At its May 20, 2016 board meeting, the VCU School of Business Foundation elected two new trustees. Welcome!
William F. Gifford, Jr. (B.S.’92/ACCT) Chief Financial Officer Altria Group, Inc.
Billy Gifford serves as Chief Financial Officer, Altria Group. In this role, Gifford is responsible for the Accounting, Tax, Treasury, Audit, Investor Relations, Finance Decision Support and Strategy & Business Development organizations. He also oversees the financial services business of Philip Morris Capital Corporation. He most recently was Senior Vice President, Strategy & Business Development.
Since joining Philip Morris USA in 1994, Gifford has served in numerous leadership roles in Finance, Marketing Information & Consumer Research and as President and Chief Executive Officer of PM USA. Prior to that, he was Vice President and Treasurer for Altria. In this role, Gifford led various groups at Altria Client Services including Risk Management, Treasury Management, Benefits Investments, Corporate Finance and Corporate Financial Planning & Analysis.
Gifford received a bachelors degree in accounting from Virginia Commonwealth University School of Business in 1992. Prior to PM USA, he worked at the public accounting firm of Coopers & Lybrand, now known as PricewaterhouseCoopers.
He serves on the Board of Trustees of the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges.
John D. O’Neill, Jr. Partner Hunton & Williams
John O’Neill’s practice focuses on public-private infrastructure development, public finance, capital finance and complex commercial lending. Substantial experience in structuring transactions for a broad range of public and private infrastructure projects, including airports, roads and highways, convention and conference centers, educational facilities, government administrative facilities and water and wastewater facilities.
O’Neill received his B.A. from the University of Richmond and his J.D. from the Pepperdine University School of Law. He is a member of the American Bar Association, the Virginia Bar Association, the Richmond Bar Association, the National Association of Bond Lawyers, and a member and past president of the Bond Club of Virginia.
The Virginia Commonwealth University School of Business mourns the loss of a beloved professor and leader, Richard T. Redmond, D.B.A., who served the school for more than thirty years.
After earning his bachelor’s degree from Shippensburg University and his doctor of business administration in decision science from Kent State University, Redmond joined the school in 1983 as a faculty member in the Informations Systems department. From the beginning, his gentle manner, humor and ability to inspire the best in others earned him the gratitude and respect of students and colleagues alike.
He served as chair of the Department of Information Systems from 2001-2012. He proved to be an able leader with a kind heart and earned a reputation as “the best guy you’ll ever work for.” Under Redmond’s leadership, the VCU School of Business became the first business school in the country to achieve accreditation by the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET for the undergraduate program in information systems.
Redmond could not have been prouder when in 2005, a student team garnered national attention by winning the Microsoft Imagine Cup, and he made sure that the company executives in Redmond, Wa., took note and started recruiting at VCU. That same year, Redmond led the department to launch the very successful Executive MS in Information Systems program, which is known for its effectiveness in preparing students to take on top leadership roles.
Redmond was a valued mentor to the doctoral students following in his footsteps. Chandrashekar “Shekar” Dutt Challa, Ph.D. recalled, “He was not just a friend but also my big brother, philosopher and guide. I spent two years of weekends with him at his house working on my dissertation. It is a devastating loss to his family, his friends at the school and to the universe.”
Prior to his recent retirement, Redmond served as interim senior associate dean of the School of Business. Working closely with Dean Ed Grier, Redmond effectively engaged faculty, staff, administration, alumni, students and community in developing an exciting new vision and strategic plan, EPIC, which will guide and inspire the school’s progress for years to come.
Upon learning of his late stage cancer diagnosis, the VCU Business community responded with an outpouring of support. Longtime colleague Jean Gasen, Ph.D., set up a CaringBridge website for people to share their words of appreciation and remembrances. Daniel P. Salandro, Ph.D, chair of Finance, Insurance and Real Estate, and Lemuria Carter, Ph.D, current chair of Information Systems established a scholarship fund in his honor, and contributions started coming in quickly.
