The Carroll College Business Department Lecture Series is made possible through the generous support of the Fiehrer Endowed Lectureship in Business and the Mandeville Endowed Professorship in Accounting. Past presenters have included a wide-variety of local and nationally recognized experts in their fields. This page showcases some of these individuals.
Matt Ehrlichman is a life-long entrepreneur who has spent his entire career starting and building companies, most recently the home improvement network Porch.com. In this talk, Matt explained some of the challenges and opportunities he’s faced in his journey of building businesses, raising money, and managing the uncertainty involved in starting up.
Matt Ehrlichman is the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman for Porch.com. Prior to founding Porch.com, Matt was co-founder and Chief Executive Officer at Thriva, which was acquired by Active Network in March 2007 for $60 million. Matt built Thriva out of his dorm room at Stanford University where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in entrepreneurial engineering and Master of Science degree in management science and engineering. While serving as the Chief Strategy Officer at Active Network, Matt helped grow company revenues from $65 million to $420 million and assisted with the company’s 2011 initial public offering. In 2014, Matt was named USA TODAY’s Inaugural Entrepreneur of the Year.
Stuart McKee from Microsoft led an interactive discussion, “Bringing the ‘Cloud’ Down to Earth,” exploring the trends, challenges, and opportunities of our networked world.
Stuart served as the CIO for the Washington State - the original ‘Digital State’. Under his leadership, the State of Washington was nationally recognized and internationally admired for outstanding technology leadership and infrastructure delivery. In addition, Stuart has worked as a VP for the Walt Disney Company and numerous internet startups including Starwave, Infoseek and GO.com.
Best-selling author and corporate whistleblower Cynthia Cooper delivered a lecture, “Ethical Leadership for the 21st Century.” Cooper and her team unraveled the fraud at WorldCom, to date one of the largest corporate frauds in history. She was named one of Time Magazine’s Persons of the Year and is a recipient of the Maria & Sidney E. Rolfe Award for contributions to educating the public about economics, business and finance.
Cooper is an internationally recognized speaker, best-selling author of Extraordinary Circumstances, and a consultant for businesses such as Dell, Bell South, France Telecom, PepsiCo, Raytheon, Walmart and AT&T. She has been featured in national periodicals such as The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, CFO Magazine and Business Week and has appeared on major networks including Fox Business, PBS, NBC (The Today Show), ABC (This Week with George Stephanopoulos) and many others. Cooper donates profits from her book to further ethics education for high school and university students.
A former bodyguard to Pope John Paul II, Widmer is an entrepreneur who engages top businesspeople, investors, and faith leaders around the world to foster enterprise solutions to poverty and promote vrituous business practices. He cofounded SEVEN fund, a philanthropic organization run by entrepreneurs who invest in original research, books, films, and websites addressing poverty. Andreas co-initiated the Pioneers of Prosperity Awards, a first-of-its-kind industry program that finds and promotes the best entrepreneurs in emerging markets. Widmer is a research fellow in entrepreneurship at the Action Institute and an advisor to the Zermatt Summit, an annual business leadership event that strives to humanize globalization. He also serves as an advisor to Transforming Business, a research and development project at the University of Cambridge. A seasoned businessman at a variety of firms, he has worked extensively in the US, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America and brought more than 100 leading-edge technology products to market.
Roy F. Simperman lectured on the impacts of the economic downturn and administration policies on small businesses. Mr. Simperman is the Chairman and CEO of Semaphore Corporation in Seattle. Semaphore designs, maintains and manages secure private networks including the management of switches and routers. Prior to his experience with Semaphore, Mr. Simperman worked for Boeing in navigation, guidance and control, trajectory analysis, and nuclear warhead integration into the SRAM missile program. At Weyerhaeuser, Mr. Simperman was responsible for a simulation to analyze the forestry program including cost structure, revenue streams, and the regression equations needed to grow tress. The program also computed the optimum rotation age, internal rates of return and net present values. At that time, Mr. Simperman managed the largest entity of its kind in the world. Mr. Simperman technology expertise includes involvement in the early years of the internet with a stock photography company that sold photos over the internet.
Dr. Sri Vellanki, a successful Helena dermatologist and innovator, spoke about innovation and her development of two touchscreen styluses that have received international attention in the technology world. One stylus, Elektra Nails, was featured at the 2014 Consumer Electronic Show held in Las Vegas. Vellanki shared her experiences navigating the processes of 3-D prototyping, plastic manufacturing, and obtaining international patents while also fulfilling her roles as a full-time physician and mother.
Great Harvest Franchising, Inc., a company headquartered in Dillon, Montana with locations throughout the U.S., presented its unique and successful freedom-franchise model. The company described its model: "Our philosophy is simple. Let's create unique neighborhood bakeries that are a reflection of the Great Harvest brand and the bakery owner. We are no cookie cutter franchise. We are a freedom-based franchise that encourages excellence and individuality, not to mention a spirit of fun and generosity."
The Business Department Lecture Series screened a fraud documentary, "Crossing the Line: Ordinary People Committing Extraordinary Crimes", with a virtual presentation and commentary by filmmaker and professor, Dr. Kelly Richmond Pope, of DePaul University.
Dr. John Vandeberg, a Carroll College alum, shared his business and chemical professional expertise in optical glass fibers. A well-respected innovator, Vandeberg developed and owns a number of patents.
Pamela Knous, the executive vice president and CFO for SUPERVALU, a grocery industry leader, participated in a "town hall" forum where she answered questions about the effects of the economic downturn on the food retail industry and the opportunities for women to rise to the highest levels in contemporary corporate America.