BUSINESS Colin Kaepernick University of Nevada, Reno

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niversity of Nevada, Reno
putting a
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inside the
table of Contents
Colin Kaepernick cover story
David Eskenazy
Distinguished Alumnus
College News
managerial sciences
information sciences
Career Connections
University of Nevada, Reno
Copyright ©2012, by the University of Nevada, Reno College of
Business Alumni Association. All rights reserved. Reproduction
in whole or part without written permission is prohibited. N
Business, Fall 2012, is published annually by the University
of Nevada, Reno College of Business Alumni Association.
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Cover photo provided by San Francisco 49ers
2 University of Nevada, Reno
what’s in a name?
Jeff Rodefer
’85 (finance,
accounting minor)
is the winner of the
College of Business
Alumni Association
magazine naming
contest. For coming
up with the clever
N Business name, Jeff will receive a
lifetime membership in the College
of Business Alumni Association.
Jeff is the Vice President of Legal
Affairs, Assistant General Counsel
and Corporate Compliance Officer
for Boyd Gaming Corporation (NYSE:
BYD). He is responsible for overseeing
the company’s compliance program
for 18 casino properties in seven
jurisdictions across the country, as
well as acting as in-house legal counsel
on all gaming regulatory matters,
including mergers and acquisitions,
stock pledges, applications and general
gaming regulatory approvals. In 1993,
Jeff was appointed by the Nevada
Supreme Court as an initial member
of the State Bar of Nevada’s Committee
on Functional Equivalency, where he
currently sits as Vice Chairman. In
let us share your good news in our
next issue. Email us at co[email protected]
2000, he was appointed as Chairman
of the State Bar of Nevada-Gaming
Law Section. In this capacity, Jeff sits
as co-editor of the Nevada Gaming
Lawyer magazine, coordinates the
annual Gaming Law Conference in
Las Vegas, and organized the Annual
Law Scholarship Golf Tournament
(2001-2011) that has raised more than
$333,000 in scholarship money for
the William S. Boyd School of LawUNLV. As a result, the State Bar of
Nevada named Jeff the first recipient
of the “Volunteer Attorney of the
Year” award in 2010. Jeff is a member
of the University of Nevada, Reno
Foundation Board of Trustees. In 2011,
following his initial contribution to the
Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center,
Jeff established the “Jeffrey R. Rodefer
Family Library Endowment” to fund
the business resource collection at the
Knowledge Center and naming of a
study room.
Dear fellow Alumni and Friends,
Dear College of Business Alumni,
This magazine is for all our Wolf Pack supporters; to celebrate
your accomplishments and keep you connected with the Silver
and Blue. As Dean of the College of Business for the past five
years, I have met alumni who live and work around the world
as successful professionals in every industry imaginable. From
launching and owning their own businesses to building national
organizations and managing multinational enterprises, University
of Nevada, College of Business Alumni are shaping the world of
Along with your accomplishments, the faculty at the College
of Business continues to build the prominence of the College.
Recently, the College has gained international visibility with the
launch of our new online Executive MBA; as of 2012, our parttime MBA program is ranked 4th in the nation by Bloomberg
Businessweek; the Princeton Review, for the fourth consecutive
year, recognized the College of Business in its Best Business
Schools guidebook; and, for the first time ever, we were
recognized in the category of “best undergraduate business
programs” in U.S. News and World Report.
We appreciate the support of our College of Business Alumni
Association members and we look forward to helping you stay
connected to the College with this magazine.
As President of the College of Business
Alumni Association, I am honored to
present to you the first issue of the College
of Business Alumni Association magazine,
N Business. This magazine was created to
support the mission of the Association, which
is to enrich the lives of alumni and friends of
the College by helping them establish lifelong
meaningful and valued relationships with the
College of Business and each other.
The goal of the magazine is to keep you
apprised of progress made by the College
and celebrate the successes and milestones
of fellow alumni. In upcoming issues we
would like to publish news about you. You
can tell us about your marriage, children,
job promotion, recognition, etc. by emailing
[email protected]
I encourage each and every one of you
to get involved with the College in your
own way. The College of Business Alumni
Association offers many opportunities. For
more information, please visit
Thank you for your support of the College
of Business Alumni Association. I look
forward to sharing with you in its continued
success and I hope you enjoy the magazine.
President, College of Business Alumni
College of Business Alumni Association Alumni
Legendary Nevada football coach Chris Ault
helped groom Colin Kaepernick into one of
the top quarterbacks in the nation.
/ John Byrne, Nevada Media Services
University of Nevada, Reno
Kaepernick ’10
launches his new career
olin Kaepernick’s colleagues
may be a little more
intimidating than your
standard office staff, but Colin’s
management degree from Nevada
is nonetheless his foundation when
he steps onto the field and into the
huddle as a quarterback with the San
Francisco 49ers. In his second year
on the team, Kaepernick says he is
using the experience of all those group
presentations and organizational
behavior lectures to build relationships
as part of a team that has clear-cut
Majoring in management at the
University of Nevada was not just
happenstance for Colin; as a boy,
he admired his big-cheese father,
Rick Kaepernick’s daily victories as
VP of operations at Hilmar Cheese.
Colin was determined to follow in his
father’s footsteps, but he was also so
adept at multiple sports that from the
age of 3 he was called “Bo,” as in Bo
Jackson, by his extended family. As a
fourth-grader in Turlock, Calif., Colin
wrote that he considered himself a
good athlete — even though he was
only 5-2 and 91 pounds at the time
— and thought he might someday find
a career with either the 49ers or the
Green Bay Packers.
As a star high school baseball player,
Kaepernick was recruited hard by
everyone from Dartmouth to Harvard
and Yale, but his dream was to play
Division I football. One-by-one
schools considering him for football
walked away for fear he would instead
accept a big-time baseball scholarship
with his 92 MPH fastball. Wolf Pack
head coach Chris Ault decided to offer
him a scholarship after one of his
assistants, Barry Sacks, saw Kaepernick
dominate a high school basketball
game on an evening he was suffering
from a fever of 102 °F. At the end of the
year, Nevada stood as the only school
that offered him a football scholarship,
and we all know the legendary story
here: Western Athletic Conference
Freshman of the Year; WAC Offensive
Player of the Year (x2); and countless
college, league, and FBS records—not
to mention College Football Hall
of Fame. Colin is the only player in
NCAA history to throw for 2,000 yards
and rush for 1,000 yards in three
consecutive seasons.
