Cincinnati Business Achievement Awards

The Cincinnati Business Achievement Awards (CBAAs), presented by the University of Cincinnati Carl H. Lindner College of Business Alumni Council, is the region’s longest-standing event that recognizes achievement in business as well as service to communities, both locally and globally.

Our university has a rich, 200-year legacy of innovation and impact. The CBAAs are just one way our college honors those who embody UC’s strategic directionNext Lives Here, while setting the stage for current and future students — the next generation of business leaders — to achieve success. 

This flagship event for our college also directly impacts the Lindner student experience by raising funds for scholarships and financial assistance at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

The 2023 CBAAs

The 2023 Cincinnati Business Achievement Awards were held March 8, 2023, at the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal.

The event coincided with the 25th anniversary of UC's Center for Entrepreneurship. To celebrate this special milestone, attendees experienced a brand-new event format at the iconic Cincinnati Museum Center.

Thanks to the sponsors of the 2023 CBAAs


  • Great American Insurance Group
  • TQL Foundation


  • Cintas
  • Western & Southern Financial Group


  • Ameritas
  • Constellation Wealth Advisors
  • David J. Joseph Company
  • EY
  • Johnson Investment Counsel, Inc.
  • Morgan Stanley/Troy Neat
  • PNC
  • UC Health

Red and Black

  • AMEND Consulting
  • The Cincinnati Insurance Company
  • Deloitte
  • Dr. Charles H. Matthews & Margaret B. Matthews
  • Elliott Management Group
  • HBH
  • Lindner Graduate Programs
  • UC/Cincinnati Innovation District/1819

2023 Honorees

Carl H. Lindner Award for Outstanding Business Achievement

Kerry Byrne, Bus ’87


Kerry Byrne, Bus ’87.

President, Total Quality Logistics (TQL)

The Lindner Award is the highest honor a Lindner graduate can receive at the CBAAs, with a focus on entrepreneurial spirit, a commitment to business and reaching the highest levels of success within one’s profession. Kerry Byrne attributes his sustained success to those he’s able to work with since graduating from UC’s College of Business in 1987.

“Anyone will tell you it's easy to win when you're a part of a good team. We tell our new team members at TQL that two things you can control are your work ethic and your attitude,” said Byrne, member of Lindner dean Marianne Lewis’s Business Advisory Council. “I think I figured that out early on and then tried to grow, learn and develop from there. But at the end of the day, I'm just part of the team.” 

Distinguished Service Awards

Van Jones, Bus ’08


Van Jones, Bus ’08.

Deal Lead, Diverse Founders Investing, Wellington Management

Van Jones majored in finance and marketing and minored in real estate and emerging markets management at Lindner. Jones’ numerous professional accomplishments include co-founding the startup Hello Tractor in 2014. He transitioned into venture capital in 2019.

Honoring commitment to Lindner, UC and the community, the Distinguished Service Awardees have given generously of their time, talent or treasure, directly impacting the Lindner student experience and helping students succeed beyond graduation. Past award recipients have served as long-term mentors for student programs and organizations, or have gone beyond funding a scholarship and led initiatives at the college. 

Jones’ volunteer service to both Lindner and UC across multiple disciplines showcases his dedication as an alumnus. For example, in fall 2021, Jones spoke virtually to Bearcat Ventures, UC’s student venture capital organization. 

Charles H. Matthews, PhD, Bus ’90


Charles H. Matthews, PhD, Bus ’90.

Distinguished Teaching Professor of Entrepreneurship and Strategy, Department of Management

Charles Matthews, PhD, founder of what was first known as the Center for Entrepreneurship Education & Research, is an award-winning teacher and internationally recognized scholar in the field of entrepreneurship.

Matthews said the initial idea for the Center was to examine not just corporate America and the building of the economy, but the emerging startup scene, too.

“We really wanted to focus on this phenomenon of small business, entrepreneurship and innovation,” Matthews said.

Business Partnership Award: Refinery Ventures


The Business Partnership Award recognizes a business or organization that supports Lindner and local communities. Refinery Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm based in downtown Cincinnati, is an ideal partner for Lindner in the arena of entrepreneurship.

Refinery Ventures Managing Partner Tim Schigel noted that companies can benefit from partnering with Lindner, notably to organize co-ops or internships with Lindner's business problem solvers.

“Interns will have questions you may not ask as a veteran of the industry or somebody who is close to your customers,” Schigel said. “Having people in your company with a fresh perspective can be helpful.”

PACEsetter Awards

The PACEsetter award recognizes several alumni who practice the four values woven throughout Lindner courses and the overall student experience: Professionalism, Academics, Character and Engagement. Given the unique focus of the 2023 CBAAs, a non-Lindner alumnus is being highlighted.


Paul Bassire, Bus '04.

