List of Articles

Casenova Backpack Creator Given $12.5K Grant from UT Boyd Venture Fund

Boyd, Baron & GravesThe designer of a single-strap backpack that reduces stress on the back is the latest recipient of a $12,500 grant from the Boyd Venture Fund. The fund is administered through the Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the College of Business Administration.

Jake Baron, UT alumnus and creator of Casenova, was awarded the seed money for his company, Baron Innovations, LLC. He is the second recipient of grant funding from the Boyd Venture Fund, and as part of the grant, the Anderson Center will connect Baron to a mentor who will help him build his business.

Casenova is a single-strap backpack that redistributes weight evenly throughout the body to reduce stress on the back. Its design, which is patent pending, and Neoprene construction make it waterproof and lightweight. The product includes strategically placed pockets for easy access to users’ phones, sunglasses, and water bottles, and provide comfort and enhanced security against theft.

The idea for Casenova was born in the fall of Baron’s junior year. He was walking back to his apartment after a long day of classes, and as he trekked up and down hills on campus, the weight of his traditional backpack began causing noticeable pain. He decided to design a better alternative, and eventually Baron tested Casenova with UT students.

“All the students in the test were extremely pleased with the added benefits incorporated into Casenova’s unique design,” he said. “I couldn’t have accomplished all that I did without the support, mentoring, and guidance from the Anderson Center faculty.”

The grant will allow Baron, a December 2011 graduate in accounting, to finalize a web-based ordering system and place an initial inventory order with his factory in China. The Boyd Venture Fund is available to any UT Knoxville student-owned business and is awarded each spring and fall.

“Creating new local businesses is the cornerstone to a community’s success,” said fund benefactor Randy Boyd, president and CEO of Radio Systems Corp. “These businesses create jobs; pay taxes that fund other investments such as education; and support the local community with philanthropy. I cannot imagine a better return on investment than supporting future generations of entrepreneurs.”

The grant from the Boyd Venture Fund is the third Anderson Center competition that Casenova has won. The initial Casenova prototype won first place and $5,000 in the center’s spring 2010 Undergraduate Business Plan Competition. The next fall, Casenova finished second in the Vol Court Pitch Competition.

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UT Economist Matt Murray Tapped to Lead Baker Center

Professor Matt Murray, associate director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at the UT College of Business Administration, hasMatt Murray been appointed director of the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy. He will begin immediately.

Murray, the Ball Corporation Professor of Business, will take the place of Carl Pierce, who has directed the center since June 2009. Pierce, who is the W. Allen Separk Distinguished Professor of Law, will now focus on compiling Senator Baker’s papers and will eventually divide his time between the Baker Center and teaching in UT’s College of Law.

“We’re grateful to Carl for leading the center as we’ve studied its role on the campus and outlined a course that will keep it focused on critical issues, link it more directly to the campus’s academic community, and ensure it remains financially viable into the future. He’s helped us make changes that will lay the groundwork for transitioning the Baker Center into a more focused unit,” Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek said.

“Matt is taking the reins at the Baker Center at a time when we’re trying to align it more closely with the university mission to teach, conduct research, and provide service to our community and the world. Matt’s strong research background coupled with the relationships he has not only on campus, but also in the local, state, and national realm, will help us position the Baker Center as the go-to source of public policy information, especially in the areas of global security, energy, and the environment,” Cheek said.

Murray’s appointment as Baker Center director is for three years; he will continue to work with CBER during that time.

Senator Baker said he is enthusiastic about what’s been happening at the center and what its future holds.

“I think Carl did a tremendous job helping us rethink the role of the Baker Center and begin its transition. I now look forward to working with him on a variety of projects with the hope that these efforts may benefit future generations of public servants,” he said. “Meanwhile, I welcome Matt as the new director of the Baker Center. I’m confident his leadership will help it evolve as a thought-leader, both on campus and also with state and national leaders.”

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Copperthite Honors Former Faculty Member Art Stowers

Art StowersMichael ('81) and Kimberly ('80) Copperthite of Georgetown, Washington, D.C., have established the Art Stowers Endowed Scholarship at the UT Knoxville College of Business Administration.

