Posted by: amiller | November 25, 2015

Local Businesses Show Off at Northrim Roast and Boast 2015

SOM Principles of Marketing students Pat Lassell, Chelsea Roehl, Lyz Allen, and Jake Mooty at Roast and Boast 2015

SOM Principles of Marketing students Pat Lassell, Chelsea Roehl, Lyz Allen, and Jake Mooty at Roast and Boast 2015. Photo by Sarah Sackett.

Local coffee roasters and cafés showcased their specialty items at the 2015 Roast and Boast in November. For the fourth year, the School of Management partnered with Northrim Bank to host this community event. Over 150 people came out to enjoy the music, food, door prizes, and abundance of hot beverages and homemade baked goods.

Students in the UAF Principles of Marketing class helped organize and market the event, gaining organizational management, budgeting, team building, and event-planning experience.

“Usually you don’t get to put on an event of this caliber unless you are working for a company. When an employer looks at your resume and sees you’ve done something like this, it shows involvement beyond the classroom,” said business administration student Pat Lassell. “All in all, stress and homework aside, I had a blast and a great experience.”

This year’s event featured specialties from Great Harvest Bread Co., McCafferty’s Coffee House, North Pole Roasting Co, Take 5 Bakery and Café, and The Fudge Pot.

See more photos from the event on SOM’s Flickr page.

Posted by: amiller | November 19, 2015

Interning at the UAF Athletics Department


Charlie with his wife Meghan and their dog Percy

Charlie Hill graduated May 2013 with a bachelor of business administration with a concentration in management and organizations and a minor in accounting. He currently works as the Assistant Athletic Director for Compliance for the UAF Athletics Department.

Choosing a Business Administration degree
When I decided to pursue a Business Administration degree during my freshman year, I did so with the ultimate goal of being employed in an operations department in the National Basketball Association (NBA). After performing research, I realized that goal was unrealistic, so I changed my goal to work in an intercollegiate athletics department.

Choosing to intern for the UAF Athletics Department
My internship in UAF Athletics was in the Compliance Office. I wanted to intern for UAF Athletics because it was the only internship opportunity in Fairbanks where I could earn experience in my desired career field. Intercollegiate athletics positions are very competitive, so I needed to do everything I could during college to increase my chances of obtaining a full-time position in my desired field after graduation.

First-hand learning
My internship consisted of me learning how to be a compliance officer. I learned how to effectively communicate to coaches, department heads, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) office, booster clubs, and many other individuals or offices. My internship was the foundation to the start of my career as a compliance officer at an NCAA institution.

Advice for students
I would advise all students to pursue internship opportunities. Internships not only provide bullet points for the resume, but also provide the necessary experience and knowledge to succeed after college. Organizations want to see that you have the experience and skills to perform the job coming out of college, and an internship provides those things. There is really no excuse for someone to say there aren’t any internships available, because Wendy Tisland, faculty advisory for the internship program, will do everything she can to help find you those opportunities.

Best thing about interning at the UAF Athletics Department
The best thing about my internship was the experience and knowledge I gained. I learned how to effectively communicate to various audiences about rules that concern athletics. I learned a lot about the expectations and the day-to-day environment of a compliance officer. I am extremely thankful for my internship because without it, I may not be in the position that I am in today as Assistant Athletic Director for Compliance at UAF Athletics.

Posted by: amiller | November 12, 2015

Donor Spotlight – Tom & Raye Ann Robinson


Investing in Excellence

“Having been involved in the SOM accounting program since 1974 and now as a UAF Professor Emeritus, Raye Ann and I are proud to leave a legacy through scholarships.”

Professor E. Thomas “Tom” Robinson was born and raised on a small dairy farm in Green Lake, Wisconsin. Money was tight in the Robinson household, so Tom helped out by getting his first paying job during grade school as a dishwasher at a golf course.

Tom received a scholarship that allowed him to earn a degree from the University of Wisconsin Whitewater. Throughout his college career, he attributes his success to working during college and the scholarship that allowed him to pursue higher education.

