Author: Lynn Makela

Savvy Entrepreneur Workshop Announced

Having problems starting your business but don’t know where to turn?  Others who have discovered how to get past the same road blocks will be there to explain how to find the resources you need at next Tuesday’s Savvy Entrepreneur forum.  The series features best practices sharing via 2-Way Interactive Web Conferencing.   This event will take place Tuesday November 13 in the conference room of Michigan Tech’s Advanced Technology and Development Center at 1402 E. Sharon Avenue, Houghton, Michigan. Social networking with refreshments begins at 5:30 pm with panel discussion from 6-7:30 pm. The public is welcome to attend.  For more information on the Houghton site contact John Diebel 906-487-1082 or

Essential as it may be, it is unlikely that the MIT Forum is the only resource that an entrepreneur will need along the way. This Tuesday’s event was created by successful entrepreneurs for earlier stage entrepreneurs to guide them to resources that turned out to be valuable finds along their path to success. This panel will share their insights on how to go about finding new resources and how to use them.   Chances are the panel has overcome problems you are about to face as you grow your company. Please bring questions as this will be an interactive event.  The forum will include insights from the panelists followed by a moderated question and answer session to address your specific startup commercialization or growth questions.

The Houghton Host Site is sponsored by MTU’s Innovation and Industry Engagement, School of Business and Economics, the Houghton SmartZone and the Keweenaw Alliance For Economic Development.

Michigan Tech Entrepreneur, Jess Tompkins, featured in UP’s Second Wave

Jess Tompkins, a fifth-year student in business management, was recently featured in the Upper Peninsula’s Second Wave. The publication tells the story of the new economy in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula — a narrative of creative people and businesses, new development, cool places to live, and the best places to work and play.

Tompkins was touted for her business Two Bows, which she started in 2010 under the tutelage of the late Professor of Practice in the School of Business and Economics Bob Mark. The article mentions:

To begin the networking process and get the ball rolling, Tompkins joined Tech’s entrepreneurship support center. During this time she incorporated her business plan, sketches and her prize money from the competition to get sample products made. She later joined the Keweenaw Economic Development Alliance. Soon, her idea was starting to look a lot like a real company.

Read the complete article at UP’s Second Wave.

Dr. Elizabeth Hoffman Visits Michigan Tech

Dr. Elizabeth Hoffman, presenting to campus on Tuesday, December 4th.

As part of the Visiting Women & Minority Lecturer/Scholar Series, Dr. Elizabeth Hoffman will be on campus December 3rd and 4th, 2012.

Please join the School of Business and Economics in welcoming Dr. Hoffman during her presentation to the campus community at 4pm on Tuesday, December 4th in the Memorial Union Building, Ballroom (A2). Her presentation is titled, “The Evolution of Experimental and Behavioral Economics.” A short reception will follow in Ballroom A1. This is an excellent networking opportunity for students, faculty, and staff.

More about Dr. Hoffman

Elizabeth (Betsy) Hoffman is currently Professor of Economics at Iowa State, whereshe was Executive Vice President and Provost from 2007 to 2012. Previously, she was President of the University of Colorado System. She is a 1968 graduate of Smith College, holds doctoral degrees in economics and history, and has been an accomplished university administrator, faculty member, and researcher over a career spanning 40 years.

She served as provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), where she also held concurrent academic appointments as professor of economics, history, political science and psychology, as well as professor in the Institute of Government and Public Affairs.

She joined UIC after serving as dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Iowa State University. Before moving to Iowa State in 1993, she held academic and administrative positions at the University of Florida, Northwestern University, Purdue University, the University of Wyoming and the University of Arizona.

She is currently on the Boards of Marsico Capital Management, Smith College, the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, and the Science Center of Iowa. Over her career, she has served on more than 20 boards, including the Board of Directors of Target Corporation, the National Science Board, and the Space Telescope Institute Council, which oversees the management of the Hubble Space Telescope.

In 1988, she was awarded the Coase Prize for Excellence in the Study of Law and Economics, together with her o-author, Matthew Spitzer. In 2010, she was awarded the Carolyn Shaw Bell Award, for her work in advancing the status of women in the economics profession, from the American Economic Association. In 2011, she was awarded an honorary doctorate from the National University of Life and Environmental Sciences of Ukraine, as well as the Margaret Sloss award for Gender Equity from Iowa State University. In 2012 she was named a Woman Impacting Iowa State by the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics.

