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Consider this. You must grow leaders, at least managers, ground them in a collection of four or five basic disciplines, cultivate a working knowledge of human behavior, mathematics, law, design, some familiarity with science, computers and engineering, nurture a creative drive, ensure excellent diagnostic, problem solving and communication skills, foster an ethical awareness, a multicultural sensitivity, stimulate curiosity, and maybe teach a language or two. Oh, and by the time you’ve done all of that, the world has spun on its axis and a chunk of what you’ve developed, cultivated, taught, fostered, and nurtured has been eclipsed by some small device, delivered by a robot, that fits in the palm of your hand. We don’t teach business or do business the way we did 50 years ago. In fact, business and business education have changed more in the past 50 years than in the previous 200. And the rate of change is increasing. The past five decades have given us computers, the Internet, smartphones and watches, wireless technology, lean manufacturing, Big Data, electric cars, routine space travel, and a global economy. Of the companies in the Fortune 500, only 60-odd were on that list 50 years ago. They’ve been replaced by the likes of Walmart, Apple, Verizon, Amazon, and Microsoft. These dramatic changes in business practice have led to equally dramatic changes in business education. On top of the introduction of new topics and disciplines, the way we teach has evolved from chalk and blackboards to high definition, interactive video screens. Textbookss are electronic. Students and teachers connect online across oceans and time zones. Just like the business world, business education encompasses disciplines, techniques, technologies, and practices that a generation ago were unimagined.

“...dramatic changes in business practice have led to equally dramatic changes in business education.” Throughout its 50 years, the Harbert College has ridden this wave of change. As we look to the next 50 years, we must keep our balance—a grounding in the timeless values that distinguish Auburn men and women, a firm grasp of business basics, a working knowledge of the latest research produced by scholarship that is both academically rigorous and practically relevant. Tough job, business education. How do we do it, and how can we do it better with each passing day? Business education. Perhaps the words themselves give us a clue. More than any other discipline, business education is an active collaboration between the business world and the education world. For our students and faculty to be relevant, employable, for them to be innovators and thought leaders, the college must keep pace with change and must continue to engage in the real world challenges of 21st century business. Put simply, our faculty and students need to hear about the problems you confront, and you need to know about the solutions we can offer. Let’s talk.

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Planting seeds for the next 50 years. A $15 million gift from Raymond and Kathryn Harbert enabled the college to celebrate the ceremonial groundbreaking of a second business building in April 2017. While event attendees moved soil with golden shovels as part of the college’s yearlong 50th anniversary celebration, heavy yellow machines are now moving earth at the corner of Donahue and Magnolia.

“We will be able to provide more collaborative learning environments for our students and we will be better able to respond to changes in technology or classroom best practices.” – Bill Hardgrave, Dean & Wells Fargo Professor, Harbert College

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Table of Contents

HarbertMagazine FEATURES 14



1967. Jay Gogue

Conversations from the C-Suite

The Theoretical Practicality of Phronesis





The More Things Change:

The Ultimate Classroom?

Bill Hardgrave

Evolution of Technology in Business Education


7 Inbox


How We Think


What You’re Up To

36 Research


What We’re Up To

40 Mission in Action

Celebrating 50 years in business

Dean’s Last Word


With Your Dollar


Alumni News

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HarbertMagazine CREDITS Troy Johnson Director,

HCOB Communications & Marketing

Joe McAdory Editor,

HCOB Communications & Marketing Created by The Media Production Group

Bruce Kuerten Director,

Media Production Group at Auburn University

Jim Earnhardt Editor,

Media Production Group at Auburn University

Art & Design/Production Jason Adams Jenni Hunt Illustrations Jason Adams Ely Beyer Contributors John DiJulio Derek Herscovici Bailey Kimbell Jessamyn Saxon Larry Shaw Auburn University Raymond J. Harbert College of Business Office of Communications 216 Lowder Hall Auburn, AL 36849 (334) 844-8847 Auburn is an equal opportunity educational institution / employer.

The Beginning of a Bright Future Business education at Auburn, as we know it today, began with the university’s Board of Trustees creating a School of Business by decree on March 15, 1967. Even though it was late to the party—becoming the university’s 9th undergraduate program area—it ranked fourth in enrollment at the outset with 1,800 students. In the early days, the college made its home in Thach and Tichenor Halls.

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© 2017 Auburn University Raymond J. Harbert College of Business


WE ASKED: What’s the most significant change you’ve experienced in your career? How did you respond to it? What’s the best advice you’ve received for driving change or managing it?

YOU ANSWERED: Start with “Why does the business

and brand exist?” Every decision and hire either contributes or detracts from that question. Steve Robinson ’72 Former Chief Marketing Officer Chick-fil-A, Inc. The Recession. We were focused

primarily on the construction and commercial real estate industries before the recession. This had a major impact on revenue on our business as contractors had less to build, did not request bonds, sold equipment, laid people off, went out of business . . . real estate owners lost properties to banks and could not build new ones, etc. It eventually cost us half of our revenue. We have responded by diversifying into other areas of coverage, hiring new people in to help build these areas of our business, and looking to expand with new office locations to reach more people. We have surpassed our former revenue and we believe we will continue our growth. Hopefully big things are ahead for us. Tony Truitt ’90 President Truitt Insurance & Bonding

Fourteen years into my career and

12 years with the same company, I found myself facing a difficult decision. The owner had decided to make a relatively abrupt sale of our company and I needed to make many decisions quickly. I was fortunate to be surrounded by a few like-minded individuals, including my current partner (Adam Stoffregen AU Business ’01), and we started our current company almost overnight. We are now celebrating our 10-year anniversary and proud to say that we have shown a profit every year of our existence. Best advice for managing or effecting change: remember that in most cases you did not create the situation, so don’t get pulled into the emotions of it. Stay focused on the task at hand and the best interest of your customer. Craig Tindell ’93 Managing Member Principal Mortgage, LLC The biggest macro-level change

I have experienced is the speed

at which business runs now and the impact of technology on business. The pace of business now requires that your business must be nimble and always evolving. Your competitors are always working to be better than you are; you need to be making your company better, too. Also, technology has been amazing at helping to find efficiencies and improve the customer experience. You need to always look at ways to use automation to improve your business processes. I always ask myself, “If we were starting this business today, how would we do it?” It’s easy to get comfortable with how you have always done things, but that may not be the best way to do them today.

the right resources to fill open positions and to continue to exceed the expectations our customers are accustomed to. The best advice I have received has been to leave everything in a better place than I found it.

Scott MacArthur ’83 Chief Financial Officer SafeStreetsUSA

Allen Browning ’15 Account Executive Baker Street Digital Media

Rebekah Kelman ’07 IT Project Manager Cortland Partners The demand from clients to

organize loads of analytics to optimize strategy [is an area of change]. More and more numbers are available due to technology and reporting them is becoming more and more of my job. Numbers don’t lie.

Extreme growth is the most

significant change I have experienced in my career. My response to it has been to figure out how to find

HITTING THE MARK: The Spring 2017 issue of Harbert Magazine is the first one that I have seen and it is amazing! The topics and the writing are “right on” and we are pleased to have a granddaughter in the Auburn College of Business, knowing she is surrounded by such talent. War Eagle,

HarbertMagaz ine Spring 2017


Rosemary Brown ’57, Chemistry John Brown ’57, Chemical Engineering

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Jay Jacobs (1985,

management; 1988, MBA) earned the Under Armour Athletics Director of the Year at the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics convention. Jacobs, who has served as Auburn University’s Director of Athletics since 2004, was selected from the organization’s largest candidate pool in the last five years. NACDA created the awards program to honor intercollegiate athletic directors for their commitment and administrative excellence.

What You’re Up To Harbert College of Business alumni, students, faculty, and staff are shaking it up. Here are a few things we’ve heard:

Sixteen Harbert College alumni

were part of Auburn University’s annual Golden Eagles celebration, which honors graduates of 50 years or more, this past March. The business Golden Eagles, who graduated in 1967, were treated to a luncheon with Dean Bill Hardgrave and tour of the university.

Jordan Lee (2012,

marketing) came from 15 places back to win the 2017 Geico Bassmaster Classic, catching five largemouth bass weighing 27 pounds, 4 ounces on the last day of the tournament at Lake Conroe, Texas. It marked his first victory on the professional fishing tour and earned him $300,000 (not to mention potential endorsement and sponsorship opportunities). Lee competed for Auburn University’s Bass Sports Club as a student.

An Amazing Race Scott Flanary (2005, business administration) claimed

a share of the $1 million grand prize in the 29th season of the CBS globe-trotting adventure series “The Amazing Race.” He and his partner negotiated a variety of physical and mental challenges in exotic locations, rappelling down a skyscraper, climbing a tower made of construction pallets, and even bungee jumping off a bridge in Greece.

Kate Luce (2009,

supply chain management) is believed to be the youngest female CEO in the railroad industry. Mississippi Export Railroad announced the 29-year-old’s hiring as president and CEO in June. She began working for the company in customer service and worked her way through the ranks of the transportation department, training as a conductor and serving as a trainmaster before managing the department. She gained additional experience working for GE Transportation and Bain & Co.

Salt Life Jeff Stillwell (1988, marketing) serves as President of Salt Life, which designs, produces, and distributes headwear and apparel under the Game and Kudzu brands. After he and his father acquired Jacksonville, Fla.-born Salt Life, they grew its annual revenue from less than $10 million to more than $50 million. Headquartered in Columbus, Ga., Salt Life brand is carried in more than 2,200 stores nationwide, including Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s, Belk, Academy Sports & Outdoors, and Dick’s Sporting Goods.

We love to hear what you’re up to. Send us your announcements, photos, and letters. Submissions are included as space permits. Alumni notes may be edited for length and clarity. Thank you for sending us high resolution photos. E-mail us: 8 HM, Fall 2017

Finance alums Matt Gilchrest (2017), Blayne Barber (2012) and Patton Kizzire (2008) made the cut at PGA Tour’s Barbasol Championship at Grand National in Opelika, Ala. Gilchrest scored a six-under par 65 in the final round. It was Gilchrest’s professional debut. Dr. J. Bret Becton (2005, Ph.D.

in management) began his tenure as dean of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s B.I. Moody III College of Business Administration in July. He had previously served as an associate dean for the University of Southern Mississippi College of Business.

What We’re Up To Sustainable Spirit Kaitlin Robb, who graduated in May with a marketing degree, was presented with Auburn University’s Spirit of Sustainability Award in April. Robb interned at the university’s Office of Sustainability and directed a team of students to develop a marketing strategy to launch Auburn Foods, a local foods initiative created by Tiger Dining. She accepted a job at Walt Disney World just weeks before graduation.

Nearly 200 industry leaders attended “Fusion 2017,” Harbert College’s first supply chain symposium held April 27 at Saugahatchee Country Club in Opelika. There, executives from GE Transportation, DHL Supply Chain, Walmart, and others, discussed the links between technology adoption and supply chain success.

The Winning Shot Ben Bode, now a senior in accounting and finance, won tuition for a year by making a layup, free throw, 3-point shot, and half-court shot within 30 seconds at halftime of the Tigers’ Feb. 25 men’s basketball game against Arkansas. Not only did Bode make the halfcourt miracle, but he shot it granny style.

Justin Benefield, the Amy Murphy, director of the School

of Accountancy’s graduate programs, received the Outstanding Educator of the Year Award, presented by the Alabama Society of CPAs, on June 8. Murphy is an Auburn alum and has worked at the college since 1994.

Madi Haney, a rising sophomore in pre-

business from Killen, Ala., accepted the prestigious Congressional Award Gold Medal on June 17 in Washington, D.C. The highest honor Congress can bestow upon a young person, this award is attributed to one’s public service, personal development, fitness, and exploration.

Amit Mitra, Brian Connelly, (pictured above) and James Long had the

Students in Brian Bourdeau’s sports marketing class worked the spring semester with Atlanta Motor

Speedway to help promote last March’s NASCAR Folds of Honor 500. With the track’s Chase U initiative featuring driver Chase Elliott, students were tasked to market ticket sales among college students. Jan Moppert was named director

of Harbert College’s Office of Professional and Career Development during the spring semester. Moppert brings more than 20 years of experience to Harbert College, including five years at Widener University, where she integrated professional etiquette and learning outcomes through career services.

Walker Reynolds Bickerstaff Professor in Finance who specializes in real estate research, was presented with the Kinnard Young Scholar Award for 2017, which recognizes young scholars early in their careers. The award is presented by the American Real Estate Society.

Four Harbert College MBA students

took third place at the annual SEC MBA Case Competition in Gainesville, Fla. The team of Daniel Robinson of Cullman, Ala., Taryn McLaughlin of Madison, Miss., Cassie Chen of China, and Holger Norregard of Middleton, Wisc., represented Harbert College in a competition designed to showcase students’ skills while solving simulated, real-world business problems.

opportunity to lecture at prestigious European business schools in the winter and spring. Mitra, assistant professor in information systems, was chosen from a large pool of candidates to teach datadriven decision making March 20-24 at the KEDGE Business School in Bordeaux, France. Connelly, Luck Scholar in Management, addressed how managers should handle short selling at a variety of British universities—including Cambridge. Long, was given a Fulbright Scholarship position to teach at Corvinus University in Budapest for a semester in the spring.

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How We Think

In spite of every indication that organizational

Time to Change the Focus of Business Education 10 HM, Fall 2017

decision making often involves an integrated perspective of the functional areas of business, many business school curricula produce functional-area majors who do not have a grasp of the overall business context. Our accounting programs produce great accountants. Our marketing programs produce great marketers. But ask an accounting student about consumer behavior, or ask a marketing student about internal rate of return, and too often the reply will be, “That’s not my area.” If medical schools took the same approach, a cardiologist couldn’t help a choking victim and a urologist couldn’t perform CPR. We need to address this situation. I believe we academics share the blame with corporate recruiters for it. We are often too busy to change our approach to business education, and corporate recruiters tend to recruit functional-area specialists. (An obvious exception to this, of course, is the consulting company that recruits the “best and brightest” that it can attract, regardless of major.) One way to approach this situation is to think about transforming the undergraduate business curriculum in a way that focuses on what businesses need people to do, not what they are hired to be. That is, business schools could focus on successful business behaviors, rather than being a particular business major. Let’s imagine a business curriculum that focuses on what successful business people are able to do, rather than a curriculum that is based on exposure to accounting, finance, marketing, and so forth. What behaviors might we include? These come to my mind:

How We Think



Business people need to be able to imagine the structure of their environment so that they may have a chance of managing it. In a world of increasing complexity and ambiguity, the benefits of understanding what problem you are trying to solve are immeasurable. Gaining consensus on the problem definition can go a long way toward exposing conflicting assumptions held by stakeholders. Besides, solving the wrong problem is guaranteed to be a waste of resources.

How we treat the information we hold about our stakeholders leads directly into business ethics. Trust is the cornerstone of all successful business transactions. In fact, business as we know it today was born when people began to trust others outside of their tribe or clan to trade in a trustworthy manner. Business schools often have a required business law class, but satisfying the law is the minimum a business should aspire to achieve. Ethical behavior often makes problems easier to formulate, decision making easier, and leads to healthier workplaces.

DEALING WITH COMPLEXITY This is a natural topic to consider with problem formulation. Many business problems are complex problems, and complex problems are often messy problems. These problems are rarely “solved.” Instead, they are managed. Simply recognizing that some problems do not have solutions introduces a new way of thinking. For complex problems, thinking in terms of “right” or “wrong” solutions is not very productive at all. Rather, one must think in terms of “good” and “better” solutions.

WELL-BEING ENHANCEMENT Happy, healthy workplaces are more productive and profitable. Happy, healthy communities are attractive places to live and work. Well-being has many facets, such as emotional well-being, physical well-being, spiritual well-being, and financial well-being among others. Imagine investigating well-being concepts within functional areas at the individual, team, organization, and community levels— along with the implications for business at each level.

COMMUNICATING CLEARLY Clear communication is critical to successful business outcomes. Writing and speaking clearly may be a skill that is in more demand today than ever before. The ability to portray data accurately and explain an analysis clearly are competencies that are highly sought in the business world. Businesses are known by the communication artifacts they create (memos, charts, proposals, and analyses) long before and long after the first face-to-face encounter occurs between a firm and a client.

CREATIVITY DEVELOPMENT This topic could set the foundation for a number of business topics to follow. Innovation, entrepreneurship, and negotiation are topics that spring immediately to mind. I suspect that courses on creativity already exist at many campuses. Imagine how our students might be perceived by industry or graduate schools if they were known for proficiency in these behaviors, regardless of their major.

