Posts Tagged Alumni

Race Aims to Open Doors to Master’s Program that Finds Jobs for Every Graduate

This article was originally posted March 2012 by The Huntsman Post.

By Paul Lewis Siddoway

Students stuff marshmallows in their partners' mouths to win points for their team during The Amazing Race.

Students stuff marshmallows in their partners’ mouths to win points for their team during The Amazing Race.

Utah State University students raced all over campus recently, competing for prizes such as two vouchers for free airplane tickets, in an event which was aimed at informing students about a Huntsman master’s program, which places 100 percent of its graduates.

On Feb. 16, more than 75 students participated in the event, modeled after the television show, “The Amazing Race.” The race was put on by the Master of Science in Human Resources program and The Agency, a student-run marketing firm at the Huntsman School. Students traveled from station to station answering questions about the MSHR program and competing in physical contests.

Students hold a balloon between them as they make their way up the stairs up Old Main Hill as part of The Amazing Race.

Students hold a balloon between them as they make their way up the stairs up Old Main Hill as part of The Amazing Race.

Lisa Leishman, the MSHR program administrator, said she hoped the event would get the word out that during the two-year program students would be offered the opportunity to complete an international internship. She also wanted people to know that the MSHR program helps every student who graduates find a job.

“The program places 100 percent of our students in professional positions upon graduation,” Lisa said.

Brad Singer, a junior in The Agency, is the account manager who worked with the MSHR program. He said The Agency advertised the race all over campus and online, specifically targeting other majors, such as psychology and sociology. As good as the participation was, the best part was when Julie Pond, a staff assistant for the MSHR program, and Lisa talked to the students about the program while the judges were compiling the data, he said.

Students compete in a three-legged event during The Amazing Race. Photos by Paul Lewis Siddoway

Students compete in a three-legged event during The Amazing Race. Photos by Paul Lewis Siddoway

“The event was fun and the students were able to enjoy themselves,” Brad said. “But I think after they were sitting down and actually listening to Lisa speaking about the MSHR program was the best part of the event. That was the whole point.”

Lisa and Brad said the race might become an annual event, with more participants and more stations around campus each year. Lisa said she felt like the event was a success.

“We were extremely pleased with the number of students who participated in The Amazing Race and the energy they brought to the event,” Lisa said. “They went away with a better understanding of the incredible MSHR program we have here.”


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Police Shootout Brings Sudden Pressure on Huntsman Graduate

This article was originally posted February 2012 by The Huntsman Post.

By Paul Lewis Siddoway

On Jan. 4, 2012, after six Ogden City police officers were shot, Chris Dallin faced a sudden challenge unlike any he had ever encountered before.

Chris Dallin speaks at a press conference. Photo Courtesy of Intermountain Healthcare

Chris Dallin speaks at a press conference. Photo Courtesy of Intermountain Healthcare

Chris, the director of public and government relations of Intermountain Healthcare’s northern region, graduated from Utah State in ‘97 with a degree in human resource management. He said there are lessons and principles he continues to apply that he learned during his years at the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business.

Around 8 p.m. on Jan. 4, six officers from a Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force and Ogden Police Department were shot while serving warrants. The shooting left one officer dead and put the other five, who are now recovering, in the hospital.

When the police officers were taken to McKay-Dee Hospital, Chris said the police department’s spokesperson told reporters if they wanted updates on the condition of the officers, they would need to contact the hospital. He said he faced a barrage of questions from reporters from major national media outlets such as Time MagazineThe Today Show, and the New York Times. Despite the fact that the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) does not allow him to reveal that type of information without patient permission, Chris said he “was constantly receiving requests for updates on the health of the officers” from reporters.

While he had dealt with some tough issues before, he said this was the first time he experienced the type of sudden pressure that came with being in the middle of a major news event. Despite the intensity of the calls, he said he knew he could not release the information, because he had decided years earlier how to act ethically in difficult situations.

