2021 UND Nistler College of Business & Public Administration Magazine

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SPOTLIGHT: Middletons make a significant impact on their university for generations to come. Pg. 23

University of North Dakota | Nistler College of Business & Public Administration



Message From the Dean Making a Difference One Macaron at a Time Thriving Together


Nistler Grad Programs Growth


Elevating the Future of Healthcare


Humble Beginnings


35 37

Cookies: More Than Just a Real Good Dessert The Institute of Policy & Business Analytics Conducts Impactful Research During COVID-19 Building Careers in a Remote Workplace


MAKING A DIFFERENCE ONE MACARON AT A TIME How three students decided to use their new-found free time during the pandemic.



COME JOIN US! BE A M SIGNING CE R E MON Y October 22, 2021 Join us on Friday, October 22, 2021 to take part in a historic event as we place a time capsule to signify the history of Gamble Hall and a new era for the Nistler College, as we celebrate our new building slated for completion in May 2022. Hear from NCoBPA leadership, enjoy refreshments, and make your mark by signing a beam that will be placed in the building for generations to come!


NISTLER GRADUATE PROGRAMS GROWTH Despite setbacks during the pandemic Nistler grad programs staff found a way to thrive.


COOKIES: MORE THAN JUST A REAL GOOD DESSERT In the hospitality industry you often lay everything on the line for your business. Sarah was not going to let COVID-19 take away everything she had built.

Editorial Team Editorial

Design and



Laura Arneson

Izzy Waite Design

Director of External Relations Contributing Writers Abby Wilfert Averi Haugesag Kate Oachs Laura Arneson

Contributing Photographers Isabella Lusk

University of North Dakota | Nistler College of Business & Public Administration


University of North Dakota | Nistler College of Business & Public Administration




Greetings! I would like to send my warmest wishes to all of our alumni and friends of the Nistler College of Business & Public Administration. While the 2020-2021 academic year certainly provided us with new challenges and opportunities, we are continually amazed by the resiliency of our faculty, staff, and students. Our Nistler community flourished during these difficult times by adapting to new environments, developing innovative teaching strategies, and continuing to find ways to deliver a world-class education and experience. Even during the most challenging of times, our Nistler community united together and accomplished the unthinkable. Through your unwavering dedication to us, we were able to break ground in August 2020 on the new home for the Nistler College. This building will impact generations of leaders in business and government. It was made possible through your generosity and the exceptional support from the state of North Dakota, and our lead donors Werner and Colleen Nistler. As we recently began the fall 2021 semester, it has been wonderful to see so many of our students, faculty, and staff return to campus. Through these unique times, we have learned many things that we can take forward with us into the future of higher education. Numerous programs will continue to offer hybrid or online program options, as well as more ways to connect with employers, alumni, and friends in virtual environments. Additionally, we look forward to the return of in-person events and connecting with many of you throughout this next academic year. Homecoming 2021 will be a special one for us, as we have many things to celebrate. Please save the date for October 18 – 23, 2021 and watch for the exciting activities that will be taking place. From all of us at the Nistler College, we thank you for your continued generosity and support!

With gratitude,

Amy B. Henley, Ph.D. Dean, Nistler College of Business & Public Administration Professor of Management & Strinden Endowed Chair


University of North Dakota | Nistler College of Business & Public Administration

University of North Dakota | Nistler College of Business & Public Administration





University of North Dakota | Nistler College of Business & Public Administration

Lauren Cain, a NCoBPA junior majoring in Marketing and Operations and Supply Chain Management, did not waste any time when she arrived at the University of North Dakota as a freshman.


University of North Dakota | Nistler College of Business & Public Administration

Cain has always had a desire to make a difference in her community. So, immediately upon her arrival from Fargo, ND, she began to seek leadership opportunities and engagement activities on campus. On day one of orientation, Cain heard a presentation from the Pancratz Career Development Center and was interested in how the Center impacted students. After the presentation, she inquired, “How can I work there?” As a result, she soon became a student assistant at the Center and has been working there for over twoand-a-half years now. Cain’s leadership has continued to shine

“I really love baking for people and seeing their faces as they enjoy it.”

roommate Ava Almquist asked her if she knew how to make macarons. Cain replied that she sure did and began to teach Almquist. “Ava loved it and started making all types of flavors,” says Cain. As the roommates continued to enjoy this new pastime together creating new flavors and exploring macaron making, they found they were not able to eat all of them and started sharing them with friends and instructors. “People were loving the macarons,” says Cain. Almquist, a junior at UND, is majoring in Commercial Aviation and is originally from Cleveland, OH. She told Cain that

via her engagement in over six clubs and

she would like to get more involved

organizations on campus, her role as

on campus and thought maybe they

marketing intern and student assistant at the Pancratz Career Development


Center, as well as through internships in


One day, out of the blue, Cain’s

the community. When classes, clubs, and organizations took an abrupt shift in the spring of

baking. “I love delicious sugary things and

2020 due to COVID-19, Cain, like many

want to make them for myself,” says Cain.

students, found herself with a void to fill during quarantine. She wanted to keep growing and learning, so, Cain asked herself, “What should be my quarantine activity?”

Cain shared that she has always loved art, and she has incorporated that into baking by making tiered cakes, sugar cakes, and other fun pastries. “There is something very mentally relaxing about it.

“I am a huge dessert lover,” says Cain.

I really love baking for people and seeing

When traveling to Europe in high school

their faces as they enjoy it,” says Cain.

Cain had the opportunity to have her first macaron, which instantly became her favorite dessert, and is hard to find in North Dakota.

As Cain began her macaron making journey, she admitted she had MANY failed batches. “It takes about four hours to make one batch of about 20

With more free time on her hands, Cain

macarons,” says Cain. “You also have to

thought this would be a great opportunity

combine all of the ingredients at exactly

to teach herself how to make her own

the right time, which took countless hours

macarons. As an avid dessert maker,

to perfect.”

Cain was already very comfortable


The Macaron Society enjoying a coffee after delivering macarons to Archives Coffee.

University of North Dakota | Nistler College of Business & Public Administration


University of North Dakota | Nistler College of Business & Public Administration


could turn this new-found hobby into a

Valentine’s Day, the group says they had

Day. Each week the new flavors are

leadership opportunity and club

an overwhelming amount of orders and

posted on the UND Macaron Society’s

on campus.

spent 18 hours making 630 macarons.

Instagram account.

Almquist along with Cain and Chuck

As the group grows and interest rises,

As the group looks to the future they hope

Henderson, also a Commercial Aviation

they set up shifts for baking. The Macaron

to continue to spread the joy of macaron

major, set forth to found the UND

Society co-presidents Almquist and

making and share this talent with other

Macaron Society with UND

Henderson organize schedules, do

students on campus. Additionally, they

Student Involvement.

outreach for new sales and members,

have future goals to partner with the

and work on bringing members together.

School of Aviation and host a Challenge

Through the club, they recruit members,

Air event on campus in Spring of 2022.

teach them how to make macarons,

The group makes three flavors a week.

and donate all of their proceeds to the

“Ava constantly invites new flavors,”

Cain hopes to always keep finding ways

Challenge Air Foundation, which provides

says Cain. “She is a factory of flavors.”

to grow her love for baking, but as for

children with disabilities, the opportunity

Almquist shared that so far the most

macaron making she explains that it

to go up in an airplane for the first time.

popular flavor is salted caramel. “This

comes naturally, “It is just like riding a

flew off the shelf,” says Almquist.

bike, and I know even if I stopped for a

The group makes around three batches per week and currently sells new flavors

The group also creates fun holiday-

weekly at Archives Coffee House, as well

themed colors, and recently did a variety

as for special events and catering. On

of green and lime flavors for St. Patrick’s

while, I could pick it right back up,” says Cain.