DATA ASSESSMENT Data drives so much of our business decision making, yet how much time do we spend teaching students to examine the quality of the data being used for decision making? Data has so many important characteristics: age, source, volatility, accuracy, and precision are a few that come immediately to mind. We should explicitly consider qualitative data, too, since we tend to focus on quantitative data in our typical classes on decision making (e.g., statistics). We might also integrate discussions of data ownership, in the sense that we may need to make a critical assessment about who should be able to access, change, or use data in the first place.

David Paradice Harbert Eminent Scholar and Chair Department of Systems and Technology

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How We Think

Don’t Make Your Paycheck the Only Gratification in Work The inspiring influences we receive from family, friends, and associates—those neatly packaged versions of why and how we need to “get a job”—often revolve around having a career that commands a respectable paycheck. Certainly we understand that money is required to keep ourselves fed, sheltered, and functioning independently. As we move beyond the basics of sustenance and shelter, we envision comforts and amenities that can only come through greater levels of wealth. This thinking predisposes us to aim toward making more money and accumulating things, nice things, more things, better things. Often, at work, our focus narrows on doing what is expected of us and drives our predominant behavior so that we can sustain the means to acquire more. We jockey for position to declare our relative importance among the mass of others who are doing the same. We seek to turn our workplace into a stage where we can declare our significance. We do this and more to advance our self-interest. Yet if we don’t move beyond perpetually pursuing more and more wealth or acting within the strict confines of our self-interest, we find ourselves in the final days of our lives, surrounded by our stuff, wondering why our work life was not more gratifying. When the

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remainder of life becomes short and the things we accumulated have lost their luster, we are sadly struck by how little time is left to make our daily work mean something more than a paycheck. But it is never too late. Intentionally connecting with the meaning and purpose of what we do professionally can deeply enrich our lives, well beyond the gratification of accumulating material things. Actively shaping the meaning and purpose of the work we do creates opportunities to bond with the strengths of others with a similar mindset. Consciously shifting from a mindset of mere wealth accumulation to one with service intentionally at the center of all work activity expands the organization’s ability to address issues, to serve the underserved, and to expand the capacity of our communities’ future generations. When our mindset shifts to doing important work rather than just profiling on a stage at work to look important, phenomenal results emerge and the bigger paycheck comes anyway. In the end, our lives will be more gratifying.

Joe Collazo Assistant Director Graduate Executive Programs

How We Think

Leveling the Playing Field Money is the language of value. It’s an abstraction of value. Whether it is shells or rectangular pieces of cotton with green ink, money is the most important technology we use as humans. It allows us to communicate value, trade, make transactions, forge social relationships, feed our families, shelter ourselves. Nearly everything in the world involves money in some fashion. Money is older than writing. The first forms of human writing that we have found are spreadsheets. Ledgers. Debts owed to the pharaoh. Money is an ancient technology. We have yet to find a human civilization that didn’t use a form of money, be it shells, feathers, or giant stones. Money is nearly as old as human language, yet most people have no idea how it works. Where does money come from? Why is it valuable? Why can’t we make more of it? This technology has seen five major changes. We started with the barter system. Then we started trading whatever was rare and shiny in our environments. Shells, beads, feathers. Then we evolved into the use of precious metals such as gold and silver. Universally recognizable and valuable minerals. Within the past couple centuries, we’ve moved to paper. Someone took their gold to the bank, and the bank gave them a slip valid for two ounces of gold. They traded that paper instead of the gold. Now we don’t even need those slips of paper. Plastic cards allow us to spend our money instantly. In the process, money lost one of its core features: scarcity. Paper money isn’t scarce. It doesn’t occur naturally. It is completely controlled by the governments of the world, which we have entrusted with the most important technology on Earth. I don’t trust the government enough to ship USPS, but I’m expected to trust it with securing the value of my entire livelihood. And we live in one of the least corrupt countries, relatively speaking.

Bitcoin is the sixth iteration, and the most radical transformation. It is money in its most basic form: an abstract of value. A completely decentralized monetary system controlled by everyone. No banks. No governments. People control their own money, their own wealth, their own future. In America, this technology means more individual privacy and control. In the Third World, this technology is a lifesaver. People in the Middle East and North Africa can no longer be victimized by oppressive regimes. The people of Venezuela can store money and value without fear of the 800 percent inflation rate. The farmer outside of Kinshasa can access global capital markets, take out a loan, and finance this season’s harvest. Bitcoin is about empowerment. It’s about freeing the oppressed and enabling equal access for everyone. Bitcoin levels the financial playing field.

Chris Maurice Senior in Finance, CEO of Yellow Card Financial, LLC.

Editor’s Note: Digital currency is the future of money, says finance major Chris Maurice and computer science major Justin Poiroux. The duo launched Yellow Card Financial in an effort to rethink the way consumers buy and utilize digital currency. They finished third out of 160 entries at the national e-Fest pitch competition in April 2017 and earned $25,000.

An Ounce of Prevention… Offices are full of policies. Don’t do this. Don’t do that. There are dress codes, codes of conduct, and in today’s technology-driven workplace, policies on personal devices. Personal electronic devices—smart phones, tablets, and laptops—are common in the workplace and can help make employees more efficient and effective. I like to use my cell phone for work. It’s super-convenient. I have access to my email and learning management system so that I can keep engaged with colleagues, co-authors, and students. In the midst of project season, students email or text pictures of their 12-column worksheets and I can troubleshoot without having to be in my office. The same can be said for other working professionals, whether they are accountants, stockbrokers, or health care administrators. But this is where those corporate policies come back into play. We don’t leave the doors open or filing cabinets unlocked when we leave the office at night. By the same rule, why would we leave our smart devices open for cyber criminals? That’s why firms are placing restrictions or requiring extra safety measures on personal devices in the workplace. Many people don’t make the connection between a lost smart phone and potential cybercrime at their company. They don’t think about what can happen should the phone fall into the wrong hands, or when using an

unsecure Wi-Fi connection. Think about an accounting firm. You have all of your client’s information and as part of the professional standards must keep that confidential. Think about the medical industry and HIPPA. Do you want your medical records or personal information compromised because the scheduling nurse left her phone at Starbucks? Don’t think it can’t happen to you or your company, because it can. Although firms are being proactive and creating policies, a policy is ineffective in a vacuum. Make sure employees understand there is a policy, explain the purpose of that policy, and make that policy easy to follow. Adding a simple passcode to your iPhone is no more difficult than locking your office door on the way out. In this cyber age, it’s better to be safe than sorry

Tina Loraas C. McKenzie Taylor Jr. Professor School of Accountancy

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JAY GOGUE Conversations from the C-Suite Dr. Jay Gogue retired earlier this year after 10 years as president of his alma mater. In this interview, he reflects on changes and challenges in higher education.

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Harbert Magazine: You were a president for 17 years and held other high-level administrative positions before that. What are some of the greatest changes you’ve seen in higher education over the course of your career? I remember as an undergraduate student, there was very little emphasis on the international aspects of what a career may be. So that’s changed dramatically. I remember probably 25 years ago, it was difficult to find undergraduates at state universities who really had a great interest in working and living internationally. That’s certainly changed. It’s gone from really no recognition to a recognition externally that we need those skills. In the college athletic arena, it’s gone from what I would consider a minor part of institutions 40 years ago until the point today where it seems to be one of the major marketing driving points for a lot of institutions. At the graduate level, I saw some data that says 30 years ago, 80 percent of all the master’s degrees were master of

science degrees and about 20 percent of the degrees were professional master’s, like the MBA. In today’s market, it’s about 80 percent professional master’s and about 20 percent research-focused bachelor of science-type degrees. So that’s a major change also. Another change that you hear a lot and read a lot about would be the cost of education, particularly at public universities. The actual cost of education hasn’t changed that much, but who pays has changed rather dramatically. Ballpark numbers that we hear used are 30, 40 years ago it was about 80 percent supported by the state, and about 20 percent by students. In today’s market it has almost flipped. It’s probably about 25 percent from the state, 75 percent by the student at Auburn. «

Dr. Jay Gogue:

C-Suite HM: Let’s approach that question specifically from a college of business viewpoint. As you’ve watched throughout your career, business education has changed. Can you give us an arc? JG: Well, certainly the focus on international business has changed. I don’t recall that being a component years and years ago. I’m always reminded by Jon Huntsman’s comments to me when I was out in Utah, that most colleges of business have historically focused on how you avoid risk. Risk aversion is what most of the courses focused on. And probably in the last 10 or 15 years, we’ve seen entrepreneurship, and we’ve seen changes in that which really assume and take on more risk.

HM: When looking at business degrees and the emphasis of business degrees, some faculty members have said “Wait a minute, you’ve got to be careful about how we award those degrees and how we educate those students, lest we turn into nothing more than a trade school.” Can you respond to that comment? JG: Regardless of the area that you study in, whether it’s business or some other aspect of the university, perhaps one of the most important things that you get as an undergraduate student is, do you have the capacity to teach yourself going into the future? I’m not so concerned about whether or not they prepared you greatly for the first job. I’m really concerned, did they prepare you such that with the changes we have in technology, the changes in business practices, the changes in society in general, can that individual actually retrain themselves as they go forward? Can they re-educate themselves in a lifelong way? One of the real criticisms is of two-year degrees, certificate-based degrees that are really focused on preparing you for a specific job. I’ve seen some data that looked at community colleges that do a lot of that, and they do it very well. But if you look at the return on investment over a career, it is much more costly than an actual four-year degree. And part of the logic is, they’ve been trained very specifically for a particular job. Once that job changes, you almost have to go back and be retrained again. The most important thing would be the capacity for you to be able to re-educate and continue to educate yourself through a variety of means as you go forward.

HM: You talked about return on investments. In today’s environment, in particular for college of business graduates, how do you value the return on investment? JG: I think the common economic way that people in higher ed look at return on investment would be financial. And the data still shows, at least a year ago, for every day that you’re in college, for every day, you add about $2,500 in lifetime earnings. So when people fuss and carry on about tuition or cost, at most state universities, their first week in school on a lifetime basis has really actually made up for the cost of the first year in college. So the economic returns are there.

HM: How responsive should a university be, in particular a college of business, to changes in the marketplace? JG: I usually talk about why you should avoid the fads. I recall as a graduate student at Michigan State, my dad sent me an article from a business magazine, I think it was Forbes. I still have the article. And the title of it is “How Do We Turn the Damn Pipeline Off?” And what it said was that we’re moving as a society into a service sector economy, and there’s really no demand for these technically trained people, PhD types. Sputnik is over, the Cold War is declining, and so we don’t need those people. 16 HM, Fall 2017

In the early ’80s, I remember reading some articles that talked about why we do not need to have language programs at universities. Business groups felt that was really inappropriate. We didn’t have any need for those. Many universities got rid of all kind of language programs. Before we got to the late ’80s, early ’90s, we had a shortage in technical people, we don’t have anybody who can speak languages. So I’m always cautious about the fads that come about. Total quality improvement, that was a big fad in the ’90s. Everybody got involved in that. We changed after a while and felt that that probably didn’t do us very well. To me, it’s important to be responsive, pay attention to it, but I wouldn’t overreact to any of the particular fads.

C-Suite universities changed, and what can universities learn, if anything, from the business world? And then flipping it over, what can businesses learn from universities? JG: I had the opportunity to serve on a couple of public company boards and sort of get some feel of the business world. The basic difference that I see is the timelines in which decisions are made. Ninety-day intervals become very important in business, and I jokingly tell them, “We try a new treatment, and we will see in six years whether or not it had any effect on graduation rates,” or some of the metrics that we use. The timelines are just very different in terms of the way the private sector looks at business operations and the way a university tries to approach business. I know of hardly any of our metrics that we look at on a more frequent basis than an annual basis. And that would just be completely unacceptable. One of the companies I’m involved with, I think they made 750,000 dozens of shirts a week. If you’ve got a flaw in your process or you need to make a change, you’re talking about hours or minutes in making that change. We’re looking at that freshman student and seeing how that graduation rate will be six years from now. Will the advising make a difference, will the special tutoring make a difference, will the smaller class size make a difference, those kind of factors.

HM: Marketplaces are now global, and institutions are opening global campuses, real and virtual. Where is this trend going, and how does it bode for schools of business? JG: I’ve been involved with MBA programs internationally since the mid’80s. These were programs, such as executive MBA programs in Munich and in northern Italy in which we rotated faculty through and students came from all over the world. They were not just German students or Italian students. The benefits of that particular approach to MBA training and education were absolutely eye-opening to me. In my time at Auburn, 10 years, we’ve tried to create a greater emphasis on international activities both on the campus as well as sending our students to study abroad. And we’ve explored the option of programs in which Auburn actually has brick and mortar-type arrangements internationally. The whole global aspect of bringing more international students to this campus and having more of our students participate in education worldwide is important for us as a nation.

HM: Expectations have changed on what stakeholders want to see from large, complex organizations. What does this mean for future leaders? JG: From a university perspective, we often point out that we start a program saying “Who cares about our institution?” We have a list, and it’s usually 12 to 15 that students will come up with. It’s going to be your governing board, it’s going to be students, and faculty, and staff, parents of students, it’s going to be alumni, it’s going to be donors, it’s going to be special interest groups, whether that be athletics or research sponsors, or those who hire your graduates. It’s going to be elected officials, it’s going to be town and gown, it’s going to be an accrediting body. A lot of different groups are shareholders in the university. They all care about it. They all care about it differently. The key, I think, from a leadership position is to

expect them all to define the success of the university differently. What you do in one area is not going to be considered even important, and perhaps even detrimental, in another area. In a leadership role, you just have to accept that. And understand it.

HM: How does a college of business, or a university, bridge the gap between risk avoidance and entrepreneurship? JG: The most important thing in my experience in 40 years at a university would be, I hope I never get everyone on the same page. At a college of business, you shouldn’t have a cookie-cutter model in which all the people you turn out are entrepreneurs or all the people you turn out are riskavoidance types. You want a mix.

HM: We talked a little bit about fads in higher education. How does a college of business, how does a university, find a way to create something that has staying power and sustainability as opposed to something that will exhaust itself? JG: My experience has been that if you have a couple of hundred faculty in a college of business and there is some new management fad that comes out, they’re going to be those who view that as really good and want to be active in it. They’re going to do the research that’s necessary, and it may in fact change practice over time. Then there are going to be others who sit back and are very reserved, and don’t think it’s a very good idea but are willing to change at the right time. An agricultural example would be that hybrid corn was understood fully in the 1935 era. We knew all about it, we knew how it worked, we knew it would increase yield by more than double, sometimes as much as four times. We knew it had tremendous economic potential. It took until 1965 to get half of the farmers in the United States to even try this new technology. Of course, today it’s used worldwide, but it took a good while. There were advocates for it, and there were those who were very opposed and felt it was the wrong thing. I would argue that the same model is true in the business world. There’s going to be a great idea that comes out of a business school that seems to have great potential. In many cases I think management or business will adopt that, and in some cases it will be a great new way to do business. In other cases, it will fade. I think the other thing that we forget is that what may work in the healthcare industry may not work in the transportation industry, or it may not work in the apparel industry, and so forth. «

HM: Over the past 50 years, how have business practices at

HM, Fall 2017 17

HM: The College of Business has changed a lot in 50 years. What do you think it will take for the Harbert College of Business to become an elite school? JG: It depends on the metrics used to actually determine how you evaluate it. There are metrics out there that organizations use that look really at scholarship and research. There are metrics out there that would look at what your undergraduate students actually know. Those two metrics are often in conflict with each other. There’s a well-known business school in our conference that would be ranked higher than Auburn in which, out of the basic 40 courses a student takes for a business degree, 32 of them are taught by graduate students or contingent faculty. Eight of them are taught by full-time permanent faculty. At Auburn, I’m told that our numbers are just the reverse. About eight are taught by contingent faculty or graduate students and 32 are taught by faculty that are full-time committed to the institution. I would argue that you would get a better undergraduate degree from the arrangement that Auburn uses. I also would argue that you will have less scholarship and research since your faculty are spending a great deal of their time working with undergraduates.

HM: Universities move very slowly. Is there an inherent advantage to doing things slowly? JG: Whether there’s an advantage or not, universities are going to continue to move slowly. The stronger the institution, the slower it moves. When you look at some of the real novel, rapid changes that have occurred, they’ve occurred in the for-profit arrangement of higher education. Almost on a monthly basis, I receive letters from our elected officials asking us to try to help those students after that for-profit school is closed and gone out of business, to try to work them back into an institution where they can earn a degree. Going slow is what we’ve always done. We jokingly say that we normally move at glacial speed, but if there’s a real emergency we can kick it up to a snail’s pace.