Tom is a first-generation college graduate who participated in numerous extracurricular clubs related to his accounting degree, even though club dues were paid out of pocket and were a bit of a struggle for him. After graduation, Tom had intended to join the U. S. Navy officer school with the finance program but was turned down due to medical issues. Consequently, he accepted a position at Touche, Ross, Bailey & Smart (currently Deloitte), one of the “Big Four” accounting companies in the nation. When Tom decided to take his education to new heights and pursue a graduate degree, he took sabbatical leave from the firm. While studying at the University of Wisconsin, he accepted a full-time faculty position. It was during this period that he gained a true appreciation and passion for higher education and mentoring students.

During his tenure on the accounting faculty, Tom met the love of his life, Raye Ann, and they were wed in the spring of 1974. As an extended honeymoon, Tom and Raye Ann ventured to Alaska, where Tom accepted a position with UAF. They both fell in love with Alaska and decided to make it their permanent home.

In addition to teaching, Tom’s accomplishments at UAF include starting the Associated Students of Business and its Business Leader of the Year program, funding research through the Sea Grant program, establishing salmon hatcheries, and serving as a goal judge at UAF hockey games. Additionally, Tom served on many faculty appointments at UAF, ranging from advising to scholarship committees.

“As part of the committee responsible for selecting scholarship recipients, I discovered a pride, awareness, and desire to recognize and reward deserving students.”

Throughout his career in accounting, Tom felt fortunate to work with a number of professionals who were truly leaders in their fields. He feels a program is only as good as the individuals who make up the team. Having been involved in the SOM accounting program since 1974 and now as a UAF Professor Emeritus, he and Raye Ann are proud to leave a legacy through scholarships. Through the Robinson Family Athletic Scholarship and the E. Thomas and Raye Ann Robinson Scholarship for accounting students, they stand behind their belief in UAF and its mission to serve students with the best education available.



Posted by: amiller | November 5, 2015

Arctic Innovation Competition 2015 Winners


The UAF School of Management awarded more than $25,000 in cash prizes Saturday, October 17, after the final round of presentations in the 2015 Arctic Innovation Competition. The competition, now in its seventh year, invites innovators to propose new, feasible, and potentially profitable ideas for solving real-life problems and challenges.

Cameron Gackstetter took home the $10,000 first prize for this year’s Arctic Innovation Competition. His award-winning idea is The ThawHead, a portable, 40-pound apparatus which uses a two-stage process to first thaw ice and then remove the melt water and debris quickly and efficiently, exposing the interior of the container or area needing repair work.

The Arctic Innovation Competition is an idea contest created by School of Management faculty member Ping Lan. After students, engineers, and the AIC Committee reviewed over 100 ideas and ranked them based on qualities of value, feasibility, utility, and novelty, 20 finalists were chosen for the Main division. For each of the JR (13-17 years old) and Cub (12 years old or younger) divisions, the top three ideas were selected and three additional ideas were chosen to receive honorable mention awards.

Finalists in all divisions presented their ideas to a panel of judges on Saturday, October 17 and the top winners were revealed at the BP Award Ceremony:

  • 1st Place – $10,000: Cameron Gackstetter, The ThawHead
  • 2nd Place – $5,000: Simon Evans, Active Hydronic Ground Cooling Conversion System for Existing Passive Cooling Infrastructure
  • 3rd Place – $2,000: Mark Gunkel, Nate Ayers, Eric Ulery & Jake Minnillo, Tidal Pumped Hydro Storage
  • 4th Place – $1,000: Duncan Meyers, Arctic Stone Products
  • Arctic Kicker Prize (for the best arctic-related idea) – $2,000: Simon Evans, Active Hydronic Ground Cooling Conversion System for Existing Passive Cooling Infrastructure
  • Alaska Student Kicker Prize (for the best idea from an Alaska college student) – $2,000: Eric Bookless, Isaac Lammers, Daniel Sandstrom and Neil Gotschall, Paraplegic Sit Ski

The other 15 finalists in the Main division each won a $100 Honorable Mention award (one finalist was unable to attend).


