COB Met Alumni’s Passion for Finance, Unearthed Logistics

Since high school, Daniel Mankey knew he had a passion for commerce and business.

“I was fascinated with financial markets and how corporate finance was related to them,” he said.

Dividends, exchanges, indices, IPOs, volatility, yields, rallies and margins were all terms Mankey began to learn and desire to know more about. It is what led the Conway native to UCA and the College of Business in 2008 to major in finance.

Through guest speakers and coursework, he became aware of all the ways his love for fiscal matters could be applied across business. One of those areas was logistics and supply chain. He interned during his senior year at Maverick Transportation in North Little Rock as an extended operations representative.

With each day, as he helped the trucking company’s clients and ensured on-time deliveries, Mankey saw his niche in the industry forming. His work blossomed into a full-time position at Maverick when he graduated in December 2012.

“Once I graduated, I was able to move onto the pricing team, which laid the foundation for where I am today,” said Mankey

Mankey worked more than four years at Maverick as a pricing analyst completing bids and proposals, special projects, producing price recommendations and consulting with clients across the state and region.

Now, Mankey is yield manager for Wilson Logistics in Springfield, Missouri, where he ensures communication between pricing and sales teams is efficient, tracks pricing performance and the impact on profits and margins, coordinates annual pricing efforts and oversees pricing strategy developments.

His education in the College of Business paved the way for his advancement thus far, said Mankey.

“Some of the concepts were harder to grasp until you got into that first job, but it was like a delayed benefit because a lot of those concepts clicked once I saw them in my career,” he said.

Not only were the concepts and work he did in class beneficial, but the relationships he forged with professors as well.

“It was so important,” said Mankey. “They helped me get an internship with Maverick, they provided insight on possible careers, they understood what I was interested in and what best met my needs.”

Those relationships were beneficial again when Mankey returned in 2017 in the Master in Business Administration program.

“I saw an opportunity to grow through the MBA program, and have it impact my job,” said Mankey.

The faculty, including Mark McMurtrey, Ph.D., director of the MBA program, helped Mankey carve out a degree that would benefit his career.

“They guided me through the entire process,” he said. “I was immediately able to apply the concepts I learned in the program in my job.”

MIS Complements Business, Computer Passions for COB Senior

Noah Heffron discovered the field of Management Information Systems as a high schooler enrolled in the UCA/Acxiom IT Careers Camp and never looked back.

Heffron, a senior in the UCA College of BusinessDepartment of Management Information Systems, had always been interested in business and computers, so MIS seemed the perfect blend of those two passions. His connection to Acxiom has blossomed as well.

What began as an internship during his freshman year has developed into a near full-time role since. Heffron, of Rogers, said it has been fantastic to have worked at Acxiom throughout college and gained so much experience along the way.

“I was initially helping with the functional and regression testing for our solutions, but through my first summer there I quickly became test lead on a couple projects and releases,” said Heffron. “I’ve settled into a position where I am valued for my attention to detail and am trusted to lead releases and interact with clients.”

It’s the investigative aspect that Heffron enjoys the most about the MIS field.

“You’re finding how the different parts of the solution, whether hardware, database, frontend, networking or something else, interact and either work perfectly or provide chances for oddly interesting bugs,” he said. “Being able to use my MIS experience to take a technical concept and determine the business case that the client must have had in mind and seeing how that scenario would play out is intriguing.”

In the MIS Department, Heffron said he’s been introduced to the topics and materials he needs to be successful in his internship and career.

“It’s provided me numerous opportunities for realistic team scenarios, allowed me to practice cooperating with a group of individuals with a unique, yet connected specialties on different types of projects,” he said.

Heffron is the departments 2018 Outstanding MIS Major and received a scholarship this fall from Acxiom.

Jim Downey, Ph.D., chair of the MIS Department, first met Heffron while a high school senior at the IT Careers Camp and recognized an “amazingly bright” student.

“When he showed up on campus a year later, I had him in class and it was immediately apparent he was head and shoulders above everyone else in the class,” Downey said. “I’ve had him since then and he’s a wonderful student, obviously, with a 4.0 GPA.”

Even with his accomplishments so far, Downey said the most interesting thing is Heffron’s working near full-time for Acxiom the last couple of years while still enrolled in the college.

“It’s not unusual for students to have an internship, which is a short-term project; it’s not unusual for students to have a part-time job throughout their college careers,” he said. “But Noah has continued to work for Acxiom while maintaining his great GPA, being a leader in the class, and being an Honors College student.”

The growth and development of his IT skills, from work at Acxiom and in his coursework in the college, said Downey, will set him apart from other recent MIS graduates.

Upon graduation in December, Heffron will begin a full-time position with Acxiom as a software tester.

“I’ll be able to take on more leadership roles on our accounts, and with the experience and knowledge I’ve gained in the MIS department and in my internship with Acxiom, I feel exceptionally prepared,” said Heffron.