University of North Dakota | Nistler College of Business & Public Administration

University of North Dakota | Nistler College of Business & Public Administration




Despite remote and hybrid learning formats, partnerships between the Nistler College of Business & Public Administration, the University Counseling Center, and the Wellness Center ensured that students were not alone in their journeys toward holistic health.

recognizing mental health concerns. As noted by Knutson, “We are not saying everyone needs to be running marathons or meeting with a professional, but just making time for themselves and incorporating little tips into their own routines.” With the complete transition of students’ learning and living environments, Knutson explains how this campaign could help students at every level of the mental health spectrum. “Some students may be doing well with depression, anxiety, stress, and loneliness, but, as for time management, they might think, ‘yeah, that does cause me a little bit of stress.’”

The mental health of students had been

mental health campaign at the University

a topic of concern for faculty and staff

of Iowa Tippie College of Business.

prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, with 60% of Nistler College of Business & Public Administration students reporting unhealthy stress levels in 2020. Dr. Amy Henley, Dean of the NCoBPA, recognizes, “Isolation can be an adjustment for students when they come to college, but even more so during a pandemic.” Similarly, students working part-time, retail jobs faced devastating shift cuts. “What grade you make on a test doesn’t really matter when you’re trying to figure out how to pay for rent and whether you have somewhere to live,” says Dean Henley. She describes the past academic year as “an unprecedented time and a time for unprecedented approaches.” Another staff member in the NCoBPA came to the same realization. Laura Arneson, Director of External Relations for the NCoBPA, had been observing student outreach initiatives at fellow universities and was inspired by a

For the NCoBPA, Arneson envisioned a week-long promotion of relevant campus resources through the college’s Instagram platform. However, an effective, studentfocused campaign would require support from experts at the UND Counseling Center and UND Wellness Center. Arneson was greeted with enthusiasm from Karina Knutson, Associate Director of Wellness Promotion at the UND Wellness Center, and Dr. Rhandi Clow, Assistant Director of Training and Outreach at the UND Counseling Center. “The fact that there was an intentionality of collaboration across the campus was wonderful,” says Knutson. Likewise, Dr. Clow was, “very pleased that the NCoBPA was paying attention, that faculty and staff were listening to what students were struggling with and finding ways to address it.” Staff from both departments developed videos for social media with techniques for reducing anxiety, managing time, and

Introducing students to the Counseling Center and Wellness Center staff was another important aspect of the campaign. “Being able to show our faces gives a human aspect to our services,” says Dr. Clow. NCoBPA faculty, staff, and students also joined in the conversation by sharing videos about their personal expertise and experiences with mental health. Kay Powell and Dr. Sean Valentine, both faculty in the School of Entrepreneurship & Management, discussed emotional contagion and time management. Kathy Lund, Director of the Pancratz Career Development Center, encouraged students to virtually connect with friends and family. “Chances are, if you’re feeling disconnected, so are they, and, that way, you both end up feeling more connected in the end.” A familiar face can leave a significant impression on students, according to Dean Henley. “If it is someone students already know and trust, they are more likely to pay attention. If students are


Dr. Clow reinforced the importance of

challenges. “There is an increased

depression, or food insecurity, they often

initiating and normalizing the conversation

acceptance of change, newness,

feel very alone and believe other people

around mental health. She says

and the discomfort of being around

cannot relate to the problems they are

campaigns like this, “Normalize that

people. Bouncing back higher is a great

experiencing, and that is quite frankly not

students are not isolated. They are not

outcome,” says Dr. Clow.

true. When you see someone you respect

the only ones experiencing these things.”

being willing to talk about uncomfortable topics, it makes you more comfortable talking about them.”

Meanwhile, the Dean’s Office staff at the

At the same time, the pandemic has

NCoBPA compiled a campus resource

brought about greater empathy for those

guide for students with links to in-person

struggling with mental and emotional

or remote counseling sessions, academic

University of North Dakota | Nistler College of Business & Public Administration

experiencing isolation, binge drinking,

University of North Dakota | Nistler College of Business & Public Administration


advisor meetings, financial aid assistance,

Dean Henley sees mental health as a

students,” says Dr. Clow. “This is a way

and dozens of additional, free services for

crucial factor for institutions to address

we can all partner together to listen to and

UND students.

because, “the holistic student is who

hear our students and what their needs

we are educating and preparing for a

are in the mental health realm.” She

career, so as a college it is not only our

also believes the campaign has made

responsibility to provide curriculum and

a difference in the way the Counseling

an academic foundation, but to care for

Center will use social media on campus

the entire student.” Ultimately, “If we

going forward.

The Counseling Center guided the NCoBPA in formulating check-in polls through which students could rank their mental health on Instagram. If a student reported feeling especially isolated, anxious, or depressed, a personalized message containing the resource guide was privately sent to him or her. Students were uplifted by the “extra reinforcement and encouragement,” says Kayla Klatt, a Master of Business Administration student in the NCoBPA. “Seeing those reminders does motivate you to schedule an appointment or pay attention to your health. It was reassuring to have the College reach out and say, ‘Here are the resources if you need them.’” The collaborative and supportive spirit

holistically allow people to be people, then we give them more freedom to be successful.”

Knutson hopes campaigns of this nature will continue to exist within and outside of

“If we holistically allow people to be people, then we give them more freedom to be successful.”

evident in the NCoBPA mental health campaign has become one of Klatt’s favorite aspects of UND as a whole. “I have really liked that student resources


are being dispersed through relevant campaigns and in accessible formats.” Klatt recently moved to Grand Forks after serving as a student athlete, resident assistant, and member of multiple student organizations during her undergraduate education. “Moving to a place where I knew no one, everything being closed, and not having a job, I was just home with myself. It forced me to work on my mental health.”

The week-long campaign reached around

the NCoBPA and UND. “I am so thankful

300 individuals each day and resulted in

that there was the ask and the call, and I

40 total outreach messages to current

hope other colleges are going to be able

students in need. Beyond the remarkable

to replicate this in the future. Their road

engagement levels, Dean Henley and

map is already established. This way, all

Laura Arneson measured the campaign’s

students across campus can benefit.”

success by its mere existence. “If we could reach one student who would not have been reached otherwise, it was worth any of the work we put in,” says Dean Henley. “I’m really proud of the

Business & Public Administration students

staff and Laura for being thoughtful about

are known for being independent, high

students. I am proud that it indicates we

achievers, and community leaders.

are thinking of them.”

Unfortunately, this success-oriented personality can lead them to avoid seeking help for personal dilemmas.

All of the individuals who contributed to the College’s mental health campaign are excited to continue similar efforts in

Additionally, mental health is not a regular

the near future. Doing so will be easier

topic in business curriculum. Knutson

given the new relationships between

adds, “Students in nursing and medicine

the NCoBPA, Counseling Center, and

hear about these tactics in the classroom

Wellness Center.

in terms of helping patients. When it comes to the Nistler College’s social media content, talking about this on a daily basis helps to fill that gap.”

