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

Summer 2011

Administrative News


Message from the Dean

PhotoDear Willamette MBA Community,

The beautiful northwest summer is here and our staff is busy preparing for new classes in all our programs this fall. 

The MBA for Professionals (in Salem and Portland) and Full-Time MBA programs are still reviewing applications.  Please connect with Tina Alexander and Lisa Hylton (MBA for Professionals) or Aimee Akimoff (Full-Time MBA) if you know someone interested in starting their MBA this fall.

We are pleased to welcome three new faculty members to the Willamette MBA community:

  • Ashley Nixon will join us as an Assistant Professor of Human Resources and Organizational Behavior after completing her Ph.D. at the University of South Florida.
  • Kawika Pierson will join us as an Assistant Professor of Accounting after completing his Ph.D. at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  • Tim Johnson will join us as a Visiting Professor of Public Management after completing his Ph.D. at Stanford University.

Ashley, Kawika and Tim will begin their service this fall.  More information about their background and research will appear in the September edition of ATKINSONews.

Enjoy the summer, wherever your travels take you. 

Best Wishes,


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




Alumni News




PhotoOn, August 7, 2011 Keith Pulley MBA'02 married Heather Pulley (formerly Reimann) at the Rhododendron Garden in SE Portland, Oregon. Charlie Wollf '01, MBA'08 and Annie Wolff '02 were in attendance. Keith also accepted a position with Fisher Investments in Vancouver, WA on March 15th, 2011. Heather works for BPA in Vancouver. The couple currently resides in SE Portland with their dog Roux.


PhotoMatt Benjamin '02, MBA'05 and Lauren Fletchall '03 wed on Saturday June 18th, 2011 at Mt. Hood Bed & Breakfast in Parkdale, OR. Several Willamette alumni and Atkinson alum, Dave Parry MBA'05 were in attendance to celebrate the occasion. Matt and Lauren met at Willamette undergrad, where they became friends. "After I graduated, we lived across the street from each other and that is where the romance began," writes Matt. "Nine and half years later, we got married!" The couple plans to honeymoon in Greece in September.




PhotoMark Green MBA'92 recently published a book, Inside the Multi-Generational Family Business, which provides an inside look at how familial relationships affect the success or the failure of the family business. Many family business owners encounter conflict between siblings, children, and other relatives—especially when they're all involved with the business. Mark's message in the book is simple: family businesses today are saddled with "generational stack-up," or the convergence of several generations as owners, managers, employees, and shareholders, often without even knowing it. Each generation has its own work style, biases, and approach to money and business. Through detailed analysis of the various generations and the characteristics that define them in the family business, a more comprehensive understanding of the dynamics of the family in the family business can move the multi-generational family business from chaos and conflict to true collaboration and improved performance. Mark is currently the Principal of The Family Business Consulting Group, Inc. View Mark's new book here.

PhotoChristopher J. Boman JD/MBA'98, partner of Fisher & Phillips LLP, Irvine, California office is listed in Southern California Rising Stars as one of the top attorneys in the region for 2011. He has received this honor based upon his high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. Boman has received this recognition five times. Rising Stars is part of Super Lawyers®, a Thomson Reuters business and rating service of outstanding lawyers. Boman focuses his practice on defending employment-related lawsuits, including multi-party complex and class action litigation and claims of harassment, retaliation and discrimination, wrongful termination, workplace violence and prevailing wage issues. Boman also provides compliance and liability prevention training and is a frequent speaker for trade groups, private employers and associations.

Jay P. Desai MBA'89 completed the two-month AMP degree (Advanced Management Program) from the Harvard Business School in Boston, in May 2011.

Nathan Isaacs MBA'09 joined the Portland area law firm, Jordan Ramis PC, as its marketing manager. He also graduated from the Leadership Beaverton program.

After running sales and marketing at BigToys Inc. for three years, Matt Haugh MBA'03 has taken a new role as Director of Community at Meshin, a technology start-up inside Xerox PARC (Palo Alto Research Center). Matt continues to live in Olympia, WA with his wife Kaylene and 8-year-old son Owen.

Casey Wolf JD/MBA'04 accepted the position of Hedge Fund Manager for the Texas County & District Retirement System in Austin, TX. TCDRS net assets are $17.7 billion as of December 31, 2010.

