Alcorn State University’s commencement ceremonies will take place Saturday, Nov. 21, at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. The commencement speaker is alumnus Bonner Upshaw III.
Bonner Upshaw III is the co-founder and CEO of Trion Solutions, Inc., www.relyontrion.com, which is among the nation’s largest Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs) and is the largest minority-owned PEO in the United States. Trion provides HR-administration services through specialists in payroll and taxes, benefits administration, workers’ compensation, and regulatory compliance.
In 2012, Upshaw and business partner David L. Stone established Trion Solutions. He and Mr. Stone each had their own PEO companies and made the historic decision to merge the two into Trion Solutions. Since that time, Trion has grown spectacularly to today working with more than 500 client companies and their 45,000-plus worksite employees across the country. Today, Trion has corporate headquarters in Troy, Michigan, and major offices in Aventura, Florida, Scottsdale, Arizona, and Traverse City, Michigan.
The 6-foot-8-inch Upshaw starred as a power forward on the Alcorn State basketball team from 1984 to 1987. The opportunity to play professional basketball persuaded him to go to Europe, where he played professionally for 10 seasons with teams in France, Portugal, Macedonia, and Switzerland.
During his time in Europe, he understood the importance of honing additional skills that could propel him into the future—including becoming fluent in Serbian and Macedonian. He even hosted a weekly show on a Macedonian radio station. During the off-season, he returned to Michigan to work for a PEO in the Detroit area and realized he had a passion for the HR industry.
Today, in addition to being highly regarded as the CEO of one of Michigan’s top businesses, Bonner Upshaw III himself is known as generous and strongly community-minded. He has long supported causes in the areas of education, mental health, domestic abuse, anti-bullying, and drug abuse.
In 2019, he was awarded the prestigious Consumers Energy Cares Award by the Auburn Hills (Mich.) Chamber of Commerce, in recognition of his community support. And, he was awarded Macomb County’s Athletic Leadership Award for his business accomplishments and civic contributions. Here is a video clip of an interview about the award: www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_bQYJLk4Fw
During the COVID-19 pandemic, his company was considered an “essential” business and worked diligently to ensure Trion’s client employees were paid on time and received the benefits they deserved. He participated in a series of television commercials to thank frontline workers and to show empathy toward businesses and individuals struggling during these challenging times.
He is an active and loving father to his three children, who enjoy and participate in team sports as well. And, he is an avid boater, who loves to travel with his wife Shannon and their three children.
For more information about Alcorn State University’s commencements, visit www.alcorn.edu.