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Timothy Cousounis, BBA ’72, was appointed managing director of DAI Palliative Care Group, a national consultancy that partners with hospices to build their medical staffs.

Alan Inman, BBA ’73, was recruited on short notice to facilitate and help arrange panelists for the “Family Track” of the Global Peace Convention in Manila, Philippines. Inman helped reorganize convention sessions and workshops for two weeks before the convention began.

Michael Lefkoe, MBA ’73, retired after 32 years in the retail industry. His career included positions at Lit Brothers, John Wanamaker/Carter Hawley Hale and Charming Shoppes, where he was an internal auditor. He was also responsible for accounts payable and the rent department as associate director of accounts payable at Charming. Most recently at Deb Shops, Lefkoe was assistant controller of leasing.

Joseph Badowski, BBA ’76, was awarded the professional insurance designation Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) by the American Institute for CPCU. He works for Harleysville Insurance Company as a liability claims supervisor in the Mid-Atlantic Regional Claims Service Center.


Marc Goldstein, BBA ’80, is celebrating 15 years as principal and owner of Malvern-based GM&P Strategic Advertising, a full-service advertising/marketing agency providing organizations with strategic planning, creative, media planning, execution and production services. Goldstein has 31 years of experience in the advertising/marketing industry.

John Paterakis, BBA ’84, was appointed to the newly established Haitian Relief Commission of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Central America. He will be helping to coordinate all relief efforts in Haiti undertaken by the Greek Orthodox Church globally. Paterakis is first vice chairman of the Board of Church World Service, the relief and development arm of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the U.S.

Justin Brooks, BBA 86, professor at the California Western School of Law, was named one of California’s Top 100 Attorneys in a September 2010 edition of the Los Angeles Daily Journal. This honor marks the third consecutive year in which Brooks has received this recognition. One of four San Diego attorneys to be honored with this award, he is also one of three criminal defense and appeals lawyers in the state to make the list.

Thomas Spearing, BBA ’88, was promoted to president of Hill International’s Project Management Group (Americas), where he will be responsible for managing the company’s project management operations throughout the U.S. Hill International is a global leader in managing construction risk.

Jeffrey Gorke, BBA ’89, has published The Physician’s Guide to the Business of Medicine: Dreams and Realities, a playbook that maps out the business realities physicians and practice administrators must understand in order to identify, seek and find their “dream” practice.


Katayun Jaffari, MBA ’91, a partner in the business department of Saul Ewing LLP and chair of the firm’s Corporate Governance Practice Group, has been elected to the Board of Directors for the Scleroderma Foundation, Delaware Valley Chapter. She was also named one of Philadelphia Business Journal’s “40 under 40,” an annual list of individuals younger than 40 who are proven performers in their respective industries and have made Greater Philadelphia a better place to live and do business.

Karen Jett, BBA ’91, has been inducted into the Montgomery County Community College Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame. Jett is principal of Jett Excellence, which helps executives turn values into business practices. She is also an active member of the Institute of Management Accountants and an adjunct professor at Villanova University, where she teaches certified management accountant review courses.

Ron Iller, MBA 93, accepted a position as senior manager with a global consulting firm, The North Highland Company, to start a local healthcare practice helping hospitals and healthcare systems take advantage of new technologies and navigate through healthcare reform and Meaningful Use requirements. He also received certification in Healthcare Information and Management Systems from the Healthcare Information Management Systems Society.

Kevin Darrington, MBA ’98, chief financial officer of Tops Friendly Markets, has been named CFO of the Year by Business First of Buffalo. Tops is a full-service grocery retailer in western and central New York and northwestern Pennsylvania. Darrington is a certified public accountant and has previously worked for Pathmark Stores, Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacy and Foot Locker.


John Tancredi, BBA ’02, opened his own collectible toys company at

Scott Sampson, MS ’03, accepted a new position as business systems analyst and tester with Vanguard Group in Valley Forge, Pa.

Sophie Shuklin, BBA ’04, is now a principal consultant for a boutique consulting firm, Atidan LLC.

Lawrence Spruel, BBA ’06, helped bring a supermarket to the North Philadelphia community, serving as treasurer of the board of directors of Progress Plaza Shopping Center.

Sherri Napoli, BBA ’08, is now a contract specialist at Defense Supply Center Philadelphia.

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Jose Plehn-Dujowich, an assistant professor of accounting and finance, has received aNational Science Foundation (NSF) grant for a project titled, “The Sources and Consequences of Product Innovations in the U.S. Economy.”

Plehn-Dujowich proposes to explore the connection between firm characteristics and product introductions to uncover whether new products predominantly originate from new versus established firms. Then the link between new products and entrepreneurial activity is studied to understand whether and to what extent product innovations spur new entrepreneurial activity. Finally, the contribution of product innovations to economic growth is assessed.

