Meet the Faculty
Robert A. Baron, Ph.D.
Robert A. Baron holds the Spears Chair in Entrepreneurship at Oklahoma State University. He is widely respected as a leading scholar in cognitive and social factors in entrepreneurship, and has successfully bridged two distinct academic disciplines of psychology and entrepreneurship. Most recently, he held the Bruggeman Chair of Entrepreneurship at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. During his twenty-two year tenure there, Dr. Baron chaired both the Department of Psychology in the School of Arts and Sciences and the Department of Managerial Policy and Organization in the Lally School of Management and Technology in successive, overlapping terms. He also served as Interim Dean of the Lally School (2001-2002). Prior to that, he was Professor of Psychological Science at Purdue University. Dr. Baron has authored more than 130 peer reviewed papers and 45 books. He has received numerous Best Paper Awards from organizations that include the Academy of Management’s Entrepreneurship Division and Organizational Behavior Division, the Babson-Kauffman Conference, the American Marketing Association, and the International Association for Conflict Management; in 2008 he received AMJ’s “Best Reviewer” Award (2008), and in 2009 the Entrepreneurship Division’s “Thought-Leader” prize. He served as an Associate Editor of Management Science and has been an editor for numerous other publications that include the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Human Resource Management Review, the Journal of Business Venturing, the International Journal of Conflict Management, and Motivation and Emotion. He currently serves on the Editorial Boards of the top journals in entrepreneurship, business and psychology. Prof. Baron is a Fellow of the Society of Industrial and Organizational Psychology, the Association for Psychological Science, and the American Psychological Association. Robert received his Ph.D. and Masters degrees from the University of Iowa, and his undergraduate degree Magna Cum Laude from the City University of New York. He has served as a Visiting Professor to numerous universities that include the University of Oxford, Princeton University, University of Texas – Austin, University of Minnesota, and the University of Washington. He holds three patents, and was the founder and CEO of Innovative Environmental Products, Inc.
Bruce Barringer, Ph.D.
Bruce Barringer, Ph.D. is the Johnny D. Pope Chair in Entrepreneurship in the Spears School of Business at Oklahoma State University and is the Interim Head of the School of Entrepreneurship at OSU. He is nationally recognized as an expert in entrepreneurship and strategy. He has authored the leading textbook in the nation on entrepreneurship. His books include Entrepreneurship: Successfully Launching New Ventures, Preparing Effective Business Plans, The Truth about Starting a Business, and What’s Stopping You? Shatter the 9 Most Common Myths Keeping You From Starting Your Own Business. Barringer is the author of the Wall Street Journal’s Weekly Review on Entrepreneurship, which is distributed each week to educators, students, and entrepreneurs nationwide.
Vance H. Fried is a Riata Professor of Entrepreneurship at Oklahoma State University. In addition to his current work on entrepreneurship in higher education, his research focuses on the venture capital industry and the management of firms financed by venture capital. He has published in several major journals including Academy of Management Perspectives, California Management Review, Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, Federal Communications Law Journal, Financial Management, Journal of Business Venturing, Journal of Small Business Management, and Journal of Private Equity. Prior to joining the faculty at Oklahoma State, Fried worked as an attorney in private practice, executive of an independent oil company, and investment banker working with small and mid-cap companies. He received a B.S. in Finance from Oklahoma State University and a JD from the University of Michigan. He is also a CPA.
Richard Gajan is the Carl Thoma Distinguished Clinical Professor in Entrepreneurship. From 2006-2011, Richard served as a Venture Advisor for I2E, Inc., a high profile Oklahoma non-profit organization that helps create high technology companies. During that period, he guided 27 I2E clients in launching businesses that collectively raised $13 million in equity funding and $4.5 million in grants. He assisted an additional 40 clients with business consulting, financial strategies, and bootstrapping. For the past year, Richard has owned and operated Gajan Consulting, where he has continued to advise and mentor startup companies. Richard works with the School of Entrepreneurship students and student teams who are working on forming their own business ventures. The School of Entrepreneurship works with students from across campus, including the Spears School of Business, Arts & Sciences, Engineering and Agriculture. Richard has an MBA from the University of Michigan, an MS in Mechanical Engineering from Texas A&M University, and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Oklahoma State University. He will also be a vital part of our growing Master’s in Entrepreneurship program, which includes students from varied academic backgrounds.
