Haslam Staff Member Recognized UT’s Facility Services Employee of the Month

Ronald “Red” Gibson, the senior maintenance professional for the Haslam Business Building, was named the Facilities Services Employee of the Month for April 2016 at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Red was recognized for being eager to help anyone with whatever needs to be addressed in his zone — which also includes Hodges Library, Greves Hall, Dunford Hall, the Howard Baker Center, Melrose Hall, Henson Hall, the Tyson House and the International House — and for always leading by example.

“Red doesn’t just come in to do a good job every day; he is constantly finding ways to do his job better and improve the condition and appearance of our buildings,” said Doug Hawks, Haslam’s assistant dean of finance and administration.

 Hawks recalled that when he first joined Haslam, he noticed cobwebs outside an elevator shaft’s windows and hired a company to clean it. “Red was in my office before I even had a chance to call the vendor back with ideas about how he could take care of that and save the college money,” Hawks said.

A wide range of administrative staff, directors and deans in Red’s zone rely on him for advice and have a high degree of trust and faith in his abilities to solve their needs in a timely fashion.

“Red always goes above and beyond what is asked of him in all situations,” said Tami Touchstone, an administrator in the office of the dean. “He does a great job, and he is very considerate of everyone he works with. Haslam is fortunate to have him!”

Red has serviced the Haslam Business Building and Stokely Management Center for four years. He repairs equipment such as HVAC units, lighting and plumbing.

“I try to execute anything anyone asks of me in the buildings,” Red said. “My favorite part of my job is without a doubt the people in the building (my customers) and the people I work with (Kyle Delong and Serge Butenko) who are a tremendous help.”

For Red, being recognized as employee of the month indicates that his professional priorities are on track. “Winning this award lets me know that the pride I take in my job and my buildings are worth the effort,” he said. “I am so blessed.”

Posted in 2014

Haslam Student One of 25 to Attend Prestigious Ph.D. Workshop

Michelle Harding, a Haslam doctoral candidate in accounting, is one of only 25 students in the nation selected to attend the Early Career Professional Development Workshop at Olin Business School, Washington University in St. Louis. The third annual is scheduled for June 22-25.

The workshop aims to boost early success in the careers of historically underrepresented academic faculty. Attendees are selected based on their ability to successfully publish top tier research.

“This conference will help me to make a greater research impact earlier in my career,” Harding said. “The Olin Business School’s program is so amazing because of the intentionality of the workshop content and the significant resources that are invested in each participant.”

In addition to attending research and career development workshop sessions, Harding will present one of her current working papers addressing tax disclosures.

She also has coauthored work with faculty at Northeastern University and Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.

“My research focuses on how firms communicate daily decisions, enabling stakeholders to have greater confidence in the sustainability of a firm’s tax strategies,” Harding said.

LeAnn Luna, Harding’s dissertation advisor, says Harding is a perfect fit for the conference.

“Publishing in the major journals requires the intellectual curiosity to think about important issues, how to add to the literature and the day-to-day dedication to see the project through,” Luna said. “Michelle is inquisitive and one of the hardest workers I have ever worked with in the Ph.D. program.”

After achieving her master’s degree in accounting from the University of Virginia, Harding spent nearly a decade in industry. The decision to pursue a doctoral degree came at a turning point when she was offered a promotion to become a regional vice president of finance for a subsidiary of Sysco, Inc. Instead of moving forward in her corporate career, she chose to pursue research on the questions she continually encountered within her work.

Harding anticipates finishing her thesis on the impact of tax risk on the quality of company disclosures for uncertain tax benefits in the spring of 2017.

For more information on the Early Career Professional Development Workshop at Olin Business School visit https://apps.olin.wustl.edu/conf/PDC/Home/Default.aspx.

The Haslam College of Business at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, consists of approximately 5,500 undergraduate and graduate students, 130 faculty and 125 staff members. From its internationally ranked supply chain management and highly regarded accounting programs to one of the first business analytics concentrations in the nation, Haslam students and faculty create the change that changes the world for the better.

