Member Bios - Part I

Our Hall of Fame members have extensive and diverse backgrounds in industry, interests, and areas of study. They have been brought together by their shared passion for The W. A. Franke College of Business and its dedication to business students. To read a biography on any of our members, please click on their name below.

This is Page 1 | Page 2 HERE.

Note: FCB alumni honored by the NAU Alumni Office 1996-2001 were inducted into the 2003 Hall of Fame.

If you would like more information on the FCB Alumni & Faculty Hall of Fame, please contact Connie Ott at (928) 523-0538 or Connie.Ott@nau.edu.


Dennis Austin ('69) 2003

Dennis Austin, 1969 BSBA in finance. Mr. Austin is the president and CEO of Denmar Corporation, Scottsdale. The Denmar Corporation owns and manages a number of Phoenix-area retail businesses, including several Shell and Chevron convenience stores and car washes, and DenMart Convenience Stores. 1998 FCB Centennial Alumni; 2003 FCB Alumni & Faculty Hall of Fame.

Lisa Autino ('86) 2011

Lisa Autino, 1986 B.S. Accountancy and her Certified Public Accountant designation.  She began her career in public accounting.  She began in the construction industry in 1992 when she joined Corbins Electric. In 2001 she was named the company’s CFO and became an owner in the company. After more than 21 years there, 12 of them as minority owner, Lisa opted to pursue another challenge, joining Harmon Electric as their VP of accounting and administration.

In 2011 she became a Certified Construction Industry Financial Professional. Ms. Autino’s commitment to continued education and professional development is evidenced through the successful completion of the ABA Leadership Development Forum, Rapport Leadership International, and in her participation in the Valley of the Sun CFMA Chapter as past president. She is also extremely active with the FCB and has participated in the Executive Job Shadow Program and has been a judge for the BizBlock class presentations. She was inducted in to the FCB Alumni & Faculty Hall of Fame in 2011.

 

Lisa Rojas Bacus ('86) 2003

Lisa Rojas BacusLisa Rojas Bacus, 1986 BSBA cum laude in management, BA in Spanish. Ms. Bacus earned her dual degree while working as an interpreter for the law offices of Aspey, Watkins & Diesel. She also holds an MBA from Duke University, Fuqua School of Business. Ms. Bacus is Global Chief Marketing officer for Cigna Foundation in Bloomfield, Connecticut. She previously served as executive vice president and chief marketer at American Family Insurance (Madison, WI) and also held several roles with Ford Motor Company including director of global marketing strategy (Detroit) and director of marketing for Ford of Mexico (Mexico City). She has been the recipient of a number of professional awards and honors, including four Effie Awards for marketing excellence. Ms. Bacus currently serves on the board of Culver’s Restaurants and also serves on the NAU-FCB National Advisory Board and the NAU Foundation Board. 2000 NAU Alumni Honoree; 2003 FCB Alumni & Faculty Hall of Fame.

Dr. Frank Besnette, 2004

Frank Besnette, PhD served as executive director of the Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR) from 1992–1999. Prior to moving to his role with the Regents, Dr. Besnette enjoyed a long association with Northern Arizona University. He joined NAU in 1967. Over the next twenty-four years he served in a variety of academic and administrative roles including professor of marketing and management, dean of the The W. A. Franke College of Business, vice president for administration and finance, and senior vice president. In 1987, he was named executive vice president of NAU. In 1978, Dr. Besnette received the Distinguished Faculty Award from the NAU Alumni Association. He was honored again in 1985 when the students named him Homecoming Dedicatee. 2004 FCB Alumni & Faculty Hall of Fame.

Rick Blomquist ('81) 2008

Rick Blomquist, 1981 BSBA in marketing. Mr. Blomquist spent 29 years of his post-graduate career at Farnam Companies, Inc. in Phoenix, working in many areas of the company including purchasing, manufacturing, distribution, new product development, acquisitions, and business development. He served as a division president for the company’s equine group and subsequently as the company’s president and CEO. After the company was acquired, he continued on as president of Branded Consumer Products for the Central Life Sciences operating group within the Central Garden and Pet Company. Since leaving Central Garden in 2011, he has done management consulting and is currently building a consumer animal health business for PBI-Gordon Corporation, a Missouri based company. 2008 FCB Alumni & Faculty Hall of Fame.