“It feels like we have partners in the academic world that are helping us reach

As Dr. Clow’s nineteen-year career at UND comes to a close in preparation for retirement, she says, “It was really nice to have the opportunity to do something like this to bridge my thinking into a new way of doing things and keep me alive with ideas. I feel a part of the future.” The NCoBPA mental health campaign could be the start of groundbreaking initiatives in higher education to, in Knutson’s words, provide “tangible information that will help students excel and thrive.”


University of North Dakota | Nistler College of Business & Public Administration

University of North Dakota | Nistler College of Business & Public Administration


BRIAN GUTIERREZ, MICHELLE GARSKE, KATE OACHS Collaborating on graduate program initiatives


PROGRAMS GROWTH The COVID-19 pandemic turned the world upside down. Every industry felt the pain of having to adapt and adjust business models to fit an ever-changing environment. The world of higher education was not immune to this strain. In fact, many institutions experienced declining student enrollments and challenges with delivering curriculum in an online format. the Nistler College of Business & Public Administration poised themselves to face these obstacles head-on. With a staff of three, the Office of Graduate Programs oversees four master’s programs and four graduate certificate programs. These programs include: Master of Accountancy, Master of Business Administration, Master of Public Administration, and Master of Science in Applied Economics & Predictive Analytics. Additionally, it includes a Certificate in Applied Economics, Certificate in Health Administration, Certificate in Policy Analysis, and Certificate in Public Administration. All of these programs have been delivering curriculum in an online modality for quite some time. In fact, the UND MBA Program has been delivering content online for approximately 15 years! As such, Nistler graduate faculty are no strangers to teaching to an online audience. This provided a seamless transition for traditional campus-based students who were now primarily shifting to an online model of education during the pandemic. Aside from an expertise in online education, the Nistler College provided something else: a personal touch. As institutions competed for a greater share of the existing prospective student population, the Nistler Office of

University of North Dakota | Nistler College of Business & Public Administration

Thankfully, the Office of Graduate Programs staff in


University of North Dakota | Nistler College of Business & Public Administration


Graduate Programs leveraged this great

increased by approximately 45%. I am

facilities in multiple countries and meet

asset. Michelle Garske (Assistant Dean for

proud of the team effort to grow Nistler

students from the United States. “Through

Graduate Programs & Accreditation), Kate

graduate programs while also maintaining

my WHO travels I saw how care and

Oachs (Director of Graduate Recruitment

a high level of relational interactions with

pharmacy practices truly differed from

& MBA Coordinator), and Brian Gutierrez


country to country,” says Miller. She

(Graduate Programs Officer & Advisor) make up this small but mighty team. As a group, they assist students from their journey as prospective graduate students all the way through to becoming alumni. “We want to be their go-to person from the time they first consider our programs until they complete their graduate journey,” said Oachs. “We aim to provide a personal touch whenever possible to show students that at the Nistler College we truly care about the educational experience they receive.”

With these increased numbers came a more diversified student population at UND. Many students opting for a graduate degree in business did not have a formal undergraduate degree in this subject. One such student was Samia Miller. While institutional barriers such as cost, program delivery, or program prerequisites prevented a return to higher

dreamed of studying in the United States and was able to make that dream a reality thanks to a full scholarship. While she enjoyed her educational experiences, she knew something was missing. “I knew I needed to develop a solid understanding of business and management skills in order to make an impact and provide services to underserved communities,” says Miller.

education for many students, she saw an

Currently, Miller is employed at Hennepin

opportunity instead. Initially hesitant to

Healthcare as a senior HIT pharmacist.

pursue a graduate degree, Miller viewed

In her role, she focuses heavily on

As part of this effort, the Office of Graduate

the pandemic as the nudge she needed

budgeting and project management of

Programs team has gone to great lengths

to kick start her personal growth with

electronic health records. During the

to provide proactive communication

UND’s online MBA degree. Originally

pandemic, Miller expressed that there

measures to students. From a student’s

from Bangladesh, Miller went to school

was a big push to cut costs and save

initial inquiry, each program advisor

for pharmacy and knew she wanted

money in healthcare facilities.

will reach out to prospective individuals

to make a difference in the healthcare

to assist with any questions they may

field. Through an internship opportunity

have about the program or application

with the World Health Organization

process. In addition, once a student

(WHO), Miller was able to tour healthcare

has matriculated into a program, they’re Advisors help students navigate their

facilities so many had to cut services. As

paperwork procedures and deadlines.

a result, layoffs occurred at healthcare facilities across the country and

“As an advisor, communication is key,”

unprecedented financial decisions had to

said Gutierrez. “We reach out to students

be made.

multiple times each semester to make sure that they are aware of important degree

For Miller, these changes created an

requirements, as well as paperwork and

These efforts have resulted in an increased graduate student population for the Nistler College. “We are very proud of the tremendous growth our graduate programs have experienced in the last year,” said Garske. “In fall 2020, graduate enrollment and credit hours each

when patient visits were down,”

dollars in reimbursements to medical

coursework, and assist with formal

respective programs.”

range of patient services during a time

Virtual visits ultimately provided less

degree plans, register for appropriate

to remain on track in their

be reactive and continue to offer a full

says Miller.

assigned a personal academic advisor.

procedures they need to complete in order

“It was a challenge for facilities to really

opportunity for her to telework. This

“I knew I needed to develop a solid understanding of business and management skills in order to make an impact and provide services to underserved communities.” SAMIA MILLER MBA STUDENT

gave her the push she needed to start exploring the possibility of going back to school, as she felt she could better maintain work/home life balance. “When I started exploring going back to school, I knew I wanted a program that would ultimately give me the knowledge to make better financial decisions. Cost was obviously a big factor. In addition,


I took great consideration into how

the country. Miller says the dynamic,

pharmaceutical industry with the ultimate

schools were ranked,” says Miller. “I was

engaging courses have been a great fit

goal of making pharmaceutical drugs

initially hesitant about pursuing an online

for her.

more affordable.

“(The) professors did a really good job of

“The education I will receive from UND

UND’s online MBA Program is unique in

interacting with students and treating us

will make me more confident and skilled

that it is delivered synchronously. Online

like individuals,” says Miller. “It doesn’t

to receive a role like that,” says Miller.

courses are delivered live one evening

feel like a traditional online program. The

per week to best accommodate working

live classes have helped me make friends

professionals. This delivery method

in my classes. These are people who I

provides a wonderful opportunity for

wouldn’t have otherwise met.”

program, but UND really stood out.”

students to interact and network not only with their faculty members, but also their fellow classmates who are located across

While COVID-19 certainly provided its share of challenges in the world of higher education, it also provided opportunities for programs, such as those in Nistler

In the future, Miller hopes to transition into

College, to differentiate themselves

more of a data analyst-type role in the

and aid students in reaching both their educational and professional goals.

