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2013 Alumni Awards

2013 Alumni Awards

A number of outstanding nominations were received by the Alumni Association Executive Committee which is proud to present its awards in the spirit of NMMU's value of EXCELLENCE. NMMU is proud of the achievements of the 2013 recipients


ACHIEVERS … Joining (front from left) NMMU’s Alumni Association President Randall Jonas, Vice-Chancellor Prof Derrick Swartz and Chair of Council Judge Ronnie Pillay, Director: Alumni Relations Paul, Geswindt (back left) and Managing Executive: Legacies Prof Kotie Grove (back right) are NMMU alumni achievers (from left) Alan Barr, Albert Troskie, Travis Greeff, Paul Treu and Nikki Mbengashe at the Alumni Awards.


Alumni Achiever Awards

Dr Alan Clark

Clinical Psychology master’s graduate Dr Alan Clark is the Chief Executive of SABMiller – the world’s second-largest brewer, with more than 200 beer brands and 70 000 employees in over 75 countries. Based in London, he has been a member of SABMiller’s Executive Committee since 2003. Clark joined the South African Breweries (SAB) in 1990 in an HR role, before becoming General Manager at SAB’s Alrode Brewery in Johannesburg. He went on to become Operations Director and Marketing Director for SAB before being appointed CEO of SABMiller’s soft drinks operations in South Africa in 2000. In 2003, he was appointed Managing Director of SABMiller Europe, leading SABMiller subsidiaries in Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Italy, Ukraine and Russia, as well as setting up import businesses across Europe and in the UK. He was appointed Chief Operating Officer of SABMiller in 2012 and it’s Chief Executive in April this year. Before joining SAB, Clark ran his own private practice in clinical psychology and was an Associate Professor at Vista University’s Centre for Cognitive Development.



Danise Lopes (nee van Vuuren)

LLB graduate and trade law attorney Danise Lopes has worked her way up through The Coca-Cola Company ranks to become the Global Head of Intellectual Property. Based in Atlanta, Georgia, her past positions within the company include being Head of the Global Trademarks Group and serving on the Trademark Counsel European Union Group. Prior to this, from 1997 to 2004, she worked as a trademark attorney in the United Kingdom. While completing her studies at the former University of Port Elizabeth, she was the first female president of the Student Representative Council (SRC), round winner of the African Moot Court Competition in Lusaka, Zambia, and a recipient of the Abe Bailey International Travel Scholarship. Career awards include the Advocate of the Year Award (Global Supplier Diversity) in 2012 for her work with minority and woman-owned businesses and law firms in the United States. She was also in the winning Coca-Cola team for the Food and Beverage Team of the Year awards in 2007 and 2011 and was nominated for the In-House Counsel of the Year in 2010. Lopes is a Registered UK Trademark Attorney (RTMA), a member of both the Institute of Trademark Attorneys (ITMA) and the International Trademark Association (INTA) and a former Vice-Chair of the Unfair Competition Committee: Association of European Trademark Owners.



Alumni Rising Star Awards


Alan Barr

At the age of 30, Chartered Accountant Alan Barr became one of KPMG’s youngest Office Managing Directors, when he was promoted to head up KPMG’s East London office. Two years later in 2006, the BCom Honours graduate was promoted to Managing Director of KPMG’s Gqeberha (former Port Elizabeth) office, where he is also the Head of the Eastern Cape market, and as such responsible for the growth of KPMG services across the province. He is also Head of Audit for this region. At national level, this visionary leader is part of KPMG’s national steering group on audit efficiency and assists the National Leader for Family Business. Barr began his career in 1996, with a training contract at Arthur Andersen. He was seconded to Reading, England, where he was promoted to Manager. In 2002, following the Anderson/KPMG merger, he was promoted to Senior Manager at KPMG and then Managing Director for East London. He was elected to the Board of the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber and a member of both the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants and the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors.