Col. Kriner is Professor and Head of Department of Aerospace studies at OSU. He has close to thirty years of experience in the military service, 10 of which have been in command positions. Col Kriner has an interest in module and course development for our Entrepreneurship and the Military Sciences program . He will also play an active support role in our Veterans Entrepreneurship Program as well as our soon to be launched online MSE program aimed at military personnel.
Nola Miyasaki is the Norman C. Stevenson Chair and Director of the Riata Center for Entrepreneurship at the Spears School of Business at Oklahoma State University. Formerly Executive Director for Entrepreneurial Programs at Syracuse University, she was responsible for the community and campus wide outreach initiatives. Under her leadership, the Falcone Center was recognized as a 2004 NASDAQ Center of Entrepreneurial Excellence and a 2006 NCEC Entrepreneurship Center of Excellence. In 2008 and 2009, the EEE program was ranked as a Top 10 Undergraduate Entrepreneurship Program and a Top 20 Graduate Entrepreneurship Program by U.S. News & World Report, in addition to being named a top ranked program by Entrepreneur Magazine, Princeton Review, Forbes magazine and Fortune Small Business. Prior to Syracuse, Ms. Miyasaki served as the Executive Director and CEO of the High Technology Development Corporation, an independent state agency charged with advancing the development of technology in the State of Hawaii. She also served as a Special Assistant for Technology to former Governor Benjamin J. Cayetano. Her agency played a key role in the passage of ground breaking tax credit legislation supporting investments in start up high tech companies. She has also worked as an sports agent with IMG in Cleveland, where she managed a number of professional golfers. Ms. Miyasaki has conducted research on women entrepreneurs and the challenges of growth. Her findings have been presented at the Babson Entrepreneurial Research Conference and have appeared in the Journal of Small Business Management. Nola was named a 2007 Women in Business Champion by the U.S. SBA, was awarded the 2006 Women’s Leadership Award by Syracuse University, and was recognized with a 2005 Technology Industry Award for her contribution to technology in the State of Hawaii. She received her bachelor’s degree in Human Biology from Stanford University, where she lettered on the women's golf team. She earned her J.D. at the University of California’s Hastings College of the Law (San Francisco) and her MBA from Syracuse University.
Michael H. Morris, Ph.D.
Michael Morris is a Professor and holds the N. Malone Mitchell Chair in Entrepreneurship at Oklahoma State University, where he established the first School of Entrepeneurship at a major U.S. research university. Formerly the Witting Chair at Syracuse University, his entrepreneurship programs have consistently been ranked among the top ten by US News and World Report, Fortune Small Business, and the Princeton Review/ Entrepreneur Magazine. He is a pioneer in curricular innovation and a leader in high impact experiential engagement with the entrepreneurial community. Professor Morris founded and annually runs the Experiential Classroom, the leading forum on best practices in entrepreneurship education. He also annually leads the Entrepreneurship Empowerment in South Africa (EESA) Program, working with historically disadvantaged entrepreneurs near Cape Town. A widely published author and researcher, Dr. Morris has written nine books and over 130 peer-reviewed academic articles in the Journal of Business Venturing, Journal of Management, Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, Journal of Business Ethics, Journal of International Business Studies, and Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, among others. He is the co-editor of the Entrepreneurship Series published by Prentice-Hall, and for six years served as editor of the Journal of Developmental Entrepreneurship. Professor Morris is a former president of the United States Association for Small Business & Entrepreneurship (USASBE), and has chaired the American Marketing Association's Task Force on Marketing and Entrepreneurship. In addition, he has been a principal in three entrepreneurial start-ups. Twice honored by Pi Sigma Epsilon as national Faculty Advisor of the Year, Dr. Morris has received the Edwin M. and Gloria W. Appel Prize for contributions to the field of entrepreneurship, and is a recipient of the regional Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. He is a former Fulbright Scholar (South Africa, 1993), was selected as one of the top twenty entrepreneurship professors in the United States by Fortune Small Business, and has been inducted as a “21st Century Entrepreneurship Research Fellow” by the Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers. In 2011 Morris received the Leavey Award from the Freedoms Foundation for affecting private enterprise education, and in 2012 was selected as the Entrepreneurship Educator of the Year by USASBE.