The San Francisco 49ers traded up
from 45th overall to select UNR’s Colin
Kaepernick as the fourth pick in the
second round (#36 overall) of the
National Football League draft in 2011.
Along with his leadership skills, 49ers
coaches say they have been impressed
by Kaepernick’s work ethic; the same
work ethic that led him to accumulate
numerous passing and rushing marks
Sports Industry
September 20, 7:00 pm
Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center
For more info call (775) 682-9144
during his college career. While
Kaepernick played few games his
rookie year at Candlestick Park, he
holds as the Number 2 Quarterback
for the NFC West Champions behind
Alex Smith. Colin Kaepernick is signed
for three more seasons, and while
the first-string hopes for Colin may
look slim, since Alex Smith recently
signed a three-year contract to return
to the 49ers, Kaepernick doesn’t give
up easily. You might remember that
at Nevada, Kaepernick was stuck
behind Nick Graziano before an injury
changed that story. Kaepernick is a
determined young man.
Many people misjudge the 6-4 and
230 pound Kap. Just before the NFL
draft, an ESPN researcher looking for
info on Kaepernick asked his highschool coach about the tattoos. “Look,”
he told her, “Colin is a 4.3-GPA guy,
from Wisconsin, with a pet tortoise.
If you’re looking for a story about a
player overcoming the thug life, you’ve
continued on 6
College of Business Alumni Association The well-rounded Colin Kaepernick shared his
thoughts about football and life during a visit with
members of a Reno church. / John Byrne, Nevada
Media Services
got the wrong guy.” Kaepernick didn’t
play baseball in college, but three MLB
teams phoned recently to say, “If this
NFL labor problem doesn’t get fixed
...” And, before his senior year at UNR,
Kaepernick was drafted as a pitcher by
the Chicago Cubs and offered $30,000
to go to Arizona to throw some bullpen
sessions for a month. His answer,
“What would that say about me as a
leader of the team?”
But even with a firm head on your
shoulders, managing the hefty checks
of a professional athlete can be
daunting. This is where Kaepernick
will get the greatest value out of his
College of Business degree in the years
to come.
Kaepernick signed a four-year, $5.22
million contract before his rookie year
— a contract that included a reported
base salary of $375,000 in his first
year and $607,922 in his second year,
along with $556,000 in potential bonus
payments per year. “[The management
degree] is helping me manage my
money better,” says Kaepernick. Like
most his teammates in the 49ers locker
room, Kaepernick relies on financial
advisors, but he is more confident
in working with them because of his
academic training. On the other hand,
that leads to some lessons learned
as he looks back to his college days.
“I wish I would have taken more
classes in finance and accounting,”
Kaepernick says. “A lot of that would
be useful today.”
University of Nevada, Reno
Gov. Brian Sandoval and Reno Mayor Bob Cashell were on hand to celebrate when Colin Kaepernick
received the Elite Quarterback Trophy for 2010 from College Football Performance Awards.
/ John Byrne, Nevada Media Services
Business grad, Aegis
executive, Coinstar director
whatever you do, work at it really hard
1984 graduate of the College
of Business, David Eskenazy
(accounting) returned to
campus last March to serve as keynote
speaker of the College of Business
Honors and Awards Banquet.
Faculty, students and parents were
entertained by David’s humorous
stories of registering for the wrong
class and employing creative tactics
to grow the accounting student
organization, Beta Alpha Psi, from 5
to over 100 members. Each amusing
anecdote delivered an inspiring
message to work hard and find joy in
your career and life.
As a freshman business major
from Las Vegas, Eskenazy somehow
managed to register for an
intermediate accounting course. Not
surprisingly, he soon found himself
foundering in deep academic waters.
And equally unsurprising, longtime
accounting professor Dr. Billy
“B.J.” Fuller reached pit to help the
struggling student.
“Dr. Fuller sent me on an interview
for an internship and was later baffled
when the employer called him to ask
why he was sending over a freshman,”
he remembers. “I had to work really
hard [in that class]. It was clear I was
going to have to go to extra overtime,”
In the end, Eskenazy was one of 7 left
from the 30 students who signed up for
Dr. Fuller’s notoriously difficult class.
The hours he spent under Fuller’s
tutelage created a relationship that was
a cornerstone of Eskenazy’s college
career and helped set Eskenazy on a
course that has led to the executive
suite of Seattle’s Aegis Living and
the boardroom of Coinstar Inc.,
which operates Redbox as well as the
coin-counting machines found in
thousands of supermarkets.
“I’ve always had two careers,” he
says. For nearly 20 years, for instance,
he worked as chief operating officer
and executive vice president of
R.C. Hedreen Co., a major Seattlebased developer of hotel and other
investment properties. The company’s
founder, Richard Hedreen, also put
Eskenazy to work overseeing venture
capital investments, including a stake
in the startup Coinstar.
Eskenazy started attending Coinstar’s
board meetings as an observer in 1993,
became a member of the board in 2000
and today is an independent director
and the longest-tenured member of
the Coinstar board.
He’s also served as member of
the board or a board observer for
companies including F5 Networks,
Terabeam and Screenlife, the makers
of the DVD board game “Scene It.”
Eskenazy left R.C. Hedreen Co. to
become COO and chief investment
officer of Investco Financial Corp., a
real estate investment company in the
Puget Sound, but less than two years
later he took a call from Aegis Living,
which was looking for a chief financial
Aegis Living might look like a real
estate company (it operates 28 senior
living communities in Washington,
California and Nevada), but Eskenazy
feels most passionately about its
“people-first” culture that translates
into high levels of care for its residents
and opportunities for growth and
innovation among its staff.
