Engineering and Business Intersect through Faculty Fellowship

EXIF 8/20/10 @9:26:50 AM - (Photography by Chad Greene)

Dr. John Bell

John Bell, associate professor of supply chain management at the Haslam College of Business, was recently named the 2015-16 fellow for the Center for Transportation Research in UT’s College of Engineering.

The center seeks to foster a community of researchers and educators at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, who are committed to improving all aspects of transportation. The fellowship will allow Bell to further pursue research on efficient vehicle routing and transportation management.

Bell is exploring different routing algorithms that track demand patterns across the United States. “This work is aimed at reducing fuel costs and improving transportation delivery times for highly variable commercial delivery routes,” Bell said.

This is the second year that a member of the Department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management at Haslam has received the fellowship. Last year, Mary Holcomb received the award.

David Clarke, the center’s director, uses the expertise of fellows to inform the research direction of the center. “John Bell was selected to help facilitate communication between people involved in supply chain management and transportation,” Clarke said. “Engineers need to understand the demands supply chain makes on transportation in order to accommodate these demands in the best possible ways.”

Bell was chosen based on his current research and experience addressing civil engineering students on transportation.

“Several of our faculty have been working with colleagues in civil engineering and industrial and systems engineering on important supply chain, logistics and transportation problems,” Bell said. “In the end, our combined team should be able to accomplish more effective and insightful research in this manner.”

Posted in 2015

Haslam Alum Chosen to Judge SEC Symposium Pitch Competition

David StevensDavid Stevens (’75) was selected to represent the University of Tennessee as a judge in the first student business pitch competition during the annual SEC Symposium. The competition will take place in Atlanta on September 21. Stevens is one of 12 judges, each an alumnus of a different school from the Southeastern Conference.

“I think it’s great background for anyone who wants to go into business,” Stevens said. “There is nothing like going through the pitfalls and starts and stops of starting a business.”

Lynn Youngs, executive director of the Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, chose Stevens to represent Haslam for his experience on both sides of the pitch. Stevens founded a pharmacy services company called Accredo Health in 1996 and took it public in 1999. He is now a private equity investor who focuses on providing capital to lower-middle market growth companies in the healthcare services industry.

As a member of the Haslam College of Business’s Advisory Board, Stevens also has observed several student presentations during the Vol Court and Boyd Venture Challenge competitions.

Stevens believes that the business concept and an owner’s passion are more important in a pitch than initial financial success. “Everyone has weaknesses,” he said. “We often end up investing in companies that have a founder with a strong vision but maybe needs help in financing or marketing or handling a broader market.”

He also advises entrepreneurs not to be intimidated by larger players in the market. “We talk to a lot of people who are concerned about being able to compete with the big corporations,” Stevens said. “We totally disagree. A well thought out plan that has a clearly defined niche can compete against anyone.”

The pitch competition is open to undergraduate and graduate students from SEC schools. Other judges range in business focus from sales to CEOs and presidents of major corporations.

The SEC Symposium brings Southeastern Conference universities together to address a different scholarly issue on an annual basis. The pitch competition grew out of this year’s theme of entrepreneurship and innovation.

For more information about the symposium, please visit:

Posted in 2014

Student Entrepreneurs, Others to Display Talents at SEC Symposium

A trio of student inventors from UT will compete against other student teams from Southeastern Conference Schools in an entrepreneurial pitch competition at the 2015 Southeastern Conference Symposium September 20–22 in Atlanta.

The symposium is an academic conference that highlights a significant scholarly issue by focusing on the disciplinary strengths of the SEC’s fourteen member universities.

This year, the symposium’s theme is “Creativity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship: Driving a 21st Century Economy.” Along with a variety of presentations and discussions, the symposium will feature displays of student creative endeavors as well as an entrepreneurial pitch competition.

Students Jake Rheude, Dustin Giltnane, and John Born—who created the company, a 2015 Boyd Venture Challenge winner—will be competing in the entrepreneurial pitch contest. Rheude, a second-year MBA student concentrating in supply chain and entrepreneurship and innovation, is the company’s “founding guru.” Gilgnane, a second-year dual MBA-MS nuclear engineering student, is the “operations guru.” Born, a second-year MBA student concentrating in finance with international business collateral, is the “financial guru.” brings together board-sport athletes and artists who design vinyl wraps for snowboards, wakeboards, surfboards, skis, and other sport boards. Board-sport athletes can use Guru Skins’ e-commerce store to browse submitted designs, read the artist’s bios, and purchase a ‘”skin.”

The GuruSkins team will compete against student teams from the other SEC universities. Each team will present its ideas to a panel of SEC alumni judges in two preliminary rounds. The top three teams will move on to the final round where they will present their plan to a different set of judges and all SEC Symposium attendees. The final will be streamed live at 5:15 p.m. on SEC Network + on Monday, September 21.

The SEC Network+ is available on WatchESPN and and is available to SEC Network subscribers on smartphones, tablets and desktop applications as well as Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, Xbox 360, and Xbox One. The SEC Symposium will also be featured on SEC Now, the SEC Network’s daily news show.

Other students involved in the symposium are:

Joshua Brown, a sophomore in the College Scholars Program, is the university’s ambassador. He is responsible for overseeing UT’s delegation and assisting the SECU conference in logistics and planning on behalf of UT. Brown’s studies focus on Middle Eastern Studies with a concentration on human rights, disaster, and displacement.

Marisa Mitchell, a senior in studio arts with a 3D concentration, will be displaying one of her wood-carved sculptures called “Human Nature.”

Rebecca Gillogly, Jessica Porter, and Allison Summers, all graduate students in architecture, who will be presenting a project in the Applied Arts Exhibition that explores the possibility of using additive manufacturing (3D printing) to create buildings. Their project—designing a mobile visitors center—was done in collaboration with the College of Art and Architecture’s Governor’s Chair studio that partners with Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Chicago-based architecture firm SOM. Inspired by origami and folding techniques, the trio created a flexible model with 3D-printed joints.

David Webb, a fifth-year senior studying studio music and jazz, will be playing guitar in a jazz band at the symposium.

In addition, four UT staff members will be on symposium panels:

Stacey Patterson, associate vice president and director of research partnerships, will be on the “Economic Impact of University Innovation” panel.

Ernest Brothers, associate dean of the Graduate School, will participate in the graduate school question-and-answer discussion session.

David Schumann, founding director of the Tennessee Teaching and Learning Center, will be on the “Best Practices in Use of Technology in the Classroom” panel.

Rhonda Reger, professor of strategic management and entrepreneurship in the Haslam College of Business, will be on the “Building Partnerships with Industry and the Community” panel.

Amy Blakely (865-974-5034,

Posted in 2014

UT Study: Tennessee on Track for Steady Population Growth

KNOXVILLE—While Tennessee’s population growth this decade has been slower than anticipated, the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, projects the state’s population to reach 8.5 million by 2040.

Over the next 25 years, Tennessee’s demographic profile is expected to follow national trends as the population continues to age and become more racially and ethnically diverse as well as more urbanized.

CBER—a research center within UT’s Haslam College of Business—projects that the largest changes in county population will occur primarily in metropolitan counties.

Highlights from the updated county-level projections report released today include the following:

  • Middle Tennessee is expected to lead the state in population growth. Five of the 10 counties with the highest projected growth rates through 2040—Williamson, Rutherford, Wilson, Robertson and Sumner—are in the Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin Metropolitan Statistical Area.
  • Among counties with populations greater than 25,000, Fayette, Montgomery, Sevier, Loudon and Cumberland counties are also in the top 10 for projected growth rates.
  • Approximately 69 percent of the population growth in Tennessee from 2010 to 2040 is expected to occur in Rutherford, Davidson, Williamson, Knox, Shelby, Montgomery, Wilson, Hamilton, Sumner and Sevier counties.
  • By 2040, the Hispanic/Latino population will more than double to 11.2 percent compared to 4.5 percent in 2010.
  • The proportion of the population characterized as “non-white, non-black, non-Hispanic” is expected to increase to 7.9 percent by 2040, compared to 3.2 percent in 2010.
  • Tennessee’s population is expected to be 17.2 percent black non-Hispanic by 2040, compared to 16.3 percent in 2010.
  • The proportion of senior citizens and elderly is expected to increase in Tennessee, due to both the aging of the baby boomer generation and increased life expectancy. As of the 2010 census, there were 99,917 individuals aged 85 and older in Tennessee. That number is expected to triple to more than 330,000 by 2040.

The report has been picked up by media outlets throughout the state including:

The Knoxville News Sentinel

Johnson City Press

Brentwood Home Page

Franklin Home Page

Download the population projections data and view a map of the county-level growth rate projections.

Download Tennessee yearly county data broken down by total, age, sex and/or race.

For more information about the Center for Business and Economic Research, visit

For more information about the Tennessee State Data Center, visit


Matt Harris (865-974-5591,

Melissa Stefanini (865-974-6070,

Tyra Haag (865-974-5460,

Posted in 2014

Eight New Faculty Join Haslam Ranks

One of our favorite things about the start of an academic year is welcoming new faculty to our college. This fall, eight new full-time faculty members join our ranks.

Haslam Chair Sean Willems joins the Department of Business Analytics and Statistics along with assistant professor Paolo Letizia. Dove Professor Chris Craighead and assistant professor Stephanie Eckerd assume roles in the marketing and supply chain department. Assistant professor Jama Summers and lecturer Mark Farley will work in accounting and information management, while assistant professors David Maslar and Matthew Serfling join the Department of Finance.

Below is a brief bio of each of these individuals to help you get to know a bit more about them. Be sure to give them a warm welcome if you see them in HBB or SMC.

Chris Craighead

Chris Craighead

Chris Craighead is the Dove Professor of Supply Chain Management. His primary research interests lie in the area of strategic sourcing and supply management, with a focus on global supply chain disruptions/risk and resilience. He has articles published in numerous prominent journals and has been the recipient of several research fellowships, competitive research grants and research awards. Craighead has extensive teaching experience in terms of audiences and course content, and he currently teaches strategic sourcing within the undergraduate program and supply chain strategy within the MBA program. He has been the recipient of awards for teaching excellence at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. He serves as an associate editor of the Journal of Operations Management, Decision Sciences, Journal of Supply Chain Management and Journal of Business Logistics and also serves on the editorial review boards of Production and Operations Management and IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management.

Stephanie Eckerd

Stephanie Eckerd

Stephanie Eckerd is an assistant professor in supply chain management. Eckerd’s research uses survey and experiment methodologies to investigate how social and psychological variables affect buyer-supplier relationships. Her articles have appeared in the Journal of Operations Management, the Journal of Supply Chain Management, and the International Journal of Operations and Production Management. She received her doctorate degree at The Ohio State University and was an assistant professor at the University of Maryland prior to joining Haslam.

Mark Farley

Mark Farley

Mark Farley joined the Department of Accounting and Information Management in January 2015. He received his MBA with a focus in management information systems (2005) and a bachelor’s in human resource management (2004) from Tennessee Technological University. Farley spent 13 years in the U.S. Air Force and Air National Guard in Knoxville and Washington, D.C., serving in fields including cyber security operations, IT project management, nuclear command/control, network infrastructure/maintenance and satellite communications. He worked in the nonprofit sector for five years in a variety of leadership positions. Farley recently served as an Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) instructor in Detachment 800 (Air Force Aerospace Studies Department) at the University of Tennessee from 2010 to 2013, where he taught freshman, junior and senior level courses and oversaw all departmental recruitment, admissions, advisement, curriculum, graduation and faculty training programs. He currently teaches database design and administration and business process analysis in the undergraduate program.

Paolo Letizia

Paolo Letizia

Paolo Letizia is an assistant professor of business analytics and operations management. His research interests lie in the areas of sustainable operations, closed loop supply chain management, supply chain channel design and role of information in a supply chain. His research has been published in Production and Operations Management. Letizia holds a master’s degree in supply chain management from Bordeaux Business School and a doctorate with dual degrees in operations research and business administration from Penn State’s Smeal College of Business. Before joining UT, Letizia was a faculty member at Erasmus University’s Rotterdam School of Management.

David Maslar

David Maslar

David Maslar is an assistant professor in finance. He is originally from Binghamton, New York. In 2006, he graduated with honors from Binghamton University, receiving a bachelor’s degree in economic analysis. After graduating, he moved from upstate New York to Columbia, Missouri, where he earned master’s degrees in applied mathematics and economics from the University of Missouri in 2009. Maslar then elected to stay at Missouri to pursue his doctorate in finance, graduating in May 2013. He has since been working as a visiting assistant professor of finance at Missouri. His research interests include investments and empirical asset pricing, with a particular emphasis in fixed income and bond mutual funds.

Matthew Serfling

Matthew Serfling

Matthew Serfling is an assistant professor in finance. He received his doctorate in finance from the University of Arizona and undergraduate degree in finance with a minor in mathematics from North Dakota State University. His current research interests are how corporate financial policy decisions are related to labor market frictions, product market competition, nonfinancial stakeholders, laws and regulations and a firm’s governance environment. He has an article that is forthcoming in the Journal of Accounting and Economics and another that has been published in the Journal of Corporate Finance. His research has also been presented at several national and international conferences.

