Senator Chris McDaniel (’04) is the MBA Program’s 2014 Dr. Tom Cate Distinguished Alumnus of the Year

Senator Chris McDaniel

“With all of the great things that NKU alumni are doing around the world every day,
I was humbled that they would select me for this award...”

By Tom Ramstetter
Web Marketing + Communications

Chris McDaniel has been busy since graduating from Northern Kentucky University’s Master of Business Administration program in 2004.

He bought his family’s business, McD Concrete. He and his wife Billie have two daughters, Mallory and Cecelia, and three foster children. Most recently, he was elected to the Kentucky State Senate in 2012 to represent Kentucky's 23rd District.

0721McDaniel

Now the 37-year-old Taylor Mill, Ky., native is the 2014 winner of the Dr. Tom Cate Distinguished Alumni of the Year award for the MBA program in the Haile/U.S. Bank College of Business. The award will be presented Aug. 8 during the first night of MBA Boot Camp.

Despite so much success, McDaniel was a bit surprised by the honor.

“I received an email from the program director and I was astonished,” McDaniel said. “With all of the great things that NKU alumni are doing around the world every day, I was humbled that they would select me for this award.”

The decision wasn’t as difficult as the senator might believe.

“We selected Senator McDaniel for many reasons,” MBA program director Ned Jackson said. “Among them are his successful academic career, his service in the military, his successful business career as president of McD Concrete, his successful entry into and continued tenure in state politics, he is a graduate of Leadership Northern Kentucky, and has many industry awards. He represents the standard to which we hold all of our award winners.”

Before attending NKU, McDaniel served four years as an infantry officer in the United States Army and graduated from The Citadel. Once he returned home, it was time to further his education and Northern was the place to do it.

0721McDaniel1
MBA Program alumnus Chris McDaniel was elected to the Kentucky State Senate in 2012 to represent Kentucky's 23rd District.

“After leaving the Army, I joined the family business and knew that if I wanted to see it flourish, I needed to further my business education,” McDaniel said. “With convenient class schedules, a great reputation, and a great location, I knew that NKU was the right fit for me.”

He started to see results immediately.

“Having classes with professors who were a mix of academia and real-world practitioners (was the best part of the program),” McDaniel said. “This allowed the theory of what I learned at night to be put into practice the next morning at our family business!”

McDaniel is the third winner of the Dr. Tom Cate Distinguished Alumni of the Year award, joining Eric Teegarden (2012), an executive at General Electric, and Jeeva Kumar (2013) who runs ZF Steering in Florence, Ky.

0721Jackson

“We created this award to recognize and honor our MBA alums who have distinguished themselves in their careers and lives, who are involved and highly regarded in their respective industries and in our community,  and who serve as inspirations to our students,” Jackson said. “In my view, the award is growing in prestige every year and is encouraging a reconnection with our MBA alums.”

The award is named for Dr. Tom Cate, a retired economics professor who was at NKU since its beginning, a past winner of the Frank Sinton Milburn Outstanding Professor Award, and served as the first interim director of the MBA program. Cate also served as an assistant basketball coach and tennis coach during the early days of the university.

NKU’s MBA program is a two-year program, distinctive in content and delivery, precisely calibrated for high-potential individuals looking to meet the demands of leading organizations in the 21st century … and it comes highly recommended by McDaniel.

“NKU is a great school that only continues to get better,” McDaniel said. “Seize the opportunity. You will never regret attending NKU to earn your MBA.”

For more information about the MBA program, contact Ned Jackson at jacksoned@nku.edu or 859-572-6357.