OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

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Maintaining an active sex life may lead to improved job satisfaction, engagement in work

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Maintaining a healthy sex life at home boosts employees’ job satisfaction and engagement at the office, underscoring the value of a strong work-life balance, an Oregon State University researcher has found.

A study of the work and sex habits of married employees found that those who prioritized sex at home unknowingly gave themselves a next-day advantage at work, where they were more likely to immerse themselves in their tasks and enjoy their work lives, said Keith Leavitt, an associate professor in OSU’s College of Business.

“We make jokes about people having a ‘spring in their step,’ but it turns out this is actually a real thing and we should pay attention to it,” said Leavitt, an expert in organizational behavior and management.  “Maintaining a healthy relationship that includes a healthy sex life will help employees stay happy and engaged in their work, which benefits the employees and the organizations they work for.”

The study also showed that bringing work-related stress home from the office negatively impinges on employees’ sex lives. In an era when smart phones are prevalent and after-hours responses to work emails are often expected, the findings highlight the importance of leaving work at the office, Leavitt said. When work carries so far into an employee’s personal life that they sacrifice things like sex, their engagement in work can decline.

The researchers’ findings were published this month in the Journal of Management. Co-authors are Christopher Barnes and Trevor Watkins of the University of Washington and David Wagner of the University of Oregon.  

Sexual intercourse triggers the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with the reward centers in the brain, as well as oxytocin, a neuropeptide associated with social bonding and attachment. That makes sex a natural and relatively automatic mood elevator and the benefits extend well into the next day, Leavitt said.

To understand the impact of sex on work, the researchers followed 159 married employees over the course of two weeks, asking them to complete two brief surveys each day. They found that employees who engaged in sex reported more positive moods the next day, and the elevated mood levels in the morning led to more sustained work engagement and job satisfaction throughout the workday.

The effect, which appears to linger for at least 24 hours, was equally strong for both men and women and was present even after researchers took into account marital satisfaction and sleep quality, which are two common predictors of daily mood.

“This is a reminder that sex has social, emotional and physiological benefits, and it’s important to make it a priority,” Leavitt said. “Just make time for it.”

Twenty years ago, monitoring sleep or daily step counts or actively practicing mindful meditation might’ve seemed odd but now they are all things people practice as part of efforts to lead healthier, more productive lives. It may be time to rethink sex and its benefits as well, he said.

“Making a more intentional effort to maintain a healthy sex life should be considered an issue of human sustainability, and as a result, a potential career advantage,” he said.

U.S. employers probably won’t follow the lead of a town councilman in Sweden who recently proposed that local municipal employees be allowed to use an hour of their work week for sex. The councilman’s hope is to boost the town’s declining population as well as improve employee moods and productivity.

But employers here can steer their employee engagement efforts more broadly toward work-life balance policies that encourage workers to disconnect from the office, Leavitt said. The French recently enacted a law that bars after-hours email and gives employees a “right to disconnect.”

“Technology offers a temptation to stay plugged in, but it’s probably better to unplug if you can,” he said. “And employers should encourage their employees to completely disengage from work after hours.”

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Keith Leavitt, 206-245-5798, keith.leavitt@bus.oregonstate.edu

Off-grid power in remote areas will require special business model to succeed

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Low-cost, off-grid solar energy could provide significant economic benefit to people living in some remote areas, but a new study suggests they generally lack the access to financial resources, commercial institutions and markets needed to bring solar electricity to their communities.

Around the world, more than 1.2 billion people lack access to basic electricity service. The majority of those people are living in developing nations, in rural or isolated areas with high rates of poverty. Steep costs and remote terrain often make it impractical or even impossible to extend the electric grid. 

Developing a successful business model that could deliver off-grid power to this market will require addressing challenges unique to the population, an Oregon State University researcher concluded in a study published recently in Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews.

“Surviving and growing in this market is very different than in a typical commercial enterprise,” said Inara Scott, an assistant professor in the College of Business. “There are a lot of people working on off-grid solar products on the small scale, but the problem becomes how can they scale the programs up and make them profitable?” 

