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Members of the Alumni Leaders Advisory Board with WSU President, Dr. Scott Olson (3rd from left), and Dr. Hamid Akbari, Dean of College of Business (2nd from left).

Members of the Alumni Leaders Advisory Board: (left to right): Kevin Six, Dean Hamid Akbari, Krischelle Tennessen, WSU President Scott Olson, Jim Zuehlke, Tracy Gardner, Mark Schwirtz, and Dr. Mike Peng

Five years after becoming the Dean, I continue to be inspired by so many Winona State University College of Business faculty, students, staff, alumni and friends! I am a strong believer in the saying that 99% of one’s overall drive and energy in life and in the workplace comes from inspiration. I am mostly inspired by those who always set examples for being selfless and extra-ordinary engagers. They are passionate and purposeful about their goals and work, and they are generous about sharing their accomplishments and haves with others. Let me highlight a few of those who have inspired me in Spring Semester of 2019.

Our faculty continue to be a prime source of my inspiration. They are among the best in the world of academia. They always teach, research and provide service in an engaged and dedicated way. Every day, I hear praise for our faculty from students. Dr. Jessica Wang, Assistant Professor of Finance, is such an exemplary faculty. She is knowledgeable and passionate about her subject matter, and shows care and compassion to her students.

Our students inspire all of us. They are the prime engagers in our Culture of More! One example is Sarah Schake who managed to have her article, co-authored with Dr. Jana Craft, published in a scholarly journal! Another exemplary student is Allen Richardson, who as the founding editor of the furtherMore blog, has made a world of difference by relating our inspiring stories. Both of them have now graduated and will create their more in the world!

Over the last few months, we have all been inspired by the stories of our alumni success and generosity. It has been truly historic for both Winona State University and the College of Business to have Bob Biesterfeld named as the CEO of C.H. Robinson on May 9! From now on, our students are inspired by having a role model of a first ever alumna to be named the CEO of a Fortune 500 company! We are also inspired by a new group of our alumni that are leading our Alumni Leaders Advisory Board (A-LAB). They are going to usher in a new era of alumni involvement with the College.

We continue to be inspired by our communities in Winona, Rochester, Minnesota and the world. In Winona, we are inspired by the support we constantly receive from the world class businesses and executives. Our signature company days such as WinCraft Final Four and Join Team Blue with Fastenal continue to be among the most important engaged learning experiences for our students. In February, our engagement in the community resulted in being recognized by the Winona Chamber of Commerce as a co-recipient of “Downtown Activation Award”.

With so much inspiration, there is no reason not to continue Creating My More every day in the College of Business!

Dean Akbari welcomes to hear from readers of this article. Email him at

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Hamid Akbari

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