Hail! Impact was launched by Andy Johnson and Chin Weerappuli, two passionate University of Michigan alumni who wholeheartedly believe in Coach Harbaugh's Name, Image, and Likeness mantra to create transformational, not just transactional, opportunities for Michigan Student Athletes.
Chin served as the Assistant to Coach Harbaugh during the 2022 season. A constant theme during his time with the program was current and prospective student-athletes emphasizing their desire to give back to the community.
Andy and Chin, who met through their respective programs at The Ross School of Business, constructed a vision in February of 2023 to bridge the exciting endorsement opportunities NIL provides college athletes with the passion they possess to provide service to local nonprofit organizations and to provide personal growth opportunities to student athletes. In March of 2023, Hail! Impact was born.
Andy is a senior executive at 3D Systems Corporation (NYSE: DDD), a global leader in 3D printing solutions for industrial and healthcare applications. As Executive Vice President, Chief Corporate Development Officer, and Chief Legal Officer, Andy has been instrumental in driving the company's growth since joining in 2006. He also served as Interim President and CEO in 2015-2016.
With a BA in political science, diplomacy & foreign affairs, and religion from Miami University, a JD from the University of Virginia, and an MBA from the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business, Andy possesses a strong legal and business educational background. He serves on the boards of Theradaptive, a regenerative medicine company specializing in innovative protein engineering technology and Reverb Inc., a nonprofit focused on environmental and social issues in the music industry.
Andy combines his knowledge of 3D printing and passion for the University of Michigan to create one of kind projects for Michigan Football including likeness plaques honoring all coaches with 20+ years of service, the endowment of Jon Falk and Mike Gittleson’s positions and the creation of the George Jewett Trophy in collaboration with U of M and Northwestern University. This trophy, awarded to the winner of the Michigan vs. Northwestern game, honors the first African American student athlete at both institutions.
With a wealth of professional experience, a love for the University of Michigan and a commitment to philanthropy, Andy is well-positioned to lead our Board as a Co-Founder of Hail! Impact.
Chin Weerappuli is the Vice President of Provider Development at IgniteData, a trailblazing healthcare software company utilizing artificial intelligence to revolutionize clinical trial data conversion. Simultaneously, he holds the role of President at Hail! Impact, showcasing his commitment to catalyzing positive change. A distinguished two-time graduate of the University of Michigan, Chin earned his BA in 2011 and MBA in 2022. With an extensive decade-long background in healthcare software consulting, Chin's career has encompassed notable stints at Epic Systems and Healthcare Control Systems. Notably, he was among the pioneer 15 individuals recruited for Epic's management consulting division, which has since burgeoned to encompass over 600 adept professionals.
In 2020, Chin underscored his dedication to empowerment by founding his inaugural nonprofit initiative, The Underdog Family. This volunteer-driven 501(c)(3) organization extends indispensable technical resources to women-owned and BIPOC-owned small businesses, covering 100% of associated expenses.
Following his Michigan Ross graduation, Chin embarked on a captivating trajectory within collegiate athletics. Serving as the Assistant to Coach Harbaugh during the 2022 season, he concurrently pursued an executive coaching certification from Northwestern University.
Chin's multifaceted background, coupled with his resolute commitment to effectuating meaningful change, positions him as a dynamic and future-oriented leader. His pursuit of empowering individuals and nurturing community advancement remains at the forefront of his impactful journey.
Michael is not only a Vice President of Investments and a Certified Financial Planner at Stifel, but also a passionate Wolverine with a deep love for The University of Michigan. He carries on a rich family legacy, with his grandfather being the starting catcher on the 1953 national championship baseball team and his father, Rick, excelling as an All-American football and baseball player at The University of Michigan in the late 1970s.
His connection to Michigan runs deep, and he takes great joy in sharing his alma mater with his children, immersing them in Michigan events and instilling in them the values that make up the "Leaders and Best" ethos. Michael's elite ability to problem solve and build strong relationships further enhances his ability to serve clients and contribute to Stifel's distinguished history of providing advisory services to individuals and institutions.
With dual B.A.'s in Economics and Psychology from the University of Michigan, Michael brings a well-rounded academic background that complements his financial expertise. His commitment to his clients and his alma mater sets him apart as a dedicated professional with a true passion for making a positive impact in both the financial realm and the Michigan community.
Shelly Kovacs is an accomplished author, consultant, public speaker, and university teacher with extensive experience in higher educational administration and fundraising. With over three decades of expertise, Shelly specializes in academic success and motivation across high school, college, and professional levels, particularly working closely with student athletes. Her widely acclaimed book, "College Knowledge for the Student Athlete," draws upon her valuable insights from working with college and high school athletes.
