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Four Honored with Clarkson University's Most Prestigious Alumni Award

John M. Brilbeck of Naples, Fla., former president and owner of Southern Heat Exchanger Corporation; Michael E. Jesanis of Sunapee N.H., founder and managing director or HotZero LLC ; John R. Rhodes Jr. of Laconia, N.H. and Estero, Fla., retired partner in SAP, Oracle, and Supply Chain Consulting Practices at IBM ; and Peter J. Radosta of Erieville, N.Y., senior vice president and partner at Koester Associates, have all been honored with the Golden Knight Award by their alma mater, Clarkson University.  

 Clarkson President Tony Collins; award winners John Brilbeck, Michael Jesanis, John “Dusty” Rhodes and Peter J. Radosta; and Associate Vice President for Alumni Relations Steve NewkofskyPresented each year during Reunion Weekend, Clarkson’s most prestigious alumni award is given to alumni who have distinguished themselves either by service to Clarkson through Alumni Associated activities or have demonstrated outstanding career achievement, bringing distinction to themselves and to Clarkson.

John M. Brilbeck

John M. Brilbeck received his bachelor of science degree in industrial distribution from Clarkson University in 1968 and was a member of the Omicron Pi Omicron fraternity. He received his master of business administration degree from Syracuse University in 1971.

Brilbeck began his business career with Carrier Corporation in 1968, achieving several management positions before moving to Southern Heat Exchanger in 1981.

As president and owner of Southern Heat Exchanger Corporation in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, from 1985 to 2000, Brilbeck directed the corporation’s 600 percent growth in sales and 1,200 percent growth in profit from 1981. He increased the plant size three times and implemented innovative cost reduction programs in manufacturing and engineering, while establishing the strong market presence needed to increase the company’s market share. At the time the company was sold to Harbor Group in 1998, it was the third largest supplier of shell and tube heat exchangers in the United States and was debt-free.  

Brilbeck was a member of the board of directors executive committee for Regions Bank, president’s cabinet and president’s national advisory committee for the University of Alabama, and a member of boards of directors of the West Alabama Chamber of Commerce, the Holy Spirit School Foundation, the American Sports Medical Institute, Heat Transfer Research Inc., and the Shelton State Community College Foundation. He is past president of the Tubular Exchanges Manufacturers Association and has served as a member of many community committees and fundraising campaigns.

In 2009, Brilbeck was elected to serve on the Clarkson University Board of Trustees. He currently serves as co-chair of the highly successful Evolution to Excellence (E2E) Campaign and is a member of the development committee.

Brilbeck resides in Naples, Fla., with his wife, Pamela. They have four adult children.  

Michael E. Jesanis

Michael E. Jesanis received his bachelor of science and master of science degrees in mathematics from Clarkson University. While at Clarkson, he was a member of Tau Epsilon Phi fraternity and Pi Mu Epsilon honor society.

In 1983, Jesanis received an MBA with high distinction from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and received an honorary doctorate from Becker College, where he served as a trustee for 12 years, including four as board chair.

HotZero LLC is a company formed to create low carbon heating options in communities not served by natural gas. Jesanis is also an advisor to companies, governments and nonprofits in traditional and emerging energy fields.

Previously, Jesanis was president and chief executive officer of National Grid USA and a director of National Grid plc. During his 23-year career with National Grid and its predecessor, New England Electric System (NEES), Jesanis led a transformation of a small regional integrated utility into the country’s second largest energy delivery company.

Jesanis  now serves on the board of directors of NiSource Inc., a utility holding company based in Ind., and Ameresco Inc., an energy services company based in Framingham, Mass.  

Jesanis also serves on the  Clarkson University  board of trustees.  As an alumnus, Jesanis and his wife, Janet, have generously endowed a faculty chair.

They reside in Sunapee, N.H., and have two sons, Clarkson alumnus Greg ’11 and Andy.

