Category: EMBA

UA EMBA Hosts “An Evening at DRS Test & Energy Management”

The Culverhouse College of Commerce Executive MBA Program at The University of Alabama hosted “An Evening at DRS Test & Energy Management,” on Thursday, May 8. The event featured a presentation by the Huntsville facility’s Vice President and General Manager, Tim Smith, followed by a tour of the facility and a networking reception.

Mike Underwood, President of SCI, with Tim Smith
Mike Underwood, President of SCI, with Tim Smith

Tim Smith began his tenure with DRS Technologies Test & Energy Management in 1983. Before earning his current role, Smith served in several positions for the company. In 2000, Smith graduated from the Executive MBA Program at The University of Alabama and began working in the DRS Program Management Office. He was promoted to Director of Programs and Vice President of Programs Management before becoming Vice President of the Test & Diagnostics Line-of-Business and Site Manager 2013. Earlier this year, Smith was appointed Vice President and General Manager of DRS Test & Energy Management in Huntsville.

DRS Test & Energy Management, LLC is a DRS Technologies, Inc. company. DRS is a leading developer of defense and sustainment technology used by American and allied military and intelligence agencies. The company’s focus on research and development in multiple fields allows DRS to assist in the modernization of a variety of defense equipment, including combat and tactical vehicles. By regulating each vehicle’s diagnostic, electric, and energy management systems, DRS improves their mobility, readiness, fuel efficiency, stealth, and survivability.

Smith, who earned recognition from the US Army for his significant contribution to the initial M1A1 Abrams Tank fielding at Fort Polk, Louisiana and Camp Casey, Korea, delivered a presentation about the company’s embedded diagnostics in combat vehicles. Smith also commented on his time as a UA EMBA student and how it has impacted his career.

Connie Chambers, Director of Corporate Partnerships for Manderson Graduate School of Business, with Jon Guertin (HEMBA 2013), Director of Engineering Services for 5 Stones Research Corp., and Donna Blackburn, Director of the Manderson Executive MBA Program
Connie Chambers, Director of Corporate Partnerships for Manderson Graduate School of Business, with Jon Guertin (HEMBA 2013), Director of Engineering Services for 5 Stones Research Corp., and Donna Blackburn, Director of the Manderson Executive MBA Program

After Smith’s presentation, the DRS staff gave a tour of the Huntsville facility. The tour included demonstrations of tactical systems and a visit to the facility’s testing area. The event also featured a networking reception, which proved to be the perfect opportunity for EMBA alumni, faculty, and staff to reconnect with each other and for current and prospective students to discuss the many benefits of an Executive MBA from The University of Alabama.

For more information about the UA EMBA Program, contact Cheryl Altemara at or (205) 348-4501.

Congratulations, Class of 2014!

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Executive MBA 2014 Graduates

Thirty-eight graduates from the Culverhouse College of Commerce Tuscaloosa and Huntsville EMBA programs at The University of Alabama walked the stage on the morning of Saturday, May 3rd. Surrounded by stunning views of the Walk of Champions and the field,

Children and adults alike enjoyed cookies, stickers, and coloring sheets on the Kid’s Table.
Children and adults alike enjoyed cookies, stickers, and coloring sheets on the Kid’s Table.

EMBA staff and faculty joined the graduates and two hundred and sixty-five of their closest friends and family for a banquet in the North Zone of Bryant-Denny Stadium directly after commencement. The event was filled with pride and fond memories as families reconnected over the success of their graduates. After the luncheon and award ceremony, the graduates and their families were given a tour of the stadium including the home team’s locker room, tunnel, and skyboxes.
One of our graduates, Nag Padur, was noticeably absent. His wife was giving birth to their daughter, Eaksha.  Born on her father’s graduation day, Eaksha’s name means “sight,” and can be loosely translated as “knowledge of soul.” Congratulations to the Padur family.

Awards were given to recognize each class’s President, Vice President, and MVP, as well as each student that completed the program with a 4.0 GPA. Recongnized were HEMBA’s President Staci Woods, Vice President Dana Runager, and MVP Matthew Brent Gardner and TEMBA’s President Christopher Jones, Vice President Sonya Ogletree, and MVP Paul Mongeon. Graduates that earned a 4.0 GPA include Huntsville’s Patrick Ellinger, Matt Gardner, and Nag Padur and Tuscaloosa’s Matt Bogue, Mrinal Dhar, Jeff Leroy, and Paul Mongeon. We are extremely proud of our graduates for these outstanding achievements.

