Category: UA EMBA Latest News/Events

Roll Tide Welcome for Incoming TEMBA Class of 2017

151107_MW_executive_mba_orientation_photosThe Culverhouse College of Commerce welcomed the incoming Tuscaloosa Executive MBA Class of 2017 at orientation on The University of Alabama campus on November 19. The 30 students enjoyed a kickoff reception the night before at Hotel Capstone. Interim Dean Brian Gray welcomed them to campus where they will pursue an M.B.A. degree over the next 17 months.

The incoming TEMBA class has an average age of 35 and 13 years of work experience. Thirty-three percent of the class is female (the average for EMBA Programs worldwide is 27.6 percent, according to the EMBA Council). The class represents a diverse range of industries from finance, government and non-profit, healthcare, manufacturing, defense, consulting, energy, construction, media, services, engineering and technology. In addition, 20 percent are military, 73 percent managers, 10 percent professionals and 20 percent are vice president/c-level/owners.


TEMBA Class of 2017 students in front of UA Manderson Graduate School of Business during the orientation scavenger hunt.

During orientation the students are divided into the teams they will work in during the program. The EMBA forms teams based on several parameters including professional and academic background, skill sets, goals and personality testing. Students had sessions on values, building their team charters, University processes, career development and an introduction to statistics.

Teams also competed in a scavenger hunt later in the day where they sought out campus landmarks for photo ops. “It’s a fun way to get to know the campus and build relationships with their team and classmates,” said Linda Cox, Program Assistant for EMBA.

The orientation concluded with a dinner hosted by the Executive MBA Alumni Network. Network President Ben Paulk greeted the incoming class and congratulated them on their journey. “The EMBA Program is a life changing experience and if you embrace it, the opportunity is there to build a great professional network and to make lasting friendships,” said Paulk.

The students will return to campus December 1 for a week-long immersion to begin their first semester Statistics, Marketing, Accounting and Project Management courses.

Congratulations and Roll Tide TEMBA Class of 2017:

  • Ruqayyah Abdullah, BBVA Compass
  • Michael Adams, Randall-Reilly
  • Katie Askew, The University of Alabama
  • Brady Baird, Summerville United Methodist Church
  • Brett BiaLowas, PPG Industries
  • Jay Brooks II, Tag Grinding
  • Stephen Buzzell, Grammer, Inc.
  • Christie Davis, Northport Police Department
  • Sierra Earle, USAmeriBank
  • Monte Green, McLeod Software
  • Matt Hartley, Chemetall
  • Billy Helmandollar, DCH Health System
  • Mary Scott Hunter, Intuitive Research
  • Doug Lafont, TAMKO Building Products
  • Walt Long, US Air Force, MAFB
  • Anuraag Malaviya, Tata Consultancy Services
  • Frazer McCurdy, ServisFirst Bank
  • Hayley Ray McNeill, The University of Alabama
  • Bridgette Montgomery, VA Medical Center
  • Natasha Moore, Horne LLP
  • Sean O’Brien, UPS
  • Bryan Sanders, DaVita Kidney Care
  • Jason Sellars, The University of Alabama
  • Lilly Setiawan, The Dutch Group
  • Dane Shaw, Arsenal Place Accelerator
  • Ryan Stallings, First South Farm Credit
  • Will Stroup, The  Brogdon Group
  • Josh Vinson, Parallon Business Solutions
  • Beth Webster, Small Business Development Center
  • Rich Winstead, US Navy

For more information on the Executive MBA Program at The University of Alabama contact Cheryl Altemara at or call 205-348-4501 or visit our website at
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EMBA Alumni Network Elects New Board

2015-2016 EMBA Board Members: Mike Ross, Russell Shamburger, Beckie Crawford, Ben Paulk and Michael Brost
2015-2016 EMBA Board Members: Mike Ross, Russell Shamburger, Beckie Crawford, Ben Paulk and Michael Brost

In October the EMBA Alumni Network elected the new EMBA Alumni Network Board of Directors for 2015-2016. The Board held its first meeting on Wednesday, November 11.

