All posts by Hayley Hammonds

In Memoriam: Joseph A. Ziegler

Joseph A. Ziegler, Ph.D.

Dec. 13, 1945-March 9, 2013
Co-Director, Global Engagement Office
Professor of Economics

Joseph A. Ziegler, 67, passed away on March 9, 2013, in Fayetteville. Joe was a Professor of Economics for 40 years in the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas. He received a bachelor’s degree from St. Mary’s University in Minnesota and his Ph.D. from Notre Dame. After two years on the faculty of Clemson University, he joined the University of Arkansas faculty in 1973.

Joe, “Z” to his friends, served as chair of the Department of Economics for 22 years from 1987 to 2009. His years as department chair were marked by a dramatic increase in the department’s national and international reputation. During that time he also served as Director of International Business Studies in the Walton College and pioneered major expansions of the college’s study abroad programs and international partnerships.

He led the development of the Bachelor of Science in International Business degree. In 2010, he led the consolidation of business international programs as director of the Walton College Global Engagement Office. The global education that Walton College students will receive for years to come is Joe Ziegler’s professional legacy.

Until he was disabled in a bicycle accident in 2008, Z enjoyed running, hiking, canoeing, cycling, softball and water volleyball. He was a founding member and more than 20-year participant on the Dismal Sciences intramural softball team. For years, he and friends formed a relay team for the Hogeye Marathon and arranged their teaching schedules to allow for a noontime run. He was an original participant and served as the 3rd Admiral of the Walton College Dead Day Float canoeing trip on the Buffalo River.

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The “leave on Mother’s Day” trips to the Grand Canyon that he organized with four of his best friends became legendary – and resulted in their wives acquiring nice collections of turquoise jewelry. He brought his family to nearly all the U.S. national parks and many countries overseas. Sunday afternoon water volleyball at their close friends’ home, Bill and Jackie Curington’s, was not complete without Joe cannonballing into the pool.

After giving up running to save his knees, he twice completed the “Ride the Rockies” bicycle tour of Colorado. On his last bicycle ride he was training for a third go at the Rockies. Now, freed from his wheelchair, Z is probably having trouble deciding which of these favorite activities to do first.

“Thanksgiving at the Ziegler’s” became an institution for the families of many of his friends. Many friends tell stories of their children objecting if there was a possibility that visiting relatives might keep them from going. So, those visiting relatives were welcomed with open arms by Joe and Ann Marie. The Thanksgiving guest list would often swell to 40 or more but everyone felt like they were special guests. It was like Thanksgiving with your favorite aunt and uncle.

Joe and Ann Marie were high school sweethearts and were married for 45 wonderful years. They shared the joy of seeing their two children, Kathleen and Michael, grow up and start their own families. To his immediate family, Joe frequently found ways to “build moral fiber” among the clan, especially on vacations, including: camping in Death Valley over Christmas and enjoying the scenic yet uninsulated “Rough Rider” cabins in Yellowstone.

He was as young in spirit as his kids and launched the mantra “Spin Til You Puke” on the Mad Hatter Teacup Ride in Walt Disney World and frequently led (and won) belching contests with them; he was also known for his unique articulations of certain words, such as pronouncing “boutique”, boo-tee-q and “jalapenos”, jah-lah-puh-nos. One of his most prized possessions was a 1969 Oldsmobile Cutlass, aka “Da Plum.” Although he finally had to relinquish her, a few shiny hubcaps still hang in the garage.

Z didn’t have a single “best friend”; he had many. They can all tell a story of a time that, with a sly grin, Joe would quite reasonably encourage them to do something they knew would get them in trouble. Somehow it always seemed reasonable if you just listened to Joe.

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Joe was the son of the late Joseph J. Ziegler and Sophie Podraza Ziegler of Chicago. He is survived by his wife, Ann Marie Ziegler, his brother Norb Ziegler, and two children and their families: daughter Kathleen Ziegler, her husband Todd Piotrowski, and grandson Milo Piotrowski of New York and son Michael Ziegler and his wife Gracie Terrell Ziegler of Fayetteville.

Rosary will be at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 12, followed by visitation from 6 to 8 p.m. at Nelson’s Funeral Home in Fayetteville. The funeral mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, March 13, at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Fayetteville.

In lieu of flowers, family and friends can honor Joe’s legacy by making a contribution to the Joe Ziegler Study Abroad Scholarship. Gifts can be sent to the University of Arkansas Foundation, 535 Research Center Blvd., Ste. 120, Fayetteville, AR 72701 or give online at https://onlinegiving.uark.edu/.

