CoB Alumnus and Entrepreneur Lou Parrague Featured in the San Francisco Business Journal
Lou Parrague (’79) was recently featured in the San Francisco Business Journal. Lou, who holds a degree in marketing and management from the College of Business, is the president of Capture Technologies, a company that provides video and software security solutions for municipalities, police departments, financial and legal services companies, and hospitals.
In the article, Parrague says the biggest challenge for his business is “perfecting the variable cost model, so as to profitably ride out the ebbs and flows of business.”
Headquartered in Oakland, Calif., Capture Technologies made $8 million in revenue in 2011. Parrague has been president of the company since 2002.
Read more of Parrague’s entrepreneur profile here.
Visit Capture Technologies’ website at http://capturetechnologiesinc.com/.
CoB Alumnus and Small Business Owner Bill Butcher Speaks at Democratic National Convention
Bill Butcher, owner of Port City Brewery in Alexandria, Va., recently spoke at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Bill graduated with a degree in economics from the College of Business. He spent years working in both the restaurant and wine businesses before turning his focus to craft beer and opening Port City Brewing. At the DNC, Bill spoke about how under President Obama, he was able to start his first business.
“Small business really is the backbone of the economy,” Bill said. “I don’t have time to pay much attention to politics because I’m too busy running my business. I think a lot of small business owners feel the same way. We don’t care about the daily back and forth of campaigns—we just want leaders in Washington who believe in us and make it a little easier for us to succeed.”
Don Rainy and John Rothenberger Take Part in Jefferson Innovation Forum
Today’s economic challenges call for renewed attention to innovation and entrepreneurship to spur economic growth, create jobs, and ensure global competitiveness. Given the urgent need for civil discourse and healthy debate about these issues, the Jefferson Innovation Forum promotes broad and impactful exchange among our nation’s leaders. JMU Board of Visitors member Don Rainey and JMU entrepreneur-in-residence John Rothenberger will both take part in the Forum.
On September 7, 2012, the Jefferson Innovation Summit for the Commonwealth, hosted by the Batten Institute in partnership with the Office of the Governor of Virginia, will convene a diverse and influential group of sixty policymakers, entrepreneurs, executives, and thought leaders to discuss how to create and sustain a society of entrepreneurs and innovators in Virginia.
Initiated by the Jefferson Innovation Summit :: 2011, the Forum incorporates action-oriented events, tailored research, and focused dialogue to move these discussions forward.
August 28, 2012
Meet EAC Member Jerry Pierce
Who knew that the 1976 state doubles tennis champ from Suffolk High School would go on to become a partner in KPMG’s federal tax practice? From SHS, Jerry went on to attend JMU, graduating in 1981 with a degree in accounting. He has been working in the area of tax accounting for 31 years.
He was drawn to accounting after noticing the reputation and stature of CPAs in his local community, Suffolk, Va. He selected JMU because he wanted to round out his family’s experiences with Virginia colleges and universities. He says, “I had a brother and sister who attended Virginia schools for undergraduate and graduate education – they went to William & Mary, Longwood University, the University of Virginia, and Old Dominion University. So, with some help from my guidance counselor, I decided on JMU.”
He found his college years to be very rewarding. “I lived on campus all four years, and worked as both a resident advisor and a head resident. This made my college experience even more colorful and memorable,” he remembers. He spent time in White, Weaver, and Gifford dorms. He was a member of the first full class of the newly christened James Madison University, which earned university status in 1977.
Jerry notes that he was fortunate to have a job offer with Arthur Andersen during the fall of his senior year; he started with the company in June of 1981 and worked in downtown DC. He spent the first five years learning audit, tax, and micro computer consulting and finally decided that tax was his future. He switched into tax accounting, and has been in that arena with KPMG for the past 25 years.
Jerry has remained engaged with the university and the College of Business throughout his professional career. He has been a member of recruiting teams visiting campus, looking for the best and brightest graduates. He has mentored students, and taught in the classroom.
He says, “I love working with the students; it keeps me young.” He enjoys teaching technical topics, as well as soft skills such as resume writing and effective interviewing skills. He also enjoys sharing his knowledge about the accounting industry with the students, educating them on the numerous career paths available. He also facilitates opportunities for students to meet with KPMG professionals to learn more about the industry.
He continues to work with Accounting Department Head Dr. Paul Copley on assessing the needs of the university and the School of Accounting, focusing on students, faculty, curriculum, scholarships, and funding new initiatives.
Jerry hopes to see “continued growth of the College of Business with a continued increase in the quality of the students. I want to see the EAC and KPMG continue to participate with the college to help make it even more successful. I want to hire graduates and have them move to the top of their firms. This will bode well for the university.”
He and his wife Lisa, a proud Hokie, have two children, 15-year-old Katie and 10-year-old Drew. The Pierces live in Oak Hill, Va., where they are heavily involved in sporting activities with both children. Son Drew is focusing on golf and baseball, while daughter Katie manages the Oakton Swim and Dive teams (2012 State champions) and is a coxswain on the Oakton High School Crew team.
As Jerry recruits on campus he is looking for students with high aptitude, good attitudes and who are highly motivated. Jerry shares one piece of advice with business students: “Communicate, communicate, communicate. The number one reason for success or failure is communication. Having good communications skills, both oral and written, will take you a long way in having the successful career you desire.”
Governor McDonnell Appoints Mike Thomas, Mike Battle to JMU Board of Visitors
Congratulations to CoB Executive Advisory Council Chair Mike Thomas and former EAC member Mike Battle who were named to the JMU Board of Visitors. These new appointees will each serve four-year terms on the Board of Visitors.
CoB Interim Dean Dr. Bud Clarke says, “We are delighted to learn of the appointment of Mike Thomas and Mike Battle to the Board of Visitors. Both have been outstanding contributors to the CoB Executive Advisory Council. These gentlemen will add a great deal of knowledge and experience to the board. We certainly wish them well in this endeavor."
July 5, 2012
Meet EAC Member Tom Carr
CoB Executive Advisory Committee (EAC) Member Tom Carr is a 1985 CoB graduate, with a degree in marketing. He’s been on the EAC since 2004. He grew up in Virginia Beach, and attended Bayside High School.
When it was time to select a college, Tom was heavily influenced by JMU Wrestling Coach Besnier, who recruited him for the wrestling team. Prior to this, Tom never really thought about JMU as a possibility. He wrestled freshman year, then had to hustle to support himself and pay for college, when his mother moved back to her native Panama.
When asked why he selected marketing as a major, he says, “I chose marketing because it appeared to provide me a background that leveraged my personal strengths. Most of my career has been built upon the marketing and sales foundation which began at James Madison University. My summer employment while in college, combined with the business structure provided by the JMU College of Business, allowed me to start my career with an optimal background.”
He had a very entrepreneurial approach to making money while in school. He says, “As a sophomore, I became a resident advisor working under Mark Warner and Lin Rose, which was a great experience. I was a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, and my next role involved being a Greek Coordinator during my last two years, which allowed me to financially complete my degree. Working with Donna Harper and others during this time to manage the Greek system at JMU was an invaluable part of my college years. My classes in the College of Business were challenging; however, these experiences provided me a solid business foundation.”
His favorite professor was Dr. C.B. Dix, who taught a Personal Selling Marketing Class. He says, “I liked him because he was a good person who enjoyed teaching this subject, which created a very positive environment. Also, during this time in my college career I knew my strengths were in the sales/marketing area as well.”
After graduation, Tom jumped right into professional life. “At 22 years of age, my first post graduate employment involved building and opening a restaurant in Farmville, Virginia. DT Bradley’s offered a college town restaurant experience with a bar vibe at night. Although I only spent a year in this area of work, a few career guiding principles were gained, which I still use today. The first for me is to make sure that I enjoy my work. Combining this thought with leveraging my personal strengths and surrounding myself with people who excel in complementary areas has served me well.”
After this initial experience, he spent the next twelve years working with sales and marketing in the medical sector with a few different equipment manufacturers. In the summer of 1998, Cisco Systems selected Tom to help launch a healthcare vertical sales team. He spent the next nine years in a variety of roles at Cisco, including Northeast U.S. Business Development Manager for Healthcare in 2006.
Tom says, “Since then, my time has been spent building two systems integration companies that work with manufacturers such as Cisco, Microsoft, EMC, and others. From 2007 to 2009, my focus involved building a company sales force and driving revenues from $8 million to $25 million resulting in an Inc. 500 ranking of 164.
“In 2009, I became a partner at SyCom Technologies where we have experienced 100% revenue growth over the past three years while expanding from 90 to 130 employees. The culture at SyCom is key to our success, which is derived from hiring talented people who believe in a team concept.”
He faced varied challenges along the way. He remembers, “My most challenging experience professionally occurred a few years ago when I assisted in building a very successful company with national accolades. We had outstanding employees but the culture and guidance at the top of our organization wasn’t one I could believe in. It was very tough for me to walk away at that time but my core beliefs have always involved a love for my work and trusting those around me. As a top executive, I walked away because the company just didn’t feel right to me. Twenty months later that company went out of business.”
Reconnecting with JMU
Tom didn’t have much contact with JMU after graduation, as he was concentrating on his career. In 1999, he read an article in Madison Magazine, noting that JMU’s endowment ranking was below Longwood, Mary Washington, and Radford. That low ranking sparked Tom into developing the JMU Technology Alumni Group (TAG) in 2000. Tom, along with fellow alumnus Kent Boerner, founded TAG, which strives to promote communication among students, alumni, and employers about opportunities in the technology sector. TAG donated wireless capabilities to JMU in 2004; JMU went from no wireless to most wired college campus in a few short years.
