Once a year the leaders of Oregon’s Most Admired Companies convene to recognize the organizations and executives that are the cornerstone of the Oregon and Southwest Washington business community. In front of a capacity crowd of 900, the 2012 honorees were presented with an award and the rare opportunity to applaud the work and impact that they and their competitors have on the economy.

Hosted by the Portland Business Journal, with a core group of sponsors including Oregon State University, the event was held at the Hilton Hotel in downtown Portland and acknowledged industries including Technology, Traditional Manufacturing, Commercial Real Estate, Health Care, Financial Services, Professional Services, Nonprofits and Agriculture and Forest Products.

For Oregon State, the sponsorship connects us not only with industry leaders but an event that honors so many of our alumni and the companies they’ve founded, work for or are invested in.

Attending the event as guests of OSU were alumni, faculty, staff and MBA students, with College of Business Dean Ilene Kleinsorge hosting the tables. As she took the stage to announce the companies leading the Health Care sector, Kleinsorge addressed the crowd and announced changes to the MBA program, including four new tracks and an online/hybrid option. New options being offered are:

In partnership with the College of Pharmacy, the College of Business is offering a Pharm.D/MBA degree with an emphasis in Executive Leadership. With the curriculum general enough to serve leaders and professionals from any industry, this Executive Leadership track will provide the business community the ability to earn an Oregon State MBA.

With the addition of these tracks and the online/hybrid delivery, Oregon State alumni and students will continue to have an impact on the economy and continue to represent and lead Oregon’s Most Admired Companies.

The 2012 MBA Graduation Celebration stage.
The 2012 MBA Graduation Celebration stage.

As Oregon State College of Business Dean Ilene Kleinsorge addressed the school’s 2012 MBA class for the final time at Thursday’s graduation celebration at the La Sells Stewart Center on campus, she reminded the new graduates they’d earned much more than a degree.

“Some of you will venture far beyond OSU after today,” Kleinsorge said. “Some of you will start new businesses, some of you will seek higher level positions with your current employer and all of you will always be Oregon State University and College of Business alumni.”

Overall OSU saw 51 students graduate, with 11 teams completing an Integrated Business Project, developing business plans for companies such as Intel, Hewlett Packard and for the OSU Office for Commercialization and Corporate Development.

The new Beaver MBAs will be taking many different paths with different goals — documentaries in Central America, restaurants in Thailand and many advancing with employers in Oregon — but each is connected to a network of past and future Oregon State grads, Kleinsorge said.

Bob Mayes, an OSU alumnus and CEO of companies such as DMB realty and the Madison Companies, gave the celebration address Thursday. He stressed that grads need to pay attention to more than just career milestones as they continue on in the business world.

The former Oregon State football player showed the grads a wheel made up of slices not only for job and salary, but family, personal growth and passion.

“If any part of your wheel is too big it won’t roll,” Mayes said.

Jay Killen was presented the Target Leadership Award, recognizing a student who demonstrated outstanding leadership and scholarship during their time at the College of Business and Oregon State University.

MBA Association President Holli Ogle and Vice President Alexander Ritzman gave the evening a little levity, recounting the past year from the prospective of an MBA Integrated Business Plan team member (Hint: Including Photoshops of MBA IBP Director and Thesis Advisor Tom Dowling as Gandalf will get laughs at your next College of Business function).

Congratulations to all the graduates and the family and friends who came out to celebrate Thursday.

OSU MBA students at the Widmer Brothers Brewery in Portland.
OSU MBA students at the Widmer Brothers Brewery in Portland.

Oregon is known as a leader in craft brewing, and this month a group of Oregon State University MBA students got a chance to learn from some of the pioneers of the industry on a trip to Widmer Brothers Brewing in Portland.

A dozen students from the MBA Association — OSU’s MBA student club — travelled to the brewery May 11 for a tour and lunch with Rob Widmer, an Oregon State alumnus, who co-founded the company with brother Kurt.

The pair started the brewery in 1984, starting with 40-barrel capacity. A $3 million upgrade this month has now expanded that to 700,000 and 800,000 barrels annually.

Rod Widmer talks to Oregon State MBA students following a tour of the Widmer Brothers Brewery in Portland.
Rob Widmer talks to Oregon State MBA students following a tour of the Widmer Brothers Brewery in Portland.

 

 

OSU MBA students tour the Widmer Brothers Brewery in Portland. Here they inspect brewery tanks.
OSU MBA students tour the Widmer Brothers Brewery in Portland. Here they inspect brewery tanks.
OSU faculty member Scott Spiegelberg takes in the Widmer Brothers Brewery Tour.
OSU faculty member Scott Spiegelberg takes in the Widmer Brothers Brewery Tour.

Monette LeMay, operations and admissions coordinator for the MBA program, organized the trip.

Doug Rehberg, senior manager of brewery operations, and Lorin Gelfand, a Widmer brand manager, gave the students a 90-minute tour and explained the manufacturing process for the brewery. After, the group had lunch at the Widmer Gasthaus, where Rob Widmer greeted the students and shared the history of the operation.

Scott Spiegelberg, OSU career services coordinator for graduate programs, took part in the trip and said the experience was a great motivator for students hoping to get their own businesses started after earning an MBA.

“To see a young man from Oregon State realize his dream with his brother and grow it into the ninth largest brewery in the U.S. is pretty remarkable,” Speigelberg said.