MBA Newsletter Winter 2014

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Milgard School of Business MBA Newsletter Winter 2014 Vol IV(II)

In this issue:

Greetings from MBA Director, Dr. Eugene Sivadas

Students entering the Milgard MBA Autumn 2014 and beyond will have the opportunity to earn a Healthcare concentration.  These students will take the same 56 credits of MBA core courses as their classmates pursuing the flexible option, but their 16 credits of elective will be on topics focused in health care.  Health care electives will begin summer 2015 and courses include health care marketing, health care finance, health economics, epidemiology, health policy, and health care information systems.  This focus is being introduced to cater to the needs of the greater Tacoma Community given the presence of many large health care employers and professionals employed in the health care and wellness fields.  We hope you will help us spread the word to colleagues, friends and family.  Our scholarship application deadline for autumn quarter 2014 is May 1st!

Please take some time to read through our winter quarter newsletter.  Enjoy profiles from two of our current students, read about 2004 alumni Gary Aleshire and his plans for a class reunion, and learn more about marketing faculty member, Dr. Altaf Merchant.  Spring quarter will soon be upon us, this is time of events and celebrations.  We are excited to share in their inagurual year the MBA Association (founding president is featured in this edition of the newsletter) has already hosted two fine events and have plans in the works for an event on June 20th, save the date-we hope to see you there!

In Remembrance of Chancellor Debra Friedman

Chancellor Debra Friedman died on January 26, 2014 of lung cancer. She was 58. Before returning to the University of Washington in 2011, Chancellor Friedman spent six years at Arizona State University, where she served as Dean of the College of Public Programs. She was later named Vice President in charge of the school’s downtown Phoenix campus, an annex of the main campus in Tempe, Arizona. She worked at the University of Washington Tacoma from 1994 to 2005 in various capacities, including as Assistant Dean and Associate Dean of undergraduate education, Associate Provost for academic planning and Director of special projects in development and alumni relations.

Chancellor Friedman, a Seattle native, received her graduate degrees from the UW — a master’s in sociology in 1978 and her Ph.D. in sociology in 1983, and also received an Excellence in Teaching award. Since her return to the University of Washington she has given UW Tacoma a fantastic gift of vision, identity and momentum. She brought into sharp focus an identity for UW Tacoma as an urban-serving campus, building on the substantial investment the region has always made in its university. That identity and investment is rooted in her unyielding passion: the transformational impact of education — that changes the lives of individuals and the communities of which they are a part.

Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland said the city is “deeply saddened by the passing of Debra Friedman, she was committed to opening doors of opportunity for all students and UW Tacoma’s growth as an urban serving campus flourished under her strong leadership.” Her daughter, Eliana, graduated from the UW in 2006 as a Rhodes Scholar. Her family stated that some of Debra’s last words were of the University of Washington. She will truly be missed.


In Rememberance of Jeffrey Dean

(February 21, 1949 - December 16, 2013)

Professor Jeffrey Dean passed away peacefully on December 16, 2013. He began teaching at the University of Washington Tacoma in 1996, practicing law by day and instructing many courses in business and law to MBA students in the evening. Mr. Dean favored courses on business development and entrepreneurship, which enable him to mentor and assist many Milgard students in starting their own businesses.

Jeff was born and raised in Rochester, New York, and graduated from the University of Rochester with a degree in economics. After graduation he joined the Navy and was stationed on the West Coast, deploying to Vietnam and the Pacific theatre on several tours of duty. It was when the Navy moved him to New York, where he taught at the US Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point that he began his lifelong love of teaching. While teaching at Kings Point he also pursued his MBA at New York University. In 1978, after completing his MBA, Jeff decided to return to the West Coast to settle permanently.

He became the Assistant Vice President at Continental, Inc., a mortgage company that eventually became Homestreet Bank. He entered the Naval reserve, devoting one weekend a month and 2 weeks every year to the Navy both while working full time and raising a family, Jeff attended night school at the University of Puget Sound law school (now Seattle University). He graduated from UPS law school and was admitted to the Washington State Bar in 1987.