When rural, isolated communities do gain access to solar power, the impact on residents can be profound, Scott said. Children are more likely to go to and complete schooling, because they have light to study by. Kerosene lamps, which create a lot of indoor air pollution, are no longer needed, improving people’s health. And work hours are increased, giving people more time to earn money or build home-based businesses.

“Providing electricity starts an incredible cycle of improvement for communities without reliance on charities or government aid,” she said. “There are also environmental benefits to encouraging sustainable development using renewable resources.” 

The market for small solar lighting and charging units has grown dramatically in the last few years, and solar home systems offer cleaner, safer and cheaper lighting over time than kerosene, the primary alternative for lighting in developing nations. But even a small cost can be out of reach for people whose annual incomes are often less than $3,000 per year, Scott said.

She examined successful business models for serving these populations, known as “base of the pyramid” markets, and successful renewable energy enterprises, looking for intersections that might aid businesses looking to market solar energy to base-of-pyramid markets. 

Scott found that a successful enterprise would include four primary components, and she developed a framework around them. Her recommendations:

  • Community interaction: Work with local communities to understand local norms, culture, social issues and economic systems that might influence the effort.
  • Partnerships: Join forces with other companies, government organizations, non-profit groups or non-governmental organizations to share ideas and resources and gain support.
  • Local capacity building: People in the community may lack product knowledge and have little experience with technology, while the community may not have typical distribution channels. Consider the potential customers as both producers and consumers, training local entrepreneurs as distributors, marketers and equipment installation/repair technicians.
  • Barriers unique to the off-grid market: Address issues such as financing of upfront costs, which may be prohibitive to consumers; educate people on the products and their benefits; build trust in quality and reliability; and develop multiple strong distribution networks.

“You’re not going to be successful just trying to sell a product,” she said. “This is really a social enterprise, with the goal of trying to bring people out of poverty while also emphasizing sustainable development.” 

There are a lot of socially-minded enterprises with good intentions that would like to work in these rural, remote and high-poverty areas, Scott noted. Her framework could serve as a checklist of sorts for organizations looking to put their ideas into action, she said.

“It’s a way to pause for a minute and ask yourself if you have all the right pieces in place to be successful,” she said.

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Inara Scott, 541-737-4102, Inara.Scott@oregonstate.edu

OSU, PNNL to lead part of a major national program in ‘chemical process intensification’

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratories will co-direct a key component of a new five-year, $70 million advanced manufacturing institute, with the goal of greater energy efficiency, increased manufacturing innovation, and more jobs in the nation’s chemical industries.  

The new institute, Rapid Advancement of Process Intensification Deployment, or RAPID, was announced last week by the U.S. Department of Energy. It will be coordinated by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.

“Through matching grants and other support by state governments, private businesses and industry, this will encourage more than $140 million of technology development, education and training,” said Scott Ashford, the Kearney Professor and dean of the OSU College of Engineering.

“The emphasis will be on chemical process intensification, which is the development of chemical manufacturing equipment that is smaller, lighter-weight and more energy efficient. The result will be lower costs, and modular production of chemical plants that will help to boost the nation’s economic growth.”

OSU and PNNL, who have worked collaboratively for more than a decade to develop and commercialize process intensification technologies, will lead the Module Manufacturing Focus Area within the RAPID institute, and work with chemical equipment suppliers to advance lower-cost process intensification equipment. To date, RAPID consists of 75 companies, 34 academic institutions, seven national laboratories and other organizations.

“The selection of OSU and our colleagues at PNNL to lead this focus area is a tribute to 15 years of commitment by state leaders, Oregon businesses and our research universities,” said Brian Paul, the Tom and Carmen West Faculty Scholar of Manufacturing Engineering in the OSU College of Engineering, and leader of the new focus area.

“That long-term commitment is what it takes to become a national player that can advance technology with industry and create new job opportunities for Oregonians. Contract negotiations to finalize funding for the new institute are underway, and we hope to hit the ground running by next summer, launching some of the projects outlined in the original RAPID proposal.”

