Bert F. Wertman Alumni Service Award

Established in 1989, this award recognizes an alumnus or alumna of the business school for outstanding service to the school and/or to the university. The award was established in honor of Bert F. Wertman, who served for more than 60 years as president of the Class of 1928. Through his leadership and caring, the class remained a cohesive and vital group and held a record number of continuous reunions.

Nominate an Alum

2021 Winner

Edward Hightower, MBA '95  

Edward Hightower

Edward Hightower is an automotive entrepreneur, EV start-up and global automotive OEM executive, board director, and author. He is the president of Lordstown Motors Corporation (Nasdaq: RIDE), a designer and manufacturer of electric vehicles for the commercial vehicle market. Previously, Hightower served in several new-product development, engineering, marketing, and senior executive roles between Ford, BMW, and GM. He also worked as a hands-on growth, strategy, and operations consultant at AlixPartners, LLP and Motoring Ventures LLC. He has extensive experience in emerging markets in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Hightower serves on the boards of directors of Tritium Charging (Nasdaq: DCFC) – a leading designer and manufacturer of DC (direct current) fast charging systems for electric vehicles; and HEVO Power – a designer and manufacturer of wireless charging systems and software for electric vehicles. He also served as an advisor to Kiira Motors, a Uganda-based manufacturer of electric city buses.

Hightower authored the book Motoring Africa: Sustainable Automotive Industrialization, published in 2018. Based on his industry experiences in China, India, South Korea, Mexico and Brazil, Motoring Africa makes the case and offers an actionable roadmap for building sustainable manufacturing businesses in six of the 54 countries in Africa.

Originally from Chicago, Hightower earned a BS in General Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and an MBA from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business; where he serves on the Ross School Advisory Board and chaired the Ross Alumni Board of Governors. He is a lifetime member of both Kappa Alpha Psi and the Council on Foreign Relations. Hightower is a 5th degree Black Belt and certified sensei instructor of Isshinryu karate. He and his family live in metro Detroit, Michigan.

Previous Recipients

2020 Chris Adelsbach, BBA'95

2019 Mark Petroff, MBA 1998​

2018 Cathy Bessant, BBA 1982​

2017 Robert Neary, BBA 1955

2016 David Carson, BBA 1955

2015 David Parent MBA 1995

2014 Michael & Nancy McLelland MBA 1979, BS 1975 & MBA 1979

2013 Jeffrey Gelfand BBA 1988

2012 Yehuda Cohen MBA 1983 

2011 Ralph Johnson MBA 1992

2010 Elizabeth D. Black MBA 1987

2009 Philippe Prufer MBA 1988

2008 John C. Morley MBA 1958

2007 Daniel Hennessy MBA 1981

2006 William Hall MBA 1967, PhD 1969

2005 Tom Jones BBA 1968, MBA 1971

2004 Cecil Shepherd MBA 2000

2003 Roslyn Braeman Payne BBA 1968

2002 Michael R. Hallman BBA 1966, MBA 1967

2001 Thomas Porter MBA 1967

2001 Mary Campbell MBA 1979

2000 Richard H. Rogel BBA 1970

1999 Eva Chang MBA 1993

1998 Bonnie R. Proctor AB 1970, MBA 1974

1997 Bruce L. Cook BBA 1950, MBA 1951

1996 John F. McCarthy ABED 1949, MBA 1951

1995 Frank T. Westover BBA 1961, MBA 1962

1994 No Award Given

1993 Sharon Reed Walker BBA 1974, MBA 1981

1992 William T. Dobson AB 1942, MBA 1948

1991 Gary T. Walther BSE 1960, MBA 1963

1990 Wilbur K. Pierpont MBA 1938, PhD 1942

1989 John R. Edman BBA 1950, MBA 1951

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