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In the News, 2012

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Business Leadership Network for Southwestern Indiana

Business owners and persons who are interested in hiring people are encouraged to attend an organizational meeting for creating a Business Leadership Network (BLN) in Southwestern Indiana. The meeting will be held at the University of Southern Indiana at 8:15 a.m. on Thursday, October 25, 2012 in the Romain Board Room in the Business and Engineering Center.

The Business Leadership Network is a national, employer-led endeavor designed to create a business-to- business approach to promoting employment of people with disabilities. There are 60 affiliate chapters in more than 30 states, and Indiana has seven regional BLNs but none in Southwestern Indiana. This meeting is an effort to organize a local chapter.

Employers in a BLN gain resources for recruiting candidates with disabilities; disability hiring information; exposure to qualified job applicants with disabilities; and a network of employers sharing information on common disability employment issues.

The University of Southern Indiana is the lead organization in developing the local chapter. Dr. Mohammed Khayum, dean of the College of Business, will introduce the program, and Dr. Nancy Kovanic, instructor in Management, will give an overview of the needs and benefits of a BLN in Southern Indiana.

"October is Disability Employment Awareness month," said Kovanic. "At a time when the focus is on employment needs and contributions of individuals with all types of disabilities, employers of Southern Indiana are discussing a network related to hiring people with disabilities."

The event is free and reservations can be made by email to

The Indiana BLN utilizes a regional concept with the five regions of the state recognized by Indiana’s Office of Vocational Rehabilitation. More about Indiana BLN can be found at .

Chris Traylor, USI’s 2012 Executive in Residence, talks to USI students

Chris Traylor, co-president of Traylor Brothers, Inc., is USI’s 2012 Executive in Residence. Recently he visited USI and talked to students about topics ranging from the history of Traylor Brothers to lessons he’s learned during his years in the field. Read the full article at

Laci Rogers honored for commitment to student success

Taken from USI News, May 7, 2012

Dr. Laci Robers

Dr. Laci Rogers, assistant professor of management, was presented the Dr. Jane Davis-Brezette Faculty Excellence Award during the 10th annual USI All-Sports Banquet. The award, given by the Athletic Department at the University of Southern Indiana, annually recognizes a faculty member who best exemplifies the work of Davis-Brezette, retired associate professor of physical education, who demonstrated a competitive desire for excellence in the classroom and on the field.

“I was extremely surprised and honored to be nominated,” said Rogers. “I’ve been lucky to work with some excellent student-athletes at USI, and it feels great to be recognized as an influential faculty member.”

This was Roger’s first year as assistant professor at USI. She was previously a doctoral candidate and instructor at Florida State University. She holds a PhD in business administration from Florida State University, a master’s degree in business administration from Florida State University, and a bachelor’s degree from University of Central Arkansas. She and her husband Derrick Lyons reside in Evansville.

“Teaching and advising students is the most important part of my job and is work that I truly enjoy,” said Rogers. “At USI, I have many opportunities to work with students outside class and to learn about their unique talents and career plans.”

“I’m excited she won,” said Jackie Henderson, a 2012 USI graduate in mathematics, who nominated Roger’s for the honor. “She’s gone out of her way to help student athletes. It’s been amazing to see how someone I’ve only known 12 weeks can have such a big influence on my school and my life.” Henderson, who plans to pursue a masters and PhD in statistics at Colorado School of Mines, said Rogers was always there to give advice about school, athletics or just life.

Nominations for the annual award are made by student athletes, coaches, and staff members, and voted on by the department. Previous winners of the award are Patty Marcum, Dr. Jane Davis-Brezette, and Tim Mahoney.

We all have responsibility to contribute to society’s sustainability

Community Comment by Jason Fertig, taken from the Evansville Courier & Press, May 6, 2012

Jason Fertig“The city of Indianapolis is committed to providing a more sustainable, livable community for all of its residents and visitors,” said Mayor (Greg) Ballard. “We hope the additional bins added over the past few weeks inspire patrons to participate in that spirit during Super Bowl XLVI.”

— News release, Feb. 1, 2012 — Handing down a civilization’s legacy to the next generation should be one of the first purposes of education and of at least equal importance to organizing the disposal of refuse. Yet, we do not have to search far to find disturbing examples of historical and cultural illiteracy within our citizenry.

While a lack of such knowledge cannot be exclusively thrown at the feet of the education system, regardless of where the blame falls, our culture is in danger of failing to produce a generation of knowledgeable citizens that passes on that culture to the next one. In other words, our culture may not be sustainable, to use the phrase of the moment.

