Interview with Nikos Pentzos ACT '91

Published in News

The title “Alumnus of the Year” is considered to be one of the most important titles awarded by an educational institution to its graduates, taking into account their professional achievements, ethos and the values ​​they represent. ACT established this award in 2011 and the first to receive it was Nikos Pentzos, President of ZANAE industry, and also President of the Federation of Industries of Northern Greece at the time.

Interview: Olga Tsantila

The selection of Nikos Pentzos for this award seemed obvious. He represented both the potential and dreams of 30-year-olds and third-generation entrepreneurs who were called upon to prove their worth and contribution to the family-run business.

In 1996 and at the age of 26, Nikos Pentzos took over the reins of ZANAE, the company that was founded by his grandfather in 1930. Zanae is one of the most historic industries in Greece that started its operation in Thessaloniki as a bakery yeast production industry and today exports its products in more than 50 countries. At age 38, overturning traditions, he became the youngest President in the history of the Federation of Industries of Northern Greece. His successful term (2009 - 2013) and his sincere interest in the community led him to become the head of the Social Solidarity and Relief Network of the SEVE, a status that he maintains from 2011 to this day. Within six years of its operation, the Network has conducted a "silent solidarity investment" by supporting 75 institutions in the region, with more than 800,000 euros without counting gifts in kind from 450 companies in Northern Greece.

In 2011, Nikos Pentzos was the keynote speaker at the ACT Graduation Ceremony. That night in June when he was honored as Alumnus of the Year, he returned to a familiar place, which had however changed: SBALA (The School of Business Administration and Liberal Arts) from where he graduated in 1991 with a degree in Business Administration and Liberal Arts, had transformed into ACT. As he says, those early years of his studies proved particularly useful for his later experience abroad. "Nothing can be done without proper preparation," says Mr. Pentzos, “much less in business ventures.”

What do you remember from the years of studying at SBALA?

That it was a very innovative academic institution as it was the precursor to studying in the U.S. and the UK. I remember how ACT prepared us for what we would have to face abroad and I realized this when I went to the University of Richmond in Great Britain. A source of inspiration was my marketing professor Stelios Kechagias. And I also remember the 'painful' English lessons with Rodney Coules and Eleni Godi.

I always wanted to go abroad to live and work for at least 5 years, and then return to Greece. However, the plans changed and I came back much earlier than that.

And how did you feel when you returned to ACT?

I definitely felt honored. The truth is I did not think I would be in this position, and I admit it is nice to talk about things and situations you know well so that you can inspire others.

I have often stressed the need to link university studies to the real economy, and the real world in general.

Every time I speak to students I tell them not to make the mistake of studying something while ignoring everyday life. If you want to study Accounting shouldn’t you be knowledgeable on invoices? For example, marketing is practiced in a totally different way in Greece than in the US. Shouldn’t those who study it have a good sense of the practical side of the profession?

Does the Greek market need competent high level executives or capable leaders? And how can education help?

Both. The educational process does not predetermine and preselect who will become an employee, executive, manager or president of a business. This is defined by the personality, the character, the motivation of each individual in relation to his ambition and timing. A good executive can become an excellent entrepreneur and vice versa.

What are the difficulties of managing a family business?

It is said that the third generation is the one that closes down the family business. Every business has life cycles. The time you enter the cycle is critical.  Family businesses follow the developmental path of their founder and are defined by him. The values and priorities of the founder are very strong and are deeply rooted in the culture of the business. Those who work there as well as new employees must respect this culture and the fact that changes are more difficult and slow. The new team must respect the company culture and all those that have contributed.

In the case of ZANAE, the team is very important. The contribution of my brother Telemachus, who is the CEO of the company, is very important.

Additionally, the executives comprising the team which strives to achieve the set goals play a vital role in the company’s advancement and success. Powerful teams are a crucial factor in any company's ability to move forward.

What is your advice to those who dream of a business career?

Work hard and work a lot, educate yourself continuously, seek knowledge and take advantage of opportunities.

