Cleveland State University -engaged learning
header banner

Dr. James R. Webb
Dr. James R. Webb

The Nance College of Business mourns the loss of our distinguished friend and colleague, Dr. James R. Webb, who passed away on February 27 after a long illness. In our next issue we will highlight his distinguished career and recognize the profound influence he had on his students and on the field of real estate research.




Leading Northeast Ohio Into the Hydrogen Economy

Robert F. Scherer, Dean
Robert F. Scherer, Dean

The Nance College of Business is pleased to announce that we have embarked on a groundbreaking new initiative that could have far reaching economic impact on our region, and beyond. This unique venture is a collaborative initiative by a number of organizations in Northeast Ohio to demonstrate the commercial reality of using hydrogen technology for practical uses. The first phase of the program focuses on the development of a renewably generated hydrogen fuel cell refueling station at the Great Lakes Science Center and the deployment of a hydrogen fuel cell-powered RTA bus routed between downtown and University Circle. The hydrogen used to power the RTA bus will be produced by splitting Lake Erie water using an electrolyzer run by wind and solar energy at the Great Lakes Science Center.

As the prototype fueling station is being installed, the faculty and students of the Nance College of Business will help to establish a better understanding of the potential use of hydrogen as an economic driver in Northeast Ohio by assessing and defining the supporting and inhibiting factors that will shape the future of a hydrogen economy in our region. Subsequently, our faculty and students in collaboration with project partners will work to identify specific end-use energy applications for the commercialization of hydrogen technology across various industry sectors relevant to Northeast Ohio.

The project is a response to the Call for Partnership issued by the US Department of Energy in it’s publication A National Vision of America’s Transition to a Hydrogen Economy–To 2030 and Beyond. This project will enable the development of a regional green power manufacturing supply chain and retrain blue-collar workers for green jobs. This would catalyze Cleveland as a manufacturing hub for the new energy economy. This model will serve as a template that can be duplicated in other regions in other states, establishing Cleveland as a leader in the new hydrogen economy.

The project is led by NASA Glenn Research Center and its primary partners include: the Great Lakes Science Center, Greater Cleveland Rapid Transit Authority (RTA), Hamilton/Sundstrand,  the Ohio Aerospace Institute, UTC Power, and the Nance College of Business.

Mr. Benson Lee, President and CEO of Technology Management Inc., and a long-standing member of the Nance Visiting Committee has also played a significant role in bringing this project to fruition. Lee identified the regional experts, and was instrumental in bringing them all to the table.

The Nance College of Business was asked to participate in this project based on our success in related innovative initiatives such as the Beachwood Business and Development Center, and the High Performance Building Technology project. The hydrogen project leverages knowledge gained through these prior experiences to help lead our region in fully understanding our potential to produce and deliver hydrogen in an affordable and safe manner, and to identify commercial applications for hydrogen technology in our region. There will be many opportunities for students to become involved in this initiative. We hope you will take advantage of them for your personal benefit and for the benefit of our region.

EMBA Practicum Engages Students in High Level Strategic Projects

Dr. Elad Granot
Dr. Elad Granot

The high quality of the Executive MBA (EMBA) Practicum is being showcased this semester. Undet the guidance of Dr. Elad Granot, the EMBA class is completing three high caliber projects for organizations in the Greater Cleveland area. The Cleveland Clinic’s Global Cardiovascular Innovation Center (GCIC) is utilizing the skills of our EMBA students to work with investors, entrepreneurs, physicians, and health care administration professionals from the Cleveland Clinic and other local health systems to design a process of structured innovation. The project was chartered by Tom Sudow, Vice President of Attraction at Team NEO, who works with Cleveland Clinic Innovations as Director of Development for the GCIC. Sudow specifically requested the input of our EMBA students.

Dr. Granot also received an invitation from the Dean of the School of Dental Medicine at Case Western Reserve University to have the EMBA students conduct a market analysis and formulate a marketing strategy. In addition, the EMBA Practicum includes a project with The Cleveland Jewish News. Acting as consultants, students are responsible for a strategic overhaul for the company driven by a double challenge that the paper faces; changes in the print industry as a whole, and a decline in reader population. The results of all three projects, and the solutions provided by our EMBA students, will be used to implement effective changes in these organizations.

The EMBA Practicum projects provide an opportunity for these seasoned professionals to diversify their skill set, hone their analytical and problem-solving skills, and build relationships with corporate leaders to advance their careers. Dr. Granot has worked with the local business community for the past 20 years and knows what type of projects give students the practical experience that employers and corporate boards of directors look for when building their leadership team.

