Executives in Residence

Northern Arizona University’s The W. A. Franke College of Business is committed to our students by providing the very best educational experience. The new Executive in Residence (EIR) Program brings exceptional industry leaders to classrooms, sharing their experience, passion, and current industry knowledge to enhance student engagement. 

Many industry leaders are retiring from their primary careers but are not ready to fully retire. A number of these individuals are interested in sharing their vast knowledge and experience with younger generations through their involvement in education. These leaders will serve as extraordinary resources for our business classes that can significantly enhance students’ educational experiences. 

As of Fall 2013, there are three full time EIR: John-Robert Cauvin; Frank Spitznogle; and Paul Thomas. Two part time EIR are also teaching: Rebecca Hickman and Peter McClean.


John Cauvin

John Cauvin joined FCB in Fall 2013 to direct The W. A. Franke College of Business’ Master in Applied Management with a focus on Hospitality.

Cauvin holds a MS in Business from Cornell University Graduate School, a Bachelor Degree of Science from Cornell School of Hotel Administration and a degree from L'école Hôtelière de Lausanne, Switzerland.

He served as president and CEO of Windmill Inns of America, Inc. for 29 years. He started the company by turning around 2 existing Southern Oregon hotels from near insolvency to a highly profitable independently owned and operated hotel company with properties located in Oregon, Arizona, California, and Colorado. He developed successful operating and management systems designed to bring high customer satisfaction ratings on social media and in turn to maximize profitability. Windmill Inns and Suites became debt free in October 2008. He successfully built a strong foundation of people by creating a positive work environment and a culture of empowerment. Using his negotiation skills, John acquired land and existing hotels and was fully responsible for site selection, acquisition, construction and operation of the suites properties.

Cauvin has participated in community affairs including the development of the hotel management program at Southern Oregon University and has served on the SOU Board of Trustees. John has been a member of NAU’s School of Hotel and Restaurant Management National Advisory Board since 2004.

Frank Spitznogle

Frank Spitznogle has an MBA in Business Management from the University of Dallas and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin, both with 4.0 GPAs.

Spitznogle is an experienced and proven business professional and dedicated educator with strong senior executive experience, augmented by over 18 years of professional services consulting experience, largely for VP/CXO level clients focused primarily on new business and program initiatives, with business experience in 20 countries. He has a solid track record of starting and operating new businesses and programs inside large organizations and via venture-backed business entities in startup and large organization environments, both domestically and internationally.

Spitznogle has taught a broad spectrum of nine different MBA-level Business Management courses in parallel with his business and consulting commitments. His key strengths are in the area of financial management of new ventures; international and domestic business strategies; corporate innovation processes; strategic and business planning; change management; new product development processes; process re-engineering; investor due diligence; and executive management. He has a strong entrepreneurial spirit and a passion for the financing, creation, development and management of new innovative businesses and the change processes associated with rapid growth within both large and startup businesses.

Spitznogle is teaching freshmen in MGT 101 as well as seniors in MGT 435. Read more about this in our Franke news blog HERE.

T. Paul Thomas

Paul Thomas received his BS in Business Administration at Northern Arizona University. He is a serial CEO and president who has led both public and private venture capital backed technology companies, with operations around the world.

Some of Thomas’ accomplishments include raising over $130 million in venture capital; handling the sale or acquisition of eight companies; managing companies in India, China, Japan, Europe, Africa and the U.S. with revenues in excess of $100M; as well as his involvement in three IPO filings.

He is a member of the Northern Arizona University Foundation Board of Directors, former member of The W. A. Franke College of Business National Advisory Board, and former member of the Young Presidents Organization, Arizona and Northern California chapters.

Featured in NAUnews, October 2013
Business executive brings front-line experience to first-year students

“I told my students on the first day that I’m going to be a very different instructor,” Thomas said. “First, I went to school here. Second, I’ve spent 30 years in industry, so when I talk about something, it’s because I’ve actually lived through it. I’m going to tell them about real-world experiences.”

That approach is the premise of the Executive in Residence program. Two other executive instructors are putting their experiences to work at NAU, one in a course focusing on interdisciplinary issues in engineering and the other assisting with the startup of an MBA in applied management with an emphasis on hospitality...

“I’m trying to be more practical,” Thomas said. “I gave them 10 things I wish someone had told me, and I told them, ‘If you do these, I promise you will be hired out of college.’"

Thomas is teaching freshmen in MGT 101 and assisting with the Dean's class, FS 121.

Rebecca Hickman

Rebecca Hickman holds an MBA (summa cum laude) from Grand Canyon University and a BS in accountancy (magna cum laude) from Northern Arizona University. Prior to her part time executive residency in The W. A. Franke College of Business, Ms. Hickman was director of Investor Relations for Pinnacle West Capital Corporation in Phoenix, a Fortune 1000 company with a market capitalization of $6.4 billion. In her former role as director of Investor Relations, 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 U.S. electric utility industry for three years (2010–2012). She is a member of the National Investor Relations Institute, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Arizona Society of Certified Public Accountants, and Soroptimist International.

While a student at NAU, Ms. Hickman was active in a number of organizations and received a Gold Axe Award. She is a member of the FCB Alumni & Faculty Hall of Fame and The W. A. Franke College of Business National Advisory Board.

As of August 30, 2013 she has transitioned from the corporate world by sharing her knowledge and experience in teaching and consulting.

Hickman is assisting with the Dean's class, FS 121 in Fall 2013 and will be teaching Accounting Ethics in Spring 2014.

Peter McClean

Peter McClean has an undergraduate degree in History from Northern Arizona University and a B.S. in International Business from Thunderbird-The Garvin School of International Business. He has also attended graduate and executive courses at the Harvard Business School and the Columbia University School of Business.

McClean has been the managing director of Gulfstream Advisors LLC, a private advisory firm focused on risk management and strategic planning, since 2004. He is also a senior adviser to the Committee on Capital Markets Regulation, an independent and nonpartisan research organization dedicated to improving the regulation of U.S. capital markets. He is a director of an investment entity of Private National Mortgage Acceptance Co. (“PennyMac”), a specialty asset management firm created to address the dislocations in the U.S. mortgage market; a director of several mutual funds advised by USAZ, a subsidiary of Allianz AG; and a director of Cyrus Reinsurance and Northeast Bank Corp of Boston.

From 2001 through 2003, McClean was the president and chief executive officer of Measurisk LLC, an independent provider of sophisticated risk information for hedge funds, fund of funds, pension funds and other investment managers of complex, multi-asset class investment portfolios. The company was sold to Bear Stearns in late 2003. Before joining Measurisk he served as the chief risk management officer of The Bank of Bermuda Limited from 1996 until 2001. In this position he led an enterprise-wide risk management function responsible for credit and market risk policy as well as operational risk policy. McClean is also a director of Family Health International, a non-profit public health and development organization that focuses on research, preventive medicine and treatment of HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis in 35 countries.

McClean is assisting with the Dean's class, FS 121.