Having earned both graduate and undergraduate degrees from the University of Michigan, Shelly began her career as a college advisor in the School of Education in 1977. Throughout her journey, she held various roles within the university, including Director of Student Services, Director of Major Gifts, and Alumni Relations in the School of Kinesiology.
Shelly's unwavering dedication to the University of Michigan has garnered her numerous awards and recognition. In 2002, she received an Honorary M Letter, becoming one of the few women to be honored for her contributions to student athletes and academic initiatives. Shelly also played a pivotal role in launching Launch Blue Solutions, providing unique internship experiences for student athletes. Her leadership led the Office of Student Services in Kinesiology to receive the university-wide Staff Excellence Award in 2005.
To honor her exceptional accomplishments and thirty years of service, alumni established the Shelly Kovacs Endowed Scholarship in 2007. In 2016, she was further recognized with the Kinesiology Distinguished Service Award for her enduring commitment to college students, athletes, and alumni. Alongside her teaching responsibilities at the University of Michigan, Shelly continues to make a profound impact on students and athletes alike.
Abby Foltyn is current junior at the University of Michigan's Stephen M. Ross School of Business with a concentration in marketing and strategy.
She's an active member of business fraternity Pi Sigma Epsilon, where she was introduced to the world of Hail! Impact through a consulting project. She has internship experience working in advertising, business development, startup growth, and social media marketing.
Hailing from Birmingham, MI, Abby was born and raised a Wolverine and grew up attending games at the big house with her family. Her love for sports began at a young age as she played tennis competitively for over 12 years, holding a MHSAA state title and leading her varsity team as captain for two years. Abby is thrilled to be a part of the Hail! Impact community and is eager to get more of the rich U of M student body involved in the organization.
Annalise Sands is currently a senior in the University of Michigan Stephen M. Ross School of Business with a concentration in marketing and management. She has taken a multitude of sport management classes through the dual degree program gaining knowledge in everything from urban planning of arenas to financing professional teams.
She has internship experience in many areas, including most recently sitting on the Global Corporate Partnerships team at Major League Baseball. Annalise is from Demarest, NJ and is an avid fan of football, baseball, and hockey (LGR!).
Growing up with a father who worked in the business and 2 younger brothers, sports have always been an integral part of her life. That has carried over to her life at Michigan, and she is so excited to get back to her involvement with Hail! Impact. She has been with the company since Chin’s days at Michigan Athletics, and watching it grow from an idea to reality has inspired her to take it further than ever.
Diane Brinson-Days currently serves as Associate Director with the Ross School of Business Executive MBA Program. Diane received her BA in business administration from Eastern Michigan University, her MA in Educational Leadership from Eastern Michigan University, and is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Education in Leadership for Organizations from the University of Dayton, class of 2024.
She was born and raised in Dayton Ohio (yes, THAT state) but now considers Michigan as home. Diane’s background includes 12 years in higher education program management and 13 years in finance operations and management as an employee of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Detroit Branch. She has a passion for entrepreneurship and considers relationship building as one of her “superpowers”.
Diane is excited about what the future holds for Hail! Impact and is eager to share her leadership and program management expertise to benefit Michigan Student-Athletes.
Mahmoud "Mak" Issa was raised in Ann Arbor and attended a public charter school where he was exposed to the city's vibrant and diverse culture. His upbringing impacted his character and outlook on life, shaping him into the person he is today.
Mak was an offensive lineman for the University of Michigan Football Program and obtained his Bachelor's degree in Movement Science from the School of Kinesiology in 2019. He went on to receive his Master's in Medical Physiology from Case Western Reserve University in 2021.
He is a passionate supporter of activism and philanthropy - focussing on causes that enable young people to tackle issues around mental health, bullying, and literacy. Mak works closely with University of Michigan athletes and other community organizations that center on a variety of high impact causes that touch the lives of others and is passionate about bringing this same enthusiasm for positive change to Hail!
He is the Founder of Valor Strength and Performance, a health facility in Ann Arbor, dedicated to improving human performance that focuses on nutrition and physical therapy. Mak currently lives in Ann Arbor with his wonderful wife, Reneen. He is currently pursuing his Doctorate in Physical Therapy at Concordia University.
Salim Makki is the founder of Dream Management Group (DMG) — a boutique management company with the mission of managing professional athletes off-field/court activities, providing top tier business ventures, philanthropy opportunities, and marketing deals. Salim played football at the University of Michigan while he earned his BA in Sport Management. He mostly recently received his MS in Finance at the University of Miami in 2022 graduating with honors.