Jama Summers

Jama Summers

Jama Summers is an assistant professor in accounting and information management. She received her doctorate in business administration (information systems) from the University of Oklahoma, a master’s in management information systems (MIS) from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and a bachelor’s in MIS from Arkansas State University. Her research focuses on the interaction between large groups and technology, examining large group collaboration in contexts such as social media, online communities and crowdfunding platforms. Summers’ research has been published in MIS Quarterly, and she has presented her work at numerous conferences. Prior to entering academia, she worked in the information technology industry as a programmer/analyst.

Sean Willems

Sean Willems

Sean Willems is the Haslam Chair in Supply Chain Analytics. Willems pioneered the development of commercial-grade inventory optimization tools. In 2000, he co-founded Optiant, a provider of multi-echelon inventory optimization tools, which was later acquired by Logility, Inc. His highly recognized work with companies such as Hewlett Packard and Proctor & Gamble has led to prestigious finalist selections for the 2003 and 2010 Franz Edelman Award for Achievement in Operations Research and the Management Sciences as well as finalist selections in 2006, 2008 and 2012 for the Daniel H. Wagner Prize for Excellence in Operations Research Practice. His work on inventory placement under non-stationary demand won the Wagner Prize in 2008. Willems is the department editor of the practice section of the journal Production and Operations Management. He received his bachelor’s degree in decision sciences from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and his master’s in operations research and doctorate in operations management from the MIT Sloan School of Management.

Posted in 2015

Haslam College of Business ranked highly by U.S. News

The Haslam College of Business rose one spot in the U.S. News and World Report 2016 rankings of undergraduate programs released yesterday. Haslam is 30th, up from 31st among public universities last year and 50th nationally, up from 51st last year. The college’s supply chain management program was ranked fifth nationally and fourth among public schools.

“We appreciate the continued recognition by U.S. News of the efforts our faculty, staff and students make here at the Haslam College of Business every day,” said Steve Mangum, dean and Stokely Foundation Leadership Chair. “We will continue to challenge ourselves and pursue a standard of excellence in business education that improves the world we live in.”

U.S. News determined its rankings by averaging surveys taken in 2014 and 2015 of deans and senior faculty at business schools accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Participants were asked to rate the quality of programs of which they were familiar on a scale from one to five, with five being distinguished.

The University of Tennessee’s undergraduate studies rose three spots to 47th among public universities and 103rd nationally in the same rankings. The heightened status is a result of improvements in graduation rates and average freshman retention rates. Additionally, the university is tied at 85th in a ranking by high school counselors and tied for 84th on a list of best colleges for veterans.

To see the complete list of rankings, visit

Posted in 2015 | Tagged , , , ,

Haslam Full-time MBA Class Has Record International Enrollment

MBA Class of Dec. 2016

MBA Class of Dec. 2016

International students make up nearly one-third of the incoming full-time MBA class at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Haslam College of Business. The percentage marks an all-time high for the program and a continued effort to maximize industry relevance for students.

“In today’s global economy, business professionals work with people from all over the world,” said Trent Thurman, director of graduate programs at Haslam. “Class diversity helps broaden students’ understanding of how business is done.”

Whit Lammons, an MBA student from Greenville, South Carolina, believes that working with international students will help him to manage global supply chains after graduation. “I hope to improve my cross-cultural communication skills so that I can prepare myself for future business interactions and situations,” Lammons said.

Chutian Li, who hails from Guangzhou, China, but attended University at Buffalo in New York for her undergraduate degree, came to Haslam because she wanted to learn about Southern culture. “It’s a big advantage to learn about the different cultures here and see which fits you the most,” she said. “America is a world leader. My knowledge of it as well as my own culture will be a big advantage when competing for jobs.”

Global experience is a requirement for all graduates of Haslam’s MBA program. American students travel to economic hubs such as Brazil, China and Germany while international students complete a policy session in Washington, D.C.

Real-world relevance also is emphasized as part of each term’s final evaluations, with a team-based case competition. At the end of their first year, students partner with local non-profits on a project to increase their organization’s efficiency and impact.

Shaheen Shaik, an MBA student from Hyderabad, India, says she chose Haslam for its philosophy that students should be equipped with industry knowledge. “The industry connections the college has established give business graduates an opportunity to understand what it takes to ensure a smooth transition from school into a leadership path,” Shaik said. “It also provides excellent insight into how management interacts with its workforce and how organizational behavior is linked with management strategies and decisions.”

The class is composed of 71 total students. The international students represent India, China, Korea, Thailand, Brazil and Ukraine. The percentage of women and the average GMAT score of accepted students has increased for 2015 as well. The incoming class will graduate in December 2016 in keeping with Haslam’s high-compression 17-month MBA schedule.

Posted in 2015