He said the way he thinks through these situations always comes back to lessons he learned in the classroom of Caryn Beck-Dudley, who taught law and ethics classes at the Huntsman School and was the dean. He said not one fiscal quarter of the year goes by in which he does not think about, and use, what she taught.

Chris said it is important to recognize the individuals who have helped create your life’s blueprint.

“It is important to understand the parts that make you a person,” Chris said. “USU opened up a lot of opportunities to me.”

Reed Durtschi was another professor who Chris said continues to influence his business decisions. As a member of the senior management team for McKay-Dee Hospital, Chris said he can still hear Durtschi’s voice in his mind.

“Any time the management team talks about consumer price indexes or is considering any financial decision, I remember everything Reed Durtschi taught me, all summed up into ‘Guns and Butter,’ his phrase describing the basket of goods your company is trying to market,” Chris said.

Two other professors Chris cited as helping him become who he is today are Melissa and David Baucus, who, he said, taught him everything from essential vocabulary to critical thinking skills and analytical rigor. He said he is grateful for the things they taught him whenever he interacts with officials from Hill Air Force Base, the Utah State Legislature, and county council members from Davis, Weber, Box Elder, or Cache counties.

“I have always been taught that you can only think as deeply as your vocabulary will allow,” Chris said.

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New Company Aims to Cut the Cost of Textbooks

This article was originally posted December 2011 by The Huntsman Post. is Posting Textbooks Online

By Paul Lewis Siddoway

A student at the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business has teamed up with three recent Huntsman graduates to lead a company that they hope will eventually bring financial relief to thousands of university students who are now expected to come up with more money each semester for textbooks.

The company,, put up its first textbook in November, and professors in Brazil, Canada, Spain, and the United States have committed to post their textbooks on the site.

(From left to right) Rick Champlin, Erin Buttars, Kaden Comadena, and Brad Gessell lead Photo by Sara Eaton

Rick Champlin graduated in May 2011 in economics and business administration and is the COO of He said while the new website offers just the basic text, an upgrade is available for $20 per student, per semester. The upgrade allows students to enter notes in the digital book, have online discussions with classmates, or take quizzes or surveys and get immediate feedback.

Kaden Comadena, the vice president of global strategy who graduated Dec. 2010 in international business, said additional features also would be available to professors who upgrade to utilize them.

“You can read the textbook on your smart phone, your tablet, your laptop, basically any electronic device. So it’s more convenient for students,” said CEO Erin Buttars, who graduated in May 2011 in human resource management and operations management.

Brad Gessell, the CFO, created BookEducator’s accounting system and coordinated with a local law firm to create contracts for the authors. He is finishing up his undergraduate degree in finance and economics.

The incentive for the authors, Kaden said, is that they get to keep the rights to their book instead of surrendering them to the publishers and receiving royalties.

He said the team is taking what they learned during their time at the Huntsman School and applying it to their experience running the company.

“It’s different when you are on campus, hear about start-ups, and analyze business cases,” he said, “but it’s really fun and unique to be in that position right now ourselves.”

The company was founded in Provo in the spring, but has since moved its headquarters to Logan. The idea for the site came from Chad Albrecht, assistant professor in the management department, and his brother Conan, who is now teaching at BYU. Kaden said the two brothers, who are also the main financial investors of the enterprise, placing their trust in four young executives is “a ringing endorsement for the Huntsman School of Business.”

“We laugh and kid sometimes, but we also take our jobs seriously,” he said. “We’ve been entrusted with a pretty big responsibility. I don’t think they’re doing it because we’re good kids. I think they know the education we got from the Huntsman School of Business is a quality education that truly prepares students for leadership roles.”

The new company leaders said they piloted their book at the ESADE Business School in Barcelona, Spain, and are now reaching out to other schools accredited by the International Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Kaden said the toughest part is getting professors to start using the site.

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2,000+ Students Participate in Business Week

This article was originally posted October 2011 by The Huntsman Post.

Business Week Raised Money and Gets Dean in Chef’s Hat
Students Raised $16,000 for Huntsman Cancer Institute

By Paul Lewis Siddoway

As Business Council members look back at Business Week, they say they are grateful for the many student volunteers who helped make the events successful.

