Busy Fall for College of Business Faculty

March 2, 2013  |  by Lauren Agnello

The College of Business Administration faculty was busy this past fall semester with site visits, guest speakers and participating in Western New York events that will benefit their students. Many of the faculty, including Dr. Ann Rensel and Mr. James Ingham, have enhanced their lectures with guest speakers who share their “real world” knowledge. This not only serves to deepen students’ understanding of the topics covered, but to spark their interests in different types of business and various careers.

Dr. Rensel, assistant professor of MIS, with the help of Jillian Heltzel, an MBA student, was able to bring in Richard Stacy, the regional vice president at C & S Wholesale Grocers, to her Supply Chain Management class (MGT 321). C & S Wholesale Grocers is one of the largest family-owned food warehousing companies in the U.S., and they are innovators in automation in their sites. Stacy discussed the issues and innovations in commodity warehousing and showed videos to demonstrate their systems in action. He also disclosed the warehousing techniques that are used by the company, as well as presented the ideas of warehouse location, the need to both reduce costs and alleviate injuries to their workers, and the need to reduce handling and storage costs in a business where the margin is just pennies on the dollar. What was meant to be a one hour lecture turned into 2 1/2 hours due to the students’ piqued interest and insightful questions!

Two presenters in Professor James Ingham’s Advanced Tax Strategy for Business (ACC 602) class also intrigued students with their lecture. Gene Gramza, CPA, partner, Tax Services at Ernst & Young, and John Ficara, LLM, director, Tax Planning & Compliance at Columbus McKinnon Corp., supplemented Ingham’s lecture on the taxation of multinational companies and the roles of internal and external tax professionals in how they work together to achieve results. Their presentation focused on several topics: the roles of the internal and external tax professional in a corporate environment, effective tax rate analysis and planning considerations in lowering the effective rate, strategic corporate restructurings to improve business results and lower the effective tax rate, and career opportunities as a tax professional in public accounting and in a corporate environment. The speakers added a valuable perspective to the class and also created opportunities for the students, such as internships, jobs and valuable networking.

Not only has the college’s faculty provided valuable speakers for the classroom, but they have also have invited students to professional events as well. This past semester, Niagara University, along with 10 other universities, was invited to an Investment Ethics Workshop for CFA Institute members, held at the Sonoma Grill in Amherst. Robert Dannhausser, director of financial integrity at the CFA Institute, was the presenter and moderator. The workshop included individual and group work, where participants were faced with questions and had to make ethical decisions. Professor Ed Hutton, director of the Financial Services Lab and assistant professor of finance accompanied, a large number of Niagara students to this important workshop on financial ethics.

Jack Ampuja, director of the Center for Supply Chain Excellence at Niagara University, also co-chairs the Logistics Council, a section of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, which is a regional chamber of commerce with more than 1,000 member companies. For the past four years, the Logistics Council has led the year off with a “State of Logistics” meeting. On Jan. 14, 2013, Ampuja spoke at the annual meeting about major trends and factors driving logistics efficiencies and costs. He also moderated a Q-and-A session with a panel of local experts, including Nancy Dempsey from FedEx, Tim Mathien of ROAR Logistics, and Chris Johnston of World Trade Center Buffalo Niagara. Dr. Jim Kling, associate professor of management, accompanied three Niagara students to attend this event, which also included a networking lunch.

Professor Bohdan Pikas invited his students to “Student Day,” sponsored by the Buffalo Niagara Sales & Marketing Executives (BNSME). This event included a briefing and tour of the SKM Group, a full-service integrated marketing communications agency, followed by “Realistic Job Previews,” where BNSME members were available to discuss and answer questions about their jobs and career paths. After this, there was a networking hour and the dinner meeting.

The College of Business Administration, per its mission, seeks to “prepare current and future business professionals to learn, serve and lead with integrity.” This is well represented by the business faculty who continue to provide unique opportunities for growth and career exploration for the college’s students.