The new officers: Ben Paulk, Senior Product Manager with BBVA (TEMBA 2012) is the new President; Russell Shamburger, Manager of CGI (TEMBA 2004) will serve as Vice President; Beckie Crawford, Vice President Finance with Southern Medical Health Systems (TEMBA 2013) will continue serving as Secretary-Treasurer; and Michael Brost, Senior Business Analyst with Modern Technology Solutions (HEMBA 2015) will assume duties as Communications Chair. Michael Ross, Central Region President and Chief Commercial Officer for Renasant Corporation (EMBA 1989) will advise the new Board as past President. For more information on the EMBA board members click here.

During the meeting the Board received an update on the overall college and EMBA Program by Interim Dean Brian Gray and Director Donna Blackburn. According to President Ben Paulk, “It is important for us, as we formulate a strategy, to understand how the EMBA Alumni Network fits into the context of the larger picture for Culverhouse College of Commerce and The University of Alabama.”

The new board was also briefed on last year’s activities and successes. Ben continued, “We had a great slate of events for the 30th EMBA Anniversary celebration and we hope to capitalize on the momentum that was created. I am looking forward to working with this esteemed Board to further the mission statement of our Alumni Network.”
For more information about the Executive MBA Program at The University of Alabama, contact Cheryl Altemara at 205.348.5401 or request information here.

UA and EMBA Receive Top Rankings for Veterans

2016_MFS_Logo_200x200For the sixth year, the Culverhouse College of Commerce Executive MBA Program at The University of Alabama has been named a Military Friendly® school by Victory Media. Now in its 13th year for companies and seventh year for post-secondary schools, Victory Media’s Military Friendly® ratings recognize colleges and companies with leading programs for veterans, members of the Armed Forces leaving military service and military spouses. The military currently represents 29% of the entering EMBA class for 2015, up from 25% the year before.

Factors considered in the Military Friendly® school selection process include support for student veterans on campus, graduation and employment outcomes, and military spouse/dependent policies. Daniel Nichols, Chief Product Officer of Victory Media and Navy Reserve veteran adds: “Those earning the 2016 Military Friendly® designation demonstrate a strong connection between classroom learning and career development. They’re moving the needle beyond ‘why recruit military’ to translating military competencies into training and positive employment after graduation.”

To read the full press release, click here. In ad2dition to the University of Alabama being named as one of the 2016 best colleges for veterans by U.S. News and World Report, a new study commissioned by United Services Automobile Association (USAA) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes rates Tuscaloosa, Alabama as the top metro area that offers higher education opportunities for veterans.

According to the rankings released November 5, UA received the top ranking due to factors such as having the highest graduation rate among the top 10 and the highest percentage of Post-9/11 Yellow Ribbon recipients. For more information on this year’s criteria click on USAA.

Here’s the full top 10 list:

  1. Tuscaloosa, Alabama
  2. Lynchburg, Virginia
  3. Ann Arbor, Michigan
  4. College Station, Texas
  5. St. Louis, Missouri
  6. Killeen, Texas
  7. Syracuse, New York
  8. Greenville, North Carolina
  9. Salt Lake City, Utah
  10. Columbia, South Carolina

For more information about the UA Executive MBA, contact Cheryl Altemara at 205.348.4501 or request information at

UA’s MBA Program Moves Up Seven Spots in Forbes 2015 Rankings

The University of Alabama’s MBA program at the Manderson Graduate School of Business moved up seven spots from last year to number 49 in the Forbes 2015 MBA rankings. The Manderson MBA also ranks 4th among the 14 SEC schools and 25th among all public schools. Other SEC schools in the top 50 rankings include Texas A & M, Georgia, Vanderbilt and Florida.
“We are excited to see this increase in the rankings for our MBA program,” said Dr. Brian Gray, interim dean, Culverhouse College of Commerce. “I believe this ranking reflects the strong commitment of our faculty and staff to the program and hopefully shows the value of a Manderson MBA to our students and prospective students.”
Forbes ranked the MBA programs based solely on the return on investment for their graduates upon five years after graduation. The 2014 IMG_0450average salary for Manderson MBA graduates was $97,000.
The magazine collects its data for rankings from alumni, comparing earnings of graduates pre-MBA and five years after earning an MBA. According to Forbes, the magazine garnered a 24% response rate on its surveys to 17,400 alumni at 95 schools. Schools with response rates lower than 15 percent were not included in the rankings. Also according to Forbes, MBA graduates earned back their investment (tuition and two years of lost salary) in four years on average at the top 25 schools.
The Manderson Graduate School of Business falls under the umbrella of the Culverhouse College of Commerce.
-Edith Parten is Senior Communications Specialist for the Culverhouse College of Commerce at The University of Alabama
For more information on The University of Alabama Manderson MBA Program contact Patricia Wilson at, 205.348.6517; and for the
Executive MBA Program contact Cheryl Altemara at, 205.348.4501.

