May 2016 Monthly Newsletter

Frederick Smith and Tim Williams Spoke at Graduation

Commencement SpeakersFrederick W. Smith, founder of FedEx, and Tim Williams, co-founder of 21st Mortgage, delivered the Haslam College of Business’s 2016 commencement addresses.

Smith spoke during the undergraduate graduation ceremony on May 13 and also received an honorary doctorate in business. Williams addressed Haslam’s graduate students during their hooding ceremony May 11.

Smith first outlined the business model for an overnight delivery service in a term paper while studying at Yale University and received only an average grade. After graduating and serving a stint in the U.S. Marine Corps, he pursued his business idea and founded FedEx in 1971.

Today, FedEx is a $45-billion-a-year global transportation, business services and logistics company. It is the largest overnight shipper in the world, with customers in more than 220 countries and territories. FedEx is also the largest publicly traded company headquartered in Tennessee.

Williams worked from 1974 until 1995 at Clayton Homes, Inc. While there he served on the executive committee and was the president of Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance. Tim was a key member of the management team that saw Clayton Homes grow from a fifteen-store chain in 1974 to a publicly-traded company in 1983, and go on to become the largest retailer in the manufactured housing industry. Tim left Clayton Homes in 1995 to start 21st Mortgage Company.

Williams holds a degree in accounting and an MBA from Haslam and received its entrepreneur of the year award in November 2014. He is also a past recipient of the Totaro Award, the manufactured housing finance industry’s highest award for lifetime achievement, and a recipient of the Junior Achievement’s Knoxville Business Hall of Fame.

For more information on the commencement ceremonies, or to watch a live stream, visit

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Anonymous Donors Endow Undergraduate Business Plan in Honor of Graves

Tom GravesWhen Tom Graves was called to Dean Steve Mangum’s office the last week in April, he had no clue what was about to happen.

“It was a strange group of people in the meeting,” Graves said. He was joined by Lynn Youngs, executive director of the Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation; Anne Smith, head of the management department; and Chip Bryant, Haslam’s executive director for development and alumni affairs.

Dean Mangum informed Graves that anonymous donors had given $1,000,000 to endow the Undergraduate Business Plan Competition (UBPC) at the Haslam College of Business. Graves has organized the competition for the last eight years, and this gift will enable it to continue in perpetuity.

“We were never 100 percent sure that we would have the money to put on the competition the next year, so this was fantastic news,” Graves said.

Mangum then informed him that the donors requested the competition be named in Graves’ honor to recognize his long-term dedication and passion for the program.

“Tom Graves has dedicated great personal energy over the past eight years to nurturing and honing the entrepreneurial visions of UT students,” Mangum said. “For Tom, this is a labor of love as well as a professional passion. To now have the UBPC bear his name is beyond appropriate. It is a lasting testament to a diligent, caring educator.”

Graves was floored. “I almost fell out of my chair,” he said. “I have to keep pinching myself.”

Though having the program named after him is surreal for Graves, he is most grateful for its secured future. “Because of these donors’ generosity, we will be able to offer this real-world opportunity to students indefinitely,” he said.

Providing opportunity and creating an entrepreneurial spirit for all students across the University of Tennessee has been Graves’ ultimate aim since the genesis of the UBPC in 2008. The competition, held every spring, has awarded $170,000 to fund 50 startup ideas. Thirty-six ideas have resulted in established companies.

During the competition, students present their ideas to business professionals who evaluate the startups on the strength of the pitch, project innovation and feasibility. Graves handpicks the judges from the business community, creating an authentic entrepreneurial pitch experience for students.

Graves and Mangum wished to express their heartfelt thanks to the anonymous donors for making this naming possible, as did Smith, Youngs and Bryant.

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Twenty-four Haslam Students Lauded at Chancellor’s Honors Banquet

Chancellor Honors BanquetTwenty-four students from the Haslam College of Business were honored on Tuesday, April 19, as part of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s 2016 Chancellor’s Honors Banquet. The banquet is held each spring to recognize students, faculty, staff and friends of the University of Tennessee for their extraordinary achievements.

