From Facebook photo albums to iPhone videos, it seems the majority of our everyday experiences and memories live in a digital format. But what do we do with treasured family archives from previous generations: home movies, cassette tapes, slides, baby books? All too often, the memories recorded within these assets lie dormant, as they can only be shared in person or with the aid of devices that have been obsolete for decades.
Peggybank was founded to make such archives easily accessible, and Portland State alum Marcia Kapustin (MBA 2010) is now helping people preserve and share cherished family memories through her work as President and COO of Peggybank. A former touring director and producer for musical artists and bands such as Paul McCartney, Metallica and U2, Marcia now utilizes her entertainment background and MBA experience to usher cherished memories out of boxes and into a modern, crisp and easily shared digital format.
Many Americans face significant barriers to following a healthy diet, and it’s an important issue that three Portland State MBA alumni are trying to resolve through their start-up venture, My Street Grocery. Initially named “Fork in the Road,” the venture started out as a project while Amelia Pape (MBA 2011) was taking Charla Mathwick’s “Pioneering Innovation” course. It had an initial goal of addressing urban “food deserts” — communities with little or no access to fresh produce, dairy and other healthy foods. The solution? A mobile, food stamp-authorized grocer that would bring healthy food options into underserved communities.
Later, Amelia teamed up with classmate Colin Gallison (MBA 2011), and they entered the 2011 New Venture Championship competition, winning $1,000 for Best Written Business Plan and $1,500 for the Oregon Entrepreneurs Network (OEN) Lightning Round. They were soon joined by fellow PSU MBA alum Eric Johnson (MBA 1999), who had experience managing daily delivery of milk, eggs and other fresh food to nearly 400 7-Eleven stores in the Pacific Northwest and Bay Area.
Along the way, the venture received valuable assistance from Portland State’s Social Innovation Incubator (SII), which included networking support, professional service resources and guidance from other mission-based organizations. In October 2011, the team launched its pilot program, conducting more than a dozen stand-style markets — complete with pre-assembled meal kits and recipes — to affordable housing communities around Portland.
“The Portland State MBA program had a hand in every part of the decision to start this venture,” said Amelia. “From our classmates to the professors to the dean — people have really rallied behind us.”
The level of support from the PSU community became evident with a recent Kickstarter fundraising campaign that yielded nearly $13,000 to support the purchase or lease of a branded truck for additional mobile markets.
“The support and network has been huge for us,” added Colin, who was quick to credit faculty members such as Charla Mathwick and Cindy Cooper for their guidance and business connections.
When Greg Price, MBA class of 2009, was approached by the PSU business school to participate in a National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA) program in Nicaragua, he was asked to "go to Nicaragua and innovate, with a focus on sustainability and poverty reduction."
From this experience in Nicaragua, Price saw an opportunity to develop a study-abroad curriculum at PSU around micro-enterprise and micro-finance. The new program allowed PSU to work with impoverished communities in Nicaragua to improve their quality of life, while offering students the opportunity to make a real impact with a hands-on immersion course. The program entails students traveling to Managua and surrounding areas to study local micro-enterprises and micro-renewable technologies' impact on economic and social development and environmental stewardship.
Micro-finance is a very important community development tool that is leveraged by entrepreneurs and enterprises in developing countries across the globe.
"My idea was to take experience I had getting immersed with the communities and the culture, take the resources we had, with the students and potential donors, sponsors and the university, and leverage those to build new curriculum to add to the MBA at PSU," Price explains.
For the inaugural Micro-Enterprise trip to Nicaragua, Price used industry connections in renewable energy he made when he founded a renewable energy firm, New Roots Energy, while earning his MBA at PSU. Sunlight Solar Energy partnered with New Roots Energy and donated five solar panels to the PSU program to help offset the costs of the initial development projects.
The PSU business student participants included eight Master of Business Administration and three Master of International Management students. The student participants worked closely with two non-profits, AsoFenix and Green Empowerment, to identify needs within the communities and help install the solar panels. The students were challenged with creating a business model to generate extra value from solar panels for farmers.
The solar panels donated by Sunlight Solar Energy were installed on houses in the communities that the students stayed in, and provided much needed electricity for lights, cooking and farm equipment. In addition, the solar panels were used to create a revolving loan program.
"One foundational learning experience in international development and community development is that you cant do give-aways. If you give something away, there is no value to it," Price explains. "We created payment methods that made sense to the communities and everybody else involved, and we created as much value as we could. This allows the communities to take pride in owning the panels and ensures that they are maintained. Every dollar we bring through PSU for the program goes back into this fund that Asofenix manages. Now, every time we go back, we have that pool to work out of for future projects."