University of Alabama Welcomes HEMBA 2017 Class

150812_MW_emba_classFall on the University of Alabama campus is exciting as new and returning students arrive. There is cooler weather and talk of classes, faculty and football, and not necessarily in that order.  From Denny Chimes to the Bryant-Denny Stadium, from the President’s Mansion to the Ferguson Center (Ferg), from Coleman Coliseum to the Park at Manderson Landing along the Black Warrior River, The University of Alabama is welcoming its students.

On August 12, the Culverhouse College of Commerce greeted the new Huntsville EMBA Class of 2017 with its first orientation at UA. The HEMBA Program began in 2008. In the past, students would take classes on the UAHuntsville campus and only come to Tuscaloosa for graduation. We wanted to do something different this year and have them begin their 21-month, five-semester experience with the Capstone. For many it was their first time on campus.

Freind A pic
Over the two-and-a-half day orientation, the students met with their first semester faculty, participated in team building, and met with the Executive MBA Alumni Board. They also spent time seeing some of the sites and meeting other alumni and students on campus while involved in a team challenge scavenger hunt. They also nailed down the “Rammer Jammer” and “Roll Tide” cheers and are looking forward to a tailgate this fall in T-Town.

Dean Brian Gray (right) welcomes Jimmy Hassan (HEMBA 2017)

The students represent companies such as PPG Industries, ADTRAN, Infosys, Nissan North America, Sikorsky Aircraft, Southern Telecom, Amerex Corporation, the US Army, Northrop Grumman, and the Missile Defense Agency. The defense and manufacturing agencies are hugely represented in this cohort, with 28% and 24% of the students working in them, respectively. Other industries include finance, technology, healthcare/pharmaceutical, retail, telecom, construction, real estate and services.

The class reflects more diversity in terms of educational backgrounds. 43% of the students who just joined the program graduated with undergraduate degrees in engineering, followed by 29% with liberal arts degrees, 19% with business degrees, and 10% with science/math degrees. The average age is 37 with an average of 15 years of work experience. We also have 38% of our students coming from a military background.


Incoming students have goals to develop and further their career, develop business skills, further their mentoring and leadership skills, pursue financial security, own a business, have an impact on their company, become a better manager and motivator, and travel and work abroad.

Please join us in welcoming our HEMBA Class of 2017:

Ryan Burch, Northrop Grumman Corporation

Felicia Craig, Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation

Jason Deane, Nucor Steel

Chuck Freind, Amerex Corporation

Sonya Harner, Nissan North America

Jimmy Hassan, Dayton Superior Corporation

Rodney Hoover, DRS Technology

Shane Jackson, AMRDEC

Ray Morris, VentureSouth

Barry Navarre, Southern Telecom

Gaurav Negi, ADTRAN, Inc.

Phillip Patterson, Stutts Properties, Inc.

Nicole Reynolds, Zero Point Frontiers

Joshua Rountree, Nissan North America

Will Stinson, TotalPrint, DEX Company

Joe Taylor, PPG Industries

Bhuwan Thakur, Infosys Limited

Josh Vinson, Parallon Business Solutions

Dustin Whited, MDA/ECM

Nirvana Williams, ENDO Pharmaceuticals

Matt Zepp, Department of the Army

For more information on the Culverhouse Executive MBA Program, click on EMBA or contact Cheryl Altemara at or call 205.348.4501.

EMBA Celebrates Family Day in Tuscaloosa

Happy 4th of July to everyone! This is a time to celebrate our Independence, fire up the grills, watch fireworks and be with family and friends. At the Culverhouse College of Commerce our EMBAs are no strangers to celebrations.
IMG_8546Two weeks ago, on June 14, EMBA alumni, students, faculty and staff enjoyed Family Day at the Tuscaloosa River Market.  Family Day continues this year’s 30th Anniversary salute to the UA EMBA Program. There were games, prizes, bar-b-que and a movie, Despicable Me 2.