HM: Your experience has shaped the new digital textbook on higher education administration developed by Auburn’s Media Production Group. What do you see happening in online education over the course of the next decade? Should institutions be concerned about the loss of the in-person classes? JG: I think the greatest impact of online delivered programs will be at two different levels. I think you’ll see nationally over the next 15-20 years that there will be a focus on what I would call core curriculum or general education being electronically delivered. You can cut almost two years out of the cost of a college education by addressing that in a very efficient manner. At Auburn, 70 percent of all the courses that we offer are in the core, so you can make some dramatic shifts. Rather than a student coming from high school straight into college when we look at ACT scores, or SAT scores, or GPA, it will be you can come when you’ve completed the core. That would be an area that I see developing and I think there’s a lot of emphasis on that. It’s a way to have dramatic cost reductions in a college education. The second level is probably not going to be at the junior and senior level, but it will be at the master’s level. I think there’s a huge opportunity for people who have gone through and have a baccalaureate degree who are working, who are place-bound, to be able to interact in some way electronically to continue to improve their educational skills. I see a prominent place for it, not so much in juniors and seniors, and not in doctoral education.

18 HM, Fall 2017

The Digital Textbook for Anyone Seeking to Become a President Harbert’s Media Production Group worked with recently retired AU President Jay Gogue to produce a digital textbook on higher education administration that has been described as unlike any other in the field. “A President’s Perspective,” now available from XanEdu Publishing, draws on Gogue’s long career in higher education to offer practical insights into the challenges of the university presidency. In addition to Gogue’s observations, each chapter of the textbook also includes video commentary from veteran administrators Gretchen Bataille (right, middle) and Robert Moulton (right, lower), consultants for the project. Additional video commentary from other high-level administrators at institutions across the country appears throughout the text.

“This digital text ‘fills in the blanks’ for aspiring leaders who will confront governance issues, athletics, academic and student support, and fundraising as well as the day-to-day management of the campus,” says Bataille. Each chapter also contains a video overview of the topic, along with case studies and classroom activities aimed at fostering discussion and further exploration of the topic. The textbook is designed to be used in whole or in part; faculty may choose individual chapters for their classes or even elements of the individual chapters. Elements of the text are easily adaptable for use in leadership programs and seminars as well.

To find out more about Dr. Gogue’s digital text go to:

HM, Fall 2017 19


The Theoretical Practicality of Phronesis In 1635, the Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts hired a Mr. Morton to teach “reading, writing and the casting accounts” and business education in the United States was born. For the next two hundred-odd years, teaching business focused on practical subjects such as “penmanship, bookkeeping, rapid methods of computation and grammatical construction and composition of mercantile correspondence.” In 1881, Joseph Wharton, a Philadelphia industrialist, gave the University of Pennsylvania $100,000 to: “provide for young men special means of training and of correct instruction in the knowledge and in the arts of modern Finance and Economy, both public and private, in order that, being well informed and free from delusions upon these important subjects, they may either serve the community skillfully as well as faithfully in offices of trust, or, remaining in private life, may prudently manage their own affairs and aid in maintaining sound financial morality…” In the early 20th century, business education began to expand past the vocational. Wharton remarked that the purpose of this broader education was “to connect with the special training in economic and mercantile science, that general culture which is as necessary to the businessman as to every other useful member of society.” In 1916, The American Association of Collegiate Schools of Business was founded. It began accrediting schools in 1919 and by 1925, in addition to penmanship and bookkeeping, many AACSB schools required history, Latin, a modern foreign language, English, mathematics, and physics. Throughout the first half of the 20th century, schools and colleges of business taught the skills necessary to be a successful business person, providing for their students a practical education suited to the needs of business and industry at that time, and mindful of business’s place in the well-being of society. However, despite early efforts to broaden business education, the curricula, taught more by businessmen and women than by academics, did not stray too far from its vocational bent. In 1959, the Ford Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation examined the history and current state of business education in the United States in two landmark reports. Their findings were far from favorable. Business schools (and departments of business) need … a broader and more rigorous educational program, with higher standards of admission and student performance, with better informed and more scholarly faculties that are capable of carrying on more significant research, and with … the judicious use of clinical materials and methods. –The Gordon-Howell Report, 1959 (commissioned by the Ford Foundation)

20 HM, Fall 2017

Feature The criticism prompted colleges and universities to look upon business education as they did other academic disciplines. Faculty research took on a scientific bent. Graduate degrees were emphasized. Masters degrees were aimed at those who wished to become professional managers and the PhD became a research degree for those who wished to teach business and, through research, advance business theory. Business education in the latter half of the 20th century became increasingly intellectual, and for the most part, this academic, scientific approach served business and business education well. In the 70’s and 80’s business faculty at many colleges and schools came from a variety of disciplines—psychology, engineering, mathematics, and sociology. Consequently, research was interdisciplinary. More students competed for admission to undergraduate majors, Masters of Business Administration, and PhD programs. This influx of students allowed colleges and schools to become more selective and salaries for graduates rose. By the last decade of the century, business education had left its vocational roots behind and was firmly established as an academic discipline. There was a time when the manager of the nearby General Motors plant taught production. No more. Professors seeking tenure and promotion must—like the scientists they emulate—become experts in increasingly narrow aspects of their chosen fields; they must not only publish in A-list journals, but also their articles must be frequently cited by other academics. Of course, much of what is accepted by these A-list journals and cited by fellow academics does extend our understanding; and certainly the gradual accumulation of facts, however small, does expand our knowledge. That said, some pundits have maintained that the “need to publish to make a career has led to increasingly obscure research of almost no value to real businesses, specialization that encourages silo thinking, and a serious disregard of the importance of teaching students to think.” (Dr. Johan Roos, dean, Jönköping International Business School) The 2008 financial crisis prompted a reexamination of business education. Do schools prepare graduates to be functional in the highspeed, tech-driven global markets of the 21st century? Do schools equip students with the skills to think critically, to innovate? Have students learned the leadership tenets to manage responsibly and act ethically? Over the past several years, business education has entered the next phase in its evolution and, to some degree, begun a return to its practical, professional roots.

It’s easy for academic disciplines to become siloed. Generally, accountants don’t write papers on management—at least not for A-list accounting journals. And when finance professors write cases, chances are they don’t enjoy heavy use in marketing classes. On the one hand, this focus can generate the investigative intensity that creates new knowledge. On the other hand, it can narrow perspective—not only for the faculty, but also for the students they teach.

Tangible experience allows students to bridge the ‘knowingdoing’ gap. Real-world problems are usually messy. They involve more than one business discipline. There are frequently ethical and philosophical issues, and ultimately questions of judgement. Case studies and internships are part of the answer. However, with case studies business students can only imagine how they might tackle a problem. And internships usually offer exposure to a business environment, but little in the way of tangible, consequential experience. Medical schools and law schools may provide good models. The practice of law relies on many business disciplines. Research is a central component of both legal education and legal practice and law schools recognize that wellcomposed, compelling articles further the profession. Lawyers who review these research articles evaluate the material with the criteria they apply to a legal argument: Is it relevant, insightful, well designed, well argued? In other words, is it of practical use? Research at medical schools is rigorous, scientific, and ongoing, and young doctors are exposed to the latest advancements and schooled in the newest techniques. But, under careful supervision, they encounter real problems which they must analyze and diagnose before applying

whatever specialized knowledge they may have. This tangible experience allows students to bridge what Stanford professors Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert Sutton call the “knowing-doing” gap. Closing this gap is the hallmark of effective professional preparation. This real-world approach ensures against the “law of the instrument.” Philosopher and behavioral scientist Abraham Kaplan coined the phrase. “It may be formulated as follows,” he says. “Give a small boy a hammer, and he will find that everything he encounters needs pounding.” If you come at life primarily from one perspective, it’s natural that you would apply that perspective, that mental model, to whatever problems you encounter. Kaplan found that the smarter you are, the more training you have in a particular area, the greater your tendency to believe that your skill set will be the answer to any situation you face. Those who shape today’s business curriculum must equip students to understand and solve the problems of the 21st century world that companies actually inhabit. That training begins with the basics and includes a knowledge of the newest trends and thinking, but it must also include a broad awareness of a variety of disciplines, of other mental models—leadership, ethics, entrepreneurship, creativity, and innovation— and a strong dose of tangible experience. Ironically, it was Joseph Wharton’s ambition that the profession of business (like law and medicine) should incorporate both knowledge and practice to further one’s own life and serve the broader community. Today’s leaders in business education acknowledge that the schooling cannot be wholly academic theory or vocational practice any more than the business world itself is one or the other. The Greek term phronesis has begun to creep into the conversation. Aristotle used the term to talk about a particular kind of wisdom or intelligence, a middle ground between episteme, scientific knowledge, and techne, knowledge gained from the application of a craft, but born of each. Aristotle maintained that phronesis was the key to a virtuous, successful life that would advance the common good. The best translation for phronesis is practical wisdom. Perhaps he knew a bit about the practical world we live in.

HM, Fall 2017 21

1967. Auburn University’s Board of Trustees creates the School of Business. Dr. Ellsworth Steele serves as interim dean.

Lyndon Johnson was president of the United States. Harry Philpott was president of Auburn University. And what would become today’s Harbert College of Business got its start after the university’s trustees approved the creation of a school of business. Business education was not new to Auburn; in fact, a degree-credit course in “commerce” was offered as far back as 1877. However, the course was discontinued after a year, according to a history of the college compiled by emeritus professors Achilles

Armenakis and William Holley. In 1878, courses in bookkeeping and commercial arithmetic were offered, but these also were soon discontinued. For decades thereafter, the university’s curriculum contained little that would be recognizable in the Harbert College of 2017. The first modern business entry was offered in 1919, when a course in economics for engineers was added. A year later, a business program began to take

The 1969-70 Catalog lists School of Business courses as Accounting and Finance, Economics and Geography, Management, and Marketing and Transportation.

O.D. Turner becomes dean of the School of Business.

1969 1968 The Dow closes the year at 905.

McDonald’s debuts the Big Mac in Pittsburgh.

22 HM, Fall 2017

Wal-Mart incorporates as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. The university’s first official identification of the School of Business appears in the 1968-69 Catalog.

Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin become the first humans to set foot on the moon.

shape with the addition of courses in economics and business law. In the 1920s, the program grew with new courses in money and banking, accounting, business management, principles of economics, salesmanship, finance, statistics, advertising, marketing, and insurance.  But Auburn was still many years away from having a college of business, and still more years away

from the vastly different modern curriculum of Harbert College. For example, courses in secretarial administration were housed along with other business courses in the Department of Economics, Secretarial Training, and Sociology. Some business courses were offered in the School of Science and Literature. In 1962, a university self-study committee called for reorganizing the Department of Economics, Secretarial

School of Business forms a Business Advisory Council to connect faculty with state and regional business leaders.

The School of Business initiates an Executivein-Residence program and a Distinguished Speakers series.


Training, and Sociology into a school of business. As Armenakis and Holley wrote, the decision was driven by the department’s “size and its importance to the land-grant university concept.” The committee further called for preparation for accreditation by the American Association of Collegiate Schools of Business—now named the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business—and for a new emphasis on research.

The School of Business hosts the first “Business Tomorrow” Conference, bringing together students and faculty from state business schools with leading executives.


Class loads are reduced, with summer teaching limited to 10 hours, in order to meet accreditation standards.

1974 1973


The Beatles disband.

George Horton becomes the School of Business’ second dean. Horton places a new emphasis on the academic credentials of faculty, as well as research output and achievement of AACSB accreditation.

Teamsters Union president Jimmy Hoffa is reported missing. He still is.

HM, Fall 2017 23

School of Business earns undergraduate accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, becoming one of 160 accredited business schools out of 2,000 nationwide.


Auburn Technical Assistance Center (ATAC) begins helping business, industry, and non-profit organizations improve efficiency and competitiveness.

School of Business is deemed “fully accredited” by the American Association of Collegiate Schools of Business.

Small Business Development Center established. The 1982 graduating class includes Raymond J. Harbert.



Microsoft is registered as a trademark.

1982 School of Business establishes its first doctoral program, a joint PhD with the Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology and the School of Forestry.

The first Susan B. Anthony dollar coin goes into circulation.

Percentage of faculty with doctorates now at 80 percent—double the rate from 1972.

When trustees voted to establish the School of Business, it bore scant resemblance to the Harbert College of today. Enrollment was overwhelmingly male—87 percent. Of the relative handful of female students, more than a third of them were enrolled in secretarial administration. The school had four departments—Accounting and Finance, Management, Marketing and Transportation, and Economics and Geography.

(Fifty years later, Harbert College includes the School of Accountancy, and the departments of Finance, Systems and Technology, Management, and Marketing.) Students in those days had only a few options in organizations related to their business studies. There were four student organizations— Marketing Club, American Society of Personnel Administration, Society for the Advancement of Management, and Alpha Kappa Psi, the national business professional society—plus the School of

Business Student Council. Members of the student council were chosen from these organizations and the Student Government Association. The Harbert College lists nearly 20 student clubs and organizations today. With the formation of the college, the business curriculum began to change, not only in response to changes in the business world, but also as the school of business began working toward accreditation. Formal application for AACSB accreditation would not be made until 1975, but

Charles Kroncke joins the college as dean and reorganizes its administrative structure, creating associate dean positions to oversee academic affairs and external affairs.

The School of Business is renamed the College of Business.

Auburn is among the 20 percent of institutions offering business administration degrees with accredited undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

Dean Horton returns to the faculty as a professor of marketing and transportation. “New Coke” debuts, and falls flat.


The college’s first Career Fair features representatives from 30 companies who collectively interviewed more than 400 students.

1986 1985

1987 The College of Business establishes a business minor and revises its MBA program, adopting a “lockstep” model that enables students to enter and graduate with the same class.

Board of Trustees approves the formation of the School of Accountancy and the Department of Finance.

Ethel Jones is appointed interim dean and helps prepare the college for a successful reaccreditation process in 1986.

Board of Trustees approves a bond issue for $15 million facility to bring business classrooms and offices under one roof. Classes had been spread among Thach, Tichenor and other buildings.

The Auburn Technical Assistance Center becomes a part of the college. Other outreach programs include the Small Business Development Center, the Center for International Commerce, and the Center for Executive and Management Development.

the pursuit of that status quickly began to shape the operations of the college. For freshmen and sophomores, a two-year pre-business curriculum included mathematics, social sciences, natural sciences, and humanities, along with courses in accounting, economics, statistics, and electronic data processing. The business core curriculum that followed included courses in marketing and distribution, information systems, administrative processes, production, human relations, quantitative methods, and policy

formulation and implementation. Additional courses were offered in accounting and finance, industrial management, marketing, insurance, real estate, economics, organization theory, and personnel and industrial relations. As the classroom changed, so did the organization of the college. In 1974, the Geography curriculum was moved to the School of Arts and Sciences, and the Office Administration curriculum shifted to the School of Education. The moves were made to sharpen the focus of the

college on preparing business management leaders in advance of the application for accreditation. Accreditation of the college’s undergraduate programs came in 1976. The progress that led to that milestone had been felt in the classroom, not merely in administrative structure. The faculty had almost doubled since the college began, and the percentage of faculty with doctorates has nearly tripled. Students were being taught an expanded number of business courses by more highly credentialed faculty than ever before. 

A $1.2 million gift from the Lowder family creates two Lowder Eminent Scholar faculty positions.

A $2.6 million gift from H. Ross Perot in honor of his longtime business associate establishes the Thomas Walter Center for Technology Management.

Danny Bellenger is named dean of the college.


Enrollment in the college reaches 4,399, including 213 graduate students. Enrollment in doctoral programs exceeds 40.

College breaks ground on a $15 million building at the corner of Magnolia Avenue and Donahue Drive. It will contain 175 administrative and faculty offices and 30 classrooms.

1990 1989 College develops a video-based MBA program and expands the campus-based MBA.

Charles Kroncke steps down as dean and Bob Niebuhr becomes interim dean.

As part of a $150 million building campaign, the university announces plans for a business building.

The Berlin Wall comes down.

The impact was widespread and helped form much of the foundation of today’s Harbert College. As Armenakis and Holley wrote, “Undergraduate accreditation opened doors of opportunity for the School of Business. The new status made it easier to recruit and retain faculty, provided job opportunities for its

26 HM, Fall 2017

Nelson Mandela is released from prison.

graduates, and bolstered pride in the School among its students, faculty and alumni.” Technological advances continued to shape the curriculum. A Management Information Systems option was added in 1990. What began as an increased emphasis on logistics in the Department of Marketing evolved into Harbert’s acclaimed program in Supply Chain

College adds Management Information Systems program.

Building named the Edward L. Lowder and Catherine K. Lowder Business Building in honor of the parents of longtime Auburn trustee and 1964 alumnus Bobby Lowder.

College celebrates 25th anniversary with the completion of a six-story, 158,000-square-foot classroom and office building. The facility replaces Thach and Tichenor halls as the college’s administrative and teaching home.

1992 1991

1994 1993


The World Wide Web is quietly opened to the public.

Regions Financial Corporation donates $600,000 to the college as part of Campaign Auburn. The gift creates the J. Stanley Mackin Eminent Scholar Chair.

