EMBA Alumni Newsletter: Summer 2013

Summer 2013

Dean’s Message – Greg Hanifee, Assistant Dean of Executive Programs

Dear EMBA Alumni,

“Summertime, and the livin’ is easy …”1

Maybe for some, but the summer does not bring a respite from the traditional cycles of academia for our EMBA students and staff – and we love that! I hope you all received my note about some career services offerings/job fair, and we look forward to having more news on that front this summer.

Cohort 12 is in the midst of preparation for their final ALP presentations on June 7 and BizSim (see Joyce’s annual call for VCs below) in July, while completing their Strategy coursework. Cohort 13 is enmeshed in the heart of the program, so they’re in a hunker-down mode and pushing all of us to be better at what we deliver. Several Cohort 12 students took advantage of a break in the schedule to travel to Europe with Dr. Charley Olson, studying the energy market and visiting several countries and firms as part of their international experience.

Meanwhile, our office is also busy planning the U.S. residency for our China EMBA students, who will arrive in College Park on September 21 for a weeklong capstone experience. If you’d like to join for one of the sessions while they are here, please email me at ghanifee@rhsmith.umd.edu ― we’ll have a formal set of dates/times to share in the coming months, and I know they would love to connect with our alumni.

Finally, a big shout out to our own Kycia Spriggins, EMBA Program Manager, who won the prestigious 2013 “Smith Student Champion” award given annually to the top staffer who works diligently to provide students with an exceptional experience. Way to go, Kycia!

Cheers, and have a great summer!

Greg Hanifee, Assistant Dean

1credit to Sublime … or George Gershwin; take your pick!

In this issue:

First Sight Vision Care: ALP Project Turned Into a Successful Business

During EMBA 9’s Entrepreneurship ALP, a team set its sights on creating a business plan for a viable eye care practice. The project was led by Kiati Plooksawasdi with a team of EMBA colleagues and tackled the challenge of defining what would differentiate their practice from other eye care practices. Kiati’s interest in the eye care business was personal; his wife, Natalie wanted to branch out on her own after practicing in a private practice for many years. The only problem was that she wasn’t sure how to make the leap. The Entrepreneurship ALP was the perfect venue to pitch the idea and develop the business plan.

Kiati picked a team of rockstars comprised of Donna Blackman, Pete Plotas, Kim Gifford and Jim Kuhl. Each team member brought a unique set of experiences and background to the table. Over the course of five months the team researched the idea, which included market and demographic research, customer surveys, and hands-on experience by attending an eye conference to understand the industry and the market. The team consulted a doctor who helped with financial projections and the total number of patients the practice could potentially see in a day. Another important consideration was location. Based on the research the team suggested Howard County, Md., specifically an area close to the ICC (which had not been completed at that time).

Just two years after EMBA 9 graduated, Kiati and his wife Natalie decided pursued the idea to launch her practice. Kiati continued to reach out to his classmates and teammates for advice and they assisted him in providing whatever support was needed to tweak the business plan.

The business plan developed by the team was a vital document in the quest for funding with banks. Getting the capital necessary to start the practice was easier than anticipated because the document was so strong that the response from the banks came very quickly. The plan also served well when it came time to look for a location. Property managers were impressed by how well the plan was put together and how comprehensive the plan was to not only cover the medical services aspect of the practice but also the business aspects as well. It was a complete package! In addition to the business plan from the ALP, Kiati also cites his Negotiations class with help in negotiating various deals for the practice.

After a year of negotiations, construction and execution, First Sight Vision Care opened its doors in January 2013 and started seeing patients in February. First Sight Vision Care was founded on the principals of expert eye care, ocular health education and excellence in customer service. The practice comprises of Dr. Natalie Sukontasup as the optometrist, Vincent Sellers as the optician for fitting and repairing glasses and a growing team of front and back office team members. Kiati continues to stay involved as First Sight Vision Care’s head of operations and strategic marketing. For more information on the practice, please visit First Sight Vision Care’s website and like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/firstsightvisioncare.

Volunteers Needed for EMBA 12’s Business Simulation Venture Capitalists

In a few weeks, Vice Dean Joyce Russell will conduct her 12th Business Simulation for the College Park EMBA 12 executives. She is still in need of volunteers to act as mock venture capitalists on Tuesday, July 23 from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. If you haven’t volunteered in the past, it is a great way to network with other alumni and current students, as well as re-live the friendly competition without the late nights and stressed out team meetings. If you've volunteered before, you know it's a fun way to reconnect and provide valuable insights to the current students ― and you get to compete to be the best VC. And as you know, you will be well fed.

Email Joyce directly at jrussell@rhsmith.umd.edu if you are able to help.

Smith EMBA Alumni Networking Lunches

In the past we have hosted cohort alumni lunches in Washington, D.C. This year we will be holding both combined cohort lunches (to increase networking opportunities) as well as two geographically based lunches ― Baltimore and Rockville. You are welcome to attend as many of the lunches as you would like.

The D.C. lunches will all be at Rosa Mexicano near the Verizon Center from 11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. The days and targeted cohorts are below.

