The Eller Times.
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September 2007

Welcome to The Eller Times, sharing highlights of news, events, people, and partners of the Eller College of Management.

Join the Eller College Alumni Community now: online directory, permanent UA email, class notes, and more!  


In the News.

Eller Students Challenge Skills with Impressive Internships

This summer, graduate and undergraduate students at the Eller College of Management put their classroom learning to the test with exciting internship projects in a variety of fields and locations:

David Henz.David Henz : MBA '08
David Henz spent his summer in New Mexico working at Los Alamos National Laboratory, where he took on a variety of projects. “In most cases, I worked to determine the commercialization potential and to develop commercialization strategies for various lab technologies,” he explains. “As a dual-degree student, my internship gave me the opportunity to use my technology and science background while applying the business theory I learned during my first year at Eller. Essentially, this internship was a great merger of science and business and it fits perfectly into my career goals of working on product development and the licensing of new technologies.”
Jordan Lillie.Jordan Lillie : BS Public Administration '09
Jordan Lillie spent her summer as one of four interns in the Washington, D.C. office of freshman Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.). Lillie says most of the work was researching legislation, writing, and giving tours to visiting members of District 8. “It was a great experience,” says Lillie, “especially since Gabrielle Giffords was just elected in November. It’s a whole new office, so there was a real all-hands-on-deck work environment. Everyone pitched in.” While in D.C., Lillie met Giffords’s Tucson-based communications director, who hired her for a fall internship in the Congresswoman’s local office.
Scott Marshall.Scott Marshall : BSBA Management '09
Scott Marshall spent his summer in China, working for Shenzhen SafeWay Technology Services Co. The company was contracted to work for a BP chemical plant in the city of Zhuhai. “My major duty was to teach the English-speaking safety induction course so that the workers on the job site had knowledge of the safety procedures,” Marshall says. “I got a lot out of working in a foreign environment and learning how to conduct business in a Chinese setting.”
Sasha Meschow.Sasha Meschow : BSBA Accounting '09
Sasha Meschow pent the summer in New York City working for MTV Networks on shows including VH1’s Best Week Ever, the Video Music Awards, and VH1 and MTV All Access News Specials. “I processed invoices, prepared projected cash flow reports, reconciled music and media licensing expenses, and assisted on shoots,” she explains. “I really enjoyed working for a company that is constantly adapting to fit its market, and learning how accounting functions in the entertainment industry.” Meschow is also a McCord Scholar. “The generosity of the McCord family really made this opportunity possible for me,” she says.
Alexis G. Silva : MPA '08
Alexis Silva was one of three students working in the Sahuarita, Ariz. town manager’s office. Silva took on a series of projects, including updating the town website and creating new economic development content, conducting research on a native plant ordinance, and writing an RFP for custodial services for three Town buildings. “The highlight of my internship was co-writing two proposals to annex Arizona State Trust Land,” says Silva. “If the proposals are approved, I will have contributed to adding 19 square miles to the Town of Sahuarita.”
Jared Silver.Jared Silver : Pre-Business '09
Jared Silver spent the summer working for the Kane County Cougars, a minor league baseball team in Geneva, Illinois. “My major duties were to help make sure things were set up so games run smoothly,” he says. “During the games, I sold raffle tickets and scorecards, or worked in parking, the kid zone, promotions, or the scoreboard. I learned a lot about how a minor league baseball team attracts fans, and what they have to do to keep them happy and make them want to come back.”

Eller College Programs Earn Top Slots in Recent Rankings

Eller College students.

Fall business school rankings are out, and it’s good news for the Eller College of Management.

“Of course it’s rewarding when our programs are recognized for excellence,” says Eller dean Paul Portney. “But our goal doesn’t change: we must continue to attract the best faculty and students. If we do, our reputation for research, teaching, and placement will soar, and with it our national rankings.”

Undergraduate Programs

The 2008 release of the annual U.S. News and World Report survey of Best Business Programs saw Eller ranked #12 among public business schools nationwide and #21 among all U.S. business schools; five of the College’s academic specialties were recognized among the nation’s 25 best.

These Eller College of Management academic specialties received top-25 recognition:

“Our program is designed to help students achieve their personal vision of success,” says associate dean Pam Perry. “All of our specialty areas are on board with this goal and the recent rankings help show that it’s working. When our students succeed, people around the country take note.”

