List of Articles

UT Establishes Professorship in Honor of Dean Jan R. Williams

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, College of Business Administration's Advisory Council to the Deans announced the establishment of the Jan R. Williams Endowed Professorship at its bi-annual meeting on April 20. The faculty award is in honor of the college's dean, Jan R. Williams, who will retire within the coming year.

Williams, who currently holds the Stokely Foundation Leadership Chair, has tirelessly served business students since 1977 as a member of the UT faculty and as dean since 1999. Widely known and respected in his field, Williams is the former head of UT's Department of Accounting and Information Management the co-author of three books, and has published over 70 articles and other publications on issues such as corporate financial reporting and accounting education.

Williams has served extensively in his community and profession. He has been president of the American Accounting Association, vice president of the Tennessee Society of Certified Public Accountants, and national president of Beta Alpha Psi. He also has been involved with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and currently is chair of the board of directors of AACSB International.

Members of the college's Advisory Council to the Deans established the professorship in recognition of Williams' selfless commitment to the university and his profession for over 35 years.

Those wishing to honor and thank Dean Williams for his service may contribute to the endowment by contacting the college's Office of Development and Alumni Affairs at 865-974-6083.

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UT Team Wins Regional Human Resources Business Plan Competition

A University of Tennessee, Knoxville, team has won a Southeast regional business plan competition sponsored by the Society for Human Resource Management.

The UT team of graduate human resource management students — Jeffrey Arnold of Middlesboro, K.Y.; Paresh Patel of London, England; Kate Reiger of Maryville, TN; Sarah Higgins of Knoxville, TN; and Qi Fu of Beijing, China — competed against 50 students from 15 universities. They were coached by Debbie Mackey, director of the UT human resource management master's degree program.

The team won $3,000 and a chance to compete in the national Society of Human Resource Management Student Conference in June.

"We are very proud of our exceptional team," Mackey said. "Jeffrey, Paresh, Kate, Sarah and Qi Fu were well-prepared, professional, and extraordinarily articulate, and the achievement was overwhelmingly theirs."

The students will graduate from the master's in human resource management program in 2013.

Each team was given a complex human resources problem that could address a variety of areas, including employee and labor relations, workforce planning, compensation and benefits, or strategic management.

"This competition revealed the prestige and competitive advantage that the UT human resource management program gives students to succeed and excel," Mackey said. "The knowledge that the students gained in the classroom greatly assisted our team in winning."

The team had four hours to prepare a 15-minute PowerPoint presentation and a two-page document that was presented to a panel of human resources professionals from across the Southeast. Each team was evaluated 60 percent on its oral presentation and answering the judges' questions and 40 percent on its written paper. The top two teams also presented to everyone attending the conference.

"This is the first time that a graduate team from UT has participated, and it was exciting to win first place," Mackey said. "Our students expertly applied their classroom skills to the challenge."

Funding for the trip was provided by the Tennessee Valley Human Resource Association, the local professional division of the Society for Human Resource Management, and the Tennessee State Society for Human Resource organization.

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UT Entrepreneur Develops Winning Energy Video Game

Charles Chin was the most recent winner of the UT College of Business Administration's Vol Court competition for developing a video game focused on real-world energy production and consumption. The competition is sponsored by the college's Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

"I want to make a video game where a person builds a virtual city and populates it and has to keep track of energy usage, production, pollution — things people don't really think about when it comes to energy — and use it to create an educational environment for the student," Chin said.

Read about the competition and Chin's winning idea in the following Knoxville News Sentinel article:

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The Executive in Residence Program: Transforming Students into Leaders

By Jody Cochran
Global Leadership Scholars student

The Global Leadership Scholars program at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is an undergraduate honors community for sophomores, juniors, and seniors in the College of Business Administration. Students take honors versions of core business classes, participate in a semester-long, study-abroad and internship program, complete a senior thesis, and participate in an Executive in Residence program (EIR) of leadership seminars held jointly with the college's full-time MBA program.