Personally, I greatly appreciate the thirst of a person who is asking for a job. I have recruited people less qualified compared to others, because I saw their deep desire to work and be distinguished. This sometimes is far more powerful than a CV with ten degrees.

However, I would say that it is important for a young person looking for a job, to have attended seminars, to know more than one foreign language, and most importantly to be able to stand out.

Exports are a very extrovert sector, like tourism, so people with extrovert personalities will be more successful.  This is not built in one day. However, those who are prepared for this will prevail.

Anyone who is not systematic will not be preferred, be it an employee or a company. Only serious businesses with a very high level of executives will be able to stand tall and evolve, and I find there are many in Greece. So I think serious businesses can create opportunities amidst a crisis.

In 2011, when you were President of SEVE, you led the establishment of the Social Solidarity and Relief Network in which the Thessaloniki Chambers of Commerce and other institutions are participating. What were your thoughts behind the creation of the Network and what are its efforts today?

The Network was built as a bridge between businesses in Northern Greece and the local community, in order to encourage these businesses to support clubs, organizations, vulnerable social groups, individuals, refugees and immigrants, providing them with goods and services. We started by supporting 15 institutions and today we have reached 75. Our members have exceeded 30,000, and we have 450 companies that offer their goods and services. In 2016, we signed a Memorandum of Understanding with TAP, the Transdisciplinary Natural Gas Pipeline, which trusted the Network to implement support programs for vulnerable social groups.

We scan the needs of the community, categorize them and ask our members for support. The second purpose of the Network is education. We want to demonstrate the importance of Corporate Social Responsibility not only for the community but also for the corporation itself. And this is something I have learned from my family but also from the years I spent abroad.

Thank you very much

Me too


N. PENTZOSNikolaos Pentzos was born in Thessaloniki in 1971. He studied Business Administration at SBALA (School of Business Administration and Liberal Arts), later ACT (American College of Thessaloniki), and he graduated in 1991. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration and Economics (Major Marketing) from University of Richmond University (UK), and a Master in Marketing Management from Middlesex University (UK).  In 1999 he became General Director of ZANAE SA, one of the largest and fastest growing food industries in Greece. The company’s products are exported to over 50 countries. A large percentage of the company's turnover comes from exports made in Europe, the United States, Canada, Australia, the Middle and Far East.

From 2011 he holds the position of the President of ZANAE. He served as President of the Board of Directors of the Federation of Industries of Northern Greece (2009 – 2013), member of the National Export Council of the Ministry for Development, Competitiveness, Infrastructure, Transport and Communications, member of the Board of Directors of Thessaloniki Stock Exchange Center, member of the Support Council of the Center of Research and Technology Hellas, member of the Board of Directors of Thessaloniki Chamber of Commerce and Industry.


Invitation to the exhibition ‘Stoa Malakopi: Memory and entrepreneurialism’

Published in Miscellaneous

The city does not tell its past, but contains it like the lines of a hand, written in the corners of the streets, the gratings of the windows, the banisters of the steps [...]

Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities

We are delighted to invite you to the exhibition ‘Stoa Malakopi: Memory and emerging entrepreneurialism’, organized by ACT (American College of Thessaloniki). The exhibition opens on Friday 26 January 2018 at the arcade Malakopi, Syggrou 7, 1st floor, 5-7 pm, and will remain open until Friday 2 February 2018.

The exhibition is the culmination of an educational pilot research entitled ‘Thessaloniki’s arcades: Memory and emerging entrepreneurialism’ (June-December 2016). To this end, students from the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at ACT and Graphic Design students from North Carolina State University (NCSU) worked together in the context of their common Service Learning course. The course is an extension of educational praxis in the community; in collaboration with various public and not-for-profit bodies, students engage in participatory research, experiential learning and understanding of social issues and problems while making connections with their studies.   

