Lecture Series

Business Department Lecture Series

Throughout the academic year, students have the opportunity to hear lectures from locally, nationally and globally recognized business leaders. The lecture series, along with the Entrepreneur in Residence program, exposes students to a variety of contemporary topics. Recent presenters include: 

Eric Phillips, VP for Delta Air Lines & Meg O'Leary, Director at State of Montana

Eric Phillips, Senior Vice President – Pricing and Revenue Management for Delta Air Lines, was joined by Meg O’Leary, Director of the Montana Department of Commerce, to discuss the cooperative effort that increased air travel options in Montana. Phillips began his career at Delta in 1998 and is responsible for the development, planning and execution of pricing and inventory management strategies across the entire Delta system as well as revenue management systems development and corporate forecasting. Phillips is a native Montanan and Carroll College graduate. He earned his MBA at the University of Notre Dame.

Matt Ehrlichman, Porch.com

matt-porch.jpgMatt Ehrlichman, a life-long entrepreneur, explained some of the challenges and opportunities he faced in his journey of building businesses, raising money, and managing the uncertainty involved in starting up an enterprise.  Ehrlichman is the CEO and Chairman for Porch.com. Prior to founding Porch.com, Ehrlichman was co-founder and CEO 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.  In 2014, Matt was named USA TODAY’s Inaugural Entrepreneur of the Year.

Stuart McKee, Microsoft

Stuart-McKee.jpgStuart McKee led an interactive discussion, “Bringing the ‘Cloud’ Down to Earth,” exploring the trends, challenges, and opportunities of our networked world. McKee is the U.S. National Technology Officer for Microsoft responsible for shaping and articulating Microsoft's technology vision and strategy. In his tenure, McKee has helped create effective solutions from cyber security to public records. He currently engages with governments across the country and around the world developing effective technology policy and strategy. Prior to joining Microsoft, McKee served as the CIO for Washington State, was a VP for Walt Disney Company, and worked at numerous internet startups including Starwave, Infoseek, and GO.com.

Andreas Widmer, Entrepreneur

andreas-widmer.jpgA 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 a philanthropic organization run by entrepreneurs who invest in original research, books, films, and websites addressing poverty; and co-initiated a first-of-its-kind industry program that finds and promotes the best entrepreneurs in emerging markets. Widmer is a research fellow in entrepreneurship, advisor to an annual business leadership event that strives to humanize globalization, and serves as an advisor to 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.

Cynthia Cooper, WorldCom Whistleblower

cynthia-cooper.jpgCorporate 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.

Roy F. Simperman, Semaphore Corporation

roy-simperman.jpgRoy 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. Simperman is a Carroll College alum.

Past presenters have included a wide-variety of local and nationally recognized experts in their fields. Examples of other diverse presentations are listed below.

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 that "encourages excellence and individuality, not to mention a spirit of fun and generosity."

Filmmaker and professor, Dr. Kelly Richmond Pope, of DePaul University provided a virtual presentation and commentary at the screening of the fraud documentary, "Crossing the Line: Ordinary People Committing Extraordinary Crimes".

Dr. John Vandeberg, another highly successful Carroll College alum, shared his business and chemical professional expertise in optical glass fibers. A well-respected innovator throughout his career, Vandeberg developed and continues to own 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.

The Carroll College Business Department Lecture Series is made possible through the generous support of the Fiehrer Endowed Lectureship in Business.