Real Estate Alumni Spotlight: Joanna Hopkins (MBA ’03)

Name: Joanna Hopkins (MBA ’03)

Job: Development Director, Maryland Creek Ranch

Joanna completed her MBA studies at the Leeds School in 2003 with specializations in Real Estate and Finance.  The CU Real Estate Center played a pivotal role in both her internship placements and her full-time career placement.

While in school, Joanna had the opportunity to intern for Vail Resorts Development Company in Breckenridge performing financial analysis for the Peak 7 and Peak 8 redevelopment, which includes both Crystal Peak Lodge and the recently completed One Ski Hill Place.  It was this position that provided her with the skills and knowledge of mountain development that made her a perfect fit with The Everist Company and Maryland Creek Ranch.  Shortly after graduation, Joanna and her husband, Kevin, made the move up to Summit County and have been there ever since.

In her eighth year with The Everist Company, Joanna was initially hired to work on both finance and entitlements for the Everist family’s first real estate development, Maryland Creek Ranch.  Maryland Creek Ranch is a 1,054-acre ranch located just north of Silverthorne in Summit County.  The land was originally purchased to meet the needs of the Everist’s primary business — sand and gravel mining.  However, the beauty and location of the ranch led the family to pursue a high-end development of the property including parcels ranging from one to 35 acres.

In 2009, Joanna managed the planning, construction and sales of an 8-unit affordable housing project in Silverthorne.  With entitlements substantially complete, and the ranch project waiting out the current market downturn, Joanna has put her entitlement and permitting experience to good use with the Everist’s core mining business, carrying out long range planning, permitting and environmental compliance.  Everist currently operates seven mining operations in four Colorado mountain counties.

Joanna is active with the CU Real Estate Council,  currently serves as the Chair of the Blue River Watershed Group, is a member of the Urban Land Institute and is involved in several community nonprofits, including Silvana’s Community Garden and Lake Dillon Preschool.  Joanna, her husband, Kevin, son Tyler (age 5) and daughter Lauren (age 2) take advantage of everything mountain life has to offer and still manage to make frequent trips to the ‘big city’ (Denver) and travel extensively.

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Support For CU Needs a Boost

Below is a response by Leeds School board member David Wolf (JD-MBA ’01) to a May 6, 2011, editorial titled “Low-tax mania hurts Colo. higher education” in the Denver Business Journal. Wolf’s letter ran in the Denver Business Journal on June 3, 2011.

I could not agree more with Neil Westergaard’s sentiments on higher education in his Editor’s Notebook of May 6. As a member of the board of the University of Colorado’s Leeds School of Business, I have witnessed firsthand the tragic emaciation imposed by the State of Colorado on its institutions of higher education.

President Bruce Benson, as Westergaard wrote, argues that a CU education is still affordable — but, honestly, he shouldn’t bear any blame. As a realist, Benson likely has concluded that appealing to the state’s magnanimity for increased funding is, essentially, a waste of time, energy and effort. He instead has pursued a more pragmatic path (the only path, really), albeit one that ultimately will constrain access for Colorado students and families of lesser means.

The Denver-Boulder corridor is a national hub of innovation in technology, telecommunications and biotechnology. BusinessWeek named Boulder the No. 1 town in the U.S. to start a company. Smart, motivated people continue to flock to Colorado for its combination of economic opportunity and active lifestyle. As such, the University of Colorado is perfectly positioned to be the premier university of the Mountain West — the flagship institution of higher education between Palo Alto and Chicago.

Tragically, though, Colorado’s Legislature is apathetically content to let the University of Colorado atrophy and coast as a “Wyoming” rather than drive it to be the “Stanford” of the Mountain West.

David Wolf via email

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Q&A with Jeff Halmos of NYC Creative Firm Shipley & Halmos

Shipley & Halmos is a New York City-based creative firm founded by CFDA Award-winning designers and CU-Boulder graduates (l-r) Sam Shipley (‘o2 fine arts) and Jeff Halmos (’02 finance). Through various internal divisions, the company designs and produces everything from men’s and women’s clothing and accessories to books, furniture, and art materials. We caught up with Jeff for a quick Q&A ( who was also nice enough to share a few images from their Fall ’11 collection).

