Engage@Spears Fall 2013

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The official magazine of the Spears School of Business, Oklahoma State University

VOL. 3, NO. 2, FALL 2013

The Art of Storytelling Lee Manzer shares life, love and wisdom — oh, and marketing principles — with his students


A publication of Oklahoma State University Spears School of Business • Vol. 3, No. 2, Fall 2013


Lessons from Lee Manzer The longtime Spears School of Business marketing professor’s love for life and teaching comes across vividly in his stories. Photo: Gary Lawson/University Marketing


Celebrating 60 years The Center for Executive and Professional Development is marking 60 years in Business. We take a look at 60 of its accomplishments.


Scoring high Professor Laurie Lucas is an expert in consumer financial services law who is fascinated with the way credit scores have exploded in the public (and student!) consciousness.


Powerful attraction Sean McLean, prospective students coordinator in the Business Student Success Center, shares his passion for OSU successfully with prospective Spears School students.


Hall of Fame gaining 4 Jennifer Grigsby, Chuck Hensley, Griff Jones and Linda Livingstone will become the newest members of the Spears School of Business Hall of Fame in November.


Interim dean named ... and more news The Spears School of Business gains an interim dean, a student-led company is honored at a national contest and several faculty and staffers retire.


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letter from the Dean OSU Spears School of Business Dean Ken Eastman (interim)

Associate Deans Mark Weiser Carol Johnson

Spears School Marketing and Communications Terry Tush

Editor Dorothy L. Pugh

Art Director Valerie Cummins Kisling

Contributing Writers Matt Elliott and Dollie Elliott

Photography Phil Shockley and Gary Lawson

Graphic Designers Greetings, I was humbled and honored to be named interim dean in July, and it has been a busy couple of months. The staff and faculty of the Spears School of Business have been great, and it has been a smooth transition for me. Many exciting and important events are taking place inside the Spears School, and several of them are highlighted in this issue. We are approaching the final “leg” of our fundraising efforts for the new business building. The architectural firm and construction management company have been selected, and we are getting closer to being able to break ground. We are very appreciative of all our friends who have stepped up to support the building program, and we are confident that you all will be impressed with the building that is constructed. I recently had the privilege of touring the Deloitte University facility outside of Dallas. It is a beautiful building — but more than that, it promotes the culture that Deloitte seeks to inspire in its employees. We want to create a similar experience for our students. We want a building that creates a vibrant and welcoming environment for our students, one that allows us to fully prepare them for their future business careers. With your help, our dream is becoming a reality. As part of our land-grant mission, the Spears School offers professional education and training to business leaders. Our Center for Executive and Professional Development is celebrating 60 years of dedicated service to the business community. We are very proud of our outreach efforts and with the help of CEPD, we have built a great reputation for professional seminars that we sponsor. A number of Spears faculty members are nationally recognized for their executive development expertise, and their skills have made them much sought after speakers. Join us as we look back on 60 years of CEPD history in this issue. As you can see from this issue, lots of great things are happening at the Spears School. We are excited by the opportunities that lie before us, and we look forward to working with all of our alums, friends and partners. All the best, Ken Eastman

Kevin Cate and Mikey Neeley

Contributing Designers Mark Pennie and Michael Orr

Spears School Department Heads Robert Cornell, School of Accounting Jim Fain, Department of Economics and Legal Studies in Business Bruce Barringer, School of Entrepreneurship John Polonchek, Department of Finance Jim Pappas, Department of Management (interim) Rick L. Wilson, Department of Management Science and Information Systems Joshua L. Wiener, Department of Marketing

Contact Spears School of Business Oklahoma State University 201 Business Building Stillwater, OK 74078-4011 405-744-5064 ssb.news@okstate.edu spears.okstate.edu

Oklahoma State University, in compliance with Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Executive Order 11246 as amended, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and other federal laws and regulations, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, disability, or status as a veteran in any of its policies, practices or procedures. This includes but is not limited to admissions, employment, financial aid, and educational services. Title IX of the Education Amendments and Oklahoma State University policy prohibit discrimination in the provision of services or benefits offered by the University based on gender. Any person (student, faculty or staff) who believes that discriminatory practices have been engaged in based upon gender may discuss their concerns and file informal or formal complaints of possible violations of Title IX with the OSU Title IX Coordinator, Mackenzie Wilfong, J.D., Director of Affirmative Action, 408 Whitehurst, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078, (405) 744-5371 or (405) 744-5576 (fax). This publication, issued by Oklahoma State University, as authorized by the dean, Spears School of Business, was printed by Royle Printing at a cost of $6,608.92/7,000. Job # 4878 10/13

Interim dean, Spears School of Business fall 2013 engage@spears


Going Strong for 60 Years Center for Executive and Professional Development plays vital role as Spears School’s outreach branch



The College of Business Administration created the outreach office in 1953. It was called the Commerce Extension until 1955.



The first director of the Commerce Extension was Harry Canup, who served from 1953 to 1957.

In 1955, the college’s Division of Commerce became the Division of Business and was subdivided into the School of Commerce and Business Extension.

The Early Years

Oklahoma State University’s mission as a land-grant educational system


Norman Ringstrom (1958-60), Robert D. Erwin (1960-61) and Clayton Millington (1961-74) were the early directors of Business Extension.

is to improve the lives of people in Oklahoma, the nation and the world through integrated, high-quality teaching, research and outreach. The outreach branch of what is now the Spears School of Business was established in 1953 and is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year.


reach department has been known since

In 1970-71, 1,129 people attended Business Extension courses.

In 1974-75, University Extension moved under Vice President of University Relations, Development and Extension Richard W. Poole.


The budget for University Extension was centralized, and the staff was located in the colleges. Business Extension and Economic Education were separated in the College of Business.

The Center for Executive and Professional Development, as the out-



B. Curtis (Bob) Hamm, professor of marketing, was named director of Business Extension in 1974.

2004, is having an impact in Oklahoma, across the country and around the world. Just in the past year, more than 31,000 people attended its seminars and courses. And in honor of the CEPD’s 60 years, here are 60 facts from the past 60 years. 4

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Lee Manzer, marketing professor, has taught more than 100,000 people in Outreach since the mid1970s. If you’re one, you’ll probably remember some of Manzer’s teachings: 1) the Coke story, 2) which one of these things is not like the other, 3) I can sleep when the wind blows, 4) the top-selling flavor of ice cream, and 5) getting the credit.


Speaker Series Shine

The OSU Professional Development Center, Business Extension, began the CPA Review Course in 1972. The program was offered with one-way video and two-way audio as well as face-to-face sessions in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. In the 1980s, the CPA Review Course continued to be offered annually by the School of Accounting. In 1994, it was offered via videotape.


In 1978, IBM Corp. requested OSU’s assistance with accounting seminars in White Plains, N.Y. And in the mid-1980s, IBM requested several accounting courses from OSU, with seminars in Arizona, New York and Belgium becoming one of the first OSU noncredit programs offered via satellite nationwide.

The 1980s: A Period Of Growth


In 1980, James G. Hromas became the director of Business Extension. Later, he became dean of OSU University Extension and the School of International Studies.


The first Tulsa Business Forum was in 1986 with speakers Alan Greenspan, economic adviser and later chairman of the Federal Reserve; Mary Cunningham, author of Powerplay; Malcolm Forbes Jr., president of Forbes Inc.; and Robert Crandall, chairman, president and CEO of American Airlines.


The Executive Management Briefings in Oklahoma City began in 1989 with James Hayes, then publisher of Fortune magazine; and George J.W. Goodman, host of TV's Adam Smith’s Money World.


Margaret Thatcher, former prime minister of Great Britain, was the top speaker of the Tulsa Business Forums and Executive Management Briefings as evidenced by her ticket sales. Thatcher spoke in Tulsa in 1993 and 2001 and in Oklahoma City in 1993. She died April 8, 2013, at the age of 87.


In 1980, more than 200 events attracted 7,263 people. A cooperative venture with Tinker Air Force Base led to management training by OSU.


A videoconference with Tom Peters, author of Achieving a State of Excellence, drew almost 750 people in Tulsa and Oklahoma City.


The OSU Department of Marketing and Business Extension staged the first national satellite teleconference in the nation created by college professors for students and other professors. The videoconference originated partially from OSU and partially from a television studio in Florida.


Economic Outlook Conferences and updates were offered in Tulsa and Oklahoma City beginning in



OSU and OU Colleges of Business began cooperating on management development programs in 1988. The Executive Education Partnership Program celebrates its 20th year in 2014.


Did you attend Pat Dorr’s School of Accounting seminar on Estate and Gift Taxation seminar? If so, you probably learned some music trivia as well as estate and gift taxation information. continues fall 2013 engage@spears



World leaders who have participated in the Tulsa Business Forums and the Executive Management Briefings include (all former when they participated) President George H.W. Bush; Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev; U.S. Central Command Commanders in Chief Norman Schwarzkopf and Tommy Franks; Polish President Lech Walesa; Defense Secretaries Caspar Weinberger and Robert Gates; Mexican President Vicente Fox; Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger, Madeleine Albright, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice; and British Prime Ministers Tony Blair, John Major and Margaret Thatcher.

The 1990s: Technology and THE WORLD


In 1990-91, the Center for Executive and Professional Development offered 225 programs/ courses, drawing 14,261 people.


James Jackman, professor in the economics and legal studies in business department, started the Summer in London program in 1991.


Longtime Spears School professor Andrew Urich’s Consumer Law course has been offered since 1991, when he began it with Gregory C. Mosier. A long list of students have also participated in Urich’s travel study programs, visiting Japan, Mexico, London, Chicago, New York and Washington, D.C.


In 1992, the OSU College of Business and AACSB co-sponsored a series of three satellite conferences entitled Europe ’92: The New American Challenge in cooperation with the Commission of the European Communities. The program was broadcast to 128 sites with 4,000 people in 37 states, four Canadian provinces and Monterrey, Mexico participating.


The first OSU MBA distance learning class offered via two-way television was in 1992 at Halliburton in Duncan, Phillips 66 in Bartlesville and Conoco in Ponca City. Clockwise, from top left: George H.W. Bush, Mikhail Gorbachev, Madeleine Albright and Tony Blair


Notable business leaders who have spoken at the Tulsa Business Forums and Executive Management Briefings include Jack Welch, former chairman and CEO of General Electric; Sherry Lansing, past president of 20th Century-Fox Productions; and Lee Iacocca, former chairman of Chrysler Corporation.


The OSU Spears School of Business, the School of International Studies, the Student Government Association and OSU President Burns Hargis’ office coordinate the Global Briefing series to bring to campus such internationally known speakers as Malcolm Forbes Jr., Tony Blair, Jack Welch and Condoleezza Rice.


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Julie Weathers began as a graduate assistant in Business Extension in 1986, was later hired as a coordinator and made director in 1994.


In 1997, Steve Miller received a two-year grant from the International Education and Graduate Programs Office of the U.S. Department of Education that involved six programs/projects to strengthen OSU’s leadership role among business colleges.


. In 1999-2003, the Spears School and the OSU College of Engineering participated in the National Technological University with its MBA curriculum. Interim Dean Gregory C. Mosier served on the advisory board for NTU and as the curriculum chair for the degree program, which was offered via satellite to 15 participants in 1998. NTU students were combined into OSU’s distance learning classes in 2002-03.

Historic Notable Events


The Women’s Business Conference began in partnership with the Oklahoma International Women’s Forum and Lou C. Kerr of the Kerr Foundation in 1992. Conference speakers have included execs from Coopers & Lybrand, Warnaco and Pacific Rim Products; former U.S. Secretary of Labor Lynn Martin; and Nadia Comaneci and Bart Connor.

Advanced Research Center, and participants travel monthly to attend sessions that span three years. The first cohort began in 2012 and will graduate in 2014.


The Center for Executive and Professional Development and the Spears School faculty and staff have won 40 international, national and regional awards in Outreach and Continuing Education.