If you would like to share a story about Joe Z, please email it to storiesofjoez@gmail.com.

The stories will be compiled and shared to continue the celebration of Joe’s life.

EPIC Spotlight: Dr. Tim Yeager

Dr. Tim Yeager could have stayed focused on economics. He spent years in college, earning degrees in economics and even teaching the subject at universities on both the East and West coasts.

But when he took a job in the Bank Supervision Unit of the Federal Reserve Bank, he was about to get a crash course on banking.

“I walked in knowing very little about banking,” he says. “I tell people it’s where I got my second Ph.D.”

Now, bankers (and the media) across Arkansas seek Yeager’s opinions and knowledge of the banking industry.

As an associate professor in finance at the Sam M. Walton College of Business and the Arkansas Bankers Association Chair in Banking, Yeager teaches college students about the banking profession and updates and informs bankers through conferences and articles published through the Arkansas Bankers Association.

Yeager’s transition from economics professor to finance professor and banking expert may not have happened, in part, had he not been a bit homesick for his hometown of St. Louis. He taught economics at Ithaca College in New York and Humboldt State University in California – both far away from the Midwest where he and his wife were from. When the opportunity to work as a researcher for the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis presented itself, he seized it.

At his Federal Reserve Bank job, where he was an economist in Supervisory Policy Analysis, Yeager researched issues affecting community banks as well as apprise bank examiners to economic and banking conditions. As he worked his way up to assistant vice president at the Federal Reserve Bank, Yeager says he found he spent more time in meetings and less doing research. Though he taught evening classes at St. Louis University, he yearned to return to a campus full time.

That campus would be in Fayetteville, Ark. In 2006, Yeager was hired for the position he now holds. “The job description fit me like a glove,” he says.

Yeager says he was pleasantly surprised with Northwest Arkansas’ scenic outdoors and the collegial and friendly atmosphere at Walton College. Yeager says at many universities, faculty can be competitive and even hostile. “Here, it’s completely the opposite,” he says.

At Walton College, Yeager teaches introductory, advanced and graduate banking courses.

He says his research interests are wide and varied, but most recently he has been exploring the link between the banking sector and the macro economy. He has been published in several publications, including Journal of Banking and Finance; Journal of Money, Credit, and Banking; and Journal of Economics and Business. “I have learned a lot since I’ve gotten here,” he says. “My research has improved because I’m surrounded by bright and hard-working colleagues and students.”

In addition, each summer for the past three years, he takes students to Belize where they assist potential and existing small business owners by presenting business education seminars and offering microloans to the most promising businesses. For Yeager, the Belize program has been personally rewarding and enriching. “I feel like we make a difference, and each year, thankfully, has been better than the last,” he says.

Yeager says when he’s away from work, he likes to spend time with his wife, Dara, and their four children—two of whom are attending the University of Arkansas. He also enjoys spending time on Beaver Lake. “I ended up where I wanted to be, but the path to get here had many twists and turns,” Yeager says.

EPIC Spotlight: Marcus Monk

MarcusMonkThose who remember Marcus Monk during his undergrad years at the University of Arkansas probably think of his time as an Arkansas Razorback wide receiver.When Marcus graduated from the Sam M. Walton College of Business in 2008 with a degree in marketing, he went on to play in the NFL and then to play basketball in Germany for two years.
In January 2013, Marcus returned to the University of Arkansas to be a student again, this time in the Walton MBA program. “I remember when the recruiters came to talk to us (about the MBA program) and I knew it was something I was going to do,” he says. “When I first finished with my undergrad degree, I wasn’t finished playing ball. I knew that in grad school, you get out of it what you put into it. Once I really made up my mind to move on (from playing ball), I knew I was ready to do something else.” In May 2013, Marcus joined a team of students who participated in a study abroad program in India for three weeks. His previous international experience had already taught Marcus that to be successful in a different culture, especially in the business world, a person “can’t be stuck in your own ways. You have to be open to change.”

Marcus described his study abroad program as a “great experience” that was totally different than what he had expected. The first thing he recognized as different was the amount of people, he says. He was able to see up close how people in India conduct business in comparison to the United States.

Understanding how a different culture operates is vital to being a successful international business leader, he says.

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“If you’re a US company doing business in another country, you have to take what they do and try to adapt to it, not try to make them adapt to U.S. ways,” he says. “You can’t be stuck in your ways, you have to be open to change.”

Marcus’ international experience has proven that international work is his preferred niche, something that will be possible because of his MBA from the University of Arkansas.