Q: How did you come to choose CU and the business school?
A: My family has owned a house in Steamboat since I was a little kid.  I always loved Colorado, so when it came time to look for a school to attend, I visited Boulder.  Pretty much sold from there.

Q: How did you and Sam Shipley get connected?
A: We met in front of the Farrand dorm during our freshman year.  I lived in Chey Ho (Cheyenne Arapaho dorms).  We became friends and have now been business partners for nearly 10 years since graduation.

Q: Tell me about your career path post graduation.
A: During our junior and senior year, Sam and I (along with two other friends going to a different school) started working on a project for fun.  It was a clothing brand called Trovata, and we actually got it off the ground during our senior year.  We shipped to Barneys and Fred Segal Ron Herman while still in school.  After graduation, we had nothing better to do, so we all moved to So Cal and worked on the brand full time.  At the end of 2006, Sam and I left Trovata, moved to NYC, and launched Shipley & Halmos (read all about the firm here).

Q: Describe what Shipley and Halmos is all about.
A: Basically, Sam and I use Shipley & Halmos as the vehicle to create whatever it is we feel like creating.  Of course, our primary product is men’s clothing, footwear, and accessories. Recently, we started a publishing company. We design furniture. The best part about owning your own business is the freedom to do what you want without constraint.  That’s my favorite part about Shipley & Halmos.

Q: What attracts you guys to the world of creative design? What are the trends, what’s up and coming in your industry?
A: Sam and I enjoy the challenge of recreating classic-based items in a way that feels fresh. We are drawn to everyday items and think about how to improve the design even in the most subtle of ways.  It’s never about radically alter the original design, but more about updating it.

Q: Describe your client base.
A: We sell to high-end departments stores and boutiques around the world.  Here in the US of A, our brand can be found at Barneys stores nationwide, Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom, as well as various online retailers and boutiques.  Also, we are going to be launching our entire men’s clothing, footwear, and accessories collection on www.shipley-halmos.com in July.  Get your shop on!

Q: What gets you jazzed about the work you’re doing?
A: I love working on new projects.  When Sam and I come up with an idea, it’s usually my job to see it through.  It’s very satisfying to turn a concept into reality.  We have LOTS of projects in the works these days.

Q: What’s a typical day like for you?
A: We spend much of our time dealing with product development and production.  We’re working with fabric mills and factories all over the world, which takes quite a bit of coordination.  Aside from that, no two days are alike!

Q: Anything you learned at the Leeds School that you use in your professional life? Any a-ha moments that stand out for you?
A: The accounting and finance classes were extremely helpful.  For the first couple years at Trovata and the first couple years at Shipley & Halmos, I was managing our books on Quickbooks. Although it took some self-training, I was already familiar with the basics of accounting. I also got the Certificate of Entrepreneurship.  Those classes were great, by the way.

Q: Shipley & Halmos has scored a few honors, like the Rising Star in Menswear Award from Fashion Group International and GQ/CFDA Best New Designer Award. That’s awesome. What’s it like to be recognized for your hard work and talent?
A: Actually, we were just nominated for those.  It feels great to be recognized, but honestly, awards are not that important to us.  We love what we do either way.  It makes us far more excited to get an email from a fan.

Q: You are always coming up with new and diverse projects; what’s next for Shipley & Halmos? Any big dreams you’re chasing down?
A: We’re busy guys these days.  I don’t even know where to begin.  I mentioned the e-store.  The Fall ’11 season will mark the debut of our footwear line.  For Holiday, we’re shipping a formalwear package to Barneys (tux, tux shirt, bow tie).  We need our dudes looking sharp at weddings and other fancy events, right?  And in September, we’re working on a really cool project that I can’t really talk about.

