Category Archives: Business

Yell Retires After 40 Years of Service

In the summer of 1976, Gerald Ford was president, Apple Computer Company was just getting started, a gallon of gas cost 59 cents, and Susan Imes Yell was a rising senior at Fayetteville High School. She was also a new part time staff member at the School of Law’s Admissions Office. She worked half a day and, in the fall, went to school half a day.

Little did Yell know that this part time job would lead to a 40-year journey at the University of Arkansas. She worked for the School of Law for five years, then joined the Department of Economics and the International Business Studies program, eventually becoming the administrative support supervisor for the economics department at the College of Business Administration, as it was known at the time.

From 1976 to 2016, Yell has seen many changes at the university, especially with technology and its influence on student engagement.

“Probably the biggest change was the introduction of computers. Our department had the first one in the college,” said Yell. “It required the use of floppy disks. The program was on one disk, spell check was on another disk, etc. That first computer was stolen, along with the printer and everything that went with it, when several people propped doors open from the second floor and went through the ceiling tiles into the main office. It took a while to get a replacement, since it was not covered by insurance. And, no one ever said you need to back up your work. Everything was lost and to my knowledge, the culprits were never apprehended.”

“Always do the right thing, no matter what.  And, if you see an injustice, do something about it.”

Per Yell, technology has also changed the way staff members interact with students. With more centralized registration and other electronic processes, students spend less time engaging staff and faculty.

“When I first started, we would sit in the halls and hand out printed cards for registration.  When you ran out of cards, the class was full.  The students would then take their packets to the Union, to stand in a huge, long line to register,” said Yell.  “Later, the U of A used the Hog Call system and students would register on the phone.  We had to process overrides using this system.  It would literally take weeks.  We were very busy with students then.  Now, with centralized advising and everything online, we don’t have much student interaction, except with our graduate students.”

Susan Yell
Susan’s office features hundreds of postcards from around the world sent by students and faculty.

Yet Yell does interact with students as evidenced by the hundreds of post cards adorning her office walls. Each day she works surrounded by post cards sent to her from around the world from students and faculty who have studied and/or traveled abroad. She has collected them since the ’80s.

She values the economics faculty and is impressed with their research and how much they care about their students. While she thinks they are one of the best things about the college, she has learned to say no when it comes to dissertations.

“Right after I first started working in business administration, one of my new faculty asked me to type his dissertation. Now, if you have ever seen an economics dissertation, you might know that it is FULL of equations. He showed me the first chapter, which was mostly text, so I agreed to type it for him,” said Yell. “Over the duration of my first pregnancy, I worked on it using a manual typewriter.  It required using three different elements. So, when you would type text that took one element, an equation, one or two other elements. Every time there were any changes from his advisor, the entire chapter would have to be retyped, since there were strict rules about margins, etc.  We joked whether I would finish the dissertation first, or would have my daughter first.  I don’t even remember who ‘won.’ I can laugh about it now, but it wasn’t very funny then!”

“I also cherish my WOW friends…a group of ladies…Women of Walton…with whom I have remained friends for years and years…and we still have lunch at least once a week.”

While the faculty and students are one of the best things about work, Yell has experienced significant obstacles as well.

“My biggest challenge occurred when my department chair suffered a catastrophic accident,” said Yell. “It completely changed the face of the department and my position.  For a short time, I was in charge of the department.  It was a very difficult time.”

Throughout the years, Yell has served on numerous committees for the college and has raised funds for local nonprofits. She is the departmental representative for United Way and has helped raise money for the American Diabetes Association, Big Brothers Big Sisters, University of Arkansas Staff Senate Scholarship fund, Northwest Arkansas Food Bank and Full Circle Campus Food Pantry among others. She was a member of the Walton College team on the Habitat for Humanity the House That Jane Built project.

Yell has represented Walton College at the university level as a staff senator, staff senate secretary, staff senate scholarship committee, by-laws committee, elections committee, internal affairs committee, Employee of the Year for the university and Employee of the Quarter for Walton College.

Yell was nominated for the Arkansas State Employees Association Outstanding State Employee Award in 2005 and 2010 and was chosen as a finalist in 2010. In 2006, the Department of Economics faculty established the Susan Imes Yell Staff Senate Scholarship in her honor. This scholarship was created to help promote and encourage staff development through higher education.