The contribution of the project is on two major fronts. First, the project creates a novel longitudinal database that associates narrowly defined products with firms over time. Second, the project has important policy implications pertaining to the establishment of research and development-intensive ventures in general, and small firms and start-ups in particular.

If small, young firms are responsible for more product innovations than old, large firms, then government policy should aim toward subsidizing innovation efforts in small, young firms so as to maximize the government’s return on investment and the favorable impact of entrepreneurship on society.

In addition to funding from the NSF, Plehn-Dujowich has received grants from the Kauffman Foundation, U.S. Small Business Administration and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

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Joyce Shaeker, a native of India, speaks five languages. But in the moments after she received her U.S. citizenship during a naturalization ceremony at Temple, she was at a loss for words.

“I feel like I’m in heaven right now,” Shaeker said, her eyes closed in reflection. “I don’t have words to express, but I’m very, very happy.”

Immigration and Naturalization Ceremony

Shaeker was one of 50 new citizens representing 33 countries to officially become United States citizens during the ceremony, held Jan. 26 in the Fox School of Business’ Alter Hall. The Fox School’s Legal Studies Department organized the event during Law Week, designed to give students a first-hand look at the law in action.

Shaeker was also one of at least four new citizens with Temple connections, although hers was perhaps the most striking. Within a span of just two days, she earned both her citizenship and a diploma in accounting — both within the Fox School.

Others with Temple ties had similar stories of accomplishment.

For Magdalena Anna Korecka, who came to American from Poland in 1996, becoming a citizen was a family affair. Daughters Paulina and Aleksandra joined her as all three received their certificates.

“Since we’ve been here that long, it’s kind of a check box to formalize everything, but it does feel a little more distinguished now that we really count as being in this country,” Paulina Korecka said.

Aleksandra Korecka, a Tyler School of Art student graduating in May, attended the ceremony between classes. She had a pragmatic reaction to her new nationality: “I hear it’s going to be easier to get a job now that I’m a citizen.”

Mark Collins arrived in the U.S. from England in 1991 as a postdoctoral worker at Wayne State University. Collins, who said his college friends call him “the most English person they know,” thought his stay would last two years. He received his green card in 2002, married wife Beth — a two-time Fox School graduate — in 2004 and had twin boys three years later.

“So I figured it was time,” he said with a laugh.

Rulla Aswad, a native of Syria, also plans to raise her family here. Aswad earned her master’s degree in oral biology from Temple and is a former part-time faculty member. She’s currently caring for her 1-year-old twin boys, Kareem and Amir, in addition to 7-year-old daughter Rama.

“I have been waiting for this day for a long time,” Aswad said. “This is home for me. This is the country I want to live in and raise my kids. I feel more secure by being a citizen.”

Fox School Dean M. Moshe Porat, who immigrated to America in 1976, spoke during the event, as did U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Section Chief Phillip Browndeis. He said the gathered immigrants might have applied for citizenship to join family, to search for a better quality of life or to escape persecution. Either way, he said, the “United States is a better country with your presence.”

A few feet away sat Joseph Dechemin, a native of Haiti who, like the rest of the new citizens, held a small American flag. Unlike the other citizens, he also wore a leather jacket with USA printed across the back.

“I like this because this is the flag of America. I like it because I want to have freedom. That’s why I got this coat,” he said. “Today is a big day in my life, because this is my ceremony.”

– Brandon Lausch

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

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A five-year study co-authored by a Fox School of Business professor has found that a national report card on nursing homes, which allows consumers to compare the quality of care provided by one facility to another, appears to motivate nursing homes to genuinely improve care.

Jacqueline S. Zinn, a professor of Risk, Insurance and Healthcare Management, served as co-principal investigator on the $1.5 million research project, funded by the National Institute of Aging.

She and her colleagues examined the response to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Nursing Home Compare website, a database intended to inform consumers, provide direction for state regulators and encourage quality improvement among nursing homes. Published annually since 2002, Nursing Home Compare reports scores on 19 clinical quality measures for nursing homes across the country. It is accessible at

“Fairly major investments in staffing and equipment were reported as being made solely in response to the publication of Nursing Home Compare,” Zinn said. “We found that, indeed, nursing homes appear to be incentivized to invest in clinical quality.”

The researchers concluded that “a substantial portion” of nursing homes now see the report card as influencing decision-making and that the facilities’ responses to the data reflected the extent to which they felt publication made a difference in the choices made by consumers, hospital discharge planners, case managers and others.

For example, nursing homes with low scores were three times more likely to invest in staff and equipment than high-quality facilities in competitive markets, offering further support that quality-measure data publication is perceived to have a competitive impact.