The new focus area, Paul said, is an outgrowth of the collaboration between OSU and PNNL through the Microproducts Breakthrough Institute which began in 2001. The success of that partnership has evolved into the Advanced Technology and Manufacturing Institute, located on the Hewlett Packard campus in Corvallis. It focuses on the research and commercialization of advanced materials and technologies being developed within OSU, in concert with research partners across Oregon and throughout the world.

The broader program approved last week will seek to improve domestic energy productivity, energy efficiency, cut operating costs and reduce waste in chemical industries as diverse as oil and gas, pulp and paper, and biofuel processing. Improved technologies, officials say, have the potential to save more than $9 billion annually just in process costs. Gains of 20 percent in efficiency and productivity within five years are being sought.

“In the module manufacturing focus area, we’ll work to create chemical equipment that is lighter, smaller and less expensive than existing equipment,” Paul said. “This will enable distributed chemical processing, like efforts to use solar energy to augment the energy content of natural gas. This could reduce greenhouse gas emissions, using solar thermal processes that are 70 percent solar-to-chemical efficient.”

The RAPID institute will work with downstream module manufactures and chemical companies to identify common intensified components that need to be mass produced.  By pooling resources and combining markets, these companies will encourage suppliers to make capital investments critical to reducing intensified component costs. And cheaper, lighter-weight equipment will enable module manufacturers to build chemical plants with greater efficiency and lower costs.

All of these steps, officials say, will improve the competitiveness of U.S. chemicals on the world stage.

The state of Oregon made significant cost share contributions to the RAPID institute, Paul said, which will help Oregon companies lead the way in creating new high-wage jobs and products to export from the Pacific Northwest.

This is the tenth institute aimed at improving the nation’s manufacturing competitiveness through a multi-agency network known as Manufacturing USA, supported with $700 million from the federal government. RAPID is one part of a commitment by the Obama administration to double U.S. energy productivity by 2030. The goal of all of these programs is to ultimately become self-supporting with heavy business and industry involvement.

OSU and Oregon expertise in microchannel manufacturing, 3D-inkjet printing, advanced materials, fine chemicals, microelectronics, food and beverage, advanced wood products, bio-refining, and carbon-free power generation - such as small modular nuclear reactors - are all part of the technological ecosystem that could benefit from RAPID investments in Oregon, officials say.

“The cumulative economic impact from these industries could one day mean billions of dollars and thousands of high-wage jobs for Oregonians,” Paul said. “We are creating the building blocks for an economy with staying power and the ability to export sustainable technologies to the world.”

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Brian Paul, 541-737-7320

brian.paul@oregonstate.edu

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Curiosity can predict employees’ ability to creatively solve problems, research shows

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Employers who are looking to hire creative problem-solvers should consider candidates with strong curiosity traits, and personality tests may be one way to tease out those traits in prospective employees, new research from Oregon State University shows.

People who showed strong curiosity traits on personality tests performed better on creative tasks and those with a strong diversive curiosity trait, or curiosity associated with the interest in exploring unfamiliar topics and learning something new, were more likely to come up with creative solutions to a problem, the researchers found.

The findings contribute to a growing body of evidence suggesting that testing for curiosity traits may be useful for employers, especially those seeking to fill complex jobs, said Jay Hardy, an assistant professor in OSU’s College of Business and lead author of the study.

As workplaces evolve and jobs become increasingly dynamic and complex, having employees who can adapt to changing environments and learn new skills is becoming more and more valuable to organizations’ success, he said.

“But if you look at job descriptions today, employers often say they are looking for curious and creative employees, but they are not selecting candidates based on those traits,” said Hardy, whose research focuses on employee training and development. “This research suggests it may be useful for employers to measure curiosity, and, in particular, diversive curiosity, when hiring new employees.”

The findings were published recently in the journal Personality and Individual Differences. Co-authors are Alisha Ness of University of Oklahoma and Jensen Mecca of Shaker Consulting Group.

Past research has shown that curiosity is a strong predictor of a person’s ability to creatively solve problems in the workplace. But questions remain about how, why and when curiosity affects the creative process, Hardy said. The latest research helps to pinpoint the type of curiosity that best aids creative problem-solving.