Allow me to provide some firsthand experience: I once asked the following series of extra-credit questions on an exam given to 100 students over the course of two semesters: Who were the first four U.S. presidents?

Who were the first four American Idol winners?

Nineteen students knew the presidents; 51 students knew the Idol winners. Only eight students answered both correctly. Two students included Lincoln as an answer to the president question.

I am using sustainable here in a different connotation (“sustaining our history”) than the current popular usage. For example, as defined by the Indianapolis SustainIndy program (the city has a Director of Sustainability) it means “using best practices to create lasting environmental, economic and community vitality — enhancing our quality of life now and ensuring that future generations of Indianapolis residents have an equally good quality of life.”

That sounds harmless. In practice, though, sustainability is much more than choosing the correct waste bucket or putting out extra trash bins for a Super Bowl.

What can be done? To borrow an environmentalist phrase, there are plenty of opportunities to simply “do your part.”

Are you a teacher? Why not add historical components to your class? For example, when I teach Introduction to Management, my course chronicles management over time — from Egyptians building pyramids to Bill Gates building Microsoft. In doing so, students are exposed to various cultural changes since management practice does not exist in a vacuum. Why not try this with such disciplines as psychology?

For anyone who wants to raise the bar, a talk-radio host, Dennis Prager, has advocated a “July Fourth Seder” that is modeled after the Jewish Passover Seder. In the Passover Seder, multiple generations of one’s family gather to retell the story of the Jews’ exodus from Egypt. What is stopping this practice from occurring on the 4th of July with Americans’ struggle for independence from Great Britain? The family is there, the feast is there, and the fireworks and patriotic songs are there; why not take the opportunity to retell our story?

These suggestions are initial steps toward addressing a system that is emitting pollution worse than any compound of chemicals found on the periodic table. Young minds must stop being polluted with useless, fadbased knowledge that weakens intellectual capabilities. If we want to really save the environment — be it environmental or patriotic — we had better get serious.

Jason Fertig, Ph.D., an adjunct scholar of the Indiana Policy Review, is an assistant professor of management at the University of Southern Indiana in Evansville. Contact him at

USI Business Case Team--2012

The USI Business Case Team competed in the Royal Roads University International Undergraduate Case Competition in April 2012. The USI Team finished in 11th place which was a strong showing for a team with no returning competitors and new coaches. At the RRUIUCC, teams analyzed and presented recommendations for 3 business cases, participated in networking activities, and attended a gala. Of the three team members who graduated in spring 2012, two earned new full time positions after graduation and the third is a full-time graduate student.

Case Competition Team
Front row: Joey Dumas, Krystal Schmitt, Alissa Martin, Jackie Henderson, Evan Burkhart
Back row: Jamie Seitz (coach), Laci Rogers (coach)

College of Business Honors Convocation

The USI College of Business Honors Convocation took place on March 27, 2012. See the impact the scholarships have had on some of the recipients.

Entrepreneur's Domain: Successful entrepreneurs always keep a focus on learning

Taken from the April 2012 issue of the EBJ-Evansville Business Journal, by Horace M. Lukens III.  A contributing writer, Lukens is an instructor in finance in the College of Business at the University of Southern Indiana.

Horace Lukens III

If we are motivated to be true entrepreneurs, we will be learning for a long time into the future. No enterprise ever succeeded without the constant learning atmosphere practiced by the owner.

But what do we need to learn? Here are some ideas and thoughts that have been accumulated in this great community:

  • Because a positive attitude is a major key to success and happiness, it should be on the top of your agenda. Books written by John Maxwell regarding positive attitude and leadership are a great place to start.
  • What is your purpose? What is important to you? How do you wish to contribute to your business and personal life?
  • What tools do you need to maximize your potential?
  • We create our lives by the choices we make. What choices should you be making?
  • Learning from our mistakes is great, but we can learn more from what works than from what doesn't. Be pragmatic.
  • Learn the benefits of doing good. Kindness is the grease that eliminates the friction between people.
  • Learn how little you know. It will keep you humble and motivate you to learn more.
  • Learn to ask questions. Question your assumptions, opinions and beliefs. A wonderful story on this subject is the current biography of Steve Jobs written by Walter Isaacson.
  • Learn to play, relax and take time for reflection. Take breaks to absorb what you have learned and balance work with recreation.
  • To get the most from life and your business and/or profession, study how life works, or the laws of life. Seneca, the Roman philosopher, expressed it this way: "As long as you live, keep learning how to live."
  • Learn your rights and how to stand up for yourself and others.
  • Take advantage of learning tools, develop the art of critical thinking and find other tools to help you clarify your thinking as you learn.