In addition to engaging his students in high caliber projects, Dr. Granot has designed the EMBA Practicum to include a number of guest lectures by successful professionals in the area. Guests include Tom Lubotsky, former president of Klienmen, who will give a lecture on E-Marketing. Rob Felber of Felber & Felber Advertising will discuss internal marketing. Michael Goldeberg, a venture capitalist, will lecture on elements of strategic decision making. And Greg Thomas, a former associate of Brokaw Advertising will discuss creativity and management.

The EMBA program at the Nance College of Business has been tailor made for professionals. The curriculum focuses on leadership and teamwork. Participants benefit from ongoing interaction with a diverse and highly skilled peer group that typically includes physicians, engineers, and accountants among others. Additional program features include a Managers Workshop, a six-day Residency Retreat and an International Study Tour to an emerging market country. EMBA classes are held on Friday nights or occasionally on Saturdays to offer a flexible schedule for professionals. For more information of how to expand your career opportunities by enrolling in the EMBA program, contact Dr. Benoy Joseph at or 216.687.6925

Featured Student: Ashley Durand

Featured Student: Ashley Durand
Ashely Durand

Ashley Durand is an example of the well-rounded students that we have at the Nance College of Business Administration. A first year MBA student with a Marketing focus, Ashley has become an expert in time management. She finds time to balance her course work and her job as a graduate assistant in the Global Business Center while she remains active in a number of organizations.

Ashley became interested in marketing and management as an undergraduate in the Honors Program at Heidelberg College. Although she was a History and Biology major as an undergraduate, Ashley had several opportunities to become involved in the field of marketing through internships, work and participation in student organizations. Some of her most notable accomplishments included working with Seneca County United Way to assist the Findlay and Tiffin flood victims for two years. Ashley was also the House Representative for the Cooperative Learning Community at Heidelberg, and was the Inter Society Council President for Greek Government. She has been inducted into five academic honorary societies of which she is still an active member. Ashley received the Who’s Who Among Students award when she graduated from Heidelberg in 2008.

Ashley feels that she has already learned a number of real world marketing skills from the MBA classes she has completed. She particularly enjoyed the short-term study abroad program in Paris led by Professor Donna Davisson. The program featured tours of several international companies based in Paris and focused on company strategy. Ashley feels that her role as graduate assistant in the Global Business Centershe has also taught her a great deal about marketing and management. In her GA role, Ashley manages the College’s responsibilities as the Host Institution for NASBITE International, a professional organization for global trade professionals. She enjoys working with NASBITE because it allows her to be creative. Ashley is currently working on preparations for NASBITE’s annual conference in April, and looks forward to seeing the organization grow.

Ashley advises other students to explore participation in organizations both on and off campus. She says that participation in programs and societies give you a different perspective of academic aspects of college life. Her involvement in campus organizations and projects has given her confidence, both personally and professionally. She has learned how to be a leader, and has discovered how to work well with diverse people. In her spare time, Ashley enjoys playing soccer and is training to run her first marathon.

Featured Alumni: Saji Daniel, BBA ‘90

featured alumni: Saji Daniel
Saji Daniel

Saji Daniel is President and CEO of Tradex International, Inc., the largest supplier of general purpose disposable gloves in the United States. A true entrepreneur, he has transformed Tradex from a struggling start-up to a thriving corporation. Today, Saji’s company is the largest MBE glove company in the United States, achieving 20% compounded annual growth targets each of the last five years.

Saji was born in Kerala, India and emigrated in 1980 to Northeast Ohio. He started Tradex in 1988 at age 23 while he was studying marketing at CSU. He and his wife Lisa, CSU education alum, sold the gloves door-to-door, by direct mail and by phone. They lost money for the first seven years, but kept at it while Saji worked full-time for a local freight auditing company. “I lost $36,000 on my first container of gloves,” recalls Saji, “and I’d borrowed that money from my mother-in-law.”

In 1995, Saji decided the only way to make money was to take the company wholesale and sell to distributors. “We saw that one or two states at the time were making gloves almost mandatory in food service," Saji said. “We knew it was just a matter of time. We just knew that was going to happen and we went after it.” He now calls McDonald’s, Panera Bread and food distributor Sysco Corporation his clients and enjoys the largest market-share in the food service industry.

With sales increasing at 20% per year in each of the past five years, Tradex prides itself on having an uninterrupted supply and being able to ship within 24 hours. Tradex maintains impressive fill and order accuracy rates of 98.86% and 99.43% respectively. In addition to its Cleveland headquarters, they have strategically placed warehouse operations in California, Texas and Florida. Tradex International is now approaching $100 million in sales.

Saji has won numerous awards for his fast growing private company, including being ranked 10th among Top 100 privately-owned Indian-American companies in the U.S. in 2007 and 2008. NEO Success honored Tradex International as being one of the fastest growing companies in Northeast Ohio in 2008 and 2009.