PhotoElena Noyes '08, MBA'09, pictured left, was chosen as a demonstrator for the Smithsonian Folklife Festival held on the National Mall, D.C. on June 30th. Elena will accompany one of the Tongan artists, Mele (pictured bottom right), to the Festival where she will be weaving in the traditional and modern Tongan way. Elena is currently using her MBA education as a Peace Corps Volunteer, advising the Tonga Development Bank and the Langafonua Gallery and Handicraft Centre, a well-established handicraft shop in downtown Nuku'alofa. She supports the artistic and economic development of the artisans of the Langafonua Gallery and is working to raise Photoawareness of traditional and modern Tongan craft. "Among Volunteers and the local community, I'm known as 'the handicraft Volunteer.' I love my work at Langafonua Gallery, supporting the artistic and economic development of the artisans involved, and am always looking for new ways to raise the value and public awareness of traditional and modern Tongan craft. One of the most prominent artists associated with Langafonua Gallery is Mele, the weaving demonstrator at the Festival, and she and I are thrilled to show the beauty of Tongan craft to the international Festival crowd."

Clean Water Services has named Diane Taniguchi-Dennis MBA'08 Deputy General Manager to manage the day-to-day operations of the water resource management utility providing wastewater and stormwater services to more than 527,000 residents of urban Washington County. Diane will join the District fulltime on August 1. She most recently served as Public Works Director for the City of Albany where she has earned a national reputation for her leadership and innovative approach to managing water, wastewater, drainage, and transportation systems.


Atkinson News


“Like” the New Willamette University MBA Page on Facebook

PhotoKeep up-to-speed on the latest news, events, photos and activities in the Willamette MBA program by connecting with us on Facebook!  “Like” our new page by clicking this link.


Willamette MBA Students Featured in the Latest Issue of The Scene

PhotoOregon is beautiful - but how do we manage land and growth? Willamette MBA students in the PACE program partnered with three Willamette alumni at the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development.  Their task was to find effective ways to track and explain land management initiatives to a broader audience.

Read the complete article online.


Oregon Ethics in Business – And the Winners Are…

PhotoOn June 15, the Oregon Ethics in Business (OEIB) Awards honored organizations and individuals who have gone beyond the expected in their commitment to ethics, stewardship and sustainability.  The Willamette MBA program is pleased to serve as a founding partner of the OEIB awards along with the Rotary Club of Portland. 

Business Recipient: Dave's Killer Bread
Non-Profit Recipient:  DePaul Industries
Individual Recipient:  Dr. Donna Beegle

Nominate an outstanding business, non-profit and individual for the 2012 OEIB awards online now.


Atkinson Celebrates Graduates, Faculty and Staff at Honors Ceremony

2011 student inductees to Atkinson Honors, Beta Gamma Sigma and Pi Alpha Alpha include:

Aimee Akimoff *+•
Sara Barnes *+•
Quinn Burke *+•
Scott Cantonwine +•
Elizabeth Cheng +•
Jeremy Faure *
Trevor Gamache +•
Phung Tan Hai Trieu *+•
Michael Martinez *+•
Anna-Lisa Miller *+•
Robert Powers *+•
Aaron Reber *+•
Thiru Sathiamoorthy +•
Ann Sinclair *+•
Ashlee Stoeger *+•
Bakhtear Talukdar *+•
Akkadet Udomsirithamrong +•
Alina Vaynberg *+•
Sakina Vohra +•
Wenxian Wu *+•
Si Wei Zhang *+•
Yi Zhang *+•
* Atkinson Honors (3.8+ gpa)
+ Pi Alpha Alpha (top 20%, minimum 3.7 gpa)
• Beta Gamma Sigma (top 20%)

Shelby Gould who was honored as Administrator of the Year.

Faculty were nominated by students, faculty, staff, and administrators and selected by the Faculty Personnel Committee for the following:

2011 Outstanding Scholarship: Mark Ahn
2011 Award for Meritorious Service: Michael Dothan
2011 Award for Meritorious Service to Students: Henry Bi
2011 Award for Excellence in Teaching: Nicole Thibodeau





Annual Mid-Summer Gathering and BBQ - Friday, July 15



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.

