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UpFront: the growth of potential

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

After moving into the impressive building that we now occupy, the environment of our Nance College of Business Administration again started to change. Both outwardly and inwardly we were experiencing a period of growth, and the college began to reach a new level. The move itself reflected the promise of our college, made possible in part by the generosity of one of our most successful and well-known alumni, Monte Ahuja, MBA ‘75. Monte Ahuja earned his success by starting Transtar Industries, a business he planned as part of his coursework at CSU, which has since become the leading worldwide distributor of quality transmission parts to the motor vehicle repair industry. His entrepreneurial spirit and that of other students like him is symbolized by the artwork in our atrium produced by artist Koryn Rolstad, entitled The Growth of Potential, which reflects the spirit of entrepreneurship and the aspirations of all who study at Nance.

We began to focus on expanding our academic and outreach offerings. Faculty members examined current developments in the field and focused their research on understanding current business trends.  A growing number of partnerships with the business community helped engage students in solving real world problems, and contributed to the local economy. Increasingly our faculty gained recognition both internally and externally for their innovative teaching and research.

The Nance College of Business boasts 7 Fulbright Scholars, who have conducted their studies in Bulgaria, Chile, China, United Arab Emirates, Hungary, Latvia, and Zambia.
Among the internal recognitions was the Legacy Awards, which began in 2003 to recognize faculty as well as staff members who make lasting contributions to the college. The Legacy Awards reflect the dedication of our faculty and staff to providing students with an academic experience of the highest quality.

Nance received recognition as an institution in 2005 with the achievement of AACSB re-affirmation of accreditation in both business and accounting. This confirmed that our business school is recognized for its high quality and is included with a select group of the most prestigious business schools in the world.

In 2005 the Nance Applied Business Scholar program was developed to allow faculty members to hone their professional skills and serve the local businesses community by working in business, government, or not-for-profit organizations. Dr. Oya Tukel and Dr. Susan Slotnick were our first Applied Business Scholars, working at ISG Steel from 2005-2006. Dr. Slotnick says that, “Working with the Delivery Improvement Team at ISG Steel has provided me with insights and motivating examples for my research, and has added to the professional experience base that I use in my classroom teaching." Dr. Alan Reichert was an Applied Business Scholar at Key Bank from 2006-2007.He says that, "My Applied Business Scholar position at KeyBank enabled me to connect theory with practice and has allowed me to assist the banking industry during this time of great uncertainty and turmoil.” In the same year the college named its first Nance Professors of Research, an award reserved for our most outstanding scholars. Since 2005, the Nance Professors of Research have included Dr. Raj Javalgi, Dr. James Webb and Dr. Injazz Chen.

In 2006 the Global Trade Scholar program was instituted to promote research on international business and trade in Northeast Ohio while assisting local business in their international expansion. The Global Trade Scholar program has allowed faculty members to have a greater impact on the quality of education by applying their knowledge of global business research in the classroom. Professors return from the program with an increased understanding of the global market and can engage their students in the techniques they have learned from the experience. Dr. Elad Granot served as a Nance Global Trade Scholar from 2006-2007. He says that, “it is our duty as business professors to be engaged in business applications of our research. The Global Trade Scholar program has allowed me to carry out the college's mission by providing a strategic analysis to the Beachwood Business Development Center.” Dr. Lundstrom added that, "being the Global Trade Scholar gave me the opportunity to provide our students an international consulting experience while contributing to increasing exports from northern Ohio. A win-win for all concerned.”

In the past decade we have been successful in leveraging the expertise of our faculty and staff to strengthen our areas of excellence. Faculty awards and AACSB re-affirmation of accreditation show that we have been successful in harnessing our potential, creating stronger programs, and more opportunities for our students. As a result, we continue to fulfill our mission of “driving the global significance, economic vitality, and sustainability of the northeast Ohio region through business education, research, innovation, leadership, and collaboration."

