Oregon State College of Business Tim Leatherman Dean's Executive SeriesFirst of all, a big congratulations to Innovation Nation and the first-year entrepreneurs. Their Spring Company Show last week was such a success. What a great Friday that was, with the Marketplace packed with almost 70 business teams displaying their product lines, and hundreds of guests including some of our most distinguished alumni.

Don’t miss this week’s Dean’s Executive Series, which brings Oregon State alumnus Tim Leatherman (pictured) into Austin Hall. Tim is the chairman and co-founder of Leatherman Tool Group, and he will tell his story, “How a Boy Scout Knife with Pliers Transformed an Industry.” Tim combined his entrepreneurial spirit with engineering knowledge to become a major global multi-function tool manufacturer. (Who needs a Swiss army when we have Beaver ingenuity?)

Tim is the keynote speaker for the OSU Invitational Shark Tank Competition, hosted each year by the OSU Entrepreneurship Club. So, following the discussion, support our students competing against teams from the University of Oregon in a Shark Tank-style pitch competition.

The “sharks” are investors and entrepreneurs from across Oregon: Ben Rivera, president and CEO of Leatherman Tool Group; Celeste Edman, CEO of Lunar Logic; and Jon Maroney, partner of the Oregon Angel Fund. RSVP.

Shark Tank is just part of the lineup on Friday, May 5 — when Fridays in Austin features Design. Alumni and industry partners from companies including Nike, Columbia, Ziba, SmithCFI, Henderer Design and others. There are three discussion panels as well as professional development workshops, networking, and corporate tabling in the Marketplace.

As well, don’t miss the Design Showcase, which will feature the senior design capstone projects on the first floor of Austin HAll. This is your chance to see the beautiful work of our interior design, apparel design and merchandising students on display, talk to the artists (11 am -12 pm), and learn more about the design programs here at Oregon State.

The Works newsletter this week is filled with important updates from our Advising office (some important academic changes outlined here in a blog post) and all the important deadlines for spring and summer, and other events, too. Check your inbox, or look online.

Welcome back, students! We hope you are rested and refreshed from your spring break adventures, and ready to get back to business. Here are a few highlights of this week’s important happenings that you don’t want to miss.

— The Career Success Center has a few more openings to join the multi-day Travel Friday road trip to Seattle. View more information here.

Don’t miss this opportunity! The Senior Mentoring Event will pair a senior in Apparel Design, Interior Design, Graphic Design, and/or Merchandising Management with a professional in the student’s field for a morning of conversation, input, and professional networking advice. Apply with your resume by April 10.

— The official application deadline for HWeekend is April 5 — but it fills up quickly (like, really quickly) so do not delay, and apply today.

Impact Oregon, the statewide invention challenge, will have a kickoff meeting on Thurs., April 6. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn you through the process of getting an idea out of your head and into a product cycle.

— Advising has opened the spring pro-school application process. Here is the link.

— Our Fridays in Austin platform will begin its run for spring term next week.

— Our full lineup is in The Works (as usual) so don’t miss it!

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



Dean Mitzi Montoya, right, lauds Shari Sands at the finance and accounting manager's retirement party.
Dean Mitzi Montoya, right, lauds Shari Sands at the finance and accounting manager's retirement party.
Dean Mitzi Montoya, right, lauds Shari Sands at the finance and accounting manager’s retirement party.

Shari Sands, finance and accounting manager with the Business and Engineering Business Center, is officially retiring Nov. 30. We say “officially” because she’ll continue on a post-retirement, part-time basis through 2016.

Sands, a former Army personnel specialist who grew up in Klamath Falls, started at the College of Business in August 2001 as the director of budgets and faculty services and became finance and accounting manager eight years later. She calls the COB “definitely the best place I’ve ever worked.”

In retirement Sands plans to get even more involved in genealogy – she’s traced her roots to the one person known to have been both at Jamestown and on the Mayflower – as well as become a Master Gardener and spend time with her 23-year-old son, Tyler. But we still have some time to reap the benefits of Sands’ considerable expertise and enjoy her personality before she leaves Austin Hall for good, so allow us to introduce her to you via our latest installment of the REAL People of the College of Business.

In her words:

“Before I came here I’d been working for Motorola, and I took a year off to regroup. I’d been working in Scottsdale (Ariz.) for six years, and I’d just had enough, so I sold my house, moved back to Klamath Falls, rented a house out on Lakeshore Drive and spent a year doing yoga and feeding the birds and the deer.

“After I’d gotten out of the Army, I’d gone to OIT (Oregon Institute of Technology) for a few years, studying accounting, and then I moved to Los Angeles and went to UCLA. I’d always wanted to live in Los Angeles, because of the Beach Boys. I loved the Beach Boys, so I went to the beach. I worked for the VA, put myself through school and got a degree in sociology. I wanted to get my master’s in social welfare, but I couldn’t afford that much more school, and a nurse I worked with had a husband who worked with a defense contractor, Northrop, that had an opening for an auditor. I only needed one class to have a degree in accounting, so I took that job and audited at Northrop for five years.

“Eventually my boss left and went to KPMG, and I followed him there. Then I went to work for TRW, and then Motorola. I loved LA, but I had to get out of LA – my son was born in 1992, and after the (Rodney King) riots and the (Northridge) earthquake, I just couldn’t do it anymore. I loved LA, but I don’t anymore. Now I love Corvallis.

“I feel like I’ve led a blessed life. Everything I wanted to do, I did it, and it worked out. And I’m so lucky I ended up here.”

Sands shares a laugh with instructor Chuck Toombs.
Sands shares a laugh with instructor Chuck Toombs.