The research project examines place identity and the entrepreneurial practices and trajectories of various stakeholder groups working at some of Thessaloniki’s commercial arcades. Recent social and economic changes have seriously affected the local community – in this light the project aims to explore the development of commercial arcades over the years, as perceived and experienced by arcades stakeholders, and methods of community design through interdisciplinary collaborations.

The Malakopi arcade was examined as a case study in the above research context. The arcade was built in 1907 by Italian architect Vitaliano Posseli in the yard of the Allatini family estate to house the Bank of Thessaloniki. In 1954 ownership changed and the building was refurbished to accommodate a commercial arcade, now named Malakopi. Many business people and professionals left their mark in the arcade ever since, few of which are still there, while new entrepreneurs have recently moved into this historical building.       

With an oral history approach, local researchers – comprising three ACT students, one NCSU student and the course leads – interviewed 13 professionals at Malakopi arcade, who shared their memories from the arcade and their professional histories, the challenges they have faced over the years and their thoughts and suggestions for a sustainable development of the arcade, given its historical, heritage character. On their part, US-based students used the transcribed and visual material (e.g. photographs of stakeholders and their work spaces or design plans of Malakopi) to create banners for each one business and professional. In the exhibition local researchers-students will present the outcomes and outputs of their work, representing the broader research team. 

Service Learning course and research leads are Dr Maria Patsarika, Humanities and Social Sciences Division, ACT (American College of Thessaloniki) and Prof Scott Townsend, School of Graphic Design, North Carolina State University. The occasion for this interdisciplinary collaboration was Scott Townsend’s exhibition ‘Social Capital’ in June 2017, organized by the Dukakis Center in collaboration with the French Institute, Thessaloniki. Central to both these initiatives is the active engagement of students with social science and service design research and collaboration with local stakeholders in the process of exploring and understanding social changes and problems that concern them.      

stoa malakopi courtesy Betty Voreopoulou

Stoa Malakopi, 1950. Photo courtesy of Ms. Betty Voreopoulou.

A warm thanks to Dr Evangelos Hekimoglou, curator at the Jewish Museum of Thessaloniki, and emeritus professor at Aristotle University Ms Aleka Karadimou-Gerolympou for their inputs to the research; and to Betty Voreopoulou, Alkmini Trigonaki and Lazaros Graikos for their overall support in organizing the exhibition.

For more information contact: Maria Patsarika, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Tourism of Tomorrow

Published in Tourism Events

The ACT Hospitality & Tourism Management program organizes a one day event, linking the academic with the business world. The event will focus on good practices and contemporary global trends, new successful business models and investments in tourism by Greek and international companies, as well as projects conducted at ACT, in an effort to decode the essence of "the Tourism of Tomorrow."

Register Here


Admission is free.  Online registration is required to reserve your seat as places are limited. Please note that the conference will be conducted in Greek and English; no interpretation will be provided. All participants will receive a certificate of attendance. 

Register Here


View the speakers' presentations online.

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Artificial Intelligence and Humans: A Love Story (?)

Published in News

Can a human love a machine? Can a machine love a human? Should artificial beings enjoy rights, perhaps even the same rights as humans? Ultimately, are humans different from artificial beings, or could we leave behind our biological form and live on as machines?

Cutting edge issues that are discussed in ACT classrooms were brought into the public sphere, in a serious and yet entertaining way, during the film screening of the Oscar awarded movie “Ex Machina”. The screening and the discussion followed were held at Ypsilon café, on the 29th of November, and were organized by the English and New Media Program, Division of Humanities and Social Sciences at ACT.

Vincent Mueller, Professor of Philosophy at ACT, Yvonne Kosma, Adjunct Professor of Cultural Studies at ACT, and Apostolos Karakasis, Adjunct Professor of Film Editing, Film School, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, prompted thoughts about the rights and obligations of robots, the reasons why we care about robots (human power in this world, and human self-image) and about the positive or negative contributions AI and robotics will make to society. The role of women as objects (sexual and otherwise) and as not trustworthy vs. men as makers and victims of female cunning was also thematized.


