Friday, May 1, 2015

Proposal for app to reduce hospital readmissions wins COBI's 2015 Business Plan Competition

The winners of The University of Toledo College of Business and Innovation's fifth annual Business Innovation Competition were announced on April 16, with $17,500 in prize money being distributed to those who placed in the top four.

The proposal for the HeyDoc app most impressed the judges, winning the students behind the idea the first place prize of $10,000 to help make their idea a reality.

Robert Ariss and Mahbod Pourriahi, both sophomores in the UT College of Engineering, said they hope to have their HeyDoc app on the market in about one year, and are already talking to health care systems.

"The HeyDoc app is designed for health care professionals to help reduce hospital readmission rates, which cost approximately $41.3 billion a year," Ariss said.

Pourriahi explained, "While other patient portals focus on merely opening a line of communication between the provider and patient, HeyDoc is unique as it allows physicians to increase patient compliance and reduce readmission rates through proprietary features we have created.  It is a pre-emptive investment for hospitals to reduce readmissions and thus reduce fines."

Ariss and Pourriahi admitted to being excited about winning the first place competition prize, saying they learned about the annual competition from posters displayed throughout the UT campus. They also encouraged others to explore entrepreneurship and enter the competition.

"Just as we learned in Design Club in the College of Engineering, you have to identify a problem and then find a solution," Ariss said.

“The fifth year of the business competition was a remarkable success as COBI received 19 entries from across UT campuses,” said Dr. Sonny Ariss, Chair of the COBI management department.  “I cannot be happier than to see the students of the four winning entries this year going for their goal. Through this competition, as well as through classes and other activities in the College of Business and Innovation, we are trying to turn around the thinking on campus, to encourage people to start their own businesses, to create jobs and to stir economic development.  In my book, they are all winners."

“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.”

The winning proposals and the entrants are:

First Place Winner ($10,000) is HeyDoc app, Robert Ariss and Mahbod Pourriahi - for private communication integrated in the medical electronic record with the medical doctor.

Second Place winner ($5,000) is Vitalys app (Mahbod Pourriahi and Robert Ariss) - for infection detection and progression.

Third Place winner ($2,000) is COcampus (Scott McIntyre) - an online platform for budding entrepreneurs on college campuses.

Fourth place winner is Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe (Linda Parra) - The first Spanish radio station in Northwest Ohio.

“The College of Business and Innovation again clearly demonstrates our support for advancing entrepreneurship by being the sole sponsor of this University-wide competition this year, and we stand ready to offer guidance to help these teams emerge beyond the University into the community," Dr. Ariss said. "We want to see these ideas and business plans effectively implemented, creating jobs and enhancing the economic growth of the region.”

Entries for the fifth COBI business plan competition were due in February. Finalists made an oral presentation about their businesses to a panel of judges in April.

Judges for this year's competition were: Chris Anderson, Anderson Strategy; Dan Slifko, Rocket Ventures; Craig Burns, Marshall & Melhorn;  Anthony Calamunci, Roetzel; and Joel Epstein, Waverly Partners.

Prize money is awarded to the newly formed business entity, not to the individuals.

"The big issue with entrepreneurship is that at first glance an idea may not seem obtainable," Pourriahi said, "but you have to believe in yourself, and you can find a viable solution."

Longenecker receives two unique awards

Dr. Clinton O. Longenecker, Stranahan Professor of Leadership and Organizational Excellence in the College of Business and Innovation, has been named to receive the rank of Distinguished University Professor, one of only two UT faculty members to receive the award this year from among the 11 nominations submitted to the Academic Honors Committee.

Longenecker earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration in marketing and a master of business administration in management from UT. He has established a stellar reputation in teaching, research and service, and has been with UT as a faculty member for 30 years.

Dr. Clinton Longenecker
He is a globally recognized expert in the areas of performance improvement and management development. His research addresses real business and management problems that affect organizational productivity and survival. In recognition of his outstanding scholarly achievements, Longenecker was awarded the UT Outstanding Research Award in 2008.

In 2013, Longenecker was recognized by The Economist as one of the top 15 Business Professors in the world — one of only two Americans. He has an extensive management consultant portfolio with clients that include a number of Fortune 500 firms and entrepreneurial organizations, including Owens-Illinois Inc., Cooper Tire & Rubber Co., Marathon Oil Corp., Dana Corp., Parker Hannafin Corp. and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. His research is regularly featured in national media outlets, including The Wall Street Journal, Business Week, CSPAN, NPR, NBC Radio, and many local and regional outlets.

Recently, his work on leadership has become a template for ethics training across the branches of the United States military. More than 4,000 senior officers from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and the Pentagon have benefited from Longenecker’s training, and his work is required reading at service academies.