He says, “Since then, our group has raised more than $400,000 for the university, providing 17 scholarships and numerous equipment donations to departments within JMU. Alumni from TAG come together on campus at JMU each fall and participate in approximately 20 classes where we provide business experience presentations that are consistent with class curriculum.”
He enjoys working with students. He notes, “When you take the time away from your everyday life and spend it with a group of students who are emotionally invested in a business plan or case study, it can be very rewarding personally. In the business world we often define ourselves with boundaries; students have a different perspective, breaking down creative barriers and enjoying great results. I enjoy being a part of this process where students can use my guidance to develop viability from a business perspective.” Tom also helps mentor student teams in the Venture Creation class. His team AdArchy won first place in the most recent business plan competition.
He believes the key to success in business is putting the right people in the right places. The right people are the ones with passion and enthusiasm; the right places are the areas in which they excel. He advises people to find the intersection of their core competencies and loving what they do. With that, he says, “you can create magic in the workplace.”
He pondered a bit on the future of the JMU CoB. He believes the college needs a new building in the upcoming years. He is thankful to former CoB Dean Dr. Robert Reid for his guidance and leadership over the years, which has propelled the college of business into the number 12 business school in the U.S.
Tom and his family live in Richmond. He and his wife, Maribeth, have three children. Daughter Caroline, 20, is a rising sophomore at JMU and is studying communications. His family also includes a set of 14-year-old twins, Katie and Chris.
Tom likes fitness activities, including golfing, running, surfing, and working out in general. He also takes an annual trip to Panama to visit family and practice his rusty Spanish.
Advice for Students
He shares some words of advice for students: Today, businesses are often too lean to hire average people who provide a generalist approach. Develop unique attributes with your background and major that offer market value. Combine this with strong interpersonal skills and the ability to work in a team environment and companies will always want you in their organization.
May 14, 2012
Meet Mark Langer, CoB Graduate and Member of the Executive Advisory Council
Mark Langer, 1988 CoB graduate in accounting, is an active member of the College of Business Executive Advisory Council (EAC), which was formed in 1985 to enhance the liaison between the JMU College of Business and the business community. The council provides advice to the dean and faculty and assists the college in advancing its overall commitment to excellence. Mark has been on the EAC since 2000.
Originally from Rockville, Md., he decided to attend JMU because it “had a great reputation, and an environment that was ideal in terms of size, location, and quality of programs.” When it came time to select his major, he chose accounting because of his high school experience as an intern in a regional accounting firm.
He says, “I really enjoyed my JMU experience. I thought the faculty was approachable and accessible. I had direct access to my professors. The student body was great; I felt like part of a community. I made genuine friends with people I liked to be around.” He added that there always seemed to be a good balance at JMU between working hard and playing hard.
Upon graduation, Mark worked for KPMG in Washington, D.C. He worked in the audit area, and had significant exposure to real estate, pension funds, and transportation companies, including the airline sector. His experience there also included working on initiatives regarding training, human resources, and recruiting.
He became an audit partner in 1998. In 2000, Mark left KPMG to work as Chief Operating Officer for Johnson Capital, a small investment management company in Fairfax.
At the end of 2007, he left that position to join Equity One, relocating to Miami, Fl. Equity One is a fully integrated real estate investment trust specializing in the acquisition, asset management, development and redevelopment of quality retail properties located in strategic metropolitan areas in the coastal markets of the United States. These centers are anchored by leading supermarkets, pharmacies and retail store chains. As of March 31, 2012, the company had 164 properties comprising 16.9 million square feet and assets of $3.3 billion.
At Equity One, he started as the Chief Administrative Officer and moved into the Chief Financial Officer role in 2009. He is responsible for all accounting and finance functions and also oversees the company’s information technology and various organizational initiatives.
Connection to JMU CoB
Even after graduation and beginning his professional career, Mark wanted to remain connected to JMU and the College of Business. He says, “I reconnected for many reasons. I’ve always liked the JMU community, the students and the faculty.”
Through his role at the EAC, he learned that many faculty members wanted outside speakers to interact with their students. When he lived in Northern Virginia, he would travel to Harrisonburg to personally meet with classes. It became a bit more problematic after Mark moved to Florida, but he continues to give his time and talents to CoB students through video classroom interactions.
He says that students want to know how to apply their knowledge in practice, how to move beyond the theory and use what they’ve learned in a practical way. Mark enjoys the interaction with students; he likes to draw them out and see how they approach business problems.
He says, “I am happy to give back to the university. I’ve really enjoyed it from several fronts. What I most enjoy is seeing the way students think about business today, and interacting with them on a personal basis. I like to see how they approach capital market decisions using real world examples, and challenge their thinking as they are forced to explain their decision-making process in their own words.”
Mark noted that he does some student mentoring. In fact, the EAC has a formal mentoring program established in which members work with individual students. He is starting to work with the Center for Entrepreneurship and Interim Director Carol Hamilton and looks forward to interacting with students who want to start their own business.
Mark adds, “My hope is that the College of Business continues to fulfill its mission to prepare students to be great leaders and achieve success in their chosen fields.”
His leisure activities include fishing, boating, and traveling. He also loves to golf when he can find the time. Living in Florida does offer him more opportunities to pursue these pastimes.
His wife, Karen, is a graduate of JMU, with a degree in finance. The couple has three boys: 15-year-old twins Corey and Curtis, and 11-year-old Patrick.
When asked what advice he would give students today, Mark says,"Pursue a career that you are passionate about. I still believe the old template of working really hard, staying enthusiastic, being a positive role model and having the willingness to take calculated risks is a template that will
provide long term benefits."
JMU Alum’s “Rebound Hoof Pack” Rocks the Equestrian World
In the horse industry, new products crop up from time to time that truly make a difference. Ashley Kehoe, a 2011 management major, has developed just such a product – Rebound Hoof Pack. Rebound is a hoof packing product that is formulated to draw pain, soreness, and inflammation out of the hoof.
Ashley, a competitive horseback rider from Purcellville, Va., came up with the idea for Rebound Hoof Pack while attending JMU. In the fall of 2009, she was a student in Bill Wales’s Entrepreneurship class, and was tasked to develop a product that solves a need. Her group was initially investigating a salon product; that idea didn’t pan out. With only a month to come up with a second idea, Ashley hit upon the hoof pack product, which actually was built on the basis of the salon product that didn’t work.
She owned a horse with hoof problems; the only way to relieve the mare’s pain was to mix together a remedy of different topical medications, cover the hoof with the mixture, then wrap a diaper around the hoof. It was time-consuming, tedious, and messy. Rebound is a super sticky hoof packing that requires no diapers or duct tape. In addition to an anti-inflammatory agent, it includes Epsom salts, iodine, and other all natural ingredients that help keep the correct moisture balance within the hoof.
Rebound is more medicinal than other hoof products. It will help a horse who has pulled a shoe, stepped on a nail, or gotten sore from strong gallops on hard surfaces. It can also be used in advance of a hard ride to prevent soreness.
As a high level competitive rider, Ashley would spend winters training in Ocala, Fla., along with other top riders and Olympic hopefuls. While in Ocala and under the tutelage of Bill Wales, she worked on an independent study to learn more about how to market her product idea. She talked to vets, farriers, and Olympic equestrians, sharing product samples. She also created a logo, website, and brochures.
Karen O’Conner, member of the U.S. Olympic Eventing Team since 1988, as well as female equestrian athlete of the year ten times, was very impressed with Rebound, and is using it on her horses. She is pictured at left competing in a CIC*** event at The Fork, Norwood, N.C., in early April. She won the competition.
Fellow Olympian Will Faudree also lauds the product, “We usually go through rolls of duct tape and vet wrap to pack our horses’ feet; with Rebound it’s so much easier and the results have been more effective than anything else we’ve ever used.”
Kehoe Enterprises LLC
When she returned to JMU for the Fall 2010 semester, Ashley took Carol Hamilton’s Venture Creation course, creating a business plan and forming Kehoe Enterprises, LLC. She began to step up her marketing efforts. After she got endorsements by Olympic riders, it was easier to get Rebound into stores selling horse supplies. Today, Ashley’s product is in more than 100 stores in 20 different states. Rebound has proven very successful in the world of three-day eventing; Ashley is targeting the racing world next.
She currently has two partners working with her - her mom, Louise, and dad, Peter. Although her parents aren’t “horse people,” they are hard at work each day actually producing Rebound in house. They are both retired, and love helping their daughter achieve her dream. Since demand for the product continues to grow, Ashley is currently looking for a contract manufacturer.
The initial capital was raised through family donations, and the sale of a horse. Ashley says, “We needed very little start-up money. As soon as we made the product, it sold. We put any profit into advertising.”
Ashley says, “My experience at JMU definitely helped me with the launch of this product. I took COB 300 first. It helped me formulate all the black and white business ideas, and map out my strategy, where I wanted to be positioned in the marketplace. It was huge in figuring out the business plan and financials.” She adds, “I’m creative. I enjoyed exploring creating something that meets a need, and figuring out how to market it.”
She adds, “I was in Florida each year during the winter training season. JMU worked so well with me in transferring basic classes down to the College of Central Florida, so that I could continue my education.”
Horses – Past, Present, and Future
Ashley started riding when she was five, and horses became her passion. She hopes that Rebound will provide her enough capital to continue competing at the top levels. She says, “It costs from $30 to $35 thousand for me to compete one year at an advanced level. In addition to my regular horse, I need a backup in case my first horse develops any problems that prevent me from riding that horse.”
She has had success with her mount Mazetto. Watch this video to see Ashley and Mazetto competing in cross country jumping.