EIR invites business executives to visit campus and talk to the students about leadership issues; students are given a sneak peak into the corporate business world and its challenges. Two notable participants from the Fall 2011 EIR program were Knoxville residents James A. Haslam II, the founder of Pilot Corporation (now Pilot Flying J), and Joe Weller, retired chairman and CEO of Nestlé USA.

Below are three leadership lessons I learned from the EIR program that will follow me far beyond graduation.

Every Leader Must Start Somewhere

Achieving a high position in a corporation or successfully starting a business can seem like an unattainable goal to students on the cusp of graduation. The search for an entry-level position can be daunting, and the prospect of becoming an executive just as unimaginable.

The Executive in Residence program was a reminder that executives, too, began their careers on the lower rungs of the corporate ladder. The EIR visitors regaled us with stories of first jobs selling canned milk and cat food or learning to be the best diaper tape buyer there ever was, then building from these positions to eventually becoming the CEO of a global firm.

The aggregate message of all the executives' career progressions was that every leader must start somewhere, and the journey to a high position is driven by ambition and hard work. There is no specific formula for success, and there are no shortcuts. The knowledge and capability required to be a good leader can only come from experience, and the ability to relate to entry-level team members is just as important as the ability to interact with fellow executives.

Every experience is useful to a leader, no matter what is that leader's eventual ambition.

True Leaders Never Stop Learning

During the question-and-answer session with our visiting executives, they all found themselves on the receiving end of enthusiastic curiosity. The breadth of knowledge and advice that our visiting executives shared was evidence that each executive was engaged in the pursuit of new information.

The executives were proof that good leaders must be information sponges. Our undergraduate education may be coming to an end, but in our pursuit of leadership ability, we learned that the education process is never-ending. Those professionals who become inactive in their learning efforts ceased to be relevant in today's fast-moving business environment.

A degree should be seen as the beginning, not the end, of an educational journey.

There is a Difference Between Managers and Leaders

The commonalities in our visiting executives' ideals reached beyond high aspirations and continuous learning. Each executive also emphasized the value of teamwork and hard work. Mr. Weller said, "Never think of yourself as better than anyone else," and Mr. Haslam advised us to be "transplantable" – open to all new opportunities – as we build our careers. These themes of advice became a trend throughout the course of the Executive in Residence program.

The recurring nature of advice on teamwork and hard work made it apparent that "manager" and "leader" are not synonymous terms. Managers oversee the day-to-day workings of a business segment, while leaders believe in and empower their employees. Without a hardworking leader, business growth can be stunted, and growth is imperative for a firm to survive.

Managers can become leaders by encouraging initiative in their employees, by working hard in the face of every challenge, and by turning their business segment into a cohesive team. As graduating Global Leadership Scholars, we need to understand this concept in our efforts to become successful leaders.

Business advice is all around us. Good business advice, on the other hand, is far less common. The Executive in Residence program offers UT's Global Leadership Scholars and MBA students an opportunity to learn about leadership from highly regarded business executives. My colleagues and I will always be grateful for these executives who donated their time to help smooth our transition from students to emerging leaders.

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Future Trends in Supply Chain Management

Faculty from the Department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management recently published articles of note in Supply Chain Management Review.

Skills and Competencies That Supply Chain Professionals Will Need Written by Dr. J. Paul Dittmann

Natural Resource Scarcity in the Supply Chain Article written by John E. Bell

Developing a Supply Chain Strategy for the Years Ahead Article written by Paul Dittmann

Balancing Demand and Supply in a Rapidly Changing World: Chad W. Autry, Ph.D.

Read their insights at:

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Professional MBA Alumni Celebrate Impact of Program

Happy 10th Anniversary to the Professional MBA Class of 2002! Class members recently reunited at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse in Knoxville to commemorate their graduation 10 years ago and to celebrate with faculty the impact the Professional MBA program has made on their lives. Pictured here are Rebecca Harmon, vice president of human resources at DeRoyal, and Melissa Manley, president of ISCO Consulting.

