Category Archives: Alumni

InTheWorks: minimizing motor emissions

IntheWorks CTO, Todd Hansen (left) with CEO David Endrigo.
IntheWorks CTO, Todd Hansen (left) with CEO David Endrigo.

“I didn’t really expect to start my own business,” says Todd Hansen, looking back to his time as an undergraduate studying biochemistry at the University of Washington. But he had always been interested in clean technology and the reduction of fossil fuels, so when he discovered a really interesting concept for reducing emissions, he decided to pursue it. “Lo and behold,” says Hansen, now the co-founder and CTO of InTheWorks, an engineering and design development company, “that concept turned out to have a lot of potential.”

InTheWorks’ patented product is “essentially a unique emissions control system,” says Hansen. The company holds a total of 4 patents on a catalytic converter that can be used with any type of gasoline-fueled internal combustion engine to significantly reduce emissions, increase fuel economy by 4% to 5%, and increase horsepower 4% to 6%. And where other ways to improve fuel economy and power (aerodynamics, tire redesign, weight reduction) are costly, installing InTheWorks’ converter actually lowers manufacturing costs by 12%, due to reduced precious metal content.

InTheWorks’ technology was impressive from the get-go (the company won a prize in the 2009 UW Environmental Innovation Challenge by focusing on marine engines), but it’s in the past few years that Hansen and his team—CEO and co-founder David Endrio and executive vice president John Gibson—have seen tremendous progress. In 2011 InTheWorks’ prototype passed both EPA and CARB tests with flying colors, and further, more extreme testing in 2013 validated the 2011 results. The company has three full time employees, has raised $1.5 million in funding, and recently formalized a partnership with ClaroVia Technologies (known for its OnStar vehicle navigation system).

So what’s next for InTheWorks? “We’re primarily focused on licensing our technology,” says Hansen, “and we’re ready to reach out to OEMs [original equipment manufacturers] and Tier 1 suppliers.” At the same time, InTheWorks plans to pursue in-house manufacturing and distribution of marine applications of its technology. “And we’re always looking for additional technologies to add to our portfolio,” says Hansen, so his focus is already on the next innovation: “Diesel is on the horizon,” he says, “and we’re optimistic that we will be noticed by game changing companies.”

Alaska Airlines and Foster EMBA

A special relationship

Brad Tillden in an EMBA classroomBrad Tilden knew it was a long shot. As a young finance executive at Alaska Air Group in the mid-1990s, Tilden made the case to his CFO that sending him to the Foster School’s Executive MBA Program would be a sound investment. “The company wasn’t flush in those days, and we had always taken a conservative view on costs,” he recalls. “So I didn’t expect the answer to be quick or positive.”

But after conferring briefly with then-CEO John Kelly, Tilden’s boss came back and simply wrote “OK” on his proposal. “I was thrilled,” says Tilden, Alaska’s current chairman and CEO.

So began a long and symbiotic partnership between Alaska and Foster that goes far beyond the company’s significant philanthropic investment in the school.

The EMBA Program has become a de facto executive training academy for Alaska leadership. To date, 22 of its most promising executives have graduated from the program. Many now serve in senior roles at the company, including Tilden (EMBA 1997); Ann Ardizzone (EMBA 2008), vice president, strategic sourcing and supply chain; Karen Gruen (EMBA 2010), vice president, corporate real estate; Kris Kutchera (EMBA 2009), vice president, information technology; Andy Schneider (EMBA 2009), vice president, inflight services; Joseph Sprague (EMBA 2007), senior vice president, communications and external relations; Shane Tackett (EMBA 2011), vice president, labor relations; Shannon Alberts (EMBA 2005), corporate secretary; and Diana Shaw (EMBA 2013), vice president, customer service.

And though former CEO Bill Ayer’s (MBA 1978) MBA came from Foster’s full-time program, he has brought his formidable expertise and insight to teaching the EMBA’s powerful “CEO and the Board” course for nearly a decade.

Tilden says the impact of this cohort of Foster-educated leaders is evident throughout the firm: “Having a critical mass of people with a common education and disciplined approach helps us frame issues and execute solutions more quickly.”