University of North Dakota | Nistler College of Business & Public Administration


It was senior Abby Wilfert’s own experience in her first year of college that led to the evolution of a leadership and peer mentoring organization that still remains a tool for UND NCoBPA students today. Wilfert says she always knew she wanted to pursue an area of business but wasn’t exactly sure which one. As a freshman coming from Independence, Minnesota, Wilfert started her college career as an accounting major at the UND CoBPA. Realizing the management patterns

instilled within her from the leadership positions she held in her extracurricular activities in high school, Wilfert soon decided to change her major to Business Management and Honors. “Leadership has always been easy for me; I knew management would be the best fit,” Wilfert says. “I’ve been able to apply the techniques I’ve learned to different situations that I am in; it’s a natural fit for me.” Wilfert says making a decision on a major wasn’t easy. “I didn’t know what area [to pursue] and I found out that I wasn’t alone in that,” she says. Wilfert says she and her peers from the Page Scholar

JOHN KUTCH, CEO AND NCOBPA ALUMNUS Kutch speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Trinity Health campus and medical district. Submitted Photo


Transforming the North Dakota landscape is just one of many impacts the new Trinity Health campus and medical district is making in Minot, North Dakota.

The $500-million-dollar facility will house

life-fulfilling impact on me. When someone

over $3 million. He says anticipating this

148 inpatient and intensive care beds

says UND, I am quickly reminded of my

shift “was no different from sitting in a

across 800,000 square feet. It will also

wonderful wife and children.”

finance class when a faculty member is

create an additional 500 healthcare jobs, and provide world-class training to the health administrators.

administration, Kutch always felt equipped

relating the textbook to what is happening in the world today, connecting the dots.”

to contribute to every discussion and

The past year strengthened Kutch’s ability

meeting. The lessons he learned at

to contingency plan. “Things don’t always

John Kutch is the Chief Executive

UND continue to influence his decisions

go according to plan despite the best

Officer of Trinity Health. He graduated

at Trinity Health, especially during the

efforts. You have to be able to think quickly

from the Nistler College with a major

ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The

and critically about next steps.”

in Finance in 1993, then went on to

organization’s top priority has been to

complete a dual master’s degree in Health

protect its workforce, community, and

Services Administration and Business

patient population.

Administration at Xavier University.

When Kutch joined Trinity Health 12 years ago, he brought with him a responsive, as opposed to reactionary, style of leadership.

Beyond the challenges associated with

“There is a lot of wasted time and energy

Kutch calls the new hospital “an enormous

any large-scale construction project, the

when you are reacting to a situation. We

deal not just for our healthcare system, but

past year brought unforeseen obstacles,

want to respond.”

for the community of Minot and the region

including significant price increases for raw

at large. It is paramount in terms of what it

materials due to import tariffs.

represents in the Midwest.”

According to Kutch, continuous learning is another core factor in career success.

Kutch and his team paid close attention

“You have to continue to invest in

As well as preparing him for graduate

to market conditions and chose to pre-

yourself as a professional. How can

school, UND introduced Kutch to his wife

purchase steel before tariffs were applied,

you demonstrate strategic growth and

of 21 years. “The University has left a

which ultimately saved the organization

development in your field, industry, or even

20 University of North Dakota | Nistler College of Business & Public Administration

next generation of nurses, physicians, and

Beginning a career in healthcare

University of North Dakota | Nistler College of Business & Public Administration


THE TRINITY HEALTH BOARD OF DIRECTORS Marked the start of a new chapter for healthcare in Minot, North Dakota.

in yourself?” Kutch recommends reading

A unique feature of Trinity Health is its

all senior leadership and board meetings.

books and magazines both related and

Healthcare Administration Residency, a

“There are no walls. I want them to learn

unrelated to one’s own industry.

12-month residency open to graduate

as much as possible and have a wide span

students pursuing a Master of Health

of responsibility. The greatest aspect of

Administration or Master of Business

this residency is the fact that the graduate

Administration. “The administrative

can learn about his or her strengths and

residents are introduced to every level in

weaknesses inside of the organization,

the organization,” says Kutch.

inside the field, and inside the industry. I

Out of this growth and development mindset, Trinity Health is eager to attract new talent from the University of North Dakota. The organization offers undergraduate internships in supply chain, marketing, finance, and accounting.

After rotating through each department, residents are encouraged to participate in

want to set you up for success at Trinity Health.”


The program also operates as an extended interview, after which time the candidate may be offered a full-time position at a director level or higher. Through Kutch’s proactive, inquisitive leadership, Trinity Health is on a path to elevate the future of healthcare.

“You have to continue to invest in yourself as a professional.” JOHN KUTCH

University of North Dakota | Nistler College of Business & Public Administration

Submitted Photo

University of North Dakota | Nistler College of Business & Public Administration


KONNIE AND TOM MIDDLETON The Middletons pose with their dog Bentley.


UND Alumni Tom and Konnie Middleton make generous gift to name the Middleton School of Entrepreneurship & Management within the Nistler College

Tom and Konnie Middleton pride themselves on their humble beginnings in the Peace Garden State. Tom, a ’72 grad of the UND Nistler College of Business & Public Administration (NCoBPA), grew up in a small town with a population of approximately 100 people called Bowesmont, N.D., just north of Grand Forks about 50-60 miles. “If you search Bowesmont on Google it says it’s a ghost

class from kindergarten through eighth

“Konnie and I have both said our

grade. After the Bowesmont grade school

experience at the University was

shut down, Tom finished primary school in

absolutely outstanding,” says Tom. “It

Drayton, N.D.

prepared us for many of the challenges

Konnie, a ’75 grad who double-majored in Elementary Education and Early Childhood Education, says she calls moved around quite a bit within the State

After graduating with his B.A. in Business

years,” says Konnie. “We moved many times. My father, Kent, was a mechanical contractor, who later in his career Grand Forks area. My mother, Karen, was a dedicated homemaker.”

The UND connection

second-generation farmer in Joliette, N.D. His mother, Rachel, was a homemaker. In his early years, Tom resided and attended grade school in Bowesmont, N.D. Tom says his class sizes were quite small, there were a mere six students in his

as it relates to jobs due to the recession.” As a result, Tom relocated from North Dakota to Minneapolis, where he would land his first sales job in the computer/ business equipment field. “My sales territory was downtown St. Paul, and it was a real learning experience,” says Tom. “I’m right out

North Dakota in 1972. Initially interested

of college and my competitors were

in an Occupational Therapy degree,

40–50-year-old salespeople. The

Konnie graduated with a double major

experience was excellent, but it was

in Elementary Education and Early

obvious that to be successful one needed

Childhood Education. She also became a

to be in a recession-proof business, and

member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority house,

that’s what led me to healthcare.”

positive college experiences.

Tom’s father, also named Tom, was a

pretty quiet in North Dakota at that time

Konnie got her start at the University of

a decision she says broadened her

Dakota in 1997, the town ceased to exist.

Administration in 1972, Tom says, “It was

Little did Konnie know, her major wouldn’t be the only thing that changed in 1972, so would her relationship status. Homecoming weekend, Konnie met her husband Tom, a UND and Phi Delta Theta alumni, at a fraternity party. After graduating in just three years, Tom and Konnie were ready to face the working-world, hand in hand.

From then on, Tom and Konnie were on the move, both residentially and within their careers. Tom’s opportunity in the pharmaceutical industry started off in Sioux City, I.A. Konnie’s career also took off in Sioux City where she worked as a kindergarten teacher. After a brief stay in Sioux City, Tom was promoted back to Minneapolis to manage the large teaching hospitals in the Twin Cities, as well as Mayo Clinic in Rochester, M.N.

24 University of North Dakota | Nistler College of Business & Public Administration

established his own company in the

the flood came through Minnesota-North

successes we’ve had in life.”