The practice of balancing hard work
and fun that Eskenazy polished at UNR
has served him well in his career and is
why he feels enthusiasm when he goes
to work each morning or walks into the
boardroom of one of the companies
he advises. His advice to soon-to-be
graduates: “Whatever you do, work at
it really hard,” he says. “And make sure
you enjoy it.”
College of Business Alumni Association College News
Steve Johnson
ike most of your fellow Nevada
graduates, you’ve probably taken
at least a day or two to enjoy the
wonder and beauty that is Lake Tahoe,
her awesome surroundings, beaches,
mountaintops, trails, golf courses,
and even casinos. Little did you know
that when you are enjoying the many
experiences that Lake Tahoe has to
offer, that you may also be treading
on Nevada alumni turf. Steve Johnson
’77 is the Chairman of the Board of
Edgewood Companies (formerly
Park Cattle Company) which is a
family-owned, diversified real estate
company that has had land holdings
at Lake Tahoe since 1898 and in the
Carson Valley since 1872. Edgewood
Companies also owns and operates
the Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course
(, the
home of the annual American Century
Celebrity Golf Championship.
A graduate of Reno High and UNR’s
College of Business, Johnson worked
his way up the corporate ladder after
starting an accounting career with
University of Nevada, Reno
2012 College
of Business
Grant Thornton in 1976. Eight years
later, in 1984, Mr. Johnson became a
partner in the national accounting and
auditing firm and was soon recognized
nationally for advancing the growth
of Grant Thornton in serving the
gaming industry. As serendipity has
it, Mr. Johnson ended his career with
Grant Thornton in 1995 to work with
long-time clients (the Berry and
Hinckley families) as the general
manager of Bi-State Petroleum. Mr.
Johnson was responsible, through a
series of acquisitions and mergers, for
combining several companies owned
by the Berry and Hinckley families
into what became Berry-Hinckley
Industries. Johnson later became
President and part owner in BerryHinckley Industries, which owned
and operated two pipeline fueling
terminals, over 40 Winner’s Corner
convenience stores, 12 petroleum
distribution facilities, a commercial
cardlock fueling network and had over
750 employees.
Steve Johnson has been a great
Joan Taylor ’70 (business), ‘88M.
Ed., ‘05Ph.D. receives the 2012
Nevada Alumni Association
Professional Achievement Award
for her lifelong dedication and
achievements in advancing
education in Nevada.
friend to the College of Business and,
in early 2012, was instrumental in
supporting the College with a gift of
$500,000 from the Charles and Ruth
Hopping Charitable Foundation to
fund the Hopping Professorship in
Entrepreneurship. Today Mr. Johnson
is a UNR Foundation Trustee and
trusted Associate of the College of
Steve, along with other alumni
award recipients, will be honored
at the Nevada Alumni Association
Homecoming Gala on October 4th at
6:00 pm at the Joe Crowley Student
College News
Business Graduate
Honored as Nevada’s
Top Scholar
at Neben never
slacked in
college — as
evidenced by his 4.0
grade-point average
during the duration of
his studies at UNR.
Neben, who
graduated in May with
a bachelor’s degree
in economics and
finance and a minor
in journalism, was
named the 2012 Herz
Gold Medal winner
for outstanding
scholarship, presented
at each commencement
President Marc Johnson congratulates Mathew Neben
ceremony to the
graduating senior with the ’12 during Spring Commencement.
highest grade-point average.
Although unsure of where he was headed as a freshman, Neben says he
initially maintained a high academic standard as a habit he established
in high school. Sometime in his sophomore year, though, Neben decided
to focus more on being engaged in the lecture and class material than his
grades, a shift that made earning As much easier, he says.
As his academic journey neared its conclusion, the threat of earning
even one A-minus kept him asking a lot of questions in difficult upperdivision classes. Just as important as his own hard work, Neben says, was
the teaching ability and excellence of the professors at UNR.
“Good grades have two parts: the student and the professor,” he says.
“The professors have really been overlooked. They really engaged me with
the material, and if I was not engaged I would never gotten good grades.”
Neben wasn’t just a bookworm. He joined a fraternity, was elected
to the Associated Students of the University of Nevada senate, and
participated in many extracurricular activities.
“When you have more to do, you just have to get a whole lot more
done,” says Neben, who now works at Whittier Trust.
Executive Online
MBA offered
he new Executive Online MBA
program that the College of Business
launched last fall allows mid-career
executives to earn a master’s degree in
business without leaving their current jobs
or relocating.
The 36-credit Executive Online MBA
is one of very few similar offerings by
top-ranked programs in the country. The
part-time MBA program at the University
of Nevada is ranked fourth in the nation
by Bloomberg Businessweek magazine.
Each course in the Executive Online MBA
program is taught by the same faculty who
teach in the part-time MBA program.
The online 12-course curriculum spans
two years and blends theory and practice in
graduate-level management courses with
students’ professional experiences.
Graduates of the program gain the
knowledge and skills to help lead businesses
and better manage a business in today’s
unpredictable financial environment.
The College of Business Executive Online
MBA program is designed to be affordable
at $2,000 per course, or a total of $24,000,
which is payable in installments of $4,000
each semester.
To learn more or to begin the application
process, visit
or contact program director and associate
dean of the College of Business, Kambiz
Raffiee, at 775-682-9142 or [email protected]
Bret Simmons, associate professor of management, uses
various multimedia tools to teach in the EMBA program.
College of Business Alumni Association Entrepreneurship
Mine-safety technology wins
Sontag Entrepreneurship Award
niversity of Nevada alumnus
Rick Sontag ’66M.S. (physics)
built a $200 million technology
company from scratch.
Now a team of physics students, the
first winners of a major entrepreneurial award endowed by Sontag, hope to
follow in his footsteps.
The student team, which dubbed itself Mining Environmental Technology
and Services, won the first-ever Sontag
Entrepreneurship Award. The award
includes a $50,000 cash prize.
Led by student Ben Sumlin, the
winning team plans to develop and
market optical devices to detect potentially harmful particulates in the air
in mines. That would improve worker
safety and further support the mining
industry that is one of the foundations
of Nevada’s economy.
