Huntsman School of Business Award Recipients 2008

Researcher of the Year: Arthur Caplan

Arthur J. Caplan is an associate professor in the Department of Economics in the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University. He earned his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Oregon in 1996. Since that time, he has taught courses at the graduate and undergraduate levels in microeconomics, environmental economics, public policy, and quantitative analysis.

Art's research focus includes a variety of interesting topics – from looking at how student procrastination in his courses affects their final grades, to how institutions might adjust their grading policies to induce greater effort on the part of both students and professors, to the creation of user-friendly simulation models that can be used to numerically analyze a variety of resource extraction problems, to developing a bioeconomic model of the Great Salt Lake Ecosystem. In addition, he continues to write extensively in the field of contingent valuation.

Undergraduate Research Mentor of the Year: Ken Bartkus

Dr. Kenneth R. Bartkus is professor of marketing in the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business. His commitment to undergraduate research mentoring is evident from his innovative contributions to program development, student/faculty collaborations and service. He founded The Research GroupTM, a consortium of university scholars dedicated to the advancement of quality research experiences for undergraduate students. The program has emerged as a leader in undergraduate business research. Since 2003, his students have presented at such scholarly undergraduate venues as Research Day on Capitol Hill (eight projects), the Student Showcase (four projects), the Utah Conference on Undergraduate Research (four projects), and the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (three projects). His students have also had papers accepted for presentation at scholarly professional conferences such as the Western Decision Sciences Institute and the Marketing Management Association. In addition, he has co-authored research articles with students in the Journal of Business Inquiry and the Journal of Social Behavior and Personality. His article "Fostering Student/Faculty Collaborations through the 'Research Group' Model: An Application to Colleges and Schools of Business" was recently published in CUR-Quarterly. It highlights the general lack of, and need for, more undergraduate research programs in business schools. With regard to service, Dr. Bartkus has been elected as a councilor for the Council on Undergraduate Research and will be a member of a panel session to promote undergraduate research at the CUR 2008 National Conference. Evidence of Dr. Bartkus' dedication to students is also evident by his contributions in related areas. Notably, he is the 2008 national recipient of the James W. Wilson award for "outstanding contributions to the promotion and advocacy of research activity in the field of cooperative education and internships". Dr. Bartkus has been recognized as the undergraduate research mentor of the year for the Huntsman School of Business four times.

Outstanding Graduate Mentor Award: Kenneth Lyon

Ken Lyon has mentored economics graduate students at Utah State University for more than 40 years. During that time, his students have consistently produced high-quality theses and dissertations and published their work in well-respected professional journals. Ken has set the foundation for thinking, research, and quantitative skills among the students he mentors. Not only has he taught his students the fundamentals of economic theory and research, but he has been their friend.

Ken received his bachelor's degree in business administration and economics from BYU. In 1971 he finished his doctorate degree in economics graduating from the University of Chicago.

Undergraduate Researcher of the Year: William Israelsen

William J. Israelsen is an economics and biology major who has been involved in undergraduate research in the Economics Department with Dr. Dwight Israelsen since 2005. He has been involved in several research projects that deal with the migration of people between counties in the United States. As part of these projects, he conducted background research, used econometric techniques in working with large data sets, and contributed both to the analyses and to the text of the resulting publications. William's largest contribution was as the primary author of a paper entitled "Migration Turnover Rates of Mountain States Counties," in which he was instrumental in developing the novel concept of a Migration Turnover Rate, which is a better measure of the impact of migration on an area than is the traditional measure of net in-migration. Because population turnover is associated with economic and social costs and benefits, William's work in identifying the Migration Turnover Rates of U.S. counties and their determinants has provided an important new tool for public officials and policy-makers. William has been the co-author of three refereed journal publications, four Economic Research Institute study papers, and has given presentations at the Annual Meetings of the Utah Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters and at the Western Economic Association International Conferences. He is a native of North Logan, Utah.

Advisor of the Year: Ryan Larkin

Ryan E. Larkin joined the SOA faculty as a lecturer in January 2006. Ryan graduated from the University of Utah, earning his bachelors degree in 2001, and a master of professional accountancy with a tax emphasis in 2002. Before joining the School of Accountancy faculty, Ryan worked as a tax associate with PricewaterhouseCoopers at the Orange County office in Irvine, California. He is a certified public accountant.

Ryan teaches introductory accounting, as well as graduate level tax courses. He sincerely cares about the success of others and has a genuine interest in his students. Many students appreciate and take advantage of his open-door policy. Ryan also serves as the faculty advisor for the Delta Omega Chapter of Beta Alpha Psi.

