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Business leaders honored in W.P. Carey School Homecoming Hall of Fame

October 26, 2010

Three well-known business leaders will receive a high honor from Arizona State University for their contributions to our economy and community. This month, they will be inducted into the W. P. Carey School of Business Homecoming Hall of Fame, joining an elite group of previous inductees from such diverse organizations as the American Red Cross, Motorola, PayPal, the U.S. Air Force, Wells Fargo Bank, XM Satellite Radio and the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Mike Ahearn, executive chairman of First Solar, Inc.; Edward Blechschmidt, a consultant and former chief executive officer of Novelis, Inc.; and Martin M. Quintana, chief operating officer of Chicanos Por La Causa, Inc., will be honored at the annual Homecoming Hall of Fame ceremony on Oct. 29. This is the 33rd annual celebration recognizing top business alumni from Arizona State University.

“All three of these business leaders have taken companies to the next level, achieving great success along the way,” says W. P. Carey School of Business Dean Robert Mittelstaedt. “They provide excellent examples of the types of careers we hope all of our students can grow to have.”

• Mike Ahearn co-founded First Solar, Inc., now one of the world’s largest solar module manufacturers. Ahearn is currently executive chairman of the NASDAQ-listed company, which is headquartered here in the Phoenix area and employs more than 4,000 people on three continents. He served as chief executive officer from 2000 to 2009, growing the company from a startup to a member of the S&P 500. Ahearn has both a bachelor’s degree in finance and a juris doctor from Arizona State University.

• Edward Blechschmidt has headed up several major companies and currently serves on six corporate boards. His resume includes time as chief executive officer of Novelis, Inc., a world leader in aluminum rolling and recycling with annual revenues in excess of $8 billion. He also served as chief executive officer and president of Gentiva Health Services, a Fortune 1000 company and the nation’s top provider of home health services. Blechschmidt holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from ASU.

• Martin M. Quintana is chief operating officer of Chicanos Por La Causa, Inc., one of the largest nonprofit organizations in Arizona and one of the largest Latino community development organizations in the country. During his many years in the for-profit sector, Quintana played a key role in helping to centralize finance and IT operations for distribution centers nationwide at Kraft Foods. Quintana is an active board member of several community organizations and holds both a bachelor’s degree in business administration from ASU and an MBA from the W. P. Carey Executive MBA program.

Several hundred alumni, business leaders and faculty members are expected to attend this year’s Homecoming Hall of Fame celebration on Oct. 29 at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa. The event will begin with a reception at 6 p.m., followed by dinner and the awards ceremony at 7:15 p.m. For more information on tickets or sponsorship, please go to or contact Nicole Almond Tucker at (480) 965-3978 or