Nance students take first place in competition

Cleveland Clinic
Roberto Vicevich and Nassera Saoud.

Nance students recently competed in the Cleveland Clinic Solutions Competition. Graduate students Nassera Saoud and Roberto Vicevich were on the team that won first place. Both Nassera and Roberto will receive $1,200 in scholarship funds. Undergraduate student Maria Sedano was a member of the team that came in at second place and will receive $500 in scholarship funds. Overall, Nance was well represented in the competition, students Silvana Ochoa Heather Nguyen, Rozann DeFritas, Daniel Eifel, and Zachary Young also participated in the competition.

This was the second year of the Cleveland Clinic Solutions Program. Students were given a marketing case and were presented with the challenge of developing a sustainable plan to increase communication between the Cleveland Clinic and the local community. The competition took place over a two day period. On the first day students were divided into four groups and were presented with the case challenge. The groups spent the evening developing a core analysis. Presentations took place on the second day. The competition was intensive, and required students to apply conceptual knowledge from their marketing classes.

The competition helped students gain real-world skills and taught them how to think as professionals. Nassera Sauod, one of the students in the winning group said, “The competition was a good experience for everyone who participated. It was a good opportunity to network with people from the Cleveland Clinic.” The successful performance of all the students from the Nance College of Business who voluntarily participated in the event shows that our students value an engaged learning experience.

Colette Taddy Hart is named 2008 Rainmaker

Student Kirsty McKechnie named 2008 Rainmaker of Tomorrow

Colette Taddy Hart Kirsty McKechnie
Colette Taddy Hart (left) with Northern Ohio Live Editor, Sarah Sphar. 2008 Rainmaker of Tomorrow, Kirsty McKechnie, MBA '08

Colette Taddy Hart, Director of Outreach and Business Centers, was honored for achievement in her professional life with a Northern Ohio Live Rainmaker Award. Women who receive Rainmaker awards are recognized for the accomplishments in their professional lives and striving to use their careers to enrich the lives of others. Colette said she “was honored to be recognized with such a distinguished group of women.” Colette attributes this award to the wide range of companies in northeast Ohio that she has an opportunity to collaborate, partner, and engage with on behalf of the Nance College of Business.

Colette’s role at Nance is unique, and it enables her to work with the public, private and not-for-profit sectors, allowing her to positively impact a diverse group of people. Colette has received grants for education initiatives for the Nance College of Business Administration, helping to ensure the success of the Global Business Center, Center for Sustainable Business Practices, and Executive Development Center. She is a member of the Board of Governors for NASBITE International and was instrumental in getting Nance to be named as the host institution for the organization. Her efforts helped to create the Beachwood Business and Development Center, a partnership with the City of Beachwood and the Beachwood Chamber of Commerce. To date, the BBDC has attracted 26 companies to northeast Ohio and these companies have obtained more than $30,000,000 in financing. The BBDC recently received one of three “Cuyahoga Innovation Zone” grants to further the economic development activities of the BBDC.

Colette also serves on the Community Advisory Board for the Flora Stone Mather Center for Women demonstrating her commitment to improving the lives of women through education, social, and economic development programs. Throughout her professional life, Colette has strived to bring an innovative perspective in to all of her projects. Colette’s advice to young business women is to follow their passion and not be afraid to take risk.

Each year the Nance College of Business also nominates a student to receive a Rainmaker of Tomorrow Award. This year the recipient was MBA student Kirsty McKechnie, nominated for her academic accomplishments and involvement in educational activities. Kirsty said “it is an honor to be selected as one of the Rainmaker’s of Tomorrow for 2008. I am excited and proud to represent the Nance College of Business at Cleveland State University”.

