2018 EMBA Graduation Ceremony is All About Graduates and Family

At The University of Alabama, the Executive MBA Program requires commitment and dedication by its students to complete a challenging curriculum within 17-21 months. On Saturday, May 5, 2018 the EMBA Class of 2018 fulfilled their graduate requirements to obtain their M.B.A. degree.  In attendance for the EMBA Graduation Ceremony were over 270 family members along with staff and faculty to celebrate this great achievement.

Overlooking the football field at Bryant-Denny Stadium, Culverhouse College of Business Dean Kay Palan welcomed the graduates and recognized the families for their strong support. It is not easy to earn a graduate degree and knowing that you have those who care for you can make a big difference in getting through a program of this nature.

Daryl Evans (EMBA 2018) and daughter Elora.

The day is all about celebrating achievement and showing gratitude to those helped and were there for our graduates throughout the process. “Graduation day was really a lot of fun and my family was really impressed,” said Daryl Evans, Class President for the Huntsville EMBA cohort.

Before the brunch and formal EMBA Graduation Ceremony, and The University of Alabama Commencement, the graduates and families toured the stadium, including the Crimson Tide locker room and tunnel.

During the ceremony all of the graduates were individually recognized.  In addition, special awards were given to Class MVPs Eric Janssen (HEMBA) and Chris Derksen (TEMBA) for reflecting the high ideals and standards of their class, being supportive of class and teammates and showing integrity and leadership ability.

Drs. Brian Gray and Ron Dulek were honored with the James F. Cashman Faculty Award for their advice, counsel, positive influence on students and high standards of integrity.

Drs. Don Minyard and Gary Taylor received the Executive MBA Faculty Excellence Awards for outstanding commitment to the EMBA Program through their exceptional instruction, generating a positive learning environment and creating a significant impact on student understanding.

The EMBA Ceremony concluded with Jennifer Thomas (EMBA 2014), President of the EMBA Alumni Network, welcoming the graduates into the Network of now 928 EMBA alumni. Roll Tide!

EMBA graduates line up for The University of Alabama Spring 2018 Commencement.

Congratulations, Executive MBA Class of 2018!

[L-R] EMBA 2018 graduates Jermaine West, Tyler Williams and Tory Wiles

  • Carolyn Berry, GEA/Roper Corporation
  • Molly Bray, AmerisourceBergen
  • Colton Campbell, Otis Elevator Company
  • Maren Cross, Daimler Mercedes-Benz U.S.
  • Joseph Culbert, Every Blade Solutions LLC
  • Chemeka Dabney, LP Building Products
  • Chris Derksen, Vulcan Materials Company
  • Daryl Evans, DEX Imaging
  • Christina Gordon, Druid City Hospital Health System
  • Matt Groves, BBVA
  • Eric Janssen, SportsMed, PC
  • Ben Johnson, CACI International Inc.
  • Dejarvas Kelly, Mercedes-Benz U.S.
  • Peter Kerr, ADTRAN, Inc.
  • Nancy Laster, DCH Health System
  • Mitchell Loper, Raymond James
  • Andy Maguire, NASA
  • Jake Mankin, The University of Alabama
  • Jason McConnell, RSM US
  • Felicia McKinney, The University of Alabama
  • John Meshensky, ManTech International Doster
  • Chris Overstreet, Doster Construction Company, Inc.
  • Christian Patel, Alabama Power Company
  • Derrica Poole, FIS Global
  • Kevin Porter, Consultant
  • Bethany Roberts, Books-A-Million
  • Drew Rollins, Star Asset Security

    Nora Woods (EMBA 2018)

  • Jenna Roney, Southern Company
  • Lacey Schoff, Oral Arts Dental Laboratories
  • Jason Sellars, UA Office of Veteran Affairs
  • Carl Vasilko, PAE
  • Justin Walker, Environmental 360, Inc.
  • Jermaine West, Barber Dairy
  • Tory Wiles, nou Systems Inc.
  • Tyler Williams, Parker Hannifin Corporation
  • Nora Woods, New Life Interfaith Ministries, Inc.