Both the Tuscaloosa and Huntsville classes delivered a Dr. James F. Cashman Faculty Award as well as an EMBA Faculty Excellence Award. The Dr. James F. Cashman Faculty Award honors the memory of the late EMBA Strategy Implementation professor who lived by high standards of integrity and served as a pristine example for his students. The award, given to a faculty member that reflects Dr. Cashman’s positive influence, was presented to Dr. David Mothersbaugh (HEMBA) and Dr. Ronald Dulek (TEMBA). The EMBA Faculty Excellence Award was presented to Dr. Ronald Dulek (HEMBA) and Dr. Brian Gray (TEMBA).


A tour of the locker room and the tunnel followed the award ceremony.
A tour of the stadium followed the award ceremony.

Once again, congratulations to the Executive MBA Class of 2014:

Sam Barall, Havis, Inc.
Matt Bogue, The Dutch Group
Karen Braxton, Clear Channel Media
Tim Brown, Flexco
Myers Bruso, Farmco Builders Inc.
Ray Chowdhury, Missile Defense Agency
Jason Cochran, League of Southeastern Credit Unions
Brandon Cole, Sanmina – SCI, Technology
Will Coulter, High Rock Group International
Kathi Dawn, Genesis Healthcare LLC
Mrinal Dhar, DCH Regional Medical Center
Patrick Ellinger, Emerson Network Power
Edward Eskridge, Honda of America Manufacturing, Inc.
Corey Farris, Walter Energy
Ed Galvin, Sandvik Mining & Construction LLC
Matt Gardner, International Fire Protection
Emmett Garrett, USA Aviation Flight Test Directorate
Ted Gryska, Two Men and a Truck
Daayge Harvil, Wee Care Academy
Ashley Jackson, UAB Medicine
Christopher Jones, Southern Light
Robert Justice, Scientific Research Corporation
Scott Knighton, Blastcrete Equipment Company
Jeff Leroy, Central Garden and Pet
Marshall Liles, Nissan North America
Josh McGill, Applied Chemical Technology Inc.
Paul Mongeon, North America Coal – Red Hills Mine
Gary Morrison, Regions Financial Corporation
Janet North, Nucor Steel
Sonya Ogletree, Tempest Global Consulting, Inc.
Nag Padur, ADTRAN, Inc.
Dana Runager, River City Center
Sunil Singh, IBM
Krystal Swann, Raycom Media
Jennifer Thomas, Alabama Power
Brad Wood, US Air Force
Staci Woods, Oracle
Tamaria Yarbrough,  Alacare Home Health and Hospice

EMBA Elite Spotlight: Matt Bogue

Matt and Amy Bogue at Grand Opening of 15th Street Pharmacy in Tuscaloosa
Matt and Amy Bogue at Grand Opening of 15th Street Pharmacy in Tuscaloosa


Last Friday, March 25, 2014, was a day of celebration and remembrance for the Dutch Pharmacies’ grand opening in Tuscaloosa.  Matt Bogue, EMBA Class of 2014, and Vice President of Dutch Medical Clinics for The Dutch Group and his wife, Amy, welcomed the Tuscaloosa community and the University of Alabama EMBA family (classmates, faculty and staff) to the opening of their 83rd store.  This is the first super store venture in Alabama for The Dutch Group, founded in 1972.

Cheryl Altemara, EMBA Assistant Director, fills up at Grand Opening.
Cheryl Altemara, EMBA Assistant Director, fills up at Grand Opening.

The company, founded by Matt’s grandfather-in-law, Joe Gillis, grew up not far from the new pharmacy located next door to Sprint Mart at 445 15th Street, East in Tuscaloosa.  “In the aftermath of the tragic tornado that struck Tuscaloosa on April 27, 2011, my grandfather wanted to do something for the community, to give back to a place that has meant so much to him,” said Amy Bogue.

For over 40 years, The Dutch Group has introduced innovative business concepts from the design of commercial buildings to the operation of convenience stores with fuel, travel centers, fast food operations, pharmacies, and commercial shopping centers.  They pioneered many other new marketing concepts, such as starting a pharmacy business within a traditional convenience store in 1990, maintaining competitive prices and delivering personal touch. “Being part of the local community is key for The Dutch Group,” said Matt, “our pharmacies are independently operated to provide a true hometown service.”

