Welcome to The Eller Times, sharing highlights of news, events, people, and partners of the Eller College of Management (and a desert monsoon photo, too).
On May 15, 22 executives — from as far away as the United Kingdom — gathered at the Eller College for a week-long experiential course on leadership and negotiation strategies led by professor of management and organizations Russell Cropanzano and associate professor of management and organizations Barry Goldman.
“The course was effectively delivered,” says attendee Phillip Lamb, vice president of standard products for Astec Power. “Our interest was maintained throughout and the interactive approach taken by the course leaders kept us all on our toes for the full four days.”
The course — part of an array of executive learning opportunities including custom and degree programs such as the Executive MBA — was designed to train leaders to find solutions for building and managing effective work teams and improve their ability to negotiate effectively.
“The interaction with my civilian counterparts was most interesting,” says 355th Wing Lieutenant Colonel Neal Robinson of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. “I gained a greater appreciation for the challenges they face in the corporate world.”
He also notes that the leadership segment was most useful for his career. “It enhanced the leadership training we receive through our professional military education,” he says. “Some parts of the leadership block gave me a few new tools for my ‘tool kit’ that will better help me lead the world's greatest Airmen.”
The Eller College is hopping — quite literally — with elementary schoolchildren participating in summer learning programs including TechDivas, DigiDudes, and BizKids.
Eller’s top-ranked Department of Management Information Systems (MIS) developed these programs to reach out to the community and create learning opportunities in technology for youth.
For the TechDivas and DigiDudes, the week-long sessions provide an introduction to computer basics, blogging, research, and presentations. Students select study topics, conduct research, and create PowerPoint presentations to present to their parents.
The activities also include programming robotic Lego® cars, geocaching (an outdoor treasure hunt using a global positioning system receiver), digital photography, and more.
Each student leaves the class with a personal website and blog, which they maintain during the camp week.
One DigiDude — using the alias DigiDude 26 for online safety — says in his blog, “This week at camp has been great!”
“It’s been an awesome day,” says TechDiva 02. “Today is day four at TechDivas; the camp is almost done. We had so much fun — first we had a quiz against the boys and we tied. Then we built cars that actually worked!!! Then we programmed it to do tricks.”
Arizona’s booming economy is about to experience a slowdown.
At the Mid-Year Economic Update on June 7, Marshall J. Vest, Director of the Economic and Business Research Center, and Gerald J. Swanson, Thomas R. Brown Professor of Economics Education, predicted a slowdown in Arizona’s economy, despite current positive conditions.
The economy is in its fifth year of expansion, and between building inflation pressures, rising interest rates, and deceleration in the real estate market, the slowdown is long overdue. Vest says conditions suggest that the state could face a recession in 2007-2008.
Swanson reports that though the economy has remained strong in the face of natural disaster, higher interest rates, record trade deficits, and record oil prices, significant forces are in place to slow it down, including inflation, current monetary policy, protectionism, the disruption in the world’s oil supply, and the weak dollar.
In the mid-1990s, Steven Ratoff and his wife Doris — sometime snowbirds — made the permanent move to Tucson, and sought involvement with the Eller College.
“I walked into the dean’s office one day and said I’d like to help,” Ratoff explains. “I value education, the UA is an integral part of the community, and as a businessperson, I felt I could make a contribution.”
Bringing with him years of experience in the global pharmaceutical industry and current experience as a venture partner with Proquest Investments, Ratoff became engaged in the Eller community. He serves on the National Board of Advisors and has judged Eller case competitions.
He is also a founding member of Friends of the Faculty, a new initiative designed to support outstanding faculty whose research is the cornerstone of Eller’s rigorous, relevant curriculum.
“The faculty is the backbone of the educational process,” he says, “and I have not met anyone at Eller — faculty or students — who I would not put alongside the highest schools in the country.”
Giving back and getting involved through Friends of the Faculty helps the Eller College to retain the best and brightest faculty, ensuring a new generation of inspired students who reap the benefits of an unmatched business education.
“The intellectual capital of our faculty is the essence of Eller,” says Ratoff.
Dr. Stephen Gilliland, Arnold Lesk Chair in Leadership and head of Eller’s Department of Management and Organizations, has been elected a fellow in the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP).
"I am honored to receive this recognition from SIOP,” says Gilliland, “and I am particularly pleased to be joining my colleagues Barbara Gutek and Russell Cropanzano, who have preceded me in this recognition. Having three SIOP Fellows in the Department of Management and Organizations is a testament to the strength of our department."