From speaking on data analytics in the “Moneyball era” of sports history to building, growing and selling multiple ventures, Bessire has kept busy since his time at UC. He was the founding CEO of Prediction Machine, where he spearheaded the organization through its seven-year journey and successfully navigated a meaningful exit.

Most recently, Bessire joined the executive team for fast-growing startup Coterie Insurance that is reinventing how commercial insurance companies use data.

Furthermore, Bessire has been a mentor, angel investor and advisor to many other founders throughout the years, demonstrating his commitment to the Cincinnati business community.


Brandon Reynolds, Bus '15.

Reynolds is a proud Cincinnatian, from his early years through his time studying marketing at Lindner. After a successful career in advertising working with Cincinnati heavy hitters like The Brandery and Curiosity Advertising, Reynolds pivoted to his Plan ‘Bee.’ 

As the founder and CEO of B the Keeper, Reynolds works with businesses and landowners to install pollinator habitats across the city.

“My favorite part is putting my sales background to work by helping others build more mindful connections with the environment, one step at a time.”


Andrew Salzbrun, Bus '08.

Since graduating from UC nearly 15 years ago, Salzbrun’s work has been driven by creating meaningful experiences with positive impact. His focus remains squarely on transforming and improving the communities in which we live, work and play.

Salzbrun infused creativity and his love for Cincinnati to cofound one of his best-known projects, BLINK, a multi-night, citywide art installation that brought millions of people — and revenue — to the city.

“Andrew truly embodies the values of PACE by being a respected professional who is academically curious, possessing a sense of character and integrity that inspires as he engages with our community and city,” says nominator, Director of Co-curricular Student Enrichment and Professor-Educator of Marketing Ric Sweeney.


Kesha Williams, PhD, CAHS '02.

Williams negotiates life and work on her own terms, keeping her own pace and an eye on the prize.

To Willliams, social work is an applied profession, and she brings a unique ability to integrate social work with entrepreneurship. It was not until she found UC’s Venture Lab in 2021 that Williams launched her idea for Cool Comforts, a hygiene product that can be placed in the affected areas of someone experiencing vaginitis.

“She strongly feels that we can all do something,” says nominator and mentor Jacquelyn Meshelemiah, PhD, associate professor in the College of Social Work at The Ohio State University. “Cool Comforts is her way of doing something … serving women on a global scale.”

Carl H. Lindner Outstanding Junior Scholarship

As one of the oldest scholarships at UC that bears the Lindner name, the Carl H. Lindner Outstanding Junior Scholarship recognizes an undergraduate student who best exemplifies the energy, commitment and creativity of Carl H. Lindner — shown through their work in the classroom, and their commitment to UC.

Cassidy Hook, Bus ’24

woman with long wavy dark hair smiles for headshot wearing red blouse blouse and red sweater in front of multicolor glass

Cassidy Hook, Bus ’23

BBA, Information Systems and Marketing

Cassidy Hook has not only found the requisite time for her range of business, professional and UC-oriented interests and obligations, but has thrived in pursuit of her passions.

A marketing and information systems double major who is on track to complete five co-op/internship rotations by graduation, Hook also is president of the Lindner Business Honors Student Advisory Board, vice president of project management for Queen City Consulting and homecoming court chair for the Student Alumni Council.

“The Lindner College of Business and UC have given me everything, from my best friends to my mentors, a sense of belonging, a space for leadership, and numerous professional opportunities.”

The Heart of William J. Keating Leadership Award

This award and scholarship bears the name of prominent Cincinnati lawyer William (Bill) Keating, Jr., and honors his longtime service as president of the Lindner Business Advisory Council. When Keating passed away in 2017, former Lindner dean Dave Szymanski established the Heart of William J. Keating, Jr. Leadership Award to recognize a junior business student for their outstanding service to the university and community.

“If you knew my dad, this was his life’s purpose: To make his community a better place for the next generation,” said Liz Keating, daughter of Bill Keating, Jr., during her remarks presenting the award at the 34th annual CBAAs in March 2019.

Lance Entsuah, Bus ’24

portrait image of African American Male in a dark orange sweater taken outdoors

Lance Entsuah, Bus ’24

BA, Economics

Combining impressive initiative and a selfless spirit allowed Lance Entsuah to leave an indelible mark on Lindner and UC. Entsuah has served his fellow students through roles as a student orientation leader, a PACE leader and 2021 Homecoming King.

“Because of the mentorship I received, I knew that it was only right to pour just as much — if not more — into the students coming after me.”

Entsuah’s creative spirit is evident through his co-founding of Bearcat Ventures and his designation as a Stanford University Innovation Fellow. The economics major has also acquired professional experience with Boston Consulting Group, Delta Air Lines, BTS Consulting and Ernst & Young.

Contact Us

Headshot of Victoria Kuhlman

Victoria Kuhlman

Director, Alumni & Donor Experience

4120 Carl H. Lindner Hall