Highly Successful Entrepreneurs Recognized For Career of Achievements

What do the following business leaders have in common…. a retired President and CEO of a premier asset management firm, one of the top 50 women Registered Investment Advisors in America, the co-founder of a Midwest gas company serving Ohio and Indiana for over 50 years, and a member of Fortune’s “10 Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs” in 2013.  These four individuals have “blazed an entrepreneurial trail to success” and will be inducted into the Dallas-Hamilton Entrepreneurial Hall of Fame on April 10. In addition, they all have a degree from BGSU.


Earle Malm '71

Earle Malm is one of the pioneers of E-Commerce. As Vice Chairman and President of ValueClick, an online advertising company now known as Conversant, Earle was instrumental in defining business strategy, developing key management and successfully completing the company initial public offering in March 2000.

Earle began his career with RCA where he held Senior Executive positions in Sales, Marketing and General Management. He was responsible for revitalizing RCA’s Consumer Services business, expanding RCA’s Commercial Television business and leading the development of new business ventures into communications and services businesses.

Prior to joining ValueClick, Earle embarked in the investment industry with GT Capital Management, Inc. Initially he was responsible for developing GT Capital’s Institutional Business and later he assumed responsibilities as Chief Operating Officer for the GT Global Mutual Funds.

After successfully completing the ValueClick IPO, Earle returned to the investment industry as President and CEO of HighMark Capital Management, Inc., a wholly-owned registered investment advisory firm of Union Bank located in San Francisco. During his tenure, Earle was Chairman of HighMark’s Board of Directors, President of HighMark Funds and a Trustee of the HighMark Funds Board. In addition, he was a member of HighMark’s Investment Policy Committee and a member of Union Bank’s Fiduciary Management Committee.

Since retiring from an active senior executive role in 2012, Earle has been devoting his time to entrepreneurial, consulting and advisory activities through NVMLI, Inc., his private investment company. He serves as a member of the Service Marketing Institute Business Advisory Board for the College of Business Administration at Bowling Green State University (BGSU). He was one of five inaugural alumni investors in BGSU’s entrepreneurial program, “The Hatch”, a college version of the television show “Shark Tank”.

Earle earned his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in 1971 from Bowling Green State University. In 2008, he was honored as one of BGSU’S Accomplished Graduates from the College of Business. He has been named to Who’s Who in Finance and Industry.

Valerie Newell
Valerie Newell '75

Valerie Newell is a founder and Chairman of RiverPoint Capital Management and Director of the Private Client and High Net Worth Group. RiverPoint is an independent, Cincinnati based registered investment advisor specializing in the management of the investment portfolios for high net worth individuals, families, endowments and foundations. The firm manages $1.5 billion in investment assets. As a Senior Portfolio Manager, Valerie specializes in investment management, financial planning and retirement planning. She has a particular expertise in managing the assets of business executives and divorcees.

Valerie has achieved success in a male-dominated industry. She began as a CPA in the public accounting firm of Arthur Andersen, specializing in mergers and acquisitions in the Banking and Finance Industry. She was the first professional woman promoted to Manager and to have a baby and continue working. Prior to founding RiverPoint in 2002, Valerie was a Managing Director of Scudder, Stevens & Clark, an independent investment advisor with national and international operations and Director of the Cincinnati office. Valerie spent 12 years at Scudder, where she specialized in the management of investment assets for wealthy individuals and their families and was a member of the National Management Team. Valerie was the first woman at Scudder, on a national basis, to be named a Director of a Scudder office and the first woman to be promoted to Managing Director in the Cincinnati office.

Valerie has given thousands of hours of public service to community organizations. BGSU has benefited greatly from her extensive civic involvement including her service as Past Chairman and Emeritus Trustee of the Board of Trustees, She is one of only two people who have served on all three University boards –the Alumni Board, the Foundation Board and the Board of Trustees. She is also a member of the President’s Club in recognition of her generous philanthropy.

In addition to her commitment to BGSU, she has been gracious with her time in her hometown of Cincinnati where she is involved with the Cincinnati Art Museum (first woman Chairman in the Museum’s 124 year history); Past Chair and Emeritus Trustee of the Museum Center at Union Terminal (first woman Chairman in the history of the Museum); Trustee of the Cincinnati Parks Foundation; Trustee of the Summit Country Day Foundation; Trustee of the Beech Acres Foundation; and Co-Chairman of the Investment Committee and Trustee of the University of Cincinnati Foundation.

