2023 Cincinnati Business Achievement Awards honorees announced

Unique entrepreneurship focus, venue infused into flagship event

Honorees have been named for the 2023 Cincinnati Business Achievement Awards (CBAAs).

Presented by the University of Cincinnati Carl H. Lindner College of Business Alumni Council, the 38th annual CBAAs will be held March 8 at the Cincinnati Museum Center. The region’s longest-standing event that celebrates business achievement as well as service to communities — both locally and globally — the CBAAs also raise funds for scholarships and financial assistance at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

“The CBAAs are a wonderful opportunity to showcase not only our rising alumni, but our student leaders. Because they are our future leaders and they're making such an impact early in their careers,” said Lindner Dean Marianne Lewis, PhD

This year's event coincides with the 25th anniversary of UC’s Center for Entrepreneurship. To celebrate this milestone, attendees will experience a new event format at the Cincinnati Museum Center. Registration is open, and individuals and parties interested in sponsorships and tables can contact Mikayla Tepe, assistant director of development and stewardship.

Marianne Lewis, Dean of the Lindner College of Business

Lindner Dean Marianne Lewis, PhD.


Kate Harmon, executive director of the Center for Entrepreneurship, El and Elaine Bourgraf Director of Entrepreneurship and assistant vice president, 1819 Innovation Hub.

Kate Harmon, executive director of the Center for Entrepreneurship, El and Elaine Bourgraf Director of Entrepreneurship and assistant vice president, 1819 Innovation Hub, said students are at the core of the Center for Entrepreneurship’s mission.

“We want students to be able to explore their passions and their ideas through our services and resources. Entrepreneurship is scary in some ways and offers challenges, and not all ideas are going to turn into an actual startup or business,” Harmon said. “But on the other hand, entrepreneurship offers no better pathway for one to be able to explore their own personal development.”

Learn about the 2023 CBAA honorees:

Carl H. Lindner Award for Outstanding Business Achievement

Kerry Byrne, Bus ’87


Kerry Byrne, Bus ’87.

President, Total Quality Logistics (TQL)

The Lindner Award is the highest honor a Lindner graduate can receive at the CBAAs, with a focus on entrepreneurial spirit, a commitment to business and reaching the highest levels of success within one’s profession. Kerry Byrne attributes his sustained success to those he’s able to work with since graduating from UC’s College of Business in 1987.

“Anyone will tell you it's easy to win when you're a part of a good team. We tell our new team members at TQL that two things you can control are your work ethic and your attitude,” Byrne said. “I think I figured that out early on and then tried to grow, learn and develop from there. But at the end of the day, I'm just part of the team.” 

A member of Lewis’ Business Advisory Council, Byrne spent over 17 years with Fifth Third Bank before Byrne joined TQL in 2005.

“He’s been a pleasure to work with,” Lewis said, “and we continue to learn with and from Kerry as an individual, an alum, a leader and an employer.” 

Distinguished Service Award

Van Jones, Bus ’08


Van Jones, Bus ’08.

Deal Lead, Diverse Founders Investing, Wellington Management

Van Jones majored in finance and marketing and minored in real estate and emerging markets management at Lindner. Jones’ numerous professional accomplishments include co-founding the startup Hello Tractor in 2014. He transitioned into venture capital in 2019.

Jones’ volunteer service to both Lindner and UC across multiple disciplines showcases his dedication as an alumnus. For example, in fall 2021, Jones spoke virtually to Bearcat Ventures, UC’s student venture capital organization. 

“There are a lot of (UC) alums coming up with great ideas,” Jones told Bearcat Ventures. “I would try to be a part of that mix, because if you can be a part of that mix now, then when you guys are looking to transition your venture or launch your own fund or create your own fund, you'll be so much further along, which gives you a better edge in the market.”

Distinguished Service Award

Charles H. Matthews, PhD, Bus ’90


Charles H. Matthews, PhD, Bus ’90.

Distinguished Teaching Professor of Entrepreneurship and Strategy, Department of Management

Charles Matthews, PhD, founder of what was first known as the Center for Entrepreneurship Education & Research in 1997, is an award-winning teacher and internationally recognized scholar in the field of entrepreneurship.

Matthews said the initial idea for the Center was to examine not just corporate America and the building of the economy, but the emerging startup scene, too.

“We really wanted to focus on this phenomenon of small business, entrepreneurship and innovation,” Matthews said.

Business Partnership Award: Refinery Ventures


The Business Partnership Award recognizes a business or organization that supports Lindner and local communities. Refinery Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm based in downtown Cincinnati, is an ideal partner for Lindner in the arena of entrepreneurship.

Refinery Ventures Managing Partner Tim Schigel noted that companies can benefit from partnering with Lindner, notably to organize co-ops or internships with Lindner's business problem solvers.

“Interns will have questions you may not ask as a veteran of the industry or somebody who is close to your customers,” Schigel said. “Having people in your company with a fresh perspective can be helpful.”

PACEsetter Awardees

The PACEsetter award recognizes several alumni who practice the four values woven throughout Lindner courses and the overall student experience: Professionalism, Academics, Character and Engagement. Given the unique focus of the 2023 CBAAs, a non-Lindner alumnus is being highlighted.

  • Paul Bessire, Bus '04
  • Brandon Reynolds, Bus '15
  • Andrew Salzbrun, Bus '08
  • Kesha Williams, PhD, CAHS '02

Carl H. Lindner Outstanding Junior Scholarship

As one of the oldest scholarships at UC that bears the Lindner name, the Carl H. Lindner Outstanding Junior Scholarship recognizes an undergraduate student who best exemplifies the energy, commitment and creativity of Carl H. Lindner — shown through their work in the classroom, and their commitment to UC.

Stay tuned for the reveal of this scholarship winner.

The Heart of William J. Keating Leadership Award

This award and scholarship bears the name of prominent Cincinnati lawyer William (Bill) Keating Jr., and honors his longtime service as president of the Lindner Business Advisory Council. When Keating passed away in 2017, former Lindner Dean Dave Szymanski established the Heart of William J. Keating Jr. Leadership Award to recognize a junior business student for their outstanding service to the university and community.

Stay tuned for the reveal of this scholarship winner.

Featured image: The stage at the 2022 Cincinnati Business Achievement Awards. Photo by Lauren Meisberger.

The CBAAs Legacy of Giving

The Cincinnati Business Achievement Awards is the region’s longest-standing event that recognizes achievement in business as well as service to the community. The CBAAs make a direct impact on the student experience by raising funds for scholarships and financial aid. Register to attend the 2023 CBAAs.

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