The other honor bestowed on Longenecker is his being selected to receive the Lawrence V. Conway Distinguished Lifetime Service Award for his humanitarian work, which he will receive at The University of Toledo College of Medicine and Life Science’s Medical Mission Hall of Fame ceremony on April 18.

Longenecker is an active community servant, a committed member of the Christian and Missionary Alliance Church, and an active Bible study leader and Christian speaker. The UT alumnus has spent extensive time working in Haiti managing missionary schools and hospital construction projects as well as disaster relief programs. He and his wife, Cindy, have three children, including Steven, who was adopted as the result of their missionary work.

Dr. Lawrence V. Conway, UT professor emeritus of finance, founded the Medical Mission Hall of Fame in 2004 to honor individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to advancing the medical well-being of people around the world. In 2006, the Medical Mission Hall of Fame became affiliated with the UT College of Medicine and Life Sciences. The hall of fame can be seen in the lobby of the Jacobs Interprofessional Immersive Simulation Center.

Two COBI accounting students among first inducted into new international honor society

This year the Institute of Management Accountants, the association of accountants and financial professionals in business, established the new IMA Accounting Honor Society (IAHS), designed to support and acknowledge high-performing accounting students attending accredited colleges or universities around the globe.

Among the first two students inducted into the honor society were Rachel Fitzpatrick and Zachary Zavela of The University of Toledo College of Business and Innovation.

Zachary Zavela and Dr. Hassan HassabElnaby
Rachel Fitzpatrick and Dr. HassabElnaby

"I was quite surprised when I first learned that I was nominated for membership in the honor society," Fitzpatrick said. "I felt honored that Dr. Hassan HassabElnaby (Chair of the COBI Accounting Department) chose to nominate me out of many accounting students in COBI. I have made many sacrifices and put in a lot of hard work to excel in my accounting courses and I am very grateful to be honored for my achievements."

"I was surprised to have been nominated by Dr. HassabElnaby to join the honor society," Zavela said, "especially since I did not apply to join. This recognition shows my academic achievements in my undergraduate studies.  Because my professional goal is to become either a CFO of a company or make partner at a firm, I believe that this honor will help in achieving that goal."

"I choose to study accounting because my grandmother is an accountant," he said.  "When I heard her talk about her work, it seemed very interesting to me."

Fitzpatrick also sees the benefit of the IMA honor. "My short term goals include earning my CPA certification and gaining some public accounting experience. Afterwards, I would like to pursue a career in healthcare financial management. As I transition out of public accounting, the IMA Honor Society will help me to network and discover career opportunities in the area of management accounting. I can also benefit from the IMA Honor Society through earning the CMA certification, which will set me up for success in management accounting."

"I chose to study accounting because it is the 'language of business,'" she said. "Accounting knowledge allows you to understand all aspects of business performance and provide valuable information to corporate decision makers. The field of accounting has a variety of different career paths and the job demand is always high."

Fitzpatrick added. "It is an honor to be recognized and I am thankful for the quality education I have received from the College of Business & Innovation and the Accounting Department here at the University of Toledo."

IAHS is open to junior and senior students majoring or minoring in accounting, finance or IT with a 3.0 or higher Grade Point Average overall and in accounting. In addition, students must be nominated by a professor or provide proof of meeting eligibility requirements in order to be accepted into IAHS.

IMA is one of the largest and most respected associations focused exclusively on advancing the management accounting profession.  It has a global network of more than 70,000 members in 140 countries and 300 professional and student chapters.

Advanced Leadership Academy enhances futures of UT students

About 100 University of Toledo students from across campus took a major step to enhance their personal and professional lives recently as they participated in the sixth annual Advanced Leadership Academy (ALA), presented by the College of Business and Innovation.

Students were invited to participate in the ALA based on their academic and professional records of success as well as the recommendation of graduate faculty.  Academy members included masters and Ph.D. students from most colleges across the University.

“It is always very exciting to bring together some of our best and brightest graduate students from across our campus to link up with outstanding leaders from a wide variety of professions and disciplines," said Dr. Clint Longenecker, Stranahan Professor of Management and ALA Program Coordinator.  "It is a very unique and true cross-campus learning experience for everyone."

"This Academy exposes students to cutting edge leadership theory and practices," he added. "All disciplines, be it engineering, healthcare, pharmacy, business or science, need strong, effective, character-driven leadership.”

Students had the opportunity to learn success and leadership principles from a diverse group of speakers that included Joseph Zerby,  President and General Manager for The Blade and             Chairman of The University of Toledo Board of Trustees; Steven M. Cavanaugh, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, HCR ManorCare, Inc.; Dan Rogers, CEO, Cherry Street Mission; and Chad Bringman, CEO, Ronald McDonald House Charities, among others.