IMG_6913In addition to celebrating the grand opening, Matt is also looking forward to graduating from the Culverhouse College of Commerce Executive MBA Program at UA, on Saturday, May 3.  Matt will become the second in his family to graduate from the EMBA program.  His father-in-law, Rex Gillis, President of The Dutch Group, graduated in 1991. Roll Tide!

Manderson EMBA Alumni Celebrate A-Day 2014

A-Day at Alabama 2014
A-Day at Alabama 2014


There is nothing that Alabama fans like more than football, except maybe lots of food with football.  We suffer some withdrawal pains if we don’t see some crimson and Houndstooth, spot Big Al somewhere, hear the Million Dollar band, or yell “Roll Tide” at someone.  It’s more than just a game at Alabama. It’s a way of life.

Ben (EMBA 2012), Ashley & Carter Paulk

Last Saturday, April 19, Culverhouse College of Commerce EMBA and MBA graduates, arrived in Tuscaloosa to attend the Manderson Graduate School breakfast before the A-Day game.  Alumni and their families received t-shirts, buttons and shakers to cheer on the Alabama Crimson Tide.  Our youngest fan arrived in a stroller and our most senior graduate, Frank Chandler, was from the MBA Class of 1970.

Tim Smalley (EMBA 2009) and son Drew (MBA 2015) pose with Connie Chambers
Tim Smalley (EMBA 2009) and son Drew (MBA 2015) pose with Connie Chambers

EMBA graduates from the Tuscaloosa and Huntsville programs from 2004-2012, showed up to reminisce and show their team spirit.  Tim Smalley, EMBA Class of 2009, arrived with his son, Drew, who will be graduating from Alabama with an M.B.A. in 2015.  The 2012 class had the most members to attend: Ben Paulk, Michelle Wooten and Allyson Welch.

Check out more pictures from A-Day on Facebook at

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Erica Kimbrough (EMBA 2009) and son Jared get ready for the A-Day game.

Prospects try EMBA Sample Class at UA

For those considering graduate school there can be some trepidation in returning to the classroom. And, when the class is statistics stress levels start to rise. To counteract the anxiety the EMBA Program at The University of Alabama began offering Sample Classes for Prospects.

Kicking off the first EMBA Sample Class in Huntsville on April 10, was a Statistic Introduction by Dr. Brian Gray, Associate Dean of the Graduate School of Business at UA.
Different from Open Classroom Days, where prospects attend a current class, the sample class is specifically designed for prospects to walk them through what will be covered in a course, answer questions regarding technology and cases used, and how the content is beneficial to the student and their company.

According to Dr. Gray, “Informed decisions require intelligent interpretation of statistical data and statistical analysis.” The students also were introduced to MiniTab and discussed a use of statistics in a law suit.

Onisa Allen who works at Verizon and attended the session found the Statistics Sample Class to be helpful in calming her fears. “In a brief period of time we learned the importance of how data can be pulled together that can impact major decisions in a corporation,” said Allen.

For more information on UA EMBA, and to RSVP for a future Sample Class contact Cheryl Altemara at or call 205.348.4501.

Regions CCO Barb Godin Speaks at Women’s Leadership Luncheon

Barb Godin, Chief Credit Officer for Regions Financial Corporation, addressed the Women’s Leadership Luncheon on March 19, at the Summit Club in Birmingham. Godin was recently named among the 25 Most Powerful Women to Watch in Banking and Finance by American Banker. Speaking on “Knowing Your Customer’s Customer – A Paradigm Shift,” Godin brings over 40 years of experience in the banking industry. As CCO, Godin oversees credit policy, credit administration and problem asset management.

Daayge Hendricks (TEMBA 2014), Barb Godin, Donna Blackburn and LaJuan Jones (TEMBA 2013).
Daayge Hendricks (TEMBA 2014), Barb Godin, Donna Blackburn and LaJuan Jones (TEMBA 2013).

Godin spoke about Regions focus on building relationships with their customers. She shared with the audience her guiding values: curiosity, adaptability and passion which has guided her career. “Success demands curiosity,” said Godin, “Never stop evolving and improving your processes.”

The Women’s Leadership Luncheon is an annual event established by The University of Alabama Executive MBA Program. “The WLL started in 2011, to bring professional women together to network and discuss business and leadership issues,” said Donna Blackburn, Director of EMBA Programs in the Culverhouse College of Business. “We were also fortunate to partner with the Women’s Exchange for our annual event. The WE is a great forum for businesswomen to connect, build relationships, and share information while showcasing the success and contributions of women. It was a perfect fit for what we were trying to achieve with the Women’s Leadership Luncheons,” said Blackburn.