Diversive curiosity is a trait well-suited to early stage problem-solving because it leads to gathering a large amount of information relevant to the problem. That information can be used to generate and evaluate new ideas in later stages of creative problem-solving. Diversive curiosity tends to be a more positive force.

On the other hand, people with strong specific curiosity traits, or the curiosity that reduces anxiety and fills gaps in understanding, tend to be more problem-focused. Specific curiosity tends to be a negative force.

For the study, researchers asked 122 undergraduate college students, to take personality tests that measured their diversive and specific curiosity traits.

They then asked the students to complete an experimental task involving the development of a marketing plan for a retailer. Researchers evaluated the students’ early-stage and late-stage creative problem-solving processes, including the number of ideas generated. The students’ ideas were also evaluated based on their quality and originality.

The findings indicated that the participants’ diversive curiosity scores related strongly to their performance scores. Those with stronger diversive curiosity traits spent more time and developed more ideas in the early stages of the task. Stronger specific curiosity traits did not significantly relate to the participants’ idea generation and did not affect their creative performance.

“Because it has a distinct effect, diversive curiosity can add something extra in a prospective employee,” Hardy said. “Specific curiosity does matter, but the diversive piece is useful in more abstract ways.”

Another important finding of the research, Hardy noted, is that participants’ behavior in the information-seeking stage of the task was key to explaining differences in creative outcome. For people who are not creative naturally, a lack of natural diversive curiosity may be overcome, in part, by simply spending more time asking questions and reviewing materials at the early stages of a task, he said.

“Creativity to a degree is a trainable skill,” he said. “It is a skill that is developed and can be improved. The more of it you do, the better you will get at it.”

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Jay Hardy, 541-737-3016, jay.hardy@oregonstate.edu

Is there a right way to quit your job? Research finds some ways are better than others

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Most everybody has been there: you’ve decided to quit your job and now you have to inform your employer that you’re leaving. So what is the best way to resign?

Turns out, there are generally seven ways in which people quit their jobs, and there are two key factors that determine whether a person resigns in a positive way or in a way that could have damaging consequences for the business, new research from Oregon State University shows.

Those predictors are whether an employee feels they are being treated fairly at work, and whether they feel they are respected by their boss, said Anthony Klotz, an assistant professor in the College of Business at OSU and lead author of the paper. Those who feel they are respected and treated fairly are more likely to resign in a positive manner.

“As an employee, you are pretty powerless for much of your work life, until you decide to quit,” he said. “That is the one time you feel empowered and have a chance to even the score if you feel like you’ve been treated badly.”

Employee resignations are part of doing business; in the U.S. and western Europe, resignation rates run about 10 percent per year, while in parts of Asia, they can be much higher. But there is little known about how employees go about quitting their jobs, and what the implications of their resignations may have for the company, good or bad.

“There is a lot of research about why people quit their jobs. But very little is known about how people quit,” Klotz said. “Employers as well as employees want to know what the right way is.”

Klotz and his co-author, Mark Bolino of the University of Oklahoma, set out to learn more about how employees quit their jobs and the consequences of their choices when doing so. Their findings were published recently in the Journal of Applied Psychology. The study was supported by the Society for Human Resource Management Foundation.

Through a series of studies, including interviews with employees and employers, the researchers found that generally, employees quit in one of seven ways:

  • By the book: These resignations involve a face-to-face meeting with one’s manager to announce the resignation, a standard notice period, and an explanation of the reason for quitting.
  • Perfunctory: These resignations are similar to “by the book” resignations, except the meeting tends to be shorter and the reason for quitting is not provided.
  • Grateful goodbye: Employees express gratitude toward their employer and often offer to help with the transition period.
  • In the loop: In these resignations, employees typically confide in their manager that they are contemplating quitting, or are looking for another job, before formally resigning.
  • Avoidant: This occurs when employees let other employees such as peers, mentors, or human resources representatives know that they plan to leave rather than giving notice to their immediate boss.
  • Bridge burning: In this resignation style, employees seek to harm the organization or its members on their way out the door, often through verbal assaults.
  • Impulsive quitting: Some employees simply walk off the job, never to return or communicate with their employer again. This can leave the organization in quite a lurch, given it is the only style in which no notice is provided.