Wayne Alderman becomes the first Auburn business graduate to be appointed dean of the college. Alderman joined the faculty in 1977.

Netscape Navigator, the first commercially successful web browser, is released.

Management. Business analytics became an increasingly important skill in a corporate world awash in information. Distance learning began to take on a greater role in the college’s graduate programs. International experiences were made part of some programs, thus helping expose students to different cultures and different business practices. HM, Fall 2017 27

Physicians Executive MBA Program (PEMBA) launched.

Apple debuts the iMac.




1998 Atlanta plays host to the Summer Olympics.


2000 Executive MBA Program (EMBA) launched.

The Harbert College of Business surpasses its $100 million target goal in the “Because This is Auburn” comprehensive campaign in July.

Undergraduate enrollment reaches 4,511, making the college the largest at any university in Alabama.



2002 Wayne Alderman resigns as dean of the college. John Jahera is named interim dean.

Paul Bobrowski joins the college as dean.

$1 million gift from 1972 alumnus Bennie Bray supports undergraduate scholarships and the creation of a faculty professorship.

Ceremonial groundbreaking of a second building that will house graduate programs, new student study spaces, an auditorium, and a “makers’ space” for aspiring entrepreneurs.

College launches Center for Supply Chain Innovation. 

College announces $15 million gift in September from Raymond J. Harbert. Coupled with a $15 million match from Auburn University, the gift will lead to the creation of a second building to house graduate programs.

In October, 2006 the award winning, Media Production Group, a full service graphic, film and video production house, joins the College.

2017 The college earns three top 10 rankings in U.S. News & World Report’s annual survey of the top online graduate business programs – No. 6 for Best Online MBA Programs for Military Veterans, No. 10 for Best Online MBA Programs, and No. 10 for Best Online Graduate Business Programs (accounting, finance, information systems).

Distance MBA students begin receiving courses via streaming video. Strategic plan outlines goal of becoming “among the elite public business schools in the U.S.”


College launches Master of Real Estate Development (MRED) program with College of Architecture, Design and Construction.

Business Analytics program and PhD in Finance are launched.

Exterior renovations to Lowder Hall completed.


2010 Google purchases the 4 year old company, YouTube, for $1.65 billion.

In the next 50 years at Harbert, technology and international experiences can be expected to remain powerful influences on how the college educates its students in preparation for entering an ever more diverse and complex business landscape.

Harbert College hosts the first Auburn University Entrepreneurship Summit.

2015 Dr. Bill Hardgrave is named dean of the college.

Fully comfortable with technology their 1967 counterparts could scarcely have imagined, today’s Harbert students and those who will follow them approach learning in different ways as well. It’s not a question of demand; more business degrees are awarded at United States institutions than in any other discipline. Rather, it’s a question of how the Harbert College of Business will stand out from all the others in its efforts to make the pursuit of this much sought-after degree more than a

College renamed the Raymond J. Harbert College of Business in June after $40 million commitment from 1982 alumnus, then the largest gift in Auburn University history.

paper chase, making it a far-reaching educational process that doesn’t stop with imparting solid foundational knowledge. Although this is a more complicated challenge than what was envisioned when the college was created 50 years ago, the commitment to hard work so often

Auburn University RFID Lab hosts its grand opening. Amazon, FedEx, Target, The Home Depot, and Tyco are among the sponsors.

quoted from the Auburn Creed is still a critical component today. It took hard work to shape a modern college of business from a varied collection of programs and courses, more hard work to gain and maintain accreditation, and still more hard work will be required to move the college forward in the next 50 years.





CHANGE 30 HM, Fall 2017

Feature Cell phone in one hand, class worksheet in the other, Chance Heath carefully completes a uniform residential appraisal report for his real estate investment class. Through swipes and clicks, he uses his smartphone to quickly access chapter notes, project due dates, and other course materials in Canvas, a cloudbased learning management system. Welcome to business education, 2017 style. Three-ring binders, Xerox copies, and backpacks bursting at the seams with heavy textbooks have been replaced by miniature, everywhere companions – tablets and smartphones that can quickly access, store, and share information and facilitate learning from any conceivable setting (even on a highway at 65 mph). “This makes class work much more mobile,” says Heath, a senior in entrepreneurship. “Now I can let my fiancée, Allie, drive and I can be in the passenger seat doing homework.” The learning experience for Harbert College students of today is the product of many minds and advances, the result of continuous and purposeful refinement. “Technology has changed us, and we have changed the technology,” says Danny Butler, professor of marketing. “At the end of the day, we’re still talking about those same foundation theories of moving a product, making a product, financing something, customer service, doing the right thing.”

Want to rent a Cadillac? Commerce education existed at Auburn University long before the formation of its School of Business in 1967. Auburn took its first tentative steps in 1869, when it listed a short course in business in its academic catalog. The course offered no credit toward a degree, but completion of its content in arithmetic, penmanship, bookkeeping, contracts, and political and commercial economy yielded a certificate of proficiency. A robust, modern business program didn’t begin to take shape until the end of World War II, when companies faced the challenge of satisfying pent-up demand for goods and services created by wartime shortages. As Butler explains, “a couple of million men [needed] something to do and we don’t have jobs for them in factories. We opened up higher education for them.” In turn, the war effort brought changes to industry as companies began borrowing decision-making and procedural approaches that worked for the military. Fueled by industry demand and an influx of GIs in search of marketable skills, Auburn’s business education offerings in the late 1940s grew to include a variety of offerings in economics, accounting, insurance, real estate, marketing, statistics, finance, trade, transportation, traffic management, and labor and personnel management. The small screen devices business students and faculty rely on today trace their roots back to that post-war period, as government agencies, corporations, and universities sought to improve on early vacuum tube-based computers. Univac 1, introduced in 1951 by Remington Rand, proved to be a behemoth in terms of poundage

and price tag. Equipped with 5,200 vacuum tubes and tipping the scales at 29,000 pounds, Univac 1s sold for more than $1 million each. Not to be outdone, IBM countered in 1954 with the 650, the first mass-produced business computer, which sold for a more modest sum of $500,000. By 1956, the IBM 650’s CPU and power supply could be rented for a monthly fee of $3,200—the approximate purchase price of a fully loaded Cadillac. Even after Apple introduced its first personal computer in 1977 and PCs began to pop up at K-12 schools and universities, they were more novelty than indispensable resource. “If you were doing a term paper, you wrote a draft and took it to a typist—and paid them to type it up in the correct format,” says 1981 graduate Mark Forchette, President and CEO of Delphinus Medical Technologies. “It was really cool if they had an IBM Selectric typewriter, because they had two or three fonts you could use.”

From VHS to live streaming Those gradual technological progressions, from chalkboards to PowerPoint and Prezi, from stacks of hardbound textbooks to e-books, from card catalogs to Google searches, from the laptop to the tablet, haven’t always been warmly embraced at first. Associate Dean Norman Godwin remembers the first time students brought their laptops into his accounting classes. “I would notice other students looking over to see what was going on,” he says. “I often wondered if they were paying attention to me, or if they were surfing the web, or playing a game. It was a distraction for a while. Now, it’s second nature. That’s how they take notes now.” Even the seemingly immutable components of the educational experience have been refined and reinvented. Consider the textbook. Do you remember building muscles carrying a stack of them from class to class? Now, interactive digital textbooks lighten the load and enliven the learning experience by delivering what 400 pages of static text cannot—animations, videos, and explanations via audio. Auditory and visual learners experience the best of both worlds, and the repetition doesn’t hurt either. “Suppose you have someone working out problems in a video format,” Godwin suggests. “You can watch it again and again as opposed to the classroom just once— and once you’re done, you’re done.” The sheer ubiquity of computing connectivity has been the biggest game-changer for students and educators alike. Today, just about everyone is connected via some sort of portable device. According to Nielsen, 98 percent of Millennials ages 18 to 24 in the US own a smartphone. Miniaturized and movable tech isn’t just for kids, though. Nielsen also reports that nearly 90 percent of Americans ages 45 to 54 are using smartphones. Chances are your grandmother is using one, too, and not just to play Candy Crush. Knowledge acquisition is no longer confined to brick-and-mortar classrooms at prescribed times. The universal nature of computing and the ease of connectivity overcome potential obstacles of time and distance. Says Godwin: “Education once consisted of us going to class.” We certainly don’t endorse playing hooky, but digitization has ushered in flexibility with regard to course structure and content delivery. Take the evolution of what we now know as online business education at Auburn. In 1990, the College of Business entered into an agreement with the College of Engineering to offer distance HM, Fall 2017 31

Feature Better, or just different?

learning courses for MBA students. Students would receive VHS tapes of lectures in the mail. If you didn’t understand something, it meant making a phone call to the professor. And now? Harbert College’s online programs offer opportunities for realtime interaction between professors and students. If the on-the-go doctors and aspiring C-suite executives have work obligations that prevent them from joining live, they can return to the material at their convenience. In 1997, 78 percent of public, four-year universities reported offering distance learning. Ten years later, studies showed that nearly 20 percent of all college students were taking at least one class online. “Technology is too effective now to require everybody to come to class all of the time,” Godwin says. “But there is something about class and the interaction you have with your classmates and faculty that cannot be replicated. Does online, for the ability to have repetition and logic, become very effective? Absolutely. Is it a complete substitute for the classroom? No. Online classrooms are here to stay, but whoever uses them most effectively will be the best.”

You don’t always know the next technological breakthrough when you see it. Fifteen years ago, you would’ve been hard-pressed to find an executive talking about the importance of Excel to business processes. And yet “it has become a substitute for Word and a calculator,” says Rafay Ishfaq, associate professor of supply chain management. Digitization has changed the way companies do business. And it’s changed the way Harbert College teaches it. Look no further than the rollout of its Business Analytics program in 2013 and the move to ensure all undergraduates develop proficiency in managing and analyzing data before graduation. “When you are walking into a warehouse, or walk by a production line, it’s convenient to have a device where you don’t have to turn the page to record the information,” Ishfaq says. “You are drawing a representation of the reality around you. When we didn’t have enough information, the challenge was to gather information. Now, we are gathering information left, right, and Hitting the learning trail center—and there is so much of it that a new discipline has evolved.” Students are using the most up-to-date platforms utilized by industry— Business education technology stretches far beyond the e-books, podcasts, including Tableau, Python, Watson, Crystal Reports, and SAS (Statistical YouTube clips, and streaming video. Gamification—applying elements Analysis System). “There are technology vendors who are developing commonly associated with video games or board games like point scoring these applications, there are businesses who need these applications, and and competition with others—reinforces lessons too, but even that has our students will be the leaders of the future who know how to use these evolved through a constant cycle of test, learn, and refine. More than 40 years applications,” Ishfaq says. ago, public school students in Minneapolis became acquainted with “Oregon While digitization has made it easier for us to access, share, and store Trail,” a video game that loaded them into virtual covered wagons and information, technology can only do so much for us. The “secret sauce,” as sent them on a simulated 19th Century journey from Missouri to Oregon. Forchette describes it, is to strategically apply the information technology Students had to make decisions based on a variety of scenarios filled with enables us to obtain. “Technology allows us to make better informed dataperilous consequences, including attacks by strangers, treacherous mountains, driven decisions, but unfortunately, sometimes data presents a big, grey and blizzards. A wrong choice might lead to the pixelated news that “You picture—not black and white. . . . It is important to study and have died of dysentery.” understand strategic thinking and decision-making processes In business classrooms, the wagon to be able to make the calls when technology doesn’t make trains have been replaced by other the answer crystal clear.” scenario-based games. O.C. Farrell, The goals associated with the use of technology have Harbert College’s James T. Pursell Sr. largely remained the same. We’re still making and moving Eminent Scholar in Ethics, utilizes an products, investing money, and serving customers. The approach that resembles “The Game of technological tools used to achieve those outcomes have Life,” a board game that has made the changed, but what of the students who are learning how leap to small screen devices. In his class, a to use them? student may enter life statistics and various “At the end of the day, it’s about having the ability choices—marriage or job—into a program. to change your brain and to have something that “Then you start making decisions in your wasn’t there before that you can understand, access, TTE GAZE DAILY job,” Farrell says. “If you make decisions that and then act on,” Butler says. “So are we turning are highly unethical, you can get fired. At the out a better graduate? We’re turning out a different end, you are graded not necessarily because graduate. Before, they used the library. Now, they you kept your job, but you have to write a use Google.” paper about what you learned from going through your career.” ING ING TH

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Neat rows of desks all facing toward a whiteboard—or, for some of us, a chalkboard. This has long been the image of a classroom layout. However, with new research into the ways students learn and how their environment interacts with that process, the classroom setting has become the centerpiece of new college education movements. Many classrooms have been modified from the traditional style, and for good reason. Research shows that the facing-forward lecture classroom has fallen out of fashion because it fails to help students fully engage with classroom material. New designs are tackling the issue of student learning by taking control of the spaces where students and teachers interact. Auburn is part of the trend. Anna Ruth Gatlin, an interior designer who joined the College of Human Sciences this fall, helped design room 023, a study space in Lowder Hall that uses up-to-date research and understanding of student learning to create a multifunctional and adaptable environment. “The goal for this project was to provide a flexible space for Harbert College of Business students to informally gather and collaborate, study in groups or teams, work on projects, and host other business schools for workshops and events,” Gatlin says. The new space illustrates the research being widely incorporated into classrooms. Students can choose to work together or individually, and there is constant access to outside resources, whether through the people visiting the space or through internet access. Gatlin’s design shows the flexibility that universities across the country are trying to achieve in their classrooms. “There’s really no ‘ideal classroom layout,’” Gatlin says. “Everyone teaches a little differently, just like everyone learns a little differently. The key to a successful classroom design is, in my opinion, flexibility. So that a classroom can work for the user group that’s occupying it.”

Other examples of new classroom layouts that incorporate this flexibility include the larger classroom spaces, where students sit in tiers rather than flat rows to have a better view of their professors and the information presented. In small classrooms, desks can shift into circles and horseshoe shapes, allowing students to face one another to encourage discussion and debate, or to gather together in clusters to discuss problems in small groups. These changes in design may seem small, but they show that students are no longer seen as passive learners in higher education. Flexibility in the classroom ensures that students are able to engage with classroom material successfully in their own ways, and professors are granted creative license to manipulate their teaching environment to best suit the class material. These new teaching methods utilize the technological resources available to students and professors. The all but universal use of laptops, tablets, and cellphones has made it impossible for educators to dismiss technological tools in the classroom. The typical computer lab and lecture hall now includes electrical sockets every two seats to accommodate students’ laptops, and classes have materials online that students can access at any time and from anywhere. These are all logical modifications to classrooms and teaching that make sense in our tech-driven era. Achilles Armenakis, emeritus professor, sees technology as a tool that gives students the power to expand the classroom themselves. “Technology allows for an individual experiential-type learning,” he says. “Professors need to realize this, encourage it, and incorporate it into the learning experience.” Technology-heavy classrooms are in demand for a variety of reasons. Quick access to information is vital to expanding course material and student

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understanding, and in more specific tech classrooms these spaces also prepare students for future work environments. A new analytics lab developed by faculty members Ashish Gupta and David Paradice will open later this academic year in Lowder Hall and enable business students to access and learn programs that would require higher computing power than that of a typical student laptop. “It gives the students an analytics environment that will simulate a work environment,” Gupta says. “We will teach them Big Data technologies, exactly the things that are stateof-art and highly in demand. They will learn Big Data infrastructure and how to develop data science applications using Hadoop, Spark, and deep learning.” As universities move forward with their pursuit of efficient teaching environments, how much reliance should they place on technology? Professors, while among the first to praise the use of technology and fast information access, find that there are some caveats. Pei Xu, assistant professor of business analytics, notes that there is a trade-off with the use of technology in her classroom. Applications have made it easy for students to show their attendance and actively answer questions in real time, but there are other concerns with so much technology in the classroom. “Allowing students to access information instantly and visit remote resources does benefit the learning process,” Xu says. “But at the same time, students may also be overwhelmed and distracted by the vast networks of information out there. Students could gradually lose the power to concentrate and think deeply during precious class time.” The barrage of notifications from phones, emails, texts, and applications can raise the level of distraction. Classrooms today illustrate a delicate balancing act between information and the vehicles we use to convey knowledge. In a world filled with data, there must be the discipline to know when to stop, a discipline professors must help instill. Streaming videos or using applications in the classroom has the potential to help students, but if there is no significance or relevance to class material drawn from these activities, the class becomes more about the spectacle of technology than the learning process. Finding a proper balance emphasizes the importance of the professor’s role. In all the discussion of million-dollar classrooms and technology, James R. Barth, Lowder Eminent Scholar in Finance, says the people in the classrooms can’t become secondary. “The emphasis should be on human capital far more than physical capital. Always,” Barth says. “Physical capital, including the seats, technology in the classroom, access to the internet, all of that is important, but far more important is the teacher and the student’s interaction. It’s human capital that matters most. You get a good education not being in a billion-dollar building, but having a great teacher and interacting with someone who knows the material well.” Knowing the material, according to Barth, means continuing to supplement class material with new external research.