Remember, we never stop learning and the above thoughts and ideas should help you down the road to greater performance and success.

USI students excel at 2012 National AITP Conference in San Antonio

Posted April 11, 2012

Nine students from the University of Southern Indiana College of Business attended the 17th annual Association of Information Technology Professions (AITP) National Collegiate Conference in San Antonio, Texas, March 29 - April 1, 2012.

The students traveled with advisors Dr. Kenneth Shemroske and Mr. Ernest Nolan. They were among more than 500 students from across the United States representing 71 colleges and universities.

Emily Rastl of Vincennes and Jeff VanVorst of Evansville took first place out of 97 teams in the Office Solutions Competition. Andrew Poynter of Waveland and Jamie Stutsman of Boonville designed and created a banner that received a third place award in the “artistic” category. Aaron Valandra of Newburgh and Stacy Warford of Cynthiana gave an oral presentation and demonstration receiving an honorable mention in the Student Web Development Competition. Justin Steinback of Evansville and Valandra received an honorable mention in the Systems Analysis and Design Competition. Also attending were Jarod Daming of Richland and Brian Ensor of Mt. Carmel, Illinois.

“I’d like to congratulate all of our students for their hard work and outstanding success,” said Shemroske.

During the conference, Poynter, Rastl, Steinbeck and VanVorst passed the Associate Computer Professional Certification Examination offered through the Institute for the Certification of Computer Professionals. Only nine of the more than 60 students taking the exam passed, including the four USI students. Additionally, Poynter passed a specialty exam in micro computing and networking and Steinback passed a specialty exam in object oriented analysis and design.

2012 AITP Conference
Back Row: Kenneth Shemroske, Brian Ensor, Stacy Warford, Justin Steinback, Aaron Valandra, Andrew Poynter, Jaimie Stutsman, Jarod Daming, Emily Rastl, Ernie Nolan. Front Row: Jeff Van Vorst

Dr. Marie Bussing-Burks explains the debt and the deficit

Taken from WNIN Radio's The Trend program, March 9, 2012

Marie Bussing-BurksMarie Bussing-Burks' publication of her book Deficit: Why Should I Care? resulted in an interview by Micah Schweizer on WNIN Radio program, The Trend.

Bussing-Burks explains,  "The deficit is a yearly number, the difference between what we spend and what we take-in in taxes.  It is roughly $1.5 trillion."  The National Debt, a large 14-digit number, is figured by adding up all the deficits since 1791 less any surpluses.

Listen to Bussing-Burks explain in greater depth the difference and what it means to us in the link below.

listen clipart Bussing-Burks' interview begins at 29:13 on the top player bar >>

Tim Mahoney, Listening to needs...

A beloved faculty member and academic advisor
helps students define their path to graduation.

Taken from the Reflections Spring 2012 brochure

Tim MahoneyGood advising really comes down to good listening, says Tim Mahoney, instructor in economics.  He is one of the most sought-after academic advisors on campus.

"I'm advising," he said, "but what I'm really doing is listening to students about what's going on in their lives."

Some students may have home or financial issues that affect their college experience.  Others may be uncertain about the kind of career they want.  Mahoney helps students set up a "Plan to Graduation."  He designed a form which presents an individualized plan showing students what courses they should take, when to take them, and the projected date of graduation if they follow this path.

"A lot of students I see are between majors or thinking about changing," he said.  "They want to know about the requirements for the majors and how long it will take them to graduate.  When the plan is on paper, they can see their goal realized.  It makes sense to them.  Knowing this is a path specifically laid out for them—not a generic path—is encouraging and reinforcing.

Also a popular teacher, Mahoney instructs a course in the fundamentals of economics that serves students in many majors, including health services, social work, and engineering.  In addition, he developed and coordinates a one-hour course on money skills.  Offered online, it helps students improve their basic financial literacy.

Not only does Mahoney have an ear for helping students navigate the path to graduation, he also has a hand in helping them directly and personally.  He has established a scholarship endowment in the USI Foundaton.  The Tim Mahoney Business Scholarship goes to business majors demonstrating University and community service.  The current recipient is Brett Bueltel, a senior accounting major.  Bueltel is attorney general for the Student Government Association, vice president of the Pre-law Club, and a member of a student team that competed in 2011 as a "final four" team in the national Student Case Competition.