Jalen Blue and Wayne Taylor were named Torchbearers, the highest honor the university gives to its students. Read more about Blue, Taylor and their fellow Torchbearers.

Haslam students Lindsey Bowman, Tyler Daugherty, Amanda Carner, Caroline Finkbeiner, Madison Hahn, Ariel Kupritz, Charles Merzbacher, Benjamin Miller, Timothy Wylie and Alicia Young were honored for Extraordinary Academic Achievement. See a list of all awardees.

Dana Parks was recognized for Extraordinary Professional Promise. Parks is completing the Master of Accountancy program and has received a job offer at EY in Atlanta to work in their Fraud Investigation and Dispute Services department. See a list of all awardees.

David Jiang, a Ph.D. candidate in business, received a Graduate Student Teaching Award for utilizing a range of teaching methods and approaches to inspire critical thinking and the application of theory to real-life situations. Read more about Jiang and his fellow awardees.

Lindsey Bowman, Amanda Carner, Tyler Daugherty, Caroline Finkbeiner, Madison Hahn, Ariel Kupritz, Charles Merzbacher, Benjamin Miller and Timothy Wylie received Outstanding Scholar Athlete Awards for excelling in both scholarship and athletics. See a list of all awardees.

Ashley Katherine Poteet received a Top Collegiate Scholar Award. See a list of all awardees.

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Haslam College of Business Honors Top Faculty and Staff

Faculty and Staff AwardsThe Haslam College of Business at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, announced its annual Business Awards during a celebration held April 21. The awards recognize outstanding faculty and staff accomplishments.

This year the Superior Customer Responsiveness Award went to Sherri Pinkston of the economics department.

Pinkston was recognized for her role in coordinating cross-department efforts to assist Ph.D. students. One student said: “I would have been lost without her help in everything from filing forms for graduation to keeping my job search documents organized. She takes great personal interest in the students as individuals.”

The Tim Williams Staff Award for Professionalism was awarded to Lois Welch of the accounting and information management department. Welch’s duties include serving as the assistant to the department head and organizing Accounting Day, the Accounting Round Table and the Accounting 200 awards dinner.

A faculty member said: “Lois just makes it look easy. She is the consummate professional who always seems to find a way to make things happen for you.”

Kaitlyn Wray, of the finance department, received the Innovation and Creativity Award for her unique efforts to support her department and make it more efficient. She created a custom spreadsheet which compiles budget information in one place, updating it and estimating future expenses based on the prior year’s spending. Her innovation has allowed for more informed decisions based on identifiable trends.

Marianne Wanamaker, assistant professor of economics, received the Vallet Family Outstanding Researcher Award. Her work has examined black-white education inequality, black-white wage inequality, fertility, migration, child labor and energy conservation. All of her papers since December 2014 are in journals classified as premier, elite or very good, and she has been named a fellow of the National Bureau of Economic Research.

This year the Richard C. Reizenstein award for outstanding commitment to students was presented to John Wachowicz, professor of finance. Despite being in his last year of teaching, Wachowicz has been in his office every day with his door open to students.

Missie Bowers, professor of business analytics and statistics, was awarded the Allen H. Keally Excellence in Teaching Award for her devotion to her students. “Dr. Bowers teaches her material in depth and very clearly,” said one student. “She is always available to help and has never let a student go without understanding.”

Terry Neal, professor of accounting, was awarded the Martin and Carol Robinson Excellence in Teaching, Research and Service Award for his exemplary record. During Neal’s tenure as director of the accounting and information management Ph.D. program, the program has seen increased quality in students, student research and student placement. Neal serves on more dissertation committees than any other accounting faculty member, as well as numerous departmental and college-wide committees.

This year’s Richard D. Sanders Award for Leadership in Executive Education was presented to Jim Reeve for his high standards in leadership.

Bruce Behn, associate dean for graduate and executive education, said of Reeve: “Jim Reeve is one of the most gifted teachers and innovative faculty members we have had in the Haslam College of Business. I had the privilege of shadowing him in my early years here, and he taught me many things about being an effective classroom instructor and how to bring real-world knowledge into instructional cases.”