If anyone wants to join our mailing list to find out about anything new in the world of Shipley & Halmos, visit our website at www.shipley-halmos.com.  Or you can email greetings@shipley-halmos.com.

http://www.shipley-halmos.com
http://twitter.com/jeffandsamjam
http://www.facebook.com/shipleyandhalmos
http://www.shipley-halmos.com/numerous-drawings/

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Portfolio Spring 2011: Health & Health Care

The Leeds School of Business is honored to have proud alumni working in health-related careers and industries that make a difference through their products and services. We have highlighted a few of these alumni in the Spring 2011 issue of Portfolio, the alumni magazine of the Leeds School of Business. The following alumni share, in their own words, more of their story.

Be sure to visit the interactive online version of this issue of Portfolio featuring page-turn technology and clickable links. If you would like to receive a hard copy of the magazine, please e-mail your request to bizalum@colorado.edu. Thanks for stopping by! ~ The Alumni Relations & Communications Team

Watch this video of Dr. Jennifer Berwick (’01 finance) discussing how her business education prepared her to be a part of a successful orthodontic practice and sharing the latest advances in orthodontics.

 

 

 

Mark Holroyd (MBA ’83) blogs about his position with a not-for-profit organization that helps those living with diabetes and how as a MBA candidate he spent one Christmas break learning how to inject insulin into an orange.

 

 

 

Diane Harman-Hoog (MBA ’83) blogs about getting her MBA as a single mother of four, and what it’s like being part of a third-generation CU family as her grandson now attends college here.

 

 

 

Mike Williams (’96 international business), who went from a successful career in finance to becoming a certified Rolfer™, shares in a blog post and podcast his advice on changing careers.

 

 

 

Watch this video of Dr. Michael Staab (’87 finance) to see what a day in the life of a cardiologist is like and learn about the state-of-the-art equipment used in cardiology today.

 

 

 

Kerrie Paige (Ph.D. ‘99) answers seven questions about being a successful entrepreneur and explains how simulation modeling can be used to solve problems in health care.

 

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Q & A with President of NovaSim Kerrie Paige

Kerrie PaigeKerrie Paige (Ph.D. ‘99) answers seven questions about being a successful entrepreneur and explains how simulation modeling can be used to solve problems in health care.

Q: What is NovaSim, and how is it used in health care?

A: We specialize in simulation modeling, which is a mathematical approach that we use to help hospitals optimize their patient flow. Patient flow can take on many forms depending on the problem that you are trying to solve.  It can be anything from trying to figure out the logistics of moving children from one hospital to another to figuring out how to schedule your operating rooms optimally. I could go on and on but those are some representative examples.

Hear Paige explain what simulation modeling is and how it is used in health care from tracking individual patients movement through hospitals to evaluating wait times in this podcast:

Q: Why would a hospital use NovaSim?

A: What we are seeing and what we are hearing a lot about in the news is that our health care systems are overflowing with patients. A lot of hospitals these days are running at 80 percent to 90 percent capacity, which means that they have very little room for inefficiency in their operations.

Now that the systems are so full and so complex, it is difficult to make decisions just by intuition.  It’s hard to know for example: “Why am I having to cancel surgeries? Is it because no OR is available or because I can’t get an ICU bed when I need it?” These elements are interconnected, and that increases the complexity of the problem.

By looking at a simulation model, we have the opportunity to run experiments.  We can try it out in the simulation model and see how it would be expected to work, which is a really important thing when you are dealing with a fragile population like patients – you don’t want to put them through a trial and error.

Listen in this podcast to a real example of how an emergency department in a hospital used NovaSim to decide whether to build an addition:

Q: What do you do on a day-to-day basis as president of NovaSim?

A: Every day is a little bit different and depends upon the projects that we’re currently working on. I spend a lot of my time talking with current and potential clients about our services and software. And then there is the time on the projects themselves. I don’t do any heavy development work anymore, but I do still enjoy working with our clients to manage projects and being involved in the analysis phase. Whenever I can, I also try to spend time writing, as we’re currently working on the third edition of our simulation book.

Q: You originally came to the University of Colorado Boulder to get your doctorate in applied mathematics, but after you got your master’s you switched to the Leeds School of Business, Why?