Portland State business students worked with Portland Roasting Co. on a strategy to market the company as the top sustainable choice for socially and environmentally responsible consumers. Students conducted six months of research on the Oregon coffee micro-roasters’ Farm Friendly Direct program. The result of the collaboration was a case study that has won first-place honors at the prestigious oikos Global Case Writing Competition in corporate sustainability.
The three Master of Business Administration students and one Master of International Management student participated in a Case Study Fellowship, a select program in PSU’s Center for Global Leadership in Sustainability. The team met with Portland Roasting executives to assess their programs and provide strategic recommendations. Some team members even traveled to Central America to meet with suppliers and gain perspective on the company and industry.
Mellie Pullman, an associate professor of supply chain management and logistics at PSU, submitted the study and has been a driving force behind bringing sustainability-related case studies to Portland State.
“There are only a handful of universities in the United States that offer this case study opportunity to their students,” said Pullman. “In fact, Portland State was the only student team entered for this award and competed against more than 40 submissions from faculty teams.”
Pullman aims to make PSU known for sustainable business cases.
“Case studies expose students to real-world concepts. They have to deal with problems as if they are insiders in the company, which trains them to be decision makers,” said Pullman.
Mark Langston, an MBA student on the team said his group “brought a fresh set of eyes to a current business challenge. We were able to do a tremendous amount of concentrated research around the industry; talk to current and past customers, suppliers and industry experts; and then synthesize that information into some key business recommendations.”
Paul Gilles is the vice president of operations for Portland Roasting, a wholesale, internet and retail distributor. “It benefitted us to have someone outside the company use their expertise and give us their perception. They felt we weren’t selling our message strongly enough and weren’t differentiating enough. We took all of the recommendations provided and made changes to how we present the program.”
Not only do PSU students and regional businesses benefit but this case study is now being used by faculty and students in classrooms around the world.
Dave’s Killer Bread’s vision is to make the world a better place, one loaf of bread at a time.
With that vision in mind, PSU MBA students worked with NatureBake, Dave’s Killer Bread parent company to look at the environmental impacts of one loaf of Good Seed Bread.
Internal reflection and personal redemption have been the driving force behind Dave’s Killer Bread. NatureBake was founded in Portland, Oregon by James Dahl in 1955 with the goal of being innovative in their use of whole grains and sprouted grains in their breads. NatureBake has grown to become a regional landmark in the bread industry, and is now run by three generations of the Dahl family. In 2005, James’ son, Dave, returned to the family business after years of being in and out of prison. He has followed his father’s footsteps of innovation by creating the Dave’s Killer Bread line of products.
Recently, other regional and national bakeries have launched organic brands, focused on environmentally sustainable agriculture and the reduction of facility admissions. While sustainability has always been part of NatureBake’s values, they felt they could continue to adapt, identifying what actions should be taken in order to retain a competitive advantage within the marketplace.
With this in mind, Portland State MBA Students Kylene Fickenscher, Adam Kohl, Ken Waineo, and Nate Young worked with NatureBake to analyze the life cycle of Good Seed Bread. The analysis was defined by those process functions over which Dave’s Killer Bread and NatureBake had immediate control and ability to change. In addition, the MBA team developed potential strategies for reducing the company’s impact via environmental and financial return on investment, feasibility, and impact on facility operations.
The end result was a plan that provided Dave’s Killer Bread with information that could be utilized to make rational, informed decisions that would lead to an improved social and ecological footprint for the facility and help Dave’s achieve its vision statement. This statement, and the values that underlie it, clearly permeate the entire organization, and help to drive strategic decisions as well.
In addition, the project established a baseline from which Dave’s Killer Bread can measure future performance. If, for instance, a capital project is undertaken, Dave’s Killer Bread can measure the effect relative to the baseline assessment. Particularly with intensity metrics or per loaf calculations provided for each input, Dave’s Killer Bread can measure its progress in future years regardless of growth.
Dave’s Killer Bread can also develop a robust marketing strategy to tell the story of its commitment to sustainability. There is a large and growing consumer base that is attentive to environmental concerns and most would be happy to make the switch to their products if they were aware of their environmental management practices.
Larry Remmers | Senior Vice President
“It's gratifying to be associated with a business school that not only has top-tier program and academic aspirations on a national level, but has effectively connected with the Portland business community to advance shared interests, deliver relevant research and provide skilled graduates able to meet the demands of a highly competitive workplace.” In addition to mentoring, Larry has served as an Executive in Residence and hired MBA students. He has also participated in Business Consulting Projects with Portland State MBA students and critiqued the 2007 NAIOP Challenge. He also serves on the Center for Real Estate Board and Business Advisory Council.
