One of the hallmark events of the College of Business and Information Technology is the induction of select members to the Hall of Fame. The College of Business and Information Technology Hall of Fame is the highest recognition given by the College to leaders whose careers exemplify both individual excellence and dedication to the success of others. Through their vision and leadership, these individuals have made lasting contributions to the College of Business and Information Technology by providing inspiring role models for today’s business students.
A devoted teacher and mentor, Barbara Kouskoulas joined the faculty of Lawrence Tech’s College of Management in 1991. She taught finance and economics until her retirement as associate professor emerita in 2007. She was known to students and faculty alike for her kindness, strength, and patience.
Kouskoulas received her PhD in economics from Wayne State University in 1971 and started her career as an investment manager at the National Bank of Detroit. In the early 1980s, she moved to Athens, Greece, to be closer to her husband while he worked overseas. She worked at the Citibank Officer Training Center in Athens, taught economics at the American College of Southeastern Europe, and spent a number of years as a senior health planner for the Comprehensive Health Planning Council of Southeastern Michigan. During her teaching career, she also taught at Wayne State University and California State University.
Intellectually curious and fearless, Kouskoulas returned to school after her retirement from LTU, taking biochemistry and biology courses in pursuit of a nursing degree.
The sister of Lawrence Tech founders Russell and E. George Lawrence, Catherine Lawrence Graeffe was an integral part of the creation and success of the Lawrence Institute of Technology. The first signatory on the original articles of incorporation, she, along with her husband, Edwin O. Graeffe, was also a financial backer of the new university.
Never accepting a paycheck, Graeffe dedicated her skills and knowledge to the start-up institution. She helped register new students, process bills, and manage financial accounts. Upon the completion of her studies in library science, she worked in the Lawrence Tech library and helped convert the library’s catalog system from the Dewey Decimal to the Library of Congress Classification system.
Her tireless and ingenious efforts are reflected today in the astounding success of Lawrence Tech.
The founding dean of the College of Management, Edwin O. Graeffe served Lawrence Tech for 40 years. He helped assure the University’s successful opening and continued to serve in a number of positions until his death.
Affectionately called “Doc” Graeffe, he was a larger-than-life figure to the students he encountered – which during his tenure was literally the entire student body. As early alumni return for campus reunions, it is invoking Graeffe’s name that most often opens a floodgate of happy memories.
Brussels-born and German-educated, Graeffe earned a doctor of law degree from the University of Tübingen and then joined the import-export business in 1920s Hong Kong. Work with Kelvinator brought him to Detroit, a faculty appointment in business and law at the University of Detroit, and an introduction to Russell Lawrence, who was then the University of Detroit dean of engineering, and his brother, George. That acquaintanceship led him to meet and soon thereafter marry Russell and George’s sister, Catherine. As supporters of Russell’s dream to launch the University in 1932, the couple contributed the bulk of their life savings to the effort.
Graeffe’s booming voice, accent, saber scars, and worldly and urbane countenance made a lasting impression on generations of students. He used his broad experiences to expose them to global culture and international business practices. Graeffe was also very involved as advisor to numerous student clubs and participated in campus events, often as the master of ceremonies or keynote speaker. He coached fencing (student Bill Osis made the 1940 Olympic team), and founded and directed the student band in 1933. He served as first dean of what is today the College of Management, 1949–54, and again in 1965–70, and also served as what is today the University’s chief academic position known as provost, 1956–64.
The president of ServoTech Industries and a partner in Zoatex LLC, a commodity and business management company and a partner in battery nano technology, Hamid Servati shares his extensive industry experience with the College of Management as a member of its advisory board. In 2014 when Servati was managing director and vice president of Westport Advanced Engineering-USA Center, he arranged the donation of five Ford trucks to Lawrence Tech. One, a bi-fuel Ford F-250 that runs on either gasoline or compressed natural gas, is used for student research in LTU’s alternative fuels program. Westport also provided the University another F-250, two F-150s and an F-450, which are used for campus maintenance.
