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Mike Cook’s SOM Connection

My SOM Connection
Mike Cook

When I was a youngster, my mother, Pat Cook, took our family to the UA Museum of the North. That was the first time I stepped foot on campus, and my connection to UAF has strengthened ever since. Our accounting firm, Cook & Haugeberg, LLC, actively recruits students and all firms in the Interior would agree that there are never enough accountants in the state of Alaska.

I believe strongly in the mission of SOM and have great faith in the students and the education they receive. As Chair of the Business Advisory Council, I get to learn firsthand what is happening at the school. I appreciate that Dean Herrmann really listens to the council members. He explains the issues the school is facing and the opportunities that are available. We, in turn, let the dean know our ideas to improve the school and what we are looking for in business graduates.

SOM has transformed over the decades. As it continues to increase in size, I am impressed by how the school keeps up with industry demands; for example, SOM is now offering degrees in homeland security and emergency management. The array of majors, and thus the diversity of students, make for a stronger and more interesting school. With this increase in size and programs comes a more diverse student body in age, ethnicity and family makeup.

As a lifelong Alaskan, I believe that most of us want to do what we can to remain living and thriving in this state. SOM has a sterling reputation and I ask you to consider a new, renewed or additional gift to the school. Cook & Haugeberg sustains an annual accounting scholarship and supports the UAF Business Leader of the Year. My wife, Sharon, and I also choose to give personally to SOM. No matter the size of your gift, you can help SOM students obtain an ideal educational experience inside and outside the classroom. Your gift is also a shout out to our legislature that we are in this predicament together and we are not idly standing by for a handout. Your gift signifies the importance you – and I – place on SOM and the future leaders of our state.

Photo by Sarah Villilon.

No Microscope Required

When you think of undergraduate research you tend to think of geoscience, chemistry or biology. At UAF, the resource for undergraduate students to engage in research is URSA (Undergraduate Research & Scholarly Activity). School of Management student Esul “Pomi” Chafin recently embarked on a research project all without a microscope, lasers or counting any animals.

Pomi is a business administration major who graduated in May 2017. She learned about the URSA opportunity through Professor Josh Lupinek’s Entertainment & Sports Event Management course. “I competed against other students for the opportunity,” Pomi said. “But due to my data analysis and research experience from working at UA Statewide, I was chosen for the project.”

Pomi’s summer 2016 research project applied the 80/20 rule to the National Hockey League (NHL) to determine whether the top 20% of players, in terms of salaries, actually produced the highest performance levels – equal to 80% of the scoring in games. Overall, she found that the top players only score about 50% of the goals. She also concluded that hockey is more of a team sport and goals are spread out among all the players.

Taking her project to the next level, Pomi requested, and received, additional funding from URSA to present her completed project, “The 80/20 Experience: An analysis of NHL salaries and why ice hockey is the ultimate team game,” at the 2017 Global Sport Business Association (GSBA) conference in Cozumel, Mexico. “I did the research to get more data analysis experience but I got so much more,” Pomi said. “I gained professional development, I learned about deadlines, which is a big part of data analysis, and I improved my public speaking skills.”

Pomi also presented her research at the URSA Research Day in April 2017 (which is required for all students who receive URSA funding) and won the School of Management Dean’s Choice award of $500 for her poster. “This experience took me out of my comfort zone. It really improved my speaking and communication skills, and helped me develop professionally,” Pomi said. “I would tell current SOM students to try research because it’s not just for science students. Research is a very important part of business and it’s a great addition to your resume.”

Pomi plans to publish her work through the GSBA journal in fall 2017. She will also be entering the School of Management MBA program in the fall.

Faculty Focus – Cameron Carlson

Cameron Carlson after receiving his Ph.D. at UAF Commencement 2017. Photo by Troy Bouffard.

 

Dr. Cameron Carlson is the Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. He earned a BS in biology from Monmouth University in 1986 and an MA in international relations from Webster University in 1995. He earned his Ph.D. in security and disaster management from UAF in 2017.

How did you first get involved with SOM?
My first encounter with Mark Herrmann was when we both went to the Academic Leadership Institute in 2004. At that point, I led the ROTC program and he asked me to teach as an adjunct. I taught sports leadership for several years and then I heard SOM was considering a bachelor’s of emergency management. By then I had retired from the military as a Lieutenant Colonel and was working as an emergency manager at UA Statewide. Mark asked me to launch the program, expand it and enroll more students.