He worked for several years as in house counsel for University Savings Bank. Jeff left the bank in 1992, and entered private practice, specializing in property law. As a solo practitioner, Jeff sought to take care of the “underdog:” those who needed sound legal advice, but who did not necessarily have significant financial means. Over the years he took many cases pro bono, and developed a loyal client base. He will be remembered as a teacher, attorney, businessman, Navy Veteran, husband, father, grandfather, and brother.


MBA Executive Speaker Series 2-27-14

Yoram Bauman, Stand Up Economist

This quarter for the MBA Executive Speaker Series, a little laughter was brought to UW Tacoma. But what would laughter be without economics? That is the question Yoram Bauman, the one and only Stand Up Economist, came to answer. Bauman kicked off the evening with some good-humored political jokes, intermingling within his comedy bits little glimpses as to how this career as the Stand Up Economist began.  Bauman was originally an economics professor at UW Seattle. Having a love for humor, he wrote a economics comic book to, as he put it, “blow off some steam.” His comic book ended up getting published, and he was asked to present it at an economics convention. This was when the idea struck him that he could charge money for his economic humor. Using his professional expertise, you could say that he found a niche in the market with little to no barriers to entry. That same professional background is what has helped Bauman practice variable pricing strategies in order to take advantage of the different types of venues he is asked to speak at.

One of Bauman’s passions is to spread awareness not only about global warming, but also about his campaign to make Washington the poster child for green and sustainability though enforcing a carbon tax. His group, is pushing for a tax swap of sorts that would charge $25 per ton of CO2 emissions, as well as increase prices of gasoline by $0.30. To offset this cost, he proposes a full point cut on sales tax, a rebate for working families (offset by low income homes) and business tax cuts (B&O). Bauman used British Columbia as an example of this method’s success. He also went on to demonstrate how a change like this could reach some kind of revenue stability by an incremental increase in the carbon tax over time. Therefore, if people are not spending money on gas they are likely spending it elsewhere, and that somewhere else is the spending from which the government can draw the revenue it needs. Bauman put on a unique show, making some often heavy and very stuffy academic information humorous. His willingness to poke fun at himself (as well as the audience) made the evening one full of laughs and good discussion that is sure to be remembered.

To find out more about Bauman, schedule him for an event or buy one of his micro and macro economics comic books visit


Felix R. Jimenez, CPA, MBAA President, MBA Candidate June 2014

This year’s first Milgard School of Business Masters in Business Administration Asociation (MBAA) President is Venezuelan born and Florida International University grad, Felix R. Jimenez. While in FIU’s accounting program (ranked 18th in the nation), Jimenez began working as an accountant for the Britto Central Art Gallery in Miami. His hard work paid off and quickly got him promoted to controller of the gallery by the time of his graduation. Jimenez was also an active board member of FIU’s student accounting association, where he contributed to the organization holding record numbers in student participation.

Because of his success in the classroom and role in the accounting association, Jimenez was recruited by Georgia-Pacific to be a senior accountant for their international chemical operations. This position took him to Atlanta, Georgia where he handled the consolidation of international entities in Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, South Africa and China. Around this same time Jimenez became a board member of the Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting (ALPFA) as well as earned his certification as a public accountant. Once again Jimenez’s hard work paid off and Georgia-Pacific offered him the opportunity to become a plant controller for one of their locations in the Port of Tacoma. This promotion has made him one of the youngest plant controllers of the 700 accounting professionals in the company.

On top of his already busy schedule as a MBA student, full time employee of Georgia-Pacific and President of Milgard’s first ever MBAA, Jimenez has made the time to take on the role as a treasurer of the nonprofit Cares of Washington. Although he currently lives in Seattle, he chose to earn his MBA at UW Tacoma’s Milgard School of Business because of the opportunity to learn from passionate professors with prestigious backgrounds in their area of study as well as collaborate with highly experienced professionals in an academic environment.  Proud to be a part of such a highly ranked University, Jimenez is taking advantage of his UW student resources by attending a few extra classes in finance and entrepreneurship at the Foster School of Business. Throughout his personal and professional life, Jimenez is driven by the same principles of his employer: Principled Entrepreneurship, Change, Respect, Knowledge and Fulfillment, to name a few. In his free time, Jimenez enjoys exploring new cities, perusing through museums and enjoying the splendor of the Pacific Northwest with his girlfriend.


