In this issue: Spring 2020


Spring 2020 News & Noteworthy


Student Compostable Cup Business Takes off

It doesn’t get much bigger than Denver Startup Week. Over the course of five days, the event brought together more than 17,000 entrepreneurs, students and community members to learn, network and innovate.

In the middle of it all were Lauren Barnes and Kayle Migaki, DU sophomores at Daniels and the Ritchie School of Engineering and Computer Science, respectively, set to pitch their burgeoning company, OneKindCup. The ensuing five-minute elevator speech was the culmination of Project X-ITE’s Pioneering Summer, an accelerator and incubator that develops student startups.

In its third year, the program put 19 students from eight companies through 84 hours of intensive programming and mentoring. On this “Demo Day,” each team tried to sell its product to a crowd of 200 investors, mentors, startup founders and community members.

Barnes developed the idea for a one-piece, disposable, compostable cup with a built-in straw in Daniels’ Gateway to Business course, which is now the Fourth Industrial Revolution course.

By the end of spring quarter, she was onstage pitching it to Project X-ITE, which selected OneKindCup for Pioneering Summer. In addition to a stipend, access to mentors and a full slate of programming, each participating startup received office space at Project X-ITE’s headquarter house on the DU campus.

OneKindCup achieved each goal it set before Pioneering Summer began—the entrepreneurs determined their product’s market niche, finalized a design and tested the cup on a machine. OneKindCup also applied for a patent.

Watch highlights of OneKindCup’s Denver Startup Week pitch:

Revamped Class Welcomes ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’

To redesign the popular Gateway to Business class, Professor of the Practice and Faculty Director for Entrepreneurship Stephen Haag needed to think like a businessman.

For years, the required introductory course has been among the most popular at Daniels. As undergraduate students learned the ins and outs of industry, they also worked to develop a mobile app-based startup company, which they would pitch at the quarterly Madden Challenge. But in fall 2019, Haag rolled out something new.

In the revamped Fourth Industrial Revolution course, students focus on acquiring a new set of skills. In just 10 weeks, the curriculum touches on artificial intelligence, cryptocurrency, 3D printing, extended reality, autonomous vehicles and the “internet of things.”

With the support of the Madden family, students get their hands dirty in an on-campus innovation lab, building a product that they present at a retooled Madden Challenge. In a science fair format, students show off their ideas, from 3D-printed, recyclable shoes to a smart camping tent with GPS, weather sensors and solar panels.

“These young people want to make a difference,” Haag said. “And what excites me most is seeing those sorts of ideas that come out of here. They think everything is possible and we’re going to show them that that can happen.”

Making Out a Path for KissCam’s Success

Developed, patented and used at concerts, corporate events and sports venues worldwide since 2016, the free KissCam, LLC iOS and Android app is wildly popular—but not profitable. That needs to change for the app to remain financially viable beyond its investor-funded startup period. So founder Dana Veitch sought solutions from his target market—
college students.

At the third annual Undergraduate Case Competition on May 3, 2019, 38 Daniels students were tasked with defining the path to KissCam’s success. For 20 hours, nine teams of business majors dispersed to create strategic plans for the event sponsor’s financial growth. Seniors Cameron Van Baal, Cory Vandenberg, Alex Arbisman and Miciah Lewis, members of the Uncle Custard’s Analytics Shack team, won first place and $5,000. They suggested both a business-to-consumer and business-to-business approach: repositioning KissCam from social media platform to experience broker, focusing on providing new customer experiences and then selling user data to help event venues boost ticket sales.

Students Present Next-Gen Solutions to Diversity Challenge

Facing the threat of competitors poaching their talent, financial services company Transamerica wondered how it could improve its recruitment and retention of millennials, diversify its workforce and cultivate effective teamwork among entry- and senior-level employees with vastly different values, perspectives and work styles.

On April 26, 2019, eight DU student teams competed at the 10th annual Inclusive Excellence Case Competition to present solutions to this real-life issue.