What’s the best thing to happen since you started working at SOM?
I don’t know if there has been one single thing. It sounds like such a cliché but I really do enjoy my job. I like getting up in the morning and coming in. I like teaching and the interaction with the students. I enjoyed the Ph.D. process. The other faculty members really helped me a lot to narrow my focus and realize what my field is all about. Also, I enjoyed getting into the research world and working on some of the contracts that we have had with Northcom, the US Nothern Command, and the US Alaska Command. Working with them on Arctic Domain Security Orientation, what it’s going to look like in the arctic and why it’s important. As things heat up with North Korea, people are starting to understand that Alaska is more strategically significant than we originally thought.

How do you define good teaching?
Good teaching is the ability to engage students. I make sure they are being heard and that their questions are resolved. It is our duty to make sure something of value is provided to them since their next step is to secure a job.

How do you spend your summers in Alaska?
Working on articulation agreements with college programs out of state. Outside of work, I enjoy the weather by riding my mountain bike and spending time with my wife on our deck tasting wines. We are planning our next trip to Napa Valley to visit our family.

What advice do you have for current students?
Accept some risk, push the envelope a bit and learn something that makes you slightly uncomfortable. We’re wired to seek out comfort, which is why it’s hard to let go. If you challenge yourself, it will actually help you perform at your peak.

What would you like to tell us about your family?
Every member of our family has worked for UAF at one point or another. My wife currently works at UA Statewide, but she got her start in the UAF Business Office while I was still on active duty. Our youngest daughter Shelby recently left her position with UAF financial systems, and took a job out of state. Our youngest daughter Shelby and I walked through 2017 Commencement together, she for her MBA and me for my Ph.D. Our daughter Courtney received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from SOM. Our first-born daughter Dani also got her undergraduate degree from UAF. Fun fact? Dani was the Nanook bear mascot at one point.

 

Cam with his daughter Shelby, her boyfriend Tom, and his wife Debbie at Commencement 2017. Photo by Troy Bouffard.

  • Next TV binge watch in queue?  Wonder Woman
  • What is one thing you think everyone should own no matter the cost? A good mountain bike
  • Latest song gone earworm? Run by the Foo Fighters
  • In a next life, what would your career be? The exact same thing
  • If you were granted one wish to change the world what would it be? To do away with cancer

Cam and his daughter Shelby at Commencement 2017. UAF Photo by JR Ancheta.

Alumni Spotlight – Marisa Sharrah

Marisa Sharrah after completing her first 5k in 2016

Marisa is the president and CEO of the Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce. She earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 2001 with a concentration in marketing.

Why did you choose to attend UAF?
It was important for me to stay in Fairbanks and remain close to my family. I felt fortunate that UAF had a degree that fit with my long-term goals. The choice was easy and it felt right at the time, and I can say that over 15 years later, I still think it was the right choice.

Share with us an outstanding teacher or class.
I loved Claudia Clark! She demonstrated the right balance between being firm and flexible. She held students accountable and reminded us we live in an unforgiving world, but she was also fun to be around and kept us laughing while learning.

What is a favorite SOM memory?
Attending commencement in a sea of black caps and gowns, and having my then 3-year-old son spot me in the crowd and yell “MAMA!” from the mezzanine during the ceremony.

How did SOM prepare you for your professional career?
SOM classes covered the right breadth of issues to prepare me for my career. Everything from human resources and business law to customer service and marketing topics came in handy almost immediately and have remained relevant in the 15+ years since I graduated. The program provided a great foundation for me professionally.

What does being a UAF alumna mean to you?
Being a UAF grad adds to my sense of community. I love Fairbanks and am always proud to share that I’m a UAF graduate. I find pride by supporting our teams, reading about innovations and ideas generated by students, faculty, and graduates, and seeing our community rally to support this institution that has such an important role in our community.

What keeps you enthusiastic about your career?
Change. Change can be incredibly difficult until you accept that all great things happen as a result of change. Even during times when I had the same role in an organization for several years, I found fulfillment in trying new and creative ideas. Change keeps things exciting and fresh.

What’s the number one skill or practice that has contributed to your success?
I think my ability to foster a team environment has been one of the biggest factors that helps me feel successful. I know results are better when the right team of people are working on a common and well vetted goal, and it feels good to be able to celebrate wins with everyone that helped achieve a successful outcome.

What advice do you have for current students?
Find people in your community who you admire and make them your mentors. You don’t have to ask them or literally assign them that role. Just start asking questions and for advice, observe how they communicate, who they surround themselves with, what they do in their spare time, etc. They will be your mentors as soon as you decide they are.

The Fairbanks Chamber team celebrates a successful Military Appreciation Event: Elizabeth Warlick, Amanda Blanchard, Elena Sudduth, Marisa Sharrah, Christina Tachick, and Alla Gutsul. Photo by Isaiah Mangum.

