Tag: Alumni


Rebekah “Beka” Eisenbarth, a 2001 Olin MBA graduate in finance and strategy, has been appointed president and COO of H-P Products. The manufacturer of engineered tube products and central vacuum systems is based in Louisville, Ohio. The promotion will take effect June 30.

“Beka is an exceptional leader with the vision necessary to take H-P to new heights,” H-P Products’ Chairman and CEO Paul Bishop said in a press release.

“She has a deep commitment to H-P’s mission and a keen understanding of where the company needs to go to best serve our employees, customers, and suppliers as we navigate into our next phase of growth and beyond.”

Outgoing President and COO Allen Green echoed the sentiment. “I have worked with Beka for over 20 years and have valued her expertise and leadership throughout our time together at H-P. Since joining in 2002, Beka has touched all aspects of our business and has been a steadfast partner in charting the company’s course through both successes and setbacks.”

Eisenbarth’s family started the company in 1945. She began working at H-P Products in 2002 as an accounting analyst and has since served as materials manager, sales manager, general manager of Engineered Tube Bends and vice president. Eisenbarth is also a graduate of Leadership Stark County, a board member of Arts in Stark and the Income Impact Council for United Way of Greater Stark County and a member of Vistage, a peer mentoring program for executives.

“Our company has never been stronger,” Eisenbarth said, “and I believe we’re set up for continued success to serve customers and deliver innovative, high-quality products unlike any other company. I look forward to working with the entire H-P team to continue on this trajectory, while ensuring the growth and longevity of the company my family began in 1945.”

Justin Hardy, BSBA '21, graduated in December 2021.
Justin Hardy at his December 2021 graduation.

An amazing story about Olin alum and WashU athlete Justin Hardy, BSBA ’21, is making the rounds.

Hardy, 22, graduated in December after just three-and-a-half years—with a double major in accounting and finance while also playing a sport.

“What Justin is doing right now is a miracle,” Jack Nolan, a WashU basketball player who is teammate of Hardy, recently told television station KSDK-Channel 5’s Frank Cusumano.

What Hardy is doing is playing on while he battles stage 4 stomach cancer.

“Hardy is a really good basketball player,” KSDK reports. “He does all of the little things that makes teams great, and the Bears are just that. They are 12-1 on the season and are ranked No. 4 in the country.”

Hardy got the news of his cancer last April. At the time, he was dead lifting 450 pounds.

“The sadness was really tough at first just because I felt my life was kind of closing in on me,” Hardy told Cusumano in this piece, which aired January 17. “And there wasn’t going to be all the things that I loved in my life. I felt like most of things were gone and I was finished playing basketball.”

Hardy wasn’t finished. Athletes have come back after dealing with cancer, but how many play through the treatment?

‘Not like most’

“The prognosis isn’t pretty, but I am not like most,” he told KSDK. “This is pretty rare to see in a 21-year-old. My age and my health status are two things I really have going for me.

“You have to live your life. I am living in some of the best days of my life. This is one of the best years of my life that I have lived. I want to embrace the moment I am living in. Coming back and playing basketball and finishing my degree are two things that I really wanted to do.”

"The $5 Million Mistake"

This first episode of this season of On Principle is about recognizing when you’ve made a mistake and having the guts to face it—even if it means flushing millions down the drain.

In 2003, Alaina Maciá, BS ’98/MBA ’02, arrived at MTM, the St. Louis-based broker of non-emergency medical transportation services, to find a company on the verge of explosive growth. By 2005, she was MTM’s CEO, and since that time the company has rocketed from $30 million to nearly $700 million in annual revenue, with clients and customers nationwide.

A nagging concern she noticed as she began, however, was the stable but not particularly cutting-edge technology platform the company was built on. Yet she faced a conundrum: How do you overhaul your tech foundation while onboarding clients at a fever pitch? Can you afford to pause growth for the sake of a foundational investment? Is it possible to grow and rebuild simultaneously?

Customer demands

Increasingly, as the tech world advanced, Maciá saw that customers were demanding a higher level of self-service—apps and functionality that offer an “Uber-like” transportation experience, for example. “It’s probably been the single biggest challenge I’ve faced since I began running the company,” Maciá said. “This is big dollars for a medium-sized company.”

Knowing she didn’t have the in-house expertise to make this transition, Maciá contracted with an outside firm to work on the tech upgrade with her team.

And this is where the pivotal moment occurs.

Five million dollars into the project, she realized the work had barely scratched the surface of what MTM was going to need. She decided to scrap the project. Soon after, MTM brought Salesforce aboard to collaborate on the upgrade, but “they don’t tell you that you have to have a robust team,” she said. “We launched some projects on Salesforce, but it was clear it would be slow to get where we needed to go and it still didn’t do everything we needed.”

That was another $5 million down the tubes.