Valerie has received numerous awards including the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce “We Lead” award in Entrepreneurship, 2008; National Women’s CEO Advisory Board; YWCA 1990 Career Woman of Achievement award; Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Business and Professional Woman of the Year, 1985; and Leadership Cincinnati Class X.

Valerie received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Bowling Green State University in 1975 and graduated Magna Cum Laude. She was chosen as BGSU’s Outstanding Woman Graduate of 1975 and was a member of the Mortar Board Honor Society. The College of Business Administration awarded her with the Accomplished Graduate Award in 2006. In addition to her academic accomplishments, she was also a two-time, all-American swimmer at BGSU and was honored in 2003 from the BG Varsity Club with the Women’s Silver Letter Award.

Lori Steele-Contorer
Lori Steele-Contorer '86

Lori Steele-Contorer is the world's top expert in election modernization, pioneering the adoption of software as a service to make elections more accessible, affordable, secure and transparent.  Her visionary leadership in business, innovation and elections led to Ms. Steele being named in 2013 to Fortune’s “10 Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs” list, and winner of San Diego Business Journal's “Women Who Mean Business Award.”

Since founding Everyone Counts, she has led innovative election administration and voting implementations involving voters in over 165 countries including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Bosnia & Herzegovina, and Australia.

Through Lori’s leadership, Everyone Counts is disrupting the $31 billion elections industry and migrating government and private-sector elections worldwide from antiquated hardware-based and error-prone manual and paper-based processes to Everyone Counts’ Software as a Service (SaaS) model. The company has delivered dozens of world-first innovations in election services over the past decade, including secure online ballot delivery in nearly 100 election jurisdictions across the United States in the 2012 Presidential election, the first use of iPads for voting in the State of Oregon in 2011 and 2012, and the largest ever online voting to-date in a government election in the state of New South Wales, Australia in 2011.

Bosnia-Herzegovina provided Everyone Counts’ voting systems to citizens with disabilities in a pilot election, so that they could vote privately and independently for the first time. Everyone Counts took stewardship of the State of New Jersey’s Voter Registration System in 2013, bringing state of the art technologies to voter registration.  And Everyone Counts was awarded the contract to migrate the Oscars from 85 years of vote by mail to online voting for the iconic Academy Awards resulting in their highest voter participation ever, two years in a row.

Lori previously served as a technology investor as Vice President at Salomon Smith Barney, specializing in emerging and state-of-the-art technologies globally. Ms. Steele-Contorer’s election modernization expertise is frequently called on by legislators from around the world, and the media, including Time, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, Fox, MSNBC, and The New York Times.

Lori earned her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in 1986 from Bowling Green State University.

Kermit Stroh
Kermit Stroh '02 (Hon.)

Kermit Stroh, who earned an honorary doctorate from BGSU in 2002 and was named a BGSU honorary alumnus in 2003, helped co-found Moulton Gas Service Inc., with his father Elmer Stroh in 1958 in Wapakoneta, Ohio. Over the years, the company was developed by the family, and later expanded to provide approximately 21 million gallons of retail propane annually to 23,000 customers from four retail locations and 11 satellite plants in Ohio.

It was Stroh’s commitment to expanding the company that first brought him to the BGSU campus in the early 1960s. As a way to gain radio advertising for his fledgling propane gas company, he provided color commentary at regional basketball games for WERM-AM, a Wapakoneta-based radio station. For his radio hook, he was known as Kerm on the WERM, and while at BGSU for regional basketball games, he was treated so kindly that he maintained his connection to the University, sending two of his daughters to BGSU, and eventually serving on the BGSU Board of Trustees, being called one of the University’s most vocal cheerleaders. 

In 2004,when Inergy LP purchased Moulton Gas Service, Stroh and son-in-law Van Wright (a 1977 graduate) retired from the company, while the 90 other employees were offered employment under the new ownership.

In his community, Stroh has been involved with many civic organizations including the Ohio Gas Propane Association, Rotary Club, Wapakoneta Area Economic Development Committee and Auglaize County Regional Planning Commission.


The Hall of Fame inductees have achieved great distinction for founding, leading, or building a new business enterprise and have demonstrated an entrepreneurial spirit that inspires others. These innovators will join an elite group of 30 entrepreneurs who have already been inducted to the prestigious Hall of Fame.

The invitation-only black tie ceremony is part of Entrepreneurship Week (E-Week) co-hosted by the College of Business and the Dallas-Hamilton Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership.

Updated: 05/14/2019 02:10PM