One ceremony, four inspiring entrepreneurial journeys
BGSU inducts four into entrepreneurial hall of fame during Schmidthorst College of Business Week
By Anne-Margaret Swary
Bowling Green State University recently inducted four honorees into the Paul J. Hooker Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership Hall of Fame as part of Schmidthorst College of Business Week events on Saturday, Sept. 12.
Honored were California real estate developer Richard S. Allen ’71; Cleveland-based wealth management executive Bethany J. Bryant ’91; local realty company owner and developer Allen A. Green; and Chicago venture capitalist Bradley S. Seaman ’82.
The Paul J. Hooker Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership Hall of Fame recognizes BGSU graduates, honorary degree holders and members of the regional community who have achieved distinction for founding, leading or building a new business enterprise and demonstrated an entrepreneurial spirit that has helped to shape our economies and improved our quality of life. So far, more than 50 world-class entrepreneurs have been inducted into this elite group of innovators.
Launched in 2008, the Hall of Fame is a signature event for the Allen W. and Carol M. Schmidthorst College of Business. This year's induction ceremony was livestreamed from the Robert. W. and Patricia A. Maurer Center at BGSU for a virtual audience after it was rescheduled from its original April date.
"Congratulations to our newest members of the Paul J. Hooker Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership Hall of Fame," said Ray Braun, dean of the college. "On behalf of the BGSU community, trustees, faculty, staff, alumni and friends, we salute you for your achievements and your entrepreneurial spirit. You have made us proud and demonstrated the contributions our alumni and friends are making throughout the world with your extraordinary accomplishments. BGSU is a better place because of you."
Here are the 2020 honorees:
Richard S. Allen ’71
Richard Allen has been a lifelong entrepreneur, developing multiple business enterprises for over 45 years. He spent the first 18 years of his business career as one of five partners managing the family manufacturing business, Imperial Cup Corp. The company grew from a local start-up in 1968 to operating plants in five states and $100 million in sales and was eventually sold to International Paper in 1989.
"Having been able to watch my parents family as they have created a number of successful enterprises and being a part of that, I got an appreciation for how much time it really took, how much capital it took, the amount of time away from home, traveling on the weekends, and really the efforts of the employees and those around you that need to support you in order to be successful," he said during his induction ceremony remarks.
Following the sale, Richard founded The Allen Group (TAG) and began developing office and industrial projects throughout California and Nevada. In 1997, following a period of dramatic growth, a majority of TAG’s portfolio was merged into a public REIT, Kilroy Realty, and Allen was appointed to KRC’s Board of Directors.
Allen then founded a new company focused on the development of two major new industrial parks in the Central Valley: the 450 acre Mid-State 99 Industrial Park and the 750-acre International Trade Center. At the same time, he also founded Allen Homes, which developed residential communities in 23 different cities throughout California and Nevada.
In 2007, after acquiring 6,000 acres of land in South Dallas County, TAG opened the Dallas Logistic Hub, the world’s largest new industrial park. That same year, The Allen Group was selected by BNSF Railway to be the master developer of their 1,200-acre Logistics Park Kansas City project. Since operation began, The Allen Group, in partnership with NorthPoint Development, has built and leased over 14 million square feet of new industrial buildings at the Kansas City project.
"Having my son Luke as a part of this organization from the very beginning has been a wonderful experience, as it was for me to be a part of my family’s entrepreneurial efforts," said Allen, who also thanked his wife, Jane, of 50 years for her unwavering support over the years. "In order to become a successful entrepreneur, it requires an extreme amount of passion and an extreme amount of persistence and a total commitment."
Bethany J. Bryant ’91
As president of The Private Trust Company N.A., Bethany Bryant is responsible for setting and executing the strategic direction and financial success of the company through service, satisfaction, retention and recruitment of the firm’s clients and advisors. Bryant was a founding leader of the company in 1995 and served as its chief financial officer and chief operations officer until May 2012 when she transitioned to the president’s role. She assisted in growing the company through its startup phase to its sale to LPL Financial Holdings Inc. in 2003 to present day.
Bryant also works across divisions as a senior vice president at LPL Financial, responsible for contributing to the strategic vision across the firm’s wealth planning platforms and sales enablement areas. This team provides sales support and optimizes the trust planning and services offering to financial advisors and individual investors on a national scale.
