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Willamette | MBA | Atkinson Graduate School of Management Willamette University Willamette MBA (Atkinson School)

May 2009

Administrative News


Message from the Dean

Dean Debra RingoldDear Willamette MBA Community,

Another academic year has passed and we are fast approaching our May Commencement.  This year, seventy-six graduates will join the ranks of our Willamette MBA alumni around the world.  I would like to take this opportunity to offer a special thank you to our faculty who have provided their knowledge, guidance and mentoring to these students.  Thanks also to all our alumni and friends who continue to support our students by enriching their time at Atkinson.

These graduates enter the professional world ready and prepared to make a difference and actively participate in business, government and non-profit organizations around the globe.  Given the challenging economy, it is especially important to come together as a community and support one another.  Please direct any job openings or internship opportunities to our Career Services staff.  We welcome your referrals and greatly appreciate any assistance you can offer.

Thank you for making the Willamette MBA a unique, challenging and rewarding experience.  Enjoy this newsletter, full of information on our alumni, graduates and upcoming events.  Please let us know if there is anything we can do to be of assistance.

Best Wishes,


Debra Debra J. Ringold, Dean and JELD-WEN Professor of Free Enterprise




In Memoriam - Honoring a Friend to the Atkinson Community

Sara Grace Ames Connor  March 5, 1943 – April 8, 2009

Sara Grace Ames Connor, named for both of her grandmothers, was born in Seattle, Washington on March 5th, 1943, to Margaret and Houghton Ames.  She grew up in West Seattle, attending Jefferson elementary, James Madison Junior High, and West Seattle High schools.  While attending the University of Washington, she became engaged to Patrick Connor.  They were subsequently married September 7th, 1963.

Soon became a seven-year journey:  Four months into their marriage, they moved to Minneapolis-St.Paul, Minnesota.  Then it was to West Lafayette, Indiana; on to San Diego, California, where son Michael was born; back to Seattle, where daughter Kristen was born; settling at the beginning of 1971 in Corvallis, where son Frank was born.  There Sara became the consummate homemaker -- skilled chef, crafts-person of many talents, including learning about and then producing many beautiful works of stained glass.  She was the well-known "handy-man" of her household, doing all those things that keep a house healthy:  painting, plumbing, and sundry fixing.  She was a whiz.

More than homemaking, Sara's home became a center of fun, crafts, and activities for her children and their friends.  Whether a semi-organized craft group of girls, or a place that a son's friend felt comfortable dropping in to take a shower (true fact), Sara and her home were always a source of comfort and safety.

During most of her Corvallis days Sara was a committed volunteer in the local FISH charity, beginning with fielding phone calls in the middle of the night to arranging for food, shelter, fuel, and so forth for those in need.

Along with all that, she took up and excelled at the game of tennis.  An active member of Timberhill Racquet Club, she participated in many games, both casual and USTA-league.  A wicked forehand and a shameless drop shot were hallmarks of her game.

One Sunday afternoon in early 2001, she asked Patrick:  "You work in Salem and all of our children and grandchildren live in Portland.  Why, other than our friends -- and of course inertia – do we live in Corvallis?"  There being no compelling answer, they moved to Lake Oswego in August 2001.  She delighted in the city, in being close to her family, in having easy access to downtown Portland, and in continuing her tennis, now at Lake O's Mountain Park Racquet Club, where she made many new friends in her 6 1/2 years' active membership.

Sara also loved to travel.  Together with Patrick she took a number of trips around the U.S.; lived for a year in Vancouver, B.C., taking the opportunity to explore British Columbia; visited friends in Europe several times; and made at least three extended excursions to Japan.

She is survived by her husband of 45 years, Patrick Connor of Lake Oswego; son Michael of Portland, daughter Kristen Bruce and son-in-law Matthew of Cornelius, son Frank of Corvallis and Colville, Washington; grandchildren Zachary, Kristina, Nathan, Lucas, Lucretia, and Frank; brother Griffin Ames and sister-in-law Esther of Bremerton, Washington; aunt Beatrice Darlington of Pleasant Grove, Utah; mother-in-law Jean Connor of Lake Oswego; one niece, one nephew, two grand-nieces, two grand-nephews, and one great-grandniece.

