Last Saturday, September 13, the Culverhouse College of Commerce Executive MBA Alumni Network gathered on campus at The University of Alabama for football, food, and fun before the Tide rolled over Southern Miss 52-12. The tailgate brought together over 60 guests, including alumni from several classes as well as their friends and family. The event was held in Presidential Park, near Alston Hall and Bryant-Denny Stadium.
We would like to thank Executive MBA Alumni Network President Kent Darzi (HEMBA 2010) and Vice President Nathan Chilcutt (TEMBA 2013) for all of their time and effort planning the event. The tailgating equipment, food, and television were provided by Gameday Done Right, a local company started by Culverhouse graduate Tim Hughes.
For more information about the Culverhouse College of Commerce Executive MBA at The University of Alabama, visit our website or fill out an interest form here.
Nancy Acquavella is a business owner, an avid traveller, a wife, and the mother of three pups. With the flexibility of the Culverhouse College of Commerce Executive MBA Program, Nancy is able to fill her various roles as well as one more: University of Alabama student. To Nancy, success is more than winning; it is about putting forth effort and taking a risk. “(Success is) going after your dreams with everything you have – if it doesn’t work out it isn’t failure, it is success because you tried,” Nancy said. From opening a company with her husband to earning her MBA while working full time, Nancy is definitely succeeding.
After graduating with a Bachelor of Science in International Business from Old Dominion University, Nancy joined the entry-level workforce of a small New Jersey company. Dedication and guidance from her mentors drove her up the corporate ladder and into the executive position of Senior Vice President. Today, Nancy is Chief Administrative Officer and co-owner of Yorktown Systems Group, Inc., which she opened with her husband in 2008.
Yorktown Systems Group is a small business that is making an impact providing training, education, and management services to the government. After five years in operation, the company landed on the 2013 Inc. 500 Ι 5000 list with a ranking of 432 – fourth of all ranked Alabama companies and 35th in the government services industry. Nancy and her team conduct the company’s administrative procedures including customer service, human resources, contract management, and more.
Since Nancy’s position requires her to be involved in multiple areas of her company, she knows the value of her free time and chose to invest it into our Executive MBA program because of our convenient schedule and the well-known merit of The University of Alabama. Nancy’s role as a small business owner gives her a unique opportunity to apply the expertise she gains in class as the program progresses. “I’ve been able to tailor the projects to specific issues we have at our business – so I’m not only learning the skills, but also utilizing them in real work issues to get answers and insight,” Nancy said.
There is no wondering where Nancy acquired her taste for travel – born on Christmas Day to Mary (Ann) and Joseph in Beijing, China, Nancy grew up between Bonn, Germany and Arlington, Virginia. Although she has visited at least 35 states as well as various locations in the Caribbean, Australia, and Europe, Nancy finds it difficult to single out the best destination. When asked to choose, Nancy responded, “My favorite destination in the US or abroad is the same – somewhere I’ve never been before. Any day in a new place is a fantastic adventure to me.” Nancy is in for a treat in the spring when she embarks on the annual International Trip with her classmates and the EMBA staff and faculty to The Republic of Panama and Colombia.
For more information about the Culverhouse College of Commerce Executive MBA Program, contact Cheryl Altemara at 205.348.4501 or fill out an interest form here.
The average age of the new class is 37 with 14 years of work experience, 8 years of management experience, and 23% women. While slightly over a quarter of the students studied business for their undergraduate degrees, a whopping 55% studied science, math, or engineering.
Our staff made sure to leave no question unanswered at orientation – sessions were held with information about the program, college, and university as well as tips for studying and career development.
Students met their teammates and got to know each other with fun team building exercises and a scavenger hunt. The new students were also given an opportunity to connect with alumni over dinner at ADTRAN, hosted by Executive MBA Alumni Network President Kent Darzi.
HEMBA 2016 is the first class with the new blended format, which will meet one weekend a month for 21 months. With a combination of courses in both online and traditional settings, the new format is more flexible and accessible for citizens of Huntsville as well as commuters from nearby states and metropolitan areas. This year, we have five students joining us from Tennessee, one from Atlanta, and another from Kentucky.