ABF Freight President Tim Thorne Visited the COB

ABF Freight President Tim Thorne visited Doug Voss’, Ph.D., associate professor of Logistics & Supply Chain Management, class Nov. 26 to discuss ABF Freight and ArcBest, as well as give students an opportunity to ask questions. Students also heard from ABF Director of Inside Sales Russ Aikman and Arkansas Trucking Association President Shannon Newton. Newton is also a COB alumna and COB Advisory Board member.
The afternoon served as a unique opportunity for COB students as they heard from three leading voices in the logistics and supply chain management industry. Check out the video below to learn more.

COB Students Visit NLR Branch of US Bank

Students from the UCA College of Business’ EFIRM Department visited the downtown North Little Rock branch of U.S. Bank on Nov. 28. The evening was led by Regional President and College of Business alumnus Mike Richardson, and allowed students to see the opportunities available in banking and at U.S. Bank, including retail and commercial banking, wealth management, auditing and loans.
Check out the video below to see what some of the students thought of the visit.

Redfern Family Establishes Endowment for Accounting Faculty Training, Development

University of Central Arkansas College of Business alumni Robert and Lauren Redfern have created an endowment to provide continuing education, training and professional development for faculty members in the college’s Department of Accounting.

The Robert and Lauren Redfern Family Faculty Enhancement Endowment will be distributed annually and be used for faculty expenses including continuing education, travel, research, and professional conferences.

“It is not uncommon for our faculty members to pay out of their own pocket for research expenditures to attend conferences and other expenses related to their professional development,” said Michael B. Hargis, Ph.D., dean of the UCA College of Business. “This generous gift from the Redfern family relieves some of that burden for faculty in our Department of Accounting and provides them with more opportunities to seek professional development.”

Robert and Lauren Redfern and their son, Spencer, have accounting degrees from the UCA College of Business. Because of their deep connection to the university and college, Robert Redfern said he and his family wanted to give back to a program that meant so much to them.

“Everything we’ve accomplished professionally goes back to the education we received there,” he said. “We love our school, we love the accounting department, and we wanted to do what we could to give back. We thought this would be a great way to promote the program and draw in more students.”

Robert and Lauren Redfern both work at the family-owned firm, Robert R. Redfern & Co., which has offices in Danville and Atkins.

“God has blessed our family immensely and we want to show our gratitude to Him by sharing with others,” said Lauren Redfern.

Robert Redfern is a certified public accountant and served a five-year term, which ended in August, on the Arkansas State Board of Public Accountancy. He is also an 11-year member of the Danville Public School District Board of Education. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Arkansas Society of Certified Public Accountants, Chambers Bank Board of Directors and Danville Lions Club.

Lauren Redfern is the firm’s office manager and accountant. She works with many of the Danville individual and small business clients regarding their bookkeeping and payroll, as well as managing the firm’s day-to-day operations. The Redferns have four children: Jenny, Clay, Spencer, and Nicholas.

The UCA College of Business is the fastest-growing college at the University of Central Arkansas with more than 1,650 undergraduate students and 150 graduate students. It offers 13 baccalaureate degrees, two master’s and one graduate certificate across four academic departments and houses the state’s only insurance and risk management program. The UCA College of Business is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). Visit for more.

Stephanie Watson, Ph.D., Wins Arkansas Society of CPAs Distinguished Achievement in Accounting Education Award

Stephanie Watson, Ph.D., chair of the University of Central Arkansas College of Business’ Department of Accounting, is the 2018 winner of the Arkansas Society of Certified Public Accountants’ Distinguished Achievement in Accounting Education Award.

The award recognizes full-time, college-level accounting educators for excellence in teaching and prominence in the accounting profession.

“Stephanie is a gifted, engaging professor who helps mold our accounting students into better business professionals,” said Michael B. Hargis, Ph.D. dean of the UCA College of Business. “Not only that, she leads our accounting department with creative and strategic thinking. It is wonderful to see the industry recognize her great work and contributions.”

Watson will be recognized at the ASCPA Accounting Educators Conference in May.

Watson has served as chair of the College of Business’ Department of Accounting since 2015. She came to the college in 2003 as an assistant professor and was promoted to associate professor in 2009.

She earned her bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate in accounting from Louisiana State University. She’s been a certified public accountant since 2010.

Watson has co-authored several journal articles on topics ranging from accounting education and foreign and domestic taxation to interview etiquette and tax court.

She received the College of Business’ Administration Excellence in Service Award in 2007 and 2015, and its Administration Excellence in Teaching Award in 2005. She received the Beta Alpha Psi’s Outstanding Faculty Advisor Award in 2011. Watson was included in Who’s Who of American Women in 2008 and Who’s Who Among American Teachers and Educators in 2007.

Watson is a member of the American Accounting Association, Arkansas Society of CPAs, Association of Certified Fraud Examiners and Beta Gamma Sigma.

