college of business

Weatherford Awards honor notable entrepreneurs in Portland on Feb. 16

PORTLAND, Ore. – A Hollywood screenwriter, a cookware innovator, a communications trailblazer and a wine entrepreneur are among the recipients of this year’s Weatherford Awards, Oregon State University’s annual celebration of lifelong and pioneering entrepreneurship and innovation.

The event will be held Thursday, Feb. 16, at the Hilton in downtown Portland.

Hosted by OSU’s Austin Entrepreneurship Program, the event starts at 5:30 p.m. with a reception, followed by a dinner and the award presentations. Tickets are $95, available until sold out and can be obtained on the web at http://business.oregonstate.edu/programs/aep or by contacting Mary McKillop, 541-713-8044, e-mail mary.mckillop@bus.oregonstate.edu.

The Weatherford Awards recognize pioneering and lifelong entrepreneurs and innovators. This year, three of the honorees are native Oregonians and two are OSU alums.

The awards are named for OSU's Weatherford Hall where entrepreneurship and business students can explore their innovations and new venture ideas in a unique, living learning residence hall.

The recipients of the 2012 Weatherford Awards are:

  • Jim Bernau, a native Oregonian and founder of Willamette Valley Vineyards, purchased the Estate site in 1983 and cleared away the old pioneer plum orchard hidden in scotch broom and blackberry vines. He planted pinot noir, chardonnay and pinot gris. Willamette Valley Vineyards has become one of the region's leading wineries, earning the title “One of America's Great Pinot Noir Producers” from Wine Enthusiast magazine.
  • Carolyn Chambers, founder of Chamber Communications Corp. and a pioneer in the cable television industry, died in August at the age of 79. Her family will accept the award in her honor. A native Oregonian, Chambers earned a degree in business in 1953 at the University of Oregon, where she was the sole woman in her class. At 25, just four years out of college, she borrowed $100,000 from her father and pooled that with funds from other investors to launch Liberty Communications. In 1983 she founded Chambers Communications Corp., which today operates ABC affiliates KEZI in Eugene-Springfield, KOHD in Bend and KDRV in Medford and Klamath Falls. The company also includes a production arm, Chambers Productions, and Chambers Cable.
  • Stanley Cheng, chairman and CEO of Meyer Corporation and founder/owner of Hestan Vineyards. One of seven children, Cheng was born in 1947 in Hong Kong. He attended OSU where he received his degree in mechanical engineering. In 1981, Cheng founded California-based Meyer Corporation, America’s largest cookware company and the second largest in the world. In the midst of building his cookware enterprise, Cheng, who also received the 2002 Humanitarian of the Year Award from the Housewares Charity Foundation, cultivated his growing passion for wine. In 1996, Cheng and his wife Helen purchased a 127-acre property that they named Hestan Vineyards in Napa Valley.
  • Mike Rich, a Portland screenwriter whose breakthrough came in 1998 when his script, “Finding Forrester,” was awarded a prestigious Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Within weeks, it was picked up by Columbia Pictures and was a holiday season release in 2000, starring Sean Connery and directed by Gus Van Sant. His second screenplay, “The Rookie,” starred Dennis Quaid and Rachel Griffiths and was both a commercial and critical success for Disney in 2002. He also wrote the screenplays for “Radio” (2003), “The Nativity Story” (2006) and the 2010 film, “Secretariat.”
Media Contact: 

Jenn Casey, 541-737-0695

2011 Excellence in Family Business Award recipients announced

PORTLAND, Ore. – Bike Newport of Newport, Colas Construction of Portland, IB Roof Systems of Eugene and Wilcox Farms Organic Eggs of Wilsonville and Roy, Wash., will be recognized as winners at the 2011 Excellence in Family Business Awards at a ceremony Nov. 17 at the Governor Hotel in Portland.

The awards are presented by Oregon State University’s Austin Family Business Program.

Six companies and two individuals will receive the 2011 Excellence in Family Business Awards. Eight additional companies will be recognized as finalists at the awards event. More than 170 companies have received this recognition since the awards were first presented in 1988.