For more information on The University of Alabama Executive MBA Program, contact Cheryl Altemara at 205.348.4501 or caltemara@cba.ua.edu.

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Curry Named to Daimler AG Board of Directors

Curry at Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.

HEMBA 2013 graduate, Raymond “Ray” Curry of  Nashville, TN has been elected to the Daimler AG Supervisory Board at the 2018 Dieter Zetsche Annual Shareholders Meeting in Berlin. Following the voting of nearly 700 delegates from various Daimler plants and offices, Curry was approved for the five-year term. “I am excited about this opportunity and feel so blessed,” stated Curry.

His formal induction to the board will take place April 2018, after which he will also continue his role as a trade-union representative from outside Germany.

Per the German Co-determination law, the board consists of 20 members who have been selected by either shareholders or employees. As a member of the the Supervisory Board, Curry will aid in the monitoring of executive management, appointments to the Board of Management, and the approval of the Operative Planning Board.

Daimler AG is a Fortune 500 German multinational automotive corporation headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany. The company is responsible for renowned car brands such as Mercedes-Benz, Mercedes-AMG, Smart Car2Go, and the Mercedes-Benz bus.

To learn more about the UA EMBA Program and the international trip experience, contact Cheryl Altemara at caltemara@cba.ua.edu or call 205.348.0954. To request information now, click here.

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What’s On Your Bucket List?

We are scaling the sacred Inca religious site Machu Picchu at close to 8,000 feet. The effects of high altitude are being felt with each step we climb but it is worth experiencing the lack of oxygen.  The vastness and immense beauty of the 15th-century citadel in Peru is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

The University of Alabama Executive MBA Class of 2018 began their international trip to Peru and Ecuador by visiting Machu Picchu and Cusco on February 22. Machu Picchu’s glimpse into the Inca Empire’s crowning achievement is a creation of escarpments, terraces and giant walls surrounded by a vast vista. A roughly two-hour train ride followed by a two-hour bus ride delivers us to Cusco surrounding us in carved balconies, bold architecture, ruins, and the colorful Plaza de Armas. Students visited the local San Pedro Market, the Sacred Valley and sampled pisco, cuy (guinea pig) and purchased alpaca clothing.

From Cusco, the EMBAs traveled to Lima, Peru.  Coursework and culture co-mingled with company visits, a culinary class, and a chance to see Lima while biking or surfing.  The international trip is part of the students’ global business course taken in their final semester.

EMBA students visit Pamplona Alta community in Lima with MEDLIFE.

As part of the course, the EMBA class (combining  students from the graduating Huntsville and Tuscaloosa programs) work on a consulting project.  This year EMBA students worked with MEDLIFE, an American non-profit organization that partners with low-income communities in Latin America and Africa to improve their access to medicine, education, and community development initiatives, through Service Learning Trips and the MEDLIFE Project Fund.

Our EMBA Class of 2018 worked with MEDLIFE to deliver a long-term strategic plan to allow the organization to increase its income and to develop, implement and market a new Service Learning Trip. Currently, MEDLIFE focuses mainly on pre-med students but is looking to create new SLTs for students in other university disciplines.

After visiting with Retail Head Juan Carlos del Alcázar at Financiera Effectiva, Acting Executive Director Alberto Ñecco at ProInversion and meeting with Edo van Hassel an entrepreneur in Peru, the students departed for Guayaquil, Ecuador.

Guayaquil is the largest city and chief port of Ecuador. The beautiful Simón Bolívar promenade flows along the Guayas River, and the colorful Las Peñas homes, cafes, and shops surround and lead up to Santa Ana Hill where the chapel and lighthouse surrender to a magnificent view.

Visiting Sweet & Coffee in Guayaquil.