After 40 years of service, Yell retired from her job in December 2016. She is married to Garlen and has two daughters, Erin, who teaches French at Springdale High School, and Sara, who is the manager of special programs in the Walton College Career Center. In retirement, she plans to spend more time with her family and her young grandchildren, Nora and Silas.

Enactus Partners with the American Legion to Support Community Programs

Enactus, a student-led entrepreneurial organization at the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas, is partnering with the Shelton Tucker Craft American Legion Post #27 in Fayetteville to remodel the facility, revitalize its business operations and increase its membership.

The Enactus team will develop a sustainable business model to allow American Legion members to refocus on community outreach and education. The post operates a volunteer-staffed bar and restaurant to fund outreach and social programs that educate young people about democracy and military service and provide veterans and their families with social opportunities, career skills and other support.

The Enactus team is also developing a membership and marketing campaign to recruit members from the Gulf War, Iraqi Freedom, Desert Storm and Afghanistan conflicts to increase membership at the post. The student team created a Go Fund Me site  to support these initiatives. Enactus plans to host an official grand reopening of the post in July 2019 to coincide with the Post’s centennial celebration.

“I was inspired by the members of this American Legion Post,” said Pamela Styles, associate director of outreach for the Center for Retailing Excellence and Walton Fellow for the University of Arkansas Enactus team. “The Enactus students and I were privileged to attend their November membership meeting. I was in awe of their tremendous sense of duty to this country and to their brothers in arms. Being a witness to the reverence with which they conducted the MIA ceremony dedicated to those still missing but not forgotten, the pledge of allegiance, a prayer, and the reading of the preamble to the Constitution touched me deeply. These men and women have given the ultimate in service and continue to serve the community in which they live.”

About the Shelton Tucker Craft American Legion Post #27: The Shelton Tucker Craft American Legion Post 27 was chartered July 31, 1919. Its name honors three local servicemen, Martin Lynn Shelton, William Marion Tucker and Clarence B. Craft. The post conducts numerous programs that serve the community and fellow veterans and their families. It supports more youth attendance to American Legion Boys State and American Legion Auxiliary Girls State, which highlight government and leadership skills, each year than any other post in Arkansas.

About the Center for Retailing Excellence: The Center for Retailing Excellence was established in the Walton College in 1998 with a portion of the $50 million endowment from the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation. The center focuses on developing future leaders and serves as a bridge between academics and the retail industry.

Institute Accepting Applications for Computing Award

The Information Technology Research Institute at the Sam M. Walton College of Business, an Academic Alliance member of the National Center for Women & Information Technology, is accepting applications from female high school students for the NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing.

2015-2016 Aspiration in Computing Award winners.
Eric Bradford, managing director of the ITRI, stands with the 2015-2016 Arkansas and Northeastern Oklahoma Affiliate Aspiration in Computing Award winners.

The National Center for Women & Information Technology is a non-profit organization dedicated to encouraging women’s participation in the field of technology. The award honors high school women who are active and interested in computing and technology and encourages them to pursue their passions.

Applicants are entered into both the affiliate and national competitions. Affiliate award winners receive an plaque for themselves and their school, scholarship funds if they attend the University of Arkansas and major in information systems or computer science computer engineering, and internship and networking opportunities.

To be eligible, applicants must be female students in grades 9 through 12, must attend a high school in the United States, its territories or military bases, hold a U.S. tax identification or Social Security number, and have no familial relationships with employees, contractors or board members of the National Center for Women & Information Technology.

The application deadline is Nov. 7. To learn more and apply, visit http://itri.uark.edu/ncwit_aspiration_in_computing.php

Awardeees will be recognized Tuesday, April 11, as part of the 2017 Women in Information Technology Conference.

To find out information about the national program, visit http://bit.ly/AiCHSAward.

The Information Technology Research Institute is an interdisciplinary unit for research within the Walton College. The mission of the center is to advance the state of research and practice in the development and use of information technology for enhancing the performance of individuals and organizations; provide a forum for multi-disciplinary work on issues related to information technology; promote student interest in the study of information technology; and facilitate the exchange of information between the academic and business communities.

Students Help Consumers Discover Durable

American explorers Lewis and Clark, Teddy Roosevelt and Neil Armstrong all “discovered durable” … well, among other notable things. While each may have their unique place in history, they now feature in a student-created advertising campaign, courtesy of Anne Velliquette’s Integrated Marketing Communications class at the Sam M. Walton College of Business.