Elizabeth "Lizzy" Drown, MBA Candidate December 2015

Elizabeth "Lizzy" Drown graduated from the University of Redlands in California with a bachelor degree in both economics and business administration in 2007. She began her professional career as a Distribution Manager for the Target Corporation. Lizzy was responsible for over 19 million distribution cases each year and oversaw approximately 50 frontline team members during her four years at Target. She then accepted a position as a night Distribution Manager for Pepsi Beverages in Tacoma. She quickly moved up the ranks at Pepsi and took over as the Distribution Warehouse Manager for the Seattle facility where she is still currently working. Lizzy is enjoying the numerous challenges that come along with the fast-pace of the retail environment and strives to keep her team ahead of the curve within their industry.

In Lizzy’s position at Pepsi she works in every aspect of the business process including marketing, point of sale and advertising, forecasting and supply chain planning, selling and delivery. She chose to pursue a master’s degree in hopes of regaining a viewpoint beyond the tasks she accomplishes at work each day, and to obtain comprehensive knowledge of all facets in a business environment. Lizzy saw the value in pursuing an MBA stating “an MBA program allows for a panoramic view approach to business.”

The University of Washington’s reputation for delivering a quality education along with its vast resources contribute to Lizzy choosing to earn her MBA from the University of Washington, Tacoma and the Milgard School of Business. Adding to UWT’s academic credentials was the locality of the campus; she resides in the south end and considers “the opportunity to develop a network of professionals in Tacoma is an invaluable asset to the program.” She also appreciates that UWT’s MBA program provides a great schedule and layout for working professionals with evening classes just twice a week.

Lizzy’s personal affiliations include holding positions for the Rainier Valley Boys and Girls Club as an advisory board member and is a member of the Pepsi Valley Project, an organization funded by Pepsi to support local commerce and community in the Rainier Valley.  She enjoys spending time traveling and playing volleyball and was able to combine her appreciation for both during her undergraduate studies were she lived and played volleyball in Europe. She currently resides in Tacoma with her husband an educator for the Franciscan Health System and her collie dog Annie.


Alumni Profile, Gary L. Aleshire, Jr., MBA '04

Gary Aleshire is a Milgard MBA program graduate and also the Owner/COO of Future Values LLC. He received his undergraduate degree from UW and his MBA in business-change management in 2004. Gary’s company,, provides business solutions for both public and private sectors through delivering consulting services in strategic planning, project development, and operational performance as a means of guiding organizations to attaining new efficiencies. Future Values continues to experience new growth and opportunities annually.

Gary served many communities for over 32 years through his service as a firefighter.  After completing his MBA, Gary retired from Lakewood Fire Department to accept a position as Assistant Fire Chief for Snohomish County Fire District 1, where he served an additional five years prior to starting his private business. In Gary’s fire service tenure, he ascended in the fire service profession both locally and internationally as the Western Division President of the International Association of Fire Chiefs. Gary continues to actively serve as a peer assessor team leader in the Center for Public Safety Excellence international fire service accreditation process, most recently leading a comprehensive review of the Department of Defense fire departments in Souda Bay, Greece and Norfolk, Virginia. He will also be traveling to Chandler, Arizona, Sedgwick, Kansas, Naples and Belgium to conduct similar reviews over the next year.

Gary has applied his UWT business knowledge to develop organizational performance and leadership programs to improve the unification of recently merged fire departments or those joined by contractual services. Using his professional experience and his own research, Gary has presented across many forums on his philosophy of “Success and Succession.” This concept strives to emphasize the importance of investing in human capital with the appreciation of its overall long-term benefits. In addition, Gary contributes regularly, and has been retained as a subject matter expert on developing policies and training materials for law enforcement and fire service organizations.