April 11, 2012
JMU Alumnus Kevin Tucker Talks about SOLitude
Kevin Tucker, a 1993 COB management graduate, began his company, SOLitude, in 1998. He visited a COB entrepreneurship class in early April to talk about how he got started.
SOLitude focuses on managing fresh water, both residential and commercial. He started the company as a sideline, but it soon grew into a regional company with 20 employees.
“I have a passion for the outdoors, especially water. That’s one reason I started this business,” says Kevin. “Overall, my experience at JMU was wonderful, and prior to having a child, I thought JMU was one of the best things that happened to me.”
He recalled that in the first few years of his business, he did everything.
“Ingenuity and hard work can help you succeed even if you don’t have much venture capital,” he says.
He advises students to think big, think about where you want to be in five years, ten years, and twenty years. He also reminded the audience that relationships are key, noting “We focus on maintaining strong relationships with our clients. We don’t compete on price; we take care of our customers.”
Kevin left the group with this thought: “If you stop innovating, I don’t think you have a chance.”
Many thanks to Alumnus Kevin Tucker for taking time out of his schedule to meet with Carol Hamilton’s Entrepreneur class.
April 11, 2012
G.J. Hart, EAC Member, Recognized in Top 25 Most Influential People in the Meetings Industry
Few CEOs have defended meetings as strongly as G.J., who earned the appreciation of the meetings industry in April 2009 when he went on NBC News to advocate the value of incentive events and conferences at a time when most organizations were cancelling meetings in the wake of the AIG Scandal.
Then the CEO of Texas Roadhouse, he made the case for the company’s five-day incentive event for its restaurant managers, stressing its business value and contribution to the satisfaction and success of the company’s front-line managers.
The straight-talking executive has since moved west, taking over as California Pizza Kitchen’s CEO last August, but his stance on the importance of meetings has not budged—nor has his strategy towards dealing with media inquiries about them. He still speaks to the consumer press about the value of meetings and has also keynoted at meetings industry trade shows and conferences.
In a landscape where few CEOs are willing to talk publicly about their meetings strategies (or are even aware that a meetings industry even exists) G.J. is rarity — and a role model for all C-suite executives.
March 21, 2012
JMU Alumnus Jack Gerblick Celebrates Entrepreneurial Success
Jack (’81) is a successful entrepreneur who, after years in corporate America, first founded Peachtree Secure Shredding 2004. This mobile shredding business deployed trucks all around Atlanta to satisfy corporate customers in need of flexible document destruction and recycling capabilities. After selling his business to Cintas, Jack was searching for another area in which to apply his extensive knowledge of route-based businesses.
Enter The Food Movement.
The Food Movement is a young company whose mission is closely intertwined with the emerging food truck culture and market place in greater Atlanta. Jack manages The Food Movement with two other experienced entrepreneurs and foodies, Greg Gordon and Paul McKeon.
The company's goals include:
March 14, 201
JMU Alumnus Enrico Gaglioti Named Global Head of Equities Sales for Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.
Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. announced today that Enrico Gaglioti ('94) has been named Global Head of Equities Sales.
He previously served as the head of Equity Sales and co-head of Equities in North America at Goldman Sachs. He serves on the firm-wide suitability committee, Securities Division Operating Committee and the Securities Division Business Practices Committee. Enrico joined Goldman Sachs in 1998 and was named managing director in 2001 and partner in 2002.
Enrico joined COB’s Executive Advisory Council in 2007 and is on the U.S. Soccer Foundation Board of Directors.
March 13, 2012
The Washington Post Features Bestselling Book by JMU Alumnus Doug Moran
Doug Moran (’87) founded If You Will Lead, LLC in 2009 to focus on leadership development, executive coaching, and infrastructure and technology strategy. Doug believes fervently that everyone has the capacity to be a leader. He is passionate about helping those who choose to lead by fostering the skills and competencies necessary to do so powerfully and effectively. Doug speaks and writes on a variety of topics related to leadership and change. Doug is the author of the bestselling book, If You Will Lead: Enduring Wisdom for 21st-Century Leaders, which The Washington Post named one of the "Best Leadership Books of 2011." His articles and interviews have appeared in a variety of national magazines, including Investor’s Business Daily, CIO Insight, Leadership Edge, Inside Business, Leadership Excellence, Training Magazine and Enterprise Leadership.
Doug has more than 25 years of hands-on leadership experience. He has led organizations of all sizes, from a complex enterprise of more than 16,000 employees to small teams of individual contributors. Before starting If You Will Lead, Doug spent ten years with Capital One Financial Services in a variety of executive roles. Most recently, he was CIO for Capital One’s Financial Services Division, providing technology leadership for domestic and international business units. Doug also oversaw the company’s Merger and Acquisition IT team.
Doug served Virginia’s Governor George Allen as Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Resources, COO of the Department of Social Services, and Director of Telecommunications. Under his leadership, Virginia revolutionized its welfare system, putting more than 50,000 unemployed citizens to work. He was recognized by both the National Association of State Telecommunications Directors and the National Public-Private Partnership Association for outstanding leadership and innovation. Doug started his career with Verizon, where he led two new product launches and patented three inventions.
Doug is a graduate of Georgetown University’s Leadership Coaching Program, and he is designated as an Associate Certified Coach by the International Coach Federation. Doug holds a Bachelor of Science degree from James Madison University. His community involvement centers on education, affordable housing, and children’s healthcare.
February 24, 2012
John Rothenberger Serves on Entrepreneur Panel
JMU Alumnus and Entrepreneur-in-Residence John Rothenberger participated in Entrepreneur Day at the Capitol on Feb. 22, 2012. He served on the “Entrepreneurial Town Hall” panel, along with several other distinguished entrepreneurs. During the event, which drew 100 entrepreneurs from around the state, Gov. Bob McDonnell signed a proclamation designating 2012 as the “Year of the Entrepreneur” in Virginia.
According to the Richmond Times Dispatch, the governor "wants to hold these entrepreneurs up as role models, especially to folks like recent college graduates who may be looking to start a business." The paper also noted that the governor's office plans to hold a business-plan competition, more roundtable events, a college "elevator pitch" competition and monthly office hours during which McDonnell will meet with entrepreneurs.
February 24, 2012
Don Rainey Named Outstanding Director by Washington Business Journal
Congratulation to Don Rainey for being recognized with an “Outstanding Director Award” by the Washington Business Journal. Don was recognized at an awards ceremony on Feb. 23 at the Four Seasons in Washington, D.C. , for his work with LivingSocial Inc., whose mission is “to add surprise to every calendar.” The awards honor board members who have helped make the companies they’ve served run better.
Don serves on the JMU Board of Visitors, and is a former member of the COB Executive Advisory Council. He is a general partner with Grotech Ventures, which helps entrepreneurs build technology companies that last. In addition to his work with LivingSocial, he also currently serves on the boards of Grotech portfolio companies Clarabridge, GramercyOne, HelloWallet, Personal, SnappCloud, and Zenoss.
Congratulations again to Don Rainey for this well deserved recognition.
Ever wish you could be rewarded for being a loyal customer at a spa or restaurant? Kevin Dubs, May ’09 JMU graduate, has developed an online service to address that very need. “LoyalCurve” is a web-based customer loyalty platform for businesses.
Kevin majored in management, with a concentration in Technology, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship. He applied for MGT 472 Venture Creation and was accepted. The project-based course encourages four-member, cross-disciplinary venture teams, anchored by JMU alums who are seasoned entrepreneurs, to test the market through research, interviews, and preliminary sales.
Kevin felt like the Venture Creation class was dramatically different from the other classes that were out there.
“Carol Hamilton helped direct our thoughts,” he says. “She put a lot of work into it. It is by far the most valuable class I took at JMU.” Carol serves as the Interim Director for the Center for Entrepreneurship.”
After graduation, he worked for a few years at the General Services Administration.
“When I worked for the government in a management consulting job, what I learned in Venture Creation class really helped me,” Kevin says. “I knew how to pitch an idea.”
While working for the federal government, he also had a chance to work with a startup to create a career services social network for government employees.
Prior to taking the Venture Creation class, he wasn’t into entrepreneurship and startups, but after taking the class, entrepreneurship became a career option for Kevin. The Venture Creation class includes students from such disciplines as science and technology, communications, music and management.
“It was a good team; it’s crucial to have a team with diverse skill sets,” he says.
The Venture Creation class culminates in a class competition for cash awards to the most viable ventures. His team took top honors with their plan to create a real-time bus tracking technology platform. Some alums wanted to invest in their venture, but the team wasn’t quite ready to launch the business.
After several years with the government, Kevin decided to take what he learned from the Venture Creation class and really apply it. In November 2011 he left the GSA and put all his energies into LoyalCurve, which is currently in the pilot phase, testing with three customer businesses. He believes that the company could scale nationally over time.
Kevin has stayed in touch with John Rothenberger over the years. John, founder and CEO of SE Solutions, advised the class. He has been the JMU Entrepreneur-in-Residence since 2007. SE Solutions is the sponsor of the class competition, which awards over $1,500 each semester. John has agreed to mentor Kevin and serve on the LoyalCurve Board of Directors.
“I want to help out more with the Venture Creation class,” he says. “It’s what started it all, what planted the seed. I can’t speak enough for Carol Hamilton. She poured her heart into this class.”
He has some words of advice for aspiring entrepreneurs:
JMU Alum Cory Suter Launches “Direct Congress”
Once an entrepreneur, always an entrepreneur. Cory Suter, ’06 COB graduate, is busy working on his latest entrepreneurial initiative: Direct Congress. Cory’s concept is simple – develop a grassroots movement in which the people of this country can create and vote on laws themselves, eliminating the need for elected congressional leaders who only partially represent the voters. Visithttp://directcongress.org for details.