Posted in 2014

Study Examines Role of Organizational Reputation During Scandals

Rhonda Reger

Rhonda Reger

Modern media, complete with 24-hour news cycles and social media proliferation, can produce visceral reactions to the actions of organizations, companies and universities in the public spotlight.

New research co-authored by Rhonda Reger, professor of strategic management and entrepreneurship at the Haslam College of Business at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, shows how these reactions compound themselves based on the level of identification members of the public feel with an organization.

Reger’s paper, “Reputation as a Benefit and a Burden? How Stakeholders’ Organizational Identification Affects the Role of Reputation Following a Negative Event,” correlates levels of financial support universities receive through donations with NCAA data on major infractions by those universities’ sports teams. It was published in the Academy of Management Journal in February.

“We studied a paradox,” Reger said. “Having a strong reputation sometimes helps organizations weather negative events. Other times, though, organizations with strong reputations can be damaged more by transgressions than those with weaker reputations.”

Reger and her fellow researchers chose NCAA infractions because there appeared to be differences in reaction to negative events along with reliable data to investigate. “Just about everyone – even people outside the United States – have strong opinions about rules violations by sports teams and the penalties meted out by governing boards,” Reger said.

The researchers hypothesized that members of the public who strongly identify with a university will react differently to negative news than people who feel ambivalence, as quantified by the amount of money they donate. This mechanism could be responsible for the paradox of reputation as both a benefit and burden.

The study found that alumni, who identify closely with a university, tend to increase their level of financial support in the wake of an NCAA scandal. In doing so, they rally around a cause they believe in.

However, those same people may withdraw support to preserve their own moral standards if a crisis is too sordid.

According to Reger, these findings hold lessons applicable to the corporate world. A corporation operating in an industry generally held in high public regard may benefit from public relations investment, but one operating in a stigmatized industry is unlikely to win public support.

“We think it might be better for companies in stigmatized industries to stay out of the limelight but work hard to adhere to the highest global standards of behavior,” Reger said.

Companies in stigmatized industries should not, for example, court public attention with positive messages only to disappoint with a negative event. While raising expectations may win followers for a company, a backlash may follow unless those expectations can be fulfilled, according to Reger.

Reger’s co-authors included Anastasiya Zavyalova of Rice University, and Michael Pfarrer and Timothy Hubbard, both of the University of Georgia.

Posted in 2014

Financial Times ranks UT’s Haslam College of Business Executive Education Fifth in U.S.

The Haslam College of Business at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is among the top five public universities offering custom executive education in the United States, according to the latest rankings from the Financial Times.

The college’s executive education programs were ranked No. 13 overall nationally and 45th worldwide. The rankings highlight Haslam’s commitment to custom solutions for the global business community. In 2015, the college delivered 62 custom courses, 10 of which took place outside the U.S.

“Notably, we also ranked eighth internationally for our follow up with customers and 22nd for our facilities,” said Bruce Behn, associate dean for graduate and executive education at Haslam. “Our commitment to helping the global business community meet its needs through tailored solutions that bring considerable ROI is a point of pride for us.”

Haslam’s custom executive education programs combine faculty knowledge with the real-life challenges and needs that businesses, including healthcare and military/government organizations, are facing today. Behn says the college is able to work with clients to build the talent of their employees in specific areas such as operations excellence, supply chain and leadership so their organizations are better equipped to succeed.

Steve Mangum, dean of Haslam and Stokely Foundation Leadership Chair, emphasized that positive input from corporate clients played a significant role in the achievement of these rankings. Such companies receive added value through the college’s efforts to meet their needs with custom offerings.

