The University’s Dallas-Hamilton Entrepreneurial Hall of Fame has inducted four new members who forged highly successful business careers after graduating from BGSU.
Chosen by last year’s inaugural class for induction at an April 23 ceremony were:
• Edson “Ted” Arneault of Chester, W.Va., retired chair, CEO and president of MTR Gaming Group;
• Michael Hoskins of Austin, Texas, a director and chief technology officer of Pervasive Software;
• Otara Chandiram Gunewardane of Colombo, Sri Lanka, founder of Odel department stores, and
• Michael Wilcox of Toledo, founder of Wilcox Financial and Wilcox Sports Management.
Housed in BGSU’s College of Business Administration, the Entrepreneurial Hall of Fame recognizes Bowling Green graduates and honorary-degree holders who have achieved distinction for founding, leading or building a new business enterprise for five years or more.
“We all know that our economic future depends upon creative, innovative, entrepreneurial business leaders,” said Dr. Rodney Rogers, dean of the business college. “Thus, we are pleased to honor these incredibly successful entrepreneurs so that they can serve as role models to our current students who will be the entrepreneurs of tomorrow.”
The hall of fame is part of the Dallas-Hamilton Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership. The center is named for Olympic gold-medal figure skater and Bowling Green native Scott Hamilton and his wife, Tracie, along with their former California neighbor and BGSU graduate Bill Dallas and his wife, Beverly. Hamilton and Dallas were also among the inaugural hall of fame inductees who selected this year’s class.
A 1969 BGSU graduate, Arneault was a Certified Public Accountant and a partner in a major national accounting firm before launching his entrepreneurial career as CEO of a growing oil and gas company, Century Well Service.
In the early 1990s, he took the reins of the Mountaineer Racetrack and Gaming Resort, which had been on the brink of economic disaster but made a dramatic turnaround under his leadership. His company was named one of the nation’s best small companies by Forbes magazine in 2001 and, that same year, Arneault was named Entrepreneur of the Year in West Virginia. He retired from MTR Gaming Group last year with the publicly traded company operating in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Minnesota, as well as West Virginia.
Arneault also founded the Mountaineer Futures Scholarship Program to help create opportunities for the region’s youth.
Hoskins, a 1977 BGSU graduate, has started and contributed to several software companies, beginning in the 1980s with SaudiSoft in the Middle East. After selling that company, he returned to the United States to form Data Junction Co., which was acquired by Pervasive Software in 2003.
Hoskins is an industry leader in the field of data management and integration, traveling worldwide to guide teams in the evolution of their data software products and services. In 2007, in recognition of his leadership in the development of Pervasive’s DataRush™, he was named Information Technologist of the Year by the Austin chapter of the Association of Information Technology Professionals.
He has also supported BGSU and another of his alma maters, the Armidal School in Australia, which recently named its new theater the Michael Hoskins Creative Arts Centre.
Otara Chandiram Gunewardane
Gunewardane’s business grew from the trunk of her car to be the leading fashion and retail force in Sri Lanka, and one of the leaders in Asia. Her company, Odel, now has a staff of 430, nearly 500 indirect employees, over 1,000 suppliers and 200-plus factories staffing and supplying her chain of retail and online businesses. Odel has six “bricks-and-mortar” locations, with plans to establish its first retail operation in Europe this fall.
Gunewardane’s new approach to fashion merchandising rippled through the industry to revolutionize the concept of department stores in Sri Lanka. Her business model has been built upon her commitment to the environment—she has also created a foundation to support her conservation philosophy—and the linkage of “Mind, Body & Soul.” The 1985 BGSU graduate was named Sri Lankan Entrepreneur of the Year in 2002 and was recently featured on CNBC-Asia as a leading Asian entrepreneur.
Wilcox’s financial services business has grown steadily through several market cycles to include a list of clients from around the world. His recently launched sports management company boasts a “who’s who” list of coaches and other leaders in college and professional sports.
In addition, the 1975 BGSU graduate has applied his entrepreneurial skills to community and national organizations such as BGSU, the American Football Coaches Foundation, the Toledo Symphony Orchestra, the Toledo Hospital Foundation and the Culver Educational Foundation. Recipient of the 2008 GMAC Bowl Champions of Life Award, Wilcox is also the current chair and director of the U.S. Lacrosse Foundation.