Author Archives: dfusero

Holly Kilburn

Holly Kilburn: 2023 Early Career Alumni Achievement Award Recipient

Holly earned a Bachelor Business Administration degree with a major in Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management in 2016. She was recognized UM-Flint as a Maize and Blue Award winner. With her continued high academic achievement, she was also recognized as a James B. Angell Scholar. Speaking during the spring 2016 commencement ceremony, Holly offered a message of hope and inspiration, sharing challenges that students had to overcome as single mothers, first-generation college students, and English language learners. 

As the Grants and Special Initiatives Manager for CS Partners, Holly puts students at the center of every decision and plan. She expertly manages grant requests for schools across the state serving more than 11,000 students and managing over 40 million dollars in grants for the 22-23 school year.

Holly continues to deliver her message by providing practical advice to University of Michigan-Flint students. She has served as a panelist during School of Management Alumni Career Panel events; collaborated with the school to start an internship program with her company; and continues to mentor students while sharing her experience and knowledge. As a Flint native, Holly believes that the lessons learned at the university will continue to serve her well as she endeavors to contribute to the community.

Steve Whitener

2024 Outstanding Alumni Award Recipient, Steve Whitener, BBA 1977

Steve Whitener hasn’t forgotten the support he received as a college student at UM-Flint. He was slated to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in business. He worked 32 to 40 hours a week at Kroger to help pay for school, but as a senior, he struggled to pay for college, along with basics like groceries, gasoline, and rent. But university officials helped Whitener land a series of scholarships. Several of them came from small organizations or clubs. This helped Whitener to stay in school and graduate.

Since then, Steve Whitener has carved out a long and successful business career. After graduating, Whitener purchased several real estate properties, and had a successful career at Westinghouse Electric. Co., Eaton Cutler Hammer, Pirelli International, and Anixter. Whitener founded National Systems Installers in 1993 to provide infrastructure cabling services to companies. In 1999, he founded Nuspire Networks, which offers managed IT security services to companies.

Whitener expressed his gratitude to the university by establishing two endowed scholarships: Stephen A. Whitener Scholarship for Innovators, and Whitener Merit Plus. Whitener said these are intended to leverage and support the talent on campus with 2-3 full-ride scholarships per year. Both scholarships supported more than 50 students since 2017. Whitener visits the campus on many occasions, as the chairman of the School’s business advisory board and attends many of the events, during which he talks to students about his business career and keys to entrepreneurial success.