adidas logoA culture built around honesty, commitment, passion, innovation, inspiration, teamwork, empowerment and student engagement has earned adidas this year’s Distinguished Business Partner award.

That culture is in sync with that of the College of Business, adidas executive Nic Vu said.

“The professors and other educators focus on placement,” said Vu, a senior vice president and a 1995 College of Business graduate who spearheaded his company’s partnership with the college. “College of Business students are very well versed in team dynamics, group projects and results orientation, and they’re open to learning.

“I work with lot of Ph.D.’s and consultants who have master’s, MBAs, whatever, and they don’t have all of that packaged together as well as some of the undergrads I see coming out of Oregon State,” he said. “That’s a compliment to the dean and all the educators at Oregon State.”

Beavers who have joined Vu at adidas have taken note of a supportive environment that mirrors that of the college that prepared them to launch their careers.

“The College of Business stresses networking and adidas allows recent grads to take networking to an entirely new level,” said OSU senior Jacob Knightley, who’s majoring in finance and business information systems and works 30 hours a week for adidas’ finance reporting team.

“All managers — junior, senior and above — are extremely approachable and will take time out of their day to talk with you. My CFO walks around and talks with everybody on a first-name basis and will make the effort to learn your name as soon as possible.”

Knightley said he and others consider the adidas culture to be an extension of their university life.

“We make sure our work is getting completed to the best degree, but we have fun while we do it,” he said. “Adidas benefits (from the College of Business partnership) by getting great local talent who bring new and fresh ideas about how to win in America, and the college benefits by having a local company that loves to recruit local talent.”

Adidas will be honored May 11 in Portland at the college’s annual Celebration of Excellence, along with the rest of the 2015 award winners as well as retiring Dean Ilene Kleinsorge.

The evening begins with a reception at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner and the awards presentation. For more information or to register, contact Elsa Frey at elsa.frey@oregonstate.edu or call 541-737-6648, or register online at http://business.oregonstate.edu/awards.

 

Curt Willener.
Curt Willener.

The College of Business prepares people to measure up against the best, says Curt Willener, this year’s Distinguished Early Career Business Professional.

The Hillsboro resident should know. Three years after his OSU graduation, he was accepted into the MBA program at Harvard Business School.

“OSU was on my list, but since I’d gone there as an undergraduate, I wanted a new experience,” who at the time was working at a mill in Albany. “I had just gotten done with a super dusty, 14-hour shift when I talked to (Dean) Ilene (Kleinsorge) about going to graduate school. I think I got her office dirty. But she was so open to talking with me and supporting me, and Ilene wrote a recommendation letter that helped me get into Harvard.

“You’re always a little nervous with something like that, but Ilene said don’t worry, we prepared you, and she was absolutely right,” Willener said. “The top students at Oregon State can compete anywhere in the world against anyone.”

For Willener, now operations manager and Danaher Business System leader at Tektronix/Danaher, the route to OSU began on Sauvie Island, where from age 12 to 18 he worked at a local farm and kennel. After graduating from Scappoose High School, he followed in the footsteps of his OSU alum father, Henry, and headed to Corvallis.

Willener graduated in management and finance from OSU in 2004 and earned a place in a Weyerhaeuser program designed to develop new leaders. Within a few months he was the night-shift supervisor, winning over the older, more experienced workers by “treating them with respect and giving them a fair shake” and “approaching situations with humility and common sense.”

“Listening is a really big part of it,” he said. “People respect you for it.”

Willener will be honored May 11 in Portland at the college’s annual Celebration of Excellence, along with the rest of the 2015 award winners as well as the retiring Kleinsorge. For more on the event and the honorees, follow the College of Business blog as the countdown to the celebration continues over the next couple of weeks.

The evening begins with a reception at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner and the awards presentation. For more information or to register, contact Elsa Frey at elsa.frey@oregonstate.edu or call 541-737-6648, or register online at http://business.oregonstate.edu/awards.

Katie Haakenson.
Katie Haakenson.

When Katie Haakenson was still an intern, Boeing tasked her with creating and hosting a conference for the company’s project managers in the Puget Sound area.

The idea was for them to talk about methodologies they’d used and lessons they’d learned.

About 20 people attended.

“Everyone thought it was very valuable and said, we want to do that again,” said Haakenson, who earned a finance degree from Oregon State in 2009 and added an MBA a year later. “So the next year when we hosted the Boeing Project Management Conference, it went from 20 to about 100, and they came from all across the country. The third year, there were more than 300 from around the world. The event still goes on, and all the project managers look forward to it. It’s pretty cool to be able to say I started it.”