Zinn and her colleagues also examined the potential for dysfunctional responses to score publication, including evidence of “cream skimming,” or avoidance of high-risk admissions that could contribute to poorer scores. While there was some evidence of cream skimming with respect to patients admitted with pain or cognitive limitations, there was none with respect to other high-risk conditions.

To determine whether facilities responded to publication by “teaching to the test,” the researchers examined whether some nursing homes – such as those operated for profit or those with lower reported quality or occupancy – shifted more resources toward clinical services reflected in the reported quality measures and away from investments in hotel-type amenities.

This would be a reaction to increased consumer attention to clinical services as inferred from the published clinical quality measures, as consumers were more focused on hotel services, such as dietary or social programs, in the pre-report card era. The researchers found that while additional resources were invested in clinical services, investments in hotel-type services were not diminished.

Zinn emphasized that improvements in risk adjustment of the quality measures is key to increasing accuracy of the data for comparison purposes. When researchers made more rigorous adjustments to the report card’s risk-adjustment methodology, Zinn said “the ranking of some individual facility scores shifted substantially.”

Despite the methodological limitations, she said there are many positives in releasing quality measures for one of the most heavily regulated industries in the country.

“There’s a strong suggestion that this policy was successful, in terms of changing nursing home behavior,” she said.

Zinn conducted the study with principal investigator Dana B. Mukamel of the University of California, Irvine, as well as David L. Weimer of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and William Spector of the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

– Brandon Lausch

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Fox School students took home the first-place prize, two individual awards and one honorable mention at the seventh annual CIBER Case Challenge in Columbus.

Hosted by The Ohio State University’s Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER), the competition brings together 15 teams from the United States, Europe and Asia to analyze and present an international business case to judges. Each team consists of four members who are split up and placed with students from other schools for the competition. Courtney Miller, Mohamed Ali Niang, Aniruddha Shyamasundar and Tereze Sinno made up the team from Temple’s CIBER, based at the Fox School.

Niang was a member of this year’s first-place team, Catalyst Solutions. Individually, Niang and Sinno both earned best question-and-answer awards in the preliminary round, while Niang also took the final round honorable mention award.

Niang said the case told the story of a company that, after several failed attempts to bring water filtration systems to developing countries, decided to focus on providing irrigation to the U.S. market. The teams’ challenge: to decide whether this was a wise, profitable move.

But with 23 hours to prepare and only 20 minutes to present in each round, their task was not easy – not to mention that the students must collaborate with peers they have known only a day-and-a-half.

The night before he presented with his team – which also included Georgia State University’s Olufunke Taiwo, Ohio State’s Kai Song and the University of Maryland’s Jennifer He – Niang only got three hours of sleep, from 3 a.m. to 6 a.m.

Morale and energy were low. But after the team’s first round, things started to improve.

“We went from thinking, ‘I don’t want to get out of bed because we’re going to lose,’ to ‘Maybe we’re going to win,’” Niang said. His team recommended the hypothetical company continue its overseas efforts to allow for a profitable, sustainable business that “could save thousands,” he said.

“If you can’t succeed abroad, how are you going to succeed here (in the U.S.) with so much competition?” he added. “We’re not just talking about business. We’re talking about how to do well by doing good.”

The competition is not so much a business experience, but a “life experience,” Niang said. Assistant Professor of Strategic Management Arun Kumaraswamy, the Temple team coach, tried to convey that message during the seven weeks of practices leading to the competition.

“One main priority for me was to get them to remember the theories that they were taught – they are important – but, at the same time, make allowances for the uncertainty and incompleteness inherent in real-life situations,” Kumaraswamy said.

Kumaraswamy has coached the teams for the last three years. Both first-place teams at the last two competitions included one student from Fox.

“He’s the common denominator,” Temple CIBER Director Kim Cahill said of the students’ back-to-back successes under Kumaraswamy’s leadership. “Temple CIBER is very grateful for his voluntary leadership of this important initiative.”

Kumaraswamy, however, declined to take credit for these successes.

“This is like basketball. The coach can draw the plays and motivate from the sidelines. But, in the end, it’s the players who improvise and perform during game-time to get the win,” he said. “So, the students deserve much of the credit for their performance.”

– Chelsea Calhoun

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The Fox School of Business continues to strengthen its presence in the regional business community through an important partnership with the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce (GPCC) as a sponsor of its executive leadership forums.

Most recently, the Fox School co-sponsored GPCC’s Women in the Workforce professional advancement forum on Dec. 15. The half-day program at the Hyatt at the Bellevue featured a panel of five prominent female executives including Brigitte Daniel, executive vice president of Wilco Electronic Systems, Inc.; Risa Vetri Ferman, district attorney for Montgomery County; Wendy Hamilton, general manager of SugarHouse Casino, Patricia Hasson, president of Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Delaware Valley; and Joanne Lewers, partner of Drinker Biddle. The women shared their stories, business tips and networking advice with an enthusiastic crowd, which included four Fox School staff members.