In the AIC JR division, the winners were:

  • 1st Place – $500: William DeWilde, Temperature Regulated Oven
  • 2nd Place – $300: Samuel Gabe Greenberg & Kyle Hackett, Street Snow Searer
  • 3rd Place – $200: Kaylynn Balcom, Notice Me


In the AIC Cub division, the winners were:

  • 1st Place – $500: Gage Tilly, Smoke Choke – Pollution Reduction for Wood Stoves
  • 2nd Place – $300: Corbin Becker, Plastic Digester for Recycling
  • 3rd Place – $200: Isaac Fisher, Fraction App

New this year was the addition of the “Fan Favorite” award. Members of the audience voted for their favorite idea in each division and the winners of the $100 prize and special Lego trophy in each division are:

  • Main Division – Parker Merrifield, Commercial & General Aviation Holo-HUD System
  • JR Division – Samuel Gabe Greenberg & Kyle Hackett, Street Snow Searer
  • Cub Division – Corbin Becker, Plastic Digester for Recycling


Other activities at the event included a comedian, a robotics presentation, balloon art, and guest Wylie Rogers, the 2014 AIC Alaska Student Kicker prizewinner for building a better goal post for ice hockey. More photos from the event are available on SOM’s Flickr page.

The School of Management would like to thank our partners who helped make this competition possible: BP; Alaska Airlines; Kinross Fort Knox; Northrim Bank; Robinson & Ward, PC; Birchwood Homes; Design Alaska; Fairbanks Economic Development Corporation; Fairbanks North Star Borough; PDC Inc. Engineers; Allstate Insurance, Chris Marok; Anchorage Economic Development Corporation; Doyon, Limited; Fairbanks Memorial Hospital; Great Northwest Inc.; and Juneau Economic Development Council. Thank you to these businesses and organizations for supporting the University and helping to spark innovation and create new opportunities for our community!

Posted by: amiller | October 29, 2015

SOM Nationally Recognized by AACSB


Dean Mark Herrmann was asked to present to the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) Annual Accreditation Conference this fall. SOM was one of two schools selected from over 600 business schools as a shining example of offering a learning environment that integrates knowledge, practice, and professional development. Our experiential learning, community engagement and professional development opportunities set the standard for business schools across the nation.


Amy Cooper, UAF School of Management accounting instructor, has been named as one of the 2015 Top 40 Under 40 in the Accounting Profession by CPA Practice Advisor magazine. This award is given for involvement in the accounting profession and the local community. 

Amy has long been recognized by students and fellow faculty as an excellent and engaging instructor, and has also served for many years as faculty advisor for the student organization GAAP-Great Alaskan Accounting People. With this award, she is now recognized as one of the “best and brightest talent in the accounting profession” across the nation.

What does it mean to you to be recognized by your peers with this award?
It is an incredible honor. I know many young CPAs across the U.S. and whenever I am around them, at conferences, at American Institute of CPAs meetings or at the Alaska Society of CPA meetings, I am amazed at their accomplishments and the enthusiasm they have for our profession. I love the accounting profession and believe very strongly in giving back – both to the profession and to our community. To be a part of a group that is recognized for giving back to the accounting profession is more than I could have ever asked for.

How do you feel you are taking the accounting profession into the future?
I am lucky to interact with accounting students through teaching. I love being able to combine my passion for accounting with my passion for teaching. If I can show students how fun and relevant accounting is; help them sharpen their skills to become a stronger student and a strong candidate for an accounting position after graduation; and give them guidance as they figure out their path, then I feel like I am able to contribute a small piece to the future of the accounting profession.

The full list of honorees can be seen on the CPA Practice Advisor website.