On CaringBridge, Gasen spoke for many when she wrote, “I owe him so much and am forever grateful for the impact he has had on my life, and on the lives of so many others. He spent most of his life helping others and was cut way short of the time he so deserved to spend on himself.”
Like many, Carol Scotese, Ph.D, chair of Economics, recognized the example Redmond set, “Your selfless contributions and caring leadership style gave me an aspirational goal – for this, I will be forever grateful.”
“We will miss the presence of a truly kind and giving person,” said Dean Ed Grier in an April 15 email notifying faculty and staff of the passing of “our great friend and spectacular colleague” earlier that morning.
Redmond was preceded in death by his mother, Roseann; his first wife Jean; his brother John P. Redmond and a sister, Rosemarie Redmond. He is survived by his wife, Connie; six children, Marc Redmond (Joseph Whitfield), Brian Redmond (Ashley), Laura Ramirez (John), Gregory Redmond (Amber), Steven Fish (Madison Sternberg) and Jamie Nash (Gage); seven grandchildren, Tristan, Oliver, Grant, Hattie, Grady, Lacey and Hazel; father, Dr. John P. “Jack” Redmond; three sisters, Regina McCarren, Cecile Logsdail (David) and Marybeth Redmond (Greg Beckmann); and many nieces and nephews.
A Celebration of Life will be held at Bliley’s – Central, 3801 Augusta Avenue, on Tuesday, 6:00 pm, April 19, 2016.
Memorial donations may be made to the Rich Redmond Fund (select “other” and designate Rich Redmond Fund.) Make checks payable to the VCU School of Business Foundation, 301 W. Main Street, Richmond, Va. 23284-4000. VCU employees may also give by payroll deduction. If you have questions regarding the fund, please contact Joey Broussard, director of development, at 804-827-7408.
Stephen Custer, Ph.D., program founder and faculty advisor, says, “This is a tribute to the faculty, staff and Advisory Board that worked to make a concept a reality and continue to maintain and improve the program. It’s also recognition of the outstanding students who are the heart of the program.”
The Decision Analytics program started two years ago and has drawn students from a wide variety of academic backgrounds with an interest in the growing field of analytics. Almost 75% of the program’s first cohort, the Class of 2016, have already reported positive career changes, such as promotions and raises, since starting the program. They will graduate in May.
RichTech, Richmond’s Technology Council, is a member-driven association of businesses and organizations working together to ensure the continued growth of central Virginia’s dynamic technology-based economy. RichTech supports the growth of existing technology industries and identifies Greater Richmond as the location of choice for new and emerging technology companies.
The award winners, chosen from among the finalists, will be announced at the RichTech Gala on May 11. For a complete list of finalists and more information on the gala, visit http://richtech.com/meet-the-gala-finalists/
A group of the brightest minds at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Business got an early look into one of the biggest economic development projects in Richmond in decades: Stone Brewing Co.’s East Coast production and distribution facility in the Greater Fulton community.
Eyeing future careers in business strategy and finance, the students tossed out questions about the business strategy, use of bonds, and of course the beer-brewing process to leaders at both Stone Brewing Co. and Hourigan Construction, which fast-tracked the 213,000-square-foot facility to suit the brewer’s needs in only 14 months.
The building was completed in February and its store and taproom opened late that month. Stone is expected to begin test brewing at the end of April.
The tour opened with an introduction to the facility from Juliellen Sarver, Stone community relations manager and resident of Greater Fulton, who provided the history of the city landing Stone Brewing Co., a contract that was announced in late 2014. Stone, as she and many others have noted, has been a shot in the arm for a community with a median household income of $17,000. Fulton has no bank, no grocery store, no pharmacy or other key community needs, she notes, but with Stone, that’s likely to change in coming years.
“Stone came here with reason, and that reason was to grow a community,” Hourigan client solutions manager Michael Henley told the assembled group of VCU students. The facility is expected to create more than 200 jobs, Sarver noted, and is already drumming up economic development studies and further interest in growth in the area.