Gary’s past volunteer experiences include a president role at Kiwanis of Clover Park and the Western Fire Chiefs Association, as well as an emergency medical provider (both firefighter and paramedic) for the FEMA Disaster Medical Assistance Team WA1. In this position he was deployed to aid in natural disaster in Northridge, CA, the Philippines, India and Hawaii.

Gary continues to actively serve as the Board President for Living, Access, Support, Alliance (LASA), which will soon be breaking ground for their $4.6million program that promises to create 15 additional housing units for homeless families as well as establishing a client services center. This LASA mission seeks to support the community through activities and prevention of homelessness and recurring homelessness.

In Gary’s free time he enjoys traveling with his wife to places where they can soak up some sun and possibly enjoy a few rounds of golf. Some of their favorite warm weather spots include Mexico, Palm Springs and Arizona. Gary’s current UWT project - in consort with Donna Luinstra, Kellie Williams, Becky Thompson, and Lisa Herrick - is organizing a 10 -year reunion for the University of Washington, Tacoma 2004 MBA graduating class. They are currently aiming to have a casual event over the summer with a chance to visit campus, enjoy dinner and catch up with fellow 2004 graduates and faculty.


Faculty Profile Dr. Altaf Merchant

Dr. Altaf Merchant, Associate Professor; Graduate Faculty of Marketing, joined the University of Washington Tacoma’s Milgard School of Business in the autumn of 2008. The University of Washington’s reputation, their balanced philosophy of research and teaching and smaller class structures that enable a deeper interaction with students are a few of the factors that influenced Dr. Merchant’s decision to become a part of such a young university.

Prior to academia, Dr. Merchant received his M.B.A. from the University of Mumbai and worked with brands such as Aqua-fresh toothpaste, Dettol, and Horlicks in global brand management with marketing organizations like Reckitt Benckiser, Glaxo SmithKline, and Sara Lee. In 2008, driven by a desire for the continual pursuit of knowledge and the lasting legacy derived from research, he obtained his Ph.D. from the Old Dominion University in Virginia. Currently his research interests in marketing follow consumer behavior and nostalgia influenced by cross-cultural differences between the US and France, in addition to brand heritage and reputation management.

Dr. Merchant obtained his undergraduate degree in accounting, and although he has respect and appreciation for understanding numbers, his first job was a marketing position with Sara Lee where he developed advertising for a mosquito repellant. Outside of researching and teaching he enjoys hiking, cooking, and reading fiction. His advice for students as the strive to earn their M.B.A. credentials is “to be open to new ways of thinking and keep an open mind for new ways to view what you are learning.” He also would encourage M.B.A. students to “make what you are learning work for you; aim your learning toward an opportunity for growth rather than a check mark off a list of things to do, or merely a grade.”


Milgard School Spring Events

Business Leadership Awards, April 21, 2014 at 5 pm
Financial Reporting Conference, May 9, 2014
Milgard School of Business Hooding for Autumn 2013, Winter, Spring & Summer 2014 graduates Friday, June 13th at 3pm
Spring Quarter MBA Association event, June 20th at Point Ruston Ferry-be sure you are connected to the MBAA on facebook to stay up to date with the latest event information




Do you know someone who would make a great MBA student?  Suggest they attend an upcoming information session on April 8th or May 20th.




Please email your personal and professional updates to Aubree to be included in future MBA newsletters.

Winter Quarter TGIF February 7, 2014



Top Left: Mark Manning '15, Sam Grillo '15, Drew Stillman '15
Bottom Left: Dr. Jill Purdy, Clay Krauss '13, Preston Crane '12, Matt Nagy '12
Above: Dave Sloan '11, wife Janice and their daughter

Aubree Steffens, MBA adviser

As many of you know, I’ve spent most of winter quarter on maternity leave. Colin James Steffens was born on January 2nd at 9:49 pm weighing 7 pounds 3 ounces and measuring 19.5 inches. My husband and I are incredibly smitten with the little guy and love watching him discover new things.  I am transitioning back to work, so please feel free to contact me with questions or just to say hello.  Here is a picture of Colin at 10 weeks.