Connie Chambers and Iesha Smith
Connie Chambers and Iesha Smith

The WLL is open to Culverhouse College of Commerce graduate students, alumni, members of the Women’s Exchange, and to any woman who would like to join our discussion of issues that support and promote women leaders in business.

CEO John Ferriola of Nucor Corporation Speaks to UA EMBA Class

On Saturday, March 15, John Ferriola, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Nucor Corporation, flew in from the company’s corporate headquarters in Charlotte to meet with the Tuscaloosa Executive MBA Class of 2014. The EMBA class has been studying Nucor both through case analyses and through examination of data presented in the IBISWorld Industry Report 33111: Iron & Steel Manufacturing in the US.  Nucor and affiliates are manufacturers of steel products, with operating facilities primarily in the U.S. and Canada. It is the most diversified steel products producer and North America’s largest recycler.

UA EMBA Class 2014“It was an honor having Mr. Ferriola answer questions and discuss the company in depth with our class,” said Christopher Jones, TEMBA Class 2014 President. “It gave us great insight into the critical decision making process, issues and strategies from the CEO point of view.”
“I was especially pleased,” added Dr. A.J. “Lonnie” Strickland, the John R. Miller Professor of Strategy, “that Mr. Ferriola went beyond the domain of talking about Nucor and its strategic initiatives. He also offered excellent career advice and shared amazing insights about how to succeed as a professional and as a person.”

Mr. Ferriola joined Nucor Corporation in 1991 as Manager of Maintenance and Engineering, progressing up the corporate ranks to become CEO and President January 1, 2013. He also currently serves as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Steel Manufacturers Association (SMA) and is on the Board of Directors of the American Iron & Steel Institute (AISI). He has also been active for more than 20 years in the Association for Iron and Steel Technology (AIST) and has served on its board of directors as well as on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM).
UA EMBA-Dean Hardin.John Ferriola“It was a great honor to have John so willingly accept an invitation to a visit with our class,” added Janet North, a Nucor employee and member of the TEMBA Class of 2014. “Early in my career with Nucor, as an intern out of Charlotte, I recognized what a special place Nucor is. And I quickly realized what a special role John plays in maintaining that valuable culture. His passion for Nucor, the steel industry, and for each and every employee is amazing.”

Mike Hardin, Dean of the Culverhouse College of Commerce, attended John’s presentation as well. “It was a thrill to witness John’s perceptive insights regarding the role of the CEO, the importance of communication and the strategic alignment of teams,” Dean Hardin observed. “Mr. Ferriola’s words obviously reflect the beliefs that have made Nucor a prized, valuable and innovative leader in the steel industry. To have him interact with our students so personally made it a wonderful experience for everyone present.”

Differences, Similarities, Opportunities

Screen shot 2014-03-06 at 11.01.30 AMAs each of us prepared and anticipated our moments in South America, both from an educational perspective and a personal perspective, we were encouraged and challenged to keep an open mind: to identify differences, Screen shot 2014-03-06 at 11.02.02 AMsimilarities, and even opportunities. Many of these moments came at different times and often revealed themselves in different aspects based on the classmate and/or staff member. This was to be expected, since some of us had traveled internationally, some of us had not; some had been to South America, even Chile and/or Peru, some had not; some knew little Spanish, some knew only English; some worked in international companies, some did not.

As we began our travels as early as Birmingham, I often noticed the nervous and anxious faces and body language of not only my peers, but also myself. Along our journey, each of us was finding within ourselves at least one question, but often many more, of what to expect throughout the experience. Questions moved in our minds about travel (flight/bus/taxi/walking), food, language, commerce, and even the welcome Screen shot 2014-03-06 at 11.02.13 AMof the people. In early discussions, many of us were prepared for more differences than similarities. However, the more we experienced and witnessed, the more comfortable we became with travel, food, the foreign language. At this point we began to see more of the similarities: similarities not only of the countries we visited, but to the cities and lives of those of our own towns.

While in another part of the world, people lived their lives just as we do in the United States. Farms are grown and harvested, mines are dug, oil and gas is pumped, food is prepared and served, customer service is given, smiles are shared on the streets and families and friends are meeting at restaurants, cinemas, and shopping malls. All of this occurs while various business leaders in various industries manage the growth of the economy and find opportunities for their businesses, people and countries.