And here is how she would want this notice to end:  she greatly loved, and was immensely proud of, her wonderful children and grandchildren, and she wished them continual love, peace, and joy.

A memorial service was held at Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church on Friday, April 17, 2009. Please make remembrances to Providence St. Vincent Medical Foundation / Hospice Fund, 9205 SW Barnes Road, Portland 97225.


Alumni News



Tatiana Perry M'00, L'00 of Tonkon Torp LLP, was honored as one of this year's "Forty under 40" award winners by the Portland Business Journal. Additionally, Joshua Caldwell MBA'06 of S.D. Deacon, Judy Hutchison MBA'08 of Capital Pacific Bank, Russell Yost MBA'05 of Willamette University were all recognized as runners-up in this year’s award listing. The award recognizes young and talented business leaders in the Portland region who are making significant contributions in their field of expertise, and will be making an impact in the community in the coming years. Those recognized are selected based on professional accomplishment, community involvement, and professional recognition. The awards are presented each spring at the Gerding Theater at the Armory in Portland's Pearl District and has been sponsored by the Willamette University MBA for the past three years.

Juan Aguiar JD/MBA'02 recently returned to his home country of Ecuador near the end of last year to begin his own practice. His website is available at: Juan is available for online legal research of various matters including Oregon law (with experience researching family law matters, civil procedure, contracts) and federal law (with experience researching labor and employment law issues, immigration law, and tax law issues for expats in Ecuador). While working at Schlumberger as Contracts Manager, Juan developed an expertise in oilfield service contracts, reviewing and negotiating terms and conditions with some of the largest players in the oil industry. He can also provide translation services, especially of legal documents (English to Spanish and vice versa).


GolfBob Jones '70, MAD'76 retired from the Oregon Department of Education in 2004 and spent the intervening years writing his book, Better Recreational Golf, featured at It was written for Atkinson grads busy with their family and career who would still like to play a good game of golf.




Ekaterine Dzneladze MM'99 has been working with Wrigley Georgia Limited, LLC as its Finance Manager since July 2006. Wrigley Georgia is the Caucasus subsidiary of the Wrigley Company ( "It has been quite challenging," writes Ekaterine. "It is probably the first job since I graduated from Atkinson that requires the higher knowledge I gained there."



Atkinson News


HP Executive to Speak at Willamette MBA May Commencement


JoshiVyomesh (VJ) Joshi, executive vice president of the Imaging and Printing Group (IPG) at Hewlett-Packard, will deliver the commencement address at the 2009 Atkinson Graduate School of Management Commencement and Hooding Ceremony on Sunday, May 17.

HP’s Imaging and Printing Group is a $29 billion annual revenue business that encompasses inkjet, LaserJet and commercial printing, printing supplies, digital photography, entertainment, graphics and managed services.  In the last seven years under VJ’s leadership, IPG has grown revenue from $19 billion to $29 billion and doubled its operating profit to more than $4 billion.

VJ joined HP in 1980 as a research and development engineer and has held various leadership positions. He holds a master’s degree in electrical engineering from Ohio State University. VJ has also been a member of the Yahoo! board of directors since 2005.


Debra J. Ringold Wins “Orchid Award” at Portland Business Journal Event


Debra J. Ringold, Dean and JELD-WEN Professor of Free Enterprise, has been named one of the most outstanding women of the year by the Portland Business Journal. The annual "Orchid Awards" was presented during the Women in Business Expo at the Oregon Convention Center on April 23, 2009.

Ringold was honored for her commitment to community service, civic engagement and a desire to advance the role of women in business throughout Oregon and Southwest Washingon.

In conjunction with the Expo, Willamette University Alumni Career Services and the Willamette University MBA presented a special, invitation-only reception entitled "Celebrate Willamette Women!" The event was so successful next year’s reception is already in the works.

During the presentation, the Willamette MBA program announced the Oregon Women MBAs, a local chapter of the National Association of Women MBAs (NAWMBA).  Those interested in joining the Oregon Women MBAs can sign up for the mailing list at, or connect with the new chapter through Facebook or LinkedIn.  The official chapter launch will take place in fall 2009.


