February 7, 2017
Pictured above: Chip Mahan, Darion Jeralds ’10, ’14M; and Chad Porter ’98.
Darion Jeralds ’10, ’14M; Chad Porter ’98; and Chip Mahan have demonstrated personal commitment to community engagement while achieving outstanding professional success. In recognition of their accomplishments, the UNCW Alumni Association presented them with awards on Feb. 3, 2017. Jeralds was named Distinguished Young Alumnus of the Year; Porter, Distinguished Alumnus of the Year; and Mahan, Distinguished Citizen of the Year.
For Darion Jeralds, the senior sourcing manager for Global Nuclear Fuel, his UNCW experience prepared him for a smooth transition into the corporate world. His career path started with a class in business operations. After the final project, his professor invited Jeralds to interview for an internship with GE. The internship led to an entry-level opportunity. Jerald’s time on the men’s basketball team helped him develop the character, work ethic and determination to thrive during early career roles, he said.
“I enjoyed my time at UNCW so much that I decided to go back!” Jeralds added. “The M.B.A. program was an opportunity for me to explore business concepts from a higher level. The challenging projects in the M.B.A. program helped me to stretch and grow into a leader in my business. Now I enjoy returning to campus annually to share ideas with students during Business Week.”
Jeralds graduated cum laude from UNCW as the Outstanding Graduate for Operations Management in 2010. After graduation, he was hired as a sourcing specialist for GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy Americas. He has held several positions with the company; in 2015, he joined the GE Advanced Supply Chain program and began working toward a second master’s degree in supply chain management from Pennsylvania State University. Jeralds also volunteers with a youth basketball program, the March of Dimes, Communities in Schools, and Work on Wilmington.
“This recognition is very special to me because I have a passion for the university and its continued success,” he said. “I am also humbled to think about all of the people who helped and supported me through my journey as a Seahawk. Professors, coaches, mentors and peers all had a significant impact on my experiences at UNCW and my professional career.”
Chad Porter, a motivational speaker and trainer who works with small businesses and Fortune 500 companies across the nation, also donates countless hours as a mentor to students of all ages.
“I have the best job in the world. I get to travel the country inspiring and motivating and training people from every walk of life,” he said. “I am so grateful for the journey, and all that I have been through to get here, because the experiences have prepared me in different ways to be successful.”
Porter earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education from UNCW and a graduate degree in physical therapy from East Carolina University. His professional experience includes roles in real estate, at the Coastal Rehabilitation Hospital and as the founder of Porter Financial Group. Today, Porter is a member of the Zig Ziglar International Team, an elite group of highly skilled and knowledgeable corporate trainers.
In his spare time, Porter serves on the board of directors for Access of Wilmington and as vice chairman of the board for the Miracle League. He recently spearheaded relief efforts for Hurricane Matthew victims.
“To be honest, I’m not sure how deserving I am to receive this amazing award,” he said. “We have some incredible alumni at UNCW, and they are constantly giving back to our community and school. I see it as my responsibility to serve and give back to those who need help, and I am proud to do so however possible.”
For more than a decade, Chip Mahan has supported UNCW through service and giving. He has served as a member of the UNCW Board of Visitors, the Foundation Endowment Board and the Cameron School of Business Advisory Board.
Mahan, founder, CEO and chairman of the board of directors of Live Oak Bank, is also a founding member of nCino and serves on its board of directors. Prior to his work with Live Oak Bank, he served as CEO and chairman of the board for S1 Corporation and founder of Security First Network Bank, the world’s first internet bank.
Mahan is actively involved in the community, serving on numerous boards and advisory committees. He also co-founded Phoenix Hometown Hires, which supports people in the community in overcoming obstacles to find work and stability. In 2014, he was recognized with the Lower Cape Fear Stewardship Development Award for Outstanding Stewardship.
Mahan values the relationship between the community and the university. He appreciates UNCW’s “unlimited aspirations” under Chancellor Jose V. Sartarelli’s leadership, adding that the university offers students “big-school depth and small-school intimacy.”
The Distinguished Citizen of the Year Award is very meaningful to Mahan, who said the collaboration between his company and the university has been “great for the community and great for business.”
“I am honored at the essence of my soul,” he said. “Having worked closely with the university administration over the last 10 years while we hired over 200 UNCW graduates has been a fantastic experience.”
-- Venita Jenkins