Monday, December 22, 2014

UT Board member and COBI alum makes $500,000 gift to College of Business and Innovation

University of Toledo College of Business and Innovation (COBI) alum Steven Cavanaugh and his wife Tiffany have made a $500,000 gift to COBI to provide scholarships to honor students and enable the college to pursue new initiatives.  The announcement was made on November 25 in the lobby of the college's Stranahan Hall.

"One thing the College of Business taught me is to invest where there is the best return on investment," Cavanaugh said. "I know that we have placed our money in a great place."

A native of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, Cavanaugh earned a bachelor’s degree in finance, magna cum laude, from The University of Toledo.  He is Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of HCR ManorCare. He was appointed to The University of Toledo Board by Ohio Governor John Kasich in April, 2014 and is also former Chairman of the Business Advisory Council for the College of Business and Innovation.

"People are thanking me," Cavanaugh said, "but this is an opportunity to say thank you to the University of Toledo, where I was fortunate to attend a college that had great professors and that launched me on my career. Thanks to those who made this a great place."

COBI Dean Gary Insch thanked the Cavanaughs at the gift announcement, explaining that $100,000 of the gift will go into the Dean's Innovation Fund to launch and support new programs and initiatives to "raise the bar at the college," while $400,000 will endow scholarships for business honor students.

"Scholarships are vital to attracting talented honor students to the college," Insch said. "It is a gift that will impact generations to come."

Insch also thanked Cavanaugh for his "friendship, mentoring and great ideas" since he became the college dean in July of this year.

UT President Nagi Naganathan also thanked the Cavanaughs for their generous gift which will truly make a difference and "impact the world."

"We always talk about giving time, talent and treasure," Naganathan said, "and Steve has done it all."
Vern Snyder, Vice President of Institutional Advancement at The University of Toledo, thanked the Cavanaughs for their "student-centered philanthropy, a very generous investment in our students which will truly make a difference in their lives," and for a gift which "validates the mission of the College of Business and Innovation."

In his capacity as Chief Operating Officer at HCR ManorCare, Cavanaugh has oversight responsibility for all of the company’s day-to-day operations as well as the company’s public policy and government relations activities. He also serves as a member of the company’s Board of Directors.

HCR ManorCare is a post-acute health care services company that operates skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, home health and hospice agencies and outpatient rehabilitation clinics with annual revenues in excess of $4 billion. The company does business in over 500 locations nationwide and employs nearly 60,000 employees who provide care to over 200,000 patients annually.

Cavanaugh and his wife Tiffany reside in Holland, Ohio, and are the parents of two children.

"I try to give my time to The University of Toledo and the College of Business," Cavanaugh said. "I consider this a great opportunity to express my thanks for everything they have done for me.  I really love this institution."

Longenecker keynote speaker at West Point conference

Dr. Clinton Longenecker, Stranahan Professor of Leadership and Organizational Excellence in The University of Toledo College of Business and Innovation, was a keynote speaker at the 29th annual National State of Ethics in America Conference at the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York.

Dr. Clint Longenecker and his wife, Cindy, right, with Rachel Maddow

The theme of this year's conference was Inspiring Honorable Living - Moving from Compliance to Internalization which addressed ways to inspire someone to live above and beyond the Honor Code, regulations and prohibitions. The goal was to have participants leave the conference inspired to live honorably, build trust and influence others to do the same.

Longenecker is a frequent speaker for senior US military leaders on the subject of leadership, the ethical challenges associated with success and power and how to avoid ethical failure.

"I have three years of doing programs and projects with senior military leaders and have spoken at all of the military senior graduate schools, but to have the opportunity to speak at West Point was both humbling and remarkable," Longenecker said. "The place is a cornerstone of US history; you are surrounded by it and deeply moved by what you see."

"I spoke about my research about the Bathsheba Syndrome, a leader's potential inability to cope with and respond to the byproducts of success, the ethical temptations leaders face and how not to get caught up in wrongful, unethical behavior," he said.

