Dream internship for interior design student

Kenna Hanson
Kenna Hanson

Kenna Hanson, senior to be in interior design, has an internship this summer that she’s been preparing for almost half her life.

Hanson is working for Tiffany Home Design, a key vendor on the 6,275-square-foot “Quintessence” home in this year’s NW Natural Street of Dreams.

“Brittainy Tiffany of Tiffany Home Design is responsible for the design and staging” of the five-bedroom, five-bath house, Hanson said, “as well as for coordinating on a neighboring wine tasting location called ‘The Barrel House.’ I have been involved in furniture, accessory, and casegoods sourcing, selection, design and installation of the Street of Dreams house and have also been involved with other personal clients with our head interior designer, Brooke Johnson. I also have contributed some sourcing to local community projects and participated in their staging department and showroom.”

Hanson, who grew up in southwest Portland, traces her roots as designer to age 12.

“My grandparents were building a house on Puget Sound, and my uncle was the architect,” she said. “Every time we went up, the house grew and grew, and I said, I want to do that; I want to take my own design and build my Barbie dream house, which sounds so lame, but I was 12. I started drawing and still have the drawings: a three-story mansion with a pool. My dad flipped houses on his own time, so I just grew up around house construction and architecture and design and all of that. I was used to it and decided I wanted to be in business for myself.”

The interior design program within the College of Business has helped put her on the cusp of launching a career in her aspirational field of residential design.

“I truly love Oregon State,” she said. “I love the campus, I love the interior design staff, and all the design and human environment teachers are really nice. Residential design kind of died out when the (housing) market crashed, but now it’s coming back up.”

This year’s Street of Dreams, the 47th edition of the event produced annually by the Home Builders Association of Metro Portland, features five homes in a vineyard development on Pete’s Mountain in West Linn. It opens July 30 and runs through Aug. 28.

Tickets to view the work of all of the builders and design professionals are on sale now.

“The houses are all built and it’s up to us to place the pieces and stage them to bring most attention to the home as well as show everyone what we can do to the best of our abilities,” Hanson said.

The importance of design thinking

Ken Black fields questions from Sara Hart Kimball Dean Mitzi Montoya during his May 19 Dean's Distinguished Lecture.
Ken Black fields questions from Sara Hart Kimball Dean Mitzi Montoya during his May 19 Dean’s Distinguished Lecture.

Ken Black, vice president of Digital Design Future at Nike, told an audience of Oregon State students and others that the best way to be protective of your work is to be protective of your work relationships.

That was among the messages Black delivered May 19 during a Dean’s Distinguished Lecture at Austin Hall’s Stirek Auditorium.

Black believes strongly that design thinking is a critical part of a business education, and that students in all majors benefit from using a design-thinking, process-oriented technique for solving problems; taking a human/consumer-centered approach to innovation, one that puts observation and the discovery of human needs at the core of the process, is ultimately much more effective than jumping straight to a solution. It’s crucial, Black says, to always being asking “why”: Why would this idea benefit people, why does it matter, why would they be excited to pay hard-earned money for it, etc.?

Black’s lecture featured a Q-and-A format, with first Sara Hart Kimball Dean Mitzi Montoya and then the audience asking questions of Black; the dean’s guest has held a variety of creative-director roles at Nike and also helped found SPARQ, a business (subsequently acquired by Nike) that created a standardized test for athleticism and sold training apparel, shoes and other gear.

Black, who grew up in Salem, talked of his love of basketball and how he’d hoped as a high school student to have a future in the sport, but when that didn’t pan out he fell back on another love and talent – drawing – to pursue a career as a designer. He now describes himself as an artist in a corporate world.

His points during his visit to Austin Hall included:

  • Everyone is a designer on some level.
  • Creativity is awareness.
  • With passion and resilience you can get through almost any challenge.
  • Business-oriented people, wherever you end up working, find a designer to be your best friend; and vice versa.
  • Have a strong vision of where you want to go and a flexible path for getting there.

Black also noted that his career highlights include working both with legendary Air Jordan designer Tinker Hatfield and with Michael Jordan himself.

Black earned a Bachelor of Arts in graphic design with Honors of Distinction from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif.

After the lecture, Black met with students individually.
After the lecture, Black met with students individually.

Panel looks at workplace diversity

Panelist Tim Hall addresses the audience while moderator Audrey Iffert-Saleem, left, and panelists Monica Baez, Lawrence Houston III and Angela Batista listen.
Panelist Tim Hall addresses the audience while moderator Audrey Iffert-Saleem, left, and panelists Monica Baez, Lawrence Houston III and Angela Batista listen.

Workplace diversity can bring inner conflict to an organization, but that’s a good thing as long as it’s managed in such a way that the diverse individuals, their team and the entire organization can use it as a tool for growth.

That was just one of many points made by Lawrence Houston III, assistant professor of management at the College of Business, during a May 20 panel discussion at Austin Hall’s Stirek Auditorium: “Diversity in the Workplace: What leaders need to know.”