Life on the move

“I went to five different schools in six

prairie town off of Highway 29.” When

professionally. It contributed greatly to the

Grand Forks home though her family of North Dakota while growing up.

town now,” says Tom. “It was just a small,

we have faced both personally and

University of North Dakota | Nistler College of Business & Public Administration


“I knew Tom was going to be moving

“We were very busy, and vacations were

quickly within his career,” says Konnie.

not even in our vocabulary,” says Tom.

“We always discussed both individual’s

“However, we’d go back to North Dakota

careers prior to accepting the

to see family and friends!”

next opportunity.” In 1977, the Middletons were living in Cincinnati, OH where they got married and Konnie made a career transition from education to retail, which she says quickly developed into a passion of hers.

In 1990 the Middletons gave birth to their first daughter, Nicole. “When Nicole was born, I continued working as a buyer. Due to both of our out-of-town travel schedules, we needed a live-in nanny,” says Konnie. “There

Konnie became a buyer for a large

were times both of us would be gone for

department store.

days at a time.”

“I’ve always had a love for retail. My job

Just a few months after Nicole’s birth, the

gave me the opportunity to travel to New

Middletons moved back to Philadelphia

York City, Los Angeles, and internationally

where they would reside for a number

to Hong Kong and Seoul, Korea,”

of years. On top of being a mom to a

says Konnie.

newborn, Konnie got involved in the

The next step in their careers found the Middletons in Philadelphia, P.A. In Philly,

school, church, community, and various volunteer activities.

Tom says he was exposed to a number

Five years later, the Middletons gave birth

of outstanding experiences in domestic

to their second daughter, Lindsay.

and international marketing along with new business development, licensing, and acquisitions. Meanwhile, Konnie continued her success in retail working for one of the first department stores in America, John Wanamaker.

The Middletons stayed in Philly where Tom continued to grow within J&J via various roles in sales, sales management, and marketing. In 1979, Tom went out to Phoenix for a sales award week. “It was amazing with all the flowers and weather.

Soon, it was time for the couple to make

I looked at Konnie and I said, ‘I’m going

their next move: St. Louis, M.O.

to live here one day,’” says Tom. “Literally

Konnie says the highlight of her retail career occurred while living and working in St. Louis. Through Famous Barr, a division of Macy’s, Konnie was able to

from that point forward, as I moved up in the organization, I could pick where my meetings were going to be, and I always picked Scottsdale.”

meet and work with Designer, Diane von

Life in the desert

Furstenburg. Konnie was also the first

After retiring from J&J in January of 2010,

buyer to re-launch the wrap dress. During Diane’s trip to St. Louis, she indicated the fashion show and social event launch were a huge success.

the Middletons made a move to Fountain Hills, A.Z. where they currently reside. While retired, the couple say they enjoy reconnecting with some of their

Switching focus

UND friends.

For the first 13 years of their marriage,

Reflecting on their professional careers,

the Middletons were laser-focused on

Konnie says, “If we had to do it over

their careers. “Work and travel for work

again, I don’t think we would do it any

consumed most of our time,” says Konnie.

differently. Tom and I both say we think the one thing that helped our marriage


University of North Dakota | Nistler College of Business & Public Administration

was that we were both doing what we wanted to do and growing.” University of North Dakota | Nistler College of Business & Public Administration


Tom says his career at J&J was a fabulous match in terms of corporate values, objectives, individual skill sets,

Giving back In 2020, the Middletons decided they wanted to give back to one of two organizations that had given them so much: The University of North Dakota

and opportunities.

NCoBPA or Mayo Clinic.

Both Tom and Konnie attribute a great

A two-time cancer survivor herself, Konnie

deal of their success to UND. “I really appreciated some of the professors and student teacher supervisors,” says Konnie. “They really believed in me; they were probably pushing me more than I was myself. Then I realized, ‘oh yeah, I can do this.’” “We both had very positive experiences in Grand Forks at the University,” says Tom. “It allowed you the opportunity to just really grow up, be away from home, be exposed to outstanding education systems and processes.”

says the Mayo Clinic saved her life. “I was given a second chance,” says Konnie. Needless to say, the two had a difficult decision to make. In the fall of 2020, the couple visited the UND campus and had lunch with President Andy Armacost, First Lady Kathy Armacost, NCoBPA Dean Amy Henley, Director of Development Jay Erickson, and DeAnna Carlson Zink with the UND Alumni Center.

“It was a fabulous visit,” says Tom. “We had the opportunity to share our vision and objectives, as well as learn about the exciting activities happening at the NCoBPA.” “I commented to UND, ‘After the day and spending time with you, my mind is made up, but like most decisions, we would discuss and make it together,’” says Konnie. The couple chose to donate $5 million to the UND School of Entrepreneurship & Management, which allowed for a $5 million federal tax deduction via the 2020 CARES Act. With six majors, two minors, and a certificate program, the Middleton School of Entrepreneurship & Management provides courses in the fundamentals of

organization and management, along with a mix of entrepreneurial skills focusing on reasoning, creativity, testing, and critical thinking valued by the most successful entrepreneurs. “When we told our girls we were giving $5 million, they were like. ‘Wow,’” says Konnie, “and instead of thinking to themselves, ‘why isn’t this money going to go to me?’ Their comments were, ‘That’s fabulous. Dad, how does that make you feel that you can do that?’ That to me, spoke volumes to who our girls are.”

An ode to North Dakota “To any UND student, I would say value the quality of the education and experience you’re able to have at UND because you are getting excellent preparation and an outstanding foundation for your careers,” says Tom. “Graduates from UND are valued in the working world. They enter the working world with the training and experiences; they can contribute right off the bat when they’re hired into the workforce. Value that and take advantage of it.”

often surprised to hear the Middletons are from the Peace Garden State, Konnie and Tom are grateful for their North Dakota roots. “We’re very proud to be from North Dakota and to have graduated from


professional development gained from

Please join us in congratulating UND Alumnus, Henry Herr who will be honored with an Honorary Doctorate from UND.

the UND educational experience. That

Herr will be recognized with this distinguished award at the

UND,” says Konnie. Tom and Konnie say UND graduates are often grounded in the values and

is, perhaps, the overwhelming reason why the Middletons chose to give back to

Spring 2022 Commencement Ceremony.

UND – so others may also have similar

This award recognizes individuals who have reached a level of

experiences and successes.

distinction in his or her field, and have outstanding service to the nation, to the state, and to the University.

University of North Dakota | Nistler College of Business & Public Administration

Though the couple says people were


University of North Dakota | Nistler College of Business & Public Administration



Just one week after graduation, Horak enlisted in the ND Air National Guard in the 119th Wing in Fargo, ND. There she was involved in a couple of activations surrounding the flood, as well as a deployment in 2006 to England with Operation Iraqi Freedom. Following her deployment, Horak enrolled for one semester at Dickinson State College before transferring to UND in the fall of 2005 to pursue a degree in Financial Management. While attending UND Horak worked at various Grand Forks bars such as O’Really’s, Gilly’s, and Level10. This is also when she met her husband, Nick Horak. During Sarah Horak’s final semester at UND in 2007, she and Nick got into the business of buying Grand Forks bars, including Brick & Barley, known as Gilly’s prior to 2013. They also purchased O’Really’s and Level10.

30 University of North Dakota | Nistler College of Business & Public Administration

Sarah Horak has been on the fast track since graduating high school in Beulah, ND, in 2004. The daughter of a coal miner and a teacher, she was taught the importance of hard work and education early on.