The by the book and perfunctory resignations are the most common, but roughly one in 10 employees quits in bridge-burning style. Avoidant, bridge burning and impulsive quitting are seen as potentially harmful resignation styles for employers. 

In addition, the researchers found that managers were particularly frustrated by employees who resigned using bridge burning, avoidant or perfunctory styles, so employees who want to leave on good terms should avoid those styles, Klotz said.

The study findings also indicated that managers responded the least negatively to resignations when employees kept them “in the loop” and when employees followed organizational policies regarding resignation. Quitting in these more positive styles is a good idea for employees who want a positive recommendation from a former supervisor or may consider returning to that company one day.

The managers’ attitudes toward the perfunctory resignation was a bit surprising, he said, and seemed to be rooted in the fact that employees using that style did not provide reasons for their decisions to resign.

Each resignation situation is unique to that employee and their relationship to the company, Klotz noted, so the best way to resign at one company may not be the best way to resign at another. But companies would be well-served to review their employee handbooks and update their formal resignation policies to reflect best practices for current company needs, he said.

Understanding why employees quit in the ways they do is particularly important for companies that could suffer if an employee uses his or her departure as an opportunity to damage the company’s reputation or create other problems, Klotz said.

“Turnover is common, it’s expensive, it’s disruptive and it can be contagious,” he said. “But this damage is mitigated when employees resign in a positive manner. So to the extent you can, as an employer, you want to have employees resign in a positive manner.”

Companies also should consider monitoring how employees quit for potential signs of management issues. If a number of employees quit in a negative way, that could be a sign of a poor supervisor or other problems with company treatment of employees, he said.

Klotz said he would also like to further study the “lame duck period,” between the time an employee gives notice to their last day on the job, to better understand what happens during that period.

“Is it better to just say ‘see ya’ and pay the employee’s salary for two weeks, or is it better to have the person stay for a transition period such as training their replacement?” Klotz said. “It’s often a very weird time for the employer and the employee.”

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Anthony Klotz, 541-737-6044

anthony.klotz@oregonstate.edu

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New OSU College of Business program will aid aspiring entrepreneurs

PORTLAND, Ore. – A new program designed to increase entrepreneurial activity and stimulate job creation in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest is now being offered in Portland by Oregon State University’s College of Business. 

The goal of Launch Corps is to provide additional startup support services for select students who are enrolled in the college’s Innovation Management MBA program and are also developing a business idea. Innovation Management is a new track in the college’s MBA program that prepares students to start new companies and advance ideas within existing ones.

“Research shows rates of entrepreneurship are in a state of decline in the U.S.,” said Mitzi Montoya, dean of OSU’s College of Business. “That’s concerning news, especially given reports that indicate entrepreneurs are responsible for nearly all net new job creation. Oregon has unprecedented potential to address our regional and national need for entrepreneurial activity if we can effectively recruit entrepreneurs from the full pool of available talent and accelerate their success.”

As they progress through the Innovation Management MBA, students in Launch Corps will be connected to resources that can help move their startup ideas forward. Those resources include mentors in areas such as marketing, accounting and finance; office space at the college’s new Portland headquarters at WeWork, a co-working community for multiple ventures and startups; services, equipment and related amenities; and access to workshops and entrepreneurial training programs.

Launch Corps is open to all founders, co-founders or teams at the startup stage who have a passion for addressing a problem and an idea that offers market potential. Women, people of color, and others who have historically been underrepresented among entrepreneurs are particularly encouraged to apply for Launch Corps.

“Research shows that women lead about one-third of entrepreneurial activity, even though they make up slightly more than half of the population,” said Audrey Iffert-Saleem, executive director of strategic initiatives for the College of Business. “Our vision is that the population of entrepreneurs will grow to reflect the changing demographics of the United States.”

Supporting these entrepreneurs in their startup journey is about more than getting them in the pipeline, said Iffert-Saleem, who has led the development of several entrepreneurship programs for women and people of color.

“A recent report shows that only a tiny fraction of one percent of venture funding went to black women founders in 2014,” she said. “We need a culture shift, and we need support from the community.”