In 2000-2001, 269 programs/courses were offered by Business Extension (now CEPD) to 18,665 people. Since then, the numbers have nearly doubled: 585 programs/courses were offered to more than 31,000 people during this past school year.

Reaching THE Ends of the World


The OSU and OU Executive Education Partnership program will celebrate its 20th year in 2014 — proof that OSU and the University of Oklahoma can cooperate academically.


Former College of Business Dean Robert Sandmeyer went on to become dean of Zayed University in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Zayed and Sandmeyer started the Executive MBA program with OSU, the University of Kentucky and Clemson University. From 2001 to 2011, Spears School faculty traveled to the UAE to offer courses face-to-face and through distance learning.


Distance-learning courses have more than 11,500 enrollees in 16 countries and 47 states. Only Rhode Island, Vermont and West Virginia have not had students participating recently.


In 2013, 480 MBA and 90 Master’s in Entrepreneurship students took courses via distance learning.


OSU’s MBA program has 302 military students, representing the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines and Navy, in 2013.


The CEPD helped facilitate the OSU MBA 50th anniversary events in 2010-11, with events in Dallas, Houston, Oklahoma City, Stillwater, Tulsa, Wichita, Kan., and Kansas City.


In 2011, the Department of Marketing hosted the 46th annual American Marketing Association/ Sheth Foundation Doctoral Consortium with the faculty coordination of Tom Brown and Josh Wiener. CEPD helped facilitate the conference with 222 attendees, including six international faculty members and 28 international fellows from 11 countries.


The Ph.D. in Business for Executives is the only degree of its kind in the country. The program is offered in Tulsa at the Helmerich


We’re best buys! The 2013 rankings from GetEducated.com have the OSU Master’s in Telecommunications Management as No. 7 and the Management Information Systems program No. 8. U.S. News and World Report ranked OSU 37th in regard to Best Online Graduate Business Programs (including MBA).

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2000-2013: Still Growing Strong


In 2004, Business Extension was renamed the Center for Executive and Professional Development.



The Accounting and Financial Reporting Conference began in 2001, and the Oil and Gas Accounting Conference began in 2005. Up to 550 people attend the conferences each year.

The first OSU Energy Conference was offered in 2007 in cooperation with John Hofmeister, president of Shell Oil Co. The eighth annual OSU Energy Conference, offered in coordination with the OSU Department of Finance, will be next spring.


Offered in cooperation with the Tulsa Business Forum in 2011, Boone Pickens, legendary entrepreneur and energy executive, and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., visionary environmental business leader, took the stage with President Burns Hargis at the Sustainable Enterprise Conference.


The Center for Health Systems Innovation and CEPD have partnered on several health care conferences focusing on business, innovation and entrepreneurship since 2010.


The Oklahoma Municipal Court Clerk Association has requested CEPD’s help in offering conferences and tracking certification credits. In 2011, CEPD began facilitating these conferences, and selected sessions have highlighted Spears School faculty.


Offering study-abroad and travel opportunities for students has always been a priority for the Spears School of Business. In 2013-14, students will choose from such destinations as Australia, China, Costa Rica, France, Germany, Greece, India, Italy, London, Peru, South Africa, and Spain as well as trips to Chicago, New York, Phoenix and southern Texas.



For many years, the Spears School helped facilitate the Oklahoma Municipal Clerks Treasurers Institute (completion of 100 hours and certification at the national level). OSU began the Master Municipal Clerk and Advanced Certified Public Finance Administrator certification in 2010.

As a land-grant university, OSU has offered many public programs involving the Spears School faculty in the past 60 years in Tulsa and Oklahoma City. Some topics have included Finance for the Nonfinancial Manager, FASB Update, Estate and Gift Taxation, Leading Change, Influence Skills, Service Quality, Team Building, Supervisory Program, Emotional Intelligence, Myers-Briggs Assessment and Effective Business Writing and Editing.



Many corporations (Cox Communications, Ditch Witch, Kicker, OG&E, ONEOK, Phillips 66 and SandRidge Energy, among others) and cities and governmental agencies have partnered with OSU faculty and CEPD to host on-site programs.

The Governor’s Conference for State Officials began in 2006 and will hold its eighth annual event in 2013. OSU and OU cooperate with the state on this program.


In 2008, James Hromas was presented with the John L. Christopher Outstanding Leadership Award from the Great Plains University Continuing Education Association. His other awards: the Walton S. Bittner Service Citation from the National University Continuing Education Association award in 2009; the Chair of the Dr. Lawrence Boger Distinguished Professorship Award, 2009 to 2012; and the Henry G. Bennett Distinguished Fellow in 2013.


In 2009, the Department of Management Science and Information and Systems worked with CEPD to offer its first ISyTE Program (Information Systems Technology Exploration Academy) targeted to high school students. In 2013, ISyTE celebrated its fifth academy with support from ConocoPhillips and the Kerr Foundation.


The first webinar series offered through CEPD in 2010 featured Lee Manzer focusing on service



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More executive and management development programs are being planned and developed in evidence-based management, innovative decision-making, strategic IQ, mindful leadership and business analytics. Also, the Spears School is partnering with the College of Engineering on hazardous materials management seminars.


Spears School faculty Goutam Chakraborty, Pat Dorr, Ken Eastman, Jim Jackman, Steve Miller, Lee Manzer, Greg Mosier, Dennis Mott, Debra Nelson, Andy Urich, Larkin Warner and Charlotte Wright have all received the OSU Faculty Outreach Excellence Award for outstanding service in spreading OSU's land-grant mission.@

Oklahoma State University

SPEAKER SERIES Presented by the Spears School of Business and Corporate Sponsors









A dynamic and visionary executive in a variety of serviced-based industries, former VP at JetBlue where she remains a Board Member.

Columnist for The American Spectator and author of How You Can Sell Anyone Anything. Also an extremely well-known actor in movies, TV and commercials.

A leader in organizational consulting and public opinion research, known for his recent innovation of the Gallup World Poll and author of The Coming Jobs War.

Responsible for increasing associate, inventory and supply chain productivity worldwide, while enhancing Walmart’s customers’ shopping experience.

Tulsa Business Forums

Make your reservations: cepd.okstate.edu/emb

Make your reservations: cepd.okstate.edu/tbf

Oklahoma City



Thursday, November 7, 2013 12–1:30 p.m. Luncheon Presentation National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum


Wednesday, February 5, 2014 12–1:30 p.m. Luncheon Presentation National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum


Tuesday, April 1, 2014 12–2:15 p.m. Luncheon Session National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum

For sponsorship opportunities and more information, contact the Center for Executive and Professional Development 1-866-678-3933 | cepd.okstate.edu


Tuesday, October 29, 2013 12–1:30 p.m. Luncheon Presentation Hyatt Regency Hotel


Thursday, February 6, 2014 12–1:30 p.m. Luncheon Presentation Renaissance Hotel


Wednesday, April 2, 2014 12–2:15 p.m. Luncheon Session Hyatt Regency Hotel

fall 2013 engage@spears


cover story

Words of Wisdom Lee Manzer’s love for life and teaching comes through in his stories



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t happens to Lee Manzer all the time. Well, not all the time, but often enough that the longtime Spears School of Business marketing professor has grown accustomed to being interrupted when he least expects it. Wherever he goes — and that includes on OSU’s campus, in Stillwater or throughout the state of Oklahoma — he is often recognized and stopped. That’s what happens when you have taught more than 35,000 students during a career that began in 1970, encompassing such positions as assistant professor, associate professor, professor, department head and even director of graduate studies. “There’s not hardly any place that I go that someone doesn’t know who I am,” says Manzer. “There are people who stop me and say, ‘I’ll never forget that story you told 20 years ago.’ That’s extremely common.” It’s common because Manzer is a storyteller. And his storytelling abilities have kept many I-stayedout-too-late-the-night-before students enraptured during early morning classes as well as busy executives during the hundreds of professional development seminars he has led through OSU’s Center for Executive and Professional Development. The 72-year-old learned the art of storytelling from his father, Ernest Pleasant Manzer. “If a name ever described a man, it was him,” says Manzer, who was born in Fresno, Calif., after his family migrated to California during the Great Depression. The family eventually returned to Hominy, Okla., where the boy learned how to tell a story. The Manzers were members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and it wasn’t long until Lee, the youngest of Ernest and Colia’s four children, was speaking to small gatherings. “We had no paid minister, so we used to have a thing in Sunday school called 2½ minute talks. I started doing that when I was 10 years old,” he says. Manzer hasn’t stopped teaching yet. And has no plans to quit any time soon. “It’s a lucky person that gets up in the morning, looks in the mirror and says, ‘I get to go to work.’ That’s been me 99 percent of the time. I’ve never missed a day of work. Never been sick. Never missed a class,” he says. “I have agreed to teach an online course for the next three years, so I plan to be around for at least three more years. I don’t have any plans to retire.

“It’s like playing ball. You ask people who have retired what they miss about playing ball, and what do they say? They miss the guys in the locker room. They miss the camaraderie. That’s the way I am. I still enjoy it, and I enjoy the interaction with the students,” says Manzer. That’s what makes Manzer so effective in the classroom, says Josh Wiener, head of the Department of Marketing. “The core mission of the college, university, any educator is to make a positive difference in the lives of young people. Lee has done more to help the [marketing] department, college and university meet this goal than anyone else,” says Wiener. “In the course of teaching, Lee imparts wisdom — wisdom about life, how to grow, how to be successful while still being caring. He communicates by word, deed and example. The students know he cares about them, … cares about the lives they will live in addition to caring that they learn the material at hand. I think it is because they know he cares, and know he is wise that they listen and watch, and remember and act on his life lessons. “Lee exemplifies what a single, dedicated, good person can do. He has done so much for so many both on his own and by being an example for others.” Manzer earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 1965 and an MBA a year later, both from OSU. He took a sales position in Michigan with Dow Chemical Co. before accepting his first teaching position as an instructor of marketing at OSU in January 1970. Manzer also joined the school’s Ph.D. program in marketing, which was in its infancy. He took his teaching talents to Memphis State University in 1973, put the finishing touches on his dissertation in ’74, and soon afterward received two teaching offers. He accepted OSU’s offer over Texas A&M University. Oklahoma State University holds a special place in the heart of his family. Not only does he have three degrees from OSU, but his wife of 49 years, Saundra, and all three of their children (Britton, Bryndon and Brandye) are OSU graduates. “The school has impacted us and impacted me in ways we would have never dreamed,” says Manzer, whose granddaughter now attends OSU. “I never thought in a million years after I got my degrees that I would be back here. It was providence. “Other than my relationship with deity and the relationship with my family, returning to Oklahoma State and the relationships I’ve built over the years have Continues fall 2013 engage@spears


been the most significant event in my life. It’s been very important.” Since 1975, Manzer has had an office in the Business Building at Hester Street and Morrill Avenue. While the business school has changed names four times during Manzer’s time at OSU, students always know where to find him. “If I’m in town, I’m here. I don’t work at home. I’m here. Every Saturday morning, unless there is something going on, I’m here,” says Manzer, who has been welcoming students into the same office on the fourth floor since 1996. “Most people don’t like work, but I like it. As a matter of fact, one of my passwords to get into things is work.” Anyone who has been in a class with Manzer can see how much fun he has teaching. It’s no surprise that he has received more than 20 teaching awards and was inducted into the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame in 2010. “One of the three legs of the land-grant mission is outreach,” says Wiener, who has been a colleague of Manzer’s for 30 years. “This means taking knowledge

Lee Manzer has recorded every grade he’s given his classes in a traditional green book — a practice he continues even in today’s computer age.