The MBA Going Green – The Atkinson School is Recognized for Sustainability


SustainabilitySustainability and stewardship extends to the Atkinson Graduate School of Management, recently recognized by Oregon Business as a “Top 100 Green Organization” for 2009.  The Atkinson School was also profiled in the Aspen Institute’s Beyond Grey Pinstripes survey as a top 100 management program in the U.S. for a commitment to corporate social responsibility and environmental sustainability.  Programs and initiatives geared towards sustainability are available through Atkinson’s MBA programs and through non-degree certificates and special sessions.

The goal of the Atkinson School’s efforts is for organizations to view sustainability from a system-wide perspective, creating actionable objectives for incorporating sustainability initiatives into strategic planning.  Two programs launched this spring include the Sustainable Enterprise Certificate and Learning and Leading for Sustainability.  Both programs are open to managers from any industry or any sector, offering an excellent forum for collaboration.

This fall, Atkinson will also introduce an area of interest in Sustainable Management as part of the full-time MBA program, with at least two new courses: Sustainability Management and Scientific Tools for Sustainability.


International Visitors Learn About Public Policy and Management Education


International VisitorsIn April, the World Affairs Council of Oregon, in conjunction with the U.S. State Department, brought 15 international visitors to the Atkinson School.  The goal was to learn about the opportunities available for public policy and management education in the United States.

Atkinson staff and faculty discussed various program options at the school, including the Certificate in Public Management (CPM) program.  Program Manager Susan Wilson MBA’77, the retired Administrator for the Department of Human Services, described the CPM’s impact on local, state and federal agencies through its 10 year history.  The program now has a legacy in the State of Oregon, providing essential training and development for managers and helping to address issues around succession planning.

The guests also had the opportunity to interact with a panel of current MBA students, many representing the same host country as the visitors.  Students shared what brought them to the Atkinson School, how they planned on utilizing their Willamette MBA and how studying in the U.S. differed from their home countries.

For more information on the Certificate in Public Management program, visit





Brownwater a Success!

BrownwaterAtkinson would like to give a huge THANKS to our 2009 Atkinson Student Association for organizing and coordinating a successful Brownwater. The Brownwater tradition continued with a few additional events: TNO 80s Rock Band, Golf Tournament, Bush Park Picnic, Casino Night, Choate's 5/10k Run, Portland Social, and Mill Creek Float. BrownwaterSpecial thanks go to the following individuals who made it all happen (pictured above, left to right): Kelly Intile, Nancy Garcia, Nick Cottle, Natalie Svaren, Amber Revoir, Diana Ursachi, Patrick Wells, and Anna Higley. As well as Gurpreet Hundal and Mike Martinez (not pictured).

Please mark your calendars for next year's Brownwater: April 22 - 24, 2010.


Upcoming Events



Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Atkinson Graduate School of Management will award 76 MBA degrees in a ceremony at 9 a.m. in Hudson Hall in the Mary Stuart Rogers Music Center. Vyomesh (VJ) Joshi, executive vice president of the Imaging and Printing Group at Hewlett Packard, will deliver the commencement address. About 31 percent of the graduates are international students, originating from 10 countries. The class includes 36 women and 40 men.

Congratulations graduates!


Summer Lunch and Learn Series

Learn. Interact. Connect.

SummerWhat are some of the most pressing issues facing today's managers and how do they deal with them? Join us for our Summer Lunch and Learn Series in Portland and Salem as Willamette University's top management professors lead discussions, share expertise and present research. Our Empowerment in Action series allows you to experience why the MBA and Executive Development programs at Willamette can take your career and your experience to new heights.

11:30am - Networking
12:00pm - Presentation and Discussion
1:00pm - Wrap Up

Willamette University Portland Center
1120 NW Couch Street, Suite 450
Portland, Oregon 97239

Willamette University Main Campus
Hatfield Library - Hatfield Room (Building #24 on Campus Map)
900 State Street
Salem, Oregon 97301


June 9 , 2009 - SALEM
"Social Networks for Managers: The Choreography of Successful Technological Innovation" with Professor Polly Rizova

June 10, 2009 - PORTLAND
"Social Networks for Managers: The Choreography of Successful Technological Innovation" with Professor Polly Rizova

July 13, 2009 - SALEM
"Participation:  The New Era in Business and Politics" with Professor Paul Dwyer

July 16, 2009 - PORTLAND
"Servant Leadership" with Professor Geoff Guilfoy

[RSVP Online]



