College of Business honors alumni, entrepreneurs at Celebration of Excellence

From the “serial entrepreneur” to the world traveler and the Grammy Award winner, the group of alumni, business partners and prominent Oregon entrepreneurs at the College of Business Celebration of Excellence show the possibilities available to future graduates.

This year the annual College of Business event will honor four alumni and two business partners for their outstanding professional achievements and services to the college, and two entrepreneurs who represent the pioneering spirit of the state. The event, which was originally planned for February 6, 2014 but postponed due to inclement weather, has been rescheduled to May 5, 2014.

The evening begins with a reception at 5:30 p.m., followed by the dinner and the awards presentation at 6:30 p.m. For more information, go to or contact Rachelle Nickerson at

2014 Honorees

Hall of Fame

James Williams ‘66, MBA ‘67, President, CTK Capital Corporation: In addition to being president of CTK Capital Corporation, James “Jim” Williams is a partner with Asset Solution Partners LLC holding company in Portland. He found his success in the healthcare industry as the co-founder of Brim, Inc., the first company in the nation to specialize in contracting to manage hospitals. In 1997, he sold the company to the Pritzker family in Chicago (owner of Hyatt Hotels) to form Encore Senior Living, a national assisted living company. Mr. Williams retired in January 2002 and served as the chairman of Encore’s board until selling his interest in 2006. He earned his B.S. in industrial engineering in 1966 and was in the first M.B.A. class in the College of Business in 1967. Currently he is active with OSU, serving as a Foundation Trustee, on the Austin Entrepreneurship Advisory Council and is on the OSU Advantage Accelerator Board of Advisors.

Distinguished Business Professional

Jill Eiland ‘73, Corporate Affairs Manager, Intel: Eiland leads Intel’s public and governmental relations teams for the Northwest region, including the company’s educational and philanthropic initiatives. She’s also served as vice president of the State Board of Higher Education and many other business and community organizations in the state.

Distinguished Early Career Business Professional

Peter W. Newport ‘98, Owner and President, Sawyer Paddle & Oars: A self-described ‘serial entrepreneur’ and lifelong adventure sportsman, Newport is Owner and President of Sawyer Paddle & Oars. Previously, he grew Breedlove Guitar Company 20 times in a 10-year period, taking it from near bankruptcy to an award-winning, leader in guitar quality, distributing to more than 30 countries.

Distinguished Young Business Professional

Tim Jakubowski ‘04, Advisory Director, KPMG: In only 10 years at KPMG in Portland Jakubowski has worked in 25 countries on four continents while consulting with some of the top firms in the Northwest.

Distinguished Business Partners

Fred Meyer – Founded in Portland in 1922, Fred Meyer now has 133 stores and nearly 30,000 associates in four Western states. Fred Meyer has been a key partner for the Oregon State School of Design and Human Environment, providing internships for students and participating in the School’s annual Career Symposium and serving on the SDHE Industry Advisory Board.

Mutual of Enumclaw – Voted one of the 100 best places to work in Washington State in 2012, innovation has driven Mutual of Enumclaw’s steady growth in the insurance industry since its beginnings in 1898. Also a key partner in the College of Business’ growth and development, Mutual of Enumclaw’s commitment to Oregon State through the College of Business’ Corporate Partnership program has had an immeasurable impact on students and the college.

Weatherford Awards

Chris Botti, Musician and Composer: Botti, a native of Corvallis, is the world’s largest selling jazz instrumentalist. This past year he won the Grammy for Best Pop Instrumental Album for “Impressions.”

Bert Sperling ‘77, Sperling’s Best Places: For nearly three decades, Sperling has worked to find what makes a livable city or community. His lists of the Best Places to Live and many other rankings are routinely cited by some of the top media outlets in the country, including the New York Times, USA Today and CNN.


Entrepreneurship students putting winning social business plan into action

Volunteer students from Oregon State work with kids at STAR Sports at the Corvallis Sports Park.

In October 2012 a group of Oregon State students won the first-ever Oregon Social Business Challenge, beating out 16 teams from around the state.

Their plan was to start a youth sports program for children with disabilities. While the win received the headlines, over the past year the group has put the plan into action and quietly improved the lives of dozens of children in the Corvallis area.