The event was hosted by Daniels and sponsored by Transamerica and Denver International Airport. The 38 students represented 14 programs across five DU schools and nine countries.

Team Talent2025 won first place and $5,000, proposing an intergenerational mentorship and cross-training program; problem-solving interview questions and personality tests in the hiring process; and internal events to celebrate differences and break down hierarchies.

Team members were undergraduate students Skylar Davidson (political science), Martin Monzon Arbildo (real estate and the built environment) and Gillian Breuer (public policy and management) and graduate student Edward Nofe (finance).

Assessing the Economic Impact of arc Thrift Stores

By the spring of 2019, Henry Hackett, Drew Kaneps, Steven Richter, Stephen Trella and Jon Yeh were a tight-knit crew of Professional MBA students presenting their final project to executives with arc Thrift Stores and The Arc of Colorado. Arc is the largest national community-based organization advocating for and serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. The largest social enterprise in Colorado, arc Thrift Stores has 1,700 employees and nearly $100 million in annual revenue. The revenue supports children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, helping them find housing, jobs, medical assistance and services in school. Professor and Miller Chair of Applied Economics Jack Strauss worked with the team to evaluate the economic multiplier effect of arc Thrift Stores on Colorado’s economy.

After conducting weeks of research and combing through Colorado economic multiplier data, the team concluded that arc Thrift Stores has a $2.3 billion impact on the state. The students’ study results were mentioned in the Denver Post, ColoradoBiz, Bloomberg and Business Wire.

DU Wins NAIOP Competition by Engaging Globeville

The task: Develop a plan to turn a 40.5-acre site in Denver’s Globeville neighborhood into an innovative center where people can live, work and play. Six Daniels students were up for that challenge, suggesting that the property be transformed into an outdoor recreational industrial development, with vibrant amenities for employees, tenants, visitors and outdoor enthusiasts.

The Daniels team presented its winning solutions for the Denver Shops site to a 700-person audience at the 2019 Rocky Mountain Real Estate Challenge presented by NAIOP, an organization for commercial developers, owners and investors.

The event was held May 2, 2019, at the Hyatt Regency Denver at Colorado Convention Center. Team members were undergraduate student Owin Orr, MBA students Jennifer Aragon and Cody Bell, and Master of Science in Real Estate and the Built Environment students Nick Allen, Derek Porterfield and Karina Rush. They took home a $7,500 cash prize and a traveling trophy.

Solar Decathlon Team Constructing a Net-Zero Energy Home

In April 2019, the U.S. Department of Energy awarded DU’s CampusCraft student team $25,000 to construct an energy-efficient home as part of the collegiate Solar Decathlon international design and construction competition. The Solar Decathlon challenges students to design and build highly efficient and innovative buildings powered by renewable energy.

Led by Faculty Advisor and Burns School Assistant Professor Eric Holt, CampusCraft’s Solar Decathlon 2020 Local Build Challenge project focuses on retrofitting an existing home south of the DU campus, which sits within a FEMA 100-year floodplain, to be more energy efficient. The building will produce enough renewable energy to meet its own annual energy consumption requirements.

The team also designed a net-zero accessory dwelling unit to be located on the same property as the retrofit house, and plans to incorporate design innovations that reduce the buildings’ negative impact on the environment and provide maximum comfort for the eventual occupants.

The ‘build phase’ of the project is currently underway, where students finalize designs, apply for permits and begin construction and retrofit activities. Winners of the Solar Decathlon Build Challenge will be recognized at the biennial event and public exhibit June 25–July 5, 2020, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

Global Challenge Takes Students, Faculty to Four International Locations

For 11 days in December 2019, 23 students from the Denver MBA split into four teams, each traveling to a different international location for the program’s global challenge. New this year, a global challenge faculty advisor joined each team. The challenge was the culmination of a 10-week course, where students learned and prepared to solve a real-life business challenge for their assigned company.