Comments from cadets included:
“It was the first time I was called out to systematically think through the challenges and temptations that come along with success and power of command; it really made me think differently about success.”

"The idea of predicting personal leadership challenges to put in place safeguards is literally life changing."

"In our profession we often discuss errors of others after we find out that they have occurred. With Dr. Longenecker's methodology, we can learn to have the hard conversations before they become embarrassing or toxic behavior patterns."

Longenecker said, "The cadets and military leaders are driven to success, which can be a very good thing, but I know I shook up their thinking when it comes to ethical leadership, character and competency and the dangers of success."

Also presenting at the conference was Rachel Maddow, host of the nationally broadcast MSNBC program "The Rachel Maddow Show," who spoke on her book Drift, concerning politics and the use of military force.

One cadet said, "I liked how the second day presentations fed into one another; it was like Rachel Maddow asked questions and Clinton Longenecker answered them."

Business student publishes book on leadership

Writing a book is a feat many people do not accomplish in a lifetime, but 22-year-old Jerry Palermo managed to do it before graduating college.

Palermo, a fourth-year international business and professional sales major, authored the book, Leadership Overhaul: Discover Yourself, Understand Others, Impact the World, which was released on Amazon in October.

The book explores personality types and traits that comprise a good leader, how to nurture those traits in yourself, and how to apply yourself as a leader in the world.

There are three main points that Palermo said he would want readers to take away from the book: the different types of people and their intelligences, how to make a difference in the lives of others, and that it doesn’t matter where you start as long as you’re motivated to do more. These three points coincide with the three aspects in the title, which Palermo said are all necessary to be a good leader.

Palermo also has a personal mantra, which he emphasizes in the book: “Do something, not be something.”

“I started to make a difference in the lives of others when I started to do things without expecting anything in return, when I set out to do something, not be something,” he said. “A lot of people set out to be president of the United States or CEO of a company, an actor or a model; but the big question is what do you do when you get there?”

Palermo explained that when you set out to be something, you may lose yourself along the way. Rather, setting out to do something allows you to explore what you’re passionate about and makes for a better leader, he said.

That favorite phrase came from one of Palermo’s mentors: U.S. Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur. Palermo said he met Kaptur when he was in high school at an awards program for the Medical Mission Hall of Fame, a foundation that honors individuals for their humanitarian efforts. He asked her how he could help make a difference in the Toledo community.

Kaptur challenged Palermo to “do something, not be something.” She also encouraged him to find some community service projects, which led to the cultivation of the Palermo Foundation.

The foundation started out with a goal to fight hunger and rising food prices by raising money to build agricultural structures in the community. The organization partners with interested businesses to place the structures on their property, then donates the fresh produce to local food shelters. Its growth continued as it aided businesses with their community outreach and contract work for the federal government.

Its growth continued as it aided businesses with their community outreach and contract work for the federal government.

When asked if he was a natural leader, Palermo said: “I don’t know if there is such a thing as a natural leader. I think you have to be motivated. People might mistake that as a natural leader. You’re always on the go and looking for the next big thing. When I look back on it, I wouldn’t really say that I’ve always had leadership tendencies, but I would say I’ve always had a goal in mind, and I’ve always strived to achieve them.”

As for what’s next, Palermo said he recently accepted a position at 3M, an American multinational conglomerate formerly known as Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Co., which he will start after he graduates next August. Moving forward, Palermo hopes to integrate his book into corporate training and development seminars for 3M and other businesses.

The book is available online at  For more information, contact Palermo at

COBI professor and doctoral student win Excellence in Lean Accounting awards

A professor and a doctoral student from The University of Toledo College of Business and Innovation are the winners of 2014 Excellence in Lean Accounting Awards from the nonprofit Lean Enterprise Institute (LEI).

Student Huilan Zhang, who holds two master’s degrees, is conducting research into lean management in healthcare and manufacturing for her PhD dissertation. She is investigating why companies begin transformations, what obstacles they encounter, and what results they obtain.  She also teaches the undergraduate course “Accounting in Decision Making” that emphasizes lean concepts and uses case studies about lean management initiatives.