"It's important for young people to be involved," Mahoney said.  "I encourage them to get internships, network, and participate in activities that connect them to the real world."

Real Opportunity: USI Students Impress at 2012 National Collegiate Sales Competition

Posted: March 13, 2012

2012 Sales Team

From left to right: Adam Kaps, Lucas Ball, Cody Sharkey, and Chad Milewicz

The USI Professional Selling team competed in the 2012 National Collegiate Sales Competition (NCSC) at Kennesaw State University in Georgia on March 2-5, 2012. Two USI students on the team, seniors Lucas Ball and Cody Sharkey, competed against 126 student competitors from 64 universities across the U.S. and Canada. The team outperformed regional schools such as the University of Louisville and Western Kentucky and finished in the top 50 of all competing universities.

Inaugurated in 1999, the NCSC hosts the top collegiate sales students and faculty from the most elite sales programs in North America. It is the largest and oldest sales role-play competition in the world, and it is sponsored by national and global companies who attend the competition to recruit the nation’s most talented college graduates from select universities. The 39 companies sponsoring this year’s event put on a two-day private career fair for participating students. The director of the event, Dr. Terry Loe, says that about 70% of all students who attend leave with job offers.

At the competition, students compete over a three-day period as sales consultants in a series of role-plays. Like collegiate athletic competitions, representatives from participating companies are the “buyers” in each role-play who react in real time to everything the students say or do, constantly testing each student’s ability to adapt and perform at extremely high levels. According to Cody Sharkey, “USI helps us develop the necessary skills to be successful, and the NCSC gives us the opportunity to showcase those skills at a national level. At the competition we have the opportunity to compete, to impress potential employers and to prove to ourselves what we have learned.”

USI sales team members Lucas Ball, Cody Sharkey and alternate Adam Kaps (freshman) were recruited by global organizations such as Tom James, UPS and Vantive and by national companies such as Wyndham Vacation Ownership and Cox Media Group. Adam Kaps is contemplating summer internship opportunities with Tom James and Wyndham. Cody Sharkey is considering job opportunities with UPS, Cox Media and Xerox.  After interviewing with six companies, Lucas Ball is still considering job offers from Tom James and Wyndham.

Adam Kaps noted, “The 2012 NCSC offered invaluable experience not only to the competitors, but to the alternates as well! Aside from actually competing, I was able to observe and participate in role-plays with the USI team leading up to the competition, and make connections with professionals from multi-million dollar companies, at the career fair, that will surely aid me in my future endeavors! I cannot thank USI enough for these opportunities!"

Lucas Ball says that the NCSC experience highlighted that “life is all about relationships.” The team worked hard to prepare for the competition, meeting three times a week to train. Lucas says it was worth it, though, and that he “learned that success depends on you.  If success in life is important to you the amount of success depends on how hard you work.”

According to the team’s coach, Chad Milewicz, Assistant Professor of Marketing, “The purpose of the NCSC is to encourage students to strive to reach their unimagined potential. The students who pursue that challenge are rewarded with potential job offers and a powerful learning experience that will stay with them the rest of their life.”

Competition for next year’s event starts now. If you are interested in joining the USI Professional Selling team and taking advantage of the NCSC experience and career fair in 2013, please contact Chad Milewicz at cmmilewicz.

Alumna Valerie McKinney to address College of Business graduates at Commencement

Posted: March 1, 2012

College of Business GonfalonSpeakers at the University of Southern Indiana 2012 Commencement will be USI alumni who have excelled in their professional lives.

“We celebrate our alumni and are pleased to have alumni representatives address our graduates,” said President Linda L. M. Bennett. “They are resounding models for today’s graduates.”

Commencement 2012 is changing from a single ceremony to five ceremonies over two days on the campus of University of Southern Indiana.

New Jersey resident Valerie McKinney ’05 MBA will be the speaker for the College of Business and Division of Outreach and Engagement ceremony at 9 a.m. on Saturday, April 28, 2012. She is the global serialization operations lead for Bristol-Myers Squibb and directs a cross functional global team to implement pharmaceutical serialization through the company, including all third party manufacturers and logistics partners.

“Since we have held the fall Commencement on campus,” said President Linda L. M. Bennett, “graduates and their families have responded enthusiastically to being at USI for degree conferral. With spring Commencement now on campus, more families will experience a memorable connection to the University at the time of great achievement for our graduates.”

