Nine Barrett Honors College alums named to 2022 Sun Devil 100

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April 25, 2022

Congratulations are in order for nine alumni of Barrett, The Honors College for being named to the 2022 Arizona State University Sun Devil 100 list.

Each year, the ASU Alumni Association recognizes alumni leaders of organizations from around the world that demonstrate innovation, growth and entrepreneurial spirit. Companies of all sizes, from individual business owners to large corporations, spanning dozens of industries are honored at the annual awards program.

Honorees are invited back to campus in the spring to connect with fellow Sun Devil business leaders, meet ASU executives and interact with aspiring student entrepreneurs. This year’s Sun Devil 100 group will be recognized at an on-campus event on April 28.

The Class of 2022 features 136 outstanding Arizona State University alumni leaders representing 107 organizations from dozen of industries including architecture, construction, education, food and beverage, legal, nonprofit, technology and transportation. The diverse mix of organizations that make up this year’s class has combined total revenues of $15 billion for the last year, employs more than 130,000 people and has locations in 13 states.

For more information, read the ASU News article here.

We caught up with the Barrett alums to get their take on being honored among the Sun Devil 100. We asked them how it feels to be named to the list and why it’s significant to them.

Here’s what they had to say.

Robert (Bob) Collopy

Robert (Bob) Collopy ‘14 – Associate Broker, owner of Fort Lowell Realty and Property Management Inc.

This is my fourth time winning this award and it's exciting as always!

This might sound a bit different, but I purely use this award as a benchmark for how much more sophisticated this company has become from the previous year. Given this award is based on revenue growth that means staying in the ASU 100 means you must constantly innovate to keep pace with your growth rate. This is because your rank is all about percentage growth.

For example, if company A makes $100 a year and then jumps to $500 a year, that's technically 500% growth. But if Company B makes $10 million in revenue a year, Company B will need to make $50 million to have the same percentage growth as Company A. What one must understand between these two companies is that in many ways it's just as hard to make that jump in growth. But the way those companies increase those profits to those levels is completely different and requires different skill sets and infrastructure that the executive must be capable of building out.

When I first got this award this was still a small company where I'd essentially run around like a “Grand Theft Auto” character tapping the A button just to maybe get a deal. Now things are quite different for this property management company. There's a hierarchy, special software, office space, branding, and many other buzzwords that have to come together in a way that allows us to keep pace with our growth rate from three awards ago. The first couple of years getting this award mostly meant I myself became a better hustler, but as the years go by it isn't possible for just me to do this. So now this award shows more than the efforts of just one, but the efforts of many coming together under one banner.

Ben Ellis

Ben Ellis ’08 – Designated broker, founder of E & G Real Estate Services

This is E&G's fifth consecutive Sun Devil 100 award. Being part of such an incredible cohort of business owners and leaders is a huge honor that we take (Sun Devil) pride in!

This means that we have made it. We are seen and counted among the best entrepreneurs that ASU has to offer. Every time we have received the award it has given a renewed fire for us to continue our growth and stay among the leaders next year!

Rikki Kusy

Rikki Kusy '00– Founder of DermaplanePro Inc.

It’s a great honor to be selected for the Sun Devil 100 and I’m so happy to make the list for the second time. If someone told me I was going to make this list when I was a student, I wouldn’t have believed them.

I think recognition for one’s accomplishments is one of the greatest rewards for all of the time, dedication, risk and fortitude it takes to become a successful entrepreneur.

Takis Makridis

Takis Makridis ’02 – CEO of Equity Methods, LLC

Equity Methods advises the world’s largest organizations on their incentive and governance strategies, focusing in particular on the design, accounting, disclosure, and tax of their compensation programs. Being named to the Sun Devil 100 is a reminder of first principles and what’s made this journey possible: the intellectual curiosity, mentorship, and innovation that takes place in ASU’s classrooms.

Gratitude is a central theme of our culture. We express gratitude to our clients for their trust in our expertise and we work to renew that trust daily. We express gratitude to each other for the support and fresh ideas that make excellence possible. And we similarly express gratitude to the institutions that have opened countless doors for us. Being named to the Sun Devil 100 allows us to celebrate an outstanding institution—ASU—that has played such a large role in our journey.

