Stevens is pleased to welcome back two esteemed alumni to speak at its 152nd Commencement exercises: Undergraduate Commencement Speaker Marques Brownlee '15 and Graduate Commencement Speaker Michael Kakos MMS '71.
Marques Brownlee '15
Marques Brownlee ‘15, known professionally as MKBHD, is an American YouTuber, tech reviewer and video producer, best known for his technology-focused videos as well as his podcast “Waveform: The MKBHD Podcast.” As of February 2024, he has more than 30 million subscribers across all social media channels and more than 4 billion total video views on YouTube alone.
A native of Maplewood, New Jersey, Brownlee attended Stevens Institute of Technology, earning a bachelor’s degree in information systems. He started uploading tech videos in 2009, while still in high school, reviewing new products or products he already owned. In November 2013, he posted a video on the LG G Flex that went viral, reaching one million views on the first day. He became a full-time Youtuber upon graduation from Stevens.
Since then, Brownlee has become a household name in the tech community, committed to delivering high-quality content with a touch of humor and authenticity to his dedicated global fan base. He has been recognized and celebrated for his contributions to the tech world including being named the Creator of the Decade at the 10th Annual Shorty Awards (2018) and the 2023 Streamy Award winner for Technology. He was named to three Forbes lists: Top Creators (2023), 30 Under 30 – Social Media (2021) and Top Influencers – Technology/Business (2017). He also received the Stevens Young Alumni Achievement Award in 2018.
Aside from reviewing tech, Brownlee is known for his interviews with thought leaders and celebrated individuals including Barack Obama, Kobe Bryant, Neil deGrasse Tyson and Bill Gates. He expanded into podcasting with “Waveform: The MKBHD Podcast,” where he talks tech with his co-hosts and interviews industry titans such as iJustine and Mark Zuckerberg.
Brownlee is a professional ultimate frisbee player for the New York Empire of the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL), who were the AUDL champions in 2019, 2022 and 2023. On July 31, 2022, Brownlee won the World Flying Disc Federation World Ultimate Club Championship with New York PoNy.
While most of his videos and interviews focus on tech, Brownlee also lends his celebrity to philanthropic causes, including an appearance on “Sesame Street: Elmo’s Mindfulness Spectacular!” and a spotlight on 3DPets, a startup that uses tech to make prosthetics for dogs and other animals.
Michael Kakos MMS '71
Michael John Kakos was born in the Bronx, New York, in 1937 to Slovakian heritage parents and attended Catholic grammar and high schools in his hometown. He earned a B.S. degree in chemistry from Manhattan College in New York City in 1958, followed by M.S. degrees in chemistry from Niagara University in 1960 and in management science from Stevens Institute of Technology in 1971.
Commencing his career as a scientist in various commercial laboratories in 1963, Michael conducted research and development on metals, ceramics and plastics raw materials at Celanese Corporation labs in New Jersey. During his tenure, he obtained several patents. Later at Celanese, he transitioned to more commercial positions such as sales development, product management and international marketing. His career led him to London in 1975, where he served for 11 years, ultimately retiring as European managing director for marketing operations.
In 1986, Michael founded Resin Express Ltd. in London, a company specializing in distributing GE and Dupont engineering thermoplastic raw materials to technical molders in Great Britain. In 1989, Michael married Aimee Rusinko of Greensburg, Pennsylvania, who later became a director and partner in Resin Express Ltd.
After successfully managing and growing their business, valued at $33 million, the Kakoses sold Resin Express Ltd. in 1997 to Ravago, a family-run European plastics distribution business based in Belgium.
In 2000, Michael and Aimee retired to Winter Park, Florida, while maintaining their London home as a base for summer European travels until 2021. The Kakoses now spend their summers at their home in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. Michael actively contributes to the community, serving on nonprofit boards for a local museum and a classical music organization in Central Florida. Additionally, he volunteers for local charities in Florida and London that focus on homelessness issues.