“I enjoyed talking with some of the folks and catching up with some old friends, said John Duckworth (EMBA 1989). Many of the alumni and faculty showed off their football passes, corn hole and hula hoop skills, and families dressed up in appropriate Alabama-wear for the photo booth. For more pictures from the event click on our Facebook page.

Next up will be a fall tailgate in T-Town. Roll Tide!

EMBA Director Donna Blackburn and John Duckworth (EMBA 1989) at Family Day.


Brian Gray Named Interim Dean for Culverhouse College of Commerce

130721_ZR_107_Manderson_Faculty_StaffDr. Brian Gray has been named interim dean of the Culverhouse College of Commerce at The University of Alabama effective July 1. Gray will fill the interim role while UA carries out a national search for a new dean to replace Dr. J. Michael Hardin who steps down June 30 to become provost at Samford University in Birmingham.

“Brian has a wealth of administrative, teaching and research experience and will be an effective leader during this important, transitional period for the College,” said Dr. Joe Benson, UA interim provost, in making the announcement.

Currently Gray is serving as associate dean of the Manderson Graduate School of Business in the Culverhouse College of Commerce. He is also the Harrison Family Teaching Excellence Faculty Fellow and professor of statistics in the department of information systems, management science, and statistics. Gray joined UA in 1990 and began teaching statistics in the Executive MBA Program in 1993.  He has received multiple teaching awards, including the UA National Alumni Association Outstanding Commitment to Teaching Award in 2006 and most recently the 2014 Executive MBA Faculty Excellence Award. Although he will be assuming the new position very soon, he plans on continuing to teach in the EMBA Program.

According to Gray, he is looking forward to serving as interim dean of one of the top ranked business schools in the nation.  “Knowing that we had a great team in place in the Manderson Graduate School of Business and the Executive MBA Program made the decision to accept the position easier,” said Gray.

His research interests include applied statistics, exploratory data analysis, data mining, business analytics, regression analysis, statistical computing and statistical graphics. He has published his research in various academic journals, and co-authored two books, “Basic Statistical Ideas for Managers (Second Edition)” and “Business Cases in Statistical Decision Making: Computer Based Applications.”

Prior to joining UA, Gray served seven years as a faculty member in the department of finance and decision sciences at Texas Christian University.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, with minors in business administration and computer science, from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 1978. He earned master’s and doctoral degrees in mathematical sciences from Clemson University in 1980 and 1983, respectively.

Celebrating EMBA Class of 2015 Graduates, Families and Veterans

150501_JH_EMBA May is always a hectic month for our Executive MBA Program. May is graduation month, a time for celebrating the accomplishments of our most recent graduating class. After 17-21 months of academic coursework, team assignments, case discussions, projects, presentations, international travel and very little sleep, our students become graduates. On May 2, 2015, the Culverhouse College of Commerce Executive MBA Program recognized the graduates and families with an Awards Banquet at the North Zone of Bryant-Denny Stadium before the formal University of Alabama commencement at Coleman Coliseum.

Welcoming the graduates into the EMBA Alumni Network, is Network President Mike Ross (EMBA 1989).

This year 27 graduates received their M.B.A. degrees from the Huntsville and Tuscaloosa EMBA classes. We also marked a milestone with our 30th graduating class in Tuscaloosa. Awards were also given to recognize class leaders and MVPs, students earning a 4.0 GPA and outstanding faculty.  This year’s honorees included TEMBA President Justin Merritt and Vice President Ryan Aday, HEMBA President Randy Lewis, TEMBA MVP Neil DiChiara and HEMBA MVP Nate Drees.  Graduates receiving a 4.0 GPA: Mike Brost, Nate Drees, Ashley Erickson, Justin Havrilla, Justin Merrit, Philip Morrison, Ross Swenson, Amy Tucker and Liz Williford.

The Drees Family.
The Drees Family.

