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Willamette | MBA | Atkinson Graduate School of Management

may 2008

Administrative News


Message from the Dean

Dean Debra RingoldDear Atkinson Community,

On May 11, Willamette University graduated its 32nd class of MBA students amidst the joy and admiration of family, friends and colleagues. The success and accomplishments of our graduates is a testament to their hard work and the dedication of our faculty and staff.

The world may have changed since Atkinson opened its doors in 1974, but the quality and commitment of our graduates endures. Thank you in advance for any support you can provide these professionals as they enter the workforce ready and able to positively impact business, government and not-for-profit organizations around the world.

Among the many accolades celebrated during Commencement was the career of our colleague, Bruce Gates, now Emeritus Professor. As one of the founding members of the Atkinson faculty, Bruce's commitment to student success, outstanding teaching and innovative research has shaped the history and the future of our school.

I offer my heartfelt thanks to Bruce and the entire faculty for making Atkinson a unique place to learn and grow. Congratulations to all our graduates - go forth and make us proud.

Best Wishes,


Debra Debra J. Ringold, Dean



Alumni News


Dan OlsonOn March 6, 2008, while traveling in Italy, Dan Olson MBA'06 got engaged to Madeleine Hudgins of Merced, California. They are set to be married in October of this year and currently reside in Walnut Creek, CA.


Family Additions

Patrick Pine '74 MBA'76 and his wife Debbie have greeted the arrival of their first grandchild, Michael Jacob Kauffman, born to daughter Courtney and Brian Kauffman in Eugene. Patrick and Debbie reside in Hillsboro.



treeBy the end of May, Alexandra Ness MBA'05 will have a tree planted in loving memory of Kuon Phou MBA'05. As Kuon and Alexandra were planning their life together, Kuon expressed a wish to plant a tree and watch it grow as their family grew. In honor of his wish, a Gingko Biloba will be planted at the Portland Japanese Garden. Alexandra hopes that Kuon’s friends will be able to visit the tree and reminisce about the time they enjoyed with him.

Phil AllenPhil Allen MBA'92, Relationship Manager for Key Bank Business Banking manages bank client portfolio relationships. As a Key Relationship Manager, he strives to develop rapport and be the trusted financial advisor right along with a client's accountant and attorney. "I quickly get to know my client's business - its goals and needs, the changing market conditions and the challenges they face everyday. I don't consider myself a banker per se, rather a teammate, equally responsible fro the success of the business." Phil has worked in the world of finance since graduating with an MBA from Atkinson in 1992. Collectively he has been with Key Bank for seven years. Through competitively priced financial solutions, his clients get the best financial alternatives available to meet their long-term goals. In addition, Phil works with a team of product specialists to ensure his clients have access to the extensive resources of one of the nation's largest financial organizations. The bottom line is a more effective approach that requires less of the client's time - leaving them with more time to focus on the business.

Kirsten Changstrom MBA'06 left her position at Juniper Networks effective May 14th to take a position at Apple in their iPod/iPhone division as a supply chain manager for connectors. "I'm very excited to get started there," writes Kirsten, who currently resides in San Francisco.

Joey Razzano '90, MBA'90 was recently named Oregon Regional Representative of International Rett Syndrome Research Foundation. Joey has a daughter with Rett Syndrome, a relatively rare but serious neurological disorder that usually affects girls because it is a genetic defect on the X chromosome. As part of her duties, she will raise awareness and community among families in Oregon and is currently planning the 3rd Annual Strollathon to be held at Laurelhurst Park on Saturday, September 13th, 2008. For more information or to attend the event, you can visit her website at On behalf of her daughter, she also testified before the legislature last year to get the Medically Involved Children's Waiver passed into Oregon law last year to benefit children with disabilities. For more information, contact Joey at

John Lindquist MBA'99 earned his Master of Health Administration from Weber State University, Ogden, Utah on May 2nd. He began his doctorate studies May 5th through Walden University, Minneapolis, MN. John is studying Management and Decision-Making with an emphasis in Leadership and Organizational Change.

Mark J. Van Heuvel MBA'82 is now the Managing Director of Leiden Capital Group, a Merger & Acquisitions and Business Sales firm based in Lake Oswego. Mark also has controlling interest in Leiden Properties a full service real estate brokerage company serving the State of Oregon. Mark is both past president of the Atkinson Student Association and the Atkinson Alumni Association. Mark and his wife Trista reside in Wilsonville Oregon.