University of North Dakota | Nistler College of Business & Public Administration


A few years after the completion of her undergraduate degree Horak decided she would like to learn more business management skills, so she returned to UND to pursue her MBA. With her entrepreneurial experiences in her back pocket, she was soon tapped to serve as an adjunct instructor in Entrepreneurship at the Nistler College as well as the BADM 101 course online. While continuing to manage the bars with her husband, Horak found she was taking on a large portion of the financial management side of the business. As she began to look to the future, she started exploring the possibility of a career in accounting. “The bar and restaurant industry are really geared towards a young person as an owner; I know at some point I would like to move out of this industry,” says Horak. This led to Horak’s decision to pursue the Master of Accountancy program at UND. One might think, how is it possible that someone can manage three hospitality businesses, an entertainment business, have three children, AND pursue a MAcc? Horak says, “I could not do it without an awesome business partner that happens to be my husband.”

& Barley had a few weeks’ shutdown


before they were able to provide take-out.

With Horak’s innovative and collaborative

O’Really’s and Level10 experienced a

nature, she worked diligently to find new

couple months with their doors closed.

ways of revenue to keep the doors open

“Level10 had to be closed much longer with the dance floor closed and distancing

Horak partnered with many other local

measures,” says Horak.

businesses, such as Smiling Moose,

With the other two businesses temporarily down, Horak and her team decided to put


all of their energy in the food aspect of

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in

Brick & Barley.

2020, Horak was knee-deep in her MAcc degree and managing four businesses.

With the smaller scale of operations, Horak had to face the difficult situation of

“I said I am not going to let this knock me

laying off a majority of their staff. When

down,” says Horak. “You give up so much

fully staffed she employs around 90 team

to run a business for the success of the

members, some of which are career

business, and we were afraid if we were

bartenders and servers.

going to lose everything.”

“For a lot of them this is their career, so

When the businesses experienced a

these were horrible conversations to

shutdown, Sarah and her team had to

have,” says Horak.

begin to think outside of the box. Brick

and lights on.

Sadie’s Floral and Couture, and Bully Brew. Together they developed monthly subscription boxes, including summer picnic boxes, that featured unique items from each business. Brick & Barley also launched ‘Adult Happy Meals’ that contained delicious meals, an adult beverage, a fun trinket, and a cookie. Little did Horak know, the cookies would start to generate buzz which led Horak to putting the cookies on the menu.


As the cookies continued to take-

are also now available at local Bully

Prior to Horak’s launch in the restaurant

off, Horak decided they needed their

Brew locations.

industry, she ran a dessert catering

own brand, so in November 2020 she

company doing weddings and special

rebranded them to Real Good Cookies.

events. While her husband was training as a competitive body builder, she used to make him a large stuffed Oreo cookie on his cheat day.

states. Currently Horak has shipped to

the kitchen of Brick & Barley. Just recently

42 states, with a goal to get to the last

they moved the cookie business into a

eight states.

new downtown location where they bake two days a week, making approximately

of adding the cookies onto their menu

1,000-3,000 cookies per week.

some additional revenue during these challenging times. “The cookie thing was not something I was planning to do this year,” says Horak. “The cookie business came out of left field and just began to happen organically.”

wholesale orders and shipping to all 50

Horak and her team started out working in

Horak says this is what led to her idea to try and upsell the orders to gain

As a next step, Horak is focusing in on

“Baking is my passion,” says Horak. “Ever since I was a little girl I always tried to be in the kitchen.” Horak’s Real Good Cookies are made weekly and available by pre-order only on their website. Flavors change weekly with fun and exciting themes. Limited cookies

“I bought a map that is all gold and whenever I ship to a new state I scratch that state off,” says Horak. “I want to see how far I can ship these.” One of her marketing strategies is to post to Instagram and encourage followers to tag someone from a different state. As a result, Real Good Cookies has taken off with local and potentially future nationwide fundraisers. Horak says her oldest child comes home with fundraisers in his backpack for sports, so she thought, why not cookies? Horak contacted Kelly Elementary School and pitched the idea with their Thanksgiving. Sales took off far more than expected with the request for 3,000 cookies. As sales kept coming in Horak told her team, “I don’t want to cap it, let’s just keep making cookies.” As other schools caught wind, they started to contact her for fundraisers as well, so she decided to expand her business by adding in a cookie dough option. With the increase in cookie activity between wholesale, pre-orders, and fundraisers, Real Good Cookies will soon have a new location of its own. Currently Horak still prepares all of the dough with her team, but as the company continues to expand, she will hire a replacement for herself.

University of North Dakota | Nistler College of Business & Public Administration

PTO for a cookie sale the week before


University of North Dakota | Nistler College of Business & Public Administration


“This way I will have more time to do

With their event company the Horak’s

fundraising initiative, and is a mother of a

outreach and creative time,” says Horak.

qualified for some of the Shuttered

2-year-old, 6-year-old, and 16-year-old.

She hopes to use the next year as a

Venue Grants.

growth experience and build their out-ofstate market for shipping. Other areas of the business that have grown are cookie baskets, Valentine’s Day, and cookie package boosts. “Cookies have a feel-good factor,” says Horak.


Horak’s innovative mindset and resiliency

“Each of the grant applications that go live

is remarkable. Though almost hard to

are different, and many of them crash at

imagine how she could find enough

the beginning,” says Horak

hours in the day, Horak humbly attributes

Horak looked to Twitter to find insights on other businesses that have filled

her ability to multi-task to the wonderful people around her.

out applications and started to use that

“It is a lot about delegating. We have a

as research tool. This led her to start

great general manager who oversees

tweeting tips about the process, which

all the bars. Having these amazing

As Horak continues to expand her cookie

later grabbed attention from a New York

people around me alleviates some of the

business, she has also actively been

Times reporter who interviewed her for a

workload,” says Horak.

working to rebuild the restaurant and

recent article.

bars. “A lot of college students didn’t come back and there is not as much late-night business, as it just hasn’t rebounded,” says Horak. Luckily, the businesses have been eligible for several PPP and EDL Loan Programs to help them stay afloat. State Economic Recovery grants have helped them with new purchases such as plexiglass shields and outdoor seating. New funds have also been coming available with the Restaurant Relief Fund.

Horak says she sets a list of priorities for

“It is helpful if you can learn some of the

herself each day and focuses on different

issues ahead of time before you start

aspects of her businesses based on

applying,” says Horak.

priority level. “It’s hard to try and explain

SUPERWOMAN Amidst a global pandemic, Horak

to a six-year-old why I can’t play right now,” says Horak.

managed four businesses, experienced

“Most everything we do is a family affair;

crisis and shutdowns, as well as

I am not a one-woman show,” says

graduated in May 2021 with her Master

Horak. “Our family helps a lot, and it is so

of Accountancy from UND. She also

awesome to have that kind of support.”

completed an internship, launched a world-wide cookie business, a new


University of North Dakota | Nistler College of Business & Public Administration

University of North Dakota | Nistler College of Business & Public Administration



CONDUCTS IMPACTFUL RESEARCH DURING COVID-19 The Institute of Policy & Business Analytics soared in its inaugural year amidst a world-wide pandemic.

“It wasn’t just a, ‘did COVID effect you?’

Grand Forks Housing Authority on youth

type of survey; it generated questions that

homelessness, along with partners from

really gave policy advice,” says Dr. David

the Department of Social Work.