She earned a doctorate in history from the University of Pennsylvania in 1972 and a second doctorate in economics from California Institute of Technology in 1979. She received a bachelor’s degree in history from Smith College in 1968 and a master’s degree in history from the University of Pennsylvania in 1969.

She is married to Brian R. Binger, who earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from St. Olaf College and a Ph.D. in economics from California Institute of Technology, also in 1979. They live in Ames, Iowa and Golden, Colorado.

This event is funded by the Michigan Tech President’s Office and a grant to the Office for Institutional Diversity for the State of Michigan’s King-Chavez-Parks Initiative.

To learn more about Dr. Hoffman, visit her profile.

Video of Dr. Hoffman’s presentation at Michigan Tech

Your viewers will need Real Player to watch the video stream. A free player can be downloaded at

Welcome to Michigan Tech: New Faculty

The School of Business and Economics extends a warm welcome to our new faculty for the 2012-2013 academic year.

Michele Loughead, MBA

Michele Loughead, MBA
Michele Loughead accepts a position as lecturer in the School of Business and Economics. Loughead has been an instructor at Michigan Tech since 2011.

Loughead received her MBA from Seattle University and her BBA from the University of Michigan. She is also a certified public accountant.

Loughead is an innovation consultant at Michele Loughead Consulting and served as the vice president of trading at Imperium Renewables, Inc. for two years. She has also been director of finance at VMC Consulting and Black Ram Engineering.


Russ Louks, MS

Russell Louks, MS
Russell Louks joins the School of Business and Economics as professor of practice. Louks comes to Michigan Tech from the Ford Motor Company, where he serves as manager of the University Sourcing Office in Houghton.

Louks received an MS in Technology from Purdue University and a BS in Mathematics with a secondary education certificate from Michigan Tech. He is also a certified information systems security professional.

He has worked for Ford Motor Company since 1985 as a plant floor systems manager, the Mazda business integration liaison and the supervisor of the manufacturing systems office. He was also a reliability engineer at General Dynamics for two years.

Tang Wang, PhD

Tang Wang, PhD
Tang Wang joins the School of Business and Economics as an assistant professor. He comes to Michigan Tech from the University of Missouri, Kansas City.

Wang holds a PhD in Entrepreneurship and Innovation from the University of Missouri, Kansas City, an MS in Pattern Recognition Intelligent System from the University of Science and Technology of China and a BS in Electrical Engineering from the Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

He has taught entrepreneurship, strategy and innovation management and has published in journals such as the Journal of Business Venturing and the Journal of Product Innovation Management. His research interests include technology and innovation, venture capital and initial public offering, and organizational learning, capability and knowledge.

Two Tech Teams Chosen for Clean Energy Challenge

Two teams from Michigan Tech have been chosen to join in the Michigan Clean Energy Venture Challenge. Twenty-seven teams were chosen from 71 teams that applied from across the state. Through the challenge, teams will learn the skills needed to start a successful company, through classroom and hands-on learning.

The teams will also meet regularly with their on-campus mentors and venture capitalists and have access to a micro-grant program offering up to $2,500 for each team to move their business forward.

The Tech teams are GreenedIt!, a web-based application for energy auditing, and Aquaponics, for healthy, local food in urban communities.

GreenedIt! team members are physics students Travis Beaulieu, an undergraduate, and graduate student Abhilash Kantamneni. The team traveled to East Lansing for their initial training this past weekend.

“The training we received through the challenge was incredibly useful,” said Beaulieu. “The whole point was to try and get young entrepreneurs into the mindset of finding a customer need and forming the idea around the customer’s feedback. Thankfully this training worked for our team, and we had a complete pivot during the weekend.”

The other team, Aquaponics, features indoor farming using water instead of soil, with a fish tank providing nutrients to plants. Team members include Robert Handler, post-doctoral environmental engineer in the Sustainable Futures Institute; Josh Krugh, economics undergraduate; and Jacob Bray, chemical engineering undergraduate.

“Aquaponics is a combination of aquaculture and hydroponics,” Handler said. “And we want to examine the potential for this type of agriculture to expand as a business opportunity in urban communities throughout the state.”

On the final day of the venture challenge, all participating teams will present their results, and a few teams will be awarded additional prizes and investments totaling $50,000 or more. The six-month challenge is run by the University of Michigan Center for Entrepreneurship.

Written by Senior Editor Dennis Walikainen of University Marketing and Communications.