“If I can get into something that helps a U.S. company do business internationally, I think that’s something I would really enjoy, Marcus says. Wherever Marcus ends up in his career, he says that his experiences in the MBA program are preparing him for what lies ahead.

“The connections you make with people and that the school has are second to none,” Marcus says. His internship with a company based in Little Rock as well as his visits to some of the world’s top corporations will give him the business experience on his resume that is necessary to land a more permanent job.

“I know that I want to be in the business world and know that I need business experience before going out to get a job,” he says. “This is setting me in that path.”

Learn more about our Study Abroad Programs

Meet Dr. Vikas Anand, MBA Director

EPIC Spotlight: James “Jammer” Orintas

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“Planning is the key to success.”

The floodwaters took over much of New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005. This could have spelled the end for Theo’s Neighborhood Pizza, which had opened only eight months earlier on the edge of the city’s Garden District.

The home of James “Jammer” Orintas sustained serious roof damage that displaced him for a few months. Yet his pizzeria was spared. He consulted with his partners and they agreed: Theo’s needed to re-open as soon as possible.

And it did in early October of that year. Theo’s provided relief for those with flooded homes and others suffering from power outages. For many, cooking at home wasn’t an option, Orintas says.

A citywide curfew limited Theo’s operating hours, while Katrina itself limited the availability of menu items. For the following six weeks, diners had a choice of either pepperoni or sausage pizza with Budweiser, Bud Light, Coke or Diet Coke.

The place was packed. “We ran out of food every single day,” Orintas says.

Theo’s also looked out for the public workers trying to restore the Crescent City.

“The police were working out of a city bus across the street from us,” Orintas recalls. “We took pizzas over.”

Now, eight years later, Theo’s Neighborhood Pizza survived Katrina and has even expanded, with two other locations in the New Orleans area and thousands of “likes” on Facebook.

Orintas – who was given the nickname “Jammer” by his father when he was one of five other students named James in his kindergarten class – didn’t immediately go into the restaurant business after earning his bachelor’s degree in finance in 1999 at the Sam M. Walton College of Business. Instead, Orintas worked as a budget analyst for the Al Gore-Joe Lieberman presidential campaign in 2000. He then spent four years as a financial analyst for the Tennessee Valley Authority.

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Yet, he kept looking back fondly to his younger days when he worked at U.S. Pizza in his hometown of Little Rock and, later, in Fayetteville as a university student. “I thought it was a great experience,” he says. “It was really fun.”

The idea of opening a pizzeria was sparked when Orintas’ buddy and fellow Arkansas alumnus, Greg Dietz, complained to him there wasn’t any good pizza in New Orleans, where he lived. The city known more for its gumbo and jambalaya was in dire need of a quality pizzeria.

Orintas, Dietz and their friend, Ted Neikirk, also a University of Arkansas alumnus, took the plunge. They opened Theo’s Neighborhood Pizza, a friendly place with brick walls and concrete floor and exposed ceilings and an extensive pizza menu with items named “Hawaii 5-0” and “Vegan-ator”. Sandwiches and salads are also available. “To me, it has the feel of a pizza joint,” Orintas says.

He says his management and marketing classes at Walton College have been especially helpful in operating a business. “When you have 85 staff members, the day-to-day management of that alone is difficult,” he says.

The business is growing. He and his partners are looking for a fourth pizza location. They have been approached with franchising opportunities, but Orintas says they prefer to wait.

Orintas advises anyone starting a restaurant business to do their homework. That would include negotiating the best, affordable lease as well as structuring management and employees – all while keeping a good, consistent product. “Planning is the key to success,” Orintas says.

EPIC Spotlight: Dylan Breeding

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Nobody offered him scholarships. Nobody recruited him. But Dylan Breeding knew he had to try for a spot on the Arkansas Razorback football team.

A talented punter, Dylan dreamed of playing college football. Ideally, it would have been for the University of Alabama, located near his hometown of Hoover, Ala. But when there was no opening for a punter on the Alabama Crimson Tide football team, he began looking elsewhere.

The Razorbacks needed a punter. He contacted the coaches.

“They were really excited that I was coming,” he says. “But nothing was promised.”

In June 2009, immediately after graduating from high school, he moved to Fayetteville, enrolled in summer school and, by August, began football practice, where he was designated as a preferred walk-on, which assured him a spot on the team but no scholarship money.

Two days before the 2009 football season began, Dylan was informed he would be the starting punter. From there, it kept getting better. That season, the team went to the Liberty Bowl. The next year, it was the Sugar Bowl. Then, in January, Dylan punted in the Cotton Bowl with a win that ranked Arkansas No. 5 in the nation. (His career long, so far, happened against Louisiana State University last November with a 70-yard punt.)