General Manager Andrés Casal and CFO Jose Antonio Ponce at Concorsio Nobis presented and invited the students to join them for a spectacular sunset view of the city.  Sweet & Coffee had packages of coffee for the students to take home after their manufacturing visit. The students also heard from Guillermo Lasso, CEO of Bank of Guayaquil, who ran for president of Ecuador in 2017, and VP-Marketing Communications & Corporate Affairs Sebastian Mantilla of Nestlé.

The international trip concluded at La Hacienda La Danesa. Students and guests heard from CEO of La Hacienda La Danesa Niels Olsen and CEO of New World Spirits Fernando Crespo.  The afternoon included a tour and history of the plantation, a sample of cacao nibs, and a farewell dinner in a tranquil setting.

Exploring Pinnacle Rock in the Galapagos.

So how do you finally end a trip that begins with a bucket list location? You offer an optional once-in-a-lifetime trip to the Galapagos Islands.  Thirty-one of the UA EMBA students and staff jumped at the opportunity to visit the Galapagos. On Santa Cruz and Bartolomé islands we encountered giant land and sea turtles, sea lions, stingrays, lizards, crabs and sharks. Locals say the sharks are so well-fed that they do not bother humans. We all made it back limbs intact.  North Seymour is for the birds and birders – a nesting ground for frigates and blue-footed boobies.  Exploring lava caves and climbing the volcanic cone Pinnacle Rock, left us all wishing we had more time.

The EMBA Class of 2018 will be completing their degrees in a few more weeks.  Graduation is May 5.  Without exception the international trip to Peru and Ecuador will be a highlight of their program. A bucket list of places to visit is unique to each person, but it should include some adventure. It should provide us with an experience not found in one’s ordinary life. It may even transform us and change our viewpoint. And, it should leave a lasting impression that when we look back on our time there, we would say how fortunate we have been.

To learn more about the UA EMBA Program and the international trip experience, contact Cheryl Altemara at caltemara@cba.ua.edu or call 205.348.0954. To request information now, click here.

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Kenneth Kelly Named Chairman and CEO of First Independence Bank of Detroit

First Independence Bank announced Kenneth Kelly (TEMBA 1998) as its new chairman and CEO on March 12. Kelly, whom the board of directors appointed in 2017, will be responsible for leading the bank’s financial operations and assets, policies and regulations as well as overseeing the company’s management infrastructure.

“As chairman and CEO, Kenneth brings deep and experienced business leadership to First Independence Bank. His knowledge, relationships, and expertise will be extremely valuable in leading the bank’s growth opportunities in Detroit,” said Linda Forte, member of the board of directors and chairwoman of the Human Resources Committee.

First Independence Bank is the 10th largest African-American-controlled commercial bank in the country (as evaluated by Black Enterprise in 2016). In a recent ratings report, the bank is a five-star ranked financial institution according to BAUERFINANCIAL™, which has conducted independent institution ratings and reporting since 1983.

Kelly has a breadth of business knowledge and financial experiences as a cross-functional leader. As a former business development manager at Southern Company who retired in 2017 after 27 years of service, he also held many leadership positions in the communities he has lived. He achieved success in a variety of roles across engineering, marketing, finance, supply chain, and acquisitions that included leading negotiations for solar projects totaling over $3.4 billion in partnership value.

“We were delighted to hear of Kenneth’s appointment and congratulate him on his success.  We are sure that under his great leadership, wisdom and guidance First Independence Bank will strive to much greater heights and achievements,” said Dr. Brian Gray, Associate Dean, Manderson Graduate School of Business.

Kelly earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Auburn University and his M.B.A. from the University of Alabama Executive MBA Program. He is married and has two children.

To learn more about our UA EMBA Alumni and how you can become a part of the next incoming class, contact Cheryl Altemara at caltemara@cba.ua.edu or call 205.348.4501. To request information now, click here.