Cory’s entrepreneurial bent began many years ago. He paid his way through JMU as a brick mason and retrofitted an old bus as his first apartment. He was enrolled in the first ever MGT 472 Venture Creation class in 2005. After working in Teach for America and as a retail manager for a Mennonite store, he began his own company, BioNeighbors, in Philadelphia.
“Venture Creation was the most practical class for me as an entrepreneur,” he says. “I have a lot of enthusiasm for the JMU program. I see a history of success in placing students in good jobs.”
Cory went on to say, “The Venture class gave me lots of tools that have ended up working successfully for me. I enjoyed the open format of the class; it allowed me and other students to explore ideas that we were interested in. Carol Hamilton introduced me to many resources, including business leaders in the local community, the Small Business Development Center, and other successful entrepreneurs.”
He adds, “The overall COB experience was educationally very practical. We learned how to analyze other companies, what they did well and what they didn’t do well. I never forget to think about why firm performance differs.”
After his graduation from JMU in 2006, Cory launched BioNeighbors Sustainable Homes, as a part-time enterprise. He knew that cool roofing reflects the sun’s heat, and results in a longer life for a roof. He continued to learn everything he could about green roofing, and became certified with LiveRoof, a manufacturer of modular green roofing systems. Cory went on to earn a more rigorous accreditation as a Green Roof Professional from Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, the largest industry trade group in the green roofing field.
“I’ve always been passionate about issues of sustainability,” he says. “I felt as a small business owner I was doing something real and valuable.”
He went on to work with a neighborhood development organization in West Philadelphia. The Partnership Community Development Corporation works with low-income residents. Cory trained some of the residents to improve their neighborhoods with innovative low cost green roofs. His goal was to train them well enough to pass a professional accreditation exam. After only one student out of nine passed the first year, Cory wrote a thorough PowerPoint-based curriculum and helped five out of eight students earn accreditation the following year.
Cory sold BioNeighbors last summer so he could pursue another passion – education. He is currently enrolled in the Ph.D. program in Economics at Temple University in Philadelphia. He says that good teachers create real value and build a foundation for entrepreneurship.
“I want to be a teacher,” Cory says. “Sharing knowledge and skills is one of the most noble causes to which people can commit their lives.”
As a full-time student, Cory is enjoying a little more free time. Over Christmas break, he began working seriously on the idea for Direct Congress. With today’s online communication tools available to virtually everyone, there is no reason to go through elected officials to create new laws. His idea is to allow the people to do it directly.
Cory thinks there is great frustration in America today with the current political system. Trust in elected officials has dropped to below 10 %. He says, “We’ve seen situations where over 70% of Americans like an idea; then it is defeated in Congress.”
“My idea is to combine American principles of good governance with the Facebook model of bringing people together to share ideas,” he says. “I had this idea originally when I was a JMU student. I just didn’t have enough time to do the research; I had to make a living.” He worked on developing the new Direct Congress website, creating a delicate balance between both transparency and privacy.
“There is lots of energy on Facebook,” he adds. “But in politics, people have become more apathetic; they think the political process is rigged and they don’t have a voice. Direct Congress is being developed with an innovative star rating system, and staged bill development so that the best ideas rise to the top, and less useful proposals for laws are gleaned.”
Cory takes time out of his busy schedule to help mentor current students in the Venture Creation class.
“I found that in my own training period, it was essential to have mentors, to talk to people who had been in this territory before," he says. "I made some mistakes in my first business that I could have avoided with the advice of a good mentor.”
He also noted that students often have good ideas that he loves to hear.
Cory’s Tips for Entrepreneurial Success
1) Access to Capital: Don’t allow your success as an entrepreneur to depend on the whim of some banker or investor. Cut your personal and business expenses to the bare necessities. An office is an expense, not an investment (Read Rich Dad, Poor Dad if you don't understand what I mean). Debt-financing is overrated, and can lead to the early demise of otherwise good ideas. Don't pay for advertising - do newsworthy things and network like crazy, instead. Consider partnerships on projects, bartering (I installed a green roof in exchange for a professional website) or borrowing funds from family ( I issued my own shares of stock - and doubled my family's money in five years) or doing things yourself ( I made my own business cards, invoices, marketing materials, contracts, design specifications, etc.)
2) Unfinished Business Plan: In real life, there's no possible way to know the future. The original plan for BioNeighbors that I wrote in Carol Hamilton's class was for a biofuel station. Later, I started to create an online community of home-owners and small remodeling company franchises, before working to develop a model sustainable and ethical construction company. Do not be afraid to test ideas in start-up mode. Find out what people actually are demanding. I wanted to provide affordable energy-efficient home improvements, but lots of other energy auditors were getting into that market, while almost no one with a college education was providing solutions for residential flat roofs in the region where I lived. I, thus, found a practical need that was in demand and created a company to meet that opportunity.
3) Managing Growth: When I started BioNeighbors, I thought I had found my life calling. I loved being a young creative business leader who was appreciated for doing real and quality work for people. I thought I could create a model worth franchising. As years went by and the enterprise became successful, I stopped enjoying the day-to-day management of the firm. Instead of hiring a manager and being an absentee owner, or selling the company to a big investor, I sold the company for much less than it was worth to a small team of worker-owners who agreed to more than recoup my initial loss by giving me a set percentage of all of BioNeighbors' revenue for the next eight years. This preserved local ownership, without depriving me of financial security as I started a Ph.D. program and moved on to start a new enterprise.
Cory is about to embark on an even greater adventure. He and his wife are expecting their first child late this spring. His philosophy is to help make the world a brighter place in which to live – for today, and for all the children and great grandchildren yet to be born.
January 23, 2012
Fish and chips, bangers and mash, shepherd’s pie, and Guinness stew are among offerings that diners can now relish in Harrisonburg. The new Irish-themed Corgans’ Publick House opened Tuesday, January 17.
Located in the 865 East Building on Port Republic Road, this new eatery will try to fill a menu void in Harrisonburg. According to a recent article in The Breeze, Corgans’ offers more then 50 menu items, 12 beers on tap, great happy hour specials, and it will even host music events.
“My family has strong Irish roots,” says owner and entrepreneur Katharine Corgan. “I’ve always loved Irish pubs, and I felt this type of restaurant would be appreciated in Harrisonburg.”
Katharine is a July 2011 graduate of the Innovation MBA program in the College of Business at JMU.
“I was an English major undergraduate,” she says. “I heard about JMU’s hybrid program, which was both convenient and interesting, and covered business fundamentals that I missed. I really wanted to learn more about core business concepts.”
Katharine and her fiancé Vito Pellerito have owned and managed Vito’s Italian Kitchen on Port Republic Road for many years. They wanted to branch out and create a second restaurant. After going through the MBA program, Katharine says she gained the confidence and business acumen to start this venture.
“I found it extremely helpful in many ways,” she says. “I learned how to approach a bank with a well thought out, organized business plan. I think the most important thing I took away from the program is knowing how to actually manage people and hold them accountable, while at the same time keeping them motivated to succeed.”
Katharine encourages interested people to investigate the iMBA program.
“It was great to be back in school and meet people from many different industries and environments,” she says. “The MBA program provided me with the skills and confidence that I needed to become a better manager of my time, my efforts, and my staff.”
January 20, 2012
Congratulations to Eric Major, the President and CEO of K2M, Inc., for being featured in the article “Kostuik Plus Two Majors — K2M” in the online newsletter Orthopedics This Week.
Eric partnered with Dr. John Kostuik, a spine surgeon, to form the company K2M. According to the website, K2M is a “fast growing global medical device company focused on developing innovative surgical solutions for the most complex spinal pathologies.”
K2M's executive team includes many JMU alumni: Eric's brother Lane Major (COB '01), SVP/Global Marketing & Product Development; David McDonald ('79), SVP/Operations; Greg Cole (COB '91), CFO; and Luke Miller ('01), General Counsel and Secretary.
From 2004 to 2010, K2M created many major innovations for spine surgeons to more effectively treat complex spinal disorders. By 2010, Orthopedics This Week estimated that K2M’s sales had grown to well over $100 million and had become the “most successful private spine company in the industry.”
Since partnering with Welsh-Carson, the largest private equity firm in medicine, K2M has added more than 100 employees, in addition to opening up the international market.
Eric was previously the President and CEO of American OsteoMedix, Inc., a minimally invasive spinal device company. He is a ’91 graduate of JMU and is a member of the Executive Advisory Council for the COB.
JMU Alumnus John Hinshaw Named Executive Vice President, HP Global Technology and Business Processes
John Hinshaw, a '92 James Madison University College of Business alumnus, was recently appointed to the position of executive vice president of Global Technology and Business Processes at Hewlett-Packard. In this newly created position, Hinshaw, a former computer information systems major, will oversee information technology and shared and administrative services, as well as being in charge of optimizing business processes across the company.
Previously, Hinshaw was vice president and general manager of Boeing Information Solutions. Among other tasks, his job at Boeing involved delivering information solutions to the U.S. government. Prior to Boeing, Hinshaw was senior vice president and chief information officer at Verizon Wireless.
Hinshaw will be reporting directly to Meg Whitman, HP's newly appointed CEO.
"John has an outstanding track record of process excellence and leading large, complex organizations," Whitman said. "I am confident that he will help position HP for the future through best-in-class IT and shared services administration."
In addition, Hinshaw officially joined the company's executive council as of November 15.
"I have been an admirer and customer of HP for many years and I am thrilled to now join the company and lead the Global Technology and Business Processes organization," Hinshaw said. "My CIS foundation from JMU played a significant role in my career path and I continue to be impressed with the quality of the programs and talent that have emerged from the program."
