Monday, November 6, 2006
OU alumnus named ‘40 under 40’
By Rebecca Wyatt, OU Web Writer
Nino DiCosmo, CAS ’90, said throughout his life, many people have mentored, helped and guided him. Now his accomplishments as a businessman and dedication to others have been recognized through two awards, “Crain’s Detroit Business” 40 under 40 recognition and the Oakland University Alumni Association Spirit Award. While DiCosmo is being recognized, he said it reminds him of all of the people who have helped shape his life.
“I’ve been very fortunate to achieve what I have,” DiCosmo said. “Achievement is directly related to having a lot of good people in your life. I’ve been fortunate that so many people have taken an interest in my life and helped me grow.”
Chairman of the board, president and chief executive office of AutoWEB, a Rochester-based company specializing supply chain management, DiCosmo earned a degree in political science with a minor in accounting while he was at Oakland University.
“I had considered going to law school, so I majored in political science, but I thought that was too limiting so I balanced it with liberal arts by minoring in accounting,” DiCosmo said. “It gave me a broarder view of the world in general.”
After graduation, DiCosmo took a job with Electronic Data Systems (EDS) as a global account executive. DiCosmo managed the executive customer relationship and led the system implementations of EDS products and services in Europe, Asia and South America. DiCosmo later joined General Motors where he helped with cost saving strategies within the company.
In 2004, he joined AutoWEB as president and CEO and was elected chairman of the board.
“AutoWEB was the opportunity to do what I really wanted to do, which was run a company,” said DiCosmo. “The company was poised to do things more entrepreneurially than where I was.”
DiCosmo said his goal was to take AutoWEB to a high level — and that he did. With DiCosmo at the helm, AutoWEB’s sales have increased 22 percent and net income has increased more than 60 percent.
This year, “Crain’s Detroit Business” recognized DiCosmo for his success and recognized him in the magazine’s list of 40 under 40 in the metro Detroit area.
“I was extremely excited but the recognition, but it really made me reflect on who helped me get here,” said DiCosmo. “You don’t achieve anything in a vacuum.”
While he never went on to law school, he attended Carnegie Mellon University, where he earned his master’s in information systems management, and he is currently working on his master of business administration from the University of Michigan.
“I have attended some of the best schools in the country, and I would rank the time I spent at Oakland as valuable as the time I spent at any other school,” DiCosmo said.
And he’s still involved at Oakland University today. DiCosmo is active on the School of Business Administration Board of Visitors.
“As a student at Oakland University, everyone took an interest in me and gave generously of their time to help me succeed,” DiCosmo said. “Being a part of the campus is a way to give back what those people gave to me while I was there. Receiving the Spirit Award is important and as big of an honor as any award I’ve received. It tells me that I am a valuable contributor to Oakland.”
For his dedication to the university, the Oakland University Alumni Association will present DiCosmo with the Spirit Award during the 12th Annual Alumni Association Awards Banquet on Saturday, Nov. 4. The award recognizes the recipient’s exemplary volunteer service to Oakland.
DiCosmo advises students to find a balance within their education.
“Students should find something they can enjoy and be successful at, even if those aren’t necessarily the things that they thought they would be doing. They should go after their dreams, achieve them and the rest will fall into place,” DiCosmo said.