  • Favorite breakfast food?  Peanut butter protein shake or waffles
  • Dream vacation destination?  Beach. Book. Beverage.
  • Book you are currently reading?  The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
  • Last music digital download or streaming music channel?  Sam Smith
  • When was the last time you sang out loud?  Odds are I’m singing out loud right now

 

Marisa with her son Thomas, mom Teresa, and grandpa Tom during grandpa’s annual visit to Alaska in 2017

SOM Speaks: Hear Us Roar – Lorna Shaw

Lorna Shaw is the Public Affairs Manager at Sumitomo Metal Mining Pogo, LLC. She graduated from the School of Management with her BBA in 1996 and her MBA in 2005. She was the 2014 UAF Business Leader of the Year.

In these videos, she talks about the future of Alaska’s economy and how School of Management students have a uniquie opportunity to play a role in that future. She also discusses how the skills and experiences gained through your academic career can contribute to your future professional and community life.

Faculty Focus – Jim Arkell

Jim received his bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech University and his JD from Texas Tech University School of Law. He is an assistant professor of business administration.

What brought you to Alaska?
Very simply put, my son. I grew up in northern Canada and I wanted him to have that same experience. There is something about the northern lifestyle that imparts a certain sense of independence and integrity in people who grow up in the far north. As the musician, Prince said when asked why he lived in Minnesota – “because it’s so cold it keeps the bad people out.” There is a simple truth to that. There are easier places to live, but few better.

What do you enjoy most about Alaska?
The people and the unpretentiousness of it. Let’s just say that I have saved a lot of money on razor blades since moving here.

This is your second year with SOM. What do you tell people in the Lower 48 about it?
I constantly tell my friends and family what a great place SOM is to work. I can truly say that I love teaching here. The administration, faculty, and staff here are fantastic and a pleasure to work with.

You’ve spent time teaching in China. How does that translate into the classroom here?
There is very little difference in the teaching component between China and here. Students in both countries want to learn and they want to be engaged. I try the best I can to strip down the material and make it relatable. What I have found to be most beneficial from my time in China is the plethora of experience I gained from consulting and working with both Chinese and foreign corporations. Many of the textbooks today contain information on doing business in China and, having been directly involved with it, I am hopefully better able to communicate the realities and dispel some of the myths associated with China.

Which research or project are you currently working on?
I am currently working on several projects with other SOM faculty members, but I recently finished an article on the Federal Court injunction that was issued against the new salary level base of $47,476 for overtime exempt employees, which was to go into effect on December 1, 2016.

What advice do you have for current students?
Get out and experience the world. Take your headphones off, put your phone and iPad away, and talk to people. I have met some amazing people who became great friends just by simply saying ‘hello’.

 

  • What is one thing you think everyone should own no matter the cost?  Nothing – one thing that I learned from traveling around the world is that there isn’t anything, other than the essentials in life (food, clothing and shelter), that people really need.
  • Last music download?  The new Jack Savoretti album, “Sleep No More”
  • In a next life, what would your career be?  Why wait for your “next life” – if there is something you want to do, go do it!
  • If you were granted one wish to change the world, what would it be?  Two things that shouldn’t require a wish because humans have the power to change it: End the suffering of children caused by war and hunger.

 

Beta Gamma Sigma 2017

On Friday, May 5, 2017, SOM honored our Beta Gamma Sigma inductees for 2017.

Beta Gamma Sigma is a national honor society recognizing the highest scholastic honor a student can achieve in Business Administration at an AACSB accredited institution. To be eligible for membership in this distinguished
organization, a student must rank in the top of their class.

  • Top 10 percent of the Junior class
  • Top 10 percent of the Senior class
  • Top 20 percent of MBA students

Juniors

Katie Damon
Tara Ann Ellis
Jillianne Fazakerley
Lutfi Lena
Marisa Martinez
Laura McCready
Christa Ogawa
Myzah Tuiletufuga

Seniors

Mylissa Maclin
Jeffery Maring
Paige Martin
Kathryn Pound
Emily Sawyer
Haley Tuttle
Claressa Ullmayer
Josiah Whelchel
Gracelynn Wiseman

MBA

Jamie Boyle
Andrea Ferrante
Tara McGrogan
Omo Oisamoje
Carrie Santoro
Christina Tachick

Faculty

Amy Cooper

See more Beta Gamma Sigma 2017 photos!

 

 

Congratulations Graduates!

 

Congratulations to all the 2016-17 SOM Graduates!

On Saturday, May 6, 2017 they celebrated the culmination of hours of studying, numerous papers and presentations, and stressful exams. Combine all that with juggling work, family, and out-of-classroom activities necessary to prepare for careers, and these students should feel proud that they are ready to lead into the future.
 

See more Commencement 2017 photos!