Haslam College of Business Welcomes 30 New Faculty Members

January 5, 2023

In the fall 2022 semester, 30 new faculty members joined the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Haslam College of Business. The newcomers represent the departments of accounting and information management, business analytics and statistics, economics, finance, management and entrepreneurship, marketing and supply chain management, as well as the Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research, bringing decades of experience in industry as well as in the classroom. The faculty growth joins Haslam’s efforts to keep pace with record-setting enrollment.

Accounting & Information Management

Kelly McNamara, professor of practice

McNamara holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and physics from SUNY Plattsburgh and a MAMS (Master of Applied Mathematical Sciences) degree and doctorate in management information systems from the University of Georgia. Her research interests — mathematics, statistics, IT, analytics and databases — center around data and data analysis. In her more than 20 years of work experience, she has built expertise in these areas in industry (through technical and analytical consulting, as well as management of systems development project teams and professional training) and at universities (through teaching and research). At the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga’s Rollins College of Business, she received the Outstanding Non-Tenure-Track Faculty Teaching Award.

Chris Perez, lecturer

Perez holds an associate’s degree in accounting from Walter State Community College and a bachelor’s degree in accounting and Master of Accountancy (MAcc) from UT. In addition to teaching information management to undergraduate students, he serves as the MAcc program coordinator, firm relations liaison and alumni outreach coordinator. Perez attended the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City and worked as a theater and film professional for nearly a decade.

Ali Vedadi, assistant professor

Previously, Vedadi spent four years as an assistant professor of information systems and analytics at the Jones College of Business at Middle Tennessee State University. He holds a doctoral degree from Mississippi State University. His main research and teaching interest is in the information security and assurance area. He has taught multiple security courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels and is a CompTIA Security+ certified professional. His research has appeared in peer-reviewed outlets such as the Journal of the Association for Information Systems, Information and Management, Data Base for Advances in Information Systems, and Computers and Security. 

Scott White, lecturer 

White comes to Haslam from Oklahoma State University. He completed his doctorate at the University of Tennessee in 2014 and earned both his bachelor’s and Master of Accountancy degrees at the University of Missouri-Columbia. He has professional experience as an associate in the tax practice of Arthur Andersen and maintains an active CPA license in the state of Missouri. 


Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research

Seth Neller, research assistant professor 

Neller recently graduated from the University of Texas at Austin, where he received his doctorate in economics. His research primarily focuses on the long-run economic and health effects of childhood circumstances, with his most recent work examining the effects of childhood pollution exposure on longevity, disability and economic achievement in later adulthood.


Business Analytics and Statistics

Lan Gao, assistant professor 

Gao holds a doctorate in statistics from the Chinese University of Hong Kong and worked as a postdoctoral scholar at University of Southern California. Her research interests lie in the areas of high-dimensional statistics and inference, nonparametric statistics, asymptotic theory, causal inference and machine learning. She has published papers in top journals in statistics, such as Annals of Statistics, and she received the 2021 IMS New Researcher Travel Award. 

Tingliang “Tom” Huang, Amazon Distinguished Professor in Business Analytics

Before joining UT, Huang was the William S. McKiernan Family ’78 Faculty Fellow at the Carroll School of Management at Boston College. His interests include operations-marketing interface, supply chain management and sustainable operations, among others. He has been published in journals such as Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, Marketing Science and Management Science. Huang has won several research awards and serves as a senior editor for Production and Operations Management and associate editor for Naval Research Logistics and Decision Sciences. He received his doctorate from Northwestern University, master’s from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis-Saint Paul, and bachelor’s from the University of Science and Technology of China.

Enes Özel, senior lecturer 

Özel received his undergraduate and master’s degrees in mathematics from Koç University, Istanbul, and his doctorate in applied mathematics from the University of Southern California. At USC, Özel was awarded the Dennis Ray Estes Graduate Teaching Prize for his work as a teaching assistant. Özel then taught at University of California, Los Angeles, playing an essential role in the newly reformed financial and actuarial mathematics major. In recognition of his contributions, Özel was awarded the 2021 Liggett Instructor Award.