The scholarship honors the late Arthur B. Stowers Jr., a two-time graduate of the university and a business law professor, for his service both in the classroom and as a supporter of the UT Wrestling Team. "Art Stowers was loved by many and truly embodied the 'Volunteer Spirit' of family that we all know as the University of Tennessee," said the Copperthites. "

(This scholarship) will continue his commitment to the 'the teaching of others' as well as continue his legacy of service. We encourage all who knew and loved Art to consider contributing to this scholarship in his memory."

Those interested in contributing to the scholarship should contact the UT College of Business Administration's Office of Development at 865-974-6083.

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Four More International Organizations Join UT Supply Chain Forum

The UT Knoxville Global Supply Chain Institute welcomes four more international organizations as sponsors of its Supply Chain Forum. Global Supply ChainGlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the Tennessee Valley Authority, Penske, and FreightWatch International recently joined the initiative. In 2011 alone, the forum welcomed fifteen new members. GSK is the forum’s first new sponsor in 2012.

“What an honor to have these four prestigious organizations join our forum,” said Paul Dittmann, the institute’s executive director. “We now have over fifty international organizations learning best practices from one another, arming themselves with practical ideas, having first-look access to the latest supply chain research, and receiving special pricing on UT executive education.”

UT’s Supply Chain Forum is the largest of its kind in the academic world, with more than 160 executives representing fifty-two companies.

“Our Supply Chain Forum sponsors enjoy a wide range of benefits, including education, networking, and recruiting top-ranked students,” Dittmann said.

For nearly two decades, UT’s supply chain management faculty has hosted a US-based forum for corporate leaders, professors and students to share ideas about the latest supply chain issues. Held twice a year, the three-day meetings include presentations, breakout sessions, and networking receptions.

An outgrowth of UT’s US-based Supply Chain Forum is its new Global Supply Chain Forum, launched June 2011 in Paris, France, in partnership with the ESSEC Business School. Similar in structure to the US forum, the international forum enables members from multiple industries and a global faculty to focus on worldwide and region-specific supply chain issues in locations across the globe.

The Global Supply Chain Institute, housed in the UT College of Business Administration’s Center for Executive Education, unites under one umbrella the college’s broad spectrum of supply chain offerings. It includes the delivery of degree, non-degree, and custom executive education programs, worldwide industry forums, research initiatives, custom programs, global partnerships, and corporate audits.

It also brings a worldwide perspective to supply chain issues through its relationships with academic institutions in Asia, Latin America, and Central and Western Europe.

The Supply Chain Forum’s other sponsors include Alcoa, Amazon, Amway, APL Logistics, Averitt Express, Avery Dennison, Bayer Healthcare, BNSF Railway, Boeing, Boise Inc., Bush Brothers & Company, Caterpillar Logistics, Cintas Corporation, Colgate-Palmolive, ConAgra Foods, Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc., Deere & Company, Defense Logistics Agency, Dell Inc., Dover Corporation, Eastman Chemical Company, Ernst & Young LLC, Estee Lauder, Honeywell International, Inmar, Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Kenco Logistic Services, Kimberly-Clark Corporation, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company, Lowe’s Companies, Macy’s, Martin-Brower, McCormick & Company Inc., ModusLink, Nestlé USA, Nissan North America, OfficeMax, OHL, Pepsico, Pilot Flying J, Procter & Gamble, Radio Systems Corporation, Ryder, Terra Technology, the Walt Disney Company, Whirlpool Corporation, Winn-Dixie Stores Inc., and WWL Vehicle Services Americas Inc.

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Memory Scrapbook for Jan Williams

Jan WilliamsDean Jan Williams will be retiring at the end of June 2012. We are putting together a scrapbook of his academic career and have asked faculty and students, past and present, to take a few minutes to write a letter to him about your memories or experiences with him in teaching, research, etc.

