The University of Olivet to recognize state leaders

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The University of Olivet will recognize some of Michigan’s finest leaders as part of its 19th annual Leadership for Individual and Social Responsibility Awards Dinner Wednesday, May 13 at the Country Club of Lansing.

The 2015 honorees are leaders in their chosen professions and reflect the college’s vision of Education for Individual and Social Responsibility. They include:

Kellie Dean, President and CEO of Dean Transportation, Inc.

Dean Transportation, Inc., formerly Special Transportation, was established in the early 1950s by Eric Christiensen to transport individuals affected by polio to Lansing area schools. In 1969 Special Transportation was incorporated by Lyle L. Stephens, a former Michigan State Police Motor Carrier Lieutenant and a leader in passenger safety. Kellie Dean joined Stephens in 1986 after a 14-year career in the Lansing School District, for which he served as teacher’s aide, special education teacher and special education administrator for the physically or otherwise health and hearing impaired.

Special Transportation became Dean Transportation, Inc. in 1991 and has made a significant impact on the specialized transportation industry throughout Stephens’ and Dean’s advocacy for the disabled.

Dean Transportation led the cause for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and U.S. Department of Transportation to develop federal guidelines to safely transport special needs individuals. After a five-year battle in Washington, D.C., Dean Transportation’s efforts helped influence NHTSA to develop new equipment specifications for wheelchairs and wheelchair tie-down equipment, which is now available for the safety of our nation’s disabled passengers.

Today, Dean Transportation serves school districts, intermediate school districts, and public transit agencies throughout the state of Michigan, and has become one of the largest privately-owned transportation companies in the country.

At the helm of Kellie Dean, the company strives to be a good community partner through volunteerism, sponsorship and community outreach; especially supporting organizations that provide educational opportunities to children and their families.

Sandy Draggoo, CEO/Executive Director, Capital Area Transportation Authority (CATA)

Sandy Draggoo became one of the first women to lead a public transportation system in the country. She began her career at CATA in 1974 as executive secretary, and has served as its CEO/executive director since 1985.

Her high standards of excellence and outstanding leadership resulted in Draggoo being named CEO of the Year by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) in 2003 – an award regarded as the industry’s pinnacle of success.

Draggoo has worked diligently to guide CATA’s growth and service quality for more than 30 years. She spearheaded the construction of a new transportation center in downtown Lansing, negotiated public transportation services on Michigan State University’s campus, sponsored many events in the Greater Lansing area, and has overseen the quality of CATA’s daily delivery service. Under Draggoo’s leadership, CATA received APTA’s Outstanding Achievement Award in 1991 and 2007.

Motivated by a passion to promote opportunities for women, Draggoo mentored countless female employees at CATA throughout the years. She was awarded the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce Athena Award and was inducted into the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame for her contributions to transportation in the state. She received the national Sharon Banks Award for Innovative Leadership in Transportation, as well as the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce Diana Award for Business Achievement.

Active in her community, Draggoo served on the Hospice House of Mid-Michigan’s Advisory Committee, and was chair of The Peoples Church and Capital Area United Way boards of directors. She is a member of the Rotary Club of Lansing, volunteers for Meals on Wheels, and was named by the Lansing State Journal as one of the “Top 100 People to Watch in the 21st Century.”

Carol Monroe, President, Eaton County Clothing and Furniture Center

As current president and the driving force behind Eaton Clothing and Furniture Center (ECFC) in Charlotte, Carol Monroe has led many efforts to help the underprivileged in the local community and beyond.

In 1993, Eaton County Commissioner Bill Powers conceived the idea to establish an independent agency as a source of gently used clothing, furniture and household items for members of the community in need.  Monroe was instrumental in establishing ECFC as a 501(c)(3) corporation and was a charter member of the agency’s board of  directors. With humble beginnings in a basement room of the old Eaton County courthouse, the center has since expanded to its own storefront. Its current staff of three part-time employees and dozens of volunteers have served tens of thousands of people in need for more than 20 years. The center currently serves more than 3,000 families who are part of the social services system in Barry and Eaton counties, with 8,000 to 10,000 individuals benefiting each year from the resources it provides free to those who qualify, or at low cost to the general public.

In addition to the daily operations of the store, ECFC hosts an annual “Back-to-School” event each August, which provides new items including shoes, backpacks containing school supplies, and personal care items to hundreds of children from low income families.

Monroe has had a major impact on the community in other capacities as well. She was a member of a county-wide committee established to address housing issues. After many hours of effort, Housing Services For Eaton County was established as a non-profit corporation. She participated in writing the initial $400,000 Housing and Urban Development grant that started this still-functioning agency, and served as its initial executive director. She also served as executive director of Tri-County Emergency Medical Control Authority from 1986-91 and was responsible for coordinating the establishment of protocols for emergency medical services in Clinton, Eaton and Ingham counties.

Monroe is a 35-year member and past president of General Federation of Women’s Clubs – Charlotte, and was a 30-year volunteer for Mobile Meals. She has also been a member of First Congregational Church of Charlotte UCC for 35 years, serving in several leadership capacities. She has been recognized with numerous awards, including the J.C. Penney Golden Rule Award for her involvement in a housing resource and eviction program that resulted in self-sufficiency for a number of families in Eaton County.

Tickets to attend the Leadership for Individual and Social Responsibility Awards Dinner are $75, which includes a $40 tax deductible donation to The University of Olivet. For more information, contact Carol Flanigan, director of annual giving.


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