Jim Bolin ('73) 2003

Jim Bolin, 1973 BSBA in finance and accountancy. Mr. Bolin graduated magna cum laude and was recognized as the FCB’s Outstanding Senior in Finance. Following graduation, he held positions with PriceWaterhouse & Co., Hometels Management Company, and as president of Rural/Metro Corporation. Mr. Bolin served on the Employee Stock Ownership Plan Association Board (Washington, D.C.) and is a past chair of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society–Arizona Chapter. He is a past president of the NAU Foundation Board and serves on the NAU-FCB National Advisory Board. 1996 FCB Centennial Alumni; 2003 FCB Alumni & Faculty Hall of Fame.

Dale Butcher ('77) 2013

Dale Butcher, 1977 BS in accountancy – Semi-retired – Partner and Co-Owner, Conquest Holdings, LLC. Dale enrolled at NAU in 1973 shortly after completing a tour of duty in Vietnam with the U. S. Navy. After graduation, Dale worked in public accounting and the insurance industry. He entered the oil and gas business in 1987. In 1993 he and his business partner (a fellow Vietnam veteran) founded Conquest Water Services, an oilfield service company that handles the water that is a byproduct of oil and gas drilling and production. Conquest Water Services was the largest company of its kind in Colorado at the time of its sale in 2010.

Dale is very appreciative of the way he and his fellow veterans were welcomed at the university, the ease with which he enrolled, and the excellent education he received. With their recent generous contribution to the college, Dale and his wife Julie have been instrumental in the development of the new FCB Veteran’s Resource Center.2013 FCB Alumni & Faculty Hall of Fame.

Michael Ceballos ('80) 2005

Michael Ceballos, 1980 BS in accountancy. Mr. Ceballos received an MBA from the University of Colorado in 1997. Mike retired as Qwest Communications’ President for Wyoming in 2011. He is currently working on an EdD at the University of Wyoming and will begin his dissertation in 2014. Mike serves on the boards of McREL (Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning), Wyoming Business Alliance, University of Wyoming College of Business, Wyoming National Teacher Certification, Wyoming P-16 Education Council, Leadership Wyoming, and Chairman of Cheyenne Frontier Days Western Art Show. In addition, he is a member of the inaugural Leadership Wyoming’s Class of 2001, Telephone Pioneers, and HOPE (Hispanic Organization for Progress and Education). 2005 FCB Alumni & Faculty Hall of Fame.

Dr. David Chase, 2009

David Chase, PhD, managing member of Vestor Associates, LLC (Santa Fe, New Mexico), has led Vestor since its founding and has been active in private equity investing since the late 1960s. Chase is involved with Vestor’s acquisition strategy, equity investing, financing, and investor relations. He has served on and advised the boards of the portfolio companies of Vestor Partners, LP. In addition, Dr. Chase is a trustee of Thornburg Investment Trust, the governing board of the Thornburg Mutual Funds, and an emeritus director of the Museum of Northern Arizona, the School for Advanced Research in Santa Fe, and the College of Santa Fe. He holds degrees from Principia College (BA), The Amos Tuck School at Dartmouth College (MBA), and Arizona State University (PhD). Dr. Chase was a professor at NAU from 1966 to 1978, teaching corporate finance, investments, and banking courses. 2009 FCB Alumni & Faculty Hall of Fame.