Please join us in welcoming the following students:
Aaron Adams, Alabama A&M
Onisa Allen, Verizon Wireless
Rodney Bilbrew, US Army
James Boyd, US Army
Justin Brown, Modern Technology Solutions, Inc
Jeffrey Coker, Coker, Wolfe, & Associates
Erika Hailes, Qualitest
Donald Hersh, Teledyne Brown Engineering
Zeph Isom, Universal Lighting Technologies
Shannon Lewis, Princeton Baptist Medical Center
Heather Martin, Community Health Systems
John Mathison, Booz Allen Hamilton
Ryan McDaniel, Nissan of Smyrna, TN
Jamie Mckinley, UAB-Huntsville Medical Center
Jeremy Phelps, Nissan North America
Jordan Reynolds, Missile Defense Agency
Eric Satterfield, Neptune Technology Group
Richard Spears, DRS Technologies
Michael Starnes, Heidelberg USA
Edward Stringfellow, Stringfellow Technology Group
Nicholas P. Ward, Westlake Chemical, Inc.
Dorthea Yarbrough, AMRDEC
For more information about the Culverhouse College of Commerce EMBA Program, contact Cheryl Altemara at 205.348.4501 or fill out an interest form here.
As always, the sunny season has been filled with memories, smiles, and interstate miles. Our inner wanderers led us to several destinations throughout the South on our summer recruitment tour. We put together this “travel-blog” in honor of our journey.
We launched our adventure in Rocket City with a presentation by DRS Test & Energy Management President Tim Smith, HEMBA 2000, and a tour of the DRS-TEM facility.
Next, we met potential students and caught up with alumni at a recruitment luncheon overlooking gorgeous views of the Atlanta skyline at the City Club of Buckhead.
We stopped at The Chattanoogan Hotel for a luncheon with alumni, potential students, and corporate partners. Before leaving, we also paused to enjoy the scenery by the Tennessee River.
After leaving Chattanooga, we made our way to Music City where we enjoyed the company of alumni and potential students during a luncheon at Puckett’s Grocery & Restaurant. This time, we had a celebrity guest – Elvis!
Our last stop was the Port City for a presentation by Southern Medical Health System’s VP of Finance Beckie Crawford, TEMBA 2013, and a tour of Springhill Memorial Hospital’s da Vinci Robotic Surgical System. We also ran into Erica Kemmer, TEMBA 2012, at Pie Lab in Greensboro on the way back to Tuscaloosa. You never know where you’ll see a UA EMBA!
Huntsville, Alabama, the newest location of the UA Culverhouse College of Commerce EMBA Program, is packed with unique history, culture, and industry. The oldest English-speaking settlement in the state, Huntsville is constantly featured on lists such as NerdWallet’s “Top 10 Cities on the Rise,” Forbes Magazine’s “Top 20 Leading Metros for Business,” or the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s “America’s Dozen Distinctive Destinations.” Expansive greenery, a diverse population, and modern technology make Huntsville the perfect location for EMBAs to study as well as relax and unwind.
Huntsville’s location near the geographic center of the Southeast makes the Rocket City an easy destination. Sitting within half an hour from the Alabama-Tennessee state line, the drive to Huntsville is less than two hours from Chattanooga and Nashville and around four hours from Knoxville, Memphis, and Atlanta. With the Huntsville program’s new one weekend a month format, an MBA is just a few short commutes away for Executive MBA students from Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee alike. For those outside of the tri-state area, the Huntsville International Airport has nonstop service to nine nationwide destinations such as Denver, Charlotte, Dallas or Washington, D.C.
Huntsville’s history is sprinkled with stories of warfare, innovation, and pride. When Huntsville was founded in 1805, the city was named after the London suburb of Twickenham. After the growth of anti-British sentiment and the War of 1812, the city took its current name after its founder John Hunt. By 1819, Huntsville had transformed into the largest Alabama Territory. The city quickly became a hub for cotton trading in the Tennessee Valley. In the middle of the twentieth century, Huntsville was still a small cotton town with a population under 20,000. Since the addition of the aerospace and defense industries after WWII, the city’s vast metropolitan area has grown to include nearly 420,000 residents.
