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Eller College Home > News, Events, and Multimedia > Press Releases > McGuire Center awards

Press Release

Eller Press Contact

Liz Warren-Pederson
Eller College of Management

Twelve academic and business leaders recognized with McGuire Center Awards

McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship will cite individuals for contributions to entrepreneurial growth and Arizona’s economy at its annual venture showcase

TUCSON, Ariz. – April 16, 2008 – This Friday, the Eller College of Management’s McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship will recognize twelve academic and business leaders who have made significant contributions to Arizona’s economy and entrepreneurial potential. The award ceremony will be among the highlights of the year-end venture showcase and celebration.

“Since its inception in 1985, the McGuire Center has had enormous support from Arizona’s business and academic communities,” said Hoskinson. “This year’s McGuire Center Award recipients reflect the tradition of fostering innovative ideas and pathways.”

The following people will be recognized at the 4:00 p.m. awards reception in the Estes Atrium of McClelland Hall on The University of Arizona campus:

  • 2008 Entrepreneurial Fellowship: Fletcher J. McCusker, founder, chairman and CEO, Providence Service Corporation
  • 2008 Technology Transfer Fellows: The Solar Technology Research Corporation (SRC) Team – Jeffrey Baymor, CFO; Gordon Geiger, vice president of manufacturing and project manager; Robert Hall, director of technology assessment; David Lynch, CTO and co-inventor; Harald Øye, consultant and co-inventor; Terje Skotheim, founder and CEO
  • 2008 Entrepreneurial Promise Award – Rural Entrepreneurship: Jan Lesher, director of the Arizona Department of Commerce
  • 2008 Business/Law Exchange Award (inaugural award): Lawrence M. Hecker, Hecker & Muehlebach, PLLC
  • 2008 Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame
    • 2008 Inductee – Entrepreneurial Achievement Award: HJ3 Composite Technologies
      • Jim Butler, founder (McGuire Entrepreneurship ’02)
      • Jeff Hursh, founder (McGuire Entrepreneurship ’02)
      • John Nighswander, founder(McGuire Entrepreneurship Program 1999-2002)

About the 2008 Honorees

2008 Entrepreneurial Fellowship

  • Fletcher J. McCusker is the founder, chairman, and CEO of Providence Service Corporation, a social services company which was started in 1997 with a $50,000 investment. It has since grown into a billion dollar business, is publicly traded, and was recognized by Fortune magazine as one of the top-20 companies in America. McCusker is an alumnus of The University of Arizona and Arizona State University. In addition to Fortune, he has been recognized by Inc. Magazine, BusinessWeek, and Forbes, and is a member of the Eller College of Management National Board of Advisors. McCusker also serves on the Tucson community boards Artfare and St. Gregory College Preparatory School, and supports numerous community organizations including the Boys and Girls Club, the YMCA, The Muse, and the Stephen Gooter Foundation.

2008 Technology Transfer Fellowship

  • An international contingent consisting of one Norwegian scientist, a solar cell industry pioneer, two UA engineers, and two local entrepreneurs founded Solar Technology Research Corporation (STRC). Reaching across the globe David Lynch, professor of materials science and engineering at The University of Arizona, and Harald Øye, professor at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology collaborated to invent a new concept for refining silicon. They were joined by Gordon Geiger, UA emeritus professor of systems and industrial engineering, Robert Hall, a pioneer in the solar cell industry, and entrepreneurs Terje Skotheim, chairman of Intex, and Jeff Baymor to develop and commercialize the new refining process. The patented process is a giant step toward reducing the cost of solar energy to the end user. Solon America has partnered with STRC to advance the technology. It is supported in the effort by the Science Foundation of Arizona and The University of Arizona. The combination makes it a true success story for the technology transfer process.

2008 Entrepreneurial Promise Award – Rural Entrepreneurship

  • Tucson native Jan Lesher is a former director of Governor Janet Napolitano’s Southern Arizona Office. During her four years as director, Lesher was the liaison between the Governor’s office and communities in Pinal, Pima, Cochise, Santa Cruz, and Yuma counties, working with other government agencies to address problems and work on solutions in these rural areas. She helped forge relationships between state government and rural Arizona, addressing complex issues such as water and infrastructure development. She has served as a key member of the Governor’s Growth Cabinet, which is laying the groundwork for current and future growth needs including economic development, and planning for schools and essential services.

2008 Business/Law Exchange Award – In its inaugural year, this award was created to award excellence at the intersection of entrepreneurship and law by celebrating those who bring attention to the vital connection and its role in the knowledge economy.

  • Lawrence M. Hecker is not only a principle of Hecker & Muehlebach, PLLC, a law practice focusing primarily in the areas of corporate law and securities regulation, he was a key advisor in the formation of a joint McGuire Center and James E. Rogers College of Law course that would work at the intersection of the these disciplines advancing learning for both populations. Hecker went on to design and teach the course which has now been extended to a full academic year and seen the enrollment capacity increased. In addition, the Mock Law Firm course has now established the Business/Law Exchange an initiative encompassing research, teaching, and outreach at the nexus of entrepreneurship and law.

2008 Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame
Entrepreneurial Achievement Award

    • HJ3 Composite Technologies was founded by University of Arizona alumni Jim Butler, Jeff Hursh, and John Nighswander. The three founders launched the company through their affiliation with the UA and the McGuire Entrepreneurship Program. Butler as an MBA and Hursh as a JD/MBA met and partnered while in the McGuire Program. At the time, Nighswander was associate director of the education program. Through their UA connection all three saw an opportunity for carbon fiber technology to be used for structural reinforcement in the buildings. The company was launched immediately after the three left UA, and it has hired numerous UA entrepreneurship graduates since then. As a technology transfer from The University of Arizona, HJ3 receives full access to the UA’s composite lab enabling it to continue to perform new product testing. The company has recently received approval by the Mine Safety Health Administration for BlastSeal™, a carbon fiber blast reinforcement system that protects coal miners from methane explosions.

The Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona is internationally recognized for pioneering research, innovative curriculum, distinguished faculty, excellence in management information systems, entrepreneurship, and social responsibility. U.S. News & World Report ranks the Eller undergraduate program No. 11 among public business schools and two of its programs are among the top 20 — Entrepreneurship and MIS. U.S. News & World Report ranks the Eller MBA Full-Time program No. 48 in the U.S. In addition to a Full-Time MBA program, the Eller College offers the No. 25-ranked Evening MBA program, the Eller Executive MBA and the Online MBA. The Eller College of Management supports more than 5,800 undergraduate and 800 graduate students on the UA campus in beautiful Tucson, Arizona, and on its satellite campus in downtown Phoenix.

Press Contact:
Liz Warren-Pederson, Eller College of Management

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