Saji was recently honored by the Nance College of Business as one of fifteen alumni in the newly established Business Innovation Continuum, a multi-media learning exhibit that celebrates Northeast Ohio’s rich history of innovation, encourages new entrepreneurial ideas and increases the region’s capacity to sustain a culture of innovation.

Saji lives in Lakewood with his wife Lisa and twin daughters. He has a son who is a senior at Baldwin-Wallace College.

Visiting Executive Robert Romero

Robert Romero
Robert Romero

Robert Romero, Chief of the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) John H. Glenn Research Center, will be joining the Nance College of Business a Visiting Executive. In his current position, Mr. Romero manages Equal Opportunity Programs for NASA, which encompasses the development of a number of projects to help manage the interests of the public and the government. During his time at Nance, he will work with Colette Hart, Director of Outreach and Business Centers, to manage our role in Phase I of the renewably-generated hydrogen fueling station (for a full description of the project, see this month’s edition of UpFront). Mr. Romero will also spend his time as a Visiting Executive working with Ken Dippong, Director of Student Services, to help develop a Minority Outreach Program for the Nance College of Business.

By working with a team of faculty, staff and students, Romero will develop an “Economic Development Potential Workplan” that will support the goals of a broader regional collaborative effort: “A Clean Energy Program for Economic Development.” The workplan will enable Northeast Ohio to leverage the renewably-generated hydrogen fueling station to develop a regional green power manufacturing supply chain, retraining blue-collar workers for green jobs. This would also catalyze Cleveland (and Ohio) as a manufacturing hub for the new energy economy of the future, including incubating a network of collaborators.

In addition, Mr. Romero will be devoting a great deal of his time to help implement a Minority Outreach Program. Drawing on his expertise as Chief of the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs at NASA, Romero will set up a network of mentors and tutors with the ability to meet specific needs of minority students. The program will aim to provide additional financial resources to minority students. As part of a long term goal, Mr. Romero hopes the project will spread to other academic departments at Cleveland State University.

Mr. Romero says that he “looks forward to working at the Nance College of Business and becoming familiar with the culture of an institution such as CSU.” He first became interested in working at CSU after positive feedback from Dr. Julian Earles, Director of NASA's Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field, who is currently an Executive in Residence at the Nance College of Business. Mr. Romero added that the Nance College of Business is known for its talented faculty and administrators and support of innovation in the local business community. Mr. Romero looks forward to contributing his expertise to maintain that reputation.

Share Your Story!

We’re looking for alumni to feature on our web site and in our communications. We ask you, our Nance alumni to share your story with us in 150 words. Let us know the direction your career has taken, and inform us of your professional accomplishments. Tell us how your Nance business education has impacted your career. Download PDF Form

Student Managed Investment Fund Outperforms Benchmark

SMIF Fund Managers
2008 fund managers with Dean Scherer, Dr. Joseph (far left) and Colette Hart and Dr. Bathala (far right)

The Student Managed Invest Fund (SMIF) has been successfully gaining capital since its inception in the fall semester of 2008. SMIF is an interactive class that has students invests actual funds in the stock market and other securities, teaching them how to make the investment decisions that will be required of them as professionals. Even in today’s challenging economy, the SMIF portfolio is gaining.

For the holding period September 1 – December 8, 2008 the SMIF realized a 5.8% gain while its benchmark, the S&P 500 saw a 29.09% loss over the same period. The SMIF’s top performing stocks included Archer Daniel Midland (ADM), Intercontinental (ICE) and St. Jude Medical (STJ)

The SMIF recently added two new stocks to their portfolio, for a total of 15 different stocks, with plans to continue the diversification of their portfolio. There are eight students enrolled in SMIF, led by Dr. Chenchu Bathala. They meet as a class twice a week, and spend a great deal of time outside of class communicating via Blackboard to manage the fund. The program is organized so that students have a full year of participation. Each semester SMIF gains the insight of four new students to compliment the experience of the four students remaining from the previous semester. The students currently participating in SMIF are: Shadie Andraos, Dan Jacobs, Adeel Khan, J.K. Smith, Anthony Zrem, Tanuja Denu, Seth Woolf, Dan Policard and Joey Medina.

Students participating in SMIF give very positive feedback about the program. Member Tanuja Devu said “I am learning a great deal about the challenges and possibilities in today’s current market. I am gaining valuable real-world experience, and feel confident that I have skills that employers look for.” In addition, member Adel Khan said, “The SMIF class has been a great learning experience for me in many ways. It has given me the opportunity to apply financial knowledge and help make investment decisions for the Cleveland State SMIF class portfolio.”

Students in SMIF have the opportunity to experience a truly engaged learning experience. They are increasing their conceptual knowledge by monitoring the portfolio and the market on a regular basis. The performance of the SMIF portfolio, especially in today’s current economy, reflects the acumen of our students at the Nance College of Business.