Because GPCC is an organization that resonates with the business community, the Fox School’s partnership is key in expanding area name recognition and brand marketing. Prior to the Women in the Workforce event, Fox worked with GPCC on its Nov. 10 Leadership Forum, which focused on building a skilled workforce in a tough economic climate.

The program, held at the PNC Bank Center, featured remarks from two Fox School administrators: Phyllis Tutora, director of graduate enrollment management, and Carol Orenstein, executive director of Graduate Career Management and Executive Education.

“The support and generosity of the Fox School of Business allows our Chamber to provide quality programming for our regional business community,” Chamber President and CEO Rob Wonderling said. “They are a key partner of ours and we look forward to working together in the future.”

The Fox School plans to continue its sponsorship of GPCC events in 2011, with participation in two executive leadership forums in March and May.

– Julie Achilles

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Tony Zook, executive vice president of AstraZeneca, recently visited Dr. George Chressanthis and his Sales and Sales Management class for a conversational presentation on sales and marketing in the pharmaceutical business.

Zook is a senior executive with one of world’s leading pharmaceutical companies with 2009 global sales of $32.8 billion. He reviewed sales and marketing strategies and common challenges that arise in the research and development process. Acknowledging the unpredictable nature of business, Zook emphasized the importance of balancing ethical behaviors with successful strategies. With 26 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, Zook impressed both students and faculty.

“For many students, it was the first time they were able to have an intimate, close-up discussion with a senior executive like Tony Zook – a rare treat,” said Dr. George Chressanthis, the professor of healthcare management and marketing who hosted the Nov. 4 presentation. Chressanthis was formerly senior director of commercial strategic analysis for AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals at its U.S. headquarters in Wilmington, Del.

Zook’s visit was the fourth installment of a six-part speaker series designed by Chressanthis. Carefully selecting speakers whose experiences best correlate with the Sales and Sales Management course material, Chressanthis said students appreciated Zook’s conversational approach and excellent career advice.

The speaker series concluded with visits from Robert Gabruk, AVP and North American Practice Leader for Enterprise Analytics Practice, a division of Cognizant Technology Solutions, and Chris Wright, Managing Principal and U.S. Pharmaceutical Practice Leader of ZS Associates, on Nov. 18 and Nov. 30, respectively. Chressanthis is now organizing speakers for a spring semester series given the success of the fall series.

– Meg Hughes

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

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Phil Lea

In late 2009, Fox School of Business marketing professor Jean Wilcox received a call from a friend who had grand plans for using social media to orchestrate a global event to mark Oct. 10, 2010 – or 10-10-10.

Although a worldwide phenomenon didn’t materialize, Wilcox used the idea to inspire ongoing 10-10-10 projects in her entrepreneurial marketing classes, which for the past two semesters have raised money for charity.

The concept: Give 10 student teams $10 each and have them multiply that money by a factor of 10 – all for social good.

“As soon as I turned the idea loose in that classroom, the energy in the class went through the roof,” Wilcox said.

In its inaugural semester in Spring 2010, 18 student teams raised more than $5,500 for an array of charities, from Alex’s Lemonade Stand to the ALS Association. This semester, 20 teams in two classes more than tripled that amount to collect in excess of $17,300 – not including donations of good or services worth an additional $2,100.

Not bad for a $200 investment.

This semester, charities ranged from the local – such as the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra and Mural Arts Program – to well-known nonprofits, including Susan G. Komen for the Cure and Live Aid. Other charities benefitting from this year’s project included a wheelchair basketball organization and a company in Calcutta, India, that helps women escape sex slavery.

The top-earning student team was Broadcast for Vince, a scholarship fund in honor of the late father of senior marketing major Mark Raimondo. Vince Raimondo, a Haverford High School and Temple graduate who worked in radio for more than three decades, died this summer from colon cancer.

Through online donations, CD sales and events – including guest bartending and a benefit concert – the group netted $4,700 for the scholarship, which will benefit Haverford High School students who demonstrate financial need and plan to pursue careers in broadcasting or communications.

“The hands-on factor was really unique, and I’ve never had any other class like that,” Raimondo said. “It really helped me understand how much work is involved in setting up a business.”

Added teammate Brandon Burkholder, also a senior marketing major: “I think the project helps students see, from a fundamental business aspect, the different items they�re going to come across” in the professional world.

Like Raimondo, the 10-10-10 project was deeply personal for Brian Tomczuk, whose group – Phil-Lea Phoundation – raised money and donated supplies to benefit his sister, Jamie, a first-year middle school teacher at Henry C. Lea School in West Philadelphia.

Tomczuk, a local hip-hop artist known as Tom Charles, held a fundraiser at a DJ event while a teammate, who is a massage therapist, offered free sessions with all tips going to their charity.