MBA Programs

At #43, the full-time Eller MBA is the only Arizona program to rank in Forbes magazine’s survey of the top 50 U.S. business schools. The survey considers return on investment for alumni five years out.

The Eller MBA was also recognized as #37 internationally in Mexico’s Expansión magazine’s survey of “Best Global MBAs for Mexicans” — up from #45 last year.

“I’m happy to see our quality program appropriately recognized,” said Brent Chrite, Eller MBA director. “The Eller MBA program paves the way to alumni success by providing an action-oriented educational experience aimed at meeting the individual goals of our students.”

McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship

The McGuire Center has steadily climbed in the U.S. News rankings, this year leapfrogging two spots up to #6 overall, and #2 among public business schools. The Center was also named a “best bet” in a Fortune Small Business / survey of “Best Colleges for Entrepreneurs.” View the video for more details.

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Eller Presents.

Save the Date

Southern Arizona Water Resource Panel
Thursday, September 20, 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
UA Student Union Ventana Room

The Southern Arizona Chapter of the American Society of Public Administration presents the first in a series of lunches on public administration topics. Eller College water policy expert Edella Schlager and others will lead a panel on managing water resources in Southern Arizona. Open to the public; cost of lunch is $10. RSVP to

Trademark Law Workshop: Issues and Applications
Wednesday, September 19, 8:30 - 11:30 a.m.
McClelland Hall Room 208

The Office of the General Counsel and the Business / Law Exchange, a partnership program of the Eller College of Management and the James E. Rogers College of Law, present a trademark law overview and workshop featuring Jennifer Van Kirk, Co-Chair of the Intellectual Property and Technology Practice Group at Lewis and Roca, LLP.  The overview will be followed by a panel discussion that will provide an opportunity for more in-depth discussion of the role of trademarks in business development.  Open to the business and academic communities. RSVP to Please note in the subject line: Trademark session. 

Ginny Shanks.Distinguished Speaker Series : Ginny Shanks of Harrah's Entertainment
Tuesday, September 25, 5:15 p.m.
McClelland Hall's Berger Auditorium

Ginny Shanks is Senior Vice President of Brand Management for Harrah's Entertainment, Inc., the world's largest provider of branded casino entertainment. View complete bio or learn more about the Eller College Distinguished Speaker Series.

Undergraduate Programs Professional Admissions
Saturday, September 29, 7:15 a.m. - 1:15 p.m.
McClelland Hall

The Eller College needs your help — volunteer to interview students applying to enter the professional phase of undergraduate studies.  Learn more and sign up now.

Technology & Management Awards Luncheon
Friday, October 12, registration begins at 11 a.m.
The Phoenician in Scottsdale

At this 9th annual event, The University of Arizona’s College of Engineering and Eller College of Management honor technology and business executives who have made a lasting contribution to Arizona’s economy. Presenting sponsor is Salter Labs. Learn more and register now at

UA Homecoming 2007.Eller College and UA Homecoming 2007
Friday and Saturday, November 2 and 3
McClelland Hall and on the UA Campus

Reunite with the Eller College of Management and celebrate Homecoming 2007 as the Wildcats take on the UCLA Bruins. Participate in the Eller Cup golf tournament, executive education seminars for master's and Ph.D. alumni, and more. Learn more and register now.

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Eller's Finest.

Eller Professor Sudha Ram Recognized with Prestigious 2007 IBM Faculty Award

Dr. Sudha Ram.

Dr. Sudha Ram, McClelland Professor of MIS and director of the Advanced Database Research Group, is the 2007 IBM Faculty Awardee.


This month, Sudha Ram, McClelland Professor of MIS and director of the Advanced Database Research Group, was honored as the 2007 recipient of the IBM Faculty Award.

The $20,000 award recognizes sustained achievement in research and teaching. Ram proposes to use the funds to develop a series of case studies to identify best practices in enterprise storage management.

“Many corporations struggle with data storage issues,” she explains. “The amount of data being generated in the world today is overwhelming, and it is estimated to grow at least tenfold between now and 2010. Most companies need to develop efficient processes for storage, retrieval, and management of their data.”