  • Tuesday, June 18: Cohorts 3, 8, 9, 12
  • Wednesday, June 19: Cohorts 1, 5, 7,11
  • Friday, June 21: Cohorts 2, 4, 6, 10, 13

The Rockville lunch will be held on Wednesday, June 26 from 11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. at Clyde's Tower Oaks Lodge in Rockville, Md.

The Baltimore EMBA lunch will be Thursday, June 27 from 11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. at Fogo de Chao in the Inner Harbor.

It is a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with your classmates and meet other members of the Smith EMBA Community. Please RSVP directly to Shelbi Brookshire with the date(s) you plan to attend.

Annual Spring Happy Hour Recap

Thank you to the alumni and current students who attended the annual EMBA Spring Happy Hour. More than 80 attendees enjoyed animated networking with other alumni, current students, prospective EMBA 14 candidates and professors at the Mayflower Hotel. The panel discussion, moderated by Jeff Kudisch and composed up of Ana Coronel (EMBA 7), Shiva Fritsch (EMBA 7) and Karen Reinhardt (EMBA 10), shared best practices for the assessment and hiring of prospective employees. Mark your calendars for December 4, 2013 for the Fall Happy Hour.

EMBA Cohort 14 Recruiting: Maintaining momentum!

April 16 marked the official start of recruiting for Cohort 14, which will begin in January 2014. Although it is early, we’re seeing an increase in applications compared to this time last year. As always, Shelbi Brookshire is more than happy to facilitate an informational lunch with you and an interested colleague or friend. Feel free to reach out to Shelbi at sbrooksh@rhsmith.umd.edu or 240-464-8597.

Smith Family Fun Day at Six Flags June 9

Join us for Smith's Family Fun Day on Sunday, June 9 for roller coasters, food, games and kickball. Lunch is included with the ticket price, and even Testudo will be there! We will have our own section of the park reserved for us but access to all that Six Flags has to offer.

Sunday, June 9 (arrive at anytime to take advantage of all that Six Flags has to offer)
Ticket Price: $29.99 (park access & lunch)
Access to: Six Flags Theme Park, Water Park, and reserved section for UMD
Park Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Lunch will be served starting at noon)
Parking: $10 (50% off)
Location: Six Flags in Bowie, Md. (20 minutes East of the Washington, D.C. beltway)
Suggestion: Carpool: If one person buys parking, it’s only $10 to park for the vehicle. Also, buy tickets in bulk for friends and family so not everyone will have to pay the online processing fee ($8).
Reminder: Purchase tickets prior to June 2 to ensure this great discounted rate.

To Purchase Tickets: www.sixflags.com/america | Promo Code: UMDFUN
Purchase tickets via the promo code box in the top-right corner of the website.

Director Richard Berner, U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Financial Research Visits Smith

On May 14, 2013, fresh from his March 12 remarks at the 14th Annual Risk Management Convention of the Global Association of Risk Professionals in NYC, Smith’s Center for Financial Policy hosted Berner at an event designed to encourage collaboration of UMD’s top faculty. Read more.

Smith School in the News

Career Coach: Advice for What to do During Uncertainty by Dr. Joyce Russell
Vice Dean Russell answers questions ranging from what do to if layoffs are rumored to setting boundaries and managing workflow. Read more.

Career Coach: Job Searches by Dr. Jeff Kudisch
Dr. Kudisch gives advice on leveraging your support group while job hunting. Read more.

Alumni Updates

Orlando Carvalho (EMBA 4) was promoted to Executive Vice President, Aeronautics at Lockheed Martin. More information on his promotion can be found online.

Rob Gleen (EMBA 9) and his wife Adrienne welcomed their daughter Gabriela on April 10.

Chris Harbert (EMBA 10) and his wife welcomed a baby girl, Samantha Grace, on April 17.

Greg Rea (EMBA 12) was promoted to Director, Division of Mechanical Engineering, Directorate for Laboratory Sciences at the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission

Kara (Hedges) Sasse (EMBA 10) and her husband Ryan welcomed Finn Timothy on March 13.

Jas Singh (EMBA 11) and his wife welcomed their daughter Ajooni Singh on March 13.

Mary Ann Wagner (EMBA 13) has been named Vice President of Operations at Tapestry Solutions, a subsidiary of The Boeing Company.

David Wexelblat (EMBA 3) graduated magna cum laude from American University Washington College of Law, was nominated to the Order of the Coif and received Exceptional Pro Bono Service honors. David's comment, Trojan Horse or Much Ado About Nothing? Analyzing the Religious Exemptions in New York's Marriage Equality Act, was awarded the Best Student Work published in the American University Journal of Gender, Social Policy and the Law. After sitting for the Virginia bar exam in July, David will be pursuing a career in public interest law and policy, focusing on LGBT equality.

Stay Connected

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  1. UMD – Email university relations at bio_updates@ur.umd.edu. This is important if you want to keep getting theSmith Business Magazine and other UMD publications.
  2. Smith Connector: www.smithconnector.com

Don’t forget to look for the Smith School on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

We would like to request personal updates to share with all of our EMBA alumni. We would like to highlight your successes! Please send any updates you want to share such as new job or new baby. Email the updates to emba_alumni@rhsmith.umd.edu.