Applications are now being accepted for the Professional MBA Class of 2013; classes begin August 13. For more information go to:

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Student Spotlight: Tyler Reed

UT College of Business Administration senior Tyler Reed was a "typical" college student prior to 2011, studying for a business degree and working during the summers. However, just over a year ago, his life changed forever when he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. This month, Reed graduates with a degree in finance and information management.

Read his story here, in his own words.

"I was born in a small town in Ohio and moved to Tennessee at five years old. As it came time to decide on a college, I knew I wanted to use the funds provided by the Hope Scholarship, so I visited the University of Tennessee. I decided it was the right fit for me and began in Fall 2007.

"During my sophomore year, I decided to major in finance; I was accepted into the business school in Spring 2010. I joined Phi Kappa Psi fraternity, in which I served on many committees and as vice president during my junior and senior years. I spent my summers as a counselor at a church camp, Lakeshore United Methodist Assembly, and, during my junior year, I served as an Americorp member with Emerald Youth Foundation, helping with their after-school program.

"I was on track to graduate in December 2011. With graduation coming, I knew I needed professional experience to become competitive for future interviews. I was able to find a job working as a teller at Foothills Bank and Trust in Maryville, Tennessee. So with a summer job and impending graduation, everything seemed to be on track--until life gave me an unexpected hiccup.

"During Spring 2011, I wasn't feeling well. I was always hesitant to go to the doctor, but I finally told my parents what was going on and went to a walk-in clinic. The doctor thought it was just an infection and prescribed some antibiotics. Time went on, and I convinced myself that everything was fine until late May. I finally went to another walk-in clinic in Knoxville and was told that I needed to schedule an ultrasound and meet with an urologist.

"The urologist told me the ultrasound revealed a tumor, and he was almost positive that it was testicular cancer. Two days later, I had surgery to remove the tumor, and the initial diagnosis was confirmed. Further tests revealed that the cancer had spread to my lower abdomen and lungs. The tumor markers, which are indicators of cancer traveling through the blood stream, normally in the range of 0-9 and 0-15, were at 1,500 and 2,200.

"Hearing the word cancer is just an incredibly scary experience. This was a huge shock and completely threw me off guard--I didn't smoke, I was in pretty good shape, and the only time I had any type of operation before this was to have my wisdom teeth removed. I kept thinking, 'How is this happening to me?' because it never seemed real, and, during the entire process, I felt somebody else, not me, was going through it all.

"My doctor referred me to an oncologist and urologist at Vanderbilt that would progress with my treatment. They decided I would have three cycles of chemotherapy, then another surgery to remove the lymph nodes in my back, and then regular follow-ups to make sure the cancer did not return.

"Chemo was not terrible, but definitely not something I ever want to do again. During my second cycle, I lost all of my hair, and, because of the steroids and fluids, I gained around 20 pounds. Even though I shaved my head for years, losing my hair from chemo was still really hard. Until then, it was hard for others to tell that something was wrong with me, but, with the completely bald head, it was hard to hide what I was going through.

"The results of the chemo were very promising, and my tumor markers decreased to well within the normal range. The spots on my lungs disappeared. However, a spot on my lower abdomen remained, and I had surgery to remove my lymph nodes. The surgery left me with a pretty cool scar from my sternum all the way down my stomach. It also left me in a lot of pain for a few weeks, but, in December, after all the surgeries and treatments, I was declared cancer-free.

"Throughout the entire experience, I received more support than I could have ever imagined. My family was an incredible support, and I can't begin to thank them enough. My fraternity brothers, church, friends, and coworkers at the bank continued to check on me. Up until that point, I had lived my life not wanting to be the center of attention and wanting to work to help others--now that all the focus was on me, I was not used to it, and it was a humbling experience. Once I was back to being healthy, I couldn't wait to get back on track with my life.