We ask that your letters be submitted electronically as an attachment to an email message to Miquela Hales at If you wish to submit a handwritten letter or card, please mail them to Miquela Hales, Office of the Dean, 453 Haslam Business Building, Knoxville, Tennessee 37996. If you have photographs of you and Dr. Williams please send those too!

If you know of others who have worked with Dr. Williams during his career, please forward this information on to them! We will compile all entries and present Dr. Williams with the scrapbook in April. Please have your entries submitted no later than Thursday, April 5, 2012.

Thank you, in advance, for your contributions to this project!

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Student Spotlight: Alex Green

Alex GreenOn any given day, you are almost certain to find UT’s Alex Green if you check just one particular spot—Dry Ridge Farm in Loudon, Tennessee. The farm is the home of Green’s own entrepreneurial venture, Alex Green Eventing. While many students are spending their time outside of the classroom hanging out with friends, Green is diligently working to build her growing business, both on the farm and as she travels the country. It is a life-long dream for Green, and one best described in her own words:

“I grew up in Knoxville, Tennessee, and if anyone from Knoxville Catholic High School remembers...I was the ‘horse girl.’ Outside of the horse industry, I was fortunate to be born into a home with two loving parents and two older brothers. Growing up in a household with two older brothers that were always faster, stronger, and smarter left me with no choice but to fight for something I could beat them at. I played every sport my brothers played, studied and read what they read, and lived and breathed wanting to grow up to be just like them--until the day my dad took me out to ‘his farm,’ a 200-acre piece of land with too many trees, too many hills, and two untrained horses. To this day, I do not know if he would say it was the best decision of his life or the worst! From then on, I was hooked on horses. Horses know exactly how to humble you when you get too big for your britches… Some good dirt in your face can do that to you.

“Regardless of the dirt I have digested over the years, I have been running across the country trying to prove to the equestrian world what I have to bring to the table. Currently, I am campaigning three horses at the upper levels of Three Day Eventing with the plan to one day compete at the international level for the United States. To fulfill this dream, I built an equestrian business to involve myself more deeply in the equestrian community. Our family farm has grown into a four-star equestrian facility that provides a home to my business.

“On the weekdays, I spend hours each day at Dry Ridge Farm in the ring and fields, either training my competition horses, training clients’ horses, or teaching lessons to students who either compete or ride for pleasure. This work funds my own competition expenses, although I also am supported through sponsorships by both local and national businesses. I buy and train horses to resell to customers who are looking for very specific qualities in their animals.

“Weekends include loading up a trailer on Thursday afternoon and hitting the road with the horses in tow, sometimes traveling across the country to gallop on the hardest tracks. At the end of the day, the success of my business is attributed to three things: my passion for the sport and the people, the constant support of my family and the people around me, and the horses. There is no one or nothing that will work for you like the heart of a horse, and that is a life lesson that has changed the way I live and view things entirely.

“Any person who has spent time with a horse, whether it be in the saddle or the stall, knows exactly what I am talking about. Horses push you to work harder for them because they give so much for you on a daily basis. Surrounding yourself with this type of influence will only change your life for the better. It would be nearly impossible to work the 70 or so hours a week that I do if I did not love every element of the business.

“My ‘other’ life is being a college student at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, pursuing a degree in economics. My family is really a bunch of business men who love to talk about money, the market, and how it all relates in the crazy scheme of things. With my father being such a huge role model for my life, I was always pestering him for information on what his job as a financial advisor was all about. Once I was a bit older, and hopefully a tad bit smarter, I took an interest in how everything comes together within the business realm.

“My time at UT already has helped me grow my business to be three times more profitable than it was 12 months ago, and I hope to continue being an asset to our community. I hope to keep growing my business and graduate on time with my fellow classmates.

“Once class lets out and the horses have been ridden, I do find some time to do something outside of those two worlds. In November, I ran my first half marathon and have been hooked on running since! I am an avid fan of keeping a ‘bucket list,’ and there are plenty of thrill seeking, rewarding, and adventurous endeavors still to cross off my list. I am very happy to say that the road ahead is always looking great. The path may not be clear just yet, but I’ve got some great horses underneath me and some wonderful people at my side, so we will keep marching on with a fire in our step!”

