Ronald Staley

Alumni Offers His Career Experiences and Advice for SBE Students

Ronald Staley has engineering and business degrees from MTU and gives advice and talks to students about what he does on a daily basis.


SBE: What was your major and concentration at MTU?

RS: I received my AAS in Civil Engineering Technology from MTU in 1977. Then in 1980, I received my BS in Business Administration with a major in Industrial Management. I graduated with honors in both degrees. While studying at MTU, I was able to work summers and during school, for several great engineering firms, giving me exposure to the construction industry which would be the direction I would ultimately take my career.

SBE: Did you have any experiences or classes at Tech that helped you compete in the work force against other students?

RS: What MTU offered was a very hands-on education. By having the combined technical and business degree, I look at issues related to construction with both a strong technical understanding of how buildings work and a business understanding on overhead, return on investment, balance sheets and income statements. Tie to that leadership skills learned from various associations, and I have been able to move into various professional organizations as board member and officer.

SBE: What does your company do?

RS: The Christman Company is a full service construction company providing Construction Management, General Contract, Design/Build and Property Development. Founded in 1894, the firm is owned by current management and implements institutional and commercial construction of educational, health care, and historic preservation projects. Projects range from $5 million to over $200 million in size with offices throughout Michigan and Washington, DC.

SBE: What is your current position?

RS: I am Vice President of National Historic Preservation and Mid-Atlantic Regional Office for The Christman Company.

SBE: What are you main job responsibilities? What do you do on a daily basis?

RS: In this role, I am responsible for executive direction and leadership for Christman’s Historic Preservation Group. I started this business unit in 1992 after managing the $58 million restoration of Michigan’s State Capitol. Since that time the group has implemented restoration on over $500 million of historic preservation work including work at the White House, Virginia’s State Capitol, Henry Ford Estate Fair Lane, Notre Dame’s Administration Building, and dozens of other high profile and historically significant Landmark structures. I have worked on projects in over a dozen states and on professional teams on 500 year old wooden churches in Poland and Slovakia.

I market our services to architects and owners and develop marketing and competitive strategy. I oversee the preconstruction and construction phase services on approximately eight projects from Michigan to Washington, to Georgia.

I develop fee proposals and cost estimates for each of these projects and oversee staff who manage the day to day construction operations. I lead development of the historic preservation training and quality programs for the company.

SBE: Do you have any advice for current students in the School of Business and Economics?

RS: Balance your business studies with a technical specialty. Too often I see students get a business degree but have no idea of the industry which they wish to use the degree. Understanding the business concepts of various industries give more depth to the educational process and ultimately to the value of the education received and the salary to be paid. Getting into leadership roles with university organizations is another great way to develop skills which are invaluable in the future.

It is said your university education will serve as the foundation for your future career. Make the foundation as large as possible with every opportunity you can experience. For, with the larger the foundation, the greater the career it will support.

Speaker Series: Jessica Gonzalez Kaiser, Owens Corning, Operations Support Leader


SBE distinguished alumna, Jessica Gonzalez Kaiser will be on campus to discuss the important topic of Leadership and Careers. The presentation will take place on Wednesday, April 18, at 11 AM in ChemSci 101. Students are encouraged to attend this lecture about this dynamic leader and ask questions you may have about leadership, careers and balancing careers with life.

Jessica graduated with a BSBA with a concentration in Operations Management in 1988, and has had a very successful career working in large and small organizations as well as her own consulting firm.

Kaiser has an extensive background in Quality Management and has led several organizations to successful ISO/QS registrations. She owned and operated her own consulting firm and has extensive managerial experience including Plant Manager, Regional General Manager and Marketing Manager, and Operations Support Leader.

Speaking Topic:

Which Behaviors Lead to Success?
Today’s corporate cultures demand leadership, peak performance and continuous improvement. With continuous improvement a requirement for peak performance, the bar is raised every year—yesterday’s peak performance for leaders is today’s norm for everyone. The key to succeeding in today’s business environment is to recognize that you need to focus not only on outcomes, but also on behaviors. What behaviors define you as a leader? What behaviors define your career path? You are in charge of your career and where you want to take it.

In addition to this lecture, she will be meeting with Bob Mark’s BA1700 class at 2 pm and Victoria James’ BA4770 HR class at 3:30 pm on the topic of work-life balance.

