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Former PhD students

I have had the pleasure of working with superb doctoral students over the past two decades. I’d like to introduce them briefly. Most finished in a frenzied period (for me!) between 1998 and 2001, when we worked together on exciting, varied topics. I learned a great deal in these research partnerships. After a hiatus to recover my wits, my latest doctoral student finished in 2014. None in the works right now.

Brian Cozzarin — Illinois, 1998

Brian Cozzarin is an Associate Professor in the Department of Management Sciences in the University of Waterloo’s Faculty of Engineering. His interests are in technical innovation, firm-level strategies, and complementarities among manufacturing technologies.

Brian’s dissertation title was “Essays on Organizational Form and Function in Agricultural Production Alliances” (1998). Brian examined conceptual models of rent-sharing among partners in vertically related production alliances. He then built two system dynamics models of these multi-firm alliances to examine rent-sharing under alternative contractual arrangements, asset ownership structures, and risk-sharing regimes. In the second model, he was able to examine the incidence of costs when production (biological) risk caused uncertain throughput in the system and some assets were slack resources.

Here is his university web page. It doesn’t say much..

Donna Fisher — Illinois, 2000

Donna Fisher was an Associate Professor of Economics at Georgia Southern University. She worked in the School of Economic Development in the College of Business Administration. She has additional interests in natural resource management, gender roles, and international studies.

Donna’s dissertation title was “Assessing How Information Affects Cognitive Maps of Strategic Issues” (2000). Donna built an elaborate system dynamics model of projected global protein demand with a demographic and income engine by regions. The model had a powerful visualization front end that permitted her to run future scenarios with decision-makers from the agricultural sector. She examined how the cognitive maps of individual decision-makers and groups changed after using this model to examine alternative futures in strategic thinking exercises.

 Karen Bender — Illinois, 2001

Karen Bender is the Associate Director of Corporate Relations and Chief Operating Officer, Corporate Engagement Council for the Urbana campus of the University of Illinois.

Karen’s dissertation title was “Product and Exchange of Attributes in Defining Boundaries for value-Added Corn and Soybean Markets” (2001). Karen undertook an examination of the social construction of the GMO and non-GMO crop supply chains that developed in the 1990s. She completed a qualitative analysis of the social embeddedness of these markets and a quantitative analysis of the transactions costs between producers and merchandisers of these specialty grains.

Karen’s exalted position in university administration means she doesn’t maintain a web page.

Cheryl DeVuyst — Illinois, 2001

Cheryl DeVuyst is an Assistant Dean for Academic Programs in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources at Oklahoma State University, after moving from an Assistant Professor position in Agricultural Economics at North Dakota State University.

Cheryl’s dissertation title was “ Slotting Allowances, Failure Fees, and Asymmetric Information in the Grocery Supply Chain” (2000). Cheryl used a mechanism design approach to study the array of trade strategies, including slotting allowances, to align incentives between food manufacturers and retailers for new product introductions .

As an administrator, she doesn’t have a professional web page.

Marc Banik — Illinois, 2001

M. Marc Banik is a Professor of Management and Technology in the School of Management Sciences at the Université du Québec à Montréal. His research is in the management of biotechnology and pharmaceutical firms. He teaches courses in intellectual property management and operations management.

Marc’s dissertation title was “Essays on R&D, Innovations and Patents: Empirical Constructs and Policy Analysis of Uncertainty” (2001). Marc’s essays included two analyses of patents as incomplete contracts and as an enforcement problem under uncertainty. He also examined the pharmaceutical R&D process as a sense-making phenomenon, showing its superiority to a screening process under uncertainty.

Desmond Ng — Illinois, 2001

Desmond Ng is an Assistant professor of Agricultural Economics at Texas A&M University. He teaches a graduate course in agribusiness management and undergraduate courses in managerial economics and strategic management. His research interests include strategic management in supply chains, complexity theory, and managerial cognition.

Desmond’s dissertation title was “Application of Austrian Economic Theory and Complexity Theory to the Institutional Evolution of Agricultural Markets” (2001). Desmond programmed an agent-based simulation model of firms in three vertically related industries to study the evolution of institutional arrangements (cash markets, contracts) that link the sub-sectors as a result of firms’ entrepreneurial search for alternative production and marketing strategies.

Here is his personal web page.

Brent Ross — Illinois, 2007

R. Brent Ross is an Assistant Professor of Food Industry Management at Michigan State University. His research covers entrepreneurship, strategic management, and value chains in domestic markets and LDCs. He teaches strategy and food marketing.

Brent’s dissertation title was “Evaluating the Economic returns to Entrepreneurial Behaviour” (2007). The three papers investigated a conceptual model of entrepreneurial rents that was tested in a system dynamics model of firm-level innovation and arbitrage strategies and in an agent-based simulation model of the search for entrepreneurial rents in a competitive landscape.

Here is his university web page.

Peter Hofherr  — Missouri, 2014

Peter Hofherr finished his PhD in May of 2014. He defended his dissertation on Good Friday — an auspicious day, indeed.  His dissertation title is “Identity and Reputation in Organizational Collectives”. This research is an innovative examination of a particular type of organizational collective — US wine trails — as a form of group/collective entrepreneurship. The research looks specifically at the development of a shared identity of the collective venture and how it contributes to brand building. I had the pleasure of teaching and entrepreneurship course with Peter while he was doing his doctorate and we have had two external grant projects funded  together.

Peter holds the title of Assistant Director of the McQuinn Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership. He is the CEO of his family business, the St. James Winery. It is one of the largest wineries in the central US. In the summer of 2014, he broke ground on a new craft brewery. More news on that later!



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