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News items about the Scott L. Carmona College of Business. For a complete list of News,  please go to the Newsroom. To submit an item, please contact JJ Boehm, director of media and community relations, at ext. 4055

September 28, 2020

SVSU-based Michigan Small Business Development Center gets CARES Act boost to help region's economy

Great Lakes Bay Region communities will be among 83 Michigan counties where small business owners challenged by the pandemic will benefit from expanded support offered by the Michigan Small Business Development Center (SBDC), which operates a regional office at Saginaw Valley State University. 
 
With support from CARES Act funding, resources are allocated to help boost the region's economics. Those resources include the following: 
  • 46 additional business consultants to meet the increase in demand for one-on-one consulting support
  • New partnerships with service providers (website development, marketing, accounting, etc.) that can help businesses weather the effects of COVID-19 
“As small businesses begin to restart, recover and launch, they will be required to have a heightened awareness and response to our ever-changing economic environment,” said Beth Roszatycki, regional director of the SBDC operations housed within the Business Excellence Centers in SVSU's Scott L. Carmona College of Business building. 
 
“This shift will also require modifications to how they previously operated, including their social norms. Being able to equip business owners and future entrepreneurs with the resources, tools and knowledge to respond to these evolving requirements and best practices will be critical. I see the SBDC being the support network to help with these necessary changes.” 
 
The expanded services will be available through March 2021. 
 
“We were able to add consulting staff to meet increased demands and extend our service offerings into key areas that we know will expedite small business recovery,” said J.D. Collins, state director of the Michigan Small Business Development Center. “This tangible support will aid in business recovery from the immediate effects of COVID-19 while building resilience for the future.” 
 
Michigan Small Business Development Center offices – including the operations housed at SVSU – provide no-cost consulting, training, market research, and technology commercialization services to assist Michigan businesses to launch, grow, transition and innovate. 
 
Assistance includes business plans, marketing plans, applying for financing, budgeting, hiring, business forms, feasibility, and strategic planning. 
 
Small businesses owners can access free business consulting, on-demand and online training, and market research at SBDCMichigan.org.

September 21, 2020

SVSU to host virtual panel featuring women entrepreneurs

The Saginaw Valley State University-based Dow Entrepreneurship Institute will host an empowering virtual panel discussion featuring successful women entrepreneurs. 
 
“Life Lessons from Successful Women Entrepreneurs” – scheduled Wednesday, Sept. 23, at 5:30 p.m. – is the institution’s third annual panel discussion featuring women entrepreneurs. The public is invited to attend the virtual session.
 
“The speakers are from a variety of different backgrounds and fields, and show that people from any field can be successful in starting their own business,” said Izabela Szymanska, interim director of the SVSU Dow Entrepreneurship Institute and an SVSU associate professor of management. 
 
The panel will include the following guests: 
 
Gina Adams is the founder and CEO of Wareologie, a clothing innovation company. A social entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience in the apparel industry and social sector, Adams creates adaptive clothing for people with dexterity issues. 
 
Wendy Bloembergen is vice president of clinical affairs at GreenMark Biomedical Inc. Through its regenerative treatment technology, GreenMark is developing treatment products for the diagnosis and treatment of tooth decay. 
 
Stacey Feeley is the founder of GoSili Inc., a silicone tableware company that provides an alternative to single-use plastics in the kitchen. She regularly serves as a guest speaker for Marshall School of Business at University of Southern California in Los Angeles and Northern Michigan College in Traverse City. 
 
Julia Winter is the founder and CEO of Alchemie, Inc., a company creating digital learning tools that provide an intuitive learning experience that encourages students to explore and experiment with concepts in chemistry. Winter taught college-level chemistry courses for over 20 years at Detroit Country Day School. 
 
Interested participants can join the meeting on Lifesize, a video- and audio-conferencing program, using one of two methods: 
  • In Google Chrome, enter the URL address https://call.lifesizecloud.com/5345023
  • Or call in to the meeting via telephone (audio available only) at 1-(312) 584-2401, then use meeting extension 5345023# 
For more information or to register to attend this event, visit www.svsu.edu/entrepreneurshipinstitute

August 5, 2020

Once determined to continue his education without pause, SVSU alumnus now thrives at Dow

Kevin Finley, a 2017 alumnus of Saginaw Valley State University, is proof that challenges can be overcome with drive and opportunity. 