Gilliland was one of eight SIOP members recognized with the society’s highest honor at its annual conference in Dallas, Texas, on May 5. The 6,300-member society was founded in 1982 and members apply psychology to understand and measure human behavior in the workplace.
“SIOP Fellows have distinguished themselves by their outstanding contributions to the field,” said society president Dr. Leaetta Hough. “It is a significant honor granted only to a small percentage of industrial-organizational psychologists.”
Gilliland is an expert in fairness of management practices and policies, especially related to hiring issues. He has been at Eller since 1995, and teaches courses in human resource management, business strategy, and social entrepreneurship.
On June 23, the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI) presented Barbara Gutek, Eller Professor of Women and Leadership, with a Distinguished Service Award. SPSSI is a nongovernmental organization and member of the United Nations based out of Washington, D.C.
In its official citation of the award, SPSSI stated, “Barbara Gutek has had a distinguished career at the crossroads of social psychology and the world of business. She has encouraged us all to think about the social issues unique to the private sector and the increasingly global economy. In her own words: ‘SPSSI was the first professional organization I joined and it is the one that has brought me the most satisfaction.’ It has been her intellectual home for over 30 years and we pay tribute to her continuous involvement through the Distinguished Service to SPSSI Award."
Gutek, a past president and secretary-treasurer of the organization, is noted for her expertise in the areas of work and home life and sexual harassment. She is often called as an expert witness and is a frequent contributor to publications including SPSSI’s Journal of Social Issues.
Gutek is currently working on a chapter about the experience of testifying as an expert witness for a forthcoming book. “There is a significant increase in the use of university professors as expert witnesses,” she says. "With the exception of economists, social scientists rarely hold positions that allow them to have an opportunity to influence social policy, but now they may be able to affect policy through their expert testimony."
Since U.S. policy decisions are based on economic concerns, she continues, the courtroom has become a proving ground to test how well the social science research holds up in the face of actual workplace circumstances.
“It’s nice to get recognition for my work,” she says, “and the work has been useful in different ways in the classroom.” It also keeps her grounded in relevant applications of the coursework she teaches.
“If the work is not useful,” she says, “we’re just rocking the boat.”
Students from Eller’s School of Public Administration and Policy and the UA's James E. Rogers College of Law are researching a trio of critical legal and policy issues as part of the Law, Criminal Justice, and Security Program’s Summer Fellows Program, co-directed by Jack Chin and Roger Hartley.
The research projects will culminate in co-authored reports presented to policy makers for potential law changes, ensuring the students a practical, relevant work experience grounded in cross-sector collaboration. Past projects have gone on to be published.
Joint master of public administration (MPA) and law students Nicolette Kneup and Michael Valenzuela are working with JD candidate Amanda Ortiz to assess the validity of the three-tier system of alcohol distribution, currently in use by 32 of 50 states. The model was developed post-Prohibition to curtail organized crime and prevent a legal monopoly. It mandates a distribution chain of supplier to the three tiers of wholesaler to retailer to consumer.
Recent cases have muddied the waters: the Washington Federal District Court recently heard Costco Wholesale Corporation vs. Hoen, in which Costco appeared to violate the three-tier system since it is both a wholesaler and a retailer. The judge ruled in favor of Costco, noting that in this case, the three-tier system is in violation of the commerce clause.
The three-tier system has also posed significant challenges for small, privately owned vineyards. Unable to broker distribution deals through wholesalers, many of these wineries have turned to direct shipping online, a practice with troubling legal ramifications.
“There’s so much I’ve learned,” says Ortiz, “and it seems like a huge cobweb. These laws affect all kinds of people.”
Her team is currently preparing to distill their research into conclusions about the validity of the three-tier framework, suggest similar goods that could benefit from the structure if it is still valid, or suggest an alternative if it is not.
Jack Wiley (MPA, ’06) is working with JD candidates Greg Gills and Suzanne Reed to investigate legislation that contains Jim Crow-era language still on the books in two states, Michigan and Massachusetts.
Both of the laws in question are anti-discrimination legislation, which Wiley notes was laudable when they were written in the 1880s. However, now the laws’ descriptive language is at best anachronistic, and at worst, offensive.
Michigan is in the process of updating the law, and Wiley and his fellow researchers are composing a letter to the Massachusetts legislature to draw their attention to the issue. Considering the volume of legislation on the books and the infrequency of revisions, Wiley says, “They may not have looked at this for 50 years.”
An earlier team of MPAs and JDs also analyzed Jim Crow laws, and the team’s report resulted in four states changing their legislation. Their report will be published this fall in the Michigan State Law Review.