Peter J. Radosta

Peter J. Radosta received his bachelor of science degree in civil and environmental engineering from Clarkson University in 1988. As a student, Radosta was a member of Phalanx and the Chi Epsilon and Tau Beta Pi Honor Societies. He served as a resident advisor and director, and is a founding member of the Iota Zeta Chapter of Sigma Chi Fraternity.

As senior vice president and partner at Koester Associates, his responsibilities include client development, strategic planning and project management. He is a leader in his field, with unique abilities in the design and implementation of sustainable infrastructure solutions for municipal drinking water and wastewater treatment systems. He fosters key relationships with market professionals including regulatory personnel, public officials, consulting engineers and equipment manufacturers. Radosta is particularly adept at creating viable solutions for financially strained municipalities, attributing his Clarkson education to how he approaches complex projects.

Early in his career, Radosta worked as a consulting engineer, and then as a professional ski patroller and emergency medical technician. It is this set of experiences that shaped Radosta’s progressive approach to his career development. Radosta is a licensed Professional Engineer in New York State and is a Board Certified Member of the American Academy of Environmental Engineers.

He is the former president of the Clarkson Alumni Association and he has been recognized with leadership awards from his peers, industry organizations and from Clarkson. His membership in Clarkson's Annie Clarkson Society is symbolic of Radosta’s long-term view of his endeavors.

Radosta and his wife, Karen Storne, reside in Erieville, N.Y. Actively involved in his community, Radosta served as a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals and as board member of the Madison County Animal Shelter. His interests include travel, photography and boatbuilding. An avid runner, Radosta has completed 38 marathons and is an accomplished telemark skier and endurance cyclist.

John “Dusty” Rhodes

John “Dusty” Rhodes  received his bachelor of science in chemical engineering from Clarkson in 1978. While a student at Clarkson, he served as a class representative to the Clarkson College Student Association and served on the College Union Board. Rhodes was also a member of the Tau Kappa Epsilon social fraternity and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. In 1988, he received his master of business administration from the University of Chicago.

After graduation, Rhodes went to work for Olin Chemical in Lake Charles, La., and spent the next 15 years working in a variety of roles including research, process design, plant construction, and operations management. Throughout those years, there were job transfers to Louisville, Ky., where his son, Aaron, was born; Chicago, Ill., where his daughter Carly was born; and Stamford, Conn.   

In 1993, he left Olin and joined Price Waterhouse as a business consultant. Shortly thereafter, Price Waterhouse merged with Coopers & Lybrand to form PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). Rhodes made partner in 1998. In 2002, the consulting division of PwC was purchased by IBM and Rhodes became an employee of “Big Blue.” Throughout this period, he served as a partner in the SAP, Oracle and Supply Chain Consulting Practices -- doing work in the areas of project management, custom development, package implementation, package maintenance and systems planning. During this time, he managed work for Hitachi America, Bestfoods, Harley Davidson, Rockwell International, Disney and many others.

Rhodes stays involved with Clarkson in a variety of ways. In 2001, he and his wife, Kathy, joined the Parents Committee and held various roles until their son, Aaron, graduated in 2005. Rhodes then joined the Business Leadership Council for the Clarkson School of Business and is currently the council chair. He has also served as a representative on the IBM/Clarkson relationship team and as the Clarkson recruiting leader for IBM. In this role, he was instrumental in interviewing, selecting and hiring well over 100 talented Clarkson students. Currently, Rhodes also sits on the Clarkson University Alumni Council, where he has been active for several years.

Rhodes and Kathy raised Aaron ’05 and Carly in Danbury and Wilton, Conn., where Rhodes was very involved as a Little League coach and Boy Scout leader. Recently retired from IBM, he now splits his time between homes in Estero, Fla., and Laconia, N.H. He volunteers regularly for Habitat for Humanity and enjoys hiking, golfing, fishing, boating, skiing and traveling.

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

Photo caption: Four Clarkson University alumni have received the Golden Knight Award from their alma mater. Left to right: Clarkson President Tony Collins; award winners John Brilbeck, Michael Jesanis, John “Dusty” Rhodes and Peter J. Radosta; and Associate Vice President for Alumni Relations Steve Newkofsky.

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