OU Elects New Board Officers

Posted by Paula Paine on January 14, 2015 in Ottawa University, Ottawa, KS, has announced the appointment of new officers to its Board of Trustees effective January 1, 2015.

Chair - Wynndee Lee '89

Wynndee-Lee-A.jpgWynndee Lee ’89 will serve as the new Board Chair following three years as Vice Chair. She replaces Dr. Henry “Hank” Scherich ‘60, who is completing his third term as Chair.

“Ottawa University has been blessed with superior leadership on its Board of Trustees throughout its history,” said President Kevin C. Eichner. “Wynndee Lee’s appointment as Chair extends that legacy in a meaningful way. Her faithful and insightful service on the Board for more than 15 years, as well as her impressive leadership with the City of Ottawa, have positioned her to guide the University in this important and demanding role. I am confident that Wynndee’s knowledge, creativity, skills, and devotion to all things OU will serve this institution very well as we enter our 150th year.”

Lee serves as the Director of Planning and Codes Administration for the City of Ottawa, KS.  She oversees the planning, zoning, development, and codes administration for the city and has been in the position for over ten years.

As a Trustee for Ottawa University since 1999, Lee has served and provided leadership on nearly all Board committees, as well as on the Alumni Board prior to becoming a Trustee. She co-chaired the Presidential Search Committee (2007-08), chaired the Facilities Committee (2009-present) and the Committee on Trusteeship (2012-14), and served as Secretary (2006-07) prior to her role as Vice Chair. In addition to her upcoming duties as Board Chair, she will also chair the Executive Committee in 2015.

Lee holds a Master of Arts in Public Administration from the University of Kansas and a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration, summa cum laude, from Ottawa University. She has a deep family connection to OU, with her parents, brother and husband all being graduates of the University.
Prior to her current position, Lee held roles as City Manager (Concordia, KS), Community Development Director/Assistant City Manager (Concordia, KS), and Program Manager/Assistant Planning Director (Ottawa, KS).

Lee is a member of a number of professional, community and educational organizations, including Kansas Association of City Managers; American Planning Association; Kansas American Planning Association; American Institute of Certified Planners; KUCIMAT (University of Kansas); Ottawa Rotary Club; and Staff Relations Committee for First Baptist Church of Ottawa.

Lee is married to David and they reside in Ottawa, KS, with their youngest daughter, while their oldest daughter resides in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with her husband.

Vice-Chair - Lucky DeFries  '75

Lucky-DeFries-A.jpgAttorney Lucky DeFries ’75 of Topeka, KS, has been named Vice Chair following three years as Treasurer. DeFries replaces Wynndee Lee ’89 of Ottawa, KS, who served as Vice Chair for two years prior to her appointment as Board Chair.

“Lucky's knowledge, skills, devotion, and integrity on the Board for more than 16 years, as well as his impressive career as an attorney in Topeka and the State of Kansas, make me confident that he will administer this role with the utmost professionalism and with the good of this institution always in mind," said President Kevin C. Eichner.

DeFries earned his Bachelor of Arts from Ottawa University and his J.D. from Washburn University School of Law. He has been a tax attorney and stockholder in the law firm of Coffman, DeFries, and Nothern, P.A. (CDN) of Topeka for 29 years. Prior to joining CDN, DeFries was an attorney for Ralston and Frieden for two years and served as attorney in charge of sales/use tax for the Kansas Department of Revenue for four years. He has been an adjunct professor of State and Local Tax at Washburn Law School since 1993. 

As a Trustee for Ottawa University since 1998, DeFries has provided leadership on numerous committees throughout his tenure, including Chair of the Audit Committee (2001, 2011-14), Chair  (2011-14) and Vice Chair (2002-05) of the Budget and Finance Committee, Treasurer of the Executive Committee (2011-present), and Vice Chair of the Investment Committee. DeFries was also a long-time member on the New Educational Ventures Committee (1999-2008) and the Development and Alumni Relations Committee (1999-2004). In addition to his upcoming duties as Board Vice Chair, DeFries will chair the Committee on Trusteeship in 2015.

Beyond his career at CDN, DeFries has used his knowledge and skills to benefit the community through membership and leadership in a variety of professional organizations. These include Legal Aid Society of Topeka; YMCA; Rotary Club of Topeka; Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce; GO Topeka, Inc.; Kansas Legal Services; Administrative Law and Tax Law Sections of Kansas Bar Association; National Association of State Bar Tax sections; Secretary of Revenue’s Advisory Council; UMB Bank Advisory Board (Topeka); Washburn University Law School Board of Governors; Topeka Bar Association Ethics and Grievance Committee; Easter Seals Capper Foundation; Capper Foundation Advisory Council; Topeka Railroad Days; Historic Topeka, Inc.; First Baptist Church; and co-author of Annual Survey of Kansas Law “Tax Law” chapter.