College of Business hosted successful Evansville Startup Weekend

Taken from the USI News, February 27, 2012 >>

Evansville's Startup Weekend

Members of the winning team, from left, Michael Patzer, Andy Markle, and Andrew Heil present their startup idea to a panel of judges in the Business and Engineering Center at USI.

“Your success is the city of Evansville’s success,” said Mayor Lloyd Winnecke during the kickoff of the first ever Evansville Startup Weekend hosted February 24-26 at the University of Southern Indiana College of Business.

The 54-hour event where developers, designers, marketers, product managers, and startup enthusiasts come together to share ideas, form teams, build products, and launch startups, was a success from start to finish.

More than 40 pitches from would be entrepreneurs started the action on Friday evening, and by the end of the night, 10 ideas had emerged as winners. An investment and wealth production company, a coffee shop, an Evansville nightlife website, web and mobile apps, hybrid fitness equipment, and even a carbon emissions filtration system for automobiles were among the selected startup ideas.

More than 70 participants formed ten teams that worked feverishly through the weekend to develop their ideas and to come up with a five minute presentation that would wow a panel of local judges including Dr. Drew Peyronnin, angel investor; Luke J. Yaeger, Evansville Commerce Bank; Douglas K Wurmnest, B2B CFO; Linda E White, president and CEO Deaconess Health System; Joe Trendowski, Schroeder Family School of Business Administration; Courtney Mickel, Berry Plastics Corporation; and Tony Schy, founder and CEO, P-Stim USA.

Over the course of the weekend, teams had access to resources and mentors and listened to advice from guest speakers.

When the dust had settled on Sunday evening, three winners emerged with the top prize going to the including team leader, Michael Patzer, a 2009 graduate of the USI College of Business and owner of Orange Group Apps; Andrew Heil of Ariens Co.; and Andy Markle, of Auto Trader Monthly magazine.

Furnish is an augmented reality app for iPhone or android devices that allows you to walk into a room and place furniture around the room virtually. The app was targeted toward interior designers and furniture companies.

“I’ve spent time in Silicon Valley and there are a lot of these types of events out there,” said Patzer. “It’s awesome that this is here in my home town of Evansville and at my university, USI. I never thought we’d have anything like this here, and I hope that we have more events like this in the future.”

The team received a prize package from local businesses including three months of office space at Innovation Point donated by GAGE (Growth Alliance for Greater Evansville).

Second place was awarded to team ICUC, which developed a business model that provides eye care diagnosis and treatment for patients in third world countries.

Third place went to the GoNoGoApp team who developed an aggregated information application that would not only provide answers to consumers with questions, but also provide businesses with valuable market research data.

“I’m a strong believer that good ideas, or what we deem innovative ideas, are not that until they are put out in public and vetted, touched, seen, experienced, and intersected with,” said Bryan Bourdeau, instructor in business and co-event organizer. “This event allows people to come together with similar mindsets, and the College of Business was designed for communication and ideas like this to happen.

“I can assure you that the entrepreneurial "flywheel" is in motion and will continue to stay in motion. USI and the College of Business are being realized and acknowledge as leaders in the identification and development of our local and regional entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

Event organizers, in addition to Bourdeau, included Dana Nelson, a social strategist with Out Cloud, attorney Doug Briody, Michael Effron and Janet L. Effron of Four Rivers Group LLC and Andrew Heil of Ariens Co.

Core local sponsors for the Evansville Startup Weekend included GAGE, the USI College of Business and WEVV-CBS 44, with support from the Kansas City, Missouri-based Kauffman Foundation.

Additional information about the startup weekend and participating teams can be found on Facebook at

Entrepreneur's Domain: The more you learn, the more you live

Taken from the February 2012 issue of the EBJ-Evansville Business Journal, by Horace M. Lukens III.  A contributing writer, Lukens is an instructor in finance in the College of Business at the University of Southern Indiana.

Horace Lukens III

Why is it that most entrepreneurs most always think in terms of the "bottom line?"  Don't misunderstand; all of us are concerned with making a profit.  But the real question is how do we get there?  What does it take to have a decent "bottom line?"

One of the forgotten items in the quest for profit is the purpose of learning.  Wheather you provide a service or a tangible product, knowledge is the key to success.  A recent sign on a message board read:  "The Three Keys to Success: hard work, hard work, hard work."  Let's change that a little bit: "The Three Keys to Success: knowledge, knowledge, and more knowledge."

