Who We Are


The Building Community Initiative is modeled from extensive research in brand communities by James McAlexander and Hal Koenig from the College of Business at Oregon State University. 

James McAlexander, Ph.D.

James McAlexander is the Dean’s Professor of Marketing and Faculty Director of the Close to the Customer Project at Oregon State University. His path-breaking research on building and understanding community, developed and successfully used in industry for nearly 20 years, is internationally recognized. Leading companies including Harley-Davidson, Jeep and Nissan have used McAlexander's research to build and strengthen the connections between their brands, customers and potential customers. McAlexander is co-author of "Building Brand Community," a 2002 paper published in the Journal of Marketing that's among the top 10 works cited by other marketing researchers in their own published scholarship. McAlexander was co-recipient of the Richard M. Bressler Senior Faculty Teaching Award in 2007 and a Newcomb Fellowship in 2006 for his work in developing the Close to the Customer Project, which provides valuable market research insights for community businesses while offering experiential learning for undergraduate students. McAlexander earned his Ph.D. at the University of Utah.

Hal Koenig, Ph.D.

Hal Koenig is an Associate Professor of Marketing at Oregon State University. Koenig teaches fundamentals of marketing research and the marketing research practicum for the College of Business using real-world projects. Koenig's research focuses on customer satisfaction and research methods. For nearly 10 years, he has investigated how colleges and universities build a community of giving by measuring affinity for the institution among donors and potential donors. Koenig is co-author of the paper "Building Brand Community," and his research has also been published in the Journal of Marketing, the Journal of Health Care Marketing, Hospital & Health Services Administration, Journal of Product Innovation Management, Public Opinion Quarterly and other academic journals. Koenig received a Newcomb Fellowship in 2006 and an Outstanding Faculty Service Award in 2006 for his work establishing the C2C Project and for his sustained contributions to Oregon State and the College of Business. Koenig earned his MBA and Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Amanda Terhes, M.A.

Amanda Terhes is the co-director of the Close to the Customer Project at Oregon State University. The C2C Project provides market research services to a variety of professional clients and is part of the Austin Entrepreneurship Program in the College of Business. Terhes' focus is on qualitative research methods with an emphasis on the development and sustainability of non-profit organizations. Prior to receiving her Master of Arts in Applied Anthropology at Oregon State, Terhes worked at two universities as the Director of Alumni Relations.


OSU Students

As part of the Close to the Customer Project, the Building Community Initiative provides professional market research and consulting services delivered by faculty/student teams. In addition to marketing faculty expertise and research experience, students bring fresh perspectives and enthusiasm to client projects.

Student teams work with marketing faculty to conduct and analyze the BCI research, giving them valuable experiential learning opportunities that prepare them for marketing careers. Students come from the MBA program as well as undergraduate majors in business administration, marketing, engineering and new media communications.