Flynn, Professor of Economics at the Nistler College and Research Director for the Institute of Policy & Business Analytics. “We hope the chief beneficiary of this survey is businesses doing business,” says Dr. Flynn. In developing the survey, Jensen indicated the team worked on creating something that could be impactful. Once

Dr. Jason Jensen

Professor and Executive Director, Institute of Policy & Business Analytics Political Science & Public Administration

“The Institutes focus on business, economics, and policy. During these unprecedented times (it) provided

they developed a proposal and floated it to sponsors.

umbrella we are able to receive top level support,” says Dr. Jensen. As Flynn and Jensen reflect on the Institute’s first year they both agree it was a success. “Every successful grant raises the probability of being accepted with our next proposal,” says Dr. Jensen. Dr. Jensen and Dr. Flynn will be working to develop their roster and have faculty from all areas across campus involved with various projects. “We are one of the leaders in terms of business schools

“All of the partners had input on what they

because we have economics and political

were looking for,” says Dr. Jensen. “This

science and public administration within

is a great example of the type of work we

our College,” says Dr. Jensen.

want to do at the Institute.

As they recently returned to campus,

Dr. Jensen indicated that through the

both Dr. Flynn and Dr. Jensen are excited

institute they are able to conduct

about the opportunities and increased

practically relevant research to impact

team engagement that it will provide.

everyday lives.

“We have a great start to this and will

immediate relevance and impact to the

“This type of research also links into what

want to leverage our success moving

state and region,” says Dr. Jason Jensen,

UND is trying to accomplish with the

forward,” says Dr. Jensen.

Professor of Political Science &

Grand Challenges,” says Dr. Jensen.

Public Administration and Executive Director for the Institute of Policy & Business Analytics.

Another research study was conducted by Dr. Chih Ming Tan, Professor of Economics and Associate Dean of

One of the larger projects conducted by

Research for the Nistler College. This

the Institute involved a COVID-19 survey,

study was a partnership with the UND

which was sponsored by several

Medical School and Rural Health.

different entities.

“This is a great example of collaborations

The survey focused on analyzing how

across campus,” said Dr. Jensen. “It also

the COVID-19 pandemic led to significant

demonstrates how a faculty member can

disruptions in economic activity in North

do North Dakota-specific research and

Dakota. Additionally, it noted there is

end up in top journal publications.”

substantial uncertainty regarding how the pandemic will play out in the near future, and how this uncertainty has created the need for information that would aid contingency planning by decisionmakers – businesses, policy-maker and households – as they confront the new realities.

The merging of the Social Science Research Institute, the Bureau of Governmental Affairs, and the Bureau of Economic Research, also provides increased research opportunities. Dr. Jensen was able to partner with Cordell Fontaine, Applied Research Manager in the Nistler College on a study with

Dr. David Flynn

Professor of Economics & Finance Clow Fellow

36 University of North Dakota | Nistler College of Business & Public Administration

numerous opportunities for projects with

the framework had been put together

“By having all of these entities under one

University of North Dakota | Nistler College of Business & Public Administration



UND Alumna Cathy Rydell recently retired as one of the longest tenured CEOs after serving 21 years as CEO of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN).


Seemingly overnight, the professional world experienced unprecedented shifts as the words ‘home office,’ ‘social distancing,’ and ‘Zoom’ entered the workplace vocabulary in wake of the COVID-19 global pandemic.

positions are filled through networking. Lund says, “Even if you already have a job, you should never stop networking because you don’t know where life is going to lead you. In a year or two, you may move somewhere new. If you continue to build relationships with professionals and recruiters, those moves will be organic. Students should start networking from the minute they get to campus and continue throughout their entire lives.” Networking can be a daunting subject, which is why Lund recommends reaching out to ‘front yard contacts.’ For instance, she says, “If you are looking for an opportunity in Virginia, tell your family and friends who might know someone. Start with the people who are easier to talk to and sometimes forgotten. We think networking is something far in the

Resilient and determined, students of Administration continued to engage in career-building opportunities in spite of the physical limitations. Kathy Lund, Director of the Pancratz Career Development Center, has remained hopeful. “We don’t know what we can do until we’re doing it all of a sudden. This year should teach us that we can continue to push ourselves in ways we never imagined we could.” The success of the Virtual Accounting Career & Internship Fair in September 2020 was an early example. With over 250 participants, the virtual fair had nearly the same number of employers and students attend as there had been at

really motivated to continue to make those connections.” Operating in a virtual environment is not an entirely new phenomenon. Remote interviewing has become increasingly popular over the recent decade. “Students who are taking classes online and coming to career fairs are going to have an edge,” says Lund. “They know how to communicate virtually, so the transition to the workplace is not going to be such a giant leap.” The 45% increase in Nistler College graduate student enrollment from fall 2019 to fall 2020 prompted Lund to expand the online services offered by the Pancratz Center. She says, “We want to

previous, in-person fairs.

be able to stay where students need us.”

Lund called this widespread dedication,

Two of the most important elements of

“A big testament to the fact that employers have a strong relationship with the Nistler College and that they want to see the students. It also says a lot about

career development are networking and mentorship. A recent study by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that 85% of

distance, but it can start close to home.” Lund has first-hand experience with frontyard career development. “When I look back, my ultimate mentor was always my dad. He would write to each of us kids, telling us something unique about us and how we were going to change the world.” Duane Cariveau, Lund’s father and 1971 Marketing alumnus of the Nistler College, would often tell her, “Make a decision and make it good.” Cariveau led a successful career as the owner of Cariveau Consulting Services, which assisted farmers in establishing and managing their own businesses. When Cariveau passed away, Lund was amazed by the number of people whose lives were positively impacted by him. One individual told Lund, “If I could do for you one-tenth of what your dad did for me, I would be honored.” Servant leadership was at the heart of Cariveau’s interactions, and continues to influence the way Lund approaches her

38 University of North Dakota | Nistler College of Business & Public Administration

the Nistler College of Business & Public

accounting students that they were

University of North Dakota | Nistler College of Business & Public Administration


work in the Pancratz Center. She says, “I

Lund says physical location is becoming

A huge part of how we, as humans, start

think about him in everything I do for the

even less of an obstacle in light of

to build trust and respect for one another

College.” His example inspired her to find

technological advancements. In fact,

is with our eyes. We have to accept that

new ways to grow the Pancratz Mentor

the upcoming cohort will have its first

our background behind us might not be

Program, which has paired more than 200

international mentorship with one mentor

the ideal setting – it might be messy, a

students and professionals through

living in Norway.

roommate might be walking back and

formal mentorship.

This year, Austin Wolf, a senior majoring

forth, a kid might be having a meltdown – but we need to be able to put that aside

“To me, a mentor is an unconditional

in Accountancy and Information Systems,

support person in your corner to help

was virtually mentored by Trenton Egan, a

problem-solve and see yourself in a

2015 Accountancy alumnus and Manager

new light. They can teach you how to

of Investor Accounting and Reporting

Both Wolf and Egan were surprised by

navigate something you have never

at NorthMarq.

the genuine, personal nature of meeting

done. Sometimes, it can feel like you are jumping off into the abyss, but a mentor gives you that parachute or helping hand to ensure you are not going to fall,” says Lund.