The Diversity and Inclusion Award was presented to the Department of Marketing & Supply Chain Management with special mention being given to Diane Mollenkopf, Wendy Tate and Mary Holcomb.

In addition to the awards presented Thursday night, several faculty and staff members were honored for their service during separate awards ceremonies held in recent months.

In the MBA Program Awards, the Outstanding First Year Faculty Award was presented to Bogdan Bichescu, the Outstanding Second Year Faculty Award was presented to John Anderson and the International Students Appreciation Award was presented to David Ecklund.

In the Masters in Business Analytics Awards, the Outstanding Commitment to Students Award was presented to Bogdan Bichescu and the Excellence in Teaching Award was presented to Robert Mee.

In the Masters in Human Resource Management Awards, the Outstanding Faculty Award was presented to Cheryl Barksdale.

In the Executive Master’s Awards, the Professional MBA Outstanding Faculty Award was presented to Mandyam Srinivasan, the Aerospace and Defense MBA Outstanding Faculty Award was presented to Elaine Seat, the Executive MBA Outstanding Faculty Award was presented to Priscilla Wisner, the Physician Executive MBA Outstanding Faculty Award was presented to Don Lighter and the Physician Executive Outstanding Teaching Award was presented to Jody Crane.

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Experts Discuss Role of Analytics and Technology in Aerospace and Defense Panel

Experts An aerospace and defense panel discussion at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Haslam College of Business convened Thursday, April 14, to discuss the management of technology and innovation.

Aerospace and Defense MBA program students were in Knoxville for one of their on-campus sessions attended.

Retired United States Air Force Maj. Gen. Richard Webber opened the panel discussion by sharing insight into the historical development of today’s national security landscape and looked forward toward priorities that will shape the defense industry of the future.

“Data analytics, especially with all the sensors we have out there now, are increasingly important,” Webber said. “Looking into how we merge these many systems is crucial. Then there is the question of how to operate networks of that magnitude and protect them against vulnerabilities.”

Jody Singer, deputy director of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, spoke about the importance of communicating the value of technological innovations to move them from a research setting into the market.

“There are a lot of times when we’ll have good technology and good ideas, but we’re finding more and more – particularly in the world of NASA – that we have to be able to tell a story about that technology to sell it,” Singer said.

Alex Miller, founder of the college’s Aerospace and Defense MBA program, said the high caliber of the invited panelists is a testament to Haslam’s reputation for quality within the aerospace and defense industries.

“These panelists have deep experience representing the perspective of the operator of technology, as well as the perspective of the supplier from both industry and government,” Miller said. “These panelists represent the sorts of organizations and companies we serve in Haslam’s Executive MBA program for Aerospace and Defense.”

Other panelists included Robert Mitchell, former vice president of Northrop Grumman Aerospace, and Ray Sellers, assistant program executive officer with the U.S. Army for aviation engineering and technology.

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Student Spotlight: Wayne Nash

Wayne NashSenior Wayne Nash was introduced to collegiate life through Haslam’s Business Education for Talented Students (BETS) Program. He’s spent his university years since giving back to that community.

Nash’s passion for the college began when Tyvi Small, Haslam’s director of diversity and community relations, came to his high school in Memphis to talk about BETS. The program hosts high school students on campus for 10 days, exposing them to college and business norms through social events and corporate site visits.

“I wanted to get involved with Haslam because BETS meant so much to me as a high school student,” Nash says. “I wanted to continue that feeling. I felt immersed in the culture. I like the people here, and I know all the faculty.”

As a freshman, Nash joined Venture, the business living, learning community. Venture offers roughly 80 first-year business students the opportunity to enroll in similar classes, live on the same floor, and serve the community through volunteer opportunities.

“I’m so connected with Haslam because Venture made me be involved,” Nash said. He became a peer leader for BETS the summer after his freshman year and later went on to be the lead counselor for BETS after his junior year.

Nash is majoring in supply chain management with a collateral in international business. Nash has also found time to serve as a resident assistant for two years, volunteer with the Office of Diversity and Community Relations and even win the Best Presenter award at the ninth annual Keybank Leadership and Creativity Undergraduate Minority Student Symposium.