MBA@Denver Goes to Italy

Daniels’ online MBA program, MBA@Denver, held an elective travel course in Trieste, Italy, in June 2019. Twenty-six online Daniels students from five U.S. states joined Daniels Affiliate Professor Sid Simonson (MBA 2014, MS 2015) in Europe for the five-day global experience. The course introduced students to international business practices in an overseas setting, where they conducted field research to better understand the Italian business environment and its role in the global economy.

Students engaged in hands-on, cross-cultural experiences, meeting firsthand with businesses ranging from family-owned small enterprises (wine, olive oil and coffee purveyors) to global companies (an international trade hub and worldwide shipbuilding company). MBA@Denver also held a global elective in Cape Town, South Africa, in December 2019, and students will have a chance to travel to Melbourne, Australia, in December 2020. Networking and community engagement are crucial components of MBA@Denver’s curriculum, in addition to the program’s flexible, online format. MBA@Denver students are required to take two immersions during their program to meet their classmates and professors in person and engage in a local or international community. MBA@Denver graduated its first class in August 2019.

Accounting Students Travel to London

Eighteen undergraduate and graduate students from the School of Accountancy traveled to London, England, Dec. 1–7, 2019, with Associate Professor Ryan Casey and Associate Professor of the Practice Suzette Loving. The class offered an opportunity for students to learn about the industry by engaging with international and multinational accounting firms.

Business Challenge Offers Trip to Norway, Job Prospects

Last October, graduate students Jonathan Goodfellow (Professional MBA), Carolyn Lucca (business information and analytics) and Jasmine Shang (finance) boarded an Icelandic Air flight to represent Daniels in the distinctive, multinational Aker Talent Student Challenge.

Each student was placed on a five-person international team of business, engineering and information technology students and tasked with solving a problem that related to sustainability and renewable energy for Aker Solutions and its subsidiaries.

Half of all participants typically receive job offers from the Aker network of companies. This was DU’s first time taking part in the challenge, the product of a connection forged by DU trustee, former ski champion and Norwegian national Otto Tschudi (BSBA 1975). Coaches from Aker’s various divisions mentored the students through all stages of brainstorming, design and presentation. As they tackled their tasks, the Daniels students learned to navigate a team environment that crossed cultural and industrial boundaries.

The trip abroad also offered a chance for Daniels Associate Dean and Chief Operating Officer Yee-Ann Cho to take the school’s name overseas. She hosted an alumni networking event in addition to watching the students compete.

Elective Class Takes Students to Shanghai

Zaid Safiulla, adjunct faculty member, taught an elective Doing Business in China course for 19 Daniels students at Fudan University in Shanghai, China, Nov. 23–30, 2019. Daniels Dean Vivek Choudhury also joined the students and more than 45 Daniels alumni for a networking event and presentation by Daniels Associate Professor of Management Doug Allen at the historic Shanghai Exhibition Center.

Ron Rizzuto Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

The University of Denver honored Daniels Endowed Professor of Finance Ron Rizzuto with a Faculty Career Champion Lifetime Achievement Award at the third annual Faculty Career Champion breakfast celebration Sept. 10, 2019.

This student-nominated award focuses on faculty members who have made an impact on students’ career and professional development. Rizzuto was one of three DU Faculty Career Champion award winners selected from over 230 unique nominees.

For more than 40 years, Rizzuto has demonstrated a commitment to the “One DU” mindset by sharing career opportunities from alumni and employers with all of the career services offices across campus. He was chosen for his ongoing and outstanding career advocate work and cross-campus partnerships.

Loss Aversion in Professional Golf

Research conducted by Ryan Elmore, assistant professor of business analytics, and Andrew Urbaczewski, professor of business analytics, was recently cited by Yahoo Sports, The Economist and the Wall Street Journal.

Elmore and Urbaczewski analyzed loss aversion in professional golf using data from U.S. Opens at Pebble Beach Golf Links and Oakmont Country Club.