Joining Houston on the panel were Angela Batista, Oregon State’s interim chief diversity officer, and two Oregon State alumni: Tim Hall, class of 1978, chairman of the President’s Board of Visitors for Community and Diversity at OSU, and Monica Baez, class of 1987, a State Farm agent and the owner of the Monica Baez Insurance Agency, Inc., in Corvallis.

Audrey Iffert-Saleem, executive director of strategic initiatives at the College of Business, moderated the 75-minute discussion, during which each panelist shared a range of personal and professional perspectives.

Hall, who’s had a long career in public relations/public affairs, noted that when he was enrolled at Oregon State, he was one of just a couple dozen black students on campus. Batista described a background that included arriving in New York as a child-immigrant from the Caribbean who spoke no English, and Baez recounted being told how she was likely to get certain jobs solely on the basis of being a female minority.

“How do you think that makes you feel?” she asked, referring to having her abilities deemed not as important as her gender or ethnicity.

Houston, who studies workplace diversity, said organizations need to make a point to explain the purpose of minority-focused programs, both to minorities and non-minorities. Understanding why programs are in place helps everyone accept them, and use them. Houston recalled how as a graduate student at Penn State, he purposely avoided minority-focused programs – he is black – because he was offended by what he perceived as the implication he couldn’t succeed without them.

Had the programs’ purpose been stated clearly, he said, Houston realized later that he likely would’ve taken advantage of some of them.

In the workplace, simply having people of different nationalities, ethnic groups, religions, etc. doesn’t by itself complete the diversity puzzle, he said.

“Inclusivity means people feel that they’re valued as well feeling like they belong,” Houston said.

Both Houston and Hall touched on effective hiring.

“Human resources departments do need to discriminate – that’s what they do,” he said. “It doesn’t do anyone any good for someone to be hired who can’t succeed. Organizations need to hire people who can do the job and then put them in positions where they can succeed and be promoted.”

Hall said experience has taught him that pretty much all people, regardless of their status or non-status as a minority, can handle not getting hired as long as they’ve gotten a real chance to compete for the job.

“The hiring process must be fair, equitable and honest,” he said. “Productivity suffers when workers see leaders embrace cronyism.”

What leaders need to do, Houston said, after following the type of hiring process Hall says is critical, is “create an environment where it’s OK to disagree” and then manage that disagreement in ways that foster growth.

Painting a picture of success at Daimler

Ian Bacon

Ian Bacon arrived at Daimler last summer for his MECOP internship ready to use his BIS and accounting studies to create value for the truck maker, and vehicles that leave the factory with better, more efficiently applied paint jobs are the lasting impact of his six months with the company.

“I started out doing the typical BIS sorts of things,” said Bacon, who’ll graduate from the College of Business in June. “Extracting things from databases, finding information for reports, creating process flow diagrams.”

Then Daimler turned him loose to work with information on truck painting that had been collected in a thorough manner but had never been analyzed or put to work.

“I was able to find a lot more useful information than anyone realized was there, kind of surprising findings,” he said “I developed that into a very thorough suite of reports, including a real-time feedback version for the actual paint shops in plants. Before, the company had a system and they put in numbers, but no one ever saw the results – the inspectors, the painters, the engineers, the plant floor people. We were able to put this information into a system for all of their truck plants, to get this thing useful and fun for everyone. Now if something isn’t happening quite right, in can be corrected immediately.”

In addition to his College of Business education, Bacon’s background includes seven years of learning about industrial processes while working at … Disneyland.

“I worked on rides, was the supervisor for rides, supervisor for some special events,” said Bacon, who grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. “In 2008 I did the operational testing and adjustments when ‘It’s a Small World’ underwent a major renovation. Working at Disneyland taught me a lot about business and industrial stuff. Disneyland is an industrial environment, even though it doesn’t look like one. You have to get people safely onto rides, rides break down, things happen, there are lots of regulations, lots of business needs behind the scenes, and I took all of that to the truck factory floor at Daimler. I knew how to talk to people and find out what I needed to know.”

After graduation, Bacon will do a second six-month MECOP internship, this one with Garmin AT, the aviation technology subsidiary of the GPS-focused company. Where he ends up after that depends in part on where his wife, who works in social services, attends graduate school.

“Oregon is a fantastic place,” he said. “When I came and visited, I was looking here and down the road in Eugene, but OSU was more directly interested in me and in students in general. It was much more personal, plus it had the MECOP program, which was a selling point.”

Aspiring to be a leader who inspires

Taylor Norby.
Taylor Norby will go to work for Kroger as an assistant buyer.

Taylor Norby wants to drive change by becoming a leader and inspiring others toward leadership too.

With a job offer from Kroger in hand, she’s in position to do those things.

To get there, Norby established herself has a hard-working student, and ambitious Fred Meyer intern, and leveraged all the Career Success Center had to offer.