A: There were some interesting classes being offered at the Leeds School that were taught by Professor Fred Glover, Professor Manuel Laguna, and Professor Jim Kelly (Learn more about the professors that inspired Paige in the Portfolio). So even though I was in the program in applied mathematics I was taking a lot of classes over at the Leeds School.  The original plan had been that I was going to get a Ph.D. in applied mathematics, but because I was enjoying the work in operations management so much I switched over for my Ph.D. program after I completed a master’s in Applied Mathematics.

Listen to Paige describe her time as a doctorate student in the operations and management program:

Q:  What is one thing you value about your time at the Leeds School?

A: The team at the Leeds School developed a simulation optimization algorithm that is now the most widely used because it is quite simply the best.  The groundwork for that application was developed while I was at the Leeds School, so I got to hear a lot about it and help test some of the ideas. Now, many years later, I get to use the end results in my professional work, and it is fun to think back to when it was all getting started.

Q: Can you discuss you career path from the Leeds School to your current position today as President of NovaSim?

A: When I was at the Leeds School, I already had two kids to support, so I needed another job. I got an internship in a research group with the regional telecommunications provider at that time, U S West. I learned a lot, I loved it, and it ultimately turned into a regular job.

I moved to Washington after my third son was born. Thanks to my experience at the Leeds School and U S West, I was offered several opportunities quite quickly, so I decided to try freelancing for awhile.  I did that for four years.  Then, in 2000, I started NovaSim with my partner, Jaret Hauge. That was a 11 years ago. It never gets boring because while we specialize in the same types of techniques, the applications are different.

Q: Why do you enjoy working in health care?

A: It is very fulfilling. We hear so much about the health care crisis in this country, and it’s real.  It feels good to be able to something concrete about that, because in addition to helping the hospitals come out economically better; we are also helping them provide better care.

Learn more about Kerrie Paige and her company NovaSim at novasim.com.

Read Kerrie’s story in the Spring 2011 issue of Portfolio, the alumni magazine of the Leeds School of Business.

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Alumnus Spotlight: J. Ross Holbrook, Project Manager, Vail Resorts Development Company

For the past four years, J. Ross Holbrook (’06 finance) has worked in real estate in resort development and finance.

Upon finishing his freshman year at CU, Ross pursued an internship at a commercial real estate brokerage in Denver with the help of Katie Latier from the CU Real Estate Center (CUREC).  He worked for Jim Sims, an Office Tenant Rep Broker for the summer at Cushman & Wakefield and was exposed to an industry that intrigued him.  He also joined the CU Real Estate Club and was eventually voted the president of that group, organizing numerous events for the club with speakers from all over the country, including an event with Rod Slifer from Slifer, Smith & Frampton in Vail, Colorado.

During his senior year, he was chosen as part of the team that would represent the University of Colorado’s Real Estate Program in the University of Southern California/Wells Fargo National Undergraduate Real Estate Case Competition.  Throughout his academic career at CU, Ross held internships at numerous other real estate companies in the Denver area, including, CB Richard Ellis, Marcus & Millichap and Land Title Guarantee Company.

Ross realized he had a strong interest in the development side of the business and received a position as a project analyst for Vail Resorts Development Company in 2006 where he oversaw the financials of numerous resort real estate development projects.  In 2008, Ross was promoted to project manager where he oversaw the development of One Ski Hill Place in Breckenridge, Colorado, a mixed use condo project that includes 88 condos and numerous skier services that support the Breckenridge Ski Area.  He also managed the approval process for a 200-unit mixed use and transit oriented development master plan in Breckenridge.

In addition to Ross’ work at Vail Resorts, he is involved in the Urban Land Institute’s Partnership Forum, is a LEED Accredited Professional and is on the board for the Breckenridge Mountain & Alpine Metropolitan Districts.  Ross has grown up mostly in Colorado and enjoys the beautiful outdoors that the state has to offer, including racing mountain bikes professionally, skiing the backcountry, and camping all over Colorado.

Over the next year, Ross hopes to move up within Vail Resorts Development Company and continue his passion for real estate development and finance.  To learn more about Ross, check out his profile on LinkedIn® or contact him directly at jholbrook@vailresorts.com.