Scott Coor ('76) 2011

Scott Coor,1976 BSBA in marketing. He is a third-generation Arizonan who grew up in Phoenix and graduated from Camelback High School in 1972. While at NAU, Mr. Coor was a member of the Blue Key National Honor Fraternity and served in leadership positions as a member of Delta Sigma Pi Business Fraternity. He began his career with Southwest Forest Industries and currently serves as vice president of Sales and Marketing for Trendwood, Inc., a company he began with four partners in 1985, which manufactures solid wood youth bedroom furniture. In fall 2006, he was recognized with the Volunteer of the Year Award from Northern Arizona University for his key role in helping to secure the $25M contribution from Mr. Bill Franke and arranging student field trips to visit Mr. Warren Buffett. He continues to be instrumental in connecting FCB with potential supporters of the college. Mr. Coor is married to Debbie Weber Coor, an NAU nursing graduate. They have two grown children, Tiffany and Steve. He currently serves on the NAU-FCB National Advisory Board. 2011 FCB Alumni & Faculty Hall of Fame.

Tom Cullen ('81) 2003

Tom Cullen, 1981 BSBA in marketing. After graduating from NAU, Mr. Cullen earned his MBA at the University of Colorado. He is currently executive vice president of Corporate Development for Dish Network. He has held various leadership positions in the media, telecom, and wireless industries including executive vice president of Charter Communications and president of MediaOne Ventures. Mr. Cullen has served on the board of directors of various public and private companies in the technology sector. 2001 NAU Alumni Honoree; 2003 FCB Alumni & Faculty Hall of Fame.

Randy Davidson ('66) 2003

Randy Davidson, 1966 BS in accountancy. At NAU, he was a member of the Alpha Sigma Chi accounting club. Mr. Davidson practiced public accounting as an audit partner for 10 years. He began his copier career in Phoenix, as an owner from 1974–1986 of the Sharp Dealer Uni-Copy Corporation and served as its president and COO. In 1986, Mr. Davidson formed Dahill Industries, Inc. in Austin, Texas as a full line authorized Sharp Dealer. From 2000–2006, Mr. Davidson built the Regional Sharp and Savin (Ricoh) Copier Dealership of Imaging Systems of Arizona to include eight branch office locations in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. In 2006 Mr. Davidson sold six of the locations to Sharp Electronics Corporation to concentrate on his Texas Operations of Texas Document Solutions based in Austin. He has been honored with the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award and the Dealer of the Year Award by Global Imaging Systems, Inc. He currently serves on the NAU-FCB National Advisory Board. 2000 NAU Alumni Honoree; 2003 FCB Alumni & Faculty Hall of Fame.

Pamela DiGiovanni ('68) 2004

Pamela DiGiovanni, 1968 BS in business education. Ms. DiGiovanni retired as the senior vice president of labor relations for Fox Entertainment Group, Beverly Hills, California. Her 38-year career at Fox began working for Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation including handling labor-related matters for Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Twentieth Television, Fox Searchlight Pictures, Fox TV Studios, Fox Broadcasting Corporation, Fox Cable Networks, Fox Sports Net, Fox Television Stations, Hulu, MySpace, and related companies. Ms. DiGiovanni served on the board of trustees for the Motion Picture Pension and Health Plan and currently serves as a trustee on the Directors Guild and Screen Actors Guild Pension and Health Plans. Additionally, she currently serves on the NAU-FCB National Advisory Board. 2004 FCB Alumni & Faculty Hall of Fame.

Joe Dox ('70) 2003

Joe Dox, 1970 BS in accountancy. While at NAU, Mr. Dox participated in Sigma Nu. He earned his MBA in 1973 at Santa Clara University. Prior to retiring, he was the president and COO of Novellus Systems. Before joining Novellus, Mr. Dox held several senior financial management positions with Exel Microelectronic, SEEQ Technology, and Applied Materials. He served on the board of directors of Novellus Systems, Electroglas, Obsidian, Mars Technology, Accent Optical (purchased by Nanometrics), Eagle Test, and Nanometrics. 1999 FCB Centennial Alumni; 2003 FCB Alumni & Faculty Hall of Fame.