Salim was born in Detroit and raised in Dearborn. As a child he grew up a die-hard Michigan fan and accomplished his dreams of touching the banner as a Michigan football player. Salim is eager to make an impact on Student-Athletes lives through Hail, with the experiences and leadership skills he’s developed over the years.
Chris Rider is the Thomas C. Kinnear Professor and Associate Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies at Michigan’s Ross School of Business. Professor Rider teaches executive, graduate, and undergraduate courses on entrepreneurship, equity analytics, and strategic leadership. He has also co-authored teaching cases in sports contexts (e.g., the NFL’s Rooney Rule, climate change and snow sports).
Professor Rider studies the relationship between entrepreneurship and societal inequality. He has presented his research on racial disparity in NFL coaching at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference and been featured by ESPN (by Mina Kimes), the New York Times, the Washington Post (by Kevin Blackistone), FiveThirtyEight (by Jason Reid), and other prominent media outlets. He is currently working with the governing body of a U.S. Olympic sport to close gaps in the rate at which athletes progress to elite levels.
He previously served on the faculties of Georgetown University, the University of Chicago, and Emory University. He holds a Ph.D. from UC Berkeley, a MBA from the University of Chicago and a BA from Johns Hopkins University.
David Wright retired to emeritus status from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business in August 2021 after 37 years on the accounting faculty. Dr. Wright is both a Certified Public Accountant and a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries.
He has extensive teaching experience in both the undergraduate and MBA degree programs as well as numerous University of Michigan and corporate executive education seminars around the world. He is a recipient of multiple teaching excellence awards from the students of the Ross Business School and the prestigious Victor L. Bernard Award for Leadership in Teaching selected by the faculty.
Dr. Wright was the Academic Director of the Master of Accounting degree program for fifteen years and extremely active in university level faculty governance. He was elected to multiple terms on the university Faculty Senate Assembly and served on the Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs (SACUA). SACUA is the 9-person executive arm of the university Faculty Senate and consults with the President, Provost, Regents and Executive Officers on matters of university policy. Since retirement he has been actively engaged in various volunteer efforts including president of his country club.
J. Sanchez-Burks (JSB) is a Behavioral Scientist, the William Russell Kelly Professor of Business Administration and Professor of Management and Organizations at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business.
His research and executive education focuses on the group dynamics of designing and driving change. His research has been featured in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio, The Harvard Business Review and the TED talk series.
Previously, he has had visiting appointments at universities in Singapore, France, and Turkey. JSB is a UM alum (PhD in Social Psychology, ’99), with a Wolverine family; wife (MSW, ’97), daughter (BS, ’19, MM ’20) and son (BA, ’22). JSB was born in San Francisco, raised in Los Angeles, and lives in Ann Arbor.
John D Branch currently teaches a variety of marketing and international business courses at the undergraduate, MBA, and executive levels at the Stephen M Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan and serves as Co-Director of the Yaffe Digital Media Initiative.
Prior to joining Michigan Ross, John was on the faculty of the Olin Business School at Washington University in Saint Louis for five years and has also served as an adjunct or visiting professor at more than 40 business schools throughout world.
John is originally from Canada. He holds a Bachelor of Engineering Science in electronics from the University of Western Ontario, a Master of Business Administration from the University of New Brunswick, a Master of Arts in education from Washington University in Saint Louis, a Doctor of Philosophy in marketing from the University of Cambridge, a Doctor of Education from the University of Michigan (USA), and a Doctor of Professional Studies from Middlesex University.
Kathy Babiak is Associate Dean and Professor of Sport Management in the School of Kinesiology at the University of Michigan. She is the Director of the Michigan Center for Sport and Social Responsibility.
Her research explores the ways sport (organizations, athletes) can bring about positive social change. She has explored athlete and corporate philanthropy in sport and is very excited about the opportunities for University of Michigan student athletes to engage in the community through charity, philanthropy and volunteer opportunities.
Kathy is looking forward to being part of the team to launch this effort. Dr. Babiak received her Ph.D. from the University of British Columbia in Canada.
Dr. Mary Hinesly has been with the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan for over eighteen years. Hinesly was Stephen M. Ross School of Business, University of Michigan 2022 Neary BBA Teaching Excellence Award, Poets & Quants for Undergrads Favorite Professors of the Class of 2020 – The Best of the Best and the Stephen M. Ross School of Business, University of Michigan 2017 Neary BBA Teaching Excellence Award
Her research and consulting work focus on business communication and digital transformation. Dr. Hinesly presents workshops and seminars internationally for executives. She earned her doctorate at Grenoble École de Management Technology and Innovation in France. Dr. Hinesly has been involved with over 100 companies including Google, Cisco, Amazon, Jive, Microsoft, Yelp, Cupcake Digital, Wacker, GE, LVMH, and more.
