Cheliss Thayer

Our REAL People of the College of Business series continues with Cheliss Thayer. Cheliss started at the college this winter and has the easily-rolls-off-the-tongue title of accounting administrative program specialist — she helps support the college’s accounting faculty and programs.

Here’s more about Cheliss, in her own words:

“I was born and raised in Central California in the small town of Placerville, just west of Tahoe. I graduated from Smith Flat High School in 2010 and moved to Oregon that fall to attend LBCC. I worked full time while attending school part time so that I could gain residency. I graduated from LBCC in 2013 with my AS in English-Writing. I began at Western Oregon University in the winter of 2014 and will graduate from WOU after this term with my BS in humanities – Writing & Linguistics. Because of working all through my schooling career, I will graduate with no debt. I’m also the first person in my family to attend and graduate college!

“While attending LBCC, I met my now husband, Jared. Together, we started a construction company, Thayer Construction, that has been serving the Corvallis community for almost two years now. This summer, we also adopted Jared’s sister, Emma (15), who is now a sophomore at Corvallis High School.

“Aside from professional endeavors, my family loves to travel! I spent the summer of 2011 living in Malta, and have toured through England, Scotland, France, Greece and the state of Montana (among a few others). In our house, we have three large maps (Oregon, USA and the world) on the walls with little pins tagging where we’ve been and where we want to go. At this point, we have quite the extended list of ‘to go’ places that we’re looking forward to tackling. My family is very important in my life. Coming from a family of five kids, we stick pretty close together. Currently, we live about five blocks from one set of grandparents (both over 80) who share our love of travel. This last summer, we took a 2,400-plus mile road trip with them. I also teach dance classes at a local dance studio in Corvallis in the evenings, knit, make jewelry, read (a whole lot), write and cook.

“I started working at the College of Business this last December and am looking forward to the future opportunities here.”

Cheliss Thayer

The Marys River Quilt Guild donated the 90-by-80-inch quilt to the college.

A raffle for a 90-by-80-inch quilt is one of the highlights of the College of Business’ efforts for the annual OSU Food Drive, which benefits Linn-Benton Food Share.

Raffle tickets ($5 each or three for $10) go on sale Monday, Feb. 8, in the Faculty Services office, Austin Hall 302. They’ll be on sale through noon Feb. 12, and the quilt, donated by the Marys River Quilt Guild in Philomath, will be on display in the Faculty Services office all week as well. The drawing will be held at noon; the winner will be notified by email.

On Tuesday, Feb. 2, the college will kick off its food drive efforts with a coffee, tea and pastry event from 10 a.m. to noon in the Masterson Family Marketplace. During the event, Faculty Services will accept donations of money and nonperishable food items and sell tickets for a 50-50 raffle. Tickets for the 50-50 raffle are also $5 apiece or three for $10.

On Friday, Feb. 5, donuts and drinks will be sold door-to-door in Austin Hall. As with every promotion, all proceeds go to Linn-Benton Food Share.

Donations of food and money will be accepted at the Faculty Services office throughout February, and college employees can also donate via payroll deduction. Deduction forms will be available at the kickoff event.

For more information about the college’s Food Drive efforts, email Noelle Cummings at

A panel with first-hand experience shares advice about studying abroad.
A panel with first-hand experience shares advice about studying abroad.

Twenty-six College of Business students turned out to the Robert Family Events Room on Jan. 21 to learn about studying abroad from a seven-person panel with first-hand experience.

Among the words of advice passed along by the panelists during the “Get Going” session:

  • Immerse yourself in the culture.
  • Be a sponge – absorb all you encounter.
  • Learn at least a bit of the language.
  • Remember that grades aren’t all that matter.
  • Focus on the whole experience.
  • Try the food.
  • Don’t be afraid to say yes.
  • Branch out and meet people.

Making up the panel were Rachael Korbel, who studied in Italy; Jason Duncan (Norway); Ruby Sutton (Austria); Virginia Tat (Germany); Nathaniel Berry (Czech Republic); Mark Scheidler (Denmark); and Stefan Herrenbruck (Austria).

Korbel is a design student who took part in a study abroad program at fashion and design school Accademia Italiana. The remaining students on the panel went abroad via the Arthur Stonehill International Exchange Program, a partnership between the College of Business and universities in 12 countries; the others are Australia, Norway, Singapore, Spain, Sweden and Thailand.