Health & Wellness

Published in Student Services

Find below a list of student support services and resources that are available on the ACT campus, as well as important contact information:

ACT MD Georgia Kounti, Pulmonologist

Walk-in Hours at ACT (New Building, lower level):

Mondays 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
Wednesdays 1:00 am - 2:30 pm

For appointments outside of these times email Dr. Kounti: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
For emergencies and medical assistance outside of business hours, refer to the hospital information.

ACT Psychologist, Dr. Maria Psoinos, PhD

Walk-in Hours at ACT (New Building, lower level):

Tuesdays 12:00 - 1:00 pm
Thursdays 12:00 - 1:00 pm

For booking appointments outside of these times, email Dr. Psoinos: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

ACT Contacts

ACT 24 Hour Emergency Phone: +30 6936000358
Student Services Coordinator, Natalia Alexiou This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Office Phone: +30 2310398242
Study Abroad Coordinator, Miranda Margariti This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Office Phone: +30 2310398205
Director of International Programs & Student Services, Heather Funk Theodoridi This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Office Phone: +30 2310398215

Additional Local Services Recommended by ACT

International insurance is not accepted at local services. Receipts are issued in English for submission to insurance.

ACT Psychiatrist, Dr. Vaggelis Karavelas

Visits by appointment only. Sessions cost approximately 50€.
Ethnikis Aminis Street, #6, Thessaloniki
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Mobile: +30 6944466461

Agios Loukas Private Hospital, Panorama (near ACT)

Panorama, Thessaloniki
Phone: +30 2310380000

Geniki Kliniki Private Hospital, Waterfront of Thessaloniki (near Thessaloniki Music Hall)

Marias Kallas Street, #11, Thessaloniki
Phone: +30 2310895100

General European Emergency Number: 112 (English speaking operators)


International Education Week at ACT

Published in News

Monday, November 13

ACT Students, wear your ACT shirts & Study Abroad students, wear your home school shirt today. Talk to someone from abroad and make a new friend from another school!  Face painting in the ACT Commons!

ACT Study Abroad & Exchange Programs: Hear from students sharing about their experiences abroad, ask questions and find out how to become an exchange student!

Student Panel: Achilleas Vrantzas, Ester Kalogeroudi, Tatiyana Winge

New Building, AV Room, 2-3pm

Tuesday, November 14

Camp America: Interested in summer camp work in the USA?

Erman Uslu from Camp America, an organization that sends well over 7,000 people from 36 different countries to the US for summer camp work, will present about the company and the opportunity to work at summer camps across the USA.

New Building, AV Room, 2-3 pm. 

Can't make it because of class? Q&A in Effie Commons (NB) before and after the presentation.

Wednesday, November 15 

European Voluntary ServiceAll expenses paid volunteer opportunities in Europe for 2 weeks - 12 months!

ACT Graduate Marinela Tserepi will share her volunteer experience and tell you how to join this amazing, cv-building opportunity!

New Building, AV Room 3-4 pm. 

Lets Talk: Sports TourismFollow the new trend in hospitality tourism!

Achilleas E. Tzimas and Christos Petreas will present a new rising market in the hospitality industry, and help you spot opportunities within it!

Stavros Niarchos Teleconference Room, Bissell Library 6-8pm

Thursday, November 16

Free Distance Learning: How to take advantage of free opportunities from universities abroad.

IPO Director Heather Funk Theodoridi will host an interactive live presentation introducing opportunities for free online seminars and access to free online resources offered by ACT partner institutions and large universities around the US!

Facebook Live: ACT Study Abroad Facebook page 1-2 pm

Want more opportunities?!

NAFSA and AFS are holding FREE online seminars for International Education Week. Explore the links and register today!