- submitted by the CU Real Estate Center (CUREC) at the Leeds School of Business.

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Real Estate Alumnus Spotlight: Christopher Smith, Real Estate Manager, Colorado State Land Board

An avid outdoorsman, Christopher Smith (’99 finance) is an accomplished mountain biker and skier.  After graduation, he decided the world would be the next best classroom and traveled the globe, touring in Europe, South America, Africa, and New Zealand over the next two years.

However, the Rocky Mountains called him back home in 2001, and he moved to Denver to begin working in commercial real estate. Chris joined CommonWealth Partners as a leasing representative for the “Cash Register” building in downtown Denver and was involved in negotiating over 600,000 square feet of leases with companies which included Newmont Mining, Faegre & Benson and Holme Roberts and Owens.  During this time, Chris began using both his financial and real estate knowledge and training gained at CU by building a personal portfolio of real estate in the Gunnison/Crested Butte area.

In 2005, Chris accepted a position with entrepreneur Craig Walker in Denver.  As his Manager of Real Estate, Chris managed a portfolio of real estate assets nationwide which include over 400,000 square feet of commercial real estate and 300,000 acres of ranchland. In 2006, Chris was involved in negotiating a 22,000-acre conservation easement, which at the time was the largest easement negotiated and held by the Colorado chapter of The Nature Conservancy. In 2008, Chris joined the Colorado State Land Board as a portfolio agent, specializing in managing entitlements, land acquisitions, exchanges and commercial assets.

The State Land Board is the second largest land owner in Colorado, behind the Federal Government, managing almost 3 million surface acres of trust land, largely for the benefit of K-12 public education.  In 2010, Chris was promoted to the position of Commercial Real Estate Section Manager at the State Land Board.  Chris and his team manage an incredibly diverse portfolio, ranging from water assets to renewable energy development projects to more traditional commercial opportunities.

Chris and his wife, Nicole, along with their two young boys Oliver and Colin, enjoy skiing, biking, hiking, and traveling around the West in a green van solving mysteries with their dog, Scooby. Many people dream of combining their professional and personal passions, which is exactly what Chris has done since earning his bachelor’s degree in finance and real estate from the University of Colorado Boulder in 1999.

- submitted by the CU Real Estate Center (CUREC) at the Leeds School of Business.

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Real Life is Lived ‘Outside the Box’

By Will Powers (’10 finance)

Ever since my senior year in high school, everyone has been saying you need to go to college and get a degree so that you can get a good (i.e. well-paying) job when you join the “real world.”  So like any other well-mannered Midwestern boy, I listened to my parents on this piece of advice.  Now that I’m actually in the “real world,” the phrase has taken on a whole new meaning.

Since graduating from Leeds School of Business, I’ve turned down a lucrative job with Halliburton, taken a seasonal intern position with Vail Resorts, Inc., and started a company called Lokalite.com with other recent CU graduates and one current CU student.

The initial idea for the company started January 2010 in the Leeds School’s Undergraduate Entrepreneurial Business Plan Writing class (which I highly recommend to first time entrepreneurs and undergraduates). We formed the company around our passion for shared experiences as well as our frustrations with this seemingly simple question:  “What is going on today/tonight?”  I couldn’t even tell you how many times I’ve asked this question, especially as a new Boulder resident. Lokalite’s intuitive web application allows users to find out everything that is going on in their community in no more than three clicks while also allowing businesses to post events in less than minute.

Check out the Lokalite promo video below, and check us out online at Lokalite.com!

Lokalite Trailer from Lokalite on Vimeo.

I’ve since realized very quickly that there is no quintessential “real world” after graduation.  Your world is what you make it, and if you really believe that, then there is nothing that can get in your way from realizing your goals and what truly makes you happy.  Look at me: I barely scrape by month to month, I’ve just started transitioning into a full-time position with Vail Resorts, and I work about 70 to 80 hours a week between Vail Resorts, Inc. and Lokalite.com

It may not seem like an ideal situation, but to be honest, I could not be happier.  Not because I love struggling (I mean, who doesn’t want financial freedom?) but because I know, no matter what happens in the future, each struggle my partners and I experience with our company or in life is going to reward us tenfold, whether financially or experientially.