While the defense industry is still the city’s overwhelming leader in employment, the technology, engineering, and education industries also have a strong presence in Huntsville. Schools and universities such as the University of Alabama at Huntsville, where UA EMBAs attend class, help make the Rocket City Alabama’s best-educated metropolitan area. Huntsville’s metro also houses the highest per capita concentration of engineers and the third-highest per capita concentration of computer, science, and technology workers in the country. Forty-seven Fortune 500 companies call Huntsville home, while sixty foreign companies from seventeen countries also populate the city. Huntsville’s entertainment industry is also thriving; the city embraces live music and performing arts at venues such as Theatre Huntsville and the Von Braun Center.
Huntsville and the surrounding areas have plenty of destinations and activities perfect for an excursion from EMBA coursework. With an average temperature of 71.5 and over a hundred sunny days each year, Huntsville’s climate makes enjoying the outdoors easy. If you love golf as much as our Associate Dean Dr. Gray, Huntsville’s many golf courses are waiting – including the expansive Hampton Cove Golf Course, the first of the 21-course statewide Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail. Another kind of green, Huntsville is surrounded by mountains, rivers, and lakes on the Cumberland Plateau of the Appalachian Mountains. The Rocket City also has over 3,200 acres of public parks brimming with natural beauty.
If you prefer culture to recreation, pay a visit to one of Huntsville’s several museums such as the Alabama Constitution Village or the US Space & Rocket Center. The historic districts of Twickenham, Old Town, and Five Points each flaunt their own unique sophistication and antiquity, splendidly preserved alongside the city’s more modern structures. Featuring Alabama’s largest collection of pre-Civil War homes, walking tours of Huntsville’s historic districts are popular year-round.
The next Huntsville Executive MBA class begins on August 7. For more information or to start your application, please contact Cheryl Altemara at 205.348.4501 or submit an interest form here.
Behind the scenes of the Culverhouse College of Commerce Executive MBA Program is a remarkable team of staff and faculty dedicated to transforming leaders and broadening professional growth. Inspired by their devotion, we have decided to highlight our EMBA staff and faculty members in our new series, Behind the Scenes. The first edition of the series features Associate Dean of Graduate Programs and Professor of Statistics Brian Gray.
A first-generation scholar, Dr. Gray earned his B.S. from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Mathematics from Clemson University. Upon graduation, he began teaching statistics in the business school at Texas Christian University. Seven years later, he returned to his native Alabama because he and his wife missed the culture, climate, and geography of the Southeast. Dr. Gray has since been honored with multiple research and teaching awards, including the 2014 EMBA Faculty Excellence Award selected by this year’s graduates.
A dedicated man, Dr. Gray invests most of his free time back into the College and his teaching and research; however, he does occasionally break out his clubs for a round of golf. From riding to UAB with his high school golf coach in his first summer of college to teeing off 3-4 times a week with his sons when they were growing up, the sport of golf will always hold a special significance in the life of Dr. Gray. Although he doesn’t make it out to the course as much as he used to, he still fondly reflects on the days he spent on the course with his sons – especially with Fathers’ Day quickly approaching. This year, Dr. Gray will miss the company of his older son, daughter-in-law, and new granddaughter, who live in Hong Kong, but will be visiting – and playing golf with – his younger son and daughter-in-law who live in Nashville.
Since his Statistics for Business Applications course is taught during the first semester of the EMBA program, Dr. Gray has the opportunity to welcome each new class of EMBAs to The University of Alabama. His organized teaching style provides the structured environment EMBAs need to reorient themselves to life as students. To help them learn the material and feel comfortable in the classroom, Dr. Gray advises EMBA students to creatively associate their coursework with their work and careers.
Dr. Gray’s course includes a data analysis project that requires students to analyze data from their employers as well as case studies that provide real-world examples in applying statistics. He also encourages interactions among students to help familiarize each other with even more explanations and applications of statistics.
