Ken Black fields questions from Sara Hart Kimball Dean Mitzi Montoya during his May 19 Dean's Distinguished Lecture.
Ken Black fields questions from Sara Hart Kimball Dean Mitzi Montoya during his May 19 Dean’s Distinguished Lecture.

Ken Black, vice president of Digital Design Future at Nike, told an audience of Oregon State students and others that the best way to be protective of your work is to be protective of your work relationships.

That was among the messages Black delivered May 19 during a Dean’s Distinguished Lecture at Austin Hall’s Stirek Auditorium.

Black believes strongly that design thinking is a critical part of a business education, and that students in all majors benefit from using a design-thinking, process-oriented technique for solving problems; taking a human/consumer-centered approach to innovation, one that puts observation and the discovery of human needs at the core of the process, is ultimately much more effective than jumping straight to a solution. It’s crucial, Black says, to always being asking “why”: Why would this idea benefit people, why does it matter, why would they be excited to pay hard-earned money for it, etc.?

Black’s lecture featured a Q-and-A format, with first Sara Hart Kimball Dean Mitzi Montoya and then the audience asking questions of Black; the dean’s guest has held a variety of creative-director roles at Nike and also helped found SPARQ, a business (subsequently acquired by Nike) that created a standardized test for athleticism and sold training apparel, shoes and other gear.

Black, who grew up in Salem, talked of his love of basketball and how he’d hoped as a high school student to have a future in the sport, but when that didn’t pan out he fell back on another love and talent – drawing – to pursue a career as a designer. He now describes himself as an artist in a corporate world.

His points during his visit to Austin Hall included:

  • Everyone is a designer on some level.
  • Creativity is awareness.
  • With passion and resilience you can get through almost any challenge.
  • Business-oriented people, wherever you end up working, find a designer to be your best friend; and vice versa.
  • Have a strong vision of where you want to go and a flexible path for getting there.

Black also noted that his career highlights include working both with legendary Air Jordan designer Tinker Hatfield and with Michael Jordan himself.

Black earned a Bachelor of Arts in graphic design with Honors of Distinction from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif.

After the lecture, Black met with students individually.
After the lecture, Black met with students individually.
Panelist Tim Hall addresses the audience while moderator Audrey Iffert-Saleem, left, and panelists Monica Baez, Lawrence Houston III and Angela Batista listen.
Panelist Tim Hall addresses the audience while moderator Audrey Iffert-Saleem, left, and panelists Monica Baez, Lawrence Houston III and Angela Batista listen.

Workplace diversity can bring inner conflict to an organization, but that’s a good thing as long as it’s managed in such a way that the diverse individuals, their team and the entire organization can use it as a tool for growth.

That was just one of many points made by Lawrence Houston III, assistant professor of management at the College of Business, during a May 20 panel discussion at Austin Hall’s Stirek Auditorium: “Diversity in the Workplace: What leaders need to know.”

Joining Houston on the panel were Angela Batista, Oregon State’s interim chief diversity officer, and two Oregon State alumni: Tim Hall, class of 1978, chairman of the President’s Board of Visitors for Community and Diversity at OSU, and Monica Baez, class of 1987, a State Farm agent and the owner of the Monica Baez Insurance Agency, Inc., in Corvallis.

Audrey Iffert-Saleem, executive director of strategic initiatives at the College of Business, moderated the 75-minute discussion, during which each panelist shared a range of personal and professional perspectives.

Hall, who’s had a long career in public relations/public affairs, noted that when he was enrolled at Oregon State, he was one of just a couple dozen black students on campus. Batista described a background that included arriving in New York as a child-immigrant from the Caribbean who spoke no English, and Baez recounted being told how she was likely to get certain jobs solely on the basis of being a female minority.

“How do you think that makes you feel?” she asked, referring to having her abilities deemed not as important as her gender or ethnicity.

Houston, who studies workplace diversity, said organizations need to make a point to explain the purpose of minority-focused programs, both to minorities and non-minorities. Understanding why programs are in place helps everyone accept them, and use them. Houston recalled how as a graduate student at Penn State, he purposely avoided minority-focused programs – he is black – because he was offended by what he perceived as the implication he couldn’t succeed without them.

Had the programs’ purpose been stated clearly, he said, Houston realized later that he likely would’ve taken advantage of some of them.

In the workplace, simply having people of different nationalities, ethnic groups, religions, etc. doesn’t by itself complete the diversity puzzle, he said.

“Inclusivity means people feel that they’re valued as well feeling like they belong,” Houston said.

Both Houston and Hall touched on effective hiring.