Date: Friday, July 15, 2011
Time: 5:00pm-7:30pm

Willamette University Campus - Salem, Oregon
Atkinson Graduate School of Management - Seeley G. Mudd Building Patio

RSVP Online

*Note:  Due to the Cycle Oregon event, parking is limited around Willamette’s campus the evening of July 15.  Please park in the lots adjacent to the Mudd Building off Winter Street and exit/enter campus from Bellevue St./Pringle Parkway.  Map


MBA for Professionals Commencement - Sunday, September 11

Sunday, September 11, 2011

2:00 Ceremony Cone Chapel
3:00 Reception Mary Stuart Rogers Music Hall

Commencement Speaker: Darcy Winslow, Principle at Designs for a Sustainable World



Jul 15 Mid-Summer Gathering (Salem)
Aug 7 Professor Elliot Maltz' Birthday
Aug 16-19 Compass Week (Full-time MBA)
Sep 8 Dean Debra Ringold's Birthday
Sep 10 Professor Mike Hand's Birthday
Sep 11 MBA for Professionals Commencement

alumni events calendar
atkinson events calendar




Career Management


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

Willamette's 2011 MBA graduates are better off than the class of 2010 or 2009, with Oregon's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for May 2011 down to 9.3% compared to 10.9% in May of 2010. It may be due to the market, but also likely due to AGSM's strategy of continuing our marketing and employer outreach during the years when Oregon's companies weren't hiring, that is paying off as we start to rebound from the recession.

This year, our 2011 and 2012 graduates have gone to work in accounting and consulting for employers such as Avanade, AKT LLC, Crowe Horwath, Deloitte, Ernst & Young and Price Waterhouse Coopers. They have also been successful securing positions in technology firms such as Hewlett Packard Company, Intel Corporation, Lattice Semiconductor, Mentor Graphics, Raytheon and T-Mobile and in clothing firms such as Columbia Sportswear, Levi Strauss and Nike. Public and not-for-profit employers have included many agencies within the State of Oregon, Ecotrust, Oregon Humane Society, City of Salem, Legacy Health System, Providence, Salem Health and Union Gospel Mission.  Interim employment statistics at 45 days after graduation indicate a trend up from last year with 62% of the class of 2011 employed at 45 days compared to 59% last year and already 77% of the class has received offers compared to only 65% last year at this time.

While employment statistics do look better, there are still quite a few students and graduates looking for full-time work, projects and internships and we thank you for continuing to keep a look-out for openings that might be appropriate for MBA students and graduates. I know that our alumni base has been instrumental in providing informational interviews and letting us know of job openings in the area. This year, we're increasing our outreach to Seattle and San Francisco areas, so please let us know of organizations that we might consider visiting in our outreach.




Executive Development Center


Limited Spots Remain: Utility Management Certificate Program

The popular Utility Management Certificate program will be offered in Portland starting in September.  Only a few spots remain in the 2011 cohort – contact the Executive Development Center as soon as possible if you are interested in this exciting program.

Program Dates (delivered over two weeks):  September 19-23 and October 17-21

For more details, visit:




Faculty News


PhotoFormer professor Mark Ahn presented a paper co-authored with Larry Ettner titled, Values-Based Leadership: Enduring Lessons from the Aeneid in Athens Greece, at the conference, Leadership Management in a Changing World on June 10, 2011. In addition, Larry Ettner and Mark Ahn's case 'Wrangling Along: Governance and Leadership Principles and Applications" was accepted for publication in Cases of Contemporary Challenges in Corporate Governance to be published late summer 2011.

PhotoProfessor Steve Maser presented a paper and chaired a panel at the meetings of the International Society for the New Institutional Economics at Stanford University, June 17 and 18. The paper, prepared with Fred Thompson and Vlad Subbotin MBA'10 was entitled, "The GAO's Bid Protest Mechanism: Effectiveness and Fairness in Defense Acquisitions." He chaired a panel on government regulation of business. He also will present a paper entitled "Organizational Economics and Lessons from Administrative Appeals in the U.S. Department of Defense Contracting" at the July, 2011, Business and Economics Society International Conference in Split, Croatia.

