Dave Clark, Amazon Senior VP, Accepts UT Accomplished Alumni Award


Dave Clark, senior vice president of worldwide operations for Amazon, accepted the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Accomplished Alumni Award on Sept. 29 during his visit to the Haslam College of Business.

Clark is responsible for Amazon’s global supply chain and logistics operation. He also oversees the teams managing Amazon’s technology, including its robotics operations.

“I found my time in the MBA program at Tennessee to be incredibly rewarding because the faculty and peers that I got to work with were really special,” Clark said. “The optimization science work that I got to do with Mary Holcomb and Melissa Bowers combined classwork with work for real-world companies and taught me things I’ve leveraged throughout my career. Understanding that analytics play such an important role in the supply chain overall was an incredible gift that Tennessee gave me.”

Stephen L. Mangum, dean of the Haslam College of Business and Stokely Foundation Leadership Chair, described Clark as a prime example of what Haslam alumni can accomplish.

“Haslam alumni can be found leading and managing in complex environments throughout the world,” Mangum said. “Imagine being responsible for more than 230,000 employees operating out of hundreds of locations spread across 16 countries. That is Dave Clark’s everyday world.”

Clark graduated from Haslam in 1999 with an MBA focused on logistics and transportation. He joined Amazon later that year. He held various key positions in the company prior to his current role. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from Auburn University.

The Accomplished Alumni Award, a university-wide distinction, offers notable alumni an opportunity to share their success stories on campus with current students. Past recipients have included CEOs of major corporations, Olympians, authors, artists, musicians, civic leaders and United States ambassadors.

Posted in 2014

Thurman, Graduate Programs Executive Director, Departs for Texas

Trent Thurman, executive director for graduate programs at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Haslam College of Business, recently announced his departure for the University of Texas at Austin’s McCombs School of Business. He will serve as director for McCombs’ master of science in technology commercialization program and a management lecturer.

After Thurman’s last day on Oct. 7, Amy Cathey, division lead for aerospace and defense graduate and executive education programs, will step into the vacated role on an interim basis.

According to Bruce Behn, associate dean for graduate and executive education, Thurman brought “energy and innovative ideas to help move the needle on the quality and demographics of our master’s students.

“We’re going into this academic year with a class that has the strongest work experience, the highest GMAT scores and the most diversity we’ve experienced in recent years,” Behn said. “I want to thank Trent for all his efforts and personally wish him and his family the best.”

Thurman, who is a 1988 alumnus, said he has loved being back at UT.

“I was given a tremendous gift to spend a few more years on a campus that changed me in so many ways, and it was especially moving to be here when my twin boys began their college careers,” Thurman said.

Thurman also pointed out the significance of having been at the college during 2014, when the Haslam family gave $50 million dollars in honor of James A. Haslam II, an alumnus and the founder of Pilot Flying J.

“Seeing the impact that gift has made on attracting top students from around the world has been tremendous and sets the MBA program on a path to significant success,” Thurman said.

“For me, looking back will always be focused on the students,” he added. “I’ve loved playing a small part in their MBA journey, discussing their goals and dreams during the interview process, and then watching them achieve those goals. That’s been the best part of my job and is what I will remember the most.”

Posted in 2014

Parker Awarded Joseph P. Goddard Scholarship by Tennessee SHRM Chapter

fullsizerenderBrittney Parker, a 2016 graduate of the Haslam College of Business, was awarded the Joseph P. Goddard scholarship on Sept. 15 at the Tennessee Society for Human Resource Management’s annual conference.

Parker, who holds a bachelor’s degree in management with a collateral in information management, will apply the $4,000 award toward her graduate studies. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in human resource management from Haslam.

“Deciding to pursue graduate school was the first large financial decision I’ve had to make where I would be solely responsible for the cost,” Parker said. “With the help from my incredible friends and family plus my own personal savings, and now with the Joseph P. Goddard scholarship, my goal of achieving a master’s degree debt-free can be accomplished.”

Parker expressed gratitude to Debbie Mackey, distinguished lecturer, director of the Human Resource Management master’s degree program and SHRM faculty advisor, for helping her secure the scholarship.