Each of the current projects has its share of complexities, but the Jim Crow language and the third project — an investigation of speed limit laws by MPA candidate Sarah Bush and JD candidates Alison Christianson and Fred Urbina — are less tangled than the research into the three-tier system. Research fellows from other projects may join that team as their projects wrap up.
For JD candidate Ortiz, the opportunity to work with MPA students has piqued her interest in their area of study. “It puts the puzzle together for me,” she says. “We study cases, we don’t study how and why the legislature writes a law.”
For Wiley, the project offered an opportunity to perform in-depth research. “This type of research is usually more of a Ph.D. thing,” he says. “The pace of any master's program is so fast that there’s seldom time for this type of study.”
Building a Strong Profile
Back in the day, Eller alumnus Sean Hearne thought he might work in sports adventure marketing — perhaps leading helicopter ski trips to Alaska — but after owning his own publishing company and earning his MBA, he mapped a different path to success at Charles Schwab and Co.
For the past three years, he has managed the company’s Quarterly Portfolio Profile™, a product that was unfunded and outdated when he took it on. Initially, Hearne planned to retire the program, but it was deemed too important. So he sought funding to sustain it and grew the program from 130,000 subscribers quarterly to just under 1 million annually.
“It’s an excellent tool for monitoring a portfolio of assets at Schwab,” he says, and it is the only product the company is currently featuring in its national ad campaign.
Though the leap from sports adventure marketing to successful financial product development seems vast, Hearne had long been interested in finance. “I just never really saw myself working in a finance department.”
At Eller, he explored that interest in finance and portfolio management as an area of concentration in his second year. “I was part of Don Seeley’s pilot class in which we managed a half-million-dollar portfolio that was part of The University of Arizona Foundation's endowment,” he says.
That portfolio — still managed by students in Finance 423 and 523 classes — has outperformed its benchmark every year since its inception.
In 2000, Hearne did a summer internship with Charles Schwab and Co., and the firm recruited him after graduation for its fast-track management associate program.
“The idea is that we come in as top-profile and high-potential MBAs, get exposure through a series of two-to-three month rotations in different parts of the company, and then self-select where we want to work,” Hearne explains. “I ended up choosing a good mix of finance, project and product development, and strategy.”
He says the company appreciated the quality of the education at Eller, the focus on diversity, and the emphasis on ethics. Of the latter, Hearne says, “I remember talking about it in all my classes.”
Hearne and his wife Amy — who earned her master of public health at the UA — live in Denver, Colorado, with their two sons.
BSBA Accounting '84
For alums Lisa Riley and Fernando Camino, six years of working together at Wells Fargo is a drop in the bucket.
“We go way back,” says Camino. The pair originally met at Palo Verde High School in Tucson, then each went on to earn an accounting degree at the UA.
“Because I grew up in Tucson, it was a given that I would go to the University,” says Riley. She interviewed on campus and was one of seven graduates hired into a trainee program at a bank that would eventually be absorbed into Wells Fargo.
“We spent time in all different areas of banking, and I ended up in learning and development and HR,” she says. “Then I moved from a support role to a line role and became a district manager. Now I manage community banking in 80 locations for half of the metro Phoenix area.”
“She went into banking right away, but I went to the investment side,” says Camino. He started with Principal Financial Group, eventually becoming national director in the company’s Des Moines headquarters.
“Growing up in Tucson, I never thought I’d end up in Des Moines,” he says. Though he enjoyed living in Iowa, he was traveling a lot for work. When he and his wife were starting a family, he began looking at positions with less travel, and in Arizona to be closer to family. Riley spotted his resume and the pair reconnected. “She told me the pros and cons locally,” Camino says. “She was a good compass for me.”
Now Camino and Riley work together to strategize and deliver solutions to metro Phoenix clients.
“It’s a huge benefit to end up being a peer with someone you went to school with,” says Camino.
“It’s like starting at step 10 with someone instead of step one,” explains Riley. “When you know someone when you’re young in high school, you understand their work ethic — you never have to wonder how they’re going to treat someone.”
Both Camino and Riley say that the unusual amount of trust in their working relationship is a key factor in developing synergy and leveraging benefits for clients to realize on the banking side and the investment side.
“Working together, we can implement things so fast,” says Camino, citing the licensed banker program, which gives clients access to personal bankers who are professionally licensed to provide investment services beyond those of the average banker.
“I’ve relied on university connections at all points in my life,” says Riley. “When you meet someone and find out they went to school at the same place you did — it doesn’t matter what year — suddenly they’re your best friend.”
For Riley and Camino — each married to a UA alum — their university and high school connection is a personal history that has forged a unique professional advantage.