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from the ivory tower and conveying it to people without. Lee has spoken to tens of thousands of people all over the United States. … His contributions to our land-grant mission of outreach are extraordinary.” These days, Manzer may not be as quick to remember the names and faces of former students as in the past. It may take a moment for him to re-familiarize himself when a former student drops by his office, but it won’t take long. Since 1975, Manzer has recorded the grades for each class in a traditional green book. Yes, he’s tech-savvy and uses the computer on his desk, but he prefers entering the grades manually for his classes — for every student in every class. “Once you get used to something and get comfortable doing it that way, it’s hard to change,” Manzer says. “I wanted to have a record of all of them, and I didn’t want to transfer it to a computer, so I’ve kept them all. “It’s my way of doing it. It’s not for everybody, but it’s my way.” The Manzer way continues to work. @

To Our Distinguished Guests

We Extend A First-Class Welcome

To sign up as a speaker or request a speaker visit, spears.okstate.edu/sssb. Dr. Jeretta Horn Nord, Executive Director Spears School Speakers Bureau sssb@okstate.edu | spears.okstate.edu/sssb | 405-744-5091

Professional relationships between external constituents and the faculty and administration in the Spears School of Business are important to the school’s mission. The Spears School Speakers Bureau provides Spears School of Business faculty with an opportunity to merge business and academics by hosting distinguished alumni fall 2013 engage@spears 13 and friends as speakers.


By Matt Elliott

the governing committee of the Conference on Consumer Financial Services Law.

aurie Lucas has been a business professor for more than 20 years, and she’s never seen anything like it before.

“I have 19- and 20-year-old students coming to me, anxious about their credit scores,” says Lucas, a professor in the Spears School’s Department of Economics and Legal Studies in Business. What happened to being concerned about homework or exams, or research or careers? Consumers’ awareness of their credit scores has become more prevalent during the last 15 years or so, Lucas says, and it fascinates her how firms determine creditworthiness and market consumer credit in a society that advocates taking on debt as a virtue. “You see it on TV, these commercials,” she says. “There’ll be a guy with a college degree working in a fast-food restaurant selling fish because he has a bad credit score. Once he pays for a service to monitor his credit score, he’s suddenly living in a mansion and working as a rock star.” Lucas, who teaches courses in business law, is an expert in consumer financial services law. Of particular interest to her is how vulnerable populations of consumers get and what they think about credit in a playing field tilted toward “too-big-to fail” lenders that have access to highly sophisticated analytics tools and the ability to engage in financial gymnastics that sometimes defy the imagination.

She began her legal career practicing commercial and bankruptcy law after graduating from the University of Oklahoma’s College of Law in 1988 and working in development. The state was reeling from the collapse of Oklahoma City’s Penn Square Bank in a swirl of sweetheart loans to executives and other tomfoolery that sank the nation’s seventh-largest bank. “Nobody was really putting any deals together — just taking them apart. So it was mainly bankruptcy — commercial bankruptcy, not consumer — that I did.” Lucas quickly grew tired of such work and decided she’d rather be in academia.

“If a lender wanted, it could probably find out what brand of mattress you sleep on at night. There’s been a lot of attention given to what the government knows about you these days. But private industry knows a lot, too, and private industry is not subject to constitutional restraint like the government is.”

“I’m interested in the transition in our society that’s taken place over the last 10 or 15 years in our notion of creditworthiness, and what that means for consumers,” she says. “I’m also interested in how changes in technology and the information lenders have about consumers have contributed to the transformation in the idea of what makes someone credit-worthy.”

— Laurie Lucas

That interest has made Lucas a prolific writer with articles in journals and publications read by academics and practitioners alike. Lucas also is a co-editor of an annual survey on consumer financial services law in the American Bar Association’s The Business Lawyer, one of nation’s top business law publications. She recently joined the editorial board as an articles editor for the American Business Law Journal, a highly regarded peer-reviewed law journal published by the Academy of Legal Studies in Business. Lucas is a four-time winner of the Spears School’s Richard W. Poole Research Excellence Award, and the 2011 winner of the Greiner award for undergraduate teaching. She also was invited to serve on

“I admire people who can practice law. You’d be surprised how many lawyers don’t like it.” Lucas started teaching in 1993, and she has enjoyed researching the law and teaching students. She came to OSU in 2007 after 10 years at Arkansas Tech University. She is one of several economics faculty members with a law degree at OSU, where she teaches a course on law and entrepreneurship as well as undergraduate and graduate courses on the legal and regulatory environment of business. She especially enjoys talking with her students about how to use the law to their businesses’ advantage. “If you understand the legal and regulatory environment, law doesn’t have to be such an impediment,” she says. “You can even use it to help gain a foothold in your industry. I think students tend to think about law as a restriction. There are ways you can leverage law that can give you a competitive advantage.”

Current events supply her with plenty of topics for research. Chief among those are the technological changes that have led to the emergence of analytics tools and data mining as well as their effect of that on the use of consumers’ credit scores that concerned her students. She notes these technological changes and other developments give businesses an unprecedented amount of consumer information. “If a lender wanted, it could probably find out what brand of mattress you sleep on at night,” Lucas says. “There’s been a lot of attention given to what the government knows about you these days. But private industry knows a lot, too, and private industry is not subject to constitutional restraint like the government is.”



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Scoring High Laurie Lucas studies today’s credit explosion

Gary Lawson/University Marketing

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The information helps companies calculate consumers’ credit scores. And your credit score determines how much interest you’ll pay for the credit you receive. It used to be that consumers were either qualified for a note or they weren’t, Lucas says. Today, the industry doesn’t look at creditworthiness and risk in the same way. That’s one of the reasons that, during the consumer credit bubble that preceded the recession, almost anyone could get credit, Lucas says. While there has been some contraction in the consumer credit market, it’s still more a matter of pricing the risk than creditworthiness. Customers with lower credit scores get charged more in interest because lenders believe a lower score means a higher chance they’ll default.

That recognition of the need for balance makes the establishment of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau particularly interesting. In 2010, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and moved many of the regulatory and enforcement powers of other government agencies to the bureau. The law gave the CFPB the power to protect consumers. She’s fascinated by the bureau’s efforts to educate consumers about their rights and personal finance. Even the father of modern economics, Adam Smith, argued that complete information or an informed consumer was critical for capitalism to work as conceived.

“One of the things I’m looking

Theoretically, that risk should discourage lenders from making bad or risky loans. But when lenders can justify charging higher interest to consumers with lower credit scores, the market segment becomes highly profitable. Thus, instead of moderating risk, Lucas argues, we’ve seen more lending to people who are riskier customers. Of course, Lucas points out, it makes sense for lenders to engage in this behavior to enhance profits. “Though many in the industry would likely disagree,” she notes with a smile, “that’s why I think there is a valid and appropriate role for regulation in this area.

at in my research is to try to find ways to make disclosures to consumers work better so they know what they’re doing when they sign up for debt. My guess is most consumers who sign a loan believe there are limits in terms of what the industry can do. But

“One of the things I’m looking at in my research is to try to find ways to make disclosures to consumers work better so they know what they’re doing when they sign up for debt. My guess is most consumers who sign a loan believe there are limits in terms of what the industry can do. But sometimes they’re wrong. They think the government will protect them, that the government won’t let the lender do certain things. But really, the fact of the matter is, when you’re signing a contract, you’re signing a contract.” She says the CFPB (its head, Richard Cordray, was confirmed in July) is probably “going to keep lawyers busy for the next 20 years.” She says it’s an exciting time to be doing her work.

“That’s why I’m excited to work with these two legal journals,” she says. “One is oriented to the practitioner and the other is more theoretical and geared toward academia. These two editorships give me a vehicle to work with different aspects of the same issues and to interact with some of the country’s best legal minds in the area of consumer financial services law. I’m lucky to have the opportunity.”

sometimes they’re wrong.”

“I know that, over the last 30 years or so, we’ve moved to this free market idea that advocates no regulation in the marketplace, that the market can ‘regulate’ itself. But even former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan admitted there’s a flaw in that theory because industry players don’t always regulate their own profit-taking behavior.”

It’s enough to make your head spin. But Lucas enjoys looking at how companies work with consumers, how consumers use debt and how the government tries to control it and keep the economy from going off the rails. One might be surprised to hear she doesn’t always agree with consumer advocates who accuse lenders of predatory behavior or taking advantage of consumers. She believes it’s more complex than that. “Until you can get your financial condition in the shape where you are creditworthy, you shouldn’t necessarily be able to get a loan. But the fact of the matter is, the industry will give it to you and will even pursue you because you’re more profitable. That’s good and bad, of course, since consumers need access to credit, so they can have transportation to work, pay their children’s tuition and make it in American society. But there needs to be some balance.”


engage@spears fall 2013

— Laurie Lucas

Lucas, who commutes to Stillwater during the week, spends the weekends on 55 acres south of Lake Thunderbird near Norman with Charles, her husband of nearly 20 years. She keeps bees and gardens in her spare time. She was promoted to associate professor and earned tenure last July. In addition to her law degree, Lucas has a master’s degree in library and information science and a bachelor’s degree in economics from OU. She has published dozens of articles in journals including The Business Lawyer, The American Business Law Journal, The Loyola Consumer Law Review, and The Consumer Finance Law Quarterly Report. She was recently invited to contribute several entries to a new consumer encyclopedia, Consumer Survival: Encyclopedia of Consumer Rights, Safety, and Protection, including an entry on the CFPB. @

T H A N K YO U The Spears School of Business and the OSU Foundation extend our deepest appreciation to the Cornerstone Donors whose gifts to the new building total approximately $30 million!

Thank you for putting the building on track for groundbreaking in 2014.

We are proud to announce the selection of Elliott + Associates and Manhattan Construction as partners in making the new building a reality.

A list of Cornerstone Donors and current building information are available at spears.okstate.edu/build.

Changing Life at the Top Top executives tell Ph.D. students how to best improve corporate governance

By Matt Elliott

choosing online banks instead of traditional brick-and-mortar firms.

The age of the freewheeling, big spending executive using the company as a personal piggybank is gone.

“I’m looking at what detracts from loyalty,” Nash says. “And in turn what truly creates loyalty.”

At least, that’s what lecturers told a group of students — high-level managers and executives — during the corporate governance class of Oklahoma State’s executive Ph.D. program. That June day, they heard first-hand knowledge from activist shareholders and company CEOs on how to run — and not run — companies.

She says the corporate governance course (a hot topic in the business world, she adds) taught her the science that characterizes good organizational changes.

The guest lecturers were John Gibson, CEO of natural gas company ONEOK; David Batchelder, an executive with investment banking firm Relational Investments and an activist investor experienced in acquisitions, financial management and mergers; and Burns Hargis, OSU president and former board member of Chesapeake Energy Corp.

Gary Trennepohl (from left); John Gibson, CEO of ONEOK; OSU President Burns Hargis; and David Batchelder, executive with Relational Investments, were participants at June’s meeting of the Ph.D. in Business for Executives class at OSU-Tulsa.

“We always want to make changes,” Nash says, “But people ask, ‘How do you know?’ This program teaches the science behind why those changes are recommended, adding credibility to those recommendations.”

doing what’s best for shareholders. Too often, compensation committees have done simple things such as link pay to stock prices (and offer extra pay in stock options), efforts that ensure executives will do whatever they can to keep the stock price high before they cash out and leave the firm.

The corporate governance course applies to her position because she spends a great deal of time managing clients’ money. The topics covered help her ensure she does her part to make sure the companies she recommends to clients are run well. It also helps her share information with her clients.