Classified Employee of the Year: Taci Watterson

Taci is one of the senior staff assistants in the Management Information Systems Department. She has worked on campus for four years, the first two of those at the Disability Resource Center as the testing coordinator.

Taci lives in Preston, Idaho, where she and her husband, Cory, both own businesses. She has a craft and vinyl business, and he owns a machine shop. She actively serves as a member of the USU CERT team, as well as the Preston CERT team.

They have four children and two grandchildren. She loves to spend time with her kids, cook, scrapbook, craft, read, and go camping.

Professional Employee of the Year: Mary Price

Mary Price graduated cum laude with a bachelor's degree in business with a minor in personal financial planning in December 2007. She has worked for Utah State University for a little over 10 years, four of which have been in the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business Dean's Office as the administrative assistant. Previously, she worked for Independent and Distance Education. Mary grew up in Cache Valley. She married her high school sweetheart, Sage. They have three adorable children, Tanika, Brendan, and Tausha. Service has always been part of Mary's personal commitment. She serves as the Huntsman School's representative for emergency preparedness. She is also involved in the PTA, helping with several activities including White Ribbon Week. On the side, Mary is a lia sophia jewelry consultant. She loves to read, watch movies, scrapbook, and spend time with her family.

Scholar of the Year: Wesley Marler

Wesley Marler grew up in Lewiston, Utah. He will be graduating in May 2008 with a bachelor's degree in accounting. He is then planning to continue his education at Utah State by completing a MAcc. Wesley is an exceptional student. Because of his 4.0 GPA, he has qualified to receive several honors. He has been inducted into Beta Gamma Sigma, has received the prestigious A-Pin, and has been on the Dean's List. Wesley is currently an undergraduate teaching fellow in the School of Accountancy for Vance Grange and has demonstrated skills that have enhanced Professor Grange's income tax class. Not only has he developed the course on Blackboard, but he has also substitute taught the class.

Service and student involvement are an active part of Wesley's life. He has been a member of Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) for the past two years and has interacted with several influential speakers. This year he is also participating in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, which is giving him valuable work experience as well as helping those in need.

Wesley is very friendly and conscientious. The Jon M. Huntsman School of Business is proud to recognize him as the 2007-2008 Scholar of the Year.

Teacher of the Year: Robert Mills

Robert J. Mills is currently an associate professor in the Management Information Systems Department of the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business. His innovative approach to teaching concentrates on blending theory with rigorous, real-world projects. Students in his performance improvement classes have developed technology-based training solutions for organizations such as Energy Solutions Arena/Utah Jazz, Bourns Manufacturing and ATK. Dr. Mills has also consulted on training programs for IBM, National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative (NRTC), Techmatics, International Center for Captive Insurance Education and the U.S. Air Force. 

Recent awards for his outstanding instruction include the 2008 and 2005 Teacher of the Year in both the Department of Management Information Systems and the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business; Huntsman School of Business valedictorian escort for the Fall 2004 Commencement; 2004 Utah State University Golden Mouse Award for outstanding innovation in technology, teaching and learning; 2003 Brigham Young University–Hawaii Honored Alumni Award; 2002 Teacher of the Year in the Department of Management Information Systems and International Association for Computer Information Systems 2002 Ben Bauman Award for Excellence. As one student noted, "I believe the true measure of a great teacher is someone who changes lives. I, among so many other students, am a better student, employee and more importantly a better person because of Bob's mentoring, teaching and friendship."

Valedictorian: S. Michael Young

S. Michael Young is graduating with majors in finance and economics, and minors in international business and personal financial planning. He is a member of Beta Gamma Sigma. He graduated as valedictorian from Logan High School in 2002. Michael will be entering the MBA program at the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business in Fall 2008. He is currently developing a program for the graduate school of the Huntsman School of Business called Project E-Venture. Project E-Venture will give MBA students the opportunity to work through a proposed entrepreneurial center to develop startup companies. Michael is highly interested in entrepreneurship and hopes to someday own his own company. After high school, Michael served a two-year Spanish-speaking mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to Riverside, California. Michael has participated for many years in equestrian activities and currently works training horses and teaching horse riding lessons in jumping and classical dressage. He also hopes to someday pursue his dream of opening a classical horse riding school in conjunction with a horse riding therapy program. Michael lives in Logan with his wife Holli, who is currently working on a degree in dietetics.