Also available, for design students, is an exchange program at Hanyang University in South Korea.

Click here for more information about international opportunities.




Noelle Cummings

Our REAL People of the College of Business series continues with faculty services office manager Noelle Cummings. Noelle has lived in the mid-Willamette Valley for most of her life but has also spent six years overseas: three in Italy, where the food was a fantastic highlight, and three in Japan, where she kept her eating relatively low-key and left things like baby squid on a stick to her more adventurous husband, Jeff.

Noelle and Jeff have two children, Sean, 12, and Emma, 8; Emma was born in Italy. Here’s more about Noelle, in her own words:

“I was born in California, moved to Oregon when I was 2 and have called Oregon home ever since. I graduated from Philomath High School in 2002, got married and had my first child in 2003, and after that I started working part-time and going to school part-time. In 2005 – my husband had joined the military – we moved to Italy in October and were there until October 2008, at Aviano Air Base. I loved it; it was one of the greatest experiences of my life. Then we moved to Japan for three years, Misawa Air Base. Those six years that we spent overseas, we made some of best memories, traveling and learning. We did extensive traveling while we were in Italy, and in Japan we made it down to Tokyo a couple of times; my husband had a more rigorous work schedule, and I was working for the Air Force; I was the 35th Force Support Squadron writer and editor.

“My husband left the Air Force in 2011, and now he’s a full-time student going to school on the GI Bill; he’s an electrical engineering and computer science major, and he’ll graduate in June 2017. I graduated last June with a degree in communication, and it’s four years this month for me working at the College of Business.

“After graduating, I wanted to become more involved with my local community and I knew I wanted to do that through volunteering. I saw a call for volunteers in the Gazette-Times for American Red Cross disaster shelter workers for Benton County and thought this would be a great fit for me having experienced the Japanese 9.0 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in 2011. I completed numerous online trainings as well as a day-long hands-on orientation and training that certifies me as a Disaster Shelter Worker for Benton County. I can be called to other counties in the state as well, and with additional training, nationwide.”

Noelle Cummings

Welcome to 2016 at the College of Business, and we wish all of you the greatest successes in the year ahead.

But before we all get too immersed in the coming 12 months, here’s a quick look back at the top 10 highlights the college experienced in 2015. In no particular order (we’ll leave the rankings to you), here they are:

— Guest speaker lineup that includes design-thinking guru Barry Kudrowicz, international business CEO and ethicist Joe Lobbato and Israeli diplomat Ido Aharoni entertains and enlightens Austin Hall audiences.

— Online/Portland hybrid MBA program produces first class of graduates.

— Seaweed that tastes like bacon, the subject of an MBA student group’s integrated business plan, takes the nation by social media storm (the celebrated plant is known as dulse).

— Business Expo packs every floor of Austin with potential employers.

— Change in leadership atop the college as Mitzi Montoya takes over as dean following Ilene Kleinsorge’s retirement.

— COB students organize, stage TEDxOregonStateU, which packs the LaSells Stewart Center for a night of “Disruption.”

— OSU students dominate Duck counterparts in Civil War Shark Tank.

— Celebration of Excellence crowns new Hall of Famer (Stephen Bailey) while honoring college’s best and brightest.

— Oregon State Investment Group contingent meets “King of Private Equity” Stephen Schwarzman during annual trip to New York.

— Marketing professor Jim McAlexander receives KEDGE Business School’s “20 Years On” research prize for his 1995 ethnography on Harley-Davidson consumers. The prize recognizes research that has “paved the way for significant development within a field or a scientific approach.”

Best of the rest: COB alum Jaymes Winters serves as the kickoff speaker at the opening of the Lonnie B. Harris Black Cultural Center; OSU Advantage Accelerator continues work with entrepreneurs, startups; employers fill loge level at Reser Stadium to network with students.

Diversity Career Symposium

Up to 200 students from Oregon State who identify with groups that are traditionally underrepresented on campus – e.g., people of color, who are disabled, are veterans, or are LGBTQ – will have an opportunity next month to attend a day-long career development event at the Salem Convention Center.

The Diversity Career Symposium is a partnership of OSU and the University of Oregon and is sponsored by Providence Health and Services, Wells Fargo, the OBA Education Foundation and Portland General Electric. It will be held Friday, Jan. 29.

Pam Knowles, executive director of industry relations at OSU, said the university became interested in an event of this type a couple of years ago because “employers were looking for diverse students, and we didn’t really have a way of connecting our diverse students with employers.”

Seeing the same need, the UO had already taken steps toward this type of event, and Knowles and Ronnie Casanova, Oregon’s assistant director for employer development, career services, decided to work together. That way employers could connect with job and internship candidates from both universities on the same day rather than having to go through the exercise twice.

Borrowing the UO’s framework for subcommittee structure, Knowles led OSU in setting up its own panels in areas such as student outreach, employee outreach and logistics. Oregon State raised about $60,000 to help put on the event, money that will among other things go toward providing transportation to and from the symposium for all Oregon State students who attend.

Sixty employers will take part in the event, which will feature morning and afternoon workshops, industry sessions, an “etiquette lunch” and a career fair.

“We want to help students start thinking about their careers at an earlier time,” Knowles said. “We provide workshops to go on their resumes, networking, that kind of thing, and the other piece is, hopefully they’ll have more awareness of what kinds of jobs and internships are out there.”

The goal is to have 200 students from each university attend, Knowles added.

For more information, visit

Sam Yul Cho

Our REAL People of the College of Business series continues with Dr. Sam Yul Cho, assistant professor of strategy and entrepreneurship.

Cho has been at Oregon State since fall 2014, arriving after four years of doctoral study at Washington State University in Pullman. In the small town in the Palouse Hills, Cho worked under his current OSU colleague, Jonathan Arthurs, then reconnected with Arthurs in Corvallis to be part of the launch of the College of Business’ first Ph.D. program.

Here’s more about Cho, in his own words:

“I’m from Seoul. I lived in Seoul for about 20 years and also lived in Tokyo for about nine years. I grew up in Tokyo for three years when I was in elementary school, and then I went back to Seoul for high school and university, then back to Tokyo to get my master’s degree, and after that I joined Suisse Bank and worked there for about three years. Then I went back to Seoul and joined LG Electronics for about three years, then I came to the U.S. to get my MBA.

“I went to the University of Rochester – in Rochester, it snows a lot. I had a finance background, and the University of Rochester is kind of a finance school. Basically they have great finance academics; their publications are phenomenal. It was very cold and it snowed a lot, but I think it was a good investment; it opened the door for me to join the Ph.D. program at Washington State. I spent four years there; I majored in strategy and minored in entrepreneurship.

“Pullman is a very small town. It’s cold and windy – actually there’s nothing there. The good thing is you can concentrate on your studies – the only thing you can do is study. It’s good to be there because once you get out, wherever you go, it’s better.

“We’re starting a new Ph.D. program (at OSU), and that’s a great opportunity. You can actually build up your own legacy, so to speak. If an organization is growing, you can grow too. And Oregon, location-wise, it’s awesome. I started hiking. When I came here I found a few small mountains, and when the weather is good, I go hiking. It’s so beautiful to see the city of Corvallis when you’re up there.”

Sam Yul Cho



David H. Sutherland & Co. got its start in 1951 when Sutherland took note of surplus coal outside the Portland Gas & Coke Building. A few years later, the building was abandoned and an adjacent gasification plant shuttered. (Photo courtesy NW Natural)

Last month at Portland’s Sentinel Hotel, David H. Sutherland & Co. took home the Generational Development prize at the 2015 Excellence in Family Business Awards ceremony.

The 64-year-old company, a global supplier of composite and specialty products for aerospace and other high-performance industries, traces its beginnings to the agile mind and ambitious nature of the World War II bomber pilot for whom the firm is named.

David Sutherland was a social worker for the Veterans Administration in Portland when he noticed a pile of surplus coking coal briquettes outside the Portland Gas & Coke Building on Highway 30 in Northwest Portland.

Sutherland knew the briquettes were just the sort of material war-ravaged, rebuilding nations like Japan needed, so he started working his connections to see if he could find buyers for them in Asia.

He succeeded, and thus was born the company that last month was honored by the Oregon State University College of Business’ Austin Family Business Program.

The Portland Gas & Coke site, meanwhile, was in the early 1950s charting a much different course. The company, now known as NW Natural, in 1913 had built the plant on west side of the Willamette River, just south of where the St. Johns Bridge would open 18 years later. The Portland Gas & Coke Building, which was used for administrative purposes, and the rest of the facility were shuttered by the end of the decade as natural gas lines reached Portland, rendering obsolete what the plant had been constructed for: manufacturing gas from coal.

The building, which came to be known as Gasco, featured gothic architecture and became one of Portland’s most intriguing and photographed structures; described by its fans as an “industrial cathedral,” it was the last remaining structure from the gasification plant.

Vacant since 1958, abandoned and decaying – and also contaminated inside and out from plant activities – Gasco stood watch over Northwest Portland until this fall. That’s when NW Natural began demolishing it rather than spend roughly $2 million of ratepayer money just to stabilize and clean it (the demolition had been delayed to give a community group a chance to generate funds to save the structure, but the effort fell well short).

While the building itself is now gone, one part of Gasco lives on – and on the same campus that hosts the family business program that honored the company that got its start via surplus coal on the Gasco site. In 1988, NW Natural donated Gasco’s four-sided tower clock to Benton Hall, the first building of what would become Oregon State University.

And the Gasco tower survives as well.

Reports Melissa Moore, NW Natural’s corporate communications manager:

“We preserved the clock tower and are currently doing more abatement on that in hopes of donating it to the community member who had tried to raise money to save the building.”

Benton Hall
Since 1988, the Gasco clock has been marking time at OSU’s Benton Hall.
The Show
The Show
The Show, 1915 N.W. Ninth St., Corvallis, is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week.

Like other mid-valley residents who grew up in China, Xiuyu “Connor” Xue likes American meal staples like pizza and hamburgers.

“But I can’t eat that every day,” the 2014 College of Business finance graduate said.

Knowing many of his fellow expatriates felt the same way, and preferring to be his own boss, Xue has launched The Show, a quick-serve eatery dishing up authentic Chinese food from its north Corvallis location at 1915 N.W. Ninth St.

The name was a suggestion from Prof. Ray Brooks, after hearing that Xue planned to have USB chargers and plug-ins at every table so busy customers could meet their electronic work and recreational needs while waiting for their food or eating.

Xue, 24, figures The Show fills a previously empty niche in a university town with 1,500 Chinese students: high-quality and authentic Chinese food that customers can experience without having to spend 40 minutes or more in a sit-down dining environment. Three to five minutes is The Show’s service goal for options including sweet and sour pork ribs, braised beef with potatoes and carrots, shredded pork with bell peppers, Chinese crepes, and tea eggs. Customers can order by phone at 541-602-7790.

Xue notes that Corvallis has excellent Chinese restaurants but that the only fast-serve establishment is Panda Express, which he likens more to American food than Chinese. Roughly half of his customers so far, he notes, have been American.

The Show is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week.

Xue’s restaurant was recently featured in the Corvallis Gazette-Times in a report by business writer Kyle Odegard.

Xue had initially planned to open The Show in early November, but a soft opening at that time revealed operational tweaks that needed to be made before the eatery could be fully ready to go.

Connor Xue
Connor Xue dropped by Austin Hall to talk about his new restaurant.
Keith Robertson
MBA student Keith Robertson is wrapping up his first term in Corvallis after moving west from Missouri.

Keith Robertson of Kansas City, Mo., had never been to Oregon before deciding to pursue an MBA in commercialization at Oregon State University beginning fall term 2015. The owner of a bachelor’s degree in marketing from the University of Missouri (class of 2012), Robertson is loving his time in the Beaver State, even if it did mean being 2,000 miles away from the Royals’ World Series celebration, and even if the Corvallis weather has gotten a bit damp of late.

Robertson, the subject of the latest installment of our REAL People of the College of Business series, took some time the Friday of dead week to talk about his decision to head west and how the transition is going so far:

“When I was looking at grad schools, I had a few criteria, and one of them was an accelerated program. OSU does a good job of catering both to students to have to keep working and who want to be full-time students, so for me I could be here nine months, get in, get the knowledge I was looking for and get back into the job world.

“Another area that’s different from other schools is here you can specialize down a track. Other universities offer MBAs that are more generic, so if I could leave here with a major and an emphasis, I thought that would be useful.

“It’s extremely fast paced. I’m taking five courses per quarter, so it’s like more than a full workload, but an accelerated program was one of my primary criteria, and I enjoy my teachers and my classes.

“I enjoy Corvallis, and I try to take advantage of state — any dry weekend. I just purchased my first rain jacket, so I look like a local – I guess I came a little unprepared to battle the elements. The campus is nice, and Austin Hall is high tech and state of the art. I’ve got nothing but good things to say about my new journey, though I did miss being in Kansas City for the Royals winning the World Series.”