The team raised nearly $1,300, in addition to boxes of paper and other supplies, and visited the classroom of Tomczuk’s sister on Dec. 1 to present final donations and participate in class activities.

“They’re underprivileged, and to contribute to their education, to contribute to their learning experience, is the best feeling ever,” Tomczuk said.

Wilcox wraps the 10-10-10 project around relevant topics such as event planning and social media marketing. She also holds a “shark tank” exercise at the beginning of the semester where student teams must convince a panel of business professionals that they’ll earn back their $10.

“These students have really exceeded everybody’s expectations of what they are capable of doing. Seeing them get this excited about a project that does so much good is incredibly rewarding,” Wilcox said, nearing tears. “That’s why I teach.”

– Brandon Lausch

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On a recent Friday and Saturday, students in Temple University’s new Master of Landscape Architecture (MLArch) program found themselves not in a classroom but camping out in the lush fields and woodlands of the 192-acre Lindsay Tract in Warwick Township, Bucks County.

The trip wasn’t a break from regular studies; it was an important part of connecting with and studying woodland properties owned by Heritage Conservancy, a not-for-profit conservation organization that specializes in open space preservation, planning for sustainable communities, natural resource protection, adaptive reuse and wildlife habitat restoration.

The Department of Landscape Architecture and Horticulture, part of Temple’s School of Environmental Design in the College of Liberal Arts, has partnered with the Fox School of Business’ MBA program to study the economic potential of Heritage’s woodland sites while maintaining its commitment to environmental protection and restoration.

A team of Fox MBA students are working as part of the school’s Enterprise Management Consulting (EMC) Practice, a required capstone consulting experience, to develop a self-financing and ecologically renewing sustainable woodlands program for 50 Heritage Conservancy-owned properties.

“They are exploring strategies for ‘conservation economics’ – unlocking the economic potential of woodlands while preserving, and in some cases restoring, the environmental health of the properties,” said Dr. Mary Myers, chair of the Department of Landscape Architecture and Horticulture. “The Fox School approached us about handling the environmental analysis of the properties, and we felt it would be a very good project for our new Woodland Design Studio. I’m not aware of this being done anywhere else in the country — landscape architects, business people and ecologists talking and developing a viable plan together.”

With the MLArch students’ inventory and recommendations for sustainable harvesting and use on the Lindsay Tract, EMC students will craft a business plan — inspired but not limited by the tract design — for a novel model for regenerating woodlands while garnering revenues for the project and the conservancy as a whole, essentially sustaining the woodlands as well as Heritage.

EMC Managing Director TL Hill and Louise Tritton, a new project manager with a PhD in forest ecology and extensive experience as a forester, environmental consultant and conservationist, are supervising the Fox students.

“We hope that this study will become a model for other properties and believe that other individuals, land trusts and conservancies could benefit from this research,” sayid Cliff David, president of Heritage Conservancy and a member of the School of Environmental Design’s Board of Visitors.

Under the direction of Dr. Myers and John Munro, instructor in Landscape Architecture and Horticulture, MLArch students are studying the existing conditions of the Lindsay Tract site, advising on a tool for assessing the potential of other Heritage properties and developing potential environmentally sustainable uses for the location that wouldn’t negatively impact the biodiversity of the land.

Developing a detailed design for the tract “will help to ground the economic modeling and help to focus the inventory tool,” Hill said.

“At the same time, the concrete design will prove useful for marketing, fundraising and developing the kind of pilot that builds momentum for the bigger vision,” he said.

The Master of Landscape Architecture students presented their initial findings to Heritage Conservancy and Fox School students involved in the study on Oct. 8.

According to Hill, initial ideas for generating revenues from Heritage woodlands include woodland food and nursery products, forest gardening, regenerative forestry and woodland-based services, such as a ropes course, canopy trails and education or retreat space. The strategy and business model phase of the project will start with meetings with staff and board members to devise a strategy, accounting for both risk and reward, he added.

The EMC team will then generate a detailed implementation plan supported by financial models. The plan, expected by March, will be packaged to support requests for start-up capital and strategic partnerships.

– James Duffy and Brandon Lausch

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Since his graduation from the Fox School of Business in 1982, Philadelphia native Larry Miller has been blazing trails – as Nike’s first African-American vice president and now as the president of the Portland Trail Blazers.

“One thing I took away from Temple University is how they instilled in me that I could go out and compete with anyone else from any other school in the world,” said Miller, who earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting, during a Nov. 29 Executive in Residence presentation at Alter Hall. “Temple gave me the tools and knowledge.”

During his time at Nike, Miller served as both a vice president and a general manager. His claim to fame at the company – he humbly admits – was managing the Michael Jordan brand.