“The EMBA Program has played an important role in developing high-performance leaders at Alaska,” adds Ayer. “The classes, the teamwork, and the networking opportunities add up to a unique learning experience. In a business where people are the only sustainable competitive advantage, a Foster EMBA provides a critical edge.”

Why a Foster PhD: Ji Youn Kim, Strategic Management track

Guest post by Ji Youn (Rose) Kim, 2014 graduate, UW PhD in Strategic Management.

First placement: University of Kentucky
Current: University of Kentucky

Ji Youn KimI joined the Foster business school as a doctoral student in management in 2009. There are many great aspects to the PhD program at the Foster, but let me highlight three things. First, Foster provided me with an exciting environment in which to observe the latest research in the field: doctoral seminars with faculty members who continually publish in top-tier journals and enjoy interacting with students, a wonderful series of renowned guest speakers in the field offering presentations on various topics, and generous support from the school to attend key academic conferences and workshops. Those experiences were invaluable to the development of the specific research interests for my dissertation.

Second, the PhD at the Foster School of Business is a competitive degree program. Upon admission, I found myself surrounded by a wonderful group of smart people not just within my department but across the entire business school. They were definitely an additional source of learning, intellectual support and precious friendship, which is important not only for completing the program but for continued collaboration after graduation.

Finally, I would emphasize that Seattle is just a fabulous place to live in terms of its beautiful natural environment, cultural diversity and respect for it (which was important for me as an international student), and year-round mild weather. The University of Washington itself offers a beautiful campus environment. As you might (or should) expect, it is not easy to go through the ups and downs of the doctoral program. At such times, just by taking a short walk through the evergreen trees or near the lake on the campus helped me to relax and get recharged to move forward.

Why a Foster PhD: Greg Fisher, Technology Entrepreneurship track

Guest post by Greg Fisher, 2012 graduate, UW PhD in Technology Entrepreneurship.

First Placement: Indiana University
Current: Indiana University

Greg FisherWhile the structure of most PhD programs is fairly similar, there are subtle but important factors that distinguish one program from the next. For me, there are some things about the the Foster PHD program that stand out as clear distinguishing factors. The first is the way that the program allows you to discover who you are as a researcher and to begin to forge your own identity as a scholar. Some people get into a PhD program at other institutions and become tied to one senior person and one dominating perspective from the start of the program. I really appreciated the opportunity that I had to work with many senior people and that I was encouraged to explore various different research methodologies, theories and phenomena as part of the PhD program at Foster. This allowed me to discover and create my own preferences and interests and in the process I feel like I was given the opportunity to begin to forge my own identity as scholar.

Secondly, Seattle must be one of the best metropolitan areas in which to do a business orientated  PhD. The region is home to a significant number of large and innovative companies including Microsoft, Amazon, Starbucks and Boeing and it has a vibrant and accessible entrepreneurial ecosystem which links entrepreneurs with cutting edge university research and with new venture investors and startup programs. So whether you hope to do research in large organizations, on in smaller new ventures or anything in between, being based in Seattle is a huge advantage when it comes to accessing data and observing interesting phenomena in action. I was able to interview many local venture capitalists and angel investors and tap into many years worth of data from the UW Business Plan competition as a basis for my dissertation research. If I had been based anywhere else I don’t think I would have had access to the same people or data.

Third, the people that I worked with UW always seemed to care about me as a person. I had many highs and lows while on the PhD program including the birth of my two daughters and a death of a family member. Through all the stress and emotions associated with these types of events, the faculty and staff at the Foster School of Business were incredibly supportive and encouraging. They gave me space and time to be at home with my daughters when they were born, they covered my classes and encouraged me to get on a flight and fly back to South Africa when a family member passed away and almost everyone always seemed to take an interest in my personal wellbeing. I observed all the other PhD students being treated with the same level of respect and care. I suspect that this is not something that is common across all PhD programs.

I am very proud to have graduated from the PhD program at Foster. I managed to find the exact job that I wanted at the end of the program and I am extremely happy with my career trajectory in academia, thanks to the foundation that the Foster PhD program provided.

Why a Foster PhD: Dong Liu, Organizational Behavior track

Guest post by Dong Liu, 2011 graduate, UW PhD in Organizational Behavior.

First placement: Georgia Tech
Current: Georgia Tech

Dong LiuThe Foster School of Business PhD program in Management is recognized as one of the premier PhD programs in the world. In my experience as a PhD candidate, the program certainly lives up to that reputation. I have been deeply impressed by both the resources and facilities that the Foster PhD program provides to its professors and students. During my time there, I received not only excellent training on research and teaching, but also had ample opportunities to conduct high-quality research with colleagues and teach my own classes.

The professors at Foster held me to high academic standards: motivating and helping me understand the critical techniques and skills necessary for management research and education. They spent a tremendous amount of time and effort inspiring me to explore exciting research questions and guiding me through the journal publication process. Even after successfully graduating their students, the professors maintain a candid and life-long mentoring relationship. As a graduate, it has consistently been rewarding and stimulating to communicate with Foster professors as I continue to learn and grow through their advice and perspective-sharing.

In sum, the Foster School of Business PhD program promotes a unique educational environment for students to nurture their inner curiosity and pursue their academic dreams. It is the place where creativity and opportunity meet. I will always be thankful for everything that I gained by being associated with the Foster PhD program. Go Huskies!

Why a Foster PhD: David Heckman, Organizational Behavior track

Guest post by David Heckman, 2007 graduate, UW PhD in Organizational Behavior.

First placement: University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Current: University of Colorado

David Heckman I thoroughly enjoyed my five years in the doctoral program at Foster. I was fortunate to work with Kevin Steensma, Terry Mitchell, Tom Lee, and many other outstanding Foster faculty. I couldn’t have earned tenure at the Leeds Business at the University of Colorado without the incredible Foster education I received.

I also really enjoyed living in Seattle. My wife and I started our family there, raising our two little boys in our little Capitol Hill apartment. Seattle is a wonderful city filled with activity, culture and fascinating people.

And of course another highlight of my time in the doctoral program was interacting with the other doctoral students. Each person in the program is so unique and has their own fascinating story to tell about where they came from and where they’re intending to go both in terms of research and life. Overall I learned a lot, enjoyed my life and highly recommend Foster to anyone.

CISB alumni updates 2014

Andy Aparico (BA 1997) is CTO/CIO of Tele-Post in Greenland.

Fulbright alumna Monica Barrett (BA 2009) is taking the MPA at Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She is a research assistant at Innovations for Poverty Action this summer, and last summer was a Deloitte Summer Associate in Emerging Markets. While at Deloitte, she was deployed to the West Bank to support USAID in generating $75M in increased revenue or decreased costs of trade. Monica was formerly a senior consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton. Monica holds an MBA from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

Heather Brewer (BA 1997) is a Consulting Director for Matisia Consultants. She is currently serving as Senior Program Manager for Spain and European Launch for Costco Spain, the first country for Costco in Continental Europe.

Adam-Taras Brunets (BA 2006) is Global Trade Controls Specialist/Lead for Russia, Ukraine & CIS at The Boeing Company.

Brittany Glant (BA 2008) is a Product Specialist at buuteeq.

Katie Gray (BA 2011) is Customer Marketing Manager at Microsoft in Santiago, Chile. See her Foster blog post here.

Meghann Halfmoon (BA 2001) is owner and designer of her label and small business, Halfmoon, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. From 2008 to 2013 she was a Resource Mobilization officer for Plan Nederland, where she successfully let the EU grant proposal development process with Plan country offices.

Kenny La (BA 2000) is Operations Manager, North Region, Starbucks Coffee Vietnam.

Megan Haley Nelson (BA 1999) is the Director of Community Relations for Seattle Children’s Research Institute.

Amela Mesak (BA 2007) is Director, NPG Business Integration at Nordstrom.

Foreign Service Officer Aysa Miller (BA 2004) is the Economic and Deputy Commercial officer in Khartoum, Sudan, in the political/economic section, working mostly on petroleum, agriculture, banking, trade, gum arabic, sanctions, debt relief and environmental issues.

Dina Phinney (BA 2004), is the Marketing Manager at Brown Pear Solutions.

Samantha Rayner (BA 2009), co-founder of Lumana, joined a new startup in San Francisco called HandUp, an online platform for giving directly to homeless people and neighbors in need. She is leading operations and business development.

Megan Linder Richards (BA 2007) is Marketing Strategy Manager at Nordstrom.

Johnny Sbrizzi (BA 2009) is an Italian Sales Rep for US distributors/brokers of aerospace components. He said that he “holds a middleman function between Italian aerospace customers, primarily Alenia Aermacchi (a large Boeing partner) and US suppliers.”

Jenepher Schulte (BA 2010) is taking both the law and MBA degrees at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

Anh Tran (BA 2005) is a consultant with the Boston Consulting Group in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Anh is an MBA alum of the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, where he was awarded the Joseph H. Wharton Fellowship.

Monica Trantow (BA 2008) wrote, “I accepted a role with Amazon Web Services in Luxembourg to be on the EMEA Headquarter Marketing Team, performing everything from metrics analysis to events to digital and in-person campaigns. I know that my time with CISB and involvement with GBCC won my interviewees over, as well as all the experience that CISB mandated during college. My post is for between 9-18 months minimum but I’d love to give back and talk about my experiences, and what it took to get the role. I owe a lot to CISB and I finally feel that I am getting the chance to use my education!”

Nolan Wadland (BA 2002) is Controller & Site Transportation Manager, Alcoa, in Houston, Texas.

Foster’s CISB program creates career ready grads that go global

The nationally-ranked, award-winning Certificate of International Studies in Business (CISB) Program helps undergraduate Foster School students hone the competitive edge they need to succeed in global business. The CISB programs promotes a global mindset that leads to global employment opportunities by requiring international business coursework, study abroad, foreign language immersion, area studies coursework, and resources about global career pathways. In the last academic year, CISB students participated in several activities outside the classroom to make them better equipped to compete in the global business workforce.

In addition to academic coursework and language studies, CISB primes students with informational career panels about global business. In Fall 2013, CISB students attended an International Business Panel which featured professionals with established global business careers at Starbucks, Wells Fargo Bank, Slalom Consulting, and Port of Seattle. The panel provided insight into the realities of an international career and inspiring advice to those entering the workforce. CISB also hosted an Alumni career panel in which 12 CISB alumni shared how their CISB experiences helped shape and further their career. The panelists provided job search advice and examples of a typical day in their position.


CISB students also get hands on experience in networking for a global career. In spring quarter, over 100 CISB students participated in a “Speed Networking” event. In small teams, the students practiced their networking skills on global business executives. The executives included the Assistant Corporate Controller from Microsoft, theVP of Global Client Reporting from BlackRock and theInternational Buyer from Costco. Primed with their global business education and career pathways insight, the CISB students could then practice the art of networking for their career.

But results speak louder than any of these events. Sam Bokor, VP Training and Personnel Development at Expeditors International stated that “CISB students are a a good fit for Expeditors because of their passion for the international trade community and their curiosity around other cultures.” Visit our CISB Alumni highlights to see the array of global careers secured by CISB graduates.

Are you a community member from the global business field and interested getting involved with CISB? Learn more about ways to contribute or contact

Taking the plunge and moving to Chile

Guest post by Katie Gray (BA 2011)

Katie GrayI graduated from the Foster School in 2011, having studied marketing and Spanish and earning a Certificate of International Studies in Business (CISB). Last year I decided to take the plunge and move to Chile, where I had studied abroad four years prior. Although I didn’t have a job lined up, my plan was to immediately begin networking with my U.S. and Chilean contacts as soon as I arrived in Santiago. I began to email everyone I knew back in the U.S. to let them know I had moved in the off-chance that someone might have a connection in Chile. Luckily my plan worked, and a contact from Microsoft put me in touch with the man who is now my boss here at Microsoft Chile. I applied for and was offered the position of customer marketing manager for the Small and Medium Business segment.

As a marketing manager for a sales team, I manage and execute Microsoft’s direct-to-consumer marketing campaigns and activities throughout Chile for companies below 250 PCs. Although it is challenging to work in a fast-paced environment in a foreign language, I recognize this job has provided significantly more responsibility and room for growth than an entry-level position I would have had in the U.S. I am very grateful to Foster and the CISB Program for the foreign language and networking skills they helped me develop, and I cannot recommend the experience of working abroad highly enough. To anyone considering a move abroad after graduation who would like to know more about my experience, please feel free to contact me at kemilygray at gmail dot com.