“Human resources departments do need to discriminate – that’s what they do,” he said. “It doesn’t do anyone any good for someone to be hired who can’t succeed. Organizations need to hire people who can do the job and then put them in positions where they can succeed and be promoted.”

Hall said experience has taught him that pretty much all people, regardless of their status or non-status as a minority, can handle not getting hired as long as they’ve gotten a real chance to compete for the job.

“The hiring process must be fair, equitable and honest,” he said. “Productivity suffers when workers see leaders embrace cronyism.”

What leaders need to do, Houston said, after following the type of hiring process Hall says is critical, is “create an environment where it’s OK to disagree” and then manage that disagreement in ways that foster growth.

Oregon State University President Ed Ray and Sara Hart Kimball Dean Mitzi Montoya both noted the challenges and importance of accessing higher education May 2 during the College of Business’ Impact at Work event at the Portland Hilton and Executive Tower.

The reception and dinner, attended by 150, were aimed at honoring scholarship recipients and the donors who help fund their education.

Student success is a top initiative of both the college and the university. Ray pointed out that young people who grow up in families in the lowest quartile of income distribution have just a 9 percent chance of accessing higher education — that’s a better chance than 40 years ago, but only 3 percent better, and he and Montoya are determined to speed up the rate of improvement.

Montoya, who was a second-generation college student in her family, noted that when someone can break through and become the first person in his or her family to graduate from college, it changes the family for the better for generations.

Other speakers included Presidential Scholar Annemarie Lewandowski, a senior in management who will go to work for Boeing as a project manager following graduation, and Dean’s Council of Excellence member Ken Thrasher, former chief executive officer of Fred Meyer.

Lewandowski expressed gratitude for being able to graduate debt free, and Thrasher noted how he hadn’t planned on going to college until his mentor, legendary Portland businessman Bill Naito, helped make it possible — with the proviso that he work hard, do well and then similarly help others someday.

The evening also included recognition for six high school juniors selected for the College of Business’ Future Business Leader Scholarship.

Two College of Business faculty members have been honored this term by the Center for Fraternity & Sorority Life after having been a Greek organization’s nominee for faculty/professor of the term.

Alpha Chi Omega nominated Kathy Mullet, an associate professor of apparel design, and Chi Theta Phi nominated Sarah Mazur, a College of Business advisor.

Every quarter, each Greek organization on campus can nominate one faculty member for recognition, and also one student as scholar of the term.

Mullet and Mazur each received a framed certificate.

“Each chapter has their own way of deciding which professor they choose, but it is always a professor who they feel like is outstanding, leaves a positive impact on their members, and helps them succeed academically,” said Chloe Villagomez, the Panhellenic Executive Council’s vice president of scholarship.

 

Nineteen companies, many of them hiring, and more than 200 College of Business students took part April 26 in the Business Career Expo held on three floors of Austin Hall.

The two-hour expo included a pair of workshops: “How to Get the Internship of Your Dreams,” by Jim Kuhlman of State Farm, and “Getting the Job You Want: Strategies for Successful Interviewing,” by Doug Rice of Enterprise Holdings.

The expo also featured networking as participating companies set up tables adjacent to the Bernard A. Newcomb Digital Commons on the second floor and to the Masterson Family Marketplace on the first floor.

Finance instructor Robert Longo was one of several faculty watching the goings-on. Longo said he had urged all of his students, especially graduating seniors who had not yet accepted a job offer, to attend the expo.

“Never miss an opportunity to network,” he said.

The companies that sent representatives to Austin Hall for the Business Career Expo were Daimler, Fisher Investments, Maxim Integrated, Moss-Adams, Northwestern Mutual, StateFarm, Tec Labs, TZ Medical, Zones, Ameriprise Financial, Apple, Brown & Brown Insurance, Country Financial, Foresters, Pacific Capital Resource Group, Pacific Seafood, Foodguys, and the Portland Trail Blazers.

Ian Bacon

Ian Bacon arrived at Daimler last summer for his MECOP internship ready to use his BIS and accounting studies to create value for the truck maker, and vehicles that leave the factory with better, more efficiently applied paint jobs are the lasting impact of his six months with the company.

“I started out doing the typical BIS sorts of things,” said Bacon, who’ll graduate from the College of Business in June. “Extracting things from databases, finding information for reports, creating process flow diagrams.”

Then Daimler turned him loose to work with information on truck painting that had been collected in a thorough manner but had never been analyzed or put to work.