After Jordan’s last foray into professional basketball, Miller was a strong proponent of sustaining the brand, and he did so in a big way. When Jordan retired, the brand was worth $200 million. Today, it is worth more than $1 billion.

But Miller humbly attributes this success to a stroke of luck.

“When Michael Jordan came out of college, nobody knew he was going to be Michael Jordan,” Miller told more than 100 students at the Executive in Residence event, organized by Temple’s School of Tourism and Hospitality Management. “To me, the timing and the situation were right and came together.”

Through his leadership at Nike, he was offered the position as president of the Portland Trail Blazers. He said once he makes a decision to take a job, he gives 1,000 percent and never looks back.

“I made this decision, and now I’m going to do everything to make this the right decision,” he explained of taking the Trail Blazers job and every other position he previously held. “At every job, my goal has always been, ‘How can I make a contribution? How can I leave it better than I found it?’”

He said despite the challenges that come with managing a professional sports team – namely, incessant scrutiny from the public and the media over any decision he makes for the business – he enjoys working in the sports industry.

“Part of what makes sports so great is that it’s not just opinions, it’s passion,” Miller said. “There’s a passion people feel for sports that is hard to find in other areas. It’s a blessing and a curse at the same time.”

He said maintaining stability as a leader, especially in a business full of wins and losses, is one of the keys to his success.

“Tomorrow’s another day,” he said. “That’s the most important take-away.”

– Morgan Zalot

Friday, December 3, 2010

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Dr. Neeraj Bharadwaj

About 74.5 million people in the United States age 20 and older have high blood pressure, and more than 56,000 died from the condition in 2006.

Armed with those statistics from the American Heart Association, a team of full-time MBA students at the Fox School of Business set out to market a revolutionary device: an implantable blood-pressure monitor that can mount to an artery wall and send readings to a receiver.

The piece of equipment, good for five years, could potentially be more accurate than current monitors, so a name and tagline were born: Accustat, “because you’re the heart of your family.”

The four Fox students – Mahesh Sharma, Steve Lauer, Charissa Fahnestock and Philly Zhang – who devised the name and corresponding marketing plan are just one of eight MBA teams developing marketing plans for a variety of products, ranging from a brain-to-computer interface to a rat treadmill.

But the MBAs, all students in Assistant Professor Dr. Neeraj Bharadwaj’s Marketing Strategy course, aren’t researching and marketing pretend products or those that are already on the market. Instead, through a new partnership, Bharadwaj’s students are working with undergraduate Temple engineering students who are designing products for their senior projects.

After months of e-mail correspondence and at least one face-to-face meeting, the Fox MBAs and engineering students publicly presented their plans during Senior Design Day, held Nov. 18 in the Howard Gittis Student Center.

After the engineering groups outlined their design concepts, the MBA teams explained their corresponding marketing plans, which included identifying the target market and specifying the requisite product, price, place and promotion.

For another MBA team, which produced a marketing plan for a guitar amplifier and sophisticated software package, the partnership offered a unique opportunity to apply theoretical concepts to real-world products.

“It’s different because it’s a new, innovative product and, potentially, we could actually do it,” MBA student Seth Hagarty said of his team’s marketing efforts for Victory Amplification. “It’s not just an example or a case study.”

The amplification system and software package allows amateur musicians to replicate the sounds of their favorite rock stars. To research the needs of Victory’s target market, team member Sonal Bedi said the group even spent a day with a local guitarist.

Fellow team member Kyle Dumont said the collaboration provided a good platform for student organizations – such as the MBA and MS Student Association – to further integrate and network with one another.

“Learning to communicate outside of the MBA world – that was the greatest benefit,” team member Ryan Taylor added.

Bharadwaj emphasized that the project – which evolved from a meeting this summer with Fox School Vice Dean Rajan Chandran and Engineering Associate Dean George Baran – could lead to further mentorship and additional partnerships.

The College of Engineering is equally excited. Dr. Joseph Picone, professor and chair of electrical engineering, said he couldn’t ask for a better partner.

“Especially at Fox, because Fox is such a superb school,” he said.

– Brandon Lausch

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

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Dr. Derek Avery believes that “research is me-search.” Although you won’t find an autobiography in his 20-page curriculum vitae, dozens of his articles, book chapters, cases and columns have been prompted by his personal philosophy and experience.

Avery is a leading expert in workplace discrimination and diversity, including how gender, race and ethnicity affect employee recruitment, retention, engagement and performance, among many other issues. He is one of 19 full-time faculty members to join the Fox School in Fall 2010 and one of two new additions to the Human Resource Management (HRM) Department.

Avery joins Fox as an associate professor with tenure. Most recently, he taught psychology and management at the University of Houston, but he says he feels more at home in business – especially in a business school known for its diversity.