“A lot of this is ego-driven,” says Batchelder. He spoke during a session that addressed “I’ve been on boards,” says Trennepohl, a managing executives by tying their comfinance professor who is also former dean pensation to their performance, noting of the Spears School of Business and it’s up to the board and others to keep the former president of OSU in Tulsa. “I’m higher-ups in line. “One CEO would take on a couple of boards now. What we’ve the Businessweek article that showed him talked about is very helpful if you’ve been as the highest-paid CEO in corporate on a board, trying to affect corporate America, laminate it and send it out to his governance.” friends. This is about score.” Trennepohl is on the boards of Blue Cross The course connects students with leaders and Blue Shield of Oklahoma and the like Batchelder and Gibson by design, Oklahoma Teachers Retirement System. says its instructor, finance professor The corporate governance course is a Gary Trennepohl. True to the execupiece of a broader set of tools OSU’s Ph.D. tive degree program, which focuses on in Business for Executives program gives strategic decision-making, the corporate its students. The research they do helps governance course takes a C-suite-level them directly in their careers. view of strategic thinking in the business Student Dessie Nash, a manager with U.S. environment. Trust bank, says she’s doing her research Batchelder discussed making execuon client retention and satisfaction in an tives’ and managers’ compensation stay age when more banking customers are with the firm, thinking long term and 18

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“So this is not just a Wall Street thing,” she says. “It’s a Main Street thing.” It’s not just for execs in the corporate world. One of Nash’s classmates, David Altounian, is a former technology manager who’s using his doctorate as an adjunct professor in the School of Management and Business at St. Edward’s University while also working with Austin-based Capital Factory, an organization for early stage entrepreneurial companies. Altounian, who founded the tablet computer company Motion Computing in 2001, found the course’s information on dealing with boards and investors particularly useful. Altounian, formerly with companies including Motorola, Compaq and Dell, founded Motion Computing with the help continues

photos provided

“A lot of this is ego-driven. One CEO would take the Businessweek article that showed him as the highest-paid CEO in corporate America, laminate it and send it out to his friends. This is about score.” — David Batchelder

“I’m on a couple of boards now. What we’ve talked about is very helpful if you’ve been on a board, trying to affect corporate governance.” — Gary Trennepohl fall 2013 engage@spears


Burns Hargis answers a question from a student in the Spears School’s Ph.D. in Business for Executives program during a session that included David Batchelder (left) and John Gibson.

of venture capital firms. Two of his board members were from those firms; other board observers were representatives from the firm’s debt holders. “It was a very complex firm to manage,” Altounian says. “I wish I had taken this before. It would have made starting and running a company a little bit easier.” Gibson talked about dealing with his board members, which included giving them the materials for their meetings via electronic means several days in advance. Altounian says his members were usually given the materials 24 hours before the meetings, the management of which was always a challenge. Altounian likes that Trennepohl’s course materials are based in sound research. It was very different from his MBA program at Northwestern University, where the courses featured case studies and practitioners who talked about the things that had worked for them in their careers, 20

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rather than theories and scientifically vetted best practices. “This class was very practical. Trennepohl’s material that he brings in includes empirically proven papers. They’re research papers that have gone through peer review, so it’s not so much opinion.” Altounian says he chose OSU’s executive Ph.D. program because of its mainstream nature and the Spears School’s accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Others say the class appeals to their love of lifelong learning. “I’ve always kind of considered myself a lifetime learner,” says Donald Rowlett of OG&E. “And I initially approached it to help me focus my learning and focus on being better at what I do. The thing that has been the most rewarding is the program is a little bit different than I expected. It’s a research-based program.

I had the idea this was an MBA program on steroids, but it’s much more a Ph.D. research degree. So approaching problems and approaching this concept of building the pool of knowledge has really been helpful for me.” More broadly, the program helps Rowlett as director of regulatory policy and compliance at OG&E, a power company with more than 800,000 customers in Oklahoma and Arkansas. Looking to leverage the changing regulation of power companies, his research is on how to innovate rate-making, the future and trends as more consumers look to conserve energy. “One of our corporate objectives is to be an industry leader,” Rowlett says. “I think this is giving me an opportunity to see and anticipate what the future’s going to be so we can position ourselves to be that leader.” @

W a t s o n

g r a d u a t e

s c h o o l

o f

m a n a g e m e n t

Impacting organizations through evidence-based management

the Ph.d. in Business for Executives is a true doctoral program that bridges the gap between research and practice for executives. the program is attracting national and international acclaim with the first two cohorts including students from 11 states and three countries.

“the open discussion and idea exchanges in the program have allowed me to implement several immediate changes in my department. We have been able to redesign our client outreach program to be more proactive and targeted.”

dessie nash,

VP, Market Investment Director U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management DeSoto, Texas

“the program has not only taught me to become an evidence-based leader, but also is transforming nyhart to becoming more evidence based in our decision making.”

tom totten,

Chief Executive Officer, Nyhart Indianapolis, Ind.

Inquiries 405.744.9000 | phdexec@okstate.edu phdexec.okstate.edu

Sean McLean says his favorite part of his job as prospective students coordinator in the Business Student Success Center at the Spears School of Business is working with students.


engage@spears fall 2013

The Power of Attraction Sean McLean shares his passion for OSU with prospective Spears School students STORY AND PHOTO BY Dollie Elliott/Spears school

Sean McLean, prospective students coordinator in the Business Student Success Center at the Spears School of Business, is passionate about many things in life, with Oklahoma State University at the top of the list. The Stillwater High School graduate was a double major in marketing and advertising at OSU, developing an interest in advertising. After graduating, he was an event coordinator for the Starlight Theatre in Kansas City. He returned to OSU to earn a master’s degree in international studies and took a position in the communications department of OSU’s admissions office, where he soon began to develop his real passion. “I fell in love with the idea of working in higher education,” he says. His work in marketing and advertising to prospective students inspired him to apply for a prospective students coordinator position at the Spears School. The work was similar to his position in the OSU admissions office but the Spears School job allows McLean to interact with prospective students. The 33-year-old has been with the Spears School for nearly two years. His “never have the same day” position means he constantly works with prospective high school students and transfers. McLean points out that although a good education draws parents and students alike to OSU, it’s the things beyond the lecture halls of the business building that set OSU apart from other universities. “I think it’s really important for us to say, ‘Yes, these are the resources.’ You can get a great education at a lot of universities, but the things outside of the classroom like study abroad, career services and interacting with your adviser are the things that are really going to make a difference in your long-term success,” he says. “At a recruiting event I overheard a father telling Sean how much he and his daughter had enjoyed an earlier visit with him,” says Barbara Bremer, assistant director in the Spears School’s Business Student Success Center. “He said Sean’s friendliness and helpfulness was outstanding and a much better experience

than they had at OU and, as an OU alum, he hated to admit that. He went on to say his daughter was definitely leaning toward OSU, and it was primarily because of Sean’s interest in her and the positive picture he painted for her as a future OSU Cowboy.” McLean’s favorite element of his career is working with students. “The student and I both have a common goal starting from about their junior year in high school to then actually enrolling and becoming a student here,” he says. “Again, it’s helping them become successful in all facets of their lives.” McLean admits that the biggest challenge of his job is remembering so many names and faces. The Business Student Success Center staffers meet hundreds of students each year, he notes, and they want the kids to leave believing they are the most important person to us. “Hopefully the interactions students have with the Business Student Success Center will lead to a student feeling like it’s a friendship or even a family rather than just an adviser,” he says. “Because sometimes students meet with us a handful of times before they even meet a professor. “Student Services is the unsung hero of academia.” McLean also serves as the staff adviser for the Spears Ambassadors, a student organization that promotes OSU and the Spears School by recruiting prospective students and acting as role models for current students. The Business Student Success Center and the Ambassadors collaborate on events throughout the year, including OSU Experience and Scholars Day. Student visitors receive hand-written postcards from the Ambassadors. McLean follows that up with a phone call to each visitor and their parents. “We try to maintain that connection,” he says. He often urges prospective students to come to the larger events on campus. “The more students are on campus, the more likely they are to attend OSU.” The relationship continues long after the new student arrives on campus. McLean tells all the new students that although he’s not their adviser, he still has an open-door policy. OSU undergraduate admissions hosts many events throughout the year, including the Scholarship Banquet each fall where Spears School students personally thank the supporters who have given generously to provide scholarships. McLean and academic advisers Caitlin Hixson-White and Marissa McIntyre are advisers for the Business Living Learning Community, which allows business students to share housing with others who have the same interests and who may even be taking the same classes. The three advisers coordinate oncampus and off-campus activities with the 150 business students who live on the fourth floor of Village E on campus, helping them get acclimated with campus life and Stillwater. @

fall 2013 engage@spears


Bigger Than the Sum … OSU senior challenges himself on levels most of us can't begin to fathom PHOTOS PROVIDED

By Dollie Elliott

Describe a typical numbers guy. Bet you didn’t come up with words like adventurous, spontaneous and zealous. But Oklahoma State’s Collin Nolte, a senior in the Spears School of Business majoring in both accounting and math with a minor in Mandarin, is far from typical. He enjoys pushing his comfort zone, and we’re not just talking about cost analysis, calculus and differential equations. The son of Sean and Amy Nolte, he spent his childhood in Goodard, Kan., flourishing in math and challenging himself. And that hasn’t stopped: “I’m really glad I added math as a second major because it’s been a challenge,” says Nolte. Nolte choose to come to OSU after touring the campus and receiving scholarship offers. “After meeting the people and walking around campus, I realized it 24

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wasn’t much different from home but far enough away for it to be a new experience for me,” he says. The 21-year-old spent summer 2013 in a small cubicle, doing inventory and cost accounting for an aircraft company in Wichita, Kan. Summer 2012 was very different. Nolte spent his sophomore year in Chengdu, China. “It was scary. It was on the other side of the world. I didn’t know anyone or speak the language, and so I figured if I was going to go aboard, I was going to go big,” says Nolte. He credits Mark Weiser, associate dean in the Spears School, for encouraging him to embrace the study-abroad experience. “Dr. Weiser pointed me in that direction my freshman year. He’s always been a great mentor in the business school.” “Collin came to OSU a bundle of energy. I still remember him coming up to me

during his freshmen welcome week so excited about finance that he wanted to start working with faculty now and not wait until junior year,” says Weiser. “I gave a presentation to his freshman class in which I encouraged an international experience for every undergraduate. Collin came up afterward and asked me for suggestions. I recommended he decide what he considered the most personally challenging location that he was willing to tackle and then go for at least a semester.” Nolte accepted the challenge. “I got off the plane in Chengdu, and the airline had lost my luggage and I didn’t know one word of Mandarin,” says Nolte. “So I got quite good at charades because I’m better at acting things out versus just waking up and knowing how to speak another language. But I guess a little preparation in the language would have been good in that situation.”

Photos Provided

“Following a conference in Shanghai, I flew to Chengdu to visit just a couple months after his arrival,” says Weiser. “Collin was traveling all over the city on public transportation, chatting with the locals and teaching English in a local school.” During his eight months in China, Nolte became very familiar with the Mandarin language — so much so that he picked up a minor in it after returning to Stillwater. On campus, he is a Spears School Scholar Leader, a member of Pi Mu Epsilon, a national mathematics honorary society, and a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity. Much of his free time is spent hosting international students. Nolte works as a peer adviser in OSU’s Office of International Students and Scholars. He often takes international students to dinner at the Sigma Chi house, gives them tours of campus or invites them to attend classes with him.

A year from now, Nolte imagines that he will be in another place that is completely foreign to him. “What I really enjoyed about China was it was something completely different and out of my comfort zone. So I just really want to find something like that again, maybe South Africa,” he says. The work is worth it. “What motives me? Freedom,” he says. “Knowing that once you get a certain list of things out of the way, build a certain foundation like an OSU degree, you’ll have the freedom to just do whatever you want. Knowing that some day you can just pack up and go wherever you want, do whatever you want and just live. “I can say that I’ve learned a lot through this internship this past summer — namely that these cubicles aren’t for me,” says Nolte. “My ideal job setting would be in a think-tankstyle environment. I enjoy being around

Collin Notle’s year in China was split between teaching English and touring several areas, where he learned about different cultures. His teaching salary covered plane, train and bus tickets to his destinations, where he would spend up to a week.

like-minded individuals, being able to build ideas and making something out of nothing. “My advice for underclassmen is just to be genuine, be you,” says Nolte. “A year from now, after graduation, I would love to be waking up in a different country, someplace scary, not knowing what today is going to be. That’s me.” Nolte wouldn’t disagree with being called a thrill seeker. “I don’t have many reservations or hesitations about doing things that I want to do,” he says. “Collin might tell you that he doesn’t fit in. He clearly lacks self-awareness because he has become something of an ambassador for OSU, for the Spears School, and for international experience,” says Weiser. @ fall 2013 engage@spears


On a Mission Student-founded company aims to help veterans’ families

Current Oklahoma State University student and military veteran Mike Merit (right) and recent OSU graduates Nick Cain and Flint Holbrook, co-founders of American Remembrance Inc., are pursuing their dream to serve families who have lost loved ones in the recent Iraq and Afghanistan wars.


engage@spears fall 2013

By Dollie Elliott


new company with OSU ties aims to help the families of fallen service members.