When a hole’s rating changed from par 5 to par 4, Elmore and Urbaczewski found evidence of loss-aversive behavior. “These figures suggest that players tend to try harder when playing to avoid losing a stroke (on par 4s) rather than when they are playing simply to maintain their current score (on par 5s),” Elmore and Urbaczewski wrote in the study.

16 Speakers, One Day and a Ton of Data

The Department of Business Information and Analytics hosted the Rocky Mountain Sports Analytics Symposium Aug. 2, 2019. The day was packed with speakers who shared their expertise and latest research on several sports, including football, basketball, hockey and baseball.

Mike Lopez, the keynote speaker at the RMSAS, spoke extensively about new football player tracking data. Lopez, director of data and analytics for the National Football League, explained that beginning in 2016, the NFL placed radio-frequency identification chips in the shoulder pads of each player and in the ball.

Data analysts for the teams can now track the real-time location, speed and direction of each player and the ball. While access to this new data is wonderful, Lopez stressed its limitations.

“Player tracking is not everything. No player is the same. No play’s the same. We will never be able to account for everything,” he said.

Big Tech, Big Data, Big Problems

It was a lively night of discussion as four panelists answered questions on privacy, security, freedom of speech and antitrust issues at the Big Tech, Big Data, Big Problems symposium, held Oct. 10, 2019. The symposium was hosted by the Department of Business Ethics and Legal Studies and sponsored by the Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative.

Daniels Dean Vivek Choudhury shared his background in information systems and Libbi Levine Segev, assistant teaching professor, moderated the symposium.

Professor John Holcomb addressed the calls from many to break up some of the big tech companies like Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google. Turning to the topic of privacy, Corey Ciocchetti, associate professor, said companies like Google and Facebook thrive on information. It’s not in their self-interest to develop privacy policies or encourage their use. No matter what business has consumers’ information, panelists agreed that the data is vulnerable.

“Almost 50% of small businesses have experienced a cyberattack,” said Don Mayer, professor of the practice. He added that it’s not just businesses that are in danger; government attacks are becoming more common too.

The panelists also discussed the global conflicts over the dissemination of free speech via social media and protest, and the crackdowns in China on its use, as well as the issues of political bias in the practices of Facebook and Google, and the need to screen out dangerous or hate speech.

Elevate the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence

There was no shortage of ethical issues raised during a panel discussion about artificial intelligence at the 2019 Elevate Ethics event. Four panelists discussed a range of impacts that AI could have on the country, the community and individual lives. The event, held May 14, 2019, was hosted by Daniels’ Institute for Enterprise Ethics; sponsored by the Daniels Ethics Initiative and Pinnacol Assurance; and moderated by Tamara Chuang, co-founder and writer for The Colorado Sun.

While panelist Suma Nallapati, chief digital officer of DISH Network, has great hope for using AI for social good, she cautioned that implementation has to be thought out carefully. “No one can take intelligence from human beings,” she said. “We, as consumers, need to use our brains. We need to be our fiercest advocates when putting our information out there.”

Rob Carpenter, chief executive officer and co-founder of Valyant AI, said that AI could replace human jobs in the short term, but it will also create new jobs. He compared the scenario to management careers in today’s social media industry, which didn’t exist 12 years ago. Kevin Krauth, chief executive officer and co-founder of Orderly Health, agreed that occupations will be created, but was more cautious.

“It’s important for us to be aware of what’s happening,” Krauth said. “We are the innovators and perpetrators of disruption. We need to be helping people transition to the new economy and not let them fall through the cracks.”

Voices of Experience

The 2018–2019 Voices of Experience series, hosted by Daniels and sponsored by U.S. Bank, Zayo and Newmont Mining, brought chief executive officers and significant leaders into the DU community to share the lessons learned from their triumphs, mistakes and decisions as they navigated through their leadership careers.