According to Dr. Gray, around 90% of incoming EMBA students have some statistical knowledge, either from previous courses or firsthand. Whether it was positive or negative, this experience helps EMBAs appreciate the subject, which Dr. Gray finds refreshing – especially compared to undergraduate and traditional MBA students, who usually have little to no experience in the field. Previous experience can also prove to be a challenge, however. Since some students are more familiar with statistics than others when they enter the course, Dr. Gray must find a balance in difficulty of material to maximize each student’s learning potential.
For more information about the Executive MBA Program at The University of Alabama, contact Cheryl Altemara at email@example.com or (205) 348-4501.
This month’s edition of the EMBA Elite Spotlight Series is about Patrick Ellinger, who graduated from the Huntsville program with a 4.0 GPA this May. After earning his MBA, Patrick accepted a position as Senior Product Manager for Professional Services for Emerson Network Power. A Huntsville native, Patrick graduated Cum Laude with his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in Marketing from the University of Alabama in Huntsville in 1995. He now has almost twenty years of experience in sales, operations, delivery, and management of IT Technical and Professional Services. He allocates much of the credit for his success to his early mentors as well as his wife and college sweetheart, Jennifer.
Patrick was inspired to pursue his Executive MBA because of his strong belief in education, learning, and continuous improvement. Although he is an Auburn fan, Patrick knew that UA’s EMBA program was the best choice for him. “I was born, raised, and am still very much today an avid Auburn University man. When my friends and family found out I was attending the University of Alabama’s EMBA program, they were in complete shock. After these two years, I can tell you I have made many close friends in my classmates, faculty, and administration. I initially selected Alabama over other programs as it was a strong program and a better fit for my busy schedule with the Huntsville location option every other weekend. I now see the rivalry in a bigger picture and have a new appreciation for the Crimson Tide in my heart and am very grateful to the University for this experience and new life-long friendships.”
As Senior Product Manager for Professional Services, Patrick is responsible for validation and alignment of the pricing, positioning, and marketing of Emerson Network Power’s wide portfolio of Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) services. “This is truly an exciting opportunity for me and my career and the perfect launching point from my graduation from the EMBA program,” says Patrick. He also works with the product management and professional services delivery teams to ensure pristine customer satisfaction. Patrick describes his leadership style as transformational: “I strive to be a role model for growth and positive change that can motivate others through my optimistic nature and detailed commitment.” This transformational leadership style is one asset that helps Patrick fit seamlessly into his new role.
Emerson Network Power is driven by creative ideas and actions. The company provides innovative solutions for renewable energy, AC & DC power, precision cooling systems, and embedded computing, just to name a few. Not only does Emerson Network Power protect and optimize critical infrastructure for data centers, but also for communications networks, healthcare, industrial facilities, and more.
Career counseling is essential to ensure that each student is informed and focused on meeting their goals. Since EMBAs at The University of Alabama have an average of 15 years of experience, they usually have a good idea of where they would like to be; career counseling provides them with the knowledge and resources to get there. Instead of forcing each individual into pre-packaged options, the Manderson Career Services office helps students construct their own personalized plans based on their unique desires. By adopting a position of neutrality, Gary understands each student’s aspirations and transforms them into reachable realities. This transformation includes prioritizing and planning by dividing an overall vision into smaller, more manageable steps.
Since EMBAs have interview experience, many believe that there isn’t much room for improvement; however, practice and advice are always beneficial. The Career Services office can keep EMBAs refreshed on the basics as well as up-to-date on the latest interview etiquette. Recently, interviews on video chat services such as Skype and Google Hangout have become popular and require their own customs and norms. Mock interviews can give EMBA students the familiarity they need to feel calm, collected, and comfortable during innovative as well as traditional interviews.
If a picture says a thousand words, a resume says a million. Since UA EMBA students must have 5 years of experience, they have at least half of a decade of knowledge to shrink onto one page. The Career Services office can assist EMBA students in writing and formatting to ensure a clean and informative document. For example, Gary helps refresh resumes by replacing an unoriginal list of responsibilities with achievements and skill development. Gary can also give advice about building Linkedin profiles, which are becoming a leading resource for hiring companies.