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Coming Spring 2019 Harbert College’s second building is scheduled to open in spring 2019. The study spaces include team rooms and an open lobby with strong natural light, which gives the building a polished and professional look. Stephen Allen, the principal of the project with Williams Blackstock Architects, describes six of the classroom styles found throughout the building and expands on their uses. There are 13 major classrooms in the building. 1. Case Study Classroom: A traditional and proven design in business

education, this horseshoe-shaped classroom has a tiered floor, which allows rows of students to face one another and their professor. This layout facilitates discussion and debate and allows the professor to lecture or direct conversation easily. 2. Flat-Flexible Classroom: This classroom is light on technology, but the

room’s importance rests in its ability to change. Each piece of furniture has wheels, allowing those in the classroom to create the space they need. Ideal for multiple layouts, the room can be shuffled to accommodate small team groups, discussion circles, or traditional lecture classes. 3. Engaged Active Student Learning (EASL) Room: The most tech-heavy

classrooms in the building, the EASL rooms—an Auburn-coined term—are similar to flat-flexible rooms with their moveable furniture. Students are put into groups of six at a table, and all eight tables have their own monitors, to which students can connect their laptops or tablets, and their own glass writing board. The focus of this class layout is student interaction and problem-solving. Groups have the technology to access quickly and the work space to connect with each other and tackle problems together. For more information, visit:

0 – GROUND 20,795 SF

1 – MAG. AVE. 19,425 SF

4. Hybrid Classroom: A mix between an EASL room and case study classroom,

LEVEL 2 LEVEL 3 LEVEL 4 the hybrid class has a tiered floor that faces students towards one another. 19,675 SF 20,235 SF 11,512 SF However, instead of desks, oval tables surround the professor’s rectangular table in the horseshoe shaped room. Six students can sit at each of the oval tables, and students can transition from listening to the professor to working in groups with the simple turn of a chair. 5. Auditorium: The auditorium is a true multi-purpose space that can hold

more than 150 people. The design is a flat floor with a mezzanine, but it includes retractable seating with chairs to transform the room for any type of presentation. Flexibility is key in making this space anything the college needs, including a banquet space or lecture hall. 6. Innovation Lab: Otherwise known as a “maker space,” this work style

environment holds up to 50 people and relies on student creativity and skill development. It’s not a formal classroom, but it promotes creating things, particularly by working with others outside the Harbert College. This classroom space expands the colleges classroom by reaching out to other people with different educational backgrounds.

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One Cent Makes Plenty of Sense You stroll through the grocery aisles at your favorite supermarket and grab an eight-pack of hot dog buns for $1.99. You grab a 12-pack of canned Coca-Colas for $4.99. While you’re at it, you purchase a gallon of milk for $4.99 and a pack of Bubba Burgers for $8.99. Come to think of it, your party might turn festive and you grab two bottles of chianti for $12.99 each. Ninety-nine. Ninety-nine. Ninety-nine. What’s the deal with all the .99s? “There’s a hypothesis in the retail industry that customers ignore everything after the decimal,” explains associate professor of marketing Dan Padgett, who studies the psychology of pricing. “If something is $14.99, then the customer often sees the $14 and ignores the .99. It’s a way to capture more every time you sell a product. We’ve done some research where we have stopped people at the grocery store and asked them, ‘Give us an estimate of how much is in your buggy,’” Padgett notes. “We asked them to literally predict how much they had spent so far. They’re not very good at it (suggesting again that customers ignore the $.99 attached to most grocery items).”

Padgett, who co-authored pricing research “Left Behind: The Potential Downside of Odd-Ended Pricing” with fellow Harbert College associate professor James Carver, identified another motive behind the .99 pricing. “Part two … there is also a hypothesis out there that if the customer sees the .99 they take it as a small discount from whatever the next integer must be,” he says. Instead of paying $30 for a new shirt, the 99.2 1 consumer pays $29.99 and goes home alleged great deal. But odd-numbered pricing that ends a penny short doesn’t work best for all products or services, Padgett says. “You don’t always see it when you 99.4 99.3 go into the jewelry store for example, and you’re looking at a necklace. The reason why you don’t see it that way, at least in the better stores, is because they realize that the price communicates the luxury and the value of an item. In that scenario, the 99.3 99.3 99.1 zero helps you rather than having .99 endings.” This philosophy doesn’t necessarily apply only to luxury items. Prices for high-risk services too, should not end 99.1 99.1 2.99 in 99s. “Think about LASIK surgery,” Padgett says. “If you can get your




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LASIK done for $299.99 an eye versus $300, it is way more preferred to use the $300. Why? It’s a high-risk service and as a result, I want that to be more valuable and, hence, the communication of the price leads me to believe it has higher value or comes with a better quality. The assumption is—prices that end with 99s are discounted. I don’t want discount on something that’s high risk.” The next time you go shopping for everyday 99.2 99.2 99.3 household items, or must undergo an important procedure, think about the listed prices and the strategy behind them. “Pricing is often misunderstood, and it’s often used as a heavy-handed weapon,” Padgett says. 99.1





























Promoting the General Welfare Questions of coordination and collaboration invariably arise in the wake of natural disasters. How can public and private entities work together? What resources should be shared, and how? How should volunteers be utilized? Who’s going to pass out water bottles? Who’s going to move people to shelters? How long can a private business’ property be used as a relief staging area, given the impact on customers and profitability? Ultimately, the question is: Who’s in charge? Glenn Richey, professor of supply chain management, says developing a governing framework that bridges the communication and management gap between public and private entities would give relief efforts a unified voice instead of multiple, disjointed voices. In addition to his research, he has some personal experience. Richey lived in Tuscaloosa during the devastating April 27, 2011 tornado and on the Alabama Gulf coast during 1979’s Hurricane Frederic. Richey is co-author of the paper “Disaster Resilience Through Short-Term Collaboration,” presented in March at the National Hurricane Conference in New Orleans. He called on federal, state, and local government agencies and private businesses to work together. “We need to ensure that everyone is focused on one outcome, understand the roles of each group, and build their goals together so that they can achieve the protection of human life,” he says. But who manages this group? “Because it’s such a disparate group of individuals, it has to be a board of people that doesn’t already exist and can be altered and enhanced quickly,” Richey says. At the National Hurricane Conference, Richey met privately with government and corporate representatives. He learned just how great the divide is and likened the conversations to “marriage counseling.”

“You get into the room and you start asking questions about relationships and ask ‘Tell me something good about the relationship,’ and they say, ‘Grrr,’” Richey says. “Then you ask, ‘Tell me something bad’ and they have a litany of things.” A major issue is that some public entities consider companies being profitable during a disaster situation as a bad thing. “The goal is to get these people together, but some level of animosity still exists,” he says. “Public entities recognize that there are things that private entities can do, but they can’t. And there are certainly a number of things that private entities can’t touch. They need to ask each other ‘what’s your role in the occurrence? I’m doing this. You’re doing that.’ The government is expected to do this. Private industry is expected to do that. “There’s nothing worse in one of these events than having merchants in the room and having someone from Homeland Security or FEMA say, ‘We don’t do it that way.’ Then the government wants to take a retail facility for three months and you’ve got managers saying, ‘I’m not going to make my quota.’ This is essentially a call to arms for businesses and government to get together.”

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The Best Shipping Move for Retailers is... Is it better for retailers to ship their customers’ online orders from a nearby brick-andmortar store or from a more distant distribution center?

It may seem counterintuitive, but the latter is often the correct answer, says Rafay Ishfaq, associate professor of supply chain management. Ishfaq evaluated each option and built a decision model that retailers can use to select their best fulfillment options and delivery processes. His co-authored paper “Evaluation of Order Fulfillment Options in Retail Supply Chain” was accepted for publication in Decision Sciences, an elite journal. Ishfaq found out that many retailers erroneously believe shipping directly from a consumer’s neighborhood store is better. “Because they are closest to the customer,” he says. “If I’m ordering from Target, why ship it from Ohio when they can ship it from the store in Opelika? They’re focusing on 38 HM, Fall 2017

reducing the last mile delivery cost.” Ishfaq’s study revealed a flaw in that line of thinking. “If you don’t factor in the inventory cost, the sales associates’ cost of taking time out and putting orders in a box and preparing the order, and all of the supply chainrelated costs already built in, stores right now are not the best way to do it,” he says. Instead, the best option for retailers to ship online orders is from distribution centers, Ishfaq believes. “The cost of the retailer to ship orders from the stores was two times the $10 threshold,” he says. “If a retailer can fill and deliver online orders from the store for less than $10, then stores become a viable fulfillment method.” Ishfaq says if retailers choose to use actual brick and mortar stores as their online fulfillment points,

then they would need improvements in store efficiencies. Ishfaq and co-author Uzma Raja, a professor of information systems at the University of Alabama, created an intensive case study of the fulfillment process, its costs, and delivery expenses that allows retailers to plug in their data and find which distribution method works best for them. “They can review the results to see how much they need to improve their cost structure, fulfillment and shipping processes, and training of their associates, so that they can cross a certain threshold—a break-even threshold,” he says. “So when an order comes in, they have a data-driven way of making that determination.”


Cheaters Never Prosper David Cicero’s research into “the whys of corporate misbehavior” is yielding interesting insights into business practices and the ethical aspects of the decisions behind them. People are “not totally rational in our ethical behavior,” he says. Cicero, an associate professor of finance who joined Harbert College in 2016, notes that the field of behavioral ethics studies is “just now budding” and could produce some low-cost ways of promoting more ethical behavior in the business world. It may take little more than an occasional reminder of what an organization’s ethical expectations are to help employees and executives act with integrity. Cicero and his former PhD student, Mi Shen, are conducting “real world” studies testing the behavioral ethics results found in the experimental labs of Dan Ariely of Duke University and Francesco Gino of Harvard. Those researchers have found that study participants competing for small monetary rewards are apt to cheat when given the opportunity, but interestingly, they cheat less when ethical considerations are made more salient. In particular, they cheat less when an actor pretending to be one of the participants asks before the games

begin, “Is it OK to cheat?” and the administrator indicates that they can do anything they want. In this case, there is less cheating—simply because there has been a reminder, even indirectly, of ethical implications. Cicero’s and Shen’s research provides evidence that similar behavioral patterns are seen in the business world. Their research measures the profitability of corporate insiders’ stock trades when a high-profile local politician has been in the news for unethical behavior. Similar to the lab experiments, they find that insiders’ stock sales are less profitable during these times, suggesting that executives are more likely to consider the ethics of their own conduct when they are reminded of the ethical missteps of others. Other reminders, such as signing a pledge or acknowledging an honor code, may have similar results. “There is an ethical context to our decisions,” Cicero says. “Warnings activate our own value systems. If you’re concerned about ethical behavior, reminders could help everyone be on their best behavior.” Cicero and Shen are also examining greed as a motivating factor for misbehavior, such as insider trading. Seeking real-world settings where

executives may experience greater feelings of greed or envy, he has reviewed metropolitan areas with large numbers of “star firms”—those significantly outperforming the stock market and rewarding executives as a result—and then looked at other companies in the same areas, where insider trading may be more likely due to a “Keeping up with the Joneses” mentality. Another paper in the early stages of development, deals with the impact of testosterone on misbehavior. Exposure to violence, or even a violent sport such as football, has been shown to raise testosterone levels. Cicero and Shen are examining business behavior in NFL cities after a home team win and exploring whether increased testosterone results in more aggressive trading behavior. Cicero is also involved in several other areas of research into corporate behavior. He is one of the authors of a recently published paper in the journal Management Science that examines the time CEOs spend playing golf and how that can relate to the success of the companies they head. “Shirking CEOs” may be lowering their handicaps, but they also may be lowering the performance of their companies.

Mission In Action

Raising the Stakes For years, Harbert College students interested in portfolio management have been able to use many of the same tools of the trade as Wall Street brokers. They have gained experience using Bloomberg Terminals, Morningstar, and FactSet. What they haven’t had, until recently, is the expectation that any investments they make will have consequences. Most have managed “virtual portfolios” and made “virtual trades” in classroom settings, but there’s nothing like weighing a decision that holds the promise of real gains or losses. “Until you have real money at stake, you don’t understand what it is to invest,” says Harbert College senior finance major Zach Spencer. “Students need to experience real risk and real returns.” As president of the Auburn Student Investment Fund, Spencer will help students from a variety of majors roll with the wins and losses. The organization, which is open to students of all majors who are interested in investments and finance, made its first “real” trade this month. In doing so, Harbert College students joined an elite list. Fewer than 5 percent of business schools offer experiential learning through student-managed investment funds. Harbert College associate professor Jitka Hilliard, the Auburn Student Investment Fund advisor, says the move from the virtual to the actual will enhance student professional development. “They have all done these virtual trades,” she says. “It is clearly an excellent teaching tool, but it is very different from investing real money. If I ask right now, ‘Would you buy a stock of Apple?,’ you will probably say yes. Will you really do it with your money? It is very good that the students can not only express their

opinions about the stocks, but also carry the responsibility that comes with trading it.” All trades are approved by the fund’s faculty advisor, an alumni advisor, and the college’s dean. The Harbert College is seeking a leadership donor who can help build the Auburn Student Investment Fund into a robust, long-lasting opportunity for hands-on learning. According to a survey of accredited business schools conducted by the website, the average student-managed investment fund balance for North American schools is $2 million. Any gains from the Auburn Student Investment Fund’s performance will go back into the college for students to manage and allocate to projects they deem beneficial to the student experience. Spencer, who recently completed an internship as a portfolio management analyst with SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, compares the experience of managing real dollars to playing golf for the first time. “You must develop your swing. Many shots are going in the woods, but a couple are going to be right on. Until you have the club in your hand, you don’t understand what it is to play golf.” In a 2014 article for BizEd, the magazine of the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, Montclair State professor Deniz Ozenbas and Baruch College professor Robert Schwartz described the experiential learning value of student-managed funds this way: “Trading rooms allow them to be graded, not just by their professors, but by the marketplace.”

Invest in our students Interested in supporting the Auburn Student Investment Fund? Contact the Office of Advancement at 334.844.1387.

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Mission In Action

Cashing in on Student Research A hurricane is barreling toward the Gulf Coast. How should a bank prepare its ATMs to serve its customers near the impacted areas? Commercial customer cash volume changes at a specific bank’s vault. Should a bank continue to operate this vault or outsource to an armored carrier? These scenarios—and others—were presented to students in Gary Page’s Sourcing and Supply Management class last spring by Regions Bank. Students then recommended courses of action that will maintain efficiency and a high level of customer service. “Our objectives of the case study were to expose students to principles of managing supply chain operations within a service industry, such as banking,” says Sarah McClellan, a Regions VP and Operations Manager. “We also intended to further develop the students’ skill sets to make an immediate impact at the beginning of their careers.” Case studies are nothing new to students in Page’s undergraduate classrooms, or for MBA students, who offer consultancy to dozens of industry partners each fall. “I try to prepare students for the real world,” says Page, executive in residence at Harbert. “I am looking for opportunities to get them out of classroom lectures and involve them with company issues.”

