University of Tennessee

Haslam Welcomes 14 New Faculty Members

September 1, 2020

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Haslam College of Business is adding 14 new faculty members this fall. The new hires join the departments of accounting and information management, economics, finance, management and entrepreneurship, marketing and supply chain management.

Accounting and Information Management

Chelsea Smith (CPA, CISA) joins the department of accounting and information management as a lecturer. Smith graduated from UT with a master’s degree in accounting and a collateral in information systems. She worked as a senior consultant with LBMC Information Security helping clients across the world identify security and compliance issues and strengthen their overall security programs. 

Aerospace and Defense MBA

Byron Risner is the director of Aerospace and Defense Partnerships for graduate and executive education (GEE), working to establish and maintain partnerships with both commercial and DoD organizations. He also serves as a lecturer in Aerospace & Defense programming. Previously, Risner held senior management positions at Leonardo Electronics US and Alion Science and Technology. He retired from the U.S. Air Force with the rank of colonel after a 26-year career. Risner holds a bachelor’s degree in management from the University of South Florida, a master’s degree in human resource management systems from Chapman University, a master’s degree in strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College and an Aerospace & Defense MBA from UT.


Andrew Hanson is now an assistant professor in the department of economics. Hanson is a macroeconomist with a particular interest in the economic causes and consequences of asset price bubbles. As a graduate student, he published theoretical work modeling how nominal asset price bubble boom-bust cycles might lead to protracted, real economic recessions and unemployment. In addition, he has examined optimal monetary policy in the face of said cycles. More recently, he has been interested in developing time series and Bayesian econometrics methods to quantify asset price bubble magnitude. Hanson received his bachelor’s in economics from Davidson College and his Ph.D. in economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Nathaniel (Nate) Neligh has been hired as an assistant professor in the department of economics. Neligh received his Ph.D. in economics from Columbia University in 2018. His primary expertise lies in microeconomic theory and behavioral/experimental economics. Neligh’s research topics include attention, memory, networks and public goods. His teaching focuses on the economics of strategy.

Matthew (Matt) Van Essen joins the department of economics as an associate professor. He is an economist with a research agenda that focuses on topics in public economics, game theory and mechanism design. Van Essen is originally from Denver, Colo., and earned his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Arizona in 2010. He has spent the last 10 years on the faculty of the University of Alabama. Van Essen’s work in public economics has focused on incentive problems in the provision of public goods as well as methods to mitigate these problems. Recently, he has focused on problems of fair division in different economic contexts. He has published in economic journals such as the Journal of Economic Theory, Games and Economic Behavior, Economic Theory, Social Choice and Welfare, Economic Inquiry and the Journal of Public Economic Theory.


Scott Guernsey is now an assistant professor in the department of finance. Guernsey is an advisory editor for the Review of Financial Studies. His research focuses on empirical corporate finance, corporate governance, innovation, competition, law and finance, mergers and acquisitions and capital structure. His research has been on several high-quality conference programs, including the Adam Smith Corporate Finance Workshop, the American Finance Association (AFA) Annual Meeting, the NBER Law and Economics Meeting and the North American SFS Cavalcade. Guernsey’s papers have won awards at conferences and have been listed in SSRN’s eJournal Top Ten download lists. Guernsey completed his Ph.D. in finance from the University of Oklahoma’s Price College of Business, and he was previously a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Cambridge’s Judge Business School. He also has a bachelor’s in economics and communication, a bachelor’s in applied mathematics and an MBA with a concentration in finance, all from the University of New Mexico. 

Robert (Scott) Roark has been hired as a clinical associate professor in the department of finance. For the past two years, Roark has been a clinical professor in the department of finance and real estate at Colorado State University, where he taught finance and real estate courses and was the director of the Everitt Real Estate Center. Prior to joining CSU, Roark was an assistant professor in the department of finance at Boise State University from 2010 to 2018. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut and an MBA from Texas A&M University. Prior to going to the University of Connecticut, Roark worked in the commercial real estate industry from 1995 to 2006.

Michael Yates joins the department of finance as a clinical associate professor. Yates received his Ph.D. in finance from the University of Texas at Austin in 2007. He has been an assistant professor at Auburn University and clinical assistant professor and faculty director of the master’s finance program at Georgia State University. His labor economics paper, “Strike Three: Discrimination, Incentives and Evaluation,” was published in the American Economic Review and has been cited in the New York Times, USA Today, and elsewhere. His research on teaching effectiveness has been published in the International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. Yates recently received the J. Mack Robinson Faculty Recognition Award for Distinguished Contributions in Teaching at Georgia State and the Fischer Black Distinguished Finance Professor Award from the TFE Times. He is a three-time winner of the Colonial Company Teaching Excellence Award, a four-time recipient of the Teacher of the Year Award from the Auburn University FMA student organization and the winner of the Fred Moore Assistant Instructor Award for Teaching Excellence from the University of Texas at Austin. 

Management and Entrepreneurship

Jessica Jones is joining the department of management and entrepreneurship as an assistant professor. Jones holds a Ph.D. in strategy, entrepreneurship and operations from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and a bachelor’s in management from Miami University. Her research explores opportunities and challenges in pursuing new venture opportunities without appropriate access and support. Specifically, her research has a special interest in connecting the entrepreneurial process to societal outcomes, such as social entrepreneurship and impact investing. Jones has taught courses in entrepreneurship and strategic management at the University of Colorado and Miami University. Prior to receiving her Ph.D., she worked for a social enterprise in Latin America and served as an assistant director of an academic entrepreneurship center at Miami University.