Nash will complete his degree in the fall, but he is set to embark on a three-month internship in Prague prior to finishing his college career. He will be working in the marketing department for Agave, a high-rated restaurant.

“I’ve never been out of the country before,” Nash says. “I’m looking forward to getting a new perspective and seeing a new culture.”

Nash is excited to start working in the supply chain field after graduation, but it will be bitter sweet to leave the relationships and experiences he has had with the college. “I take pride in being a Haslam College of Business student. It’ll be hard to leave,” he says.

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Alum Spotlight: Marilyn Litton Parrett

Marilyn ParrettAs a career marketing manager and consumer researcher, alumna Marilyn Litton Parrett knows what engenders customer satisfaction. As a two-time graduate Haslam College of Business she exhibits it.

“UT set the base for my career,” Parrett says. “Ford enabled me to work all over the world, and I was successful because of my degree.”

Currently retired, Parrett held leadership roles with Ford Motor Company, Brown-Forman Corporation and GE. Parrett’s journey at Ford began in 1977 where she held a job in the marketing, sales and customer service division. She quickly advanced within the company, holding various managerial roles such as market research, global consumer trends and futuring manager, and consumer intelligence manager. She led teams that researched trends and data across multiple countries, optimizing global corporate market research, and market intelligence over 30 years with Ford, and served on the CMO’s staff for her final two years while there.

Parrett’s talent and drive for success led her to a director position at Brown-Forman Corporation in 2007, and later, to manager at GE. Through her career, Parrett’s records of proven results earned her various awards, including the Brown-Forman Spirit of Excellence Award, two Ford Motor Company DRIVE Leadership awards, and a ESOMAR 2003 John and Mary Goodyear Award finalist for Best International Paper.

As Parrett was a pioneer in her industry, so too was she at UT. She was one of the first female MBA graduates in 1977. She also completed a bachelor’s in marketing in 1975. Parrett’s time at UT exceeded her expectations.

“I not only learned the fundamentals in the classroom at UT, I was able to gain experience in the field, as encouraged through my instructors and mentors there,” Parrett says.

Parrett lives in Louisville, Kentucky, with her husband, David. They have two sons, one of whom graduated from UT in the College of Law. Parrett volunteers with the Junior League of Detroit, her church, Habitat for Humanity, and is still an avid fan of Volunteer sports.

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Faculty/Staff Spotlight: Alissa Reeves

Alissa ReevesAlissa Reeves takes on new projects with fearless enthusiasm. “The question is not who is going to let me -- the question is who is going to stop me,” she says.

That dauntless attitude recently found Reeves initiating an effort to expand the Peace Corps into Cuba. After reaching out to the regional executive director to begin the process, she set out to analyze potential activities for Peace Corps volunteers that align with the six sectors of the organization: education, environment, agriculture, community and economic development, health and youth development.

Reeves will begin her service with the Peace Corps in the fall of 2017. She aims to teach English as a second language or serve in a community development role that ties to her experience working as the administrative support assistant in Haslam’s Office of Diversity and Community Relations and the Office of Marketing and Public Relations.

“This college is one of the things that excites me the most about being at UT because they absolutely embrace diversity and diversity-related efforts. It’s just a great college,” Reeves says.

Reeves started working at Haslam in 2013 after graduating summa cum laude with a double major in English and religious studies. In addition to working full time, she is a graduate student with a focus on women and domestic spheres in ancient Israelite archaeology. Reeves spent six weeks at the ‘Ayn Gharandal archeologic project in southern Jordan, studying with an assistant professor of religious studies.

“I have just had the best academic experience. Plus, in the Haslam College of Business, we focus on recruiting female faculty and staff. We have such strong female professionals in the college. I really appreciate that,” says Reeves.

In addition to her work at Haslam, graduate school, and her efforts with the Peace Corps, Reeves is a volunteer with the community radio stations WUOT and WDVX, the Dogwood Arts Festival, Knox Heritage, and Bridge Refugee Services, Inc. Her proclaimed number one hobby is riding her motorcycle, but she calls travel, bayou fishing, and a more than casual enthusiasm for all things Harry Potter close runners-up. It’s clear: Reeves strives for adventure in all aspects of her life.

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