Progress begins

Ultimately, progress began when Maciá engineered the $15 million purchase in August 2017 of Reveal Management Services in Kansas City, effectively bringing in-house the expertise of technologists focused on transportation scheduling algorithms and real-time GPS tracking.

Now, she is seeing light at the end of the tunnel and MTM has already implemented a number of technology upgrades—including that Uber-like experience. The progress has her looking at adding new service lines such as meal and grocery delivery and other things.

Alaina refers to work they’ve accomplished with the Reveal technology as MTM’s “resting platform” while they fully overhaul their system, with a hard deadline of Dec. 31, 2022, to complete the transition.

“It took 20 years to move off the old platform, three years to move to the dot-net platform, and it’ll take 18 months to move to the new platform,” she said.

Listen to “The $5 Million Mistake” here.

David Karandish in 2018.

Capacity, the St. Louis-based artificial intelligence software startup led by Olin alum and former Answers CEO David Karandish, plans to grow its team and expand its technology after closing its Series C financing.

The company announced an additional $27 million in Series C financing on January 19, closing out the round at more than $38 million.

To date, Capacity has raised more than $62 million, according to a press release from the company. The latest round, which comes on the heels of recognition from the EdTech Breakthrough AwardsFinTech Awards 2021 and KMWorld’s AI50, was led by existing investors.

Support automation

“The future of work is here,” said Karandish, a serial entrepreneur who received his BSCS from WashU in 2005 with a second major in entrepreneurship at Olin. “Companies are demanding better technology to keep their workforce connected.”

He said support automation “is the next big thing in helping businesses do their best work.”

"Taking a Punch" podcast featuring David Karandish

The helpdesk automation market is projected to exceed more than $17 billion by 2024.

“Capacity is well-positioned to empower teams to work productively and cohesively regardless of location,” according to the release. Capacity is an AI-powered support automation platform that connects a business’ entire tech stack to answer questions, automate repetitive support tasks and build solutions to business challenges.

Karandish and Chris Sims founded Capacity in 2017, and it is part of the Equity.com incubator.

More information can be found at Capacity’s website or on Twitter at @CapacityAI.

To learn more about Karandish’s experience as an entrepreneur, listen to this episode of Olin’s podcast, On Principle.

Top photo: David Karandish in 2018.

Olin’s popular annual Leadership Perspectives event “6 executives. 60 ideas. 60 minutes” drew a virtual audience of more than 340 people on January 13.

Six top leaders, five of them Olin alumni, shared a lightning round of tips. Their suggestions ran the gamut from “be nice to everyone” to “do not fake it till you make it: Ask for help.”

These were the panelists:

  • Julie Bradley, board member of numerous organizations;
  • Cliff Holekamp, MBA 2001, cofounder of Cultivation Capital;
  • Sharon James, EMBA 1989, Olin professor of practice in Strategy and Entrepreneurship;
  • Munir Mashooqullah, EMBA 1998, founder and chairman of Synergies Worldwide;
  • Joshua Rahn, BSBA 1994, cofounder and managing partner of Oceans;
  • Sunny Yi, EMBA-Shanghai 2011, general counsel for adidas Greater China.

Words of wisdom

Here are some select words of wisdom:

Bradley: “Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you.”

Holekamp: “Operate with a sense of urgency. I find that this is a quality that is associated with high performers.”

James: “Be a mentor and seek good counsel.”

Mashooqullah: “Create forums within your organization, with close friends, with industry leaders.”

Rahn: “The more empathy you have, the better you will perform, and the more people will want you to be successful.”

Yi: “We often jump to conclusions and give our suggestions before we understand the demands of others. If you want your colleagues to respect you as a leader, be diligent and down-to-earth.”

Watch the event here.

The next Leadership Perspectives event, on February 17, is a talk on managing teams and the lasting impact of a leader.

Who doesn’t love chocolate? Especially when it’s free!

Honeymoon Chocolates, cofounded by Olin alum Cam Loyet, PMBA ’21, is hosting its grand opening of its chocolate factory from 3–7 p.m. this Saturday. The address: 16 North Central Avenue in Clayton, Missouri.

Honeymoon Chocolates, in Clayton, Missouri.

Free drinking chocolate, chocolate samples, baked goods and merchandise will be available, and the first 30 people to come will receive a gift. Masks are required.

Honeymoon Chocolates crafts bean-to-bar chocolate sweetened with raw honey.

“We are chocolate makers in solidarity with our cacao farmers through pledging to pay a premium for all cacao purchased,” Loyet said in an email. “We donate to honeybee research and purchase directly from beekeepers.”

Loyet co-founded the company with his now wife, Dr. Haley Loyet. The brand evolved from a dorm room in 2016 to a team of five and the Clayton location. In 2021, Arch Grants awarded the business $50,000.

Top photo: Founders Cam Loyet and Dr. Haley Loyet.