Online Reputation Management
The Internet is constantly evolving, and with this evolution comes increasing opportunity for expression via social media. But exactly how much should we share and who should we share it with? From Facebook and Twitter to Pinterest and Linkedin, the Graduate Career Services office can help EMBA students understand what information to reveal or conceal to ensure a professional online reputation. For more about managing your online reputation, check out this blog post.
Just like the UA Executive MBA Program, the Manderson Career Services office goes the extra mile to work around students’ busy schedules. Since EMBA students are usually full time employees, Gary is available by phone, email, and appointment before, during, and after business hours. He also holds extended office hours on Tuesday evenings and Thursday mornings during the fall and spring semesters.
For more information about the Manderson Graduate School of Business Career Services, contact Gary Ward at firstname.lastname@example.org or (205) 348-4502.
For advice about how the Executive MBA Program at The University of Alabama can enhance your career, contact Cheryl Altemara at email@example.com or (205) 348-4501.
With Memorial Day quickly approaching, the The University of Alabama Executive MBA Program would like to honor those who lost their lives while serving in the United States Armed Forces as well as the men and women who continue to serve our nation.
During the May 3, 2014 Commencement, 13 graduates of the Manderson Graduate School of Business (EMBA and MBA programs) were recognized as military veterans during the ceremony and wore special cords provided by the Office of Veteran and Military Affairs to reflect their status. The Executive MBA Program has been a long time supporter of the military; the program waives veterans’ application fees and offers an award to those who have exhausted their VA benefits to enter the EMBA program.
As the American flag is lowered to half-staff until noon on Memorial Day, we, like the rest of the nation, will be remembering our veterans and military for their sacrifices and service.
Please join us in recognizing those who gave their lives as well as those still serving our nation on this Memorial Day.
This month, our EMBA Elite Spotlight is Scott Goldberg and Wyman Hamilton, both members of the Culverhouse College of Commerce Tuscaloosa Executive MBA class of 2013. After meeting in the program, the pair combined Wyman’s expertise in senior living with Scott’s in entrepreneurship to found Atlas Senior Living.
With over ten years of experience in the field, Wyman has been passionate about serving senior citizens since high school. He received his BS in Health Administration from Auburn University. During his tenure with Brookdale Senior Living, he was responsible for the management and operation of 35 communities in Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Mississippi. His experiences led him to write a book about leadership style and inspiration, which reveals the importance of cooperation, enthusiasm, and originality to Wyman. This enthusiasm and originality prospered after Wyman’s experience in the Manderson Executive MBA Program.
“The program gave me the tools and confidence to branch out from corporate America and become an entrepreneur,” said Wyman.
Scott received his BS from Mississippi State University. After graduating, he became Senior Director of Texas Sandwich Investors, LLC, which owned the rights to develop 100 Lenny’s Sub Shops in North Texas. Scott also served as the company’s CEO & Managing Partner for four years. Before Atlas Senior Living, Scott left Texas Sandwich Investors to found GoldOne Group. Given his entrepreneurial background, Scott has the expertise to help make Atlas a success. According to Scott, “We will always implement key business strategies from past experiences, but what excites me the most (is that) this business, compared to others, significantly allows me a role in positively impacting lives.”
Atlas Senior Living aims to provide outstanding service to its residents by utilizing Wyman and Scott’s unique problem solving and management strategies. A quote from the Atlas Senior Living blog perfectly describes their notion of collaborative management: “The best solution to most problems comes from those closest to them.” As the blog explains, their style of leadership requires attention and respect for their residents, employees, and clients. Instead of delegating or demanding, the Atlas managerial staff utilizes the familiarity of those with the most exposure to problem to help get to the source of their issues. This gives residents and employees influence while creating an inclusive environment and ridding the community of conflict.
Atlas Senior Living will be opening their first community, Madison Heights, this September in Evans, Georgia. Madison Heights will be the first all memory care community in the area, tailored to the needs of residents with memory diseases such as Alzheimer’s or dementia. Atlas is also planning to begin construction on another new community this fall in Lexington, Kentucky. In addition to residential housing management, Atlas Senior Living also provides consulting services and mock surveys, which will help spread their resident-centered, collaborative management model to the rest of the industry.