Once Ram identifies good case studies, the cases will be incorporated into classes to teach graduate students how to deal with data life cycles, how to minimize the cost of storage and maximize the benefits, and when and when not to archive or dispose of data. “Data is like a product,” says Ram. “It has a shelf life — or value — and that value fluctuates over time.”

It’s not the first time IBM has singled out Eller College faculty for excellence in teaching and research. Amar Gupta — the Thomas R. Brown Chair in Management — won the award in 2006; J. Leon Zhao — Honeywell Fellow and Profession of MIS — won it in 2005.

Eller Alumni and Associates Among Tucson's 2007 "40 Under 40"

Tucosn Business Edge's 40 Under 40.

Earlier this month, five Eller College alumni and Eller College Associates were honored by Tucson Business Edge magazine with “40 Under 40” awards.

The awards recognize 40 up-and-coming business and community leaders under the age of 40 — leaders the business journal believes will "take Tucson into a prosperous future."

Congratulations to:

  • Angela Jo, MBA ’99
  • Trina M. Callie, Associate Director, Eller MBA Programs
  • Daniel W. Knee, MBA ‘06
  • Linda Morales, BSBA Finance ’90
  • Cristie B. Street, MBA ’06

Read about these and other Tucson "40 Under 40" winners.

Class Notes: Updates from Eller MBAs

Katherine Kent.

Katherine Kent, MBA '06, was named the 2007 Woman in Solar Energy.


Katherine Kent (MBA ’06) was named the 2007 Woman in Solar Energy by the American Solar Energy Society. Kent is president of The Solar Store and was a member of the first class of Eller Executive MBAs.

Surya Pandruvada (MBA ’03) won the FedEx Services Five Star Award. This award is given to high-performing employees who demonstrate significant accomplishments in innovation, collaboration, efficiency, and/or profitability.

Keith Baron (MBA ’04) is a financial analyst with the Enchantment Group, a developer and operator of luxury spas and resorts. The Group’s Mii amo spa in Sedona was just named the #1 spa in the world by Travel + Leisure magazine.

Jason Kessler (MBA ’04) launched Wholemato, an organic, agave-sweetened ketchup that is diabetic-friendly and available in northeast region Whole Foods stores.

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Research Report.

Eller MIS Labs Awarded New Research Grants

Dr. Hsinchun Chen.


Dr. Hsinchun Chen, AI Lab director, above, and Dr. Judee Burgoon, CMI director.

Dr. Judee Burgoon.

The Department of Management Information Systems (MIS) — ranked among the nation's top five programs for 19 consecutive years by U.S. News and World Report — continues to attract substantial research funding.

Artificial Intelligence Lab (AI Lab)

In August, the AI Lab received $1.8 million through several multi-year grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The funding is directed toward McClelland Professor Hsinchun Chen's Dark Web project. The Dark Web is a large-scale and innovative program that uses computational web mining techniques to understand international terrorism and extremism phenomena on the Internet. Dr. Chen has received more than 30 grants (totaling $13 million) from NSF for his AI-related research.

Center for the Management of Information (CMI)

Also in August, Professor Judee Burgoon, CMI Director of Human Communication Research, and Regents Professor Jay Nunamaker received $250,000 from NSF to form the Center for Identification Technology Research (CITeR), which will explore biometrics and deception detection. Burgoon will head the new center.

In addition, the NSF granted CMI and CITeR $1.25 million for three years for the Human and Social Dynamics program on interactive deception; $823,000 from the Defense Academy for Credibility Analysis for multimodal credibility assessment in interviews; a supplemental $75,000 award from NSF; and a new $60,000 award from PricewaterhouseCoopers to conduct automated text analysis.

The CMI lab was founded in 1985 by Nunamaker. Now a world leader in research and development of collaboration processes and technologies, CMI is redefining the way people work and communicate.

MIS Department Head Sought

The Eller College is currently recruiting a new department head for its top-five MIS department. Nominations can be forwarded to search committee chair Robert Lusch via email.

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Alumni Spotlight.

Hot Off the Press — Two Eller MBAs Turn Author

Greg Papp : MBA '72
President : Cube Culture Corporation

Greg Papp.

Greg Papp, MBA '72.


Greg Papp started his career with a degree in industrial engineering from the General Motors Institute-Kettering University, but after five years in the cooperative program, he decided to go for his MBA.

