The Frank A. Wetsman Young Leadership Award is given each year to young men who demonstrate strong leadership skills and dedication to serving their Jewish community. Established in 1961, the award was created by Mrs. Frank Wetsman and William M. Wetsman as a memorial to their husband and father.
The purpose of the award is not just to recognize an individual’s leadership skills and other talents, but also to inspire the recipient’s activity in Jewish communal affairs. The award is a grant that allows the winner to attend the General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America.
Joshua F. Opperer
Today Joshua F. Opperer, who won the award in 2009, is the Vice President of the United Jewish Foundation of Metropolitan Detroit. He is also a Partner at Honigman Miller Schwartz & Cohn L.L.P. There, he works as lead mergers and acquisitions counsel to private equity funds. He serves as outside general counsel to national and multinational operating companies.
In addition to the Frank A. Wetsman Award, Mr. Opperer’s other awards include the Mark Family Young Leadership Award, Honored by the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, and being named an honorary life member of the Hillel Student Center at Michigan State. Opperer was also named one of 100 Emerging Business Leaders by the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce and one of Detroit’s top “40 under 40” business leaders by Crain’s Detroit Business.
Recognized with the award in 2003, Jeffrey Schlussel now works with Carson Fischer Attorneys at Law. He specializes in many areas of business, health care, and real estate, and zoning law. In real estate, he represents both local and national owners, developers, and many other users. The transactions include office buildings, shopping centers, movie theaters, and more. He is also a member of the State Bar of Michigan and the Illinois State Bar Association.
Mr. Schlussel is also very involved in his community. He serves on the Board of Governors of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, as well as on the University of Michigan Hillel Foundation’s Board of Trustees between 2000 and 2003. He was selected to Super Lawyers as a Rising Star in 2008. He was also chosen as one of Super Lawyers’ Top Attorneys in Michigan in 2009, as well as in the 2011–2019 editions.
Gary Torgow received the Frank A. Wetsman Award in 1996. He currently works as the Chairman of T.C.F. Financial Corporation, a Detroit, Michigan-based financial holding company that has more than 500 branches throughout the Midwest and beyond. Before his current role, Mr. Torgow was the Chemical Financial Corporation, the holding company for Chemical Bank before the group acquired T.C.F. Financial Corporation and changed its name. Even before the acquisition, they were the largest bank that was headquartered in Michigan. Mr. Torgow also founded the Sterling Group, a Michigan-based real estate, development, and investment company.
Gary Torgow also serves on the Board of Jackson National Life Insurance Company of New York and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. In addition, he is a member of the Board of Business Leaders of Michigan and the Detroit Downtown Partnership, as well as a Trustee and Board member of the Community Foundation of Southeastern Michigan and is on the Foundation Boards of Wayne State University and Henry Ford Hospital. He was recently elected Chairman of the Mosaic United Steering Committee.
Norman A. Pappas
Another winner, Norman A. Pappas, received the award in 1987. Today he is the president and founder of Pappas Financial, The Enterprise Securities Company and The Enterprise Investment Company. His areas of expertise include solving problems faced by high net worth individuals, business owners and corporations. He focuses mainly on state planning, business continuity planning, and qualified and non-qualified retirement income plans.
Mr. Pappas originally received his undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan. He went on to earn his M.B.A. from Michigan State University. Now he is a Registered Representative registered with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC), and a Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU).
In the past, Norman A. Pappas was President of the International Forum, and today he serves on multiple community and charitable organization boards. He is an author, too. His book is titled Passing the Bucks, Protecting Your Wealth From One Generation to Another.
Lawrence S. Jackier
In 1976, Lawrence S. Jackier won the award. He now works at the Law Offices of Jackier Gould in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. He specializes in the areas of business law, mergers and acquisitions, entertainment and sports, corporate finance, real estate, and estate planning. He finished his undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan in 1964. Three years later he received his law degree from Yale University Law School. During his time at school, he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi and Pi Sigma Alpha.
In addition to his work, Mr. Jackier serves as President of the Jewish Welfare Federation of Metropolitan Detroit. He is also a member of multiple boards of trustees for multiple local, national and international charitable organizations.
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