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UA EMBA Class of 2019 Diversity Award Recipients

The Huntsville Executive MBA cohort of 2019, with an average of 15 years of combined work experience, can add two more accolades to its accomplishments: the UA EMBA Diversity Award. Awarded to an EMBA Student that exemplifies and upholds diversity, he or she may exhibit this diversity through educational and professional leadership, unique career goals, as well as ethnicity and citizenship. We are proud to announce the 2017 recipients, Rodrigo Gallegos and Denise Vickers.

“The value these candidates’ diverse backgrounds bring into our program was demonstrated right away at their cohort’s orientation. Denise wowed everyone with her video production skills, while Rodrigo conducted a quick Spanish language lesson and shared personal insights reflecting his deep love for his home country of Mexico”, stated Cheryl Altemara, EMBA Assistant Director.

Hailing from Mexico, Gallegos is a Purchasing Project Leader for Electrolux Major Appliances. He has dedicated 14 years to the company, functioning as a Purchasing Agent, Commodity Manager, and Purchasing Manager. His leadership roles have led him through Sweden to Canada and presently Nashville, TN. Gallegos’ professional fluency in English and Spanish, paired with his cross-functional team leadership make him an asset to any team and a candidate for the Diversity Award.

Vickers is the Vice President of News for WHNT News 19 in the Tennessee Valley. For the last 11 years she and her team of reporters, anchors, and photo journalists have been dedicated to covering the stories that help people. As a result, they have earned two Emmy awards for investigative journalism.  Vickers is an active member of the Huntsville community, advocating for those who are often ignored. Her work ethic and passion for unbiased storytelling are sure to make an impact in the program.

The University of Alabama EMBA is currently enrolling for the next EMBA class.  For more information on the UA EMBA Program and EMBA scholarships and awards contact Cheryl Altemara at caltemara@cba.ua.edu or call 205.348.4501. To request information now, click here. 

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Get Started On Your Dreams in 2018

As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” This statement is a pretty powerful thought if you think about what choices you have made to become the person you are today. What you prioritize in your life makes you “you,” and although everyone can improve or change themselves at any moment, a new year is the perfect time to analyze 2017 and turn ideas of the person that you want to become into reality.

According to YouGov’s study, although 32% of Americans did not make 2018 New Year’s resolutions, 68% of us did. 68% of us still believe in that “new year, new you,” idea, and I have to say – I’m one of them.

New Years resolution

Perhaps the 32% answered this way because of lack of time, a hectic work schedule, or family obligations, but if you don’t accomplish what you want to now, when are you ever going to do it? I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I have ever heard a family member, friend, or coworker tell me they had more free time than they knew what to do with.

There are always the eating healthier/getting fitter resolutions, but how do you want to make 2018 an impactful year for you? Do you want to become more knowledgeable about what other companies are doing or how to motivate your employees? Do you want to learn something new or completely change your career?

UA EMBA team consulting on an export strategy with one of our international corporate visits.

All of the things above that the average American wants to complete in 2018 take time and planning, but I have to say –a good number of these goals can be achieved through The University of Alabama Executive MBA Program. Yes, it is a time and financial commitment, and it definitely isn’t easy, but in our 2017 alumni survey, 99% said they would do it again.

I can safely say that my classmates and I read more – probably more than any of us expected, but we learned so much about other corporations that several of us were able to apply techniques from other industries to our own, or felt comfortable starting new businesses altogether. Eight percent of our classmates have started our own businesses and 15% are currently developing a start-up.

A sea of EMBA students on a foodie motorbike tour in Vietnam.

We did the EMBA program for different and/or multiple reasons, but being with the same people either one weekend a month for 21 months or around two weekends a month for 17 months brings you together.

The bonding could be cramming together over a project management quiz, with one person exclaiming the acronyms they used to remember processes, together acing a group presentation that you put your heart and soul into for weeks, or shouting at one another in glee as each one of our individual motorbike drivers raced through the streets of Vietnam with you on the back.