“This particular ranking demonstrates that the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Haslam College of Business is highly regarded by its non-degree executive education clientele,” Mangum said. “When coupled with feedback and rankings of our degree program offerings and our scholarly research, the overall mosaic is that of a strong business school that isn’t resting on its laurels, but continuously seeking to improve.”

The Financial Times’ survey combines data reported by business schools with ratings from companies that commissioned executive courses. Factors including value, faculty quality, international engagement and diversity are taken into account. View the complete Financial Times custom executive education rankings.

For more information about the college’s executive education programs, please see www.execed.utk.edu.

Posted in 2014

Supply Chain Management Seen as Crucial in Reducing Health Care Costs


With health care costs rising and changes made under the Affordable Care Act taking effect, not-for-profit hospitals find themselves pressed to adopt business tactics to remain financially viable and fulfill their societal missions.

“The Affordable Care Act brings with it a reduction in reimbursement,” Brent Johnson, president and CEO of Intalere, told students in Executive MBA classes for Healthcare and Strategic Leadership at the Haslam College of Business on May 12.

“Our health care system is changing,” Johnson added. “There will be increased access as baby boomers age, more clinical integration and a pay-for-performance relationship. Everyone is going to have to get by with a little less.”

These changing circumstances can be addressed by implementing professional supply chain operations, according to Johnson, whose company, Intalere, is owned by Intermountain Healthcare of Salt Lake City.

Johnson formerly oversaw 22 hospitals and more than 185 physician clinics as vice president of supply chain and support services for Intermountain Healthcare. The bulk of his work there was in standardizing the equipment and supplies used system-wide, a daunting task given the complexity of the equipment and the number of decision-makers involved.

“Not-for-profit should not mean not-as-efficient, but sometimes it does,” Johnson said. “Personal preference drives many product decisions in health care, and a lack of standardization leads to higher expenses.”

Kurt Streepy, senior vice president of pharmacy at Select Medical and an Executive MBA for Healthcare Leadership student at Haslam, said his company re-evaluated its supply chain operations about five years ago.

“We’ve taken a deeper look into that process, so this was validating,” Streepy said. “I agree supply chain will play an increasingly important role in the health care industry.”

Peter “Doc” Claussen, a radiologist who now works in the railroad industry and is an Executive MBA for Strategic Leadership student at Haslam, said Johnson’s stance on health care standardization makes sense.

“It’s intriguing to see how much costs in the health care system are driven by personal preferences,” Claussen said. “In every other industry we derive efficiencies by finding best practices and performing them. That model is probably going to have to work with health care, too.”

Posted in 2014

Haslam College of Business Honors Gerry Niedert for Supply Chain Support

DSC_0980At its spring Supply Chain Forum, the Haslam College of Business recognized Gerry Niedert’s contributions to the field and the university with an honorary Global Supply Chain Institute Fellowship.

“Gerry is possibly the most holistic supporter we have,” said Chad Autry, head of the Department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management. “In addition to generous financial support, he has opened his businesses up to our students for tours and projects, helps collect research data and provides advice and support for our undergraduate curriculum. His contributions add great value to our programs.”

Mary Holcomb, who holds the research fellowship funded by Niedert, agrees that his partnership and presence have been indispensable to the program.

“Gerry does not delegate his involvement with our program,” Holcomb says. “He is ‘all in’ and makes a point of arranging his schedule to interact with the students. If one of my research studies is featured in a publication, Gerry is one of the first people to send me a note, and I often reach out to him for better understanding or broader perspective in terms of transportation trends and issues.”

Niedert graduated from Haslam in 1967 with a major in transportation, but he did not start out as a Vol. He first matriculated to Tri-State College in Angola, Indiana, the school recommended by the American Trucking Association at that time.

“In my second year at Tri-State I noticed some of my transportation textbooks were written by UT professors. So I researched UT and found the curriculum much  broader, relating to all modes, not just trucking, assuring me of getting a more thorough transportation education.” Niedert said. “Also, as Tri-State was essentially a small engineering school with about 1,000 men and exactly two women the chances of meeting some sweet-talking, good-looking Southern girls in Tennessee helped me decide that transferring was the right choice.”