Servati has served as president of ServoTech since 1987. He has been responsible for the advancement of enabling technologies and solutions for fuel economy improvements and the use of alternative fuel, exhaust emissions controls and manufacturing, and the reduction of product development cycles via simulation and automation.
He has been recognized for his innovative contributions to the development and application of engine air and fuel transient dynamics modeling, powertrain controls and calibration enabling tools, pioneering exhaust emissions control software, hardware technologies, prototyping and production, alternative fuel engineering for internal combustion engines, training powertrain engineering specialists, and effectively turning innovative ideas into new production technologies with broad environmental benefits.
The author of many patents, Servati has published numerous technical papers and is an active organizer in the SAE International, previously known as the Society of Automotive Engineers. He earned a PhD from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and an MS in Mechanical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Alumni Achievement Award, 2008
Components created by Keith T. Pratt’s companies have been used on Mars, in the Hubble Space Telescope, and in artificial hearts. In 1993, Pratt founded Panda Precision Inc. and then acquired Schwartz Industries, calling his new venture Shared Vision LLC. Based in Warren, Michigan, the company produced precision machined parts and sub-assemblies for clients in the aerospace, automotive, defense, heavy equipment, and medical industries.
Pratt grew up on Long Island in New York. He moved to Detroit to work for General Motors, where he held positions in product development, emissions, testing, and advanced vehicle engineering at the GM Tech Center and Proving Grounds. He also has worked for IBM and enjoyed success in automobile racing, competing in road racing and Funny Car drag racing circuits.
Pratt sold his business in 2013, but has remained very active in working to improve higher education. He is a major Lawrence Tech donor and has served on the Presidential and Dean of Engineering Search Committees. He also serves his alma mater on the campaign steering committees for the College Entrepreneur Organization (CEO) and Lawrence Tech’s Proud Heritage, Bold Future Capital Campaign. He is a member of the board of directors of The Legends, LTU’s organization of entrepreneurial alumni committed to fostering and enhancing the entrepreneurial mindset in students. He also has been a presenter for LTU’s Entrepreneurial Lecture Series, and is a charter supporter of the Lawrence Tech Invitational golf outing that provides student scholarship and program support.
In his mid-20s, Leland “Lee” Lahr helped launch and run a firm that grew in four years to claim 40 percent of a major market in the Midwest. Selling to business owners taught him the importance of preparing individuals to go into business before they actually open the doors of their companies. He switched careers and moved into academia at Lawrence Technological University, where he could help his students understand what it takes to run a company effectively.
For over 30 years, Lahr helped hundreds of students at Lawrence Tech prepare to start their own companies and thrive in the business world. He published a book on the subject, Minding Your Own Business: Prepare to Run One, in 2011.
Lahr began his long career at LTU as an instructor in the School of Business and Industrial Management, later the College of Management, in 1964. In 1970, he became dean of the college, succeeding Edwin O. Graeffe upon his retirement. Lahr served until 1979, when he returned to teaching.
Lahr specialized in teaching marketing and management and initiated an entrepreneurship and small business program in the college. Starting as a series of seminars in 1974, the program was expanded into a number of courses in 1979.
Lahr “retired” and was named professor emeritus of management in 1995. He continued to serve the College of Management in a variety of roles. In 2005, the college presented him a certificate of appreciation “in recognition of 41 years of distinguished service to Lawrence Technological University, to higher education, and to the growth and development of leaders. As a professor, dean, and ambassador for the College of Management, your innovations, wise counsel, enthusiasm, and steadfast dedication to excellence have inspired all who know you.”
Mohammad Taghi Mokhberi was born on Feb 25, 1950, in Tehran, Iran, the second of seven children and the oldest of five sons.
In 1974, he decided to pursue higher education, along with learning a foreign language – English – and set off to London with his wife and eldest son. With a lot of effort and determination, he and his younger brother Javad jumped through numerous hoops to come to LTU (then LIT) and pursue their degrees in Industrial Management and Mechanical Engineering, respectively. They specifically selected LTU due to its focus on “Theory and Practice”. At LTU, both the brothers worked hard on their studies as well as numerous jobs to support their education and completed their degrees in three years’ time.
