Huntsman School of Business Award Recipients 2018
Dillon Pierson is graduating with both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting with a 4.0 GPA.
Dillon grew up in Fielding, Utah, and attended Bear River High. He served an LDS Mission in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Upon returning, Dillon began attending USU. He has a wife, an adorable baby girl, and a Labrador retriever. After graduation Dillon will work for PricewaterhouseCoopers in their Salt Lake City office. His hobbies include traveling with his family, hunting, and fishing.
During his time at the Huntsman School, Dillon has said “The most valuable thing I have learned from school is the ability to have balance in my work, school, and home life. This will be incredibly important as I progress in my career since my family is the most important thing to me.” During his commencement speech, Dillon encouraged graduates to pursue their goals mightily and to continue to “Dare Mighty Things”.
SCHOLAR OF THE YEAR
Jackie Sullivan is a senior graduating with a degree in economics and hopes to pursue a research career in government or academia. Her academic interests include poverty alleviation, international cooperation, and sustainable development. Her research experience as sent her to conferences in Denmark and San Francisco, and she is a current member of the Undergraduate Research Advisory Board. Jackie is a member of the Honors Student Advisory Board and is the Honors Student Council Service Chair. She is privileged to serve as the Co‐President of the Huntsman Scholar Program where she has helped facilitate program restructuring and created a social entrepreneurship project for students. Jackie was a 2017 finalist for the competitive Harry S. Truman Scholarship and hopes to pursue a career in public service. She is proud to be an Aggie, and she is grateful for her incredible experience at Utah State. In her free time, she enjoys teaching guitar, attending concerts, discussing politics, and watching Friends.
LEGACY OF USU
Braeden will begin his public accounting career at Deloitte in the Salt Lake office this Fall and is excited to represent USU at the firm and hopes to help other Aggies find their place along the way.Braeden grew up in South Jordan, Utah and graduated from Bingham High School. He will graduate from Utah State in May 2018 with undergraduate degrees in Accounting, Economics, and Finance and a graduate degree in Accounting. Throughout his time at USU, he worked various jobs and stay involved in various capacities across campus including as an officer for USU’s Beta Alpha Psi chapter and as a Quigley Ambassador for the School of Accountancy which allowed him to help plan various events such as the BAP Annual Golf Tournament and the Hot Cocoa Summer Leadership Networking event. Through those experiences, he enjoyed mentoring and supporting other students and finding ways to improve the student experience at USU. He also was a member of the USU Football team (2010 and 2013), captain/member of USU Men’s Soccer (2014-2017 with National appearances in 2014 and 2016), and member of USU Men’s Volleyball (2016 and 2018).
KIWANIS RECOGNITION AWARD
Shae is a third generation Aggie who grew up in Smithfield, Utah. Shae's journey to USU took more than a decade and several different homes around the country. A "non-traditional" student, Shae returned to school after working in the finance industry in Washington, D.C. for the prior five years. Although when Shae first started back to school, there were days she questioned her sanity and wondered if she'd made the right choice, she has since gone on to great success at USU as a Management Information Systems major with a minor in Computer science. Coming from industry and understanding the value that quality higher education has to offer, Shae has worked to get the most out of her time at USU. Shae has enjoyed participating in university programs like Huntsman Scholars and Buehler Scholars. Shae was also a member of the USU Big Band Swing Team until a ruptured Achilles tendon sidelined her. Shae also enjoys mentoring future Aggies and has spent considerable time volunteering at Valley schools giving presentations to High School students about the nuts and bolts of pursuing higher education and being a resource for their questions. Shae's love of books also sees her volunteering at the Smithfield library where she can be found several days a week in the children's section helping young readers find their next book to love.
What started as a daunting and uncertain journey, has resulted in some of the most rewarding experiences of her life thanks to the students, faculty, and staff of USU.