Featured student: Laural Wagner

featured student
Laural Wagner

Laural Wagner is a graduate student in Management and Labor Relations. She will graduate in August of 2009 and maintains a GPA of 3.9. Laural is president of the CSU chapter of SHRM (Society for Human Research Management) and is extremely dedicated to getting Nance students involved in the organization. Laural has been a member of SHRM for the past three years and believes it is a great resource for Nance students to network with top human resource professionals in the Northeast Ohio area. As president of CSU SHRM, she is responsible for a wide range of activities in addition to her academic career.

Laural recognizes the quality of education she is receiving at Nance, and she actively tries to share this information with other students. “We have professors who have vast amounts of experience and who continue to work in the field,” says Laural. “This brings real world knowledge into the classroom, and helps Nance students stay up to date with current innovative techniques in the field,” she adds. Laural enjoys interacting with professors and has found mentors among several of our faculty members. She has particularly enjoyed classes with Dr. Nelson, Dr. Buckingham, Dr. Pesta, and Dr. Hrivnak.

Laural feels that students should make the most of their educational experience, expanding their career qualifications in the process. Her advice to students is to “get involved and find the organization that coincides with your major.” She believes that this helps to “give students a foundation for their career network and provides professional role models to turn to.” Laural has stayed very involved in organizational activities during her college career. She served as captain of CSU SHRM’s team in the Human Resource Games during spring semester 2008. The team won the state of Ohio and went on to the regional competition in Omaha, Nebraska. In June Laural passed the PHR exam, earning certification as a Professional in Human Resources. This certification shows employers that she has proven knowledge in the field. Laural is a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. Laural also volunteers at her alma mater Eastlake North High School organizing sporting events. She has devoted much of her spare time to stay involved in the political process.

Laural currently works as a graduate assistant for Associate Deans Dr. Javalgi and Dr. Joseph, from whom she says she has learned many skills. After she earns her MLRHR degree, she plans on pursuing a PhD in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. In her spare time, Laural enjoys scrap booking, boating and traveling. She wants her dedication to lifelong learning to serve as an example to her 5 year old daughter. Overall, Laural Wagner is an example of a Nance student who seeks to go beyond academic excellence taking advantage of CSU’s engaged learning experience.

Featured alumna: Linda Kane, BBA '79

featured alumni
Linda Kane

Linda Kane is Senior Vice president and Chief Accounting and Administrative Officer at Forest City Enterprises, Inc., a $10 billion company (NYSE:FCE.A). Based in Cleveland, Forest City is principally engaged in the ownership, development, management, and acquisition of commercial and residential real estate, and the development of land, throughout the United States. Linda graduated from the Nance College of Business Administration with a BBA in 1979 and became a CPA soon after graduating. She remains active with Nance, serving as a member of the Visiting Committee.

Linda enjoys her position at Forest City and has worked for the organization since 1990. As Senior Vice President, Linda most enjoys reporting to the Security and Exchange Commission. She is also involved in risk management activities, cash management and is responsible for business services for Forest City’s Cleveland Office. Linda credits her education from Nance with teaching her several skills that she uses in her career. She gained confidence in her ability to solve real world problems practically and efficiently, and learned important skills. Linda said, “students from CSU are taught how to get things done. They’re successful and very promotable in our organization." Linda also credits Nance in preparing her to pass the CPA exam right after graduation, which she says, “gave me that recognition, to stand above standard accountants.” She encourages current students to seek additional qualifications as well, believing that it greatly helps to improve career opportunities. As a Visiting Committee member, Linda is involved in helping to ensure that our students receive a first-rate education. She enjoys being a Visiting Committee member and feels that it is a worthwhile experience. Linda said “The most rewarding part so far is that I can have an impact, to make the students more attractive to Cleveland area businesses, so they can hit the ground running.” She has been impressed by Dean Scherer, and likes that he listens to what she and the other Visiting Committee members have to say about the skills that students’ need to succeed in today’s market.

