Intensive New Local Program Grooming Aspiring High-Tech Executives

03/13/03    Portland, Ore.

OHSU's OGI School of Science & Engineering teams with AeA and Portland State University to provide unique niche program

For years Oregon's high-tech industry has been critical of the state's institutions of higher learning for not meeting their education and training needs. Now Oregon Health & Science University's OGI School of Science & Engineering, Portland State University, and the AeA (formerly the American Electronics Association) have formed a unique collaboration to help solve the problem.

Last month OGI, AeA and PSU kicked off an intensive education program designed for individuals on a career track toward high-tech general management and executive leadership. Held once a month for four months, the course is the first of its kind in the Portland area.

"The intensive program that has been developed is first-class," said John V. Harker, chairman, president and CEO of InFocus Corp., and chairman of the AeA Oregon Council. "The fact that more than 40 aspiring high-tech executives were sent by their companies to attend this course, the speed in which this course filled, and the array of high-tech companies represented, is indicative of the need for local general management education. This is the kind of collaboration and innovation that we need in Oregon to increase our pipeline of quality managers."

The next executive education courses in 2003 are scheduled for March 13, April 24 and May 22. The media are welcome; please call ahead to arrange.

"Most people who go down to Stanford or to Harvard or other elite programs for executive training are already executives or senior managers," said Jack Raiton, Ph.D., a senior fellow in the OGI school's Management in Science and Technology program, and AeA Finance Committee chairman who co-designed the program. "We specifically did not want to compete with the elite programs. Instead, we're trying to create a niche of our own by offering a high-quality, affordable and local program for people on the fast track to becoming senior managers or executive leaders in high technology."

Instructors for the first workshops include heavy-hitters Kathleen Eisenhardt, Ph.D., a Stanford University strategy and organization professor (May 22); Richard Levy, Ph.D., president and CEO of Varian Medical Systems, Inc. (April 24); Robert "Rocky" Higgins, Ph.D., a University of Washington finance professor (March 13); and Chuck House, the Science Policy and Societal Impact director at Intel Corporation (Feb. 13).

Each day of the course begins with breakfast, followed by a three-hour workshop. Lunch includes a local high-tech executive as guest speaker, followed by another three-hour workshop. There is time for networking and socializing before dinner, and a local high-tech CEO as guest speaker concludes the day.

"We're interested in growing the next generation of leaders for the high-tech industry," said Jennifer Bosze, executive director of the AeA Oregon Council.

The cost of the executive education program is $3,450 (AeA members receive an early-registration discount).

Prior to each segment of the program, participants are given preliminary assignments and projects designed to maximize their learning experience. Each workshop focuses on a single topic and builds upon the information learned as the day progresses. This year, the workshops will focus on leadership for the 21st century, finance for operating executives, the new role of marketing, and creative business strategies.

During the month between workshops, class members participate in an online discussion forum designed to amplify the subject they have just studied. One or more new questions are presented in the forum each week. The online sessions are moderated by faculty from PSU's School of Business Administration or OHSU's OGI School of Science & Engineering, who are experts in the subject matter.

Participants also are encouraged to go back to their respective companies after the workshops and teach the material they have learned. Using the online forum, they can report back to their class on what did and didn't work, getting valuable feedback and learning from each others' experiences.

The course culminates with a June graduation event (June 12, 2003) for participants that includes dinner, a keynote speaker and a final opportunity for networking with peers. (Stephen Babson, principal of Endeavour Capital and former chairman of Stoel Rives LLP, is the 2003 keynote speaker).

"We hope that course participants not only get a good foundation for their next career step, but gain broad exposure to the thinking and experiences of respected local and national high-tech executives," said Jim Huntzicker, Ph.D., who heads the OGI School's Center for Professional Development and co-designed the course with Raiton. "We think participants will really appreciate the focus on real-world business issues and learning from their fellow participants about their corporate cultures, and the way the pre- and post-workshop exercises and online forum enhance their overall learning."

Another benefit to companies, noted Huntzicker, is the retention incentive the course provides for high-performing employees. "Human resources managers at high-tech companies can be really helpful here because they often can identify employees bound for senior management and can recommend them for pre-executive training," he said.

"The lack of general management training in Oregon is a big gap relative to the training needs of the high-tech industry," said Huntzicker. "We hope that by filling this gap, we can more effectively address the needs of high-technology companies in Oregon."

The OGI School of Science & Engineering (formerly the Oregon Graduate Institute of Science & Technology) became one of four schools of Oregon Health & Science University in 2001 (see www.ogi.edu for research and education information).

AeA's Oregon Council, the statewide arm of the AeA, works to improve the visibility of the high-tech industry, keep industry executives abreast of trends, provide industry networking opportunities, and advocate the industry's position on public policy issues (see www.aeanet.org).

The School of Business Administration at Portland State University is dedicated to becoming the leading academic and professional resource for business education in the Northwest (see www.sba.pdx.edu).

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