Setting the Bar – Ben Paulk Receives First EMBA Alumnus of the Year Award

Benjamin Paulk (TEMBA 2012) received the first EMBA Alumnus of the Year award from The University of Alabama Executive MBA Alumni Network at the annual conference on October 5.  He is a Senior Product Manager at BBVA Compass Bank. He is responsible for supporting strategic direction and execution of business plans focused on the evolution and delivery of Commercial Card products.

Ben served in several positions on the EMBA Alumni Network Board from 2013-2016. During his tenure as President of the board (2015-2016), he championed the family day event at Regions Field in Birmingham, pushed for more alumni events, and promoted the EMBA Alumni on-line store, where alumni can purchase branded apparel while supporting the program.

Paulk receives Alumnus Award from Russ Shamburger, EMBA Alumni Network Past President (2017-2018).

The award recognizes graduates of the UA EMBA Program who have had, or continue to have, a significant impact on the program. In selecting the recipient, the EMBA Alumni Network Board consider overall contribution and promotion of the EMBA Program, efforts to help other EMBA alumni, the longevity of engagement and involvement in enhancing the program experience for students and faculty.

We were fortunate to have an interview with Mr. Paulk and chat with him about his experiences in the EMBA Alumni Network and his new award.

Some people get overwhelmed with performing the duties of their jobs and having families. What piece of advice would you give someone who is wanting to get more involved with the EMBA Alumni Network but doesn’t think they have the time?

I understand the constant demands that we all have on our time. And I know that everyone who has been through the program is capable of managing competing and worthwhile priorities. For me personally, I like to think of where I can have the most significant impact with my time, and I cannot think of a more worthwhile endeavor than promoting this program. The EMBA Program literally changes people’s lives. It’s not only transformative regarding people’s careers, but I have talked to many alumni who share my sentiment, that it has changed the way they view the world.

Another thing to note is that there are multiple ways to be involved. If you cannot serve on the board, you can share ideas with the board. They are always looking for ways to strengthen the network. You could mentor a current student to help them through the transition process, helping them to remain in the program. You could also give to the Brian Rankin scholarship fund, which will help a student struggling with the financial decision to enroll. In place of those options, simply attending an event during the year helps us to generate excitement and promote the program, while networking with classmates and other alumni. If nothing else, place some promotional material on your desk. I have had countless conversations about the program because I keep a copy of the latest view book on my desk. 

What are some hopes that you have for the future of the EMBA program?

I envision the EMBA Program growing over the coming years with the highest caliber students. I believe the faculty and staff have created a world-class program that creates meaningful value for students. I think we also have a unique opportunity in the future to leverage the substantial growth of the University and the Culverhouse College of Business. All of this should create a robust and active alumni network, where we add value to the program by creating networking opportunities, recruiting the best students, and providing career enhancement opportunities. All of this generates a virtuous cycle where the alumni network enhances the program, and the program builds up the alumni network.     

Were you surprised about receiving the award?

This was a humbling experience. Beyond being the first recipient and not knowing about the award, when I think of all of the accomplished alumni that I have met and heard of, I count myself lucky just to have been part of the program and this group. It was a complete shock.

What motivates you to be so active in the program?

I believe in the power of education to change lives. When I think about the arc of my life, which really begins with my parents and now extends to my children, I clearly see the impact of education. This program has helped me in my career, and the effects on my livelihood cannot be overstated. However, it has helped me think about the way I see the world in a whole new light. I had experiences that changed me in a profound way. I have met so many wonderful people through the program that have helped me develop, professionally and personally. When you experience something like that, how could you not want to share it? What motivates me, is that I know other lives are waiting to be changed.  

What brought you to the program?

Initially, it was a degree that I felt I needed to advance in my career. As I looked at job postings, I saw MBA preferred listed on most of the positions I was interested in. I have talked to others who enter the program for the credential, while others really need to fill a gap in their formal education. When I began the program, I was surprised to see people with medical or law backgrounds, and entrepreneurs that need particular skill sets to run their business. But I have found that no matter why someone enters the program, invariable they feel it was worth it in the end. In fact, I have never met anyone who has completed the program that regrets it.  

What does this award mean to you?

When I received the award, I thought about all of the wonderful people I have met and worked with since graduating. I cannot say enough about all of the hard work that Dr. Gray, Donna, Cheryl, Hayley, and Linda have put into making this program what it is. I have also worked with great professionals on the Alumni Network Board who have created something meaningful out of ideas. I have also had the opportunity to see recruits enter the program, graduate, and become involved in the alumni network. I just feel grateful to be a small part in all of this.

What is one of your greatest highlights while in the program and participating in the Alumni Network?

While I had many great and unforgettable experiences in the classroom and on the international trip, the thing that sticks out most in my mind are the indelible relationships that I have formed. One of my classmates is a very close friend. I have gotten to know so many people, and we are watching each other’s lives unfold, and children grow up. We see each other’s careers advance and celebrate each other’s successes. That’s not something I had set out to do in the program but is a natural consequence of being involved.

Where do you see yourself in the future and how will you utilize your MBA to get there?