The UCA College of Business is the fastest-growing college at the University of Central Arkansas with more than 1,650 undergraduate students and 150 graduate students. It offers 13 baccalaureate degrees, two master’s and one graduate certificate across four academic departments and houses the state’s only insurance and risk management program. The UCA College of Business is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). Visit for more.

COB Professor Provides Black Friday, Holiday Shopping Tips on THV11

COB Professor Provides Black Friday, Holiday Shopping Tips on THV11

Ron Duggins, M.B.A., Ed.D., assistant professor of Innovation & Entrepreneurship in the UCA College of Business’ Department of Marketing and Management, was recently featured on THV11 to discuss Black Friday and holiday shopping.

Duggins provided tips for shoppers to research and locate the best deals and sales during Black Friday and Cyber Monday to complete Christmas shopping. Duggins was interviewed by THV11’s Erika Ferrando.

Check out his interview here.

MBA & BBA Programs Rated Among Most Affordable Online in the Country

The UCA College of Business’ Master of Business Administration and Bachelor’s in Business Administration programs have been rated among the most affordable online degree programs in the country.

The college’s MBA program was rated the No. 4 most-affordable online among peer programs, and the BBA the No. 24 most-affordable. The BBA program was the only Arkansas program listed, and the MBA program was one of only two from the state to be recognized.

The programs received the high marks from SR Education Group which gathers tuition rates from institutions across the country, as well as details about coursework and available degrees, to evaluate institutions’ online programs for quality, affordability and accessibility.

To be considered for its ranking, an institution must be regionally accredited and offer at least one fully online degree.

“We want to make sure our students are able to obtain a valuable education that will help them move forward in their careers while also being affordable,” said Michael Hargis, Ph.D., dean of the College of Business. “This recognition by OnlineU shows we have been successful in that mission.”

The College of Business’ MBA program has 133 students and offers concentrations in finance, health care administration, information management and international business specialization. It was recently rated among the best available in the country by The Princeton Review.

The college’s BBA program in General Business has 338 students, including 60 fully online, and is designed for students who desire a breadth of knowledge in various disciplines rather than one.

More information can be found by visiting these links:



Business Degree Helping Air National Guard Airman Ascend

Ashlyn Hendrickson’s long-term aspirations would take her high into the ether as well as the ranks of the Air National Guard.

Hendrickson, a senior airman in the Air National Guard, plans to obtain a slot in undergraduate pilot training after graduating in December and begin the slow, steady climb to general. She’s already started work on a private pilot’s license now. It may be hard for some to see how a bachelor’s in business administration and a minor in marketing pairs with her career objectives, but not for Hendrickson.

She came to UCA with her associate’s in aeronautical science, a degree earned from the Community College of the Air Force through a partnership with another institution in the state, and wanted a degree she could use beyond her plans in the military. She’s already seeing the benefit.

Hendrickson runs The Rising Six, a National Guard organization, which has given her space to practice what she’s learned in her marketing classes.

“My classes have taught me how to organize and run that organization more efficiently,” said Hendrickson.

When she took the helm of The Rising Six, it lacked any presence on social media.

“Our members and target audience are airmen between the ages of 18 to 25, most of whom use social media,” said Hendrickson. “My marketing background has given me a strong foundation in how to use the platforms, get more people involved and attract attention. I’ve taken what I’ve learned directly from the classroom to running that organization.”

Parker Woodroof, Ph.D., assistant professor in the College of Business’ Department of Marketing and Management, was who initially attracted Hendrickson to marketing. She was an economics minor but switched to marketing after her first class with Woodroof.

“He has been the most influential professor for me by far,” said Hendrickson. “He’s given me great advice, whether concerning the military or college.”

Woodroof played a role in readying Hendrickson for a professional trip to Washington, D.C., last spring to meet with members of the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives.

Hendrickson serves as junior committee chair for the Arkansas chapter of the Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States (EANGUS). The group traveled to Washington, D.C., in the spring to speak with Congress about legislation.

Her time in the College of Business has been transformative for Hendrickson.

“I went to another institution while getting my associate’s and the feel there was to keep students at an arm’s length, and that was how I wanted to learn and do things,” she said. “At UCA and in the College of Business, that has changed for me. This is more of a home environment where you can learn and help one another. It’s like a little family.”

Wherever life takes her following graduation, Hendrickson is happy for the experience she’s had in the College of Business.

“It is preparing me for life because of its great standard of learning,” said Hendrickson.

BIT Club Meeting on 11/15/2018 @ 1:40 pm in the COB Auditorium

The Business & Information Technology (BIT) Club is having its last meeting of the fall semester on Thursday, November 15th. The event, which will be held in the College of Business Auditorium (Rooms 107/208) during X-period (1:40 – 2:30 p.m.), is open to all majors on campus. Mike Casey, Assistant Professor in the MIS Department, will be the featured speaker. Mike is a proud UCA graduate and the son of Finance Professor Dr. Mike Casey. Refreshments will be served (PIZZA!) and door prizes will be awarded. All students, faculty, and staff are invited to attend.