In addition, the Huntsville and Tuscaloosa classes awarded Dr. James F. Cashman Faculty Awards and EMBA Faculty Excellence Awards. The Dr. James F. Cashman Faculty Award honors the memory of the late EMBA strategy implementation professor whose high standards of integrity served as a pristine example for his students. The TEMBA class bestowed the Cashman Award to Dr. William Walsh, Economics Instructor; and HEMBA recognized Dr. Ron Dulek, the John R. Miller Professor of Management.  The Faculty Excellence Awards went to Dr. William Walsh (TEMBA) and Dr. Rich Houston (HEMBA), Director, Culverhouse School of Accountancy and Hilton Dean Professor of Accounting.

Attending the EMBA Awards Banquet and University Commencement were over 150 family members. It is always a highlight for EMBA faculty and staff to celebrate with the family this great achievement. “We often tell students that they will find doing the program difficult without company support but impossible without family support.

The family’s encouragement and assistance cannot be underestimated,” said Donna Blackburn, director of the Executive MBA Program.

Lining up before Commencement are some of the EMBA Class of 2015 Veterans (l-r): Lance Will, Clint Vance, Justin Havrilla and Nate Drees.


It is also a highlight for our EMBA Program to recognize the many Veterans we have in our program. This year 22% of our EMBA graduating class were Veterans. “During Commencement Veterans were given red, white and blue cords to wear with our regalia,” said Clint Vance. “UA respects and takes care of Vets who wish to attend college. Most have had a rough time and (the EMBA Program and Veteran and Military Affairs office) make it easy, and I never had an issue that was not promptly addressed.” Clint is a U.S. Army Veteran, and is currently AMP Manager with ProEquities in Birmingham.


Thank you to the family, friends and companies that supported our graduates throughout the program. Check out more photos from graduation on our Facebook page. Once again, congratulations to the Executive MBA Class of 2015:

Nancy Acquavella, Yorktown Systems Group, Inc.
Ryan Aday, BBVA Compass Bank
Julia Bobick, U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center
Mike Brost, Modern Technology Solutions, Inc.
Zac Buchanan, Blue Line Rental
Kathleen Crawford, Department of the Army
Neal DiChiara, The University of Alabama
Nathan Drees, Universal Lighting Technologies
Ashley Erickson, AMRDEC
Justin Havrilla, AAR Integrated Technologies
Jeremy Howe, Columbia College
Matthew Legg, Sterne Agee
Randy Lewis, U.S. Army
Kelly Lindsey, The Golf Associates
Justin Merritt, KBR, Inc.
Philip Morrison, Chip Rewards
Vanessa Pettway, Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc.
Sam Price, Nucor Steel Birmingham, Inc.
Adam Ritch, JMJ Associates
Ross Swenson, Regions Financial Corporation
Garett Toflinski, Randall-Reilly
Amy Tucker, Sonoco
Clint Vance, ProEquities, Inc.
Katherine Wayne, SAIC/PFRMS
Lance Will, Honeywell Aerospace
Robb Williams, Lear Corporation
Liz Williford, Southern Nuclear
For more information about the Culverhouse EMBA Program at The University of Alabama, contact Cheryl at, or call 205.348.4501.

UA EMBA Celebrates 30 Years

30thAnniversarySince 1985, the Culverhouse College of Commerce Executive MBA Program has been broadening our students’ horizons and inspiring professional and personal growth. In 30 years, our program has grown to include two locations – Tuscaloosa and Huntsville – and has educated over 800 professionals.

In celebration of 30 years of excellence, we will host several events throughout the year. Our kickoff celebration will be the Rooftop Reception at the new Renasant Bank in downtown Tuscaloosa on Friday, April 17, from 5 to 7 pm. At the reception, we will also be honoring Dr. Lonnie Strickland, strategy professor and one of the founders of the EMBA Program at the Culverhouse College of Commerce. With live entertainment and views of the Black Warrior River, this is sure to be a remarkable night of toasting to the EMBA Program’s 30 year anniversary. “We are looking forward to seeing our alumni, faculty, and staff return to Tuscaloosa and celebrate this great occasion,” said Associate Dean Brian Gray.

Next, we invite our EMBA alumni to join our 30th graduating class for brunch in the North Zone of Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday, May 2, from 10-11:30 am. Come and meet the EMBA Class of 2015 at one of the most iconic locations on campus and enjoy the stunning scenery of the stadium as well as the Walk of Champions.
We will also host Family Day at the Tuscaloosa River Market on Sunday, June 14, from 4-7:30 pm. This will be a casual event for EMBA students, alumni, faculty, staff, and family. Join us for fun games such as Bingo and Corn Hole as well as barbeque, Steel City Pops, and a movie. You may even win a prize!