The MBA has helped me in my career in a myriad of ways, but the most visible are the advancements, promotions, and opportunities it has opened up for me. I don’t know precisely what I will be doing  5-10 years from now. But I recall on the day of orientation, we were asked to write down professional and personal goals. I have achieved most of them, but I am not finished yet. This program has given me the tools and skills needed to attempt and pursue greater ones.

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. 

Posted in EMBA Alumni Network, EMBA Elite Spotlight Series | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

UA EMBA Alumnus Kenneth Kelly Named to FDIC Advisory Committee

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) announced that Kenneth Kelly has been selected as one of seven new members for its Advisory Committee on Community Banking, which has been providing advice and recommendations to the FDIC on a broad range of community bank policy and regulatory matters since its establishment in 2009.

Kelly is Chairman and CEO of First Independence Bank in Detroit and is a 1998 graduate of The University of Alabama’s Executive MBA Program.

The seven new members will join 11 existing members. The FDIC Advisory Committee members represent a cross-section of community bankers from around the country. The Advisory Committee on Community Banking discusses and provides input to the FDIC on a wide variety of topics, including current examination policies and procedures, credit and lending practices, deposit insurance assessments, insurance coverage and regulatory compliance.

For more information on the Advisory Committee on Community Banking and committee members, see press release at https://www.fdic.gov/news/news/press/2018/pr18073.html

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. 

Posted in UA EMBA Latest News/Events | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

EMBAs “Roll” Back to Tuscaloosa for Networking Conference

DSC_2686

Alumni of The University of Alabama’s Executive MBA Program made the journey back to Tuscaloosa on October 4th-5th, 2018 for the fifth annual EMBA Alumni Network Conference. In attendance were alumni from the 1986 class through to our current EMBA students, along with a host of guest speakers, EMBA faculty and staff. The EMBAAN conference was a two-day event filled with excitement, scholarship, and of course, that unforgettable Crimson Tide spirit!

The conference kicked off with a reception at the beautiful River restaurant overlooking the Black Warrior River. Alumni, faculty, and guests reunited and enjoyed the amazing view from the terrace.

DSC_2608

Dr. Brian Gray welcomes Andy Maguire (HEMBA 2018) back to campus.

The second day of the conference was held at the Bryant Conference Center where attendees met to discuss innovative ideas, entrepreneurship, and the future of the program.

The conference began with a warm welcome from Dr. Kay Palan, dean of the Culverhouse College of Business at The University of Alabama. Addressing the attendees with a short overview of herself, her family, and her diverse career path, she ended with exciting new updates for the college and the announcement of the construction of a new building to be named for one of Culverhouse’s most prestigious alumni: Marillyn Hewson, chairman, president and CEO of Lockheed Martin Corp.

Following Dr. Palan, Russell Chambliss, a TEMBA 2006 Alumni and the 2018-2019 EMBA Alumni Network president addressed all of the attendees with some exciting, yet bittersweet news. Dr. J. Brian Gray, associate dean of Manderson Graduate School of Business, will be stepping down from his daily duties as Associate Dean to spend more time in the classroom teaching EMBA and MBA students. He will focus on his research, and of course, relaxing with his family and grandchildren. Russell presented Dr. Gray with an award from the EMBAAN to commemorate his dedication and service to the program.

Russell Chambliss (TEMBA 2006) and presenter Mary Drennen, Nourish Foods.

The themes for this year’s conference were entrepreneurship, innovation, networking, paying it forward, and giving back.

Keynote addresses and speakers gave enlightening presentations and focused their energy on providing the attendees with the good, the bad, and the ugly regarding the processes behind starting your own business and keeping it up and running, and most importantly, profitable!

Alumni heard from leaders of G Momma Cookies, Nourish Foods, International Crating & Assembly, Atlas Senior Living, Stringfellow Technology Group and Blue Dawg and Financial Imaging.

DSC_2728 (1)

Ben Paulk and Russell Shamburger

In the afternoon, EMBAAN Past President Russell Shamburger (TEMBA 2004) presented Ben Paulk (TEMBA 2012) the first EMBA Alumnus of the Year Award.

In his acceptance speech, Paulk expressed his overwhelming joy for being in the EMBA program and stressed the importance of remaining active and involved even after graduation.

In addition, outgoing EMBAAN board member and secretary, Russ Elrod (HEMBA 2013) and Past President Russell Shamburger were recognized for their service to the Board.

After some important updates about the program and alumni activities from Donna Blackburn, director, and Cheryl Altemara, assistant director of the EMBA Program, Chambliss presented his closing remarks and his goals for the EMBA Alumni Network for the 2018-2019 academic year focusing on network growth, strengthening initiatives like mentoring, and assisting with recruiting.

To learn more about the UA EMBA Alumni Network 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.

 

Posted in EMBA Alumni Network | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

UA EMBA Alumni Network Conference To Focus on Business Owners

It’s fall at The University of Alabama, and for the EMBA Program that means our students along with our alumni are returning to campus.  The EMBA Alumni Network will be holding their annual conference October 4-5 in Tuscaloosa.