Batovanja a Finalist for Derek Hines Unsung Hero Award


Senior Mike Batovanja (Business Administration, Hinton, Alta.) of the Michigan Tech hockey team has been nominated for the Derek Hines Unsung Hero Award, as announced by the Hockey Commissioners’ Association (HCA). The honor is named in memory of the former Army player who died courageously in combat in Afghanistan, and will be presented for the first time April 6 at the 2007 NCAA Men’s Frozen Four.

“Although I never knew Derek Hines, I admire the lasting impression he left on those he touched,” said fourth-year head coach Jamie Russell. “Mike Batovanja would certainly honor Derek’s memory as he possesses so many of the qualities Derek had.”

Batovanja has been a mainstay in the Huskies lineup ever since transferring from the University of Findlay after his freshman campaign. Named to the College Hockey America All-Rookie Team with the Oilers in 2003-04, Batovanja chipped in 13 goals and 31 assists in 146 career games between the two programs. He racked up five points this season and led Michigan Tech in hits, despite missing three games due to numerous injuries.

A team co-captain this year, and an alternate captain in the 2005-06 slate, Batovanja owns a 3.50 cumulative grade point average in business administration with a concentration in marketing. The winger was a three-time member of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) All-Academic Team and was recognized as a WCHA Scholar-Athlete in his final collegiate season.

He also donated his time by working with the Copper Country Junior Hockey Association (CCJHA) and reading in local elementary schools as part of the Koaches’ Kids program.

“Mike has exemplified fearless leadership on and off the ice throughout his career at Michigan Tech,” reflected Russell. “He played through excruciating pain this entire season and was a real inspiration for our team. Mike is a shining example of all that is good in our game. His unselfish and humble manner should make our team, university and community proud.”

Each of the six NCAA Division I hockey conferences submitted a nominee for the Derek Hines Unsung Hero Award to honor the nation’s “consummate team player and team builder.” Hines, a former Army captain, was killed in the line of duty in Afghanistan last September. He was a four-year letterwinner for the Black Knights, graduating in 2003 after serving as the team’s co-captain in his senior season.

The Unsung Hero Award will go to the nominee who best personifies Derek’s spirit and relentless commitment as defined by the following description.

“This award recognizes a fearless leader and beloved fan favorite who always places his team first,” said HCA president Tom Anastos. “Displaying exemplary sportsmanship, he’s supremely competitive, intelligent and extraordinarily conditioned with an unmatched work ethic. The contributions of this individual, on and off the ice, cannot be measured by statistics alone.”

Nominees were judged by a panel comprised of the sports information directors from the six NCAA Division I conferences along with representatives of Army athletics and the Hines family.

Notes: The Derek Hines Unsung Hero Award, along with several other national awards, will be handed out after the presentation of the Hobey Baker Memorial Award winner on April 6 at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo. … The Hobey Baker announcement is scheduled to air live on ESPNU at 6 p.m. CT.

(Story courtesy of MTU’s Athletic Communications)

Intern Saves Company 10,000 Euros


Third year and Management Information Systems student Katie Joosten is currently working on an internship with Stora Enso out of Wisconsin Rapids, WI, and providing big gains for the company while she’s at it.

Instead of the company contracting a private company to conduct a satisfaction survey which could cost 10,000 euros, Joosten created one for users of their ERP package, (information system that supports and integrates a business in planning, manufacturing, sales, marketing, etc.) and delivered it via the company’s intranet.

Stora Enso is a global company specializing in publication paper, fine paper, forestry products, and packaging boards. The company was present at a Michigan Tech Career Fair, where Joosten submitted her resume and was then offered an interview and eventually the internship.

She is gaining valuable experience at Stora Enso by working for the Manager of Application Systems mainly by creating and writing new reports for the company. Her manager oversees other units such as human resources, payroll, purchasing and maintenance allowing Katie to gain a little experience in each field.

One class that was beneficial in preparing Katie for her internship was BA 3210 (Business Database Management) taught by Dr. Chelley Vician. In this class Katie learned SQL that gave her a general knowledge of the type of programming she is using in her job.

Joosten finds the eight month internship beneficial to herself and to the company. Stora Enso wants their interns to gain the most knowledge possible, while Katie feels settled in during the second half of the internship now that she has learned the ins-and-outs of what is expected.