American Remembrance Inc. provides virtual tours of veterans’ gravesites. Its co-founders are recent Oklahoma State University graduates Nick Cain and Flint Holbrook and current OSU student and military veteran Mike Merit. Merit came up with the idea to help families who have lost loved ones in wars. American Remembrance, known as Virtue and Veneration before a name change earlier this year, will place flowers and memorabilia on gravestones and give virtual tours of the burial sites of fallen service men and women. “Often times veterans are buried away from their families at national cemeteries, making it difficult for grieving family members to visit,” says Holbrook. “We will provide the families members a way to see the grave and, according to our research, help them in the grieving process.”

“We are extremely grateful for all of the support the OSU community has shown us throughout this project, as well as the Spears School of Business and the entrepreneurship program,” says Holbrook. “We can all say that we wouldn’t be where we are today, starting our business, without the support of our friends and family and OSU alumni and really everybody at Oklahoma State,” says Cain. The pair finished fourth out of 27 other universities at the Richards Barrentine Values and Ventures Business Plan Competition at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth last spring. The competition was for college entrepreneurs from around the world to showcase their ideas for businesses that make money while making life better. “This experience has cemented in my mind the idea that entrepreneurship is a way of thinking and acting, and not a simple course of study,” says Cain.

While sitting in the lobby of the OSU Student Union on Memorial Day weekend in 2012, the three friends had no idea that within a year they would be competing in business plan competitions, launching a new business and moving to Fort Worth for the venture.

The Inspiration Merit is a senior political science major at OSU and a U.S. Marine Corps veteran. In 1998, he reported for boot camp just two weeks after graduating from high school in Broken Arrow, Okla. He began a six-month stint in Afghanistan a few weeks after Sept. 11, 2001, and did two additional tours in Iraq in 2004 and 2008. Upon completing his undergraduate degree at OSU, Merit plans to either earn a master’s in public administration or attend law school to become an advocate for mistreated or underserved U.S. military veterans. That day in the Student Union, Merit told his two partners that he just wanted to see the headstones of his fallen comrades in the Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. “With all the technology out there, there has to be a way for comrades and families to see the gravesites,” says Merit. So the three began to brainstorm, research and plan.

The Work Because he is the inspiration behind the project, one of Merit’s main roles in the business is to act as the ambassador, sharing the veteran’s perspective and connecting the company with numerous veterans organizations. Last fall, Cain, a chemical engineering major, and Holbrook, a biosystems engineering major, began working on their venture in the Cowboy Idea Hatchery, a student business incubator that is part of the Riata Center for Entrepreneurship in the Spears School of Business.

Nick Cain and Flint Holbrook receive congratulations from O. Homer Erekson, John V. Roach Dean of the Neeley School of Business, after capturing fourth place during TCU’s business plan competition last spring.

All 28 teams completed the first round in front of panels of different judges. The next day, finalist teams competed in front of a different panel of judges to determine the final cash-prize winners. Virtue and Veneration (now American Remembrance) received a $1,000 prize for its fourth-place finish. “It was a real honor to be selected as a finalist at the Values and Ventures competition. Even though we got fourth place, we made some invaluable connections,” says Holbrook. Following the competition, several audience members approached the team about becoming investors in the company. American Remembrance is housed at TECH Fort Worth, a Texas business incubator that assists regional entrepreneurs in developing and commercializing innovative technologies. Merit is traveling across the United States, training partners to implement projects at their local memorial locations. Cain and Flint are working on the company’s financing, advertising, strategy and procuring partners. American Remembrance has hired several part-time employees in social media and graphic design; programmers are next on the list. The full launch of the company’s projects and website took place in early September. For more information, go to www.remember heroes.org, or check out the Remember Heroes page on Facebook.@ fall 2013 engage@spears


hall of FAME

Spears School Hall of Fame to Induct 4 at Ceremony

Stories by Terry Tush

Four prominent alumni will be recognized at the induction ceremony. Jennifer Grigsby, Chuck Hensley and Griff Jones will be inducted into the Spears School Hall of Fame, and Linda Livingstone will receive the first Outstanding Ph.D. Award. Also, Emily Drennan, Stephanie Meston and Wilson Taylor will be recognized as Outstanding Young Alumni. When: Friday, Nov. 8 Where: ConocoPhillips OSU Alumni Center, Stillwater Tickets: To purchase tickets, call the Spears School of Business at 405-744-5074.

Griff Jones 28

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Energized Set to go into banking, Griff Jones detoured into power — and the rest is history There was no doubt in Griff Jones’ mind that he was going to be a banker. That would have been perfectly fine with the boy from Tulsa. His dad, Ed Keller, was a longtime banker who served as chairman of the Oklahoma Bankers Association. It was common for dinner table discussions to cover finances and other banking-related topics. “So I was always enamored by the banking business,” says Jones. Jones also knew early on he was going to OSU. His dad had played baseball for the Cowboys and served as chairman of the OSU Board of Regents. “I was going to OSU football games on weekends, basketball games and baseball games all the time, so I had a strong Oklahoma State influence growing up,” he says. “I had friends who planned to go to OU and other places. Dad said, 'You can go anywhere you want, but you have to go work it out with the bursar’s office at Oklahoma State because that’s where the check is going to go.’” It couldn’t have worked out better for Jones, a 1987 graduate from Jenks High School. On campus, he joined the Sigma Nu fraternity, served as president of the Business Student Council and was named the School of Business’s Outstanding Senior. Following in his dad’s footsteps (Keller graduated in 1963 with a finance degree), Jones majored in finance. He took advantage of the Oklahoma Bankers Association internship program to work one summer at First Interstate Bank in Oklahoma City. But a funny thing happened while Jones was on the fast track to banking success.

As president of the OSU Student Business Council as a senior, Jones was sharing his idea of developing a mentoring program with a group of business school alumni, using his own experience as an example. “I was explaining the fortunate situation I was in with a father who was in the banking business. Since I wanted to go into the banking business, he was a great mentor, and he could actually help with networking and connections,” he says. Jones’ talk impressed one member of his audience, who called then-Dean Robert Sandmeyer to find out how to get in touch with the soon-tobe graduating senior. The telephone call changed his life. “As the saying goes, it’s better to be lucky than good sometimes, and it just so happened that Chuck Watson was in the audience,” says Jones. Watson, the highly successful businessman from Houston, had one question for Jones: “Why the heck do you want to go in the banking business? You should go in the energy business.” Eventually, Jones joined Watson’s company, Natural Gas Clearing House Corp., which was later renamed Dynegy. Jones was senior vice president and led a number of initiatives within the wholesale power and natural gas business until 2003. That year, Jones and Watson joined the founders of Eagle Energy Partners. Four years after that, Lehman Brothers purchased the energy marketing and trading company. “It was funny, we ended up selling the company about six years ago to Lehman Brothers, and my first phone call was to my dad. I said, ‘Hey, Dad, I’m finally a banker,’” says Jones. Jones and Watson partnered again in September 2010 when they began Twin Eagle Resource Management, a natural gas and power marketing company headquartered in Houston. Watson is its chairman; Jones is its president/chief executive officer.


fall 2013 engage@spears


hall of FAME

His OSU education is a major factor in his success over the past 22 years, Jones says, crediting the comprehensive curriculum from the business school as well as his involvement with Sigma Nu and the Business Student Council. “I was fortunate, and what I really liked about Oklahoma State and specifically the business college, [was] you got to know the teachers and the administration. I think you can do that at Oklahoma State; I don’t think the class sizes are so large as to prevent that,” he says. “It’s easy to connect with people, and I always enjoyed interacting with the faculty. I had to uphold my end of the bargain and do the right things scholastically, but it was easy to talk to the professors. If I had a question or something came up that I needed to approach a faculty member on, it was an easy and comfortable discussion. It created a conduit to help me succeed. “Lastly, I ended up getting involved with Business Student Council, and I think that group itself provided a lot of insight into the College of Business, and interaction with the dean and the associate dean at the time and other faculty. That was a great organization for me to get involved with.” But it was more than just what he learned in the classroom that he applies today as president/ CEO of Twin Eagle. “I’m a firm believer of what’s so fantastic about Oklahoma State is there is such a diverse makeup of the student body,” he says. “You have kids from the largest of the large high schools and the most prestigious of the private schools, to the most rural of the rural schools, and it makes you


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see the whole spectrum of the personalities and backgrounds. Your ability to interact with people from all walks of life is extremely important. “The scholastic piece is very important, but I would probably lean more to the social aspects of meeting lots of different people from lots of different backgrounds and having that carry over into business life where I’ve been able to interact with people from other countries. I believe OSU prepared me to interact with New York investment bankers who run 1,000 mph to field operations people in energy who are just good ol’ boys who are working hard while trying to earn an honest wage.” The 44-year-old Jones will join select company when he is inducted into the Spears School Hall of Fame on Nov. 8. “I’m a little overwhelmed by it, to be honest with you. My father, Ed, is in the Hall of Fame. Chuck Watson, my business partner, is in the Hall of Fame. I really view those guys as Hall of Fame people, and I’ve been fortunate enough to meet a number of other Hall of Fame inductees over the years, and I humbly don’t view myself in the same light as I do those people. “They are very, very accomplished, and I’ve been very fortunate to accomplish a few things, so I feel extremely honored to be mentioned in the same breath. It’s hard to sink in with me. I’m very flattered, honored and humbled to even be considered,” says Jones, who will be joined by his wife of 21 years, Mindi, also an OSU graduate, and two children, 16-year-old Kennedy and 14-yearold Kale, at November’s induction banquet. @


MENTORING PROGRAM Making a Difference in the Life of a Student

WHAT IS THE MENTORING PROGRAM? The Spears School of Business Mentoring Program provides an opportunity for Spears School Associates, alumni, and other professionals to interact with Spears School of Business graduate and undergraduate students. Protégés develop professionally from the mentors’ skills, support, experience and coaching. The Mentoring Program is not intended to be a job-hunting or recruiting vehicle. Protégés understand that this program will provide them an opportunity to network and gain insight that may impact their career and future. The program also allows mentors to give back to the Spears School of Business and Oklahoma State University.



MENTORS Professionals who are Spears School Associates, Spears School alumni or friends of Oklahoma State University and interested in the professional development of our protégés.


PROTÉGÉS Junior or senior Spears School undergraduate students and all SSB graduate students.

WHAT IS EXPECTED? The goal of the program is for mentors to provide career advice, enhance professionalism and better prepare their protégé for transition from academia to the business environment. At a minimum, mentors will make contact with their protégés three times during the semester via e-mail, phone, Skype, social media or face-to-face. If possible, the mentor should invite the protégé to “shadow” in the mentor’s office at least once each academic year, have lunch or dinner meetings and simply be available for questions and to offer advice.

The mission of the mentoring program is to provide protégés access to professionals who will advise and encourage them in their chosen fields. Protégés should communicate with their mentors at least three times per semester via e-mail, phone, Skype or face-to-face. Anything additional that is productive to the protégé’s professional development is encouraged at the discretion of the mentor and protégé.