Upon graduation, Adam W. Heaton MBA/JD'02 served as a judicial clerk in Oregon for a year, after which he and his wife, Brenda, relocated to the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. Adam then worked as an attorney representing entrepreneurs and real estate investors, quickly becoming one of the top-billing associates with the firm. After several years of working six and seven days a week, and about the time of the birth of their first child, he realized he could no longer restrain the entrepreneur inside and he established his own law firm. Four attorneys work with Adam representing clients in all facets of business and real estate matters. Additionally, Adam was recently notified that he should expect to receive an official designation as a Board Certified Real Property Law Expert by mid-summer 2008; a designation bestowed upon less than one percent of all attorneys licensed in Minnesota.


Atkinson News

Debra Ringold Selected as JELD-WEN Chair in Free Enterprise

RingoldWillamette President M. Lee Pelton named Debra Ringold, Dean and Professor of Marketing, as the first recipient of the JELD-WEN Chair in Free Enterprise effective May 1.

The JELD-WEN Chair, funded by the JELD-WEN Foundation of Klamath Falls, Ore., was established in 2007 to advance scholarship and research opportunities for Willamette students, additional academic institutions and community groups committed to the study of free enterprise. The $2.5 million gift from JELD-WEN is the largest gift in history of the Atkinson Graduate School of Management.

“In her 14 years at Atkinson,” said Willamette University President M. Lee Pelton, “Debra has earned significant recognition for her exceptional teaching and research and for her leadership skills and community service. With the unanimous support of her colleagues at AGSM, she was the clear choice for this honor.”

Rod Wendt, president and chief executive officer of JELD-WEN Inc., said of the appointment, “Debra Ringold is recognized around the country for her outstanding work in public policy issues and their implications for target marketing, consumer beliefs about advertising, and health claims in advertising. Her work has focused on issues that have real consequences for consumers. We cannot think of a better choice for the JELD-WEN Chair in Free Enterprise.”

Oregon Ethics in Business 2008 - Go Beyond the Expected

Join the Willamette University MBA, the Portland Business Journal, Samaritan Counseling Center and the Rotary Club of Portland for the 2008 Oregon Ethics in Business awards, presented Wednesday, June 11, 2008 in the Heritage Grand Ballroom of the Governor Hotel in Portland, OR.

To register for the event, please call the Rotary Club of Portland at 503-228-1542. All checks should be made payable to the Rotary Club of Portland. For more information on the Oregon Ethics in Business process and banquet, visit All registrations should be made before June 4, 2008.

The keynote address will be presented by Bill Thorndike, Jr. All EIB nominees were researched by MBA students from Willamette University. A Selection Committee of business leaders and others reviewed the students' reports and made the final selection on award recipients.

Congratulations to the 2008 Oregon Ethics in Business Award recipients:

Business Category:

Duckwall Pooley
Gerding Edlen

Non Profit:

Friends of Children


Peggy Fowler


Atkinson Honors Students, Faculty and Staff

Honors RecipientsAtkinson presented awards and honors to students, staff, and faculty members in a special honors reception held on May 8th in the John C. Paulus Great Hall in the College of Law. Please join us in congratulating the following MBA students, faculty, and administrators.

Awards were presented to the following first year students for superior performance on the Spring IKEW exercises:
Cheryl Berger
Bernard Kim
Daniel King

Pi Alpha Alpha is a national honor society that recognizes and promotes excellence in the study and practice of public affairs and administration. Honorees to Pi Alpha Alpha have achieved a cumulative grade point average in Atkinson coursework of 3.7 and above. Beta Gamma Sigma is an international honor society that encourages and honors academic achievement in the study of business and fosters personal and professional excellence among its members. Each year, students in the top 20% of Atkinson’s graduating class are inducted as members into Beta Gamma Sigma. The following students and faculty were inducted into Pi Alpha Alpha & Beta Gamma Sigma:
Joshua Beatty
Simona Bucur
Sean Kelly Farmer
Wei Feng
Jonathan Nils Hellberg
Annabelle DiGrandi Henry
Erin Noel Landers
Matthew Matrisciano
Burton Abrahm Simmons
Shweta Singal
Tyler B. Stoddard
Tidarat Thanapakpawin
Mikki Rodora Trowbridge
Eli Danitz Waite

Nicole Thibodeau, Assistant Professor of Accounting

Retired Professor Bruce Gates was honored as Emeritus Faculty.

The Dean’s Award is presented to two students for academic, social, and professional contribution to the Atkinson community. The award is the highest individual honor that Atkinson bestows. The 2008 Dean’s Award recipients are:
John & SimonaSimona Bucur
John Rowe

Faculty awards were presented for:
Meritorious Service - Michael Dothan
Outstanding Teaching - Ken Murphy
Outstanding Scholarship - Lisbeth Claus

The 2008 Administrator of the Year was awarded to Director of Marketing, Russell Yost. The award for Meritorious Service to Students was presented to Tina Alexander.