The creativity, leadership skills and organizational savvy that Haakenson used in developing the conference are among the reasons she’s this year’s Distinguished Young Business Professional.

“I think it’s a great honor,” she said. “Any success I’ve had reflects back to my experiences at OSU.”

Haakenson, hired as a permanent employee after starring in her internship, spent nearly four years with Boeing at the Everett (Wash.) Delivery Center. She’s now a project leadership associate with Point B Management Consultants in Seattle, having started there in January following one-year stints at Microsoft and Logic 20/20, also a Seattle-based consulting firm.

The bustle of Seattle represents a stark change from Haakenson’s youth in Corbett, Ore., where her graduating class at Corbett High featured 45 people.

Choosing Oregon State after a campus visit and conversations with faculty made her feel at home, she worked two jobs to pay for school and still graduated in three years, then stayed a fourth year and collected an MBA.

Haakenson will be honored May 11 in Portland at the college’s annual Celebration of Excellence, along with the rest of the 2015 award winners as well as retiring Dean Ilene Kleinsorge. For more on the event and the honorees, follow the College of Business blog as the countdown to the celebration continues over the next couple of weeks.

The evening begins with a reception at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner and the awards presentation. For more information or to register, contact Elsa Frey at elsa.frey@oregonstate.edu or call 541-737-6648, or register online at http://business.oregonstate.edu/awards.

Matt Spathas with his wife and four children.
Matt Spathas with his wife and four children.
Matt Spathas with his wife and four children.

The son of an OSU-educated entrepreneur and a graduate of the same Portland high school that produced Linus Pauling, Matt Spathas’ trail to Corvallis was blazed early on.

“My dad told me, ‘You can go to any college you want, but the only one I’ll help you pay for is Oregon State,’” he said.

Four decades later, there’s little doubt in Spathas’ mind that his father really did know best.

“I’m really grateful for the education I received at Oregon State,” said Spathas, this year’s Distinguished Service Award winner.

Spathas, College of Business class of 1980, is one of three managing principals at SENTRE Partners, a San Diego-based firm that describes itself as “Stewards and Entrepreneurs of Real Estate.” He’s been with the company for 21 years and in his career has had a hand in more than $2.5 billion in transactions.

But what stands out for Spathas isn’t dollars or buildings, it’s “the mentors I’ve had along the way, and second to that are the relationships that we’ve built.”

Spathas grew up in southeast Portland, where his family operated Claudia’s Tavern. His father, Gene, had opened the saloon on Hawthorne Boulevard in 1958, fulfilling a promise to put his bride’s “name up in lights.”

“It wasn’t exactly what she had in mind,” Spathas joked.

As a senior, Spathas was named athlete of the year at Washington High School – where the principal was former OSU football All-American Bill Gray.

After earning his degree, Spathas landed a job as a sales associate with Portland commercial real estate firm Norris, Beggs & Simpson. There he found mentors in Clayton Hering, now the company chairman, and another OSU alum, Joe Wood, who’d earned the nickname “Mr. Downtown.”

“He was legendary,” Spathas said. “He’d leased virtually every new high-rise that had been built in Portland.”

After two years, Spathas and wife, Kristen, also an Oregon State graduate, moved to San Diego, where Spathas became a marketing principal for Trammell Crow, the nation’s biggest commercial development company. He joined SENTRE Partners in 1994.

Spathas will be honored May 11 in Portland at the college’s annual Celebration of Excellence, along with the rest of the 2015 award winners as well as retiring Dean Ilene Kleinsorge. For more on the event and the honorees, follow the College of Business blog as the countdown to the celebration continues over the next couple of weeks.

The evening begins with a reception at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner and the awards presentation. For more information or to register, contact Elsa Frey at elsa.frey@oregonstate.edu or call 541-737-6648, or register online at http://business.oregonstate.edu/awards.

Retired Accenture executive Joe Lobbato.
Retired Accenture executive Joe Lobbato.
Retired Accenture executive Joe Lobbato.

University professor and retired executive Joe Lobbato delivered a series of powerful yet simple messages on business ethics April 27 to a crowd of about 150 in Austin Hall’s Stirek Auditorium.

Among them: If you’re unethical, it will eventually come to light.

Lobbato earned a bachelor’s degree from the College of Business in 1981 and added an MBA the following year before embarking on a 22-year career with Arthur Andersen, later known as Andersen Consulting and now Accenture. He was a managing partner the last 10 years and has worked and lived abroad extensively, currently residing in Thailand, where he teaches business ethics at Chulalongkorn University.