So let's look at how we get to a more intelligent "bottom line." What is the purpose of learning?  Mortimer J. Adler (1902-2001), American educator and philosopher, said, "The purpose of learning is growth, and our minds, unlike our bodies, can continue growing as we continue to live."  Here are some other reasons for learning:

  • We should seek self-improvement, self-empowerment and professional development.  If we learn one new thing every day, we will soon pass the competition.  At the end of each day, we should ask ourselves:  "What did I learn today?  Will it help me have a better tomorrow?"
  • The more we learn about our world and life, the more at ease we will feel in it.
  • Merely trying to do better makes us better.
  • Technology is changing, world events are unfolding and science is developing at a dizzying pace.  We need to continue learning just to keep up.
  • As long as we are learning, we never feel old.
  • Learning makes life more exciting.

Entrepreneurs who are learning are always comfortable, whether alone or with others.

Is learning important?  Well, it may not be compulsory, but neither is a happy life.

Ray Palmer (1808-1887), American clergyman and poet, summarizes all of the above comments thusly: "Learning, if rightly applied, makes a young man thinking, attentive, industrious, confident and wary -- and an old man cheerful and useful.  It is an ornament in prosperity, a refuge in adversity and entertainment at all times; it cheers in solitude and gives moderation and wisdom in all circumstances."

Amen to all that, fellow entrepreneurs!

2012 International Case Competition Team selected

A well-rounded team of students has been selected for the 2012 International Case Competion Team consisting of Krystal Schmitt, team leader; Alissa Martin; Jackie Henderson; Joey Dumas; and Evan Burkhart, alternate.  They will represent USI at the competiton on March 29th - 31st, 2012, at Royal Roads University. The faculty advisor is Dr. Laci Rogers with Jamie Seitz, assistant advisor, and Jeanette Maier-Lytle, mentor.

USI students offer free income tax preparation

Taken from the Courier & Press, January 26, 2012

University of Southern Indiana student volunteers will offer free income tax preparation ahead of the April 15, 2012, filing deadline.

Through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, the Internal Revenue Service partners with national and local organizations to provide tax services to individuals with low to moderate incomes at no cost.

Accounting students will interview and prepare the taxes of those taxpayers who make an appointment for this service. VITA sites do not prepare Schedule C business forms or Schedule E rental forms.

Federal and state tax returns are prepared while the person waits and all taxpayers must be available to sign their returns. Preparation of returns typically takes 90 minutes to two hours to complete.

The sessions will be held by appointment only in Room 1004 in the new Business and Engineering Center on the following Wednesdays: Feb. 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29; March 14, 21 and 28; and April 4 and 11. Appointments will be available at 5 p.m. and 6:45 p.m. on these Wednesdays.

Individuals will be required to bring their tax information, photo identification cards, and Social Security cards for themselves and their dependents. International students must bring their passports and visas as well. The IRS encourages electronic filing and returns will be filed electronically for those who are eligible.

Copies of 2010 state and federal tax returns should also be brought if they are available. Paper returns will be prepared for those taxpayers who do not qualify for electronic filing or prefer paper returns.

To make an appointment, call the College of Business at 812-464-1718.

Entrepreneurial Startup Weekend Evansville—February 24-26, 2012

startup icon

Download flyer >>    

Listen clipart Listen to Doug Briody and Bryan Bourdeau discuss Startup Weekend Evansville on WNIN PBS Radio. Their discussion begins at 26:20 within the linked program >>

Startup Weekend Evansville, scheduled for February 24-26, 2012, in the USI College of Business and Engineering Center, is an international initiative, non-for-profit (501c3) entity.  The event will begin with opening remarks by Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke of the importance of these types of initiatives for entrepreneurial growth in our community and region, followed by the layout for the weekend, dinner, and the first round of idea pitches.

Bryan Bourdeau, instructor in business, is co-organizing the event with Dana Nelson, social strategist with "Out Cloud"; Doug Briody, of the Law Office of Doug Briody; Michael Effron and Janet Laane Effron, of the Four Rivers Group, LLC; and Andrew Heil, of the Ariens Company.  The entrepreneurial initiative Startup Weekend Evansville is powered by the Kauffman Foundation to help benefit our community and region.  This effort will help us to better "connect the dots" of the entrepreneurial/innovation ecosystem in our region and foster new start-ups.