“Dr. Mackey introduced me to human resources and helped me get involved with our local SHRM Chapter, where I’ve held an officer title for two years,” Parker said. “She also matched me with both of my internships, encouraged me to pursue graduate studies and offered support and advice.”

Mackey said the scholarship selection committee looked at applicants’ commitment to the profession of human resource management and their involvement with the local students’ chapter of the SHRM.

“Brittney has been an asset to our program, her internships and the Society for Human Resource Management,” Mackey said.

Posted in 2014

UT Joins I-Corps South to Expand Entrepreneurial Training

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, will receive grant funding to teach technology entrepreneurship, perform research and foster innovation through the National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program.

A public-private partnership, I-Corps was created in 2011 to train researchers to evaluate the commercial potential of their scientific discoveries. The program is offered in a “startup boot camp” format.

“I-Corps [hubs] support the national innovation ecosystem and help some of America’s brightest researchers test the commercial potential of their discoveries,” Grace Wang, acting assistant director for the NSF Directorate for Engineering, said in a statement.

I-Corps South, which started with the Georgia Institute of Technology, is being expanded to include UT and the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa and Birmingham. It will receive a collective $3.45 million over five years.

Taylor Eighmy, vice chancellor of research and engagement, will oversee UT’s portion of the grant.

“The University of Tennessee is already a leader within the state in commercializing technology invented in our labs,” Eighmy said. “We look forward to using this grant to leverage our strengths to provide even greater economic impact throughout the state.”

Rhonda Reger will administer the grant under Eighmy’s oversight. She is the Nestle Professor of Business Administration at the Haslam College of Business and research director for the Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

“The expansion of the Georgia Tech node to become I-Corps South and serve the southeastern United States will greatly accelerate technology entrepreneurship throughout this growing region,” Reger said.

The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development supports programs associated with the grant, said Randy Boyd, that department’s commissioner.

“We will be working with the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and LaunchTN, our statewide public-private partnership focused on supporting the development of high-growth companies in Tennessee,” Boyd said. “This type of entrepreneurial training will encourage and grow an innovation ecosystem in this region enhancing commercialization and economic well-being.”

Boyd’s comments reflect the stated goals of I-Corps South. The regional Innovation Corps program aims to accelerate the development of the South’s entrepreneurial ecosystems; provide for increased partnership opportunities between academia and industry; and focus on underrepresented minorities to increase their participation in research pursuits and entrepreneurship.

More information is available at: the I-Corps South website; the National Science Foundation press release about the grant; the UT, Haslam College of Business, and Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation websites; the Georgia Institute of Technology VentureLab website; and the University of Alabama I-Corps website.

Posted in 2014

Experts at Boyd Center Economic Forecast Luncheon Bullish on State Economy


Associate Director Matt Murray & Director Bill Fox

Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research Director Bill Fox and Associate Director Matt Murray told a crowd of nearly 200 business members on Sept. 8 that the Tennessee economy is expected to continue to grow in 2017.

The Boyd Center, housed in the Haslam College of Business at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, held its first economic forecasting luncheon to share what the nation and state’s economy could look like in the coming new year.

Tennessee is in the top 10 states in the nation in terms of economic momentum and one of the fastest in growth, Boyd experts said. Tennesseans are spending “aggressively” and at a fast rate, as strong job growth and lower gas prices are putting more money in consumer’s pockets, according to Fox and Murray.

The state also has consistently experienced stronger job growth than the national average over the past several years, while its unemployment rate is now below the national rate. In 2009, Tennessee’s unemployment rate reached 11.1 percent. This year, the state’s unemployment rate has plummeted to just above 4 percent. The nation’s average is just below 5 percent.

The pair also noted that Tennessee’s tax revenue growth is solid. Sales taxes, in particular, are showing strong growth at nearly unprecedented levels.

“You can see the outlook going forward is generally positive growth in the national economy and the state economy, barring some unforeseen shock,” Murray said. “We expect the economy to continue to grow.”







Posted in 2016 | Tagged , , ,

Top Golf CEO Ken May Receives Haslam Accomplished Alumni Award


Ken May, a 1994 MBA graduate, accepted an Accomplished Alumni Award from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Haslam College of Business on Sept. 8.

