Jay Rickman

2009 Community Ambassador of the Year: Jay Rickman

Jay D. Rickman, Sr. is President and CEO of AMCOL Systems, Inc. in Columbia, SC. AMCOL, a leader in medical receivables management, is celebrating 33 years of operation.

A graduate of Coker College, Jay served 23 years as a US Army Special Forces officer. Over the years he has been active on numerous boards and committees and has been, and is currently, the chairman of the International Festival since 1997. He founded Columbia Business Week, a program targeting industrious high school juniors and seniors and introducing them to the free enterprise system via hands-on workshops at Presbyterian College in Clinton, SC. He is a long-standing member and currently serves as a deacon of St. Andrews Baptist Church. Jay enjoys several hobbies and is an avid runner. He and his wife Mary, founder of AMCOL Systems, have three children, seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Mona Shazly - 2009

2009 International Professional of the Year: Dr. Mona El Shazly

Dr. Mona El Shazly was born and grew up in Egypt.  She attended the American University in Cairo where she received a B.A. and an M.A. in Economics.  In 1980, she moved with her husband Hassan and two children Dina and Tarek to Columbia S.C. to complete her studies.  She attended the University of South Carolina and received her Ph.D. in Economics with a minor in International Business in 1987.

Dr. El Shazly joined Columbia College in 1987 and is now serving as professor of Economics and International Business and chair of the Department of Business.  She teaches courses in Economics, International Business and International Negotiations.

Dr. El Shazly is actively engaged in research and has published numerous articles in professional journals on topics that deal with currency forecasting, exchange rate analysis, equity markets, international trade and finance. She is active in professional organizations at both the national and international level.

During her tenure at Columbia College, Dr. El Shazly was invited to teach as a visiting lecturer at The American University in Cairo, the University of South Carolina, Lethbridge University in Canada, Huron University in London, and the American University in Washington D.C.

Mona has also taught graduate courses in: International Finance, Money and Banking, and International Trade Theory.

She is a member of a number of professional organizations: Academy of International Business, International Atlantic Economic Association, International Association of Financial Engineers and the American Economic Association.

Dr. El Shazly is also the director of The Center of Economic Education at Columbia College which provides support through workshops and training programs for teachers K-12 in the state of South Carolina.


2009 International Volunteer of the Year: Louis Dessau

Louis Dessau has volunteered and been a leader in a multitude of organizations that have had a direct impact on the residents of the Midlands and helped expand support for and awareness of internationals in our community. He has volunteered for Habitat for Humanity, is a founding member and past President for the Nordic Club of Columbia, SC. He was instrumental in reviving the Alliance Franchise in the midlands.

In 2008, Louis Dessau arranged and hosted a Gift of Life project for a young girl from Bolivia to have heart surgery in South Carolina. Louis has helped thousands of students find internships around the world .He attended the Ecole de Grand Lancy in Geneva, Switzerland, Ecole La Fontaine in Madrid, Spain and the Escuela Campo Alegre in Caracas, Venezuela. He completed a BS in Business Administration at Florida State University and an MBA in Paris, France at ESCP-EAP.  He received the Rotarian of the Year award in 2007 and the Service above Self award in 2008.