The fee for the two-year program is $5,000, and fellowships are available for selected students. The J.D. Power Launch Corps fellowships cover the costs of the program as well as a $2,000 business start-up grant and an $8,000 tuition scholarship.

All Launch Corps applicants will be considered for the fellowship, and priority will be given to women applicants. The program will begin in the fall term, and the deadline to apply for the fall MBA program is Aug. 22.

The college also is seeking mentors and startup coaches to support Launch Corps members, especially women and people of color who are entrepreneurs, investors and business professionals.

For more information about Launch Corps or to apply to the program, visit business.oregonstate.edu/launchcorps.

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Jessi Hibsman, 541-737-1059

jesse.hibsman@oregonstate.edu

OSU names ASU vice president as dean of the College of Business

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Mitzi Montoya, vice president and university dean of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Arizona State University, has been named the Sara Hart Kimball Dean of the College of Business at Oregon State University.

Montoya begins her new duties on Aug. 31. She succeeds Ilene Kleinsorge, who announced her retirement earlier this year after 12 years as dean.

As dean at OSU, Montoya will oversee a growing College of Business that has 3,900 students seeking business majors, 850 students with business and entrepreneurship minors, and more than 800 design students. The college just moved into its new headquarters - the 100,000-square-foot, $55 million Austin Hall, which opened last year.

In her position at Arizona State, Montoya has been responsible for advancing entrepreneurship and innovative collaborative initiatives across the ASU campuses. She also has been dean of the College of Technology & Innovation there, and vice provost of the ASU Polytechnic campus.

“We are very excited about Mitzi joining OSU – her candidacy generated a tremendous amount of enthusiasm and excitement across the campus community, and I am thrilled that she will join our leadership team,” said Sabah Randhawa, Oregon State’s provost and executive vice president.

“She has a background that dovetails nicely with the strengths of OSU’s College of Business – including entrepreneurship and innovation – and she also has the vision and experience to help the college grow in other areas,” Randhawa added. “The college is seeking to expand its graduate programs and work more collaboratively with other units on campus, and with private, public and non-profit organizations.”

“She also has done a lot of work in the aerospace industry and with clean energy – two initiatives that Oregon State University has become deeply involved with in recent years.”

Montoya established the Aerospace & Defense Research Collaboratory in Arizona, a statewide platform for collaboration across the aerospace and defense supply chain and research institutions.  She also has been leading ASU’s global training program for clean energy, sponsored by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

Montoya is a professor in the Management Department of ASU’s W.P. Carey School of Business. Before coming to ASU, she worked for 15 years at North Carolina State University, where she held the Zeinak Chair in Marketing and Innovation in the Poole College of Management. She also founded and led the Innovation Lab, a collaborative effort between different NC State colleges and private industry.

An international scholar, Montoya has taught courses on innovation and marketing strategy – at the undergraduate, graduate, and executive levels – in Argentina, Brazil, Egypt, England, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Panama, Russia, Switzerland and the United States.

Her research has focused on innovation processes and strategies, and the role of technology in team decision-making. She has received research funding from numerous institutions, including the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Department of Education, USAID, the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation and others.

Montoya has a bachelor’s of science degree in applied engineering science, and a Ph.D. in marketing and statistics – both from Michigan State University.

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 Sabah Randhawa, 541-737-2111, Sabah.randhawa@oregonstate.edu

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Mitzi Montoya, dean of the OSU College of Business

College of Business Dean Ilene Kleinsorge announces retirement

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Ilene Kleinsorge, dean and Sara Hart Kimball chair of the College of Business and executive dean of the Division of Business and Engineering at Oregon State University announced today that she will retire from OSU effective June 30.

“The significant impact of Dean Kleinsorge’s contributions to the College of Business, the university and the local and regional business communities will continue long after she retires,” said Provost Sabah Randhawa. “Her commitment to alumni, students, faculty and staff is reflected in the enduring relationships she has cultivated, the college’s collaborative community, the business partnerships she has created and students who are graduating and entering the work force prepared and ready to make an immediate impact.”