NAFSA: Association of International Educators

AFS: Global Competence Webinars


The First Semester of “Education Unites: From Camp to Campus” has started

Published in News

Seventy eight young refugees have been enrolled in Athens and Thessaloniki

During the first week of October, seventy eight young refugees started their academic studies as part of the "Education Unites: From Camp to Campus" scholarship program, organized by the U.S. Embassy in Athens in collaboration with the American College of Thessaloniki – Anatolia College, Deree -American College of Greece and Perrotis College - American Farm School.

After reviewing over 400 applications and interviewing dozens of refugees and asylum seekers, the three U.S. affiliated colleges have selected the first group of fellows that began their academic studies.  For the first semester of the academic year 2017-2018, forty-eight students attend Deree in Athens, fourteen students attend the American College of Thessaloniki, and sixteen students started classes at the Perrotis College in Thessaloniki.

The beneficiaries of the program will attend preparatory English classes, courses in various fields based on their previous knowledge and academic training, and, fundamentally, they will have the opportunity to continue their education and acquire skills and credits that they will be able to use either in Greece or in any other country they move to in the future.

Our collaboration with the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Immigration Policy, the Municipalities of Athens, Thessaloniki and Piraeus, the Asylum Service, NGOs, translation services and volunteers was critical in attracting the very best qualified applicants.

Classes have started for the young Afghan man who dreams of becoming a pilot; the young lady from Pakistan who wants to become an electrical engineer; the Syrian law student from Aleppo who left her studies unfinished, and the Syrian man who wants to pursue economic and entrepreneurship studies; as well as dozens of other young students who can now aspire to a professional career, a better future, and the possibility of making an essential contribution to any community where they settle.

As a young Syrian wrote in his application: "... the thought that I will have the opportunity to study, and do what I do best, has already put a smile on my face."

We are pleased to announce the selection process for the spring semester, which started on October 16, 2017.

For application and admissions information, please contact:

  • American College of Thessaloniki – Anatolia College: Mona Siksek, Coordinator Camp to Campus Program, τ. 2310 398-346 | email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | https://admissions.act.edu/courses/course/74-cc-camp-campus
  • Deree – The American College of Greece: Kathleen Macdonell, Consultant, tel: 2106009800 (ext. 1511), email:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. |  www.acg.edu/education-unites
  • Perrotis College – American Farm School: Leighanne Penna, Education Unites Coordinator, τ. 2310 492-702 | email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | www.perrotiscollege.edu.gr/new-start-project/

Deadline for applications: November 24

Inspired by the impact of the “Education Unites” program and aiming at offering academic opportunities to more young refugees, Webster University will also offer 20 scholarships, starting in the spring semester of 2018.  For more information applicants can contact Ms. Peggy Manouka, Director of Admissions, Webster University (Tel: 211 990 5300, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

For further information on the “Education Unites” program:


For press issues: OPUS Integrated Communication 210 3242869 |Natalia Katifori: 6972345289 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. |Mania Ntanou: 6937056207 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Margaritis Schinas speaks at ACT on "The Future of Europe"

Published in News

On Thursday, November 2, 2017, at 10:00 am at the Bissell Library, ACT (The American College of Thessaloniki) hosted a presentation by Mr. Margaritis Schinas, Chief Spokesperson & Deputy Director-General for Communication of the European Commission on ‘The Future of Europe’.  

Mr. Schinas started with a historical background to the creation of the European Union emphasizing peacekeeping and democratic institutions. He shared a rather positive approach to the current state of affairs and the future of Europe. He addressed the issues of Brexit, refugee crisis and economic strains and argued that Europe proved resilient to the tensions of the past three years. He noted that there is a window of opportunity until the European Parliament 2019 elections during which the EU officials can further enhance the current positive trends. He gladly answered a number of students’ questions on a variety of topics from the Greek economic crisis, to Brexit, Catalonia, and EU enlargement. The event, which was organized by the Division of Humanities and Social Sciences and the Michael and Kitty Dukakis Center for Public & Humanitarian Service, was well attended by about hundred students from American College of Thessaloniki (Greek, Balkan and Study Abroad US students) and the Anatolia IB program.