CHARACTERISTICS • Experience and desire to give back • Career similarity • Commitment

• Good listener • Approachable • Gives constructive feedback • Honest and candid

• Fresh ideas • Connect with younger generations • Give back to OSU

• Expand network • Impact student success

• Openness to experience • Student success • Reliable and responsible • Goal-oriented

• Willingness to make the relationship a priority



Associates contact: Mike Pregler mapregler@aol.com

• Enhanced perspective of business environment • Major selections and more confidence in making the right decisions upon graduation • External guidance • Increased poise and professionalism • Improved interpersonal skills Faculty contact: Jeretta Horn Nord fall 2013 engage@spears 31 jeretta.nord@okstate.edu | 405-744-5091

hall of FAME

More than a Sports Fan Jennifer Grigsby continues to support OSU in many ways Many Oklahoma State graduates proudly support their alma mater in a variety of ways: displaying a Posse sticker on their vehicle, flying an OSU flag in their front yard, giving money. But Jennifer Grigsby, a 1991 accounting graduate, goes a step further. She and her family — husband Steve and two boys, Reid and Jack — are at Boone Pickens Stadium for every home football game, and the four often travel to follow the team on the road. Still, it’s much more than just cheering for the Cowboys’ football, basketball, baseball and tennis teams that makes Grigsby do more than just talk the talk. Grigsby doesn’t hesitate when it comes to investing the most precious commodity of all — her time. She volunteers in a number of prominent roles throughout the OSU and Spears School of Business communities. She is serving as the chair of the OSU Alumni Association Board of Directors through 2015, holds a seat on the OSU Foundation Board of Trustees, is engaged in raising funds for the new business building and volunteers as a member of the School of Accounting Advisory Board. She definitely walks the walk when it comes to supporting OSU and the Spears School, and that’s one of many reasons she has been selected as a 2013 inductee into the Spears School of Business Hall of Fame in November.

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“Obviously, I’m very honored, especially when I look at the list of people who have been previously inducted,” says the 44-year-old Grigsby, who in her professional capacity is senior vice president, treasurer and corporate secretary of

Chesapeake Energy Corp. “I’m certainly humbled and I don’t even know how I qualify to be in the same class as those people. I’m more surprised than anything that I would be considered. I don’t consider myself as accomplished as many of those people, but I appreciate that someone else might think that. “When you look at people like (former U.S. Senator) Don Nickles, Chuck Watson, Malone Mitchell, Bill Spears, Don Humphreys, John Linehan, the Batchelder brothers, Connie Mitchell and other well-known, well-accomplished people, for me to be in that group, the selection committee must have factored in my service to the school. I appreciate that very much.” Grigsby has fond memories of study sessions to prepare for accounting tests when she was a student. She and fellow Hall of Fame inductee Griff Jones were business students who became good friends.

Grigsby doesn’t know if it’s coincidence that she and Jones are being inducted into the Hall of Fame in the same year, but she couldn’t be more pleased. “That’s the neatest thing about this honor — to be inducted with Griff. Although he was a finance major and I was an accounting major, we tried to schedule as many classes as we could together because we think alike,” she says. “We studied really well together, we were good influences on each other, we were good partners on group projects, and we enjoyed debating things and we could argue constructively together. He’s a tremendous friend, and I admire him so much. I’m so proud of what he has accomplished in his career. “What is the most special about this is that we get to share this honor.” @

Jones and Steve Grigsby were Sigma Nu fraternity roommates, and “because he was hanging around Jennifer a lot, and I had business school classes with Jennifer, we ended up doing a lot of studying together,” Jones says. “I have said this publicly: I wouldn’t have gotten through accounting if it wasn’t for Jennifer Grigsby. She single-handedly helped me understand accounting concepts and was able to break it down in layman’s terms for me. She’s a great friend,” says Jones, a groomsman in the Grigsbys’ wedding. Steve Grigsby returned the favor at the Joneses’ wedding. Both Grigsby and Jones have been major supporters of the new business building, which will be constructed in the next several years. “When it came time for Steve and me to make a significant donation, I called up Griff and said, ‘I’ve pledged $1 million, and you need to pledge $1 million too,’ ” she says. “I told him, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if we had classrooms in the building next to each other with our names on them? It would be symbolic of our time that we spent there together.’ ”

Spears School of Business Hall of Fame inductees Jennifer Grigsby (second from left) and Griff Jones (second from right) were classmates and close friends at OSU. With them are their spouses, Steve Grigsby (left) and Mindi Jones.

fall 2013 engage@spears


hall of FAME

What a Long, Strange Trip … In the ’60s, grads didn’t go into investment banking — except for Chuck Hensley Chuck Hensley was not the typical Oklahoma State University graduate when he went through commencement in 1967. “Graduation for me was not the way it was for many others,” he says now, remembering how he wasn’t looking forward to what was in store after what he called four of the best years of his life. Hensley grew up in Checotah, Okla., and chose Oklahoma State because “my sister had just graduated and being from a small town, I was just more comfortable at OSU.” His four years in Stillwater flew by, and he was faced with location and career decisions. While most college graduates were being drafted for the Vietnam War, Hensley had failed his physical, making him ineligible for the draft. “I had several interviews on campus, but nothing worked out. I also had several on-site interviews in Oklahoma with no results. So I decided to move to Dallas and get a fresh start,” says Hensley. For his move, he asked his parents for $200, only to hear his mother say, “You’re on your own now. We paid for college, so go get a job!” He ended up borrowing the $200 from the bank where his mother worked and set off for Dallas. His fortunes changed when he ran into an OSU classmate on a Dallas street. “She worked in HR at Republic Bank and set up an interview for me. I was hired as an operations trainee, very low level, but a job. I was glad to not go back home unemployed.”

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An aptitude test conducted by the bank ranked him extremely high among all trainees in sales. In

1968, he decided to pursue a career as a stockbroker and began interviewing, despite a lack of jobs at the time, especially for a 23-year-old bank trainee. “My first interview was with Merrill Lynch in our office building. I didn’t get the job, but I would later.” Many interviews later, in the summer of 1969, Hensley walked into the Dallas office of Paine Webber Jackson & Curtis. “PW&C had great training in New York City, and that was very important to me,” he says. “The office had just lost two-thirds of their brokers to competitors, and I was hired on the spot. “My second plane trip ever was to attend PW&C training in New York City. I was in awe of the place. Going to Grand Central Station to take the subway to Wall Street was quite an experience.” Three months later on Jan. 2, 1970, Hensley became a registered representative for PW&C in Dallas. Hensley recalls a recent lunch with his OSU marketing professor Bob Hamm, who is now retired. Hamm told him, “Chuck, you didn’t take the normal course to get to Wall Street. Most OSU graduates didn’t go in the investment business in the ’60s.” Thinking about it, Hensley agrees: “Dr. Hamm was right. But it’s the best thing that ever happened to me professionally and led me to my true calling.” Hensley rose up the ranks to vice president of sales before leaving PW&C in 1976 to open the Dallas office of First Boston Corp., where he was named vice president of fixed-income sales. In 1984, he was named manager for all fixed-income products at Merrill Lynch. In 1986, he was named managing director for capital markets/Southwest region. He officially retired from Merrill Lynch in 2000 but stays involved in the business through his affiliation with Williams Financial Group, where OSU alum Wilson Williams is chairman and CEO. Hensley was sitting at home watching television with Joannie, a Pi Phi, OSU graduate and his wife

of 42 years, one night a few months ago when he began checking his emails. He was left speechless as he read the email informing him of his induction into the Spears School of Business Hall of Fame. “I was reading it, and my wife looked at me and said, ‘What’s wrong with you?’ I couldn’t even answer her. I finally was able to say it out loud: ‘I’ve been selected to the Spears School Hall of Fame.’ This is the greatest thing that’s ever happened to me professionally,” he says. “In looking back on my college experiences, I had some great professors: Dr. Wilton Anderson in accounting, Dr. Hamm in marketing, Dr. Costic Roman in management and Dr. Black in finance. They were all very good teachers.” Hensley feels fortunate during his time in Dallas to have served on the boards of St. Michael’s School, the Episcopal School of Dallas, the Dallas Symphony, Parkland Hospital Investment Committee, SMU Cox School of Business Advisory Board and the American Indian College Fund Board of Trustees. He currently sits on the OSU Board of Governors. Hensley calls it humbling to be joining a select group of men and women who have represented the Spears School well over the years. “This award is the culmination of a lifetime of hard work, family support, good opportunities and luck. I’m extremely proud and excited to receive this honor,” he says. @

“I was reading [the notification], and my wife looked at me and said, ‘What’s wrong with you?’ I couldn’t even answer her. I finally was able to say it out loud: ‘I’ve been selected to the Spears School Hall of Fame.’ This is the greatest thing that’s ever happened to me professionally.” — Chuck Hensley fall 2013 engage@spears


hall of FAME

The Time is Right Linda Livingstone becomes first inductee from doctorate program Linda Livingstone was a proud daughter when she returned to Oklahoma State University several years ago. She and her family made the trip back to her alma mater in 2006 to see her father, Doyle Parrack, inducted into the OSU College of Education Hall of Fame. Livingstone will be making another trip to Stillwater from her home in California this fall when she is being honored. Although her father died in 2008, he would certainly be proud as Livingstone is inducted into the Spears School of Business Hall of Fame in November. She will enter the Hall of Fame as the inaugural recipient of the Outstanding Ph.D. Alumnus Award. “It’s quite humbling to receive the honor, and even more so to be the first person inducted into the Hall of Fame from the Ph.D. program,” says Livingstone, dean and professor of management at the Graziadio School of Business and Management at Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif. “I appreciate it very deeply and am humbled because there are so many really fine people who have gone through the Ph.D. program and who are doing amazing things since they left OSU. I appreciate it very much, and hope that I give the honor appropriate credibility through the years with what I do with my career.”

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One person who would certainly think she deserves the honor is Parrack, who had a long and illustrious career at Oklahoma State. He was a member of Oklahoma A&M’s 1945 NCAA championship basketball team coached by Henry Iba. He went on to become a successful college coach who also coached Israel’s national team in 1972. He became the first person to both play

and coach in the NCAA Tournament, playing for Iba’s Aggies, then coaching at Oklahoma City University. Parrack later was named the head women’s basketball coach at the University of Oklahoma, and the timing couldn’t have been more awkward for the family. “I grew up close to the OSU campus, and we would go up to all the athletic events. Of course, we went to all of the basketball games while my dad was coaching,” says Livingstone, who was recruited by several colleges to play basketball as a senior at Perkins-Tryon High School. “It was the only university I knew growing up. I always wanted to go to OSU.” Parrack retired from coaching in 1970. But, Livingstone says, her dad always wanted to return to the bench. That wish came true in 1978 when he accepted the head women’s basketball coaching job ... at the University of Oklahoma. Yes, in Norman. “He really wanted me to go play for him at the University of Oklahoma, but I couldn’t bring myself to be a Sooner,” she says. “I was very fortunate as I was one of the President’s Distinguished Scholars at OSU, so I had some really nice opportunities both academically and because of basketball. It was just a good fit.” Linda Parrack, as she was known at the time, joined the Cowgirls’ program as a freshman in 1978. She earned four letters while playing the next four seasons. Although the Cowgirls and Sooners played seven games the next two seasons — Doyle Parrack coached at OU for only two years — it was one game in particular that she remembers to this day. (Editor’s note: OSU won four of the seven games when dad and daughter faced each other.) In a Bedlam showdown inside Gallagher Hall, Linda landed awkwardly after taking a shot. She knew right away that she had suffered a serious knee injury, and so did her dad, standing just a few feet away.

“It was on the end of the court in front of their bench, and he was actually the first person out on the court to help me, and he carried me off the court. I’m sure there were people watching who were thinking, what in the world is that coach from OU doing?” she says. But Linda’s college career revolved around more than basketball, although she did find true love on the court: Her then-boyfriend, Brad Livingstone, was a member of Paul Hansen’s Cowboys basketball team. The pair dated in college and eventually married. They celebrated their 30th anniversary last month and have a daughter Shelby, who recently earned a scholarship to play volleyball next season at Rice University in Houston. Linda kept a perfect 4.0 grade-point average while earning a bachelor’s degree in economics and management in 3.5 years despite the rigors of playing basketball. Still on scholarship, Livingstone started working on her master’s degree during what should have been the second semester of her senior year. “It wasn’t exactly the normal path that most students take toward an MBA, but it was the right one for me,” she says. Livingstone began thinking about her future during a Consumer Behavior graduate class taught by former Spears School marketing professor John Mowen. “He pulled me aside one day after class and asked me if I had ever thought about getting a Ph.D. I really hadn’t, but he put that bug in my ear and I started thinking about it,” says Livingstone, who earned her bachelor’s degree in 1982 and her MBA a year later. She eventually returned to OSU in the late 1980s to begin work on a doctorate in philosophy, graduating in 1992. Livingstone spent 11 years at Baylor University as an assistant professor, associate professor and associate dean for graduate programs.


fall 2013 engage@spears


hall of FAME OSU Athletics Media Relations

Linda Livingstone, then known as Linda Parrack (front row, second from right) was a member of the Cowgirls basketball team for four years.