Startup Weekends are 54-hour events where developers, designers, marketers, product managers, and startup enthusiasts come together to share ideas, form teams, build products, and launch startups!  Startup Weekends are weekend-long, hands-on experiences where entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs can find out if startup ideas are viable and work together to turn ideas into workable business concepts in the space of a weekend.  This is Evansville’s first Startup Weekend and we're excited that the event will be held on the USI campus.  Startup Weekend is a high-energy event, and participants will be hard at work the entire weekend.

On average, half of Startup Weekend’s attendees have technical backgrounds, the other half have business backgrounds.  Beginning with open mic pitches on Friday, attendees bring their best ideas and inspire others to join their team.  Over Saturday and Sunday teams focus on customer development, validating their ideas, practicing LEAN Startup Methodologies and building a minimal viable product.  On Sunday evening teams demo their prototypes and receive valuable feedback from a panel of experts.

The participant count, expected to be between 50-80 people plus mentors and judges, is limited to provide intimate hands-on mentorship and idea development.  I believe in the motto: Start: plan and think, but do something!  This is new to Evansville and can be a catalyst for some new innovative ideas and business start-ups much needed in our region.  Over 36% of Startup Weekend startups are still going strong after 3 months.  Roughly 80% of participants plan on continuing working with their team or startup after the weekend.

For more information and to sign up for Evansville event, please visit:

For global event information, please visit:

For more information contact Bryan Bourdeau, instructor in business, 812/461-5247, email: bbourdeau.

USI's Idea Exchange Business Book Club coming to Innovation Pointe

Bryan Bourdeau
Bryan Bourdeau

A second round of the Idea Exchange Business Book Club, a program from USI's Center for Human Resource Development and College of Business, will begin with an introductory session at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, January 25 at Innovation Pointe located at 318 Main Street in downtown Evansville. Additional meetings will take place throughout the year from 4 to 5:30 p.m. on select Wednesdays at the same location.

Tom Austerman, president and CEO of Evansville Commerce Bank, Linda White, CEO of Deaconess Health System, Bob Jones, president and CEO of Old National Bank, Ron Romain, CEO of United Companies, and many more regional leaders have shared their top business books for participants to discuss.

Business books are created to make us think and help us solve problems, while group brainstorming creates new ideas, motivations, and creative solutions. The Idea Exchange Business Book Club will combine each of these powerful business resources into one innovative program. The program will also serve as a professional networking opportunity for business owners, managers, and entrepreneurs while providing a unique forum for discovering new organizational, management, and entrepreneurial ideas.

Participants will read and discuss nine leading business books. Sessions will be organized and facilitated to emphasize engagement among group members as they discuss ideas, debate, and share experiences.

Facilitators will include Bryan Bourdeau, USI instructor in business, Karen Lance Ubelhor, integration product manager at Old National Bank, and Gene Recker, manager of education and entrepreneurship for USI at Innovation Pointe.>

Registration is $300 and books can be borrowed from the Center for Human Resource Development.

For more information, or to register, contact USI's Division of Outreach and Engagement at 812/464-1989 or 800/467-8600. Registrations can also be completed online at with course number BUS560.

Indiana Center for Economic Education logoUSI hosting 24th annual Stock Market Game awards program

The University of Southern Indiana Center for Economic Education will host the 24th annual Southwest Indiana Stock Market Game awards program at 11 a.m., January 31, 3012, in Carter Hall, in the University Center.

The awards program is open to students, parents, teachers, and administrators of participating schools in the southwest Indiana region. Student winners from the top four teams in each division will be recognized for their academic achievement, and receive a certificate of accomplishment and a tee shirt. Teachers also receive a plaque for display at their schools.

This year’s winners include:

  • Elementary Division: first, second, third, and fourth place, Glenwood Leadership Academy
  • Middle School Division: first and second place, Perry Central School; third and fourth place, Thompkins Middle School
  • High School Division: first and third place, Northeast Dubois High School; second and fourth place, Castle High School

The Stock Market Game, part of a national event, gives students an opportunity to learn how the economic system works, analyze news on the economy and markets, strengthen math and computer skills, and make decisions in teams. Teams of three to five students from grades 4-12 invest an imaginary $100,000 over a 10-week period. There are three divisions: elementary, middle school, and high school. The southwest region is well represented with an average of more than 300 teams and 1,200 students participating.

“Students having a working knowledge of markets is critical in today’s day and age,” says Dr. Gregory P. Valentine, director of the Center for Economic Education. “If they have a working knowledge of how things work, they have a shot at a larger nest egg down the road.”

Valentine adds that students over the years have become interested in financial markets and pursued finance as a college major, with the goal of working in the banking and securities industries.