Posted by: amiller | July 13, 2015

Alumni Spotlight – Tim Stickel

Stickel_Goldpanner game-ps

Tim at a Goldpanners game with his daughter Kaylee, a UAF student, and his son Jesse, a sophomore at West Valley High School

Tim is the Student Services Manager for the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) eLearning & Distance Education department. Tim earned his MBA from UAF in 1993.

Why did you choose to attend UAF?
I took a position with UAF Residence Life and Housing and wanted to continue my education. With great faculty, great students, and a great atmosphere, UAF offered everything I wanted.

Share with us an outstanding teacher or class.
Two of my favorite classes were Managerial Economics with Dr. Greg Goering and Corporate Strategy with Dr. Jim Collins. They were both very challenging courses and professors, but their teaching style really clicked with me.

How did the School of Management (SOM) prepare you for your professional career?
I had plans to become a commodities broker and was offered a broker position in Missouri. I passed on that opportunity to come to Alaska to pursue my MBA and work at the university. It was one of the best decisions of my life. It was in my SOM courses I learned how to value human resources and employee development, monitor financial accounting and manage fiscal operations, set goals and prepare strategic plans. Most importantly, SOM taught me about commitment, perseverance and personable service.

What does being a UAF alumnus mean to you?
Fairbanks and Nanook Nation has been home for 25 years. It means a close community, a premier research institution, top-notch faculty and diverse, committed students. I like the close ties to the community and the state, and a well-respected degree. Nanook Nation is a place where you can write your own story – where individuality is encouraged, diversity is honored and everyone knows your name; friends call me “Stick” by the way.

What keeps you enthusiastic about your career?
Every day is exciting as I not only work with outstanding students, staff and faculty, but right now, I am part of an innovative and dynamic team that is always on the cutting edge. UAF eLearning continues to expand the number of course offerings and add new online degrees each year. It’s an exciting time for UAF as online education is bringing access to others who might not otherwise have the opportunity for higher education.

What’s the number one skill or practice that has contributed to your success?
People and relationships matter! We don’t always understand the challenges or difficulties a student or staff member is facing when they come to us. So being able to be patient, understanding and willing to help someone through whatever challenge they are experiencing, or leading them to that “aha” teachable moment is inspiring to me.


  • What is your favorite breakfast food?  Homemade sausage, egg and cheese bagel. They are a favorite with my kids, as well.
  • Dream vacation destination?  Anywhere with warm sun, warm sand, and warm family and friends.
  • Book you are currently reading?  “The Blessed Life” by Robert Morris.
  • Last music download?  Van Morrison, Zac Brown Band and James Taylor.

For more stories like this… Check out the latest SOM Newsletters!

Stickel_snowmachining with kids

Tim snow-machining with his daughter, Kaylee (left), and Kaylee’s friend

Stickel_snowmachining with son

Tim snow-machining with his son, Jesse

Posted by: amiller | July 13, 2015

Faculty Focus – Sean McGee


Sean grew up on New York’s Long Island and graduated from the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) with a bachelor’s degree in justice in 1991 That same year, he accepted a position with the North Slope Borough as a Peace Officer. Sean served with the Borough through June of 1993, when he accepted a position with the UAF Police Department where he held the rank of officer, sergeant, lieutenant, captain, and chief. Sean was a member and an instructor for the Alaska State Trooper’s Specialized Emergency Reaction Team (S.E.R.T.) for 15 years. He graduated from the FBI’s National Academy in 2000. Sean retired from police work in 2014. Sean has been an instructor for the UAF Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) program for three years.

What brought you to Alaska?
I was bitten by the “Alaska bug” early in life. By 7th grade, I began making plans to see Alaska and attend UAF. In 1985, I enrolled at UAF, and haven’t looked back since!

What do you enjoy about Alaska?
I grew up in an area of New York that was stereotypically “New York.” Coming to Alaska, I found people to be incredibly friendly, which was somewhat different from what I was used to. That is what inspired me to make Alaska home for the past 30 years.