Kareman Rawy believes what Neil deGrasse Tyson says about math: that it's the language of the universe.
Kareman Rawy believes what Neil deGrasse Tyson says about math: that it's the language of the universe.
Kareman Rawy believes what Neil deGrasse Tyson says about math: that it’s the language of the universe.

Many of you have likely seen the popular Humans of New York blog in which a photographer roams the city collecting life-story summaries of people he meets. His work is fascinating and often deeply moving as his subjects share what they consider to be some of the most significant aspects of their lives.

Inspired by his efforts and his subjects’ photos and stories, we’ve launched our own version of the project, which we’re calling REAL People of the College of Business.

Our weekly series continues today with Kareman Rawy, the daughter of Egyptian immigrants. Kareman is from Brentwood, Calif. (the one in the Bay Area, not Los Angeles), is in her first year in the professional school and is serving as president of SIM Club (Students of Information Management).

Here’s more of her story, in her own words:

“My inspiration to help people started from helping my younger brother as a little girl. He is one year younger than me and even though he has cerebral palsy that made him unable to talk and walk, I always read to him dinosaurs, science, and astronomy books to comfort him. That’s when I realized that I have a passion for science, specifically astronomy, but I also want to make an impact in the world by making a business that is known worldwide like my late idol once created. The late Steve Jobs once said, ‘I want to make a ding in the universe.’ However, I hope that I can become the next big bang the universe will see and hopefully one day I can change and help the world in a big way like he once did.”

If you’re interested in being featured as one of the REAL People of the College of Business, please email Steve Lundeberg or come see him in Austin Hall 384D.

Kareman has found inspiration and compassion, in addition to knowledge, in the College of Business.
Kareman has found inspiration and compassion, in addition to knowledge, at the College of Business.
Mitzi Montoya.
Mitzi Montoya.

Six dozen faculty and staff from the College of Business got together on the fourth floor of Austin Hall on Aug. 31 for an hour-long reception for the college’s new Sarah Hart Kimball Dean, Mitzi Montoya.

Montoya, who comes to Oregon State from Arizona State University, officially began her role at OSU just a few hours before the welcome event, which took place outside the dean’s suite.

Grateful for the comparatively cool weather that greeted her arrival in Corvallis, while also noting that she’s aware much chillier, and wetter days, are just around the corner, Montoya was all smiles as she visited with new colleagues from throughout the college.

At Arizona State, Montoya was vice president and university dean of Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Before going to ASU, she worked for 15 years at North Carolina State University, where she held the Zeinak Chair in Marketing and Innovation in the Poole College of Management. She also founded and led the Innovation Lab, a collaborative effort between different NC State colleges and private industry.

Montoya replaces Ilene Kleinsorge, who retired in June, as the College of Business dean.

Montoya took time to visit with seemingly everyone in attendance.
Montoya took time to visit with seemingly everyone in attendance.

Ilene Kleinsorge’s final day as dean of the College of Business was June 30.

As she begins her retirement, please join us in thanking her for her many contributions, and we hope you enjoy this collection of photographs from Kleinsorge’s time as the college’s leader.

MBA candidates take their seats before the graduation ceremony in Stirek Auditorium.
MBA candidates take their seats before the graduation ceremony in Stirek Auditorium.

Eighty-eight students representing eight nations were recognized June 13 for having completed their MBA studies during the 2014-15 school year. The Oregon State MBA program features eight different tracks, and the graduation ceremony honored students from all eight: research thesis, commercialization, business analytics, marketing, accountancy, wealth management, global operations and executive leadership.

Prior to the ceremony, six MBA graduates one other College of Business student were inducted into Beta Gamma Sigma, an international honor society serving schools accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. The inductees were Sinae Cho, Casey Miller, Yuriy Mikitchenko,  Gary Phibbs, Kevin Russell, Halley Todd, and Phil Walter.

Erick Frack, president of Katapult Partners, LLC, and a 1981 College of Business graduate, delivered the keynote address at the MBA graduation ceremony. Frack’s talk centered around leadership, which he believes centers around caring about other people and listening to them.

“Your ability to show yourself as a good leader will help you more than anything,” Frack said.

Three of the MBA graduates also addressed the audience: Perren Baker (business analytics), Feng Qiu (research thesis) and Lauren West (commercialization). Baker urged his cohort to strive for a work/life balance, Feng talked about the challenges of being an international student while thanking his major professor, Keith Leavitt, for changing his life, and West told her fellow graduates, “When opportunity comes knocking, always say yes.”

The ceremony also recognized Grace Berczel, Casey Miller, Thomas Nguyen, Sara Kelley and Dan McCain for completing their combined doctor of pharmacy/MBA degree.

Following the 75-minute program, graduates and their guests repaired to Austin Hall’s third floor for a reception.

It was the second celebratory event of the day at Austin Hall, which in the afternoon hosted an outdoor reception for the College of Business’ newest bachelor’s degree recipients and their families and friends. Each of the 753 graduating seniors who stopped by received a COB business card holder as a gift from the college, and the event also included a photo booth and a group picture of all of the graduates on hand.

Associate dean Jim Coakley, right, congratulates MBA graduate Ryan Perry.
Associate dean Jim Coakley, right, congratulates MBA graduate Ryan Perry.



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.

“I really liked the IBP (integrated business plan) program, and I wanted some additional time with College of Business faculty since I’d learned so much as an undergraduate,” Haakenson said.

She mentioned in particular professor Erik Larson, who taught Haakenson project management, and professional development instructor Gene Young, whose lessons “helped me get positions that on paper I didn’t have enough experience for by defining and highlighting what I could bring to the table.”

“Going to OSU was a great experience, and the connections I’ve kept with the university are very valuable for me,” she said. “I don’t think I could have made a better choice.”