Katie feels this internship is good for anyone majoring in MIS or computer science. She has a better understanding of the corporate world and what the MIS business is about. Katie recommends a co-op to students who are looking to gain experience during their college years, who are still undecided in a major, or those who need a break from taking heavy class loads each semester.

Joosten feels that she’d like to do this type of work after graduation and feels that a co-op is beneficial in finding classes next fall that will match her career needs in the future.

Her internship lasts eight months, from January to August. Joosten will return to classes in September.

Four SBE Students Named Major Student-Athlete Award Winners

athleteawardl1(Pictured left to right: Mike Batovanja, Lee Marana, Kristina Owen, Katie Wysocky, and Steve Short)

Michigan Tech honored its student-athletes and handed out awards at its second annual major awards press conference in the Begg Conference Room of the Peter J. Grant Hockey Educational Center on May 1, 2007. Mike Batovanja, Lars Helminen, Katie Wysocky, and Lee Marana each took high honors.

The Raymond L. Smith Award for the outstanding female and male (co-winners) senior student-athletes went to Kristina Owen (East Wenatchee, Wash.) of the Nordic skiing, cross country and track teams, Lars Helminen (Brighton, Mich.) of the hockey team, and Lee Marana (Ishpeming, Mich./Westwood) of the football team. The Terry Wilson Awards for the top freshman female and male student-athletes went to women’s basketball’s Katie Wysocky (Whitefish Bay, Wis.) and football’s Steve Short (Iron Mountain, Mich./Kingsford). In addition, hockey senior Mike Batovanja (Hinton, Alberta) was given the Rick Webster “SISU” Award.

Owen became Michigan Tech’s first-ever Nordic skier to secure All-American honors in three consecutive seasons after finishing eighth in the 15-kilometer classic race at the NCAA National Collegiate Skiing Championships. She also collected all-region accolades in both the freestyle and classic races at the NCAA Central Regional Championships.

Helminen, who was his team’s highest-scoring blueliner in each of the past three seasons, provided two goals and 19 assists in his final collegiate campaign. The 5-7, 180-pound co-captain capped his stellar career in 10th place all-time among Husky blueliners in scoring with 14 goals and 68 assists in 153 career games.

Marana was named the All-GLIAC First Team and the team’s most valuable player for the second straight season in 2006. The running back ended his career with 4,784 rushing yards, which ranks second all-time in the Michigan Tech record book. The All-American and one-time Harlon Hill Award finalist, Marana owns the GLIAC career rushing record (4,748) and the school record for rushing yards in a season (1,520).

Short totaled 1,361 yards of total offense in his rookie campaign including 956 passing yards and 405 rushing yards. Tech’s starting quarterback for the final six games of the season went undefeated as a starter and helped the Huskies finish in the top three in the GLIAC in rushing, total offense, and time of possession.

Wysocky was one of 10 freshman from across the nation to be named to Division II Bulletin’s All-Freshman Team. The 6-0 forward, was selected as the 2006-07 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year, and was a member of the All-GLIAC North Division Second Team. She averaged 12.5 points and 7.3 rebounds per game and totaled the most rebounds (132) by a Tech player since 1993-94.

The “SISU” Award is a special honor bestowed upon an individual associated with athletics at Michigan Tech who has overcome adversity, exhibited courage through difficult situations, performed with pain/injury, or performed admirably after recovering from a severe injury. The word “SISU” comes from the Finnish language meaning “guts.”

Batovanja, who was one of six finalists for the Derek Hines Unsung Hero Award, led his team in hits and only missed three games despite numerous injuries throughout the season. A co-captain, Batovanja tallied two goals and three assists in his senior year, and posted 13 goals and 31 assists in 146 games as a collegian.

Several other awards were presented at the press conference including the Ken Hamar Award, which is given annually to a “true supporters” of the Michigan Tech athletic program by the Huskies Club. The Hamar Award was presented to Erik and Jane Nordberg.

Michigan Tech athletics director Suzanne Sanregret presented two honorary awards. An honorary letter was presented to Dirk Hembroff, who is the radio voice of the hockey and football Huskies. An honorary blanket was given to Tech’s director of sports and recreation Mike Abbott.

(story courtesy of MTU Athletic Communications)