The Flint native was determined to create a better future for himself and his community, despite facing adversity at a young age.

"I was beaten up really badly in high school," Finley said. "I was really, really frustrated but then I realized, it's not about who does what to you. It's about your response. I can say, 'I don't want to see that happen to someone else so let me show people that there's more to life than negativity.' I don't want to let stuff like that hinder me. I just want to stay positive."

A first-generation college student, Finley defied limits to overcome obstacles and forge his own path to success. After high school, he was determined to continue his education without pause, enrolling at SVSU to pursue a career in accounting.

“Growing up in the inner city you can get distracted by other things, but going to college was always important to me. I saw people in my community grow up without opportunities to do what they wanted to do,” he said.

Going to college opened new doors for Finley, and the opportunities he had at SVSU helped him to push his limits and better prepare for a successful career.

Finley took every opportunity to get involved with student organizations, on-campus jobs, and programs of distinction at SVSU, including studying abroad to Asia with the university’s Roberts Fellowship Program, which annually provides year-long leadership development opportunities for a select group of students. The program helped him expand his worldview and open his mind to new possibilities.

He also took advantage of networking opportunities and practice interviews through SVSU’s Office of Career Services, which helped him make connections and secure an internship at Dow, a Midland-based global corporation and one of the region’s largest employers. His perseverance and hard work paid off with a full-time job immediately after he received his bachelor’s degree in accounting.

He recalls how the leadership and communication skills that he developed at SVSU helped to grow his confidence and prepare him for his professional duties, including leadings events at Dow.

“These resources were really impactful from a professional standpoint. I really appreciate SVSU and I’ll always be grateful for them helping me learn who I am and how to lead,” he said.

Finley began his career at Dow as a financial accountant, and through his dedication and determination, was recently promoted to the corporate audit department of the organization.

He hopes to continue the trajectory of his career success and is diligently working toward his next professional milestone— becoming a certified public accountant. Finley has already passed his first exam and is studying for the following three in order to complete his certification. 

Finley became a mentor to other students during his time at SVSU, and he has continued this tradition of mentorship into his professional life as well. He hopes to encourage and inspire others to pursue their passions and go after what they want to achieve. As he learned first-hand from his own pursuits, following a high school diploma immediately with a college education at SVSU provided him with the momentum needed to earn him a full-time job that fulfills him.

“If you really want to do something, take a chance on yourself and believe in yourself,” Finley said. “It’s a learning opportunity, whatever you go through.”

April 22, 2020

Retiring leader leaves SVSU program in strong position to support regional businesses challenged by pandemic

As its leadership changes hands, a Saginaw Valley State University entrepreneurship-supporting program will continue its momentum at a time when the business community needs it most, officials say. 
 
David Bell later this month will retire as SVSU’s associate director of entrepreneurship and experiential learning, a role that put him in charge of the university’s Dow Entrepreneurship Institute since February 2018. Izabela Szymanska, an SVSU associate professor of management, will serve as Bell’s interim replacement. 
 
Funded by the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation, SVSU’s Dow Entrepreneurship Institute stimulates the creation of new business ventures, serves as a resource for research activities aimed at business innovation, and provides internship opportunities with area businesses for students. 
 
Students and faculty will work with the Dow Entrepreneurship Institute to provide operational, marketing, financial and strategic analyses for regional businesses facing challenges after the COVID-19 virus led many companies to temporarily close, said Anthony Bowrin, dean of SVSU’s Scott L. Carmona College of Business. The institute also will work with businesses to better understand how the virus impacted technology and consumer-buying behaviors such as an increased demand in product delivery services via online apps. 
 
Bowrin said much of the work will be accomplished by pairing the Dow Entrepreneurship Institute with the offices of other business-focused programs housed in SVSU’s business college. Those programs include the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center–Northeast office; the Small Business Development Center regional office; and the Stevens Center for Family Business. 
 
Because of the momentum Bell helped build at SVSU’s Dow Entrepreneurship Institute, the program is in a strong position to provide that support, Bowrin said. 
 
“I appreciate David Bell’s contribution to the advancement of the mission of the Dow Entrepreneurship Institute over the past two years as he supported the entrepreneurial endeavors of students, faculty and the wider community,” Bowrin said. 
 
Bell previously served as Dow Chemical Co.'s associate commercial director from 2003-15. 
 
