Huntsman School of Business Award Recipients 2009

Researcher of the Year – John Gilbert

John Gilbert is an associate professor in the Department of Economics and Finance in the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University. His area of research is international economics, and he has published numerous journal articles, books and book chapters in the areas of international trade theory and computable general equilibrium analysis of trade policy. His work in trade theory has contributed to neoclassical general equilibrium, especially the analysis of commercial policy and topics in new trade theory, including internal migration and outsourcing. His work in trade policy has focused on the economic impact of regional trading arrangements, especially those in the Asia-Pacific region. He has worked as a consultant on projects for institutions, including the World Bank, the Peterson Institute for International Economics, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for the Asia-Pacific and the Asian Development Bank Institute. In 2007 he was named an external advisor on trade policy modeling to the Asia-Pacific Research and Training Network on Trade (ARTNeT) project, an open regional network composed of leading trade research institutions across the Asia-Pacific region. The project is supported by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) Canada, UNDP, UNCTAD and the WTO. He received his Ph.D in economics from the University of Auckland.

Undergraduate Research Mentor of the Year – Kenneth R. Bartkus

Dr. Ken Bartkus is director of undergraduate research in the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business. He is also the founder of The Research Group™. Its primary mission is to provide students the opportunity to develop core competencies in research methods. Aside from his own involvement, he has been instrumental in engaging other faculty in the Huntsman School of Business to participate in undergraduate research activities.

His collaborations with undergraduate scholars have resulted in numerous presentations and publications. His students are regular participants at Research Day on Capitol Hill, the Student Showcase, the Utah Conference on Undergraduate Research and the National Conference on Undergraduate Research.

Dr. Bartkus’ commitment to undergraduate research extends beyond his involvement at Utah State University. His manuscript “Fostering Student/Faculty Collaborations through the ‘Research Group’ Model: An Application to Colleges and Schools of Business” was published in the December 2007 issue of CUR-Quarterly and was the recipient of the prestigious 2008 John Blackburn Exemplary Models Award from the American Association of University Administrators.

Dr. Bartkus has also been a leading advocate nationwide for undergraduate research in business. His commitment to innovations in undergraduate research programs is evidenced by his service as a councilor for the Council on Undergraduate Research and as a member of Utah State University’s Undergraduate Research Advisory Board.

Teacher of the Year – Jeffrey Doyle

Jeffrey T. Doyle is the George S. Eccles Chair in Capital Markets Research in the School of Accountancy at Utah State University. His has previously taught at the University of Utah and Stanford University. He has taught advanced financial accounting and financial statement analysis in undergraduate, MBA and professional MBA programs. His research is focused on the use of accounting information by capital market participants. Besides being published in leading academic journals, his research has been quoted in several leading business publications including the Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek, The New York Times and Fortune. Professor Doyle received his Ph.D. in business administration from the University of Michigan in 2003, his M.S. in accounting from the University of Virginia in 1996 and his B.A. in economics from Utah State University in 1994. Previously, he worked for Arthur Andersen and Ernst & Young as a certified public accountant, performing tax consulting and compliance and attestation services.

Professional Employee of the Year – Ruth Harrison

Ruth Harrison is the director of undergraduate programs for the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business. She has held this position for eight years serving on several school and university committees. Ruth earned a Bachelor of Science in marketing in 1989 and a Master of Science in human resources in 2004, both from Utah State University. She has presented at state, regional and national conferences. Ruth is a member of NACADA, UBAAN and SHRM, serving as UBAAN president during the 2007-2008 academic year. Her favorite part of work is the students. She loves getting to know them, their hopes and their dreams.

Classified Employee of the Year – Norma Richards

Norma Richards has worked at Utah State University since November 2002 in the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business with the following departments; Management Information Systems, Business Administration and is currently with the Huntsman Scholars Program. Prior to working at USU she worked for Morris Travel, Cache Chamber of Commerce and Hatch Insurance in Logan. She has over 25 years of office assistant experience. She enjoys traveling, shopping, golfing, racquetball and cooking. She and her husband Lee have lived in Hyde Park for 36 years. They have five children and twelve grandchildren.

Faculty Advisor of the Year – Vance Grange

Vance Grange joined the Utah State University faculty as a regular faculty member in 1983. He previously worked as Assistant Instructor of Accounting at The University of Texas at Austin (1980-1983) and as Instructor of Accounting at Utah State University (1978-1980). He serves as Director of Taxation Programs (1983-present) and as Director of Personal Financial Planning Programs (1996-present) for the School of Accountancy. He worked as a Staff Accountant for Price Waterhouse & Co. (1976-1978) and operated his own tax practice as a CPA (1978-1994). He is affiliated with two related firms: Beacon Financial Planning LLC, a financial planning firm, and Independent 401(k) Advisors LLC, a retirement plan consulting firm. Dr. Grange teaches courses in taxation, personal financial planning, retirement and employee benefits planning, and estate planning at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the American Accounting Association, the Academy of Financial Services (member of the Board of Directors, 2003-present), the Financial Planning Association (member of the Board of Directors for the Utah Chapter, 2003-present), and The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (Academic Affiliate member).