"What a phenomenal personal and professional development experience" noted Jenna LaSota, Masters of Science in Biomedical Sciences, Human Donation Science, and Professional Science Masters candidate, College of Medicine and Life Science, College of Business and Innovation. "Not only did we learn how to become an emotionally intelligent, results-oriented leader, we were able to hear current leaders from around the area. During each session the panel discussion participants varied in background, but each of them had invaluable coaching and career advice to share."

Michael Miranda, a Ph.D. candidate in Chemical Engineering, observed, "The Advanced Leadership Academy has been a great experience. The program highlighted the qualities that make a successful leader, with emphasis on emotional intelligence, work relationships and public service. The panel discussion gave us insight to successful leadership and their experiences."

Puja Pradhan, graduate student in physics and astronomy at UT, said, "I am an international student from Kathmandu, Nepal. I have been at UT for almost five years and now I am in a stage where I should start looking for the job. So, I wanted to take part in this program for my personal development; it really helped me to build self-confidence and better prepared me for the job market."

Yuriy Romanovich Yatskiv, a graduate student in the field of Bioinformatics at the health science campus, said, "I would recommend attending to anyone who is serious about their professional future. The Advanced Leadership Academy will teach you and show you what it takes to be a real leader."

Jangus B. Whitner, BSPS, Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) Candidate 2016 in the UT College of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences, noted, "This program opened my eyes to new concepts and shed light on unique ways of thinking about traditional approaches to leadership. The energy of this academy is one that breeds positivity, learning, and teamwork! I have already began reflecting and implementing new habits and methods of leadership into my daily routine."

Garrett Keeton, anticipated JD/MBA, Class of 2016, noted, " I would like to begin by expressing my gratitude at the privilege of being involved in such a wonderful experience, and I would be remiss if I did not note Dr. Longenecker first and foremost.  He contained such energy and zeal that it would have been a difficult task to not be motivated and enthusiastic.  The greatest point, in my opinion, was made by panelist Dr. Schwann when he discussed the concept of Servant Leadership and how it becomes an essential part of being a results-driven manager."

Longenecker thanked Michael Miller, CEO, Waterford Bank Ltd for his ongoing support of this year’s Advance Leadership Academy. Miller stated, “As a two-time graduate of the College of Business and Innovation, it is great to give back to this terrific institution which has had a powerful impact on my life and career.”

Longenecker also extended his thanks to COBI Dean Gary Insch for his strong support for this COBI initiative.

COBI students join international honor society Beta Gamma Sigma

Forty-six students and one faculty member in The University of Toledo College of Business and Innovation were inducted into the Beta Gamma Sigma (BGS) international honor society at the Inverness Club in Toledo on April 12.

"A lifetime membership in Beta Gamma Sigma is truly an international honor," noted Janet Mosebach, Ph.D., associate professor in accounting and BGS faculty advisor.   "With the expansion of accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, membership is no longer limited to those who have studied in the U.S. or Canada, resulting in Beta Gamma Sigma installing collegiate chapters and inducting students on six continents. The most outstanding University of Toledo College of Business and Innovation students are eligible for the highest recognition a business student anywhere in the world can receive in an undergraduate or master’s program at a school accredited by AACSB International."  

Beta Gamma Sigma was founded as a national organization in 1913. Students ranking in the top 10 percent of the baccalaureate and top 20 percent of graduate programs at schools accredited by AACSB International are eligible for this invitation.

This year’s UT COBI inductees were recognized and celebrated by their family, friends, and faculty. They join an expanding worldwide network of more than 625,000 outstanding business professionals who have earned recognition through lifetime membership in Beta Gamma Sigma.

This year’s UT COBI inductees are:
Master’s Students
Mohammed Almotawa
Sarah Booth
Gretchen Buskirk
Marci Cancic
Darrell Crosgrove
Dharshini Dhanaraj
Michael Herstek
Justin Hughes
Robert Limas
Robert Lisowski
John Mulka
Erin Shi
Terri Thompson
Mark Zuchowski

Jafar Altaweel
Ethan Barteck
Amanda Bleasdale
Julija Davydov
Laura Dulaney
Sunshine Faunce
Rachel Fitzpatrick
Sergejs Gusevs
Brian Hahn
Linda Mattison
Taylor Pendleton
Melissa Pniewski
Gabriel Stuck
Zachary Zavela
Laura Zielinski

Joanna Baker
Scott Ballard
Alex Chamberlain
Mary Beth DeLaTorre
Heather Dietrick
James Gagle
Sarah Hildebrandt
Julie King
Ryan Lessing
Elise Lohmann
Lenna McCoy
Patrick Northcraft
Brittany Polen
Rebecca Rash
Travis Reamsnyder
Richard Scott
Maria Whitesel

Marcelo Alvarado-Vargas

HR Undergraduate and Graduate Students Compete in HR Case Competition

Both an undergraduate and a graduate team of University of Toledo College of Business and Innovation human resource management students competed Friday, April 24, 2015 in the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Central Region’s HR Case Competition that was held in northern Kentucky.  Twenty teams of undergraduates and seven teams of graduates prepared their written responses to a case concerning social media, concerted employee activity, and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and presented their findings and recommendations to senior-level HR professionals.
The UT COBI undergraduate team of Shannon Veasley, Christina Koepke, and Taylor Juza, in the words of the judges, “did a fabulous job in presenting the issues, causes, alternatives and provided a sound, strong recommendation.”  The team came in 6th place out of the 20 competing teams.  The winning undergraduate team was from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.