From HP Newsroom news release
Jan. 26, 2011
Synalloy Corporation announced the appointment of Craig C. Bram to the position of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Company effective Jan. 24, 2011. Bram and and wife Kim are both 1980 marketing majors and their youngest, Ryan, is a freshman at JMU.
PAETEC Holding Corp. (NASDAQ GS: PAET), a FORTUNE 1000 company that provides data, voice, and Internet solutions to businesses nationwide, announced that it has named Clint Heiden to Senior Vice President and President of National Accounts and Fiber Services. Read the full article.
Clint Heiden serves as a Senior Vice President of PAETEC and President of National Accounts and Fiber Services. In this role, he leads PAETEC's sales, operations and strategy for its 37,000 route-mile fiber network as well as PAETEC's strategy for nationwide accounts across all products.
He has nearly 20 years of telecommunications and executive experience including sales, marketing, business development and operational management. Mr. Heiden previously served as President of Intellifiber Networks, a subsidiary of Cavalier Telephone which PAETEC acquired in 2010. Under his leadership at Cavalier Telephone, Intellifiber increased sales by 400% while dramatically decreasing customer churn. He also has held strategic leadership positions with Qwest, Cable & Wireless America as well as the UUNET, which at the time was the world's largest and most profitable Internet Service Provider.
Mr. Heiden has a BSBA in Computer Information Systems from James Madison University, where he received the Distinguished Alumni Award in 1999, the university's highest honor. Mr. Heiden is based out of PAETEC's office in Herndon, Virginia, and lives with his wife and four children in McLean, Va.
Moyers Hired As Dayton Treasurer
Justin Moyers, former Dayton resident and CoB accounting grad, was hired as the new treasurer overseeing Dayton's financial operations starting Nov. 15. Before applying to this position he worked with the accounting firm of Brown, Edwards & Co. in Harrisonburg as a CPA.
"Moyers' varied accounting experience made him an appealing candidate. He has worked with municipalities, nonprofits and corporations. Moyers' interpersonal skills also stood out and helped to ease any of council's worries about his age," says Dayton Councilwoman Donna McCormick. Read more about Justin Moyers and his new position as treasurer.
June 28, 2010
John F. Speer, III, of Datatel, Inc. was named Entrepreneur of the Year in the software category. The selection is made by a group of peers--business, academic and community leaders.
“These Entrepreneur Of The Year award winners are best in class, and we are proud to honor their outstanding success," says Rene Salas, Ernst & Young LLP Entrepreneur Of The Year program director for Greater Washington. Read more about this year's winners. Read more about Datatel and Speer's recognition.
June 9, 2010
James Madison University alumnus Bradford R. Jones (‘87) has been named chair of the Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountant’s (VSCPA) board of directors for the 2010–11 fiscal year. VSCPA has 9,000 members who work in public accounting, industry, government and education.
A 1987 graduate of JMU with a degree in accounting, Jones, principal/owner of PBGH in Fredericksburg, has a long history of leadership in the VSCPA and the CPA profession.
During his term as chair, Jones will continue supporting the VSCPA’s top five strategies and maintain an intense focus on increasing the VSCPA’s membership. Jones also has an important agenda item of his own—to promote CPAs as top candidates for leadership.
“CPAs are the people I’d like to have sitting at the head of the table,” Jones said. “CPAs need to be leaders because we are CPAs first.” Every day, CPAs render opinions based on sets of rules and objective criteria. They are trained to be objective and impartial.
“Leadership may mean leading by proactively offering skills to an employer, charitable organization or community,” said Jones. “It is important and valuable for society that CPAs be engaged bringing the four cornerstones of the profession of integrity, objectivity, independence and competence with them.”
At the VSCPA’s annual business meeting on May 14, Jones outlined the VSCPA’s top five strategies for the next three years. These strategies include addressing the unique opportunities and challenges in the VSCPA’s geographic areas; serving as the premier provider of education to CPAs in a challenging and changing environment; being a resource of unbiased information on Virginia business, finance and economy; providing a membership dues and category structure to promote a healthy pipeline of members; and offering an initiative for students and young professionals that supports aspiring and new CPAs.
VSCPA has initiated a student membership drive. The membership is free to accounting students and is intended to help them network with potential employers and to provide a means of learning about and following significant developments in the profession.
In addition, VSCPA has task forces and other resources specifically intended for students and young professionals, including on campus visits and the VSCPA Leadership Institute, a weekend of leadership training for high achieving college accounting students.
Jones’ focus on leadership is apparent in the positions he takes on in his community. He has taught credited accounting courses at Strayer University, and as an adjunct instructor for Germanna Community College, he has taught a variety of accounting and tax courses. He has also taught various continuing professional education courses to CPAs across the state.
Other leadership posts and activities include: president for the VSCPA Battlefield Chapter; service on various VSCPA committees; board member for a number of local nonprofit organizations in Fredericksburg; and active membership in the Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce.
April 20, 2010
Joe Tedesco (’94 CIS, ’01 MBA George Mason) and Erik Linn (’96 Acctg) are Managing Partners of a private equity firm, Potomac Investment Partners (“Potomac”), that they launched Oct 1, 2009. Joe and Erik have very similar success stories. They both launched professional services firms in the 1990s (Architech Corp and Capital Advisory Services, respectively), managed their firms through tremendous periods of growth and then sold their companies to the same acquirer, Navigant Consulting. Joe and Erik are now applying their experiences driving exceptional growth in companies to Potomacs’ portfolio of investments.
Potomac is passionate about helping small businesses succeed. The firm maintains a small portfolio of highly profitable growth companies where our team functions as owners and operators, not just investors. Potomac concentrates on companies in niche service or product-based industries whose revenues range from $2–20MM.
Joe is married to the former Heather E. Jacobs (’94 Psychology) who currently serves on the Honor Program Advisory Council at JMU.
"Our strategy is to invest in small to mid-size businesses and to accelerate their maturity and growth into thriving enterprises. Our primary focus is control buy-outs of companies in service-based industries where opportunities for value creation through exceptional growth are abundant. Our goal is to maintain a small portfolio of highly profitable growth companies where our team functions as owners and operators, not just investors. Our investments produce healthy annual cash flow despite our growth orientation.
We create value through numerous means. ...Post-acquisition, we create value by instilling fiscal and organizational discipline in the company’s growth strategy, executing aggressively on that growth strategy, and by implementing operational improvements. We do not rely on leverage to create value. In fact, we rarely use outside debt in our deals. And since we rarely use debt, we are proud to be able to distribute a significant portion of that cash flow to our investors on an annual basis.
We are entrepreneurial in nature and our expertise lies in turning small successful businesses into highly efficient and larger businesses. Our firm is committed to a rigorous assessment of growth potential and profitability and to not straying from our expertise. The following are some of the additional criteria we use to evaluate investments:Companies in niche service or product-based industries
We generally do not invest in start-ups or companies with operating losses, although we will evaluate such situations on an opportunistic basis."
April 7, 2010
Sam Nixon ('80-marketing) took office April 5 as the Chief Information Officer of the Virginia Information Technologies Agency. He was appointed by Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell to improve transparency and accountability in the agency. Nixon will report directly to the governor's office. Read more about Nixon's appointment.
Feb. 17, 2010
Each year, the Professional Convention Management Association honors outstanding members for their contributions to PCMA and the meetings & hospitality industry. PCMA’s New York Area Chapter is proud to announce one of its own as the winner of the 2009 Distinguished Member of the Year Award.
Deborah L. Richardt, CMP, Senior Director of Meeting Services at American Thoracic Society, will be recognized at the 54th PCMA Annual Meeting, Jan. 10-13, 2010, in Dallas.
As one of the founding members of PCMA’s New York Area Chapter, Debbie has contributed to the meetings industry through 31 years of local and national involvement, including her 23 years of service to the American Lung Association and the American Thoracic Society. She is also well respected by her peers and colleagues for her relentless dedication to student mentoring.
Debbie resides in Oradell, New Jersey with her husband Bob and son Tim. Her passions, outside of work, are her quest for fitness (physical and spiritual); as well as her private and humble contribution to her community.
Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) represents approximately 6,000 meeting industry leaders including planner professionals, suppliers, faculty and students. Aside from students and faculty, members are categorized as either a professional or supplier based on their position. The mission of the PCMA is to deliver superior and innovative education and promote the value of professional convention management.
C Different was created in 2001 by Matt Miller, a former elite Ironman triathlete who now lives in Sugar Land. Miller, 33, was a swimmer and a marketing major at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va., His experience guiding a blind Chicago woman through a triathlon inspired him to organize C Different. The group has since helped about 300 people through a variety of programs. Read more in this article from the Houston Chronicle.
Daniel Haynes ('89) has been named a partner at Harrisonburg-based accounting firm PBGH. Haynes, CPE, CFE, CFF, joined the accounting staff of PBGH in its Fredericksburg office as an audit manager in 2002. Before that, he was a senior manager with a "big four" firm in Richmond, where he specialized in auditing both privately held clients and SEC registrants in a variety of industries, including manufacturing, real estate and services. Haynes is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants and the Association of Fraud Examiners. Read more from the Daily News-Record.
July 25, 2009
Anne Altman, GM
Anne Altman, a member of the CoB Executive Advisory Council, has been named general manager of IBM Corp.’s Global Public Sector, effective August 1.
Altman has been tapped to lead IBM’s global solutions and technology sales for government, education, health care, life sciences and pharmaceutical industries, according to IBM spokeswoman Lia P. Davis.
