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

November 2010

Administrative News


Message from the Dean

Dean Debra RingoldDear Willamette MBA Community,

The autumn colors on campus are in full splendor and offer the perfect backdrop to all that fall has to offer.  From PACE presentations to Power Lunch speakers, the Atkinson School is buzzing with exciting activities.  This newsletter includes more information on upcoming events and programs – I hope you will join us.

The MBA for Professionals program will welcome a new cohort in Portland this January.  If you know anyone interested in starting their MBA journey in 2011, please contact the MBA for Professionals office ( before the December 1 deadline.  Thank you in advance for your referrals.

On behalf of the faculty and staff at Atkinson, I wish you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving.

Best Wishes,


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




Alumni News




Effective September 1, 2010, Roland Zapata MBA'08 accepted the position of Post Sales and Programs Product Manager for Xerox Worldwide. In this new role, Roland will be responsible for developing and implementing marketing campaigns for Xerox Color and Monochrome product lines.

G. Harvey Gail MBA'88 launched Spire Management, LLC. The company provides administrative services, event planning and leadership development consulting to NGO's, associations, and non profit organizations. Current clients include Financial Planning Association of Oregon & SW Washington, Salem City Club, Oregon Dental Hygienist's Association, and Green Meetings Industry Council, among others. Learn more at:

Ichiro NakajimaOn October 16th, Ichiro Nakajima MBA'05 and his wife, Etsuko, visited Atkinson from Japan and met with Associate Dean and Director of Admission, Judy O'Neill. Ichiro is currently based in Tokyo and does business development and communications for Room to Read, an international non-profit organization that Ichiro Nakajimahelps develop literacy around the world. The same day, Shawn Chen MBA'90 also visited Atkinson. Shawn founded SIAS Group, a small business trade school, the first American University in Central China. Pictured left (left to right): Etsuko Nakajima, Judy O'Neill and Ichiro Nakajima. Pictured right: Shawn Chen walking in front of the newly finished facade on the Mudd Building on campus.

CD CoverAJ Nash '05, MBA'06 is the co-founder of, an effort to create a public-private partnership with the goal of helping public school music programs become self-sustaining. The first CD has been completed with McNary High School and will be available at the release concert on November 16th, which is already SOLD OUT. Singles are available for download on the website and a follow-up show has been scheduled for November 18th.

Janell Anderson MBA'10 is a Social Media Marketing consultant for Portland-based web start-up CafeGive ( She also has designed a collection of greeting cards that can be found at and has a line of vegan, organic handmade soap that can be found at

Micah Baker MBA'09 started with Apple Inc. as a Solutions Architect on the Education Consulting Engineer Team in September, 2010. He is responsible for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad deployment designs for the US. Micah works out of a home office, but travels to customer sites across the country periodically to help design a solution that meets their unique requirements in education. "It is an exciting time to work with mobile devices as educational institutions begin to transition to digital textbooks and more 1-1 programs for students," says Micah.

Mark Brown MBA'03 is now an Operations Administrator at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. In his new role, he has the unique assignment of serving as the Clinic Division Administrator for Northfield Hospital & Clinics, a municipal-owned healthcare organization in Northfield, MN (home of St. Olaf and Carleton Colleges). Mark has overall responsibility for five primary care clinics -- and a number of other outreach relationships -- in Northfield and the surrounding region. Mark also recently earned the distinction of Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE). ACHE is an international professional society of more than 30,000 healthcare executives who lead our nation’s hospitals, healthcare systems and other healthcare organizations. Fellow status represents achievement of the highest standard of professional development. Mark and his wife, Amy, live in Rochester, MN with their five children.

Charlie Kirschbaum MBA'98 earned the Certified Manager of Quality / Organization Effectiveness certification from the American Society for Quality in October. He continues to work as a Senior Operations Manager for Kaiser Permanente in Denver, CO in the area of Membership Administration.

Atkinson Alum and Longtime Willamette Employee Retires

Suzanne KershIn May of 2009, Suzanne Kersh '78, MBA'86 retired after serving more than 35 years as the office administrator of Willamette's Department of Theatre. "I began my journey with Willamette just when the old gym was first being remodeled for the department and I retired just when it was being totally remodeled again," she said.  "It was very exciting to see the athletics building being transformed into a performance space the first time, and it has been doubly exciting to see what has now been done to make it a state-of-the art facility."  During the course of her career, Suzanne not only raised a family, but also completed her final year of undergraduate work at Willamette and earned her MBA from the Atkinson Graduate School of Management.