Lobbato graduated from Corvallis High School and noted one of his earliest business ventures was a paper route not far from Austin Hall.

That newspaper theme came up again later when he outlined strategies business people can use to remain ethical. They included the “newspaper headline test”: If you wouldn’t be comfortable with the news of what you’re doing being blared across the top of page one, don’t do it.

Also on the list: Take responsibility, develop personal discipline, know your weaknesses, align your priorities with values, admit wrongdoing quickly and ask forgiveness, take extra care with finances, use checks and balances, put your family ahead of work, place high value on people, and don’t associate with corrupt people.

Lobbato noted that a society’s culture, norms and values dictate which practices are acceptable. In some cultures, including Thailand’s, corruption is just considered part of the overall landscape.

But accepted or not, corruption brings many negative consequences, said Lobbato. It reduces the overall wealth of a country and the amount spent on “good stuff,” distorts the way money is spent, undermines trust, and harms the environment and innocent people

Lobbato noted that a person crosses three lines on the way to the most unethical types of conduct. The first line is violating the Golden Rule, the second is the “tort line” – venturing into territory that makes you vulnerable to civil action – and the third is the criminal line, i.e. doing something that makes you subject to prosecution.

He left the students in the audience some words of advice if they ever feel pressured by an employer to do something they know is wrong.

“Do not ever do anything that you believe is unethical,” he said. “You guys will always lose. The company will say, ‘we never told him to do that.’”

Lobbato passed along a number of tips designed to foster ethical behavior.
Lobbato passed along a number of tips designed to foster ethical behavior.

 

weatherford awardRyan Hildebrand never set out to define himself as an entrepreneur, and Tim Hildebrandt doesn’t necessarily think of himself that way, either.

Labels aside, their innovative excellence has earned each of the College of Business graduates a 2015 Weatherford Award.

“It’s pretty awesome,” Hildebrand said. “I’m very humbled.”

Added Hildebrandt: ““It means a lot to me,” he said. “The past winners are so accomplished, I don’t think I’m in the same category as those guys yet. But I’m honored to be recognized, and excited.”

Hildebrand is a cofounder of Seed, an online and mobile banking service for startups headquartered in Portland and San Francisco. Prior to Seed, he was vice president of finance for Simple Finance, a similar type of company whose target clientele is 18- to 30-year-old consumers; while at Portland-based Simple he hired Hildebrandt to be the company’s controller.

Hildebrandt and Hildebrand worked together on the $117 million deal that saw the startup acquired by Spanish banking giant BBVA.

“Some people say they want to be entrepreneur, like it’s some kind of title, and it often ends up having a connotation based around ego, and that’s not what I believe in,” said Hildebrand, who left Simple to try his own startup, Seed. “Some people are not meant to start their own companies but they can be effectively innovative within their organization or doing whatever they’re doing. For me, entrepreneurship is starting something new, whatever it is — thinking through how the status quo is and trying to change it for the better.”

That mission statement also describes Hildebrandt, who now has Hildebrand’s old job at Simple.

“Tim is an excellent accountant, and what he was able to do was take those excellent skills and experiences and bring it into an innovative environment and apply it directly to something that didn’t exist,” College of Business Dean Ilene Kleinsorge said.

Hildebrandt and Hildebrand will be honored May 11 in Portland at the college’s annual Celebration of Excellence, along with the rest of the 2015 award winners as well as the retiring Kleinsorge.

The evening begins with a reception at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner and the awards presentation. For more information or to register, contact Elsa Frey at elsa.frey@oregonstate.edu or call 541-737-6648, or register online at http://business.oregonstate.edu/awards.

For more on the event and the honorees, follow the College of Business blog as the countdown to the celebration continues.

 

Nathan Fuller delivers his  winning Shark Tank presentation
Nathan Fuller delivers his winning Shark Tank presentation

Nathan Fuller and his startup, Fused Machines, took the top prize April 24 at the Civil War Shark Tank at Austin Hall.

The event, sponsored by the Austin Entrepreneurship Program, included three startup companies from Oregon State and two from the University of Oregon, and the evening also featured an Elevator Pitch competition open to any student with a business idea he or she wanted to present to a panel of judges.

Fuller, a junior studying mechanical engineering, has developed a CNC tool head designed to improve the performance of 3-D printers. His first-place finish earns his company a $1,000 prize and entry into the Willamette Angel Conference scheduled for May 15 at the CH2M HILL Alumni Center on the OSU campus. At the conference, startups compete for seed funding.