Six teams were selected this spring
as finalists in the Sontag competition,
which drew 35 entries.
he Atlantis Casino Resort Spa
grew from a modest motor lodge
to one of Reno’s premier hotels
and casinos.
John Farahi, chief executive officer
of Monarch Casino and Resort, parent
of the Atlantis, shared stories about
the property’s transformation and his
entrepreneurial journey with members
10 University of Nevada, Reno
left to right, Dean Greg Mosier and President Marc Johnson join winners of the Sontag Competition, Ben
Sumlin, Heather Zunino, Bryan Rainwater and David Karr.
Sontag, who earned a master’s
degree in physics in 1966, funded the
Sontag Entrepreneurship Award with a
$1 million gift in late 2011.
After completing his physics studies at UNR, Sontag earned a master’s
in business at Harvard and founded
Unison Industries, a manufacturer of
aviation technologies, which he sold to
General Electric in 2002.
Rick Sontag will be honored as 2012
University of Nevada Alumnus of the
Year at the Nevada Alumni Association
Homecoming Gala on October 4th, 2012.
of the Economics Club last spring.
Economics students peppered
Farahi with questions dealing with the
challenges on his road to success and
the pressures that come along with
it. Farahi was named Entrepreneur of
the Year in 2011 by the Reno Gazette
“John made it clear he is very
focused on achieving his goals,
hopefully encouraging students to seek
the same kind of focus when setting
and pursuing their own goals,” says
Economics Professor Mark Pingle.
“John also made it very clear that
he saw himself as being responsible
for his own success, meaning he
had to follow up on every detail and
micromanage his people until he was
fully confident each person working
for him has the capacity to succeed
without such oversight.”
Farahi was invited to speak at the
Economics Club gathering after he met
professors at the Entrepreneurship
“Business has always been and
will always be difficult,” Pingle says.
“When students hear of the difficulties
and failures faced by very successful
people, they may be able to recognize
what they will surely experience if
they pursue an entrepreneurial path.
The road to success is bumpy with no
guarantees. However, perseverance,
hard work, and thoughtfulness
typically allow difficulties to be
overcome over the long haul.”
Building Business
Success in Las Vegas
he Nevada Small Business
Development Center plays
a leadership role in a new
Business Success Center in Las Vegas.
A statewide business-assistance
outreach program of the College
of Business, NSBDC manages the
Business Success Center concept that
was launched in May in the offices
of the Urban Chamber of Commerce
in Las Vegas and at the University of
Nevada Cooperative Extension in July.
Along with the programs offered
by NSBDC, the new center delivers
services from other partner agencies
to help businesses and entrepreneurs
thrive. Among the partners are the City
of Las Vegas, the College of Southern
Nevada, the Nevada Department
of Transportation, the Nevada
Microenterprise Initiative, the Nevada
Procurement Outreach Program,
SCORE, UNLV, the University of
Nevada Cooperative Extension and the
Veterans Business Outreach Center.
Marcel Schaerer, director of
southern Nevada operations for the
NSBDC, leads the Business Success
Centers. Like other NSBDC programs,
it’s partially funded by the U.S. Small
Business Administration. Schaerer is
also the director of the Imagine 2020
Initiative at the College of Business
which aims to diversify the regional
economy. He says that the initiative fits
well with the Business Success Center
and its focus on strengthening firms in
the region.
Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman and College of Business Dean Greg Mosier cut the ribbon to
the new Business Success Center in Las Vegas as others join in the celebration.
College of Business Alumni Association 11
in economics
Stiver: Outstanding
faculty member
evada’s first doctorate program
in economics is designed to
teach students the theoretical
foundations and analytical and
quantitative skills that are becoming more
and more useful in our diversifying state
and local economy, says Mehmet Serkan
Tosun, director of graduate programs
for the College of Business Economics
“Our program has an applied focus,
which means that while we provide
students all the required theory
coursework, we particularly focus on
quantitative applications,” Tosun says.
“The need was driven by the fact that
there was no PhD program in economics
in Nevada, and there was always demand
for it, especially from locals and those
students that completed their master’s at
The PhD program has four fields of
• applied microeconomics
• business economics
• environmental and resource
• urban and regional economics
(More details are at www.unr.
The doctorate in Economics program
was previously a collaborative effort
between the Department of Resource
Economics and Department of
Economics. When the University faced
budget cuts, the PhD program was kept
alive and moved from the College of
Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural
Resources to the College of Business.
The deadline for enrollment in the
spring 2013 semester is October 15. For
more information visit,
12 University of Nevada, Reno
Stiver receives award at Honors & Awards Banquet. Left to right: Jasper Allen Jacobs, Deb Stiver,
Meriste Riggs and Dean Greg Mosier.
eb Stiver knows her difficult business
statistics course isn’t a favorite
among College of Business students.
“The course is often fondly referred to as
Friday, September 21 ‘sadistics,’” Stiver jokes.
1:00 pm
Stiver, though, is definitely a favorite
among economics students. The Business
Student Council named Stiver its
Knowledge Center
Outstanding Faculty Member for the 2011For more info call
2012 school year. Stiver says the award
(775) 682-9146
carries extra weight because it came from
College of Business students.
“The award truly touched me for several
reasons,” she says. “I teach business statistics — a required core class
not related to a specific major or interest area, and it’s a challenging
class. Students truly have to earn their grade. Being selected for the
honor is a demonstration of our student’s commitment to the hard work
required to earn a degree, and their appreciation for learning analytical
and critical thinking skills necessary for today’s business climate. To be
acknowledged by students is the best reward any instructor can receive!”
Stiver says she loves statistical analysis, which allows her to work
with many different individuals, businesses and organizations. She’s
applied statistical analysis to everything from medical research to casino
gambling issues to market valuation of hunting.
“I share those experiences with students and use the examples in
class so they see the hands-on usefulness of the techniques,” she says.
“We talk a lot about current events and issues, which means there’s
something applied there for almost every student.”
Economics faculty
he excellence of the College of Business economics
faculty has been recognized world-wide, industrywide and among the undergraduate and graduate
students it serves.