Pictured from L to R:  Undergraduate Team (Shannon Veasley, Christina Koepke, and Taylor Juza) and Graduate Team (Chrissy Sarantou, Kyle Schaefer, and Stacey Koehn) ready to compete in the HR Case Competition in Covington, KY.
The graduate team of Crissy Sarantou, Kyle Schaefer, and Stacey Koehn also were commended by the judges for their excellent speaking ability and creativity in their written presentation.  The team came in 5th place overall in the graduate category.  The winning graduate team was from the University of South Dakota.

The Society of Human Resource Management is the primary professional organization for human resource management professionals and students, with 280,000 members world-wide and 450 student SHRM chapters.  The University of Toledo’s student SHRM chapter meets every two weeks during regular semesters.  For more information on UT SHRM, contact one of its advisors, Dr. Robert Yonker ( or Dr. Jenell Wittmer (

Two IOTM teams take top places in IS competitions

The College of Business and Innovation Department of Information Operations and Technology Management,  with the support of HCR ManorCare and Northwood Industries,  sent two teams to Ball State University to compete in the 4th Annual IS Project and Case Competition in April.

Part one of the event provided students the opportunity to present to business professionals an IS project on which the team worked. Part two was a case competition that required students to integrate their knowledge in all business areas to solve an IS-related business problem within a given time constraint.  The areas of recognition within the event included: Best Project, Best Presentation of a Project, Best Case Solution, and Best Overall.

The results of the competition revealed great success for the UT COBI teams:
1st Place Project – Team HCR ManorCare
1st Place Project Presentation – Team Northwood
3rd Place Case Solution – Team Northwood
2nd Place Overall – Team Northwood.

Members of Team Northwood were Jonathon Goldman, Bryan Kitchen (Project Lead), Nick Lewarski and Josh Light.

Members of Team HCR Manorcare were Katelyn Collins, Kristen Filzer (Project Lead), James Kitson, Jesse Murray and Alyssa Smith.

"This was a team win all around," said Teresa Keefe, Senior Lecturer COBI IOTM Department. "Many thanks to our friends at Northwood Industries and HCR ManorCare for their contribution in allowing our teams to work for and with them, as well as their willingness to help prepare them for the presentation of their projects.  The opportunity and value of these experiences are beyond anything I can do in the classroom!   Thanks to Scott Lindsay from Hylant Group for helping to prepare the students in areas of IT Governance and IT Security, which definitely helped with our case solution preparation.  Thanks to Dr. Bassam Hasan and IOTM Department Chair Dr. P.S. Sundaraghavan for their help in readying the Northwood team for their project presentation.  Also, thanks and congratulations to the students for their hard work, dedication, commitment to excellence and representation of the University of Toledo in such an outstanding fashion."

What a difference a year makes! Register now for an Executive MBA Exploration Event

If you are ready to discover the remarkable difference one year can make in your life, you should consider the UT College of Business and Innovation's (COBI) accelerated Executive MBA Program that can be completed in just 12 months.

The EMBA curriculum is designed to enhance the ability of professionals and executives to effectively lead change and growth in today's ultra-competitive environment.

During the 12-month program, students experience unprecedented opportunities including:

- Individualized executive coaching to enable your career success

 - Networking with fellow students that will provide you with professional connections that will last a lifetime

 - Work/Life balance. Online and on-site classes - - one weekend per month - - which offer a great deal of flexibility

- International study trip (7-10 days) that combines company meetings, cultural immersion and first-hand observation of how international business works

- Rapid return on investment. EMBA grads historically experience higher earnings and career advancement.

The next EMBA Exploration Event will be Saturday, June 20, 2015. Here you will see an overview of the EMBA program, network during lunch with EMBA faculty and current students, and observe an actual class session, all in our new Savage & Associates Business Complex.  

To register for the June 20 Exploration Event or for more information about UT COBI’s EMBA program, contact Darlene Howard at 419.530.7982, or email

You can also learn more about the EMBA program at

Invest in yourself through The University of Toledo College of Business and Innovation Executive MBA program.

It may be one of the most important steps you take to advance your career in a year!