Former Red Robin CEO Denny Marie Post told the crowd that resilience is the key to a successful career and life. Rhys Duggan, CEO of Revesco Properties, shared his blueprint to address Denver’s growth through a vibrant, mixed-use, transit-oriented urban neighborhood dubbed the River Mile.

Abdulfattah Sharaf (BA 1994), CEO of HSBC Bank in the United Arab Emirates and head of international markets in the Middle East (pictured above, right), discussed oil sales in the United Arab Emirates, financial terrorism, cryptocurrency and emerging mass transit technologies to conclude the series.

Daniels Opens Three New Centers

Sales Leadership Center
Recruiting, training and retaining dedicated, knowledgeable sales talent remains a critical need for businesses. Established in fall 2019 with a gift from Mark (BSBA 1975) and Polly Lestikow, the Sales Leadership Center intends to meet this need by educating, training and developing sales leaders, and through the discovery and dissemination of sales knowledge.

The Center includes an accompanying undergraduate minor that is open to all DU undergraduate students, who also can participate in sales competitions, conferences and events.

Bailey Program for Family Enterprise
The Bailey Program for Family Enterprise is activating a new era of programs and research in the field of family business at DU. Housed at Daniels, the program will include collaborations with the Sturm College of Law, Graduate School of Professional Psychology and other University of Denver units. The first comprehensive family enterprise program in the Colorado region, the program will bring greater focus to the challenges and opportunities of family-operated enterprise, ranging from intergenerational wealth management and governance to succession planning and long-term value creation.

The Bailey Program was established with a gift from the Paul T. Bailey estate, and serves as a platform for both significant student impact and important new research. Its academic programs will be available to all DU students, and will increase students’ in-depth study opportunities, including a minor in family business strategy for undergraduates and a certificate program for graduate students. Non-degree executive education courses also will be offered for individuals currently engaged in family enterprises.

Consumer Insights and Business Innovation Center
Business owners have to make all sorts of decisions that could greatly improve or greatly deteriorate the customer experience. But, what if you had a resource that could give you insight before you launched a new product or initiative? Or, what if you wanted to evaluate if a product line or program was working? These are all things Daniels’ new Consumer Insights and Business Innovation Center (CiBiC) can do for companies and organizations.

On May 8, 2019, the Daniels community gathered to celebrate the official opening of CiBiC. Thanks to a gift from Michael (BSBA 1975) and Shereen Pollak, CiBiC now has the equipment and dedicated space to take on clients and conduct research. The Pollaks’ business, Hyde Park Jewelers, was one of CiBiC’s first clients.

Hospitality Program Pilots Expansion to People Experiencing Homelessness

Daniels’ Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality Management partnered with Denver Human Services’ Denver Day Works (DDW) and the Denver Rescue Mission to pilot a hospitality training program for people experiencing homelessness. The Hospitality Opportunity Program (HOP) builds on the success of Fritz Knoebel’s internationally award-winning Ready for American Hospitality (RAH) training program for refugees, immigrants and those who have been granted asylum.

RAH, entering its ninth year, is a partnership between Fritz Knoebel and the Ethiopian Community Development Council’s African Community Center in Denver, where Fritz Knoebel students mentor recently resettled refugees enrolled in the school’s food safety and job readiness training program.

HOP was designed to prepare those who are homeless and seeking employment with the training they need to gain successful employment in the food and beverage industry, most particularly in back-of-house positions. Hotel managers and restaurateurs in Denver have a difficult time finding qualified workers. At the same time, many people in Denver continue to experience homelessness. As the program grows, it has the potential to nearly double the number of people DDW trains annually.

Fritz Knoebel leadership plans to run the HOP program several times each year for those experiencing homelessness, who will acquire knife and basic cooking skills and sit for the National Restaurant Association’s ServSafe Food certification exam. They also will receive additional training to prepare them to enter a full-time work opportunity after program completion.

To support the Sales Leadership Center, CiBiC, the Bailey Program, Hospitality Opportunity Program or other Daniels programming, text DCBMAG to 41444 or visit

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