“I realized that the people who were moving up the ladder had a combination of technology and management experience,” he says. So began a 30-year career in finance and engineering at Fortune 500 companies including GM, Ford, and AlliedSignal. But it’s his latest enterprise that proved to be the most fulfilling.

Papp is the president and founder of Cube Culture Corporation, a process improvement consulting firm. The idea for the firm grew out of his experience founding an internal consulting team of finance and industrial engineering personnel while he was corporate controller of Aeroquip-Vickers Corporation.

“In our day-to-day jobs, most of us would agree that we are typically behind schedule on change initiatives — or even on routine processes,” says Papp. “But the world in which we operate continues to demand more and more, faster and faster.”

The Two-Minute Drill, by Greg Papp (and others).While working with firms using process improvement models such as Six-Sigma and lean manufacturing, Papp observed that sometimes these models weren’t enough, especially when time was a critical factor and a major win was needed. Through their work with clients and interviews of over 1000 managers, he and two colleagues identified a mindset to get that extra push, and wrote about it in their book, The Two Minute Drill: Lessons for Rapid Organizational Improvement from America's Greatest Game.

“In our research, we found that successful change and improvement has many characteristics of an effective football two-minute drill,” Papp says. “The Two-Minute Drill creates rapid organizational change using the same fundamentals of ‘rapid scoring’ from football. It illustrates ten fundamental skills and eight principles that a leader/quarterback must develop and employ to lead the team and score quickly.”

“Essentially, it helps organizational leaders implement any type of change faster and with greater effect,” he says. “In a high-velocity world, you need a high-velocity mindset to gain and retain a competitive edge and win in whatever endeavor you pursue.”

Brian Wruk : MBA '92
Founder : Transition Financial Advisors Group

Brian Wruk.


Brian Wruk, MBA '92.


Last year, 10,000 Americans relocated to Canada and 23,000 Canadians moved south to the U.S.  

Back in 1996, Brian Wruk found himself one of those Canadians making the move permanently to the U.S. after years of bouncing back and forth.  

Born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta, he earned an undergraduate degree in business and started work with Canadian telecommunications firm Telus. After four years in product management, service development, and strategic planning, Wruk was ready for new challenges — and his MBA.  

Telus was willing to sponsor his education, so Wruk began exploring graduate programs. “I was always fascinated with the U.S.,” he says, “and the UA offered a great graduate business program and the bonus of a warm climate.”  

He moved to Arizona in 1990 to start his MBA, but Wruk continued with Telus during the summer. “I was living the snowbird lifestyle,” he says, “and I found that the MBA was so much more relevant with four years of job experience.”  
While in the MBA program, Wruk met his future wife, Kathy. They married and moved to Calgary after he graduated. By this time, Wruk had accrued some experience dealing with the tax and financial implications of being a Canadian student in the U.S., plus he saw the other side of the equation as Kathy became an American in Canada.

The Canadian in America, by Brian Wruk.In 1996, the couple relocated to Phoenix, and Wruk decided to change careers and go into personal finance planning. With the challenges of cross-border living still fresh, it was only a matter of time before he settled on a specialty: helping Canadian citizens relocate to the U.S. and Americans moving to Canada.

In 2001, he opened his own firm, Transition Financial Advisors Group. Shortly after starting the firm, Wruk realized there was a shortage of information in this area so he decided to write the first of three books on the subject. "The Canadian in America: Real-Life Tax and Financial Insights into Moving and Living in the U.S. takes my own personal experiences making the transition between Canada and the U.S. and couples it with my years of expertise helping others address a broad range of issues that Canadians need to consider when they decide to move to the U.S.," he says.

Two more books are forthcoming: The Canadian Snowbird in America is due out this month and The American in Canada will be out next year. All three books and information on his firm are available through his website:

Wruk and his wife have two daughters, Corrine and Emily, both of whom are dual Canada-U.S. citizens.


In the News.
Eller Presents.
  Eller's Finest.  
Research Report.
  Alumni Spotlight.  





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View.  View all videos and presentations.


Now there's an accelerated MBA option for professionals with 3+ years on the job who don't want to sacrifice time away from the office.

The 18-month Eller Evening MBA begins in Phoenix in January 2008 and in Tucson in January 2009.



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