In her spare time, Linda gives back to her community by serving on the boards of St. Joseph Academy, her high-school alma mater, and Great Lakes Theater Festival, serving as Treasurer for both organizations. Like her continued involvement with Nance, Linda believes that St. Joseph Academy provides students with a firm foundation in life and a quality education. She has a love of Shakespeare and Classic Theater, and is also impressed with the quality of Great Lakes Theater as an organization. She is a native to the northeast Ohio area, and feels that it is a great place to raise a family because of its cultural offerings and natural resources. As a successful alumna who is active in her community at many levels, Linda Kane is an impressive role model for current students.

Students work to save Longwood Manor

featured alumni
Longwood Manor

Nance students learn real world skills as they are engaged in solving an actual community situation. Professor Hruby, Visiting Professor in the Department of Management and Labor Relations, is having students across three sections of his undergraduate capstone course of management strategy and policy go beyond textbook learning, engaging them in a real local case situation. Students are involved in presenting a plan to the City Council of Macedonia to allow restoration of the historic Longwood Manor House.

Mayor William Long donated Longwood Manor House and the 360 acres it resides on after his death in 1983. In addition to providing a setting for public and private functions, Longwood Manor is the oldest home in Macedonia, and is rich with historical significance to the city. Mayor Long was elected in 1962 and served as mayor until he was 96, making him the oldest mayor in the history of the United States. In the 25 years since its donation to the city, the condition of the house has deteriorated, and the City of Macedonia recently condemned it. The students in Professor Hruby’s capstone course are making a case to prove that it is more economical to restore the house than it would be to tear it down. The real world consequence of the condemnation order has motivated students to put forth extra effort to save the house.

Students are learning to apply their conceptual knowledge about management strategy and policy while making a convincing case for Longwood Manor House. Students developed a strategic plan for the home, explaining how to upgrade it to a safe state, and developing a long term sustainability plan that shows the home is an asset to Macedonia. This requires the students to understand the problems involved in the process and come up with potential solutions. Students have to research the potential cost and ways to raise funds for the restoration, and have to convince the City Council members of Macedonia to allow the local historical society to restore the house. The project entails a good amount of dedication from students, and teaches them how to solve an actual management problem in the process. As Professor Hruby explains, “students are learning to think like executives. They are learning as students, but growing professionally.”

The participating senior business students are Bianca Bosco, Christine Cerasi, Brad Chesney, Jennifer Fleming, Danny Graham, Sonni Lawal-Solarin, Andrea Lemon, Charlie Najm, Laura Raupach, Barry Rice, Rachel Sedelmeyer.

E-commerce program wins award from Mid-Continent East Business Administration Association

E-commerce award
Dr. Lorena Pradenas, Universidad de Concepción, Chile (2nd from left) Colette Hart and Dean Scherer (far right) accept the award.

The Global E-Commerce Certificate Program received the first place award for Innovation in Business Education at the Mid-Continent East Business Administration Association annual meeting. Entries were judged by a committee of business deans from AACSB-accredited institutions. The programs were scored based on creativity, leadership potential, content, and transferability. The Global E-Commerce Certificate Program was judged as outstanding in all of these areas, and Nance received a cash award for winning the competition. Colette Taddy Hart and Lorena Pradenas Rojas professor at Universidad de Concepción gave a presentation on the program’s success at the Mid-Continent East Business Administration Association meeting on October 13th.

The Global E-Commerce Certificate Program is a tri-national initiative with two of our partner universities, Berufsakademie Heidenheim in Germany, and Universidad de Concepción in Chile, and was held for the first time during the spring semester of the 2007-2008 academic year. Students and faculty members from the three universities worked together to complete actual e-commerce projects for international companies. The students participated in certificate courses in management, electronic business, customer relationship management, global supply chain management, and business strategy. Participants met at Berufsakademie Heidenheim in January for two weeks and were divided into teams. For the next 10 weeks the multi-national student teams had to communicate using interactive distance learning tools. They then met for two weeks at Universidad de Concepción in May to complete their projects. Courses were taught by professors Susan Storrud-Barnes, Ashutosh Dixit, Santosh Misra, and Oya Tukel.