Theresa Jeszka Drew ('79) 2003

Theresa Jeszka Drew, 1979 BS in Accountancy with highest honors. Ms. Drew is currently managing partner of the Carolinas practice of Deloitte, based in Charlotte, and responsible for the firm’s operations in North and South Carolina. Ms. Drew’s career spans 34 years, during which she has served both public and private companies, primarily in the consumer business and manufacturing industries. She is active in her community, serving on the Board of Directors of the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, the YMCA, and the Arts & Science Council. During her career, Theresa has received various regional and national recognitions, including being named the 2010 Woman of the Year by San Diego magazine. In 2005, Beta Alpha Psi recognized her as its Business Information Professional of the Year and in 2004, the San Diego Business Journal recognized Theresa as one of their 25 Women Who Mean Business. In 1995, she received the Outstanding Woman CPA of the Year Award from the American Woman’s Society of CPAs. She was also named to the list of Top 100 Women in Business in Arizona from 1996–2001. Ms. Drew is a past NAU Foundation Board member and has established an accounting scholarship at NAU in memory of her parents. 1997 FCB Centennial Alumni; 2003 FCB Alumni & Faculty Hall of Fame.

Dr. Jack Dustman, 2011

Jack Dustman, PhD, emeritus professor of management, retired May 2010 after 41 years of teaching at Northern Arizona University. During that period Dr. Dustman provided intellectual and academic leadership and service for the FCB and NAU. His service included work as an area coordinator, serving on the FCB Promotion and Tenure Committee, and the NAU Faculty Senate. In addition to working at NAU, Dr. Dustman worked at California Lutheran University, California State Polytechnic University, University of Southern California, and Arizona State University. He holds degrees from Arizona State University (BS and MS), and University of Southern California (PhD). 2011 FCB Alumni & Faculty Hall of Fame.

Debbi Fitzgerald ('86) 2012

Debbi FitzgeraldDebbi Fitzgerald, 1986 Bachelor of Science in Accountancy.
Partner, Advisory Services
Ernst & Young
Phoenix, Arizona

Ms. Fitzgerald is a senior advisory partner and practice leader at Ernst & Young (EY). She serves a wide range of companies, including several Fortune 1000 companies. She leads innovation in EY’s National Advisory Practice Center of Excellence for Risk Transformation and Enterprise Risk Management.

She has been a champion of  diversity by leading the Arizona Professional Women’s Network and serving on Ernst & Young’s America’s Gender Equity Task Force. She was appointed by the governor to the Arizona State Board of Accountancy and eventually served as its president. She is a Certified Public Accountant and Certified Internal Auditor.

Ms. Fitzgerald is married and has three children. 2012 FCB Alumni & Faculty Hall of Fame.

Larry Gardner, 2013

Larry Gardner, MA, CPA, (posthumously). Nomination by Lisa Autino. “Larry was perhaps my favorite accounting professor despite his tendency to occasionally jump on desks and scare me. He was also one of the most kindhearted people who invited students to his home for Thanksgiving, or otherwise. Larry’s method of teaching made accounting principles real and easily understood. I recall his faith in me as I sat for the CPA exam before finishing his auditing course. He was truly memorable as a professor.”

For more than 25 years, Accounting Professor Larry Gardner was much beloved by his students and colleagues alike. An extraordinary teacher known for his high academic standards, he was committed to his students’ success, both in the classroom and in his role as the Golden Key Honor Society faculty advisor. Receiving the President’s Award for Teaching in 1986 and the Outstanding Accounting Faculty award in 1988, Larry made a difference in the lives and careers of thousands of students. 2013 FCB Alumni & Faculty Hall of Fame.