Travis Greeff

Based in Qatar, BTech Quantity Surveying graduate, Travis Greeff, is a Project Manager for the Middle East branch of leading global contractor, Brookfield Multiplex. The company, which is responsible the delivery of major projects across the Middle East & Asia, Australia, Europe and Canada, is one of the few international contracting business to provide expertise spanning the lifecycle of property and infrastructure assets. Greeff has been involved in numerous prestigious multi-million dollar projects, the latest being the Qatar National Library, which is set to become one of the most iconic libraries in the world. Prior to his Brookfield Multiplex appointment, Greeff rose through the ranks at Murray and Roberts, the South African-founded company which has branched out into a number of countries including the United Arab Emirates, where Greeff has worked on several high-end projects. He was promoted to Senior Project Engineer for the expansion of the Abu Dhabi International Airport (Terminal 3) and was Construction Manager for several building projects at two Abu Dhabi universities, namely the Paris Sorbonne University and Zayed University. He was the recipient of numerous merit awards during his academic career, including Top Student for Quantity Surveying in his final year of study.



Winand Grundling

Multi-award winning classical organist Winand Grundling, who graduated with a BMus (Performance) degree from NMMU, is renowned for being one of South Africa’s most talented young organists, with an established national and international profile. What makes his achievements even more remarkable is that he was born with a severe form of club foot – an obvious hindrance to his pursuit of an instrument that is highly dependent on foot play. Grundling has a string of awards behind his name which include winning the Unisa Overseas Music Bursary Competition in the organ category and overall, winning the Mabel Quick Music Competition and also being announced as the overall winner in the ATKV-Muziza National Classical Music Competition. He received two Kanna awards at the annual Absa Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees (Klein Karoo National Arts Festival – KKNK) for his production 14 Stations of the Cross, which he released as an album in 2012. His debut CD Toccatal was launched three years prior in 2009. Grundling has delivered organ recitals at national and international level and was one of 17 organists chosen worldwide to attend the International Organ School in Calgary, Canada in 2006.



Ntomboxolo (Nikki) Mbengashe

NDip Industrial Engineering graduate Nikki Mbengashe was the first woman to run a full port terminal operation in South Africa – and was instrumental in turning around the loss-making terminal in just 12 months. She was also involved in launching the biggest efficiency improvement project for South Africa’s largest container terminal in Durban, producing cost savings of over R5-million per year. In her six years at Transnet, she was promoted five times. With these credentials behind her, it wasn’t long before she was snapped up by Absa, where she has accelerated up the corporate ladder. Currently Chief Operations Officer of Personal Loans, other positions she has held include Head of Sales Support for Absa Private Bank and General Manager for Absa Business Bank (Mid-corporate, Western Cape). While at Transnet, she was Business Unit Executive for three terminals: Gqeberha (former Port Elizabeth), Richards Bay and Saldanha Bay. She was also the Regional Continuous Improvement Manager for Eastern Cape Ports – and the youngest Executive Committee member of Eastern Cape ports. Selected as one of Transnet’s top achievers, she attended training for a year in Belgium.



James Pearce & Charles Stretch

What started in the garage of a Mill Park home has grown into a company with a R300-million annual turnover operating in 160 countries with connections to 750 cellphone networks worldwide. SMSPortal, the bulk sms service provider which serves as a marketing tool for business owners, is the brainchild of entrepreneurs James Pearce, a BSc Computer Science graduate, and Charles Stretch, a BCom graduate. The pair started the service in 2002, while still studying, with R20 000 in start-up capital. Today, the company has a global footprint, with just about every major blue chip financial and retail institution as clients, including Anglo American, Pick ‘n Pay, Toyota and Sanlam. It sends out 180 million SMSes a month. Before starting SMSPortal, the pair owned youth site Blueworld, which gave students the opportunity to post photographs of themselves and their friends partying at clubs in Gqeberha (former Port Elizabeth). When club owners approached the pair about coming up with a way they could communicate with the youngsters, to market gigs and events, they came up with a bulk SMS product – and SMSPortal was born. Blueworld was sold to Naspers in 2008.