Other events will follow including an EMBA Alumni Network Tailgate during the 2015 football season along with our annual Women’s Leadership Luncheons in Birmingham on Wednesday, March 11, and Huntsville on Tuesday, April 7. Our 30th Anniversary events make this an exciting year full of opportunities to network, socialize, and celebrate.

The inaugural University of Alabama Executive MBA  – Class of 1986

With this landmark anniversary comes reflection and feelings of nostalgia. Pictured to the left is the Class of 1986 – the first of hundreds of Culverhouse College of Commerce Executive MBA graduates.

Alumni, what are your favorite memories of your time in the EMBA program? Send us your stories and pictures to include in our Memory Book, a recollection of our first 30 years to be distributed at Family Day in June.

To RSVP for these events or to contribute to the memory book, please contact Donna Blackburn at or 205.348.8748.


For more information about the Culverhouse College of Commerce Executive MBA, please contact Cheryl Altemara at 205.348.5401 or request information here.

UA EMBA Welcomes T-EMBA Class of 2016

TEMBA 2016 Class PhotoThe Culverhouse College of Commerce Executive MBA at The University of Alabama welcomed the Tuscaloosa-EMBA Class of 2016 at the Bryant Conference Center for orientation on Thursday, November 20.

TEMBA classmates Steve Grissett, Pritha Powell, Neil Morton and Stephen Burton
TEMBA classmates Steve Grissett, Pritha Powell, Neil Morton and Stephen Burton

UA EMBA staff introduced themselves and the program via informational sessions.  Incoming EMBAs got to know each other over team-building exercises, including the traditional scavenger hunt and the networking dinner with alumni hosted by the Executive MBA Alumni Network Board.
The new class of 26 students represents a diverse pool of industries; 12% from manufacturing, 16% energy/utilities, 16% retail/services, 12% defense, 12% finance, another 12% government, education, or nonprofit, and 12% technology/telecommunication, and 4% each in construction, and media.
The class reflects an assortment of job function areas including 38% in general management, 18% in engineering, 12% in marketing/sales, 12% in finance/accounting,  8% in MIS/IT, 4% each in business development and strategy, consulting, and operations.

TEMBA 31 orientation
Tommy Walker and Nate Hall discuss team values during the “Values and Team Charter” exercise at orientation.

In addition, this class includes 27% U.S. military veterans.  According to Jason Sellars, TEMBA 2016 student, and Assistant Director with The University of Alabama Office of Veterans Affairs, “The EMBA Program is one of the strongest military supporters on the UA campus.”


This class will join the Huntsville-EMBA class that began in August 2014 for their international trip in their final semester and will graduate together in May 2016.  This class is fortunate to have the opportunity to learn and grow alongside a cohort filled with talented and experienced professionals.

Please join us in welcoming TEMBA Class of 2016:

Patrick Briles, Wells Fargo Bank
Stephen Burton, Buckman Laboratories
Ben Caro, US Air Force
Joe Caubo, Mississippi Power Co.
Aaron Craddock, Randall-Reilly
Stefan Eitzinger, Drummond Co.
Paulo Gonzalez, Drummond Co.
Steve Grissett, Southern Research Institute
Nate Hall, Hubbard Properties
Cody Higgins, Social Security Administration
Jason Kennedy, KCI Crane Service
Josh King, WTI Transport
Neil Morton, Pradco Outdoor Brands
Crystal Mosley, M3 Accounting and Analytics
Pritha Powell, Regions Financial Corporation
Bradford Price, All-South Subcontractors Inc.
David Reiniger, The Boeing Company
Kimberly Rose, BBVA Compass
Jason Sellars, UA Office of Veteran Affairs
Beth Smith, Progress Rail Services
Joey Snowden, Enerfab Power and Industrial
Erik Spencer, Walter Energy
Michael Stanley, US Navy
Tom Thayer, FMG, Inc.
Josh Vinson, Verizon
Tommy Walker, Speedy Tire and Services