Bowrin expressed excitement in the talent presented by Szymanska, who worked with Bell in strengthening the Dow Entrepreneurship Institute in recent years. 
 
“Dr. Szymanska is the lead faculty member for entrepreneurship programs in the Scott L. Carmona College of Business,” Bowrin said. 
 
“She has worked closely with David Bell to provide innovative entrepreneurship experiences for students including mentoring several students. I am confident that Dr. Szymanska will consolidate the great gains made by the Dow Entrepreneurship Institute under David’s leadership.” 
 
Those gains included the promotion of entrepreneurial initiatives among students and faculty, mentoring students developing projects related to entrepreneurship, and developing outreach programs that advance initiatives that benefit local high school students as well as members of the regional community. 
 
The institute offers workshops, contests and external speaker events that give students an inside view of business ownership and management. Through the institute’s community connections, students earn the opportunity to work directly with local business leaders while learning from established entrepreneurs. 
 
The institute works closely with educators who teach entrepreneurship classes at SVSU, providing support while supplementing students’ coursework by bringing real-world business experience into the classroom. 
 
For more information about the Dow Entrepreneurship Institute, visit www.svsu.edu/entrepreneurshipinstitute

February 21, 2020

Thursday presentations to showcase SVSU's $25.4M business college expansion, faculty; magazine editor, business leaders among presenters

Representatives of Saginaw Valley State University’s Carmona College of Business will showcase their expertise and present their new $25.4 million facility during a day-long event Thursday, Feb. 27. Then, in the evening, the editor of a popular magazine exploring economics will cap off the series of presentations aimed in part at introducing the public to the 38,500-square-foot addition to the campus.
 
All sessions are free and open to the public. Guests also are encouraged to explore the building expansion’s laboratories, classrooms and cutting-edge meeting spaces.
 
The sessions — largely hosted in the new facility from 9:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. — will focus on business industry trends while also examining the impact of SVSU programs based in its business college building.
 
The added facility will house classrooms, faculty offices and business programs. The new space also includes analytics labs and a Bloomberg Trading Room, which tracks stock data in real time. Upgrades will provide hands-on learning opportunities for students while also encouraging members of the business community to visit campus and engage with students.
 
SVSU faculty members soon will be leading classrooms and programs within the building expansion. First, though, many members of that same faculty — as well as program directors at the university as well as representatives from the regional business community — will provide presentations during the Feb. 27 showcase.
 
From 9:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m., more than 20 45-minute-long presentations will explore business-related topics including entrepreneurship strategies, social media-based marketing, and a review of analytics systems used in business industries. Other sessions will feature alumni sharing their success stories. Faculty members and business leaders will introduce SVSU business college-based resources and explore how those tools will benefit the region. Members of SVSU’s moot court team — ranked No. 17 in the nation — will discuss the program’s success and other pre-law school initiatives at SVSU. The showcase also will feature presentations about student-assisted research pursued by faculty members.
 
The lone showcase event hosted in the evening and in a venue located elsewhere on campus will be the keynote presentation from Nicholas Thompson, editor-in-chief of Wired magazine. His appearance is scheduled at 7 p.m. in SVSU’s Malcolm Field Theatre for Performing Arts, located in the Groening Commons complex that adjoins the business college expansion.
 
A monthly magazine with an online presence, Wired since 1993 has provided award-winning content on topics including economics, technology, politics and culture. In his presentation, Thompson plans to talk about how technology’s ever-evolving landscape will shape culture as well as economics for the future.
 
The Thursday event follows a dedication ceremony for the business college expansion planned Monday, Feb. 24, at 1 p.m. in the Malcolm Field Theatre for Performing Arts.
 
SVSU Foundation earlier this week announced the completion of a $15.6 million fundraising campaign for the expansion. The building addition also was supported by $9.8 million in funding from the State of Michigan.
 
Below is a schedule of the Carmona College of Business showcase sessions open to the public from 9:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. All sessions are hosted inside the Carmona College of Business expansion:
 
Sessions from 9:30 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.
 
“Using Your Strengths”
Room CCB 201
Betsy Pierce, associate professor of accounting
Pierce will share how individuals can focus on their unique strengths to work more successfully individually and within groups. Pierce is certified as a coach in the CliftonStrengths program, an initiative that assesses the strengths and talents of individuals and how those traits can best be utilized in group settings.
 