GRADUATE STUDENT RESEARCHER
Jessica McGraw is a Master of Management Information Systems (MMIS) student in the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University. She also holds a Master’s in Human Resources from Utah State University and a Bachelor of Arts in German and International Studies from the University of Utah. Her research interests include gamification, change management, and people analytics. She presented a paper on her gamification research with Dr. Scott Hammond at the Organizational Behavior Teaching Conference (now Management and Organizational Behavior Teaching Society) in June 2017, and is currently researching Shigeo Shingo’s leadership principles for a paper and book. She leads the Business Intelligence (BI) Group in the MIS Department and is an Association of Information Systems (AIS)officer.While leading the BIgroup, she has managed projects for Lenovo, Micron, and USU’s Academic and Instructional Services, as well as growing the group from five to 50 students in 18 months. She works with each of the individual teams to guide and mentor the students, with a heavy emphasis on pushing the teams to ever more advanced analytical techniques. After graduation, she will conduct research for the U.S. Air Force, and then pursue a PhD in Organizational Behavior.
UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT RESEARCHER
Born and raised in Malaysia, Kwok Fai “Ivan” Cheah was exposed to both the technology and business world while growing up. As a self-taught programmer, he was involved in multiple advanced software development projects at a young age. Ivan worked on a research project at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki to develop a prototypical software application at the age of 14, and at 16, developed a basic accounting information system from scratch that continues to be useful throughout his collegiate career. Ivan is a junior in the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business, majoring in Accounting and Management Information Systems (MIS). At Utah State University, his research is primarily in the MIS field and deals with secure data transmission for business transactions. Working closely with his research mentor, MIS Professor Jeffrey Johnson, their research work has been published in the Proceedings of the Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS). The prototypical software currently in development has received positive reviews from industry professionals. Ivan’s goal in life is to bridge the gap between business and technology. He believes that he can offer solutions that can spark entrepreneurs and startup ideas by easing the management burden on them.
DISTINGUISHED EXECUTIVE ALUMNUS
Clark Whitworth is CEO of the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies, where he leads a team of veteran executives and more than 11,000 employees in continuing the Group’s growth, strengthening its high-performance culture, and advancing its mission: to enrich lives. Reflecting more than 30 years of escalating leadership positions, Whitworth’s proven ability to discern opportunity, optimize resources and guide strategy is well-suited to his office with the diverse Miller organization, which under his stewardship has built capital and liquidity, streamlined operations and improved revenues and profitability. Before his March 2015 appointment as CEO, Whitworth served for 21 years as CFO of several of the Group’s primary revenue-generating business lines, including finance, insurance and automotive. As a result of initiatives taken during his tenure, operating margins saw significant gains, 45 dealerships were added, annual vehicle sales increased six-fold to more than 100,000 units, and the Millers emerged as the nation’s tenth-largest auto retailer. Whitworth has secured hundreds of millions of dollars in financing and has served for decades as a constant and trusted advisor to Group ownership. His 22 years of daily work with founder Larry H. Miller earned Whitworth unrivaled institutional knowledge and honed his entrepreneurial acumen.
After earning his bachelor’s degree in accounting from Utah State University, Whitworth began his career by auditing bank clients for Peat, Marwick, Mitchell & Co. (today KPMG) and later for Deloitte Touche. His introduction to the auto industry came when he was hired as controller for a large Utah dealership, for which he established a reinsurance entity and managed two acquisitions. It was at this time that Whitworth became acquainted with Mr. Miller, who in 1987 invited him to assess an intricate acquisition opportunity, a trial engagement that set the course of Whitworth’s career. Whitworth is regarded by his peers as an inclusive leader of insight, integrity, loyalty and consistency. He is also a sought-out expert on a wide array of complex business subjects and has taught turnarounds at the MBA level as a University of Utah adjunct professor. As the father of five and grandfather to eight, Whitworth is enthusiastically committed to the welfare and development of young people, supporting Scouting in a variety of capacities and serving on the boards of youth-oriented Voices for Virtue and Larry H. Miller Charities.
TEACHER OF THE YEAR
Passionate about the outdoors, the move to Logan was a natural fit. In her free time, Polly loves to spend time with family and friends, and she is an avid wildlife conservationist.Polly Conrad moved to Logan from Las Vegas. She earned her Master of Science degree from Truman State University, where she studied biology. She proceeded to work for university, government agency, industry, and non-profit organizations since 2003. Polly is part biologist, part statistics nerd, and part business analyst. She has utilized various data analytics strategies and communication skills to inform management decisions and effectively manage programs. She is eager to bring her experiences into the classroom and identify effective instructional strategies to better capture students' attention.