What’s your ideal world?  Have you created it for yourself?  I (and everyone who reads this blog, I’m sure) would love to hear your thoughts.

Will Powers, originally from the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago, Illinois, moved to Boulder three years ago.  He wanted to “expand his bubble beyond Illinois” and received more than he could ever imagine.  As co-founder and head of finance for Lokalite.com, Will can be found around the community looking for ways to enhance his company’s mission:  “Sharing experiences and redefining the way people discover and interact with their community.  It’s all about living life outside the box, away from your computer, and into your community.”

[UPDATE May 3, 2011:
Lokalite has received $100,000 in seed funding from J. William Freytag, a board member of the Deming Center for Entrepreneurship. Congratulations Will!]

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Making a Difference for Those Living with Diabetes

By Mark Holroyd (MBA ’83)

Why volunteer at a not-for-profit organization?

During the course of my career, with all of the rewards that have enriched my life, it became evident that the importance of giving something back to others had to turn into action.  This action resulted in my volunteering on the board of directors for the Central Ohio Diabetes Association (CODA) in Columbus, Ohio.

Why CODA?

There are many reasons.  For starters, I was diagnosed with Type I, insulin dependent diabetes during my time in the MBA program at CU.  While all my associates were off enjoying vacations during the Christmas break, I was in a hospital learning to inject insulin into an orange!  What a bummer having to deal with that during college, but life goes on.

During the course of my career I relocated to Columbus.  Over the coming years I met one of the CODA board members through a business relationship.  I learned about the level of services they provide the underprivileged in supporting their diabetic health needs and was hooked.

Did you know one in 10 people will develop diabetes? CODA’s mission is helping Central Ohioans living with diabetes detect their condition, prevent onset and complications, and learn to live well with the challenge of diabetes.   Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in our country – and is a leading cause of blindness, kidney failure and amputations.

How does CODA make a difference?

We provide our services to all individuals, regardless of ability to pay.  These services include:  diabetes and nutrition education, community detection to identify undetected or uncontrolled diabetes, summer camp and youth programs, community outreach programs to high-risk populations, and counseling such as emotional support programs.

Our summer youth camp offers many kids their first chance to spend the night away from home, since many parents are reluctant to allow sleepovers given the risks of disease management (the camp is staffed with nurses in each cabin, and dieticians).  And parents embrace that their children will be developing good eating habits, good self-management techniques in monitoring their blood glucose, having a lot of fun, and making lifelong friends.

We also conduct blood glucose screenings, with approximately 60,000 screenings each year at no cost.  These screenings have uncovered people at risk of, or which are undiagnosed diabetics.  One example occurred at the Columbus Jazz & Rib Fest where a woman was diagnosed with dangerously high blood glucose.  She was asked to immediately go to the emergency room – which she declined to do.  She stopped back to have another test which repeated the same result.  This time, her friends agreed to take her to the ER.  The following day friends stopped by to share that she was admitted and told by doctors that she may not have survived the weekend had they not come to the ER.

This organization is making a difference in my community, and is why my volunteering at a not-for-profit is such a rewarding way to give something back.  I challenge you to do the same!

Read Mark’s story about his career in sales and how he brings the latest in health care products to hospitals in the Spring 2011 issue of Portfolio, the alumni magazine of the Leeds School of Business.

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CU Family Makes Mom Proud

By Diane Harman-Hoog (MBA ’83)

What a fateful day it was when I walked into business school at the University of Colorado Boulder to talk to an advisor. I had wanted to get a second bachelor’s degree in computer science, but the CU advisor I had spoken to said that they were not accepting people looking for a second bachelor’s degree and that I would have to get a master’s degree. He suggested the MBA program.

At the age of 40, this was a very intimidating option. I talked to the advisor at the Leeds School and decided to take the admission test. Reviewing advanced algebra was the first hurdle! I had four children, ages 6 to 15 years old at the time, and the middle of the night became my study time and I learned to survive on four hours. My mantra was that “You can do what you have to do.”