Suzanne estimates that she, as the department representative,  was on duty for two thousand or more performances over the course of the 35 years, to answer questions, to respond to unexpected events, to arrange for and supervise receptions, and to interface with the public.

At her surprise retirement party, an announcement was made that the new Theatre Green Room was dedicated to Suzanne as The Kersh Green Room, in recognition of her years of service and unique contributions.

After retiring, Suzanne discovered that she was the inheritor of multiple copyrights to a series of books written in the 1930’s by her uncle, Vic Hurley. Suzanne and her husband, Karol, decided to republish one of the books, Swish of the Kris. Through their research for the book, they discovered an extensive personal collection of photographs, weapons, clothing, and other Filipino artifacts previously owned by Vic, which he had donated to museums. Based on their research and travel in and around the northwest to visit these collections, the 2010 edition will now include never before published photographs and content. To learn more about this book and others written by Vic Hurley, you can visit Suzanne and Karol’s website at

"I haven't noticed that I have any more spare time now, than I did when I was working in the Department," says Suzanne, "and I certainly never intended to have another career which utilized my Atkinson research and marketing MBA skills."



Atkinson News


Rapid Prototyping Lab Arrives at Atkinson

RPDAtkinson has added a Rapid Prototyping Lab (RPL) to its portfolio of educational/business opportunities. As part of the entrepreneurship focus of the Atkinson curriculum, students and community members will soon gain the ability to build 3D models of their new product designs. The lab is housed in the Atkinson Annex. Learn more about Atkinson's Rapid Prototyping Lab at Entrepreneurs@Atkinson.


Atkinson Students and Alumni as Entrepreneurs

entrepreneursEntrepreneurship has always had a special place at Atkinson, with budding entrepreneurs creating new business ideas through PACE or starting up their own new venture with the help of Rob Wiltbank's New Ventures to Launch course. However, many alumni have also gone on to become successful entrepreneurs after their MBA studies. Follow along with the entrepreneurial ventures of both current students and alumni at Entrepreneurs@Atkinson. Here you can also read about Atkinson's new Angel Fund, an experiential learning program that brings MBA students into the deal flows of Angel Groups.




Upcoming Events

First Thursday

First Thursday Empowerment in Action Series

What are some of the most pressing issues facing today's managers and how do they deal with them? Join us every First Thursday in Portland as members of the Willamette University community lead discussions, share expertise and present research. Staff will be on hand to answer your questions about the MBA and Executive Development offerings at Willamette.

Russell YostDecember 2, 2010
"Conversation and Convergence: The Future of Advertising"
Presented by Russell Yost MBA'05, Contributing Assistant Professor


Though the television show Mad Men keeps the image of the Madison Avenue advertising agency alive, is traditional marketing long gone? The discussion will focus on how marketing communications has adapted to a new world of consumers, where media now supports niche conversations among customers and clients.

Learn More and Register Online


POWER Lunch SERIES: Learn. Interact. Connect.

Join Willamette University MBA faculty, staff, students and alumni for an interactive conversation with one of our distinguished Power Lunch presenters.

Dec 1st - Ron Silveira MAD'77, Vice President, NBC Universal

Ron SilveiraRon Silveira joined NBC Universal in July 2004 as Vice President of Universal Studios Digital Services. Silveira currently manages client services and administration for Universal Studios Digital Services, overseeing over 75 employees. Universal Studios Digital Services provides post production services for various NBC Universal departments, Universal Home Entertainment, Television Distribution, Feature Marketing and third party production clients. He is responsible for services related to studio mastering and duplication, production servicing and developing future growth opportunities. Read his full biography here.

Learn More and RSVP Online


Willamette Alumni Holiday Events

HolidayThe Willamette University Alumni Office is pleased to present two holiday events this year (one in Salem and one in Portland).  Join President Pelton and local alumni for a festive gathering celebrating the Holiday Season.