Altman was managing director of IBM’s System z mainframe group for the past two years, a time of transformation and renewed focus on the importance of IBM’s high-end systems, Davis said. Before that, she was managing director of U.S. Federal at IBM, a position which carried with it responsibility for all aspects of the company's federal business. Read More from WashingtonTechnology.com
Eric Major, President & CEO of K2M, Inc
K2M, Inc., a spinal device company developing innovative solutions for the treatment of complex spinal pathologies, today announced that President and CEO, Eric Major, received the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year® Award for Emerging Technologies in the Greater Washington region.
Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year is considered one of the world's most prestigious business awards for entrepreneurs, as it recognizes those who inspire others with their vision, leadership, and achievement. The winners were selected by an independent judging panel made up of regional business, academic, and community leaders and revealed at a gala event on Thursday, June 18 at the Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner in Virginia.
"I am truly honored to be named a regional winner of Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur of the Year and I am proud to accept this award on behalf of the entire K2M team," stated Eric Major, K2M's President and CEO. "This achievement reflects K2M's continuous growth and financial strength as we move closer towards our goal of becoming the worldwide leader in treating the most complex spinal pathologies." Read more from Yahoo! Finance.
Jun. 8, 2009
Justin Steiner (‘00), Founder’s Medalist for the Owen Graduate School of Management, is graduating with a master of business administration.
After graduating cum laude with a degree in computer information systems from James Madison University in Virginia, Steiner entered the workforce as a systems integration consultant with Accenture, a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company. During his seven-year career with the firm, he gained valuable experience in the global business world, working extensively with international teams in Manila and Bangalore, helping clients streamline their information technology development functions.
Desiring to advance himself personally and professionally, he left his successful career to enroll in the Owen School, where he was selected as a Dean’s Scholar Finalist. It is the top recognition given to an incoming Owen student. He was awarded the Anderson Scholarship, endowed by the Rose-Marie and Andrew Johnson Foundation. He also received the Bruce D. Henderson Scholarship for highest honors in the MBA class. His active participation in the Entrepreneurship, Operations and Consulting clubs also further broadened his strategic management experience.
Steiner has accepted a position with North Highland Company, a consulting firm, in their local office and will remain in Nashville after graduation.
June 8, 2009
Fine Earth LLC, a high-end landscaping company in Harrisonburg, donates between 15-20 percent of its annual profit to community causes. "A lot of people probably wonder why we'd give back at such a high level," owner Chad Layman ('95) admits. "The truth is, it's the key engine behind our success and growth."
The Fine Earth staff received their award during the America's Small Business Summit in Washington D.C. joined by hundreds of business leaders, members of Congress, and White House administration officials.
Layman's extraordinarily high level of generosity has earned national attention. Fine Earth was awarded the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's 2009 Community Excellence Award, the sole recipient among 56 elite companies chosen as Blue Ribbon Small Businesses. The award recognizes a company "completely devoted to its customers, it employees, and the greater Harrisonburg community," said Thomas J. Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber. "We hope their efforts are contagious."
Fine Earth's contributions are a mix of cash, service, and product, Layman says. "I encourage the entire team to get involved in the community because, when you serve on boards and volunteer for causes you believe in, you're forming relationships and networking."
Among his staff, there are volunteers with Big Brothers Big Sisters Harrisonburg-Rockingham, Central Valley Habitat for Humanity, Edith J. Carrier Arboretum, Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance, Shenandoah Valley Builders Association, Spotswood Country Club, and Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community.
"The people you meet will become your customers and recommend you to their friends," Layman explains. "It's hard work, but it's the best way to advertise. We rarely use radio, TV, or print; we have a good product and great word of mouth. Everyone we meet is added to our email distribution list and becomes our friend on Facebook."
Actually, Layman was building word of mouth long before Facebook, starting with a lawn mowing business he operated in Harrisonburg as a ten year old. Mowing morphed into light landscaping, and eventually he was earning enough to help pay for college at James Madison University. As an accounting major, he fine-tuned his business skills, but he already knew he wasn't destined for a desk job. "Instead of studying, I found myself brainstorming this business with my friend Mark. We started running it in the summers."
He credits the College of Business with helping him learn time management and appreciate strong relationships. "At JMU, I found out what it means to build bridges and partnerships, to be part of a team. In my classes, business associations, with my roommates, and especially playing tennis, I learned that I was only so good at so many things, and I needed a great team."
Today, Layman runs his company like a team, and says staff involvement is a core value. "I want buy-in from the whole staff, and I always remember that the people on the ground and in the field are the ones who have to implement our ideas."
For the past two years, the entire team has pulled together for one big event called the Fine Earth- SVBA Arbor Day Celebration. The staff chooses a highly visible site in town and donates their landscaping services and product. Among Fine Earth's largest gifts are groves of trees planted along city streets in Harrisonburg, downtown Broadway, and the new campus of Rockingham Memorial Hospital. The trees selected are already 12-14 feet tall and are typically valued at about $13,000. Local school children are invited to attend the celebration and learn about trees, which usually means about 300 third graders and their parents are on hand to see the transformation. "All year we look for sites," Layman says. "We want visible sites that will really benefit from this work. We not only work here but live here, too."
Despite a recession, Fine Earth is having its best year ever. With strong relationships and a visible body of work, their value is apparent, Layman believes. "We're not the least expensive option. We're a high quality, professional, safe option, and our customers know we contribute to the overall good of the community. We're a great value." This is comforting to him after 14 years of business. "I tell people that in business, times get tough. You work long days, you think you might fail and you want to quit. That's when you need to work your hardest and rely on your relationships."
June 6, 2009
After his 1981 graduation from James Madison University and a brief, unsatisfactory stint at a bank back home in Richmond, Dave Melton took a job as a manager-in-training for Domino's, a new pizza chain he'd never heard of before, answering a help-wanted ad.
So, while his peers took their place in white-collar land, and his parents wondered if his college education had been all for naught, Melton wore a name tag and worked for less than $4 an hour.
As it turns out, his parents had nothing to worry about. Read more from the Daily News-Record >>>
June 2, 2009
Beta Gamma Sigma, the international business honor society, recently named Kenneth R. Bartee, former president, McDonald Bradley Inc., a recipient of its 2009 Medallion for Entrepreneurship. The award is presented annually to individuals that contribute significantly to the strength of the economy, combining innovative business achievement with service to humanity.
“We are pleased to bestow this honor on Mr. Bartee,” said George E. Stevens, president of Beta Gamma Sigma. “His accomplishments in business and contributions to the community are highly commendable.”
Kenneth R. Bartee
June 2, 2009
The Freedom House, developed by JMU alumnus Zach Fettig, looks like a normal house, but is made with green technology. Take a video tour with WHSV-TV3 >>>
June 1, 2009
Austin Lewis IV ('98) is the founder, owner, and Chief Executive Officer of the Lewis Asset Management Corp., an investment management company located in New York City. Link
May 28, 2009
KACE, the leading systems management appliance company, today announced the appointment of Gary Acord as the company`s chief financial officer. As CFO, Acord will lead KACE`s financial operation and will be responsible for accounting and reporting worldwide. Acord holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from JMU. Read more from Reuters >>>
May 28, 2009
Kristen Taylor (BBA, marketing; minor, sports communication; ‘09) will participate in the Professional Golf Association (PGA) Tour Diversity Internship program, Taylor is one of 31 participants from 24 colleges and universities participating in the program, now in its 18th year. She will intern in PGA TOUR Championship Management Sales.
Taylor’s previous work experience includes a Sports Media Relations practicum at James Madison University, a Ticket Operations trainee with the Richmond Braves, and a lifeguard with Great Eastern Resorts in Massanutten, Va. She also worked with Continental Pools Inc. in Chester, Va., where she managed and trained over 20 lifeguards, and at Incredible Edibles Inc. She was president of James Madison University Club Softball. Her team was invited to the World Series in Kansas during her sophomore year.
Interns in the program work in various departments of the PGA Tour, including marketing, tournament operations, championship management, new media and golf course operations. Since the program was launched in 1992, 20 percent of the participants have gone on to work in the golf industry, and the Tour has hired 37 interns.
Justin Steiner, Founder’s Medalist for the Owen Graduate School of Management, graduated with a master of business administration. After graduating cum laude with a degree in computer information systems from James Madison University in Virginia, Steiner entered the workforce as a systems integration consultant with Accenture, a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company. During his seven-year career with the firm, he gained valuable experience in the global business world, working extensively with international teams in Manila and Bangalore, helping clients streamline their information technology development functions.
Desiring to advance himself personally and professionally, he left his successful career to enroll in the Owen School, where he was selected as a Dean’s Scholar Finalist. It is the top recognition given to an incoming Owen student. He was awarded the Anderson Scholarship, endowed by the Rose-Marie and Andrew Johnson Foundation. He also received the Bruce D. Henderson Scholarship for highest honors in the MBA class. His active participation in the Entrepreneurship, Operations and Consulting clubs also further broadened his strategic management experience.
Steiner has accepted a position with North Highland Company, a consulting firm, in their local office and will remain in Nashville after graduation.
source: VU Cast at http://sitemason.vanderbilt.edu/news
March 20, 2009
Langer Promoted to CFO of Equity One
Equity One, Inc. (NYSE:EQY), an owner, developer and operator of shopping centers, announced today several initiatives to reduce its general and administrative expenses and streamline its management structure. The steps will result in annual savings of approximately $1.9 million when fully realized.
As part of the streamlining of its management team, the company announced the promotion of Mark Langer ('88) to Chief Financial Officer effective April 24, 2009. Langer currently serves as Equity One’s Chief Administrative Officer and will continue to serve in that capacity in conjunction with his new role.