DeFries has been honored for his professional accomplishments on several occasions, including Best Lawyers in America (tax) (1996 - present); Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers (2005 – present); and Ottawa High School Wall of Honor (2014). In addition, he was named Chamber Volunteer of the Year (1995).

DeFries is married to Pamela (Anderson) DeFries, also an Ottawa University graduate, and the couple has two children - Ashley, who is currently enrolled in the Washburn School of Nursing, and Brett, who is earning his PhD in English Literature from University of Iowa.

Treasurer - Joe Greenhaw, Jr. '73

Joe-Greenhaw-A.jpgExecutive Vice President of Cohen Financial Joe Greenhaw, Jr. ‘73 of Colleyville, TX, has been named Board Treasurer following two years as a term Trustee. Greenhaw replaces Attorney Lucky DeFries of Topeka, KS, who served as Treasurer for three years before his appointment as Vice Chair.

“Joe has served Ottawa University both on the Board and on the President’s Council," said President Kevin C. Eichner. "His imposing career in the investment world demonstrates the knowledge and skills that he brings to his role as Treasurer. I look forward to his leadership during this very important year in OU's history.”
With more than 35 years of experience in commercial real estate, Greenhaw joined Cohen Financial in 2010 as Executive Vice President. He has overall client relations responsibility for the commercial/multifamily real estate mortgage loan servicing and asset management for Cohen’s construction loan administration; military housing debt portfolios; and the Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and FHA\Ginnie Mae debt investment portfolios of Cohen’s parent company, Pillar Financial, a Guggenheim Partners Affiliate.
As a Trustee for Ottawa University since 2012, Greenhaw has provided leadership on several committees, including the Audit, Budget and Finance, Executive, Facilities, and Investment Committees. In addition to his upcoming duties as Board Treasurer, Greenhaw will chair both the Audit and Budget and Finance Committees in 2015. Before joining the Ottawa University Board of Trustees, Greenhaw was a member of the Ottawa University President’s Council.

Prior to Cohen Financial, Greenhaw served four years as Vice President of Asset Management with Prudential Asset Resources, with commercial real estate loan asset management responsibility for Prudential’s general account, as well as Interim, Mezzanine, CDO Construction, CMBS, FHA/Ginnie Mae, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and third-party client portfolios.

Greenhaw joined Prudential Asset Resources from Midland Loan Services, where he held various management positions in the firm’s Asset Management Group over a 15-year period. His responsibilities included oversight of loan and special servicing asset management, CMBS conduit origination underwriting and closing groups, the debt recovery group, and RTC SAMDA contracts. During the last seven years of his tenure, he served as Executive Vice President of Asset Management.

Additionally, Greenhaw has held positions as Director of Property Management for Crown Management, Inc.; Regional Manager, En-Com Properties, Ltd.; and Project Manager for Design Builders, Inc. Greenhaw holds a BA in Organizational Administration from Ottawa University.

Secretary - Michael Hetrick '68

Michael-Hetrick-A.jpgRetired ARAMARK Executive Michael Hetrick ‘68 of Ocean Isle Beach, NC, has been appointed as Board Secretary for a second term.

“Michael has been a faithful supporter of Ottawa University throughout his career, most recently by serving  on the Board and on the President’s Council," said President Kevin C. Eichner. "In his second term as Secretary, his extensive experience in the business world has proven highly beneficial to the role, and as a key leader on our Executive Committee.”

A 1968 graduate of Ottawa University, Hetrick began working for ARAMARK Corp while an OU student. He served in various positions in operations and human resources, and later became Vice President of Operations Development. He retired from ARAMARK in 2002 after 36 years of service. ARAMARK is a leader in professional services, providing award-winning food services, facilities management, and uniform and career apparel to health care institutions, universities, school districts, stadiums and arenas, and businesses around the world.

As a Trustee for Ottawa University since 2010, Hetrick has served and provided leadership on numerous committees, including Academic Affairs (2010); Advancement (2012-present); Adult, Professional and Online Studies (2010-11); Audit (2012); Committee on Trusteeship (2012-present); Facilities (2011-12); and Management Review (2013-present). Hetrick has also been a member of the Budget and Finance Committee since 2011, serving as Vice-Chair in 2012, and of the Executive Committee since 2012, serving as Secretary from 2013-present. Prior to joining the Ottawa University Board of Trustees, Hetrick was a member of the Ottawa University President’s Council.

Hetrick and his wife, Martha, also a 1968 Ottawa University graduate, have a son, Chad Hetrick, and a daughter, Erica Hetrick. Both are graduates of Wake Forest University. Hetrick uses his time in retirement to volunteer at his church, Seaside United Methodist Church, where he serves as Treasurer of the trustees and is a member of the Permanent Endowment and Special Gifts Committee. He might also be found on the golf course on any given day.