Willamette MBA Students and Salem Young Pro's Clean Up Salem!

In cooperation with the Salem Area Young Professionals, Willamette MBA students, Michael Handfaculty and staff hit the streets of downtown Salem to assist with a major clean up effort on Friday, April 18th. Mayor Janet Taylor, Willamette President M. Lee Pelton, Atkinson Dean Debra Ringold and Executive Director Suzi Bicknell of Go Downtown! Salem all took time out of their busy schedules to kick-off the event on April 21st. More than 50 showed up to clean up litter, pull weeds, and spruce up the look of downtown streetscapes over a period of 2 hours. "People were honking, buying us pizzas, and asking questions as they walked by," said AJ Nash '05, MBA'06 of Integrity First Financial. "We had over 50 people there and we ended up picking up more than 30 pounds of litter and 425 pounds of Bae and Trowbridgedirt/weeds." The service project was a new addition to the annual Brownwater festivities and provided faculty, staff and students the opportunity to get their hands dirty to clean up the streets of Salem. The event was featured on both the Salem Young Professionals site as well as on the front page of the Local section of the Statesman Journal on April 19th. Pictured: (Upper right): Professor Mike Hand sweeping the streets. (Lower left): Bo Bae and Mikki Trowbridge pulling weeds.





Summer Events

Summer Lunch and Learn SeriesLunch and Learn


What are some of the most pressing issues facing today's managers and how do they deal with them? Join us this summer as our faculty lead discussions on some of the hottest business topics.

Presented at the Willamette University Portland Center and on the Salem Campus at the Hatfield Library from 11:30am-1:00pm (lunch is provided - discussions launch at noon).

Monday, June 9 - Salem - Hatfield Room

The importance of knowing how to communicate in a crisis
Featuring Professor Gary Conkling

Monday, June 23 - Portland Center

Why operational excellence is not a good strategy
Featuring Professor Edward J Warnock

Wednesday, July 10 - Salem - Hatfield room

Accounting every manager should know
Featuring Professor Nicole Thibodeau

Thursday, July 17 - Portland Center

Recruiting, Retaining and Rewarding Talent
Featuring Professor Lisbeth Claus

Learn more and RSVP online:

mid-summer gathering barbecue

Friday, July 18th, 5:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Atkinson School, Willamette University

AtkinsonJoin us for the Willamette MBA Mid-Summer Gathering and Barbecue at the Atkinson School. Visit with students, alumni, faculty, staff and incoming students. Families and guests are welcome. Make your reservations for the BBQ by noon, Wednesday, July 16th. RSVP at the Mid-summer Gathering web site.
This event coincides with the Salem Art Fair, one of Salem’s premiere events, that draws artists from around the country. Make sure to extend the mid-summer gathering festivities to include the Salem Art Fair that weekend.



May 26 Memorial Day
Jun 9 Summer Lunch and Learn Series - Salem
Jun 11 Oregon Ethics in Business Awards Dinner
Jun 16 Director of Admission Judy O'Neill's Birthday
Jun 20 Admission Counselor Desiree Vorhees' Birthday
Jun 23 Summer Lunch and Learn Series - Portland
Jun 26 Professor Ken Murphy's Birthday
Jun 27 Professor Michael Dothan's Birthday
Jul 4 Independence Day
Jul 10 Summer Lunch and Learn Series - Salem
Jul 13 Administrative Assistant/Reception Pam Nyburg's Birthday
Jul 17 Summer Lunch and Learn Series - Portland
Jul 18 Mid-Summer Gathering BBQ
Jul 31 Student Affairs Coordinator Bo Bae's Birthday
Aug 20-22 Compass Week
[ alumni events calendar ]


Career Services


Update from Director of Career Services: Beth Ursin

Job Market Update:Ursin

The job market continues to be tight, but AGSM alumni and friends have continued to forward information on openings and Atkinson students have been actively looking for jobs and internships. A recent poll of 37 first year students found an average of 3.2 internship interviews per student and a range from zero to 15. As of May 1 when the poll was complete, 38% of the class had accepted offers. Although we have not done this poll in prior years, my sense is that competition even for internships right now is very high. Competition for jobs is higher than in recent years, with only 34.2% of the graduating class having accepted offers by May 1, compared to 48% of the classes of 2007 and 2006 at May 1. (These interim statistics were collected according to MBACSC standards and will not be final until September 30, 2008.)