The Center for Economic Education, one of 13 regional centers throughout Indiana, was first established under the direction of Valentine in spring 1988. It has been an affiliate with the National Council on Economic Education (NCEE) since its inception. The NCEE and the Indiana Council for Economic Education and its 13 regional centers have been formed in order to provide elementary and secondary teachers with programs and materials to get economics and personal finance education into the classroom and to help students apply in their lives what they learn in school.

Entrepreneur's Domain: Learning...It's a Never-Ending Endeavor

Taken from the January 2012 issue of the EBJ-Evansville Business Journal, by Horace M. Lukens III.  A contributing writer, Lukens is an instructor in finance in the College of Business at the University of Southern Indiana.

Horace Lukens III

All of us have a natural yearning for learning.  The search for knowledge never ends.  As we mature, the desire to discover and understand the world changes to a desire to discover ourselves.  For the entrepreneur, the ability to acquire and absorb more knowledge has never been more important than it is today.  Early in my insurance career, my father gave me the following admonition:  not only is it necessary that we know our own business or profession, but we also need a detective license to dig out the facts about the other person's business or profession.

The keys to discovery are learning and thinking about what we learn.  Which is more helpful, thinking or learning?  Both are essential.  Since we have to learn something before we can think about it, let's focus on the subject of learning and begin by reviewing so.

Here are some of the ways we learn:

  • From positive experiences
  • From our mistakes
  • From personal study
  • By taking action
  • From others

Everone and everything around us are our teachers.  Our friends and acquaintances are the ones who we turn to in our entrepreneurial endeavors.  It is similar with knowledge and learning.  Knowledge is what is found in books and taught to us by teachers and others.  But until we integrate that knowledge into our lives and make it a part of us, it is no more than an acquaintance with little value.  Learning is the result of embracing knowledge and applying it to our business or profession and yes, even to our lives.  We may forget what we have read or heard, but we always remember what we have learned.

Finally, what is the purpose of learning for the entrepreneur? Our main purpose should be to become the best advocate for the service or product that we offer to our client or customer.  The most successful entrepreneur is the one who continues to acquire knowledge about his service or product and never misses one day of being able to say "today I learned something new that will benefit my customer or client."  By benefiting your client or customer, you benefit yourself and your enterprise becomes a success!

Business leadership training for students begins—January 19, 2012

Chris FullerThe College of Business is offering USI students a leadership training program this spring. Chris Fuller will present "Leading Without a Title," a keynote address about John Maxwell Company training, at 9 a.m. on Thursday, January 19 in Carter Hall in the University Center.

The January 19 interest session will introduce the training program and explain the benefits to students. This is the first event of a leadership program the College of Business is sponsoring for USI students. Interested and selected students will take part throughout this semester in weekly “lunch and learns” with many special features - books, audios, conference calls, and perhaps cases.

Fuller is an international leadership speaker, author, and consultant with over 20 years experience in many aspects of business including leadership, development, strategy, sales, and finance. He has delivered keynotes and training and facilitating strategic sessions for many companies including Microsoft, Coca-Cola, Hewlett-Packard, State Farm, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Pfizer, and McDonald’s. His training has been done with not only executive level clientele but has been strategically oriented toward middle and front-line management as well. His diversity of experience across cultures and organizations of all sizes yields valuable, best practice insights.

More about the John Maxwell Company is online at

Dr. Jason Fertig, assistant professor of management, is planning the program. Students can direct questions and register for the program by contacting him in Room 2086 in the Business and Engineering Center or by email at His office telephone number is 812/461-5255.

Students: Write your way to $1,000! — January 11, 2012, deadline

You don’t have to answer a quiz or sing all the lyrics.  You don’t even need to leave campus. You could be paid $1,000 for under an hour’s work (What an hourly pay rate!). Just get ready to produce your best writing and submit it for the Bill and Helen Sands Business Communication Scholarship. 

The competition will take you about an hour, and you can choose any of the hours from 12 midnight, Friday, January 13, to 11:59 p.m., Friday, January 20. The writing competition will be short mini-cases that require a quick inter-disciplinary computer search to write the document.

Send your name and e-mail address to Jane Johansen, Assoc. Prof. of Business Communication — — by midnight, Wednesday, January 11. You will receive instructions for logging on to the competition website. All College of Business sophomores, juniors, and seniors are encouraged to compete for the $1,000 scholarship. Join the happy winners who are $1,000 richer.