The Regions study was established with support from MBA alum Chris Brasher, Regions Executive VP of Enterprise Operations. “It’s great to have the opportunity to sponsor a project that not only pushes the students’ abilities, but exposes them to the operational side of banking,” says Brasher, an Auburn Supply Chain Management Association sponsor whose firm partners with the college’s Center for Supply Chain Innovation. Of the dozens of students participating, the team of Emily Clement, Mary Parker Robertson, Seth McAnear, Anna Hickinbotham, and Kathryn Wingenter, submitted the case competition’s winning proposal, based on a thorough written report—complete with financial and operational data—and a final presentation made before Regions executives. How should Regions handle ATM cash disbursement in the event of a hurricane? The team reported, “Regions should be proactive by increasing the cash orders throughout the entire hurricane season. This will cut down costs created by emergency cash orders as a result of being reactive to a current hurricane forecast.” And what about that vault? Should Regions continue using the vault at that location, or outsource its commercial cash operations to an armored carrier? And if an armored carrier, which one? The group suggested utilizing an armored

carrier over the vault, citing cost, and chose that carrier over two others, based on customer service ratings and reliability. “It’s interesting to bring in fresh perspectives to our operational processes,” Brasher says. “We were impressed. The students really devoted a lot of effort toward understanding our operations. Giving the students real-world situations that the bank deals with daily allowed Regions to gain new insights into how these issues can be approached while introducing students to the type of work they can expect post-graduation.” Companies also use case competitions as recruiting tools. Regions’ Operations division hired three Harbert Supply Chain Management graduates between December of 2016 and this May. McClellan says Harbert’s recent SCM graduates have “hit the mark” by bringing in a new perspective to problem-solving, while providing strong technological skills. “The growth of the Supply Chain Management program at Auburn has been extremely exciting,” Brasher says. “The faculty and staff are some of the best in the nation. Our industry is increasingly relying on strong data analysis to support various operations. I firmly believe the data analysis and presentation skills the program has implemented in core classes are two key factors in Auburn producing top-of-the-line Supply Chain Management graduates.” HM, Fall 2017 41

With Your Dollar

Operating Room Physicians Executive MBA alums help create student study space Not so long ago, students and professors walking to classes on the ground floor of Lowder Hall would frequently find themselves negotiating an obstacle course of laptop power cords, backpacks, and outstretched legs. Without a dedicated study area in that part of the building, students created space where they could—on the floor, in close proximity to power outlets. That all changed in April with the unveiling of Lowder 23 as a transformed space for undergraduate and graduate students. Commitments from seven Physicians Executive MBA program graduates enabled the room to be reinvented as a place where students could work comfortably and collaboratively. Once the home of the college’s Operations and Communications and Marketing units, Lowder 23 now boasts a vibrant color scheme, comfortable overstuffed furniture in the lobby sitting area, large dry erase boards, flat screen monitors, and new furniture. “This open, interactive space gives students a place to relax, study, and collaborate on group projects,” says associate dean of graduate and international programs Stan Harris, “In the end, this space helps improve the student experience. This gives our students an opportunity to have a professional-looking space to meet with teams, work on projects together, and get away from the crowds a little bit. It represents what the real-world work space is like.” The emphasis on “flexible” space with moveable furniture allowing for the easy reconfiguration of common areas and meeting rooms will be especially beneficial to undergraduate and graduate students. Executive program students can utilize the space during their residencies, but the meeting rooms also offer utility for undergraduate and graduate students working on presentations and group projects. “While the executive students will have priority in this space while they are in residency, it will primarily be used by undergraduate business students, students who do not have team rooms, or quiet study space in Lowder Hall,” says Kim Kuerten, director of Executive MBA Programs. “I know this is a gift that will be appreciated by everyone in the years to come.”

42 HM, Fall 2017

Support for the renovation came from the following Physicians Executive MBA graduates: Dr. James B. Stewart (’05) and Linda M. Stewart Dr. William L. Hawkins (’13) Dr. Sanjeev Saxena (’13), in memory of his father and mentor, Dr. Virendra M. Saxena Drs. Tej and Simran Singh (’13 and ’14, respectively) Dr. Vaughn S. Clagette (’13) Dr. Walt Reid (’13)

Stan Harris, associate dean, speaks at the unveiling of Lowder 023, a work and study space created by donations from seven graduates of the Physicians Executive MBA Program.

“I know this is a gift that will be appreciated by everyone in the years to come.” It’s up to each of us Get involved by contacting the Office of Advancement at 334.844.1387

HM, Fall 2017 43


As we celebrate our 50th anniversary as a school of business, we can’t help but think about how much we’ve changed over the years. We know you have too, since your days as an Auburn business student. You’ve earned promotions and made a move or two. Maybe you got married and raised a beautiful family. And now, perhaps, you’re enjoying grandchildren. This section celebrates how far you’ve come since graduation.

Share your story Send us your announcements, photos, and letters. We love to hear what you’re up to. Submissions are included as space permits. Alumni notes may be edited for length and clarity. Thank you for sending us high resolution photos. E-mail us: Follow us: Moved recently? Changed your email address? Update your contact information:

All Tracks Lead to Auburn HELEN KRAUSS LESLIE’S ’43 plan after high

school involved channeling her love of music into a career as a concert pianist or “something radical.” Her plan most definitely did not involve Auburn or a business degree. That all changed after her brother, an engineering student at Georgia Tech, visited Auburn for a summer course. Leslie, who had been taking courses in typing and shorthand at a junior college near home in St. Petersburg, Florida, suddenly found herself packing her bags. “My brother made me go to Auburn,” Leslie told Auburn Magazine. “I had no idea where I was going. Took an hour and a half to get to Tampa, we backed into the train station in Tampa, then took off, stopped in Albany [Georgia] and from there went to Opelika.” It’s safe to say she liked what she found at the end of the train ride. Now 96, Leslie takes pride in her status as one of just two women to earn

business degrees from Auburn in 1943. “I decided on business, then took some engineering courses,” Leslie says. “I still had to take one home economics class—that was the acceptable profession for females at the time.” Her Auburn University loyalties are well-known to fellow residents of her condominium in St. Petersburg. Many of her neighbors refer to her as “War Eagle” and know about her collection of Auburn artifacts—including a hard hat from the groundbreaking of Lowder Hall and a blue car with orange stripes. After earning her business degree, Leslie returned home during World War II to work for her father’s supply company. She then worked as a secretary, treasurer, and eventually president and owner for roofing and supply companies in and around Tampa Bay while also performing layout work for Tampa Shipbuilding Co. and MacDill Air Force Base. Leslie served in local government and enjoyed national roles as chairman for the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Service, the National Safety Council Women’s Conference, the Committee on Employee Recruitment and Job Development for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the National Advisory Council for Small Business Administration. She also participated in six Hemispheric Friendship trips to Central and South America and went to West Germany at the invitation of its government in 1965 to promote international understanding.

“I still had to take one home economics class—that was the acceptable profession for females at that time.” 44 HM, Fall 2017


102 and Counting CHARLES WHITE ’49 experienced plenty of nerve-wracking

moments while serving on a submarine in the South Pacific in World War II, but his greatest dangers may have been faced while wearing a business suit. After earning a business administration degree from Auburn in 1949, White worked for 20 years as an IRS agent at a time when collecting delinquent returns meant going door-to-door. Not everyone who White called upon was enthusiastic about paying what they owed. “I picked up my share of dog bites,” says White, a Boaz, Alabama resident. And he certainly has accumulated more than his fair share of stories. White, who celebrated his 102nd birthday in March 2017, holds the distinction of being the oldest living Auburn business graduate. He may also be among the most colorful. After serving in World War II, White attended Auburn on the GI Bill and earned his degree when he was 34. Until last March however, White had only visited campus once since graduating. His family organized a surprise trip through the Auburn University Alumni Association on March 16 in anticipation of his 102nd birthday on March 19. White’s tour began with the Harbert College, where he had his photo taken with the bronze tiger statue in the Lowder Hall lobby. “It is just amazing,” White says while touring the College’s Office of Professional and Career Development. “It is overwhelming. The way the college has grown and the campus has been developed … it’s so beautiful now. Not to say it wasn’t beautiful back then, but there was a lot less of it.” White’s red carpet experience also included stops at Samford Hall, Jordan-Hare Stadium and the Auburn Athletic Complex. White says there’s no magic involved in his longevity other than, perhaps, avoiding angry dogs. He says the most important thing is to treat each day as a “fresh start.”

“It is overwhelming. The way the college has grown and the campus has been developed … it’s so beautiful now.”

HM, Fall 2017 45

Alumni Notes

1950s John E. Byrd (’55, business

administration) is enjoying retirement after a 60-year career, the last 40 of which were spent practicing law in Dothan, Ala. His first great-grandchild was born in October 2016.

1960s Gary K. Beasley (’67, MBA) retired from ConAgra Foods

after a 30-year career in accounting management. He served as controller of several ConAgra businesses, primarily in the agriculture, animal food, fertilizer, and agricultural chemicals sectors. He retired in 1999 as a division controller based in Memphis, Tenn. He and his wife, Lynn Hobbs Beasley, have been married for 50 years. They have three children and four grandsons.

Richard J. “Jack” Burkhalter

(’69, accounting) is retired and living in Auburn, but continues to serve as a consultant to some of his previous clients. “In retirement, we have begun to execute our ‘bucket list’ of places we have not visited previously. It is a lot of fun.” Barry V. Carroll (’68, accounting)

is retired after a 34-year career with Philips Electronics that took him to The Netherlands and Japan. “Upon retirement, I bought two bed and breakfasts in Charleston, South Carolina … which were sold two weeks ago after 15 years. So now I am officially retired … for the second time.” Paul Allen Fox (’69, business

administration) accepted positions as Chapter Publicity Chairman and Legislative Liaison for the Military Officers Association of America,

where he was praised by U.S. Marine Col. (retired) Nick Matranga for “successfully generating favorable publicity for our mission and annual recognition banquet to salute

outstanding ROTC and JROTC cadets.” Fox, who lives in Mobile and is a member of the National Society of Fundraising Executives, also tracked his nephew’s Olympic paracycling competition last summer in Rio, directed another successful non-profit capital fundraising campaign, was nominated to serve on his church vestry, and hosted a 100th birthday celebration for his motherin-law. Jon David Glenn (’68, business

administration) is retired from his own sales and marketing business, Deep South Marketing. The firm represented nine different Millwork residential door and window companies in the Southeast and worked with national manufacturers and national and regional distributors. He now serves on two local boards, plays golf three to five times a week and goes “fishing when it’s too cold to golf.” He and his wife, Linda, enjoy travel and take several cruises each year.

Rodney Koenig

(’68, business administration) is an attorney and partner with Fulbright & Jaworski, LLP in Houston, Texas. John A. Reichley (’62, business

administration) is “absolutely retired” after serving the US Army for a combined 41 years of active duty and civilian sector work. That doesn’t mean he’s slowed down, however. He earned Citizen of the Year honors in Leavenworth, Kansas, in 2013 and is a member of the President’s Council for the National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City. He also writes a column for the Leavenworth Times and is a fellow in The Company of Military Historians. He also served as president of the Kansas City Military Collectors Club for 10 years. He and his wife, Judy (’63), have been married for 53 years and counting and have three children, seven grandchildren and one greatgrandchild.


History and Herstory No matter what they did after graduating from Auburn University, Wray Allen, Jr., and Lydia Reynolds Banker would always

enjoy the distinction of being the answers to a trivia question. Who are the first male and female graduates of the Auburn University School of Business? While Allen admits the honor comes by virtue of “a quirk of the alphabet,” the timeline of Auburn University School of Business graduates had to start somewhere. So it started with Allen and Banker walking across the stage at the old Memorial Coliseum in December 1967. Auburn University’s Board of Trustees created the School of Business by decree in March of that year. 46 HM, Fall 2017

Fifty years later, Allen and Banker have plenty of reasons to be proud of what they achieved after graduation. Allen, who followed up his accounting degree with an MBA in 1969, served as a vice president of Birmingham-based Collateral Mortgage, Ltd., and eventually owned a hardware store in the metro Birmingham area. He married his college sweetheart, Anne Scheinert, and their son, Tim, also attended Auburn. Banker, whose three sisters also attended Auburn, met her husband and found a calling as a business student. She married her husband, fellow business alum James H. Banker, six months before graduation. Lydia Banker put her business degree to use as the owner

and operator of Lydia Banker Catering in Nashville, Tennessee. The couple’s four children—two daughters and two sons—continued the family tradition of attending Auburn. “The spirit of Auburn is the same today as it was when we were there,” she says. Business education at Auburn has followed a sustained path of progression since Allen and Banker graduated, with the school becoming a college in 1985 and a named college in 2013. “It seems like the quality of programs today is stronger than ever,” Allen says. “An Auburn business degree is certainly valuable today.”

Alumni Notes Dianne Perry Wammack (’67, business

administration) is retired and enjoys playing duplicate bridge in her free time. William Owen Whitten, Jr.

(’65, business administration), after having retired, now serves as an adjunct instructor of accounting for the University of North Alabama. His post-retirement travels have taken him to India, Spain, Portugal, Vietnam, Laos, Australia, Cambodia, and New Zealand. His hobbies include golf, lifting weights, and playing with his greatnieces and -nephews.

1970s Geof Bialas (’76, business administration) is a retired US Air Force lieutenant colonel who currently serves as president of Pax Development & Consulting, LLC., which

invests in residential real estate and provides legal support services in Kentucky. He resides in Louisville and is past president and current vice president of the Derby City Auburn Club. Constance Hanlein Blevins

(’72, accounting) is enjoying retirement after an accounting degree that took her “around the world.” She served as manager of quality for Texaco in the United Kingdom for five years, meeting her husband. She then lived and worked in Rio de Janeiro for five years and Sydney, Australia, for three more before retiring in North Carolina. She and her husband spend at least 10 days per month at the beach, where she also enjoys spending time with her three grandchildren. Constance is also the “parent” of three rescue dogs, including a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

serving during a presidential inauguration. He also served as a member of the medical response team during Pope Francis’ recent visit to the United States. The National Disaster Medical System is a federally coordinated healthcare system that provides assistance in disaster areas and offers support for special events involving national security interests, including the presidential inauguration. Timothy Durfee (’73, business

administration) just completed his 20th year of self-employment in the agricultural sector. He has been married for 37 years and has a son who is a surgeon in Miami and a daughter who owns a marketing firm in Atlanta. He also has a 2 ½-year-old grandchild he describes as a “future Tiger.” Patrick Hardin (’72, business administration)

is ending his career and consulting business— Pharmaceutical Trade and Channel Management – after 44 years in the pharmaceutical industry. William F. “Bill” Jenkins (’73, business) retired from Vulcan Threaded Products in Pelham,

Ala., after helping launch the company in 1978. He was part owner and VP of sales and marketing. Upon retirement, he and his wife, Yvonne Logan Jenkins, acquired Glowble Lighting, LLC., in Trussville, Ala., and is in the process of developing it into another profitable company.

Tim Curry (’73, marketing)

was selected to serve as a paramedic with the National Disaster Medical System during President Trump’s inauguration in January 2017. This marked his second time

accounting) lives in Alabaster, Ala., and owns Kathy’s Kreations, a decorating and design zservice. Steve A. Robinson (’72, marketing) serves on the Board of Directors for Chick-fil-A. He retired

from the company in 2015 after serving as its chief marketing officer. He earned the Lifetime Marketing Leadership Awards from the American Marketing Association and the Georgia State Marketing Roundtable/Atlanta Business Chronicle. He and his wife, Dianne, reside in Atlanta and have four grandchildren. Stanley M. Smith (’72, industrial management)

says he “began a new career” in June 2013: “Retirement! I just love it!” Robert D. “Bob” Turner (’75, business

administration) now serves as director of audit services for Navicent Health, a designated Level 1 Trauma Center and three-time Magnet designated hospital for nursing excellence. Navicent Health serves as the primary teaching hospital for Mercer University in Macon, Georgia. Turner describes himself as a “longtime cat herder, chaser of leads, and researcher of hard nuts to crack.” He and his wife, Peggy, have five grandchildren and live in Macon, Georgia. Joseph “Joe” Williams (’73, accounting) serves as chairman of iScribeHealth in Nashville,

for photography into a business – Have Camera, Will Travel. He’s currently retired and living in Montgomery. He spent 26 years working as an inspector for the Alabama Department of Public Health.

Tennessee, and is also a private investor. His career highlights include serving as a CPA, Executive Vice President, and CFO of HealthAmerica Corporation and helping Coventry Corporation grow to become a Fortune 500 company during his time as co-founder, chairman, and CEO. He and his wife, Mary Hawsey Williams (’72), have two daughters, a son, and eight granddaughters.

Franklin W. Latta (’73, business administration) is chairman and CEO of Farmers & Merchants Bank in Piedmont, Ala..


Joel Miller (’73, business administration) is

Jim Ard (’83, accounting) relocated to Alpharetta, Ga., to work for Synchrony Bank as a vice

Earl Langley (’75, accounting) turned his passion

Joe Brown (’77, finance) recently moved to

Callaway, Fla., becoming the city’s finance director after serving in the same capacity for the city of DeFuniak Springs, Fla.