Katie and me on graduation day in May 2017. ROLL TIDE!

For me – I met one of my best friends in the EMBA Program – and she’s actually a bridesmaid in my wedding!

Even if you come from a business background, you are going to learn a new skill that you don’t have now. It could be nonlinear optimization, negotiating, or blending infographics into a presentation seamlessly. Or possibly Project Libre, Minitab, or Excel Solver. The words I use in my writing became less poetic and more analytical, and although I found myself to be a strong presenter, there is always room for improvement!

Several classmates of mine moved to different companies or industries, and although I stayed at The University of Alabama, I received two promotions during the 17 months of my program. Many alumni can say the same, with 79% receiving promotions (average number is 3.3 promotions per student) and 98% receiving an increase in pay, with 8% stating they make at least twice as much as when they were a student. Others loved and wanted to stay in their current jobs but wanted to add to their skillsets, with 13% now serving on a corporate board of directors, and 29% serving on a non-profit board.

It’s 2018, what is it that you want to do? Whatever it is, make an action plan and get started. One of my favorite Walt Disney quotes is, “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” You owe it to yourself to be courageous in this new year, and work on the person that you want to become, starting today. ❤︎

To learn more about the UA EMBA Program and how you can apply, contact Hayley Ray McNeill at hrmcneill@cba.ua.edu or call 205.348.0954. To request information now, click here.

Sourcehttps://www.statista.com/chart/12386/the-most-common-new-years-resolutions-for-2018/

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2017 Ends in Gratitude for UA EMBA

If there was ever a time when everyone in our EMBA office gets all mushy, sentimental and nostalgic — it’s right before The University of Alabama Holiday break. It also doesn’t hurt to have snow blanket the campus, even though it may last only one day in December, to signal good cheer, Christmas tidings, Roll Tide and gratitude.

I have so much to be thankful for this year, beginning with an EMBA team who are so passionate about what they do and how much they care about others. To the ladies of EMBA — you have become family and dear friends and it is an honor to work with you.

Our EMBAs traveled to Saigon, Vietnam, Singapore and Koh Samui, Thailand this year. It is always wonderful to experience a new country with our EMBAs. We rode elephants, traveled the Mekong River, visited companies, sampled exotic cuisine and braver souls (braver than I) drank snake wine. Vietnam was my 39th country to visit with EMBAs.  I am looking forward to making it 40 next year when we visit Ecuador.

We celebrated the graduation of our 2017 class and ushered in our 34th TEMBA and 10th HEMBA class. Our EMBA Alumni Network had record-setting attendance at all of their events from Family Day at Regions Field, the Roll Tide Tailgate and the EMBA Alumni Network Annual Conference. We ended the year of celebrations with a 10th Anniversary HEMBA Luncheon in Huntsville. Seeing so many alumni from all the HEMBA classes made the day incredibly special.

2017 has been amazing and we look forward to 2018 with an emphasis on giving.  The EMBA Alumni Network Board, headed by our new President Jennifer Thomas (EMBA 2014), along with Board members: John Nettles, Russ Chambliss, Russell Shamburger and Russ Elrod (or, as we like to say in our office, Russ to the third power), are focusing on giving back and paying forward. We ask our EMBAs to join with us in taking part in mentoring, building our women’s initiatives, promoting the program and giving to the The Brian A. Rankin Executive MBA Endowed Scholarship.

Thank you to all our EMBA students, alumni, staff, faculty, friends and corporate partners.  We are grateful to have you as a part of our UA EMBA family.

Happy Holidays and Roll Tide!

Donna Blackburn, Director, EMBA Program

The University of Alabama will be closed for the Holiday Break from December 21, 2017 to January 2, 2018.  For more information on the UA EMBA Program contact Cheryl Altemara at caltemara@cba.ua.edu or call 205.348.4501. To request information now, click here. 

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