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Alum Spotlight: Renda Burkhart

College of Business Administration alumnus Renda Burkhart is based near her roots with tentacles that run generations deep.  Today, she leads the Knoxville-based CPA firm, Burkhart & Company, which serves enterprising individuals, their businesses, and their families.

Burkhart earned highest honors graduating with a bachelor’s degree in accounting with a management science option from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.  She worked for a Big Eight accounting firm before starting a niche CPA firm in her hometown.  Framing services around the advisory needs of privately owned companies, she combined her desire to work one-on-one with entrepreneurs with her technical expertise in tax and accounting.  Founding the firm in 1982, she found herself in the midst of a technology revolution that provided competitive advantages for early adopters. Her firm received national recognition in the early 1990s as a technology integration leader in the CPA firm space. Now 30 years later, Burkhart & Company is thriving as it meets the needs of its clientele from start-up companies through harvest stage businesses, as well as wealthy individuals in maturity.

Burkhart’s firm focuses on the holistic needs of its clients and concentrates on listening and knowledge transfer to dynamic individuals. The approach is to hold technical skills in one hand and an interest in the client’s overall well-being in the other.  The firm attracts talented professionals, many of whom are UT alumni, to a relationship-based technical environment.

Says Burkhart: “Now that I am entering the next phase of my professional career, I am open to all the possibilities my life and work can hold.  My professional career has opened the doors to rich and enduring relationships with clients, colleagues, and community leaders.  It is a wonderful place to bask in.”

Burkhart is committed to the Knoxville community; she serves as vice chairman of University Health Systems and as a board director for the Cornerstone Foundation.  She maintains an avid interest in leadership development.  After participating in the inaugural class of Leadership Knoxville in 1985, Burkhart joined with others to form a leadership forum for under-40 rising leaders known as Nucleus Knoxville.  She enjoys hosting discussion groups in her home that are centered on books, interesting issues, or just good fellowship.    

Throughout her career, Burkhart has remained active with the University of Tennessee.  She has served on the Development Council, the Accounting Roundtable, and has chaired the Chancellor’s Associates, which act as a bridge builder between “the town and the gown.”  From her office in the Riverview Tower in downtown Knoxville, Burkhart enjoys a visual reminder each day of the importance the university has played in her formation and success.  The view from her suite overlooks UT’s main campus with the tower of Ayers Hall falling directly in the line of vision as you enter her firm’s front door. Today, Burkhart’s UT connection remains firm and ranges from sports fan to recruiter to loyal alumnus. 

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Faculty Spotlight: Michael McIntyre

Mike McIntyreDr. Michael McIntyre, or “Doc” as his students affectionately call him, is director of the Professional MBA program in the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, College of Business Administration’s Center for Executive Education.  He is an industrial/organizational psychologist with a wealth of professional experience, including his work as a corporate trainer, management consultant, executive coach, and university faculty member.

McIntyre’s expertise deals with internal strategic planning. He helps organizations reach performance goals by aligning their management systems, which include hiring, training, compensation, performance review, attendance and discipline policies, and succession plans.  McIntyre has worked with numerous national and international companies in a variety of industries, including manufacturing, engineering, financial services, retail, and entertainment.

For eight years prior to joining the center, McIntyre was on the faculty of the Department of Management in UT’s College of Business Administration.  In this capacity, he taught undergraduate and graduate classes in business strategy, organizational behavior, change management, conflict resolution, communication, negotiation, selection, performance appraisal, and dealing with performance issues.

In addition to his dozens of academic presentations and publications, McIntyre has appeared on Fox News, The Early Show, and National Public Radio, and has been featured in USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and The Boston Globe.

McIntyre earned his Ph.D. in industrial/organizational psychology from the University of Tennessee and his bachelor’s degree in public policy from Cornell University. He is a Knoxville native and self-proclaimed “faculty brat,” having a mother who is a former professor in the university’s psychology department.

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