audit and corporate tax. Her passion for working with closely held companies led her to Wallis Companies, where she held roles of continuous progression, including vice president of finance. After 16 years with Wallis, O’Leary left to serve as CFO for Total Hockey, now Pure Hockey, and then CFO at Concourse Sports, before joining Armanino LLP. She is a trusted advisor, recognized for her retail, ecommerce, warehousing and distribution experience; leadership skills; and emotional intelligence, with an intuitive ability to ask the right questions. Clients rely on O’Leary to identify, direct and implement structures, policies, procedures and programs to drive strategic outcomes. She is a past recipient of the Most Influential Business Women Award from the St. Louis Business Journal and a member of the American Institute of CPAs and the Missouri Society of CPAs. Throughout her career, she has served on several boards, including the UMSL Accounting Advisory Board and the Missouri Society of CPAs.

Jay Plaskett, BSBA 2000, is a principal leading the Municipal Trading area at Edward Jones and is responsible for ensuring and providing execution of clients Equity, Fixed Income and Unit Investment Trust orders. Plaskett joined Edward Jones in 2000 as a trader, handling a variety of corporate bond sectors and other taxable fixed-income investments. He spent almost 10 years at the Edward Jones Tempe Campus in Phoenix, expanding and leading the tax income trading area. In 2014, Plaskett returned to St. Louis to lead the overall Taxable Fixed Income area. He was named an Edward Jones Principal in 2015. In 2020, he transitioned to lead the firm’s Municipal Bond Trading area and in 2022 assumed leadership for the overall Trading area. Plaskett is involved with multiple trading-related SIFMA forums and is on the UMSL Business Leadership Council.

Peter Racen, BSBA 1980, spent the first 21 years of his professional career working for Industrial Service Laboratories, a family-owned business started by his grandfather in 1946. The business was sold successfully to an outside buyer in 1999. Later that year, Racen joined Northwestern Mutual with the goal of sharing his experience as an owner of a closely-held family business to help other business owners address the issues his family faced. As a business owner, entrepreneur and CEO, Racen values sharing his expertise with his clients. Having been on the other side of the table, he understands first-hand the perspective of business owners and executives. Racen serves as chair of the UMSL Legacy Council and has served as a judge in the Entrepreneur Quest Student Accelerator. He also helped establish and is sponsoring the UMSL Accelerate Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, which will be presented in September.

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Steve Walentik

Steve Walentik

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