(Another important note was that I met my future husband, Carl Hoog, in Dr. Bernthal’s management class. It was over 10 years before we married, but we almost immediately became good friends.)

Diane Harman-Hoog (MBA ’83), manager with Boeing, Novell and Microsoft, and her husband, Carl Hoog (MBA ’83), financial analyst with Boeing, both now retired. They met at CU in 1981.

I received my MBA with an emphasis in information systems and in finance in 1983. The job market was very poor at that time, but after many months of a job search, the call came from an employer. My oldest son, Tony, and I hugged each other and danced around the room.

I must say that my education at CU was fairly theoretical and there was a giant leap to installing a computer system for a small Colorado company. PCs had just come out and I had to climb into the ceiling to do the wiring, program the system and train the employees. None of them had ever worked on a computer before. Since it was a small company, I also worked as a financial administrator for them. My education at CU had given me the confidence to successfully accomplish this task, if not the direct skills.

When I took my first classes at CU, we were still key punching data into card decks to be processed and you would have to wait a number of hours for the results to come back to see whether or not you made an error. For me, it usually took several tries before I could even hope to see any results. The computer room had key punch machines as well as teletypes. In the very back room, there were a couple of Tandy computers. When I first got my computer assignments, I would go down to the computer room and stare at all the machines because I could not figure out how to turn them on. It took a while before I caught someone reaching BEHIND a machine for the on switch.  I have used this example many times in teaching new students to use computers. I want them to understand that I know where they are coming from. At least hardware designers finally put the switches on the front!

While I was at CU, my oldest daughter, Lisa Harman (now Welch), joined me in the business school as an undergraduate. Two years later, her brother Tony also started at the business school. We are now definitely a CU family: Lisa and Tony have degrees from the business school, my husband and I have MBAs, and now we have a third CU generation as my grandson, Tyler, is an undergraduate. With nine other grandchildren, perhaps the CU group will continue to grow. 

Tony Harman, Tyler Harman, and Trey Harman

I often think back on the lessons I learned at CU. My ethics classes and other classes provided me with important tools for my future business career and also for my rather challenging life as a single mother of four. I had a teacher in high school who taught me the most important lesson of all. After I completed his class, he stopped to talk to me in the hall and asked me how I liked my new class. I replied that I did not find it very interesting. He said “What have you done to make it more interesting?” I have applied that lesson throughout the rest of my life. At CU, I delved into extra material and projects to add meaning to classes and in my life. I have continually gone further than required to make life more interesting.

Diane’s four adult children (l-r):
Tony Harman, Lisa Harman Welch, Terry Harman, and Melissa Harman-Krivanek

I return to Colorado often. My two sons, Tony and Terry Harman, both chose to raise their families in Colorado. Tony was featured in recent Portfolio article for his career in electronic gaming. Terry owns his own Colorado company, terryharman.com, where  he provides marketing and retail materials designs. My daughter Lisa, received an MBA from USC where she worked after graduating from CU. She joined me in Washington and worked as an in-house trainer at Boeing; she has turned her considerable skills and energy toward raising her two daughters, both of whom are fine students and athletes. My youngest daughter, Melissa Harman Krivanek, is the mother of four children and a director with Volt Information Services. I am hoping that we will have more CU graduates in the future.

I went on to work at Boeing, Novell, and Microsoft before retiring. My husband worked at Boeing as a financial analyst until he retired. We travel some but working on computers is my true passion so I always have to get internet access. I try to visit during basketball season so that I can attend a few games, but there is nothing like the rush of Ralphie running around the field. When I am sitting there, it seems like I am still a part of this great university.

I am very grateful for the skills and attitudes that my family and I got through our Leeds College Education. It has opened numerous doors for us and allowed us to live useful and productive lives. We are sending the next generation on in the hope that they will be as fortunate as we have been.

Read about Diane’s volunteer work as a search angel, helping adoptees find their birth families in the Spring 2011 issue of Portfolio, the alumni magazine of the Leeds School of Business.

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