"Living the Entrepreneurship Dream"
Room CCB 214
David Bell, associate director of Entrepreneurship Experiential Learning and Continuing Education
SVSU student and alumni entrepreneurs will share their experiences about developing their own businesses from idea to startup. They will touch on the rewarding aspects of transforming business ideas into business plans, and how they have overcome challenges along the way.
 
"Game Theory in Action: The Prisoner's Dilemma"
Room CCB 216
Kellie Konsor, assistant professor of economics
Konsor will be discussing strategic decision-making theories and they relate to economics.
 
"Family Business Sustaining for Generations"
Room CCB 217
Martha Zehnder Kaczynski, vice president of sales for Frankenmuth Bavarian Inn Lodge; Jordan Thieme, director of operations at Amigo Mobility International; and SVSU student presenters
The session will feature family business leaders discussing the unique rewards and challenges of owning and operating a family business. It will also include discussion with students who have participated in the annual global Family Enterprise Case Competition, where students across the world work to solve complex family business cases.
 
Sessions from 10:30 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.
 
"Building Entrepreneurial Skills"
Room CCB 113
David Bell, associate director of Entrepreneurship Experiential Learning and Continuing Education
Bell will guide the audience through a discussion on the steps taken to achieve a successful business startup, as well as an experiential exercise that focuses on developing various entrepreneurial skills.
 
"Designing Your Life"
Room CCB 201
Amy Hendrickson, associate professor of law
Following an approach pioneered at Stanford University, Hendrickson will discuss strategies aimed at improving skills related to leadership, innovation and creativity; and how to apply those principles to everyday life.
 
"Social Media Marketing: Collaborative Learning with Great Lakes Bay Businesses"
Room CCB 216
Chatdanai Pongpatipat, assistant professor of marketing
Pongpatipat will demonstrate social media-based collaborative work between SVSU students and regional business partners.
 
"Resources to Support Economic Growth with Regional Manufacturers"
Room CCB 217
Jeremy Bockelman, director of Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center; and Matthew Shoffner, assistant director of Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center
Bockelman and Shoffner will lead an interactive simulation of a "5S Lean Manufacturing Tool."
 
Sessions from 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
 
"Living the Entrepreneurship Dream"
Room CCB 113
David Bell, associate director of Entrepreneurship Experiential Learning and Continuing Education
SVSU student and alumni entrepreneurs will share their experiences about developing their own businesses from idea to startup. They will touch on the rewarding aspects of transforming business ideas into business plans, and how they have overcome challenges along the way.
 
"Virtual Reality in Surveys and Research"
Room CCB 216
Kevin Meyer, assistant professor of economics
Meyer will describe and demonstrate his recent research in environmental economics that involved two SVSU students conducting a survey on lake pollution using virtual reality.
 
"Family Business Sustaining for Generations"
Room CCB 217
Amy Zehnder Grossi, general manager of Frankenmuth Bavarian Inn Lodge; Jordan Thieme, director of operations at Amigo Mobility International; Jennifer Thieme Kehres, director of business development at Amigo Mobility International; and SVSU student presenters
The session will feature family business leaders discussing the unique rewards and challenges of owning and operating a family business. It will also include discussion with students who have participated in the annual global Family Enterprise Case Competition, where students across the world work to solve complex family business cases.
 
Sessions from 1:30 p.m. to 2:15 p.m.
 
"Building Entrepreneurial Skills"
Room CCB 114
David Bell, associate director of Entrepreneurship Experiential Learning and Continuing Education
Bell will guide the audience through a discussion on the steps taken to achieve a successful business startup, as well as an experiential exercise that focuses on developing various entrepreneurial skills.
 
"Designing Your Life"
Room CCB 201
Amy Hendrickson, associate professor of law
Following an approach pioneered at Stanford, Hendrickson will discuss how to use design thinking to start working as a better leader, innovator and creator, and how to apply these principles to everyday life.
 
"The Power of SAP, ERP and Analytics"
Room CCB 214
Prashanth Anekal, associate professor of management
Anekal will lead an interactive session in which the audience will be introduced to analytics systems.
 
"Reimagining the Carmona College of Business: Positive Benefits for Students and the Great Lakes Bay Region"
Room CCB 216
Joseph Ofori-Dankwa, SVSU’s Harvey Randall Wickes Endowed Professor
Ofori-Dankwa will lead a team of SVSU students enrolled in the Vitito Fellowship Program to facilitate an interactive session that re-imagines different roles and benefits for students, faculty, staff and community partners as a result of the impact of the Scott L. Carmona College of Business expansion. The Vitito Fellowship Program is an initiative that provides leadership development for SVSU students studying in the business college.
 