Under her leadership, the college raised more than $78 million in private philanthropy during The Campaign for OSU. More than $30 million of those gifts were for the construction of Austin Hall, the new 100,000-square foot home for the College of Business that opened in fall 2014. It was under Kleinsorge’s guidance that the funding was secured; the building was planned for, designed, built and opened.

Austin Hall accommodates more than 5,800 students each year, which includes 3,900 business majors and pre-majors, nearly 850 business and entrepreneurship minors and more than 800 design students. The college also teaches service courses for more than 1,500 students from outside of the College of Business. 

Kleinsorge, who started at OSU as an assistant accounting professor in 1987, was appointed dean in March 2003. Other accomplishments achieved under her tenure as dean include: 

  • Revising curriculum to create discipline specific majors and establishing a competitive professional school model, which requires students to apply for and be accepted into the college;
  • Growth of graduate programs including the launch of the first business doctoral program and the diversification of the MBA program to meet market demand;
  • Integrating the design majors into the College of Business;
  • Establishing a college specific Career Success Center;
  • Launching the Austin Entrepreneurship Program;
  • Collaborating with the university and the Office of Commercialization and Corporate Development to launch the Advantage Accelerator.

“It has been a privilege to lead, serve and be a part of such an accomplished community of alumni, students, faculty and staff,” said Kleinsorge. “Together we have evolved our curriculum, experiential learning opportunities and programs to provide a business education that prepares our graduates to be ready to work in the local, regional, national and global economies.”

Kleinsorge served as department chair of Accounting, Finance and Information Management from 1995-2001 and again from 2001-02. She serves as a technical adviser for the Governor’s Oregon Innovation Council; is the treasurer for Benton Hospice Board of Directors; and she is a member of the Advantage Accelerator Advisory Board; the University Budget Committee; and the Campus Planning Committee. She is also the university representative for the local Economic Vitality Partnership in Corvallis.

She has served as past chair of the Western Association of Collegiate Schools of Business; as a member of the Executive Commercialization Advisory Council; and has been active in community service including being on the Corvallis Chamber board of directors; co-chaired a capital campaign for an advocacy center for the Center Against Rape and Domestic Violence; and held various positions on the Majestic Theatre board.   

Kleinsorge earned her Ph.D. from the University of Kansas and her B.S. from Emporia State University in Emporia, Kansas. As an associate professor her teaching and research focused on cost and managerial accounting systems, with an emphasis on multi-national companies and health care.

Randhawa said a national search will be conducted for a new dean.

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Jenn Casey, 541-737-0695, jenn.casey@oregonstate.edu

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Steve Clark, 541-737-3808, steve.clark@oregonstate.edu

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Advantage Accelerator “graduates” moving toward successful new businesses, jobs

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Four promising startup companies in fields ranging from social media to chemical manufacturing are among the first “graduating class” of the Oregon State University Advantage Accelerator, upon completion of a program designed to help lead them toward commercial success.

Organizers of the new program say it’s off to a promising start in efforts to bring more university research and community ideas to the commercial marketplace. This and other elements of the OSU Advantage form partnerships with industry and work to boost the Oregon economy, while providing invaluable experiences for OSU students involved in many aspects of the program.

“Our program has unfolded as well or better than we had hoped, and we now plan to increase the output,” said John Turner, co-director of the Advantage Accelerator. “Completion of this program means that companies have an increased chance to succeed and have a step-by-step plan to approach the future.”

“Based on our experience in the first year of this program, we’ve decided to conduct two cohort groups each year rather than one,” Turner said. “The coming year will result in about 15-20 new startup companies.”

Success in a tough and competitive commercial marketplace is not automatic, however, and not all companies have the will and strength to complete the rigorous program.

The first graduates have completed a “portfolio” of accomplishments, Turner said, that included training to attract investors, a validated business model, a schedule for future steps, and an initial product to show prospective customers, investors or manufacturers. A few clients are already attracting attention through the sale of products and generating profit.

The OSU Advantage Accelerator provides mentoring with industry and entrepreneurial experts, consulting sessions, access to seed grants and the OSU Venture Fund, meetings with active investors, workshops on various topics, networking events and many other activities.