Sherri Noxel, director of the Austin Family Business Program, said the event offers an opportunity for families to be recognized for their commitment to family business.

“Each of the awards winners this year exemplifies why the Austin Family Business Program is committed to fostering healthy family businesses,” she said. “Especially in this current economy, it is important for family businesses to remain healthy and the 2011 winners have demonstrated that they can remain viable.”

The awards recognize the achievements of family businesses in innovation, entrepreneurship, and commitment to community involvement.

Bike Newport of Newport won the award in the micro category, which is open to businesses with nine or fewer employees. The company is being recognized for changing business lines to adapt to new opportunities, generating new community revenue and demonstrating its passion for family happiness in family business.

Oregon Coffee & Tea of Corvallis and Hybrid Real Estate of Eugene were the finalists in the micro category.

Portland-based Colas Construction, Inc. is the winner of the small family business category, which honors businesses with 10-24 employees. The business is being recognized for establishing strategic partnerships for long-term success, setting a powerful vision for the family business and for giving the second generation the freedom to choose their future.

The finalists in the small business category were The Joel Palmer House of Dayton and Koeber’s of Beaverton.

Eugene-based IB Roof Systems is the winner in the medium category for businesses with 25-99 employees. IB Roof Systems was honored because of the company’s willingness and capacity to make successful management changes, effectively engage all family members in the business, and develop exemplary family governance policies.

Denton Plastics and Meyer Sign Company of Oregon, both operating in Portland, were the finalists in the medium category.

In the large category (100 or more employees), Wilcox Farms Organic Eggs from Roy, Wash., and Wilsonville was recognized for its commitment to vertical integration to support sustainability, a sophisticated outside board structure and the transition to a values-based company and new generation management.

GloryBee Foods of Eugene and Wilson’s NAPA Auto Parts of Wilsonville were the finalists in the large family business category.

Also honored at the event will be Brad Withrow-Robinson, a forester from the OSU Yamhill County Extension office, and Alyssa Duval, who is from the DuVal Farms family in Silverton and is studying crop and soil science at OSU.

In addition, Starker Forests of Corvallis will be given the Dean’s Award for Family Business Leadership and Sokol Blosser Winery of Dundee will be awarded the Director’s Award for Family Business.

Founded in 1985, the Austin Family Business Program is a university-based family business program providing inspiration, education, outreach, and research to support the success and survival of family businesses.

Media Contact: 

Sherri Noxel, 541-737-6019

Sperling’s BestPlaces founder and OSU alumnus to speak on Nov. 1

CORVALLIS, Ore. - Oregon State University alumnus Bert Sperling of Sperling's BestPlaces will speak about the importance of creating your brand in a talk at noon on Tuesday, Nov. 1, on the OSU campus.

The free public talk will take place at the Construction & Engineering Hall of LaSells Stewart Center, 875 S.W. 26th St., Corvallis.

In his talk, “Create Your Own Brand and Control Your Destiny,” Sperling will discuss how his accidental path was once unusual, but is now relevant for anyone seeking success in today’s web-connected culture and challenging economy. Sperling’s insights will help students, industry leaders and anyone interested in entrepreneurship to establish a brand identity and be in control.

Through his one-person company and “BestPlaces lists,” Portland resident Sperling has become an internationally recognized expert and thought leader, inking deals with Yahoo, AOL, MSN and MSNBC, and working with Intel, AARP, McDonalds, American Express and Unilever. He has been profiled in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the Today Show and CNN. Sperling is a 1972 business graduate of OSU.

The talk is sponsored by the Austin Entrepreneurship Program of the OSU College of Business.

Media Contact: 

Jenn Casey, 541-737-0695

OSU’s Becker-Blease honored as “Rising Star” from Aspen Institute

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University faculty member John Becker-Blease, an expert on gender equality and social justice in the workplace, has been named the 2011 Aspen Institute Faculty Pioneer in the Rising Star category.

Becker-Blease, an assistant professor of finance in the College of Business at OSU, will be honored at an event in New York City on Oct. 21. He is the first professor in Oregon to be honored with this award.