UT COBI Student Huilan Zhang, center, accepts her 2014 Excellence 
in Lean Accounting Award from Chet Marchwinski and 
Tabitha Dubois of the Lean Enterprise Institute.

UT COBI Associate Professor of Accounting Amal Said, PhD, won the award for mentoring and encouraging undergraduate and graduate students, including Zhang, to study lean principles as they learn about accounting and management.

She teaches “Accounting in Decision Making” to undergraduates and “Advanced Managerial Accounting” at the graduate level. She has conducted research into lean accounting, earnings management, CEO compensation, and performance evaluations among other areas.

The awards were presented by Tabitha Dubois, LEI director of finance and administration, and Chet Marchwinski, LEI’s communications director, at the 10th annual Lean Accounting Summit, October 22, 2014, in Savannah, GA. About 225 finance and operations managers and executives from manufacturing and service companies attended the conference, which is organized by Lean Frontiers.

The awards, sponsored annually by LEI, recognize teachers and students who attended a previous summit then applied what they learned to class work. The goal of the award program is to bring the principles and practices of lean accounting into higher education and business.
Conference organizers said the lean accounting movement seeks a shift from traditional cost accounting practices to methods that accurately measure and motivate companies implementing lean management principles.

The terms lean manufacturing, lean production, or lean management refer to a complete business system for organizing and managing product development, operations, suppliers, customer relations, and the overall enterprise. It requires less capital, material, space, time, or human effort to produce products and services with fewer defects to precise customer desires, compared with traditional modern management.

Lean Enterprise Institute Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit based in Cambridge, MA, makes things better through lean research, education, publishing, and conferences. Founded in 1997 by management expert James P. Womack, PhD, LEI supports other lean initiatives such as the Lean Global Network, the Lean Education Academic Network, and the Healthcare Value Network.

COBI students again help area residents through Free Tax Preparation Program

When the United Way of Greater Toledo is again providing free tax preparation services to area families and individuals beginning in January, among the volunteer corps will be several students from The University of Toledo College of Business and Innovation (COBI)

"This is our fourth year of partnering with the United Way Free Tax Preparation Program.  Every year it continues to grow both in awareness and with student involvement," noted Professor Laura Williams, COBI management senior lecturer who coordinates the tax preparation program on campus.  "We live our mission statement through this program's outreach into the community, the opportunity it creates for students for internships and hands on experience, and engaging non-profit community partners."

COBI Dean Gary Insch, at lecturn, spoke to the media about the Free Tax 
Preparation Program with, left to right, Lucas County Treasurer Wade 
Kapszukiewicz, Lucas County Commissioner Tina Skeldon Wozniak, and 
United Way Program Manager of the Free Tax Preparation Program Toni Shoola. 

Professor Laura Williams, center, and some students already involved with the 
Free Tax Preparation Program, left to right, Marissa Gibbons, Max Sanchez, 
Austin Morrin, Evan Madden, Parker Wall and Derek Martindale.

"I designed the BUAD 3030 Management course to be a life lab where students just don't read the book, they live the book," she added. "United Way is a community partner within the course.

Students are held accountable to high academic standards through the course and high community standards through the melding of the two. I train students for future managerial careers through class and the United Way trains the students for the Tax Program.  The students love the hands-on experience and seem to always remember this course. "

"Nine students within the class and currently over 20 additional students have shown interest in the program by attending the Tax Program Orientation that the students were responsible for designing, promoting and implementing. Students decide if they want to participate in the program, those in the class as well as those recruited," Williams said.

Toni Shoola, program manager of the Free Tax Preparation Program, said, "Countless volunteers have conveyed to me the personal satisfaction they feel in making such a huge impact in the community. In addition, volunteers who are involved with the Free Tax Preparation Program have been able to develop an additional skill set that will serve them for the rest of their lives."

"The College of Business and Innovation is known for its tremendous connectivity to the business community," Williams said, "but we are also proud to work with key non-profit organizations such as the United Way with this program, which often means cash in the pockets of area residents."