In spring 2016, Velliquette directed student teams to create an ad campaign focusing on backpack manufacturer Piltdown Outdoor Company of Springdale. To give the students a hands-on project with a real company, the clinical assistant professor invited local entrepreneur Trey Ansen to introduce his backpacks to students and enlist their ideas for an ad campaign.

Piltdown3“This is such a valuable hands-on experience for the students who form small ad agencies to pitch their ideas to a real client,” Velliquette said. “They get to experience what it is like to work with a client, to hear their needs and desires and to then work as an account manager and creative team to deliver an integrated creative ad campaign that delivers the right brand positioning and the right message for the target market the client wishes to engage. “

Teams were to deliver three components for the project:

  1. A written creative brief
  2. An ad campaign with three visuals
  3. An oral presentation to the client

Walton senior Ann “AC” Hansen was a member of the winning team, along with Davis Trice, Austin Allen, Grace Ann Lile and Esther Udouj. This group of students named their agency Boulder Branding.

“We thought of the name Boulder Branding because we liked the idea of having a brand that was strong (like a boulder) and daring,” Hansen said. “Thus, the name Boulder was born.”

Piltdown1Piltdown’s two main promises to its customers are that its backpacks are made to last and are designed and assembled in the United States. The campaigns needed to reflect the product’s rugged durability and its American roots.

“We tried to give the students as much freedom as possible,” said Ansen, founder and chief executive officer for Piltdown. “We told them the story of our company then asked them to put together a social media campaign that tells that same story to our customers.”

The Boulder Branding team listened to Ansen, brainstormed ideas, researched and then designed an ad campaign using American explorers.

“I knew that Trey wanted to get across that his product was all American,” Hansen said. “He wanted to show that his brand could be trusted until the end. With those thoughts in mind, we thought up famous American pioneers and pasted the packs on them. This delivered humor and showed the true American spirit of Piltdown.”

Piltdown2“The campaigns were unbelievable,” Ansen said. “The students were in our target market and they knew exactly how they’d want to be talked to. They had the right voice and attitude and came up with several ideas that none of our professionals had thought of.”

“This project taught me a lot more about the importance of knowing your brand and not straying from it,” Hansen said. “It taught me that creativity is important and should be leveraged. I learned that taking risks is good and necessary.”

Walton MBA Team Competes in SEC MBA Case Competition

A team of four M.B.A. students from the Sam M. Walton College Business competed in the 4th Southeastern Conference MBA Case Competition held April 7-9, 2016, on the University of Arkansas campus.

Walton SEC MBA 2016
MBA students (l-r) Haley Cleous, Phil Keil, Ash Ganapathiraju and Clinton Rhodes represented the Sam M. Walton College of Business during the 4th Southeastern Conference MBA Case Competition held April 7-9, 2016, at the University of Arkansas. [photo credit: Jim Bailey]
The Walton team of Haley Cleous, Phil Keil, Ash Ganapathiraju and Clinton Rhodes had 24 hours to create a business plan to a case presented by Henkel Corp., a multinational company that produces consumer and industrial products and whose executives served as judges of the competition.

All 14 SEC universities participated in the event with the University of Alabama bringing home the top prize. The University of Florida placed second, Texas A&M University third and Mississippi State University fourth.

“I was impressed by the caliber of the students who represented the University of Arkansas and the SEC,” said Matthew A. Waller, interim dean of the Walton College. “All of the M.B.A. teams presented quality solutions to a leading international company’s business challenge. Each member of the 14 teams reflects the outstanding business sophistication and talent we have in the SEC.”

Other awards given during the divisional rounds included Best Presenter and Best Q&A.

SEC MBA 2016
MBA teams representing 14 SEC universities were on hand April 7-9, 2016, to compete in the 4th SEC MBA Case Competition. The Walton College at the University of Arkansas served as host for the event. [photo credit: Stacy Allred]
Sarah Gardener from Louisiana State University, Katie Lamberth from the University of Alabama, Lillian Niakan from Texas A&M University and Kate O’Hara from the University of Florida were named Best Presenters for their divisions.

The Best Q&A Awards were earned by Abhinav Bhattacharya from the University of Alabama, Sarah Crook from the University of Tennessee, Kendall Daniel from Texas A&M University and Carew Ferguson from Mississippi State University.

This marks the fourth year for the SEC MBA Case Competition, which provides an opportunity for SEC business schools to showcase their students’ skills at solving simulated, real-world problems that cover the spectrum of business disciplines. The 2017 SEC MBA Case Competition will be held at the University of Florida in Gainesville.