Students and graduates have accepted positions at the following companies among others:

AKT, LLC; Ashland Partners; Bonneville Power Administration; Hewlett Packard Company; Intel Corporation; Johnson & Johnson; Legacy Health Systems; Medical Teams International; Metro; Oregon Department of Administrative Services; Oregon Lottery; Oregon Secretary of State; PCC Structurals; Pioneer Pump; Powerworks LLC; Regence; Rubicon International; Standard Insurance; Tektronix; US Bank; Waggener Edstrom; and Xerox.

Thank you in advance for your continued help in forwarding jobs and internships at your organizations and encouraging your human resources staff and hiring managers to consider Willamette graduates.

Please join me in welcoming the 2008-2009 Peer Career Advisors:

Jessica A Balsam
Joshua Beatty
Nathan A Beil
Kristy A Bolsinger
Elena C Borquist
Kushal Chakrabarty
Raution K Jaiswal
Aminata Keita
Jill M Shitamoto

Upcoming Event: HR Basics - A Crash Course in Employment Law

Employment laws are complicated. A manager or supervisor’s mistake can result in costly employee lawsuits and liability for the company. An upcoming seminar will focus on the issues that are most likely to get an employer into trouble. Designed to give a big picture review in a short amount of time, this seminar will help avoid the many traps, potholes and land mines of employment law. The Salem SHRM/NHMRA Chapter will be holding a one-day seminar, titled "HR Basics - A Crash Course in Employment Law" at the Willamette University College of Law on Friday, June 6, 2008 from 8:30 AM - 4:00 PM. Featured speakers will include three Willamette University alumni: Randy Sutton, JD'93, Partner – Management Employment Law, Saalfeld Griggs; Patrice Altenhofen MM/JD'95, President - Cascade Employers Association; Jenna Reed MBA/JD'04 Director, Human Resource Development Services - Cascade Employers Association; as well as David Briggs, Associate at Saalfeld Griggs. For more information or to register, click here.


Executive Development Center


Register Today for “Building the Basics of Cost Accounting”- Presented this June

June 13-14, 2008
Willamette University Portland Center – Portland, Oregon

In Association with the Pacific Northwest Defense Coalition (PNDC)

Join managers from organizations throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington as Willamette University presents a special program on the basics of cost accounting.  Delivered by Professor Kenneth Smith of Willamette University’s Atkinson Graduate School of Management, the 1.5 day program will discuss the standards of cost accounting, new trends in reporting and budgeting and tools available to managers to make effective decisions.

For more information or to register, visit or send an e-mail to

Utility Management Certificate Program – Limited Availability for Fall 2008

Now is the time to register for the 2008 cohort of the Utility Management Certificate (UMC) program. The program allows participants to explore content presented by industry experts and network with their colleagues from gas and electric PUDs and IOUs in the northwest and beyond.

The program will be delivered at the Willamette University Portland Center in the fall of 2008.  Registration and additional information is now available online.

September 22-26 and October 20-24, 2008 (two week program)
Willamette University Portland Center – Portland, OR
Register online at or e-mail


Faculty News

2008 Atkinson Faculty Awards
Congratulations to this year’s Atkinson faculty award winners, announcedMichael Dothan at the Honors Ceremony on May 8th.

Award for Meritorious Service: Michael Dothan, Guy F. Atkinson Professor of Economics and Finance

MurphyLisbeth Claus
Award for Outstanding Teaching: Kenneth Murphy, Associate Professor of Information Systems

Award for Outstanding Scholarship: Lisbeth Claus, Professor of Global Human Resources and Interim Associate Dean


Bruce Gates

At the retirement party for Bruce Gates, we were pleased to announce the creation of an endowed scholarship in his honor: The Bruce Gates Scholarship Fund. A lead gift to begin the fund was given by an alumnus from the class of 1984 and a number of additional gifts have been added. Once the fund reaches $50,000, scholarships will begin to be awarded. Interested in contributing in honor of Bruce's retirement? Please donate securely on-line at (choose designation 'other' and type in 'Gates Scholarship') or send checks ATTN: Denise Crawford, Willamette University, 900 State Street, Salem OR 97301. Please note 'Gates Scholarship' on the check. As always, all gifts to the University are 100% tax deductible. For more information, contact Denise Crawford at 503.375.5439 or

Bruce Gates was recognized at the Honors Ceremony and Commencement as Emeritus Professor. Additionally, on May 8, the Statesman Journal featured an article about Bruce, his history with Willamette and his retirement. Download PDF of full article here.