Henley and Sarver fielded questions from students ranging from the strategies behind the construction of the facility (built to suit the needs of Stone, which made tenant improvements and will lease the facility for 25 years with the option to purchase), the $60 million worth of equipment inside it (owned by Stone), to the piping throughout the massive facility. As construction manager, Hourigan also worked closely with Stone’s own engineers to build a facility that could grow over time and fill craft beer demand for decades to come. Stone will ship its brews up and down the east coast, Canada, and as far west as the Rocky Mountains through this Richmond based facility.
Hourigan is a regional construction company based in Richmond, Virginia, that is both active in the community and a strong supporter of Virginia universities.
For the VCU students, the Stone Brewing Co. project represents a unique opportunity to learn about:
the impact of a construction and economic development project on a community;
the business strategy and culture that the West Coast based brewery brings East;
and the technical requirements to create a complex industrial and process engineering facility.
Through Hourigan’s relationship with VCU School of Business professor Bob Kelley, the event was a perfect opportunity to showcase a high-profile project, and a business, Stone Brewing Co., which experienced 78 percent growth in 2013 before deciding to open a new facility.
“Our approach to education is that we must not only build facilities that create incredible learning environments for students, but also get the people of Hourigan out into the world and get hands-on with the leaders of tomorrow,” said Mark Hourigan, president of Hourigan Construction, which actively recruits engineering and construction students from many of the great universities in the state and other regional schools.
“Our students thoroughly enjoyed an early inside peek at the operations and have a deeper respect for the business, engineering, and construction decisions that went into the operation,” says Kelley, the VCU School of Business professor. “The facility is beautiful, and what Stone and Hourigan have created is exciting for Richmond. We loved seeing a construction project come to life.”
Thanks to Hourigan for the tour and for sharing this article!
Conrad Roos, Shayan Dareikia and Ishan Bose formed this year’s team. Faculty adviser Cory Bunting, director of the Capital Markets Center in the School of Business, accompanied the students earlier this semester to New York City, where they delivered their presentation before the panel of judges.
Each team was assigned a company, for which they had to come up with a strategic and financial buyer. Having researched potential buyers and determined the company’s worth, the VCU team’s collaborative final project consisted of a slide deck of market research on its client. It included competing companies, evaluation and analysis of television ratings, along with a strategy to address the growth in online media viewing.
The VCU presentation placed second in the competition and each student received $2,000 in scholarship money.
“Overall it was an invaluable experience,” said Roos, a junior studying chemical engineering in the School of Engineering. “Besides the practice gained through valuing the companies and preparing the slide deck, presenting in front of the firm’s management was a unique experience that really drove home the value of preparation.”
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Following an exciting afternoon of pitches by five finalist teams, a panel of judges representing the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Business Foundation today awarded $250,000 in the school’s inaugural EPIC Challenge. Awards ranged from $30,000-$70,000 and will be used by the winning teams to implement their ideas to support EPIC, the school’s new strategic plan.
Open to all School of Business faculty and staff, the EPIC Challenge encourages collaboration by requiring applicants to partner with one (or more) individual(s) from outside their own discipline and possibly even outside of the university.
A total of 35 teams comprising 154 individuals submitted proposals in fall 2015. Each finalist team worked with a mentor or mentors from the business community to refine their ideas and develop a pitch. Mentors included Bill Weber, Jack Hannibal, Neil Patel, Cathy Doss, Jane Watkins and Gary Rhodes.
The judges had the option to award funding to one or multiple teams. After an hour of deliberation the judges decided to fund at least a portion of every proposal. “All the EPIC Challenge projects were wonderful, so much so that the judges had to actually put on our boxing gloves to allocate our pot of money,” half-joked judge and foundation board member Juanita Leatherberry (B.S.’73/ACCT.)
“All the participants were so good, so fantastic, I could not be more proud,” said School of Business Dean Ed Grier. “I’m looking forward to next year already.”