Equity Methods was originally spawned out of academic research. ASU faculty opened countless doors that led people to what today is Equity Methods. Much of our leadership team is from the W.P. Carey School of Business.

Arizona, and especially the ASU community, is very special to us. Ironically, we spread our time all around the country (and globe) because we primarily serve publicly traded companies. However, Arizona is our home base and ASU is where it began for many of us. We continue to serve on W.P. Carey advisory boards and make efforts to creatively integrate into the life of ASU, which the Sun Devil 100 further supports. The culture of learning and innovation that characterizes ASU is very meaningful to us, and the Sun Devil 100 typifies that so nicely. We’re grateful to have yet another opportunity to be a more connected part of this special community.

Kyle Reardon

Kyle Reardon ’04 – Partner of Value Air Forwarding Inc.

The Sun Devil 100 is an amazing program that recognizes individuals across academic disciplines as well varying industries. It is an honor to be considered a part of these high level, high performing individuals.Arizona State has set the standard for professionals in their respective fields and does an outstanding job preparing individuals to meet their potential and be successful. My time at ASU was pivotal in my growth as a young professional.It has allowed me to have success throughout my career and has instilled an entrepreneurial drive and mindset.

By nature I am not a big award guy.However,  my 2022 nomination marks my sixth consecutive year receiving this distinction. This honor serves to validate that the work and sacrifice that I consistently put in have tangible result and value. Often times, we get lost in the day-to-day grind of the corporate/entrepreneurial life.It is beneficial to sometimes take a step back and celebrate your wins (both big and small). These wins compound on themselves and ultimately have an exponential impact on fueling future success.

Monica Ryden

Monica Ryden, JD ’99 – Board secretary of Esperança

I am so proud to be inducted into the Sun Devil 100 class of 2022 along with my fellow Esperança alumni leadership colleagues.

Esperança’s mission is about improving health and providing hope for every life we touch. Health equity is achieved when every person has the opportunity to attain his or her full health potential and no one is disadvantaged from achieving this potential because of social position or other socially determined circumstances. This organization has been transforming communities around the globe, from Mozambique to Peru, from water systems to surgical missions, in partnership with local stakeholders. I couldn’t be prouder of the work Esperança is doing, or more grateful for the friends I’ve met through this amazing organization.

This recognition is so meaningful to me because it’s from my alma mater. It’s significant for me to see leadership from Esperança and other non-profits recognized on this list.

Susan Bitter Smith ’77, President and Prescott Smith ’06, Vice President, Technical Solutions  

This is the fifth year that we have been a part of the Sun Devil 100 and we are very proud to be included in this distinguished group.

This is a significant recognition for us as we are truly a small family business. We are actually the only mother-son recipients in the history of Sun Devil 100 and to be acknowledged by our alma mater makes us very proud!

Emily Soccorsy

Emily Soccorsy '99 – Co-founder; founder, CEO of Root + River

I feel a combination of honored, grateful and a little bit giddy to be named to the Sun Devil 100. I am proud of being a double alum (bachelor's and master's from ASU), and I worked hard during both experiences at ASU but had little idea either time that my excellent education would help direct my journey as an entrepreneur and business owner. But both degrees were meaningful in helping me become an entrepreneur, employer and guide to my incredible clients. I recognize I am one of millions of alums who have gone on to make much more significant impacts in the world, and our community, but for me, it feels fulfilling to be recognized by the university for my own small contributions and achievements.

The Sun Devil 100 recognition to me represents a moment of acknowledgment for all of the vulnerability, endless hours, worry, consistent and tiring strategizing and working that comes with being an entrepreneur and business owner.There are not many moments in adult life when someone singles you out and recognizesyou. So, it is nice to have the warmth of the spotlight for just a moment.

In addition, this recognition is a significant appreciation ofthe efforts of the people who have contributed so much to guide and support me to this place, including my ASU professors,fellow students and community members -- as well as my fellow Sun Devil husband, Jason Heetland (class of 2000), my daughters, my business partner and team members, mentors, friends and colleagues.

This also feels significant to me as it comes after two years of struggle during the COVID-19 pandemic and all the challenges this era has presented to me and my business. This recognizes our survival, our grit and our love for what we do and who we do it for.

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