"Resources to Support Economic Growth with Regional Manufacturers"
Room CCB 217
Jeremy Bockelman, director of Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center; and Matthew Shoffner, assistant director of Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center
Bockelman and Shoffner will lead an interactive simulation of a "5S Lean Manufacturing Tool."
 
Sessions from 2:30 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.
 
"Living the Entrepreneurship Dream"
Room CCB 113
David Bell, associate director of Entrepreneurship Experiential Learning and Continuing Education
SVSU student and alumni entrepreneurs will share their experiences about developing their own businesses from idea to startup. They will touch on the rewarding aspects of transforming business ideas into business plans, and how they have overcome challenges along the way.
 
"Using Your Strengths"
Room CCB 201
Betsy Pierce, associate professor of accounting
Pierce will share how individuals can focus on their unique strengths to work more successfully individually and with groups. Pierce is certified as a coach in the CliftonStrengths program, an initiative that assesses the strengths and talents of individuals and how those traits can best be utilized in group settings.
 
"Carmona College of Business Young Alumni Board"
Room CCB 216
Lauren Miller, 2018 SVSU alumna; and Connor Doyle, 2019 SVSU alumnus
Recent SVSU graduates Miller and Doyle will talk about their experiences as students as well as members of the Young Alumni Organization. Representatives from Career Services and Alumni Relations will also be in attendance to talk about the resources available to SVSU alumni.
 
"SVSU Moot Court Demonstration"
Room CCB 217
Amy Hendrickson, associate professor of law, and members of the SVSU moot court team
Hendrickson will facilitate a mini-moot court demonstration featuring Justin Weller and Justine Brabaw, members of the nationally ranked SVSU moot court team. This session will also include information about the Law Club and Pre-Law program.

February 20, 2020

Campus, community to celebrate SVSU’s $25.4M business college expansion opening

“A game changer” expected to boost the region’s business community for generations will be celebrated Monday, Feb. 24, by leaders from across the state during a dedication ceremony for Saginaw Valley State University’s soon-to-open $25.4 million business school expansion.
 
The ceremony will be hosted at 1 p.m. in SVSU’s Malcolm Field Theatre for Performing Arts, which adjoins the 38,500-square-foot addition that will house the Scott L. Carmona College of Business. A public open house inside the building addition will follow the event.
 
Deborah Huntley, SVSU provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, called the building addition “a physical manifestation of our purpose and our vision to be renowned for innovative teaching, experiential learning and state-of-the art facilities.”
 
The new space includes data analytics labs and Bloomberg Trading terminals, which track stock data in real time. Upgrades include cutting-edge equipment used by Fortune 500 companies, providing students with hands-on experience utilizing resources adapted to match global business trends. Access to tools and tech fine-tuned for the next generation strengthen an academic college already honored with an AACSB-International accreditation, a gold standard distinction earned by fewer than 5 percent of the world’s business colleges.
 
“We believe that, in this facility, prospective students, prospective faculty and business leaders will recognize our commitment to innovation and excellence, and make SVSU the region’s premier business school,” Huntley said.
 
The expansion will allow SVSU to grow its strong relationship with a regional business community already utilizing campus resources as well as the university’s determined and talented pool of business students, she said.
 
“This building — with its spectacular meeting spaces and collaborative learning spaces — can and will foster these collaborations, and position us well for additional partnerships,” Huntley said.
 
Anthony Bowrin, SVSU’s dean of the Carmona College of Business, called the expansion “a game changer” for the university and surrounding region.
 
“Our faculty and staff now have the resources to leverage our updated curriculum and innovative teaching approaches to enhance the preparation of our students,” he said. “This facility will better position students to realize their professional and personal goals while enhancing the pool of talent, insights, and ideas available to business and other organizations in the Great Lakes Bay Region.”
 
The Feb. 24 ceremony will feature presentations from legislators, business leaders and campus officials.
 
Student musicians with SVSU’s Cardinal Brass Quintet band will perform Monday as well.
 
The ceremony represents the first of two events scheduled next week aimed at introducing the public to the business college upgrade.
 
