Drawing from Top Ranks of Local Enterprises, Woodbury School of Business Welcomes Rotating Executives-in-Residence

Innovative Program to Reside in New Center for Entrepreneurship

Enlisting some of the leading lights in the Southern California business community, Woodbury University’s School of Business has established a rotating Executive-in-Residence program, effective with the fall 2017 semester, the university announced today.

Under the program, participating executives – all current members of the School of Business Advisory Board – will schedule office hours each week, sharing insights and experiences, counseling on Shark Tank-style elevator pitches and responding to student queries in their respective areas of expertise.  The rotating Executive-in-Residence program will be housed in the School’s new Center for Entrepreneurship.

The Center for Entrepreneurship is also home to a number of other Business School initiatives and student organizations, including the Business and Professional Women of Woodbury (BPWOW), the Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization (CEO), the organizer of the Barons Business Plan competition, and the School of Business Entrepreneur Lecture Series.  The rotating Executive-in-Residence Program is a result of the School’s efforts to augment business connectivity and provide real-world guidance to undergraduate and MBA students in the wake of the School’s decision to drop the GMAT entry requirement for MBA applicants.

“As one of the oldest business schools west of the Mississippi, and one of the first institutions to graduate women with college degrees, Woodbury’s B-School has long possessed a pioneering spirit,” said Joan Marques, Ph.D., Ed.D, Dean of the School of Business.  “In keeping with that tradition, we’re delighted to have the support of our Advisory Board in this singular, hands-on initiative.  The rotating Executive-in-Residence program augments Woodbury’s active internship, mentorship, and civic engagement efforts, bringing business acumen to campus in a personalized, compelling fashion.”

The Advisory Board is Woodbury School of Business’s formal connectivity and guiding body for business involvement, providing insights, leadership assistance, and serving as business liaisons in the local community.  Advisory Board members provide valuable input in curricular, entrepreneurial, strategic, community engagement, and overall performance regards to the School of Business, with clear allegiance to the School’s mission.  The board consists of individuals who have diverse experience in business involvement, from being founders and leaders of their own businesses, to fulfilling important roles in established business organizations.

Participants in the inaugural rotating Executive-in-Residence program include:

  • George Aba, CPA, Chief Financial Officer of The Outdoor Recreation Group, a mid-size sporting goods, camping and travel accessories design, development and distribution company. He received his MBA degree from Woodbury.
  • Pouria Abbassi, President and CEO of the Golbanoo Group, a specialty business management and consulting firm supporting large-scale real estate developments, asset utilization practices through public private partnerships, conference and convention programming, and digital health and wellness platforms and technologies.
  • Michael Cusumano, MBA, Managing Director of the Cusumano Real Estate Group, a Burbank real estate development and investment firm. Cusumano is responsible for an estimated $1 billion in projects overall, including the $200 million “Premier on First” mixed use development in Burbank and the $200 million “Talaria at Burbank” mixed use development project.
  • John Humphrey, MBA, consultant to global automotive executives in the areas of product, brand and distribution strategies. Previously, Humphrey was SVP and GM of the Global Automotive Division of J.D. Power.  He is a frequent guest on various cable news networks and is often quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times.
  • Greg Lippe, CPA, Chairman of the Board of Advisors for the School of Business and president of the Gregory N. Lippe Accountancy Corporation, operating in Woodland Hills and Simi Valley.  Lippe’s background spans accounting, management and consulting across a range of industries. He is a 1967 Woodbury alum (B.Sc. in Business Administration – Accounting).
  • Gerard Mekhsian, CPA, MBA, a director with the accounting firm Hutchinson and Bloodgood LLP.  Mekhsian has more than 30 years’ experience in accounting, tax and consulting services, for a wide array of industry segments. He holds a B.Sc in Business and Accounting and an MBA with a concentration in Computer Information Systems.
  • Shawn Morey, Realtor and Principal Broker at Dwell Real Estate group.  Morey’s expertise extends to all aspects of the industry, including architecture, multi-family brokerage, property management, development and investing. He studied business finance and real estate at Woodbury and holds a Master’s degree in Real Estate Development from USC.
  • Tom Oliver, Ed.D., former president of Pierce College in Woodland Hills.  Dr. Oliver retired from the Los Angeles Community College District in 2007 after serving 31 years in a variety of educational and administrative positions. Currently, he is President of the Board of Directors for Build Industries, a non-profit corporation.
  • Sunder Ramani, President of Westwind Properties and a veteran of the commercial printing, construction, aviation, real estate, business consulting and media industries. He serves on several boards, including the National Federation of Independent Business’ Leadership Council in California.
  • Neil Sherman, CEO of Industrial Metal Supply Co., a 70-year-old Burbank-based family business and today one of the most respected metal suppliers on the West Coast.  IMS has expanded into multiple locations and occupies more than 400,000 square feet of warehouse space.
  • Jane Skeeter, CEO and Founder of UltraGlas, Inc., the world’s leading manufacturer of all facets of designed architectural and high performance glass and glass tile.  An entrepreneur, designer, artist and engineer since childhood, Skeeter founded her stained glass and glazing company in her garage in the early 1970s.
  • André B. van Niekerk, Ph.D., Dean of the School of Business from 2005-2016 and now head of international recruitment at Woodbury.  Among his other accomplishments, Dr. van Niekerk led the School to initial AACSB accreditation.
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