Amelia Pape | Founder
"Before beginning the PSU MBA program, I knew very little about the field of social enterprise. Now, thanks to classes like Charla Mathwick's Pioneering Innovation and Cindy Cooper's Social Entrepreneurship, opportunities like the Impact Entrepreneurs Social Enterprise Tour to India, and incredibly supportive faculty members who I still call mentors and friends, I am proud to call myself a social entrepreneur. PSU's MBA program provided the nurturing and challenging environment I needed to learn not only about a new field, but also about my own goals and passions. The school has really rallied aroundMy Street Grocery and gone above and beyond to support us through steadfast encouragement and opportunities. This combination of strong academics and networks with personal attention is truly unique." MBA Alum from 2011, Amelia continues to be extremely engaged with the PSU community.
Lake Oswego, OR
Brad Gevurtz | Head of Investment Banking
“Portland State’s MBA students are hard working and dedicated. The greatest benefit of being connected with the MBA program is meeting the students, the Board of Advisors and the Dean.” Brad has helped students connect within his industry since 2006. Brad often gives informational interviews to students and has been a guest lecturer. Brad is on the Business Advisory Council and frequently attends functions to network and share his experience with students.
Anil Mathur | CEO
“Working with Portland State's MBA program gives me access to local and very talented folks.” Anil has worked with the MBA program since 2008. He has served as an Executive in Residence and is also a member of the Business Advisory Council.
Hood River, OR
Charlie Devereux | Founder
Charlie graduated from the Portland State MBA in 2004 and credits the MBA program with helping him learn basic skills -- like how to read a financial statement, strategic planning and marketing; “When you’re an entrepreneur, you have to make those [strategic] decisions with a small group or by yourself. The MBA gives you the background to understand those decisions and to understand the risks. I learned how to talk to bankers and investors in an educated and confident way.”
Doug Fieldhouse | President and CEO
In addition to his work as a Business Advisory Council member and serving as an Executive in Residence, Doug has mentored students who are interested in entrepreneurship. He has provided MBA students with several business consulting projects, such as assisting Vesta with an assessment of its growth opportunities in payment processing.
Randy Koch | Chairman
“For ‘sustainable companies’ to be truly sustainable, a company must be both economically and environmentally sustainable. In B-Line's case, we needed to show that our deliveries save companies real money as well as execute sustainable deliveries. The PSU team built a delivery cost calculator in which both B-Line and our clients (or prospective clients) enter in basic delivery data, and the calculator displays the exact points where companies will save money by using B-Line versus their existing van/truck delivery method. In summary, the PSU team nailed it. They were professional, competent, and most importantly they were respected by our customers.”
Martyn Etherington | VP, Worldwide Marketing
"A top notch faculty starts at the top with a top-notch Dean who not only is well connected to major businesses and key commercial influencers in town, but has also been leading the way in positioning PSU MBA program internationally." Martyn has advocated for Portland State’s School of Business Administration since 2007, and currently chairs the Business Advisory Council. Tektronix has provided generous funding to the School of Business, as well as jobs and internships to business students.
Kathy Prosser | Worldwide Partner
"MBA students are open minded, desire to engage and learn, set high standards and juggle many things at once which is quite impressive!” PSU alum Kathy Prosser has engaged with Portland State MBA students by sharing her expertise at Executive Briefings and as an Executive in Residence. Kathy is a member of the school’s Business Advisory Council, and enjoys the progressive leadership and the level of community engagement with the school and students.
Steve Skillings | Founder & Inventor
"An education doesn’t give you the answer, all it does is it exposes you to all of these problems and solutions. In the workforce, you have to apply those skills you learn to new problems. One of my favorite sayings is 'Wisdom is knowledge correctly applied.' At PSU, there were opportunities to show whether you had the wisdom or not. Our professors were running us through these exercises to move us beyond the knowledge — the stuff we learn in books. The rigorous use and exposure to case studies really helped me move beyond just knowledge, and apply wisdom to business problems." Steve is an MBA alum from the class of 1999.
Scott South | President & CEO
“Portland State’s MBA students are well prepared for relevant business policies, challenges, strategies and tactical issues for multiple reasons-including the faculty’s interest to listening to and engaging local business executives. The education these MBA students receive is tailored to meet the demands and spirit of business.” Scott has worked with Portland State students since 1998. He has served as a mentor, guest lecturer, and member of the Business Advisory Council.
Lorie Wigle | General Manager of Eco-Technology
A 1989 MBA alum, Lorie Wigle, recently received the Sustainable Business Oregon Leadership Award for leading sustainable design and manufacturing of Intel products. In 2010 she was the featured presenter at Portland State's International Conference on Business and Sustainability organized by the School of Business Administration's Center for Global Leadership in Sustainability.