PORTLAND – December 13, 2010

5:30 – 7:30pm
Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects
1223 SW Washington Street, Suite 200
Portland, Oregon 97205

SALEM – December 16, 2010
5:30 – 7:30pm   
Kresge Theater Lobby (Campus Map)
Willamette University Campus
900 State Street, Salem, OR



Nov 23 Professor Nicole Thibodeau's Birthday
Nov 30 Professor Steve Maser's Birthday
Dec 2 First Thursday Empowerment in Action Series
Dec 10 Early Action 1 Application Deadline (Full-time MBA)
Dec 12 Office Manager Kim Baker's Birthday
Dec 13 Willamette University Alumni Holiday Party - Portland
Dec 16 Willamette University Alumni Holiday Party - Salem
Dec 25 Faculty Administrative Assistant Holly Carson's Birthday
Dec 27 Faculty Administrative Assistant Mary Stout's Birthday
Dec 24-Jan 3 Holiday Break - Offices Closed
Jan 9 Career Management Advisor Shelby Gould's Birthday
Jan 12 Budget and Accreditation Analyst Susan Chiapella's Birthday
Jan 22 MBA for Professionals Commencement
Jan 28 Northwest Consortium MBA Career Day

alumni events calendar
atkinson events calendar




Career Management


Update from the Career Management Team: Beth Ursin & Shelby Gould

Shelby GouldBeth UrsinFALL RECRUITING: This fall, several students in the class of 2011 have participated in fall recruiting with public accounting firms and national employers. Several others have received offers of employment from their internship supervisors. Early hires include positions with Deloitte, Bonneville Power Agency, AKT LLC, Ernst and Young, Target Corporation and Raytheon.

NSHMBANSHMBA Conference in Chicago: This year, four students attended the recent National Society for Hispanic MBA conference and Career Fair in Chicago where they actively interviewed with Fortune 500 employers for a variety of positions. The newly formed Portland Chapter was also officially recognized by the NSHMBA leaders as a 'Chapter in Formation.' NSHMBAAlum Evelyn Martinez MBA'10 was recruiting for Medtronic at the conference and joined Beth on Sunday for a tour of Chicago. Pictured above (left to right): Current students Yameen Ali, Luisana Solis, Portland chapter member from Intel and Shirley Rodriguez. Pictured (right): Evelyn Martinez MBA'10, recruiting for Medtronic and Beth Ursin.

CAREER CLOSE-UP: Informational Interview Day
On Friday, October 15th Career Management held its first Career Close-Up event at the Portland Campus, which had a record attendance of MBA candidates. We had over 15 employers represented: PECI, PCC Structurals, Geffen Mesher, Nike, Wy’East Medical, State Farm Insurance, The Regence Group, ODOT, State of Oregon - DHS, Portland Trail Blazers, Intel, Yogi Tea at Golden Temple, Portland Community College, Cadence Management Corporation, Three Questions Consulting, and Gen Cubed.

Among the employers we had a handful of Atkinson alumni representing their organizations: Robin [Peach] Gabel MBA'09 – Golden Temple, Kevin McClaughry MBA'91 - Intel, Tyler Stoddard MBA'08 – The Regence Group, and Nick Cottle MBA'10 – Nike. The MBA candidates conducted group informational interviews with the employers and ended the day with a panel highlighting tips on how to get involved in consulting and project management. We welcome Atkinson alumni to get involved in our future Career Close-Up events. Please contact Beth Ursin ( or Shelby Gould (
or by phone 503.370.6167.

Next Career Close-up Event: Mock Interviews (November 19th). Register at:



Executive Development Center


Coaching Series

Register Now - Career Management and Coaching Empowers Alums, Current Students and Local Executives

The Executive Development Center’s Career Management and Coaching Certificate included Willamette alumni, current students in the MBA for Professionals program and local executives during its first segment, held this past spring.  Each of the eight sessions encourage self reflection and professional analysis.  The result is a deeper understanding of career interests and a personal roadmap to success at work.

Sessions will be held in Portland this fall and in Salem next spring.  Those interested in participating are encouraged to contact the Executive Development Center at 503.370.6791.  Programs in Portland have already launched for Fall 2010.
Details and upcoming session dates available online:

**Special reception for those interested in the Certificate in Career Management and Coaching in Salem. Join us January 11, 2011 from 4:00-6:00pm in the Alumni Lounge on the Willamette University campus. Learn more about the program and meet instructors. Contact Judy Hampe for more information (**


Attorneys, Do You Speak Business? Looking to earn CLEs? Certificate in Business Lawyering Begins in January

Learn to combine legal expertise with strategic business principles through Willamette University's Certificate in Business Lawyering (CBL) program (  The program’s highly interactive and applicable curriculum benefits attorneys from any organization and practice area.  Become a better lawyer by talking about concepts the way your clients or colleagues think about them.