Participants in the Last Dash Relay head off on their run. Business Week fundraisers generated $16,000 for the Huntsman Cancer Institute. Photo by: Paul Lewis Siddoway

Business Week, held every autumn, features events and service activities for students, alumni, and friends of the school aimed at giving them the opportunity to network and participate in fundraisers for a worthy cause. The events are sponsored by the Business Council, which is made up of 20 students selected by Utah State University’s business senator, who listen to their classmates and take leadership roles as they contribute to the School’s progress.

This year the Business Council, Sigma Chi Fraternity, and the Armenian Association raised money for the Huntsman Cancer Institute and presented a giant check for $16,000 to Jon M. Huntsman at the Annual Awards Banquet. Scot Marsden, the 2011-2012 Business Senator for the student government and Business Council president, said the money came from events such as the Huntsman Alumni Charity Golf Tournament and donations from sponsors such as ICON Health & Fitness and Cache Valley Electric.

“The tournament raised a significant amount of money for us,” he said, “and we raised a record-breaking amount of money through sponsorships this year.”

Reed Page, a sophomore in economics and international studies, as well as the senior vice president of the Business Council, said all the volunteers who helped out with any one of the 20 events surprised him most from Business Week.

“I was surprised by the volunteers, who weren’t a part of the Business Council or a part of Sigma Chi,” he said. “Just regular business students who came out of the woodwork to fill some needed spots.”

Kailey Larsen, a human resources senior and the service VP on the Business Council, said she was impressed by the number of passersby who took time on their way to class to help put together kits for patients at the Huntsman Cancer Institute and their families who come from out-of-town, each of which consisted of basic home-maintenance tools, first aid supplies and essential hygiene products.

“We had to end the service project early because there were so many people lined up to help, we ran out of things for them to do,” she said. “We had tons of students who wanted to help.”

Mr. Marsden said nearly 2,100 students planned, volunteered at or took part in the activities in Business Week 2011.

Dean Douglas Dean Anderson and Associate Dean Jeffrey Doyle serve hot dogs to Liz Arellano (left) and Sloan Bailey. Photo by: Steve Eaton

Along with the help provided by students, Mr. Reed said he was also pleasantly surprised by some of the events themselves, which he hopes will continue as Huntsman School and Business Week traditions. One such event was “Dog’s with the Deans.” Executive Dean Ken Snyder said the event, held for the first time this year, gave the deans an opportunity to interact with the students in a unique way.

“We always talk about our desire to serve our students,” he said, “but rarely do we get to do so in such a tangible way. We had great fun interacting as we cooked hot dogs and handed them out to hungry students.”

Mr. Reed said he was glad they hosted on-campus fundraising activities that got students and the community to participate, like the Last Dash Relay. Mr. Marsden said he hopes activities like the race and the golf tournament continue as a school tradition, with each year garnering more support from students, alumni, and friends of the Huntsman School.

The Business Council also invited all the Aggies who did not trek to Provo for the BYU game to gather at the Nelson Fieldhouse where they watched the contest on a big screen. Mr. Reed said he would like it to become a tradition which would bring students together for all away games.

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Alumnus named Entrepreneur Of The Year

This article was originally posted August 2011 by The Huntsman Post.

Ernst & Young names Huntsman alumnus Entrepreneur Of The Year

By Paul Lewis Siddoway

A Huntsman graduate, who maintains that his strong ethical beliefs have helped guide his success as an entrepreneur, was recognized recently in Salt Lake City with a prestigious award.

David Jenkins, CEO of Conservice, received the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year award for 2011 in the consumer service category.

The award recognizes outstanding entrepreneurs who demonstrate excellence and success in such areas as innovation, financial performance and personal commitment to their businesses and communities. An independent panel of judges, made up of previous winners of the award, leading CEOs, private capital investors and other regional business leaders, selected Mr. Jenkins. The award was presented at an event at the Grand Ballroom at the Salt Palace Convention Center on June 23, 2011.

