13 Wright State faculty, staff and alumni named to Dayton Business Journal Forty Under 40 list

Amir Zadeh is an associate professor of management information systems in the Raj Soin College of Business.

Thirteen people with Wright State University connections, including a management information systems faculty member and an assistant director in the Office of Alumni Relations, were named to the Dayton Business Journal’s annual Forty Under 40 list.

This marks the 25th year the Dayton Business Journal has honored the region’s brightest young professionals. More than 200 people from around the Miami Valley were nominated this year.

The honorees include Amir Zadeh, Ph.D., associate professor of management information systems in the Raj Soin College of Business, and Brooke Johnson Leppla, associate director of alumni and donor marketing and communication in the Office of Alumni Relations and a two-time Wright State graduate.

Eleven other Wright State alumni were also named to the Forty Under 40 list.

Zadeh is an expert in information systems and analytics. His research and teaching interests are in the areas of data-driven decision making, analytics, big data, and machine learning with applications in health, social networks, cybersecurity, e-commerce, sports, and operations management.

He is actively involved in the Data Analytics and Visualization lab (DAVE), where students in the Raj Soin College of Business study business analytics.

His research on sports analytics using wearable technology is funded by a grant from Wright State’s Research and Sponsored Programs.

Zadeh received the 2020 Ranyard Medal for Best Research Paper from the Operations Research Society.

His research has been published in numerous peer-reviewed journals. He serves as an associate editor for the International Journal of Intelligent Information Technologies, E-Service, Frontiers in Artificial Intelligence – section AI in Business. He is also a member of the editorial review boards of the Journal of Information Systems Education, Journal of Business Research and the Journal of Business Analytics.

Zadeh earned his Ph.D. in management science and information systems from Oklahoma State University. He also holds degrees in industrial engineering and management systems, with a concentration in socio-economic systems, and applied mathematics, with a concentration in computer science.

Wright State alumna Brooke Johnson Leppla is the associate director of alumni and donor marketing and communication in the Office of Alumni Relations.

Leppla is responsible for all internal and external marketing for the Wright State Alumni Association and as part of the University Advancement team.

She plans engagement activities and programming for Wright State alumni and assists with marketing initiatives to improve donor retention and relationships. She also plays a significant role in the production of the Wright State Magazine.

She previously served as assistant director of alumni engagement in the Office of Alumni Relations and event and marketing coordinator in the Raj Soin College of Business. She also taught sports marketing and public relations as an adjunct faculty member in the College of Education and Human Services.

Leppla is also the co-owner of Pink with Envy Events, planning weddings and social, nonprofit and corporate events. She has received the Best of The Knot and Weddingwire awards multiple times and the Best in Chic award from Dayton Magazine.

“I love to put together a good event!” she said.

In addition, she turned a pandemic passion project into Gem City Pup, LLC, an all-natural dog bakery. She makes custom pupcakes, celebration cakes and other dog treats, which she sells at pop-ups and local farmers’ markets.

Leppla is also a Wright State graduate, with a master’s degree in student affairs in higher education, a sports management certificate and a bachelor’s degree in marketing.

Wright State alumni named to the Forty Under 40 list:

Lauren Alder Truesdale, chief development officer, The Foodbank
Bachelor’s degree in urban affairs, 2011; Master of Public Administration, 2013

Shon Anderson, president, Anderson Financial Strategies
Bachelor’s degree in financial services, 2006, Master of Business Administration, 2007

Elizabeth Breitenstein, market president, Fischer Homes
Bachelor’s degree in marketing, 2005

Casey Hookfin, career specialist program manager, nursing, Dayton Children’s Hospital
Bachelor’s degree in nursing, 2013

Erin Kunkle, vice president, JJR Solutions
Bachelor’s degree in English, 2008

Roopsi Narayan, director, Premier Health Fidelity Health Care, Premier Community Health
Bachelor’s degree in biological sciences, 2011; Master of Public Health, 2014; Certificate in chemical, biological, radiological and defense, 2014

Micah Newburg, business development for aerospace and defense, Dayton Development Coalition
Bachelor’s degree in marketing, 2015

John Owen, program manager, Parallax Advanced Research
Master of Public Administration, 2010

Justin Rowden, portfolio manager, Johnson Investment Counsel
Bachelor’s degree in finance, 2013

Shawna Sorrell, attorney, Taft Law
Bachelor’s degree in psychology, 2015

Benjamin Tran, branch chief, Sensing Management Branch, Air Force Research Laboratory
Master’s degree in electrical engineering, 2009

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