Last modified: Monday, March 7, 2005
Four IU alumni honored at annual Business Conference
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Four alumni of the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University will be honored for professional achievement during an awards ceremony at the 59th annual IU Business Conference at the Indiana Convention Center on Wednesday (March 9) in Indianapolis.
Being named to the Kelley School of Business Academy of Alumni Fellows are Bradley A. Alford of San Marino, Calif., president and chief executive officer of Nestlé Brands Co., Nestlé USA; the late Jeffrey W. Comment of Kansas City, Mo., who had been chairman and CEO of Helzberg Diamonds; and Kathy Vrabeck of Santa Monica, Calif., president of Activision Publishing.
The 2005 Distinguished Entrepreneur Award will be presented to Steven J. Bellamy of Santa Monica, Calif., president and founder of The Tennis Channel Inc.
The honors presentation will be part of a day-long program that will focus on the theme "The Changing Identity of Corporate America: Opportunity, Duty, Leadership." Information and online registration are available at 812-855-6340 and https://kelley.iu.edu/busconf.cfm.
Bradley A. Alford
Alford, who received a master of business administration degree from IU in 1980, is president and CEO of Nestlé Brands Co., which includes operations for beverages, confections and snacks, food services, foreign trade, nutrition, sales divisions and logistics.
Nestlé USA, with 2003 sales of $12 billion, includes Nestlé Brands Co., Nestlé Prepared Foods Co., and Nestlé Purina PetCare Co. Nestlé USA is part of Nestlé S.A. in Vevey, Switzerland -- the world's largest food company with sales of $65.5 billion.
In 1980, the native of Cincinnati joined Carnation Co., which was acquired by Nestlé in 1985, as a sales trainee in St. Louis. Shortly after, he moved into marketing as associate product manager in the Pet Foods Division. He held various marketing assignments within Carnation and Nestlé before transferring to Nestlé Australia in 1989 to head sales and marketing for the Friskies PetCare Division.
In 1992, Alford was appointed president of the L.J. Minor Corp., a leading producer of fresh flavor bases for food service operations and industrial food processors and then part of Nestlé's FoodServices Division. Two years later, he was vice president on special assignment for Nestlé USA leading a company-wide quality initiative to develop strategies for continuous process improvement and for adding value to Nestlé products, services and relationships.
In 1995, Alford rejoined Nestlé FoodServices as executive vice president and was named president in 1996. In 1998, he returned to Australia to become regional head of the Nestlé Oceania market that included Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. The region included 22 manufacturing facilities and 6,000 employees. Upon returning to the United States, he became president of the Confections and Snacks Division for Nestlé USA. He also holds a bachelor of science degree from Miami University.
Jeffrey W. Comment
Comment, who passed away suddenly last October, joined Helzberg's Diamond Shops Inc. in 1988 as president. He served side by side with Barnett C. Helzberg Jr., growing the company from 80 to 145 stores. In 1995, Helzberg Diamonds became a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., and Comment became chairman and CEO for Helzberg Diamonds. Helzberg Diamonds operates 264 stores across the United States and can be shopped online at https://www.helzberg.com.
He had 38 years of retail experience after graduating from IU in 1966 with a business marketing degree. His retail experiences began with several management positions in various department stores, including Jordan Marsh Co. and Burdine's. His last department store assignment was as president and chief operating officer of John Wanamaker Department Stores, Philadelphia's largest department store at that time.
He was a published author, with his books including some supporting the application of Christian principles in today's work environment and life, Mission in the Marketplace and Santa's Gift: True Stories of Courage, Humor, Hope and Love (with Warren Buffett).
Vrabeck, who has been president of Activision Publishing since 2003, oversees the company's product development activities worldwide, directs research, development and product acquisitions, and leads the company's global brand management operation. Shortly after her appointment as president, The Hollywood Reporter named her one of the 100 most powerful women in the entertainment industry in its December 2003 Women In Entertainment special issue.
Prior to being named president, the 1989 MBA graduate of IU was executive vice president of global publishing and brand management for three years, where she oversaw Activision's worldwide publishing operations. She joined Activision in 1999 as executive vice president of global brand management. In that role, she was responsible for the development of multi-tiered, cross-platform strategies for the company's brands, providing global marketing input for development projects and the implementation of all marketing activities in North America.
Before joining Activision, Vrabeck was senior vice president and general manager of ConAgra's Snack Food Division, where she led a cross-functional business team responsible for $800 million in revenue. She also served in various marketing and sales roles for the Pillsbury Co., Quaker Oats Co. and Eli Lilly & Co. She also has a bachelor of arts degree from DePauw University.
Steven J. Bellamy
Bellamy is the president and founder of The Tennis Channel, and spearheads the network's development and emerging role as a hub for the sport. One of the most connected people in the sport today, he has parlayed his many entertainment and tennis-industry relationships to create tremendous synergies and growth for tennis. He has also become one of the most recognizable faces for tennis, appearing frequently as a radio and television news analyst, and as a popular advocate of the game.
The Tennis Channel (https://www.thetennischannel.com) is the 24-hour cable television network devoted to tennis and other racquet sports, and provides unparalleled coverage of the game, its elite championships and its superstar athletes. The network's comprehensive coverage includes telecasts of the U.S. Open Series, ATP Masters Series, top-tier WTA Tour championship competitions, Davis Cup by BNP Paribas, Fed Cup and Hyundai Hopman Cup. The Tennis Channel also showcases instruction from the finest teachers, legendary matches, in-depth profiles of the greatest players, analysis and news, the latest on equipment, and tennis getaways.
A longtime fan of and cheerleader for the sport, Bellamy has been integrally involved in every facet of the industry, including facilities owner, promoter, top coach, celebrity go-to guy, tournament director, marketer and evangelist. In 1985, he founded Atonal Tennis Inc. which built, bought and operated tennis centers and tennis businesses, including the world-famous Palisades Tennis Center, Santa Monica Tennis Center and Westchester Tennis Academy.
Bellamy's efforts as owner and operator turned the Palisades Tennis Center into a world-renowned, model tennis facility, prompting Independent Business Magazine to call it "the crown jewel of American tennis" and W Magazine to declare it "the Westside Mecca for celebrity players." His unique methods of instruction have reinvented the way the game is being taught and the way facilities are being programmed around the country. "Live Ball," Bellamy's exciting and innovative brand of "rock 'n' roll tennis" coaching, turned the Palisades Tennis Center into a stomping ground for notables such as California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Hilary Swank, Sally Field, Patrick Rafter, Bjorn Borg, John Lloyd and droves of other celebrities and professional tennis players. His business acumen and personal flair helped the Palisades Tennis Center increase its revenue nearly tenfold in just a few years.
After a 10-year hiatus from his junior playing days, Bellamy got back into the tennis business as a way of paying studio bills for the rock band he fronted. He would give tennis lessons during the day and spend all night in the studio, concert venue or rehearsal hall. He first started coaching tennis with the same creativity he brought to music, and then started marketing tennis with the same skills he learned as a relentlessly hard-working promoter of his albums. Bellamy is an internationally recognized coach with clients that have included world leaders, Hollywood's "A-list" and some of the greatest players in the sport.
In 2004, Sports Business Journal named Bellamy to its list of the top 10 most influential people in professional tennis. He currently sits on boards and committees of the industry's most important organizations, including the ATP Foundation board, Tennis Industry Association board and International Tennis Federation's Joint Media Commission. He is also involved at the game's highest decision-making levels, lectures to thousands monthly, is a frequent personality at nationwide celebrity tennis events, and has served as a national radio analyst for ESPN and Sporting News.