Özel’s scholarly interests lie in probability theory and statistics and mathematics instruction with a historical flavor. He is a member of an independent K-12 curriculum development project team, pursuing novel ideas for a holistic mathematics education.

Gilvan “Gil” Souza, Haslam Chair in Business and Distinguished Professor of Business Analytics

Souza holds a part-time professorship at the University of Graz, Austria. He received a doctorate from the University of North Carolina, an MBA from Clemson University and a bachelor’s in aeronautical engineering from ITA (Brazil). Previously, he worked at Volkswagen of Brazil in new product development and planning.

His research includes the circular economy, closed-loop supply chain management and renewable energy. With expertise in applied optimization, lean operations and supply chain analytics, Souza has written and edited books on sustainability and supply chains and more than 40 journal publications. He is an editor for Production & Operations Management (POM) and for Decision Sciences. Souza won the POM Society’s 2004 Wickham Skinner Early Career Research Accomplishments award.

Adam Spannbauer, lecturer

A graduate of Haslam’s MSBA program, Spannbauer returns to UT after holding positions at Eastman, DataCamp and other corporations. During this time, he gained diverse analytics, programming and education experience.

His corporate teams functioned as internal consulting groups that built models and tools to help solve business problems. With his experience as a machine learning practitioner and educator, Spannbauer will strive to give students a strong foundation and introduce them to innovative techniques and technologies.



Gayoung Ko, assistant professor 

Ko received her doctorate in economics from the University of Virginia. Her research interests include empirical industrial organization, labor economics and machine learning. She has a forthcoming paper in Management Science and several working papers focusing on the gig economy and digital platforms.  

James Lake, associate professor 

Lake completed his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Monash University in Australia before coming to the U.S. in 2005 to pursue his doctorate in economics at Johns Hopkins University. After graduating in 2012, he started as an assistant professor at Southern Methodist University. He earned tenure in 2018 and spent two years as director of graduate studies in the economics department. His research focuses on how international trade policy creates winners and losers between countries and among different groups within countries. Specific policy examples include the recent trade war tariffs of the Trump administration and the steel tariffs imposed by President George W. Bush in 2002. 

Geoffrey Lea, lecturer

Lea holds master’s and doctorate degrees in economics from George Mason University. A dedicated teacher with 15 years in the classroom, he teaches principles and intermediate theory courses at the undergraduate level. Beyond theory courses, his favorite areas are the history of economic thought, public sector economics, law and economics, and monetary economics.

Ketki Sheth, associate professor

Sheth’s research focuses on gender equality and three key dimensions of human development emphasized in international development: financial access, health and education. She uses field and lab experiments in low- and middle-income countries to identify causal relationships motivated by theory and policy, often in partnerships with development practitioners. Sheth, a development and labor economist, has conducted research projects in several countries, including India, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Madagascar and Sri Lanka. She received her economics doctorate from the University of California at San Diego and started her career as an assistant professor at the University of California, Merced. 



Kelley Anderson, clinical assistant professor

Anderson earned her doctorate at the University of Memphis in 2022. Her research interests include international finance, institutional ownership and corporate governance. In her previous role as an instructor at the University of Memphis, she received the Teaching Beyond the Classroom Excellence Award and Outstanding Service Award from the Department of Finance for her work leading the Finance Club and inter-university student competitions. Anderson has previous professional and entrepreneurial experience in recording industry management and arts administration as co-founder of a record label and youth music nonprofit organization.

Craig Ruff, clinical professor 

Ruff comes to Haslam from the J. Mack Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University, where he has served as assistant dean for undergraduate programs, clinical professor of finance and assistant dean for executive education. He also founded and previously directed Robinson’s honors track in finance. Ruff has won college-wide teaching awards at both Georgia State University and Georgia Tech and holds a doctorate in finance from Virginia Tech. His research and practice interests are in investments. He has published articles on interest-rate risk and hedging in both academic journals and practitioner publications and has co-authored a set of cases on international asset management that now resides in the Darden and INSEAD case collections.