Named “the Oscars of the business school world” by the Financial Times, the Aspen Institute’s Faculty Pioneer Awards celebrate educators who have demonstrated leadership and risk-taking in integrating social and environmental issues into academic research, educational programs and business practice.

“I am fortunate to be a part of OSU’s College of Business, where pioneering research into sustainable business practices and the economic importance of corporate social behavior are so highly valued and thoroughly integrated into our MBA curriculum,” Becker-Blease said.

Nominations are open to all faculty members at any institution worldwide offering a graduate management degree. Becker-Blease was picked out of a field of 84 nominees from around the world.

Becker-Blease’s research has examined gender differences in executive dismissals at large public corporations and the media coverage surrounding these dismissals. He has also co-authored award-winning research into women entrepreneurs’ access to early-stage capital and the role gender diversity plays in investment decisions of venture capital groups.

Becker-Blease has also developed an influential curriculum that infuses social responsibility into a traditional MBA corporate finance course.

“The research is pretty clear that being a good corporate citizen is not just good for stakeholders, but is typically good for the company’s bottom line as well,” Becker-Blease said. “We take this a step further and show students where and how to find these valuable opportunities.”

Becker-Blease holds a Ph.D. in finance from the University of Oregon and degrees in history from the University of New Hampshire and in finance and insurance from the University of Florida.

Media Contact: 

Jenn Casey, 541-737-0695

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John Becker-Blease

Founding president of Starbucks to speak at OSU Oct. 5

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Howard Behar, the founding president of Starbucks International, will give a free public lecture on Wednesday, Oct. 5, at Oregon State University, where he will speak about putting people first in a consumer-oriented business.

Part of the College of Business’ Dean’s Distinguished Lecture Series, the event begins at 7 p.m. in the Austin Auditorium of LaSells Stewart Center, 875 S.W. 26th St., Corvallis.

Behar’s talk, “It’s Not about the Coffee: Lessons on Putting People First from a Life at Starbucks,” will address how he helped created the Starbucks brand and culture, which he says stresses the importance of people over profits. He will share his 10 principles that guided his leadership and success.

Behar recently retired from Starbucks after 21 years where he led both the domestic business, as president of North America operations, and was the founding president of Starbucks International. During his tenure, he participated in the growth of the company from only 28 stores to more than 15,000 stores spanning five continents.

Author of a book on leadership titled, “It's Not About the Coffee,” Behar serves on several boards of for-profit and non-profit organizations.

A resident of Mercer Island, Wash., Behar enjoys spending time with his wife Lynn, his children and his five grandchildren.

Media Contact: 

Jenn Casey, 541-737-0695

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Howard Behar
Howard Behar

OSU business professors’ paper honored by CASE

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A journal article by Oregon State University researchers Jim McAlexander and Hal Koenig on brand communities in higher education has been selected for the Alice L. Beeman Award for Outstanding Published Scholarship by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE).

The award was for their 2010 paper published in the Journal of Marketing for Higher Education.

In the paper, more than 2,000 alumni of colleges and universities from all 50 states and the District of Columbia were surveyed by OSU’s Close to the Customer Project, which is directed by McAlexander and Koenig. The Close to the Customer Project provides professional market research and consulting services delivered by faculty and student teams.

In this paper, the researchers found that alumni of smaller schools have more positive feelings about their education than those at large schools. These small-school alumni also tend to maintain closer connections with their faculty, advisers, and institutional leadership than the graduates of larger schools.  However, they found no evidence that alumni had stronger or weaker connections to the school’s brand based on institution size, nor did alumni from smaller schools report having more satisfying interactions with their alumni peers.

“We are pleased and honored that our research efforts to help advancement professionals build better and stronger relationships with alumni are gaining respect and are having positive impacts,” said McAlexander, a professor of marketing at OSU.

“As academics we understand the tremendous importance and value of maintaining supportive and vital relationships with our alumni,” he added. “As our research demonstrates, the university and its alumni are both well served when we can foster mutually valued and supportive relationships with our alumni.”