Scott Langley | President & CEO
“The greatest attributes of the MBA program also relate to business community integration and a world class campus. As a result, the real world experience of the full time/adjunct professors and the tempered nature of the students experience forge a much more mature, experienced and sophisticated student already immersed in their chosen profession.” Scott is a member and Chair for the Center for Real Estate. He has mentored students and been a guest lecturer in class. He has also provided internships, hired, and participated in business projects with MBA students.
Gordon Brinser | President
"It's gratifying to help develop the very MBA program that equipped me with some of the skills and insights I have needed in assuming greater responsibilities as a leader in a renewable-energy industry. Never before has the country needed more potential leaders in environmentally sustainable businesses." SolarWorld, the nation's largest and most experienced U.S. manufacturer or crystalline silicon solar electric panels, recently completed ramping up a former semiconductor factory into a solar technology manufacturing plant with more than 1,000 workers and 500 MW of annual production capacity. The company also operates a 250-employee plant in Camarillo, where it has operated since the 1970s.
Jacen Greene | Development and Finance Analyst
Jacen started out as an intern at Sustainable Harvest Coffee Importers while in the MBA program. He was then hired as a Development and Finance Analyst there. Since graduating, he has worked with Cindy Cooper to become one of the first members of the Social Innovation Incubator and is now working with Professor Darrel Brown to develop a new sustainable harvest tool.
Don J. Hendrickson | Sr Financial Manager
"I have enjoyed the positive engagements with the talented students, faculty and leadership at Portland State’s School of Business. I have hosted many interns from the School of Business over the years and many of those interns have become long term team members of The Boeing Company. The greatest attributes of the Portland State MBA are the diversity of students and faculty in the program and the work experience the students have going into the MBA program.”
Don has been involved with Portland state for approximately 15 years. He has mentored students, lectured in classes, participated in business projects, provided internships and jobs as well as been the Boeing Company Executive focal to PSU in addition to serving on the Business Advisory Council.
Adam Ware | Managing Partner
Portland State MBA students Troy Freeman, Jason Guchereau, Kelly Thorsell and Kirsten Wayne provided SwellPath with easily implemented organizational structure and pricing options that allowed them to capture greater revenue. “The MBA program supported us on a number of issues facing the organization as it entered its second year of existence. The students gave us a valuable and educated outside perspective on SwellPath's organizational structure and service offering. We continue to reference and utilize discussions and financial models derived from the project’s deliverables.”
Chris Cooper | Project Manager
The Standard’s Chris Cooper, 2006 Portland State MBA alumni and member of the Graduate Business Program Alumni Ambassadors Council, has been mentoring MBA and MIM program students since 2008. Chris enjoys the experience of meeting new students, discussing their career and educational goals, and introducing them to other business leaders. Chris has also served on the board of the PSU Alumni Association since 2008.
Paul Anthony | Founder & CEO
Portland State MBAs Jenny Ostoj, Elizabeth Bivens-Smith, Marcia Kapustin, and Skai Dancey presented CEO Paul Anthony with a channel expansion plan, uncovering a new vertical channel opportunity.
Jason Busch | Executive Director
“OWET’s partnership with PSU’s Graduate Business Program is an important strategic initiative, which will aid the development of the wave energy industry in Oregon. I am very happy with the results of PSU’s talented MBA students and am excited to continue pairing them with wave technology startups. This mutually beneficial partnership gives students the opportunity to contribute to the development of an industry with tremendous potential to be a long-term clean energy solution for Oregon and the world”. Jason initiated a partnership with PSU’s Graduate Business Programs in 2010 after viewing a Market Entry Strategy report produced for local wave startup, M3 LLC, by a team of students in PSU’s Master of International Management (MIM) program.
Amber Nyssen | Director
"The MBA program at Portland State gave me an understanding of many areas of the business and vocabulary to be able to participate in these global interactions." MBA Alum from 2010, Amber was a Portland Business Journal Forty Under 40 winner an continues to epitomize the mission and values of the MBA.
Rick Steber | Owner & Writer
"The Capstone Project is a very deserving program which gives students a taste of the real world and gives companies the advantage of having some of the brightest students use their educational background to help companies enhance our business marketing plans.” Stated Rick who recently worked with Portland State students Oscar Leeper and Ryan Black on a capstone consulting project. Rick's website can be found at www.ricksteber.com.
Adrian Polliack | President
Adrian has worked with PSU MBA students since 2003. He recognizes that “the benefit of having a group of engaged and motivated students work on a project related to our business offers an 'un warped' and entirely fresh perspective to make the project much more meaningful for SAM Medical".