Placing second at the Civil War Shark Tank and earning $500 was another Beaver entry, Steady Budget (http://steadybudget.com/). OSU computer science students Chris Vlessis and David Teofilovic are company cofounders along with CEO Jon Davis. Vlessis is chief technical officer and Teofilovic chief information officer of the company, which aims to provide a software budgetary solution for pay-per-click advertising analysts. Another OSU student, marketing major Dominique Catabay, is Steady Budget’s financial manager.

The third Oregon State entry in the Shark Tank was Sona, a company whose founders include business administration major Kristin Johannes, prebusiness student Jacob Harvey and chemical engineering major Jacob Lum. Sona, whose product is a crowdsourcing disc-jockey app, was the people’s choice winner – the top vote-getter in balloting among the roughly 150 people in the audience. The company’s motto is, “It’s your music, it’s your persona,” and its app lets attendees at a party cue up their favorite tunes on the event’s sound system.

The UO startups in the Shark Tank were consulting company Smarter Marketing and used-clothing-exchange network ThriftSwap.

In the Elevator Pitch contest, which kicked off the evening, 11 students presented their business ideas and leading a top-two OSU sweep was Steven Miller, whose proposal was ConnectMD, a televideo medical consultation service.

Placing second was Miranda Crowell (who pitched Asian carp as food and fertilizer), and tying for third were EJ Albaugh (monthly healthcare service), Katie Breeden (schedule-organizing consultancy for students) and Steve Gessling (an app for learning which beers are on tap and where to find them). Breeden is from the University of Oregon and the other two are OSU students.

The Elevator Pitch winner received $250, the runner-up earned $100, and the third-place finishers each won $50.

The Lasso Metrics IBP team. From left are Huiying Huang, Rian Kelsay, William Hohenschuh and Miles Naughton.
The Lasso Metrics IBP team. From left are Huiying Huang, Rian Kelsay, William Hohenschuh and Miles Naughton.

A team pitching a new company built around a veterinary diagnostic product was the big winner April 10 during the 13th annual MBA Business Plan Competition.

Rian Kelsay, Miles Naughton, Huiying Huang and William Hohenschuh developed and presented their integrated business plan for Lasso Metrics, whose technology centers around a low-cost, paper chip designed as a platform for lateral flow assays.

The technology figures to allow various tests to be done at once, saving a veterinary clinic both time and money. Company founders are Vince Remcho of the Department of Chemistry and Shay Bracha and Jan Medlock of the College of Veterinary Medicine.

“We put in a lot of work, so it’s nice to see it turn out like this,” said Kelsay, whose team placed first in three of the four business plan competition categories en route to being named the overall champion among the five teams, made up of students in the MBA program’s commercialization track.

The competition culminated Friday evening with the Elevator Pitch and Shark Tank portion of the contest, held in Austin Hall’s Stirek Auditorium.

The pitch requires a member of each team to sum up the team’s plan to a potential investor in 55 seconds, roughly five floors’ worth of travel in an elevator. In the Shark Tank, team members work together to present to a group of possible investors and answer their questions.

The Lasso Metrics team triumphed in Elevator Pitch and Shark Tank category, followed by the one-person KW Associates team of Lauren West, and the DulsEnergy team of Andrew Maroon, Sijia Guo, Cody White and Mary Fedorowicz. That category carried a first-place prize of $500 to be shared by the team members.

The other categories were venture viability, technical merit and artistic merit, each with a $1,000 first prize. Results were as follows:

Venture viability: 1, Lasso Metrics; 2 DulsEnergy, whose plan centered around the sea vegetable dulse as a low-cost gourmet food; 3, Ink Shade Films. Ink Shade’s plan was built on a light-blocking, variable tinting for office and hotel windows and the team consisted of Yunfeng Wu, Laura Schaudt, Brian Serbu and Daniel Hough.

Technical merit: 1, KW Associates, whose technology is described as being “like an MRI for industrial processes”; 2, Lasso Metrics; 3, Ink Shade Films.

Artistic merit: 1, Lasso Metrics; 2, DulsEnergy; 3, Ink Shade Films.

In the overall standings, DulsEnergy finished second to Lasso Metrics, and Inkshade was third.

“It’s mind boggling,” said Naughton of his Lasso Metrics team’s performance in the IBP Competition. “To see it all the way from beginning to completion is really satisfying.”

Ryan Perry of the Automated Microspray team makes his pitch to Holli Ogle.
Ryan Perry of the Automated Microspray team makes his pitch to Holli Ogle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Angela Snow.
Angela Snow.

Nike executive Angela Snow’s path toward Distinguished Business Professional honors began, appropriately enough, on a running track.

“I always knew I’d work at Nike,” said Snow, the company’s vice president for design culture and community. “I started running on the Beaverton track when I was 5 or 6 years old; there were meets every Saturday. That definitely introduced me to the idea of running and the whole aspect of competition. I grew up with Nike.”

Snow spent her childhood on a 50-acre farm on Weir Road five miles from what’s now the site of Nike headquarters. She was born in 1959 in Toronto to British parents and moved to Beaverton at 9 months; her father, Jim Strike, a former semi-pro rugby player, was a forest products manager, and his wife, Iris, was a “renaissance homemaker” whose talents and loves ranged from upholstery to baking to sewing to the arts.

Snow studied fashion design, graphic design and art history at OSU. Soon after earning her degree she joined Nike, and her initial role was putting together the burgeoning company’s first graphic design team. From there, she went to Hong Kong to start an apparel design team for the Asia-Pacific market, and after 21/2 years she moved to The Netherlands to be the creative director for apparel for the European market for three years.

“That led me back to the U.S., where I ran the men’s apparel department and then made the leap to footwear,” she said.

A half-dozen years ago, in response to an organizational evolution that designers found displeasing, Snow accepted her current assignment.

“Designers were working for business people and not creative people, and we said we’ve got to make sure design is holistic and has a strong organizational structure of its own,” said Snow, who notes that next to the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif., “OSU is our biggest feeder. The designers who come out of OSU, they’re developed and prepared and inspired.”

Snow, who as a member of the COB’s industry advisory board for design aims to help keep it that way, will be honored May 11 in Portland at the college’s annual Celebration of Excellence, along with the rest of the 2015 award winners as well as retiring Dean Ilene Kleinsorge. For more on the event and the honorees, follow the College of Business blog as the countdown to the celebration continues over the next couple of weeks.

The evening begins with a reception at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner and the awards presentation. For more information or to register, contact Elsa Frey at elsa.frey@oregonstate.edu or call 541-737-6648, or register online at http://business.oregonstate.edu/awards.

 

Doug Robillard of Boeing talks about how students can get the most out of their internship and career.
Doug Robillard of Boeing talks about how students can get the most out of their internship and career.

Doug Robillard, quality director for Boeing’s 747 and 767 programs, told College of Business students that his company wants its interns to question why the company does things the way it does.

“Your questioning and understanding of what we’re doing make us better,” said Robillard, one of the presenters April 21 at the Business Expo at Austin Hall. “It’s easy for a company to fall into doing things a certain way because that’s the way we’ve always been doing them, and a lot of those companies are no longer with us.”

Robillard, a 1987 College of Business graduate who’s spent his entire career at Boeing, conducted a workshop titled “Keys to a Successful Internship and Job.” His workshop was one of four, each given twice, at the Business Expo; the others were “Making the Most of Your Internship,” presented by Mutual of Enumclaw Insurance; “Networking Skills,” by Mass Mutual Financial Group and Cambia Health Solutions; and “Resume Writing,” by Enterprise Holdings.

Those companies were among 17 that took part in the Expo, which drew more than 200 students of all classes and majors and featured hours of networking opportunities in addition to the workshops.

“It’s a competitive world you guys are in,” Robillard said. “Internships are a big step in our company for getting your foot in the door.”

Boeing internships take place in the fall, he said. Most of them are in the Seattle area, and there are also opportunities in Troutdale, as well as around the nation.

Robillard noted that at his last count, he was one of 678 OSU alumni working for Boeing.

Oregon State also has a strong alumni presence at Cambia, and the company sent Michelle Scwhartz, diversity and university programs manager, to Austin Hall to help teach students how to network their way to career success. A key topic during her presentation was the informational interview – meeting with someone at a place you might like to work to learn about it and what potential roles might be, and also to make a key connection to follow up with over time.

Schwartz advised developing a list of questions to bring to the interview, and the questions shouldn’t include asking for a job or even a job interview, or asking the interviewee how much money he or she makes.

Schwartz also told the students to write a thank-you note to the interviewee, ideally a handwritten one.

“It’s so rare, it really stands out,” she said.

MBA student Huiying Huang, who’s graduating this year and wants to be a management consultant, said she found the informational interview tips particularly useful.

Michelle Scwhartz of Cambia Health Solutions gives students networking tips.
Michelle Scwhartz of Cambia Health Solutions gives students networking tips.