Livingstone has been dean of the Graziadio School of Business and Management at Pepperdine since 2002. In addition, she has been involved with the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International), and on its board since the 2009-10 academic year. She is currently vice chair-chair elect of the AACSB board of directors, and will become chair of the international organization in July 2014. And it all began when the teen from Perkins, Okla., chose to attend OSU, spurning her father’s recruiting efforts. “I had a great experience at OSU in all the programs that I was a part of,” Livingstone says. “I had a wonderful undergraduate experience, had excellent faculty, great opportunities in basketball, which is unique, and I learned a lot from that. I always loved the university growing up there. “The most important thing that I remember is the faculty and how much I learned from them and

how much personal attention they gave me at various points of my career. The other thing that was really important was that I developed a lot of interpersonal skills, how to interact with people and how to deal with people. I had some leadership opportunities that were important to me, that set me up well and developed me effectively for academic leadership.” Livingstone never dreamed of being honored by the Spears School, even when she returned to see her dad recognized by the College of Education a few years ago. “It’s just a real privilege to be honored this way, and we’re really looking forward to being back on campus in the fall and getting to see people again. I love Oklahoma State; it’s such a fine university and it’s so important to me personally but also to my family,” she says. “I was so proud when Dad was inducted into the Education Hall of Fame, and now it’s so exciting that I get to do it myself.” @

“It’s quite humbling to receive the honor, and even more so to be the first person inducted into the Hall of Fame from the Ph.D. program.” — Linda Livingstone 38

engage@spears fall 2013


VETERANS ENTREPRENEURSHIP PROGRAM The Veterans Entrepreneurship Program (VEP) offers cutting edge, experiential training in entrepreneurship and small-business management for disabled veterans.


VEP is completely free to our veterans. Your donations enable us to cover all costs of transportation, accommodations, meals and instruction.

To make a contribution: OSUGiving.com/VEP VEP Schedule October 25, 2013 February 1, 2014 – February 8, 2014 Applicants are notified of admission on a rolling Phase II — VEP Entrepreneurs’ Bootcamp — basis, with final notification to all applicants by this delegates arrive in Stillwater the morning of February date. As we have limited spots, a signed commitment 1 and depart on February 9, 2014. letter must be received within a week of acceptance. March 1, 2014 – December 20, 2014 December 2, 2013 – January 19, 2014 Phase III — Follow-up Mentoring and Business Phase I — Self-Study and Business Concept/Issues Development Support and Online Peer-to-Peer Development Networking

fall 2013 engage@spears


news briefs

Interim Spears School dean named Longtime Oklahoma State University professor and head of the Department of Management Ken Eastman was selected in July as interim dean of the Spears School of Business.

(2002 to 2003), and as the head of the Department of Management (2003 to 2013). He has been a member of the Academy of Management since 1985. Eastman was recognized with the Richard W. Poole Faculty Outreach Excellence Award by the Spears School in 2009 and received the School of International Studies Faculty Excellence Award in 2011.

“I am humbled and honored to serve the Spears School as interim dean. We have a great group of faculty, staff, and students, and I look forward to working with them as we continue the momentum we have going,” says Eastman.

He received an associate degree in 1980 from Iowa Central Community College, a bachelor’s in management from Iowa State University in 1982, a master’s in management from Iowa State in 1985, and a doctorate in organizational behavior from the University of Nebraska in 1990.

“We have many exciting initiatives underway, and I thank Larry Crosby for the leadership he has provided. I also am excited to work with all of our alums and friends, as I share the passion they have for the Spears School of Business.” Crosby announced his resignation in June after more than three years as dean. Eastman has been at OSU’s business school since 1989, serving as an assistant professor (1989 to 1995), associate

Ken Eastman

professor (1995 through the present), director of the MBA program (1999 to 2003), acting department head

James Pappas, a member of the Department of Management faculty since 2001, has been named interim department head. @

Trennepohl joining Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame

The longtime Oklahoma State University educator will join more than 100 educators upon his induction Oct. 15 at the Jim Thorpe Museum in Oklahoma City. “It’s a singular honor to be recognized by your peers for your contributions to education in Oklahoma,” says Trennepohl. “While every award is special, this one is very important to me as recognition for my service to students, community and the state.” Trennepohl has held several leadership positions at OSU since joining the school in 1995, including dean of the College of Business Administration (now known as the Spears School of Business) from 1995 to 1999. He also served as the president of OSU-Tulsa from 1999 to 2009 before returning to a full-time faculty position.


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“Success is always a team effort, and I appreciate Jim Halligan and Marvin Keener for giving me the opportunity to return to Oklahoma in 1995, and the support of my colleagues in the Spears School of Business and the OSU leadership while I was dean of the Spears School and president of OSU-Tulsa,” says Trennepohl.

Gary Lawson/University Marketing

Gary Trennepohl will join select company with his induction into the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame.

He is currently a Regents Service professor, ONEOK Chair in Finance and President’s Council Endowed Chair in the Department of Finance. He previously held faculty and administrative positions at Texas A&M, the University of MissouriColumbia and Arizona State University. While serving as the first president of OSU-Tulsa, Trennepohl guided its transition from the four-school University Center at Tulsa (UCT) consortium to a stand-alone entity providing undergraduate and graduate OSU degree programs in Tulsa. Trennepohl joins current and former Spears School faculty

Gary Trennepohl

members with his induction into the Hall of Fame, including Lee Manzer (2010), B. Curtis Hamm (2007), Robert Sandmeyer (2004), Eugene Swearingen (2003), Wilton T. Anderson (1999) and Richard Poole (1998). @

MBA program honored for job placement success

Photo provided

Oklahoma State University’s Spears School of Business is one of only four schools in the United States where 100 percent of the full-time MBA students received jobs within three months after graduation, reports U.S. News & World Report. All of the full-time MBA students who graduated in 2012 from Oklahoma State who applied for jobs were hired during the three-month time frame, according to U.S. News' Short List, a regular series that provides students and parents a way to find undergraduate or graduate programs that excel. “This report is indicative of what people have been saying for years, that students in the Spears School are receiving a relevant and real-world education that prepares them for career success,” says Ken Eastman, interim dean of the Spears School. “It’s a testament to the quality of our MBA students and the professors in the Watson Graduate School of Management that Oklahoma State was one of only four schools to be recognized with this honor. “When we say we inspire and engage the student in everyone to dream big, stretch their leadership potential, transform organizations and make a difference in the world, it’s more than just words. It’s how we are preparing today’s students to be tomorrow’s business leaders.” The U.S. News story, “10 B(usiness)Schools That Lead to Jobs,” says data show an average of 98 percent of 2012 full-time MBA students were employed within 90 days of graduation at the 10 business schools with the highest jobplacement rates, including OSU’s Spears School. OSU is one of 448 schools surveyed by U.S. News for its 2012 survey of business schools. That survey data determined the three-month employment rates of MBA graduates. @

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin recognizes the R2R Technologies team members (from left) Aravind Seshadri, Pedro Velasco and Carlo Branca as well as engineering professor Prabhakar Pagilla, at the 2013 Oklahoma Governor’s Cup.

R2R Technologies wins national contest R2R Technologies, an Oklahoma State University student-led business, was one of the major winners at the Tri-State Donald W. Reynolds Cup business plan competition in Las Vegas last May. R2R Technologies, which includes OSU graduate students Aravind Seshadri, Carlo Branca and Pedro Velasco, received $30,000 for winning the graduate division. The OSU students competed against teams from Governor’s Cup competitions in Oklahoma, Arkansas and Nevada. “We are very proud of this team and their accomplishments,” says Bruce Barringer, head of the School of Entrepreneurship in OSU’s Spears School of Business. “Although the students did the hard part, this win is a big step forward for the School of Entrepreneurship and is an affirmation of the strength of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the OSU system. “Along with the School of Entrepreneurship, R2R received considerable support from Prabhakar Pagilla from mechanical and aerospace engineering, and from Steve Price and his group at the Technology Development Center. In addition, Richard Gajan and Craig Watters, two School of Entrepreneurship faculty members, spent considerable

time mentoring the team and helping them fine-tune their presentation.” The R2R Technologies team has won $65,000 in the last two months to expand its business. The group became the first from OSU’s School of Entrepreneurship to qualify for the Tri-State competition by placing second and winning $10,000 in the graduate division of the Oklahoma Governor’s Cup competition in April. Also in April, the trio also won $25,000 in the fifth annual Riata Business Plan Competition, sponsored by OSU’s Riata Center for Entrepreneurship. The three graduate students have developed intelligent guides that use a fiberoptic sensor to reduce waste during the manufacturing of flexible materials by keeping materials properly aligned. The winners were named at an awards dinner at the Cosmopolitan Hotel after a daylong competition where teams presented their business plans to panels of judges. The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation underwrites the Tri-State and Governor’s Cup competitions. The contests simulate the real-world process of entrepreneurs creating a business plan to solicit startup funds from potential investors. @ fall 2013 engage@spears



Gary Simpson Gary Simpson, a professor in the Department of Finance and the Oklahoma Bankers Association Chair of Commercial Bank Management in the Spears School of Business, retired in August after 37 years at Oklahoma State University. Simpson taught more than 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students at OSU. His course topics included banking strategies and policies, corporate governance and banking simulation. He also mentored students, helping them obtain internships and chairing dissertations for graduate students. Simpson was head of the OSU Department of Finance from 1984 to 1990. “When Gary began at OSU in the mid1970s, finance was still a part of the economics department, so he was like our link to our history. As only the second department head of four, he hired a lot of faculty that are here today, moving the department from its infancy to the department it is today,” says John Polonchek, Ed Keller Professor and head of OSU’s Department of Finance. Simpson has held his chair position since 1990, serving as the branch between OSU students and the banking community. With Simpson’s assistance, more than 300 students obtained internships. He is still in touch with many of his former students. “For years and years, he has represented the Spears School with the Oklahoma Bankers Association as the OBA Chair and ran the internship [program]. And I would guess that there are many, many bankers out there in high-level executive positions who went through that program. And so to the bankers, he was, in essence, Oklahoma State University,” says Polonchek. Simpson shared his passion for international education by teaching the Summer in London program, coordinated by the Spears School Study Abroad office.