Sankar Mukhopadhyay, associate
professor, was recognized as Beta Gamma
Sigma Researcher of the Year. Beta Gamma
Sigma is the international honor society
serving accredited business programs.
Mark NichoLS, professor, won the
College of Business Graduate Faculty
Excellence in Teaching Award in a tie with
Dave Croasdell of Information Systems.
Mehmet Tosun, associate professor and
director of economics graduate programs,
became Affiliate Research Fellow at the
Oxford Institute of Population Aging at the
University of Oxford.
Elliott Parker, professor, received
the Faculty Senate Award for Outstanding
Bill Eadington, professor, was inducted
Deb Stiver, lecturer, was recognized with
the College of Business Student Council
Outstanding Faculty Award.
into the Gaming Hall of Fame and Goldman
Lifetime Award for Advocacy from the
National Council on Problem Gambling.
Econ Day draws high school students
uring the past eight years,
about 1,000 local students
have participated in UNR’s
Economics Day. Students from local
public high schools, private high
schools and home school students
have used the event to experience
practical examples of economic ideas
and their applications, says economics
Professor Mark Pingle.
Econ Day helps students broaden
their understanding of economics,
Pingle says, which may lead to new
students majoring in the field.
“When I was in high school, I thought
economics was about understanding
the stock market and about balancing
your checkbook,” Pingle says. “I did
not know economics was about how
people make decisions. It provides
the tools to understand how people
tick. That seed may germinate into
interest in taking some econ courses in
Last year Econ Day was held at
McQueen High School; this year it
was held in early March at Reed High
Pingle and Economics Professor
Jeanne Wendel presented 30-minute
sessions on “The Economic Way of
Thinking” and “The Economics of
Driving.” Granted, students can’t learn
too much about economics in one day,
Pingle says, but many students take
knowledge gained through the event
and focus on economics in college.
The event also included discussions
with graduate and undergraduate
economics students.
“We have obtained a few very good
economics majors from the Econ Day,”
Pingle says. “Those attending directly
benefit because they are exposed to
some basic economic principles that
they can use from then forward. We
also end up building relationships with
K-12 teachers through the Econ Day,
and then we are better able to attract
those teachers to training sessions we
have in economics so that they then
can take economics back to their social
studies classrooms.”
Econ Day was started by Professors
Tom Cargill, Wendel and Pingle as part
of an economic education outreach
College of Business Alumni Association 13
Accounting students meet
future employers
eta Alpha Psi, the service
honorary organization for
accounting students, bills itself
as “The Bridge to the Profession.”
A keystone of that bridge is the
annual Meet the Firms Night, which
last year brought nearly 20 employers
and professional organizations
onto campus to meet with about 80
Meet the Firms Night serves as
an exclusive job fair for accounting
majors, and it’s scheduled every year
at the start of the fall hiring season
for accounting firms, says Betty
Cossitt, a lecturer in Accounting and
Information Services who serves as
14 University of Nevada, Reno
advisor to Beta Alpha Psi (accounting
firms typically recruit earlier in the
academic year than other professions
because they are swamped with work
during the spring tax season).
Along with accounting firms from
the region, Meet the Firms Night also
has drawn representatives in past
years from government agencies,
major companies that recruit for inhouse accounting departments, and
professional organizations.
In preparation for the annual event,
students prepare a resume book
that includes profiles of accounting
students who are hoping to land
jobs after graduation. In the weeks
or Cynthia Birk, academic
advising is more than a matter of
double-checking to ensure that
a student is taking the right classes to
reach graduation.
“It’s advising, but it’s also
mentoring,” says Birk, a lecturer in the
accounting department at the College
of Business. “I really care about the
Her deep interest in the students
and the energy she puts into her role
as an academic advisor brought Birk
the Regents’ Academic Advisor Award
this year.
The students that Birk advises
often stay in touch with her for years,
turning to her for career counseling
long after they have graduated from
the University of Nevada, Reno.
She takes a wide view of her role as
an adviser.
While most students begin working
closely with an academic adviser in
their major during their junior and senior years, Birk keeps her eyes open for
Meet the Firms
Friday, October 5, 2012
Joe Crowley Student Union
Contact Betty Cossitt at
(775) 784-6456
following Meet the Firms Night,
employers follow up with on-campus
interviews and other, more-focused
Beta Alpha Psi, meanwhile,
works to further build the bridge
between students and the profession
through weekly meetings at which
representatives of accounting firms
meet with students to discuss current
issues in the profession.
In addition the group schedules
tours of the offices of accounting firms
in the region to provide students with a
first-hand look, Cossitt says.
promising freshmen and sophomores
and recruits them into accounting.
And she’s developed a network of
accounting professionals — many
of them Nevada alums — to provide
further assistance to the students she
She meets with 25 to 50 students a
semester, typically spending 30 to 45
minutes with each as she gets to know
them and helps them work toward
their academic and professional goals.
A member of the University of Nevada faculty since 1989, Birk has taken
numerous leadership roles on campus.
She spearheaded the creation of an
accounting advisory board, served
on Faculty Senate and chaired the
University Courses and Curricula from
Still, she finds deep satisfaction in
academic advising.
“It’s an opportunity to have a
one-one-one relationship with your
students that you don’t often get in the
classroom,” she says.
Hundreds of
Families with
Tax Returns
he 71 accounting students
who stepped forward for
the Volunteer Income Tax
Assistance program this spring got
invaluable real-world experience
working with real families and real tax
And they got the deep satisfaction of
knowing that they helped members of
690 households, most of them lowincome, who otherwise would have
struggled with preparation of their
own returns.
“It’s a different way of learning, and
students love it,” says Richard Mason,
an associate professor of accounting
who has spearheaded the students’
volunteer tax-assistance efforts.
The program, which is known for
short as VITA, is a cooperative effort
between the College of Business and
the Community Services Agency
in Reno, a nonprofit that provides
human-services programs in the
The free income tax preparation
program is important, CSA executives
say, because many families may not
know that they are eligible for tax
credits such as the Earned Income Tax
Credit or the Child Tax Credit.