Mr. Jenkins started Conservice, a utility management and billing company, in 2000 after earning a bachelor’s degree in business management in 1995 and a master’s degree in human resource management in 1999 from the Huntsman School of Business. Conservice is one of the largest companies of its kind in the United States.

Mr. Jenkins said he has fond memories of his time at the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business.

“It was while I was at Utah State University that I laid the foundation for what has proven to be a rewarding career,” he said. “My education provided a sound foundation upon which I’ve been able to start this successful business. I’ve enjoyed applying what I learned in the classroom to the real world. Of particular value has been the team-based experiences and projects combined with the real-life examples shared by the professors. It is humbling to have been recognized for such a well-respected award representing the overall success of the entire Conservice team.”

Shauna Karren, ’92, management, has been working with Mr. Jenkins for several years. She said he’s had great success in business.

“Some would say Dave’s accomplishments have come in spite of his strong moral and ethical beliefs,” she said. “However, he would say he has succeeded because of them. From day one, it’s been important to Dave to make ethical choices in every situation and to surround himself with others who share the same values.”

She said that Mr. Jenkins would say his success has been “all about the people.”

“One of the best rewards for Dave is providing opportunities for those around him to succeed beyond expectations,” she said. “He also measures success in the degree to which clients are happy with the results Conservice provides for them.”

The Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards Program was started in 1986 and has recognized the founders of Starbucks Coffee Company, eBay, Inc., Build-a-Bear Workshop, Rosetta Stone, Inc. and other companies in more than 50 countries throughout the world.

As a Utah Regional award winner, Mr. Jenkins is now eligible for consideration for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year 2011 National Award. The winners of the multiple national categories, as well as the overall Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year National Award winner, will be announced at the annual awards gala in Palm Springs, Calif., on Nov. 12, 2011.

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A Huntsman alumnus on entrepreneurship and what he learned from the Huntsman School

This article was originally posted June 27, 2011 by the Huntsman School Blog.

Today I talked to a Huntsman alumnus about the innovations his company is making in the aerospace and wind energy industries.

Allan Wood is the CEO of AnalySwift, a company that uses technology developed at Utah State to analyze composite materials and design structures made from them. From helicopter blades to bridges, companies like ATK, Boeing, Siemens and AeroVironment use AnalySwift’s software in their design and analysis. Wood said that they’re also getting involved with companies that produce the blades on wind turbines.

Wood said his experience at USU gave him key knowledge, experience and connections in building up his company.

Wood started AnalySwift this past March with Dr. Wenbin Yu, an associate professor in mechanical and aerospace engineering at USU’s College of Engineering. Wood graduated from USU with dual majors in marketing and finance in 2003, and followed that up with an MBA that included an entrepreneurship emphasis. He said the things he learned at the Huntsman School were invaluable when starting up AnalySwift.

“My MBA classes were heavy with relevant coursework for the activities in which I’m now involved,” Wood said. “I think you get out of it what you put in, and I was thankful to have opportunities for real-life experience through coursework and internships.”

As part of his MBA program, Wood took classes uniquely suited to entrepreneurship, including studies on how viable business ideas are. When he was preparing to start his own business, he took the principles and procedures he learned in case studies and applied them to his own business plan.

“Starting in October, we went through the same feasibility study process for AnalySwift, and it looked very promising,” Wood said. “That gave me confidence that this was a good opportunity.”

Wood said it has not all been very easy, but many of the resources used in the start-up of AnalySwift came from connections made at USU, from the technology they use to legal agreements to the graphic design. They were helped by a grant from the state of Utah’s Technology Commercialization and Innovation Program.

“It took us a little longer that we though to get things moving and get things in place, but we’ve had some help,” Wood said. “We’re still fairly young, so we’ve been doing a lot of the ‘up-front’ stuff the past couple of months and we’re now trying to reach out and contact customers.”

Throughout the course of my experience at USU and the Huntsman School, I’ve made connections with other students and business professionals, and learning about what successful graduates are doing makes me excited to join the ‘real’ world.

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