W.L. Mellon Society Member


LaVar Huntzinger Fulfills Teenage Dream With Topgun Program

R. LaVar Huntzinger (Ph.D. 1978) is a Military Analyst for the CNA Corporation, a nonprofit research and analysis organization based in Arlington, Virginia. He is currently stationed at the United States Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor program at the Naval Air Station Fallon, Nevada — known as Topgun — where he is analyzing aviation tactics alongside some of the best pilots in the world. He describes this as a dream come true, saying, “As a teenager I thought it would be wonderful to be a Naval Aviator. Bad eyesight made that impossible for me, but through my work at CNA I have had close association with them, understand what they do, and have shared many of the experiences that are part of their careers.”

This is the latest step in a long career of supporting our nation’s military. Prior to his posting at Topgun, Huntzinger’s CNA assignments included work at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, New Mexico. There he worked with the Air Force on a project called “Joint Theater Missile Defense-Attack Operation,” which analyzed whether U.S. attack operations could successfully destroy enemy ballistic missiles before launch. Early in his career at CNA, he worked with the Marine Corps to expedite their response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. His groundbreaking research found that warfighting equipment could be permanently stored aboard ships and remain in excellent condition, which allowed ships to deploy considerably faster than if they had to be loaded immediately before being shipped to the area of operation. Huntzinger earned his Ph.D. in economics from Carnegie Mellon.  ― 


David Browdy Named VP and CFO of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

David H. Browdy (MSIA 1990), the Senior Financial Executive at University of Utah Health, became the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center’s new Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.

Browdy is a C-suite executive with a background that includes health system finance, institutional support for research, academic health care, information technology management, and facilities planning and development. Browdy will replace VP and CFO Randy Main, who retired June 30 after more than three decades of service.

“I am very fortunate to have been recruited here. Fred Hutch is widely regarded for excellence, and it is further distinguished by doing notably high-impact, forward-looking work in the fastest moving area of medicine,” Browdy said, referring to the field of immunotherapy. “Every day, things are happening here that will make a real difference in people’s lives.”

Since 2013, Browdy has served as the University of Utah’s Associate VP and CFO for the Health Sciences, where his responsibilities have included strategic financial management, performance, and planning for its hospitals and clinics, medical group, and health insurance plans, and for its schools of medicine, nursing, pharmacy, health, and dentistry. During his tenure, he managed a large budget that grew quickly, from $2.3 billion in the 2012 fiscal year to $3.6 billion in 2017, according to Dr. A. Lorris Betz, Senior Vice President of University Health Sciences and interim Executive Dean of the University of Utah’s School of Medicine.

He has a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering from Northwestern University and an MSIA from Carnegie Mellon. Browdy has presented nationally on health care economics and strategic planning at institutions ranging from Harvard Business School to the Association for American Medical Colleges. His honors include a 2016 Distinguished Service Award from the AAMC Group on Institutional Planning.  ― 


Raji Sankar Opens Choolaah Indian BBQ’s Fifth Location in Pittsburgh

Raji Sankar (MSIA 2000), Co-CEO of Wholesome International and Choolaah Indian BBQ, opened the latest Choolaah location in the East Liberty neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh is the fifth location of Choolaah’s rapid expansion with others in the Cleveland, Ohio; Virginia; and King of Prussia, Pennsylvania markets.

Choolaah is an award-winning 21st-century fast casual concept inspired by 4,000-year-old cooking techniques. The 4,200-square-foot Pittsburgh restaurant features a sleek, contemporary layout. Its bright, open kitchen is anchored by four tandoor ovens where customers can see their food created. “At the heart of it all, we are about creating joyful experiences for our guests through wholesome food with responsibly sourced ingredients sold at everyday prices in a fun and hip environment,” Sankar explains. “Our goal is to build a Choolaah in every corner of the globe.” Choolaah is quickly transcending the category to become a must-eat destination beloved by a growing nation of devoted “Choolaah-heads.”  ― 

IBM Appoints Martin Schroeter as Senior Vice President for Global Markets

Martin Schroeter (MSIA 1992) assumed a new role as Senior Vice President of IBM Global Markets, responsible for IBM’s revenue generation, profit, and client satisfaction worldwide. He also leads IBM’s Global Financing business, the world’s largest captive IT financier. He was previously Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, a position he had held since January 2014. Prior to that, he served as General Manager of IBM Global Financing, where he managed a total asset base in excess of $37 billion. Schroeter also served as IBM Treasurer, responsible for the company’s balance sheet, cash flow, capital structure, interest rate, currency risk management, and treasury operations. He has also held the role of Assistant Treasurer of Capital Markets, Investments, and Foreign Exchange Operations. He served in a variety of business line and finance executive positions, including Vice President of Global Technology Services for the Asia-Pacific region, General Manager of IBM Global Financing for the Asia-Pacific region, and CFO and Finance Director of IBM Australia and New Zealand.  ― 


New Board President: Rob Rice 

After serving as the President of the Tepper School Alumni Board for the last two years, Michael Smith (DC 1989, MSIA 1995) has passed the gavel to Rob Rice (MSIA 2000), Controller of ExxonMobil Exploration. You can read Rob’s first letter to the alumni community in this issue.

Rice first joined the board in 2014, and most recently he served as a Vice President on the Executive Committee and Chair of the Collaboration Committee, so he has had great deal of experience working with the Tepper staff and members of the board.