Niedert noted that he leaned on the academic argument to convince his father to agree to the transfer.

Niedert hails from a long line of transport and logistics professionals. Black Horse Carriers was one of several family businesses with roots going back to the 1880s, with management passing through three generations from1925 until the present.

He entered the family business in 1971, after 3 years in the Army, and within 15 years had helped expand the original business to more than 500 employees, six operating centers and a fleet of some 1,200 verhicles.

The original family business was sold in 1986, and resurrected in 1998, with Black Horse Carriers as the single surviving entity. Today Black Horse Carriers has $350 million in annual revenue, operates over 4,000 vehicles, and employs 2,500 people with 65 terminals in 22 states.

In December of 2015, Niedert finalized a long-planned management buyout of the company with 7 senior managers, enabling him to remain involved in the business while presenting a great opportunity for his managers to achieve their dreams. He considers the transition of the buyout one of his greatest achievements.

“We assured the preservation of essential employee, customer and supplier relationships we had built over many years,” Niedert said. “I feel confident that the company’s success will continue long into the future.”

Niedert is the third recipient of a Global Supply Chain Institute Fellowship. Kevin O’Marah of Supply Chain World and Ben Hazen of the Air Force Institute of Technology also have been honored

Posted in 2014

Physician Leadership Symposium Draws Audience of Physician Executive MBA Alumni and Students

(Photography by Shawn Millsaps)

A panel of physicians from around the country gathered April 29-30 at the Haslam College of Business at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, for a symposium on current health care topics including the future of health care reform, achieving population health in specific markets and improving organizational performance.

The symposium took place before an on-campus residence period of the college’s top-ranked Physician Executive MBA (PEMBA) program, which was held May 1-7.

Ghazala Sharieff, a 2011 graduate of the Haslam PEMBA program, spoke at the symposium on the topic of integrating physicians into a health system. An emergency pediatric physician, she is the corporate director of physician outreach and medical management at the Scripps Health Network in San Diego.

“I chose the Haslam PEMBA program for a number of reasons,” Sharieff said. “The fact that it is a one-year program was attractive to me because it does require a lot of effort. As an emergency physician, I like to ‘get in, and get out.’”

Sharieff added that the physicians-only aspect of the program combined with its on-campus residency periods gave her a sense of camaraderie and belonging.

“Many other programs are completely online, and I felt that wouldn’t be enough for me,” Sharieff said. “I really wanted that in-person time for bonding, camaraderie and networking. I came to the program at a challenging point in my career when I was feeling disillusioned with health care. The program really rescued me. It introduced me to people who share my ethics, values and integrity.”

Jerry Blackwell, a cardiologist and president of the Wellmont CVA Heart Institute in Kingsport, Tennessee, attended the symposium as an alumnus of the Haslam PEMBA program.

“Health care may be the most complex business venture in the world,” said Blackwell, who received his MBA in 2014. “It presents a complex management scenario requiring knowledge on both the business and physician side of the equation.”

Blackwell added that often health care providers’ executive suites consist entirely of businesspeople. “The reason I chose Haslam’s PEMBA program was to learn the language of business. I wanted to be able to take my clinical training and have a dialogue on the executive level,” Blackwell said.

In the week following the symposium, the class of about 50 current PEMBA students remained at the Haslam College of Business to learn about topics including: lean businesses practices for health care, strategic planning and corporate strategy, market segmentation and targeting, organizational change, health care analytics and customer satisfaction measurement.

Sharieff, before returning to San Diego, pointed out the students will have access to Haslam faculty even after receiving their MBA.

“The faculty are amazing. Even after five years they are still accessible to my class. I think it’s phenomenal to be able to reach out to a faculty member and have them get right back to you,” Sharieff said.

Posted in 2014