2023 Alumni Achievement Awards

Three Western Illinois University alumni have been honored with the prestigious WIU Alumni Achievement Award. Their outstanding achievements were celebrated at the Commencement exercises on Saturday, Dec.16, 2023. These individuals exemplify the excellence and impact that WIU alumni continue to make in their respective fields.

This year's Alumni Achievement recipients are Roy Albiani, director of Global Brand Protection for Johnson & Johnson (J&J); Matthew J. Bierman, vice president for Business Affairs at Eastern Illinois University and Brian T. Savage, retired partner and chief compliance officer at Forum Financial Management, LP. The recipients will be recognized at the 9:30 a.m. ceremony.

The Western's Alumni Achievement Award is presented to individuals who have made exceptional contributions in one or more of the following areas: outstanding accomplishment in their chosen field of endeavor, remarkable service in community affairs at the local, state or national levels and extraordinary dedication to the advancement and sustained excellence of WIU. This award acknowledges and celebrates individuals who have demonstrated exceptional commitment and impact in their professional pursuits, community service and support for the University's ongoing excellence.

View Past Recipients

royRoy Albiani

Albiani, a 1984 Marketing graduate, is the director of Global Brand Protection for J&J's $27 billion MedTech business and is an award-winning leader with over 35 years of experience leading Global Brand Protection, Channel Compliance and marketing organizations. He pioneered Global Brand Protection in 2003 at J&J which is recognized as a best-in-class industry leader.

In his current role, Albiani is responsible for leading, developing and executing strategies to safeguard patients and J&J's brand goodwill from illicit trade, including counterfeiting. These elements include investigations and enforcement actions to disrupt global illicit supply chains; product protection technology, global market monitoring and predictive intelligence to identify and act on concerns proactively. Albiani's team also engages in robust external partnerships with law enforcement, government affairs, industry and academia to collaborate on the common goal to reduce illicit trade.

In 2020, Albiani was bestowed with the Brand Protection Hero Award by Michigan State University's Center for Anti-Counterfeiting and Brand Protection, the most prestigious industry recognition. The award is bestowed only to one individual each year and honors outstanding contributions to ensuring the safety of the worldwide public against product counterfeiting. He has also been featured in the "American Healthcare Leader" Magazine in 2023 and received the J&J Leadership Award for exceptional business results.

Albiani has taught courses at universities, authored articles and delivered podcasts on brand protection and lectured at several conferences. He has been a tireless advocate for the advancement and expansion of his industry and believes that all senior practitioners need to continuously promote new entrants, encourage youth, increase diversity and mentor the next generation.

He credits his academic and life experiences at WIU as foundational for his success throughout his career. While at WIU, he was heavily involved in numerous campus groups, including the Student Orientation Board and Student Government Association, having served as their Macomb City Council liaison. He is a founding father, former president and charter member of Sigma Nu Fraternity, and a new member of the WIU Alumni Council. He faithfully and regularly returns to WIU with his fraternity brothers to celebrate Homecoming.

mattMatthew J. Bierman

Bierman, a 1997 Information Management and 2003 master of Business Administration graduate, was named vice president for Business Affairs at Eastern Illinois University in July 2022. Previously, he was the chief financial officer at Illinois Wesleyan University from 2018-2022. Bierman started his career at Western in 1999, serving as the Bayliss-Henninger complex director and then moved to the director of residential facilities for University Housing and Dining Services in 2006, serving in that role for six years. He was named interim director for Budget in 2011 before being named to the permanent position in 2012. He was appointed interim vice president for Administrative Services in January 2016 and permanent vice president in May 2017.

During his time at WIU, in addition to leading Residential Facilities, the Budget Office and Administrative Services, he served as the St. Louis Rams Summer Training Camp coordinator at WIU, as an instructor for the College Student Personnel program and as past president of Great Lakes Association of College and University Housing Officers (GLACUHO). Bierman was named the 2015 Executive in Residence for the WIU College of Business and Technology (CBT). He also was a member of the Macomb Community Unit School District No. 185 Board, the Macomb Chamber of Commerce Legislative Committee and St. Paul Catholic Church.

While an undergraduate at WIU, Bierman was a resident assistant and was a member of the Student Government Association, Inter-Hall Council, the National Residence Hall Honorary and the National Association of College and University Residence Halls. He also served as treasurer of the Management Information Systems Association, as a cooperative student at NTN Bower and as a member of the Student Leadership and Development Board, the Student Orientation Team and Student Orientation Staff.

brianBrian T. Savage

Savage, a 1973 graduate Accountancy graduate. He is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and was a Personal Financial Specialist (CFS) until his retirement. He co-founded Forum Financial Management, LP, a registered investment advisor firm with over $7 billion in assets under management and more than 40 offices nationwide. He served as partner and chief compliance officer from 2002 until his retirement in 2021. A business leader and entrepreneur, Savage helped shape and grow Forum into the organization it is today. He began his career as an Internal Revenue Agent for the IRS from 1973-1977, later founded his own accounting business in 1977 and was one of the original principles of the Terra Financial Companies from 1984-2000. At Forum, he served as a mentor for the next generation, a friend to colleagues and held many additional roles, including head of operations and chief financial officer, integrating his knowledge as a CPA and the expertise gained from owning a tax practice and holding a leadership position at a national financial services firm.

Savage is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and a former member of the Illinois Certified Public Accountants Society, the National Society of Public Accountants and the National Society of Compliance Professionals. He supports numerous charitable causes and organizations in his community and the Macomb community, including significant gifts to the Illinois Invest in Kids scholarship program at both St. Irene School in Warrenville and St. Paul School in Macomb. He received the Mel Man of the Year Award from St. Mel High School.

Savage has remained devoted to his alma mater over the years. He served on WIU's Alumni Council from 2010-2023 and as president from 2019-2021. He has led or assisted in the efforts of several successful fundraising projects, including major improvements to the Alumni House, the Western Challenge, the Annual Day of Giving and many more. Five of his children went to Western, showing his faith and belief in a WIU education. He has attended over 120 alumni and friends events, is a member of the Foundation Fellows Society and is a major financial donor to Western, with his most recent significant gift to support a scholarship for graduates returning for an additional degree from Western.