The company expects to take a one-time charge of approximately $3.2 million in the first quarter of 2009, $1.5 million of which represents non-cash expenses relating to the accelerated vesting of stock and options.
“Equity One is taking these important steps to control expenses and realign management in its on-going effort to build value for shareholders,” said CEO Jeff Olson. “I am very excited about Mark’s expanded leadership role at Equity One. Since joining us, he has spearheaded our efforts to re-invent our company, from our operational reporting to cost containment to our IT infrastructure. Our marketing, research and human resources departments have also benefitted from his leadership. Given his accounting and finance background, his previous experience as an audit partner at KPMG LLP and his in-depth knowledge of our
company, he is the ideal person to lead our accounting and finance team.” Langer is a graduate from James Madison University's School of Accounting.
ABOUT EQUITY ONE, INC.
As of December 31, 2008, Equity One owned or had interests in 160 properties, consisting of 146 shopping centers comprising approximately 16.0 million square feet, four projects in development/redevelopment, six non-retail properties, and four parcels of land. Additionally, Equity One had joint venture interests in twelve shopping centers and one office building totaling approximately 1.9 million square feet.
Feb. 15, 2009
Aftersoft Group, Inc., a major supplier of business and ERP supply chain management solutions to automotive parts and tires, distributors, jobbers, retailers and installers has appointed William Austin Lewis IV as a member of its Board of Directors.
Lewis has served as Chief Executive Officer of Lewis Asset Management Corporation, an investment management company he founded, where he is also the Portfolio and Chief Investment Officer of the Lewis Opportunity Fund, one of the funds under management. Prior to founding Lewis Asset Management, Mr. Lewis held a variety of positions with investment firms, including Puglisi & Co., Thompson Davis & Co. and Branch Cabell & Company.
Lewis holds a Bachelor of Science in Finance and a Bachelor of Science in Financial Economics from James Madison University.
Sept. 19, 2008
When James Madison University (JMU) professors asked Amanda Maurer what she wanted to do after graduation, she eagerly replied, "Drive the [Oscar Mayer] Wienermobile!" Maurer, who graduated in 2008 with a degree in marketing from the JMU College of Business (CoB), is now living her dream. She is one of the lucky few Hotdoggers to travel around the country driving the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile. Maurer says she read about the opportunity in a magazine during her sophomore year at JMU and has been interested in it ever since.
Becoming an Oscar Mayer Hotdogger is extremely competitive: there are currently only seven Wienermobiles in existence, with two Hotdoggers per Wienermobile. Maurer was chosen out of a pool of more than 1,000 applicants. She says that her enthusiasm for the brand helped her get the job. "My friends all know I am a big kid at heart. That's what Oscar Mayer is all about: bringing out the kid in everyone." She also says that her marketing education at JMU prepared her for all the teamwork at her job. "Hotdoggers have to constantly work as a team, and I am a huge team player, thanks to the College of Business."
Along with her fellow hotdogging partner, Maurer travels the country with the Wienermobile to promote the Oscar Mayer brand. Hotdogger job responsibilities include maintaining the Wienermobile, attending events such as golf tournaments, parades and festivals, and contacting the media. Maurer has had the opportunity to speak on both radio and television.
Although the position is fun, the career of a Hotdogger is short-lived: Maurer will have the position for one year only, from June 2008 to June 2009. Maurer is happy with her experience and says it is helping her prepare for her future career in marketing. As a Hotdogger she is improving her speaking abilities and advancing her networking opportunities. She is trusted with the integrity of the Oscar Mayer brand everyday, and as "any COB student knows, brand equity can be one of the most valuable assets a business has."Learn more about the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile.
August 21, 2008
Yale University President Richard C. Levin announced today that Michael A. Peel ('71), Executive Vice President of General Mills, Inc., has been appointed as Vice President for Human Resources and Administration, effective October 1, 2008. Peel received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from JMU and earned an MBA in Finance from the Columbia Business School. More
July 7, 2008
Executive Alliance, Inc., announced the winners of the Information Security Executive (ISE) Mid-Atlantic Awards 2008.
Chris Tignor ('92, computer information systems) received the ISE Executive of the Year Award in the Commercial category. Tignor is vice president and chief information security officer at Capital One. According to a press release published by Executive Alliance, Tignor was selected for his integrated, but separate approach to security and compliance, his technical and people skills, and business savvy in communicating the risks and returns of his work to senior management.
The ISE awards honor industry leaders and project teams in the Mid-Atlantic region in government, academic and the commercial sectors for their achievements in information security and the change they are bringing to their organizations.
"This award is significant to me personally because it honors the incredible teamwork of Capital One's Information Security team and what we've accomplished in the last few years. It shows that an information security program doesn't have to be a necessary evil but can be something that adds business value and even saves the business money," Tignor said.
"My interest in information security started in my junior year at JMU in the CIS Information Security course. The broad business knowledge I acquired with my College of Business core courses allowed me to bridge the "great divide" that often exists between information technology and non-information technology areas," he said.
Tignor remains connected to JMU's College of Business as a member of the Computer Information Systems and Management Science Executive Advisory Board.
Executive Alliance, Inc. is recognized by Morgan Keegan as the largest, most widely recognized awards program for IT security executives. The organization creates leadership recognition forums that honor and celebrate outstanding achievements of executives in different industries.
April 29, 2008
Paul Holland, CoB Executive Advisory Council member and one of the nation's top venture capitalists, talks with The Weather Channel about personal and professional efforts toward sustainability More
Hayes M. Walker III, a '93 accounting graduate, is named president of Rollins Accounting & Inventory Services, Inc. More
John Dwyer, who received an MBA from JMU in 2001, heads Sunnyside, a Rockingham County, Va., retirement community. More
"Listen to my clients and provide them with what they need." That’s the philosophy of JMU accounting graduate Kira Nazelrod Brucker. She works in the family business in Towson, Md., and was admitted to the Maryland bar recently, which is an asset to her firm’s estate planning services. A relative few dollars up front, usually saves the client more in the long run, Brucker says. Read More.
Feb. 19, 2008
Consulting Magazine names CoB Grad Top 30 Under 30
Meaghan Bouchoux (CIS- ’00) was recognized as one of the top "30 under Thirty" in the January/February issue of Consulting Magazine, the industry’s flagship publication. Bouchoux is a Project Management Professional (PMP) and a Manager in the Public Services Business Unit at BearingPoint. She has over seven years of professional experience in Information Technology consulting including extensive practice in project management, requirements definition, and program support. This rising star credits her early interest in consulting to Mr. Glenn Smith’s IT Consulting course in JMU's College of Business.
Clint Heiden (CIS-’90) co-created with Phillip Merrick a revolutionary way of looking at the resume. With the launch of the new company, VisualCV.com, students and professionals are able to create an Internet-based resume, build and manage an online career portfolio and securely share professional qualifications with employers, customers, partners and colleagues.
VisualCV.com is the first website to allow professionals to do this all in one place, with privacy and control, and for free. The VisualCV makes traditional paper resumes come alive with video, pictures and a portfolio of best work samples. Informational pop-ups provide background data on past employers and education.
VisucalCV Provides Professional Appeal
VisualCV.com was developed to solve problems that professionals face as they seek to find jobs, develop and advance their careers, and helps employers find and hire better candidates faster. The format and information included in a VisualCV accelerates career advancement while reducing interviews and associated time, cost, travel and frustration for job seekers. The VisualCV may present information not included in a paper resume.
VisualCV Helps Students Enter the Job Market
VisualCV is the first resume that enables a student to incorporate videos, music or PDF files of a business plan or a paper that achieved recognition. As a recruiting professional, Heiden suggests individuals spend time using a tool that will make them stand out. “Give a little personality, appeal to the audience, and have some fun making a resume,” Heiden says. “Having something that is visually appealing will almost guarantee a company to look at the resume, which achieves the goal of being given a chance.”
CoB Encourages Entrepreneurship
Heiden says his experiences at the College of Business prepared him for launching a new product. “The College of Business is a professional place to be creative and unique, and provides real world experience, ” Heiden says. “JMU is full of community, one that is friendly and inspiring. The students strive to achieve and appreciate the opportunities they are presented with.”
The skills and experiences Heiden took from the CoB translated into his interest in creating the VisualCV, allowing the product to appeal to professionals and students. Working with students and professionals allows Heiden to see what both parties are looking for. The VisualCV is a great way to connect the two.
Heiden Mentors Future Entrepreneurs
Heiden worked with Professor Carol Hamilton’s MGT 472 – Venture Creation class as an entrepreneur mentor in fall 2007. In the class, students explore entrepreneurship. It includes a JMU graduate as a mentor, who is able to provide real world experience on how to create and market a successful business.
Heiden was excited to see the JMU students engaged and knows they will be successful after graduation. “Working with students, especially the JMU group, is refreshing,” Heiden says. The ability to work with students allows Heiden insight into what the next generation is looking for in employers.
At a young age Derek Sprague knew his love for golf would follow him through life. Sprague, who graduated from JMU in 1988 with a BBA in marketing, has always seen golf as his passion. He attended JMU on a golf scholarship and is currently the general manager and head golf professional at the Malone Golf Club in Malone, NY. Recently, he was elected to the Professional Golf Association’s Board of Directors.
The awards and recognitions Sprague received relate to his education while at JMU. Looking back, Sprague admires Dr. Robert Reid and Dr. Harold Teer. They inspired him to be the best he could be and they never let him settle. The year after graduating, he decided to give something back on an annual basis. To this day, the Derek Sprague Marketing Award is given to the JMU marketing student who shows strong academic performance, while demonstrating a willingness to take initiative and bring a sense of entrepreneurship to his or her college learning experience.
With his love for golf and marketing, Sprague is able to use his degree daily.