George Gresham ('99) 2013

George Gresham, 1999 BS in accountancy – Corporate Executive. Former CFO/executive vice president for NetSpend Corporation. George began his career at Deloitte & Touche, LLP as senior manager supervising all aspects of audits, primarily publicly traded companies. George has extensive experience building, leading, and advising enterprises through complex transactions, restructuring, international expansion, capital market transactions, and changing regulatory landscapes. NetSpend sold for $1.4 billion in June, 2013. Prior to NetSpend, George was the CFO for GCA Holding, Inc. where he was engaged in providing specialty merchant payment processing solutions to operators of gaming properties. Coming into the company in the midst of a number of operational and regulatory setbacks, George was able to contribute to stabilize the company’s operational performance, resolved regulatory and reporting issues, executed three acquisitions, and supported development of a strategic roadmap that would carry the company well into the future. As chief financial officer of EFD Corporation, George provided complex technology solutions to a customer base largely comprised of financial institutions spanning the globe. George has been an engaged FCB alumnus who has served on the Accounting Advisory Board and is a generous supporter of NAU and FCB. 2013 FCB Alumni & Faculty Hall of Fame.

Steve Harris ('77) 2003

Steve Harris, 1977 MBA. Mr. Harris also received his BS at NAU in physics. While at NAU, he was a member of Sigma Pi Sigma. Mr. Harris is the vice president at SimDesk, focused on international markets. Previously, he was president and CEO of Elite Logistics, the senior managing partner of the Forte Group, and general manager responsible for developing foreign markets at Compaq. As Europe, Middle East and Africa Business Development marketing director for Compaq, he was responsible for all marketing and product activities. Mr. Harris currently serves on the NAU-FCB National Advisory Board. 1999 FCB Centennial Alumni; 2003 FCB Alumni & Faculty Hall of Fame.

Rebecca Hickman ('74) 2008

Rebecca Hickman, 1974 BS in accountancy, magna cum laude. Ms. Hickman is a CPA and has an MBA, summa cum laude, from Grand Canyon University. She became an FCB Executive in Residence in 2013. Previously, she was director of Investor Relations for Pinnacle West Capital Corporation in Phoenix, a Fortune 1000 company with a market capitalization of $6 billion. She served as the company’s primary liaison with the investment community, overseeing relationships, communications, and marketing globally. Ms. Hickman was named to Institutional Investor magazine’s “All-America Executive Team” and among the best investor relations professionals in the electric utility industry for three years (2010-2012). She is a member of the National Investor Relations Institute, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Arizona Society of Certified Public Accountants and Soroptimist International. Ms. Hickman currently serves on the NAU-FCB National Advisory Board. 2008 FCB Alumni & Faculty Hall of Fame.

Scott Hill ('77) 2003

Scott Hill, 1977 BSBA in business administration, magna cum laude. Mr. Hill earned the FCB’s Wall Street Journal Outstanding Senior Award, the Gold Axe Award, and the President’s Award for outstanding service to the university. He is currently the managing partner of Tax and Law for Ernst & Young’s (EY) Mediterranean region, and is based in Milan, Italy. After earning his masters in Business Taxation degree (University of Minnesota - 1984) and being promoted to partner in EY’s Minneapolis office in 1987, he moved to Dallas where he was the regional director of International Tax Services, and to Chicago where he served as the regional managing partner of Tax. In 2002 Mr. Hill moved to New York City where he was the Americas director of international tax services, before taking his current position in the Mediterranean in 2010. He currently serves on the NAU-FCB National Advisory Board. 1999 FCB Centennial Alumni; 2003 FCB Alumni & Faculty Hall of Fame.

Dr. Neil Jacobs, 2007

Neil Jacobs, PhD, retired from his faculty position with The W. A. Franke College of Business in 2007. Students and the university community benefited tremendously from the extraordinary contributions Dr. Jacobs made throughout his career with the college. Among his many achievements, he guided the college’s efforts toward reaffirmation of its AACSB accreditation while serving as associate dean from 1996–1999. As a teacher of computer information systems and management, Dr. Jacobs embodied the spirit of the FCB – dedication to student learning. Caring about the futures of his students, he challenged them to do their best and expected no less. Prior to joining NAU in 1977, he worked for 12 years with IBM and eight years with Memorex in management positions in manufacturing, materials management, and information systems. 2007 FCB Alumni & Faculty Hall of Fame.