Management and Entrepreneurship

Victor “Tory” Kinson, lecturer 

Kinson received his bachelor’s in business administration from The Citadel and his MBA in global management from Thunderbird School of Global Management. Over the past 30 years, he has worked as an executive leader for Fortune 500 and privately held corporations. His work has taken him to five continents. He speaks Spanish and Portuguese. His favorite parts of his leadership roles are being a world ambassador, helping people discover their gifts and mentoring the next generation of leaders. His passion for this work led him to leave the corporate world and enter teaching, as well as starting his own consulting business in which he coaches leaders and helps small businesses scale up.

Tara Mohrfeld, lecturer

Mohrfeld has been with the Haslam College of Business for 15 years, primarily in leadership and management roles within graduate and executive education. In 2020 and 2021, she received the college’s Graduate and Executive Education Outstanding Service award. She holds a doctorate from the University of Tennessee, a master’s degree from Bowling Green State University and a bachelor’s from the University of Iowa. She holds a green belt in Lean Applied to Business Processes. She serves on the college’s Diversity and Inclusion Council and Women in Business and Leadership Summit planning committee and is the faculty advisor for the Management Society (MSUT) student organization.

Haseeb Qureshi (HQ), lecturer 

HQ is a licensed attorney who consults and advises startups, entrepreneurs and business owners throughout the region. HQ was an entrepreneur in residence at Morehous Legal Group, a boutique business law firm specializing in startups and entrepreneurial law and has been adjunct lecturing in entrepreneurship and management since spring 2019. In addition to teaching, HQ is the founder and chief executive officer of Forthlaw PLLC, a tech-based modernized law firm dedicated to increasing access to business legal services for young and early businesses and their founders. HQ is a self-taught software developer and the co-founder and CEO of Audiohand Inc., a music technology company dedicated to redefining recorded live music experiences and their recordings.

Sherry M.B. Thatcher, Skinner Professor of Business 

Thatcher currently serves as editor-in-chief of the Academy of Management Review. Her doctorate is in organizational behavior from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research interests focus on diversity, identity and conflict, and she is one of the leading experts in the area of team fault lines. Her work appears in the top journals of the field, including the Academy of Management Review, Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Annals, Journal of Applied Psychology, Organization Science, Journal of Management, Journal of Management Studies and Decision Support Systems.



Daniel Chavez, assistant professor 

Chavez earned his first doctoral degree in managerial economics at Texas A&M in 2020 while working toward his second doctorate in marketing and supply chain at the University of Kentucky, which he completed in spring 2022. Originally from the mountains in the coffee-growing region of Honduras, Chavez has lived in five countries and 10 cities, largely because of his 12 years of experience in the private sector prior to graduate school, including general management positions at a Global Fortune 300 firm. His research focuses on sales and pricing, with current projects concentrating on applying quantitative models to large data sets and conducting experiments to provide insights to sales organizations on those topics.

Amy Engstrom Clugg, lecturer

Engstrom Clugg is a first-generation college graduate with degrees from Northwestern University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In a marketing and advertising career spanning more than 30 years, she has led brands from Anheuser-Busch, Mars, Mondelēz, Google, Johnson & Johnson, Bridgestone, McDonald’s and more, and has worked in integrated marketing, branded entertainment and digital marketing. She has taught in higher education for most of her career, serving as an adjunct instructor, advisor and mentor at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Media and Integrated Marketing Communications, as well as at Elmhurst University and College of DuPage.

Youngtak Kim, assistant professor 

Kim received his doctorate in marketing from the University of Georgia in 2022. His research focuses on sustainability, new product introductions and marketing dualities, using financial and market-based measures to examine the firm performance implications of sustainable new products. His numerous awards include the 2022 EMAC-Sheth Foundation Sustainability Research Competition, 2022 INFORMS Society for Marketing Science Research Grant and 2021 Business for a Better World Dissertation Proposal Competition. His research has appeared in the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science. Prior to his doctoral degree, he spent seven years working in consulting and market research.

