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Daniels School to honor top alumni at April event

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University’s Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr. School of Business will honor six outstanding university graduates at the 2024 Alumni Awards Celebration Dinner on April 19. Tickets are on sale for the event, which includes a 5:30 p.m. reception on the Purdue Memorial Union West Terrace and a 6:30 dinner in the Purdue Memorial Union North Ballroom. The dinner is the capstone event for the Business Alumni Conference.

This year’s honorees:

Howard LanceBusiness Leadership Award, presented to an individual who has achieved success in business and in the community and is the highest honor given by the school: Howard L. Lance (MSM ’88), chairman, director and former CEO of Harris Corp. and Maxar Technologies. A graduate of the Executive Education program, Lance has enjoyed a distinguished career with public and private technology and industrial companies. He has held leadership positions with the Blackstone Group, NCR Corp., and Emerson Electric, and also served on the National Security Telecommunications Advisory Board.

Law BurksDistinguished Alumni Award, presented to graduates who have demonstrated success in their professions, community service achievements, and service to Purdue University and the Daniels School: Lawyer L. Burks III (BSIM ’89), president, IDEX Energy. Burks served as a captain in the U.S. Air Force after graduating from Purdue. He then began a highly successful business career, including stints with Cardinal Health, ITW and BrandSafway. In 2020, he joined IDEX and now has global P&L responsibility for a group of five energy market businesses. 

James HayesDistinguished Service Award, presented to individuals who have given distinguished service to enhance the visibility of the Daniels School and the quality of its programs: James E. Hayes (BSIM ’84), retired senior executive with Accenture. Now working as an independent consultant, Hayes spent 33 years in a variety of roles with Accenture. He is a member of the Daniels School Dean’s Advisory Council and serves on the school’s Transition Steering Committee, and has been involved in community events including Global Volunteers, Daybreak Transitional Housing and the Alive Teen Center.

Sunny Lu WilliamsBurton D. Morgan Entrepreneurship Award, which recognizes achievement and creativity in the field of entrepreneurship: Sunny Lu Williams (BA CLA ’04), president and CEO of TechServ Corp. Williams leads TechServ, a project management and consulting firm founded by her grandmother, Judy Lu. Prior to joining TechServ, Williams spent more than 13 years at Telamon. She’s been active in the Indianapolis community and was presented the 2019 Indiana Minority Health Coalitions William “Bill” Mays Community Titan Award.

Beck TaylorJohn S. Day Distinguished Alumni Academic Service Award, which recognizes an outstanding graduate whose service within the academic community reflects the spirit and service of former Dean John Day to Purdue University and the Daniels School: Beck A. Taylor (MS ’95, PhD ’97), president, Samford University. Taylor earned graduate degrees at Purdue and began an academic career that eventually led to the presidency at Whitworth University. He began his role at Samford in 2021 and helped secure a $100 million gift to support the university’s strategic plan.

Carlos BanksYoung Alumni Award, presented to an individual, age 40 or under, who has shown exceptional progress and early career achievement: Carlos Banks II (BSM ’08), partner, strategic transformation, IBM. A member of the Business Opportunity Program at Purdue, Banks has held a variety of positions at companies including Goldman Sachs, Genpact and Accenture. He joined IBM in 2023 and works with senior client executives to shape initiatives at the intersection of business and technology. He also serves as a member of the Daniels School Alumni Board.

Alumni board member and 2016 Distinguished Service Award honoree Jody Banks (BSM’93, MBA’03) will present opening remarks at the awards dinner. Jim Bullard, Dr. Samuel R. Allen Dean of the Daniels School of Business, will also speak at the event.