Smith joined the board in 2012 and will serve one more year as Past President. He also assumed a new role in his career as the Chief Marketing Officer of a Seattle-based travel-tech analytics company, Yapta. Used by more than 125 of the Fortune 500, Yapta reduces corporate travel spend by using Intelligent Price Tracking of airfares and hotel rooms to find lower prices.  ― 


Danielle Schmitt (MBA 2011) has joined the Tepper School Alumni Board. Schmitt is a Senior Program Manager at Microsoft, where she has worked since graduating from Tepper. She started at Microsoft in Seattle and then transferred to London in May 2017. She has just started a new role in the AI & Research division, where she will lead the revamp of Cortana’s experience on Windows with her cross-disciplinary team including designers, data analysts, and developers. She enjoys working on global products that are in need of transformation, so she’s excited to take on this challenge. Outside of work, she greatly enjoys cooking, dancing, and traveling as much as possible — 11 countries so far in 2018.

Schmitt’s favorite memory from the Tepper School “was performing in the International Festival my second year at Tepper. Not only was it a great bonding experience with classmates, but it was a great way to show off some of the ‘Tepper flair’ to prospective incoming students. Recognizing the different perspectives each of our cultures brings to the table is a great reminder for what working in the international business world is like. I loved that it was such a positive reminder of that — not to mention a lot of fun.”  ― 


Sujal Shah (MBA 2004) is President, Chief Executive Officer, and Director at CymaBay Therapeutics, a biotech company focused on developing and providing access to innovative therapies for patients with liver and other chronic diseases. He originally joined CymaBay as Chief Financial Officer in 2012 and led the company’s initial public offering in 2014. Prior to CymaBay and after graduating from Tepper in 2004, Shah spent eight years as an investment banker at Credit Suisse and Citigroup, where he was responsible for managing client relationships and executing strategic- and financing-related transactions for clients focused in life sciences. In addition to serving on the Tepper School of Business Alumni Board, he serves on the Executive Advisory Board of the Chemistry of Life Processes Institute at Northwestern University.

“Serving on the Tepper Alumni Board offers an opportunity for me to give something back to a community that helped shape a significant transformation in my career and in my personal life. I am looking forward to connecting with students, faculty, staff, and alumni to ensure we maintain a focus on supporting one another with an emphasis on lifelong learning, growth, and contribution,” he said.  ― 


C. Talbot Heppenstall Jr. (MSIA 1985) has been Treasurer of UPMC since 2003 and its Executive Vice President since 2013, and has been President of UPMC Enterprises since 2014.

As Treasurer, Heppenstall is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day cash needs of UPMC, along with the management of its $7.5 billion of cash and investments and its pension portfolio, as well as the oversight of its outstanding municipal bonds and other debt.

As President of UPMC Enterprises, Heppenstall leads a team dedicated to generating and enabling exceptional health care innovations by creating products and businesses that make life-changing medicine happen. UPMC invests its expertise, time, and capital in two areas where science and technology will drive significant value in health care by improving quality and reducing costs: digital enterprises and translational science.

Previously, Heppenstall served as Managing Director at RBC Dain Rauscher Inc., President of PriMuni LLC, Senior Vice President at PNC Capital Markets, and Vice President at Butcher & Singer. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia and a master’s degree from Carnegie Mellon University.

Heppenstall currently serves on the boards of the St. Margaret Foundation, Tepper School Alumni, and the Erie Innovation District, and is also a member of the Finance Committee of the Women’s Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh.

“My favorite memory of my time at GSIA has to be meeting my wife, Sarah! I’m eager to serve on the Alumni Board to provide more people with the honor to learn from great teachers like Rick Green,” Heppenstall said.  ― 


Eduardo Tobon (MSIA 2000) joined the Tepper School Alumni Board. Tobon is a leadership advisor and shareholder at Spencer Stuart. He focuses on executive searches in the consumer and financial services sectors. Prior to joining his firm, Tobon served as President of Diners Club International and before that as CEO of payments at Santander. He has served on multiple boards, and his insights have been featured in numerous publications, including the book “Can’t Buy Me Like: How Authentic Customer Connections Drive Superior Results.”

“In addition to a world-class business education and building a powerful and lasting network of global friends, my favorite memory at Carnegie Mellon was taking advantage of other resources and classes like Acting for Business, which I hope others are still taking,” he said.  ― 


Jertez Hunter (MBA 2013) is a Product Development Manager with Union Pacific Railroad. In this role, he is responsible for developing cross-border solutions for the Mexico intermodal market. He is a former combat-arms officer and served as the executive officer of a combat advisor team in Basra, Iraq. As a TAP volunteer, Hunter has led Union Pacific to the highest corporate giving participation rate every year. Hunter has also joined the Tepper School Alumni Board.

He said, “I remember the Japan Trek was an awesome cultural experience. So many great memories from visiting the Golden Pavilion in Kyoto to walking around Tokyo eating fresh tuna from the Tsukiji fish market.”   ― 

In Remembrance


James G. March
Jan. 15, 1928 - Sept. 27, 2018

Founding faculty member of the Graduate School of Industrial Administration.

“Jim was one of the pioneering faculty members of GSIA. His research on organizations was highly influential and set the stage for several subsequent developments in organization and management theory.”
  ― Dean Robert Dammon