Getting Down to Business

by Sharyn Kopf—Cedarville, Ohio

They only meet once a year, yet their impact is significant.

Nineteen men and women make up the Business Advisory Council (BAC). Although they represent very different backgrounds, they all have one objective: to marry the goals and plans of Cedarville University’s Department of Business Administration with the needs and wants of today’s business world. In other words, they help the department stay focused on what needs to be done … and what doesn’t.

The next meeting will take place on November 14. After learning about all that is happening at Cedarville and within the department, they will discuss future objectives. But though the meeting only lasts a day, it really is an ongoing commitment. The members are available for impromptu calls for advice, and several are actively involved at the University. Take Georgeann Georges, who works with Global Operations and Service Strategy. She comes to Cedarville often, working with the students and helping them prepare for job interviews.

Council members not only assist with resumes and job-hunting but also encourage students to participate in internships and take steps to ensure that each student who wants one has that opportunity.

“One of the biggest impacts the BAC has had on the department has been its emphasis on an international business program,” adds John LeBlanc, acting chair and associate professor of management. “We believe the more international experience students have, the better off they will be upon entering the business world. So, the board continues to find ways to improve our overseas studies.”

However, the council also advises them on what not to do. For instance, it was on the BAC’s recommendation that the department chose not to pursue a graduate program. Businesses, they said, prefer to hire students with undergrad and graduate experience from different schools. It allows individuals to receive a solid foundation at Cedarville and then earn their master’s degree from one of the country’s premiere graduate schools.

Four individuals comprised the first BAC — LeBlanc, former general manager of Radiac Abrasives; Lorne Scharnberg, president of Katecho Inc.; Delmar Mohler, president of Faith Community Foundation; and Dr. Rajshekhar Javalgi, professor of marketing and international business at Cleveland State University. All four still sit on the council today.

Scharnberg and Wilcox are also Cedarville trustees, a position that provides helpful information as they connect the two areas and offer an important perspective.

Of course, several are Cedarville alumni, including Jeff Montie ’83, whose last position was president of Kellogg International. Another Cedarville grad making his mark is Larry Miller ’86, who currently serves as executive vice president and treasurer for Ohio Valley Bank. And Randy Wilcox ’81 works as North and South America Area president for Otis Elevator Company.

The quality of the board is evidenced by the rest of its membership: Harry Badanes, managing partner, J.D. Cloud & Co. LLP; Ronald Baker, management consulting, Hi-Tech Aero Spares; Mike Crawford, CEO, College For Less Inc.; John Danis, chairman and CEO, Danis Building Construction Co.; Ronald Ferner, chairman, department of business, Philadelphia Biblical University; John Field, chairman (retired), Wallace & Turner Inc.; Lori Greenwalt, partner, internal audit services, KPMG LLP; George Guritz, president, Guritz Investments LTD; Gary Habegger, vice president for human resources and administration (retired), Goodrich Corporation; Mark Holdeman, president, United Fiberglass of America Inc.; Dr. Wayne Leininger, department of accounting and information systems, Virginia Tech; and Russ Weir, services delivery executive, IBM Global Service – ITS Public Sector.

“They keep the department engaged in the current business arena,” LeBlanc says. “They also bring practitioners to campus to see what programs we’re adding. It’s very give-and-take: we’re showing them; they’re telling us. They offer constructive criticism and good feedback.”

Best of all, says LeBlanc, they’re “advocates for the University in their areas. They talk-up Cedarville within the business community — which means they’re impacting not only Cedarville but also the business world on the University’s behalf.”