Enter University of Nevada, Reno
This spring, the 71 volunteer
Accounting student, Lisa Rosen, along with VITA Coordinators, Dawn and John Fidaleo, discuss the
student VITA experience at the Service Learning Mini-Conference held last April.
students devoted a total of 840 hours
— an average of nearly 12 hours per
student — to working in VITA, says
Gary Jansen, a CSA executive who
works with Mason to coordinate the
Most of the participants are juniors
and seniors, and most are accounting
Mason and Jansen developed UNR’s
participation in VITA five years ago,
and about 300 students have participated since its inception. They’ve
completed about 3,500 returns in five
Working face-to-face with taxpayers
helps students prepare for successful
“Our students have a lot of book
learning, but not a lot of outside experience,” says Mason.
He works himself with the VITA program one day a week, helping students
work through difficult questions, and
other members of the accounting faculty help out from time to time as well.
Students in Mason’s taxation course
during the spring semester are given
the alternative of service through VITA
as a replacement for a mid-term examination and some other coursework.
They need to pass an Internal Revenue
Service examination on taxation before
they can provide volunteer services.
Mason says students often begin
studying for the IRS exam during their
winter break, and he laughs that they
are no fools.
“My exams are extremely hard, and
the IRS exam is relatively easy,” he
On the other hand, students also
are eager for the opportunity to serve
their community at the same time
that they polish their tax-preparation
skills. Mason says spring enrollment
in the tax class is much higher than it
is during the fall semester, when the
VITA program isn’t available.
“They are seeking out this
opportunity,” Mason says.
Beta Alpha Psi recently took first
place for Best Practices in Social
Media at the Beta Alpha Psi
Annual Conference in Baltimore.
Presenters were Shyla Pheasant,
David Loomis, Zakahra White
and Michael Peck. Other team
members included Lisa Rosen,
who competed individually in
Project Run With It, and Permjeet
College of Business Alumni Association 15
Managerial Sciences
Students win regional,
national competitions
tudent teams from the College
of Business continued their
winning ways, converting
countless hours of research and
practice into top finishes in regional
and national competitions.
The University of Nevada, Reno,
team won the Human Resources
Games Pacific West regional
competition, some creative thinking
about Nissan marketing won honors
for a group of UNR students in
the National Student Advertising
Competition and a UNR team once
again won recognition in an American
Marketing Association competition.
The HR Games team — students
Heather Maye, Vanessa Wehrkamp,
Sarah Pattee and Megan Barrenchea,
coached by Yvonne Stedham and
Linda Barrenchea — devoted hours
every week to reading and discussing
case studies in preparation for the
“It’s a real commitment,” says Linda
16 University of Nevada, Reno
During the competition at
Pepperdine University in Los Angeles,
the team was put under real-world
pressure as it was called upon to
develop a restructuring plan for a
company that faced major layoffs.
This is the first time the College of
Business has taken first-place honors
during 12 years of competition in
the HR Games, although it has won
second- and third-place awards.
The first-place finish was all the
sweeter because the team from Reno
competed against schools with fullblown human resources programs.
Student Advertising
The Integrated Marketing
Communications Team, which
includes marketing students from
the College of Business and strategic
communications students from
the Donald W. Reynolds School of
Journalism, finished second behind a
team from the University of California,
Berkeley, in the regional National
Student Advertising Competition.
Judy Strauss, an associate professor
Members of the UNR team that took first place
in the regional HR Games are, from left, Heather
Maye, Vanessa Wehrkamp, Sarah Pattee and
Megan Barrenchea.
of marketing who served as an
advisor for the team, said students
won praise from the judges for their
strong presentation of a creative plan
to market Nissan to multicultural
members of the Millennial generation.
One out-of-the-box thought: The
campaign didn’t show cars at all,
but instead focused on the customer
experience in what the team dubbed
“The Nissan Nation.”
AMA Competition
In the American Marketing
Association competition, College of
Business students continued a string
of annual honors with an honorable
mention in national competition.
Advisor Igor Makienko, assistant
professor of marketing, says the 8 to
12 students that participate each year
gather almost every day to complete
research and develop creative plans.
The College of Business team
consistently ranks among the top 20
among the 150 to 180 teams that enter
the American Marketing Association
Students Create sustainability plan for Target
ike other faculty in the College of
Business, James Sundali always
looks for ways to provide realworld experiences to his students. A
partnership with Target, that was facilitated by store manager Kelly Bown ’87
(marketing), provided exactly that with
a case-study competition in Sundali’s
Strategic Management and Planning
The retailer provided $2,000 in
cash prizes, along with gift cards, as it
challenged student teams of Sundali’s
upper-division strategic management
class to help Target find ways to develop sustainability.
Through the course of the semester, representatives of Target visited
the class several times to explain the
company’s goals and provide feedback
as students worked their way through
the case study.
Students also visited a Target store in
Reno, where they got close-up looks at
recycling programs and product lines
that help the company connect with
sustainability-conscious shoppers.
Through their research, the students
took a close look at the programs of
Target’s competitors and put their recommendations into the context of the
global economy.
A panel of four Target executives
read the teams’ final reports and heard
their final presentations.
Members of the winning team, who
divided a $1,000 cash prize, included
Caitlin Durkin, Bobby Moretti, Angela Robinson, Greg Warnert and Jeff
Robinson says
the team first
looked at ideas
such as wind
generation that would make sense in
Reno, then extended their thinking
“Target already does a lot to be a
green, sustainable company,” she
says. “Every time we thought we came
up with a new idea, they had already
implemented it,
The team’s winning thoughts: Use of
biodegradable bags to replace plastic
bags at checkout, and the use of ereceipts at checkout to save paper.
The second-place team received
$600 in cash, the third-place team received $400, and the fourth-place team
received Target gift cards.
2006 Graduate /
2012 COBAA President
Owns way too many
UNR clothes for
a K State Grad
Tim Ruffin and Melissa Molyneaux have been involved
in over 900 office transactions in Northern Nevada.