A complete list of winners from the 2016 competition is available at www.thesecu.com.

About SECU
The Southeastern Conference sponsors, supports and promotes collaborative higher education programs and activities involving administrators, faculty and students at its fourteen member universities. The goals of the SECU academic initiative include highlighting the endeavors and achievements of SEC faculty and universities; advancing the merit and reputation of SEC universities outside of the traditional SEC region; identifying and preparing future leaders for high-level service in academia; increasing the amount and type of education abroad opportunities available to SEC students; and providing opportunities for collaboration among SEC university personnel. To connect with SECU online – www.TheSECU.com; on Facebook – TheSECU; on Twitter – @TheSECU; on Instagram – @TheSECUniversity; and on YouTube – SECUniversity.

Office of Diversity and Inclusion Celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. Day by Serving Those in Need

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion at the Sam M. Walton College of Business and the Zeta Phi Beta sorority collected and donated 500 bags filled with travel-size toiletries and more than 50 suitcases for the Northwest Arkansas Children’s Shelter in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Walton College students and faculty assembled bags of toiletries to donate to a nearby children's shelter.
Walton College students and faculty assembled bags of toiletries to donate to a nearby children’s shelter. [Photo: Ryan C. Versey]
Walton College students, staff and faculty answered the call in February when the Office of Diversity and Inclusion requested donations to assist young people in need. Students and staff helped to assemble the bags during an open house style work session.

The shelter’s mission is to provide a safe haven, hope and high quality care for children who have been abandon, abused and neglected. Learn more about the shelter at nwacs.org.

The Walton College is committed to increasing students’ awareness of diversity and increasing the extent to which they value its significance. The Office of Diversity & Inclusion was developed in 1994 to support, advocate and assist the Walton College in developing plans for diversity throughout the college. Learn more at Walton.uark.edu/diversity.

Walton Students Place Second in Denver Supply Chain Case Competition

Students from the Sam M. Walton College of Business placed second in the Operation Stimulus Denver Case Competition held Feb. 4-6. Teams from 16 top-ranked universities converged in Denver to take part in a transportation, logistics and supply chain competition hosted by the Denver Transportation Club, a non-profit dedicated to create interest in transportation.

l-r Sarah Wiles, Jonathan Schultz, Layseen Chen Torres and Andreas Kofler
left to right: Walton supply chain management students Sarah Wiles, Jonathan Schultz, Layseen Chen Torres and Andreas Kofler placed second in the 2016 Denver Case Competition.

The Walton team — Sarah Wiles, Jonathan Schultz, Layseen Chen Torres and Andreas Kofler – competed against teams from Syracuse University, Iowa State University and Weber State University, winning round one on the first day of the competition. In the final round, the Walton team competed against teams from University of Manitoba, University of North Texas and Colorado State University.

“Our team was well prepared. After receiving the case, they worked together without feedback from faculty or others for over 40 hours each prior to the competition. Their critical thinking, presentation and technical skills in their major paid off,” said John Kent, director, Supply Chain Management Research Center, and team adviser. “They described their solution as a ‘symmetrical rotational distribution center’ and presented it using graphical animation and created their own mathematical model used to calculate efficiency.”

The four Walton students are majoring in supply chain management and were selected from a group of approximately 25 students who replied to a call for case competition team members, which was open to more than 400 supply chain management majors.

 

Walton College Students to Compete in Kelley School of Business National Diversity Case Competition

Walton students (from left) Boston Woodworth, Tatiana Polydore, Cordell Griffin and Byron Alley prepare for the Kelley School of Business National Diversity Case Competition taking place this weekend.
Walton students (from left) Boston Woodworth, Tatiana Polydore, Cordell Griffin and Byron Alley prepare for the Kelley School of Business National Diversity Case Competition taking place this weekend. (Photo: Ryan C. Versey)

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion at the Sam M. Walton College of Business, University of Arkansas, selected four students to compete in the Kelley School of Business National Diversity Case Competition taking place Jan. 15-16, 2016, at the Indiana University campus in Bloomington.

Walton students Boston Woodworth, Tatiana Polydore, Byron Alley and Cordell Griffin will represent the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Walton College and the University of Arkansas while competing against top level, diverse talent from colleges and universities across the country to celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The two-day event includes a business case competition, networking opportunities and additional workshops.