Kathy Flournoy Neighbors (’75,

enjoying retirement in St. Louis, Mo., with his wife, Cheryl, but remains professionally active as an adjunct professor at the University of Missouri’s St. Louis campus. He also serves as an expert witness and litigation consultant in lawsuits involving banks. His hobbies include travel and sculpting.

president and senior IT audit manager. Mark Aston (’86, finance) serves as national sales manager for Spiriplex, promoting Allergenex

testing for the Atlanta area company. Mark Cargo (’82, marketing) joined the Public Sector Finance team at Sterling National Bank

as managing director and vice president. In this new role, Mark will manage and develop loan HM, Fall 2017 47

Alumni Notes portfolios, deposits, and other products and services. He also focuses on business development and client cross-sell activities. He previously served as a regional manager with Oracle Financing. Dan Davidson (’87, accounting) recently earned

a promotion to chief investment strategist for BBVA Compass Global Wealth-Domestic in Birmingham, Alabama. Stephen Denton Jr. (’84,

industrial operations management) is celebrating 18 years as the owner of Archadeck of Central Georgia, a Macon-based

three children. Denton is active in a variety of community activities, serving as chairman of the board for Goodwill Industries of Middle Georgia and the CSRA. He also chairs the organization’s strategic advisory committee. Denton was honored in 2011 as Goodwill’s Volunteer of the Year and received the Daily Point of Light Award in 2012. His service to Goodwill was motivated by the unexpected death of his first wife, Polly Long Denton, at the age of 42. She had been working with the president of Goodwill to establish a training program in culinary arts for individuals seeking a path out of poverty. Philanthropic gifts in her memory led to the establishment of the Polly Long Denton School of Hospitality in Macon in 2006.

construction business. He has

G. Garrett Gerst, Jr. (’88, business

administration) serves as Director of eCommerce for Pillow Perfect in Woodstock, Ga. He began his current role in January 2017. He has won a 2017 ADDY Award from the Atlanta Chapter of the American Marketing Association for a 2016 project with his previous employer and received a pair of 2016 IMPACT Awards from the Internet Marketing Association. He also celebrated 25 years of marriage to his wife, Katie Koch Gerst (’90), with a trip to France. Sam Givhan (’89, finance) was elected senior vice chair of the Alabama Republican Party

and serves as chairman of the Madison County Republican Party.


Consignment shop owner meets customer needs, trends—and thrives “Focus on who you are, what you do, what your customers want—and do that really well. Don’t let other things distract you from that focus.” That’s sage advice Tracy True Dismukes, who left a career in banking and bought a suburban Birmingham consignment shop, has for small business owners. Twenty-five years later, Dismukes’ business, Collage Designer Consignment, has expanded into a popular chain operation, and continues to seek new avenues to reach customers. “Things change. Trends change. Customer habits change,” says the 1988 Harbert College finance graduate. “If you don’t pay attention and evolve and change—you will be left behind.” Not only has Collage continued to expand or move from location to location, but it has taken to social media and the world wide web to show its products. It even had a TV show—“Consignment Chic” on a local CW affiliate. “Consignment shopping finally became cool,” she laughed, noting the 30-minute segment aired in 22 Alabama counties, specifically in Birmingham markets. “I became executive producer, sales person, writer, in addition to my four stores at the time. I knew if I could get into people’s living rooms and show them the fantastic things that we have and that they can have them for less, they would be hooked.” Dismukes described Collage as “the Saks of consignment.” Collage carries new and pre-owned designer apparel, and specializes in designer handbags and formal wear. Dismukes says that 48 HM, Fall 2017

Collage’s products are no more than two years old and must be “authentic, current, trendy” styles. Depending on customer wants and needs, Collage has even offered furniture and plus size apparel. “You constantly have to try things,” Dismukes says. “We did a survey last fall. You think you know what your customers think about you, but until you see it in writing . . . you can learn a few things. The more you can grow and evolve based on what our customers want us to do and not what we want, that’s how we stay in business.” But Dismukes wasn’t always a small business owner. For 12 years, she was an internal management consultant at SouthTrust Bank. “I loved the finance side,” she says. “I loved looking at existing businesses, products and services and finding a better way to do it operationally. That was my sweet spot in the financial realm.” She noted that attire for banking professionals was somewhat bland in the 1980s. “For me, I needed to find business suits at an affordable price,” she added. “That’s where I discovered consignment shopping. I liked the concept of recycling versus tossing in the trash. It was interesting that something that doesn’t have value to one person has a lot of value to another.” While carrying the full-time load at SouthTrust, Dismukes continued her education by obtaining an MBA at Samford University in Birmingham. She graduated – and purchased the existing Collage—in June of 1992. “I bought the store on a Friday night and that Saturday morning I had to open for business,” she says. “I thought ‘I need somebody to show me how

Tracy True Dismukes traded a career in the financial industry to create one of the South’s most popular consignments shops.

to work a cash register.’ I had to learn to delegate. There was already an employee there that I kept. Pretty soon after that, I brought in a manager. But any time I was not at SouthTrust, I was working the business on nights and weekends.” Dismukes left SouthTrust in 2000. She’s come full circle from new business owner to veteran. “People looking into starting their own businesses should always research before they leap,” she says. “And don’t just do that on the Internet. You can learn a lot from people who have done this for a long time. Talk to other business owners. Join business owner groups. Meet people who do what you want to do.”

Alumni Notes Richard B. Hare (’89, accounting) joined

Victor Sower, PhD (’80, MBA) is Distinguished

Havertys Furniture as executive vice president

Professor Emeritus of Operations Management at Sam Houston State University. He has written several books on quality management and has served as a consultant.

and chief financial officer in May. Previously, he served as senior VP of finance, and chief financial officer for Carmike Cinemas. Established in 1885, Havertys is a full-service home furnishings retailer with 123 showrooms in 16 states in the South and Midwest. Greg Heston (’83,

accounting) is in his 32nd year with Ernst & Young, which he joined immediately after graduating from Auburn. He remains connected to the university through his involvement in the Auburn University Foundation Board, the School of Accountancy Advisory Council, and firm campus recruitment activities. His oldest children, Mary Slate and William, each graduated from Auburn in May and December 2016, respectively. He and his wife, Mary Grace, live in Atlanta and are the parents of four additional future Auburn students ranging in age from 5 to 17. Enoch Jones (’86, management information

systems) changed jobs and now serves as a network and systems engineer for TEKsystems. Paul Linz (’83, business administration) serves as executive director of Fauquier Habitat for Humanity in Virginia. He manages a $1.1 million

budget, nine full- and part-time employees, and an army of more than 175 local volunteers. Jeff Lynn (’85, management) serves as senior

executive director of workforce and economic development for the Alabama Community College System. Scott MacArthur (’83,

accounting) serves as Chief Financial Officer for SafeStreetsUSA in Raleigh, North Carolina. The company is ADT’s largest authorized dealer of residential security systems with more than 80,000 annual installations nationwide. He has been married for nearly 33 years to his “Auburn sweetheart,” Alicia. Mark Pickens (’83, finance) oversees his own law practice, Mark A. Pickens, Attorney at Law, in

Birmingham. He has been in practice for 30 years, representing financial institutions, banks, and mortgage companies.

Paul Watson (’86, management) has joined First Tennessee Bank as vice president of community

banking. Based in Columbia, Tenn., he covers the southern Middle Tennessee Market, which also includes the communities of Lewisburg and Lawrenceburg. In his three decades in the banking industry, Paul has also worked in leadership roles for Simmons First National, Heritage Bank and Trust and US Bank. Gregory L. Young (’85, industrial operations

management) serves as an attorney and partner for the Los Angeles law firm of Haney & Young, LLP. He practices in the areas of entertainment law, intellectual property law, business law, and litigation. In addition to his “day job,” he is in his 11th year teaching business law, marketing law, and entertainment law courses at California State University-Northridge.

1990s Don Bravaldo III (’93,

accounting) serves as president and owner of Bravaldo Capital Advisors. His hobbies include fly fishing, golf, and international travel. Jeff Call (’95, accounting; ’96, MAcc) has served as tax partner in charge with Bennett Thrasher LLP for nearly four years and has earned Atlanta’s

Best Wealth Manager award for the last six years. He experienced profound change after the collapse of Arthur Andersen in 2002, moving to what was then a new firm in Bennett Thrasher. “Our firm has grown from approximately 50 people when I joined in 2002 to nearly 270 people now in 2017.”

Governor Rick Scott as a circuit court judge. He is assigned to the criminal division. He and his wife, Jo Ellen, frequently return to campus for football and basketball games and visits with their daughter, Morgan Ball, who is a junior at Auburn. Peter Hanley (’98, MBA) serves as an attorney for Marathon Petroleum. He joined the company

in 2014, providing in-house clients with environmental, health, and safety legal advice. He has since moved to the Transportation & Logistics Division, where he works in support of the Business Development Department by conducting Environmental Health and Safety risk analysis on companies and assets being considered for purchase. Chris Jones (’94, management) started a new position as director of client success at Doc Halo,

a healthcare tech start-up, in Cincinnati, Ohio. Jennifer King (’94, international business) has been named director of marketing for Fortune International Group in Miami. Fortune is one of

the most prominent real estate developers in South Florida. The marketing arm has recently been recognized as the top firm in South Florida for real estate development marketing. Scott Koser (’92, finance) earned

his CFA designation and co-founded an investment management firm. He is a partner and director of research for Cornerstone Investment Management & Consulting. J. Don Overton (’92, finance) is principal of The Overton Firm & The Mediation Center in

accounting) is a circuit court judge for the State of

Little Rock, Ark. He is serving as chair of the Arkansas Bar Association Construction Law Section for 2017-2018, as well as on the Board of Directors for the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Foundation. He has also been named a National Director to the Association of Home Builders.

Florida 17th Judicial Circuit in Fort Lauderdale.

Jennifer Roberts (’97, management information

Martin Fein (’93,

After earning an accounting degree from Auburn, he completed his law degree at Stetson University College of Law in 1996. Fein worked as an assistant state attorney before opening his own law office in 1998. After 18 years of private practice, he was appointed by Florida

systems) serves as a district account manager for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama.

HM, Fall 2017 49

Alumni Notes

Who would have thought living out your dreams could be through the pages of a magazine? ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT FOR JOHN THAMES, that dream is spending

time outdoors, passing time with a birddog, baiting a hook, or admiring a swift covey rise, above the sunrise. Thames, a 1996 Harbert College management graduate, developed his love for the outdoors hunting and fishing with his father and grandfather. As publisher of Covey Rise magazine, which encompasses the world of the great outdoors and wingshooting pursuits, Thames gets to share his passion with thousands of readers across the globe. What’s inside Covey Rise? “From cover to cover, you will find everything that makes the upland sport (bird-hunting) and the lifestyle so appealing,” Thames says. “Covey Rise covers all facets of the upland experience, both on and off the hunt, what our readers do before and after the hunt, what they enjoy, and what they are passionate about.” Inside, readers will find full spreads of images and scenes of hunting landscapes and spotlights of the newest and best hunting gear and products. “Then we take them on a journey from one end of the earth to the other – from visiting quail lodges in the Southeast, to hunting pheasant in the South Dakota prairies, to chasing chukar through rugged mountain terrain in Oregon, to the private estates on the grouse moors of England,” Thames added. “Then there are dogs – the glue that holds us all together. We discuss the breeds, the dog training, and the trainers.” Readers are taken into the studios of the best sporting artists and factories of craftsmen, who produce the best the market has to offer, from shotguns to tailored tweeds. “We talk about the personalities of today and yesterday, who share our passion for time in the field chasing upland birds,” Thames added. “As we wind out the back, we entice you to grab a cigar, hear the latest on bourbon, and read the current issues in conservation – the backbone of our sport. Then we close out the upland experience with a great hunting tale that never fails to make you laugh.”

50 HM, Fall 2017

Based in Alexander City, Ala., John Thames’ magazine, Covey Rise, brings the passion of the great outdoors and bird hunting into your living rooms.

Mix in what readers describe as vivid photography and excellent writing, “and you have Covey Rise.” But the evolution of Covey Rise didn’t come without challenges. Thames, who spent much of his professional career in the contracting business, purchased the newsprint version in 2012 and converted it to a perfect-bound magazine. “When I purchased the newsprint version of Covey Rise, the media industry was being uprooted,” he says. “Digital platforms were exploding. Critics and experts all says that ‘print is dead.’ Many wellknown companies were moving away from their printed titles and launching online versions.” Contrary to popular opinion, Thames believes print is not dead. Surviving and thriving, according to Thames, depends on providing a quality product with quality content, being different, and creating an experience rather than simply providing ink on paper.

“The first attribute was paper,” he says. “We selected a paper weight that was well-above the standard magazine paper. I wanted the tactile experience to look and feel like a coffee table book. The other major decision was the ad-to-edit ratio. I believe fractional advertisements interrupt the reading experience, therefore Covey Rise only offers full-page ads, with that number being well below the average number in other magazines. “You will notice now, after a few years have passed from the fuss of digital being the future— which it still is in many ways—print isn’t going anywhere for those making quality experiences and delivering them to your doorstep every month. There will always be an audience for that.” Years ago, Thames didn’t envision himself as a magazine publisher. Instead, he saw himself in sales, meeting new people and hearing their stories. “Come to think of it, I am doing exactly what I wanted to do—it just has a magazine wrapped up in it.” Thames’ advice to young and older professionals is simple: “Follow your dreams.” “Covey Rise wouldn’t exist without passion,” he says. “It is our very core. Passion fuels the legacy of our sport, and our staff is passionate about creating a worthwhile product for our readers. We found that doing something that you enjoy— that is also your livelihood—really is the ticket. Don’t be afraid to jump off in to the world of the unknown. Life is short. Don’t waste your time on something that you do not enjoy, especially when it takes up your energy from 9-to-5. If your career is not challenging you or not helping you fulfill your dreams, don’t wait around for your golden parachute. Just take a leap of faith.”

Alumni Notes

OUR FUTURE TIGERS NEED YOU. Establishing a charitable gift annuity is a smart way to secure your future and Auburn’s. Not only will it provide you with a secure source of fixed payments for life, a portion of which are tax-free, but also it will have a significant impact on future generations at Auburn University.

Creating a charitable gift annuity is easy. Simply transfer an asset to the Auburn University Foundation. In return, the foundation makes payments for life to you or someone of your choosing. After all payments have been made, Auburn University Foundation will receive the remaining value of your annuity. Each payment is fixed depending on age. Refer to the table or contact us for a personal rate. AGE 66 68 69 70 72

RATE 4.8 4.9 5.0 5.1 5.4

AGE 74 76 78 80 82

RATE 5.7 6.0 6.4 6.8 7.2

AGE 84 86 88 90+

RATE 7.6 8.0 8.4 9.0

To learn more, please contact the Auburn University Office of Gift Planning at 334-844-7375, email or visit

HM, Fall 2017 51

Alumni Notes William “Todd” Russell (’93,

accounting) was promoted to partner with RSM US LLP in October 2016. He serves as the audit lead for the firm’s Tampa office and serves clients in the consumer products, real estate, and technology industry sectors. Kerri L. Sauer (’98 international business; ’00

MBA) serves as VP of Global Technology Programs for Elavon in Atlanta, Ga. She was a member of the company’s Leadership Class of 2017.

Craig Tindall (’93, business administration) is a co-founder and manager member of Principal Mortgage, LLC., which is celebrating its 10th year

Jon Zimlich (’92, finance) has worked for nearly 25 years with Mobile, Alabama-based Strategic Wealth Specialists, where he serves as a financial

of business. His oldest son enrolled at Auburn this fall and is majoring in civil engineering.

adviser. He is married with three daughters and enjoys recreational sports.

Tony Truitt (’90, finance) is president of Truitt Insurance & Bonding. The company recently

acquired Beacon Insurance Group. Beacon will relocate from Homewood, Ala., to Truitt’s office in the Lakeview section of Birmingham. Truitt has offices in Birmingham, Daphne, and Tallassee.

2000s Meg Gafford Beard (’08, business

administration; ’09, MBA) serves as a certified financial planner for LaMar Financial Services in Auburn.


Former Auburn quarterback now key player in Atlanta-area development If you drive through booming Midtown Atlanta, peer into the sky and take note of the construction cranes. Chances are, former Auburn quarterback BRANDON COX has something to do with one of them. “There are 20-plus cranes in Midtown alone and 95 percent of those are working on apartment high-rises,” says Cox, now an investment analyst at the Daniel Corporation’s Atlanta office. “There are pockets of growth everywhere, but Midtown has been really hot with multi-family units. With that growth, the demand for new office space is going to increase real soon.” Cox, who earned his B.S. in Business Administration at Harbert College in 2007, spends his time calling plays, and possibly a few audibles, for one of the nation’s largest developers. Cox searches for new projects to develop, whether it is land to turn into office buildings or mixed-use developments, or looking to purchase existing office buildings, renovate them, and re-sell for profit. “It’s a long process­—interviewing land-owners, figuring out what they want and what they see being developed on their land, as well as what is feasible for that property,” says Cox, who joined the Daniel Corporation in 2016 as a leasing consultant before transitioning to the investment and development side. A big part, and challenge, of Cox’s duties is making new relationships with land-owners, brokers, tenants, and tenant representatives. “It’s getting out and selling the Daniel story and getting the brokers to know what we are looking for and for them to spread the word as well,” he says. 52 HM, Fall 2017

Cox spent much of his early career in sales, including seven years at companies in the medical industry. His advice to young sales persons: network, network, network. “It doesn’t hurt to know everybody and anybody,” he says. “It doesn’t matter where you are or what you are doing during the day—always be selling yourself. It’s not always what you know, it’s who you know. I’ve seen in multiple times. “You never know who you’re going to be in an elevator with. Strike up a conversation and that person down the line might remember you and buy your product.” Cox went 3-0 as Auburn’s starting quarterback against Alabama (2005-07) and has passed for the third-most yards (6,959), touchdowns (42), and completions (550) in school history. But one play—not against the Crimson Tide—remains most memorable. “It was the fourth down and 10 pass to (Devin) Aromashodu at Georgia,” Cox noted on the 63-yard play with 1:52 remaining that ultimately rallied Auburn to a 31-30 win in 2005. “The replay will be on TV every now and then. I’ll watch it and for some reason my palms still get sweaty and I get nervous—even though I know what is going to happen. To hush a crowd of 90,000 people with one play is pretty spectacular.” Though Cox isn’t playing competitively any more, he still misses the game … sort of. “As the years go by, I’ve turned into more of a fan,” he says. “I get the urge to go play flag football every now and then with buddies. But now we’re getting to that point where the day after playing a game is not as enjoyable.”