Tim Ruffin, SIOR
Managing Partner
Sr Vice President
p 775.823.4670
e [email protected]
Colliers International
Melissa Molyneaux, CCIM
Sr Associate
Office Properties
p 775.823.4674
e [email protected]
10765 Double R Blvd., Suite 100
Reno, NV 89521
College of Business Alumni Association 17
Information Systems
ERP systems
nformation technology graduates
of the College of Business who
find jobs with major corporations
won’t be bowled over the first time
they encounter one of the big enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems
developed by SAP and Microsoft.
Assistance from two corporate
partners — International Game Technology and Microsoft Licensing LLP
— allows the College of Business to
provide hands-on experience with the
software systems that are becoming
commonplace in large companies.
“If they are working for a Fortune
500 company, there is a reasonable
certainty that they are going to touch
this at some point,” says Michael
Ekedahl, a lecturer in Information
With the help of alumni Mike
Magera ‘92MBA and Sandy Schulze
’87 (accounting), IGT, which uses SAP
throughout its worldwide operations,
provided the support that allowed
UNR to become a member of SAP’s
University Alliance. The alliance provides licensing, workshops and other
support to help faculty and students
learn about use of the software.
Meanwhile, Lyle Curry ’88 (management), a program manager at Microsoft, was instrumental in bringing the
Microsoft Dynamics System to College of Business students. Microsoft
Dynamics is an enterprise resource
planning and customer relationship
management product.
Information technology faculty
members are developing curriculum around the SAP and Microsoft
products. And Ekedahl says students
benefit from the ability to compare
and contrast the SAP and Microsoft
systems during their studies.
18 University of Nevada, Reno
College helps improve
asphalt roadways
ichael Ekedahl takes far
more interest than most
people when he encounters
one of those stretches of highway
marked as a pavement test area.
Ekedahl, a lecturer in Information
Services in the College of Business,
is working with a consortium
of university and private-sector
researchers who seek to make
asphalt roadways safer and more
The task of Ekedahl and the
students who work with him: Create
a massive database — ultimately,
it probably will include about a
terabyte of data — and develop an
interface that will allow researchers
to easily find the data they need.
Data is collected from asphalt testing
labs and field studies performed in
the United States and Canada.
The University of Nevada, whose
College of Engineering is involved
in the project along with the
College of Business, is one of five
participants in the Asphalt Research
Consortium. Others include Texas
A&M University, the University of
Wisconsin-Madison, the Western
Research Institute and Advanced
Asphalt Technologies.
The Federal Highway
Administration provides funding
for the work of the Asphalt Research
Consortium, which recently won a
two-year extension of work that has
been under way for five years.
Ekedahl says the project provides
highly useful experience to
Information Technology students
as they are called upon to develop a
large-scale project that has real-life
And the work benefits the public
as well.
“In a perfect world, we can
eliminate a pothole or two,” Ekedahl
Career Connec tions
Career Exploration
Tuesday, September 18
11 am - 1 pm
and 2:30 - 4 pm
come to one or both
Are you willing to talk about your
educational experience, career path,
industry or organization? Provide
advice and insights to students at
the Career Exploration Roundtables
during Business Week.
Students learn how to tie a tie at the Competitive Edge event.
Biz Talk Blenders
Friday, September 28
& Friday, November 2
4 – 5:30 pm
Come meet our students and assist
them with their networking skills.
This is a great opportunity to get face
to face with potential interns and
upcoming graduates.
ay it forward”, It takes a village”,
and “it’s who you know “ are all
common sayings that we hear,
but they are the basis for the work
done in the College of Business Career
Connections office. Since the time
Jane Bessette started over 10 years ago,
she has been working to get alumni
and the business community to be
involved in the preparation and hiring
of the college’s students and alumni.
Pay it Forward – Jane’s goal when
she started was to help a student with
their transition from school to work
in a way that made them think of the
college when they were in a place to
hire. It was about three years into the
job when the call came. Surprisingly,
it wasn’t from an alum, but from a
client of one of the local accounting
firms, whose accountant (a College of
Business alum) recommended they
call and recruit from the college to fill
an open position.
It Takes a Village –If you’ve been
to a Career Connections event in the
last several years, you’d be surprised
at the variety of people you might
meet. The career connections office
invites employers, alumni and the
those interested in providing sage
advice to young people to volunteer
their time talking about their career
path, their position or organization.
Resume critiques and mock interview
volunteers are always welcome.
It’s WHO you know – Thank
goodness Jane Bessette knows Alice
Heiman! The two ladies have ensured
that College of Business students are
learning how to network before they
leave the college. Twice a semester
and once during the semester, Alice
Heiman has volunteered her time and
services to facilitate Biz Talk Blenders
on the campus for the students in the
business communications classes.
If you were helped by Jane and would
like to Pay it Forward, become part
of the Village and get to KNOW our
students and recent graduates and
make them part of your talent pipeline,
call or email Jane at [email protected]
or 775-682-9144.
Competitive Edge – Your
Jump Start to a Job
Wednesday, October 10
10 am – 2 pm
Help prepare students for the
job search process by critiquing
student resumes or conducting
mock interviews (all materials and
questions are provided.) A two hour
commitment is requested.
Skills Panel
Tuesday, October 23
11 am, 1 pm,
2:30 pm or 5:30 pm
Share your insights into the interview
process with business students in the
business communications course.
College of Business Alumni Association 19
Alumni Association leaders
make an impact
ne of the goals of good
management is creation of a
smooth-running organization
that delivers excellent results.
It’s little surprise, then, that former
presidents of the College of Business
Alumni Association often take pride
in the organizational excellence of the
And they’re equally proud of the
association’s ability to bring benefits
large and small to the College of
Business and its students today.
Dave Bianchi
’68 (finance),
a financial
with Northwestern
Mutual in Reno,
much of the
detailed work
Dave Bianchi
that created a
strong association during his service
from 1985 through 1987 as the first
president of the College of Business
Alumni Association.
Under his guidance, the organization
developed its goals and objectives.
It created its initial set of bylaws and
established a leadership structure.
And the association launched its first
“The membership grew rapidly,”
Bianchi recalls. “We had good success.”
