W&J Celebrates Innovation With 30th Annual Entrepreneurial Leadership Dinner

Created: November 8, 2016
Last Updated: January 15, 2020

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WASHINGTON, PA (Nov. 8, 2016) – Washington & Jefferson College’s (W&J) 30th Annual Entrepreneurial Leadership Dinner will honor two businessmen who have made a major impact in their fields.

Charlie P. Eaton ’64, founder of Eaton Partners, LLC, and Mark Meyer of the Meyer-Grelli family, owner of Pittsburgh-based Wigle Whiskey, will be honored as Entrepreneurs of the Year on Nov. 14 at the Duquesne Club in Pittsburgh.

Eaton, private equity pioneer of fund placements, built one of the largest global firms in the industry over a nearly forty year career.  In 1983, he founded Eaton Partners, LLC, a global fund placement agent that helps investment management firms grow their client base and assets under management. Since the firm’s founding, Eaton Partners has participated in raising over $68 billion of institutional capital across more than 90 highly differentiated investment funds, including private equity, real estate, real assets, and hedge funds. Eaton Partners has become the largest privately-owned placement firm in the industry with 65 employees in seven offices, including London, Shanghai, and Hong Kong.

In January 2016, Eaton Partners became a wholly-owned subsidiary and affiliate of Stifel Financial Corp., a leading middle-market investment bank. Eaton Partners is now an independent affiliate of Stifel, continuing to maintain autonomy and the culture that has been so important to the firm’s partners and employees.

Eaton received a bachelor’s degree in economics from Washington & Jefferson College in 1964 and an MBA in finance and marketing from Columbia University. While a student at W&J, Eaton was awarded the Distinguished Military Student Award and received a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the Armor branch. Eaton is frequently a speaker at industry conferences. In 2008, he led a consortium of other major placement agents to work more effectively with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Led by Mark and Mary Ellen Meyer, the Meyer-Grelli family owns and operates Wigle Whiskey, an award-winning distillery based in the Strip District of Pittsburgh. Wigle Whiskey devotes significant resources to innovation and makes each of its dozens of spirits, including whiskeys, gins, honey spirits and bitters, grain-to bottle from local, organic ingredients.

The Meyer-Grelli family opened Wigle Whiskey in 2011 as a family project that combined a love for whiskey, rebellion, George Washington, and Alexander Hamilton. Crucial to Wigle Whiskey’s success was the families’ successful lobbying to change Pennsylvania state laws to allow for an on-premises mode of craft distillery. In 2015 and 2016, Wigle Whiskey was the most-awarded craft whiskey distillery in the United States by the American Craft Spirits Association and has won Best in Category Craft Rye Whiskey, Best in Category Wheat Whiskey, and Best in Category Genever. Wigle Whiskey spirits are sold in Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board stores throughout Pennsylvania and in seven other states along the eastern seaboard.

Working together to brew and distribute outstanding spirits are Mark and Mary Ellen Meyer; daughter Meredith Grelli and her husband Alexander; son Eric Meyer; and son Jeff Meyer. The Meyer-Grelli family is working to restore a Pennsylvania tradition championed by rebellious distillers of western Pennsylvania past, when the area was the epicenter of American whiskey production.

 

About Washington & Jefferson College

Washington & Jefferson College, located in Washington, Pa., is a selective liberal arts college founded in 1781. Committed to providing each of its students with the highest-quality undergraduate education available, W&J offers a traditional arts and sciences curriculum emphasizing interdisciplinary study and independent study work. For more information about W&J, visit www.washjeff.edu, or call 888-W-AND-JAY.

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