“The progress has been gradual, but the small changes, the excitement of the kids when they’re making goals or seeing their friends, those little things are just as great,” said OSU College of Business student Alli Stangel, a project lead.

The idea was conceived by the OSU Enactus entrepreneurship club, of which Stangel is a co-president. Called STAR Sports, the program meets once a week at the Corvallis Sports Park, which donates space and equipment for the program.

Activities focus on team building as well as how to play sports such as soccer and basketball.

“The ultimate goal is to have them be able to participate with their peers at school, so they know what the sports are, the rules and what behaviors are expected,” Stangel said. “We just want to make it a real low-pressure environment and encourage everyone to participate.”

Around 15-20 children take part each week, with a nearly one-on-one volunteer ratio. That involvement was part of what made the plan a success at the social business challenge. The Oregon State team saw the supply of active, engaged students in a college town as a resource the venture could use to its benefit.

“Sometimes it’s overwhelming the number of people who want to come. Sometimes people just have to come and watch or support,” Stangel said.

There have been challenges, though.

With the space and equipment being donated, sometimes times and location change, which can be difficult for families. While college students are great volunteers, occasionally classes can interfere with activities.

“It’s hard explaining what midterms are to a 5 year old,” Stangel jokes.

Still, the program has been a success. This year a STAR Sports session fell on Halloween. One mother told Stangel that she gave her three kids the choice of Trick or Treating or going to STAR Sports.

“They chose STAR Sports,” Stangel said with a smile. “Just to hear that was incredible, and makes all the hard work so worth it.”

Friends raising money for SDHE student critically injured in car crash

Jessica Neffendorf

On Nov. 21, Oregon State School of Design and Human Environment student Jessica Neffendorf was critically injured in a car crash on Highway 20 in Corvallis.

She was rushed to Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center and has remained in intensive care. The other driver was arrested under suspicion of impaired driving.

Now friends and family are raising money to support Jessica in her recovery, setting up a website for donations and an account in her name with US Bank.

SDHE Associate Dean Minjeong Kim is also reminding students to be “cautious and smart” while traveling this winter break, and to not condone driving under the influence by themselves or others.

If you can, please help Jessica at her family by donating or participating in a fundraiser organized by the family Wednesday, Jan. 15, at Papa’s Pizza in Corvallis.


Alumnus McGregor Madden finds success as co-founder of Proper Suit

Since graduating from the Oregon State College of Business in 2007, McGregor Madden has worked hard to shape his own career.

Madden has used the skills he cultivated in Corvallis and as an international exchange student to find innovative solutions when things didn’t quite fit, molding his path to his own vision of success.

Oregon State alumnus McGregor Madden is the co-founder of Proper Suit.

While working in Shanghai Madden started hanging out with a stylish group of friends and realized there should be a better way to get a tailored suit. Last year Madden — along with co-founder Richard Hall — created Proper Suit, an online custom suit provider.

Now based in Chicago, Proper Suit arranges fittings for clients around the country and creates a suit tailored to the individual. Hall and Madden then noticed their clients were wearing these perfectly fitted suits over ill-fitting dress shirts and created Hall & Madden, a custom dress shirt company.

The pair were recently featured in Entrepreneur magazine, just one of many high-profile media mentions for their rapidly growing companies.

Madden was kind enough to take part in a Question and Answer with the College of Business, sharing how his time at Oregon State has helped push his career forward.

Q: What brought you to Oregon State and how did you get interested in studying business?

A: I felt at home on the OSU campus from the start. I did some other tours and just didn’t get the comfortable feeling I got from OSU. I fell into business since it was something I always was passionate about.

Q: Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?

A: One of the best parts of being an entrepreneur is that you can’t get fired. I have a really opinionated mindset and convictions, so if I fail that’s on me. Working for someone else when I’ve always been a passionate and fiery person just probably wasn’t ever going to work long-term. I’ve worked as an operations director for Groupon’s now infamous China venture and it was a constant reminder that I would want to do things my way.

Q: Why do you feel Proper Suit has taken off the way it has? What’s been your favorite part of the experience?

A: Our product is of the highest quality and our service and experience is 100 percent built around the client, which is actually something new to suiting. Our price point and service is wonderfully positioned in this very large market. We also are flexible and lean so we can strike quickly into new markets without large investment. I think the most surprising thing is how consistent our sales have been and how growth has been like a hockey stick. My favorite part of the experience has been getting our locations opened up.