Wolf believes videocalls contributed to their mentoring relationship. “It does not feel like an interview, nor an online class. It feels like I am calling a friend to ask questions, talk about our lives, and to

Dr. Amy Henley, Dean of the Nistler

get great advice about scenarios and

College, is a strong proponent of the

future plans.”

Pancratz Mentor Program because it “opens the door for people to connect who most likely would not have connected otherwise.”

Egan shared similar thoughts, saying, “The building block to an authentic virtual mentoring relationship is the frequency of touchpoints through a variety of means.

and focus on what is important: Building this relationship.”

virtually. “Prior to COVID-19, coffee shops, libraries, and other public places were the likely places to meet. Now, with FaceTime or Zoom calls, it feels like you are inviting this person into your home,” says Eagan. Through all of these relationship-building practices, Wolf says Egan has become not only a mentor for him in the business world, but also “A friend and another resource when it comes to similar

“The biggest thing a student or any individual needs is a champion,” says Dean Henley. “Sometimes, that champion can come from friends or family, sometimes it can come from a mentor informally who you have worked for and admire. I don’t think we can overvalue the importance of champions. Many of the opportunities in my career would not have happened without a champion. Students should be proud because that type of advocacy is earned.” Like Lund, Dean Henley’s father was also a mentor to her and would often say, “If you have someone who believes in you, you can do anything.” The Pancratz Mentor Program is organized into cohorts, during which mentors and mentees regularly meet throughout the academic year. The Pancratz Center provides intentional, strategic support for mentors and mentees by discussing CliftonStrengths assessments and setting SMART goals. While remote mentorship was already in place prior to the COVID-19 pandemic,

Kathy Lund an d Father, Duan e Cariveau

interests not limited to accounting. We always talk about our personal lives, things we like to do, and funny stories from the past. He has built up my confidence and showed me my potential as a student about to enter the workforce.” Lund especially enjoys seeing mentoring relationships that live beyond the formal structure of the Pancratz Mentor Program. One of her first pairings in 2012 was Doug Podolak, a leader in the aviation industry, and Hannah Dohmeier, who is now a Global Commercial Manager at Zalaris. Nearly a decade later, Dohmeier says, Podolak is “Still in my life giving me

Father Daughter Dancing

guidance. He is like family to me.” Lund says, “To see that their relationship is still going strong and both of them don’t ever envision not being part of the other’s life, that’s wonderful.” The Pancratz Center will begin selecting


mentors for the 2022-2023 academic year in spring 2022. Preferably, mentors College students should have a front

preparation meets opportunity. “You have

in their profession. More importantly,

door,” and alumni often make that

to have done the work to be ready and

however, Lund looks for individuals

possible. Lund requests professionals

then you have to find the opportunity.”

who care deeply about Nistler College

reach out to her directly about recruiting.

students and who are excited to answer their questions and give them feedback.

Effective networking and mentoring

As Dean Henley notes, mentoring

relationships call for active listening and

does not have to take place in a formal

gratitude, whether virtual or in-person.

A mutual fit is equally essential. “I want

program. For her, “Informal mentoring has

“If someone says they’re getting married

the mentors to benefit from it and have

been just as significant. I often observe

in a few months, make sure to send a

a positive experience. Mentors can

the people I admire and the way they

congratulations message,” Lund explains.

learn a lot about themselves and their

carry themselves in their careers. You

“You have to be fully present and

own leadership by walking through the

never know what is impressing others;

listening. The follow-up thank you note is

beginning steps. Some people don’t feel

you never know what they’re paying

important, too. That person took some of

like they are worthy of being a mentor.

attention to.”

his or her time to give specifically to you

Usually, the ones who say that are amazing. It’s really beneficial for them in their careers to build that bridge back to where they started,” says Lund.

Career building in any form requires a

and that’s a gift.”

particular mindset, according to Lund.

Between networking, career fairs, and

“You have to remember that this is a

formal and informal mentorship, there is

two-way street. You’re there to contribute

no shortage of opportunities for Nistler

Mentoring relationships can also be the

something, you’re not only there to get

College students and alumni to build

start of successful recruiting relationships

something. Instead, it is about building

mutually beneficial relationships in a

between the Nistler College and the

an authentic relationship and wanting to

remote environment.

organizations where alumni work. “That

learn from another person.”

is the power of the alumni,” says Lund. “They often tell me that UND students should be at the recruiting table. Nistler

Dean Henley encourages networkers to remember that luck happens when

“They will all be going on simultaneously,” says Lund. “That is the beauty of it.”

University of North Dakota | Nistler College of Business & Public Administration

will have at least one year of experience


University of North Dakota | Nistler College of Business & Public Administration


As of August 2020 construction on the new Nistler College building is officially underway. This process has been one we are very excited to share with you. These fast facts are some interesting bits about the building process. The building has an anticipated occupancy date of May 2022! The building is made up of approximately 838 tons of steel which is equivalent to 378 Regular Cab 2021 Ford F150 platinum pickup trucks.

838 tons of steel

The tallest point on the building is on the clerestory tower. From floor on first level to the top of cast stone cap on the tower

35,000 linear feet of exterior metal framing –

columns, total height is about 86 feet and

that is 6.6 miles of metal studs and track.

7 inches.



ft of framing

Inches Tall



workers on-site


On an average day there will be 80 workers

It will take about 123,924 bricks to

on-site. During peak building there was up

construct the Nistler College of Business &

to 140 workers on-site.

Public Administration. If the bricks were laid


The UND Nistler College of Business & Public Administration has over 10,000 sq yds of carpet. That's over 5 ice sheets at the Ralph.

out in a row, it would be over 24 miles long.


One professor can touch the lives of many through the opportunities he or she creates. Increasing support for our endowed faculty will allow us to: • Attract and retain outstanding teaching and research faculty • Draw top-notch students who want to work with leading scholars • Secure research grants and private support • Expand the University’s profile and participation across networks



• Foster media attention and bring in national conferences


Faculty Fellowship in Economics & Finance

To make a gift towards this important initiative please visit the UND Alumni Association & Foundation Guide to Giving at https://undalumni.org/guide-to-giving or contact one of our Development Officers below.

What impact does this position have on your role in the College?

Kim Woods, ’82

One of them is of course recognition and motivation,

Senior Director of Development for NCoBPA

Current title/position and endowed position Prodosh Simlai, PhD Department Chair, Professor, Economics & Finance

because being named to an endowed position is an honor for faculty. Second, it provides help for scholarly engagement in professional meetings and conferences that foster collaboration. Finally, the position allows me to advance my scholarly work, assist in research, and push the boundaries of the unknown.

How do endowed faculty positions impact the Nistler College Overall? I think there are two primary impacts of any endowed faculty position. First, endowed faculty positions help retain and

Associate Vice President 701.777.4106


Jay Erickson, ’01

Director of Development for NCoBPA 701.777.3693 jaye@UNDfoundation.org


support the Nistler College faculty as their careers develop. It allows the endowed faculty to integrate discovery and scholarship in new ways. Second and equally important, an endowed faculty position helps put a donor’s investment to productive work and supports the College’s core mission regarding academic excellence and scholarship.

*Faculty Achievements over the past 5 years

Gamble Hall, Room 110

Non-Profit Org. U.S. Postage PAID Permit No. 10 Grand Forks, ND

293 Centennial Drive Stop 8098 Grand Forks, ND 58202-8098 ADDRESS SERVICE REQUESTED

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