Entrepreneurship, innovation, networking and paying forward/giving back will be the themes covered at the conference. Hear the stories from owners who are passionate about their companies. Learn how they created and built their businesses, the roadblocks, successes, and strategy for continuing success.

Featured speakers:

  • Founder and Owner Robert Armstrong whose company G Momma Cookies took honors this year in the Alabama Launchpad Competition.
  • Co-Founder and President Mary Drennen began Nourish Foods in Birmingham featuring Southern-inspired meals and now ships to 40 states.
  • A panel of UA EMBAs who are owners representing International Crating & Assembly, Atlas Senior Living, and Stringfellow Technology Group.

It is more than just a day of learning and inspiration. It’s also an opportunity to network and catch up with classmates and faculty.

We’re proud to bring together our community of EMBA alumni, students and prospects to learn, get inspired, and grow better together.  Welcome Back, Alumni, and Roll Tide!

To register for the UA EMBA Alumni Network Conference click here or call Donna Blackburn at dblackburn@cba.ua.edu.

Posted in EMBA Alumni Network, UA EMBA Latest News/Events | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

HEMBA Class of 2020 Begins

The University of Alabama HEMBA Class of 2020

If it is August, you will find The University of Alabama Executive MBA staff busy getting ready for the incoming Huntsville EMBAs. The HEMBAs arrived in Tuscaloosa for orientation and their first classes August 1-4.

Before the students begin their first semester classes: Statistics, Accounting, Marketing and Project Management, they spend a day team building and getting to know each other.

At orientation, we focus on how our students can be successful in the program, using academic research and work with our own students on team and individual success, reciprocity, and coaching.  Teams also get a head start in creating their team charters which strongly emphasize their goals and commitments.

Also, the HEMBA 2020 class took part in the traditional EMBA Scavenger Hunt on the UA campus.  Every landmark on our campus, from Denny Chimes, to Bryant-Denny Stadium, President’s House, to Coleman Coliseum was documented with selfies taken by our HEMBA teams.

Twenty-two students make up the 11th Huntsville cohort. They represent 14 different industries, including retail, services, defense, aeronautics, manufacturing, healthcare, distribution and IT.  Fifteen percent are vice presidents/owners, 85 percent managers, and 48 percent are military or veterans – setting a record.

The HEMBAs will join the 35th Tuscaloosa cohort starting in November 2018 to complete the EMBA Class of 2020.

Congratulations to our incoming HEMBA Class of 2020. Roll Tide!

  • Alanna Aaron, Forever 21
  • Chad Brennan, Dynetics, Inc.
  • Jeremy Chism, Science & Engineering Services (SES)
  • Mike DeWerff, Motion Industries
  • Cynthia Dempsey, ZoomCare
  • Danielle DeVaney, The Boeing Company
  • Gilbert Goscicki, BASF
  • Joey Holdmeyer, Sonoco Products Company
  • Gabe Lewis, Leidos
  • Jim Lopresti, Yulista Aviation
  • Julie Mathis, Futaba Corporation of America
  • Brian McCormick, Parker Hannafin
  • Louis McMillian, USAAMCOM
  • Phil Monkress, All Points Logistics, LLC
  • Robert Post, Diversified Gas & Oil Corporation
  • David Ramirez, Ruag Space USA
  • Jennifer Ridgeway, PPG Aerospace
  • Stephen Schlanger, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts U.S.
  • Adam Stephens, Smith Infiniti of Huntsville
  • Wilson Townsend, Schneider Electric
  • Mandy Watts, B. Braun Interventional Systems
  • Ted Yonke, ThyssenKrupp Materials

For more information on how you can enroll and become a student in the UA EMBA Program, contact Cheryl Altemara at caltemara@cba.ua.edu or call 205.348.4501. To request information now, click here. 

Posted in UA EMBA Latest News/Events | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Ray Curry Elected to No. 2 Job at UAW

Ray Curry, a graduate of the Executive MBA Class of 2013 at The University of Alabama, has been elected Secretary-Treasurer at UAW.  Assuming the number two spot, Ray will serve for the next four years, overseeing financial operations for the 430,000 member organization.

Ray began the EMBA Program as assistant director of UAW/Region 8 and was quickly promoted to director.  In April he was named to the Daimler AG Board of Directors.

Prior to his move to Detroit, Ray met last week with Connie Chambers, director of corporate partnerships for the Manderson Graduate School, and Donna Blackburn, director of EMBA. “I am excited about the week ahead and the opportunity that awaits me,” said Ray.  “I’m thankful for completing the EMBA program, it definitely prepared me for last role and the new role as our organization’s chief financial officer.”

Ray has been an active alumnus of the EMBA Program. He has met with prospects, been involved with recruitment events, and advised incoming students.

According to EMBA classmate Jon Yobs, pricing director at Science Applications International, “Working with Ray was always a highlight of our program for me. I am not surprised that Ray has risen to the highest ranks of his organization because he always treated his colleagues with the highest level of respect. I’m proud to say he’s a friend of mine, and I’m glad to hear he’s doing so well at UAW. He’s a wonderful guy and will do great things!”

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

Posted in EMBA Elite Spotlight Series, UA EMBA Latest News/Events | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in UA EMBA Latest News/Events | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment