Heidelberg University formed a new advisory board to guide, promote, advise and support the School of Business' mission to become a premier business school.
The advisory board, dubbed the Berg Business Board, is composed of 11 executives, six of whom are from local businesses.
Those members include: Willard P. Heddles, CEO and present, Tiffin Metal Products; John Bolte, executive vice president of National Machinery LLC; Richard Focht, president and CEO of Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp.; John Detwiler, president and CEO of Seneca Regional Chamber of Commerce; Cynthia Dennison, senior director of finance of Mercy Tiffin Hospital and Mercy Willard Hospital; and Andrew J. Felter, president and chief operating officer of Webster Industries Inc.
Haseeb Ahmed, dean of the School of Business, said the board will advise on issues that impact the school's mission and strategy, and serve as a sounding board for new programs, initiatives and activities.
Heidelberg has a traditional liberal arts education, Ahmed said.
"We wanted to focus on a good foundation for business major students," he said.
The board is among programs such as the Heidelberg Business Institute, the Executive-in-Residence and Entrepreneur-in-Residence that add quality and relevance to the School of Business, to reinforce a forward-looking perspective and create a mindset that connects practice with theory, Ahmed said.
He said the board will benefit the surrounding community to help aid students with internships, job placement and, in the classroom, to get a feel on how to solve real-world problems and get an idea of what it will be like to work in a business atmosphere.
The board is to meet once each semester. Their first meeting was in September, where members elected officials, discussed the role of the board and the steps the board needs to take.
Heidelberg alumna Stacy Cox, '94, senior vice president and chief operating officer of Croghan Colonial Bank in Fremont, was chosen to be the first chairwoman of the board.
"This is very exciting for me personally," Cox said. "I started my university experience after I had been in banking for a couple of years and about the same time I was promoted into my first managerial role.
"As a result, much of my growth as a leader occurred as I was studying business at Heidelberg," she said. "This provided me with an opportunity to apply what I was learning in the classroom to my business role and vice versa."
The board is to meet again in February to put in place a strategic plan for the university and School of Business.
Cox summed up the board's future endeavors, stating the board will participate with students in networking events and fundraisers. Board members will serve as guest lecturers in classes to discuss the application of business theory in their daily business activities. There will be financial support, internships, field studies, mentoring arrangements and service opportunities for students to become directly connected with the business leaders in our communities. The board will partner with Heidelberg to continually improve the quality and relevance of the education it provides to business students.
"(In this economy), it is critical. We are competing daily with people around the world who are aggressively growing their businesses," Cox said. "In many cases, they are doing it more rapidly and for less cost than we are accustomed to seeing in the U.S. To remain competitive, business leaders need to be prepared to adopt the most current business practices and leverage the most current technologies.
"We have to have a global focus and readiness to change the basic knowledge and to adjust the curriculum to always move ahead," Ahmed said.
Heidelberg has put in place new programs in marketing, social media, research methodology and applied business economics, Ahmed said.
"The sole purpose is to provide education," he said.
As for the board, Ahmed was "pleased with the unprecedented willingness and excitement of the board to be involved with us."
The additional board members are: Mark Beliczky, managing director of Salus Sciences LLC in Baltimore, Md., who is vice chairman of the board; Scott Hicks, president and CEO, Clyde-Findlay Area Credit Union; Jerry Ross, executive director of the National Entrepreneur Center in Orlando, Fla.; and Cary Cox, manager of business development of Marathon Petroleum.