2024 Cincinnati Business Achievement Awards honorees announced

Awardees to be recognized at March 7 event

Presented by the University of Cincinnati Carl H. Lindner College of Business Alumni Council, the 2024 Cincinnati Business Achievement Awards will honor awardees at Cincinnati Music Hall on March 7.

The ceremony reflects one of the preeminent awards in the Cincinnati business community. Held annually, the ceremony recognizes Lindner alumni and Cincinnati business professionals who have achieved great success in their careers and industries and demonstrate a continuous commitment to giving back to their communities.

“The Cincinnati Business Achievement Awards do more than honor our outstanding awardees — who are truly exemplary — this event honors the community we treasure and serve,” said Lindner Dean Marianne Lewis, PhD. “Partnering with these leading alumni, Cincinnati businesses and students, we learn and thrive together. I look forward to celebrating their inspiration!”

Learn more about this year’s awardees and how they exemplify their dedication to Lindner:

Carl H. Lindner Award for Outstanding Business Achievement

Lynne Laube, Bus ’92, Valor Venture Capital


Lynne Laube, Bus '92. Photo provided.

The Carl H. Lindner Award for Outstanding Business Achievement recognizes a Lindner alum who has achieved the highest level of success in their profession and field of business with a dedication to entrepreneurship and community. Lynne Laube, Bus ’92, embodies these attributes and more, from her beginnings at Capital One when it was still a little-known start-up to founding her own company and venturing into venture capital.

Laube is dedicated to continuing her involvement with the Lindner community, serving as the keynote speaker at Lindner Women in Business’ 2023 Empowerment Day.

“My time at UC was the first time in my life that I truly realized I could do anything and be anything,” reflected Laube. “There are very few woman founders, very few woman CEOs and even less who have done both. I feel a strong need to help others do the same. Working with young founders and young students is my passion, and supporting UC allows me to do both.”

Laube is the second woman to win this distinguished honor in CBAAs history. 

Distinguished Service Award

The Distinguished Service Award recognizes those who have shown a profound dedication to the Lindner, UC and Cincinnati business communities.

Jerry Fritz, Bus ’73, Former President, Kent Precision Foods Group


Jerry Fritz, Bus '73. Photo provided.

Jerry Fritz, Bus ’73, is a lifelong Bearcat. After serving as president of Kent Precision Foods Group, which specializes in food and beverage products and ingredients, for more than 22 years, Fritz has turned his passion for business and community to Lindner and UC.

Fritz serves on the Lindner Business Advisory Council, the UC Foundation Board of Trustees and is currently the chair of the UC Alumni Association.

“I am honored to be mentioned in the same context as the past winners,” said Fritz. “I believe my contributions and service have been more than rewarded by the friendships, people and students I have the pleasure to know.”

Mario San Marco, Senior Vice President, Economic Development, W&S Financial Group


Mario San Marco. Photo provided.

Mario San Marco relocated to Cincinnati in 1988 when he joined Western & Southern’s Eagle Realty Group as vice president and director of investment real estate and general manager. Since then, San Marco has served as president of Eagle Realty Group and, most recently, as Senior Vice President of Economic Development for Western & Southern.

San Marco’s passion for real estate drove him to become involved with UC’s Real Estate Center, where he currently serves as chairman to the Board of Executive Advisors in Real Estate (BEARE).

“I am honored to receive the Distinguished Service Award from the Lindner College of Business on behalf of the many people who have supported the real estate program at UC,” said San Marco. “This recognition validates the hard work and commitment of all individuals who have volunteered their time, making the program one of the most prestigious real estate programs in the U.S.”

Business Partnership Award



The Business Partnership Award recognizes a company that has made significant, innovative and ongoing investment in Lindner, helping to sustain its exceptional programs and provide growth opportunities for business students and graduates.

Cintas proudly supports Lindner, showcasing this through its many partnerships with Lindner’s centers and programs, including Business Fellows, First-Year Experience and the Center for Professional Selling.

“Between the experienced-based learning and its connections to top business leaders, Lindner graduates are well-prepared to take on, and succeed in, roles immediately,” attested Scott Garula, President and Chief Operating Officer, Rental Division, Cintas Corporation. “The focus on critical thinking and problem solving aligns with some of Cintas’ core characteristics — including our positive discontent, sense of urgency and thoroughness — and we’re fortunate that so many UC and Lindner grads have made significant contributions to our company’s success.”

Outstanding Young Alumni Award

Nicholas W. Puncer, Bus ’10, Managing Director, Bahl & Gaynor, Inc.


Nicholas Puncer, Bus '10. Photo provided.

The Outstanding Young Alumni Award, formerly the PACEsetter Award, recognizes Lindner alumni under 40 who demonstrate emerging and unique innovation, creativity and success in their careers and who display a commitment to involvement with Lindner and UC.

Nicholas Puncer, Bus ’10, has dedicated his career to Bahl & Gaynor, beginning with the company as an intern during his time at Lindner. As a student, Puncer was a Kautz-Uible Fellow and a member of Lindner Business Honors program. He now serves as a managing director of institutional product at Bahl & Gaynor.

“I am a product of the long line of advocates who have supported me in my career, extending all the way back to my time at UC and beyond,” said Puncer. “Because I stand on the shoulders of giants, it is my responsibility to serve others who are starting on their path.”

Student Awards

The CBAAs recognizes two student awardees each year with one of two awards: the Carl H. Lindner Outstanding Junior Scholarship and the Heart of William J. Keating Leadership Award.

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 and contribution to UC. 

The Heart of William J. Keating Leadership 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, David Szymanski, former dean of the Lindner College of Business, 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. 

Both student awardees will be announced and recognized at the CBAAs ceremony on March 7

Featured image at top: PACEsetter awardees for 2023— now the Outstanding Young Alumni Award — from left to right: Brandon Reynolds, Bus ’15; Paul Bessire, Bus ’04; Lindner dean Marianne Lewis; Kesha Williams, PhD, CAHS ’02; and Andrew Salzbrun, Bus ’08. 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 2024 CBAAs.

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