Alumni Notes Dr. Bret Becton (’05, Ph.D., management) was

appointed dean of the B.I. Moody III College of Business Administration at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in April. He previously served as associate dean for operations and accreditation for the University of Southern Mississippi’s College of Business. Robert Calhoun (’03, finance) is

a licensed realtor and state certified appraiser with Crye-Leike Realtors. His daughter, Anna Bradley Calhoun, was born in December 2016. Johnny Denton (’01, finance) is project controller for Henkels & McCoy in New Jersey.

See you at the tailgate! Make plans to join us under the big tent, Saturday, October 7 on the Lowder Hall lawn for our 50th anniversary tailgate. The celebration will begin four hours before kickoff.

Dr. Jackie Alexander DiPofi (’03, Ph.D.

in management) serves as a faculty member at Huntingdon College, teaching management, marketing, and organizational behavior to undergraduate students. Walt Ellis (’09, finance) earned a promotion to vice president at Troy Bank & Trust Company. Reagan English (’00, management information systems) is a senior project manager for ACI Worldwide in Auburn. She recently celebrated

the arrival of her third child. Chris Gifford (’02, finance) is the founder and president of 30A Luxury Vacations in Rosemary

Beach, Fla. The company is in its fourth year of business. He welcomed his first child, Bode, last November. His hobbies include paddle boarding, scuba diving, and lazy beach days. Alex Holt (’03, accounting; ’05,

Can’t make it? Not to worry. Harbert College Dean Bill Hardgrave will be coming to a city near you. We’ll even cross oceans. Here are our remaining Alumni & Friends events scheduled for the rest of 2017: October 12 – Nashville, Tennessee October 17 – Charlotte, North Carolina October 18 – Atlanta, Georgia November 15 – London, England Interested in attending one of these events or learning about opportunities to connect with fellow Harbert College alums in 2018? Contact Lisa Cole at: 334.844.1491 or

MAcc) has been appointed to the position of senior director within the management consulting practice of CBRE’s Global Workplace Solutions (GWS) organization. He focuses on strategic real estate planning, CRE organizational design, operations management, and change management. Rebekah Kelman (’07, aviation management) serves as an IT project manager for Cortland Partners in Atlanta. Matthew Pickard (’09, finance) is a commercial real estate broker with Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer in Charleston,

South Carolina. HM, Fall 2017 53


2011 grad finds online business success wherever she goes

Elizabeth Mercer (’11) has a blast doing business remotely across the globe, from the Sahara Desert to the South Pole. She co-owns Jungle Scout, an Amazon product search tool, with her husband, Greg.

54 HM, Fall 2017

Waves crash against the shore, sunshine warms the blue skies and a short stroll on smooth, sandy beaches is all that separates you from the hammock swaying in the shade between two palm trees. It’s just another day at the office for 2011 supply chain management graduate ELIZABETH MERCER. Mercer and her husband, Greg (engineering, 2011), own Jungle Scout, an Amazon product research tool that reveals information to clients—including estimated sales and revenue—and teaches them what products to market online and how to best market them. The couple’s office is remote, allowing them to travel to exotic locations and do business there—30 countries in the past two and a half years as a matter of fact. “My husband and I did indeed sell our belongings to travel the world,” says Mercer, who has traveled across Southeast Asia, Australia, Japan, China, Denmark, Morocco, South America, Bali and even Antarctica. “Though purely personal at the time, we gained tremendous business opportunities by doing so. This lifestyle and business set up does not work within rigid guidelines. It’s an evolving landscape and one I am proud to be in the forefront. “The lifestyle of living and working in new places affords us the flexibility of work hours as well as the introduction to new cultures and experiences that we would not have had living in one location.” What does Jungle Scout do? The web platform educates clients how to build profitable Amazon businesses via written content, video courses and webinars that show clients how to better sell their products on Amazon.

“Not all products are created equal,” says Mercer, whose growing company has 33 employees spread across 10 nations. “We help you identify the products that will make you money. Online is the future. No longer do you need to make a product and then pitch it to department stores, retailers or buyers. With the power of online selling, and Amazon in particular, you can take advantage of their huge customer base that visits Amazon daily.” While Mercer pointed out that it may appear she sips margaritas from beaches all over the globe, working remotely doesn’t come without challenges. She recalled a day early in the evolution of the company when the Jungle Scout application—which hosts 20,000 visitors daily—crashed, but they were powerless to resolve. Why? “We were traveling from Thailand to Vietnam and we did not have WiFi on the plane,” Mercer explained. “We landed in Saigon, got the message that the application was down, used airport WiFi while waiting in line for our visas to enter Vietnam to communicate and find a solution with our team.” It took less time to communicate with their team in Vancouver and resolve the web problem than it did to receive their visas. “I wish the Vietnam border control was as fast as our team!” Mercer says. Though her family’s business has taken off, Mercer offered advice to other entrepreneurs hesitant to take the plunge. She suggested bootstrapping your business ideas. “You don’t need millions of dollars in funding to be successful and you definitely don’t need a completely polished application,” she says. “What can you put out there just to get the ball rolling? Start with that and build from there.”

Alumni Notes Casey Rigsby (’07, business

administration) serves as a mitigation markets representative for Westervelt Ecological Services in Auburn. He celebrated his 10th wedding anniversary this year. Stephanie Galloway Shirley (’08, finance) is a staff attorney with the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals in Montgomery. She enjoys

spending time with family and friends, attending Auburn sporting events, and serving at her church. Lauren Short (’06, aviation

management) moved to Birmingham and started her own financial advisory practice. Matt Smith (’04, logistics) earned a promotion at Southeastern Freight Lines in March,

becoming regional vice president of operations. In his new role, he will manage operations for Region III, which includes 18 facilities in Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina. After joining Southeastern in 2004, Matt served in a variety of leadership roles, including a stint as service center manager in Dalton, Georgia. Thomas N. Thompson (’01, economics)

welcomed his second child, Isaac Graham Thompson, into the world in February 2017.

says, is that “my family and I will have a good bit more time together.” John Wood (’00, business administration) opened his own business, Wood & Associates,

in 2013. He also completed a master’s degree in management information systems at UAB.


leads the company’s internal team of marketing professionals in support of business development initiatives.

Scott Barranco (’16, accounting

and finance) serves as a staff accountant for Machen McChesney, CPAs and Business Advisors in

Montgomery, Ala. His areas of professional focus include audit, individual taxation, and business development. He and his fiancé, Andie Paszkiewicz, were married in August. When he’s not working, Scott enjoys playing golf, spending time with his family and attending Auburn sports events. Cody Biegler (’13, supply chain management) serves as a direct materials buyer for Volvo Cars

in Charleston, S.C.. Daniel Brower (’15, supply chain management) serves as an inventory control specialist for OSG USA, Inc., in Irving, Texas.

serves as a visionary account executive with Baker Street Digital Media in Opelika, Ala. He enjoys fishing and recently acquired a dog. Jared Burke (’12, information systems

Jordan Vance (’08, marketing) serves as director of account operations and strategy for Alloy in

Birmingham, Ala. She leads the company’s account team in “forging successful, long-term client partnerships” and in executing strategy for these partnerships. When not working, she enjoys hiking or spending time with her dogs. Michael Waites (’04, aviation

management) flies Boeing 777s as a first officer with FedEx Express in Memphis, Tennessee. Before joining FedEx, he served 12 years of active duty with the US Air Force and remains a reservist who provides instruction as a T-38 pilot. The biggest change since making the transition to a reserve role, he

as first officer and Auburn ambassador/recruiter for GoJet Airlines and flies the CRJ 700/900 out of Raleigh, N.C., under contract for Delta Connection and United Express. Ashley Farish (’16, management) serves as project manager for Tailgate Guys in Auburn. Spencer Fields (’12, accounting) serves as a senior accountant with Cherry Bekaert in

Allen Browning (’15, marketing) Jessica Vance (’08, marketing) is the director of marketing for Atlas RFID in Birmingham, Alabama. She

Drew Dunkin (’14, professional flight) serves

management) serves as a network engineer with SAIC in Huntsville, Ala. He’s a married father of one son who enjoys exploring the outdoors – preferably in his Jeep. Vinnie Cervellieri (’12, Executive MBA)

recently began studies in the Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) program at Felician University in Rutherford, N.J. Nina McKinney Creel (’12, human resource

management) serves as a human resources business partner for Northrup Grumman Corporation in Huntsville, Ala. She married her husband Adam in March 2015. Her hobbies include reading and kayaking.

Atlanta. He recently finished his fourth busy season with the firm and has found “his partner in life,” a fellow Harbert College of Business graduate. Mark Fillers (’12, Executive MBA) was hired in March as Renasant’s South Alabama President.

Renasant Corporation is the parent of Renasant Bank, a 113-year-old financial services institution with more than $8.7 billion in assets and offices in Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, and Mississippi. Kerry Hassler Higley (’10,

human resources and marketing) is the founder and COO of GenConnect Recruiting & Consulting, Inc., in Huntsville, Ala. The

company recently celebrated its one-year anniversary and has placed more than 20 job-seekers and coached more than 35 professionals. In her free time, she teaches ballet to children ages 3 to 18 at Southern Sensations Dance Studio. Hayley Hinote (’16, MBA) works for Capgemini in

Atlanta. “I am currently one of 10 people within my firm being trained to start up a brand new service line. It is an exciting opportunity that I feel very fortunate to be a part of and am looking forward to where it will take me in my consulting career.” She recently traveled to India for a month. “This experience was truly a once in a lifetime journey. While I was there for business, I had the opportunity to soak up the culture, sights and meet incredible people. I realized very quickly how fortunate and blessed I am to be born into the lifestyle I lead. I realized how small my world is in comparison to the larger global picture. The experience was eye opening, adventure filled, humbling and afforded me friends and memories that will sustain for a lifetime.” HM, Fall 2017 55

At the Top of Your Game?

Alumni Notes

Are you an Auburn alum at the top of your business game? Do you know one who is? The Harbert College of Business is accepting nominations for Top Tigers, an honor that recognizes the fastestgrowing companies founded, owned, or led by Auburn University alumni. If your company is selected, you and your business will be promoted to state, regional, and national media and celebrated at an awards banquet in April of 2018. Nominations are accepted from all sources, and self-nomination is welcomed. Previous winners and nominees remain eligible for recognition. Some companies have won the award in multiple years.

Submissions and Nominations may be submitted at: 56 HM, Fall 2017

Entrepreneurship The


To qualify, a company must:

• Be founded, owned, or led (CEO, CFO, President, VP, etc.) by an Auburn University alumnus; • Be at least 4 years old by the end of 2016; • Have annual revenues in excess of $250,000; • Operate in a manner consistent with the Auburn Creed.

Alumni Notes Christopher Houseman (’16, accounting; ’17,

MAcc) began a job in September as an audit associate with Deloitte in Atlanta. Before starting his new position, Christopher enjoyed a sevenweek trip to Europe, which included two weeks with family and five more backpacking through 12 cities in eight countries with friends. Ross Ivey (’12, supply chain management)

has changed jobs and now serves as a business retention specialist on the Economic Development team for Hudson Alpha Institute for Biotechnology in Huntsville, Ala. Stephen Jordan Jager (’13,

international business) works for ServisFirst Bank in Nashville, Tenn., as a mortgage loan officer. He previously worked for Regions for two and a half years in consumer banking. “I love my career here, working with people on getting their homes and helping them save money.” He and his wife, Alexandrea Cool (’16) were married in June. His hobbies include kickball, soccer, dancing, watching the Nashville Predators, and playing with his Alaskan Malamute, Titus. Laura Kneiss (’12, marketing)

is in her third year of work as an assistant marketing director for the Indiana University athletic department. She earned her master’s in sports administration from Indiana in May 2017. Lauren Koehler (’14, business administration)

began a new job as People Team coordinator for Ernst & Young in Atlanta.

Lauren Elizabeth “Lulu” Kress

(’14, human resource management) is a senior Medicaid eligibility specialist in the Elderly and Disabled Division of the Alabama Medicaid Agency. She recently moved back to the Auburn area and earned a promotion as a senior caseworker. Her travels have taken her to Bishop’s Stortford, England, to visit family. She most recently visited in September 2017 for her cousin’s wedding. Trey Lowe (’11, business administration) lives in

Charlotte, N.C., and was promoted to national account sales manager with Great Dane Trailers. Christopher Madero (’13, business

administration) changed jobs in 2016 and now works for Venture Logistics. “I enjoy the transportation industry and hope to use my skills to further myself.” He says he hopes to eventually start his own company. Clint Richardson (’17, marketing) works for DreamWork Financial Group in Birmingham,

Ala., as marketing manager.

Lauren Staub (’13, business administration) serves as a project associate for Athena Health

in Atlanta. T. Van Trefethen, CPA (’11, accounting) recently earned a promotion to manager, tax, for Warren Averett, LLC., in Birmingham, Ala. He was

married shortly after college and is the proud father to a daughter. Tyler Williams (’12, finance)

serves as a claim team manager with State Farm in Richardson, Texas. He became engaged on April 15, which also happens to be his birthday. His hobbies include playing golf, spending time with his dogs, and watching Auburn sporting events. Michael Williamson (’12, business

administration) works in outside sales for Ferguson Enterprises in Montgomery, Ala. He started in inside sales for the company in 2012 and moved to outside sales in 2015. He says he’s “planning to be Alabama sales manager within 3 to 4 years.”

Stuart Roesel (’12,

Executive MBA) recently earned a promotion to senior director of marketing operations for SAP Ariba. This year, he was recognized as a 2017 Sirius Decisions ROI Winner in Marketing Operations.

SHARE YOUR NEWS Whether you are an alumnus or a supporter, a student or a parent, you have a stake in our future. We’d love to hear from you. Web: E-mail:

HM, Fall 2017 57

Dean’s Last Word

Rooted in tradition, Focused on the future.

58 HM, Fall 2017

Dean’s Last Word

Nurturing Our Potential An anniversary, particularly one as significant as a 50th, is an occasion to look back and an opportunity to look forward. Looking back, I see decades of hard work and steady growth nurtured by a uniquely strong value system. Looking forward, I see the college continuing to grow and improve. Both the quality and number of our students rises with each semester. The research our faculty produces increasingly has an impact on business thought and practice. We’ve broken ground on a new 100,000-square foot building, and our program rankings have steadily improved. We’re no longer chasing trends, but leading them. We saw the business world’s increasing reliance on data and created a business analytics program—one of the first of its kind in the country. We’re pioneering research in radio frequency identification (RFID) and developing strong relationships with business through our Center for Supply Chain Innovation. And we are fostering a new generation of student-led startups via our entrepreneurship program. We must always be forward-thinking, envisioning where business trends will lead, and determining how we can best develop the graduates who will work in those environments. With each success we raise the college’s visibility and credibility. I can see the Harbert College of Business becoming widely recognized as a school where top talent thrives. The values expressed in the Auburn Creed and instilled in Auburn students set us apart from other institutions. Employers tell us Harbert graduates are prepared for the practical world of business; that they have learned how to learn, collaborate well, and aren’t afraid of hard work. Those attributes are a credit not only to our students, but to the faculty and staff who have labored to create a spectacular learning atmosphere. As this issue of the magazine notes, a sound business education is a moving target, a complex balance. We in the Harbert College family are firmly rooted by our timeless Auburn University values. Properly nurtured, we have the potential to grow to great heights. War Eagle!

Bill C. Hardgrave, PhD Dean and Wells Fargo Professor Harbert College of Business

HM, Fall 2017 59


Auburn University Raymond J. Harbert College of Business 1161 W. Samford Ave., Building 8 Auburn, AL 36849-0001



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Fall 2017 Harbert Magazine  

In the last 50 years, the business world has experienced a variety of change -- computers, the Internet, wireless technology, lean manufactu...

Fall 2017 Harbert Magazine  

In the last 50 years, the business world has experienced a variety of change -- computers, the Internet, wireless technology, lean manufactu...