“I was able to find a lot more useful information than anyone realized was there, kind of surprising findings,” he said “I developed that into a very thorough suite of reports, including a real-time feedback version for the actual paint shops in plants. Before, the company had a system and they put in numbers, but no one ever saw the results – the inspectors, the painters, the engineers, the plant floor people. We were able to put this information into a system for all of their truck plants, to get this thing useful and fun for everyone. Now if something isn’t happening quite right, in can be corrected immediately.”

In addition to his College of Business education, Bacon’s background includes seven years of learning about industrial processes while working at … Disneyland.

“I worked on rides, was the supervisor for rides, supervisor for some special events,” said Bacon, who grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. “In 2008 I did the operational testing and adjustments when ‘It’s a Small World’ underwent a major renovation. Working at Disneyland taught me a lot about business and industrial stuff. Disneyland is an industrial environment, even though it doesn’t look like one. You have to get people safely onto rides, rides break down, things happen, there are lots of regulations, lots of business needs behind the scenes, and I took all of that to the truck factory floor at Daimler. I knew how to talk to people and find out what I needed to know.”

After graduation, Bacon will do a second six-month MECOP internship, this one with Garmin AT, the aviation technology subsidiary of the GPS-focused company. Where he ends up after that depends in part on where his wife, who works in social services, attends graduate school.

“Oregon is a fantastic place,” he said. “When I came and visited, I was looking here and down the road in Eugene, but OSU was more directly interested in me and in students in general. It was much more personal, plus it had the MECOP program, which was a selling point.”

The winning team makes its pitch to the sharks.
The winning team makes its pitch to the sharks.

A team proposing a business built around software for maximizing irrigation efficiency was the overall winner April 8 at the College of Business’ 14th annual MBA Business Plan Competition in Stirek Auditorium.

Developing the plan for the company, called Irrigation for the Future, were Andy Roberts, Yang Wang, Vincent Dijoe and Easton Henrikson.

Placing second was the h2know team of Keith Robertson, Ying Pan, Christina Kreps and Abdulsalam Alhawsawi, and third was X-Bubble: eXtreme heat eXchange, featuring Robert Shattuck, Qi Liu, Jingjing Jia and Chao Feng. H2know’s product was a wearable hydration assessment tool, while X-Bubble deals in nano surface structures for advanced heat transfer.

In the Elevator Pitch and Shark Tank portion of the competition, the order of finish was X-Bubble, Irrigation for the Future, and h2Know. Shattuck, of X-Bubble, was the top Elevator Pitch presenter.

The College of Business extends a big thank you to the judges and sponsors.

Aaron Beam, former CFO of HealthSouth, speaks to students over lunch.
Aaron Beam, former CFO of HealthSouth, speaks to students over lunch.

Former Fortune 500 chief financial officer Aaron Beam told College of Business students on April 13 that there’s only one way to maintain business ethics: Strive to be perfect at them.

“If you set the bar lower than that, you’re on a slippery slope,” Beam said. “What’s an acceptable moderate amount to cheat on your taxes? Zero. What’s an acceptable amount to cook the books? Zero.”

Beam, who gave both a lunch-hour and evening presentation in Austin Hall, learned that lesson the hard way: He served three months in federal prison for his role in inflating earnings reports while CFO of outpatient-care giant HealthSouth. He said he lacked the courage to say no when the company’s CEO told to him to make up numbers so the company could dupe investors and tell Wall Street what it wanted to hear.

Twelve months after failing to say no, a guilt-ridden Beam left the company, and four years later, in 2004, he was one of five former HealthSouth CFOs to plead guilty when the Securities and Exchange Commission accused the company of overstating earnings by $2.5 billion dollars dating to 1999.

Financially ruined by the restitution that was ordered, Beam went to work mowing lawns following his release from prison and now gives presentations such as the ones at Austin Hall to university and corporate groups around the country.

His main messages: Maintain a rigid commitment to the highest personal ethics, and investigate any company you might want to work for to make sure it has a similar commitment regarding its corporate culture.

Raised in Shreveport, La., Beam holds an economics degree from LSU and is the author of two books: “Ethics Playbook: Winning Ethically in Business” and “HealthSouth, the Wagon to Disaster.”

Taylor Norby.
Taylor Norby will go to work for Kroger as an assistant buyer.

Taylor Norby wants to drive change by becoming a leader and inspiring others toward leadership too.

With a job offer from Kroger in hand, she’s in position to do those things.

To get there, Norby established herself has a hard-working student, and ambitious Fred Meyer intern, and leveraged all the Career Success Center had to offer.

“I attended a resume workshop class that helped me understand what employers are looking for and how to make sure my resume was noticed,” the senior in marketing said. “I never would have known what Beaver Careers was without the CSC telling me about it, and that is eventually how I got my internship, which led to the full-time offer I received. Without help on my resume, I never would have been selected for an interview.”

