Huntsman Alumni Magazine

Fall 2012

“Partners In Business” is Growing and Thriving

The Partners in Business program has been getting bigger and better every year. In fact, since 2009 when each conference began to be advised by members of the related department of the Huntsman School, attendance has increased at every conference.

This nonprofit organization sponsored by the Huntsman School of Business offers five major conferences each year, featuring experts from across the nation. These experts speak on campus to business practitioners and students, and they also interact with the business students who staff the program, under the direction of associate director Jamie Andrus and executive dean of the Huntsman School Ken Snyder.

The conferences include:

  • Operational Excellence—continuous improvement through development and training. This year to be held October 3-4.
  • Accounting—the latest information for today’s accounting environment. Scheduled for October 25.
  • Information Technology—helping IT professionals stay up to date with advances in business virtualization, social media, and mobile apps. February 6, 2013.
  • Leadership—developing leadership skills in professional, personal, and social aspects of life. April 2-3, 2013.
  • Human Resource Management—the Crossroads Conference, held with the Utah Human Resources State Council, covers training, benefits, and compliance with employment law. Recently held, September 18-19, 2012.

Jon Huntsman, Jr. has said of the program, “Partners in Business is one of the country’s premier forums for promoting and analyzing best practices and cutting-edge thinking in business.”

Recent speakers have included professionals such as Cynthia Cooper, the WorldCom whistleblower, who described the “less well known” pain that is often visited back on the whistleblower. At the time of her going public, she was heavily criticized for “endangering” her community’s largest employer, and recalled her low point, lying in bed while her father read her the 20th Psalm over and over.

Thomas Bittman, vice president of Gartner Research, has led the industry in his grasp and explication of the potential of cloud computing, private cloud computing, and virtualization. He invented the term “real-time infrastructure,” an operational approach that has been widely adopted in industry.

The beginning of Partners in Business goes back to 1970, when Dr. Vern Buehler started a banking seminar with support from the Utah Bankers Association. In the 1980s, seminars were added on world trade, human resource management, and management information systems. The program was named “Partners in Business” in May 1976, when it held its first productivity seminar. Over the years, such luminaries as the following have spoken at the conferences: Milton Friedman, Peter Drucker, Alan Greenspan, W. Edwards Deming, Shigeo Shingo, and Malcolm Forbes.

Today the program gives businesspeople in the mountain west access to the latest operational “best practices,” straight from the executives at the forefront of each field.