“I attended a resume workshop class that helped me understand what employers are looking for and how to make sure my resume was noticed,” the senior in marketing said. “I never would have known what Beaver Careers was without the CSC telling me about it, and that is eventually how I got my internship, which led to the full-time offer I received. Without help on my resume, I never would have been selected for an interview.”

Norby grew up in Keizer, where she was “heavily involved in music and sports.” She graduated from McNary High School, where her grades were so high she earned two free years at Chemeketa Community College, then transferred to the College of Business.

“I became interested in a degree for business because of others telling me it would open my doors to many different options for my future,” she said. “What led me to making my focus on marketing was my love for working with people and having a desire to increase my creative abilities along with learning how to be strategic with the work that I do.”

Norby spent the summer after her junior year as a store management intern for Fred Meyer, whose parent corporation is grocery-chain giant Kroger.

“Every so often we would go up to the main office to collaborate with the Kroger interns, and through that experience I became intrigued by the potential career path through corporate,” Norby said. “I knew that I would have to go out of my way to get noticed because I was competing with the main office interns while I was working in the store. I contacted the VP of merchandising and she gave me the names of her direct reports that I later set up informational interviews with so they could become familiar with me and also understand their jobs. I also set up job shadows with various buyers and planners in the main office. By taking the initiative, it showed dedication as well as gave me experience and information to talk about during my interview.

“After going through my internship, Fred Meyer hoped that I would pursue management within their stores and work my way to a store director,” she continued. “I told my supervisor early on what my goal was for the end of my internship, and although she really wanted to see me pursue the store route, she gave me all the necessary tools to become prepared for an interview with the corporate office. The VP of merchandising and her direct reports were heavily involved in the decision-making process and the decisions were based on our intern evaluations, project, interview, and overall mesh with the rest of the team. I truly believe that my efforts to reach out to those in the main office helped me tremendously when it came down to receiving a job offer.”

Kroger offered Norby an assistant buyer position. She’ll spend 12 weeks in the company’s general merchandise buyer/planner training program, then 18 months as an assistant buyer and another 18 months as an assistant planner. At the end of those three years, she can choose either the buying or planning route.

“I would like to work my way to a leadership role where I can make a difference and inspire others to work their way to a leadership role as well,” Norby said. “Within Kroger, I can work my way up to divisional merchandise manager and then to a general merchandise manager, which I have set my career goals as something I would like to achieve.”

Making the most of opportunities

Jeff Lulay fires up the Reser Stadium crowd.




Jeff Lulay arrived at the College of Business four years ago with a mission to make the most out of his college experience and take advantage of opportunities to get work experience and build his resume.

Lulay’s efforts paid off last summer with an internship with Nike Football, where his talents and work ethic led to the offer of a full-time job as a brand marketing specialist when he graduates with a marketing degree in June.

“My main job is the brand,” Lulay said, “how our brand is represented on players on the field.”

Lulay was one of 48,000 applicants for the handful of Nike Football internships last summer, and he arrived with a wealth of sports and apparel expertise to offer, though. He was a football player, baseball player and wrestler at Wilsonville High School, and at Oregon State, he’s interned with the athletic department – he’s the “mic guy” who fires up the football crowd at Reser Stadium – and served as president of the Beaver Dam, the student fan organization. He’s also done marketing for the prestigious 16-team Les Schwab Tires Invitational high school basketball tournament in Hillsboro.

As Beaver Dam president, Lulay has cultivated relationships with basketball coach Wayne Tinkle and football coach Gary Andersen. His people skills with high-profile figures came in handy during the two-month Nike Football internship, where he interacted with NFL stars such as Richard Sherman, Luke Kuechly, and Ndamukong Suh.

“I knew I couldn’t ask for photographs or autographs,” Lulay said. “I love the NFL, but I knew I had to keep my composure.

“I excelled at everything they gave me,” he said. “I’m good with events and love sports, so it was easy to be passionate about what I was doing.”

Lulay’s primary internship responsibility was being in charge of the equipment room at the Top 150, a July camp at the Nike campus in Beaverton for the best high school seniors-to-be in the country. Lulay oversaw more than $1 million worth of football gear.

Lulay was also on one of 24 eight-person intern teams who competed in a challenge to revamp Nike’s onboarding procedures. His team took the creative approach of presenting its suggestions in the form of a SportsCenter segment.

“When we were done, the judges applauded,” said Lulay, whose team won the competition and earned the right to present to present to Nike CEO Mark Parker.

Lulay urges his fellow business students, especially the younger ones, to start using the Career Success Center early, especially for help with resume writing and lining up internships.

“I tell freshmen, use what the College of Business has to offer,” he said. “The college brings all these things to the table. Take advantage of them. A degree by itself isn’t enough. You need to get that work experience to set yourself apart.”


REAL People: Sam Yul Cho

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



Historical footnote to family business honoree

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.

Finance grad opens The Show

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.

REAL People: Keith Robertson

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.”