Norby grew up in Keizer, where she was “heavily involved in music and sports.” She graduated from McNary High School, where her grades were so high she earned two free years at Chemeketa Community College, then transferred to the College of Business.

“I became interested in a degree for business because of others telling me it would open my doors to many different options for my future,” she said. “What led me to making my focus on marketing was my love for working with people and having a desire to increase my creative abilities along with learning how to be strategic with the work that I do.”

Norby spent the summer after her junior year as a store management intern for Fred Meyer, whose parent corporation is grocery-chain giant Kroger.

“Every so often we would go up to the main office to collaborate with the Kroger interns, and through that experience I became intrigued by the potential career path through corporate,” Norby said. “I knew that I would have to go out of my way to get noticed because I was competing with the main office interns while I was working in the store. I contacted the VP of merchandising and she gave me the names of her direct reports that I later set up informational interviews with so they could become familiar with me and also understand their jobs. I also set up job shadows with various buyers and planners in the main office. By taking the initiative, it showed dedication as well as gave me experience and information to talk about during my interview.

“After going through my internship, Fred Meyer hoped that I would pursue management within their stores and work my way to a store director,” she continued. “I told my supervisor early on what my goal was for the end of my internship, and although she really wanted to see me pursue the store route, she gave me all the necessary tools to become prepared for an interview with the corporate office. The VP of merchandising and her direct reports were heavily involved in the decision-making process and the decisions were based on our intern evaluations, project, interview, and overall mesh with the rest of the team. I truly believe that my efforts to reach out to those in the main office helped me tremendously when it came down to receiving a job offer.”

Kroger offered Norby an assistant buyer position. She’ll spend 12 weeks in the company’s general merchandise buyer/planner training program, then 18 months as an assistant buyer and another 18 months as an assistant planner. At the end of those three years, she can choose either the buying or planning route.

“I would like to work my way to a leadership role where I can make a difference and inspire others to work their way to a leadership role as well,” Norby said. “Within Kroger, I can work my way up to divisional merchandise manager and then to a general merchandise manager, which I have set my career goals as something I would like to achieve.”

IMG_1235
Jeff Lulay fires up the Reser Stadium crowd.

 

 

 

Jeff Lulay arrived at the College of Business four years ago with a mission to make the most out of his college experience and take advantage of opportunities to get work experience and build his resume.

Lulay’s efforts paid off last summer with an internship with Nike Football, where his talents and work ethic led to the offer of a full-time job as a brand marketing specialist when he graduates with a marketing degree in June.

“My main job is the brand,” Lulay said, “how our brand is represented on players on the field.”

Lulay was one of 48,000 applicants for the handful of Nike Football internships last summer, and he arrived with a wealth of sports and apparel expertise to offer, though. He was a football player, baseball player and wrestler at Wilsonville High School, and at Oregon State, he’s interned with the athletic department – he’s the “mic guy” who fires up the football crowd at Reser Stadium – and served as president of the Beaver Dam, the student fan organization. He’s also done marketing for the prestigious 16-team Les Schwab Tires Invitational high school basketball tournament in Hillsboro.

As Beaver Dam president, Lulay has cultivated relationships with basketball coach Wayne Tinkle and football coach Gary Andersen. His people skills with high-profile figures came in handy during the two-month Nike Football internship, where he interacted with NFL stars such as Richard Sherman, Luke Kuechly, and Ndamukong Suh.

“I knew I couldn’t ask for photographs or autographs,” Lulay said. “I love the NFL, but I knew I had to keep my composure.

“I excelled at everything they gave me,” he said. “I’m good with events and love sports, so it was easy to be passionate about what I was doing.”

Lulay’s primary internship responsibility was being in charge of the equipment room at the Top 150, a July camp at the Nike campus in Beaverton for the best high school seniors-to-be in the country. Lulay oversaw more than $1 million worth of football gear.

Lulay was also on one of 24 eight-person intern teams who competed in a challenge to revamp Nike’s onboarding procedures. His team took the creative approach of presenting its suggestions in the form of a SportsCenter segment.

“When we were done, the judges applauded,” said Lulay, whose team won the competition and earned the right to present to present to Nike CEO Mark Parker.

Lulay urges his fellow business students, especially the younger ones, to start using the Career Success Center early, especially for help with resume writing and lining up internships.

“I tell freshmen, use what the College of Business has to offer,” he said. “The college brings all these things to the table. Take advantage of them. A degree by itself isn’t enough. You need to get that work experience to set yourself apart.”