Jeri Jones ('82) 2013

Jeri Jones, 1982 BS in accountancy, West Region president United Healthcare. Jeri has been with UnitedHealthcare since 1999. She currently is the west region president for United Healthcare Community and State (Medicaid). Prior to taking this role, Jeri was CEO for UnitedHealthcare Employer and Individual business in Arizona, Utah, and Idaho. She has held several executive positions within UnitedHealthcare in national and market leadership including west region chief of staff and national senior vice president of Key Account Sales. Prior to joining UnitedHealthcare, Jeri spent several years as an executive in the provider community, including her tenure as chief financial officer of a large medical group practice and as chief executive officer of a significant multi-specialty IPA/MSO. She also spent 10 years in various management roles with another national carrier. Jeri serves on the Board of Directors of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Greater Phoenix Board of the American Heart Association, and the Downtown Phoenix Partnership. Jeri is a dedicated FCB alumna who participates in many NAU and FCB events. 2013 FCB Alumni & Faculty Hall of Fame.

Marsha Jones ('79) 2003

Marsha Jones, 1979 BS in accountancy. While attending NAU, Ms. Jones was a member of Beta Alpha Phi and Phi Kappa Phi. She operates her own financial accounting consulting practice, Marsha C. Jones & Associates (Los Gatos, California), specializing in technical accounting projects. Prior to this, Ms. Jones was a partner for Deloitte & Touche. 1998 FCB Centennial Alumni; 2003 FCB Alumni & Faculty Hall of Fame.

Michelle Kerrick ('85) 2006

Michelle Kerrick, 1985 BS in accountancy. Ms. Kerrick is the managing partner for Deloitte & Touche LLP–Los Angeles Practice. With 25 years of experience, she has served a diverse group of publicly and privately held clients, assisting them with acquisitions, divestitures, and equity and debt offerings. In addition to serving many companies as lead client service and audit partner, she has acted as co-leader of the High Tech Industry Group and leader of the Real Estate Group. Ms. Kerrick’s professional and community activities include American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Arizona Society of CPAs, Arizona Host Committee Super Bowl XLII, Fresh Start Women’s Foundation board of directors, past board of directors for Greater Phoenix Leadership, Herberger Theater, Arizona Technology Council, Contemporary Forum, the Phoenix Art Museum, and member of Valley Leadership of Phoenix Class XVII, and Maricopa Partnership for Arts and Culture. 2006 FCB Alumni & Faculty Hall of Fame.

Kelley C. Knutson ('81) 2003

Kelley C. Knutson,1981 BS in accountancy. While attending NAU, Mr. Knutson was a Phelps Dodge Scholar and selected by the Alumni Association as the Outstanding Male Student. Mr. Knutson also holds an MBA in finance and international business from Loyola Marymount University. Currently, he is group executive, Global Services and a member of the management committee at TSYS, based in London, and is responsible for international growth plans outside North America. He was previously the CEO for Clear Money Limited. Mr. Knutson joined Clear Money from GE Capital, where he was senior vice president of the Global Cards business within the Global Consumer Finance (GCF) division.1996 FCB Centennial Alumni; 2003 FCB Alumni & Faculty Hall of Fame

Robert Korte ('77) 2003

Robert Korte, 1977 BS in accountancy. Mr. Korte is a partner of CKS Securities, LLC, an investment banking firm in Phoenix. Mr. Korte earned his CPA after graduating from NAU and gained his early experience at KPMG. He held a wide variety of staff and line positions over 17 years at FINOVA Capital Corporation, including M&A, HR, Strategy, and Capital Markets. His ultimate position was executive vice president. Mr. Korte also participated in University of Virginia’s Executive Program. 1998 FCB Centennial Alumni; 2003 FCB Alumni & Faculty Hall of Fame.

Nomination Criteria

Criteria fall into the following categories: professional achievements, community service, and loyalty and support to NAU-FCB. Nomination guidelines can be found HERE.

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