Creation of
a sustainable
association was
among the goals
of Dan Allen ’92
who served as
president in 20002001 after several
Dan Allen
years in other roles
on the association board.
Allen worked to create a $100,000
invested fund, which helped create
a steady stream of revenue for the
In those years, he recalls, the
association also took a leadership
role in raising money for a state-ofthe-art technology room for business
And Allen, who today works as chief
financial officer of ITS Logistics in
Reno, says he takes particular pride
in the association’s work to bring
students and business leaders together
in formal and informal settings alike.
Cindy Buchanan
In 2003-2004,
Cindy Buchanan
’95 (finance)
led an effort to
further strengthen
the association
through the
creation of an
emeritus group of
former presidents
of the organization.
Presidents of the College of Business
Alumni Association
1985-1987: Dave Bianchi
1993-1994: Richard Whitney
2000-2001: Dan Allen
2007-2008: Ro Lazzarone
1987-1988: Pat Tabor
1994-1995: Kevin Sullivan
2001-2002: Gregory Vorreyer
2008-2009: Dan Flowers
1988-1989: Gregory Neuweiler
1995-1996: Michael Katz
2002-2003: Cari Rovig
2009-2010: Russ Gardner
1989-1990: Richard Jay
1996-1997: Vida Dietz
2003-2004: Cindy Buchanan
2010-2011: Jenny Boland
1990-1992: Darrell Plummer
1997-1998: Debbie Fuetsch
2004-2005: Debbie Smith
2011-2012: Melissa Molyneaux
1992-1993: Scott Frost
1998-1999: Rex Massey
2005-2006: Katie Weigel
2012-2013: Kelly MacLellan
1999-2000: Michael Klaich
2006-2007: Caesar Ibarra
20 University of Nevada, Reno
“That allowed us to keep them engaged, and it allowed
us to continue to tap into their ideas and expertise,” says
Buchanan, who works as a vice president and corporate
banking relationship manager with Nevada State Bank in
During her service as president of the association,
Buchanan also rolled up her sleeves to help create a new
relationship (including a new dues structure) between the
College of Business Alumni Association and the parent
University of Nevada, Reno, Alumni Association.
All of the organization work, naturally, is directed to the
development of efforts that assist the College of Business,
its current students and the wide network of alumni.
For instance, Katie Weigel ’96 (finance) is particularly
proud of the work that the Alumni Association completed
when it spearheaded efforts to refurbish the student
lounge in the Ansari Business Building.
“It is very well used,” says Weigel, who served as
president of the association in 2004-2005.
Weigel, who works as a division director for Robert Half
Finance and Accounting in Reno, says the leadership of
the association during her term also brought new energy
to the annual golf tournament that is a major fundraiser
for scholarships and endowed funds for the college.
“We really raised a lot of money, and we raised
awareness of the cause,” she says.
Buchanan says the volunteer leaders of the College
of Business Alumni Association are keenly aware of the
group’s importance, particularly at a time that public
funding for the college is under stress and private
contributions provide critical support.
“The association is important. The goal is simple: Assist
the college and the dean,” Buchanan says.
Wrapping up her year as the
association’s president, Melissa
Molyneaux says it is exciting to
see the new alumni magazine, N
Business, come to life. “The College
of Business Alumni Association is a
great organization with a long history
of dedicated members who have
worked hard to support the College
Melissa Molyneaux
and each other,” says Molyneaux.
“This magazine builds upon that history to create an even
farther-reaching connection between alumni.”
Bianchi echoes Molyneaux’s sentiment and says
the association also plays an important role in knitting
together the large number of College of Business alumni
around the world and creating a sense of community
among them.
“That benefits both the College of Business and the
alumni themselves,” he says.
College of Business Alumni Association 21
College of Business
Events 2012 – 2013
NxLeveL Entrepreneur Training
September 6 – December 6
5:45-9:00 pm
Redfield Campus
Register at (775) 784-6879
Business Week
September 17 – 21
Global Business Presentation
Monday, September 17
7:00 pm
Joe Crowley Student Union Theater
Career Exploration
Roundtables and Business
Resource Fair
Tuesday September 18
11:00 am – 1:00 pm and 2:30 – 4:00 pm
Joe Crowley Student Union Ballrooms
Volunteers welcome
COB Alumni Association Mixer
Wednesday, September 19
5:30 pm
Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center
CEO Speaker, Charlotte Jorst,
Founder of Skagen
Wednesday, September 19
7:00 pm
Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center
Career Fair Networking
Wednesday, October 17
4:30 – 6:30 pm
Joe Crowley Student Union Ballroom A
Volunteer Fair
Thursday, September 20
4:00 pm
Joe Crowley Student Union Ballrooms
Career & Internship Fair
Thursday, October 18
10:00 am – 2:00 pm
Joe Crowley Student Union Ballrooms
Register at
Sports Management Panel
Thursday, September 20
7:00 pm
Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center
Biz Talk Blender
Networking Reception
Friday, September 28
4:00 – 5:30 pm
Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center
Volunteers welcome
Meet the Firms
Friday, October 5
Joe Crowley Student Union
Competitive Edge
Wednesday, October 10
10:00 am – 2:00 pm
Joe Crowley Student Union
Volunteers welcome
Biz Talk Blender
Networking Reception
Friday, November 2
4:00 – 5:30 pm
Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center
Volunteers Welcome
College of Business Honors &
Awards Banquet
Friday, March 8, 2013
6:00 pm
Joe Crowley Student Union Ballrooms
Beta Alpha Psi Spring Banquet
Thursday, May 2, 2013
Call for more details, (775) 682-9144
Once Nevada. Always Nevada.
Join the College of Business Alumni Association Today!
Benefits of membership include staying apprised of events and progress of the College
through email updates and the alumni magazine; the opportunity to support students through
scholarships, engaging with student organizations and preparing students for job placement;
and networking with fellow alumni and prominent members of the local business community
who share in your love for the College.
22 University of Nevada, Reno
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College of Business Alumni Association 23
Accounting is
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No one speaks it better
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24 University of Nevada, Reno