RESEARCHER OF THE YEAR
Briggs Depew is an Assistant Professor of Economics in the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University and a Research Fellow with the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), Bonn, Germany. Briggs received a PhD in Economics at the University of Arizona in 2013. Prior to joining Utah State University, he was an Assistant Professor of Economics at Louisiana State University. Briggs enjoys both teaching and research. While at LSU he was awarded the Outstanding Undergraduate Teacher award in his department. His research is focused on policy-oriented microeconomic topics and has been published in leading academic journals. His research evaluates the intended and unintended consequences of public policy. Often, he relies on events that can be framed as natural experiments to attempt to tease out causal inference. Much of his work is centered in the areas of health economics, labor economics, and public economics. His work studying the Affordable Care Act was cited in the October 2014 Council of Economic Advisers report to the President of the United States. His research has also been featured in several media outlets including The Washington Post and NPR.
GRADUATE MENTOR OF THE YEAR
Prior to pursuing an academic career, Chris spent more than eight years in professional HR roles with a wide variety of organizations, including the United States Senate, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), and Kelly Services. He is a certified HR professional through both SHRM (SHRM-CP) and the HR Certification Institute (PHR).Christopher J. Hartwell (Ph.D., Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management, Purdue University) is Assistant Professor in the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business, where he teaches courses on employment selection and organizational management in the MHR and MBA programs, and oversees MHR internships. His research interests include employee selection, social media in the workplace, leadership, and talent management. Specifically, his research has examined ways to structure job interviews to increase validity, how hiring managers’ perceptions of applicants change based on applicant social media presence, and the implications of human capital and social capital interactions for talent management. His research has been published in top management and human resources journals, including Journal of Applied Psychology and Personnel Psychology.
UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH MENTOR OF THE YEAR
Ken Bartkus is Professor of Marketing and Director of the Hospitality and Tourism Management program in the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business. He also serves as the current Editor-in-Chief of Tourism Review International and is a member of the editorial boards of the Journal of Travel Research, the Journal of Hospitality Marketing and Management,and the International Journal of Hospitality and Event Management. He is the past president of the Greater Western Travel and Tourism Research Association. In 2008, he received the John L. Blackburn Exemplary Model Award for Administrative Leadership from the American Association of University Administrators for his work in the development of The Research Group, a program that promotes undergraduate research in business schools. He is also the 2008 recipient of the James W. Wilson Award from the Cooperative Education and Internship Association for recognition of outstanding contributions to the promotion and advocacy of research activity in cooperative education. Professor Bartkus remains committed to helping students advance their professional development through collaborative research with faculty scholars.
UNDERGRADUATE FACULTY MENTOR OF THE YEAR
Frank Shuman received bachelors and masters degrees from Utah State University in 1989. After working as an accounting analyst for General Dynamics for three years, he began his teaching career at Utah State University in fall 192, and is currently in his 26th academic year teaching and advising students. Frank primarily teaches the financial and managerial accounting classes that are required of all business majors and the advanced accounting class in the graduate accounting program. A the beginning of the 1995-96 academic year, Frank added the role of being faculty advisor for the IMA (Institute of Management Accounting) student chapter. He has served several years on the CMA (Certified Management Accountant) review committee and on the UACPA state and local government accounting conference committee. Frank holds the CPA and CMA certifications.
EMPLOYEE OF THE YEAR
Utah State University is the place Teri Rasmussen has called her home away from home for fifteen years. She has worked in many different departments across campus,including the offices of: Vice President of Advancement, Board of Trustees, Vice President for Business & Finance,and over 10 years in the Huntsman School of Business. She has loved learning about each area of campus and values the relationships she has with those she worked with. She loves coming to work every day and looks forward to the challenges of each day. She especially loves the interaction she has with the amazing students and faculty in School of Accountancy.
Teri earned a B.S. degree in human resources from the Huntsman School of Business in 2009.In her spare time, Teri enjoys hiking, reading, crocheting, gardening and spending time with her husband and fourdaughters.
FACULTY SERVICE AWARD