"I volunteer for this program because I am able to learn how to do my taxes and become a certified IRS Tax Preparer, which helps build my resume. My major is accounting and I know what I learn from this program can only help me become a better accountant," noted Derek Martindale, one of the COBI students who will be providing the service this year.  "At the same time I am able to help out families around Northwest Ohio and know these tax returns are giving them free money."

"This is a great opportunity for students within the College of Business and Innovation, particularly freshman and sophomores, to benefit themselves immensely," Derek said. "United Way provides a great chance for the younger students to get a step forward ahead of their class, and they only ask for 12 hours a week to obtain internship credit."

Last year, 84 volunteers through the community helped more than 3,400 taxpayers, bringing more than $4.5 million back to the Northwest Ohio community. Other students on the UT campus interested in being a volunteer in the program should contact Dr. Williams at

COBI hosts Junior Achievement Business Challenge

Teams of students from 21 area high schools spent Friday, November 21 in the Savage & Associates Business Complex as they competed in the Junior Achievement Business Challenge for $32,000 in scholarships.

Among the schools represented in the competition were Perrysburg, Sylvania Northview and Southview, Maumee Valley Country Day, Central Catholic, St. John's Jesuit, Springfield, St. Francis de Sales, Anthony Wayne, St. Ursula, Notre Dame, Defiance and Maumee.

Using online, interactive business simulation, the students form companies and, with the help of mentors from the business community, strategize to operate successfully and perform the duties of a management team.

COBI sponsors fifth annual business innovation competition for UT community

University of Toledo students, faculty and staff who have a great business idea may win up to $10,000 to help make their idea a reality in the fifth annual business innovation competition sponsored by the UT College of Business and Innovation (COBI). Entries are due February 20, 2015.

“The first four years of the business competition were a remarkable success as COBI received dozens of entries from across UT campuses,” said Dr. Sonny Ariss, Chair of the COBI management department.  “We are expecting another tremendous array of entries this year and trust the contest will continue to advance a creative culture of growth in all areas of the University”

“The spirit of entrepreneurship is critically important to the ongoing success of every university and every community,” noted COBI Dean Gary Insch. “This business competition truly reflects our emphasis on supporting innovation, fostering creative thinking and nurturing the entrepreneurial environment which is so essential for the economic growth of this region.”

Dr. Ariss explained that “Entrepreneurship is not only for people who want to start a business. Corporate American is also looking for innovative thinking from their employees, so intrapreneurship within the corporate business structure is also important today.”

Dr. Ariss explained that competition entries must be submitted using Lean Launch Pad concepts which enables people to develop their business model upon nine basic building blocks: customer segments, value propositions, channels, customer relationships, revenue streams, key resources, key activities, key partnerships and cost structure.

“COBI is ready to offer guidance to help these teams effectively implement their plans, emerge beyond the University, create jobs and enhance area economic growth,” Dr. Ariss added.
There is no cost to enter the competition. Registration must be completed online. Winners must prove that they have formed an LLC or S Corp in order to receive a financial award.

The College of Business and Innovation at The University of Toledo is providing the following prize money:
• First place: $10,000
• Second place: $5,000
• Third place: $2,000
• Honorable Mention: $500

The timeline for the 2015 competition is:
Those planning to enter the competition need to attend a mandatory workshop sessions which will be offered on Thursday, January 29, 2015 from noon to 1 p.m. in the PNC Entrepreneurship Lab, Room 3100, Savage & Associates Complex for Business Learning and Engagement
Entries must be submitted by Friday, February 20, 2015
Finalists will be announced on Friday, March 20, 2015
Finalists will make an oral presentation about their business using the business model canvas on April 7, 2015 between noon and 5:30 p.m. in the PNC Entrepreneurship Lab, Room 3100, Savage & Associates Business Complex
Winners will be announced April 16, 2015

The competition is open to all UT students, faculty and staff, while alumni can participate as a member of a team involving current students, faculty or staff.  To register or for more information, go to