One of the early participants in the program, Onboard Dynamics of Bend, Ore., plans to market technology that could ultimately revolutionize the way America drives. It has developed systems that compress natural gas right in the vehicle and take advantage of the enormous current supplies of low-cost natural gas. The innovation is able to cut automobile fuel costs to the gasoline-equivalent of less than $1 a gallon.

“An intern working with the Advantage Accelerator performed a lot of tasks relating to market analysis and startup activities that were incredibly helpful to the company,” said CEO Rita Hansen.

“We’re in an excellent position right now, having been formally selected by the Department of Energy for a $2.88 million award, and our initial target markets are the underserved, small, light-duty commercial fleets,” Hansen said. “We’re very bullish about widespread adoption by these fleets of our products.”

A few other companies that have completed the program include:

  • Pikli, a student-based company based on social media that allows individuals to involve their friends and family in their shopping experiences;
  • Waste2Watergy, which is commercializing a microbial fuel cell technology to reduce or eliminate significant wastewater costs and produce electricity from the resultant effluence; and
  • Valliscor, a chemical manufacturing company that licensed technology developed at OSU to produce high-value chemicals for the pharmaceutical, agricultural, polymer and electronics industries.

“The OSU Advantage Accelerator program was very helpful and their mentorship was really first-rate,” said Rich Carter, professor and chair of the OSU Department of Chemistry, and CEO of Valliscor. “They helped us develop the necessary tools to become a functioning company, and whenever you needed advice all you had to do was pick up the phone.”

Carter said he’s “very optimistic” about the company going forward, which is already producing and selling its first products.

The OSU Advantage Accelerator is one component of the Oregon Regional Accelerator and Innovation Network, or Oregon RAIN. With support from the Oregon legislature, collaborators on the initiative include OSU, the University of Oregon, the cities of Eugene, Springfield, Corvallis and Albany, and other economic development organizations. All the participants are focused on creating new business, expanding existing business, creating jobs and helping to build the Oregon and national economy.

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John Turner, 541-368-5204

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New company

Valliscor research

Social shopping via mobile app: do you like the mint green or coral?

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A new business concept aided by the Oregon State University Advantage Accelerator will get its first test run on Tuesday, Jan. 21, when about 120 OSU sorority members get a chance to see what all their friends think about the new shoes they may buy – and which color looks best.

It’s the beginning of Tally, a mobile app developed by two recent OSU graduates to make shopping or just getting dressed a more fun, interactive and social experience.

With Tally, users can receive side-by-side images of their friend’s shopping options, vote on their favorite image and get results delivered in real time.

The developers of this company will also be interviewed on Jan. 30 at OSU by Alexis Ohanian, the co-founder of Reddit.com, one of the world’s leading web sites.  Ohanian will be speaking about his new book, Without Their Permission, as part of a 77-university tour about Internet entrepreneurship, at the LaSells Stewart Center beginning at 7 p.m. It is free and open to the public.

“Our release of the app to the OSU sororities is really exciting, and we’ll be very interested in their feedback as we try to fine tune the user experience,” said Ryan Connolly, a graduate last year in marketing and entrepreneurship in the OSU College of Business, who co-founded the company with Andy Miller, an OSU computer science graduate.

“We are very optimistic about the app and anxious to see what’s in store for the future,” Connolly said. “It’s free for people to download and use, and will help make shopping a more social experience, even if your friends live in another city or on the other side of the country. People can see what their friends think before they make a decision, and in our tests about 65 percent of our current users vote on each new poll within 20 minutes.”

The OSU Advantage Accelerator, which was recently formed to help this and other small business enterprises get the assistance they need to move out of academia and into the private sector, was a great help, Connolly said.

“The Accelerator gave us two mentors to work with, helped flush out our revenue model, introduced us to investors, and gave us exposure we wouldn’t have otherwise had,” he said.

The business concept of the company is to develop a large and active user base, Connolly said, and then approach clothing retailers and brands as a pinpoint marketing platform. Information will be acquired about merchandise, style, color and product preferences that would be of value to retailers, manufacturers and brand owners. The company web site is at tallyfashion.com

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Ryan Connolly, 503-961-5778

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Choices to make

Shopping choices