A Thursday, Feb. 27 event will allow the public to tour the new facility and attend SVSU faculty-led presentations on business-related subjects from 9:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. A keynote presentation by Nicholas Anderson, editor of Wired magazine, is scheduled at 7 p.m. that same day in SVSU’s Malcolm Field Theatre for Performing Arts.
 
SVSU Foundation earlier this week announced the completion of a $15.6 million fundraising campaign for the expansion. The building addition also was supported by $9.8 million in funding from the State of Michigan.
 
For more information about SVSU’s Carmona College of Business, visit www.svsu.edu/scottlcarmonacollegeofbusiness.

February 10, 2020

Grants boost small business-supporting state agency housed in SVSU campus

After recently opening a regional branch on Saginaw Valley State University’s campus, a small business-supporting state agency will receive a boost of its own thanks to $196,000 in grant funding from the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation.
 
The 2-year grant will support the 15 counties serviced by Michigan Small Business Development Center from its SVSU-based branch office.
 
The new office also recently received a $25,000 grant from the Kochville Township Downtown Development Authority as well as a $20,000 grant from Northeast Michigan Council of Governments.
 
“We’re grateful to the Herbert H. & Grace A. Dow Foundation for their generous support,” said J.D. Collins, state director of Michigan Small Business Development Center.
 
“This is the type of generosity that fuels public-private partnerships and drives regional economic development. The support we receive from the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation, Kochville Township Downtown Development Authority and Northeast Michigan Council of Governments enables our team to provide high-quality, no-cost business consulting services.”
 
The support will aid Michigan Small Business Development Center in services that include consulting, training and market research.
 
Beginning in November, SVSU became home to both the Northeast Michigan and Great Lakes Bay regional offices for the Michigan Small Business Development Center, which provides consulting, training and secondary market research for small businesses. The Great Lakes Bay Region-based office previously was located at Delta College.
 
While operations already have begun at its SVSU headquarters, the Michigan Small Business Development Center staff there will move into the building expansion at the university’s Scott L. Carmona College of Business facility later in the winter academic semester. A $25 million, 38,500-square foot expansion was created in part to support regional business-boosting agencies such as the Michigan Small Business Development Center.
 
The SVSU-based Michigan Small Business Development Center office serves small businesses in the counties of Alcona, Alpena, Arenac, Bay, Cheboygan, Crawford, Iosco, Midland, Montmorency, Ogemaw, Oscoda, Otsego, Presque Isle, Roscommon and Saginaw.
 
In those counties, the Michigan Small Business Development Center in 2018 helped 40 new businesses start, helped create or retain 338 jobs, and generated $5.9 million in new capital investment for small business. In total, 590 small businesses were served by the agency in those 15 counties.
 
For more information about the Michigan Small Business Development Center office at SVSU, please call (989) 964-4908 or email SBDC@svsu.edu.
 
About the Michigan Small Business Development Center: The Michigan Small Business Development Center provides consulting, business education, market research and technology commercialization to new and existing businesses throughout Michigan’s 83 counties. Services are available through the support of the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. Entrepreneurs and small business owners may access the services of their nearest Michigan Small Business Development Center office by visiting www.sbdcmichigan.org.

December 3, 2019

Community leader, alumnus to serve as SVSU commencement speaker

Saginaw Valley State University graduates will hear from one of the institution’s most generous alumni during December commencement exercises.

Scott L. Carmona will offer words of support and inspiration at the two ceremonies, Friday, Dec. 13 at 7 p.m., and Saturday, Dec. 14 at 11 a.m. Both ceremonies are held in O’Neill Arena of SVSU's Ryder Center.

Carmona completed his eight-year term on SVSU’s Board of Control in July. He committed to be the lead donor for the fundraising campaign to support the building addition for the SVSU College of Business now named for him; his generosity and philanthropy also include granting over 25 scholarships annually. The $25 million building addition for the Scott L. Carmona College of Business will open during the 2020 winter semester.

After the 2019 fall semester concludes later this month, 511 SVSU students are expected to complete degree requirements. Of those, 425 students are expected to complete bachelor’s degrees and 86 are expected to receive master’s or other advanced degrees. In total, 453 individuals have indicated they plan to don regalia and participate in the commencement ceremonies Dec. 13-14.

The Friday gathering will honor graduates from the Crystal M. Lange College of Health & Human Services; and the Scott L. Carmona College of Business. The Saturday ceremony will recognize graduates from the College of Arts & Behavioral Sciences; the College of Education; and the College of Science, Engineering & Technology.

