Jon M. Huntsman School of Business

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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Huntsman School Tries to Solve the Mystery of the Malfunctioning Webcam

By Ken Snyder

I can see clearly now the webcam’s not stalled.

Does that sound like a good opening line for a song? Don’t laugh. There’s not a lot of good music written about winter building projects. The bar might be real low. It could be a big hit.

I do feel a bit like singing because the webcam that is mounted on the Agricultural Building filming the rise of Huntsman Hall is finally working again. (It never really was “stalled” but I needed to sound like the original Johnny Nash song, “I Can See Clearly Now.”)

This functioning webcam is no small thing because it is the third camera that we have put up there. The other three have mysteriously died and we don’t know why. We moved the location of the camera recently and that seems to be doing the trick for now.
Unfortunately, progress is slow. It’s too cold to do a lot of things. We’re hoping for better construction weather. Maybe Santa will deliver some.

So, is the webcam still working? I don’t know, why don’t you click here and see for yourself? If you see old Santa out there, let me know, I may want to ask him for a new camera – just in case. Until then I’m hoping for a “bright (bright), bright (bright) sunshiny day.”

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Huntsman MBA Association and Marketing Association Host Charlie Denson, Former Nike Brand President

By Mike Tolman

Huntsman School of Business students had the rare opportunity to talk with former Nike Brand president, Charlie Denson recently. Mr. Denson candidly answered questions about the early days of Nike and his career path after leaving Utah State with his bachelor’s degree in marketing.

In 1979, when Mr. Denson started at Nike, he said it was “just a bunch of jocks selling sneakers out of their cars.” It wasn’t the company it is today. He called his choice to join the company in its early days “a big mistake . . . but one of the better mistakes I’ve made.” He went on to explain that he initially decided to work at Nike just “until he got a real job.”

Looking at Nike’s development over the past 35 years, it appears as though he made the right decision. He went on to advise students to find something that they are really passionate about.

Charlie Denson
“If you’re not passionate about something,” he said, “you’ll never be the best at it.”

Mr. Denson talked about monthly, quarterly, and yearly strategies that Nike would prepare each year. “In all my time at Nike, not one year went as planned,” he said. He went on to speak about the importance of not only planning and being prepared, but to also being able “learn on the fly” and improvise when things change.

Mr. Denson also reflected on the valuable lessons he learned at Utah State, the top two being able to organize his time and his thoughts. He described his feelings when he graduated, saying he was anxious to go to work and get started. “I was competitive and I wanted to go and do something,” he said.

Throughout his career, Mr. Denson sought out opportunities to grow and to learn more about what he loved.

­­­­“I’ll never regret anything I’ve done,” he said, “but I don’t want to be in a position where I have to regret something I didn’t do.”

He reminisced on some of his favorite successful marketing campaigns, mentioning the “Let Me Play” campaign that sparked a national movement championing the cause of women’s athletics throughout the nation and world.

As the evening concluded, Mr. Denson urged students to not get discouraged by mistakes.

“Sometimes, the hard and bumpy roads get you were you want to go faster,” he said. While there is no way to plan for every contingency, Mr. Denson told students, “It’s okay to make a mistake, so long as you make it at full speed.”

As I have spent some time at the Huntsman School of Business, I am proud I will soon be counted among distinguished alumni, like Mr. Charlie Denson. He, like many other successful Aggies, exemplifies so well the core values of Utah State University. That said, whatever distinction any graduate of the Huntsman School may gain professionally, it would be wise to remember Mr. Denson’s advice: “The best ones still listen, they still learn.”

To watch an interview with Charlie Denson click here.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Governor’s New Budget Outlook: Addressing Lingering Problems Through Taxation Isn’t a Move to the Dark Side

By Rhett Wilkinson

“Do what must be done.” – Chancellor Palpatine (Darth Sidious) to Anakin Skywalker (Darth Vader)
That was the instruction the Sith Lord gave to his new apprentice. Palpatine took advantage of Anakin’s desperation for the powers of the dark side.

Raising taxes may not be an act of the dark side. But sometimes, I believe they are a necessary evil. At times, elected officials should “do what must be done,” and call for new revenue through higher taxes. 

Rhett Wilkinson says more money should be budgeted for education.

I think that’s the reality in Utah for education and roads. That was clear after Nov. 25, when Utah Governor Gary Herbert forecasted the state’s budget for fiscal year 2014-2015. He declared no new taxes for the time frame. 

As a member of the Finance and Economics Club at the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business, I take great interest in the governor’s outlook. 

Education spending is still an emphasis, Executive Director for the Utah Department of Workforce Services Kristen Cox told the Deseret News. I believe Gov. Herbert largely seems to reflect that this year, having committed $60 million in this year’s budget to education due to an anticipated 10,500 increase in student enrollment. 

Also, House Speaker Becky Lockhart told The Salt Lake Tribune that paying for the education growth will again be a top priority.

"That’s one of the things we look at very first," she was quoted as saying. “We’ll be looking at that right away.”  

The rankings show me that the governor’s pulling from the state reservoir isn’t enough, and that Speaker Lockhart’s words aren’t convincing. This year, Utah remained 51st – dead last – among the 50 states and the District of Columbia in per-pupil spending. The Beehive State won’t be near the middle, or higher, since it routinely ranks at or near the top in class sizes. But in a state and legislature where the majority says it believes “the glory of God is intelligence,” among other reasons, it undoubtedly should do better than dead last.  

Gov. Herbert is promoting an initiative to raise the percentage of Utahns with college degrees, or certificates, to 66% by 2020. But, I believe that focuses attention at the wrong end of the education channel. Investing in early-childhood education would encourage more long-lasting results, rather than trying to make up for pre-elementary school shortcomings after high school. By then, one-quarter of Utah kids have already dropped out.
It has been reported that the state allocates effectively 25% of sales tax collections to roads. But, money must be found at some point to account for what will be an $11 billion deficit in roads funding by 2040. I think it makes sense to increase the gas tax. That has not been raised since 1997.
The Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce endorses the measure. It has indicated that it’s a good option, because then, those people who are actually using the roads are the ones who pay.
Senate President Wayne Niederhauser is a solid Republican, but he acknowledged the dilemma: “We need to look at ways to either cut the cost of roads, or you are going to have to have some additional revenue in the future,” he told the Deseret News.
Ultimately, the problem is that politics might get in the way. In the election year that is 2014, I believe most lawmakers may not consider tax increases. Both Speaker Lockhart and Pres. Niederhauser acknowledged the same to the Deseret News.
I think it’s disappointing that the legislature would shy away from helping children, and assuring safe and efficient transportation, at the expense of maintaining power.
It is time to “do what must be done”—but in this case, by forgetting power, as opposed to the desires of Sith Lords in a galaxy far, far away.