Nationally respected for his leadership in the field, Avery has received many honors, including best paper awards and recognition in Academic Key’s “Who’s Who in Business Higher Education.” In 2006, he was named one of 35 inaugural Rutgers University Leaders in Diversity.

Avery’s vitae features nearly 50 publications and studies on topics ranging from customer discrimination and workplace recruitment to demographics of professional sports teams.

“I love to study the underdog,” he said. “If I can provide enough education for folks who are learning to become the leaders of tomorrow to be able to institute these practices and policies in their organizations, then we won’t continue to make the same mistakes in terms of underutilizing people.”

Avery said the idea of equality was an integral part of his upbringing – both his father and grandfather were civil rights attorneys. This fall, he is teaching two undergraduate courses at Fox – intro to human resource management and a special topics course in diversity. He said his favorite strategy in the classroom is to keep students “off-balance” and “outside of their comfort zones,” presenting them with difficult scenarios they could face in the workplace.

And Fox students aren’t the only ones excited by Avery’s move to Philadelphia. Dr. Patrick McKay, associate professor of human resource management at nearby Rutgers, is one of Avery’s closest colleagues – and best friends.

“I strongly admire Derek. He’s old-fashioned in that he works hard and earns the respect of his colleagues,” McKay said. “Given his reputation in the field, he brings an air of prestige, quality and productivity to the department.”

This type of work ethic is allowing Avery to work on six ongoing projects, including one that explores how fans support NBA teams in regard to the demographic make-up of

the players. Another project seeks to understand if customers prefer to be waited on by an employee of the same race.

Avery is a prolific author and has published more than 30 articles in major journals, including the Journal of Applied Psychology, Personnel Psychology, Journal of Organizational Behavior and Journal of Business and Psychology. Amid his own projects, he also finds time to serve on the editorial boards of five journals, including the Journal of Applied Psychology and Personnel Psychology.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Tulane University and his master’s degree and PhD in industrial/organizational psychology from Rice University.

Deanna Geddes, associate professor and chair of Fox’s Human Resource Management Department, said Avery “will be a great complement to our existing faculty.”

“We look forward to having him provide top teaching and research for many years,” she said.

– Julie Achilles

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Media Contact: Brandon Lausch, 215-204-4115,

The Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute (IEI) recently honored Temple students, faculty and alumni at its 13th annual Innovative Idea Competition Awards Reception.

Second-year MBA student Lev Davidson and his faculty partner, Dr. Eric Borguet, professor of chemistry from the College of Science and Technology, were awarded the grand prize of $1,000 cash and $1,500 in Microsoft products for their business, NANOpure Technologies.

NANOpure is working to create groundbreaking carbon nanotubes that are significantly purer in construction and require less time and money to produce than existing options. These nanotubes, which look simply like black sand to the naked eye, are 50,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair and 100 times stronger than steel – at just one-sixth the weight. The practical applications of the growing nanotechnology industry include flat-panel display and advanced water filtration systems.

When Davidson first began working on the project, these concepts were as foreign to him as to the next business student. But through a pilot program matching Temple faculty inventors with MBA students expressing interest in tech start-ups, Davidson was paired with Borguet, and the two worked off of complementing skill sets. The program was coordinated by Temple’s Office of Technology Transfer and the IEI.

“This partnership has been such a fruitful experience,” Davidson said. “It has been an amazing education in how to commercialize something, how to take it from the lab to the market.”

“This win was especially meaningful,” added Jaine Lucas, executive director of the IEI.” It’s a strong validation that our MBA student-faculty inventor partnerships are working.”

In addition to the grand prize, the IEI awarded first and second places in graduate and undergraduate tracks during the Oct. 20 ceremony. In the upper track, first place went to Plastisoil, a collaboration between Jabber Al-Bihani and Dr. Naji Khoury from the College of Engineering. Second place was awarded to Angulous Orthopaedics, another MBA-faculty inventor team composed of Mike Mittelman and Dr. Jason Piraino from the School of Podiatric Medicine.

In the undergraduate track, Fox students were awarded both first and second prizes – Mohamed Ali Niang for Malo Traders and Mike Cangi for Impact Racing.

This year, students and faculty from 11 Temple colleges took part in the Innovative Idea Competition. Many of the participants will next compete in the IEI’s annual Be Your Own Boss Bowl (BYOBB) business plan competition, which offers more than $65,000 in cash and prizes. The BYOBB emphasizes the quality of the business plan, rather than the idea, and participation in the Innovative Idea Competition beforehand is not required.

Lucas said the Innovative Idea Competition is ideal for students, faculty, alumni and staff with innovative new products and services that can become the basis for new businesses and technology start-ups. The student-faculty partnerships serve as a foundation for turning a complicated, technology-heavy idea into a working business plan.

“It’s exciting that we got the recognition we did, because it highlights the fact that there are so many amazing technologies coming out of Temple, and there are real meaningful commercial opportunities for them,” Davidson said. “Innovation is happening at Temple, and I think these kinds of partnerships will bring them to market.”

– Julie Achilles

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Media Contact: Brandon Lausch, 215-204-4115,

Dr. Harold

Charles Pizzi’s first few years at Tasty Baking Company were strikingly similar to an episode of Undercover Boss.

He could have spent his time as president and CEO of the iconic Tastykake brand in a comfortable, shiny office. Instead, Pizzi rode with delivery drivers and visited the IT and finance departments, asking his employees, “What do you think?”

This humble attitude helped revitalize and rebrand the struggling Tasty Baking Company, which had outgrown its North Philadelphia plant when Pizzi arrived in 2002.

Pizzi shared his story with attendees of the third annual Fox Conference, organized and produced by the Fox MBA and MS Student Association. The daylong conference, held Nov. 12 in Alter Hall, was themed “Dollars, Cents and Society: Measuring Corporate Social Responsibility.”

“Good business can do good things,” Pizzi continued, noting that Tasty Baking Company now operates the world’s largest green bakery from its new home at the Philadelphia Naval Yard in South Philadelphia.

With no previous experience in the food business, Pizzi was honest with himself in learning how to turn around the company. Seeking to strengthen the Tastykake brand, he used his networks of contacts from the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce and recruited trusted brands such as Aramark, Hershey, McCormack Spices and Campbell’s Soup as partners. Before joining Tastykake, Pizzi served as chamber president for 13 years.

He emphasized the importance of communication and mutual respect in business relationships.

“Leaders work as a team and believe in the institution of the company before themselves,” he said.

A Philadelphia native, Pizzi also advocates good business by supporting local universities and making it a priority to complete community outreach projects with organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters and City Year.

“We were looking to host a Philadelphia-based company that’s growing and going through a transformation,” said Jennifer Aglira, vice president of events for the MBA Student Association. “And Tasty Baking Company is a great example of this.”

Tastykake’s mascot, Kirby the Krimpet, concluded Pizzi’s visit by posing for pictures with participants and handing out complimentary treats.

In addition to Pizzi’s address, the Fox Conference featured a morning keynote speech from Simran Sidhu, executive director of YouthBuild Philadelphia Charter School, as well as a career expo and breakout panels on corporate social responsibility and brand imaging.

“It’s becoming more and more profitable for businesses to give back,” said Beth Eichman, a part-time MBA student and organizer of the 2010 Fox Conference. “And we want to help instill this culture of bettering society.”

– Julie Achilles

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Media Contact: Brandon Lausch, 215-204-4115,

Talk about a room with a view.

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The Fox School’s Management Information Systems (MIS) department recently transformed Speakman Hall Room 200 from a traditional classroom into a high-tech meeting and events space that features wireless projectors, innovative lighting, large whiteboards and easily movable furniture.

The room’s most stunning feature: A full wall that’s capable of displaying one large projection or up to a dozen smaller laptop-driven images simultaneously.

That means 12 people can use their laptops from anywhere in the room to connect wirelessly to a projection system that allows them to display all of their images at once on a wall that’s more than 21 feet long and 5 feet wide.

And there’s no need for specialized laptops. Just take a few minutes to download a software program and go.

“That kind of flexibility, there is no lab like this anywhere in the world,” MIS Chairman Munir Mandviwalla said. “And we did it for less than half the cost of a normal tech-enabled classroom.”

In addition to the video wall and three wireless projectors – made by Optoma – the room also features innovative tables and chairs from the HON Company that can easily nest with one another and be wheeled into storage or around the room to create a breakout space. David Spiegel, of Audio General, Inc., served as the systems integrator for Optoma and other related projection equipment.

“The concept of flexible spaces has been around for a long time, but it is only now that technologies such as wireless projection and furniture such as the HON tables have converged to make these spaces feasible and convenient,” Mandviwalla said.

Speakman 200, within minutes, can transform from a wide-open event space into a meeting room or a breakout group model. The room’s power outlets are embedded into the floor and encourage flexibility by keeping wires close to workstations instead of snaking to walls and creating barriers for movement.

The lighting uses simple baffles to direct light downward and reduce glare rather than relying on complex and expensive custom fixtures.

The room, a year-and-a-half in the making, was finished earlier this year and benefited from partnerships with Temple’s purchasing and computer services groups. Within a month, MIS Coordinator of Technology Manoj Chacko had already identified a video upgrade to further improve performance at a lower cost. And for MIS, that’s the point: technology that’s easy to use and low in cost.

“Everything becomes faster, smaller, more integrated and more flexible. That’s been the history of computing,” Mandviwalla said. “And in the creation of smart spaces, we are the prime example of leveraging it.”

– Chelsea Calhoun