For more information on the Building Community Initiative, go to: http://blogs.oregonstate.edu/c2cbci/

Media Contact: 

Jim McAlexander, 541-737-3182

Stereotypes can affect how women “angels” invest, according to new study

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Stereotypes about gender affect investment decision-making, even among successful women, researchers concluded in a new study on how gender affects investing strategies.

Examining angel funds, or groups of wealthy investors who pool resources to make investments into a diverse array of start-up businesses, researchers found that the proportion of women angel investors in a group is related to the number of investments made by the group. When women comprised more than 10 percent of the investment group, their presence became associated with increased investments.

John Becker-Blease, of Oregon State University, and Jeff Sohl, of the University of New Hampshire , co-authored the study, which is out in the July issue of the journal Entrepreneurship, Theory and Practice.

“It is well-documented that women are, on average, more cautious investors than men and so we expected to find that the higher the proportion of women in the angel groups, the less likely the angel group was to make an investment,” said Becker-Blease, an assistant professor of finance in OSU’s College of Business.

However, the study results surprised them.

“Contrary to our expectations, we found that only when women were in a very small minority was their presence associated with a decrease in investments,” Becker-Blease said.

The researchers said this phenomenon could be related to something psychologists call “stereotype threat.” According to this theory, when a stereotype exists about a person, that person will behave in a manner consistent with that stereotype when they are in a situation that highlights, or accentuates, this aspect of their status, whether that is gender, race or ethnicity.

Becker-Blease cited a past study that showed Asian female students performed relatively well on a math exam when their ethnic status was highlighted, and relatively poorly when their gender status was highlighted. Becker-Blease and Sohl believe something similar might be happening in angel groups.

“When there is only a handful of women participating in these groups, their status as women, who are less aggressive investors, induces greater reluctance to invest,” Becker-Blease said, “but as the proportion of women increases, women investors are made less aware of their status, and invest with greater confidence.”

According to Becker-Blease, these results are provocative and speak to the potential benefits of having more women investors participate in these important sources of funding for new businesses.

Media Contact: 

John Becker-Blease, 541-737-6061

OSU’s College of Business hires executive director for industry relations

PORTLAND, Ore. – Pam Knowles, an Oregon State University alumna and Portland business leader with more than 25 years of professional experience, has been named the executive director for industry relations for the College of Business at Oregon State University.

Based out of both Portland and Corvallis, Knowles is responsible for establishing and sustaining relationships with potential employers and corporate partners to strengthen opportunities for students and alumni and also building effective partnerships to support the college’s research and programs.

“Pam understands where business and education intersect and the value of the partnerships between the college and industry, business, and government,” said Ilene Kleinsorge, dean of OSU’s College of Business. “With the investment in this position, the connections and experience that Pam brings, and the existing relationships we have, the College of Business is positioned to have a greater impact in Oregon businesses, communities, and the economy.”

Knowles was most recently the managing director for the Oregon Zoo Foundation. Previously, Knowles was a partner in the law firm Davis Wright Tremaine where she focused on employment issues for business. She was the chief operating officer and general counsel for the Portland Business Alliance for more than five years. Knowles also has served as the development and marketing director at Portland Center Stage and as the executive director for the Judicial Fitness Commission.

“I am looking forward to strengthening current relationships and building new ones to match opportunities in business and industry with our students, alumni and the college programs,” Knowles said. “These relationships are valuable and important to all of the stakeholders involved.”

In 2009, Knowles was elected to the Portland Public Schools Board of Directors, a group she now co-chairs. Other volunteer activities have included the board of directors of the Portland Business Alliance Charitable Institute, Nike School Innovation Fund, Oregon State Alumni Association, and the State of Oregon Commission on Childcare.

Media Contact: 

Jenn Casey, 541-737-0695

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Pam Knowles
Pam Knowles

Smaller companies hit hardest during emerging market crises

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A study of the reaction by the United States stock market to international financial crises shows that small companies are often hit hardest, and the impact is above and beyond what would be expected given their exposure to global market factors.