“Golf is a business and the largest tourism attraction. We have to market to our guests and members,” Sprague says. “I love coming to work. It’s a home away from home.”
Nationally, the game of golf is becoming known as a course for business, and a place where an employee becomes a partner. How you conduct yourself on a golf course can translate to how you may handle yourself in a business situation.
Throughout his life, Sprague has felt fortunate and believes timing is everything. “It is important to pursue your passion. Even though you are in a certain major, switch gears, make it what you want.” Sprague believes that a career can be made from what you love; it's just about the choices you make.
Jeff Callaghan’s harbour-side restaurant, Fluke Wine, Bar & Kitchen in Newport, RI., shares a scrumptious recipe for fried shrimp po-boy. Callaghan is a 1987 graduate of JMU’s hospitality and tourism management program. Read the entire article online.
Daniel “Chip” Schuman is vice president of marketing for the consumer products division at Sargento. He joined Sargento in 2003. Schuman graduated from James Madison University in 1986 with a BBA in marketing. Schuman lives in Mequon with his wife, Carolyn and two children. Read about it online.
Mark Langer ('88-accounting) is a member of the College of Business Executive Advisor Council and volunteers as a mentor to CoB students. Read the full article.
The Maryland Agricultural Education Foundation, Inc. (MAEF) announced today that William T. "Bill" Henley, IV ('02) has joined their Board of Directors. Henley graduated with majors in management and economics. Read the full article.
For a Franchise, Success is in the Hiring
Before you read far enough to learn that he's a JMU College of Business alumus, you may guess that he is. Featured in a New York Times article, Dave Melton ('81-management) and his wife Angelina Muse-Melton ('81-psychology) attribute their success in opening several Domino's Pizza stores in New York City to hiring the right people. Read the full article.
Fauber's Successor Brings Variety of Experiences
After years of successfully running and selling businesses, Michael Syrek ('94-accounting) is settling down in banking. Read the full article.
Jan. 2, 2008
Foundation appoints Bingham Treasurer
Darcy Bingham (’87) was named treasurer of the Montgomery Village Foundation after 15 years with FEMA. She has an MS in accounting from JMU. More
Dec. 19, 2007
Accounting Major Shares Business Skills with Residents in West African Villages
Michael Kapocsi ('07) spent three months as a Peace Corps volunteer in Mali, West Africa. He was part of a team specializing in small business development. More
Dec. 5, 2007
Davis Moves into Panama Real Estate
According to Kent Davis (’02), Panama is HOT. He’s not referring to the temperature. Davis accepted a position as global broker relations manager for CPanama Real Estate Corporation in Panama City, Panama. Real estate in Panama is a hot commodity right now, Davis says, as Panama has been experiencing unprecedented growth in the last few years.
Before moving to Panama he worked as a profit center manager in Atlanta and Virginia for Hajoca Corp, a company he said he loved and hated to leave.
While at JMU, Davis double-majored in marketing and Spanish. He played JMU water polo all four years and was a member of Golden Key, MMA and the Catholic Campus ministry.
“I may be the only car with a James Madison University decal here in Panama. Go Dukes!” Davis says.
Nov. 9, 2007
A new audit associate with KPMG LLP, Kim Argy had the rare opportunity to receive her company training in Madrid, Spain, in October. The 2006 JMU graduate was one of the company’s 100 U.S. employees, selected out of 700 applicants, to participate in its first Global New Hire Training program.
“International experience is good for getting other people’s opinions and learning different perspectives,” Argy says. “That’s good for audits because it gives you a different way of looking at a situation. And I just think traveling helps you grow as a person.”
Argy and her U.S. colleagues were joined in the two-week program by 200 other new employees from Germany and the United Kingdom. During the first week, all of the participants were integrated and divided into groups to complete team projects. The American employees worked alone during the second week, receiving their training in U.S. audit procedures. Between scheduled activities, Argy took advantage of her free time to explore the city and meet new international friends.
KPMG started the Global New Hire Training program to expose new audit associates to the global business environment while giving them a consistent training experience, says Manny Fernandez, KPMG’s national managing partner for campus recruiting.
“We believe giving our younger employees the opportunity to experience the KPMG global culture earlier in their career will help to accelerate their development,” he says, “and inspire them to seek further international experiences as they build their career path.”
Dennis Tracz (‘78), entrepreneur and a member of CoB’s Executive Advisory Council, has recently taken his talent of turning “chaos” into “opportunity” and turned it toward the business of sustainability.
Tracz is the CEO and founder of Barista On Demand, LLC, a gourmet coffee company that has made the conscious decision to purchase organic coffee beans, pay the growers directly, and roast locally. The practice supports farmers and the farming industry and benefits the local community where the company is headquartered in Central Virginia.
Barista On Demand, LLC, participates in the Rainforest Alliance Certified Seed to Cup program, which provides direct payments to coffee growers. The company also uses a biodegradable ecotainer®.
And now Tracz has partnered with the Inaugural Virginia Agritourism Conference that will be held in Charlottesville, Va., in November 2007. Barista On Demand will provide complimentary fresh-ground organic and Rainforest Alliance Certified coffee and gourmet beverages to conference attendees and speakers.
“Partnering with Barista on Demand makes perfect sense for us,” says Barbara S. Lundgren, proprietor of Barb Wired, LLC, and creator and organizer of the premier event. “This is a conscious choice to partner with a local company whose products are outstanding, sustainability practices are very compelling, and whose goals fit with our own, both in terms of customer satisfaction while reducing waste and supporting our important Virginia Agritourism effort.”
The two-day event will gather farmers, tourism professionals and economic leaders to promote agritourism as a viable option to sustain and enhance the family farm. Some of the proceeds will benefit the Virginia Tech Memorial Fund.
“We strongly believe that agritourism is an important part of our area’s future, and we are happy to contribute to the effort by participating in Monday night’s ‘Taste of Virginia’ event and serving our delicious coffee in partnership with the Doubletree to conference attendees,” says Tracz. “We are also proud to be supporting the contribution to the Virginia Tech Memorial Fund.”
When Kenneth Bartee, ’83, reflects on his experiences as a student at JMU, he remembers with fondness the innovative and sometimes “quirky” teaching methods of management professor, Dr. Kent Zimmerman, now retired. Bartee recalls Zimmerman’s organizational behavior course, where students engaged in learning techniques such as role-playing or drawing pictures in groups—“exercises that you don’t know quite why you’re doing them at the time,” he jokes. Strange, perhaps, but the concepts stuck. Bartee says he still applies many of Zimmerman theories in his career as president and CEO of McDonald Bradley Inc.
“Dr. Zimmerman was phenomenal in the classroom—he opened up my mind,” Bartee says. “He was very extroverted and demonstrative, which made him fun in the classroom. He was really committed to teaching.”
That’s the kind of legacy Bartee hopes to keep alive in JMU’s College of Business. With their recent gift of $250,000 to establish the Kenneth R. Bartee Endowed Professorship in the CoB, Bartee and his wife, Sue, hope to reward faculty who go the “extra mile” for their students. The endowment may be awarded to deserving faculty in any CoB department.
An enthusiastic Duke supporter, Bartee wants to see future students have the same positive experience he had at JMU . During his term as chair of the college’s Executive Advisory Committee, Bartee has learned the value of rallying alumni support for the university. While public colleges and universities once were primarily funded by state and federal governments, that financial support is waning, Bartee says. Now it’s up to alumni to help the university maintain its excellent programs.
“I think the folks who come out of JMU have this well-rounded education, great leadership capabilities and great teamwork capabilities,” he says. “If we don’t support this, I’m afraid we’re going to see this great program that JMU has built, this great culture—we’re going to see it disappear.”
As a student at JMU, Bartee observed a strong sense of community, driven by the fact that many students lived on campus at that time. But there were other reasons he felt so connected—namely the emphasis that was placed on teamwork, reinforced through group projects and experiential learning. He also appreciated that professors did most of the teaching at JMU, rather than graduate teaching assistants.
“In the end, you get this very well-rounded student with pretty strong interpersonal skills, leadership skills, that allowed me to move up in my industry a lot faster than I think I would have at some other places.”
Since graduating from JMU, Bartee has enjoyed a successful career in the field of information technology, including executive positions at Computer Sciences Corporation, Innovative Systems Solutions, PSC and General Electric. In 1994, he joined McDonald Bradley, a provider of information technology solutions, primarily to agencies of the federal government. During his tenure with McDonald Bradley, he has increased the company’s revenues ten-fold, earning it recognition as one of the fastest growing firms in the Washington, D.C., area, and one of the leading providers of technology services to the federal government.
Bartee recently was a finalist for Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year and a finalist for Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce Government Contractor Small Business Executive of the Year. In October 2005, JMU honored him with the Inez Room Alumni Service Award.
While serving on the EAC requires a significant time commitment for the already-busy corporate executive, Bartee enjoys the opportunity to offer his insights for curriculum development, fund raising and other administrative functions of the council. He, like other EAC members, also mentors students and enjoys helping them in their career development. He hopes to see the College of Business maintain its high rank among business schools nationally and create a few leading edge programs that will draw national attention.
“It starts with feeling so strong about the education I received at JMU,” Bartee says. “When you step back in [after graduating], and you believe that you’re helping others to get that same experience, it feels really good.”
JMU alumnus Peter Santana ('06) graduated with a B.B.A. in finance. Read the article online.
Elizabeth Funkhouser Kistler ('89) graduated from the Virginia Leadership Academy, class of 2007. She received her undergraduate degree from JMU in Computer Information Systems. She works for Coldwell Banker Commercial Funkhouser Realtors of Harrisonburg. Read the article online.