Q: How did Oregon State help prepare you for becoming an entrepreneur?

A: Entrepreneurs need to have a sense of adventure. I took an international business course with Dr. Steve Lawton and his stories of Hong Kong and living in Mexico City inspired me to head to Hong Kong. That’s where this whole business started.

Q: Where do you see your career heading from here?

A: Proper Suit has found its niche and we really understand the market, product and consumer. As we currently experience consistent growth and adding clients who come back for more we are going to ride it out and continue to improve. We don’t want to bite off more than we can chew but my business partner and I started a shirt business called that is also an innovative menswear start-up.

Go Beavs!

Freshmen entrepreneurship students create their own “Project Runway”

Photo by Justin Quinn.
Photo by Justin Quinn.

A student’s first term of college can be intimidating, full of new experiences and challenges. For a special group of first-year College of Business students, it included planning and hosting their own public fashion show.

The show was one of four events put on by students in BA 160, an introductory class in the Austin Entrepreneurship Program. Designed as the students’ take on the hit show “Project Runway,” the event showed off styles highlighting different themes important to college students, focusing not only on style but affordability and business attire.

Read more in the coverage by the Daily Barometer, and see photos of the event by photographer Justin Quinn below.

Oregon State BIS awarded increase in SIM scholarships

Since 2001 the Portland Society for Information Management has awarded more than $250,000 to universities in Oregon and Washington, much of it coming to Oregon State.

This year Portland SIM awarded OSU $20,000 in scholarships, up $2,500 from last year.

“Portland SIM has been a model for other SIM programs across the country in raising funds to support BIS programs,” said Byron Marshall, a BIS and Accounting professor at the Oregon State College of Business. “It’s allowed us to award dozens of scholarships in the past few years.”

Portland SIM is a leading organization for information technology executives. In addition to OSU the group works with the Oregon Institute of Technology, Portland State University and Washington State — Vancouver.

 Read how a Portland SIM scholarship helped Oregon State graduate Daniel Changkuon

The increase for Oregon State reflects the growth in the BIS program, which has been steadily growing over the past decade.

“We’ve been doubling in the past few years,” said Rene Reitsma, director of the BIS program at OSU.

Reitsma said BIS programs struggled after the Dot Com crash of the early 2000s. OSU had around 30 BIS students after the crash, but has grown to around 90 this year, Reitsma said.

He attributes part of the growth to an increased interest in programming, especially after the introduction of the iPhone and other products that made computing cool again.

Some BIS programs also changed their curriculum to try to draw more students attracted to the business side, Reitsma said, something Oregon State never did. He said that strong base in technology — and having faculty able to teach it — gave Oregon State an advantage when students again wanted a more technical degree.

“I think the reason we survived is that many programs threw away all their tech pieces,” Reitsma said. “We never did that and took a risk and said we’re not going to do that. We stayed with technology and survived.”

Oregon State Advantage Accelerator shows off new space at open house

Rajinikanth Lingampally explains his company Valliscor, one of the first to join the Advantage Accelerator.
Rajinikanth Lingampally explains his company Valliscor, one of the first to join the Advantage Accelerator.

A lot has been happening at the Oregon State Advantage Accelerator.

The program, part of the OSU Advantage initiative, gives support to Oregon State entrepreneurs and inventors and propel startups to create more Oregon companies and jobs.

This summer the first 12 companies joined the Advantage Accelerator, three featuring College of Business students. Earlier this year the program signed a lease to open an office in downtown Corvallis where the eight new interns for the program can work and partner companies can come and interact with mentors, clients and others.

Many got their first look at the space Wednesday at the Advantage Accelerator Open House, the official kickoff for the new offices. Present were OSU President Ed Ray, OSU Vice President for Research Rick Spinrad, College of Business Dean Ilene Kleinsorge, Corvallis Mayor Julie Manning and many others from the Oregon business community.

Take a look at some of the sights from the evening below, and read more about the event from the Barometer.

Eric Allyn shares his advice for a successful family business

Eric Allyn, a fourth-generation owner of medical device manufacturer Welch Allyn, Inc., will serve as the inaugural keynote speaker for the Austin Family Business Program’s Excellence in Family Business Awards, being held tonight at the Governor Hotel in Portland.

