NKU announces Outstanding Alumni Award recipients

Five recognized for contributions to university and community

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. — Northern Kentucky University announced Friday the 2020 Outstanding Alumni Awards recipients. They are Greg Neal, Bob Heil, Jill P. Meyer, Alyse Bender Hoffer and Dr. Jessica Averitt Taylor.

They will be honored at the Alumni Awards dinner Feb. 7, 2020­, to kick off Homecoming weekend.

“Our Alumni Award winners have a deep passion for supporting our students and making a difference in the community,” said NKU President Ashish Vaidya. “It is through individuals like these that make us who we are — a university whose alumni, faculty and staff focus on giving our students opportunities and empowering them to have successful careers and lead meaningful lives.”

Greg Neal (’81 & ’85) is the 2020 recipient of the Outstanding Alumnus Award for enhancing the image of NKU and serving as an ambassador throughout his career. Neal is the founder and CEO of Advanced Testing Laboratory Inc., a rapidly growing scientific outsourcing company providing multi-discipline science, regulatory and operational solutions to the global pharmaceutical, medical device and consumer products industries. He started ATL out of his garage in 1987 after he graduated NKU with degrees in biology and chemistry. In addition to ATL’s commercial success, Neal also created an organization that cares deeply about social issues and makes giving back to the community a priority. Some of the associate driven activities focus on elderly and disabled care, support for wounded service members and their families, environmental sustainability, well being and educational opportunities for children, as well as encouraging students to pursue the sciences. In 2013, Neal received the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for the Health Sciences in the South Central Ohio and Kentucky Region.

Bob Heil (’12) is one of two 2020 recipients of the Distinguished Service Award for his exceptional leadership and service to NKU. Heil serves as the CEO of KLH Engineers, one of Greater Cincinnati’s largest engineering firms. He is a founding member of the Northern Kentucky Regional Alliance, chair of the Northern Kentucky Tri-Ed Board of Directors and serves on the Duke Energy OH/KY Advisory Council and the Northern Kentucky Chamber Business Advocacy Committee. Heil previously served as chair of the Northern Kentucky Chamber, the Campbell Leadership Action Group and the Dean’s Advisory Board of NKU’s Haile/US Bank College of Business. In 2019, he was named the Walter R. Dunlevy Frontiersman Award winner by the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. As a 2012 graduate of NKU’s Master of Science in Executive Leadership and Organizational Change (ELOC) program, Heil was chosen by his cohorts to receive the 2012 ELOC Spirit Award for his energy and enthusiasm in the classroom, both personally and professionally. He also served as an adjunct faculty member in NKU’s Department of Physics and on the Construction Management Advisory Board.

Jill P. Meyer (’96) is also the 2020 recipient of the Distinguished Service award for her exceptional leadership and service to NKU. Meyer currently serves as the president and CEO of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber. Prior to that role, she practiced as an attorney for 20 years at Frost Brown Todd and served as the member-in-charge of the firm’s Cincinnati office. She currently serves on the boards of 3CDC, CincyTech, Cincinnati COMPASS, Art of the Piano, and is a director of the Hamilton County Transportation Improvement District. Additionally, she serves as a director of Cincinnati Financial Corp. She is also a member of the United Way Tocqueville Society and ArtsWave Women’s Leadership Roundtable. Meyer has been honored as a YWCA Career Woman of Achievement, a Cincinnati Business Courier Forty Under 40 recipient and Woman Who Means Business, and is an alumna of the chamber’s inaugural Women Excel (WE) Lead class and Leadership Cincinnati Class 34. She earned her J.D. at NKU’s Salmon P. Chase College of Law.

C. Alyse Bender Hoffer (’08 & ’11) is the 2020 recipient of the Outstanding Young Alumnus Award for her work enhancing NKU’s image through her service to NKU and her professional accomplishments. Hoffer is both a second-generation attorney and double NKU and NKU Chase College of Law graduate. A member in Frost Brown Todd’s Real Estate Practice Group in Cincinnati, Hoffer is dedicated to providing her clients with exceptional representation in commercial real estate transactions. She currently serves on the NKU College of Informatics Alumni Council. Hoffer was a founding member of the NKU Young Alumni Council serving from 2012-16 and as president from 2015-16. While an undergrad at NKU, Hoffer was Student Government Association president and student regent on the NKU Board of Regents. Hoffer currently serves on the board, including the executive committee, of Welcome House of Northern Kentucky. Hoffer is also a member of the United Way Emerging Leaders Group.

Dr. Jessica Averitt Taylor is the 2020 recipient of the Faculty/Staff Strongest Influence Award for her work to enrich and enhance student lives at NKU. Taylor is an associate professor in the School of Social Work and serves as the director of FUEL NKU, the on-campus food pantry. She created FUEL NKU in 2013, when she noticed students in her classes struggling with hunger. The pantry started as one bookshelf in Taylor’s office, and moved between a few small locations on campus over the past six years. In February, the expanded FUEL NKU Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Community Center opened in Albright Health Center. The 2,300 s.f. center is the result of a partnership between The Kroger Co. and NKU to fight hunger on campus and support students. Taylor also previously served as a faculty coordinator for the Mayerson Student Philanthropy Project and was a supporting member of the team that established the Norse Violence Prevention Center. The Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce recognized her as one of the 2019 Outstanding Women of Northern Kentucky, and she was named as one of the Wise Women of NKU in 2018.

Tickets to the Annual Alumni Awards Celebration include a cocktail reception, plated dinner, after-party, alumni gift, valet parking and a ticket voucher for the men’s Homecoming basketball game on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020. The event will take place at 6 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 7, 2020, at NKU’s Campus Recreation Center.

To purchase tickets, visit the Alumni Awards website.

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