A trio of graduate students in VCU’s School of Business is helping a Greek vintner uncork the U.S. market.
Kristina Friar, Matt Guise and Jonathan Stoffer, three students in the school’s executive MBA program, spent the past year developing a go-to-market strategy for Chimera sparkling wine, marketed by Athens-based Oinovation.
Nikos Kavounis, founder of Oinovation – its name a combination of “innovation” and “oinos,” the Greek word for wine – met the students last year at a business incubator when they visited Greece through the school’s “Global Challenges” program. The trips expose students to facets of international business and tasked them with helping entrepreneurs and startups with various challenges.
The challenge for Kavounis was how to market Chimera, a sparkling wine infused with organic saffron, to U.S. importers and distributors. Through the strategy the students developed, Kavounis was connected with three importer-distributors, including Richmond-based Athinian Imports Inc.
Congratulations to our very own Michael G. Kiflezghi, a VCU School of Business student pursuing a dual-degree in Information Systems and Bioinformatics. Michael received the Black History in the Making award from the Department of African American Studies at VCU and is currently a semifinalist for a Fulbright scholarship.
Michael shared, “I transferred from Northern Virginia Community College to matriculate into the Information Systems (IS) degree at VCU. After a year in the IS department, I discovered another passion: molecular biology. I decided that I’d pursue both fields in the form of a dual degree in IS and Bioinformatics.
I was subsequently accepted into the Initiative for Maximizing Student Development research training program (IMSD). During my time at VCU, I’ve had the pleasure of attending the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students three times and the Gerontological Society of America’s Annual Scientific Meeting once. I also spent a summer at the University of Oregon conducting research as part of an undergraduate research training program.
Through the help and guidance of the Honors College I applied for and became a semifinalist for a Fulbright to spend a year working under Dame Linda Partridge at the Max Planck Institute for the Biology of Aging. It’s my goal to research the biology of aging after undergrad in the form of a Ph.D. Being at VCU has literally changed the course of my life and opened so many doors for me allowing me to gain valuable research experience and business/IT knowledge through Bioinformatics and IS.”
Don Just started at the top in the advertising industry when, in 1982, he moved from serving as the president of a large bank to become president and CEO of The Martin Agency, a small local shop. For the next 10 years, Just guided Martin’s rapid growth, making it one of the most recognized agencies in the country. As an advertising executive with a Darden School MBA in finance, Just provided a unique perspective to such clients as Maserati, Bank One, Pet Inc., Borden’s, Wrangler, GM, Marriott, FMC Corporation, ITT, Ethyl, USWest and Cendant Corporation. After negotiating the sale of Martin to a large New York agency, Just left the company and subsequently funded and directed a number of successful entrepreneurial ventures. He currently serves as professor of creative brand management at the internationally acclaimed Brandcenter, part of the VCU School of Business.
Just is one of seven distinguished Virginia media professionals who will be honored at the 2016 Virginia Communications Hall of Fame induction ceremony. The April 7 event is the 29th Hall of Fame ceremony to honor significant achievements in the fields of Virginia media.
The Virginia Communications Hall of Fame recognizes communication professionals with exceptional careers in advertising, journalism, public relations and other media fields. The newest class of inductees will bring the total number of this elite group to 165. Larry Sabato, political scientist and analyst, author, professor and founder of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, will serve as master of ceremonies at the induction ceremony this year.
Congratulations to alumnus Fadi Muhsen and current student Umair Awan for their achievements abroad and recognition by Entrepreneur.com. The pair created Doxunity, a web portal dedicated to doctors. The portal currently has close to 130 users from the GCC, North African nations, Iran and Lebanon. During their years at VCU Business, the duo paid close attention to the tech and startup spaces, attended events, and even reached out to CEOs for guidance and tips. Muhsen completed a BS in Applied Economics with a concentration in Business and Finance, while Awan is currently pursuing his BS in Information Technology. Read more