Category: Awards

Elham Asgari Named Michigan Tech College of Business Gates Professor

The Professor of Management and Entrepreneurship in the College of Business is the 2020-21 Gates Professor.

The Gates Family Foundation partners with communities to address long-term quality-of-life challenges and opportunities. At Michigan Technological University, the position will support student engagement in entrepreneurial activities and contribute to the regional entrepreneurial ecosystem. 

Elham (Ellie) Asgari joined the faculty of the Michigan Tech College of Business after earning her PhD in business management from Virginia Tech. Her research is at the intersection between entrepreneurship and innovation, and primarily focuses on the impact of upper echelons, star employees, and human resources on technological innovation. She has presented at the Academy of Management Annual Meetings and Strategic Management Society conference, among many others, and is published in top-tier journals such as Journal of Management, Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice, and Expert Systems with Applications.



Her most recent paper titled, “Red Giants or Black Holes? The Antecedent Conditions and Multi-Level Impacts of Star Performers” was accepted for publication in the Academy of Management Annals in fall 2020.

Prior to entering her doctoral program, Asgari worked in industry, specializing in human resource management. She holds an MBA and a bachelor’s degree in engineering.

“With her advanced business and technical background, Dr. Asgari is well-matched for Michigan Tech. The College of Business looks forward to Dr. Asgari leveraging her Gates Professor role in support of the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Michigan Tech, the Keweenaw Peninsula, and across Michigan,” says Dean Johnson, dean of the Michigan Tech College of Business.

In particular, Asgari will promote two of Michigan Tech’s flagship student-based entrepreneurial activities, the immersive Silicon Valley Experience, and the Bob Mark Business Model Competition, in addition to supporting faculty and research in the entrepreneurial area. 

Of the appointment, Asgari says: “I am very excited about this opportunity and look forward to using the capacity of the position to enhance the entrepreneurship program at MTU.”

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The Michigan Tech College of Business is large enough to lead and small enough to care. Our faculty are active in research, yet build close relationships with students. Professors understand Huskies’ career goals and provide them with the knowledge, tools, and experiences to create the future. 


Business Students Place Third in Annual Marketing Conference

Three student members of the Michigan Tech chapter of the American Marketing Association (AMA)—Ryan Calkins (Management), Emily Kughn (Marketing), and Jaxon Verhoff (Marketing)—recently demonstrated their marketing strategy competence at the 2020 AMA regional conference hosted virtually by the University of Wisconsin–Whitewater.



The students were selected as top-10 finalists at the online conference where more than 800 students from 64 universities participated. They went on to place third on October 9, winning a cash award of $250.

In addition to this achievement, Michigan Tech was represented in the AcuRite Digital Marketing Strategy Competition and Gartner Sales Competition, where managers from the sponsoring companies served as judges.

Although COVID-19 disrupted the learning environment, Associate Professor of Marketing, Jun Min, who advises the marketing organization on campus, states, “I am continually impressed with our students’ willingness to try something new.”


2020 Bob Mark Business Model Competition Winners

The 2020 Bob Mark Business Model Competition was held January 29.  Eighteen students making up 13 teams pitched business models to advance their innovation. Community members and judges from across campus and the community selected the winners and provided the teams with feedback.

Student stands on stage during business plan competition
Jacob Soter is currently pursuing a TechMBA®

The winners of the 2020 Bob Mark Business Model Competition:

  • First Prize, $2,000—Kyra Pratley, POWERPENDANTS
  • Second Prize, $1,000—Jake Soter, SwimSmart Technologies
  • Third Prize, $500—J. Harrison Shields, Shields Technologies
  • Honorable Mention, $250—Samerender Hanumantharao & Stephanie Bule, Bio-Synt
  • Honorable Mention, $250—Allysa Meinburg, Haley Papineau, Sadat Yang, AAA Prosthetic Ankle
  • Audience Favorite, $250—Allysa Meinburg, Haley Papineau, Sadat Yang, AAA Prosthetic Ankle
  • MTEC SmartZone Breakout Innovation Award, ($1,000 Reimbursable expenses toward business development)—Ranit Karmakar

This event is a tribute to the late Bob Mark, professor of practice in the College of Business who started the Elevator Pitch Competition at Michigan Tech. The competition recognizes his entrepreneurial spirit and its continuation at Michigan Tech.

The 2020 Bob Mark Business Model Competition was hosted by Husky Innovate, a collaboration between Pavlis Honors College, the Michigan Tech College of Business, and the Office of Innovation and Commercialization. Husky Innovate is Michigan Tech’s resource hub for innovation and entrepreneurship, and offers workshops, competitions, NSF I-Corps training, a speaker series, and co-hosts the Silicon Valley Experience.


McBride, Elliott, Blankenship, and Roualet Honored as Academy of Business Inductees

The Michigan Technological University School of Business and Economics announces its 2019 inductees to the esteemed Academy of Business. These four individuals join a group of outstanding leaders in business and civic affairs, as well those who have contributed significantly to the growth and development of the School of Business and Economics (SBE).

Four people stand along wall with award plaques
2019 Academy of Business Inductees

The new inductees were honored at a celebratory dinner in the Great Lakes Research Center on the evening of September 20:

David W. McBride ‘82, owner, McBride Remodeling Inc. and Northland Self Storage LLC

David McBride (right) receives his award from Dean Johnson, dean of the School of Business and Economics

David McBride leads an award-winning team of highly trained professionals who are leaders in the home improvement and storage industry. He has grown the construction division to become one of the top 500 in the country. In the storage division, he actively manages three facilities and more than 500 customer relationships. 

Highlighted projects include developing a 25-acre industrial park in a former gravel mine, converting a drive-in theater into a commercial center, and receiving the Governor’s Award for Historic Preservation in 2017 for the Douglas House renovation. 