Dr. Hinesly has over 23 years in the private sector. She has served as the Director of Research for Thompson Associates, and the Director of Educational Content and Research for the National Retail Federation. She was an acting CEO and a COO for retail organizations.
Richard Wolfe is the Founder of the Sport and Organization Dynamics Institute (SODI).
Previous to developing and leading SODI, Dr. Wolfe served as Faculty Director, Sport and Organization Dynamics Conference, Executive Education Faculty, at the Ross School of Business; Professor of Strategic Management at the Gustavson School of Business, The University of Victoria, British Columbia; and Professor, Sport Management Department, University of Michigan.
Professor Wolfe received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business and his MBA from the Pennsylvania State University. Richard is very excited by what Hail! Impact is developing.
Stewart Thornhill is the Eugene Applebaum Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies and Executive Director of the Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at The Ross School of Business. His teaching includes the full span of undergraduate and graduate programs at Ross, as well as executive education. He is also faculty director of the Zell Founders Fund.
Thornhill's background includes global experience, having held the Karel Steur chair in entrepreneurship at the Universidad de San Andreas, Buenos Aires and various professorial roles at Jacobs University in Bremen, Germany, the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris in France and the Ivey School of Business at both the Hong Kong and Canadian campuses.
Professor Thornhill received his Ph.D. from the University of British Columbia and also holds a B.Sc. (Eng.) in Mechanical Engineering and an MBA with a concentration in Finance. Prior to pursuing a career in academia, he worked as a manufacturing engineering and a radio journalist. He is a helicopter pilot and avid motorcycle enthusiast.
Tim Pinto is a Clinical Professor of Law at the University of Michigan Law School. He teaches classes on legal writing and research, transactional drafting, sports law, and child welfare.
Prior to joining the law school faculty, Tim was an attorney at U.S. Soccer Federation, serving as staff attorney for four years and general counsel for five. He had a variety of tasks there, including enforcing and implementing internal bylaws, advising the board of directors on legal matters, and negotiating and drafting sponsorships, stadium agreements, and collective bargaining agreements with the men’s and women’s national teams.
Tim earned a J.D. degree from the University of Michigan Law School, as did his wife. He has three children, and his family takes great joy in regularly attending a large variety of Michigan athletic events.
Jacob is a former NFL athlete turned entrepreneur, transformational speaker, and writer. He is the Co-Founder of Varlo, a cycling and triathlon apparel brand. He has been a keynote speaker and worked with many major brands, including Meta, UPS, Intel, Stellantis and more.
He is a 3x TEDx speaker, was 40 Under 40 in 2015, and has been featured in Forbes, Wall Street Journal, as well as Good Morning America.
Jacob is mostly known for his thought leadership on LinkedIn, #FailForward posts, and inspirational videos. He travels globally speaking to corporations, colleges, and sports teams about how to take failure and turn it into fuel.
Paul Epstein graduated with his MBA from The Ross School of Business in 2019. He has spent nearly 15 years as a professional sports executive for multiple NFL and NBA teams, a global sports agency, and the NFL league office, where he has broken every premium revenue metric in Super Bowl history, opened a billion-dollar stadium, and founded the San Francisco 49ers Talent Academy, where he became known as the “Why Coach.”
As an award-winning keynote speaker named one of SUCCESS magazines top thought leaders that get results, Paul’s impact continues off stage providing leadership development and culture transformation programs for companies and teams including Amazon, Disney, Johnson & Johnson, NASA, the Los Angeles Lakers, and the Dallas Cowboys—and his work has been featured on ESPN, NBC, Fox Business, and in USA Today.
He is also the best-selling author of The Power of Playing Offense and is slated to launch his second book in 2023, Better Decisions Faster.
Ryan Davis is the VP & Chief Development Officer for the University Musical Society (UMS) at the University of Michigan. Before coming to UMS in 2018, she was the Senior Director of Development for the Miami Dolphins Foundation. Prior to her time in Miami, Ms. Davis held several development roles within the University of Michigan from 2010-16, leading fundraising efforts at the School of Kinesiology, and senior roles at Michigan Medicine with the Rogel Cancer Center, and the Samuel and Jean Frankel Cardiovascular Center.