Carmona’s first time being recognized at an SVSU commencement ceremony came in 1981, when the Bay City native was a graduate being honored for receiving a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. His son, Ryan, completed a bachelor's degree in finance in 2008.

While still attending classes at SVSU, Scott Carmona began planting the seeds of his entrepreneurial career. In the late 1970s, he developed a swimming pool maintenance company. By his senior year, he was contracted to perform service work for Coca-Cola USA.

The opportunity allowed him to create a small business that specialized in repairing and re-manufacturing dispensing equipment used in restaurants across the nation. Carmona's company, National Equipment Refurbishers Inc., found success, employing up to 50 people at one point.

Fifteen years later, he sold the business to create and develop other companies, largely in the commercial real estate and automotive aftermarket distribution industries. His business interests eventually reached beyond Michigan. He developed businesses in states such as Texas, New Hampshire and Florida, where he developed an industrial park in the 2000s.

Today, Carmona is the principal owner of Sunrise National Distributors Inc., a Bay City-based distributor of automotive aftermarket products. He owns and manages several real estate developments in Michigan and Florida. He also has remained active in community organizations including the Bay County Growth Alliance, the Dow Bay Area Family YMCA and the McLaren Bay Special Care Hospital board of directors.

When the 38,500-square-foot expansion for the Scott L. Carmona College of Business opens next year, the facility will house state-of-the-art technology as well as classrooms, faculty offices and office space for business programs. Planners say the new space will provide an inviting environment for business leaders and successful alumni to visit campus, benefit from the resources, and work with the next generation of business students studying at the campus.

November 21, 2019

SVSU recognizes distinguished alumni from diverse industries

Military veterans, business leaders, and coaches were among the eight individuals whose accomplishments and dedication to excellence were recognized by Saginaw Valley State University’s Alumni Association.

The group selected five individuals to receive its annual Distinguished Alumni award — one for each of SVSU's academic colleges. They are as follows:

  • Ricky Brown for College of Arts & Behavioral Sciences
  • Jill Dralle for the College of Science, Engineering & Technology
  • Jean LaClair for the College of Education
  • Mary Kay Smith for the Crystal M. Lange College of Health & Human Services
  • Greg Wischmeyer for the Scott L. Carmona College of Business

Three other honorees received recognition by the SVSU Alumni Association. Tony Goble received the Veteran Alumni award. Darrin Flowers and Emily Short both received Young Alumnus awards.

The group was honored during a ceremony at SVSU earlier this month. To watch videos featuring recipients, go to https://bit.ly/37wkUir.

Biographies of each recipient are as follows, along with a video feature for each:

Ricky Brown

Brown received his bachelor’s degree in speech from SVSU in 1985 and later earned a master’s degree from Central Michigan University in 1991. As director of Multicultural Student Initiatives at Kettering University, Brown has traveled across the U.S., Mexico, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, and the Caribbean islands to help African-American, Hispanic and Native American students in the STEM fields. He also received Kettering’s first-ever “Pillar of Excellence Award,” the highest honor a staff member can receive.

Jill Dralle

Dralle earned her bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from SVSU in 1993. Dralle — whose maiden name is Jill Schafsnitz — is the COO of Saginaw County’s largest employer, Nexteer Automotive. She serves on the board of directors for Saginaw Community Foundation. Dralle was recognized by Great Lakes Bay Magazine with its Business Executive Award for female leaders in 2013. In 2014, she was honored by Inforum with an Inner Circle Award.

Jean LaClair

LaClair graduated from SVSU in 1990 with a bachelor’s degree in physical and health education. LaClair works for Bronson Community Schools as assistant principal, athletic director, and head volleyball coach. She received numerous awards from regional and national associations for her work as an athletic administrator and volleyball coach. She is one of the most successful volleyball coaches in Michigan, ranking fifth in the state for all-time wins in an entire career.

Mary Kay Smith

Smith is the director of the Learning and Assessment Center at Michigan State University. She earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing from SVSU in 1985. Smith serves as chair of accreditation for the International Society of Simulation in Healthcare (SSH) and the Quality Assurance Chair for the American Heart Association Great Lakes Emergency Cardiovascular Care Committee.