McBride is a proud supporter of Michigan Tech Summer Youth Programs. 

Dale F. Elliott ‘79, president and CEO, FCM Advisory Group, Ltd

Dale Elliott has a long association with Michigan Tech. Seven members of his immediate family have graduated from the University. Elliott earned a TechMBA in 1979, after earning his bachelor’s degree from Michigan State and then working in the family tool-and-die design and engineering business. 

On campus, he was a member of Sigma Tau Gamma fraternity. 

After Michigan Tech, Elliott joined Brunswick Corporation as an advanced management trainee. He then spent 11 years with Emerson Electric, starting with the Dremel division as marketing manager.

Dale Elliott (right)

After a few successful years he was promoted to general manager of Dremel and was then selected to be vice president of marketing for the S-B Power Tool business, a joint venture between Emerson and Robert Bosch GmbH. This experience provided many valuable lessons about managing an international business and the importance of culture in a global organization. 

In 1995, he took a position with Snap-on Tools Inc., as president of the industrial and power tool business. He was named chairperson, president, and CEO of Snap-on Tools in 2001 and over the next three years he developed the strategy and tactical plans that set the stage for their future growth and profitability, while addressing the economic impact of the September 11, 2001 attacks. 

After retiring from Snap-on, Elliott was called on to become president of American Standard’s Global Bath and Kitchen business, a global market leader with more than 26,000 employees. 

Currently, Elliott is president and CEO of FCM Advisory Group, Ltd. a business consulting company he founded in 2007. His efforts are focused on a process called “Full-Circle Management,” which ensures that the activities of an entire organization align with company goals and objectives.

He has served on the School of Business and Economics National Advisory Board and is a Michigan Tech Fund Life Trustee as well as a member of the President’s Advancement Council.

Denise Blankenship ‘84, retired vice president of business analysis of Church Pension Group  

Throughout her career Denise Blankenship held numerous positions in the information technology field with a focus on business analysis and resource management.

Denise Blankenship (left)

Most recently Blankenship served as the vice president of business analysis at Church Pension Group (CPG) where she was a senior IT manager responsible for partnering with corporate business leaders to define, prioritize, and develop IT strategy for supporting both IT and business projects. 

During her tenure at CPG, Denise established an enterprise business analyst program. She implemented numerous process improvement projects spanning web self-service, policy administration, document automation, and content management with a focus on efficient work-flow automation.

In 2011, she received the Women in Insurance Leadership Notable Achiever Award. 

Blankenship holds a BS in business administration from Michigan Tech. She has served on numerous vendor Customer Advisory Boards and is a member of the Presidential Council of Alumnae.

Mark C. Roualet ‘81, executive vice president, Combat Systems

Mark Roualet (right)

Mark Roualet is the executive vice president of General Dynamics for their combat systems group. This group  includes three companies: European Land Systems, Land Systems, and Ordnance and Tactical Systems. 

He held positions of increasing responsibility throughout his employment with General Dynamics Land Systems to include plant manager; vice president of the Interim Brigade Combat Team program; vice president of Wheeled Vehicle Systems; and senior vice president and chief operating officer. 

Roualet earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Michigan Tech and a master’s of business administration from the University of Dayton. He was recognized by Crain’s Detroit Business Magazine as one of their “40 Under 40” executives and has received the Silver Star by the National Defense Industrial Association. 

In 2019, Roualet was elected to the Council of Trustees for the Association of the United States Army, a non-profit educational and development association serving America’s total Army, soldiers and civilians, and their families.

Find the entire Academy of Business here. 


Milligan and Wall are 2019-20 Ten Haken Faculty Fellows

Exterior of Academic Office Building

The School of Business and Economics (SBE) at Michigan Technological University announces the appointments of Sheila Milligan, senior lecturer in accounting, as the Richard and Joyce Ten Haken Faculty Fellow in Accounting/Finance, and Jeff Wall, assistant professor of management information systems (MIS), as the Richard and Joyce Ten Haken Faculty Fellow in Business.

Photo of senior lecturer Sheila Milligan
Senior lecturer Sheila Milligan (center)

Dean Johnson, dean of SBE, says the fellowships shine a light on the important work Milligan and Wall do in the classroom and beyond: “Our faculty stand a part for being large enough to lead and small enough to care. They know our students’ strengths and goals, and they play integral roles in guiding them with hands-on learning and mentoring.” 

Milligan, a 17-year veteran at the University, says that Richard and Joyce’s giving inspire her every day. “I want to be my best for our hardworking students, who are very conscientious about their education,” she says. 

Photo of professor Jeff Wall with student
Jeff Wall (left). assistant professor of management information systems (MIS)

Fellowship funds will be used for student travel, experiential education, student scholarships and to provide teaching assistant positions and professional development for faculty. “Attending conferences in forensic accounting is critical to keeping my teaching agile and relevant to prepare students,” Milligan says. 

Wall intends to direct his fellowship funds toward undergraduate scholarships for students dual majoring in accounting or finance and MIS. “Using the funds–more than $8,000 in total–in this way can help support Michigan Tech’s enrollment goals for business students,” Wall says of the new initiative directed at growing the School of Business and Economics.

Trends in industry are placing a greater emphasis on the intersection of accounting and finance with MIS.  Wall anticipates seeing top-quality, interdisciplinary students through these scholarships.

The Ten Haken Faculty Fellowship positions were created in 2017 to attract and retain high-quality business faculty and to inspire teaching and research activity amongst business faculty. Both accounting majors with bachelor’s degrees in business administration, Richard and Joyce Ten Haken are pillars of support for SBE’s students and faculty.