This unexpected result suggests the significant impact that investors’ actions can have during emerging market crises. During these crises, investors flee to the perceived safety of big companies and shed stocks of smaller companies, despite comparable levels of international exposure during normal periods.

“The take-away is, just because you invest locally doesn’t mean you are protected from the global market,” said David Berger, an assistant professor of finance at Oregon State University.

Looking at almost 20 years of data that covered about eight large emerging market crashes, Berger and H.J. Turtle of Washington State University uncovered this flight-from-risk trend on the part of investors that flee from small stocks. The results are published in the current issue of the Global Finance Journal.

“We would expect that stock markets in two different, but related economies would crash at the same time,” Berger said. “But we found that during big market crashes, investors adjust their holdings towards bigger corporate stocks that they perceive as being safer, even after controlling for economic exposures.”

Berger said the results of his study are unexpected because past research has focused on the aggregate U.S. market as a whole and found little impact during emerging market crises.

“Investors see these big blue chip stocks as the safer ones, and small, R&D intensive stocks for example, as riskier,” Berger said. “So the stock of a smaller domestic company could take a hit because of an international shock.”

Berger studies U.S. equity markets and international stocks, and said the findings from this study have important implications for investors, even those who tend to invest mainly in the domestic market.

“Interestingly, larger stocks often benefited from emerging market crises and exhibited positive returns,” Berger added. “Because investors started dumping smaller stocks in favor of safer, larger ones, the irony is that larger multinational corporations potentially see positive benefits during international crises.”

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OSU’s College of Business announces director for Austin Family Business Program

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Julianna Sowash, an Oregon State University alumna and former executive director of the Oregon Executive Masters in Business Administration program, has been named director of the Austin Family Business Program in OSU’s College of Business.

Sowash brings more than 15 years of experience at OEMBA, the financially self-supporting joint graduate business program of Oregon’s three largest state universities.

“Julianna’s experience in providing leadership, development and growth in higher education programs will be an asset to the Austin Family Business Program,” said Ilene Kleinsorge, dean of OSU’s College of Business. “I worked closely with her when she was the OEMBA executive director and was continually impressed with her professionalism and ability to navigate complex relationships to benefit a variety of audiences and the bottom line.”

Under Sowash’s leadership, the executive MBA program grew to annually serve 90 students, 900 alumni and 35 contracted faculty members. In addition to her role as the executive director at the OEMBA, she has also has experience working in higher education at the University of San Diego, where she also earned her master’s in business administration.

For the past year, Sowash was the vice president of operations at DePaolo Equine Concepts, a family owned nutraceutical company specializing in equine health. While there, she responsible for the strategic planning, product development, marketing planning and compliance with industry and federal regulations.

“I am excited to again be back in higher education and a part of the OSU community,” Sowash said. “I am a third-generation Oregon Stater and my experience as a student at the university helped shape my career and deep commitment to community.”

“This role is an ideal fit for my professional background and aspirations,” she added. “I understand and recognize the role that family businesses play in our economy, specifically in the Northwest region, and it is essential that they not only succeed, but thrive.”

As the Austin Family Business Program director, Sowash is also the A.E. Coleman Chair in Family Business. The endowed chair honors the founder of A.E. Coleman Jewelers, a Corvallis family business since 1927, and assures sustained entrepreneurial leadership for the program.

The OSU College of Business also will soon begin a search for a director of the Austin Entrepreneurship Program. The position, to be vacated at the end of the academic year, will direct the program in promoting and leading entrepreneurship and innovation research, education and new venture development and commercialization across the OSU campus and throughout Oregon. Kleinsorge will serve as the interim director and will also lead the search for a new director.

Founded in 1985, the Austin Family Business Program is a university-based family business program providing inspiration, education, outreach, and research to support the success and survival of family businesses. The program prepares family businesses to balance the well-being of the business, the family and individuals, as they address the challenges and opportunities which inevitably arise, day-to-day and during succession.

Media Contact: 

Jenn Casey, 541-737-0695

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Julianna Sowash