During his visit to Knoxville, May shared lessons on leadership with a group of Haslam Global Leadership Scholars, explaining how he motivates his team members and achieves results within a corporate structure.

“You’ll find that your followers want to know honestly what people think of them,” May said. “When you do feedback sessions, keep things simple by sticking to three things. Don’t overcomplicate your interactions. Anyone can remember three things to work on.”

May, who was featured on the cover of the winter 2016 issue of Haslam Magazine, is the CEO of Top Golf, a Dallas-based company operating golf entertainment complexes in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Prior to his current role, May spent 25 years with FedEx and worked his way up to the position of CEO for FedEx Kinko’s in 2004. He credits his Haslam MBA education with enabling him to move from mid- to upper-level management. After leaving FedEx, May spent a year as president and chief operating officer of Krispy Kreme before joining Top Golf.

According to Chip Bryant, interim vice chancellor for alumni affairs and development at UT, May has distinguished himself through his personable manner and dedication to higher education.

“Ken May is a great example of what a Haslam graduate can achieve,” Bryant said. “He’s the caliber of person that brings sincerity, vision and determination to everything he does. It’s evident that he cares deeply about the people he’s crossed paths with during his substantial career, which is why we’re honored to count him as an accomplished alumnus.”

Maddie Rule, a Global Leadership Scholar and senior marketing major, reflected on May’s message about servant leadership after his talk.

“Servant leadership is really important and under-acknowledged,” Rule said. “It’s important to understand the people you lead and what their aspirations are.”

Posted in 2014

Full-Time MBA Class of 2017 Includes More Veterans


The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Haslam College of Business MBA class of 2017 started the fall semester with twice as many military veterans as in previous years. Veterans now account for nearly 13 percent of the 62-person class.

“As a group, veterans have a lot of leadership and management experience and often make very good students,” said Trent Thurman, executive director of Haslam’s graduate programs. “In some cases, they’ve led troops in battle, worked under extreme pressure and learned valuable skills that certainly have business applications.”

Most of the incoming veterans are transitioning into civilian careers, while some plan to continue their military careers after earning their MBAs. Part of the increase may be due in part to the college’s decision to waive the GMAT test score requirement for veterans for the first time this year.

“We can see a lot more about their character based on their experiences rather than what a test score will show,” Thurman said.

Phil Montag, who was an United States Army helicopter pilot in Afghanistan after completing his bachelor’s degree at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in 2009, applied to the Haslam MBA program as a bridge to a career in supply chain, analytics or finance.

“The Army provided me the opportunity to grow as a leader and develop my soft skills,” Montag said. “The Haslam MBA is offering me a chance to polish those skills and make them marketable to leaders in business. It’s a veteran-friendly environment and everyone here makes the process of using the GI Bill as simple as possible.”

Tanya Cuprak, an active-duty coast guard officer, is in her second year of pursuing dual MBA and MS in industrial engineering degrees. She credits the Haslam MBA program with building her knowledge of business from the ground up.

“The curriculum is challenging, but the professors are incredibly helpful and truly interested in your success,” Cuprak said. “For the most part, veterans have the leadership and management skills they need to succeed. Almost every Haslam MBA assignment involves working with a team. You succeed or fail together.”

Chris Ruel, also a second year MBA student, is specializing in entrepreneurship and innovation. He spent 12 years in active duty service, including special forces, and owns the Prometheus Group, a personal security company.

“The military was all I had known for my adult life, so it naturally shaped my thought processes,” Ruel said. “I knew this MBA program would help shift my frame of reference and allow me to approach problems from a fresh perspective.”

UT was recently recognized for its strong support for veterans and their families in the 2017 U.S. News and World Report list of Best Colleges for Veterans. The university rose 18 spots since last year to the place of 31st among all public universities and 66th among all public and private colleges and universities.

In addition to an increased number of veterans, the Haslam MBA class of 2017 has an average GMAT score of 627, an increase from the previous two years. Thirty-seven percent of the class is female and 31 percent come from outside the U.S.

Posted in 2014