Allyn has been a strong advocate for family business throughout his career, and recently sat down with AFBP for a Q&A in advance of tonight’s keynote address.

Eric Allyn is the keynote speaker at the 2013 Excellence in Family Business Awards.
Eric Allyn is the keynote speaker at the 2013 Excellence in Family Business Awards.

Oldest family business owner: 78, third generation
Youngest family business owner: Due December 31
Number of family members working in the operating business: 2 Ownership generations: 3rd, 4th and 5th generations
Last family vacation destination: Skaneateles NY

Family business book that you recommend most often: John Ward and Jennifer Pendergast’s “Building a Successful Family Business Board: A Guide for Leaders, Directors, and Families” and any case studies of family businesses, such as the Mondavi family or the Busch family case.

Best advice you’ve given your children: I don’t expect them to be great managers of our business but I do expect them to be great stewards!

Best business decision you made as an executive in the family business: By far the best decision was to insist that we move the governance of our business from family management to family ownership with outside management.

How would you describe your work in family business education: Our company transitioned to a non-family CEO in 2007 and I stayed two years to help the transition. I was elected chairman by our board and now serve other families by speaking to leadership groups and in sit- ting on family business boards in the pharmaceutical and medical fields. What I enjoy doing most is sharing the Welch Allyn story to prepare the next generation, especially how to use succession planning tools to push the ownership down to the younger generations.

Why are you committed to this work? I think family business should be, and need to be, more competitive than public companies. They can make quicker decisions and ownership is close to management. I have no time for the big public markets and excessive regulations but I will always take the time for people of the next generation.

I love to compete against GE, Phillips and Siemens. There’s a big difference than working for these and for Welch Allyn, Inc. that has long term vision, values the brand and thinks generationally, not quarterly. That makes it more fun to compete against GE in winning a hospital bid. If the customer is really buying value and a long-term solution then we will help them do their work and solve their problems. It’s not transactional and it’s not a commodity. Family businesses can do that much more effectively.

After 16 years, mother of four returns to Oregon State to complete her dream

Maria Jimenez, chair of the Dean's Student Leadership Circle at the Oregon State College of Business, returned to school after more than a decade to raise her family.
Maria Jimenez, chair of the Dean’s Student Leadership Circle at the Oregon State College of Business, returned to school after more than a decade and a half away to raise her family.

Second chances don’t come often in life, so Maria Jimenez doesn’t mind it took more than a decade to get hers.

Jimenez came to Oregon State in the fall of 1994 after graduating from Sandy Union High School, ready to pursue a science degree.

The only impediment was Jimenez was pregnant with her first child. She finished two years at OSU, but decided to leave school to focus on her family.

“I felt I was leaving my family aside for my schooling, and for me family is No. 1,” Jimenez said.

Now a mother of four, Jimenez is back at Oregon State, this time majoring in Business Management and providing a lesson to her children in perseverance and the value of education.

“I realized I started on the wrong foot, but my kids are No. 1,” she said. “They’re why I’m doing my best to set an example and show them education is the way to a better life. I want to show them I can do it.”

While Jimenez waited to make sure her children — Marianita, 19, Evelyn, 16, Lizbeth, 14, and Angel, 12 — were old enough for her to go back, the credits she had earned in her first trip to OSU expired. While discouraging, it also freed her to explore other academic options.

While working at Assurant Solutions in Albany, Jimenez developed an interest in moving up in the company as a manager. After starting in 2005 as a bilingual claims representative, she soon was promoted to a senior claims representative, managing and coaching other employees.

She realized she enjoyed the role, and applied for a supervisory position at the company only to find she needed more advanced education, motivating her to try again for her degree.

“At first, it was discouraging, but it was a wake up call for me, to realize that I needed to take charge of my life,” Jimenez said. “The only way I could advance within the company was putting in more years of managing experience or to continue with higher education.”

She started her journey at Portland State in 2011 before transferring to Oregon State last year. Since then she’s taken an active role in her education, including joining and becoming the chair of the Dean’s Student Leadership Circle at the College of Business, a group of student leaders picked by Dean Ilene Kleinsorge to advise her on topics important to the college.

“I’m delighted to have been named chair of the DSLC because I will have the opportunity to interact not only with Dean Kleinsorge and DSLC members but also with other professionals, enabling me to enhance my leadership skills and broaden my professional network,” Jimenez said.