Brandon Mueller, Ph.D.
Brandon Mueller is an Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship. He recently received his Ph.D. in entrepreneurship and strategic management from Indiana University, where he developed and focused his primary research efforts on exploring opportunity recognition processes, entrepreneurial learning, and the development of entrepreneurial expertise. Prior to returning for his Ph.D., Brandon was involved in several new venture startups, and worked as a consultant for both Accenture and the University of Iowa Research Foundation.
Rubin Pillay, Ph.D.
Rubin Pillay is the Daniel White Jordan Clinical Professor and Director of the Interdisciplinary Entrepreneurship Academy at the School of Entrepreneurship in the Spears School of Business. He is a family physician with a post graduate qualification in Clinical Pharmacology. He also holds a Ph.D. (Bus. Adm) MBA and MSc (Health Management). Prior to taking up his current position, he headed up programs in Health Leadership at the McKenna School of Business, Economics and Government, St. Vincent College, and the School of Business and Finance at the University of the Western Cape (Cape Town, South Africa). He has extensive international teaching and consulting experience and has published widely in the field of strategic health leadership. His current interests are in Interdisciplinary Entrepreneurship with a particular focus on the health sector.
Craig Watters, Ph.D.
Craig Watters joins the School of Entrepreneurship as the Carl Thoma Distinguished Clinical Professor in Entrepreneurship, beginning Fall 2011. Craig is an accomplished scholar, educator, entrepreneur, manager, and economic developer. He comes to OSU from the top-ranked entrepreneurship program at Syracuse University, where he has led of portfolio of educational and community engagement initiatives. He has worked with faculty across an array of disciplines on curriculum development and outreach programs related to creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship. Craig helped conceptualize and launch the highly successful South Side Entrepreneurial Connect Project, which has contributed to the transformation of an economically-challenged inner city community. He has served as assistant dean for advancement in the School of Information Studies at Syracuse, and director of its economic stimulus center, the I-Launch Pad. His research and community work led to his nomination for an economic development award from Senator Hillary Clinton in 2003 and travel to Ireland as part of Clinton's trade mission in 2002.
A former manager at General Electric and the Syracuse Research Corporation, Craig has extensive experience in project management and contracts administration. In addition to his corporate experience, Craig has launched two successful ventures. His recent publications include "Inner City Engagement and the University: Interaction, Emergence & Transformation," Entrepreneurship and Regional Development, (2011). Craig holds bachelor’s, master’s of science and Ph.D. degrees from Syracuse University. His dissertation examined the impact of infrastructure on economic development in rural areas.
Justin Webb, Ph.D.
Justin Webb is an Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship. He recently received his Ph.D. in management from Texas A & M University, focusing his research on the contextual and individual influences on the entrepreneurship process and balancing the demands of strategy and entrepreneurship. Under the mentorship of Professors Duane Ireland and Mike Hitt, Dr. Webb has published in journals that include Academy of Management Review, Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, Journal of Management, and Business Horizons. He is recognized as one of the field’s most promising young scholars.
The entrepreneurship program is also supported by five outstanding adjunct faculty members:
James George is the founder and president of Fogue and Bates Inc., Café Cubana LLC, Habanos Acquisitions LLC and Direct Carson Operations Inc. He is a frequent adjunct professor for the Department of Management at OSU’s Tulsa campus and teaches in the fall semester for the School of Entrepreneurship on the Tulsa campus. James earned his MBA at the American Graduate School of International Management in Phoenix, AZ, in 1991.