PhotoThe International Public Management Journal, a journal Professor Fred Thompson started at Atkinson 14 years ago was included in the SSCI two years ago. This year for the first time it was included in the SSCI journal rankings. "We just got the new impact factors and in the 1 year impact factor category, which is the only category IPMJ would be eligible for," writes Professor Thompson, "IPMJ has an impact factor of 1.9. That places it third among public policy and administration journals, only marginally behind JPAM (2.2) and JPART (2.1)." Professor Thompson thanks those who contributed to the journal, helped get it started, and who have continued to review for it or serve on its editorial board. "Of course much of the credit for this outcome goes to my successor, Steve Kelman at the Kennedy School at Harvard, who has edited IPMJ since 2006."

The Financial Accounting Foundation (FAF) announced that, as part of its oversight of the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB), it has commissioned an independent and comprehensive academic study on the purposes of financial accounting and reporting of state and local governments. Former professor, Ken Smith, PhD (Senior Lecturer – Daniel J. Evans School at the University of Washington and Executive Director, Oregon Public Performance Measurement Association) will lead the research effort. Link to full article.




Staff News



PhotoDirector of Career Management, Beth Ursin, is a proud mom! Her son's senior project at Oregon State University in the mechanical engineering program was to design and build a Formula One car. His team won the Formula SAE national title, an international competition held in Michigan in May.




Student News


MBA Student Inspiring Change through a Mobile Food Truck

PhotoIn June, 2011 Portland's newest mobile food truck, Hot Pink Taco launched its non profit initiative "Making Change," led by MBA for Professionals Candidate, Aresh Irajpanah. This initiative allows the organization to engage in "random acts of pinkness" to those who are less fortunate in the community. Whether it be offering donations to local non-profits, or civically engaging to create change with the services we offer, approximately 10% of monthly sales goes towards moving these efforts forward. "At Hot Pink Taco it is our mission to create a World class experience for our partners, patrons, and planet by way of delectable cuisine, extraordinary service, and state-of-the-art technology," writes Aresh. "We are taking the concept of a food truck to a new level by developing a powerful brand movement and culture." Hot Pink Taco was created in alignment with a social following using the social sourcing principal. Social Sourcing is taking the most popular ideas and trends from our community's voice, and incorporating them into Hot Pink Taco's business strategy and brand identity. "We serve the demand of our community's voice, which allows us to align with our customers immediately." By using this principal, Hot Pink Taco has established a brand that revolutionizes the way businesses, restaurants and food trucks communicate with their consumers. As the director of the program, Aresh leads efforts for the "Making Change" non-profit initiative. If you would like to nominate a local non-profit to help Aresh and his team create change in our community, please email him at For social media fans, visit:, the Facebook page, and Twitter: @hotpinktaco.


PhotoMBA for Professionals Candidate, Briana Peterson has been elected as the 2011-2012 Western Regional Representative of the National Black Graduate Student Association (NBGSA). As Western Regional Representative, Briana is entrusted with representing the Western Region of the NBGSA, which consists of the following states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. Founded in 1989 by a group of black graduate students, NBGSA has emerged as a leading interdisciplinary organization that is dedicated to improving the status of people of African descent in higher education. In her role, Briana will be responsible for the planning and organizing of the 2011-2012 NBGSA Western Regional Conference, a vehicle to connect black graduate students with other students as well as faculty within the region. In addition, she will attend four quarterly meetings, one of which was held at Howard University in Washington D.C. on June 16-19th, 2011.


PhotoMBA for Professionals Candidate, Rick Campfield and his wife celebrated their 25th anniversary in Cabo, Mexico. Writes Rick, "it happened to coincide with the conclusion of our 1st semester in the MBA-P program (and yes, I said "our" wife is involved in this program as much as I am and deserved this trip)."


"We know not where our dreams will take us, but we can probably see quite clearly where we'll go without them."

Marilyn Grey

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: Russ Yost, Debra Ringold, Keith Pulley, Matt Benjamin, Steve Maser, Christopher Boman, Jay Desai, Nathan Isaacs, Matt Haugh, Elena Noyes, Tina Alexander, Karen Arthur, Beth Ursin, Larry Ettner, Fred Thompson, Aresh Irajpanah, Briana Peterson and Rick Campfield.

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