"I was able to go back to work at the bank as a teller and was able to get back in school for my final semester this past spring semester. Before the semester began, a credit analyst position opened at the bank, and I was offered the job part-time while I completed school; I will be able to go full-time after graduation. This month, I graduate with a degree in finance and information management. I plan to continue living and working in Knoxville after graduation, gaining as much experience and knowledge as I can. After all this, I realize that life cannot be taken for granted and that we have to take every opportunity to live. I want to live my life serving others to try to give that same kind of support in whatever way that I can."

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Alumni Spotlight: Mason Jones

Two-time University of Tennessee, Knoxville, alumnus and entrepreneur Mason Jones is co-founder and owner of Volunteer Traditions, a company dedicated to producing traditional apparel focused on state pride. The company is the brain child of Jones and his law school classmate, Brock Bosson, who thought of the idea to propel their home state's image after noting how often they saw the South Carolina state flag's emblem on various merchandise.

"We thought we could do something with the Tennessee flag," said Jones, "…something to propel the state's image."

The White House, Tennessee, native graduated in 2004 from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, College of Business Administration with a bachelor of science degree in accounting and from UT's College of Law in 2007 before moving to Nashville to work in the public defender's office. As Volunteer Traditions grew, Jones decided to commit himself fully to the business and, in 2009, made it his full-time profession. The company now is based in Nashville, next to "Music Row."

Since the company's inception, it consistently has experienced significant growth, expanding its product line to include apparel with emblems from Texas, Alabama, South Carolina, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Arkansas. The brand has been featured in Southern Living and entertainment magazine Us Weekly when actress and Nashville-native Reese Witherspoon was spotted wearing one of Volunteer Traditions' Tennessee Tristar caps. Government dignitaries, including governors, senators, and members of Congress, have been seen wearing the brand in state capitals and Washington, D.C.

In the five years since Jones moved both himself and Volunteer Traditions to Nashville, he has enjoyed many successes. However, he says that success does not come without its share of hard work.

"Every day is a challenge," said Jones. "Most people think it's fun to do your own thing, but figuring out what to do every day is not as easy as it sounds once you don't have a boss telling you want to do. The second hardest part is just getting things done. At the end of the day, I have to make sure that things are done, or else it's not going to happen."

The company continues to grow, and Jones has high aspirations for improved branding and product line expansion in 2012. He is focused on adding a larger women's line and bow ties with emblems representing states across the South.

"I don't think we're changing the world or anything," said Jones, "but I hope we have at least made customers proud of where they are from."

To learn more about Volunteer Traditions, visit the company's website at

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Faculty Spotlight: Mary Holcomb

Mary Collins Holcomb, PhD, associate professor of logistics at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, will tell you that her blood truly runs orange---not only are all three of her degrees (bachelor's, MBA, and PhD) from UT, but she also chose to return to the university after a brief time on the faculty at Iowa State University. Her professional career has included spending 18 years at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in transportation research and policy issues for the U.S. Departments of Energy, Transportation, and Defense. Holcomb's background also consists of various industry experiences with the former Burlington Northern Railroad, General Motors, and Milliken & Company.

She is a principal researcher in one of the longest running annual studies – Logistics and Supply Chain Trends and Issues – that has been conducted for 21 years, and her research has appeared in the Journal of Business Logistics, Transportation Journal, the International Journal of Logistics Management, and Supply Chain Management Review.

During her tenure, Holcomb has created a legacy of passionate logistics students. As a challenging yet fair professor, she always is available to her students. Each semester, her office often is filled with students seeking advice for their careers or clarification of a difficult concept. Alumni frequently return to that office when they visit campus.

Besides the legacy she has built in the classroom, Holcomb has created a legacy closer to home. All three of her children earned degrees in supply chain management/logistics at UT. Conversations at family gatherings oftentimes are about what's going on in the field and profession.

As one of the early womenfirst women to have a career [I'm not crazy about this expression. Do you mean something like 'first women to have a career.... Or something like that] in this academic field, Holcomb is excited to be part of a discipline and faculty that continue to be at the leading edge of theory and practice.

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