Mid-Summer Gathering and BBQ


Join us for a midsummer night's tradition - Willamette MBA style. Share in the food, fun and good company of prospective students, current students, alumni, faculty and staff.

eventsDate: Friday, July 17, 2009

Time: 5:30pm-7:30pm

Location: Atkinson Graduate School of Management, Willamette University Campus - Salem, Oregon [map]

events RSVP ONLINE - BBQ Only

events RSVP ONLINE - BBQ and Information Session (see below)

Pre-BBQ Information Session

Know someone who is interested in learning more about the Willamette University Early Career MBA, MBA for Career Change or MBA for Professionals? Invite them to join us before the Mid-Summer Gathering for a special question and answer session with alumni, current students and our MBA admissions team (starting at 4:00pm).



May 14 Atkinson Honors Ceremony
May 17 Commencement
Jun 9 Summer Lunch and Learn Series - Salem
Jun 10 Summer Lunch and Learn Series - Portland
Jun 16 Director of Admission Judy O'Neill's Birthday
Jun 20 Admission Counselor Desiree Vorhees' Birthday
Jun 27 Professor Michael Dothan's Birthday
Jul 2 Professor Wei Wu's Birthday
Jul 13 Administrative Assistant & Receptionist Pam Nyburg's Birthday
Jul 13 Summer Lunch and Learn Series - Salem
Jul 16 Summer Lunch and Learn Series - Portland
Jul 17 Mid-Summer Gathering and BBQ
Jul 29 Senior Program Assistant Tori Gustaveson's Birthday
Aug 7 Professor Elliot Maltz' Birthday
[ alumni events calendar ]


Career Services


Update from Career Services: Beth Ursin & Shelby Gould



Shelby GouldBeth UrsinEmployee Engagement and the Economy

The Gallup Management Journal recently produced an article titled “The Economic Crisis: A Leadership Challenge” on February 12, 2009. In this article, the author, Jennifer Robison, gives managers specific action items that you as a manager can do to improve engagement at your organization noting that “research by Gallup and others shows that boosting engagement links to financial performance in several ways”. During a recession, such as this, employees are uncertain about their future, which breeds fear and could lead to disengagement. To keep them engaged, Robison notes that managers should heed the “Twelve Elements of Great Management,” which are based on Gallup research in employee engagement. These twelve practices include showing appreciation for an employees work, letting them know that they are valued, having clear expectations and providing an opportunity to do their best every day. What’s sad is that previous research by Gallup in good economic times indicates that only 29% of the workforce is engaged in work, 54% is not engaged and 17% is actively disengaged. All managers should aim to improve the engagement of their staff.

So, what does this mean for the job searcher of 2009? It means that as you consider alternatives and offers, keep in mind the “Twelve Elements of Great Management” and look for jobs where the expectations of you are clear, where you’ll have an opportunity to do your best and receive recognition for what you contribute. I highly recommend this article.

Interim Career Statistics

Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve had a lot more internship postings and things are looking good for the class of 2010, with 68% having committed to internships or summer programs as of May 13th. The graduates of the class of 2009, with 38% employment, are continuing to actively search for jobs with some considering projects and internships as interim solutions while they continue to look for the ‘right’ job. Here’s a bit about the class of 2009 preparing to graduate this week:

  • Class Size: 76
    • Mean GMAT – 600
      • Female – 38%
        • Male – 62%
          • US – 68%
            • International – 32%
              • Mean Age – 26
                Undergraduate majors in…
                • Liberal Arts, Humanities and other Social Sciences – 47%
                  • Economics – 22%
                    • Math, Science, Computer Science & Engineering – 8%
                      • Business – 23%

                        These students are seeking careers in human resources, marketing, finance, investments, non-profit and public management as well as operations and project management. Please keep these graduates and current students in mind should you have a project in your office or hear of an opening.



                        Executive Development Center


                        Sustainable Enterprise Certificate Program – One Session Open for Registration

                        This Certificate Program takes a unique approach to presenting the interconnectedness of social, economic, and environmental well-being. This is done in a way that will integrate all areas of sustainability by first focusing on the dynamics of complex systems, followed by a practical look at social systems and how the expansion of social well-being ties directly to economic and environmental well-being.