Over 400 students are living the Study Abroad experience at ACT

Published in News

On September 25, 2017, ACT opened it's doors to a record number of Study Abroad Students with over 400 students from 24 different Colleges and Universities around the United States.  The American College of Thessaloniki is proud to celebrate its tenth anniversary as the host school for the N.U.in Program from Northeastern University. The 2017 N.U.in cohort is largely comprised of students in the STEM field, focusing their studies on the sciences and technology.  ACT also is the proud host of the second cohort of 'Mentorship in Greece' students from the American University in Washington, D.C. Both the N.U.in Program and the AU Mentorship in Greece Program are unique in the area of study abroad as they focus on offering community style study abroad to first-year university students in their first semester of studies.  Starting their studies abroad, students in these programs bring a unique viewpoint back with them to their home school that enriches their academic experience.  All study abroad students at ACT enjoy the opportunity to engage in various hands-on educational experiences, giving back to the community through service learning, excursions to cultural and historical sites throughout Greece, and participation in clubs and on sports teams for a holistic experience.  

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Welcome aboard to this year’s new American Fellows!

Published in News

As the new school year begins, a new group of bright and dynamic American Fellows joins the Anatolia campus, both to immerse themselves in the culture of Greece and to connect the school with its American origins. Established in 1995 with just two intrepid young Fellows, the program has grown to include eight positions for the 2017-18 academic year and will continue to grow. This year, those eight recent graduates from US institutions will live and work alongside Anatolia and ACT students, exchanging ideas and preparing Anatolia’s students to be citizens of the world.

Run out of the US College Counseling Office, the Fellows Program was instituted to enhance the student life experience. Says Arian Kotsi, Director of U.S. Counseling Office & Special Programs, “Every year I think to myself, "there can't be a better group of A Fellows than the one we have this year" and every year I find myself thinking "this is the best group we have ever had". It is a very exciting program and I feel proud that it began in this office.”

In addition to their individual jobs across the school’s academic divisions and student support offices, the Fellows take on the additional work of advising clubs, leading Service as Action classes, and serving as role models to Anatolia’s students. Stuart Asbridge, the new Resident Assistant Fellow, says: “The care taken by Anatolia's faculty for the students' academic excellence and overall health makes this campus feel like a family, and it has been inspirational to see. It is easy to understand how these elements have shaped and secured Anatolia's role as one of the best schools in Greece.”

Through the program, the Fellows themselves are also able to gain invaluable new life experiences. For many, the close sense of community at Anatolia is immediately apparent upon entering the campus, and this feeling helps ease the transition from home. "I've been absolutely blown away by the sense of community and warmth at Anatolia,” said School Counseling Fellow Emily Fisher. “I've never felt so welcomed and supported in a new place. I'm invigorated by the amount of passion that I see here and am excited to be a part of it. Thessaloniki and Anatolia already feel like home."

Fellows are not only able to expand their families to include the Anatolia community; they find opportunities to take advantage of all that Thessaloniki has to offer outside the school gates. “I love living in Greece,” said Kats. “It is refreshing to be somewhere else – especially somewhere so beautiful. Anatolia, in particular, seems to work very hard to make its students, faculty, and staff feel at home.… That is the type of community that I am proud and excited to be a part of.”

Without further ado, below are the new Fellows and their positions on campus. If you run into them around the school, please say hello and welcome them aboard!

stuartStuart Asbridge, Resident Assistant Fellow

nitoshaNiTosha Billman, Middle/High School English Fellow

christinaChristina Daniskas, ACT International Programs Office Fellow

emilyEmily Fisher, School Counseling Fellow

ellyzeEllyze Francisco, Elementary English Fellow

aliceAlice Huntoon, Student Services Fellow

kieranKeiran Miller, College Counseling Fellow

katsKats Tamanaha, Art Fellow

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17 Sevenidi St.
55535, Pylaia
Thessaloniki, Greece
Tel. +30 2310 398398
P.O.Box 21021

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