BrownwaterA tradition continues! When a professor retires from the Atkinson Graduate School, it is a tradition for faculty and staff to take turns "walking through" the retiring professor's last class, leaving behind a small token, and continuing until the last class session has thoroughly been disrupted. This year, it was Bruce Gates' turn, as faculty staff and other emeritus professors, joined in the walk-through on Bruce's last class.


Rob WiltbankRobert Wiltbank's angel investing research was quoted in Business Week on April 17, 2008 in the article "How Angel Investors Get Their Wings." Excerpt from the article: "What sort of return can an angel expect? There's that rate of return of about 27%, on average, a result reached by professor Robert Wiltbank of Willamette University and Warren Boeker of the University of Washington in a study of 539 angels from 86 groups in North America from 1990 to 2007. The return figure comes from 1,137 "exits" during this time period through mergers and acquisitions, initial public offerings, bankruptcies, and shut doors." Read the full article here.

Fred Thompson will participate in the Naval Postgraduate School’s 5th Annual Fred ThompsonAcquisition Research Symposium – Acquisition Research: Creating Synergy for Informed Change – May 14-15, 2008 in Monterey, CA, as a plenary speaker on the panel on Academic Research on Contracting, Thursday, May 15, 2008 - 9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.




Staff News

Two distinguished Atkinson awards were presented to the following staff members at this year's Honor's Ceremony held on May 8th. The recipients were selected by a committee that reviews nominations by students, faculty, and staff.
Russ Yost

The 2008 Atkinson Administrator of the Year award was presented to Director of Marketing Russell Yost.



Tina Alexander

The 2008 Atkinson Award for Meritorious Service to Students was presented to Tina Alexander, Director, MBA for Professionals.




Student News


Students Celebrate End of the Year with Brownwater and Commencement

BrownwaterFestivities ensued over the last couple of weeks with the traditional Brownwater activities, starting with Casino Night on April 17 and ending with Bruce Gates' Retirement Party on April 19. This year, students and faculty proved their resilience to the weather, as it hailed and even snowed on those floating down Mill Creek in the annual Regatta. (Pictured: Joshua Beatty)

CommencementCommencement activities began with the annual Honors Ceremony on May 8 and concluded with the Hooding and Commencement activities on Sunday, May 11. 46 students participated in commencement, 10 of whom earned a JD/MBA, 8 earned an BA/MBA and 28 earned an MBA. Congratulations to all graduates!


“Be nice to people on your way up because you meet them on your way down.”

Jimmy Durante

This email newsletter was sent to members of the Willamette/Atkinson community and subscribers from the Atkinson Graduate School. If you wish to unsubscribe to ATKINSONews, simply reply or email with your request.

ATKINSONews is a monthly newsletter from the Atkinson Graduate School of Management of Willamette University, Salem, Oregon. It is distributed to the current Atkinson community, subscribed alumni and University administrators via email each month during the academic year.

Mission: As an effort to foster one of Atkinson’s significant purposes — to establish a close community — ATKINSONews’s mission is to provide an accurate and timely forum for disseminating current news and events involving the school and its current and former community members.

Acknowledgements: I thank the following contributors for this month’s issue: Russell Yost, Debra Ringold, Dan Olson, Patrick Pine, Alexandra Ness, Phil Allen, Kirsten Changstrom, Joey Razzano, John Lindquist, Mark Van Heuvel, Adam Heaton, Steve Maser, Bo Bae, Beth Ursin, and Tina Alexander.

Subscriptions: Recipients wishing to unsubscribe — excluding current community members — march do so by submitting your request to unsubscribe. Current Atkinson community members (faculty, staff and students) cannot unsubscribe but can instruct their email software to purge or block the newsletter via Message Filters (Netscape) or Message Rules (Microsoft) applications. And last, please update your email address with us when your email address changes.

Comments/Corrections/Suggestions: I encourage and appreciate that you send your thoughts, comments, criticisms, corrections or suggestions about ATKINSONews to Corrections will be addressed in the following issue and all your comments or suggestions will be thoughtfully considered.

Submissions: You may submit any news item pertaining to your academic life or significant personal milestones including (but not limited to) promotions, awards, accolades, engagements, marriages and babies. Also, if you know of a near future event you think might be of interest to the Atkinson community, submit that item as well. I will try to include all appropriate submissions as time and space allow. The deadline for submissions is Wednesday noon, the day before publication (see below). Please send your submissions electronically to ATKINSONews.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed herein are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect those of the Atkinson Graduate School Administration or Willamette University.

Newsletter Archives: Past editions of ATKINSONews are located online.

Thanks for reading. Aimee Akimoff, Compiler/Editor

Willamette University Willamette MBA (Atkinson School)