What would you like to tell us about your family?
Beyond a shadow of a doubt I am extremely fortunate to have my family. My wife Keli and I met at UAF in 1988. Our oldest son John works at UAF Career Services, our middle child Sean starts classes at UAF in the fall, and our daughter Megan will be a sophomore in high school this year.

Why do you teach at the School of Management (SOM)?
I teach for SOM because SOM had the vision to bring the Homeland Security and Emergency Management program in-house. There isn’t any other degree program for which I’d want to be teaching.

What is your favorite class to teach and why?
My favorite class is Principles of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, HSEM’s introduction course. I enjoy interacting with large groups of students from around the nation who are engaged in matters associated with homeland security and emergency management for the first time.

What research or project are you working on now?
HSEM is exploring partnerships with large emergency dispatch centers in the western portion of the US, who are actively seeking opportunities to provide their employees with HSEM’s course offerings. I’m involved in developing the curriculum for these agencies.

Let’s pretend students savor every word professors say. What advice do you have for current students?
Take the time to identify the area of study that truly interests you; applying yourself in school becomes so much easier and more rewarding when you are interested in your studies, and it never hurts to be able to make a living in a field that you are passionate about.

Any SOM stories you’d like to share?
I can’t get over how pleasant and professional the students, staff, and faculty are at SOM. I’ve been involved with UAF in one capacity or another in the past 30 years, and I can attest that what we have here at SOM is unique. “This” does not just happen; I am fortunate to be a part of this department.


  • Favorite place to vacation? I enjoy going back to New York and visiting with my folks. It’s always nice for me to go to where I grew up.
  • Book you are currently reading? I just finished reading “Benghazi: The Definitive Report,” and now I am reading “Spy Sub: A Top Secret Mission to the Bottom of the Pacific.”
  • Your last music download?  Soundtrack from the movie “Focus.”
  • If I granted you one wish to change the world what would it be? I’d like to think that we as a society would finally realize that we need to invest in preventative measures when it comes to our aging critical infrastructure, and that change would be my wish. if I can’t have that, then world peace.

For more stories like this… Check out the latest SOM Newsletters!


Sean pictured with his children, John, Sean, and Megan


Posted by: amiller | March 26, 2015

Alumni Spotlight – Kris Racina

Kris Racina ski-edit

Kris on the slopes

Kris is the Associate Vice Chancellor of University and Student Advancement at UAF. She graduated from SOM with an MBA in 2009.

Why did you choose to attend UAF?
I grew up in Fairbanks and UAF has always been part of my life. My brothers and sisters attended school here, and my nieces and nephews are either enrolled or will soon be attending.

Share with us an outstanding teacher or class.
I was a “mathophobe,” fearful of math because of a bad experience with an elementary school teacher. Later at UAF, a developmental math teacher helped me crack the code by telling me “trust the formula, work the formula – the logic will eventually reveal itself.”

What is a favorite SOM memory?
Jim Collins’ take home final in MBA quantitative analysis. Don’t let him fool you; I spent 40 hours on it. That was the only time I ever had a meltdown when I visited a professor. Well, the only time I recall. Maybe Jim has a different memory of that day?!

What does being a UAF alumnus mean to you?
I belong to a community of shared experiences and understanding – a rigorous education that I am proud of and proud to help others achieve.

What’s the number one skill or practice that has contributed to your success?
The ability to sift through information and extract the essential elements needed for decision-making. The many case studies I read as a SOM student taught me you have to make decisions based on the information you have in front of you. Avoid commitment to a poor choice if you get new information that indicates a change of course – in the business world it’s all about being adaptable.

What advice would you give to current students?
Math teaches you how to think logically and is worth every bit of effort you put into it. After my experience with the developmental math teacher, I went on to achieve ‘As’ in every math class I took; I even loved calculus. I engage in logical analysis every day and that has been valuable in so many professional endeavors.