Screen shot 2014-03-06 at 11.02.30 AMAs challenged early in the process, we witnessed and experienced differences, similarities and opportunities. As we venture back to the United States, I believe each of us will be carrying new memories, new friendships, and most importantly a new perspective and open mind to the world we live in, both locally and internationally.

The (city, state, country, world) we live in…so big, yet so small; so advanced, yet still so far behind; so good, yet sometimes bad; so health conscious, yet still so limited; so accepting, yet so cautious; so developed, yet still so pure…the (city, state, country, world) we live in: so big, yet so small.



Janet North
TEMBA Class of 2014

Team: The Rising Tide
Janet North, Jeff LeRoy, Nagaraja Padur, Patrick Ellinger, Sunil Singh
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Latin America — An Alumni’s Perspective

When it was announced that alumni could attend the EMBA International trip, I immediately signed up. Several alumni showed interest; however, only three of us ultimately made the trek to Chile and Peru. In my opinion, attending the international trip as an alumni offered several unique learning opportunities. First, I was able to attend the company visits, which offered surprising insights into the local culture. Second, I had the flexibility to vary my schedule apart from the group at any time. Third, I was able to focus on other cultural learning opportunities instead of worrying about the team project (…which thankfully alumni aren’t required to do!)  With my newfound freedom as an alum, I maximized this opportunity by learning a foreign language. In this case, Latin American Spanish.

I began studying Spanish eight months prior to our departure. I used a combination of methods, including Rosetta Stone, Pimsluer audio courses, and the book “Dummies Guide to Spanish”. I was very excited about the opportunity to improve my Spanish skills through a full-emersion experience in Latin America. However, upon our arrival in Santiago, Chile, I quickly realized their speech patterns were greatly different than what I studied. Their style of speech involved partially enunciated words, dropped syllables and a lot of slang. Although the Chileans understood me, I had difficulty understanding them. For the first few days, my most frequently used phrase was “Escribilo, por favor” (Write it down, please).

Where ever we went, I practiced my Spanish by talking with the locals. I talked with anybody and everybody. Although my Spanish was far from fluent, I was able to communicate well enough to:

  • Ask directions from subway workers and taxi drivers
  • Haggle with local vendors
  • Order meals at desayunar, almorzar, y cenar  (breakfast, lunch, and dinner)
  • Negotiate a private tour of the Bolsa de Valores de Lima (Lima Stock Exchange).
  • Arrange bus transport through Lima, Peru, which can be very crowded and confusing.

Ultimately, I never would have attempted to learn a foreign language were it not for the EMBA International Trip. I highly encourage all alumni to take advantage of this learning opportunity and see the world with your UA friends, old and new.
– Russ Elrod, Huntsville EMBA Class of 2013

Experiencing Peru

Screen shot 2014-02-28 at 9.12.49 AM
A famous American author once said “If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.” (James Albert Michener) It’s easy to say we are glad we didn’t stay Screen shot 2014-02-28 at 9.13.38 AMhome. We had the unique opportunity to see Peru not as tourists, but through the eyes of the people who work, live and love their country. With the lens of business leaders, our snapshot of Peru led us to believe they have great hope for the future. From people offering their artwork for a fee, to businessmen who are creating jobs, we had the opportunity to be exposed to the next generation of capitalism.
Screen shot 2014-02-28 at 9.13.58 AMPeru is a beautiful country with an outward love of God, Christ and each other. It’s shown in the monuments of crosses that offer light to the city skyline at night. It’s seen in the gorgeous catholic churches’ set-ups for worship and smaller displays even in the hospital. Although we spoke muy poco español, the people were willing to decipher through our accents and our English to be of service to our needs.

It’s interesting how a place so far from home can instantly feel like Anywhere, USA. The constant honking and terrible traffic invoke the feeling of New York City. The cool, almost cold, calm nights feel like San Diego in the summer time. And the hot humid days feel like a game day in Tuscaloosa. (Roll Tide!) And what’s great is that it’s all in one place — Lima, Peru.

Screen shot 2014-02-28 at 9.14.14 AMThe greatest take away from this trip is gratefulness. Grateful, that with all of our problems, we still live and work in one of the greatest countries in the world. Hopefully what we’ve learned about business and culture will make us better American citizens and willing to change the world by upholding our perception of greatness not in judgment, but in cooperation.

Team: Crimson Cares
Kathi Dawn, Mrinal Dhar, Ashley Jackson, Dana Briley Runager, Krystal Swann and Tamaria Penick Yarbrough

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