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Nearly every summer from 1995 to 2013, Simpson taught OSU students in London for the three-week program. Simpson’s research and teaching interests included banking and financial institutions, corporate governance and financial management. His research on banking and diversity on boards of directors was of great interest to him. His work was published in 45 journal articles and editor selections. He presented 20 papers at professional meetings in the past 10 years alone. Simpson’s teaching recognitions included the Honorary Member of Golden Key Honor Society by the OSU chapter in 2006, the Golden Torch Faculty Award from the OSU chapter of Mortar Board in 2000, the College of Business Administration AMOCO Innovation Teaching Award in 1997 and the Merrick Teaching Award from OSU in 1985. In 1997, Simpson was also honored with the Chairman’s Award from the Oklahoma Bankers Association for service to the state’s banking industry. “Gary Simpson has contributed significantly through the past 35 years to the development of the Finance Department

in the Spears School. Not only was he the first permanent department head, but he pioneered the banking interns program, which still continues today. His scholarly and teaching prowess is well known and appreciated by both faculty and students,” says Tim Ireland, a professor in management science information systems. Simpson earned his bachelor’s of business administration from Texas Tech University in 1966 and an MBA from Southern Methodist University in 1970. He was an examiner for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation from the mid-1960s to the early 1970s. Simpson received his doctorate in finance from Texas A&M University in 1975. After retiring, Simpson plans to continue teaching with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and the Oklahoma Bankers Association. He will also return to teach the internship course in the Spears School’s finance department. Simpson and his wife, Nancy, plan to travel to visit their children and grandchildren in Lawrence, Kan., and Austin, Texas. @


Gaye Trivitt Gaye Trivitt, program manager for the Center for Executive and Professional Development (CEPD) at the Spears School of Business, retired in April after 39 years with Oklahoma State University. She began in 1974 at the College of Business Administration as a secretary to Wilton T. Anderson, head of the Department of Accounting. After moving to a couple of other positions within the school, she spent many years as assistant to Dean Bob Sandmeyer. “Dean Sandmeyer taught, encouraged and provided opportunities for me that I would never have had the chance to experience. He was a great mentor in both my business life and my personal life, and I will always be thankful to him,” she says. With his encouragement she applied for and was hired as a program coordinator in Business Extension (now CEPD). “I had a great career in CEPD for many years and am thankful for all the opportunities I was given there,” says Trivitt. “Gaye Trivitt was a wonderful program manager who coordinated the Executive Management Briefings for many years in a professional and qualified way,” says Julie Weathers, director of CEPD. “The sponsors really enjoyed working with her, and she represented us well. She took pride in her work on the briefings series as well as the many professional development programs the faculty offered through our office.” Weathers describes Trivitt as detail-oriented and a friend to many of the faculty, staff, the Associates and Spears School alumni. “She will be missed by everyone,” says Weathers. Since her retirement in April, Trivitt has been busy with travel and activities with

Gaye Trivitt coordinated the Executive Management Briefings — including one with former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw — for many years as part of her responsibilities within the CEPD.

her 88-year-old mother as well as her two daughters and their families. “I have been extremely busy with new activities, much busier, in fact, than I ever thought,” she says. Trivitt has applied her event-planning skills to assist friends with several events, including the 2013 Sovereignty Symposium presented by the Oklahoma Supreme Court, the American Youth Quarter Horse Association World Championship show in Oklahoma City, as well as a small conference through CEPD. “I’ve also been lucky to be able to travel to Costa Rica in May, spend some time with a childhood girlfriend, and plan a cruise to Alaska in August. So needless to say, I haven’t been bored for a minute,” says Trivitt. @

fall 2013 engage@spears



Sara Freedman Sara Freedman, a professor in the Department of Management and a former dean, has retired from the Spears School of Business after seven years at Oklahoma State University.

Freedman. “As we reviewed our programs, we realized that we also needed to look beyond the classroom for things that would help prepare our students for the changing business environment that they would face throughout their careers.

Freedman was named dean of the Spears School of Business in January 2006. At the time, the business community, faculty and students all seemed to recognize that Oklahoma’s future and the actions of the Spears School were closely intertwined. Her challenge was to capitalize on the energy, spirit and ideas of these various groups to create a comprehensive business education model that was responsive to the state’s best interests, students’ diverse aspirations and the faculty’s active research agenda. In addition, the Spears School was also facing a national re-accreditation process, changing student demographics, fiscal austerity, incorporating new technologies and recognition that yesterday’s curriculum was no longer sufficient for tomorrow’s business leaders. The dean’s office responsibilities were threefold: chart a responsive, forwardlooking agenda; facilitate a collaborative environment in which groups could be heard and individuals could make a difference; and bolster the infrastructure to assure operational viability. “Thanks to the contributions of all of our constituencies, the results were positive and lasting,” says Freedman. “Our accreditation process was cited as a national model. Every department upgraded its effective use of technology for instruction on campus and through distance learning.” New curriculum initiatives resulted in an award-winning entrepreneurship program, new courses in each department and enhanced collaboration with the business community in planning student learning outcomes and student engagement. Fundraising levels increased to meet the Spears School’s needs. Faculty


engage@spears fall 2013

“We identified skills we believed they would need (international, communication, etc.) and began to develop extracurricular activities to support the development of these skills. We built a student success center as a resource for students throughout their academic programs and included increased international opportunities, a writing center, and other resources for students.”

research productivity increased, and more faculty members were involved in community and state business activities across Oklahoma. Changing student needs resulted in a wide array of innovations in curriculum, from internationalism to entrepreneurship to interpersonal skills. Further, the learning environment shifted from the traditional model to a supportive teaching-learning model featuring more online resources, tutorial services, a writing center, more international and internship experiences, peer and teamcentered modules and many more. The Center for Executive and Professional Development, already recognized for outstanding executive programs, meshed faculty research and expertise with Oklahoma business needs to assist regional companies. In turn, the faculty used the companies’ current issues to enrich classroom experiences for students. “The Spears School of Business has a long, proud history. Yet, times change, and business education also has to change, both in response to new conditions and to lead in dynamic times,” says

“I greatly enjoyed having Sara as a colleague and a friend,” says Ken Eastman, interim dean at the Spears School of Business. “She is always positive and energetic, which really endeared her to everyone who worked with her. She certainly set the standard for professionalism and dedication.” Before coming to OSU, Freedman served as dean and professor of management in the College of Business and Industry at Mississippi State University. Prior to that, she was dean of the College of Business Administration at the University of Houston for three years and associate dean for academic and research programs for 10 years. She joined the faculty at the University of Houston in 1976 and received the College of Business Association Distinguished Faculty Award in 1985. She also was a Teaching Fellow and research assistant at the University of North Carolina from 1972 to ’76, and a Fellow at the Center for Creative Leadership in 1974. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Boston University and her doctorate in organizational behavior from the College of Business Administration at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. @


and Spears School fan. She truly cared about the participants and the contacts she made through the years and gave exceptional service to our clients. She also took charge of United Way in the college for several years and believed in giving back to the community. We will miss her friendly and caring spirit at OSU,” says Weathers. “I tried to take a real interest in the participants of the programs I coordinated. Hopefully I provided the service they needed and that they benefited from it,” says Karns.

Vickie Karns, a program manager with the Center for Executive and Professional Development (CEPD) in the Spears School of Business, retired in May after 15 years with Oklahoma State University. Prior to OSU, she co-owned a small animal hospital and later worked at a bank in Stillwater. While at the bank, she began taking classes at OSU to complete her business degree. In the spring of 1997, Karns interviewed for a program coordinator position in CEPD and was grateful when director Julie Weathers held the position all summer until Karns completed her degree in general business. She decided to delay participating in the commencement ceremony until December in order to walk across the stage with her daughter, Krista, who was receiving a bachelor’s degree in sociology. “Earning my degree was wonderful, but walking across the stage with one of my children made it extra special for me,” says Karns. Karns managed many programs during her career but particularly enjoyed the Executive Education Partnership program and the Women’s Business Leadership Conference. Both programs grew from being fairly small to nearing

capacity at the time of her retirement. The Women’s Conference grew from approximately 120 participants to nearly 400 participants, and the Executive Education Partnership Program grew from about 15 to a maximum of 55 participants with a waiting list each year. She also enjoyed going to London with Spears School students for seven years. One project important to Karns was the annual United Way campaign in CEPD and the Spears School. She initiated the Spears School’s silent auction and coordinated it for 10 years, raising about $2,500 for the United Way each year. “Everyone in the building contributed to the auction, and the fun part was that we interacted with people that we normally wouldn’t have. We gained camaraderie while raising money for the United Way,” says Karns. Karns also served for two years as co-chair for the campuswide United Way campaigns. For her efforts, thenPresident Jim Halligan presented Karns with the Celebrate State Award in 2002. Karns also received the Spears School of Business Outstanding Staff Award in 2001 and 2009. “Vickie Karns was a great program manager for our center and was a true OSU

For a few years, Karns also volunteered for OSU’s international student orientation. She always invited students to drop in at her office anytime. Maud AsieduTaku, who came from Ghana, did so, and the two quickly became friends. Asiedu-Taku shared holiday meals with the Karnses, attended church with them and even joined their church choir. The Karnses were finally able to meet AsieduTaku’s family at Maud’s commencement ceremony. Maud’s brother, Prince, later graduated from OSU. The two families still keep in touch. Karns and her husband Monty, assistant director of construction services in the long-range facilities planning group at OSU, plan to spend more time with their 12 grandchildren — and the one who will arrive in October. “Together we have six children, and they are all married, so now we officially have 12 kids. Three are in Oklahoma — in Edmond, Grove and Cushing. The others are in Toledo, Kansas City and Nashville,” she says. She is also looking forward to volunteering more at her church, exercising, continuing with her book club and traveling a little. “This has been a great job and I’ve met the neatest people. Not only in the Spears School of Business but in the programs I’ve coordinated. You work with these wonderful people and end up becoming friends,” says Karns. @

fall 2013 engage@spears


Surprise! Army sergeant makes it to OSU for sister’s graduation One Oklahoma State University student received a graduation surprise from halfway around the world.

Weiser called Reid up to the stage while her brother waited in an adjacent room for his cue to enter.

U.S. Army Sgt. Chris Upshaw flew to Oklahoma in May, just before his sister, Lauren Reid, graduated from the Spears School of Business with a general business degree.

“When I was called on stage, I had no idea what was going on. I was like, ‘What’s going on? What is this?’” says Reid.

Upshaw, who serves with the 523rd Horizontal Engineer Company out of Schofield Barracks in Hawaii, was deployed to Camp Covington on Naval Base Guam. He showed up at the Spears School’s reception for graduates in the Student Union Ballroom before the commencement exercises. Upshaw had help from his family, the staff of the Business Student Success Center in the Spears School and Associate Dean Mark Weiser in pulling it off.

Upshaw missed his sister’s graduation from Perry High School because he had been stationed in Iraq, but he wanted to make sure to be in Stillwater for her college graduation. “There is an eight-year gap between my sister and me. Although there is that gap, we are very close,” says Upshaw. “I have a very good relationship with my family, and I am blessed to have a sibling who is as loving and caring as she is. “She has been very supportive of everything that I have done in life, and I want her to know how proud I am to have her graduate from college. She was able to attend my graduation from basic training, and now it’s my turn to show her the same support. I want my sister to have a great memory of this day and want it to be extra special for her.” To watch a video of the surprise, visit the OState TV website: http://www.ostate.tv/mpx/?pid=GB1TUfz9R1Cj

U.S. Army Sgt. Chris Upshaw surprised his sister, Lauren Reid, at her May graduation from OSU.


engage@spears fall 2013



Among the Best in the U.S.



80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0

2014 U.S. News and World Report’s Business School Rankings


100 90

Percent ranking

The Watson Graduate School of Management’s online graduate programs are in the top 20 percent in the country in the 2014 U.S. News and World Report rankings. The Watson programs are ranked No. 37 in the magazine’s Best Online Education Program rankings, which evaluate more than 200 schools across the U.S.


Place won by the Interns, a team consisting of OSU accounting students, in the xTAX National Finals at PwC’s xTREME Games, beating out 460 other teams and 2,300 students who competed nationwide from across the country.


Percent ranking

Oklahoma State University’s Spears School of Business is in the top 13.5 percent of business schools in the United States, according to the 2014 rankings by U.S. News and World Report. The Spears School is ranked one of the top 88 schools out of the 651 business schools accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

Spears School Top 13.5%



Watson School Online Graduate Programs Top 20%


OSU’s ranking of the 10 Best Online MBA Entrepreneurship Programs. (TheBestSchools.org)

70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0

2014 U.S. News and World Report’s Online Graduate Program Rankings



The number of consecutive years the Spears School entrepreneurship program has been recognized as a top 25 program in the nation. (Princeton Review)

Business Building, Stillwater, OK 74078-4011

Non-Profit organization U.S. POSTAGE PAID Stillwater, OK Permit No. 191

Coming soon:

A Centennial Celebration

Spears School of Business (est. 1914)

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