                        June Session:  June 4-5

                        Register online at


                        Utility Management Certificate Program - Accepting Registrations for Fall 2009

                        The Utility Management Certificate Program is now accepting registrations for the next cohort, in Portland, Oregon this fall. The program consists of two, week-long sessions separated by three weeks.

                        This highly interactive and integrative training program emphasizes and develops management theories and skills as applied to the utility industry. It provides substantial coursework in managing regulations, stakeholders, IT and human resources, opportunities and risks, as well as understanding a utility from a financial standpoint.

                        Location: Willamette University Portland Center, 1120 NW Couch Street, Suite 450 (Portland)

                        Program Dates: September 21-25 and October 19-23, 2009 (Two Week Program)

                        Register online at





                        Faculty News


                        Rob WiltbankRob Wiltbank was honored to receive the United Methodist Award for Exemplary Teaching and Service at the Willamette University Annual Faculty Awards Ceremony on April 23rd. This honor celebrates not only the extraordinary impact a professor can have inside the classroom; it also recognizes the dramatic role a faculty member can have with our community.

                        Steve MaserFred ThompsonSteve Maser and Fred Thompson will participate in the 6th Annual Acquisition ResearchSymposium, which will be held May 12-14 at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey CA. Fred will also speak at the 13th Annual International Society for New Institutional Economics Conference, June 18-20 at the Walter A. Haas School of Business, University of California at Berkeley.




                        Staff News


                        Please join us in welcoming Debi Canales to the MBA for Professionals. Debi will be assisting the MBA for Professionals team on Wednesdays. Debi is a native Portlander. She lives in outer Southeast Portland. Debi and her husband celebrated their 31st wedding anniversary on St. Patrick's Day. They have two daughters, Caitlyn and Cassandra. Caitlyn is an MBA Candidate at Willamette University. Cassandra is earning her bachelors degree at Pacific Lutheran University in elementary education. Debi has two Boston Terriers and two rescued cats. Debi retired from a 30 year career in the printing industry where she enjoyed the evolution from letter press to digital mediums. She is a volunteer and advocate for the Amateur Softball Association Junior Olympic Girls Program. Debi serves on the board of her neighborhood association.




                        Student News


                        Nick CottleNick CottleFull-time MBA student Nick Cottle and his wife Lexie are proud to announce the birth of Brizban Jean Cottle, born on April 30, 2009 at 7:35 PM weighing 7 lbs. 2 oz. and measuring 19 inches in length.


                        MBA for Professionals students Sarah Grosvenor '06 and Freddy Perryman '06 were married Sunday, April 26, 2009 on the slopes of Mt. Hood.

                        Full-time MBA student Grant Leslie was chosen for the J.H. Booth Award at the Willamette University Athletic Awards Night on Tuesday, May 5. This award is presented each year to the senior male athlete who most exemplifies and demonstrates outstanding leadership, scholarship and athleticism.

                        Current Full-time MBA student, Jeff Goodwin and his wife, Stephanie are expecting their second child, a baby boy on July 23rd.

                        Diana UrsachiFull-time MBA student, Diana Ursachi, was selected to attend this year's Fulbright Enrichment Seminar in New York City at the beginning of April. The Seminar brought together Fulbright students from over 60 countries, was 4 days long and consisted of panels, community work and team projects on sustainable policy proposals in the areas of Health, Education, Economic Development and Environment. "I had the wonderful opportunity of leading the health Diana Ursachicare team in crafting a project on 'Reducing the number of victims (direct and collateral) of sexually transmitted diseases," writes Diana. "It was surprising to see, by the end of the day, that people majoring in arts, finance, physics, political science and medicine put together a viable plan for managing such a policy. It was also mind opening to see how people from so many countries can communicate, work, have fun and dance together in the biggest Chinese restaurant I've ever seen!"

                        Diana was also recently selected to represent Atkinson on the Willamette Sustainability Council for the academic year 2009-2010. The selection was made based on an open application process.


                        “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”

                        Eleanor Roosevent

                        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, Beth Ursin, Shelby Gould, Patrick Connor, Josh Caldwell, Juan Aguiar, Bob Jones, Fred Thompson, Nick Cottle, Sarah Grosvenor, Jeff Goodwin and Diana Ursachi.

                        Subscriptions: Recipients wishing to unsubscribe — excluding current community members — must 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