Rousse Steps into Fox’s Shoes – Lightly

Posted: Tuesday, February 28th 2017 at 3:40 AM

It may be a cliché when one speaks of stepping into another’s shoes, but Dr. Wade Rousse, recently-named interim director of the Alliance Bank Business Outreach Center (ABBOC), takes the step with full awareness of the legacy left to him. Wayne Fox, former director of ABBOC, retired after 34 years of service to The W. A. Franke College of Business.

“I want to thank Wayne for his years of service. I am inheriting a good staff. And he helped build the largest Road Scholar program in the country. The best thing there is to do no harm and continue to support it,” said Rousse.  

Rousse is also excited about the opportunities Fox set in motion.

“I’m very excited to be outward-looking. I’d like to leverage the relationships and the expertise in The W. A. Franke College of Business into a more impactful, regional, economic outreach. I think there’s a lot of opportunity here to do that,” he said.

Rousse draws on a strong relationship-building background. He spent 12 years in the marine transportation business, building his company from “basically nothing.” When he sold the company, he went on to pursue his doctorate degree in Chicago (Rousse holds a master in finance and another in economics; his PhD is in economics). Post-doc, he was going to return home but was hired by the Federal Reserve to serve as the Economic Outreach specialist through their time of crisis.

It wasn't long, though, before Rousse heard another voice calling. While achieving his doctorate, he was energized by his time in the classroom teaching.

“I just loved it. Loved it, loved it, loved it. My wife would say, ‘You always smile brighter when you leave the classroom. And you love being on campus. Why do we keep fighting this?’ So we visited Flagstaff and loved it. I reached out to Dean Craig Van Slyke and entered the college as one of the FCB Executives in Residence.”

But after two years of classroom teaching, which he still enjoys, this former executive found he needed a challenge. Dr. Ronald Gunderson, FCB area coordinator of economics, asked him if the FCB was going to be lucky enough to keep him. Rousse shared that he was looking for more responsibility. Gunderson mentioned Fox’s upcoming retirement as director of ABBOC and thought that it would be a perfect position, given Rousse’s background in the industry and as an economist. So Rousse started chasing that ball.

“My industry background was developing clients through relationships, so the skills are completely transferable,” he said.

In Fall 2017, Rousse will teach two classes and spend the rest of his time with the Center. “It’s my time to give back, and I’m really excited about it,” concluded Rousse. If the light in his eyes is any indicator of what lies ahead, more good things are in store for ABBOC.

The Alliance Bank Business Outreach Center (ABBOC) is comprised of the Arizona Hospitality Research and Resource Center (AHRRC), the Center for American Indian Economic Development (CAIED), NAU Road Scholar, and the Rural Policy Institute (RPI). Learn more about ABBOC HERE.

Categories: wade rousse faculty spring 2017 2017 interim director of the alliance bank business outreach center abboc