Marisabel Romero, associate professor 

Romero holds a doctorate in marketing from the University of South Florida. Before pursuing her doctorate, she worked for the global beverage company SABMiller, where she lead the development and management of new soft drink brands in the Honduran market. Prior to joining the University of Tennessee, Romero was an assistant professor of marketing at Colorado State University. Her research interests include visual information processing, numerical cognition and experiential consumption. Her work on these topics has been published in the Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Marketing Research and Journal of Advertising, among others.


Supply Chain Management

Huseyn Abdulla, assistant professor

Abdulla earned his doctorate in operations management at Mays Business School at Texas A&M University. He also holds a master’s degree in industrial engineering and operations research from University of California, Berkeley, and a bachelor’s degree in industrial organization and management from Qafqaz University in Baku, Azerbaijan, from where he originally hails. Abdulla’s research focuses on sustainable operations, retail operations and behavioral operations management. His manuscripts have appeared in publications like the Journal of Operations Management and Production and Operations Management. 

Darrell Edwards, assistant professor 

Edwards, former senior vice president and chief operating officer at La-Z-Boy Incorporated, was part of the executive team leading the global operations and supply chain for La-Z-Boy Branded Business. With more than 30 years of global operations and supply chain experience, his interests include business coaching, team building, process innovation and strategy. He has authored articles in several business trade publications, is a frequent guest speaker at national forums and serves as an independent board director for Dovetail Brands. He holds a doctorate in business administration from Temple University, an MBA from UT and a master’s degree in global management from the Thunderbird School of Global Management in Glendale, Arizona. 

Sara Hsu, clinical associate professor 

Previously, Hsu taught economics at the State University of New York at New Paltz. She specializes in Chinese supply chains, fintech, economic development, informal finance and shadow banking. She has published one of the only English-language books on Chinese fintech, China’s Fintech Explosion, and informal finance, “Informal Finance in China: American and Chinese Perspectives,” as well as one of the only Chinese-language books on Chinese shadow banking. She also has published several articles and books on the topics of sustainable development, financial crises and trade. Hsu earned her doctorate from the University of Utah, her MBA from UT and her bachelor’s from Wellesley College.

Seongkyoon Jeong, assistant professor 

Jeong’s research focuses on contemporary issues in supply chain management, such as digital supply chain, cybersecurity and sustainable operations. Jeong earned his doctorate from Arizona State University after working at the Korea Institute of Machinery and Materials, a government-funded research institute, specializing in interorganizational relationships and R&D strategy.

Karen Matthews, associate professor of practice 

Matthews began her academic career at the U.S. Naval Academy, received her bachelor’s in electrical engineering from Morgan State University and an MBA, a Master of Engineering and doctorate in electrical engineering from Cornell University.

Matthews is founder and CEO of Purpose-Driven Consulting and held senior positions in Corning Incorporated’s Science & Technology division. She focuses on moving concepts to commercialization, emphasizing agile technology transfer, digital transformation, 5G, the internet of things and Industry 4.0 Innovation. She has authored numerous publications and patents and is a member of several technical and professional organizations and several boards and work groups. She has served as keynote speaker, moderator and more at various forums related to her professional interests.

Don Maier, associate professor of practice 

Maier’s professional career included roles at FedEx, Office Depot, Penske Logistics, Monsanto and Merisant. Maier earned a doctorate in organization development and a master’s in organizational behavior from Benedictine University and taught a variety of management-related courses. He started teaching full-time at the University of St. Francis, where he earned the Excellence in Teaching Award and Alumni Board Presidential Award. 

For the past nine years, Maier served as dean for the Maine Maritime and Cal Maritime Academies. He has been featured in multiple media outlets regarding the container ship Ever Given (the ship stuck in the Suez Canal) and volatility in the global supply chain. He serves on advisory boards for IAMPE and the Containerization & Intermodal Institute.


Stacy Estep, business writer/publicist, sestep3@utk.edu

Scott McNutt, business writer/publicist, rmcnutt4@utk.edu