  • Favorite breakfast food? Eggs, any style but over easy, especially with cheese.
  • What book are you reading? “Qualitative Research Methods for the Social Sciences.” Working on a Ph.D. – slowly but surely.
  • Where is your dream vacation? New Zealand hiking trip; hopefully in December 2016.
  • Last music download? Mindy Abair, “I Can’t Wait For Christmas.” She’s a great sax player and this is a super cool, jazzy, sexy Christmas song. Give it a listen; ‘tis the season.
  • What’s the best advice you didn’t take? Don’t sell your first house. Argggghhh, I wish I had kept it as a rental unit.

Kris Racina on segway

Posted by: amiller | March 19, 2015

Donor Spotlight – PDC Inc. Engineers

PDC Logo-500
acing New Challenges in the Arctic
by Royce Conlon, PE
President and Principal Engineer

Ask anyone to name an innovative engineering company in Alaska, and odds are they’ll name PDC. With roots dating back more than half of a century, PDC has since steadily grown to become the comprehensive, full-service engineering, planning, and survey firm that practices today. With 84 professionals split between its Fairbanks and Anchorage offices, PDC can easily accommodate any project – large or small.

PDC’s multi-discipline structure inherently fosters on-the-fly collaboration and out-of-the-box thinking. “We like to challenge the industry through logical yet non-traditional approaches,” says President Royce Conlon.

Tell us how PDC’s involvement with SOM began.
The UAF Arctic Innovation Competition (AIC) was created by Dr. Ping Lan in 2009. During PDC’s 2009 strategic planning, we developed the firm’s current “Arctic Initiative” which serves as a guiding force in aligning the firm with the future design needs of the Arctic and the state. At this session, PDC’s leadership invited Dr. Lan as a speaker to share his thoughts about innovation. Conlon said “We were all in agreement that the Arctic is full of untapped opportunity where future growth is moving throughout the nation and the world.”

Considering that PDC is on the leading edge of innovation, the AIC and the firm’s Arctic Initiative were a perfect complement. “We did not hesitate to sponsor the AIC, and have plans for continued support well into the future,” Conlon said.

What inspires you to support SOM through the Arctic Innovation Competition?
“Innovative ideas like the ones generated by the AIC are intrinsic to PDC’s mission – Transforming Challenges into Solutions – so supporting the event seemed like a perfect match to our goals,” Conlon added. A great example is Nick and Cass Ferree’s 2012 entry into the AIC competition. Nick is a civil engineer in PDC’s Fairbanks office (and also a UAF graduate). Their entry was for an innovative Hide-A-Hitch design. The Hide-A-Hitch operates the same as a standard ball receiver hitch, but folds up underneath the vehicle when not in use. Nick and Cass completed designs, constructed a prototype, and created a business plan earning them third place in the competition.

PDC has not only continued with monetary support, but Nick also serves as a judge for the competition and has helped educate the public regarding AIC through his interviews on local radio. For AIC 2014, PDC provided the $2,000 “Arctic Kicker” prize incentive given to the best arctic-related idea.

What advice do you have for current SOM students?
“My advice would be that there are plenty of great job opportunities right here in Alaska that can use your skills,” Conlon said. “With a staff of 84 professionals, PDC currently has 41 staff members who are graduates from the University of Alaska system – and 28 of those are UAF graduates.”

Conlon added, “PDC is well-poised to continue our growth trend. PDC is always looking for bright, new talent who understand the challenges that face those who live and work in the cold-region environment of the Arctic.”

What would you tell an organization considering giving a gift to SOM?
Giving a gift to SOM is smart business and a smart investment into Alaska’s future. It helps strengthen Alaska’s business community and Alaska’s business opportunities. Your gift will go toward educating future business men and women – how can you go wrong?

Elliot Wilson, one of PDC’s Structural Engineers, applying innovation to a personal challenge – designing and constructing an arch shaped icehouse.

Elliot Wilson, one of PDC’s Structural Engineers, applying innovation to a personal challenge – designing and constructing an arch shaped icehouse.

Nick Ferree-Ice Cave-350

Nick Ferree, one of PDC’s Civil Engineers, and his wife Cass enjoying time in an ice cave

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