Greg Wischmeyer

Wischmeyer served in the U.S. Army from 1975-78, receiving an honorable discharge as a sergeant. He used the G.I. Bill to attend Delta College and SVSU, where received his bachelor’s degree in management in 1984. Since 2010, Greg has served as president and CEO of Neighborhood Mortgage Solutions. He has been involved in the Frankenmuth Chamber of Commerce for the past 12 years and is a member of the Michigan Credit Union League Mid-Michigan Chapter.

Tony Goble

After lettering in baseball and graduating from SVSU in 1989 with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, Goble enlisted in the U.S. airborne infantry in 1991. He is still serving and has reached the highest level of technical and tactical expertise as a chief warrant officer 5 and serves as command chief warrant officer. He has spent over 25 years working as a Green Beret and was deployed nine times in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. Some of Goble's significant awards include the Bronze Star Medal (five awards), Meritorious Service Medal (three awards), Army Achievement Medal (three awards), Good Conduct Medal (three awards), Army Commendation Medal, as well as National Defense Medal with two Campaign Stars. 

Darrin Flowers

Flowers works at University of Detroit Jesuit as a 7th and 8th grade social studies instructor, moderator of the Black Awareness Society of Education (B.A.S.E.), 7th and 8th grade track coach, and high school bowling coach. As a coach, Flowers won a Catholic Youth Organization Track Championship, and a Division I State Championship for bowling in 2014. He was voted Division I Coach of the Year in 2015-16. Flowers received a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from SVSU in 2007.

Emily Short

Short works as a project manager at Spicer Group. She has implemented innovative strategies to address surface water pollution in Ingham, Berrien and Manistee counties as well as other communities in Michigan. Short also mentors young undergraduate students to provide them with better choices for their career path and serves as a role model for high school students in the community of St. Johns. She received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from SVSU in 2016.

November 6, 2019

SVSU student from Bay City shows perseverance to complete degree, continue service to country

Chaz Fowler is as determined in completing his education at Saginaw Valley State University as he was in completing his training to become a United States Marine.

Thanks in part to financial support through the Robert and Ellen Thompson Military Scholarship at SVSU, the political science major from Bay City is closing in on his mission to graduate and return to military service.

Fowler served as a U.S. Marine and presidential sentry for five years. He said his training was grueling, but that he always had his eyes set on achieving his goals.

“This position required immense commitment and persistence in the face of adversity,” Fowler said. “Each time a new obstacle came my way, I prayed I would have the resolve to push through.”

His ultimate goal in the service – to be one of the White House sentries, comprised of four Marine Corps non-commissioned officers who act as a ceremonial guard outside the West Wing of the White House – proved to be just out of his reach.

“The aesthetic for the media required Marines be within a few inches of each other when standing outside the West Wing — for presentation. I was not 6-foot, 4-inches tall as Corporal Bernard was, and thus had come up short,” Fowler said.

He was devastated at the news but turned it into an opportunity to persevere.

“I wanted to prove that, if I was not going to the White House, I would be the best — wherever I went.” Fowler said.

His tour of duty included service as a presidential sentry at Camp David, where his responsibilities included safeguarding the president.

After completing five years of military service, Fowler enrolled at SVSU, which has been consistently named “Best for Vets” by Military Times and a military-friendly university by VIQTORY.

College presented many familiar challenges for Fowler.

“Time management, commitment and determination are all necessary components for success here. I would like to say I have done well at traversing these obstacles,” said Fowler, president of the Student Veterans of America club at SVSU.

Fowler was able to finance his degree until his senior year, where “again I had come up short.”

When he heard about the Robert and Ellen Thompson Military Scholarship, Folwer knew it would provide him the opportunity to finish one of his life goals.

Fowler is grateful that the scholarship will allow him to complete his degree and return to military service, this time as a college-educated officer.

“I would like to personally thank Mr. and Mrs. Thompson for their gracious efforts in helping students, veterans and, most specifically, for helping me when it mattered most,” Fowler said.

He will join others at SVSU in recognizing Veterans Day during a Veterans Day Celebration that begins at 2 p.m. Monday, Nov. 11 in the Curtiss Hall banquet rooms.

Col. Rhoda K. Daniel will serve as the featured speaker. Today a Freeland business owner, she has served over 34 years in both the Army and the Army National Guard. An Iraq War veteran, Daniel earned the Combat Action Badge, the Meritorious Unit Commendation, and was awarded the Bronze Star Medal. 

The public is welcome to attend.

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