This program, funded by the U.S. Department of Education Title VI-B Business and International Education Grant, provided students with a chance to experience global e-commerce firsthand and to develop international ties with fellow students. Similarly, the universities involved were able to strengthen their international partnerships. Companies in Northeast Ohio benefited from the students’ e-commerce initiatives. The success of the program and its first place award for "Innovation in Business Education" reflects Nance’s leadership role in helping to advance knowledge in global business for students, faculty, and the local business community.

McClain appointed chair of acccounting department

featured alumni
Prof. Bruce McClain

Prof. Bruce McClain, J.D., LL.M., C.P.A., has been appointed as the Chair of the accounting department. Prof. McClain graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in Accounting from Hillsdale College, Hillsdale, Michigan, in 1978. He received his J.D. from Case Western Reserve University School of Law in 1982, and was awarded an LL.M. (Taxation) from New York University School of Law in 1985. A CSU faculty member since 1987, Prof. McClain primarily teaches tax accounting courses, including Principles of Taxation, Partnership Taxation, Corporate Taxation, Advanced Corporate Taxation, Tax Practice and Procedures, and Tax Research. In addition, Prof. McClain teaches Business Law and Legal and Ethical Environment of Business. Prof. McClain is a member of the CSU graduate faculty and led the creation of the CSU Masters of Accountancy-Tax Emphasis Program.

Before joining CSU, Prof. McClain worked with Arthur Young & Co., as Supervisor in their tax department, and with Roudebush, Brown and Ulrich Co., LPA as a tax and business attorney. Prof. McClain researches and publishes on taxation, and has won several awards for outstanding research. He has been published in many different journals, including the Journal of Practical Tax Strategies, TAXES, the Case Western Reserve Law Review, and other scholarly journals.

Professor McClain’s goals for the department are to build on the department’s recent growth and to firmly establish the Nance MAcc program as “Cleveland’s Accounting School”.

Class notes

Ron AulettaRonald Auletta - BBA '98 & MBA '01, was recently named President & CEO of Xaloy, Inc., the world's leading manufacturer of components and melt delivery systems for plastics molding and extrusion machinery.

Todd CanterTodd Canter - BBA '95, was recently named CEO of LaSalle Investment Management Asia Pacific, the company’s securities investment management division for pension funds, institutional and retail investors around the globe.

Dr. Kuanchin Chen - DBA '99, was recently honored with the "Emerging Scholar" Award from Western Michigan University, given annually to faculty members who are rising stars in their field. He has been on faculty at WMU since 2001.

Tom Geraci, BBA Finance '06, Class of 2006, has left Bank of America after 10 years of employment and has joined Purtill Financial LLC as an investment adviser representative.

Stephen Kirk - MBA '79, was recently promoted at Lubrizol Corporation to Senior Vice President and COO. Steve is currently Chair of the Nance College of Business Visiting Committee.

Don PurtillDon Purtill, BBA, '66, took early retirement from Eaton Corp. and started an investment advisory firm, Purtill Financial LLC. Purtill Financial has $16 million in assets under management and 60 clients, including a number of CSU graduates. Don is president of the firm, which has three employees. Email Don at

Nancy Rubin - MBA, was recently named Vice President & CFO of Blue Spark Technologies, the leader in developing flexible, printed, "green," proprietary power source solutions for battery-powered pirnted electronic systems.

Sara Thur - BBA '05, was recently promoted to Director of Finance for the Big Sandy Superstore Arena in Huntington, WV.

Donald Waytes, Jr. - MBA '9,7 was recently promoted to Vice President & Senior Credit Analyst at Liberty Bank, NA.  Donald was previously a Senior Credit Analyst, having joined Liberty in 2006.

William Weaver - EMBA '03, was recently named President & CEO of GED Integrated Solutions, a global leader and provider of integrated, lean window manufacturing systems.

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