As Chief Development Officer, Ryan oversees the full scope development initiatives, including annual, major, planned, and endowment giving; campaign planning, foundation and corporate support; and Board and donor engagement. Working closely with fellow members senior management and U-M campus partners, she shapes UMS's vision, strategy, and commitment to the University of Michigan and Southeast Michigan into a clear and compelling fundraising strategy.
Ryan grew up in Ann Arbor (Pioneer) and is a proud mother. Davis graduated from Loyola University Chicago as a full athletic student athlete (basketball) in 2001 with a bachelor degree in communications, and a Master's Degree in Women's studies from Eastern Michigan University in 2003.
Drew Henson was a Quarterback on the Michigan Football Team from 1998-2000. Henson got the starting role in 2000, completing 146-of-237 passes for 2,146 yards and 18 touchdowns while helping the Wolverines to a share of the Big Ten title and a Citrus Bowl victory over Auburn.
Henson was a 1999 Academic All-Big Ten selection and a two-time recipient of the U-M Athletic Academic Achievement Award.
Drew can offer council in areas like managing expectations, handling media coverage, organizing your training and schedule to maximize the use of your time, and transitioning to the next chapter of your life, among others.
"With the introduction of NIL, student-athletes now have the opportunity to create income as a result of their hard work and dedication to their craft. Edgewater provides a place for student-athletes to receive financial education and develop a game plan looking towards their future.
I am very excited to work with Hail! Impact and the many great things they are doing with University of Michigan Athletics and the community!”
A native of The Woodlands, Texas, Jarrett Irons is a graduate of The University of Michigan, having earned both his bachelor’s degree in Sports Management and Communications (1996) and graduate degree in Kinesiology (1999). Irons has performed in leadership roles for over 20 years, most notably beginning when he was selected as two-time captain for Michigan’s football team. His leadership roles in competitive business markets launched in Chicago where he worked as the Business Development Manager at public relations firm Golin/Harris International, Inc. There he managed business ventures for Fortune 500 companies such as McDonald’s, Tyson’s Foods and Amazon.
After a few years, Irons shifted to build upon his sports management education and joined the International Management Group (IMG) in Chicago as Director of Sales, overseeing areas in elite international sports, events & talent management. Some of his personal client portfolios included Tiger Woods, Derek Jeter and Venus and Serena Williams. Looking to merge his sales expertise and drive with his sports management training, coupled with his desire to improve individual lives, Irons joined the orthopedic joint reconstruction company Smith & Nephew Inc. as a medical device sales representative. There he built a $15 million book of orthopedic business in the Chicagoland territory, making this region one of the top sales markets in the country.
Today, as Vice President of Sales and Development for NPI MedLogics, Inc., a Smith and Nephew distributor, he continues to oversee and develop a growing team of sales representatives in both Chicagoland and Southeastern Michigan regions. Irons also leverages his extensive sales and healthcare expertise through diverse professional partnerships in the health and lifestyle industries, creating synergies and lucrative opportunities for various business lines.
As a trusted entity in his professional and personal communities, Irons serves as an advisory board member for Hall of Fame Health (an organization focused on guiding former National Football League players through navigating healthcare resources), and a board member for “For Those Who Stayed” (a non-profit organization focused on assisting former Michigan athletes with life challenges) and G.E.A.R (“Giving Every Athlete Resources” – an organization focused on resourcing athletic programs throughout the Detroit metropolitan area). Irons currently resides in Detroit, Michigan with his wife Jazelle and two daughters Bella and Zoe.
Sean Ritchlin is Founder and CEO of Rock Harbor, a marketing and distribution firm for asset managers based in Birmingham MI. For a decade Rock Harbor has been a leader in raising capital for managers that need an outsourced sales/consulting/marketing team to champion their story in the marketplace.
You can catch Sean as the NCAA hockey analyst for ESPN regular season coverage as well as The Frozen Four on ESPN and the family of networks. Prior to his broadcasting career, Sean played on two (96 & 98) NCAA National Championship teams at the University of Michigan and was drafted in 1996 by the New Jersey Devils. After playing collegiately Sean signed with the NHL’s Atlanta Thrashers.
Sean’s unique background in business and sport has traveled from athlete to broadcasting as well as managing the day-to-day business as an entrepreneur at Rock Harbor.
“Balancing both the rigorous schedule of hockey and education at Michigan provided the outlook to have a dual career in television and business. With Hail! Impact many of the athletes will have a chance to be exposed to concepts and ideas to guide them thru the transition from athletic to business careers or wherever their journey may go. I am looking forward to helping in that journey through Hail! Impact’s NIL program”
Born and raised in Fairport NY Sean now resides in Metro Detroit with his wife and two children.
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