Management and Business Outstanding Service Award Winners
Ellen K. Hannan ’78
Outstanding Service Award
May 14, 2008
Ellen Hannan ’78 is one of the most highly regarded oil and gas analysts in the nation. Twice recognized as an “all-star” analyst by both the Wall Street Journal and Reuters, she was named among the top three analysts in the oil, gas, and consumable fuels industry by Forbes.com in 2006, and has appeared for the last three years as a runner-up in the Institutional Investor survey.
The business major earned an MBA at Pace University and launched her career as an equity analyst at Bessemer Trust, following several years at Texaco, Inc., where she honed her analytical skills. She then spent four years covering the upstream oil and gas sector with Prudential Securities. In 1998, Bear Stearns & Co. recruited Ellen for a position as managing director and senior energy analyst.
Ellen credits her Skidmore experience with refining her ability to think critically and write concisely, both invaluable skills in her professional life. Moreover, the broad liberal arts curriculum exposed her to diverse disciplines beyond business, encouraging her to “view the world in an infinite number of shades of gray.”
Ellen’s commitment to sharing her success has mirrored her remarkable career. A long-time mentor to students in the Department of Business and Management, she provides similar guidance to alumni working in the finance industry. While serving as a class agent, she was tapped by the Alumni Association Board of Directors to join its awards committee. Her passion for helping students and young alumni navigate the world of career building did not go unnoticed. When the position of Chair of Career and Professional Development became available on the AABD in 2004, she was the unanimous choice. Partnering with the Office of Career Services, she planned Wall Street Walk and other networking events and brought alumni working in a variety of fields back to campus for career panels. She offered the full support of the board to an emerging networking group, the Skidmore Business Network, which has since established chapters across the country. Ellen is currently a member of the Council of 100, a group of alumni who help chart the growth of Skidmore’s endowment.
Ellen’s work on behalf of Skidmore gives her the opportunity to network and connect with classmates, faculty, staff and students. “They are all engaging and it is a very rewarding effort. We have so many diverse, fascinating alumni and we all share a common bond. And the students just keep getting better—more lively, intellectually curious, and poised every year. More importantly, it is truly fun!” She is a strong advocate of alumni involvement with the college. “As Skidmore continues to scale new heights in the liberal arts learning community, we all benefit.” She adds, “Receiving this service award is truly an honor. I can only hope my contributions are truly worthy of it.”
Ellen also gives of her time and treasure to the Newton Country Day School of the Sacred Heart in Massachusetts, where she is a member of the board of trustees and Chair of the Investment Committee..
Ellen and her husband, Kevin Monahan, live in Old Greenwich, Connecticut.
Ken Freirich ’90
Outstanding Service Award
May 11, 2005 at 11 am
Ken Freirich ’90 is the founder and former CEO of TransLocal Health Corporation, a leading multimedia health information provider to the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries. The business major credits his Skidmore experience, both in and out of the classroom, for laying the foundation of his career as an entrepreneur and corporate executive.
The seeds of that career were planted when, as a sophomore, Freirich queried mentor and Wall Street executive Nic Platt ’76 about a summer job. The request elicited an unexpected response. Platt advised his protégé to start his own business, bartend —do something entirely removed from finance. “If I did what Nic asked,” muses Freirich, “he promised that he would find me a job after graduation. If I didn’t, he told me not to come back.” That summer Freirich launched the Saratoga Entertainment and Discount Guide, which he financed by collected advertising revenue from local businesses over an eight-day period. The publication, which later became The Collegian Magazine, was distributed twice annually to over 35 colleges in three states.
The experience was “a defining moment” in Freirich’s life. His entrepreneurial and corporate goals were bolstered by business faculty members Jim Settal and Marty Canavan and guided by finance VP Karl Broekhuizen and director of Career Services Mike Profita. Although he always intended to be involved with business, Freirich insists that the breath of his liberal arts education has proven to be “invaluable.”
Freirich leveraged his entrepreneurial publishing efforts at Skidmore as a foray into the corporate world and joined the leading medical publisher, Medical Economic, owned by Thomson. In a short period of time, Freirich was running magazines and custom communications businesses. He was also selected by the top management at Thomson to join thirty-six others worldwide for a two-year Executive MBA certificate program at Columbia University. By 1997, Freirich was VP for sales and marketing for InteliHealth, a joint venture between Aetna U.S. Healthcare and Johns Hopkins and leading consumer and professional health content, technology and e-commerce provider. After becoming the firm’s president in 1999 and a successful exit in 2000, Freirich was reporting to the chairman of Aetna and president of Aetna U.S. Healthcare. He left in 2001 to start TransLocal Health Corporation, a global multimedia health information business headquartered in Springhouse, PA. As CEO, he presided over the firm’s remarkable development into a leading provider of information and resources for patients, physicians, and the pharmaceutical industry worldwide.
While Freirich labored to achieve his professional goals, he was also building a roster of volunteer roles. As a two-term member-at-large of the Alumni Association Board of Directors, he helped chart the future of the College’s technological infrastructure. He also created and implemented the Class Council, an initiative that connects class officers to the alumni board and college. Chair of his 10th reunion in 2000, Freirich is currently serving his second term as class president. As president of the Philadelphia Alumni Club for the past five years, he created a leadership structure that is a model for other clubs around the country. Freirich has also implemented robust career networking and innovative social events. He continues to be a dynamic presence at Friends of the Presidents dinners, scholarship benefits, and alumni leadership workshops.
Freirich chooses to volunteer because of his firm belief that much of his professional success can be attributed to the “transformative” years he spent at Skidmore. “I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to have attended one of the finest institutions in the country. Skidmore offers every student a wealth of resources, both inside and out of the classroom. If you are motivated and take advantage of all that Skidmore has to offer, truly extraordinary things can happen.”
For Freirich, one of those extraordinary things occurred just two years ago, when the former drummer for campus band Strawberry Jam realized a long held dream of performing with rock and roll legends at the House of Blues in Los Angeles, CA—cheered on by fellow board members.
He lives in the Philadelphia suburbs with wife Stephanie, a Saratoga County native and instructional technologist who was recently elected to public office. The couple serves a number of local nonprofit organizations as board members and volunteers.
“I am honored and humbled to receive this award,” concludes Freirich. “Skidmore has been and will always be a very big part of my life. It’s been a pleasure to give back to Skidmore, an institution that has given so much to me.”