Steven Griggs, Ph.D.
Steven Griggs has been in the aerospace industry since 1981, over twenty years of which he has been a Program Manager within the Lockheed Martin Skunk Works and other companies advanced design centers. He has led creative, innovative, design teams in all aspects of new product development and transitioning technology and innovation into production. Dr Griggs developed basic technology, created innovative concepts of products and services, developed prototypes, and created commercialization strategies. He has extensive experience in capturing business from idea generation, to customer identification, and proposal writing in business pursuits from as little as $50K to $200B. His visionary aptitude identifies opportunities and threats to business projecting up to 30 years in the future. Dr Griggs has made major contributions to developing and transitioning technologies in advanced military stealth aircraft and space technology with his breadth and depth of understanding of science and technology in addition to business strategy and entrepreneurial behaviors. He has participated in over 35 aircraft programs and transitioned disruptive and revolutionary technologies to the warfighter. In addition to his other duties, Dr. Griggs has reviewed thousands of innovative technologies over the last seven years developed by Small Business Innovative Research funded firms, and has coached those most promising to transition into production. Dr Griggs has a BS, MS, and PhD in Engineering, an MBA in finance and strategy, and a Master of Arts in Economics.
Elizabeth Payne is a licensed attorney currently teaching Introduction to Entrepreneurship at Oklahoma State University. For nine years Elizabeth acted as Counsel then VP of HR for Ed Gaylord’s multibillion dollar private company. She led a department of 25 who managed HR, Benefit Plan Design, and Safety/Security for the growing list of Gaylord companies. Recruited to join fast growing technology company Advanced Financial Solutions, Payne served as VP of HR when Principal Financial Group awarded AFS one of the 10 Best U.S. Companies for insuring Employee Financial Security. Elizabeth has spoken at conferences and been featured in several national publications regarding innovative employment, reward and benefit strategies. Elizabeth has driven business development and channel sales for the top two public companies in the Financial Services Technology industry. She has served as a strategist, management consultant, and executive coach to clients in Technology, Fast Food Franchise, Rental Power, Weatherization and Law. Her current interest is in Interdisciplinary Entrepreneurship and Entrepreneurial Outreach at Oklahoma State University.
Michael Wampler is the Director of the MSE New Venture Lab and Lecturer in the School of Entrepreneurship at Oklahoma State University. Prior to joining the faculty at OSU, Wampler worked on the management team of his family's underground construction business in rural Iowa. He has experienced both the joys and pitfalls of entrepreneurship leading him to pursue a career where he can share these experiences with others. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Management from Iowa State University where he held leadership roles in the ISU Entrepreneurship Club. He also earned a Master of Science degree in Entrepreneurship from Oklahoma State University. Michael's primary interests are in the area of student run start-ups and family ventures.
Tom Westbrook, Ph.D.
Tom is the Vice President of Jacobson Oil Enterprises, LLC and sales consultant for Oklahoma Credit Wholesale. He has been a ghostwriter of three nonfiction books, a producer of a series of videos for Eckerd Youth Alternatives, and editor and publisher of Connections magazine. A former pastor of the University Heights Baptist Church, Tom has extensive experience as a minister working with diverse audiences. Tom earned a Masters of Arts and a Ph.D. both in journalism from the University of Texas, a Masters of Divinity from the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a BA from Oklahoma Baptist University.
Eric Arseneau is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Entrepreneurship at OSU. Born and raised in Central Illinois, Eric received his MBA from Eastern Illinois University. As a graduate assistant for the College of Business, Arseneau tutored students taking statistics, published an article in the Journal of the North American Management Society, and volunteered time as a SCORE counselor. After graduating, he worked for a large medical coding and billing company, in which he provided data analysis in a variety of contexts. Some of Arseneau’s personal interests include technology, reading business magazines, and playing/watching sports.