After graduation, the brothers went in different paths, Mohammad in Iran and Javad in the US. However, they were destined to work together and in 1989 Mohammad joined Javad in a new business – FUTEK. Over the next 20 years, the brothers made FUTEK a very successful company, with over 100 employees providing landmark engineering solutions. The crown jewel of these being the key part that was supplied for the working of NASA’s Mars Rover in 2012. Unfortunately, Mohammad could bask in this glory for only a year as he passed away on March 26, 2013.
Mohammad faced numerous challenges but focused on end results and the happiness of all around him. He not only cared for his wife and three sons, but also the extended family of siblings, nephews, nieces, and friends. He was a pillar of stability and sanguinity and the most generous of spirits for his extended family, employees, friends, and community.
As president and chief operating officer of Westport, a natural gas engine and vehicle engineering company based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Nancy Gougarty facilitated the donation of five Ford trucks to Lawrence Technological University. One, a bi-fuel Ford F-250 that runs on either gasoline or compressed natural gas, is used for student research in Lawrence Tech’s alternative fuels program. Westport also provided the University another F-250, two F-150s and an F-450, which are used for campus maintenance.
Gougarty began her career with General Motors, working as an industrial engineer in the Packard Electric Division, and moving into roles of increasing responsibility in application engineering, finance, operations, and sales. In 1997 she was named managing director for GM's joint venture in Shanghai, followed by a series of appointments accountable for strategic growth in Asia. After the successful post as the director for Delphi Packard, Asia Pacific, Gougarty led Delphi's largest account as a global account director, until becoming the vice president for Delphi Automotive Systems in Japan and Korea.
After GM Gougarty joined TRW Automotive Corporation, where she held a number of positions, ending with vice president for operations in the Asia-Pacific region. Based in Shanghai, Gougarty oversaw the operations of more than 30 plants in the region.
Dr. Thomas Marx came to Lawrence Technological University in 2005 after 28 years at General Motors, where he held leadership positions in economics, public policy, and corporate strategic planning. Professor Marx held a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Rider University, graduating summa cum laude and a PhD in Economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Marx was a longtime teacher of courses in Lawrence Tech’s MBA program, including economics, strategic management, and global leadership, where he advised students that “leadership is not rocket science, it’s much harder.” He also taught in LTU’s Doctor of Business Administration program, which he directed from 2006-09, and chaired or was a committee member for 23 doctoral dissertations. He was also the director of LTU’s Center for Global Leadership and Understanding.
Dr. Marx was the founding director of a groundbreaking collaboration between LTU and the military that began in 2007. The Senior Service College Fellowship program (SSCF) was developed due to a critical need for civilian leaders in acquisition for the Army. He was also member of numerous economic, business, academic, and honorary associations including Pi Gamma Mu (National Social Sciences Honor Society), Beta Gamma Sigma (Business Honor Society), Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in the Midwest, Who’s Who in Finance and Industry, and Personalities in America.
Dr. Virinder Moudgil served as president and CEO of Lawrence Technological University from July 2012 until his retirement in December 2022. As LTU’s seventh president, Dr. Moudgil created a period of significant growth and improvement in campus facilities, programs, student life, fundraising, and community outreach. During his skilled leadership LTU saw construction of a third and fourth student residence hall, LTU’s Detroit Center for Design and Technology in midtown Detroit, the Taubman Complex containing the Marburger STEM Center, and the Centrepolis Accelerator.
Dr. Moudgil led or championed research and scholarship traditions and added new academic programs, including nursing, physician assistant, data analysis, artificial intelligence, game design and more.
Prior to Lawrence Tech, Dr. Moudgil served as senior vice president for academic affairs and provost at Oakland University, where he co-chaired the steering committee that developed the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine. His education includes the Harvard Institute for Educational Management, 2006; post-doctoral work in molecular medicine at the Mayo Clinic, 1973-76; and a PhD in Zoology (Biochemistry) from Banaras Hindu University in India, 1972. He was a visiting scientist at universities in Yugoslavia and France, and a consultant with the United Nations.
Dr. Moudgil has received numerous academic and administrative awards, including the Global Citizen Award.