Paul Treu

Generally regarded as one of the most astute Sevens Coaches in world rugby today, Paul Treu, a master’s graduate in Educational Psychology, steered the Springbok Sevens Team to their first ever HSBC Sevens World Series title in the 2008/2009 season, as well as 14 tournament wins overall. As a former Currie Cup player for the SWD Eagles, Eastern Province, Super Rugby player for the Northern Bulls and as a Springbok Sevens Captain (24 tournaments, 70 tries), Treu had the experience and knowledge to take the code to another level. He has been known for his pioneering work in the sport, introducing many techniques, training methods and on and off the field strategies that made his relatively featherweight South African side capable of competing and beating traditional Sevens giants such as Fiji and New Zealand on a regular basis and breaking their deadlock on the sporting code. Treu has been the longest serving National Coach in the history of South African Rugby. He has coached the side in a total of 83 World Series tournaments, winning in Singapore (2004), London (2005, 2011), Paris (2006), Dubai (2006, 2008), Adelaide (2008 & 2009), George (2008), Las Vegas (2011, 2013), Edinburgh (2011), Tokyo (2013) and Glasgow (2013). He also took the team to the Sevens World Cups in Hong Kong and Dubai and the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne and Delhi, where the team won the bronze medal in 2010.



Alumni Special Awards

Nomkhita Mona

South African Forestry Company Limited (SAFCOL) Group CEO Nomkhita Mona has a knack for people-centred leadership, team development and stakeholder engagement – and a keen eye for business. Now based in Gauteng, she was the first black woman to be appointed to the board of Goodyear Tyre and Rubber Holdings in South Africa and has a string of other achievements behind her, including being a Registrar of the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) in Mpumalanga and CEO of Inkezo Land Company in Durban. She is the former Deputy President of the Nelson Mandela Bay Chamber of Commerce, former CEO of the Eastern Cape Tourism Board and, most recently, the former CEO of Uitenhage Despatch Development Initiative (UDDI), where she and her team contributed to the creation of jobs. She currently serves as a Commissioner of the Eastern Cape Provincial Planning Commission. She is also a Trustee and Board member of the Wilderness Foundation (SA), as well as a member of the St Andrew’s College Council, in Grahamstown. Mona holds a BA degree, BA Honours degree in Industrial Relations and a Master’s degree in Labour Relations and Human Resources from the former University of Port Elizabeth. She also holds an MBA from Rhodes.



Prof Albert Troskie

MMus graduate Prof Albert Troskie is a leading figure in the field of organ and church music in South Africa and has made invaluable contributions to the advancement of classical organ music. Founder of the Suider-Afrikaanse Kerkorrelistevereniging (South African Church Organists Society – SAKOV) in 1980 and editor of its newsletter and magazine Vir die Musiekleier (For the Music Leader), Troskie was chairman of SAKOV for 20 years. Trained in organ-building at the University of Amsterdam, Troskie’s designs include the Feather Market Centre’s concert organ - the largest free standing pipe organ in South Africa and the Dutch Reformed Church Summerstrand organ. He has written two books on organ-building – Pyporrels in Suid-Afrika (Pipe Organs in South Africa), published in 1992, and The Historical Pipe Organ Heritage of South Africa, published in 2010. As a composer, Troskie published two books with hymn arrangements for organ and choir in 2003 and 2006. Prior to this, in 2000, he released a solo recital CD called Grand Organ as well as other organ and choir CDs. In 1975 he obtained a DMus from UNISA. From 1983 until his retirement in 1998, he was a professor of Music and Musicology and later head of the Music Department at the former University of Port Elizabeth (now NMMU). He remains active as an author, church and concert organist, speaker at local and international conferences, music examiner and adjudicator, and composer. He is also the official organ accompanist of the Eastern Cape Children’s Choir

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