Blakley Davis is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Entrepreneurship at OSU. He received both his MBA and BBA in Management from Texas Tech University. His professional experience has included positions within the financial and transportation industries, as well as a lifetime of experience within his family’s commercial contracting firm. Some of his personal interests include backpacking, mountaineering, and giving back to the community.
Iana Ezhova is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Entrepreneurship at Oklahoma State University. Prior to joining the doctoral program, she obtained her master’s degree in International Technology and Innovation Management in 2009 in a dual degree program between St. Petersburg State University (Russia) and Lappeenranta University of Technology (Finland). She earned a bachelor’s degree in Strategic Management from St. Petersburg State University in 2007. Ezhova has participated in consultancy projects for Caterpillar (Russia) and CTS Engtec Oy (industrial design, Finland), worked as a research assistant in Lappeenranta University of Technology and St. Petersburg State University, served in the Russian Federation President’s Office during the G8 summit in 2006, and occupied different positions while working for two years in a startup customs clearance broker company in Russia. Her primary research interests focus on new venture change and entrepreneurship in informal economies.
Rebecca J. Franklin
Rebecca is a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Entrepreneurship at OSU. She previously earned her Masters of Science degree at OSU and Bachelor of Science degree at Middle Tennessee State University. She received several recognitions in the city of Tulsa including a mayoral appointee to the City of Tulsa Economic Development Commission and honored in “Achievers under 40” and “Top 40 under 40”. Franklin has launched and managed two Tulsa-based businesses, and has a passion for making a positive difference in the lives of others. She has presented papers at a number of conferences including the World Congress on Positive Psychology, Academy of Management, Babson College Entrepreneurship Research Conference, and the Reservation Economic Summit.
Jun Fu is a Ph.D. student in the School of Entrepreneurship at Oklahoma State University. Prior to her arrival in Stillwater, she earned a M.B.A. from the Simon School at University of Rochester, and a M.S. in Industrial Technology from Southeastern Louisiana University. Fu has worked for Aviation Industry Corporation of China. Fu’s track record includes driving successful improvements on large-scale manufacturing processes, and utilizing technologies and methodologies to create effective and efficient operations.
Chris Pryor is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Entrepreneurship at OSU. He obtained his MBA from OSU last winter, and he’s been active in OSU’s School of Entrepreneurship at various levels since its inception, including travelling to South Africa to coordinate the 2009 EESA program. Before enrolling at OSU, he worked several years in newspaper journalism as a designer, reporter and editor before joining The Dallas Morning News as an assistant news editor in 2007. Pryor obtained a BA in journalism from the University of Oklahoma in 2004, and he also studied Middle Eastern history and Arabic. While at OU, Pryor was editor-in-chief of a campus political magazine, The Fountainhead.
Sohrab Soleimanof is currently a PhD candidate in the School of Entrepreneurship at Oklahoma State University. Soleimanof received his B.Sc. in electrical engineering from University of Tehran and his MBA from Sharif University of Technology, Iran. He has been working as a management consultant for Iranian investment companies and business start-ups in incubators. Moreover, he has some social entrepreneurship experience and has founded two NGOs in his activities. His academic interest area is organizational level entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial orientation.
Imran Syed is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Entrepreneurship at OSU. His prior educational experiences include earning dual MBAs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, and a B.A. in Psychology at the University of Mumbai. Prior to starting his Ph.D. he has worked as a Senior Project Manager with SKIM, a marketing research based consulting firm, in the NYC metro area. His previous professional experiences also include working in dual roles with ADK – a global top 10 marketing & strategy organization. As the Director of Marketing Planning for ADK's Asia Regional Center, he was responsible for helping clients come up with effective marketing and business strategies for nine countries in the Asia-Pacific and Middle-East regions. Additionally, as the Director of Strategic Planning for ADK's Singapore office, he consulted local and International clients on local marketing and general strategy issues. Syed has an intense passion for entrepreneurship and for helping businesses become leaders in their industry. This passion has driven him to author a book on strategy titled: ‘Wowability: How To Achieve It & Why It Matters.’