Dr. Grange has served as a member and chair of the Board of Examiners of Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. He has also served as a member of the Board of Governors of Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. He is a Registered Representative and a Registered Investment Advisor Associate. Professor Grange was named School of Accountancy and Jon M. Huntsman School of Business Advisor of the Year for 2003 and 2004. He was named School of Accountancy Teacher of the Year for 2001.

Professional Advisor of the Year – Peggy Buttars

Peggy Buttars has been an academic advisor in the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business since 2001. Peggy graduated with a BS degree and MS degree in business education from Utah State University. She worked for the Business Education Department as an instructor in the Office Occupations Training Program and as a lecturer. Peggy also worked in Washington, D.C. on the Banking Committee when Ronald Reagan was the president.

Peggy left the Business Education Department in 1986 to raise a family. She is married to Randy Buttars and they have three children – Missy, Erin and Thomas.

Peggy has had many opportunities since returning to the Huntsman School of Business as an academic advisor. One of her highlights was traveling to Europe with students and faculty on the first Huntsman Scholars program in fall 2007. Peggy loves her job as an academic advisor and enjoys her association with faculty, staff and students in the Huntsman School.

Valedictorian – Lacee Wilkey

Lacee grew up in Evanston, Wyoming. After arriving at USU, she wasn’t sure which major would be best for her so she decided to major in three areas. Lacee will be graduating with a bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance and economics.

From the time Lacee started thinking about earning a college education, Utah State was her top choice. She had visited Cache Valley a few times and fell in love with its beauty and abundant outdoor recreational activities. She had also heard many positive things from alumni about Utah State, including that USU offered a high-quality education at an affordable price.

It was because of Dr. Jeffrey Doyle that Lacee added accounting as an additional major. Dr. Doyle’s teaching style captivated her attention and made the subject matter easy to understand. Even though his exams were “insanely hard,” as Lacee described them, they gave her an opportunity to really learn the material and see how it could be applied in the workplace.

Lacee’s time at USU has helped her develop a stronger work ethic and a desire to do her best. She has become more patient and has a greater appreciation for people. She has also cultivated a love for learning and education. Lacee plans to complete her MAcc degree at Utah State and pursue a career in tax or financial planning.

Undergraduate Researcher of the Year – Natali Naegle

Natali Naegle is marketing and economics major who has been involved in undergraduate research in the newly formed Management Department with Dr. Stacey Hills since 2006. She has focused primarily on business pedagogy issues, completing separate projects on student evaluation salience and student procrastination behaviors. As part of these projects, she conducted literature reviews, assisted in survey design and collected and analyzed data. Natali’s greatest contribution in these endeavors is as second author of “How Important Are Items on a Student Evaluation? A Study of Item Salience” in which she was instrumental in addressing the issue of whether or not students actually view evaluation items as important. This work has been accepted to and is awaiting publication in the Journal of Education for Business, one of the top-ranked journals in the area of business pedagogy. Natali has also been the primary author on several undergraduate research projects and one refereed conference proceeding. She has presented twice at the National Conference for Undergraduate Research and also at the Marketing Management Association. She is a native of Bountiful, Utah.

Scholar of the Year – Morgan Cox

Morgan grew up in the small town of Cokeville, Wyoming. In addition to giving him the privilege of spending days upon end exploring the outdoors, growing up in such a small community provided an excellent learning environment. He graduated from Cokeville High School in May of 2002 as valedictorian. The month following graduation he left for Fort Sill, Oklahoma, “Home of the Field Artillery,” where he went through basic training and advanced training and became an artilleryman for the U.S Army National Guard. Upon returning home in late October of 2002, he was called to serve on active duty for a year at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, assisting the 75th Security Forces Squadron with base security. In January 2004, seven days after leaving active duty, he left on an LDS mission to the Philippines. Two years later he returned and began studying accounting at Utah State University. Morgan now works part-time as an accountant and financial analyst for Structured Finance Corporation, serves as president of the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business Ambassadors and is a staff sergeant in the Army National Guard. Morgan also led the team that won the 2008 Utah Real Estate Challenge hosted by the University of Utah, an award that came with a $20,000 prize. Through all of this Morgan has maintained a 4.0 GPA and found many other ways to serve in school, church and in the community. Morgan’s most important accomplishment, however, occurred in April of 2008 when he was married to the love of his life, Katie Rhodes. Morgan was recently accepted to the Stanford Graduate School of Business MBA program and plans on working for two years before attending.

UTF of the Year – Diana Allen


Diana grew up in Riverton, Utah. She will be graduating this spring with a bachelor’s degree in management information systems with a technical emphasis. She is also minoring in family finance.


Her favorite professor at USU was Dr. David Olsen. He pushes students to prepare for their careers, which has helped her. She has enjoyed the projects she has been able to work on, giving her a realistic learning experience. She did an internship with Intermountain Health with the information security team. It was a system discovery project.

Diana is planning on continuing her education at USU. She recently got married. Her husband, Karl Burk, is also a USU alum. She enjoys music and hiking.