As a punter, Dylan explains his role on the Razorback team succinctly.

“My goal as a punter is to give our team the best field position possible,” he says.

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He’s also working for the best position possible off the field. One way he’s doing it, he says, is by attending the Sam M. Walton College of Business, where he’s majoring in marketing. Even with training, practice and football games on the road, Dylan is in the Walton College Honors Program, which motivates him to keep at his best, he says. That means studying whenever he gets a chance, especially on Sundays. “The discipline is that I don’t sleep much,” he says.

Dylan says playing professional football is his goal, though he says he feels he needs to improve. “I would like to play football in the future, but I need to be able to fall back on a career as well,” he says. Intrigued by marketing concepts, Dylan says sports marketing would “obviously be the way to go.”

He says his first visited to the University of Arkansas was a bit of a whirlwind tour. But he says he soon learned that Walton College had a great reputation. “I liked the business college – it being so prestigious,” he says.

Since coming to the university nearly three years ago, Dylan has earned a scholarship. He also was nominated for the Brandon Burlsworth Trophy the past two seasons, which goes to an outstanding football player who began his career as a walk-on, and the Rudy Award, which honors student athletes who demonstrate exemplary character, courage, contribution and commitment as members of their team on and off the field. In January, Dylan was selected to the 2011 Southeastern Conference Fall Academic Honor Roll and the All-SEC second team for football.

Off the field, and outside of the classroom, Dylan is active in Fellowship of Christian Athletes, which has active Razorback members, and speaks to groups on behalf of the organization. He also plays golf.

One other thing has happened as well: confidence.

“I don’t feel as much pressure as I used to,” he says. “I just take it one punt at a time.”

Dylan says he expects to graduate this December, which leaves him a few months until the NFL draft. “I’m going to stay up here, train and hope for the best,” he says.

EPIC Spotlight: Caitlin Britt

It started as a high school project. The class worked toward getting clean drinking water to Ethiopia, and Caitlin Britt was in charge of fundraising. The students’ goal was met, the water was provided and the class received photographs showing the community benefiting from the clean water. “It made everything worthwhile, and it put a perspective on how we can help others,” she says.

Now a senior at the Sam M. Walton College of Business, Caitlin hopes to channel her altruism by either working for a nonprofit entity or in a corporation’s community engagement program.

Caitlin, who’s from Oklahoma City, is the first in her family to attend the University of Arkansas, and, unlike her parents and sister, is not choosing a career path in the medical profession. With an interest in numbers and history – Caitlin believes the business field incorporates both – she began researching schools that could provide her with the best education.

She was impressed that the Walton College is ranked among the best colleges by U.S. News & World Report. She also wanted to attend a large university that gave a small community feel. The Walton Honors Program provided the surroundings she was looking for, she says.

Majoring in both finance and economics with a communications minor, Caitlin says she feels the concentrations will enable her to pursue many opportunities, which are being made possible with help through the Honors College, Beta Gamma Sigma and Walton Fellowship scholarships. “Being able to have those tools – hopefully to serve the community – would be the ultimate goal,” she says.

This past summer, Caitlin worked as a revenue operations intern for nine weeks at ESPN’s print and media division in New York, where she held a variety of responsibilities. One in particular involved assisting with the sport network’s ESPY (Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly) website, for which she entered data and coordinated polling for the ESPY Awards. Caitlin was one of 70 interns selected in a pool of over 15,000 applicants, and the only one from Arkansas, she says.

While in New York, Caitlin also learned things not normally taught in the classroom: how to maneuver her way through the Big Apple and manage a personal budget. New York also offered great networking opportunities with its abundance in media and advertising, she says.

Caitlin says every undergraduate should get an internship in an unfamiliar city. “It does prepare you for the real world,” she says.

In 2012, she interned with Chesapeake Energy Corp., the nation’s second larger producer of natural gas.

Caitlin is active in Walton College’s many programs. She is co-leader of the Walton College Honors Student Executive Board, which is comprised of Walton Honors Program students who work toward building alumni relations and organize social and marketing activities for the college. She is also a member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority, where she serves as the new member coordinator.

She has also had opportunities to give to others. Last year, she studied abroad in Belize with other Walton College students. While there, her team helped create several business plans for community groups, distributed a micro-loan and built a playground.

All of this makes for challenging work, but she says it’s beneficial to the real world and she will carry that knowledge and encouragement by Walton College’s faculty, staff and students for years to come. “I have enjoyed being here so much with the relationships I have made,” she says.