The commitment means extra time away from her classes and her family, but Jimenez wants to get everything out of her education.

“Before I wasn’t involved in school. It was class, library, home,” she said. “Now I want to get involved. I know I have a busy schedule, but I want to push myself to grow, increase my personal development.”

Jimenez makes sure there’s plenty of time left for her family, though the activities have changed a bit. Eldest daughter Marianita is in college, studying nursing at Linn-Benton Community College, and now the whole family brings schoolwork home at night.

“There are times when we study together, and it’s fulfilling watching my children do their homework next to me at the dinner table,” she said.

Jimenez still faces challenges before her graduation, which she’s expecting will be summer of 2014.

Supporting her education and her family financially has been a struggle at times. Combined with the daily balance of family, school and work, there are some days where Jimenezes’ goal seems out of reach.

Still, she remembers talking to her sister, Luz Maria Jimenez, when she was thinking of delaying her return until her children were just a few years older.

“My sister told me ‘Sis, I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy, but is not impossible either, and at the end believe me, it’s going to be worth it, you can do it,” she remembers.

“Her words remain engraved in my heart, and I can never thank her enough, because of her I’m here at OSU to finish what I started more than a decade ago.”

Finding a common language between science and design

(from left) Interior Design and Renewable Materials major Camille Moyers and Wood Science Assistant Professor Robinson go over Moyers' work.
(from left) Interior Design and Renewable Materials major Camille Moyers and Wood Science Assistant Professor Seri Robinson go over Moyers’ work.

“We’re working with chemicals and fire today, people,” shouts Seri Robinson, an assistant professor in Wood Science and Engineering at Oregon State, before a meeting of her Renewable Materials in the Modern World class.

“I felled an ash tree in my yard this morning for you.”

While the statement may not be completely out-of-place for the Wood Science majors in the room, it is a little different for the engineers, designers and other students also part of the course.

Which is all part of Robinson’s plan with the class, dual-listed in Wood Science and the School of Design and Human Environment within the College of Business. Her aim is to bring students from different backgrounds and experiences together and teach them the collaboration skills necessary to succeed after graduation.

“The goal is that they get an appreciation for renewable materials, but more importantly, that they learn how to talk to each other,” Robinson said.

The class is designed to be accessible to any student. There are no prerequisites and no tests, with most assignments photo-based. Students are introduced to a topic around renewable materials and then sent out to find examples of it around them.

The class culminates with a group project creating a product out of renewable materials incorporating the skills of each member.

Robinson originally designed the course while working at the University of Toronto when industry leaders approached her with a problem.

“The big issues they had were designers who worked with wood but didn’t know the materials, and scientists who didn’t know how to talk to designers,” she said. “They wanted a class the two could take together.”

Over the years teams created baskets from used chopsticks, blueprints for homes and functional objects like chairs and dishware. The only requirements were that the project use renewable materials and all the talents of the group.

“You work with this group member or everyone fails, just like in the real world,” Robinson said. “Everyone’s background is showcased.”

This is the first year she’s run the course since coming to Oregon State in January. On this day Robinson is demonstrating how to steam bend wood, with students creating twisting and curving creations from some pre-cut pieces and the remains of her ash tree.

Camille Moyers, a dual major in Interior Design and Renewable Materials, said it’s been interesting watching her two worlds come together in the classroom.

While she said the learning curve has been steep for some of her SDHE peers, the interaction has been worthwhile.

“We have some different personalities, but it’s the same as in life,” Moyers said. “It’s important to learn how to collaborate. It’s something we’re going to do the rest of our careers, especially in design.”

Devin Stuart, a junior in Renewable Materials, said working with other disciplines has changed the way she sees her own major.

“It’s cool to do that,” Stuart said of the collaboration. “It makes you think about other aspects of the renewable materials field, like textiles.”

Robinson has big plans for the course. She hopes to run it two terms next academic year and start to include more students from other colleges at Oregon State.

Eventually she wants to open some spots for online students — something she did in earlier versions of the class — creating another challenge for collaboration within groups.

Anything she can do to make her classroom more like the unpredictable world students will navigate as professionals, the better.

“The class is not easy and it’s not designed to be easy, but it prepares you for the real world in a way no other class will,” Robinson said. “But you have to be willing to step outside your comfort zone.”