Testimonials from participants and attorneys familiar with the program:

"While associates do feel the hourly pressure the reality is that they will be much better business advisors if they put their legal work in a larger context. Solutions in business are what matter and the more you know about the competing interests in the company you are advising the better you can come to the [best] alternatives."

"I have attended a few similar courses in the past, and this course was far superior. I learned a great deal from this course."

"Best explanation of numbers that I have ever had. Interesting and engaging format."

"Straight forward, informative and interesting."

"I thought the program was extremely useful and left me with a great deal of knowledge that will be helpful not only in my practice area, but life in general. Well taught."

Sessions are taught by faculty from Willamette University's Atkinson Graduate School and College of Law.  The program is delivered at the Willamette University Portland Center in Portland's Pearl District.

A complete list of 2011 session dates and topics can be found on the CBL schedule website.  Oregon and Washington CLE credits are available.


Sustainability and management – Willamette presents the third annual Sustainable Enterprise Certificate Program

You probably recognize the recent buzz on sustainable processes and practices, corporate social responsibility, and “greening” within the larger global environment. Learn how your organization can channel that energy into coordinated action toward creating a more healthy and sustainable future.

The three session program is delivered on-site at the Willamette University Portland Center.  Sessions are supplemented with webinars on new topics in sustainability management. 

Each class will be conducted using a combination of methods:  These include presentations, small group exercises, guest practitioner/expert lectures and discussion, introduction to and practical application of tools and simulators, case studies, and time for individual work and reflection.

Program Dates: 
February 16-18, 2011 - System Dynamics
March 16-18, 2011 - Natural and Social Systems
April 13-15, 2011 - Moving Into Action

For more program information, visit




Faculty News


Fred ThompsonFred ThompsonFred Thompson published an article entitled "How to Privatize Public Enterprises" in Public Administration Review (Volume 70, Issue 6, November/December 2010: 964–967). Read the full article here. Pictured left: Fred Thompson presenting on a panel at a recent conference.


Wei WuRobert CouchRobert Couch and Wei Wu presented a research paper in October at the 2010 Financial Management Association's Annual Meeting in NYC: "Private Investment and Public Equity Returns." The paper studies asset pricing implications of the self-financing needs and hedging incentives of private business owners and provides a specification to explain a good share of the cross-sectional returns of size-, value- and distress-sorted equity portfolios. Read the full article here.

Mark AhnMark J. Ahn delivered the keynote address at the OSHU Technology Innovation Awards on Oct 28th. Prof. Ahn also published (with Ackerley, D., Davenport, S., & Bednarek, R.) 'Fodosine at IRL (Industrial Research Limited): From Invention to Innovation' in: Hunter, I. & Morris, K. (Eds) New Zealand Case Series: Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Auckland: Auckland University Press; and 'From Novel Biotechnology Platform to Globally Competitive Cancer Company: Proacta, Inc.' in the International Journal of Case Studies in Management.




Staff News


AlumniAlumniWillamette MBA recruiters have been busy representing the program at graduate school fairs, conferences and other events. This fall season, Willamette MBA was represented in 40 cities across the US and around the world. A new recruiting tour added this year was an international student recruitment tour in the Middle East. Director of Recruitment Aimee Akimoff visited 8 countries on the tour, including Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan, Dubai, and Egypt. Along the way, she met with alumni throughout the region, who assisted her at fairs and other recruiting events. If you are interested in assisting Willamette MBA as an alumnus, we welcome your input and participation. Please contact Aimee Akimoff at for more information.

Pictured above left (left to right): Abdulaziz Alyabes MBA'10, Majed Alharbi MBA'09, Aimee Akimoff at a student recruitment fair in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Pictured above right: Fadi Bouri MBA'06 and Aimee Akimoff at a fair in Dubai.



Student News



Tobi PopoolaOn October 14th, current Full-time MBA student Tobi Popoola was awarded the Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) designation. The Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) is a professional certification for information technology audit professionals sponsored by the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA). Since 1978, the CISA program has been the globally accepted standard of achievement among information systems (IS) audit, control and security professionals.


"The thing always happens that you really believe in; and the belief in a thing makes it happen."

Frank Lloyd Wright

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, Roland Zapata, Harvey Gail, Judy O'Neill, AJ Nash, Janell Anderson, Micah Bakaer, Mark Brown, Charlie Kirshbaum, Karol Kersh, Holly Carson, Shelby Gould, Fred Thompson, Wei Wu, Mark Ahn and Tobi Popoola.

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 week before publication. 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