Business and Economics Librarian Carol Zsulya Assists Students and Faculty with Research

The Nance College of Business would like to introduce a valuable resource that you may have missed. Carol Zsulya, Head of Collection Management and Business/Economics Librarian at the University Library, provides a number of research services to faculty and students in our college. Carol assists students at all levels, from undergraduate to doctoral, on how to best use the library’s resources to meet their specific research needs. She regularly works with faculty members who want to show heir students how to effectively conduct research. Carol says that she “works from a very customer driven perspective,” setting up appointments with students to design an individual program best suited to their research concerns.

Carol meets regularly with Dean Scherer, Associate Deans Javalgi and Joseph, as well as with faculty members to stay current in the literature students are reading. She then uses that information to make sure the University Library offers materials that are of value to them. Carol is active on a number of library oriented committees that provide her with added insight into how to best meet the needs of students at the Nance College of Business.

Carol says that she enjoys working directly with students, and feels that she learns new lessons by looking at issues from their perspectives. Carol worked in the for-profit, not-for-profit, and public business sectors for over 20 years and enjoys being able to stay current in new techniques of the field through her work with faculty and students at the Nance College of Business. Students and faculty can utilize Carol’s skills and services by contacting her at or 216.523.7373.

NSF/STEM Scholarships Available for Students

Students interested in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics who will be entering their sophomore year in Fall 2009 are eligible to apply for a NSF/STEM Scholarship. The application deadline is April 15, 2009. Scholarships are awarded based on merit and involvement in academic and social programs. Eligible students will receive up to $10,000 in scholarship support and will participate in a cohort with other students in the program. Common classes, specialized advising, guest speakers, field trips, and numerous unique learning opportunities are all benefits of participation in University Scholars in STEM program. For more details, visit

Students Form Chapter of Net Impact to Improve the World Through Business

A new student organization for business students is being formed at CSU. Net Impact is an international nonprofit organization whose mission is to make a positive impact on society by growing and strengthening a community of leaders who use business to improve the world. Spanning six continents, Net Impact membership makes up one of the most influential networks of MBAs, graduate students, and professionals in existence today. Net Impact includes over 200 chapters in cities throughout the world who work to enable their dynamic, intelligent, and committed member to transform their ideals into measurable results.

An information session will be held on Wednesday, March 25th in BU 302 at 4:30 p.m. Students interested in joining are encouraged to attend. Download a PDF to learn more about the worldwide Net Impact organization and the activities of the student chapters of Net Impact here.

SHRM Students Win Ohio HR Games

Ohio HR Games team
The CSU SHRM team for the HR Games.

Once again, the CSU SHRM Human Resource Games team placed first in the state of Ohio.  CSU’s team of Nikki Mangano, Nick Misch and Rachel Garcowski won the 2009 Ohio HR Games Competition held February 28th at The University of Akron. The HR Games is a Jeopardy style academic competition where three person undergraduate teams win points by “ringing-in” with correct answers to questions about Human Resource Management. The competition is designed to help students prepare for the Professional in Human Resources certification exam. Members of SHRM professional chapters formulate the questions and serve as judges for the competition; this gives students the opportunity to network with professionals working in the field. Team members practiced on Saturdays and during breaks between classes to prepare. On the day of the games, students faced more than 200 questions over the course of six hours.

The CSU winning team won a close match against The University of Akron. The second CSU team of Melissa Miller, Amanda Koenig and Ksenia Firdman also receive congratulations for an excellent performance making it to the semi-final round. This is the first time both of the CSU teams made it past the preliminary rounds. Gwen Cales served as the alternate team member and will be prepared to serve as a team member at next year’s competition. 

This year’s competition had teams from The University of Akron, Baldwin-Wallace, Cleveland State University, The University of Toledo, Miami University, Kent State University and Youngstown State University.

The teams credit the many MLR faculty members who taught their courses and assisted them with practices. Cleveland State’s teams consistently do well in the Labor Relations categories. Special thanks also go to CSU SHRM Student Chapter President and member of last year’s team Laural Wagner, who assisted in coaching and strategizing. The Cleveland SHRM chapter sponsored the teams, providing financial support.

The team now goes on to the North Central Regional Competition to be held from March 27th-28th at The University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Class Notes

Send us an update (50 words or fewer) letting us know of your recent personal or professional milestones. You may also include a photo sized to 75 x 75 pixels. Send your submissions to

If you are having trouble viewing this email, please click here.
To unsubscribe, please send an email to with the subject line UNSUBSCRIBE.

CBA Home | Subscribe To Dialogue | Dialogue Archive

Cleveland State University | 2121 Euclid Avenue BU 420, Cleveland, OH 44115-2214 | 216.687.3786