The University of Toledo College of Business and Innovation and the Business Engagement and Leadership Council will present their 49th Annual Pacemaker Awards Friday, April 8, at 6:30 p.m. at the Inverness Country Club.Each year the prestigious Pacemaker Award recognizes an individual for outstanding achievement in business as well as contributions to the community and the University. The 2011 recipient of the Business Pacemaker Award is Marianne Ballas, president of Ballas Buick GMC.
In 2004, after 35 years in the car business, Ballas purchased her automotive dealership from the estate of her late husband, George. She became the first woman dealer in Ohio appointed by the Women’s Retail Network. Nationally, women own fewer than 2 percent of auto dealerships.
In 2006, Ballas Buick GMC was awarded the Better Business Bureau Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics, the only dealership in the region to achieve this honor. The dealership also has received the Mark of Excellence award from General Motors, presented to fewer than 1 percent of dealers nationally for excellence in sales effectiveness, customer satisfaction and profitability.
Ballas recently was elected to the Buick/GMC National Dealer Council, where she is one of 22 dealers who meet with General Motors Corp. executives to consult with fellow council members and make suggestions to the Buick GMC Division with the purpose of improving the sales and service experience at the retail level.
“Marianne Ballas’ highly successful career, various community philanthropic activities, and outstanding integrity and leadership in the regional business arena make her the ideal business professional to receive this year’s Pacemaker Award, the college’s highest honor,” said Dr. Thomas G. Gutteridge, dean of the UT College of Business and Innovation.
In addition, the annual Pacemaker Awards are presented to UT College of Business and Innovation graduate and undergraduate students for their outstanding academic achievement as well as University and community service and leadership.
The 2011 student Pacemakers are: Applied Organizational Technology — Christopher Weisgarber; Accounting — Jaimie Morsillo and Jeff Warnke; Finance — Joe Corfman and Dan Hoover; Information Operations Technology Management — Alyssa Niese and Junjun Liu; Management — Alexander Ross and Caroline Sigley; Marketing and International Business — Jay Solarik and Cari Tubbs; Dean’s Office — Ryan Kremer; MBA — Nathan Syrek and Martina Turner; and PhD — Chenglei Huang.