LPL Financial is the largest independent broker-dealer, providing independent, objective financial advice to investors through its 16,000 financial advisors. Bryant also leads the women advisor diversity and inclusion efforts for LPL, helping to recruit, retain and support the growth of female advisors in this industry.
Prior to co-founding The Private Trust Company, Bryant began her career at EY, spending the majority of that time in the financial services industry. She earned her undergraduate business degree in accounting from Bowling Green State University and earned an MBA from Cleveland State University and holds her CPA license.
"No one reaches a level of success without having an entire team behind them, and I have had just that – an entire team behind me," she said. "And at the root of that was really BGSU, the College of Business, its faculty, its entrepreneurial spirit, the hands-on learning and the academic curriculum that really laid the foundation for my business career. And I couldn’t have asked for a better university to jump-start my professional life."
Bryant maintains an active involvement in the nonprofit community. She currently serves as president, board chair or volunteer of several organizations and committees including BGSU’s Honors College Leadership Council, Laurel School in Shaker Heights, Rejoice Lutheran Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
Allen A. Green
Allen Green began his career in 1964 teaching high school science and vocational agriculture for seven years in Paulding, North Baltimore and Bowling Green, Ohio, after earning a Bachelor of Science degree in agricultural education from The Ohio State University.
In 1975, he launched A. A. Green Realty Inc., which has now has annual sales exceeding $30 million. Green’s diverse real estate experience includes commercial, industrial, farm, multifamily, student housing and build-to-suit leases. In addition to A.A. Green Realty, he also founded and operates Allen A. Green Builder and Developer Co. and owns numerous industrial, multifamily, retail, mobile home and development properties in and around Bowling Green.
Green and his family have been actively involved with Bowling Green State University for many years. He served as a member of the BGSU Foundation Board from 2008 to 2014 and is a member of the University’s Presidents Club and Falcon Club. Green has been a long-time supporter of Bowling Green community programs and activities and has generously sponsored many Falcon sports programs.
"You probably wonder why a guy who has a degree from Ohio State University is a donor to Bowling Green State University," he said during the ceremony. "There has to be something special there, and there certainly is, and it’s the people that are here at BGSU. The leadership and the faculty. And it’s the students that I’ve run into on a daily basis. That’s why we’re here and that’s what it’s all about."
Bradley S. Seaman ’82
Brad Seaman earned a bachelor’s degree from the Schmidthorst College of Business in 1982 and was very engaged at BGSU as a member of SICSIC, president of Theta Chi Fraternity, treasurer of the Interfraternity Council and a member of the leadership team of the Senior Challenge.
"It connected me to this place in a way that still exists today and still matters to me today," he said. "My Bowling Green Story is very typical. I loved it from the day I got here."
Seaman went on to earn a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Dallas and spent the first two years of his career as a sales representative with Owens Corning followed by six years with GE Plastics, where he held several roles in marketing and product management. In 1990, he joined GE Capital and was part of a team that started GE Capital’s business unit focused on the emerging private equity industry. Seaman ultimately led the deal origination teams in GE’s New York and Chicago offices.
In 1993, he led GE’s equity investment in the start-up of Steel Dynamics, a pioneering company that produces steel from recycled metals. Since its founding in 1993 and subsequent IPO, Steel Dynamics has grown to generate over $10 billion in annual revenue and employ over 7,000 people. Seaman currently serves as a member of the Steel Dynamics board of directors (NASDAQ: STLD).
In 1999, he joined Tricor Pacific Capital, a newly formed private equity firm. Tricor Pacific Capital, since re-branded as Parallel49 Equity, has raised five private equity funds with total capital raised of over $1 billion. Parallel49 has invested in the acquisition of 26 platform companies and 42 add-on acquisitions in the specialty manufacturing and business services industries in the United States and Canada. The firm has successfully taken four of its portfolio companies public. He serves as the chairman of the board of directors of CPI Card Group (NASDAQ: PMTS) and has previously served as chairman of seven other Parallel49 portfolio companies.
"I was fortunate to get a few lucky breaks along the way and make the most of those lucky breaks," he said. "It's been a blast."