Ruta Ruzeviciute has been hired as an assistant professor in the department of marketing. Ruzeviciute completed her doctoral studies at Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU Vienna) in 2018, and was previously on the faculty of the University of Amsterdam. Her research primarily focuses on sensory marketing. She investigates how specific sensory cues, such as scent, influence judgement and decision making. She also examines sensory interaction effects and the role of sensory imagery in the context of e-retail. Beyond sensory influences, Ruzeviciute is interested in healthful consumption and mindfulness in consumer behavior.

NOTE: Due to travel restrictions related to COVID-19, Ruzeviciute will not be able to leave the Netherlands to join the Haslam faculty in person until January 2021. 

Supply Chain Management

Stephanie Eckerd joins the department of supply chain management as an associate professor. Eckerd, who holds a Ph.D. from Ohio State University, researches behavioral operations and supply chain management, conducting research to achieve a better understanding of how social and psychological variables impact various aspects of buyer-supplier relationship management. Her articles have appeared in journals including the Journal of Business Logistics, Journal of Supply Chain Management, Journal of Purchasing and Supply Management, Journal of Operations Management and the International Journal of Operations and Production Management. Eckerd’s research has received numerous awards, including the 2017 Harold E. Fearon Best Paper Award at the Journal of Supply Chain Management and 2015 Chan Hahn Best Paper Winner at the Academy of Management. She teaches strategic sourcing, leveraging her previous industry experience in procurement analysis as a defense contractor serving the Missile Defense Agency. She also has taught introduction to operations management and intermediate supply chain management, and has been recognized for her teaching excellence. Eckerd serves as an associate editor for the Decision Sciences Journal, the Journal of Operations Management and the Journal of Supply Chain Management, and sits on the editorial review board for the Journal of Business Logistics. She has been recognized for reviewing excellence by the Journal of Operations Management (Reviewer Service Award for Outstanding Service from 2011-15) and the Journal of Production and Operations Management (Reviewer of the Year, 2015, Behavioral Operations). She currently serves on the executive committee for the operations and supply management division of the Academy of Management.

James (Jim) Keebler has been hired as a lecturer in the department of supply chain management. Most recently, he served as a visiting professor in the College of Business Administration at the University of Central Florida teaching undergraduate, graduate and executive courses. Previously, he was the Charles S. Conklin Chair and Eminent Scholar and Professor of Supply Chain Management at Clayton State University. Keebler focuses on strategic planning and performance measurement in logistics and supply chain management. He has published in several academic journals, including the Journal of Business Logistics, Journal of Transportation Management, Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice, Benchmarking: An International Journal, Leadership and Organizational Management and International Journal of Logistics Economics, as well as a variety of practitioner journals. Google Scholar reports he has been cited in more than 7,600 peer-reviewed publications. He is the co-author of the books Keeping Score: Measuring the Business Value of Logistics in the Supply Chain (1999, Council of Logistics Management) and Supply Chain Management (2000, J.T. Mentzer, Editor, Sage Publications). Prior to entering academia, Keebler had more than 25 years of practical experience in manufacturing, marketing and logistics management across the food, pharmaceuticals, health care, electronics and consumer products industries, holding senior management positions with the Pillsbury Company, Bergen Brunswig Corporation and Digital Equipment Corporation. He worked for an international consulting firm, owned and operated two businesses and served for five years as president of a Colgate-Palmolive subsidiary and as vice president of an operating division. Keebler also served six years in the U.S. Army Transportation Corp in the U.S., Europe and Vietnam. He has been full-time faculty at St. Cloud State University, University of South Florida, Clayton State University and University of Central Florida. He earned a master’s in finance and in management. He earned his Ph.D. in marketing and logistics from UT in 2000.  

Justin Kistler is now an assistant professor in the department of supply chain management. Kistler completed his doctorate in management science at the University of South Carolina’s Darla Moore School of Business. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Clemson University and an MBA from Wake Forest University. Prior to earning his doctoral degree, Kistler worked in health care operations for HCA Healthcare and project management at a General Electric laboratory. 

Andrea Sordi is joining the department of supply chain management as a clinical associate professor. Sordi holds a Ph.D. in chemical engineering with a focus on food processing and biotechnology from the University of Genova, Italy. He also holds an MBA in global supply chain management from UT, where he has been guest lecturing for the past three years. Sordi has 20 years of experience in the fast-moving consumer goods industry (Danone, Kraft, Mondelez) where he has had several supply chain and transformation leadership positions in the U.S. and Europe. Most recently, he was head of global procurement strategy and capabilities and head of global indirect services sourcing for Mondelez Global, LLC, in Chicago. Throughout the years, Sordi has led large organizational transformations centered around digitization, process simplification, leading-edge technologies and innovation. He has served on executive advisory boards for procurement software companies and been a speaker in procurement international forums (Procurement Leaders, ProcureCon). He has been cited and interviewed for specialized papers (SCM World) around digitalization, innovation and cost leadership, and has written several research articles on food biotechnology.


Stacy Estep, business writer/publicist,